19 September 2016

Left-realism, with qualifications

I do like what I see. Oh, yes, indeed.

My own Tory-populist, fiat-monetary sentiments, though they draw on older heterodox economic theorists like John Ruskin and Edward Kellogg, do happen to overlap quite nicely with post-Keynesianism and modern monetary theory. And of course they render me hostile to goldbuggery, usury, opaque top-down semi- or fully-privatised financial systems, neoliberalism, libertarianism, deindustrialisation, ideological free-trade absolutism and the whole bit. Immigration is neither something to be mindlessly supported nor implacably opposed, but rather carefully regulated in correspondence with economic and cultural conditions. Political-correctness culture on college campuses is a real problem, though it is symptomatic of a broader set of problems in our approach to education. Islam is something to be approached realistically, and in full view of its theological flaws. Foreign adventurism of the idealistic and militaristic variety generally hurts more than it helps. The idea that police practices should be subject to a certain level of scrutiny ought to be upheld alongside the idea that the police and the state have rightful powers and responsibilities which should be respected. All of these ideas put forward by the realist left hold very strong appeal for me.

That said, though, given certain intellectual, religious and cultural commitments, I have a couple of reservations.

I am neither opposed to the idea nor to the defence of Western culture. But it ought to be recognised that the roots of that culture do stem, in part, from non-Western sources. I think much of the malaise that has gripped modern education is the result of making it about power (per Machiavelli, among others) rather than about objective truth (something with which the Iranians were and remain highly concerned). As a result, even as an Anglophile Tory, I often feel a greater kinship with Iranian, Russian and Chinese cultural priorities than with modern American ones.

Still, a very promising direction for political engagement. Long live the realist left!


  1. Do you have a position on the European Union?


  2. Thank you for the comment, LK, and welcome to the blog!

    Do I have a position on the EU? I do indeed.

    The currency union has been and remains a terrible idea, and the trade imbalances continue to exacerbate the gap between poor and rich EU countries, the latter of which shamelessly exploit the former. The EU is also a horrifically opaque and unrepresentative institution, driven by the demands of high finance before any considerations of the member peoples.

    Not a pretty picture. Particularly not for nations like Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal, Spain...

    If the EU is to continue to exist, I'd prefer it to do so simply as a customs union.