Rebirth of Reason

War for Men's Minds

The Turd Way
by Marcus Bachler

About a year and a half ago I noticed a book prominently displayed in a bookshop in Oxford, UK. It was called "The Third Way" by Anthony Giddens. I had never encountered the term "the third way" before and decided to read the book synopsis. It stated the following: "The idea of finding a "third way" in politics has been widely discussed over recent months - not only in the UK, but in the US, Continental Europe and Latin America. But what is the third way? Supporters of the notion haven't been able to agree, and critics deny the possibility altogether. This book shows that developing a third way is not only a possibility but a necessity in modern politics. The third way represents the renewal of social democracy in a world where the views of the old left have become obsolete, while those of the new right are inadequate and contradictory. A new social democratic agenda is emerging that is integrated, robust and wide-ranging. It is an agenda that can rekindle political idealism."

This is all wrong, I thought. I hoped that no one would take this book seriously and it was just the sensational ranting of some fringe socialist looney. Reading the reviews my hopes faded:

"Tony Giddens, allegedly Tony Blair's favourite intellectual, has done what many considered impossible: he has constructed a coherent and persuasive definition of the third way. But importantly he has pulled it off, insisting that rather than being beyond left and right, it is part of the left, the renewal of social democracy. This book could be decisive in persuading the Blairites that they must look to the left rather than the right for their political future. It is an important and potentially very significant political intervention." Will Hutton, Editor-in-Chief, the Observer.

"Tony Giddens has made the most significant contribution yet to laying the intellectual foundations of a modernized centre-left position. This book will be a landmark. It is a pioneering work of vital interest to the formation of political thinking on both sides of the Atlantic." Ian Hargreaves, formerly Editor of New Statesman and The Independent.

In the next few months I was to hear the "third way" phraseology being used fairly often on current affair programs in relation to the politics of the "new Labour" Government. That's not all either. There seems to have been an outpouring of "third way" books over the last five years. "Is there a third way?" by Michael Novak, "Social work and the third way" by Bill Jordan and even a pamphlet of essays edited by Tony Blair himself published in paperback last year called "Third way... where to?" So, what is the third way?

The third way is just a cheap repackaging of an old phoney justification for the mixed economy system, i.e. giving the economy just enough freedom for the Government and State to be able to exploit it for the so-called "common good".

The third way is the parasite's way, the con man's way, the loser's way, the brain-dead way. The best way is in fact the first and only rational way, the laissez faire capitalism way. The so-called "left of center" statists that promote the third way decided that they could no longer credibly defend the failure of the second way, i.e. Communism and Marxism and are terrified of the loss of political power and the gain of responsibility that is associated with the first way. Unfortunately, I doubt this will be the last way -- this will not be the last repackaging of the statist mentality.

Nevertheless, I have some advice for any future encounter you may have with the third way. If someone comes to you with the "third way" defence of statism, go tell them to stick it up their last way and make certain that it is their last way. Here's a simple method of detection: it's the smelly end that needs wiping. Then we will be able to once and for all clear the air for new fresher free aromas.

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