Left, Right and the New Political Hybrid

We’ve had neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism, neither of which has much advanced the interests of ordinary people.  Neo-conservatives give us endless wars with (literally) no outcomes other than the advancement of what President Eisenhower termed the military-industrial complex.  Neo-liberalism, through its embrace of the unholy troika of privatisation (see footnote), outsourcing and new public management within the bureaucracy, has given us inadequate public services and infrastructure run by globalist, woke, green corporates without the fiscal continence, personal freedom and small government that was promised.

But now we have a new “neo”, as it were, and I am not just talking about the now passe 1980s-style neo-Marxism, with all of its overtones of post-modernism and cultural orientation. In the 2020s, neo-Marxism is now not the main leftist game. Today’s leftism is an entirely different beast — a beast no one ever saw coming.  It has completely new preoccupations.  And it is devouring those whose interests the old Left used to champion.

Surely, a generation ago, no one would have anticipated the abandonment by the Left of the working class whose interests, since the days of Karl Marx, it had claimed to represent.  Who could have predicted that the leftist media which once challenged the capitalist class would cheer on greedy multinationals (aka Big Pharma, for instance) bent on injecting experimental drugs into workers’ arms and having those workers sacked if they didn’t get the jab?  And that they – think the BBC and The Guardian – would have accepted funding from former tech oligarchs (specifically, Bill Gates) who would then insist on those media outlets publishing his party line. 

The neo-left loves the rich. Many of them are rich themselves.  Like the Chinese, leftists have embraced wealth and capitalism.  The uber-rich have embraced socialism, though not for themselves.  It is a crazy ideological world.

Who could have anticipated that modern day “leftist” parties would happily see workers’ power bills become so unaffordable that people would have to choose between eating and heating?  Who would have thought your modern-day leftist would be on the same page, in relation to the unilaterally and baselessly declared “climate emergency”? Or what of tech billionaires who make dissident voices simply disappear via shadowbanning and the like and the private equity magnates who now run the world through outfits such as Blackrock, not to mention the inevitable, persistent Rockefellers whose shadowy philanthropy does so much harm to ordinary people? 

What about the rich leftists’ support for mass migration, the result of which is a rising tide – no, let us call it what it is, a tsunami – of post-colonial refugees landing in Western countries, resulting in the crushing (in the US, certainly) of native workers’ opportunities for escaping poverty.  The brand new US Senator from Ohio, JD Vance, has had something to say about this. The unskilled workers who land in their new countries tend end up doing all the unpleasant service jobs that natives won’t do.  The neo-leftists, don’t seem to give a toss about this.  So long as they don’t move to Martha’s Vineyard!

Then there is the twenty-first century neo-left’s astonishing abandonment of civil liberties in the face of the corporatist state.  Vaccine mandates?  No problem.  De-platforming by rich-kid tech types?  Oh, we love that.  Shut those Deplorables.  Err, weren’t the Deplorables the people leftists used to love?  Not anymore.  Let them cling to their religion and their guns.  The left elite don’t like religion unless it is that of Gaia and the church of woke.

Two key questions:  First, how did all this come about?  And second, is neo-leftism really socialism, or is it something else, an entirely new ideological form?  If so, what are its core elements?

Kim Beazley Sr, a Whitlam era minister once described the process of decay on the left as the cream of the working class being replaced by the dregs of the bourgeoisie.  Most members of the low information millennial generation would probably have to use a search engine to find out what these two terms (working class and bourgeoisie) even mean. Other observers of the re-invention of the old left have pointed to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism in the early 1990s as a dividing line whereby those that had actually cheered for socialist regimes, despite those vicious, utopian regimes utterly letting down the working class, had to find a new approach and a new angle in order to find a new base of support.  Hence, the left went green and so, at a single stroke, said goodbye to any meaningful sense of representation of its former working-class base.  Still others speak of cultural Marxism adopting the Antonio Gramsci playbook and replacing the original recipe of a working-class revolution.  One thing is clear, getting rich and staying rich is no longer a problem for the twenty-first century socialist.  It is as if Jürgen Habermas met Hayek and found that they had much in common after all.

The new ideology is thoroughly embedded in both major political parties. Back in the 1970s, the term “tweedledum and tweedledee” was coined (by political scientists Bob Catley and Bruce McFarlane) to describe the wafer-thin difference between the major political parties of the day.  Following the ritual execution of yet another British Prime Minister just recently, one commentator over there (Leilani Dowding) colourfully termed the choice facing voters as “two cheeks of the same bottom”.  (Given what most voters now think of all mainstream politicians, her imagery is probably in the right territory).  In Australia, the estimable Lyle Shelton has termed the big four new-left parties in Australia – the Liberal/Nationals, Labor, the Greens and the Teals – “the quad”.  Clearly, there is a lot of shared territory, despite what each of these parties says about the others.  The differences among them are merely matters of degree, with some rushing towards the cliff at the speed limit while others substantially exceed it.

The point is that each of the major parties, both in the UK and in Australia (at least), has absorbed the core policies of the other side and the differences between them have shrunk to something very close to zero.  The right’s willingness to accept big government, high taxes, green energy and the defenestration of fossil fuels, the woke social agenda and middle-class welfare has been matched by the neo-left’s embrace of capitalism (especially capitalism of the crony variety) and capitalists, and its abandonment even of the pretense that it values the working class and the core belief system of workers. 

As to the second question, whether the new form of leftist ideology is really socialism, this is where it gets rather complicated.  There has been a massive ideological cross-over taking place, driven through a number of parallel processes.  The new beast has been assigned a variety of names, as well.  Catherine Austin Fitts terms it “Mr Global”.  CJ Hopkins calls it “Globocap”.  Klaus Schwab calls it “stakeholder capitalism”, a beast that he can plausibly claim to have invented.  The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has called it “communist capitalism”  embraced by what we might think of political metrosexuals.

Michael Rectenwald – whose forthcoming book, The Great Reset and the Struggle for Liberty: Unravelling the Globalist Agenda, should be a must-read – has a number of names for neo-leftism.  One is “corporate socialism”.  Here is Rectenwald, revealing the extent to which the core philosophies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have found common cause with the new Western ideological hybrid:

Another way of describing the goal of the Great Reset is “capitalism with Chinese characteristics”—a two-tiered economy, with profitable monopolies and the state on top and socialism for the majority below. 

With apologies to Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, you might wish to think of this model as poverty and misery for the rest of us.  Or, for-profit economics combined with totalitarian politics.  As close as it gets to real fascism, incidentally.  Agamben nails it wonderfully:

The form of capitalism that is being consolidated on a planetary scale is not that which it had assumed in the West: it is, rather, capitalism in its communist variation, which unites an extremely rapid development of production with a totalitarian political regime. This is the historical significance of the leading role that China is taking on, not only in the realm of the economy in a narrow sense, but also – as the political use of the pandemic has so eloquently demonstrated – as a paradigm for the government of men. That the regimes established in so-called communist countries were a particular form of capitalism, specially adapted for economically backward countries and thus labelled ‘state capitalism’, was perfectly clear to anyone who knows how to read history; what was entirely unexpected, however, is that this form of capitalism, which seemed to have exhausted its function and was thus now obsolete, was instead destined – in a technologically updated configuration – to become the ruling principle of the current phase of globalized capitalism. 

What has been the political response to these developments?

The ascendancy, on the right, of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism, and the emergence on the (sort-of) left of Mr Global, has led to a backlash and the emergence of right-of-centre alternatives, such as the now defunct Australian Conservatives, the United Australia Party, the Liberal Democrats and One Nation.  They don’t agree on everything, but there is a shared perspective on the vile excesses of the COVID State, the horror embrace of climate madness and the dangers to traditional thought and lifestyles posed by the woke revolution.  They now harvest over a million votes between them, but with the preferential electoral system in Australia, they remain largely voiceless.  Reform UK faces the same electoral Everest in Britain with its first-past-the-post voting.

On the left, there has been no pushback whatsoever against the recent developments in Australia.  Many of those who leave the Labor Party for ideological reasons tend to go even further “left”, in the new sense of that term.  These folks are rich, entitled, metropolitan, green (of course) and extreme social liberals.  For many, the word “family” now means “two gays and a cocker spaniel” (to reprise one of Paul Keating’s more colourful lines).  Those in the old Labor heartland merely stick with the ALP and otherwise remain silent.  (In the 1950s, Laborites who viscerally opposed communism went to the Democratic Labor Party).  Yes, there have been the Reagan Democrats in the US, Boris Johnson’s “red wall” (now utterly abandoned by the Tories, with the electoral consequences for so doing still to come) and the Howard battlers here (sometimes called “the silent Australians”), but these voters transitioned to conservative parties that then reflected their values. Now they don’t.  These same parties can no longer offer a safe haven for the disillusioned, old-style social democrats.  And yes, some old-style Labor voters have no doubt joined Mark Latham in his own journey to One Nation.  After the same-sex marriage debate of 2017, some might also have found a temporary home with Cory Bernardi.  It didn’t last.  By and large, even right-to-life stalwarts like Greg Donnelly in New South Wales, stay with Labor.  (Some right-to-lifers in South Australia have left Labor and formed a new party of old style family values.  But even the family party vote is split several ways).

But we have nothing that, for example, resembles Paul Embery’s “blue dog labour” crusade in the United Kingdom and his spirited attempt to recapture traditional values.  He is a proud unionist who has pushed back against gender extremism (as one example) on the left.  His book was titled Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class.  The book’s sales pitch and its core argument state:

The typical contemporary Labour MP is almost certain to be a university-educated Europhile who is more comfortable in the leafy enclaves of north London than the party’s historic heartlands. As a result, Labour has become radically out of step with the culture and values of working-class Britain.

Drawing on his background as a firefighter and trade unionist from Dagenham, Embery argues that this disconnect has been inevitable since the left political establishment swallowed a poisonous brew of economic and social liberalism. They have come to despise traditional working-class values of patriotism, family and faith and instead embraced globalisation, rapid demographic change and a toxic, divisive brand of identity politics. Embery contends that the Left can only revive if it speaks once again to the priorities of working-class people by combining socialist economics with the cultural politics of belonging, place and community.

Embery’s theory is indeed a case of the Kim Beazley Sr formulation.  Education, for example, has transformed the lives of the old working class, but not in the way its old-style leftist proponents imagined.  Higher education in particular transformed working-class children into entitled yuppies who have passed on their new values to their even more entitled children.  (Those who still have children, that is).

The modern leftist is simply unrecognisable from his or her earlier self.  There is not the remotest resemblance, and a new ideology has emerged – let us call it neo-leftism – that is as much a travesty of the left’s former core values as neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism are on the right.  That the old Labor right doesn’t seem to know what to do about this, at least not in a voting sense, means that it is the alt-right that is doing the heavy lifting in the emerging war on the weird globo-capitalism/leftist corporatism that now so ails us all.

FOOTNOTE: Like many, I was once a devotee of privatisation, but the way it has been used to garner buckets of funding for the political classs (as in NSW), who then dish out to favoured electorates and interest groups has greatly diminished its appeal.  We were conned, I think.  As voters we also lose the capacity to control or influence decisions about services made by the new look woke, green, globalist corporates.  Especially with overseas ownership, including by the CCP and its various corporate arms. Privatisation assumed good private sector actors. Privatisation’s selling points are far less compelling in the new corporatist world.

16 thoughts on “Left, Right and the New Political Hybrid

  • Tony Tea says:

    I used to support privatisation of the power industries, and still would had it been done properly, but it’s been a dogs breakfast, even if said breakfast has happened because of subsidies to wind & solar (and defunct wave and geothermal) carpet baggers. The power companies were delivering bang for buck up until the renewables fiasco started in earnest around 10 – 15 years ago. Now that renewables push, plus Andrews’ rebooted SEC (not sure how that will work), and Albanese’s cap look very much like nationalisation by stealth, whereby their true purpose is to drive the private power providers out of business.

  • ianl says:

    We now have Bowen and Elbow proclaiming to miners that they (the miners) will produce whatever they are told to, although with exploration, development and risk costs to be their own problems, but will only be allowed to sell their produce domestically at a price specifically limited by bureaucracy. Bowen denies this is a Soviet system, but he would say that, wouldn’t he ?

    One wonders how “stakeholder capitalism” suits the shareholders in those organisations. Some shareholder groups are regarded as punching bags. Their protests are shadow-banned, of course.

  • STD says:

    Egzachary- great stuff Paul.

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    Your account of events and structures is quite similar to mine, so naturally I think that you have written it correctly.
    You did not venture much into judgement of good and bad. A large reason why I detest the present Australian condition is the lack of both intelligence and experience in essentially all “leaders” of every hue. There is nobody proficient in any property apart from dishonest rat cunning. (I well remember and miss the stature of Menzies.)
    I shall not forget our new Fed energy man dismissing industry arguments about price caps on gas as “laughable”. If I was not retired now, I would be urging mineral sector colleagues to cease domestic supply until a process involving logic, thought, experience and common sense replaced green dreamland ignorance at the bargaining table.
    Geoff S

    • ianl says:


      Believe it or no (even the AFR reported it this week just gone), but the WA govt owned coal-fired power station Synergy in the Collie Basin has so mishandled its’ management and appaulingly handled its’ fuel supply, that it is on the verge of importing Indonesian coal as fuel for an indeterminately long period. I am reliably informed that it had bought about 40,000 tonne from the Hunter Valley and shipped it round to Bunbury but had not taken care specifiying the quality of the fuel bought – so it couldn’t be burnt. Anyway, the Newcastle port is a longer, more expensive trip than from the Sumatran barges, innit ?

      All of this has occurred less than two months after the AEMO assured the WA govt there was no looming power supply issue for the Perth summer.

      Now we have ham-fisted price controls over gas with no incentive to increase supply – and the MSM applaud this as clever. This is truly hopeless, completely out of control.

  • Steve Spencer says:

    I believe most of these apparent anomalies can be explained by one simple thing. The ‘New Left’ is defined by intolerance which manifests in many ways, the most relevant in this case being that they happily jettison principles, fairness, equity, etc – so long as their side (as amorphous as it is) wins.

    Because of this, the modern lefty can be easily manipulated simply by casting any issue as a right vs left fight. The media and very, very good at this and, once accomplished, young lefties in particular will support any action, even if it goes against their stated principles, so long as their side wins or a conservative loses, and is punished severely, often disproportionately.

  • Daffy says:

    I think your observations are correct…how could they not be? But there is an underlying ‘platonism’ of the intellect coupled with a ‘paganism’ of motive. How could it be otherwise, with Plato being pagan. The Platonism of the intellect tells the rich and powerful that they are right to accumulate power, and therefore wealth. Being pagan in motive, their standard is the application of policies and practices that are ‘good for the planet’ (whatever that means, seeing the planet per se provokes no moral imperative). These combine into a thin tolerance for those who are not rich, don’t seem to be powerful, or of the intellectual elite resulting in either punishment or control (handouts, but not quite enough to cover the devastation of power prices to their budgets). The objectives of this class are ‘other worldly’ as were Plato’s, and meaningless in everyday life, as were Plato’s.

    • Citizen Kane says:

      Perhaps also explained by the fact that neo-leftist is still fundamentally informed by postmodernist ideals such as moral relativism. The role of religion to anchor society to a central tenet of shared universal moral codes has now been replaced by ‘whatever feels good to me’. Under that rubric, one can essentially do as one pleases and morally justify it, which where the green zealotry comes in. It is nothing more than a superficial smoke screen hiding behind virtuous rhetoric that assuages the psyche of the morally bankrupt and fraudulent neo-leftist. This is why hypocrisy appears to be such a good bedfellow of the left. I am not religious and even I can discern this societal dyscrasia.

  • Dallas Beaufort says:

    Central Planning, Town Planning All parties are left nanny state sycophants now, Nimby’s while led by envy’s blind nose.

  • jeancurthoys says:

    As one of the traditional lefties still bewildered by the ‘neo-left’s embrace of incipient fascism, I welcome your piece and support just about everything you say. I would add to your analysis the return of a ‘save the world’/’perfectibility of “man”‘ mentality, eschewed by the ‘old left’ which had been sobered by the authoritarian reality of communism. (The neo-left’s stances towards climate change, sexuality and racism manifest this mentality.) It is this ‘save the world’ fervour which is comfortable with the censorship and demonisation of opposing views and the mandating of ‘vaccines’. It is both a product, and an inversion, of the pervasive relativism of the late twentieth century.

  • lajos.halmos says:

    I have lived long enough to find that there is only 1 difference in the final analyses between ” Right or Left ” politics. That is which side putting there hand in to the pocket of the ” Manufacturer’s / Farmers & workers.
    Then find a acceptable excuse to direct it in to there chose & to dare pocket’s.
    90 % of ministers & public servants do not have the qualification to hold there post.
    The rest of the citizens pay for the hundreds of advisors to cep them in there job.
    Some may be educated for what ? Being educated do not mean that you are good in anything.
    There is a gradient in knowledge. From “0 to 10 ” Stupid or Excellent.
    Some people ca think & reason then decide! Some Not. We don’t have enough of the first one.

  • Dallas Beaufort says:

    Labor’s pusch to recognise Local Councils as Government’s in their own right will be rolled out soon given Labor’s constant need to refresh their regulation rollout continuously? It’s on the cards.

  • Max Rawnsley says:

    Paul C has summarised the dilemma very well. Having diagnosed the ’causes’ etc now comes the task of acting on it. I cannot see the existing Liberal or National parties emerging from the swamp, collectively garnering only 68% of the primary vote last May and reliant on what are commonly described as far left and far right preferences. Then comes the teal phenomenon.

    The enthusiasm for the Voice and its companion Republicanism are further symptoms, for many. The pejorative use of ‘conservative’ has been with us for some time. Very useful in its demonisation across, imo at least three generations, probably more

    I await the Hume-Loughane report with high interest but do not believe the concern can be remedied without a deep re-set. The leadership and policy settings needed are likely to be beyond the wit of most Liberal and National MPs ,state and federal. The stark reality is the generational divide that the left has successfully begun will be a hard trend to stop with major media joining in the frenzy.

    It is apparent the concern of many is how may this structural default be addressed to preserve our democracy with both major parties kowtowing in more ways than one.

  • Frank Milne says:

    Using Left/Right categories is increasingly irrelevant and misleading to describe what we are observing. What we are suffering is a variant of Italian corporatism/fascism.
    Marx and Engels were vague on the organization of a communist regime. After Engels death, Marxists split over how communism would be organized. Subsequently, Lenin, Mao et al created totalitarian bureaucratic states that paid lip-service to the working class, but despised them, creating great suffering.
    Italian fascism was an outgrowth of this intellectual turmoil, and the social chaos after World War 1.
    I find this article by Joel Kotkin persuasive:

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