Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why the Left Matters

Over the years, the Left has had very limited success in the U.S. But its influence, especially for the American blue collar worker, has been invaluable. Because the Left was instrumental in the organization of unions, which stood up for the rights and the dignity of the American worker, we have the eight hour work day, the forty hour work week, Workman's Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. None of which I would enjoy being without.

By standing up for workers against the corporations that exploited them and cared more about their profits than their people, the Left's influence has provided the American worker with the dignity and the safe working environments which they deserve as human persons. The Right has never shown much interest in the worker, the Right has always shown more interest in the corporate bottom line: profit. People, however, are far more important than profit. The Left knows this simple truth, which seems to have escaped the Right, and it has always worked for the betterment of the human condition, whereas the Right has always worked to benefit the corporate bottom line.

This doesn't mean the Left hasn't taken things too far at times, it has. But apart from its influence, the American worker would still be working in unsafe work environment, for pennies a day, eighteen hours a day, and seven days a week. We dare not dismiss either the Left or the Right, as they are the inescapable twin poles of our social and political ideologies. We need both extremes in order to find workable solutions to our economic, political, and social problems, and we will only find these solutions by exploring the dynamic synergies that are generated by these two extremes.

The Left matters because it provides that which the Right cannot: concern for people over profit. Profits certainly are important, as are the corporation that put the American worker to work, but we will always have the Right to remind us of that. What's more important to me is how people are treated, and the Left has always shown itself to be more concerned with people's welfare than the Right. And that's why the Left will always matter.

The Left neglects people's welfare in regard to only one social/political issue today, and that's the issue of abortion on demand. In its zeal to emancipate women during the early seventies, which was a matter of how some people would be treated by others, it neglected the tiny-but-human people growing within their mother's wombs. If the Left would pick up the banner of protecting both women's and the unborn human person's rights the Right would lose a lot of its pro-lifers and the left would be much truer to its own ideal of being the defender of the downtrodden, the forgotten, the exploited, and the dehumanized people of the world, which includes our posterity: those who are yet unborn.

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