Social Democracy is Conservative (More Tony Judt)
Following up from yesterday’s post, another Judt quote:
“We do not typically associate the ‘Left’ with caution. In the political imaginary of Western culture, ‘left’ denotes radical, destructive, and innovatory. But in truth there is a close relationship between progressive institutions and a spirit of prudence. The democratic Left has often been motivated by a sense of loss: sometimes of idealized pasts, sometimes of moral interests ruthlessly overridden by private advantage. It is doctrinaire market liberals who for the past two centuries have embraced the relentlessly optimistic view that all economic change is for the better.
It is the Right that has inherited the ambitious modernist urge to destroy and innovate in the name of a universal project. From the war in Iraq through the unrequited desire to dismantle public education and health services, to the decades-long project of financial deregulation, the political Right – from Thatcher and Reagan to Bush and Blair – has abandoned the association of political conservatism with social moderation which served it so well from Disraeli to Heath, from Theodore Roosevelt to Nelson Rockefeller”.