Father’s saying: “Left is the position of intellect”.
Having had the chance gaining an upper middle class education, he later on was actively engaging in the 68s movement.
This was actually what he meant with “left”:
- be respectful to other people’s opinions;
- argue fact based;
- be fully transparent in regards to your motivations;
- don’t judge people, especially not by socio-economic status, sex, ethnicity, religion et al.;
- stand in for people who cannot articulate themselves (for intellectual or economic reasons, or both);
- in doubt, support scientific progress after evaluating the trade offs for society;
- in doubt, support social change when clearly positive for the vast majority;
- respect decision of the majority and support institutions that allow direct voting of the people (as e.g. in Switzerland).
In fact, the 70ies and 80ies in (Western) Germany were dictated by people who acted fully contrary to the above for keeping their power and achieving personal benefits on cost of the entire society. (Just as a side notice: Guess how many nazi Germany judges found themselves in trials after WWII? None. Nada. Not one. This entire caste proceeded and of course had an impact on the post WWII western German society).
Surprisingly to me, this trend continued in the late 90ies and acting contrary to what I understood as leftish was executed by parties who called themselves being “left”.
Nowadays, things seem worse to me. After political correctnesses dictatorship of speech and mind I see a clear trend to say “right” is evil and left is good, at least in most of the people surrounding me and who gained academic education.
But actually I don’t understand anymore what’s “right” and what’s left.
In terms of the criteria mentioned above, I tend to say, “right” and “left” are completely meaningless: in clearly all political discussions (be it global warming/climate change, migration, economics) I see hateful, disrespectful speech. Unfortunately also a lot from people calling themselves “left”.
Instead of a fact based discourse where the exchange of arguments leads to a higher level of mutual understanding and better solutions for society and the global ecosystems.
Instead of thinking in the cursory categories of “left” and “right” I focus on totalitarian or non-totalitarian:
Are people willing to allow other opinions and treat those who dissent still with respect? Or do they yell “left!”/”right!” combined with some insults to muzzle their “opponents”? Do they listen to fact based arguments?
These seem to be very bad days for the liberty of speech, and what I understand as democracy in general. I’ll stay with the principles above. But can’t attribute them anymore as “left”.
Sharpen your mind.