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Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Left and the Family

Renewal | Tony Blair | Power for a purpose

"During the 1960s and 1970s the left developed almost in substitution for its economic prescriptions —which by then were failing — a type of social individualism that sometimes confused liberation from prejudice with a disregard for moral structures. It fought for racial and sexual equality, which was entirely right, but it appeared indifferent to the family and individual responsibility, which was wrong. Moreover, as the influence of some of the traditional supporters of the left in Labour and working-class organisation waned there was a real danger, occasionally realised, that single issue pressure groups moved into the vacuum. I believe that this was an abberation. Look back to the first heyday of the left in the 1930s and 1940s and you will find heavy emphasis on responsibility, self-improvement and the family...

The only way to rebuild social order and stability is though strong values, socially shared, inculcated through individual and family. This is not some lurch into authoritarianism or an attempt to impose a regressive personal morality. It is, in fact, about justice and fairness. The strong and powerful can protect themselves. Those who lose most through the absence of rules are the weak and the vulnerable. The first casualties of social breakdown are often the poor and disadvantaged. That is why the left should treat it seriously.

Why is it the left that is best able to tackle the problems of social disorder? Because a society based on strong values has at its heart respect for others and mutual responsibilities. Obligation to more than oneself. Crude individualism of left or right won't work. The family is important because it is in the family that self-respect and respect for others are learned. It is in the family that the limits of freedom are first experienced and the roots of responsibility put down. The family is the antithesis of narrow selfishness."
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