Monday, 18 October 2010

Poor old Andrew

Mr Marr is rapidly declining mentally. Last week he uttered some rather confused and uninformed pearls of wisdom about blogging, this week he started a radio discussion of morality and politics by claiming that it was 'beyond issues of left and right'.

This is, of course, absolute balderdash. Both wings of politics have drawn on religious origins for their morality, then claimed that their ideological perspectives are moral. The soft left of the Labour Party claimed that it owed 'more to Methodism than to Marx', which was certainly true, while Blair allowed his neoliberal capitalist hodgepodge of ideas to be influenced by his belief in God (whom he occasionally seemed to confuse with voices in his head). (Incidentally, the Methodists and similar groups were great - they encouraged democracy inside and outside their chapels, trained thousands of workers as preachers and organised the working classes. Shame about the actual God bits).

The English Civil War, despite its unfortunate bouts of Catholic-massacring, was a leftwing religious event: God directly told the Parliamentarians that hereditary rule was evil. The result was a Republic which soon became an Iranian-style theocracy. If you read the Putney Debates, the Fifth Monarchists, the Ranters, the Diggers, the Levellers and most of the other groups during this time of astonishing ferment, you'll find God at the centre of their communist/socialist doctrines.

I'm from a different lefty perspective. For me, the abandonment of God is a moment of ethical and political liberation. In His place goes empathy towards your fellow humans, which to me means being very very very leftwing. As far as I can see, being rightwing is essentially denying empathy and promoting individualism: rightwingers are often religious in the classic Robinson Crusoe mould, in which self-help leads to God - from that flows selfishness and American politics.

Unfortunately, God isn't around to settle this one. The Old Testament God is clearly a Tory or New Labour interventionist - smiting, smiting, smiting. Always smiting the Palestinians and arming the Israelites - definitely a George Bush. The New Testament God is a bit different. Seems to be more about providing healthcare and being nice to everybody, though social services would have something to say about throwing His son out with the intention of having him crucified. A mixed report, one could say.

As for Marr - very poor indeed. He deserved this:

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