Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Individualism v Solidarity

Here's the Adam Smith Institute blog in broad agreement with the demands of a libertarian leftist: And I think that the demands that Matt Yglesias puts forward are clever perceptive ones.

He seems to identify monopoly capitalism as a much bigger problem than most lefty commentators do. So far so good.

But what I don't see here (or, really, anywhere in the public debate around the left) is a discussion of solidarity.

If I'm a Trade Union negotiator representing 100 members, I will negotiate a deal that will do the best deal by the bulk of the members without unduly oppressing minorities within the membership.

Essentially, in an ideal world, I do the deal that the members negotiate among themselves as a binding agreement on the understanding that a minority won't get everything they could get if they negotiate individually, but that the majority won't oppress them either.

That's not a particularly graceful way of describing what we're about. But anatomising this deal - understanding it, arguing for it, using it to shape who we are and what we do is what they left has to be about. For the right - and for popular culture in general - this assertion of individual values has dominated public discourse for decades. Ours hasn't.

That's quite bad and it needs to change.