The right overestimates, the left underestimates people’s responsibility

I’m usually leery of generalisations about the left and right, but…

The left underestimates people’s responsibility for their own condition and their agency for improving it.

The right overestimates it, ignoring systemic disadvantages and circumstances outside people’s control.

The truth falls, as is often the case, somewhere in the middle.

…the third point in particular is close to the mark for a lot of political and social issues

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8 Comments

  1. The Consultant

     /  22nd February 2019

    The Middle! The Glorious Middle….

    Reply
  2. Mother

     /  22nd February 2019

    “The left underestimates people’s responsibility for their own condition and their agency for improving it.” aka childishness and selfishness

    “The right overestimates it, ignoring systemic disadvantages and circumstances outside people’s control.” aka arrogance and selfishness

    “The truth falls, as is often the case, somewhere in the middle.” Each individual is free to know and speak the truth. The middle is lost in rudeness.

    Reply
  3. David in Aus

     /  22nd February 2019

    I can only talk about my opinion and not what the Left or Right think.
    But as someone who is accused by some here of having “Neoliberal” sympathies.
    These are my two cents.

    It is important to emphasize individual agency where ever possible. It is because it is the individual who can and should be the most motivated to improve one’s lot in life. It is the individual to cleans their teeth to avoid dental problems, the individual that reads to their children to improve literacy. Infinite amounts of money cannot replace the care for oneself and those of their family. That is how humans are wired. People’s priorities in order are first themselves, then family, friends and lastly society.
    I accept people as they are and not how I wish them to be.

    This not to say that there are no structural impediments for many in society. There are present and always be present. The biggest barrier to life success is not sex nor race nor identity, but the family that one is born into. The values and habits inculcated.

    We should strive for equal opportunities or even help those facing systemic barriers. But we cannot lose sight that is the level of the individual and families where real change is made. To focus on society is to disempower an individual’s agency.

    It is not to diminish society’s responsibility but to focus too much on society distracts from individual action is counterproductive. Many people are predisposed to inertia and ready-made excuses not to change. To tell them it is society’s fault for their predicament is the worst thing we can do, even if in some cases it may be true. Victimhood is not a route a better society.

    Reply

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