More and more people tell me that I am "right-wing."
I am supposed to believe that this is a bad thing, something that intelligent and civilized people avoid.
"Right-winger" is basically an epithet.
I have noticed over the years - how could I not? - that merely criticizing the Left gets one docketed as a member of the Right.
Other people, more rational in my view, complain that the entire Left - Right way of viewing politics is both crude and counterproductive. I sympathize. The problem is linguistic and conceptual. How does one discuss politics without reference to political standings upon a continuum?
The model within which people discuss politics is essentially a flat line. It is crude. It is this:
You are either on one side of this line or the other and, among many politically inclined people, just where you stand on that line tells us all that we need to know about your quality as a human being.
Of course, another more sophisticated way of looking at politics is not with a one-dimensional line, but with a two-dimensional grid.
Many of you are aware that politically inclined bloggers and activists sometimes go to this political compass test in order to figure out just where they stand on the political grid between the poles of Left versus Right and Authoritarian versus Libertarian.
I just took the test for the third time in almost ten years and yet I still end up hanging out with Gandhi. I know that it is hard to fathom, but there it is. Of course, I would only put so much credence into this test. Nonetheless, if you are honest in your answers, it should probably give a broad general idea of where you stand politically according to the Left - Right / Authoritarian - Libertarian measure... which I think is as good a measure as any.
The thing of it is, though, and that which tends to irk me, is that when people call me "right-wing" it is usually not to actually criticize my views, but to marginalize them.
When I criticize the Left it is not to marginalize the Left, because I come out of the Left.
When I criticize the Left, including the Jewish Left, it is because I have honest criticisms.
The Jewish Left, as a whole, has failed to honestly grapple with the question of political Islam.
The Jewish Left, as a whole, often whips up hatred toward their fellow Jews who live in Judea and Samaria, i.e., the so-called settlers.
The Jewish Left is generally weak and, therefore, tends to mainly play defense.
The Jewish Left often buys into the "moral equivalency canard."
The Jewish Left buries Jewish history.
And so forth.
These criticisms are criticisms, and as such, they may be fair or not. They may be true or not. They may be worthwhile or not. But these are among the criticisms that I have tended to develop over the years.
They are honest criticisms. The links above go to pieces that I have written in the past concerning such issues. Those pieces are not, and were not meant to be, full-blown academic analyses, obviously. They are merely pointers, one might say. Or even musings, but I believe that they are honest and worthwhile of consideration.
However, when I get lambasted as a "right-winger" it is rarely to actually criticize my views.
When I get called a "right-winger" it is because the caller wants the reader to dismiss my views.
It is not criticism.
It is defamation meant to marginalize.