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Confessions of a Right Wing Hippy.
Daughter, didn’t you recently tell me you had concluded that the dread Loch Ness Monster was actually a STURGEON? I quipped.
Dad, have you always been a Right Wing Hippy? Retorted my eldest, who has recently become a Doctor of Biological Sciences.
These quips arose during intense negotiations for an Emergency Electoral Pact between us in advance of this week’s UK general election.
In the end we both solemnly swore to vote Green on wizard’s honour and scientist’s honour. So that’s one less vote for the Conservatives in a constituency where it won’t make any difference, one less vote for the SNP where it won’t make any difference either, but two votes to add to the Green national total as a magical act of protest and long term enchantment for the future.
(Mind you, the Green’s policy of unrestricted population movement within Europe still seems profoundly ecologically unsound to me, but I guess they just put that in as a sop to the youth vote.) Nevertheless trying to conserve the environment satisfies my conservative instincts.
I think my moment of conversion to right wing hippiedom came on witnessing the ‘New-Age Convoy’ at Stonehenge. Children with matted hair and brown stumps for teeth, un-roadworthy vehicles full agricultural diesel stolen from farmers, surly feral men armed with machetes, scabby looking women selling themselves in benders, heroin on open sale, green hedgerows ripped down in failed attempts to light fires, human and dog excrement everywhere. Hawkwind still played well however. Peace and Love requires organisation and self-discipline you know man.
The overall level of human happiness seems more or less independent of ‘progress’ for the simple reason that anything ‘new’ or ‘progressive’ usually has as many downsides as upsides to it, most of them unforeseen. I find novelty profoundly interesting but not an unqualified good in itself. Science tends to improve over time, but architecture tends to get worse for example.
Politically I prefer a system that errs on the side of Liberty rather than Equality. (Fraternity has little effect beyond the 150 or so people that anyone can properly know). When it comes to Equality; equality of opportunity trumps enforced equality of outcome (socialism). I broadly support the Darwinian aims of STUB, stop the underclass breeding, or at least stop subsidising the feckless to do so. Yet I endeavour to practise benign capitalism as the most agreeable option available to me in current circumstances.
Like my daughter, most people seem to regard me as a mass of confusing contradictions. I would describe them as fertile juxtapositions. My appearance does not match my professional status and my opinions as a whole do not fall into any conventional category. I have left wing opinions about some matters, right wing opinions about others, conservative attitudes to some phenomena, liberal attitudes to others, and I currently hold some positions which have such a minority following that they don’t even have a category yet.
Whilst I have intense religious feelings I don’t believe in anything much except science, and a fair bit of that seems wrong; I suppose I merely respect the efficacy of scientific method in principle, although it often fails. Most ‘facts’ have fairly short half-lives. Official cosmology currently looks like a mistaken mess and as Richard Feynman said, ‘nobody understands quantum physics’ yet.
I respect the efficacy of magical method as well, despite its even higher failure rate. I value enchantment over divination on the basis of reasonably coherent quantum-theoretical reasons and personal experience. I dismiss the existence of ‘spirits’ as conventionally defined, and consider drugs and necromancy of limited or negligible value in magic.
In short, I Reject Herd Mentality.
Opinions shouldn’t come in exclusive boxed sets. (Prejudice by any other name.)
I value the antinomian perspective; we never really understand an idea until we also understand the conditions under which it ceases to apply.