Oddities, what an odd word in itself.
In my younger days I was right-wing. At the time I would have been very much in a minority amongst my age cohort and in the wider community. Socialism seemed the way of things then. Everyone I knew was benefiting one way or another. The Unions were insisting on high wage increases, the farmers were insisting on price increases and the professions were demanding that they held their place. I thought this was nuts. It required an ever-increasing cohort of unemployed to sustain it. I know it’s an odd way of putting it but it is the truth. So rapidly we had wages at £1000 per week, tax at 65%, insurance another 10% and the unemployed starving on £10 a week. This just had to implode. And it did. It happened in the UK first, then in the USA. So by the end of the 80s the 60/70’s workers utopias remained only in the dreams of militant lefties kept around as a sort of nostalgic endangered species.
Of course, I was right-wing in other things also. I got my Guns and Ammo and a few other mags. So would fit it very well with the NRA types. Still would fact be told. My religion would have been very Catholic. And my diet bland.
This changed over a period of a few years. Leastwise, a change occurred. I’m not so certain that I changed as things round about did the changing. The first of these would have been the murder of Archbishop Romero and then when JP2 castigated Ernesto Cardenal the Sandinistas minister kneeling before him on an airport apron I knew I couldn’t keep my earlier stance and live with myself. Frankly I think for many people who would have been staunch Catholics the savage ignorant position of the Vatican during JP2’s pontificate on Central America is the cause of the rump of a church you see today. And while I remain Catholic, I’m one of those that will argue the toss with Jesuits, dismiss Franciscans as idiots and consider diocesan priests as little more than procurers. On that last point there has been numerous reports.
The economic situation was somewhat different. There some of the unions were exempt while others wiped out. The difference was stark. Blue collar and you’re gone. This is seen from the Urals through the Seattle. Usually called the rust belt. However any unbiased look at these industries would have told that they were out of date. In some cases by 100 years. There were coal mines hunting seams three and four ft wide and as much high. Ludicrous. While the steel industry in all areas except Japan and Germany was working to pre first world war specifications. This was true into the late 80’s. ( a NZ friend was involved with building a small oil refinery and they couldn’t get metals pure enough from UK sources)
The exempt unions, the white-collar, the professions, the civil service. These are for the most part protected by the State. Directly as with the civil service or indirectly with income floors. Where the State sets a level it will pay a lawyer for public defending or a doctor for treating those with public insurance. Since the State is by far the largest customer for all services it de facto sets levels. That it never exercises its power as a preferential customer is beyond me.
Farmers in Europe are an odd group. They, on the face of it, are businessmen/women like any other. But they are deemed deserving of supports denied to even the most deserving and needy. There is a concept of food security. This concept derives from the same family as Lebensraum. Which sees food not as a traded commodity but as a weapon. Think the middle east after the oil has gone and you get the idea. Anyhow, it’s something that on paper seems a darn good notion. But on the ground all it does is lift the cost of everything by the exact amount of the subsidy. So from feed for cattle to John Deere tractors will have the EU stipend built-in. NZ jettisoned most of this craziness in the early 80s. They saw that permanent subsidy was nothing more than ludicrous transfer. It is one thing for a window of say five years where cash is injected. And it is one thing for small farmers to get income support to keep them in the countryside. But all farmers without regard to size in receipt of economic transfer is downright insane. But try saying this to any of them.
Today, am I right or left. Frankly, I don’t know. Mostly I’m on the left, I would say. But whether a function of age or intelligence I tend to take my stands one at a time. I don’t call myself Catholic. Not because I’ve decided otherwise. But I think Christian gets far nearer the mark for its lack of exclusion. I still detest Unions when they use their clout to act as gatekeepers. In this I include the medical and legal communities together with all the other professions that set numbers. But where they protect people from being screwed then I’m a staunch defender. On my gun nuttiness, well, I don’t really care anymore. I do think the position in the USA is lunatic. Gun ownership, yes. Home possession of side arms, oh so very much no. What with the guns and alcohol, it’s a wonder anyone is still alive.