There was a conversation on the Radio yesterday morning which, for me, perfectly illustrated the difference between left-wing and right-wing views of the world.
It was on LBC between breakfast presenter Nick Ferrari and a call whose name I didn’t catch and it was about how the NHS should deal with people with ‘weight problems”.
The caller was arguing that the full weight (pun intended) of the NHS should be thrown behind helping people, no matter what kind of help they needed—even if that meant ‘cooking lessons’ or ‘weight watchers’ classes.
Mr Ferrari, on the other hand, was of the view that an individual needs to show “willing” to help themselves, before the NHS steps in to support them, by, for example, losing a few pounds on their own first.
In response, the caller said this was a societal problem and that’s why the NHS should take responsibility for it.
Mr Ferrari asked about individual responsibility.
My son was in the car with me, and I thought this was an ideal opportunity to discuss some political theory with him. He’s almost 12 now and he needs to start thinking about the world around him and how its run.
So I said to him, “There you go, in a nutshell, one conversation that shows you the difference between right-wingers and left-wingers.”
He looked at me curiously and said, simply, “explain”.
“The left,” I said, “In general, believe in the power of the state over the power of the individual. Problems are societal and it’s up to society, by which they mean the state, to take responsibility.”
And before I could discuss the right-wing viewpoint, that of the individual over state/society, he said, “Yeah, but if you’re fat, you need to stop eating and do more exercise, and you can do that yourself, you don’t need the government to tell you to. You should know.”
I smiled and said, “Exactly. Those on The Right, believe in individual rights but that those rights come with individual responsibilities. Society, or the state, the Government, whatever you want to call it, should look after those not capable of looking after themselves, but generally, you need to look after yourself and your family first.”
He paused, thinking about this, and then said, “Makes sense.” And after another pause, “So, Jeremy Corbyn is Left, right?”
“And he’s wrong then? You need to look after yourself. If you can. Not expect anyone else to look after you. Unless you’re a kid or something. That’s, like, obvious. Isn’t it?”
That’s my boy.