In Part 1 of a special double-header today, The Slog argues that, because our Establishments no longer fear the voter – whom they think to be an idiot – a movement peaceably engaged in nonParty organised tactical voting, making life difficult for élites and cutting off their blood supply is the best way to avoid “revolutionary” demagogues in the future, and deliver ground-up reform in the medium term. Part 2 will be published tomorrow.
I can’t believe many visitors to this site have failed to catch onto the fact that, in recent weeks, I have taken the decision to move beyond a narrow topic called Brexit, and onto a far bigger one. The problem I have been having is how to define this Bigger Picture. Bear with me please while I take you through the thinking process.
Rudy Giuliani was the first Western politician to employ the phrase “zero tolerance” during his election campaign to become Mayor of New York City in 1993. By doing so, he was latching onto two massive trends pioneered by President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from the mid 1970s onwards: first, the establishment of the quintissentially ideological principle of There Is No Alternative (TINA); and second, the recognition that – in a media-explosive world – the Soundbite is the winner.
The hardening of ideological positions (alongside the hardening of creative arteries) has been the dominant feature of Western socio-economic and political policy for over forty years now. In this it has been first matched and then exceeded by the rise and rise of fundamentalist Islam, and an acceptance of ‘political correctness’ (PC) – in and of itself a blatantly fascist concept – by Establishments throughout the First World.
As I have written numerous times before today, ideology is the creative and social cancer of my lifetime to date. It uses words like ‘correct’, ‘settled’ and ‘accepted’ to present passing social mores as if they might be absolutes. As such, it is the very antithesis of science and empirical measurement. Ultimately, it brings open-minded philosophy to a grinding halt, and is forced to deny reality while demanding obedience from its followers. In doing so, it automatically enslaves the human individual.
Our education systems now openly discourage new ideas and contrarian philosophy, preferring “right not wrong” conformity to genuinely useful creative interpretation.
Equally, the unprecedented media expansion of the last thirty years has, ironically, cemented rigid assertion into the fabric of our cultural foundations. This is because the ownership of media diversity has fallen into fewer and fewer hands, almost all of whom put profits and propaganda way ahead of challenging information and investigative revelations of either malfeasance or hypocritical cognitive dissonance by the ideologues in the Establishment.
That the fertility of this soil greatly aids the germination of passive slavery seems to me self-evident. Worse still, it inhibits the development of genuine Oppositions to the status quo, and eventually forces its followers into the idea-free ideology or catechism of its priests.
If one looks at the soi-disant ‘progressive’ Parties in the UK, for example – Green, LibDem and Labour – the former is controlling big-State conformist, the second is controlling big-bloc neocon conformist, and the third is internationally controlling Marxist. None of them are open to reinterpretations of their outlooks: they are thus frozen in amber, unwilling to analyse new data, solidly anti-democratic, rigidly illiberal on the subject of new thinking, but above all miles away from the mindset of their traditional supporters.
They all want, if you like, to stay as they are. That is, in the Brexit context, to Remain.
The great majority of the Conservative Party is the same, its only difference being that it has always attracted (and indulged) the privileged man-on-the-make. Whereas, for example, SWP and Momentum Labour are solid-gold screaming ideological Nazis, one often gets the feeling with the Tories that they’d say and do anything to get power. The exception to that rule is the neoliberal monetarism introduced by Mrs Thatcher: I suspect global events are about to nobble that one, and I believe it would do nothing but good for the Conservative Party.
Perhaps more than anything else more specific, Tories tend to go with the flow: if the current mores are to appease Islam, call females Chairs, boff on about cultural appropriation, pretend to be multicultural and say ‘LGBT’ a lot, they’ll do it. What they don’t do enough right now is to ask themselves searching questions about the validity of it all, and whether acceptance of such élite concepts (be they trickle down wealth or gender definition) are felt at all by the majority of the electorate. One clue, however, is that on average, at General Elections two in five adult citizens abstain. That is a scythe on a pendulum just inches away from the body politic.
If I seem to be driving the reader towards the “frighteningly out of touch” conclusion, this is entirely intentional. The lack of appeal of our Parties (in that none of them truly reflects a contemporary opinion trend or direction) has had two appalling results for elective democracy where a sovereign Parliament is held accountable by a franchised citizenry. The first is that they all have to find big donations, and these are only going to come from successful capitalist individuals, large pressure groups, corporate multinational interests, media owners, banking and huge trade agreements.
[Unfortunately, the one ‘populist’ Party (Fargage’s TBP) operates on the basis that once real Brexit has been achieved, it should wither away and its organisers return to civvy street. Further, its leader is quite happy with the donations opportunities that turn up to be utilised. Its appeal is therefore narrow, accepting, and temporary.]
As 95+% of the electorate don’t fit into any of the accepted categories outined above, they – we – come last. We are treated largely as opinion groups to be manipulated by those categories. This is risibly referred to as ‘diversity’. Diversity. Is. Good. Remember that. We don’t know why, but diversity exists, and we don’t want to take the blame for anything bad. So. Diversity. Is. Good.
Directly connected to that reality is that, for at least two Parties along the libleft dimension, it is in their existential interest that those minorities should grow in size and voting power. The Tories too cannot evade the need to bow occasionally to Me Too and Black Lives Matter, but the Conservative Party is, today, more than ever the home of people who see themselves as ‘reasonable’. And in that respect, they vastly outnumber any Front of minorities….because the vast majority of Brits (especially the English) don’t do activist.
To sum up, our Parties appeal to The People by getting money from the rich, hiring image management and communications consultancies, licking the nether parts of media owners, and appeasing every minority they can find more likely to vote leftlib than Conservative. (Jeremy Corbyn isn’t interested in the pension injustices faced by Waspi/2020 women, for instance, because the vast majority of them would normally vote Tory).
Diversity is the new black, and there is no racial pun intended there. As time goes on, the ‘evidence’ in favour of social diversity becomes more and more spurious, whereas the social consequences of it become increasingly obvious. The creative expression of minorities in everything from art and music to cuisine is accepted by most people for what it is: a contribution to our culture which, along with cheap air travel, has made most of us more cosmopolitan. But the consistent appeasement, encouragement and at times illegal protection of minorities has not created positive diversity at all; rather, it has created splits that cannot heal.
Part and parcel of this is the rise and rise of the ideological ‘ist’. If you’re not an ist Beleeever in 2019, you don’t belong any more in fractured Britannia. Socialists, Marxists, feminists, nationalists, Islamists, racists, misogynists, separatists, monetarists and federalists have taken the place of their evidential predecessors: scientists, psychologists, herbalists, geneticists, proctologists and biochemists. One could say that the learned empiricists have been replaced by the leaden polemicists who are, on the whole, fantasists. This cannot possibly represent a happy exchange. It must (and will) end in tears – whether the fantasies involve financialised fiat currency, transgender women being men, wealth trickling down, or the European Union as a hospice where life is beautiful because the staff are gentle and dedicated all the time.
It is why I suggest that ideological belief is a cancer that stops investigation. The great divide of our epoch is between the ideologues and zealots on the one hand, and the scientists and philosophers on the other.
Left and Right as socio-political designations are dead. Today, the Western world is a surreal place where demogogues like Guy Verhofstadt and John McDonnell claim that up is down and tomorrow is last Thursday week, and a terrifying proportion of highly intelligent (but conformity educated) people simply nod. The advance of science and rejection of doubt is on the back burner for the econo-fiscal political corporatocracy: and as long as there is monied donation and media support, the contrarian voice is shouted down by the Dictatorship of the Spinatariat.
In that context, diversity is profoundly unhealthy, in that it becomes a catalyst for inflexible and insoluble disagreement.
Diversity in 2019 is division. Unless there is a return to factual reality, by 2025 it will produce disintegration. It doesn’t matter whether the élites ignore bourses out of touch with economies, or the limited space for immigration into the UK, or the carehome time-bomb around the corner, or the realities of Italian debt and the exposure of Deutsche Bank to untwinned derivatives: the result will be a rake in the face.
Science suggests consequences. Blind belief ignores them. The ‘ist’ missing from almost all socio-economic ideology is the social anthropologist: the person trained in field research, observational psychology and behavioural cognition who can explain within minutes (were the élites motivated to listen) that in human society everything starts with the maximisation of the fulfilment of the responsible individual. Not with remote bureaucrats, red-carpet celebs, exhibitionist gays, Antifa demonstrators, lesbian feminists, activist black rioters, the greedy 3%…or, indeed, belief in the all-conquering power of systemic process to make more positive progress than the fertile creativity of free-thinking teams.
The idea that a realistic answer might be capturing the System and then reforming it from the top down has been, let’s be honest here, the cri de coeur of every dictator from Julius Caesar to Robert Mugabe.
Social media are replete with sofa-bound activists saying, “You just wait until there’s a General Election, then we’ll clear all of ’em out”. It’s an appealing idea, but it won’t get rid of electorally entrenched Remainers like Philip Hammond or leaders of the femino-Marxist cadres like Jess Phillips, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott: under FPTP voting (rigorously defended by its benificiaries) these obstacles to progress have huge majorities to protect them from reality until Hell freezes over.
The marching Demo-specialist chanters are in turn dotted with intellectual revolutionaries saying everyone in power must be shot, every institution abolished, and the social class system destroyed. These are the old clarion cries of The Left. Among liberals and the neoliberal/neoconcon Right, the general view is that technocrats, large trading blocs and neocolonial commerce can solve everything. Islamists say prayer, prostration in front of God and Sharia Law is the only answer.
In short, the various “Established” wannabe ideologues believe in Top Down Change. All the modern historical evidence, however, shows consistently – in France, Russia, Germany, China, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Vietnam, Venezuela and Turkey – that the outcome of TDC is loss of the rule of law, internment camps, executions, show trials, dictatorship, personality cult, war and ruin.
The things that fly out of the revolutionary window in short order are, of course, all the things the New Zealots say they want to restore: freedom of thought, equality, justice, meritocracy, sound governance, lively arts, stable families free of debt, and responsible personal liberty.
The only viable (and safe) alternative to systemic top-down change is one where the accent is on The decent people among The People taking ownership of the project, and accepting that what they’re doing is medium-term acorn-to-oak management, not instant-gratification ‘smashing’ of the sort favoured by Owen Jones, Tommy Robinson, David Lammy, Jihadists, Guy Verhofstadt and even Jo Swinson.
That is to say, Ground Up. It’s what the Poles and the Czechs used to weaken the USSR. But in a digital, more viral age, four extra things are required: skills in and familiarity with ground level electoral tactics; ways to form communications and solidarity free from heavy-handed State surveillance; building new forms of fiscal and economic exchange beyond the reach of the ideological squids; and above all, generally (but peaceably) making life difficult for those who run and bankroll the technocracy….primarily by reducing their sources of money.
This is what the Gilets Jaunes have done in France to create serious problems for Macron and his banker buddies. In the end, fiscal bankruptcy and lack of foreign exchange helped collapse the USSR. Real Brexit by Britain, continued determination to resist in Italy and insoluble debt/liquidity/growth problems in the eurozone will eventually combine to make the European Union history.
The point I’m making is simply this: if you, as a wise, thoughtful and decent person, find the intolerant demagogues intolerable, being equally intolerant and obnoxious is never going to solve anything.
Believe me, the evidence is on my side: this is how positive change with minimal disruption takes place. Only Establishment arrogance meeting ideological impatience head-on gets in the way of it. That, and the willingness of good people to do nothing.
Part 2 will follow tomorow
Other related posts at The Slog:
The death of independent competence