Left is Right

Let me explain. What I really mean is that I believe if someone is left of center on a social issue, they will end up, more than likely on the right side of history. In what follows I’ll try to make the case of why I think so. On a side note, I made the title a bit catchy to capture attention, since I’ve started losing even the handful of regular readers I have. So if you happen upon this link, please read it. Perhaps I should be spending time in creating quality content than catchy titles.
Getting back on point. Driving the kids to watch a baseball game forty miles away, my best friend and I started a conversation, as is our wont. He is one of the few people I have long winded conversations about everything under the sun with. Politics, physics, biology, life, philosophy.  It also helps that we agree with each other on ninety nine out of a hundred topics.  Among other things we talked politics (surprise!).   We were discussing how the mainstream media is left leaning. Whatever the merits, fairly or unfairly, the person in the White House gets credit for things undeserved, just as he — not she, until we get progressive enough to elect a woman as president — catches flak for things that are likely undeserved. Kinda like the quarterback on a football team. For example, Barack Obama got bin Laden. Sure, he made the final call on the go no-go and it required major cojones  but did he really actually “get” Osama bin Laden?  My views on and opinion of the current occupant of the White House being irrelevant, I thought about what the media reaction would have been like if a democrat or a media darling like our previous president had been in office when the news came down about the North Korean dictator’s announcement renouncing (or suspending) his nuclear (nu-cue-lar, according to Bush Jr.) program. The media would be falling all over themselves in giving credit to the occupant in the White House. Also irrelevant is the fact that the current occupant of the White House will claim credit for bringing peace to the Korean peninsula even if the dictator doesn’t do any of what he says he will. A “fact” he would likely tout to and possible even get re-elected. That much most reasonable people can agree on I think.

So what does that have to do with left being right?
One of the laments I hear from social conservatives is that most media and comedians are left leaning or progressive or liberal, pick your word. I myself tend to lean left of center on most if not all such social issues. I want to be clear I’m not talking about fiscal conservatism, just social conservatism. Fiscal conservatism, small government, give people the means to making a living rather than handouts etc., sound appealing on the face of it. You know, the thing about giving a man a fish to eat will ensure he eats that day, but teaching him how to fish will help him eat for a lifetime. So in case there are any doubts, I am trying to make a case for why I think social conservatism is wrong, That is because when someone is left of center on an issue, they usually end up on the right side of history. That’s what I believe today. I could very well end up changing my opinion, because as F. Scott or Hemingway once said, and I’m paraphrasing and likely totally butchering the quote: “The man I am today is not the man I was yesterday.  The man I am today, I won’t be tomorrow. Because if I am then I am no man at all.”  The original quote was, I can guarantee you, much more concise and conveyed the same meaning much better with much fewer words.

When I go back and look at history (recent if you will, say sixteenth century onward) one thing becomes clear. What in that day and time appears or is deemed radically progressive or liberal  and is usually laughed at by the majority at the time, say a hundred years thence becomes the right thing to do. Recent examples that come to mind include women’s suffrage, abolition of slavery,  civil  rights, gay rights. I am very aware of the fact that some black folk abhor the equivocation of gay rights with the civil rights movement but that is a topic for another day.

So when I think back to, what a hundred and fifty years ago was considered radical: abolitionism for example, isn’t that radical today is it? Sure there have been the John Browns in any struggle but the principles behind those actions were anything but radical, viewed with today’s lenses. I can make a strong case that if I were to hypothetically transport back, a hundred and fifty years in time to the antebellum period, the very people that staunchly oppose gay rights or gender rights or those that oppose even the most common sense gun control measures,  would have possibly been the very same ones opposing the abolition of slavery. I realize what I said above comes across as accusing someone of racism or bigotry and those are two of the worst things one can be accused of. That is certainly not my intent and my sincerest apologies to anyone reading this arriving at that conclusion.  It is a hypothetical argument, we can’t go back in time. Not yet anyways, but that is my view.
I do understand the slippery slope argument: If we start here, where does it end? For example, if we remove all confederate statues, where does it stop? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave holders. Are we to take down their statues too? And rename the nation’s capital? To those making that argument I would say (and I read this part in a magazine article) that that is a false equivalence. The legacies of a Jefferson or a Washington are not defined by slavery. But a Lee or a Stonewall Jackson or a Jefferson (the other one, not my man Tommy J) Davis is defined by their support for a cause that was ultimately evil. No matter how principled and honorable the men themselves, as Lee is often revered in conservative circles. Revisionist historians’ views of what the Civil War was really about notwithstanding.

As a quote oft attributed to Abraham Lincoln or Dr. King goes: “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” I say oft attributed to because Wikipedia informs me that it was a certain Theodore Parker that originally formed that quote. Wikipidea, a forum that incidentally is, according to the philosopher king Michael Scott “..the best thing ever. Anyone can write anything they want to about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information.”

Lakshman Hariharan

Prosper, TX


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