Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ordinary People Taking Back Political Definition?

Yesterday, I posted several posts on Facebook (at least one of which a contributor described, probably accurately, as provocative) about the definition of political terms, in particular our use of the term 'feminist.'
I'm bound to say, the discussion about the use of the term 'feminist' has become (it continues) quite an interesting debate, devoid of heat. Wish more political argument at the moment was the same.
The nature and the topic of the discussion got me thinking. I believe we are witnessing at the moment one of the great political shifts of history.
Even though, at the moment, it appears to be all about a move to the right, I do not believe that history will show that is/was its primary thrust. I take the view that history will show that the underlying trend is/was about ordinary people taking back control.
I think this has been building for about forty years. Since about the Sixties. When, in my opinion, politicians of all political hue began to seduce electors by giving them political permission to do whatever they liked, without thought for the consequence to society as a whole.
Cutting a long story short, this came to a grinding halt, again in my opinion, with the Great Recession of the last decade.
The primary political reaction was a progressive one. But it was one proffered less by ordinary people, and more by an entrenched left-of-center political elite.
The prescription did not produce enough. Anywhere in the world. Not of itself. And also because it was set against a tapestry of forty years of permissive politics and globalist economic trends. Where all was about, on the one hand, global ambition, without thought for the social or spiritual welfare of individuals, who were, on the other hand, 'bought off,' with the admonition that, within this impersonal structure, they could pretty much do as they wished.
The reaction to this formalized progressive approach was a right-wing backlash. The conservative drift had been gathering steam for some time. But it truly only came into its own with the failure of the progressive response to the Great Recession.
This conservative reaction became, in my opinion, ugly, when, in the past 18 months, it took populist form. And here is where I may set myself apart from other talking heads.
I do not see this populist trend as set in a right-wing mold. I think this is a current, even if unfortunate, phase. There is much about the current right-wing populist offering which is inherently impossible to achieve and implement. That will become apparent. And folks will eventually go looking for a more centrist or even leftist populist alternative. I truly understand this offers little support to the many individuals who will suffer in the meantime:
All of that on one side. Wherever the current populist trend ends up on the political spectrum. I do see a huge inherent silver lining. Namely, ordinary people finding a way to declare that they've had enough of professional politicians treating them as guinea pigs in some never-ending series of social experiments.
That can only be good news in the long-term. And it brings me back to where I began this post. The discussions I referenced at that point seem to recognize that one of the ways in which professional politics seeks to exclude ordinary people, and to 'keep them in their place,' is to use a whole glossary of 'accepted' terminology, a whole slew of debating rules and precepts, the purpose of which is simply to confuse ordinary folk.
I am delighted that the threads of discussion to which I refer appear to accept that no one section of our society has the right to exclude others from political debate, merely by stating that they are not qualified to debate or to vote, because they do not understand the issues, and/or they do not understand or they do not subscribe to the terms or the verbiage or the precepts the 'professionals' insist should be adhered to in any debate.
If nothing else, I do see this rise in populism putting an end to that exclusionary nonsense.

[Facebook comments here.]