Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Some of my best (internet) friends are red tories

Sounds like the white guy protesting against charges of racism! I don't mean it that way. Although I wouldn't say they're my bestest internet buddies, I usually admire much of what "Red Tory," "Dred Tory" and blog gadfly "Ti-Guy" have to say about things. And it was "Ti-Guy's" recent admission (somewhere) that he considered himself a red tory that made me think this.

Now me, I'm a socialist with anarchist leanings. And my anarchism is based on the school of anarchism that tries to take liberalism to its logical conclusions. Red tories (if I'm not mistaken) believe that liberal individualism is dangerous to social cohesion. They believe that inequality is inevitable in society but must be tempered by responsibility (by all ranks of society but especially from those who receive the most). I would say that their philosophical differences with someone like me stems from their belief that humanity is not perfectable, but that it is flawed, and values, traditions, etc., should not be lightly discarded as they are what stand between us and our animal passions.

I can't say that I disagree though, with the notion that people are flawed and that structures are needed to contain our dangerous flaws. I believe that a decentralization of power AND the rule of democratically arrived at laws (AND probably a bunch of other things that I don't have time to think about and type out right now) under anarchism is a better structure for containing human appetites than the structure that seeks to preserve order combined with responsible rulers.

There, that's my post for the day. I'm so busy I'm not linking to anything! Bye.

12 comments:

Scott said...

I think there is another point of possible affinity between red tories and those of us in that vague space on the left that doesn't include authoritarian leftists and doesn't include hardcore individualist anarchists but can be vaguely called social anarchist or libertarian socialist. That is, there is some space open in red tory traditions for understanding society in terms of collectives or groups or what have you -- not in precisely the same ways as we would, but still in ways that liberalism and its obsession with the atomized, abstract individual can't manage and, unless compelled by tactical necessity, usually rejects.

Stimpson said...

group-centred versus individual-centred - that is the classical distinction between tory and liberal perspectives. Liberalism views society as an aggregation of atomized individuals. Tory conservatism looks at society as a collection of groups in an organic system. I'm puzzled by anyone calling him/herself a "red tory" and being allied with the Liberal Party. It seems quite a contraction to me.

thwap said...

Maybe Scott, but I don't see that my affiliation with the working class is my claim to justice and autonomy. I see that workers deserve justice and autonomy by virtue of their humanity.

I'm not a "hardcore individualist anarchist" but I'm big on individualism.

It's the "conservative" lack of faith in human nature that I sympathize with. But i don't believe it's realistic to expect elites to be "responsible" to their dependents, those lower on the social hierarchy.

thwap said...

Stimpson,

I think the Liberals, pretending to be a national party that transcends all regionalism, all class differences, actually plays to a broad swath of groups across Canada.

That shtick is running thin, but I can see why they'd prefer the elitist Liberals to the moronic "Conservatives."

Stimpson said...

Just to be clear, I meant to say "contradiction to me." But I gather you understood that.

thwap said...

Yeah, I even read it as "contradiction."

Scott said...

Maybe Scott, but I don't see that my affiliation with the working class is my claim to justice and autonomy. I see that workers deserve justice and autonomy by virtue of their humanity.

I'm not a "hardcore individualist anarchist" but I'm big on individualism.


Sure. I just meant that in understanding the world in ways that are both anti-authoritarian and anti-oppressive, there's a recognition that we can't understand people without understanding how we exist in relation with one another, and that (with all sorts of provisos to try and recognize the intersectional nature of oppression) it makes sense in some ways, in some contexts, to talk about group experience, groups in struggle, group efforts to acquire rights. Obviously that is very different from the traditional tory understanding of groups, as I understand it descended basically from feudal social relations and accompanying ideologies, but it offers a different bunch of affinities and dissimilarities than with liberals who see individuals (generally not in-relation) and the state and that's it.

thwap said...

Scott,

Right, that's where I disagree with liberals. When they try to explain away group experiences as inconsequential in people's lives. When a poor woman of colour is supposed to internalize the values of a political system created by wealthy white men, and we're all to believe that once she does that, nothing (aside from her own individual limitations) can stand in her way.

And one's "way" is supposed to be to claw your way to a comfortable perch in our hierarchic social system and to feel sorry for the "losers" who didn't get as far as you.

Abuabasabat said...

Anarchism is adolescent masturbatory fantasizing. Red Torys are impotent and angry Canadian poseurs.

Dreamers and losers all.

thwap said...

I think it's "Tories."

Abuabasabat said...

No, it's not. Prove it.

Abuabasabat said...

No, it's not. Prove it.