Wednesday, August 29, 2018

believing in inherently incompatible concepts

We live in an irrational age. We live in an age in which people seem to have surprisingly little difficulty believing in concepts that are inherently incompatible. People manage to do this by deluding themselves. They refuse to see the obvious incompatibilities.

There are for example people who consider themselves to be socialists and yet they believe in open borders. This is sheer nonsense. Open borders is death to socialism. Socialism works as a closed system with a homogeneous population. That’s the only way it can work.

There are also people who think you can have closed borders and capitalism. They’re wrong.

Maybe you can have closed borders and a system that incorporates a degree of capitalism but it can only hope to survive in the long term if capitalism is under very very tight government control (something like the present Chinese system). But you certainly cannot have free markets and controlled borders. If you want free markets you’re going to get open borders. There is simply no way to restrain the greed of capitalists for cheap labour and ever-growing markets. If you claim to believe in free markets and immigration restriction then you’re either lying or you’re severely deluded.

This of course does not mean that if you want to avoid the catastrophe of open borders you have to become a socialist. It does mean that you have to abandon free market capitalism and global capitalism. There are other alternatives. The idea that there is a continuum from communism to free market capitalism and that you have to place yourself (and your nation) somewhere on that continuum is total nonsense.

There are also people who think you can have capitalism and religion. In the long run it just doesn’t work. Capitalism will always end up destroying religion. The logic of capitalism is that money is all that matters. Anything that interferes with that must be crushed. Socialism and religion have been very uneasy bedfellows but there is no inherent conflict between the two. Certainly there is no inherent conflict between socialism and Christianity.

We live not merely in an irrational age but in an age in which people seem to genuinely think that if you just believe hard enough then the impossible will become possible. Sadly the world doesn’t work that way.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

reviving cultures and unscrambling eggs

I saw a comment recently that seems to sum up a popular viewpoint on the alt-right. The gist of the comment was that it doesn’t matter if our culture gets destroyed because a destroyed culture can easily be revived. The commenter went on to argue that on the other hand the effects of immigration cannot be reversed. You can’t unscramble the egg.

In my opinion it’s actually the other way around.

A dead culture cannot be brought back to life. But undoing the effects of immigration is only difficult if the political will is lacking. It has been done, many times. There is the example of the ethnic cleansing of Germans from eastern Europe after 1945, or the population exchange in 1923 in which Greeks were expelled from Turkey and Turks were expelled from Greece. Unscrambling the egg is possible, has been done and can be done.

Once you lose your culture however it's gone forever. You've lost everything that made you you. If you lose your culture it just doesn't matter what happens after that. For example if German culture is overwhelmed by American culture then Germany ceases to exist. After that point the colour of the inhabitants of that geographical region of the American Empire formerly known as Germany doesn't matter in the least.

I understand concerns about mass immigration and I share those concerns. I'm totally opposed to mass immigration. I'd like zero net immigration for my country. Immigration is an important issue. But it's not the most important issue. Cultural integrity is more important. If you look at Britain their problem is not immigrants. Their problem is that they have thrown away their own culture. They have committed cultural suicide. That process began in 1945. At this point even if they stop all immigration it won't help because Britain can't be saved because it no longer exists.

And white nationalism cannot work and it cannot help because it ignores culture. Culture is the one thing that really matters.

Friday, August 24, 2018

the gods of consumerism and economic growth

The ruling passion of the modern West is consumerism. You are what you consume. You exist insofar as you consume. Your worth as a person is measured by your ability to consume.

It’s not quite the same as worshipping wealth. It doesn’t matter if you have zero actual net wealth, if you have access to credit and you can demonstrate your ability to spend then you are one of the righteous ones.

This means of course that the one national goal that matters is to increase GDP. That is not the same as increasing the national wealth. GDP is an entirely artificial figure. It measures economic activity, no matter how worthless, unproductive or even harmful that economic activity might be. And a nation can have a most impressive GDP and be in debt up to its eyeballs. It doesn’t matter. It fuels consumption and consumption is good.

We can look at our GDP and celebrate our good fortune to have so much material prosperity. But even if we assume that material prosperity is the key to happiness and virtue we have to ask ourselves just how real our material prosperity is. Is prosperity based on credit real prosperity? And what does our material prosperity actually represent? We have lots and lots of cheap low-quality consumer electronics. They might only last six months but they’re new and shiny and in six months’ time we’ll buy new ones which will be better because they’ll be even newer and shinier. We have lots of appliances. Of course they only last a few years whereas the ones manufactured half a century ago would last ten to twenty years. But our appliances are new and shiny.

Of course half a century ago ordinary working people could own their own homes. That’s becoming less and less possible. A cynic might say that our boasted material prosperity is complete nonsense if people can’t even afford housing. But who needs to worry about housing when there are shiny new digital gadgets to buy with borrowed money? There used to be a crazy idea that if young people could afford to buy a house they could afford to get married and have kids and that was considered to be a good thing. Nowadays we know it doesn’t matter. You can just live in Mom’s basement for your whole life, and anyway marriage is just a temporary sexual arrangement and who wants to have kids? Having kids means taking responsibility.

No-one seems willing to make a serious challenge to the cult of consumerism. The corporate types care only about profit. It doesn’t matter if society collapses into misery and chaos as long as it doesn’t affect the bottom line. Economists won’t challenge the idea because they’re incapable of understanding anything that can’t be measured in monetary terms. Politicians won’t challenge consumerism because they’re corrupt. Journalists won’t challenge the idea because they’re whores. The churches are too busy erecting Refugees Welcome signs to bother themselves with trivial stuff like the future of family life or the basic human need to find some purpose in life.

I’m not suggesting that material prosperity isn’t a very nice thing. It is. It just isn’t everything. It can be an ingredient in the good life, but it isn’t the whole of it. Which means that economic growth should not be the central pillar of national policy.

Consumerism and the cult of economic growth has distorted our thinking. There are things that we used to value that we’re apparently not allowed to value any more. Things like job security, the mere mention of which brings sneers from modern politicians and economists and the media. Things like quality of life. Remember quality of life? Things like living in pleasant neighbourhoods and not having to battle with traffic congestion.

Consumerism and economic growth have become our masters.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

individualism and collectivism good and bad

In my previous post I may have sounded like I was coming down on the side of individualism, which is not really consistent with my view of life. I’m actually somewhat suspicious of individualism. Or rather, I’m somewhat suspicious of individualist ideologies.

On the other hand I hate and fear the Borg-like hive-mind that increasingly dominates our society.

I don’t believe we can ever re-create vanished societies but I do think we can learn a lot from the way our society was in the past. More traditional societies do tend towards collectivism. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a statist authoritarian collectivism or the horror of the cultural Left hive-mind. There are some major differences.

In traditional societies there is to be sure pressure to conform but there’s also an emphasis  on social responsibility, and that means not just the individual’s duty to society but also society’s duty to the individual. There’s a web of interlocking responsibilities, rather than a demand for mere obedience to the collective will. It’s society as a gigantic extended family rather than a hive. There’s a balance between individualism and the needs of society. The balance might be titled towards society but it’s not tilted too far.

The second difference is that traditional societies enforce conformity in certain areas because long experience has shown that some rules are necessary, and the rules are those which have been proven to work. Traditional sexual morality was enforced because on the whole it made life better for almost everybody. It allowed children to be reared in safety. It gave women security, dignity, purpose and status. It worked. Our modern ever-changing morality of infinite indulgence is not based on experience or on any kind of understanding of biology or human behaviour. And while traditional sexual morality was certainly enforced it was mostly not enforced by formal authority.

A third difference is that traditional societies have more or less fixed rules. Everyone knows the rules. Our modern society has constantly changing rules and that’s a strong clue to the fact that the main purpose of the rules is to enforce obedience for the sake of obedience and to create an atmosphere of fear and anxiety.

And a fourth difference, and perhaps the most important, is that traditional societies were concerned with policing behaviours rather than thoughts or private conversations. Within a basically collectivist society there was still room for a reasonably high degree of individuality. Even behaviour was only policed within limits.

Our modern society claims to worship diversity and autonomy but crushes the individual spirit. The modern soft totalitarianism is bad but extreme individualism is equally bad. It’s a choice between psychological imprisonment on the one hand and psychological emptiness and nihilism on the other. We need to look at the way traditional societies did things to find ways to have connectedness without joining the Borg.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

victim hierarchies, orthodoxy and group-think

Dissidents often observe, with a mixture of horror and amusement, the ever-changing victim hierarchies of the cultural left. It used to be fairly simple when the number of victim groups was small. Blacks were pretty much at the top. Feminists and homosexuals disputed the number two spot.

Now there are countless victim groups, and even sub-groups. There are for example several warring factions within feminism and they hate each like poison.

But what’s really odd is that it is no longer possible to determine a person’s status as far as  the cultural left is concerned merely by adding up how many victim points they are entitled to. You can be a homosexual and still be Literally Hitler. Ask Milo Yiannopoulos. You can even be black and be Literally Hitler.

This should not be possible because the cultural left subscribes to identity politics as a matter of religious faith and therefore your identity should automatically determine your victimisation level and therefore your status (since it’s also a matter of faith that victimness is next to godliness).

While the modern cultural left seems on the surface to be pretty much the same as the cultural left that emerged during the 1970s there are actually some very major differences. They still whine about the same issues (racism, sexism, colonialism, homophobia, blah blah blah). But now they have real power. And that changes everything.

What determines your status in the modern cultural left is orthodoxy. That’s all that really matters. You can have a stack of victim points a mile high and it won’t do you any good if you’re suspected of heresy.

And, interestingly, orthodoxy is not really determined by ideological purity. In fact the cultural left has no coherent ideology. Orthodoxy is determined by conformity. To put it more brutally, orthodoxy is determined by obedience. It is not necessary to understand. It is only necessary to obey.

It’s pretty much like the Borg. What matters is the extent to which you have fully assimilated to the Borg. It’s also similar to the Borg in that it’s a kind of decentralised apparatus of repression. There’s a kind of constantly changing consensus on orthodoxy. There’s no Social Justice Pope whose authority is final and there’s no one Scriptural authority to which you can refer. Which makes for a particularly nasty but particularly effective form of repression. It’s not group-think imposed by higher authority as in Orwell’s 1984. It’s group-think that arises organically out of the very nature of the Borg.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

can we survive Christianity?

A horrifying quote from a recent post at A Political Refugee From the Global Village.

The former bishop of Caserta, Raffaele Nogaro, said recently
“Morally and as a man of faith I would be willing to turn all churches into mosques if it were useful to the cause and if it helped to save the lives of poor and unhappy men and women, because Christ did not come to earth to build churches but to help men regardless of race, religion, or nationality.”

We already knew that most of the leaders of most of the established Christian churches have abandoned Christianity in favour of secular liberalism but this quote is interesting since the bishop doesn’t even bother to try to hide the truth.

We have to ask ourselves, can our civilisation survive Christianity as it is now?

Monday, August 13, 2018

prelude to war

In an interesting discussion on Anatoly Karlin’s blog at unz.com this comment was made in relation to the latest American sanctions against Russia:

“These demands on Russia are about as sincere and plausible as the ultimata given to Serbia after Sarajevo. They are not credible but meant only as a prelude to war.”

Unfortunately I think that’s an accurate assessment. The situation is also very similar to the   policy followed by Franklin Roosevelt in doing everything possibly to provoke war wth Japan.

The current American demands are such that no sovereign nation ever would or ever could accept them. The intention is clearly to provoke war or to create a situation in which the U.S. can initiate war.

It’s worth keeping in mind that “sanctions” are a concept with no actual existence. Economic sanctions are an act of war. The U.S. is already at war with Russia, a war in which the U.S. is clearly the aggressor. It’s not yet a shooting war. But obviously the Americans are moving in that direction. The Americans do not want Russia to back down. They hope that the Russians will refuse to do so, so that the U.S. will have an excuse for war. If the Russians do back down the Americans will simply increase their demands until they get what they want, which is war.

The problem is that U.S. foreign policy is in the hands of people who truly believe that the U.S. could win against Russia with minimal casualties. They truly believe it would be pretty much like America’s wars against Third World nations, little more than a triumphal progress. It would of course be a nuclear war war but they believe that would be no problem. And even if it doesn’t turn out to be quite so easy, even if it ends up costing tens of millions of lives, these clowns really don’t care. They see it as a small price to pay to establish America’s hegemony as permanent and absolute.

It’s highly likely that American public opinion will go along with this suicidal course. It will be relatively easy to paint this war as the final war between good and evil, the war that finally eliminates evilness from the world. The war that destroys America’s enemies for good. American’s enemies are of course anybody who questions American power but the American public laps up that sort of thing.

And surely it’s worth a few tens of millions of dead in order to make the homosexual lobby happy, and to make sure that all Russians have the right to use whichever bathroom they choose and whichever pronouns they choose, just like they do in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

proof that western civilisation is the best civilisation

It’s all too easy to give in to despair and to think that western civilisation is not worth saving. And then along comes an inspiring story like this one.

In the Netherlands they’ve made a major breakthrough in the treatment of chronic depression. They’ve discovered a permanent cure. They kill the depressed person.

Stuart Schneiderman’s Enough Therapy blog has the story.

The Dutch, being a beacon of enlightened liberalism, not only kill the depressed patient, they make a media circus of it. I mean if you’re going to start killing off patients why not turn it into entertainment?

Of course whenever the legalisation of euthanasia becomes a political issue its proponents always reassure us that it will only apply to terminally ill people with absolutely no chance of recovery. There’s no way that a physically healthy 29-year-old woman would be put to death just because she was depressed. They won’t happen. There will be safeguards!

And there’s always some boring conservative who will try to suggest that maybe it’s a slippery slope and that maybe legalised euthanasia will end up as a means of liquidating inconvenient and annoying members of society. The conservative will of course be ridiculed in the media and ignored. And the warning about the slippery slope always turns out to be true.

It’s worth pointing out that this is not an isolated case. The Dutch have a regular production line going. Euthanasia is a growth industry.

But you can’t stand in the way of progress. Older treatments were not always guaranteed to be effective. With euthanasia there’s no chance whatsoever of a relapse. You could think of it as a final solution to the problem of depression.

Western civilisation is just so cool!

corruption legal and illegal

There was mention of corruption in the Rainbow Nation in a recent post on Nourishing Obscurity.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not going to defend the ludicrous and barbarous (and racist) South African regime. South Africa is heading rapidly down the slope towards failed state status.

But corruption isn’t as straightforward as it seems. We in the West have always liked to preen ourselves on the fact that there’s much mess corruption in our countries than in Third World countries. For alt-right types it’s reassuring proof of our ethnic superiority. For the modern globalist Left and for the cuckservative Right it’s proof of the essential superiority of liberal democracy and it demonstrates that we’re right to bomb the living daylights out of Third World countries until they accept the gift of Freedom and Democracy.

But are we less corrupt? It depends on what you mean by corruption. There are two types of corruption, illegal and legal. Illegal corruption is the most familiar type. On a large scale it means paper bags filled with banknotes being handed over to crooked officials in exchange fir services rendered. On a small scale it means handing over small amounts of cash to bureaucrats to persuader them to process your paperwork in 24 hours rather than six weeks. Illegal corruption tends to be rife in many Third World countries. It has also been common in some western countries at certain times, particularly among the police - Chicago during Prohibition, New South Wales in the 60s and 70s, etc. But illegal corruption has become much less common in the West. It’s illegal since it involves actions that are quite clearly and unequivocally against the law.

Legal corruption is a different animal. It involves practices that are not technically illegal. Let’s say you have a politician who gains important public office. After a decade or two he retires. And then he has an extraordinary stroke of luck. He gets offered a consultancy job by the Absolutely Gigantic Corporation Inc. For a few hours work a week (or possibly no work at all) he’ll collect an enormous pay cheque. Now no-one can actually prove that he was given that job in exchange for services rendered. Maybe the Absolutely Gigantic Corporation Inc just likes paying people lots of money for nothing. On the other hand I think most reasonable people will conclude that it’s a form of delayed legal pay-off.

Superannuated politicians also have an amazing knack for landing well-paid job involving virtually no work with international bureaucracies like the U.N. and the E.U. In Australia quite some time back a prime minister who had been unceremoniously thrown out of office by the voters found himself with a very cushy job indeed (involving lots and lots of luxury travel) as Ambassador to a certain U.N. agency. Most Australians had no idea that this absurd job even existed. I’m told that former U.S. presidents can get paid immense amounts of money for standing up in front of a bunch of bankers for half an hour and telling them that bankers really are a swell bunch of guys.

In cases like these it’s not necessarily always corruption in the formal sense of a pay-off for a specific corrupt act. But it is all part of a political, business and bureaucratic culture of doing favours and looking after political allies. It creates a fundamentally corrupt culture. It makes democracy, an inherently corrupt system, even more corrupt.

But this respectable corruption is hard to quantify and almost certainly isn’t going to show up in any official statistics anywhere so we can go on preening ourselves on our moral superiority. In actual fact it’s not that we’re less corrupt, we just practice corruption in a nicer and more efficient way.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Orwell vs Huxley

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
In a comment to my earlier post jvc expressed surprise that I thought Huxley’s Brave New World predicted out current situation more accurately than Orwell’s 1984. I can see where jvc is coming from. I probably should explain my view in more depth.

Obviously both Huxley and Orwell were remarkably prescient. Between the two of them they predicted the present state of society almost completely. Both authors missed things but what’s interesting is that the points that Huxley missed Orwell picked up n and the points that Orwell were covered by Huxley.

Huxley’s future was a world of unlimited material prosperity while Orwell foresaw grinding poverty and chronic shortages (Orwell was obviously very impressed by the low-level soul-destroying misery of rationing in post-war Britain). So far Huxley has been proved right, up to a point at least. Even as it has drifted slowly towards totalitarianism the West has maintained material living standards quite impressively. There are some caveats I should add. Huxley thought that technology would provide vast material prosperity and almost unlimited leisure. We haven’t really seen that unlimited leisure yet. And the prosperity we do have is maintained by credit and no-one really knows if that can be sustained in the long term.

And wealth is today very unevenly distributed, which Huxley didn’t predict. Orwell expected a tiny wealthy elite, the Inner Party, with everyone else living a fairly poverty-stricken existence. In the modern West there is certainly relative poverty and some actual poverty (which is increasing). But contrary to Orwell’s prediction there are a very large number people living in luxury. Rather than a tiny rich elite we have maybe half the country doing very nicely and half the country struggling. Whether that will end up being a stable situation remains to be seen.

Eric Blair AKA George Orwell (1903-1950)
Where I feel Orwell really got it wrong was his assumption that power in a totalitarianism would be exercised openly, that coercion would be overt and brutal and that the violence that sustained the system would be on open display. His famous vision of a boot stamping on a human face, forever.

Huxley’s totalitarianism is essentially voluntary totalitarianism. In Brave New World the citizens welcome their oppression. They don’t want freedom. The very idea frightens them. They want to be told what to do. They have lots of material goodies and they can have sex in unlimited quantity and unlimited variety. Huxley realised that people would gladly give up all their political and legal freedoms in exchange for sexual freedom and consumer goods.

And that is exactly what has happened. The sad truth is that most people in the modern West do not care about all those freedoms that classical liberals used to get so excited about. Most modern westerners understand that democracy is a charade. They don’t care. They really don’t care. Which could of course suggest that the classical liberals had no understanding whatsoever of what makes people tick and that democracy never was particularly important anyway.

In Huxley’s future power is exercised in subtle ways. There might be an iron fist in the velvet glove but it is never seen and it is not needed. There is coercion certainly but mostly people are happy to conform.

And that is pretty much what we have today. It’s depressing but most people are happy to conform. As in Brave New World they drug themselves with sex and happy pills and they don’t even realise how empty their lives are. They don’t miss all the things we’ve lost over the pasty half century because they don’t know about those things. Millennials have never lived in a society in which you can say that you think. They can’t imagine it and if they try to imagine it it makes them cry. They have lots of nice shiny toys to play with and non-threatening movies and lots of porn and they have apps so they can have anonymous sex with total strangers. They can’t imagine anything better than that. And if you suggest to them that maybe there is something more to life that makes them cry as well.

We don't have the complete despair of Orwell's future. That despair only affects the tiny red-pilled minority. What we have society-wide is the blankness of Huxley's vision. A bland empty face staring at us, forever.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

dystopian television - 1990 (1977)

1990 is a dystopian drama series made by the BBC. The first season went to air in 1977 with a second season following in 1978. The series was created by Wilfred Greatorex who had a notable career as a writer and producer on British television from the 60s to the early 80s.

The premise is that Britain has an increasingly totalitarian government and that the main agent of repression is the Public Control Department (PCD), operating as part of the Home Office.

Most of the media is controlled by the government but there are still a few independent newspapers and there are still a few journalists willing to criticise the government. The most notorious such journalist is Jim Kyle (Edward Woodward). Kyle is clever and cautious, he’s very tech-savvy (he has some useful little devices that make it more difficult for the PCD to keep track of him) and he has a highly placed source within the government. Kyle is a thorn in the side of PCD director Herbert Skardon (Robert Lang). At this stage Skardon is using one of his deputies, the glamorous Delly Lomas (Barbara Kellermann), to try to manage Kyle. The idea is for Delly to use her feminine wiles to persuade Kyle to moderate his criticisms of the government.

This is a Britain sliding towards totalitarianism but not yet there. It’s at the point where dissidents are subject to serious harassment and the freedom of the press has been somewhat curtailed. In fact although this is supposed to be a dystopia it seems on the surface to be considerably less totalitarian than Britain in 2018.

Kyle is involved with a group that is trying to get people out of the country. Emigration from Britain is pretty much banned. Rather oddly the series chooses to focus quite a bit on this subject of illegal emigrants, but most of them appear to be middle-class people who simply want to leave Britain because they could earn more money in the U.S. and it’s hard to feel much sympathy for them. They’re not oppressed, they’re just economic refugees. The idea of smuggling people out of the country does lend itself to some suspenseful situations which are handled quite effectively in episodes like Decoy.

The main interest is the series of overlapping power struggles. Delly Lomas wants Herbert Skardon’s job as Controller and she wants it now. The other deputy controller, Tasker, wants Skardon’s job as well. Kyle is mixed up in these power struggles because he has very ambiguous but definite PCD connections.

The acting is the greatest strength of this series. Kyle is an interesting mix of cockiness and extreme caution and he’s a decidedly ambiguous character. Is he a brave and dedicated fighter for freedom? We know he’s a journalist so we’re inclined to suspect that he has no actual morals, that it’s all a game to him. Woodward shows great skill in maintaining that edge of ambiguity.

Delly is more clearcut. Her motivation is ambition and she’s untroubled by moral considerations. She’s clever but the question is whether she has the experience to beat an old hand like Skardon.

One thing that is interesting is that this series makes no attempt to disguise the nature of the government. This is clearly a Labour Government. The vicious Home Secretary is a former trade unionist, obviously working class. This is quite explicitly a leftist totalitarianism. It is mostly an old-fashioned leftist totalitarianism, obviously modelled on the old Soviet Union. The series has quite an old-fashioned feel to it. In fact a very old-fashioned feel indeed. The idea of an actual old school socialist dictatorship, with industries nationalised, trade union leaders running the government, the whole classical Marxist dictatorship of the proletariat thing, now seems so hopelessly remote from reality that it’s difficult to grasp that forty years ago the idea could be taken seriously. This was 1977, before identity politics destroyed the Old Left, before Thatcher destroyed the trade union movement. Was it actually something worth worrying about in 1977? There was certainly plenty of angst at the time about the unions, which might explain the virulently anti-union tone of this series.

This is the grey depressing world of Orwell’s 1984. but without most of the really interesting insights included in Orwell’s novel. The repressive measures enacted by the government in 1990 seem crude and amateurish and unimaginative. The idea of using psychiatry for social control was topical in the 70s, being a method favoured by the old Soviet Union, but 1990 does nothing interesting with the idea. The third episode, Health Farm, deals with mind control verging on mind destruction but in a superficial kind of way without any of the refinements of evil that Orwell gives us in 1984. The final episode of the first season is pure Orwell.

The problem is that this is a totalitarianism that was very plausible in the 1940s when Orwell wrote 1984. It was perhaps still plausible, but only just, in 1977 when this series was made. To a viewer today however it seems hopelessly outdated. Totalitarianism has made great progress in the past forty years. Modern totalitarianism is much closer to Huxley’s Brave New World than Orwell’s 1984. It works because it buys people off with consumer goods and sex, just as Huxley predicted in 1931. 1990, by accepting Orwell’s mistaken premise that totalitarianism would be accompanied by scarcity and grinding poverty, seems unconvincing. It seems very 1940s.

The fact that 1990 deals with a totalitarianism not yet firmly established does add some dramatic possibilities. The danger with dystopian dramas is that everything seems too hopeless, there’s too much wallowing in despair. But in this case the struggle is not entirely unequal. The PCD has wide powers, but they’re not unlimited. Skardon does have to be careful not to overreach himself. The press has been mostly muzzled, but not totally. Kyle does have the ability to make life miserable for the PCD and for the Home Secretary.

It’s also quite strong on the psychology of repression. The types of people who end up joining the secret police (or any kind of police force for that matter) are always the same and in the episode Whatever Happened to Cardinal Wolsey? we get an extraordinarily chilling example. 1990 is also very good on the psychology of normal nice rich people who think the apparatus of repression will never be used against normal nice rich people.

It’s intriguing to compare this series with the other notable 1970s British dystopian television series, The Guardians, made a few years earlier. The Guardians seems much less dated, much more complex and subtle and much more relevant to today’s world.

Monday, August 6, 2018

democracy, consent and false consciousness

One of the arguments that supporters of democracy can always be relied upon to wheel out is that legitimate government requires the consent of the governed, and that only democracy can truly provide this.

To a certain extent it is true that government requires the consent of the governed, but actually this is the case even in undemocratic systems. Any regime, whether it be an absolutist monarchy or a military dictatorship or a liberal democracy, will find its survival threatened if it loses touch with the will of the majority, or even of a substantial proportion, of the people. That’s why kings sometimes lose their crowns, dictatorships sometimes get overthrown. A revolution can be seen as the withdrawal of the consent of the governed.

Do democracies reflect the will of the people more certainly than other regimes? Superficially the answer might appear to be yes. The problem is that the various systems  of representative or parliamentary democracy all have one thing in common - they are designed to prevent the will of the people from being expressed. They are designed to manipulate the popular will rather than to reflect it. Deception is their stock in trade. They are based on lies. They are corrupt and the corruption is inherent. While they may claim that their supposedly democratically elected governments serve the people in reality the government is the master of the people rather than the servant.

All political systems are in the final analysis based on force or the threat of force and in most cases this is quite open and honest. The characteristic feature of democratic systems is that by preference power is exerted by manipulation rather than overt force. The problem is the dishonesty and the hypocrisy and the fact that you end up with a system thoroughly permeated by dishonesty and hypocrisy. It’s actually less healthy than a system based on straightforward force. And in any case it’s an illusion - in a democracy the iron fist might be concealed by the velvet glove but the iron fist is always there.

This raises the question of false consciousness. At this point you’re going to start groaning and muttering that he’s resorting to tired old marxist slogans. Up until a few years ago I would have agreed with you. I would have said the whole idea was typical marxist nonsense. The last few years have changed my mind. It’s now obvious that public opinion is whatever opinion the public is told to hold. If the media and the teachers tell people that black is white and up is down most people will accept that. If they’re told that homosexual marriage is just like a real marriage they’ll accept it. If they’re told that they love diversity they’ll accept it. It all seems pretty much like false consciousness to me.

I’ve seen the results of our modern education system in action, in young people with whom I have a family connection. They’re zombies. They believe whatever their teachers tell them. They have no doubts. They question nothing. If the teacher says he’s holding up five fingers he must be holding up five fingers. Orwell was wrong. You don’t need violence or the threat of violence or even coercion to turn people into slaves. People will turn themselves into slaves because they’re terrified of not conforming.

Democracy is based on the concept of encouraging people to turn themselves into slaves. It’s based on teaching people to embrace lies. That’s just the way democracy is.

Friday, August 3, 2018

possible near-future crises

I’ve mentioned in several recent posts my belief that it will take a crisis of major proportions to destabilise the regime of the elites.

One interesting possibility is a complete political meltdown in the U.S. after the next presidential election. The meltdown could happen whether Trump wins or loses.

If Trump wins I think we can take it as a certainty that certain forces within the U.S. will simply not accept such a result. A second term for Trump might well push some of these groups over the edge and into attempts at direct action. An actual military coup might not be very likely but it is likely that there will be hysterical liberals openly calling for a coup. In fact some liberals have already made noises that suggest that they think a coup would be a fabulous idea. In Trump wins in 2020 the push for a coup could gain real momentum and even if the military doesn’t act it could precipitate a full-blown political crisis. A government really cannot allow people to be running around openly making plans to overthrow it without taking some action.

It might not be a likely scenario but since the 2016 election the mood among liberals has become steadily more irrational. There has to be a definite chance that another Trump victory would push some liberals into a stance perilously close to outright treason. Things could get interesting.

If Trump loses there’s also the potential for things to get very very crazy. Liberals are consoling themselves at the moment with revenge fantasies. The trouble is that a very significant number of them will expect those fantasies to be made into reality. They will expect Trump supporters to be punished. They will expect the punishments to be severe. They will also expect a newly elected Democrat president to take action to remove the threat of any future unfavourable election results. The backlash that liberals are planning is going to be the most savage repression ever enacted in an allegedly democratic country.

What could this backlash lead to? Probably nothing. Probably Americans will tamely submit to giving up most of their freedoms. But they might not.

And what will the Republicans do? Almost certainly they will welcome the new repressive measures. The chances that the Republican Party will put up a fight are somewhere between zero and none. Of course this might actually cause Republican voters at long last to realise that the Republican Party is not on their side. Which could have interesting results.

We’re seeing something similar in Britain with the elites being increasingly contemptuous of democracy after the British electorate wickedly voted for Brexit. And we’re likely to see similar reactions from European elites if they suffer embarrassing electoral setbacks. The European elites have had just about enough of democracy. They’re increasingly moving towards abandoning even the pretence that democracy still exists.

While it’s certain that the elites in the U.S. and other western countries will move more and more towards open repression the crucial question is whether they will go far enough to be safe. There’s nothing more dangerous than half-hearted repression. That’s what brought about the downfall of the Tsar in Russia in 1917. If the Tsarist regime had been as repressive as its popular image would lead us to believe the regime would have survived. But in fact the regime tried to be moderately repressive. Always a fatal mistake. It will be interesting to see if our modern elites have learnt the lesson of 1917.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

the surplus intellectuals menace

I was going to say this in the form of a reply to бармаглот’s earlier comment but my reply ended up being too long-winded so it’s become a new post.

бармаглот argued that it’s the content of higher education that is the problem, not the quantity. This is of course basically true but I don’t think it’s the whole story. In my view too much education would still be a problem even if you removed every trace of SJWism from the courses.

The problem is the production of people with useless qualifications who then expect to be given jobs commensurate with their inflated ideas of their own deserved status.

Even if the courses were quite innocuous in themselves, even if the degrees were vaguely useful, these people would still be a potentially disruptive potentially destabilising force in society.

As an example, there’s nothing wrong with producing people with degrees in musicology. But if at any one time your society only needs fifteen musicologists and you’re graduating a hundred new musicologists every year you’re going to have a lot of surplus musicologists. And they’re going to cause problems. You’re going to be menaced by roaming gangs of feral musicologists. Well OK, maybe not quite that, but they will cause problems. Having spent years (and possibly lots of money) getting their degrees they’re now going to find themselves waiting tables and driving cabs. They’re going to be discontented. They’re going to have a grudge against the unfair and uncaring society that has failed to recognise their importance. They’re going to be willing recruits for any revolutionary political group.

This is where SJWs came from in the first place. In the post-WW2 period universities in the West started churning out way more graduates than were needed, especially humanities graduates. These surplus intellectuals provided the foot soldiers for cultural marxism. In fact they made cultural marxism possible. They made the takeover of the Left by cultural marxism possible. And to a large extent this happened simply because there were suddenly too many graduates who discovered that society didn’t really need them or want them.

Surplus intellectuals are a plague on any society.