I wanted to do a post about why I consider myself to be politically/ideologically right of centre, when I resist so strongly some of the main currents on the contemporary right. I wanted to write about the things that fascinate me or attract me about the right, but as I was writing I kept wanting to qualify for clarity. Eventually I decided it would make most sense to write two separate posts. The one I intended to write will be up soon. For now, I’ll give the clarifications I wanted to make, which will be no surprise to anyone who’s read previous posts on this website.
This isn’t by any means intended as an exhaustive list of things on the right that I reject. These are just supposed to be some of the main things that come to mind when people think of the right that I wouldn’t want to be connected with.
First off, and I cannot say this strongly enough, I have zero interest in or sympathy with the white supremacism that seems to keep making a comeback in more or less veiled forms on the right. Its continued appeal honestly shocks and angers me. I’m not dogmatic either way about the questions that get used to smuggle in racism; I’m neither a minimalist nor a maximalist on immigration, or illegal drugs, etc, but for each of these I’d just want to seek to do whatever is optimal for a given time and place, based on the best available evidence, rather than automatically choosing whichever shade of policy will be most appealing to racists.
I’m also no fan of unfettered capitalism. I want neither a government nor an unofficial plutocracy to have excessive power over citizens, but given the choice I would take a strong government and chastened tycoons, over a weak government and uninhibited business interests. However, I actually think it’s possible to say no to both—not that you’d know it these days.
As I think I’ve made clear in previous posts, I also have no patience for the conspiratorial right (eg antivax, antimask, pro saturated fat, pro pollution). There are some conspiracy theory believers that I give a pass to because I figure they have no chance of knowing any better, because of their intelligence and their social context. There are others who in my judgement ought to know better, either because of their intellectual advantages or their position of public influence; for these, I have no patience and no sympathy. And there are some people who fall somewhere in between the two groups, and I generally try my very best to give them the benefit of the doubt for as long as I can.
I can understand why someone would question my claim to be right of centre when I simultaneously reject the economic and legal convictions of the centre-right libertarians and also the racist or cryptoracist rallying cry of the far right.
It’s a fair question. It’s why I’ve described myself in the past as feeling like I am without a “tribe” on the contemporary political landscape. There are some intellectuals on the right who reject the same things I’ve mentioned, but from what I’ve seen so far, I don’t quite connect with what they’re saying either. Probably what they are saying is better than what I could say. On the other hand, I do feel a need to try to articulate what my view is, and to say why I find it satisfying and appealing. It’s a harder job than I might have thought. I’ll have more to say about it soon.