The Right needs to move Left on economics in order to save society and civilisation. 

Introduction:

I wrote that title only to realise immediately afterwards that it will be practically impossible to read this piece without some opening explanation – because no one can seem to agree what Right and Left actually mean.

The cultural and societal policies of any ideology are more important than the economic views, so when I refer to the Right-wing, I do not mean Reaganite-brand free marketeers. Similarly, when I talk about the Left, I do not mean economic socialists and those in favour of wealth distribution, but the cultural Left.

This is because free market economics are not tied to social conservatism, and socialist economics are not tied to Left-wing cultural policy. Stalin would most likely have had his modern ‘comrades’ shipped to a Gulag for their social views. Seems simple, but it’s surprising how many people intrinsically link them.

To associate the Right with the free market and Left with liberal social policy is very much an Anglosphere association (and one we should refuse to play into). On the continent, Right tends to mean social conservatives while Left means economic leftists. Just look at old Charles de Gaulle – an immense statist – but very clearly a Right-wing conservative.

So here’s what we’ll be operating on: Right means socially conservative/nationalistic, Left means the cultural left, Socialist means left-wing economics, Liberal pertains to (non-crony) free market capitalism and libertarianism, and Neoliberal to the reigning global order of internationalist crony capitalism the cultural marxism it has adopted.

With our glossary established, let’s take a look at where we are in the world, and where we’re going.

The Neoliberal Cauldron of Ideological Fusion:

The current global order rests on an unusual synthesis of Left-wing social policy, and economic Neoliberalism. Truly I struggle to imagine a more horrid and rotten foundation to build a society on. From the perspective of someone hostile to it, the worst thing about the international capitalist system is that it is incredibly resilient (something the old Left fails to understand). When threatened by revolution, demographic change or a shift in social attitudes – it can adopt certain aspects of its rivals, and thereby absorb the threat.

You could argue it started as far back as the seventies, but it was in the nineties, under Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, when this phenomenon became the norm. The economically free market agenda established under Thatcher and Reagan integrated into itself the Left’s cultural positions, embracing wholeheartedly their agenda of feminism, ‘diversity,’ and so forth, much of which benefits Neoliberalism financially – we’ll get into this later.

This leaves us in a curious position. The reigning global system has adopted the free market economics associated with the Right in the Anglosphere, and the social policy of the Left – leaving both traditional sides of the political spectrum weakened, and out in the cold electorally.

Traditional socialists are nowhere to be seen in Western Europe, where once they dominated at least a third of the votes in most countries. In the same sense, conservatives and nationalists have similarly disappeared (at least until recently). We have plenty of major parties that masquerade as the patriotic Right and Socialist Left of old, but very few that hold true to those values.

Perhaps the best example of this is the United Kingdom before Corbyn led labour. They had a Conservative Party that was in no way conservative, and a Labour Party that was in no way Socialist. From the time of Blair to the time of Brexit they were essentially two sides of the same Neoliberal coin. Economic Neoliberals and social Leftists.

This is the exact same as the Democrat-Republican paradigm in America (pre-Trump), the CDU-SPD in Germany, France’s Les Républicains-Parti Socialiste, and so on and so forth. In Ireland’s case we’re particularly unlucky, having all four of our major parties embrace this insidious nature, especially now with Sinn Féin’s shift from socialist republicanism to the international cultural Left.

This has been a rather long-winded set-up, but you might see where I’m going by now.

Changing Tides:

There is no conservative/nationalist Right, and no economically socialist Left, both of which used to be immensely popular and often had policy overlap. The patriotic Left and statist Right were fused together many more times throughout the twentieth century than can be listed here.

Since all we have now are varying forms of Neoliberal ‘centrism’ – there is room for a movement that synthesises both traditional ideologies. It is that kind of movement, and that kind alone, that will be able to overturn the stale and corrupt centrist dictatorship. And I do call it a dictatorship for good reason – when your choices consist of parties that disagree on nothing, change nothing, and merely compete to be the most globalist all while the media and monied interests collaborate to keep them in power; you don’t have a real democracy.

We can see this proven in Italy, where the conservative nationalists of Lega teamed up with the economically socialist-leaning populists of FiveStar to create a grand anti-globalist coalition. In France, Marine Le Pen’s Front National, which is strongly nationalist but maintains many socialist economic principles, scored over a third of the votes in a presidential election of 2017. Viktor Orban of Hungary is something of a conservative statist, and Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party aren’t far behind.

Everywhere we look it is the Right-Socialist synthesis that is driving political change on the back of seething popular resentment against globalism and the system that advocates and maintains it. Even in Germany, there is talk of the economically mixed nationalist AfD collaborating with Die Linke, the oldschool socialists of East Germany. If they did, and adopted some of Linke’s socialist traditions, it wouldn’t surprise me if they doubled their vote share over the next election cycle.

Even in Russia, which is an economic oddity of a country (actually just an oddity of a country), President Vladimir Putin has been using a fusion of low-regulation, low tax economics with a high degree of state intervention and well-funded social policy – all on top of a conservative cultural platform. Russia has seen almost unparalleled economic, social, and demographic recovery over the last eighteen years.

Why the Tides are Changing:

I could list the reasons why the current global order and all its economic and cultural facets are failing until the reader turns to leather and dusty bones, so instead we’ll just look at some of the main ones.

I would preface these reasons with a simple enough idea: Civilisational Decline.

By this, I mean that the troubles of the past decade or so in the Western World are not temporary, not inexplicable, not caused by unforeseen crisis – but instead the culmination of decades of degradation in almost every single sphere. Social, Cultural, Economic – even down to things as basic as human relationships, art, architecture, philosophy, health, etc.

The only area that has really seen improvement is technology, but even that is a poison chalice – we got iPhones, but no cancer cure, no spaceships. Technology evolved in a purely consumerist direction, and investment in the destiny of mankind collapsed. The moon landings were closer to the Hindenburg Disaster than to the modern day.  

Civilisation Decline is obviously a negative (it’s in the name), at least for us normal people. It has led to the demoralisation of the Western European/American/Anglosphere psyche. We see no positive future, doom and gloom rules our minds. Compare the pessimism of modern man to his great grandfathers’ optimism. Where once we saw a future of opportunity, and life improved by the year – now we see societal collapse, ugliness instead of beauty, nature torn to shreds, environmental catastrophe and so forth. It is near universal across the political spectrum.

Leftists might blame the dark future on bigotry and global warming, while the Right might blame it on the erasure of our cultures and the breakdown of traditional societal conventions – but the dark is there, waiting at the back of every mind. It probably doesn’t help that the media lambasts the white man for being the cause of all the world’s ills. Naturally that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’ve painted a grim picture. Now ask yourself if you’d like to live in that picture.

This is why young people are the most pessimistic, we grew up in a declining world, it’s all we’ve ever known. Anyone born after 1990 in the West is almost guaranteed to be on course to live a worse life than their parents. Wages are lower and living costs are higher. Opportunity for advancement is slim, and human relationships have become so confused that most can hardly imagine being able to settle down and start a family. Just look at house prices here in Ireland. Can a 25-year-old hope to buy a house in Dublin? Or even within a half hour drive of it? Not even remotely.

All these things have knock-on effects. If the cost of living is too high, families will start later and be fewer. Economic difficulty will stress marriages. The birthrate declines. The population ages. More money is needed for pensions – so raise the taxes. People become poor, they emigrate. More taxpayers are needed – import migrants. The migrants don’t contribute to the economy – more welfare, more costs, higher prices and crimewaves. Everyone and everything is swamped in debt. There’s no money for grand projects, great feats of engineering or scientific investment. Life becomes about survival, eking out a living in a culturally barren society. We lose sight of our purpose. Depression infests a nation, the vicious cycle churns ever onward. Civilisational Decline.

The tide is changing because enough people have realised the entire system and the social and economic premises that it is built on are rotten to the core.

Economic Inequality Exacerbates a Bad Situation:

Economic inequality is one of those terms that you hear getting thrown around a lot these days. Many people on the Right have an aversion to discussing it, fearing that it’s just another ‘progressive’ talking point. In reality it’s an issue that actually needs analysed.

The data speaks for itself, although it’s not always the most reliable at first glance. The Gini coefficient, for example, (which is often used in arguments on this issue) should be taken with a pinch of salt – it ranks Ukraine as the world’s most equal country, which is obviously nonsense. It is one of the poorest countries in Europe and has virtually no middle class – though plenty of oligarchs.

A piece of data very much at the core of this issue is the division of wealth between income brackets in society. It is in rough terms of course, but the most disturbing part of it is probably that half the population in Europe only holds only 5% of the wealth. You don’t have to be a Socialist to see that there’s an issue there.

From a purely practical perspective, which is the only one ever worth taking when it comes to nation-management, the state of wealth division in the developed world is a negative. Leave aside the causes for the moment, and just observe the effects. When a vast portion of the population has essentially no wealth, life will be harder for them and it will create societal divisions. When people don’t believe the system works they check out of it – and they’re right to do so. Why should anyone continue to support something that gives them nothing in return?

Obviously there are legitimate causes for this, intelligence, social setting, culture, etc. – but it doesn’t change the fact that problems are being caused by the severe levels of economic inequality. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the countries with the most unequal division of wealth are often the ones with the most social problems, (see USA).

Another noteworthy graph is that of economic productivity versus wages:

Interestingly we can see that it was it was in the eighties, when the Western world accepted Neoliberalism into its heart as its saviour that wages and productivity truly diverged. Real wage growth has never been the same since – either struggling to keep up with inflation or being outpaced by it entirely. Particularly since the 2008 crash real wages have been essentially stagnant, despite the magical economic growth that the government likes to tout.

Humans are structured to be unequal, it’s just nature. Some people are cleverer, more handsome and stronger than others. A lot of it is just genetics. Of course people can work hard and achieve their absolute potential – but a man with an IQ of 100 will never have the same maximum potential as one with an IQ of 130.

Based on this, with no controlling factors, we can assume that the most intelligent and those from the most elite backgrounds will inevitably bring more prosperity unto themselves than any other group. Often it’s through nepotism and connections, but mostly it’s just intelligence, work ethic, and will. Over time the wealth concentration will undergo a snowball effect, with a small percentage taking an ever-larger amount of a nation’s wealth.

I don’t want to get into whether it’s fair or unfair, because I don’t think fairness really holds up as a philosophical concept. There are numbers, there are facts, and there is how they affect us. That is all we can work with. The left makes the mistake of bringing in a moral argument about the unfairness of a ‘privileged’ class holding all the wealth – the Right needs to look at it practically; what are the detrimental effects of the fact that is inequality, and what can we do to negate them.

We’ve established that economic inequality is indeed a thing, and that when on a large scale it is a negative thing. (Libertarians, don’t be angry). Wealth is power, ultimately. They are intrinsically linked. People with power accumulate wealth and people with wealth accumulate power. So what happens to the people who have neither? Well, they accumulate neither. And most people don’t quite like the idea that they have no influence and are going nowhere in life. When this is applied to massive portions of the populace – we get anger and resentment, which is part of what’s fuelling the new populist boom.

The global Neoliberal system created this situation. It’s no coincidence that the people who wield the most influence within it are the extremely rich, people will almost always operate to benefit themselves, and the current global order benefits the people running it. So don’t expect to find yourself in better economic circumstances by voting for whatever the establishment brands itself as this year.

It is the average person, the 99%, if the Left will allow me to steal their talking point (then again you can’t steal from a communist), that does not benefit from the system – and so it is they who must change the system if they seek better lives.

Misinterpreting the Problem:

Too many people these days make the mistake of thinking a nation is an economy. It isn’t. The economy is the fuel that drives the nation, but it isn’t the whole. It is because of this that the interminable Free-Market vs Socialism battle will never provide a solution. You can’t address the economy without addressing the culture, and vice versa. A nation is the people, the land, the history, the culture and the economy.

Many on the intelligent Left make the mistake of thinking that the new populist wave is because millions of people haven’t enjoyed the fruits of economic growth, (the unintelligent Left scream about racism). They think it can all be fixed by reducing economic inequality. What they fail to understand is that economic argument is the icing on the cake. Prosperity placates people, it doesn’t fulfil them.

What is driving the populist wave is that people are witnessing the fabric of their society being torn apart and replaced by an internationalist multicultural consumerist soup where the only identity that matters is the number on your bank statement. It is a world where nothing is valued beyond its material wealth. Where a modernist glass cube can be as important as a 19th century palace and where Mohammed can be as English as John. Another few decades on this path and concepts like a nation and its people will have ceased to exist.

Meanwhile many on the Right believe that we can fix the world if everyone accepts Jesus as their lord and saviour. I’m being facetious of course, but the idea that we can save the West by solving the cultural problems of the modern world while ignoring the economic inequalities is equally as ridiculous as the Leftist ‘fix.’

Similarly, the Liberal belief that ‘the free market will fix everything’ is also doomed to fail, it buys into the idea of a country as merely an economy. This is why America’s conservatives will never solve the endemic social issues there, they’re still economically rooted in Neoliberalism.

What Kind of System Do We Need?

It’s not the unregulated free market. That’s for sure. It isn’t embracing equality, love and tolerance (or Jesus for that matter) either. This is because the Neoliberal loves the cultural Left. Migration is profitable – more people to loan to after all, whatever about the taxpayer footing the welfare costs. It loves gay pride – just look at how they’ve commercialised it. It absolutely hates borders and concepts of national identity – a strong people united can break up banks and corporations – terrifying.

The Neoliberals don’t want to run countries, they want to run economies. And the cultural Left, with its multiculturalism, feminism, and so forth is the single best way to turn people into economic units.

This is why, after three thousand words, I propose an ideological fusion. The global establishment have fused Neoliberalism with cultural marxism, turning it into the greatest weapon against human civilisation ever devised. I propose that we build our own weapon, that we combine traditional values; the nation, the family, morality – with some form of economic socialism. It will provide us will the tools to repair our damaged society, and our uncaring, inhuman economy.

I still believe that taxes on individuals and businesses be kept to a realistic minimum, as should we avoid too many economic regulations. An educated, wealthy elite is a civilisational constant, it will always exist. The question is just how to balance that with the rest of society. To this end we need economic intervention, we need a ‘progressive’ tax system, we need top quality education, healthcare and a social safety net.

The ideal system allows the best and brightest to flourish and rise without hindrance, but also lifts up and protects those who fall behind. It remembers history and protects culture, but is open to change and a friend to science and technology. Most importantly, it can’t be focused on the individual, it has to look out for all.

In an age when our so many are impractical ideologues, it falls upon us to be practical and reasonable. Forget any other arguments, if we want our society to function, if we want humanity to flourish again – this is the system we need.

Michael O'Dwyer Connolly

Posted by Michael O'Dwyer Connolly

Long-time geopolitics and history enthusiast.

2 Comments

  1. Mark Blyth suggests that the low inflation targets are a strong component of the inequality, that by tweaking this the proportion of income going to labour vs investment could be adjusted back (not to pre-70’s levels which caused stagflation) rather than the conduit of taxation (which the priests of the moral left like for its punitive nature, punish the sinners!)

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  2. Socialism just doesn’t work. That’s the massive glitch here. Yes, neoliberalism has major issues. But it allows freedom of thought and actions.
    Part of the wages issue in the West is down to globalistion of economics. However, many costs have fallen in that time. Standards of living have risen, in the West and in the rest of the world.

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