OPINION

The orbits of the left

There is a strange theory making its way around PASOK and other leftist circles. Some are saying that the «die-hard rightist» Nicolas Sarkozy won the French election because Segolene Royal was not leftist enough. Gerhard Schroeder’s failure to win the elections after seven years as chancellor was due to the «rightist» reform agenda titled «Agenda 2010.» Meanwhile, PASOK lost the elections to New Democracy because it took a right turn in 1996. Leftist analysts thus appear to be thinking along the following lines: Social democratic parties lose because they are unfaithful to leftist ideals. The people, in order to punish impure leftists (that is, social democrats) do not opt for true-blue leftists (communist and other left-wing parties), but, rather, go for true-blue rightists. In other words, the theory is that the working class loves the left so much it votes for the right. Of course, this theory does not explain Tony Blair’s three successive wins. Rather than losing at the polls, the most «right-wing» of the social democrat «rightists» succeeded in winning (for the first time in the history of the Labour Party) three successive mandates. For 20 years before Blair, Labour’s leftists led their party to crushing electoral defeats. Indeed, the most left-wing of them, Michael Foot, succeed in earning the party the lowest number of votes since 1918: just 27.6 percent. What’s more, they all ran against the most right-wing of the right, Margaret Thatcher. It is clear, according to the abovementioned theory, that Britain’s love for the left is huge and unrequited: The more the Labour Party leaned to the left in the period 1979-1994, the more the British people leaned to the right. This is not the first example of dogma distorting reality. In the Middle Ages, those who held the absolute truth – priests and monks – believed that the Earth was at the center of the universe and that the planets moved in steady, perfectly circular orbits around it. An irregularity in the perfect circle was noted and it could be seen with the naked eye, so, they invented the term «suborbital.» This formed the core of Ptolemy’s theory, which was embraced by the intelligentsia of the time. The suborbits were perfect circles as well, but the problem was that this theory just didn’t make sense. Stars, in the late Middle Ages, appeared to move in circular orbits, but they also zigzagged and sometimes went to and fro. Using the same methodology, the «monks of Progress» maintain that societies follow a perfect leftist orbit. The phenomenon of working class rightist voting is nothing more than suborbits of the perfect leftist orbit. And even these suborbits are perfect leftist orbits, regardless of the fact that to the naked eye they appear to be moving to the right.