(note: some of the terminology in this post will not make much sense if you are not familiar with some integral theory. See blog post series socio-cultural evolution to get a bit of a flavour!)
Today Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour party. For me this represents a sad lurch to the Left for the Labour party which is the antithesis of the attempt to progress to a more integral politics (see Blog post: Beyond Left and Right).
Both the ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ movement from the Tories and New Labours ‘Third Way’ are (or were) flawed stumblings from both sides of the political divide towards a more integral view. The rise of Jeremy Corbyn and the use of the term ‘Blairism’ as the ultimate insult brutally ends Labours journey in this direction that’s for sure!
The modern Left wing is a curious thing. It comes primarily from a highly evolved postmodern worldview that rightly discloses,
not a rational uniformitarianism that tends to ignore or marginalise anything not of its ilk, but a beautiful tapestry of multiple contexts, richly different cultural textures, pluralistic perceptions, and individual differences. It becomes sensitive to all these different voices. Wilber, TOE
Listening to Corbyn speak, one can recognize the deep compassion for the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed and the disenfranchised. He supports movements that champion equality, fairness, and tolerance for many different groups: ethnic minorities, women, the disabled, benefits claimants and refugees.
So far so good. The tragedy of the modern hard Left is that it’s analysis of the causes of these problems is ludicrously one-sided in nature, and hence its suggested solutions are simplistic and naïve.
As outlined in this blog, the Left in the UK is fixated on a fundamentally ‘anti-authority’ collective identity that sees the Conservative party as the source of all evil, a tiny elite of the privileged and the wealthy, defending historic, inherited, aristocratic domination over the poor hard-working commoner. While there may be a partial truth to this side of the story, to see every issue purely in these terms is simply ridiculous.
(At the very least this narrative makes the millions who voted Conservative at the last election (who are obviously not members of that tiny elite), not thoughtful voters who considered the options and decided that the Tories offered the least worst hope of a bright future, but a bunch of manipulated idiots who might as well have been turkeys voting for Christmas!)
Anti-authority, anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Western, anti-hierarchical, anti-institutional and deeply subjectivistic. It’s all about me and my emotions, and hence most Left wing movements become a supermagnet for the narcissistic Me generation. ‘nobody tells me what to do’ and ‘leave us alone’ could be the mantras of the young Corbynistas. It is this mix of highly evolved worldcentric compassion and adolescent narcissism that is the curious thing that is the modern Left. Unfortunately in the desire to form alliances with any movement that is equally ‘anti’ the perceived oppressor, people like Corbyn become the unwitting ‘useful idiots’ of all sorts of repugnant organisations. Including the Salafist Islamo-fascists who represent a particularly toxic strain of pre-traditional religious barbarism (see BBC Panorama ‘Labours Earthquake’ for hints at these issues). Also note the shape of two classic Left wing movements; ‘Stop the war coalition’ and ‘ United against Fascism’. Look at the banners on their rallies. They seem to consist of coalitions of special interest groups united only in their visceral anti-establishment point of view. And very rarely articulate what they are ‘for’. They specialise in shutting down complex debate that seeks compromise and balance between conflicting interests. This is a profoundly bad thing in my view.
Why am I so hard on the Left and not equally harsh on the Right? Many on the Left have achieved the worldcentric compassionate embrace of the postmodern worldview. We can note that the centre of gravity of the Right wing is traditional/modern, caricatured nastily as the ‘little englander’ traditional Conservative voter. The table below illustrates the evolutionary unfolding of these worldviews. Importantly, it is from the postmodern stance, and this stance only, that the integral worldview can evolve (the integral worldview is simply the post-postmodern worldview in the table below, a view that recognizes the holarchical evolutionary unfolding of these worldviews). Therefore untangling the confusions and pathologies of the postmodern/Left wing worldview that hinders the evolution of the integral worldview is one of the most pressing intellectual tasks facing the world today. Unfortunately the success of Jeremy Corbyn does not particularly help matters much here in the UK…………..or does it?
Frank Field – what have you done?
(Ken Wilber has coined the term ‘Boomeritis’ to characterise this pathological aspect of postmodernism, so named as a reference to the baby boomer generation who seem particularly fixated on this mind-set. Also, using terms from Spiral Dynamics, it is referred to as the ‘mean green meme’. I will be exploring these concepts more as this Blog progresses.)