The Political and the Personal
I just found this comment on a profile I did in January 2006 of Canterbury University lecturer David Small.
It raises some interesting questions.
I just came across your profile of me. Amazing how often you add 2 and 2 and get 5. I showed it to my partner who's an independent midwife and she was horrified to discover that you are the person she went to some effort for recently in your desire to have a baby. You must have forgotten to mention that you were a right-wing nutter.
New Zealand is a tiny country. Everyone is connected to virtually everyone else within two or three degrees of seperation.
Here I am busily trying to expose someone I consider to be a dangerous socialist, while the man's partner is trying to help my wife and I adopt a child.
The obvious question is-can one, or should one seperate the personal from the political?
My answer is that it is difficult but possible and that one should try to see people as independent of their politics.
David Small is clearly horrified that his partner tried to help a "right wing nutter" adopt a child.
Would she have still tried to help had she known my politics?
My wife and I recently spoke at an Adoption Unit seminar on fostering and adopting toddler age children. Several couples were in the audience, all eager to draw from our experience.
We were there to help. They all could have been commies or Jim Anderton supporters for all we knew or cared.
All we wanted was to impart some of our knowledge, so that that those couples might have a better chance of experiencing some of the joys that we've had with our kids.
People are people first and political animals second. Political ideas, like all ideas are often temporarily held. While they may highlight character defects in the individual holding them, they do not entirely define a person.
When I profile people like David Small, I do so for several reasons.
Firstly I want to educate people as to how socialists work. I want to show the patterns of destructive behaviour that these people engage in, so that others may better understand the danger they pose. I feel a bit like a crime writer exposing the Mafia or the Triads.
Secondly, I want to use Lenin against the left. Lenin saw that the secret of achieving political power was to deny your opponents the ability to make decisions and take action in private. I want to expose the left and their methods so that it is harder for them to get away with their scams.
Thirdly, I think it is good for ALL of us to be held to account for our actions. If I were a destructive socialist, I would like (deep down) for my actions to be exposed. It might make me think about my ideas and even spark the long process of change for the better. I doubt many will see it that way, but I actually think I am doing socialists a favour by exposing their destructive actions and warped ideas to the sunlight.
All sounds very arrogant and condescending doesn't it?
We're all on this planet to live by our values and by doing so to grow as individuals. The more you put your ideas and values "out there" for people to judge and criticise, the more truthful they may become.
While I will fight the political ideas and values of the David Smalls of this world, I try to bear no malice towards those I oppose.
Maybe one day we will be fighting on the same side. Maybe one day we will even be friends. Maybe one day I will be in a position to return the favour that David's "family" tried to do mine.
Anything is possible when the personal transcends the political.