Thanks to the second most politically switched on CEO on AIM (after pure crystal libertarian Richard Poulden) for sending over this piece by Russell Taylor which is so excellent I just reproduce it in full. Over to Mr Taylor.
It’s not often you get abuse for paying someone a compliment, but try telling a liberal-lefty that the poor are resourceful, resilient and capable. What a terrible accusation! How dare you suggest that they are anything other than hapless cretins, incapable of standing on their own two feet? Can’t you see that these people need help? Why not bring back the workhouses and be done with it?
To liberals, writing-off the poor as weak and vulnerable, then showering them with excuses and hand-outs, is the acme of bigheartedness. Never mind how patronising this is, or how it makes a mockery of their egalitarian pretensions; as far as liberals are concerned, it is the final word in compassion.
You can bet your bottom dollar that liberals don’t think of themselves as possessing the poor’s frailties. When they attend their chichi gatherings, to swap pieties and compare egos, they never refer to the poor as their brethren: as people who share their ambitions, their powers of discernment or their self-sufficiency. They might have all the sympathy in the world for them, but they never for a moment consider them their equals.
Liberals love poverty, because it’s a goldmine for them. That’s why they define it in a way that guarantees we are never free of it. But the poor themselves? Not so much. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that liberals hate the poor. They need them like doctors needs patients, but they hate them all the same. Oh sure, they’re good at urging others to give more generously, but they’re not prepared to offer the poor the greatest gift of all: the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. Liberals treat the poor like they’re Andamanese pygmies, with no chance of ever becoming fully-functioning members of society. They want to stand guard over them and offer them protection and guidance. They think that sponsoring the welfare state makes them ‘good people’ – far better than the selfish scum who ply their trade in the private sector. Presumably they think that giving a penny for the Guy makes them champions of democracy, too.
What kindness liberals show is invariably self-serving. The tax money they promise the poor is designed to assert their superiority over them – after all, the hand that gives is always above the hand that receives. Their theories of social injustice advance the case for planners, thinkers and welfare administrators, drawn from the liberal middle-class. The ‘freedoms’ they extend to the poor are those that liberals want for themselves: freedom from responsibility, from judgment, and from the pettifogging rules and traditions that stifle their egotistical desires.
When the deprived masses favour things that liberals can’t comprehend…well, forget it. Their fondness for smoking cigarettes, eating junk food, and frequenting pubs that aren’t disinfected gastro eateries, is inexplicable to the liberal elite. It’s not that they want the poor to adopt their interests, or to join them at the top table – God, no – they just don’t want them acting in ways that offend their delicate sensibilities, or getting so cocksure that they think they can get by without liberal help. Ultimately, it’s about power. They want to exert their moral and social authority over the poor, while keeping them in their place. Liberals don’t mind addressing them from a soapbox or pledging their support in a Guardian article, but the last thing they want to do is actually mingle with them or befriend them.
Liberals are in love with a caricature of the poor, but the real thing is far too complex and infuriating to elicit fond emotion. They like their poor helpless, sympathetic and grateful. They want a pantomime cast of honest peons, crushed beneath the wheels of the capitalist machine; proud immigrants, who have fled persecution to make a new life in a foreign land; single mums in a dignified struggle to raise their children; disenfranchised yoofs, struggling against a society that just won’t give them a break. These are the kind of guileless gudgeons they can shape and nurture: docile test subjects, whose simple needs can be met through programmes and theories that liberals can endorse for a feel-good fix. But the messy, disappointing reality of life at the bottom? Yuck!
Liberals are victims of their own self-importance. On the one hand, they have a need to feel superior to the rest of humanity, which they express through their sophisticated tastes and ethical bona fides. On the other, they wish to be liberated from the footling constraints of Western civilisation, which they take as an affront to their egos. The poor (all underdogs, in fact) provide the perfect outlet for their psychological needs. Liberals admire and encourage the poor’s perceived lack of self-restraint, because it justifies their own libertinism. And they enjoy treating them as childlike creatures, in need of guidance and protection, because it asserts their dominance. The trouble is that the poor use their freedom to do things that insult liberal tastes. If they’re not drinking too much, eating the wrong foods or expressing off-colour opinions, they’re spurning liberal patronage and trying shift for themselves. The fecklessness that liberals deem worthy of their palliative care offends their lofty moral code, leaving contempt as an inevitable feature of their relationship with the poor.
Time was that the Left wanted the deprived to savour what the middle-classes took for granted: opportunity and excellence. But the Left is no longer interested in resilient, aspirational working people. Now it champions designated victims and those who care for them. Anyone with the audacity to shake off their victim label is not applauded for their independence, but stigmatised as a traitorous ingrate. This is the chief reason that Margaret Thatcher is so hated by the Left: because she set the working classes free. She empowered them, gave them hope and instilled them with self-belief. She made them realise there was a world beyond the prison the Left had built for them.
The Left has never forgiven the working classes for their betrayal, which is why it has set about destroying the institutions and practices on which their independence is founded. Everything from the traditional family to the local pub has come under fire. Working class tastes and opinions are regulated and belittled. Taking Bertolt Brecht’s advice, the Left elected a new people by inviting immigrants to join the dependant class, then chastised the white working class for not making them feel welcome.
My own family lifted itself out of poverty (real poverty, that is, not the sham modern definition) through hard work and determination, and I believe that the more people who do the same, the more opportunities it will create for others. It’s not that I think every last person in Britain is capable of looking after themselves; but most people are, so writing them off as helpless means denying them the chance to be something more than the Left wants them to be. That isn’t compassion; it’s cruelty – the kind that a person only inflicts on those they hate.
PS – I know that many people dislike metropolitan lefties being called ‘liberal’, since they are anything but. I consider myself a liberal in the classical sense, so I have some sympathy for this view; but, like it or not, it is how a lot of middle-class left-leaning folk describe themselves nowadays. It’s also a useful way of differentiating between the old Left, with its emphasis on workers’ rights, and the new corporatist, image-obsessed Left.
The original article is HERE