Monday, March 10, 2008

The need for opinion-based politics

I’ve never liked communalist politics, whether based on class, race, sexuality or any other demographic category.

Where there are injustices against members of a certain minority, it’s the business of all decent people. If only that minority is expected to fight the injustice, then success will be harder and society will polarise. Conversely, if there is broader concern for a minority injustice, but it takes the form of an uncritical political privileging of the affected group – and its ‘leaders’ – then the whole point is lost.

As Marko Attila Hoare (via HP) says:

All social classes and ethnic groups should be judged by the same standard; none has any inherent nobility greater than the others; all should be subject to criticism but defended when necessary. So long as one places the support of groups above the support of principles, then principles will inevitably degenerate. It is principles, not groups, that should be supported: support social justice and trade-union rights, rather than the ‘working class’ as such; national self-determination, not Croats or Palestinians as such; religious tolerance, not Muslims as such; anti-racism, not Jews or black people as such.
It is humanity as a whole that should be supported; the only principles worth supporting are those that apply to the whole of humanity.

Exactly. I wouldn’t want to be part of any political movement based on ‘people like me’. The exception, of course, is that I’ll join up with people whose opinions are like mine.

1 comment:

anticant said...

I entirely agree. Except that 'religious tolerance' is only sought by some intolerant religious groups while they are manoeuvring themselves into a position where they can impose their intolerance upon the rest of us.