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Thursday, September 30, 2004
What do they want?

Laban Tall, a former liberal who was mugged by reality, made me giggle in describing his own youthful ideals by reference to Johann Hari's.

When I was his age I thought that 'Dance, F***, and Smoke Dope!' was the prescription for the good life. There are a host of educated Brits, brought up in the dying embers of our Judeo-Christian culture, who think it can be thrown away while miraculously all the good elements will persist.

I've provoked gasps of outrage in the past when speculating that this reverence for pure sensual pleasure is the real, pitiably shallow, world-view of the modern, New Left liberal. And certainly, there are other reasons. Liberal ideas on society and the family can sound utterly convincing and logical to those who know no history, or don't see its relevance. While liberals' economic ideals can be summed up in one 'motherhood and apple pie' word - compassion - it takes no mean feat of economic comprehension to understand the argument that welfarism actually reduces the welfare of the poor (and everyone else) in the long run. And how square and stuffy does one have to be to see value in such conservative essentials as tradition, caution, prejudice and 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'? No doubt all these things help explain support for liberalism.

But then I look over Laban's paragraph again and ponder. I think of all the times liberals have asked me "If it doesn't harm anyone else, how can it possibly be wrong?!", as if avoiding harm to others is the where morality ends, rather than where it begins. I think of the hideous lyrics to John Lennon's 'Imagine', still lauded as a classic by lefties as mainstream as Lord Sainsbury. I think of the liberal elite's barbaric indifference as they remove from our schools all that is most intellectually and morally uplifting, from classical music and classic literature to a feeling of continuity with the nation's past and a sense of heroism in its history. And then I wonder again: is there nothing more to their view of life than 'Dance, F***, and Smoke Dope!' or is it that they somehow always forget to include anything else when deciding on their policies and principles?

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