Sunday, June 30, 2019

left is left and right is right, or maybe not

I can still, dimly, remember when Australian politics was pretty simple. On one side was the Liberal-Country Party Coalition, generally referred to simply as the Coalition. They were right-wing on economic issues and conservative on social and cultural issues. On the other side was the Australian Labor Party. They were left-wing on economic issues and conservative on social and cultural issues.

In fact in those days it would never have occurred to most people that there was any need to classify political beliefs in any other way than a simple left-right continuum. The Coalition was therefore right-wing (but not too extreme) and Labor was left-wing (but not too extreme). Everybody had the same views on social and cultural issues.

John Gorton, Australia's first socially left PM
That all changed in the late 60s. In Australia at least it happened in the late 60s. The situation seems to have changed at roughly the same time throughout the Anglosphere. The Labor Party started to espouse radical social and cultural ideas. The started moving leftwards on those issues. At the time no-one would have thought of it in exactly these terms because the idea of being socially/culturally left hardly even existed. But by the time Labor under Whitlam finally regained power at the federal level in 1972, after 23 years in opposition,   it was starting to become pretty obvious that there was a left-right continuum on social and cultural matters and that Labor was moving leftwards.

During the brief life of the Whitlam Government most grassroots Labor supporters were still economic left/social right. The leadership of the party was divided, with old school Labor figures being focused on left-wing economic agendas while the new breed increasingly focused on radical social causes whilst still being left-wing on economic issues.

What’s really interesting is that at about the same time the Coalition started moving leftward on social/cultural issues as well. The Gorton Coalition Government of 1968-71 was, by the standards of the times, quite left-wing on social and cultural issues.

By the late 70s Labor had become economic left/social left and the Coalition was economic right/social left.

Then came the 80s and strange things happened to the Labor Party. During the ascendancy of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating Labor shifted dramatically rightwards on economic issues (in fact they were further right than the coalition for a while).That shift has never been reversed.

Labor today is solidly in the economic right/social left camp. The Coalition is also solidly in the economic right/social left camp. The parties are effectively interchangeable, which explains the volatility of Australian politics in this era. Voters know that whichever side they vote for nothing changes and they’re understandably disillusioned. That’s also pretty much the situation in other Anglosphere countries. In Britain the Conservative Party is hard-right on economics and hard-left on social issues. It’s indistinguishable from the Blairite wing of the Labour Party. The Corbynite wing of Labour makes some noises about actual economic left issues but whether they would pursue such policies in office is another matter. In any case it seems unlikely that the Americans would allow Jeremy Corbyn to become PM.

Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, destroyer of the traditional Labor Party 
In the U.S. the Democrats are hard-right on economics and hard-left on social issues. The Republicans are hard-right on economics and simply don’t care about social issues.

What’s important about all this is that there are two significant constituencies that are entirely ignored by mainstream politics. One of these is the Old School conservative constituency, the people who are right-wing on both economic and social issues. These people simply have no representation. Some, a tiny handful, drift into areas like the alt-right (in Australia they might be One Nation supporters). As far as mainstream politics and the media are concerned these people are Nazis.

The other ignored constituency is the Old School Left - the ones who are left on economic issues but right-wing on social/cultural issues. As far as mainstream politics and the media are concerned these people don’t even exist. They cannot exist. They are the political establishment’s worst nightmare. They are Woke Capital’s worst nightmare. They are powerless because they have no leaders. If they ever find leaders then everything is up for grabs. The whole political landscape will be reshaped.

What’s also interesting is that some of the more intelligent people in the alt-right and dissident right subcultures are starting to have doubts about that whole being right-wing on economic issues thing. They’re starting to think that maybe the free market isn’t powerful magic after all, that maybe GDP growth doesn’t mean very much, that maybe GDP growth is pretty worthless if ordinary people can’t afford to buy a house and raise a family even though back in the 1960s ordinary people could afford to do both those things. It’s only a very small number of alt-right and dissident right people who are having such doubts, but the ones having the doubts tend to be the ones with the brains.

So the future is interesting, with large groups of people effectively completely disenfranchised and either ignored or reviled. It’s a potentially unstable situation. All it needs is someone with the imagination and the ability to light the fuse.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

the power of wishful thinking

There is nothing quite so powerful and so seductive as the power of wishful thinking. It explains a great deal of what has gone wrong with society.

Conservative-leaning voters are a monument to the power of wishful thinking. No matter how many times parties like the Republican Party, the British Conservative Party and the LNP in Australia betray their supporters those supporters continue to believe that next time it will be different. The next Republican candidate won't betray them. The next Tory PM won’t betray them. This time it will be different. This time Lucy won’t pull the football away at the last moment. She promised she wouldn’t.

Left-leaning voters suffer from wishful thinking as well. Despite the abundant evidence that the official leftist parties sold out to big business decades ago these voters still convince themselves that next time it will be different, next time these parties will do something for the working class.

Associated with wishful thinking is magical thinking. You know the sort of thing. If only we can get a few more conservatives on the Supreme Court everything will be fine. Even though conservatives who get appointed to the Supreme Court usually turn out to be liberals. There’s also the belief in Britain that somehow Brexit will make everything OK again. Which ignores the fact that Britain’s most dangerous enemies have been in Whitehall rather than Brussels.

One interesting piece of wishful thinking that I’ve noticed on dissident right sites is the idea that America is going to break up, quite peacefully, and that’s going to permit the formation of a white ethnostate. It kinda ignores the fact that the last attempt to break up the country lead to a bloodbath. But most of all it ignores the fact that white solidarity is a pipe-dream. Rich whites hate and despise and fear poor whites. Poor whites hate and despise and fear rich whites. Liberal whites hate conservative whites. Conservative whites hare liberal whites. There ain’t never gonna be a white ethnostate. White people hate other white people more than they hate anyone else.

At times it seems like wishful thinking is the only alternative to despair, but they’re both equally dangerous.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

hurrah for freedom, whatever that means

I’ve always been a bit puzzled by this freedom thing. I’ve been even more puzzled since I started spending time on right-wing internet sites. Right-wingers get very excited by freedom (in much the same way that people who identify as left-wing get terribly excited by the idea of rights).

I get even more confused when I hear about freedom and democracy, because I cannot see what democracy has to do with freedom. OK, so we get to choose which government will oppress and misgovern us. And whichever government we get will almost certainly oppress and misgovern us in pretty much the same way. In fact whichever party wins the election it seems that the people actually pulling the strings don’t change. So I can’t see exactly how voting makes us free.

I was intrigued on a recent thread over at Unz Review to hear several people make the claim, based on personal experience, that growing up under communist regimes they felt more free than they feel today. They also felt that the communist government had been more responsive to people’s needs.

So is the freedom we supposedly enjoy in our liberal democracies actual freedom or is it an illusion? And is it better to have the right to vote in meaningless elections, for governments that actively hate the people they govern, or to have a government that at least puts the future of its own people first?

Is it possible that regimes that seem to be, on superficial examination, authoritarian in nature actually offer their people more freedom than regimes that loudly trumpet their commitment to democracy?

We might also ask whether, when wars are launched to bring the benefits of freedom and democracy to nations that have shown no interest in such things, we are actually making these people more free or less free? Are we giving people freedom in theory but does it turn out in practice to be a mirage?

Is our freedom merely a new type of tyranny?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

SJWs and the spooks

While I firmly believe that Woke Capital has been the source of a huge amount of the SJW madness that has afflicted the West over the past half century (see my previous post Woke Capital and the Fake Left) it is also perhaps just possible that more sinister forces have been at work.

Now I’m very very wary of conspiracy theories. Most of them don’t really seem to make sense to me and it worries me that once you go down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole there’s no way back. On the other hand, while most conspiracy theories are undoubtedly wrong that doesn’t mean that actual conspiracies don’t take place. A cursory glance at history shows that conspiracies have been quite common. Kings have been overthrown, regimes have been toppled, revolutions have been made - and in most cases such things could hardly have happened had there not been people conspiring to bring them about.

I’m quite fond of Ron Unz’s idea that agencies like the C.I.A. might well be promoting lots of wacky conspiracy theories in order to discredit the idea that real conspiracies exist. It would be a good way to distract people’s attentions away from the handful of genuine conspiracies.

Be that as it may there’s an interesting recent Steve Sailer post at Unz Review, The Great Awokening Conspiracy Theory, and one commenter makes the suggestion that some of the murkier American intelligence agencies might have started deliberately pushing the SJW hysteria as a way of neutering the Occupy Wall Street movement a few years back. It does seem vaguely possible. It also seems to me to be vaguely plausible that such American intelligence agencies may have been stoking the fires of SJW outrage for years. The whole Social Justice thing is such an incredibly useful distraction from the point of view of so many powerful groups.

I’m not going to put this forward as a serious theory, I’m not yet ready to join the tinfoil hat brigade, but still it is something to think about.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Woke Capital and the Fake Left

One of the great mysteries of the past half-century has been the enthusiastic support that the business sector has given to the destruction of the family, the destruction of Christianity and the undermining of all traditional values. The rise of Woke Capital, corporations that support every lunatic manifestation of identity politics and every sort of social and cultural decadence, has bewildered social conservatives.

In fact of course there is absolutely no mystery at all. In the immediate postwar period the Left seemed to be a very real threat. The Soviet Union appeared to be well on the way to becoming an economic and technological as well as a military superpower. Labour was in power in Britain. They were not only introducing the National Health Service but were showing a definite interest in nationalising key industries. The Labor Government in Australia and left-leaning governments in various countries were thinking along similar lines. Europe was starting to move towards a kind of Socialism Lite. Trade union movements in most western countries were powerful and active.

The Left seemed to be in the ascendant. Revolution seemed unlikely but on the other hand a gradual drift towards socialism seemed very possible. Truly ghastly possibilities seemed to be on the horizon, things like an actual redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, nationalisation of the banks and other horrors.

How could all this be prevented? The solution was simple but daring. Rather than try to destroy the Left why not just hijack it? And thus, beginning in the late 60s, we got the New Left. The New Left was well-funded and was new and exciting. But the best thing about it was that it wasn’t left-wing at all. The New Left just loved capitalism. The New Left wasn’t interested in tedious economic stuff. They didn’t care about boring stuff like the working class. They were fighting against racism! And sexism. And for sexual liberation. And homosexual liberation. And legalised drugs. And legalised porn. Their struggle was for liberation. Liberation is a good thing isn’t it? And they would save the planet as well.

It was all so exciting that nobody noticed that the New Left had in fact abandoned leftism in favour of radical right-wing liberalism.

Also nobody worried that maybe destroying the trade unions might not be a great idea. Unions were boring Old Left ideas. The struggle against racism and sexism was much more exciting.

This has all been very very good for Big Business. They no longer have to worry about the Left. They no longer have to worry about being held to account for their massive profits, or for driving down wages, or for wanting to import cheap labour. They no longer have to worry that people might notice that free markets are pretty much a fraud and that monopolies seem to be ever more common. The Left (or rather the Fake Left) is too busy searching for Nazis under the bed and campaigning for the right of men wearing frocks to use the ladies’ room.

Being Woke is very very good for big business. Today all of Big Business is Woke, and a large part of small business is Woke as well (being Woke allows small business to get away with paying starvation wages to illegal immigrants).

There are of course other bonuses. Destroying the traditional family is a good thing because without families people become better consumers.

Woke Capital is not going to go away. And they’re going to push the Woke agenda harder and harder because as long as Woke causes are occupying our attention nobody is raising any awkward economic questions. Capital is going to become ever more Woke, and ever more militantly Woke.

the irrational goes mainstream

One of the more amusing features of the current era has been the emergence of witches as leaders of the “resistance” against Trump. Don’t laugh, these witches are not just resisting Trump they’re also putting hexes on the patriarchy and (of course) on Nazis. The New York Times is quite excited by all this.

In fact this kind of nuttiness has been with us for a long time. Superficially it seemed like the most crazy manifestations of the 60s/70s counterculture (astrology, witchcraft, silly eastern cults, psychoanalytic claptrap) were more or less swamped by the materialism, the hedonism and the naked greed of the 80s. But that’s not actually what happened. The really crazy stuff didn't disappear. It infiltrated the mainstream. The craziness, the degeneracy, the toxic feminism, the homosexual agenda, the belief in occultism and psychic nonsense – all the seriously bad ideas of the counterculture became part of the mainstream.

The 1960s/70s counterculture did not disappear. It became the mainstream. What passes for respectable conservative mainstream culture today would have shocked and sickened ordinary people in the 1950s.

And the infiltration of diseased and depraved ideas into the mainstream has never stopped and it is continuing today.

The craziness became less obvious and less flamboyant compared to the 70s but when you scratch beneath the surface you’ll find that apparently perfectly normal people believe things that would have been considered insane prior to the 1960s. What was once  fringe is now firmly mainstream.

And as for the conservative backlash, it never happened and it doesn’t look like happening. The 80s did not represent a conservative backlash – it was simply crass materialism, hedonism and consumerism turned into a cult. There was no actual reversal of the follies of the 60s and 70s.

And included in this package of bad ideas and silly beliefs that have been mainstreamed are some seriously irrational beliefs. There is of course the very firm belief that feelings are more important than facts. But it goes way beyond that. Magical thinking is well entrenched in our society, particularly in the lunatic fringe of the feminist movement. Of course feminists in the 70s believed in all sorts of quasi-spiritual absolute nonsense like homeopathy, energy fields, magical female energies, etc. And the craziness imbedded itself in society. Not everybody believes such silliness but a disturbing number of people do. The widespread belief in conspiracy theories (unfortunately perhaps even more prevalent among right-wingers) is another symptom of the fundamentally irrational nature of our society.

The feminist witch thing is so loopy that it is tempting to think that such absurdities can simply be laughed off, but it’s simply a particularly extravagant manifestation of a widespread cult of unreason which afflicts the whole of our society (and is found in slightly different forms among both conservatives and liberals).

The 70s wasn’t just a phase our society was going through. It marked a permanent change, an irreversible turn towards irrationality and emotion, from which we may not recover (barring some ind of cataclysm).

Saturday, June 1, 2019

all political ideologies are substitute religions

People on the right are fond of describing liberalism, and also Marxism, as secular religions.

In fact all political ideologies, whether of the left or the right, are substitute religions. That includes nationalism and HBD, and blank slatism, and libertarianism.

The growth of political ideology in the West precisely coincided with the collapse of Christianity. When Christianity collapsed people started looking for alternative religions – Marxism, nationalism, fascism, environmentalism, liberalism, IQ fetishism, feminism, libertarianism, etc.

For many people both science and atheism became alternative religions, which explains the religious zeal and bigotry of atheists, evolutionists, global warming cultists, etc.

It’s important to note that whether scientific theories are true or not becomes irrelevant once they are turned into substitute religions, as has happened with evolution, HBD and climate science. Some of these scientific notions may be true. That’s not the point. Once they become substitute religions their truth or falsehood no longer matters. Most adherents of these substitute religions have no idea if the original scientific notions were complete nonsense or whether they were plausible scientific theories.

The same applies to the political ideologies. Some may have a certain degree of validity. But they become secular religions and from that point on they are not questioned.