From neolithic to neoliberal: the madness of our species
From the very earliest times of formation into small groups and then tribes, Homo sapiens has been putting ideas about stuff into practice. Frequently, the initial idea is very insightful, and helps to make life easier….or calm everyone down, shape rocks into bricks, help them catch food and so on. In most cases, the idea has some element of ensuring that the pack is successful in fighting off predators, and rubs along sufficiently to stop internal strife. And inevitably, before too long, somebody has a crack at persuading everyone they should behave well and respect the needs of others.
From those developments come tools, shelter, weapons, surpluses, the Law, politics and religion. Observational science then improves the first four. But for some reason, science never penetrates the other two areas. Rather, politics and religion provide interpretations that pervert the first four. Then we get heretic burning, beheading, the European Union, and wars.
All attempts at large-scale unity end in civil or international wars. And all wars are the result of religious or socio-philosphical ideas that simply do not bear any interrogation whatsoever. However, the ideas are promulgated – and the wars fought – because of the persistent reproduction of genes that crave power. In every society that has ever existed, there is always a sociopathic borderline psychopathic group that wants power just for them. As this is a completely dysfunctional idea, it has to be rationalised.
The rationalisations of choice are always one or more of hate, fear, worship and greed.
“Some ideas are so crazy,” Mark Twain once wrote, “only the highly intelligent would ever accept them”. It’s ironic and wry, but it’s not true: the highly intelligent control freak invents mad, self-interested concepts, the dumbos buy into them, and those in the middle continue with their determination to have a quiet life. If anyone in the middle puts a hand up to suggest an absence of clothes, the dumbos form mobs to drown that person out, and the elite send the unfortunate interrogator to Room101 – where the process of miscounting fingers is drummed into the poor wretch. If that doesn’t work, then variously the lobotomy, bonfire, wrack or firing squad beckon.
Among millions of other crackpot notions over 8,000 or so years, there are nevertheless some that stand out like a Dayglo blimp in terms of beautifully distilled insanity. Transubstantiation, Fractional Reserve banking, Jewish racial inferiority, the Divine Right of Kings, pyramids for Pharaohs, Scientology, Utopia, honorary Aryans, trial by Fire, the Euro, and it’s OK for the Pope to be a paedophile: all these have been put forward and accepted by enough people to make them something of a norm.
Are we getting better or worse at rooting out pottiness?
What we’re experiencing at the moment is nothing new, but it does have one unique feature: that is, for the first time in recorded history, there is a dizzying confluence of mad ideas. They include:
* As a means of behavioural reform, prison works
* Business is more important than society
* Jimmy Savile groomed a nation
* Religions of peace must exterminate infidels so we can all have the same peace
* Social anthropology is of no relevance
* Pauperising consumers can create a consumer-driven recovery
* For the majority to have enough to eat, 5% must have more money than they could ever spend
* Lobbyists do not create governmental corruption
* Globalism is a good idea
* Rolf Harris got a fair trial
* Women can have it all and maintain perfect life balance
* World trade will always offer a good fit between output and need
* Neoliberalism isn’t really monopolism. Really, it isn’t.
* Homosexuality should be celebrated and nurtured
* Socialism is the only alternative
* The Western democratic form is the finest form of Government man could ever achieve
* The power to deliver the message is more important than the message
* Western democracies enjoy equality before the Law
* The Greek debt can be repaid
* Neoliberalism is a form of capitalism
* Productivity and profit are more important than social contentment
* Rebekah Brooks is innocent
* Art can flourish in a bums-on-seats culture
* All surveillance is for our own good
* Level playing fields and legs up are totally compatible
* Men are useless and fathers unnecessary
* The human race is becoming more civilised.
* The British economic recovery is balanced and fruitful
* Nothing happened at Elm House, so let’s move on
* Boris Johnson is a jolly good egg
Oddly enough hohoho I’ve posted on all these topics at one time or another. I do so because there is such a plethora of empirical data to demonstrate the beliefs are at best flawed, and usually the opposite of what is. But they are all widely accepted. Every day in the pubs, papers, cars and trains of your country, people will blithely go along with the idea that Ed Miliband knows what he’s doing, George Soros is quite nice really, Wayne Rooney was a good choice as England captain, Wayne Buffet always tells the truth, rising stock markets merely reflect growing economies, the BBC is run by Communists, Barack Obama is really black, wind power is a solution to energy shortages, Fracking makes any sense whatsoever, Britain can do away with agriculture while continuing to accept immigration, the Human species has had no effect whatsoever on the ecology, America is the land of the Free, the BBC is run by Fascists, and there’s always going to be enough water for everyone.
At times the contradiction lies within the very idea itself:
ISIS is a major threat to our World, but jihadists are only a tiny minority of Muslims
Take people’s money off them, and they will spend more
Education is the same as it always was, only better
So no – the short answer is – if anything, we’re getting worse at discerning between shit and putty. And inevitably, this will have fallout consequences involving broken glass.
The answer as always lies with the Human power gene. Once upon a time, it was draped in the ‘respectable’ disguise of the day: a Pharisee, a Messiah, a military genius, a Führer, a Duce, an Archbishop, or a National Father. Today, one feels, things are more complex, more subtle….and thus, far easier to hide.
The reasons for this, however, are not hard to spot:
1. The media have exploded into so many directions and spheres, we all have information overload
2. Distractions in those media take people’s eye off the three card-trick being pulled
3. On the one hand, welfare dependency breeds fear of change and passive acceptance of what is. And on the other, deregulated labour means longer hours for less money…so those in work have less time to think, and more immediate fears about a rising tide of debt.
4. Media training among politicians – and bullying of the news media – have combined with spin consultants to nurture evasiveness, lying and disinformation
5. The dominance of global companies and banks has ensured that disguises need not be respectable: they are in most cases never seen – and when revealed, are dismissed as conspiracy theories
6. Slowly but surely, labour is being stripped of its rights, capital has moved above the law, and bureaucracy has the information capacity to blackmail 95% of all dissenters without fear of the Law.
7. Unable to stand up to this pressure, the political process attracts only the mediocre and suppliant: once a calling drawn from real life; it is largely today a profession existing solely to add smoke and mirrors to the disguised nature of unelected political power.
8. Narrow, target-driven education and growing materialism have between them depoliticised vast swathes of the electorate, and rendered their judgements naive and short-sighted.
The ‘explanations’ for every loopy idea or event have become even more ridiculous because first, the power grab being enacted is on a far bigger, multidimensional scale than ever before; and second, public apathy and blindness have made them possible. In some ways, this is similar to the thing with motorways: sell more cars, and you need more roads…build more roads, and cars will fill them. It is a self-propelling and intrinsically tragic process.
What should we do about it?
My recommendation remains the same: until the system has changed, starve the beast that feeds it.
At present, we are merely Turkeys voting for the continued celebration of Christmas. So…
DO NOTE VOTE.
Instead, exercise your right to disapprove by withdrawing the one thing the system craves: fiat money.
In the mid-20th Century when mass workforces still existed, the flight of power to capital was stemmed by Trades Union action to withdraw labour. Sadly, the Unions’ illiberal, undemocratic leaders wanted to become the sovereign power….and had to be stopped. Then – after the correction – the structure of employment changed to being one of smaller sectors.
Today, globalist banking and multinational business represent an even greater threat. The only answer is Starve the Beast.
Organise to get spineless Opposition Parties to legislate against lobbyist power.
Campaign to ban all political donations, and instead to fund Parties through taxation.
Boycott those financial and mercantile globalists who perpetuate the carve-up.
Only when money and its distribution by value have been reconfigured to have a meaningful worth will life return to some kind of normality.
There has been much talk of late about crowd-sourcing.
For myself, I’d like to see more crowd disincentivising. I’d like to see more mass refusal to take part in Stepford Wife passivity. I’d like to see a massive reduction in the power of the unelected.
But above all, I’d like to see the election of those who have our interests at heart. And as we have very little money, the only answer is to take the money out of politics.
The Madness of our species is rare, and restricted to those with power. Keep them away from power, and sanity can be restored. Far from being idealism, this seems to me the ultimate realism.