Wednesday, May 24, 2017

the crisis of Late Democracy

You will often hear people talk about the age of Late Capitalism. These people are almost always those who identify as being on the left but they do have a point. Capitalism has mutated. The capitalism of today bears little resemblance to the capitalism of the age of Henry Ford.

What has been less noticed is that we now live in the age of Late Democracy. Democracy of course was always a sham. The purpose of democratic institutions is to thwart the will of the people. What has changed, and it has changed dramatically over the past twenty years,  is that the mask has been dropped. In the past great effort was put into maintaining the pretense that democracy expressed the will of the people. This is no longer felt to be necessary.

Political leaders like Tony Blair, David Cameron, Barack Obama, Fran├žois Hollande, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull do not even pretend to care about what the voters want or think. 

The media no longer makes any attempt to hide the fact that it manipulates elections. Members of the real elite, the international finance elite, openly buy and sell politicians. Bureaucrats and judges openly despise ordinary people and openly defy the will of the people.

The contempt for ordinary people is palpable. And it is venomous. And it is openly expressed.

The question is whether this is sustainable in the long term. Governments have always felt the need for some sort of legitimacy. This was true even in the days when kings ruled rather than serving as figureheads. A king would think twice before taking any action that he knew would be repugnant to his people. A king reigned by the Grace of God but it was clearly understood that he was in a real sense the servant of his people. If he lost the confidence of the people he could be, and often was, deposed. Such a king no longer had any legitimacy and thus could no longer claim to rule by the Grace of God.

Even dictators usually only survive for as long as they serve the interests of the nation and the people. Like kings they can be, and often are, deposed.

We now have a new situation in which we are ruled by an elite whose claim to legitimacy is increasingly sketchy. Rule by a class which openly expresses its contempt for the people is also new.

Of course our current elites have much greater power in their hands than any king or dictator. Their control over the media is total and the power of the media is unprecedented in history. They control education. They control the police and the military. They control the “intelligence communities” which are now quite blatantly employed for the purpose of social control. They also control the economy. If you oppose them they can destroy your livelihood. They can destroy your family. They can also simply have you locked up and they are increasingly willing to do so.

In spite of all this power held by the elites the situation is inherently unstable. It can only continue as long as the elites remain united, and history shows that there is no guarantee that this will continue indefinitely. There are always groups that are on the margins of the elite and they would be happy to be on the inside, and in order to achieve this they will quite cheerfully displace existing members of the elites. New groups arise that want their share of the action and again they’re happy to take the place of existing elite groups.

The continuance of this situation also depends on the ability of the elites to navigate crises, and crises are by their nature impossible to predict.

Ruling classes also become, in time, decadent.

A ruling class without legitimacy is in a poor position to weather such storms, both internal and external. Whether or not our current ruling class can do so remains to be seen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Manchester: the price of decadence and folly

There isn’t really much I can say about the Manchester attack that hasn’t already been said. One thing that does need to be emphasised over and over again though is that multi-culturalism is only part of the problem and it’s mostly a symptom. It’s not the underlying disease.

These attacks are happening because western society has become both decadent and irrational.

Maybe decadence is just a natural stage in societal evolution. In this case I’m not convinced. This seems to be deliberately engineered decadence. Everything that gives a society strength and stability has been systematically undermined. Our men have been emasculated and our women have become virtue-signaling harpies.

And pop culture, especially pop music, has played a major role in this. It has been one of the major weapons used to demoralise and degrade us.

We don’t fight back because we believe that holding hands and singing Imagine and lighting candles are the best ways to confront problems. And of course hashtags. Hashtags can solve just about any problem. 

Irrationality also has a great deal to do with this. This whole problem could have been  easily avoided but our leaders (and this includes the leaders of every western country) failed to do so. Whether this was from malice or stupidity is hard to say. I’m inclined to think it was a bit of both. Combining open borders with a crazed interventionist foreign policy can only lead to disaster. 

At the moment we have a wasps’ nest in our back yard. It’s been there for quite a while and every day we see the wasps busily going back and forth to their nest. The wasps are busy doing wasp things and they ignore us. They haven’t been any problem at all. There are two reasons why they haven’t been a problem. Firstly we don’t invite the wasps into our house. We don’t put up a sign on the door saying Wasps Welcome. They have their territory and we have ours. The second reason is that we don’t go poking their nest with sticks. That would be foolish and it would be unjust. We’re happy to recognise their right to exist, as long as they stay outside.

There’s a lot to be said for this as an approach to foreign policy. Leave the wasps in their own country and don’t go poking their nests with sticks.

Decadent societies tend not to survive. Societies that are both decadent and foolish have very little chance. We’re lucky in some ways. Our decadence is deliberately engineered so we can halt the slippery slide and maybe even reverse it, at least a little. Foolish foreign policies can be abandoned. 

Our leaders have let us down. We have to find a way to let them know that their failures will no longer be tolerated. It’s not going to be easy but a good start would be to stop with the candles and the John Lennon songs.

Monday, May 22, 2017

cucks by name and cucks by nature

I disliked the term cuckservsative the first time I heard it. I’m still not totally convinced by it but I find myself using it more and more often. It’s just so damned useful.

It really does perfectly capture a certain mindset. It’s especially useful when used against weak cowardly “conservative” men. There’s the implication of a lack of manhood, and a lack of manhood is one of the biggest problems we face today. It’s not just that today’s men don’t have the guts to physically contest the invasion of their own countries and their own erasure from their society. They don’t even have the guts to stand up to verbal assaults. They’ve allowed themselves to be emasculated and cuck is somehow just the right term to describe them.

Ridicule can be a potent weapon and that makes cuck an even more useful term.

It also has the advantage that cucks hate being called cucks!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Foundational Myths and the Cult of Science

Every society has its Foundational Myths. I’m not talking about myths in the sense of mythology - gods and monsters and superhuman heroes and such things. I’m talking about the quasi-historical myths that define a society’s sense of itself.

For the Greeks it was the Trojan War. For the Romans it was Romulus and Remus and the founding of the city but the Romans elaborated their Foundational Myth by extending Roman history back to the exploits of the Trojan prince Aeneas after the fall of Troy. For French republicans it’s the Revolution. For Americans it’s the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary War.

For modern secularists the Foundational Myth is the Rise of Science. Until around the 17th century there was an age of ignorance and superstition then along came Science! and everything was light. Science! ushered in a blessed age of reason and enlightenment.

Foundational Myths can be entirely mythical, or they can be semi-mythical or even mostly historical. The Trojan War might well have happened although the actual events were probably much more small-scale and much more tawdry than the version promoted by the Greek poets.

The Rise of Science is at least partly historical. There has been a great deal of scientific progress in the past 500 years. The benefits are more questionable.

A Foundational Myth should be inspiring. It should give people a sense of cultural identity but more than that it should give a society some sense of purpose or destiny.

Has the Rise of Science done that? In some ways, perhaps. Although it’s worth pointing out that a great deal of human progress in modern times has owed more to practical engineers than to scientists. The engineers who were responsible for providing Europeans cities with sewerage and clean water contributed more to human happiness and prosperity than any scientists.

The problem with Science! is that it has given us a worldview that is bleak and nihilistic. The followers of the Cult of Science! have rarely taken this into account. Did the acceptance of the heliocentric view of the solar system actually make the world a better place? Did the acceptance of the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution by natural selection make us happier? Was there great popular rejoicing when the Big Bang Theory displaced the Steady State Theory of the universe? These things made liberal secularists happier because they provided them with ammunition with which to pursue their war on Christianity. Did it make society as a whole better? Are we better off now that we generally believe that the universe is entirely without purpose and meaning and that our ancestors were ape-like creatures?

Of course Science! may well be right much of the time. Nobody today disputes the heliocentric view of the solar system. The question is not whether the scientific view is often correct, it is whether that view of the world has actually represented genuine progress. Progress is after all always a good thing, or so we’re told. But what if the scientific worldview has actually left us without any purpose or meaning in our own lives?

There’s also another very great danger to the cult of Science! Even the craziest ideas can gain credence if they can be labeled as scientific. Marx claimed that his wacky and misguided theories had to be correct because they were scientific. Freud’s even nuttier ideas were sold as science. In the 20th century we were even told there was such a thing as social science, an oxymoron if ever there was one. Straight-out political propaganda can be promoted as science - the global warming hysteria being a fine example.

Rather than eliminating superstition the Cult of Science! has provided us with a whole grab-bag of new superstitions. Rather than ushering in an age of reason what we actually ended up with was a mixture of emptiness, despair and superstition. Some Foundational Myths seem to work better than others.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

lies, damned lies and thruthiness

We have always taken it for granted that there are certain groups for whom lying is natural and habitual. No sane person has ever expected politicians, lawyers or journalists to tell the truth.

Today we have a situation in which many groups that we used to regard as being relatively trustworthy are now also habitual liars. Scientists, school teachers, historians, clergymen, even doctors are now quite likely to lie to us. Not all the time of course, but often enough to represent an enormous sea change in western society. If half the scientists lie to us half the time then that means that we have to assume that scientists are people who cannot be trusted.

There is of course a difference between outright conscious lying and merely repeating falsehoods. In some cases the people repeating falsehoods actually believe their own lies. Sometimes they know that what they’re saying is untrue but they’re too scared not to go along with the lies. I don’t think that many doctors deliberately lie but I am sure that they’re aware that there are certain things that it’s better for them not to question - it’s best to stick to the party line so you don’t get into trouble. I think that very few clergymen deliberately lie - I really think most of them believe it when they tell us that diversity is good for us and that homosexuality is A-OK. In the case of historians and other academics I think it’s a mixture - some believe their own nonsense and some are lying trough their teeth to protect their nice comfy positions in academia.

It doesn’t make much difference in practice. It still means that we now live in a world in which the safe assumption is that we’re probably being lied to most of the time.

We don’t just have fake news. We have fake science. We have fake medicine. We have fake religion. We have fake history. If everything is fake where do we find truth? Does it even exist? Or do we just settle for truthiness?

This is of course an ideal situation for the elites. It doesn’t matter too much to them if we don’t really believe the Narrative that they push. If lies are everywhere and truth cannot be distinguished from lies then we have little choice but to believe the Narrative. Or maybe not believe, but accept it even while knowing that that it is false. Anyone who has read his Orwell knows that from the point of view of the elites being able to force us to believe something that we know is a lie is even better than having us actually believe. It demoralises us even further.

blog makeover

James at Nourishing Obscurity has suggested that maybe this blog needs a makeover. I think he’s probably right. So before I adopt a new look that you might all hate I should ask for some input.

First off, do you prefer reading a dark text on a white or near-white background, or something like the present scheme with light text on a dark background?

Is there anything about the present layout of the blog that you really hate?

Is there anything that I should consider adding? Any more widget-thingies?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

blasphemy laws and why we may be stuck with them

I wasn’t going to mention the Stephen Fry blasphemy case but now Richard Dawkins has jumped in on the issue. Dawkins of course wants the blasphemy law repealed.

My position on this is a bit complex. I believe that if you have a mono-cultural mono-religion society then you don’t need blasphemy laws. The reality is that we don’t have that type of society any longer. We now have a multi-cultural multi-faith society. In such a society blasphemy laws are an unfortunate necessity. Minority views do need to be protected. If they’re not protected you’re going to have trouble. That’s just reality. We have something even more difficult to deal with - a society divided not only on cultural racial and religious lines but even more bitterly divided on ideological lines. A multi-cultural multi-faith multi-ideology society is a society in which conflict is going to be continuous and bitter. 

We already have a society in which Christianity is under never-ending and vicious attack. Now increasingly we have each of a variety of religions, including atheism, in a state of permanent low-level war. We also have a society in which atheists like Dawkins are permitted to attack religion without limits. If there are no limits to the viciousness of the attacks it’s all going to end very very badly. Unfortunately I do think some limits are needed on the extent of the viciousness of the attacks. Did Stephen Fry cross the line? That would be for a court to decide.

Of course in an ideal world we would never have allowed our society to become a multi-cultural multi-religion war zone. But we did allow that to happen and one of the unfortunate consequences is that blasphemy laws may be required in order to dampen down the conflicts.

This is the world that liberals (like Stephen Fry) wanted. Now they have to live with it. If you want diversity you end up needing all sorts of intrusive and unpleasant laws, such as blasphemy laws. A diverse society will either destroy itself or it will become a police state. You can have freedom or you can have diversity. You can’t have both. We chose diversity.