One of my photos


March 31st, 2010 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · No Comments · Politics

I came across a passage in Iain Banks’ novel The Steep Approach to Garbadale this evening that I felt like sharing.   It expresses what I feel about the differences between left and right very well – far better than I could do myself.

We got to talking about how some people were selfish and some weren’t, and the difference between right-wing people and left-wing people. You said it all came down to imagination.

Conservative people don’t usually have very much, so they find it hard to imagine what life is like for people who aren’t just like them.  They can only empathise with people just like they are: the same sex, the same age, the same class, the same golf club or nation or race or whatever.

Liberals can pretty much empathise with anybody else, no matter how different they are.  It’s all to do with imagination; empathy and imagination are almost the same thing, and it’s why artists, creative people, are almost all liberals, left-leaning.  Hard-headed people – business people – didn’t have that sort of imagination; it’s all directed at seeing business opportunities, identifying gaps in the market, spotting weaknesses in rivals.

Being just words put into the mouth of a character in a novel I know they carry no authority, but they struck a chord with me.

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