It is evident that the former categories of "left" and "right" are losing their currency and are relegated to an era of nostalagia. Globalization, technology, geo-politcal changes have all contributed to neccessary change in how we survey our political landscape.
Trump (putting aside his bombastic and disagreeable temperment) is a good example of someone who is hardly a traditional conservative and forged a new politics. Hillary Clinton for all her progressive jargon was among the most jingoistic pro military intervention candidates in years. In the UK, Brexit signals popular disillusioment with grand European narratives. Of course, Britain, has always had an uneasy relationship with the continent.
In Canada, Trudeau is largely Macron-esque and is hardly an inspirng or visonary leader, relying on facile tropes and surface changes and doing little to forge a vision of Canada for the 21st century. His handling of the Lavalin affair and his conduct with then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould tells you all you need to about his character. Read the Ethics Commissioner's report here. Marlo Dion Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. Trump is being impeached for something quite similar and yet Canada re-elects Trudeau and his party keeps him.
But Trudeau is a "liberal".
I am committed to the values of democracy, and free speech. But democracy requires an informed and enlightenened citizenry. We have very few philosophers of international reach and Gilad Atzmon is one of them. In addition to being a jazz saxophonist he has published many books and articles on the subject of identity. His work is partially auto-ethnographic in that he uses his own Jewish identity as a springboard for problematizing identity.
In the book I argue that the transition from traditional Left ideology into New Left politics can be understood as the aggressive advocacy of sectarian and divisive ideologies. While the old Left made an effort to unite us all: gays, blacks, Jews or Whites into a political struggle against capital, the New Left has managed to divide us into ID sectors. We are trained to speak ‘as a…’: ‘as a Jew,’ ‘as a black,’ ‘as a Lesbian.’ The new left has taught us to identify with our biology, with our gender, sex orientation and our skin colour, as long as it isn’t ‘White’ of course.
Importantly, he points to a clear solution
The remedy is clear. America and the West must, at once, break away from all forms of ID politics. Instead of celebrating that which separates us, we must seek what unites and makes us into one people. I am advocating a radical spiritual, ideological and metaphysical transition. Whether or not we like to admit it, these moments of unity are often invoked by waves of patriotism, nationalism and religious figures. But they could also be inspired by the spirit of justice, equality compassion and love. Neither the New Left or the Alt Right offers any of the above.
We do need to find a way to become better united. We are descending into more and more tribal, sectarian identities. Social media exasperates this phenomenon. The breakdown of religious and communal association are further indicators and will be covered in subsequent posts.
In the year ahead, I hope to write and explore further on the theme of unity, diveristy, and human rights forging a new path in the post-politcal universe. That is not to say I endorse or parrot everything from Gilad Atzmon and there are points of disagreement. However, I consider myself a fellow traveller at least insofar as his aspiration for a radical spiritual, ideological and metaphysical transition. The foregoing seems like a worthy New Years resoultion for this 2020.