Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Foggy, foggy politics

Mine, that is – but maybe a general point will emerge through the murk.

On a tip from Mark Bahnisch I took the moral politics test: highly recommended. Decades ago, I took Hans Eysenck’s similar test (no, no, settle down, this isn’t about race). Eysenck tested the correlation between personality types and political allegiance. He used three axes of personality: tender-mindedness/tough-mindedness[1]; introversion/extraversion; libertarian/authoritarian.

I came out just left of centre. And all these years later, I came out just right of centre. Wishy then, washy now.

People like me - you know who you are, or you will soon when you’ve gone over the arguments – people who thought of themselves as centrists now dither chronically about where we are on the map. Labor shifts right – whoops, we’re on the left of the party. But the Left doesn’t want us, because we abstain, and leave meetings early to pick up kids, and need time for our so-called selves. Meanwhile, the Libs also shift right, so that our beloved compromises now involve too big a stretch. (“OK we’ll lock up the asylum-seekers but we don’t want wire.”) Yah, ya Soaking Wet.

So what is this Centre that we’re told the parties both woo? Code for the marginals? Or is it time we admitted that the Left Right stuff just doesn’t work across the full range of political beliefs? Does that leave us with a particularist patchwork?

No more about politics: it makes me break out in alliteration.

[1] I typed ‘touch-mindedness’: uh huh. Maybe we could replace questionnaires with spelling errors?


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