The left is accused of authoritarianism – but it’s the right that gets away with it
1917 to 1989 really showed that one to be true, right?
For a wearyingly long time now, one of the right’s favourite tactics against the left has been to accuse it of planning a police state.
Hmm, gosh, so where the left did actually gain unrestricted power that didn’t happen then, right?
to last year’s warnings in the Tory press that Jeremy Corbyn would turn Britain into a version of Venezuela,
How could anyone think that when left politicians in this country were – earlier, agreed, before the wheels really fell off – insisting that Britain should become more like Venezuela?
The fact that no western democracy has ever been turned into a police state by the left hasn’t completely neutralised this argument.
Czechs would disagree you know. As would Grenadans. But presumably Beckett is using that special meaning of “western democracy” which is the one that reads “not turned into a police state by leftists yet”.
Because there have been so few elected socialist governments in the west, and even fewer that have enacted much of their programmes, the left hasn’t had many opportunities to prove that it’s not interested in ruling by authoritarian methods. Instead, the allegation has lingered.
Ah, yes, that is the meaning in use here, isn’t it? We can’t use those examples of where untrammelled power has led to that police state simply because we’re using as our examples the places where that hasn’t happened.
During the 1980s, Jeane Kirkpatrick, an influential adviser to the Republican president Ronald Reagan, argued that rightwing police states were “less repressive” than leftwing, “totalitarian” ones, and should be supported by the US when there were, from a conservative perspective, no better alternatives.
Pinochet was less bad for Chile than Maduro for Venezuela. Discuss. Varied Brazilian generals worse than Castro. Discuss.
It’s not wholly convincing this argument that the left never do abuse power when they gain it, is it?