A reader asks:
I was reading your blog comments about the British National Party.
Your observation that far from being “right wing” their platform is in fact socialist seems spot on.
But I’m left asking myself; so what?
Does it really matter whether people call them right wing loons or socialist loons when, if they had their way, people like me (and you I suppose) would have to pack our bags and move back where our ancestors came from? (I guess that would be Israel if Obama lets the Jews keep that).
Just a thought.
Me: Well it matters for a few reasons, not least because I think it is a very interesting aspect of political life, so much so I wrote a book about it.
But more importantly, it matters because one statist faction uses another statist faction to tar anti-statists as fascist. The leftwing and mainstream press in Britain (and America) routinely uses “far right” parties like the BNP to tar mainstream conservative policies. But in most ways the left has far, far more in common with the BNP than the right. Why? Because they’re both leftwing. Or, if you prefer, they’re both statist. Surely, if we should be vigilant about preventing the sort of dystopia the reader clearly fears — and we should — than at least clarifying which parties are statist and which are not is a useful project.