I was amazed to see a recent article by Chris Trotter where he has an “epiphany“. Chris Trotter has always had a strong set of value judgments about what was right policy and the way the world worked – but suddenly he has shown a willingness to evaluate those value-judgments. And for that I have to congratulate him.
Fundamentally he now feels that, possibly, there should be a higher weight on “equality of opportunity” as compared to “equality of outcomes” than he previously felt – now that is his view and I’m not going to tell him which way he should think (although personally I do agree with his movement). What excited me though was that someone who had seemed so stuck in their own value judgments he was able to have a look around and realise that reality might be different – I think that is a point we can all learn.
Another point I would like to make is to all the “right wing” and “National” supporters who commented saying that now he is like them – they are fundamentally wrong. Chris Trotter still appears to believe in a large set of government interventions – however, he is now painting those interventions as a way to increase “equality of opportunity”. As the balance between “left” and “right” is fundamentally on the size of the role of government in the economy he is still well to the left when he is discussing equality of opportunity. He states that specifically when he says:
Labour has to understand that its state houses, and the welfare state that built them, was just the first, not the last, stage and crowning achievement of the socialist journey
People on the left don’t have a different goal for society (the maximisation of welfare) they just have a different belief surrounding some of the trade-offs. There are areas where government can increase individual freedoms and improve “equality of opportunity” you know.
Ultimately, it is good to see actual introspection from political analysts, rather than arrogance about a point of view not being accepted (which Mr Trotter was heading towards at one point, and still has to be careful of when assuming that voters are “irrational”). Overall, I hope the epiphany does not end up the same way at Sweeney Todd’s 😉