Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The State and the Left

I haven't linked to an article on political philosophy for a while. a href="" This article /a is an interesting one on this /br /It tries to explain the connection between the Left and the idea of an active state. Writing from what seems to be quite a left-libertarian anti-statist perspective, the writer gives a convincing argument for why much of the Left [myself included] wishes to use the State as an instrument of achieving social /br /To quote:br /p style="font-style: italic;"Now, we might suppose then that this would produce a lot of people who can see what’s wrong, who can see the problems and the unhappiness in class society, but who don’t know what to do about it. They may be confident of its eventual self-defeat in a century or so, but not patient or callous enough to just sit and wait. So what they’d really like would be an easy way to ‘paper over’ the cracks, to take problems as they appear and either solve them or conceal them or a mixture of both./p p style="font-style: italic;"And guess what! That’s just what states do! That’s what ‘politics’ is: the place where conflicts appear and get resolved. And the state justifies itself, and makes itself functional, by being the mechanism that can enforce such ‘solutions’. If religion is ‘the heart of a heartless world’, the state is ‘the unity of a divided society’./p span style="font-style: italic;"The result is that under normal (i.e. non-revolutionary conditions), people who notice that society is grossly unfair and a lot of people are being made very unhappy, naturally gravitate around the state. They write letters, they present petitions, they announce //spanbr /br /To my mind this is a logical course of action to pursue. It seems to me highly unlikely there is going to be a revolutionary transformation of society which will eliminate injustice. Instead, we have to take measures to patch things up in the here and now. We thus have to organise and agitate for reforms. And, the agency that will deliver these reforms is the State. The social-democratic state, to my mind, is there to paper over the cracks and to improve the position of the poorest in an unequal, class-divided capitalist society. And the Right - or most elements of the modern Right in the democratic world - are anti-statist [where the state serves those purposes] because they feel the state is going too far in this direction. They fear that its ameliorative measures harm economic growth and harm the class interests of certain advantaged classes. Any ameliorative measure has pluses and minuses and the social-democratic Left is there to point out the pluses and the Right, the free-market Right, is there to point out its minuses.div class="blogger-post-footer"img width='1' height='1' src=''//div

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