Checking the compass

Thomas Jones says in the Telegraph (reviewing Hitchens’s memoir):

The drift from left to right is hardly unusual, and the causes for his disillusionment with socialism and attraction to liberalism – the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, visits to Cuba and Poland under Communism, the pleasures and freedoms of life in the United States – are made plain enough.

I’m not sure that really is a move (or drift) from left to right. That would make displeasure and unfreedom left, and I don’t think that’s accurate. I know, the idea is more that some coercion is worth the price for the sake of more pleasure and freedom (or more something) for everyone, and that does describe part of the left. But still – the right is the party of tradition, and authority, and custom, and religion, and monarchy, and hierarchy. Let’s not forget that. The right is not necessarily or always the party of freedom. In some ways, and not trivial or obscure ones, liberalism is to the left of coercive brands of socialism. Let’s not be “framing” liberalism as right-wing or support for liberalism a move to the right.

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