Sunday, December 4, 2011

Neither Left, Center Nor Right


Hal Pepinsky,,

December 4, 2011

I’ve recently been chastised for being left, for being Marxist. I’m a deviant. I aim to minimize the harm my deviance does to others. At the same time, in defense of my ego, I insist that I am simply myself, not a conformist within any group seeking political patronage.

If I’m on the left, how come I side with the late great political conservatives William Buckley, Barry Goldwater and Milton Friedman on ending drug prohibitions? If I’m on the right, how come I favor public employment over privatization? If I’m in the center, how come I take any political stands at all in principle?

Political labels have no appeal to me. They call on me to subjugate my feelings and beliefs to a larger political platform. That amounts to asking me to join an established religious army in pursuit of some higher truth than I have been able to work out for myself

Charles Darwin pointed out that diversification of adaptation promotes survival of my species and our terrestrial ecosystem. I figure that humanity that I worship is better served by me the more I resist pressure to conform politically and professionally. In her research my mother Pauline Pepinsky distinguished negative conformity—oppositional politics—from nonconformity—forging one’s own path independently of social expectations. It turns out that she has captured my imagination. I welcome nonconformity wherever I encounter it; I strive to resist conformity in my life as a contribution to life potential for my species and the capacity of our environment to sustain us.

I was trained in sociology that deviance is bad. In my mother’s terms, I resist by seeking productive nonconformity. I am neither left, center nor right. Love and peace--hal

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