THE WEEKEND ESSAY: is it more radical to be revolutionary or evolutionary in one’s outlook?

me151117 Evolving a culture to save human freedom is very difficult, and requires an enormous amount of time and patience. This probably explains why Leftlib revolutionaries want nothing to do with it.

The question contained in today’s essay title is a crucial one for the West in 2020: the two great Anglophone nations and the rapidly federalising European Union have taken some surprisingly revolutionary (some would say extreme) measures in recent times – voting in a brash ‘populist’ US President with no formal political training, taking a big gamble on an Old Etonian toff with a dubious record on honesty, clamping down on civil liberties while reversing the one-time ‘free movement’ catechism overnight, electing anti-EU governments, electing a banker to run France, dolling out enormous powers to Big Pharma, Big Globalism and Big Media, throwing away trillions in gdp to fight a minor-league virus – and so forth.

To start understanding how linguistics hide the Truth, we should first of all consider the derivation of the word revolution. A revolution is the completion of a perfect circle. At the end of the revolution, you’re back where you started. History at large, the last two hundred years – and especially the last four – shows how true this is.

The British revolutionaries executed Charles I, quickly got a quasi-dictator and not long afterwards restored the Monarchy. The French revolutionaries guillotined the Bourbons in 1790, quickly got a supreme Emperor, and then a restoration. The Russians executed the Romanovs in 1917, gave all power to the proletariat, and within nine years had a new Tsar who made the Romanovs look positively cuddly by comparison. The Germans established a Thousand-Year Reich and the Führerprinzip in 1934, and within eleven years were back with democracy as the Bundesrepublik.

In every one of those examples, a lot of people wound up dead in wars….and the rest wound up back where they started.

With the coming of the Reagan and Thatcher econo-fiscal revolution, Big government was to be scaled down, sovereign debt abolished, and freedom from red tape given to entrepreneurs as they moved away from the undemocratic jackboot of trade union power.

Thirty eight years on, the jackboots are now worn by corrupt civil servants and financial spivs, government is bigger and more invasive than ever, big business takes a bigger and bigger share of gdp, sovereign debt is back in town, and the Poor are still with us.

The European Community became the European Union in 2002 in order to unite the continent under federal government, and create a single, more efficient currency, the euro. Today, the EU is less economically efficient than it was in 1995, and equally disunited by the forces of exit – and the refusal of ten States to adopt the currency.

In 2016, the UK had another revolutionary moment when it voted – ignoring biased media and government advice – to secede from the EU. Four years on, Brexit is still not a done deal and the biggest referendum in British history is being blithely ignored by Brussels itself, legislators, the judiciary and Whitehall. In terms of paying the EU blood money, stonewalled departure negotiations and endless areas where our “independence” seems not to exist, w have indeed had a revolution since 2016: we are right back where we started – split down the middle on the issue, and bedevilled by 5th columnists at every level.

All revolutions fail because they change the system, but ignore the fundamental nature of social anthropology. They are the equivalent of repainting the woodwork on a house with a serious subsidence problem.

Now let us consider evolution. The New Penguin dictionary definition of evolution (beyond the biological context) is as follows:

‘a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political and economic advance’

Evolution is altogether more profound and permanent than revolutionary window-dressing, because rather than being enforced systemically and top-down, it starts with the things (ie, us) that make up society – and then aims to take every cultural element into account from the ground-up. This means that, by definition, if those gradual actions taken are in natural accord with Man the competitive and cooperative animal, they are far more likely to be permanent. This progess might be a series of concentric circles, but the overall trend over time is a straight line in the direction of a goal; which, being a pragmatic Benthamite philosopher rather than an ideologue, I would see as:

‘maximising the potential for fulfilment of the greatest number possible of the citizens living in a community’

What we are not doing in the West is evolving the way we interreact to produce something more broadly fruitful; rather, we lurch from one revolutionary extreme to another, and just go round in circles….largely thanks to reptiles called spin doctors. Rather appropriate when you think about it.

Rock band The Who summed it up aptly in 1970: ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss’.

Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer, Jeremy Corbyn, Ed Davey, Momentum, Antifa, Neil Ferguson, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Dr Fauci, Sir Mark Sedwill, Macron, Merkel, NATO and both neoliberal globalist or socialist internationales are in the way of genuine evolutionary progress because, for varietal reasons, first of all their interpretations of Where We Are remain incredibly shallow; and secondly, their goal is power to retain privilege through ideology. They lack the will or desire to treat the citizen as an adult, drop their obsessively monied votecentricity, and offer anthropological long-term solutions rather than political tactics driven by an electoral system they secretly despise.

The evolutionary legislator/commentator/philosopher or whatever recognises that things will not change in favour of society as a whole until some radical remedial works have been undertaken on the foundations that make a more just society at ease with itself possible. These include:

  • The depoliticisation of the police, the education system, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and all State media
  • A massive deconstruction of the creeping rise of every form of State and private media surveillance
  • The broadening of education to include personal wellbeing, respect for others in society, the importance of parenting, a passion to interrogate received truths, and the idea that suffrage comes with responsibility
  • The abolition of our politically biased Supreme Court, and the creation of a written Constitution based on separation/balance of powers
  • The introduction of a voting system with more emphasis on every vote counts than consituency knock-out Cups.
  • Reform of the senior Civil Service with a clearly established emphasis on accountable administrative follow-through rather than “advice”.
  • A far tougher observation mechanism free from BBC influence designed to retain State news objectivity
  • The reinstatement of ‘blind justice’ in order to produce a Rule of Law that all citizens can respect.

Now it goes without saying that this is close to Utopian as an idea – the sort of goal I would always regard as dangerous, given the imperfections of Homo sapiens. For thaat reason alone, it must be accompanied by constant reminders for “social engineers” about the flawed raw material with which they’re working.

That said, the famous midwestern advertising guru Leo Burnett also observed, “If you don’t aim for the stars, chances are you’ll end up with your ass in a ditch”. And, finally, it would be hard to overstate the depths of dystopia (and the tiny proportion of Western electorates aware of it) with which we are faced.

However, it seems obvious to me that, under our current form of democracy – largely unaccountable, Party-discipline dominated, unrepresentative, uninformed and blighted by both media manipulation and short-termism – the kind of gradual ground-up change I’m talking about has not a snowball in Hell’s chance of starting the journey, let alone coming to fruition.

This is where my vision for the future gets very seriously radical – and likely to be a controversy magnet for the metallic robot-thinkers who currently discourage debate.

If you are unelected – but subject without exception to accountability with teeth – why should your role in deciding strategy be hindered or blocked?

We all say, almost autonomically, that being subjected to election is the best way to get sound government. The elected House of Commons, the French National Assembly and the US Congress do not provide much in the way of substantiation: they care far more about media attack dogs and rich donors than they do about the average citizen.

Nevertheless – in the UK for instance – while there is much talk about the abolition and/or reform of the House of Lords – nobody suggests it should be abolished and replaced with very different but equally unelected occupants.

Yet with more power, zero lobbying (and the genuine expertise required to take a longer view) the second chamber could become a highly effective ‘check and balance’ to the monied cynicism of the House of Commons in general…..and the Westminster/Whitehall Executive in particular.

In turn, why do we allow such a small Time-window in which elected politicians might achieve something of lasting value? The answer (perfectly valid, given the ideals of a democratic system) is that ballot boxes are there to hold legislators and the Executive to account.

But voters don’t do that. Voters think vaguely about whether anything has pissed them off over the previous five years, ponder whether they feel richer or poorer, read newspapers that big up the Party they like and rubbish The Other Lot, talk to a few mates and then – if nothing much is on the telly – turn up to cast a vote.

Nothing else can explain why Britain reelected Tony Blair twice and David Cameron even once (Dave himself was staggered). And sad to relate but easier to explain, huge numbers of electors never vote.

Nearly half of America’s eligible voters almost never exercise their voting right – 92 million citizens….a huge group that is alienated from a political system it finds bewildering, corrupt, irrelevant or some combination thereof.

In the December 2019 British general election – where more was at stake than for many years – still almost exactly a third of all voters didn’t bother to turn up. Most general elections see an abstention rate of around two in five.

The last EU election was the first in two decades that had a tiny majority (50.66%) turning out to vote. Before then, the average was around 46%.

In short, if a new second UK chamber acted as a control against unaccountable Commons behaviour – and had a clear, unequivocal and written constitution with the force of an independent Judiciary to back it up – why would it not be safe to give a particular Government ten or even fifteen years to test, assess and if possible fulfill a radical evolution in governance policy that was the best solution for the greatest number?

Ultimately however, a gradual evolution of the culture at ground level sort of dictates a massive devolution of power down to the local level. I know this is a recurring theme of mine, but I continue to be contrarian about the future. Huge power blocs are unwieldy, and easy places for wannabe Hitlers to hide. More to the point, globally linked bourses and central banks may appeal to the megalomaniacs who steer them, but they are a disaster when it comes to regional adaptation and level-playing-field trade negotiations free from bullying.

One major key to peace and self-reliance is the abandonment of both nationalism and globalism

I wonder how many Westerners share that view? I’d be surprised it if was more than 2%. Yet the opportunities for personal and community independence presented by being self-sufficient (without walking about in clodoppy sandals and hugging nettles) are enormous when compared to a lifetime of hard labour turning the sluggish Globalist prison wheel.

Yes, I am a radical. But I am an apolitical radical. No, I am not a revolutionary. But yes, I am an evolutionary thinker who wants open minds rather than closed ranks to decide the future of Life on the only planet we have. I believe no cow should be sacred in that decision-making process.

Thank you for bearing with the length of this missive. As S J Perelman once remarked, “If I had more time, it would’ve been much shorter”.