The other day someone on Twitter called my life ‘self-serving’ because I am not ‘left-wing.’ What could this aggressive individual possibly mean? I have spent my entire adult life engaged in some area of activism trying to make the world a better place not just for myself, but for my human beings too. I am a staunch supporter of Global Capitalism – the phenomenon that has pulled more people out of poverty than any other. I also give food to food banks, old clothes to charity shops and I look after my friends and family whilst trying to make ends meet myself. My life was judged by a complete stranger solely on my support for policies that favour businesses and lower taxes. Judging by their behaviour in the wake of the election, ‘the Left’ sincerely believe they have a monopoly on compassion. Whilst I wholly acknowledge that the intentions behind Labour/Green party policies may very well be to help the poor, I will never support them because I don’t think their policies will yield the consequences they, or I, want. Unfortunately, we have become a nation where the intentions behind policy are more important than the consequences of those policies. This is sick.
We don’t have discussions on the quality of policy anymore. We have discussions on the intentions behind policies. It is part of a phenomenon called ‘virtue signaling’ and it is the symptom of a sick, sick nation. It seems to be too hard these days to communicate the analysis of policy. Does this policy do what it is intended to do? Is it cost-effective? Is there a better way of doing this? Maybe this is a symptom of a world which communicates in sound bites and 140 characters but there are people whose job is doing just this very thing. I strongly suspect it is because facing up to the consequences of your actions and unfavourable analyses of policy is a hard thing to do and these so called PR “gurus” are intellectually lazy. Recently almost every conversation on policy I have had with a Leftie looks like this:
Me: What is this policy designed to do?
Leftie: Help the poor.
Me: Is it actually helping the poor?
Me: Is it in anyway hindering the poor?
Leftie: I strongly suspect it is.
Me: That’s awful. We should repeal it!
Leftie: How dare you say such a thing!!!
Me: I beg your pardon?
Leftie: Why do you hate the poor?!?!
Being against policy designed to help the poor, sick or old is considered tantamount to being against the poor, sick or old no matter what the quality and consequences of those policies are. This is dangerous, deluded and wicked. To simply stick by policies for decades despite their ineffectiveness because of what they mean rather than their consequences shows profound moral paucity.
Empty words are, more often than not, sad platitudes designed to absolve oneself of guilt from not taking the right action or none at all. Retweeting something from Oxfam or Unicef is not in the same league as actually donating to a food bank. If a guy calls himself a ‘feminist,’ does that pardon him from not treating his girlfriend badly? Most certainly not. Is setting up a direct debit to Help The Aged same as visiting your lonely Grandmother? Not at all. Meaning well is not the same as doing good.
Talk is cheap but in the case of policy, actions equal votes so don’t forget that the consequences of policy are more important than the intentions behind them. Just because a policy was designed to help the poor doesn’t mean it actually does. Get a grip and go help people before you type that angry, sanctimonious tweet.