It is often said that the main difference between the political left and right is that the left believes human nature to be almost infinitely malleable while the right thinks we are born with a nature that is hard to change. The right sees the attempt to change human nature as a never ending struggle to swim against the current of our biology. They would rather be realistic about human nature from the start and build institutions suitable for a flawed creature.
My sympathies lie completely on the right but I can understand the leftist point of view. Like them, I also want to encourage the good aspects of our nature while discouraging the bad. For example, I agree with Richard Dawkins’ point that just because religious beliefs appear to come naturally to humans doesn’t mean that they are either true or useful. A tendency to believe daft things may be in our genes but we shouldn’t encourage it.
I feel the same way about certain kinds of behaviour. It may well be the case that children are inherently selfish and that boys especially tend towards violence and aggression but I still think parents should do all they can to work against these tendencies. The same goes for our natural tendency to racism. I think most people on the right realise that the encouragement of good traits and the discouragement of bad ones is a worthy project.
The left generally sees any manifestation of human evil as a warping of innately good humans by society. Society is always to blame for either perverting the individual in the first place or failing to educate a citizen properly. The Left sees people as powerless victims of the societies they were born into and which formed them. This being the case, how can anyone ever be responsible for their actions?
Even so, when a real life Englishman – as opposed to some hypothetical person – recently burnt down his house in an attempt to get even more welfare benefits and in the process inadvertently killed all his children, even the left blamed the man for his actions.
How could this be if the left believes him to be a victim of larger forces? Well, in this case the most salient force was welfare benefits and to the left these constitute ‘a good thing’. The Left was therefore faced with the dilemma of either doubting the truth of determinism or of criticising the benefits culture the Left is so much in thrall to. In this case determinism was thrown under a bus and the concept of free will made one of its rare visits to the leftist universe. However, this case will soon be forgotten and then determinism can quietly be allowed back in and free will can again be dismissed as a mad idea dreamed up by Margaret Thatcher.
My biggest objection to the leftist project is that once nature and tradition are ignored then reason alone takes over and leftist’ reason very rarely coincides with my idea of reason. I am happy to be taught that the Earth goes round the sun, even if it doesn’t look that way to me. I am also happy to be told to curb my natural selfishness if I want others to do the same so that society can function properly. However, I am less happy about being asked to celebrate the fact that my island nation is being replaced by people from Pakistan, Africa, Jamaica and pretty much everywhere else under the sun.
Neither am I happy about being told to believe that we are all equal, when I can clearly see that we aren’t. Or that I should financially support people who live debased, coarse lives that go against everything I believe in.
When Americans are asked to celebrate the fact that their country is being overrun by legions of illegal immigrants who have, on average, lower IQ scores, lower impulse control and higher crime rates, this is tantamount to asking Americans to celebrate their own demise. Yet why should they celebrate diversity if it only brings poverty and social mayhem? The same is being asked of British people and it is the Left that asks this of us.
If it is natural but evil to want to live largely with people of the same ethnicity as yourself, is it also wrong to prefer the company of your own children and family to that of others? The universalism that the Left extols seems to lead to this conclusion though they have enough common sense not to say it quite so boldly.