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Ideological Resentment

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    Posted: 26 Sep 2011 at 04:57
Seventy years ago George Orwell wrote in The Lion and the Unicorn:

The mentality of the the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power.

Not much seems to have changed. Aren't left-wing intellectuals in Britain (and the United States) still energized by the politics of resentment rather than a "vision thing"?
  

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drgonzaga View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2011 at 05:25
Is not politics all about resentment [the conflict between separate interests and the protection of vested advantages]. The art of government involves substance and the art of the possible; absent such you had best be wary of anyone touting the palaver of the "vision thing".  Besides, the urge to reshape the world to one's own vision is a hallmark of the Left-Wing Intellectual, but this addiction to visualization can also be said of today's current crop of America's Right-Wing Intellectuals: One man's visions are another's myths.
 
Now as for George Orwell and his regrets over his own wild youth...disillusionment can be a biiter pill.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2011 at 05:34
In Britain it's currently the right wing that is fuelled by resentment - of aliens and immigrants, of 'idle layabouts' and 'hoodies', of 'welfare cheats'. The BBC currently has a program going that treats cracking down on 'welfare cheats' as something equivalent to the A-team, with muscular heroes in tight T-shirts cracking down on the evil villains.
 
Outside the Nationalist parties I don't detect any kind of left-wing philosophy of any account in Britain. In my day you had the SWP and WRP with people like Paul Foot and Vanessa Redgrave who didn't have much to resent in life, but I don't see much of any of their survivors.
 
Unless maybe you count people like Christopher Hitchens, but what is left-wing about him? 


Edited by gcle2003 - 26 Sep 2011 at 05:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2011 at 05:49
Here is the thing, define "right wing" and "left wing". The leftest of all leftest in the US congress will be laughed at if he claimed that position in europe since he is more right wing than most right wingers there.
 
Plus even if you find a uniform definition there will be enough holes in it that you can't exactly say this guy is left wing or right wing on this policy or that.
 
However I concurr with Graham on this point. Its the self styled right wing that leads the resentment crowd all over the world not just in Britain. Beside the fact that Orwell's description fits them perfectly Graham correctly point out to the fact that Leftism as an ideology has died except for some minor parties with no real political influence. All people who claim to be "leftists" are phonies like the aforementioned Hitchens.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2011 at 08:29
 One way to see and separate "left" from "right" could be to see at the differences in language and appearance. Then we define those as "leftists" who talk, write and behave in a way, that at the moment appear as "leftist" and is recognised by others as such. If anybody see it as a problem this approach ignores any "substance" we may ask what "substance" or "content" there could be.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2011 at 17:49
I don't think the left are naturally more resentful. When I look at groups like the Tea Partiers, talkback radio commentators like Michael Savage or outspoken evangelical groups like the Westboro Baptist Church - I think the left have been fairly restrained by comparison. As passionate as leftists may be from time to time, I don't see them spewing quite the same amount of vitriol as those groups.

If the left do whinge a bit more than usual, that is to be expected. Largely they have been on the losing side of public policy and public debate for the past two decades. And it is only natural to whinge when you lose because the other options for expressing yourself and achieving change are largely closed to you.

The left, like the right, have been largely absent from the process of developing a comprehensive vision for the future. Because doing so in today's world is not politically expedient - it is far more politically expedient and advantageous to snipe from the sidelines at errors you can illustrate your opponents making: hence the continued reliance on whingeing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2011 at 18:52
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

The left, like the right, have been largely absent from the process of developing a comprehensive vision for the future. Because doing so in today's world is not politically expedient - it is far more politically expedient and advantageous to snipe from the sidelines at errors you can illustrate your opponents making: hence the continued reliance on whingeing.

I understand the "vision thing" as a facetious reference to ideological views ascribed to left-wing intellectuals who perhaps want to fashion a model society etc. I'm not suggesting that having a "vision thing" is desirable.  

My speculation was that the "vision thing" in politics has been abandoned by self-appointed advisers to humanity who are consumed by resentment. It's a peculiar or phony form of resentment too, because it's supposed to be felt on behalf of other people. 

Resentment on the personal level is usually defined as bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly - or a perception of the same. Impersonal resentment takes the form of grievance-mongering which no amelioration of social conditions will assuage.   
 
There is a perverse delight in impersonal resentment because it gives grounds for vituperative criticism and the refusal to be satisfied by even compassionate attempts to "relieve man's estate". Whatever is done (by the other side) is never enough. It's an egregious imposture that is adopted by both Right and Left in modern politics.    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2012 at 02:34
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

In Britain it's currently the right wing that is fuelled by resentment - of aliens and immigrants, of 'idle layabouts' and 'hoodies', of 'welfare cheats'. The BBC currently has a program going that treats cracking down on 'welfare cheats' as something equivalent to the A-team, with muscular heroes in tight T-shirts cracking down on the evil villains.
 
Outside the Nationalist parties I don't detect any kind of left-wing philosophy of any account in Britain. In my day you had the SWP and WRP with people like Paul Foot and Vanessa Redgrave who didn't have much to resent in life, but I don't see much of any of their survivors.
 
Unless maybe you count people like Christopher Hitchens, but what is left-wing about him? 


That's the British press in general, its what Brits pay to read.

The Hitch was an atheist, which as anyone knows, makes you a liberal-socialist-leftie.
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