The most depressing feature of having to live with humans is the way you divide yourselves in to warring tribes, usually over little things. You call yourselves “the Left” and you hate deride and eventually want to eliminate all those who call themselves “the Right”. Or you call yourselves “the Right” and you hate, deride and eventually want to eliminate all those who call themselves “the Left.” Frankly, you are becoming a little boring. Because the truth is a little more complicated. As the following example shows.
The Adam Smith Institute* is an impeccably right wing (some would say far-right wing) outfit: very low taxes, private health, free markets, no planning or immigration controls). Bien-pensants of the Centre and Left should hate and ignore everything they say and do, out of a sense of duty. Except when they shouldn’t. For one of their number, Sam Bowman has been a major force in setting up a major new website called Anti-Virus:the Covid FAQ* which uses the tools of objectivity, reason and facts to try to get to some reasonable understanding of people’s fears and anxieties about the Covid-19 epidemic. Is it heretical to suggest that Sam is not the Devil Incarnate, but a reasonable honest man whose enquiries sometimes lead him to the wrong conclusions? And sometimes to the right ones?
Even an inveterate Nixon-hater like Gore Vidal had to admit that the 37th President got it right on rapprochement with the USSR and China. Have none of you ever had an experience of an unexpected stranger suddenly putting out a hand? At the end of The Little Emperors By Alfred Duggan, a Roman Governor suddenly finds himself on the run in St Albans, in imminent danger of death by fire. He is saved by his freeman, Paul, who tells him “if you decide to live, remember that you have this chance because you were kind to a lonely freedman, and treat all slaves as though they might one day save your life.” It’s a great lesson in humility.
Alfred Duggan The Little Emperors Phoenix 2007
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