Saturday, 19 April 2014


Political language is weird.

For example, what on earth is a “conservative” supposed to be? From Wikipedia we have this as a broad definition.

Conservatism as a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions. A person who follows the philosophies of conservatism is referred to as a traditionalist or conservative.

Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others, called reactionaries, oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were"

Fair enough, but almost all of us are deeply conservative in one way or another. Some who do not count themselves as conservative appear to have extremely conservative ideals. Their means may not be conservative but their ends most certainly are.

I'm thinking of that fake middle-class radicalism which aims to overturn certain social structures as a means to an end, the end being an unchanging micro-managed utopia where nothing changes ever again. 

For instance, the belief that we must do something to avert catastrophic climate change has to be the most pathologically conservative notion ever dredged up from the murky depths of the human psyche. Even the climate must be managed and subject to legal restraint. An obviously bonkers aspiration, yet I’m sure the whole crazy mess is seen as radical by its ultra-conservative proponents.

Climate mitigation is radical, but only in a profoundly conservative sense where the end result is UN-controlled energy policies across the entire globe. I suppose one could call that radical in its means, but fanatically conservative in its desired ends.

On the other hand, some of those who claim to be conservatives often seem intent on conserving their privileges at the expense of the rest of us. I'm thinking of wealthy conservatives, so nothing new there.

Yet further down the social scale we find de facto conservatives filling the ranks of both the traditional left and right. Political colours seem to make little difference. The means vary but the ends are profoundly conservative.

It's no surprise of course. Many of us have some degree of financial security in which we have invested or intend to invest a huge chunk of our working lives. Naturally we want to conserve what we already have, including our expectations. 

So the controlling classes invent an endless stream of scare stories to maintain a permanent sense of unease in the bowels of those of us without the security of wealth.

They are happy for us to remain deeply and irredeemably conservative and for our radicalism to be even more conservative. The political brand we favour, the cross we make in the ballot box, none of that matters to them.  

Modern political games are bankrolled by conservatism - ours.

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