Wednesday, April 20, 2016

freedom, choice and conformism

Yet another kerfuffle over trans nonsense with Germaine Greer in the firing line once again. The most instructive thing about it is the nature of the Twitter outrage. Liberals do love to give the impression that they are in favour of choice, freedom, autonomy, etc. 

And of course human rights. This week it seems that our most precious human right is the right to choose our own gender. The silliness of this is so obvious as to require no further comment.

What is really amusing is to see liberals noisily jumping up and down about freedom and choice. Amusing, because no-one hates freedom and choice more than liberals. 

A liberal’s idea of freedom is that everyone should have the right to make the choices that liberals tell them to make. Any other choices are entirely unacceptable.

Liberals are in fact even more conformist than ordinary folks. Liberals are positively terrified of nonconformity. The very idea that they might one day find themselves thinking a nonconformist thought reduces them to gibbering wrecks. 

This was not always true. A hundred and fifty years ago, in the heyday of classical liberalism, liberals really did believe in choice and freedom. What we call liberalism today bears no resemblance whatsoever to classical liberalism.

This might be one of the reasons that this modern variant of liberalism has been so successful in dominating debate on social and cultural issues while conservatism has failed utterly on those same fronts. It might also be the reason that classical liberalism is stone dead. The reality is that most people do want freedom. The proportion of the population that actually wants to have freedom is so tiny as to be statistically insignificant. People want to belong. They want to belong to a group and they want to be accepted unquestioningly as members of that group. The safest way to achieve that is by rigid conformity. Wanting to conform is the norm. The urge to conform overwhelms just about every other urge.

Modern liberalism answers that need. Accept the liberal creed and you need never trouble yourself with thought ever again. You need never fear failing to conform because such failure is not tolerated. You have a ready-made set of beliefs and a ready-made set of rules to obey. Obey the rules and you prove your orthodoxy and you are safe from accusations of heresy. Even better, you need never worry that deep down inside you might be a secret heretic. As long as you follow the party line heresy is simply impossible. It’s extremely comforting. It especially appeals to young people in whom the urge to conform is particularly strong.

Of course the rules change from time to time. In fact they change often. That’s no problem. As long as you read The Guardian or The Sydney Morning Herald or watch the BBC or the ABC you will always be able to keep up with the latest changes and change your badthoughts to goodthoughts instantly. And these constant rule changes are a good thing -  the help the authorities to stamp out any embers of smouldering heresy. Heretics (like Germaine Greer) can be instantly identified and dealt with. Nothing comforts the orthodox more than knowing that heresy will never be permitted to raise its disturbing head.

So maybe liberals aren’t crazy. Maybe they just understand human nature better than conservatives do. Conservatives have done a very poor job of offering people a sense of identity and security. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

the coming white guilt crisis

The liberal agenda that has triumphed throughout the western world in the past fifty years is driven by one factor - white guilt. Everything about modern liberalism comes down to white guilt.

It’s not difficult to see why this happened. After the two world wars it was understandable that western civilisation would undergo a crisis of confidence. The correct response would have been to abandon the modernist ideas that almost destroyed us, but people driven by emotion rarely draw the correct conclusions. The faulty conclusion that was drawn was that western civilisation was inherently evil and deserved to be destroyed. Western civilisation was seen as racist, sexist, homophobic, patriarchal and a danger to the planet. Christianity was seen as part of the evil of our civilisation. Driven by emotion westerners adopted a sentimental woolly-minded approach to the world. Environmentalism, feminism, the LGBTxyz madness - all this craziness was fueled by white guilt. White people felt guilty about absolutely everything. Today white people even feel guilty about the weather.

All this is of course obvious. The question that arises is - what happens if there’s a shortage of white people? Compared to a century ago white people are now a very small proportion of the earth’s population. Within a few decades even in many western countries white people will be a minority. And that means there’s going to be a serious shortage of white guilt.

This kind of guilt really is exclusively a white phenomenon. Non-white people (quite reasonably) can see no reason why they should feel guilty about western civilisation’s attempts to destroy itself. 

It’s not even a white thing - eastern Europeans seem to be far less afflicted with this illness. Ironically it appears that communism protected the people of eastern Europe from the worst excesses of liberalism.

So can liberalism survive without white guilt to fuel it? And how will the world look when the white guilt shortage becomes critical?

Obviously environmentalism will be swept away. Only guilt-ridden white people buy into any of that nonsense. The LGBT silliness will be much more difficult to sustain. The transgender madness will lose traction entirely. You can convince a white person that a man wearing a frock is a woman and always has been a woman but to a non-white person he’s just a guy in a frock. Feminism will suffer a body blow. Non-whites (or at least some of them) will tolerate the less extreme manifestations of feminism, but they won’t swallow the extreme stuff. 

And what of race? Without white guilt politics will become avowedly racial, with each racial/ethnic group pursuing its own interests. White “anti-racists” will no longer be required and will find themselves despised and ignored.

Of course liberals don’t think any of this will happen. They believe that everyone will become an anti-racist anti-sexist anti-homophobic tree-hugging liberal. This seems very unlikely. Such sentiments can only exist when there is a plentiful supply of white guilt to fuel them. Take away the white guilt and the bottom drops out of the market for liberalism. Liberals will make the unpleasant discovery that liberalism is a white thing. The Liberal Brave New World that liberals have dreamt about for so long will turn out to be just that - a dream.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

can democracy be made to work?

Regular readers will know that I’m sceptical of democracy. To me democracy is simply a marketplace for the buying and selling of political favours. Politicians sell their services. Sometimes they sell their services for cash. This kind of blatant corruption is actually the least terrible kind. Sometimes politicians sell their services in exchange for campaign funding. This is worse but it’s still not the most pernicious element of the system.

More often politicians sell their services in exchange for votes. In other words they sell their services in exchange for power. Voters sell their votes in return for political favours. This is the real problem. It’s like prostitution - it corrupts both the buyer and the seller.

The theory behind democracy is that voters will vote for the party or candidate who will do the best job for the country. This is pure fantasy. People vote for the party or candidate who will do the most for them personally, or for the particular interest group with which they identify.

There are conservatives who think that democracy works reasonably well in an ethnically and culturally homogenous society. There is some truth to this. If a society is divided along ethnic and cultural lines the problems with democracy will be exacerbated. However, even in an ethnically and culturally homogenous society democracy (as we know it) will still fail. No society is truly homogenous. There will always be interest groups. There will always be farming lobbies, mining lobbies, trade unions and countless other interest groups intent on getting the best deals for themselves. There will always be groups that coalesce around some ideology. There will always be groups that self-identify along cultural lines, or class lines. There will always be regional interests. The voters of Lancashire will put the interests of Lancashire ahead of the interests of Britain. The voters of Tasmania will put the interests of Tasmania ahead of the interests of Australia. There will always be special interest groups. Democracy still ends up being a corrupt system of patronage.

The question is - is there any way that democracy can be made workable? Do we need to throw out the baby with the bath water?

There are a few things that might help. Governments in Australia are always complaining about how difficult it is to pass new laws since they need to get them passed by both houses of parliament and it is almost impossible for a government to control a stable  majority in both houses. In actual fact that is a feature, not a bug, of the Australian political system. Changing the law and passing new laws should be difficult. It should be very difficult indeed. It should be difficult because mostly the laws do not need to be changed and most new laws are either entirely unnecessary or positively dangerous. If you can’t have sensible government it’s better to have weak government.

What we really need to do is to return to being a constitutional monarchy. At the moment we are not a constitutional monarchy in any meaningful sense of the term. A true constitutional monarchy should have a balance of power between Crown and Parliament. The function of the Crown should be to protect us from the follies and the corruption of politicians, and from the follies and short-sightedness of the electorate. A monarch with the ability to dissolve Parliament and force a new election at any time on his own initiative and with the ability to veto unwise laws would have saved us from many unwise legislative stupidities. The royal veto would not need to be absolute. You could allow a mechanism for overruling such a veto. A good mechanism would be to allow a prime minister in such a situation to ask for a dissolution of Parliament. If he can win the subsequent election, get the law through the new Parliament and then have it passed by a referendum the veto would be nullified. If the law was genuinely necessary, or at least harmless, that would not be a problem. If the law was unnecessary, or dangerous, there’s a very good chance it would fail at some stage of the process.

It would be cumbersome. That’s the beauty of it. A king who exercised his veto too often would become very unpopular so it’s likely that it would only be exercised sparingly. A prime minister who tried to force through potentially harmful legislation would almost certainly find himself out of office.

The essence of a workable political system is that it should be based on a genuine balance of powers and it should err on the side of caution. No current western democracy fulfills those two conditions. A truly workable system is just about possible but it will require some major changes.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

external enemies and totalitarianism

Every totalitarian regime need enemies. As Orwell realised in the 1940s they need both external and internal enemies. It’s as true of our present-day western soft totalitarianism a it has been of every previous totalitarian state.

In Orwell’s novel the external enemy is provided by the never-ending wars against either Eurasia or Eastasia. Orwell brilliantly realised that it would be useful if the external enemy changed from time to time. It adds to the atmosphere of paranoia, of uncertainty. Most importantly it makes foreign policy confusing for the average person. For a totalitarian regime that is a very desirable feature. If ordinary people do not understand foreign policy they can be frightened all the more effectively - and made to feel that the safest thing is to trust the government foreign policy “experts” who presumably know what is best. Switching enemies from time to time is of course also useful in training people to believe things that they know to be untrue. We have always been at war with Eurasia. Except when we have always been at war with Eastasia.

Our present-day leaders have absorbed Orwell’s lessons. In fact today we have the same  “enemies” - Eurasia (Russia) and Eastasia (China). We also have an extra enemy - Islam. This makes things more confusing, which is of course the whole idea. These are very useful enemies because the threat they represent is so vague and mysterious. It’s difficult for the person in the street to understand how incredibly important it is to stop China from controlling a few islands in the South China Sea. So Americans (and Australians) assume it must be part of some nefarious Inscrutable Oriental Masterplan. It’s basically the Yellow Peril of a hundred years ago dusted off and re-used.

The menace of Russia is also delightfully vague and incomprehensible. Russia must not be allowed to control the Crimea, even though the Crimea has been Russian for centuries. The Ukraine is a vital national security interest for the US and the entire world. Nobody knows why because nobody is capable of disentangling the intricacies of eastern European history and politics. Obviously the Crimea and the Ukraine are vital to the defence of the United States - you have only to look at a map to see that. If the Russians got the Ukraine they’d be in Nebraska within a week.

Islam is even better. Ordinary people don’t know the difference between Shi’a Moslems and Sunni Moslems. They certainly don’t know anything about the Wahhabi sect. Ordinary people don’t know the difference between a secular Moslem state like Syria and an Islamic state like Iran. The fact that the Moslems in the Middle East belong to at least three different distinct ethnic and cultural groups - Turks, Arabs and Persians - adds to the confusion. And who the hell are the Kurds? Where did these ISIS guys come from? How come lots of Syrians are actually Christians? We’d better leave all this to the foreign policy experts. All we need to know is that Russia, China and Islam are all enemies.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

useless things - NATO and solar energy

Donald Trump has questioned the need for NATO. The amazing thing about this is that it’s controversial. NATO has served no useful purpose since 1991. If anything it makes the world less safe.

Trump is also, rightly, sceptical about other useless international alliances - relics of the Cold War that should be consigned to the dustbin of history.

If Europe wants to defend itself it would be better off doing the job itself. A European defence alliance without the US might be worthwhile, but only if it includes Russia.

In other news, a new $2.2 billion solar energy project that won’t actually produce usable affordable energy when it’s needed but will kill lots of endangered birds.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Trump, neocons and the Left

The 2016 presidential election in the US continues to provide amusement and amazement (mixed with a certain amount of despair). The most interesting thing about it is that the most left-wing of all the candidates is Donald Trump.

The US is now controlled entirely by the neocons. They are the ones calling the shots. They have the influence and they have the money behind them. Both major parties have embraced the neocon philosophy lock, stock and barrel. The differences between a Ted Cruz or a Marco Rubio and a Hillary Clinton are merely cosmetic.

There’s a popular theory that neocons are closet leftists, that they are essentially rebranded Trotskyists. I don’t buy this. There’s nothing remotely left-wing about neocons. The “neocons are leftists in disguise” theory is based on neocon support for identity politics movements. In fact of course neocons couldn’t care less about blacks or homosexuals or any other victim groups. Neocons employ these victim groups as useful idiots. Neocons care about three things - global capitalism, war and Israel.

Neocons are perhaps best thought of as representing the extreme end of the far right. 
This does not imply that neocons are conservatives. They are not conservatives in any way, shape or form. They are right-wing, but not conservative. They represent the radical right.

Ironically the modern political parties that get labelled as far right are in truth centre-left or even further left. They represent leftist nationalism. Which makes sense. Leftist policies can only work in relatively homogenous stable societies. Mass immigration simply makes leftist policies impossible. A leftist who embraces globalism is living in a dream world.

In the 1930s the far right was identified with nationalism (not always correctly since many of the far right political parties of the 30s were a mix of left and right wing ideologies). Today the far right (the neocons) embrace globalism and hate nationalism with a passion. Leftists in Europe may be finally beginning to awaken to the reality that they must embrace nationalism. Leftists in the US don’t count since they are such a tiny and insignificant minority (a few ageing Marxist university professors and that’s about it). The US Democratic Party is most emphatically not a leftist party. It’s a neocon party.

Any kind of leftist political agenda is impossible without a fairly stable homogenous population and strong border controls. A conservative agenda is equally impossible without those elements. On the other hand a radical right-wing agenda (as promoted by the neocons) is not only possible, such an agenda actually requires population instability, mass immigration and open borders.

The radical right-wing agenda of the neocons may be the most destructive ideology yet seen in the West. It remains to be seen whether an alliance can be forge between genuine leftists and genuine conservatives.

The almost hysterical hatred displayed by neocons towards Donald Trump has one major cause - whatever Trump might be he is not a neocon. The great fear of the neocons is not right-wing populism - it is the possibility of a populism that combines both left-wing and conservative values.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

exposing the crybullies

One of the more sinister developments of the past couple of years is the rise of the crybully. The crybullies are people who pretend to have been victimised and pretend to have been traumatised by this victimisation when in fact they themselves are the actual bullies.

We’re all familiar with this phenomenon from recent events on American university campuses, with students claiming to have been reduced to tears and claiming to have suffered damage to their mental health by having to listen to the opinions of evil white right-wingers. A recent post on OzConservative details one of the more extreme recent examples.

In fact of course these students (most of whom spend more time indulging in “activism” than actually studying) have not been the least bit traumatised. They have discovered a new and powerful weapon with which to crush dissent and silence any remaining vestiges of freedom of speech. All they have to do is burst into tears or claim to have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder or some such nonsense and they know that cowardly university authorities will cave in to their demands and prevent anyone from expressing opposing views on campuses. They are not victims. They are liars and they are bullies and they are determined to impose absolute uniformity of thought and speech.

If this was something that only happened on university campuses it would be bad enough but similar tactics are being employed in workplaces in the real world, in the mainstream media and in social media. It is a tactic being used to impose even more draconian limitations on freedom of speech on social media in particular. 

Of course the argument is often made, especially in the US, that social media is run by private companies so any protections in regard to freedom of speech do not apply. This is nonsense. If you run a social network you are establishing a public space and if you impose controls on freedom of speech then you are practising censorship. The internet is a public space. Those who control social media effectively control the internet. For such companies to impose censorship is in practice no different from the government imposing censorship.

The Social Justice Warriors are determined to control all public discourse. The crybully tactic is a terrifyingly effective tool that they are using with a great deal of ruthlessness.

To some extent this applies to the modern anti-bullying hysteria in general which can be employed for the same ends. It is a convenient cover for ever more sweeping hate speech legislation which means ever further limits on freedom of speech.

The crybully tactic needs to be exposed for what it is - another weapon with which to suppress any expression of dissent.