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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rocco Rossi is not 'right-wing,' he is right

I always hate this ‘left-wing’ ‘right-wing’ crap. It is the stuff of lazy journalists and stupid political scientists. It is completely subjective and constantly changing across time and space. For example, in Canada you would be considered far ‘right-wing’ if you want to introduce a private system of health care along with the public system. In the UK such a proposal would be considered...normal.

It seems that Rocco Rossi, a candidate for Mayor of Toronto, has my back on this. He rejects the label ‘right-wing’ for himself but does not call himself ‘centre’ or ‘left.’ He rejects the whole concept of the political spectrum.

"I think that there's a reflex to try and make things easier by categorizing each of us into buckets: Rocco Rossi is right, Joe Pantalone is left, George Smitherman is centre."

And when this happens, he continued, policies and ideas that don't fit that narrative get ignored.

This is absolutely true.

"I don't see myself as right or left. I see myself as pragmatic. Fiscally conservative and socially liberal," he said.

He could have taken the words right out of my mouth.

The amusing part of this article is that the writer insists on labelling all his policies as being ‘right’ or ‘left.’ Even as someone is telling her that labelling like that oversimplifies politics, she insists on using it. Why can’t journalists just put aside the labelling and simply report the policies?

Oh wait I already gave the answer to that question: laziness.

Mr. Rossi you may not be ‘right-wing’ but you are right.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 21, 2010 | Permalink


He might not be right or left wing, but he's still white and Ontario has been run by too many old rich white people. The time has come to hand the reins of power over to non-whites. Only they can undo the mess that you people have wrought on your place.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-03-21 7:06:36 AM

Oh yeah, class warfare and identity politics, that's the way to make the world a better place. I don't think so.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2010-03-21 7:22:45 AM

Great to see a politician rise about partisanship. Good on Rossi.

Posted by: Jill | 2010-03-21 8:26:29 AM

Given the extremely low caliber of Toronto people in general, it wouldn't surprise me if they elected their favorite son, Ernst Zundel, as mayor.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-03-21 9:20:38 AM

Mr. Rossi is making an attempt to get people to look at actual policies and analyse them, which requires a modicum of critical thinking ability, which sadly has been lost in the dumbing down of our "education" system and society in general.

At one time or another all of us have been guilty of pigeonholing people, since generalising is easier, but Mr. Rossi is correct that we must move beyond that. As for the journalist, real journalism is probably beyond her ability. That seems to be the case for most so-called journalists to-day.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-03-21 12:47:16 PM

Jill, did you mean, “rise above partisanship”? In which case, you should prepare for disappointment. Even politicians that enter the spectrum full of idealism are confronted with the choice of either giving in to reality, or serving a single term. The ironic part is that it is the fault of voters more than of politicians that the system is the way it is.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-03-21 12:55:54 PM

'Journalists' that work for the old liberal news media are usually not very bright, that's why they were selected to be 'journalists' - it's easier to keep them narrowly focused, it's not that they're lazy.

Posted by: Philanthropist | 2010-03-21 1:53:13 PM

Shane that is bang on!

Posted by: TM | 2010-03-21 7:20:22 PM

Good grief. I agree with Matthews.

The only way to reduce partisanship is to drastically reduce the size of the government. That will never happen until the public wants it to happen.

Posted by: Charles | 2010-03-22 6:31:31 AM

I've seen so many people use the "fiscally conservative and socially liberal" line now that it really doesn't mean anything to me anymore. Usually with political people they use it as an excuse to be able to do whatever the heck they want when they want to do it. If they want to spend money then it's a social issue, if they don't then it's fiscal.

Personally, I'm a big fan of definitions and I'm suspicious of anyone who claims that they don't fit into a category. If someone tells me they are an Objectivist or a Libertarian, a Social Conservative or a Marxist, a Liberal or say a Leftist I pretty much know who I'm dealing with and I know they're being honest with me. With the folks that want to blur the lines it's deuces wild and anything goes.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2010-03-22 12:14:41 PM

Don't forget the one-eyed jacks, FJ.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-03-22 2:34:44 PM

FJ, I have yet to meet anyone who fit neatly into any box. People's views vary greatly depending on the topic, plus most people's views are never static or never changing. I do agree that one can perhaps categorise individual policies as belonging to a certain type. While it makes forming an opinion on the policy easier, I still believe we miss a lot by not actually analysing the particular policy.

Concerning political labels I have seen so much misuse and abuse by the media in particular that I do find them the least bit helpful. This is just my experience and opinion.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-03-22 7:43:04 PM


The sort of labels such as Objectivist and Marxist have pretty clear meanings, and generally lets you know how that person stands. But even within Marxism and Objectivism there is a wide range of ideas and philosophy. For example, me saying that I am a libertarian won't let you know how I stand on abortion. The libertarian movement is pretty divided on that score.

The labels 'left' and 'right' are completely useless in letting you know how someone stands. There are no inherint assumptions of persepctives entailed with 'left' or 'right.' More often than not they seem to be connected to life style choices that have nothing to do with politics, thus the journalist's stupid comment about red meat.

Definitions are fine, but for a definition to be functional the concept that is being defined has to be concise and clear.

Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2010-03-23 4:18:13 AM

He's a white Toronto person. He has profited personally from the established racial order. As a white, he is at the top of the pyramid. He has never had to struggle to make ends meet, his family lives in luxury, and he associates only with other white people. In that sense, he is no different than any other Toronto politician. That is why he must be stopped. Your city needs new people in charge, preferably those excluded from power on the basis of their race. I recommend that Toronto's next mayor be from a visible minority and that over 50% of the council be the same, and half of those ought to be women. Unless this happens soon, Toronto will always be known as a racist, fascist city ruled by a governing elite, in sharp contrast to its self-created "progressive" image. We shall overcome.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-03-23 6:26:56 AM

Ayn Rand once said,

"As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation—or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind’s wings should have grown."

The problem is not categories or definitions, the problem is that too many people have chosen not to clearly define their philosophy. Politicians tend to do this on purpose, the strategy is to be all things to all people. They are against principles on principle.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2010-03-23 10:00:55 AM

anyone who claims he doesn't fit into a box, treat with suspicion. he will soon veer to the left.

Posted by: shel | 2010-03-23 10:05:43 AM

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