Writers tend to the Left because they have imagination, not compassion

10 February 2014

I apologise for writing a blogpost about a tweet, which can look a bit like over-analysis, but I was intrigued by a couple of things that writer Graham Linehan wrote last week.



He was responding to some complaints about bias on the BBC, and as Linehan has written some brilliant television comedy, his opinion is listened to.

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Our minds naturally respond in a hostile way to views we find opposed to ours, which is why I highly recommend Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind to anyone who strongly agrees, or disagrees, with Linehan’s statement (and Linehan himself, if he’s reading). Haidt, a liberal, found that people on the Left tend to have a very poor understanding of what their political opponents actually believed in, far poorer than their opponents’ understanding of them.

Conservatives did not lack compassion, he found, but had a wider array of ‘moral flavours’, some of which were not shared by the Left. (In fact studies in the US show that conservatives give more of their money to good causes than liberals, but I suppose that could reflect their attitude to the state, and I don’t know how else one might measure it – by blood donations?) If conservatives have any personality failing, it is a stronger sense of fear.

But Linehan’s view is fairly common, because people on the Left tend to stereotype conservatives. I’m not against the use of stereotypes, because although they can be a nuisance or injustice, stereotyping is a useful and necessary social shorthand and therefore impossible to eradicate. Stereotyping is only illogical when it is no longer useful, or too vague, but that it can be useful reflects the fact that reality has a Right-wing bias.

In drama, or at least in BBC drama, you see Christian fundamentalist terrorists, pro-life killers, Israeli terror plots in Britain, and lots of erudite, well-spoken murderers; in reality most crime and terrorism is fairly predictable, committed by rather boring and unintelligent criminals, mostly males aged 18-40.

But the main reason why people on the Left should read Haidt’s book is Linehan’s assumption that his side is moral. Moral people should never be comfortable in their righteousness. As Christopher Lasch observed, faith is not a comfort but a burden, and for those in positions of moral authority, as high-profile writers are, they should never feel content that they are the saved; they should feel confused, agonised even. On top of anything it leads to poor art; great drama and fiction tends to have a slight Left-wing bias, it is true, but bad drama has a much bigger one.

On top of this there is his contention that writers are compassionate; yet some of the best novelists in history have been extremely selfish, even unpleasant people, and artists in general are not especially moral. What writers are good at, and this is a personality trait that is far more common in people on the Left, is using their imagination to understand the views and motives of other people. Except, for some strange reason, when it comes to conservatives.

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  • wrinkledweasel

    Graham Linehan creates exquisite little worlds with their own droll logic. His reality is lunches at the Ivy and the BBC club, with people who dash off to the loo between courses and return with runny noses, so I suppose, in his own terms he is right. But he no longer lives in “the real world”.

    His biggest crime, as a writer though, is to follow the current orthodoxy. He will never break out of it (if the sum total of his output is an indicator) and he will be forgotten, when we all look back in fifty years time and marvel at a society which allowed itself to implode out of stupidity and a complete misunderstanding of history.

  • Tyler Ingolia


  • tribalterror

    I love Father Ted and the IT Crowd. It is rather depressing to discover that Linehan has gone native (perhaps always was) and is yet another smug left wing luvvie who consigns anyone with whom he does not agree as morally bankrupt. Still I suppose that this attitude is a pre-requisite for getting commissioned by CH4 and the BBC..

  • Robert Harkin

    “In fact studies in the US show that conservatives give more of their money to good causes than liberals, but I suppose that could reflect their attitude to the state, and I don’t know how else one might measure it – by blood donations?”

    “The GSS [General Social Survey] in 2002 showed that those who said the government was “spending too much money on welfare” were more likely to donate blood than those who said the government was “spending too little money on welfare.” The anti-redistributionists were also more likely to give someone directions on the street, return change mistakenly handed them by a cashier, and give food (or money) to a homeless person.” – Arthur C. Brooks, Wall Street Journal, December 24 2019

  • Teddy Bear

    Confirms my view of the left..

    Those, like the BBC, who use supposed left-wing policies, stated as if it makes them appear caring or concerned, to achieve or increase power for themselves. Their insidious hypocrisy is usually easily evident, and their twisted reality invariably creates more victims on both sides.
    For them LEFT = Lies Evading Factual Truths

    Then there are those who cover up their own lack of penetrative thought, believe adopting left-wing propaganda makes them caring and concerned. Clearly they have never really thought through the issues presented that they are quick to adopt.
    For them: LEFT = Loving Everyone Forsaking Thought

  • MikeF

    Oscar Wilde has been mentioned here. He invariably has something pertinent to say and given that the left like to imagine that they have a monopoly on virtue this seems to sum them up:
    “If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.”

  • S&A

    ‘[Reality] has a left-wing bias’

    Indeed. I’m struck by the number of cases in which fanatical Christians behead innocent victims (Bonekickers), Al Qaeda attacks are actually committed by Mossad (Spooks), British soldiers in Afghanistan are shown to be more proficient at killing each other than the Taliban (Frankie’s Story), to take a couple of examples at random.

  • wibbling

    He’s wrong. As Lady Tahtcher rightly said, the facts of life are Conservative.

    I don’t see Lineham giving his salary away to all and sundry, or demanding he pay more tax for the homeless.

    People look to their family first, providing a home and security. Basic, simple Conservative values.

    The man is a delued wombat. He’s just plain wrong and seeks to preach a creed he has no intent on practicing – just like every other sanctimonious Lefty out there.

    • sarahsmith232

      Absolutely spot on. I wonder whether it occurs to him that there’s another whole real world that his lot has created, looks like he’d be really living in the middle of it, that of the sanctimonious socialist high earning tax diddler, most of which can be found at the BBC. The rest can be seen on the Labour party front bench.
      You know the 2 brothers Miliband dodged paying inheritance tax on that £3 million pound Primrose Hill home of theirs ’cause they got their mum to sign it over to them years ago. So there’s E.Miliband going on about going after ‘the rich’ via a mansion tax but he’s a mansion tax dodger himself. Then there’s the unbelievable one, Livingstone, frothing and foaming about high earners dodging tax, demanding that they have they legal right to vote taken away even, then come his turn to earn and, yes, here’s where anyone can counter the Left’s ‘reality’ argument – human nature kicked in. His first and foremost consideration was to protect his own, provide from his family so dodged paying a penny on but a mere £3.5 million of earnings. You’d think at some point the penny might drop for some of this Oxbridge lot, but no, the hypocrisy is too strong a streak with that lot.

  • JamesChambers123

    “… in reality most crime and terrorism is fairly predictable, committed by rather boring and unintelligent criminals, mostly males aged 18-40, who claim benefits and vote labour.” Fixed that for you.

    • pdhan

      Left or right, anyone ending their post with “fixed that for you” shows a lack of imagination bordering on the retarded.

      • JamesChambers123

        I’m sorry, I forgot the comments section in The Spectator is the hip and happening place to demonstrate the full flow of our creative juices, or failing that, for just calling people ‘retarded’ without a hint of irony.

        So come on then our budding Shakespeare / Wilde / Wordsworth / etc. (select as your ego sees fit), blow me away with a demonstration of your imagined superior imagination; for I suspect that’s all you have.

        Otherwise STFU and try to be less of a waste of bandwidth in the future.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Good Heavens, this is the first time I’ve been able to comment on a Spectator Blog for quit some time. Has anyone else found this?

    Is using your imagination to uinderstand the views and motives of other people a leftie trait? So Shakespeare was on the left, was he? What utter bollocks.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Just part of the drip, drip, drip towards a single party socialist state and the criminalisation of right wing views.

    Every time some lefty donkey brays something outrageous like this it is an attack on diversity, democracy and pluralism in politics. Linehan has just expressed the politics of the Stasi.

    One thing we can be sure of. An apology will not be demanded and he will not be subjected to the public ridicule he deserves.

    • Kitty MLB

      Exellent, Colonel.
      Just before I go might i also add.
      Drip drip towards total Socialist predominance,
      where individuality is forbidden, history rewritten
      and freedom of expression is attacked.
      Those trapped within the iron of Socialism
      speak with just one voice

    • pdhan

      Why would he apologise? To whom? He’s a writer who has expressed an opinion, where’s the problem with that? It is obviously you who mind pluralism.

      • Colonel Mustard

        It might have escaped your notice that other writers (and speakers) who have expressed an opinion have had to apologise as the result of the (usually left wing) ‘outrage’ mob forming. Unlikely in this case for obvious reasons and that was my point. I was not demanding an apology – RTFP.

  • Kitty MLB

    May I be excused for saying.
    Conan Doyle would be utterly appalled at the BBC’s
    destruction of Sherlock Holmes.
    Also saying Stephen Moffett created Sherlock Holmes, was
    not quite true, now was it, He was trying to turn it into Doctor Who.
    Also as for turning Holmes, Watson and Watsons wife into the three
    musketeers- not impressed, and Holmes most certainly was not a
    psychopath. Next time the BBC produce something from the
    imagination of the left, show some compassion for the likes of Doyle- please !!!!

  • Terry Field

    Since the British socio-political sewer that the media fish swim in is left-dominated, one does not have to be ‘imaginative’ to be a left wing writer – one simply has to be conformist.
    And this explains the sea of tediously repetitive stuff the guardian / BBC media distributors seize upon.
    All the time.

    • Tim Reed

      True. Adopting all of the trendy lefty assumptions of the BBC media luvvies is as conformist as one can get in the world of modern British comedy.

      …and yet, they all affect an air of edginess and seem to firmly believe that their opinions are somewhat radical – as if holding the establishment to account, “Speaking truth to power blah blah”.

      They are the establishment! It’s such a conceit.

  • Raw England

    Ed – you’ve missed the main reason why Lefties tend to have more imagination than tories etc: its because most of the Left have had significant amounts of drugs at some point. I’m nationalist/ethno nationalist, and I also had significant amounts of drugs at one point. It’s caused me to have imagination and creativity bursting around my brain on a 24/7 basis.

    But then, I’m not Right-wing, so it may still be true

  • Raw England

    Tie roughly-cut lumps of Halal beef to Lefties ankles; shave their manky, sweaty body hair off with a razor fashioned from Piranhas scrotums; place three Birdseye peas in each of their waxy, fetid ear canals, then deport them. All of them.

  • NedMissingTeeth

    It’s a disappointment Graham Linehan thinks this way. I’ve always thought of him as a funny and intelligent bloke. The best way I could describe someone on the Left is naive. They may have a heart of gold but reality isn’t so shiny.

  • ted_2012

    “Also, reality has a left-wing bias”

    I swear if I have to hear that smug, self satisfied piece of crap one more time …

  • Kevin Foy

    What about us who transcend this whole Left Right thing, are we just ignored because are lack of zeal means we can’t even muster the energy to finish a

  • Whyshouldihavetoregister

    Good to know that he’s stupid as well as unfunny. (Father Ted? Never saw anything so arse-achingly one-note and self-satisfied in my life, unless it was that Alan B’stard thing by those other two lefty idiots.)

  • RaymondDance

    The behaviour that Linehan is engaging in is just a juvenile form of self-congratulation. The BBC is full of childish narcissists just like him.

  • Tom Allalone

    I’ve written for the BBC and if you’re not Guardianista left, you shut up about it. Fortunately, most BBC commissioning editors are a) not too bright and b) quite unable to believe that any world view other than their own actually exists. Therefore it’s relatively easy to smuggle subversive messages past them

  • ReefKnot

    It is neither imagination or compassion. Those on the left base their views and conclusions on the basis of an emotional consideration whereas the right prefer logic and reason.
    Those who are governed by emotion tend to have more imagination and compassion.

    • Fergus Pickering

      The right prefer logic and reason. Utter nonsense. The right know that emotion is at the root of all good writing. Robepierre and Lenin were logic and reason types..

  • rtj1211

    I’m afraid the BBC does have some unacceptable bias to it, although a lot of what it does is fair enough. But in the arena of climate change, it is biased to the point of breaking the terms of its charter. Countryfile is now in on the act, blithely slipping in that everything is due to ‘climate change’ (whatever that means), rather than due to a constellation of atmospheric conditions which incude drought in California and eastern Australia, extreme cold and some snow in much of the mid-West and NE USA, huge snowfalls on the Scottish mountains and floods in the UK and huge snow in the southern Alps of Europe.

    These things have happened before and I’ll tell you why: if you look at where the biggest glaciers are on the Alpine divide, you’ll find that many of them get most snow when depressions come into the Alps from the South and winds are from the South to South East, just as we have been having this winter.

    So, those glaciers were formed during extended periods where the weather we have now was happening then.

    You wouldn’t have glaciers in Zermatt and Saas Fee if the depressions all came from the NW, any more than the Aletsch glacier would be the size it is now.

    You get those by depressions coming in from the South to South West.

    What we are getting now has happened before and will happen again.

    I’d like Dame Julia Slingo to address this matter, rather than performing high wire trapeze tricks to come up with her latest fitting of propaganda to changing pressures.

  • sarahsmith232

    Absolutely must read this book, well done to Ed West for selling this.
    There should be every kind of bell, whistle and flashing warning lights going off when a Left-wing politician starts showing off their belief in their own saviour figure status . Any talk of their being such a thing as a ‘moral universe’ (the unspoken implication being that they are an unusually important upholder of it) should be, straight off, a good enough reason to make sure they get nowhere near a position of responsibility in this society.
    ‘Fraid I would have to disagree with anyone who believes there’s either a right of left-wing bias to the reality anyone here is existing in. E.West has wrote that the emphasis on the hard-working families thing grates. Agreed, why is that morally superior to those who don’t define themselves by the status of their job title and would prefer to work less and go down the pub more often? It isn’t, it just is in the minds of those who do define themselves by the status of their car, income etc and are being backed up by people in power (who are also that type).
    Writers are more compassionate and there is such a thing as a right or left bias to reality, ha! Well, i’d counter that with what I think is another reality – any writer that believes that is absolutely as clueless as you get about people and society.

    • sarahsmith232

      Oops, just realised, the writer E.West wrote that he believes there’s a right-wing bias. Oh well, I’m only a low status probable troll type, so best to take no notice.

  • Diogenes

    Writers have good imaginations and create imaginary worlds.
    Left wing people live in an imaginary world with only a tendentious connection to reality.
    Therefore it is statistically more probable that there would be more left wing
    In TV writing there is also a strong selective bias in favour of the left because of the BBC, and some others. Linehan’s right wing doppelgänger would not get a foot in the door.

    • sarahsmith232

      Do you not think that the reason why the Left is Left is ’cause it’s all so really very easy to be on the Left. You know, it isn’t a really very taxing set of thought processes. The right-wing capitalist system can’t function unless the set of impulses driving it are selfish, it rewards the more able, which then becomes a selfishly reinforcing ‘reality’ if left to it’s own devices. Ok, not wrong and it’s really very easy to get that. Problem – ALL, across every single society going, throughout the whole of the 20th century, every single remedy for this that Left has implemented has proved itself the far more unpleasant, or outright evil, version.
      For me, the Left can do the rage about the evils of the capitalist system all so very well but, as witnessed with the Occupy thing, when it comes to ideas about how to resolve this where are they? They can’t do that. But then they don’t need to. Presenting themselves as of the mind set that’s anti the unfairness in the capitalist system is the only thinking they’ve been expected to align with to be recognised as being members of a higher moral order. The mere fact that their remedies have destroyed so much of this country doesn’t count when they can only understand how destructive they’ve been via the Left biased media, which tells them they haven’t.

  • tjamesjones

    I’m a huge fan of Haidt’s book, if you can’t be bothered reading it you can google econtalk and listen to his interview by Paul Sabin.
    I agree with the rest of this blog post largely, though I’m not sure I’d even concede the point that good writing tilts to the left – think of Evelyn Waugh, not sure England has had a better writer this last 100 years. But you are spot on that reality tilts to the right, and although I try to avoid them, I can recall BBC dramas with all the themes you mentioned – I abandoned spooks around the time of the israeli terrorists, and shortly after the pro-life terrorists.

    • sarahsmith232

      Thanks for the heads up on the talk, am def’ sold on this book, must get to check this out, in the meantime will check the talk out.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Well of course it doesn’t. Good writing tilts to the right. Surely that is obvious.

  • GUBU

    Some writers clearly tend to have an overinflated sense of their own importance…

    • Kitty MLB

      Stephen Moffett springs to mind,
      smug little twit.

      • Knives_and_Faux

        Chalk the TV series he wrote was funny, that’s why they airbrushed it from history and never repeat it.

  • Mr Grumpy

    ‘I apologise for writing a blogpost about a tweet’
    Don’t give us a pseudo-apology, Ed, just don’t do it! You don’t need the contrast with someone whose worldview fits into 140 characters to make your stuff look good.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Linehan is a classic example of the self righteous lefty with zero self awareness or perspective. He sometimes writes funny stuff and so you might expect him to be a decent man or someone with a broad range of views. His appearances on the likes of HIGNFY completely trash any such ideas. He has an extremely narrow worldview fuelled by the usual unthinking rag-bag of right-on cliches.

    Not a nice bloke and definitely not someone with anything but a very narrowly defined regard for humanity.

    • Tom W Huxley

      I don’t see how you can ascertain that someone is “not a nice bloke” just because they’re wrong about something. As it happens, you’re completely wrong (which by your logic would make you “not a nice bloke” either…)

      • Hexhamgeezer

        I’m not claiming to be ‘nice’.

        • M. Wenzl

          Is Linehan claiming to be nice? Compassion and niceness aren’t the same thing.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Who are you to say that he is completely wrong. I find leftists to be nauseatingly sanctimonious, hypocritical, spiteful and nasty people. In my experience when right wing people disagree with you they tend to think you are wrong-headed, misguided or stupid. Disagree with a leftist and you have earned his or her unremitting hatred for eternity. They think you are evil to disagree with them and should be imprisoned. As for the laughable suggestion that ‘reality’ has a left wing bias, nothing could be further from the truth. Most people aspire to better themselves a uniquely right-wing attitude.

        • Tom W Huxley

          Because he knows I’m a dyed-in-the-wool right-winger and he’s never been anything less than kind, charming and generous to me.

  • bensix

    Samuel Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Rudyard Kipling, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh, Robert Frost, Philip Larkin, Walker Percy, Jorge Luis Borges, Tom Stoppard…

    All of them really got told by the co-creator of Father Ted.

    • Mr Grumpy

      Well said, though I’m not sure Chesterton belongs in the list. His politics were Liberal.

      • Fergus Pickering

        I think he is there because he was a Catholic

        • Kitty MLB

          As someone who is a Catholic, a Conservative and a Writer.
          I can say this is a complex and sometimes wretched combination.
          Being confined within the confines of organised religion,
          writing with the freedom of expression and emotion of a Conservative, and for a writer, its imperative that everything you produce must come from the soul and not the result of logical thinking.
          Yet at times of very recent personal loss a person must perhaps
          must refrain from writing, and remove themselves from the world stage. or they might turn into
          Medusa preforming a Greek Tragedy- mortifyingly embarrassing.
          The Left would never have had the souls to produce words
          of the ancient Greeks, such as this :
          Eos opened the gates of heaven, so that Hellios
          could ride his chariot across the rosy fingered dawn of creation everyday.
          Apologies, and farewell.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Oh not farewell I trust.

            • Kitty MLB

              No indeed, Fergus.
              After all if all Tories were to leave for too long
              Lefties ( those trapped within a oblivion of a fallen mind)
              would run riot.
              Tories have a duty to help the less fortunate ( regardless
              of how fruitless)
              Education is the progressive discovery of ones own ignorance, and there is an awful lot of ignorant Lefties.
              No doubt there will be a lot of hysterical caterwauling,
              yet people here manage them here in an excellent and hilarious manner- I would just whack them with sticks myself.

              • Fergus Pickering

                Whack away, Kitty. Whack away!

                • Kitty MLB

                  I shall do that, in very windy Suffolk
                  at the moment, lots of sticks to be found
                  especially for the occasion in the woods.
                  Just as long as the little Leftie pavlov
                  doggies do not see the sticks and think
                  I want to play fetch the stick with them-
                  Not awfully as we know, but I shall
                  give it ago-but not Telemuchus-he
                  is a delicate creature..

    • laurence

      Also, Céline, Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Pound, Drieu La Rochelle, Knut Hamsun; indeed many Modernist writers were, in their political proclivities, altogether rightish.

      Never read a line of Mr Linehan but his smug, self-congratulatory sanctimony is familiar to me from my very, very, infrequent dips into the op-ed pages of The Guardian. you do, though, have to admire the chutzpah of a man who thinks that the complexities of the political and the literary can be condensed into two ‘tweets’. Truly a gifted writer.

      • Pootles

        Edmund Blunden, Henry Williamson, Tolkein, Anthony Powell, R.C. Sherriff, Ernst Junger, T.E.Lawrence…

        • laurence

          Come to think of it Pootles, you could probably squeeze Virginia Woolf in there too.

          • Pootles

            And one could, without a shadow of doubt, put Radclyffe Hall in – top lesbian writer of the last century, and looked damn good in a hat.

        • Tom Allalone

          W. B. Yeats, Kingsley Amis, Roy Campbell, Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, J G Ballard, Susan Hill, P D James, C S Lewis, Anthony Burgess, Saki, Somerset Maugham,

          • witwoud

            Jane Austen. P.G.Wodehouse.

          • Kitty MLB

            Evelyn Waugh is one of the best writers,
            and with the wit of a true Conservative.
            No one has breathed the name of the wonderful
            Oscar Wilde
            Also, Aldous Huxley, Who said the right does not have
            Those reconditioning centres in Brave New World,
            quite harmless humour and an excellent place
            to pop a few Lefties I think.

            • Michael Carey

              Wait, you mean the writer of ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’ was a right-winger?

              • wrinkledweasel

                Wilde was not a lefty, he was a romantic. His interest in the working classes was purely professional.

                • Michael Carey

                  Nonsense, he makes his political views very clear in that piece.

                • wrinkledweasel

                  “Its author was not in any active sense a Socialist himself” (George Orwell)

                  “All modes of government are failures..The form of government that is most suitable to [man] is no government at all … all authority is equally bad” (OW)

                  Despite its title, Wilde’s 1891 essay ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism,’ first published in the Fortnightly Review, advocated not state socialism but anarchism (Eltis, Brasenose College, Oxford)

                  “Wilde’s essay eschewed sentiment and sentimentality..Wilde’s rejection of authoritarian state socialism aligned him clearly with Mikhail Bakunin” (Eltis).

                  Wilde was, if he was anything remotely political, a libertarian. Socialism was never on his agenda – I trust the wisdom of others quoted might back that up.

                • Michael Carey

                  Why not just read what he himself wrote? Libertarian socialism, anti state socialism, is still socialism, or else Marx was not a socialist either. How can a libertarian socialist seeking the abolition of private property be claimed as a righty!

                • wrinkledweasel

                  “Why not just read what he himself wrote?”

                  Er, I have. All of it. In fact, I have read practically everything Wilde ever wrote and quite a lot that was written about him because he was the subject of my university dissertation.

                  Some clever person wrote that, “our cultures observe the Wilde they expect and want to see.” Attempts at applying words such as “socialist” – which has changed its meaning considerably in the intervening 100 years – to a man who was, if nothing else, a chameleon, are reductive and ultimately pointless.

                  It is stimulating to argue the point, but I will leave it with an extract from a contemporary Spectator review of The Soul of Man Under Socialism:

                  “Mr. Oscar Wilde, in The Soul of Man under Socialism, has
                  apparently set himself to galvanise his readers. . . . All these
                  literary bullets are shot out in defence of the thesis that men should
                  be themselves, in contempt it would seem, not merely of the public, but
                  of all law which restricts their individualism. The article, if serious,
                  would be thoroughly unhealthy, but it leaves on us the impression of
                  being written merely to startle and excite talk.”

                  Which it clearly has.

                • Michael Carey

                  So you and the Speccie think you know Wilde’s political opinion better than he himself? Helen Keller wrote somewhere about how frustratingly condescending she found it when the establishment wouldn’t take her professed socialist beliefs seriously, and this idea that Wilde was only after attention or something is a very similar case.

                • Fricco

                  Could it be possible to get ones hands on this dissertation?

                • wrinkledweasel

                  Not easily, because I wrote it over 20 years ago and it only exists as a manuscript in my attic. But thank you for asking.

      • grammarschoolman


      • wrinkledweasel

        Nobody reads Hamsun and he deserves a name check. I am not sure you can even get all the books. Being self sufficient, being determined to make something of your life and creating a dynasty by the sweat of your own brow is frowned on these days. He even managed a novel about hunger without blaming the government. How’s that for imagination?

    • dothedan

      Indeed. It seems to me that the claim is exactly backwards. Left-leaning writers might tend to show us “more” of what’s actually going on around us, spending time on the fringes of society. But that tendency is often (not always) devoid of the imaginative depth found consistently in conservative writers. The liberal impulse is to strip away the garments that constitute Burke’s “moral imagination,” leaving the world naked, ordinary, and all the same.

      I’m surprised the author brings up Haidt but doesn’t come to this conclusion. The fact that conservatives tend to have a “wider array of moral flavors” suggests to me a disposition more conducive to imaginative thinking–to the creation of myth, in the broad sense of the word, as culturally-meaningful stories. Even a stronger sense of fear, while perhaps a failing, is surely linked to greater imagination.

      I think Linehan was partly correct. The left-leaning author does tend to have compassion, but compassion divorced from imagination. And that will never produce a Dostoevsky, a Waugh, a Burgess, etc.

      • sarahsmith232

        Maybe the fear thing is down to those on the Right having far more to lose. I’m guessing that life has prob’ served them well, nice house, in an affluent area (so when hear Miliband say he’s going to be building 200,000 homes a year are fearful that their once crime free Surrey village will get a massive council estate pushed right up to it). If you’re part of section of society that don’t want change that’s prob’ ’cause the kind of change the Left brings is for the worst.
        Sorry, I’m going to have to criticise you, I think the reason why you wrote that fear of change is a failing is solely down to Left-wing, mainly BBC’s doing, brainwashing. They’ve successfully associated it with the backward & small minded. People angry about this Labour party created world are only right to fear even more of it come 2015. I think you’re dead wrong to believe that it’s the case that being fearful of change should automatically mark you out as a member of the hidebound, small minded and backward brigade.

    • Tommy_Butler
  • Baron

    Writers having compassion? Hmmm

    If it were true those of the writers, other artistic types who make it big would give it all away. They never do.

  • MikeF

    “a personality trait that is far more common in people on the Left, is using their imagination to understand the views and motives of other people”. Have you been sniffing something? The left nowadays do little more than demonise anyone who thinks differently from them. Its ‘drama’ is increasingly a reinvention the mediaeval morality play but without the poetry. As for the BBC ‘rightwing’ writers will never be ‘right’ for them because the BBC mindset cannot accommodate the thought that they might have something interesting to say because that would in turn contradict its sense of its own moral as well as political correctness. It nothing to do with ‘compassion’ – the left does not know the meaning of the word.

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