It appears I am The Economist

by Stephen Tall on October 11, 2012

Via Popbitch (ahem), I stumbled across this post, Is The Economist left or right?, in which the newspaper’s digital editor Tom Standage answers the question thusly:

The Economist is not inherently left-wing or right-wing; its political philosophy is rooted in 19th-century Classical Liberalism of the John Stuart Mill variety. Essentially we are fans of Free Markets (The Economist was founded to oppose the Corn Laws) and individual choice. So we favour, for example, a small state and the abolition of agricultural subsidies (right-wing fiscally liberal positions); but we also support gay marriage and the legalisation of drugs (left-wing socially liberal positions).

Generalising hugely,
* Right-wing parties tend to be fiscally liberal but socially conservative; they think it’s OK for companies to do what they like but want to intervene in people’s private lives.
* Left-wing parties tend to be keener on individual choice in private affairs but think they know better when it comes to spending people’s money (via taxation) or regulating the market.

Which is of course why liberals are neither right-wing nor left-wing, however much the media likes to perpetuate the myth you must be one or the other.

In theory our position might be characterised as libertarian, but that term also has baggage: unlike many American libertarians, The Economist is in favour of gun control, for example, on the liberal ground that your freedom to do what you want (own lots of guns) ends where my freedom to do what I want (not being shot) begins.

Quite.

The conclusion:

So, is The Economist left or right? The answer is yes and no.

Fair do’s, though for myself I much prefer the simpler response: neither, I’m a liberal.

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10 comments

New from me > It appears I am The Economist http://t.co/ZNlK7GrK

by Stephen Tall on October 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm. Reply #

New from me > It appears I am The Economist http://t.co/xRZIDRHN

by Stephen Tall on October 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm. Reply #

New from me > It appears I am The Economist http://t.co/MBll2G0D

by Stephen Tall on October 12, 2012 at 12:38 am. Reply #

The Economist is an Evertonian. Eat that, world! RT @stephentall New from me > It appears I am The Economist http://t.co/llpi9sp8

by Richard Castiel on October 12, 2012 at 12:45 am. Reply #

New from me > It appears I am The Economist http://t.co/MBll2G0D

by Alex Honeker on October 12, 2012 at 12:58 am. Reply #

I’ve always had problems with that generalisation that the original writer makes about left and right (which I hear very often), because I think Labour are not especially socially liberal (Roy Jenkins was of course never a socialist, and belonged to a tradition that was driven out of the party). And they did some good things, such as on LGBT rights, but fundamentally the tone was set by the illiberal legislation brought in by Blair and Brown most of which we unfortunately still live under. (Because it simply isn’t a concern for most of the government ministers and MPs).

And I think Tories are only economic liberals when it suits themselves and their friends to be so, and their attitude towards the state is shaped more by desire to make money and the vindictiveness of their core voters towards poor people than by any consistent philosophy or desire to make good policy.

I suppose the above is a long way of saying I must be a liberal as well!

by asquith on October 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm. Reply #

It appears I am The Economist http://t.co/kyQ18uFO

by Alan Muhammed on October 14, 2012 at 8:30 am. Reply #

RT @stephentall: It appears I am The Economist http://t.co/9khomRBa

by Ben McGilvray on October 14, 2012 at 8:33 am. Reply #

It appears I am The Economist http://t.co/kyQ18uFO

by Gareth Lewis Shelton on October 14, 2012 at 8:36 am. Reply #

It appears I am The Economist http://t.co/kyQ18uFO

by L.I.Am? on October 14, 2012 at 8:39 am. Reply #

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