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But, y'see, here's where I think you misunderstand the way the Right normally works, at least in England... Whereas the Left looks for a pure line from ideas into policy into message, the intellectual Right and the political Right typically have a much more distant, varied relationship. For that reason, except for bad times like those since Thatcher, when we thought in ideological ways and started to think way too much, there's no reason the Right can't have Dalrymple and Cameron flourishing together - one a pin-up boy for the pretentious, the other for the masses. Why, it's almost Straussian in its esotericism.

(And incidentally, at least when Right-wingers loathe their own country, we do so as a bitter lament, and not look for alternative loyalties with whatever's the hot global ideological fad.)

Third Avenue

Bravo, Blimpish. Is this your eloquent way of saying that the Tories really are 'the stupid party', and only come to grief when they try not to be?

Only (half-)joking. I enjoy (if that's the word) reading Dalrymple, and have a copy of his latest book. But he's so, so, so wrong.

The Digester

Looks like Cameron's break with the past has had its first casualty:


Good job you're half-joking, because it's pretty much true. Conservative thought is a very fine thing, but its subtleties demand a certain detachment and resistance to lapsing into ideology that isn't suited to most conservative people, let alone the public at large. Most conservatives are practical people animated by practical concerns - they should wear Mill's slur with pride, because better stupid (but sensible) than clever (but silly).

Meanwhile, the smaller number of conservatives like me - poncey, pretentious, wannabe-intellectuals but really just a bunch of wankers - can simply look down our noses at liberals and Leftists for wasting their time idolising a thinker as dull as Mill can be. Frankly, the man should never be forgiven for inventing the Harm Principle. Not that it doesn't make a valid point, but because every ex-Poly graduate seems to think it discloses some eternal and incontestable truth that immediately finishes an argument. Y'see - told you this country was going to the dogs...


Mill as a left wing thinker? The bloke who wrote that the trouble with representative democracy was that it let the majority take over?


Oh yes, constablesavage. Socially, Mill wanted to promulgate a religion of humanity that would allow experiments in living; on economics, he was greatly concerned with questions of distribution, especially in later years (Hayek thought him a progenitor of 20th century socialism, IMS). Hardly a Rightist.


Well Blimpish, wasn't Plato greatly concerned with questions of distribution, didn't he advocate experiments in living, and didn't he seek to promulgate a made up creed?

"Hardly a Rightist" doesn't equate to "Of the Left"

My basic point was I don't think Mill really qualifies as a serious democrat at all, which is outside of the spectrum most of us associate with the Left

Anyway, we appear to agree on not rating him highly.


Plato was a premodern; the terms "Right" and "Left" are anachronistic. Mill's higher thought is also difficult to characterise, but I think his doctrine - of individualism and (effectively) universalism mark him out as a man of the Left. I don't think you need to be a democrat to be on the Left - as on the Right, the wilder fringes seem to worry a whole lot less about that...

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