“If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs and blaming it on you – you’ll be a Man my son!” – Rudyard Kipling
Everyone keeps talking about left wing and right wing. Black and white.
Either you’re a communist or a fascist. Either you like state pensions or you don’t.
This is the simple paradigm that some people think still exists. It doesn’t exist any more. Not in Lithuania.
Privaloma pasakyti, kad gerbiu konservatoriu darba isgelbti Lietuva nuo Sovietu skyles. I have lived here for ten years. I understand what happened in the last twenty years and I know what happened before that. I read history, I am not a tourist, I am a proud resident.
But this article isn’t about communists or conservatives, it’s about left and right wing. Which doesn’t exist.
Recently, because of the upcoming local elections, facebook has exploded with battles between conservatives and liberals, traditionally seen as “right wing allies”, now locked in ideological infowar.
Most see it as a fight for leadership of the “right wing”. Nonsense. I am on the Liberal list. I don’t see myself as “right wing” at all. I also don’t see myself as “left wing”, because I think these “wings” are no longer a useful way of looking at politics.
The reason conservatives and liberals stick to the label “right wing” is because it means anti-Soviet. Years ago, this was a very relevant and useful categorisation. Bravo. But that was then and this is now.
Since the Liberals won many more votes than predicted in the European Parliament elections, the Lithuanian definition of “liberal” is expanding. Uncomfortably for some Liberals, social freedoms such as gay parades are 100% “liberal” but not all Liberals want to say this too loudly.
Why not? Because they think such things sound “leftist” and they annoy “right wing allies” who Liberals want to attract to the Liberal side of the non-existent so-called right-wing.
OK seriously guys, this very small fight is happening among a few hundred people, while thousands of other people are entitled to vote and they don’t care about this shit.
Do people outside our small political discussion circles care about right or left wing? No. They don’t know or care what that means, and they don’t vote according to that paradigm. Hell, they vote for Zuokas, whose party calls itself liberal while implementing inefficient centralised planned economics. What wing is Zuokas? It doesn’t matter to the electorate, because they don’t care about “wings”.
We can’t beat Zuokas with “wing theory”. He’s manipulating that theory and it’s working to his advantage. He’s allowing the “wings” to eat themselves, and each other. He’s shouting “freedom” while taking it away, he’s a freaking magician and he needs to be exposed. For us, defending a dead wing is a waste of energy.
If we stick with this outdated binary Sajudis left-right wing thing, we will never understand how to communicate to Vilnius better than Zuokas. We will never be able to show Vilnius how much better things could be without corruption, restriction and waste. If we value outdated political science and focus groups more than plain logic and principles, people will fall asleep or vote for a brightly-coloured clown.
Simple solution. As the new generation of Lithuanian politics, we have to occupy the radical centre and prevent Zuokas gaining all the wingless votes. We have to break away from the nasty right and the wasteful left. Leave that territory for those people, if they want it. We don’t want it.
We are the people who don’t look at the world as black and white with only two wings. We don’t think we need to be loyal to one of the wings. The wings are bogus and fake. You don’t tell us what to think. You don’t force us to sit on one “wing” and throw shit at the opposite “wing” while ignoring the mistakes of our own “wing”. That’s not how the new game is played.
What we do in the radical centre is we try to think logically about what’s going on in the world, without religious devotion to a “wing” that doesn’t exist, and without glorifying a single man’s “vision” while hiding his hypocrisy under the carpet.
If you devote yourself to one restricted ideology and hate everything else you will end up writing ridiculous nonsense which hurts people and encourages hateful thoughts and actions. If you have no flexibility you will break.
I don’t think it’s “leftist” to care about gay marriage. I don’t think it’s “leftist” to oppose torture. I don’t think it’s “leftist” to have a cinema. I think the left and right thing is history. It was useful years ago. It’s not useful any more.
When people use “left” and “right” to polarise and oversimplify and distort a debate, I think wow, it’s like you’re using Microsoft Windows Explorer 3 and expecting the newest websites to work properly. Your browser is not compatible. When you read Delfi it looks all distorted to you.
If “right wing” = trying to force your interpretation of christianity on everybody while breaking several of the rules in the Bible about judging people, insulting people, getting angry, following false prophets… well then I am not “right wing”. If you have been told you are “right wing” and you are feeling a bit uncomfortable about that label because of “right wingers” saying nasty stuff on facebook – throw away the “right wing” label. Resign from the non-existent “right wing”.
And if you were told you are “left wing” but you want to join me in pushing for as much freedom and equality as possible, then you are welcome to join me, and I will not call you “right wing” or say you “switched sides”. There are no sides. We work together.
Let’s meet in the radical centre, forget what people tell us we are supposed to think, and use simple logic and empathy and efficiency and accountability, to make decisions that improve our quality of life. We won’t agree on everything, but that’s evidence that our brains are free, and turned on. I understand why people are attracted to Zuokas, and it’s our job to communicate our alternative loudly and win the city. It’s doable. Let’s do that.
Some people are scared of us, because they want to keep the old system of right and left. They don’t know how to think in any other way.
They will shout at us and write crazy shit. It’s natural. They are pissed off because they are losing, and people are reforming opinions without following the old paradigm. The outgoing generation doesn’t want to play by the new rules.
It doesn’t matter. Everyone has the freedom to move on from that old era, to stop the ridiculous insults, and to vote for radical centre candidates, such as me. I’m not telling you how to vote, I am inviting you to forget about rules that don’t exist. Take a deep breath and be yourself.