Tag Archives: anti-intellectualism

Mein Drumpf

drumpf

The man, the hand gestures.

In a little under a week’s time, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States. The property tycoon, reality show host and serial bankrupt (yes) will lead one of the largest and most sophisticated war machines on the planet.  Much has been made of Trump’s lack of a political hinterland by the media.  Indeed, he has no experience of political office and this supposed outsider status, claim his supporters, is what makes him so appealing.   “He’ll shake up the establishment” say his supporters.  Yeah, I guess he will but not in the way you think.

Even Warren G. Harding, to whom I have often compared Trump, had political experience as the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and as senator for the same state.  Like Trump, his cabinet was stuffed with millionaires.  Yet, even Harding described himself as “unfit for office”, something that Trump is unlikely to do, such is the size of his ego and evident lack of self-awareness.  Harding’s presidency was dogged by scandals and he died in office.  I’ll just leave that there.

Trump has dodged questions about his fitness for office by attacking his opponents.  This is the classic tactic of deflection but it also signals his inability to accept responsibility for his actions and, moreover, the words that come from his mouth.  I know it’s unfair and unreasonable for a lay person like myself to make a remote psychological diagnosis based on a handful of signifiers, but Trump is a rampant narcissist.

On the question of whether or not he’s racist?  Well, Trump has consistently denied it, yet he’s been busily appointing racists to his cabinet and his White House staff.   This appears to encapsulate the contradictory nature of the man himself: he will say one thing and do the complete opposite.  What cannot be denied is the way in which America’s racists, xenophobes and Nazis have been emboldened by Trump’s victory.  His supporters may shrug, roll their eyes and claim “a few Nazis marching doesn’t mean anything” but I don’t recall the same thing happening when Reagan or the Bushes won the presidency. Do you?

Trump’s campaign slogan was the simplistic: “Make America Great Again”. This kind of slogan is reminiscent of Hitler’s and Mussolini’s rhetoric and suggested a return to a mythical past.  During the bruising election campaign, Trump had been compared to both dictators by many commentators.  The Cat once thought a closer comparison could be made to Louis-Napoleon, the future Napoleon III, who spent a great deal of time and effort attracting the votes of the poor.  But that’s where any resemblance ends.   Unlike Louis-Napoleon, Trump has not written a treatise on the elimination of poverty (Trump doesn’t even read books).  In fact, he hasn’t mentioned the issue of poverty at all,  preferring instead to charm the impoverished with magick slogans and by blaming Muslims,  immigrants and foreigners for for their social condition.  One more thing: Napoleon III was a soldier.  Trump dodged the draft.

Trump’s ploy was thus cynical and calculating.  He appealed to the reactionary instincts of many working class whites by pressing their buttons and schmoozing them, while at the same time making moves to consolidate and extend the power of America’s filthy rich – all of which he did in plain sight.  Time will tell if Trump will morph into a latter day Napoleon III, but to do this, he will need to use executive powers to declare a state of emergency and stage a coup against himself as Louis-Napoleon did in 1851.  Let’s hope that idea never pops into his head.

So is Trump a fascist? Fascism in the early 21st centuries doesn’t wear uniforms and smash up printing presses as Mussolini’s Blackshirts had done in the 1920s.  These Third Position fascists have appropriated the language of the Left and consciously adopted a victim mentality.  Their anti-intellectual thinkers (sic) have concocted conspiracy theories, like the Frankfurt School/Cultural Marxism smear, and barely concealed their racism behind the language of classical liberalism.  19th century Liberals like Lord John Russell were quite content to see the Irish starve to death during The Famine, because they saw themselves as superior specimens of humanity.  They were committed social Darwinists.  The fascist is also a social Darwinist at heart.

The so-called ‘alt-right’ are, to be sure, fascists in all but name.  They are mostly male and mainly white.  They think feminism is a ‘cancer’ and loathe equal rights for minority groups.  They bang the drum for nationalism and glorify the military. They also follow Trump.  No doubt some of them may even call themselves ‘libertarians’.  Their freedom is a checklist of textbook freedoms for their fellows.  Third Positionist parties will often use the word ‘freedom’ to deflect attention from their patent opposition to the freedoms of Others .  We can see this in the name of the now defunct British Freedom Party and others on the continent that purport to be the ‘guardians’ of freedom.

Third Positionists have also taken advantage of the confusion generated by mainstream politicians, who have provided them with ideal conditions in which to propagate.  Indeed, the triangulationism of Tony Blair’s Third Way and the nouveau Conservatism of David Cameron, which sought to ape it, must take some responsibility for the rise of far-right in Britain.  One failed to meet dog-whistle racism head on and the other actively employed it.  Both of them were obsessed with superficialities and refused to address real structural problems, and politicians from each party continue to foster division and hatred through their appropriation of the far-right’s rhetoric on immigration.  The extreme centre is no place to be at a time like this!

Trump may have cast himself as an outsider and self-styled opponent on the ‘elite’ but he is one of the elites.  He didn’t start in business by saving up quarters that he earned through bagging groceries at Walmart.  He went to expensive educational institutions and his daddy handed him a few million to get the ball rolling.  Trump is a corporatist and corporatism is central to fascist economic thinking.  Fascism is nothing more than the marriage between the state and corporate power. It only sees the working class as drones, breeding machines or as ‘boots on the ground’.

The overall political, cultural and social orientation of Trump’s administration does not bode well for the working class white people who voted for him, because it is they who will be shafted;  sacrificed on the altar of corporatism. But would Hilary Clinton be any better?  No.  What America really needed was Bernie Sanders and he was stitched up by the Democratic Party establishment.  Now we have a reality TV star and property tycoon as President.  Just think, over 30 years ago a reactionary former actor and state governor became POTUS and some people thought he was ‘great’.

 

 

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Filed under United States, US Presidential Election 2016

The Bedroom Tax Is A Tax, No Matter What The Tories Say

Like many people, I’ve always thought the Tories were monumentally stupid. Many of them have the most expensive education money can buy and yet they trot out the most absurd and intellectually-enfeebled statements with nary a thought. A couple of years ago, David Cameron appeared on the David Letterman Show and couldn’t even tell his interlocutor what the Magna Carta was.

He went to Eton and Oxford, for chrissakes. But let’s be blunt: the offspring of this country’s wealthy and powerful don’t have to do well at school because they don’t need to. They know that they will land a plum job no matter how brain dead they are. Cameron is but one example. Osborne is another.

The Tories’ solution for dealing with the housing crisis was indicative of, not only their ignorance of the gravity of the situation, but also of their mindless cruelty towards those without the means to fight back. The so-called Spare Room Subsidy, which is more accurately termed “The Bedroom Tax”, is an example of this cruelty. However the term “Spare Room Subsidy” itself is indicative of their ignorance. Since when was a charge for something considered a ‘subsidy’?

The Oxford English Dictionary describes a subsidy as:

A sum of money granted by the state or a public body to help an industry or business keep the price of a commodity or service low.

An example of this would be

a farm subsidy

Does the Bedroom Tax sound like a “subsidy” to you? No, it doesn’t sound like one to me either.

I’ve had Tories seize on a Tweet that I wrote a few months ago in which I provided the dictionary definition of a subsidy. Yesterday, this numpty even linked to his blog in an attempt to prove me wrong. He even tried to support his claim by repeating the lie that council housing is “subsidized”. If they aren’t trotting out wilfully ignorant statements, then they’re peddling myths. Council housing is not “subsidized”. The majority of council housing stock was built decades ago and the rents paid to local authorities have paid for the building of these properties many times over. Council rents bring in millions of pounds for local authorities. This evidence is completely ignored by the Tories who whine and complain that people are paying below the inflated market rents charged by their rentier brethren. They won’t be happy till we’re all (apart from them) living in abject squalor in shanty towns, which they will bulldoze because they’re “an eyesore”.

The person who replied to my Tweet claims, according to his Twitter profile, that he’s socially liberal and economically conservative. Oh, how I laughed. His complaint against the phrase ‘Bedroom Tax’ rests entirely on this weak premise:

Amazingly the left call this system a “tax”, which it definitely isn’t. There can only be two possible reasons that they are doing this. The first is because, as they have proven repeatedly, they don’t understand economics. The second is because they could possibly be lying again and trying to mislead the British public for political reasons, which is strange when it is their idea.

This fool believes himself to be intellectually superior to everyone else, yet he displays a distinct lack of critical thinking and is quite keen to recirculate the Tories’ myths and lies. But he claims the left (whoever they are) “don’t understand economics”. It’s quite clear to me and many others, that the Tories are utterly clueless when it comes to economics. Have a look at Osborne’s Autumn Statement if you don’t believe me.

To top off his arrogance, the numpty tells us:

Abusers will be muted. Tedious fools also.

The word generally used on Twitter is “blocked” and I blocked this idiot.

The first Tory who took issue with my Tweet even quoted part of the definition for the word ‘tax’.

A compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’income and businessprofits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions:

But what about protection racketeers who refer to the charges they impose on people as a ‘tax’, are they going to tell them to stop using the word and use the word ‘subsidy’ instead? The word ‘tax’ is not limited to money paid to a state, it is used to describe any kind of deduction or a drain on one’s powers.

The Free Dictionary says:

Tax (tæks)

n

1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a compulsory financial contributionimposed by a government to raise revenue, levied on the income or property ofpersons or organizations, on the production costs or sales prices of goods andservices, etc
2. a heavy demand on something; strain: a tax on our resources.

vb (tr)

3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) to levy a tax on (persons, companies,etc, or their incomes, etc)
4. to make heavy demands on; strain: to tax one’s intellect.
5. to accuse, charge, or blame: he was taxed with the crime.
6. (Law) to determine (the amount legally chargeable or allowable to a party to alegal action), as by examining the solicitor’s bill of costs: to tax costs.
7. to steal
You will notice that I have put point 7 in bold. Britain or, rather, HMP United Kingdom has some of the most regressive taxes in the world and these amount to little more than theft and/or the abuse of power. The Poll Tax or Community Charge was but one example of the kinds of regressive taxes imposed on people by the Tories because they’re seen as ‘fair’.
If Tories and right-wing numpties want to play games with semantics, then they will have to do much better than dispute definitions by using such narrow terms.
The Tories: ignorance is strength.

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Filed under ConDem Budget 2010, Conservative Party, economic illiteracy, Economics

What’s Happening To Stand-up Comedy In Britain?

I’m one of the judges for the New Acts of The Year and we’re about half way through the contest. One thing that I and other judges have noticed is the general lack of political and philosophical engagement with the world among novice comedians. There are also a worrying number of acts who either have no material or have nothing interesting to say. Some have even ventured into misogyny, homophobia and casual racism in a feeble attempt to get laughs. What we also tend to find is that, rather than present a quirky view of the world, some of these novice comedians are giving us a spoken version of their CV. Is this what people are being taught to do at the many stand-up comedy courses that have proliferated since the early 1990s? I think it is. Whatever the case, British stand-up comedy is on its sick bed.

For the last few days, many comedians have been talking about Andrew Lawrence’s alleged support for UKIP and his attack on immigrants. Even UKIP leader Nigel Farage has given Lawrence his support.   A potential kiss of death? Possibly. Only time will tell. What has the world come to when today’s comedians are embracing anti-immigration rhetoric and railing against diversity? Are we really heading back in time to the immediate post-colonial period when comedians used trot out a stream of racist and sexist gags and used “it’s only a joke” as a defence? Sometimes it seems that way.  In Lawrence’s case, it’s easy to suggest that he’s doing this to attract attention. On the other hand, perhaps he, like so many others, is suffering from cognitive dissonance or maybe he’s just a right-wing reactionary arsehole. At any rate, there is an absence of critical thinking to his rant and I would argue that this is indicative of a malaise that is currently affecting the entire country, especially in England, where this negative attitude towards difference seems rife. This malaise is particularly manifest in those people who believe UKIP is ‘anti-establishment’ or ‘anti-politics’.  ‘Anti-politics’? Really? There is no such thing as ‘anti-politics’. Everything is political. UKIP is an anti-intellectual party that appeals to anti-intellectuals, who believe the country’s myriad problems can be solved by simply ‘pulling up the drawbridge’.

On Lawrence’s Facebook page, he attempts to “clarify” his earlier post but is actually reiterating what he said previously. In effect, he ends up digging himself an even bigger hole of gargantuan proportions:

A comedian from a minority background who uses their own ethnicity as a foundation for the whole of their act, rather than looking at wider aspects of society and exploring outside of their own personal experience.

And then says:

Quotas have been introduced, whereby every panel show must book a certain number of female and ethnic comedians, regardless of ability or merit.

Objectively then, there are comedians on panel shows who are there first and foremost because of their gender or ethnicity.

But it gets worse:

Because there is currently not a sufficiently large enough pool of female comedians with the requisite experience and ability to fill the quota, there are females who’ve been booked for these shows who are either poor comedians, not comedians at all, or aspiring female comedians that are still learning their craft, but have not yet reached a decent professional standard.

These females I have described as ‘women-posing-as-comedians’.

The upshot of all that is that there are still many women coming across incredibly badly on panel shows, which is helping to perpetuate the myth that women aren’t funny.

The hope is that women currently on panel shows, will further legitimise stand-up comedy as a career for women and encourage other women to take up comedy. Which is an admirable aim.

Unfortunately for every female who gets on a panel show, there are very many male comedians with more ability and experience who are not and will never get the opportunity to be on one. I think that’s a great shame for TV audiences.

And for his finale:

Oh, and I don’t have a problem with properly regulated immigration and I don’t have a problem with immigrants.

I do have a great deal of concern about the lack of border controls in this country and subsequent gross overpopulation as a result of EU legislation, which I believe adversely affects all our quality of life.

Here Lawrence uncritically accepts UKIP’s position on immigration and seeks to rationalize this position by summoning up the Malthusian claim of “overpopulation” to lend some kind of intellectual gravitas to his narrativization. This is exactly what Malthusian think-tank Migration Watch UK (and Bill Oddie) does all the time.  But this claim that there is a “lack of proper border controls” is not only ludicrously melodramatic, it’s a complete myth. He claims that he isn’t a UKIP supporter but that claim is pretty meaningless, given the fact that he’s regurgitated the same myths as Kippers and the rest of the English Right. Lawrence, if anything, is a reactionary, though it’s not something that he would readily admit. Instead, he complains that comedians are making jokes about UKIP. Diddums.

Let’s return to Lawrence’s comment about “minority comedians”, who he claims use their ethnicity as the basis of their act. Here, he doesn’t even try to understand why this is the case. He’s a white male stand-up and looks more or less like every other white male stand-up. If you’re black or a woman (or both), you have certain visual signifiers that differentiate you from the rest of the pack and may make jokes about those things. That’s what happens. If you have red hair or you’re fat, you will also make jokes about those things. That’s what happens. Yet, for Lawrence, it’s as if over 200 years of colonialism and racism never happened and that things are all right now because this is the year 2014 and people have stopped being racist. Sure they have. Yet for all the white male faces on television, the numbers of black faces on panel shows is so small as to be non-existent. Can you think why that is? I can. It’s called institutionalized racism and it’s a product of the dominant class’s early socialization. The vast majority of producers and commissioning editors come from public school and Oxbridge backgrounds. In their schools, some of which are all boy schools, they never see any females apart from those who are employed to teach or make beds. Black pupils are just as much of a rarity, thus commissioning editors tend to employ those people who are most like them: white and male.

With regards to women comedians, Lawrence has painted himself into a corner by claiming on the one hand that there aren’t a large number of women comics and on the other,  this small number of women comics is responsible for inferior female talent because male numbers are superior. Confused? Don’t be. It’s the anti-intellectual tripe of a knee-jerk reactionary. Like so many white [right-wing] males, Lawrence is playing the victim and it’s as if to say “It’s all the fault of those horrible wimmin with their feminism. They’re oppressing me”.  Lawrence is offering nothing new and is merely repeating the worn-out fallacy that women aren’t funny. Let me tell you something, Andrew, a lot of women are funnier than men, they just don’t get the same opportunities as white males who constantly refer to their genitalia and their apparent sexual inadequacies/perversions. Boring, huh?

The current malaise in British stand-up comedy is an indication of an overall malaise that hangs over this country like miasma. We have now entered a time when the very idea of tolerance is being pissed on, not only by right-wing politicians, but also by selfish misogynistic comics for cheap laughs, who believe they’re ‘pushing the boundaries’. The dominant discourses in this country have been orientated to the right for the last 35 years. People walk around talking in market-speak without realizing it. Other people repeat phrases like “Benefit claimants are addicted to the state” and “We need to have cuts” without thinking about them. Some, like Toby Young, believe that free speech means you can say anything you like without being criticized or being called an ‘idiot’ for it. However, if you’re tolerant and see immigration as a benefit to the nation, you’re shouted down, while those who oppose immigration complain that their voices “aren’t heard” even though the newspapers are full of articles complaining about immigration, and which rely on the usual myths, tropes and hyperbolic flights of fancy like “the country is crowded” to make their spurious points.

If comedy acts as a barometer for the political and social health of a nation, then Britain or, at least, England is a very sick patient indeed. It is obsessed with nostalgia and ready to blame its condition on everything but the system that produces inequalities and untold miseries. Instead, women, ethnic minorities and immigrants are scapegoated for a system that has comprehensively failed to deliver. Those in power in Westminster are happy to allow this continue and comedians like Andrew Lawrence are more than happy to act on their behalf. Sometimes I think the battles that we fought in the 1980s were for nothing.

 

 

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Filed under Comedy, comedy, Ideologies, immigration, National Identity, Popular culture, racism, sexism, social class, Society & culture

The ‘Deficit’? Which deficit are they talking about?

Let’s get something straight: there is no such thing as “The Deficit” there are deficits, and the politicians of the three main parties are all guilty of presenting an image of a single monolithic deficit that must be “brought down” at all costs. This is to support their cock-eyed view that cuts, particularly to social security benefits are necessary, while tax cuts for the rich will somehow stimulate the sluggish (some would say moribund) economy because the “wealth” will miraculously “trickle down” to those below. Not even the very right-wing George H W Bush believed that and derisively referred to trickle down (or supply side) economics as “voodoo economics”.

Our imperial masters will confuse, sometimes deliberately, “The Deficit” with “The Debt”. Again, there is a debt and it’s called The National Debt, which is accumulated through government spending on wars, for example.  The current national debt has been around since the end of the First World War. Politicians, many of whom are not economists, will often claim that “The Debt” also needs to “paid off” and will again cite government spending on social security as the main culprit of increased borrowing. This is economically illiterate bunkum. Yet, we are now in a situation where, once again, the level of the nationals debt is set to be increased by a new war in the Middle East. Yet, the government can’t find money for the NHS? Please, pull the other one.

When politicians talk about The Deficit, most of the public haven’t a clue what it means and this suits our imperial masters well, for they can use this magic phrase to rebut any criticism of austerity, privatizations and cuts to public services. I have lost count of the numbers of vox pop interviews where some member of the public has quite literally repeated verbatim the spiel of some government minister or other. “The country is broke and we need to pay our debts” some ignoramus will opine, while another will claim “There’s no money, we need to cut something”. The United Kingdom is the seventh richest country in the world and there’s no money? Come off it.

There are five kinds of deficits. Let’s deal with each one in turn.

First, there is the structural or budget deficit. This is when the government is spending more money than it receives. Usually, governments receive money through taxation. If a government is cutting taxes for billionaires and faceless corporations, then it isn’t making any money. It’s simple logic. The other way a government can raise money is to print the stuff but quantitative easing, as it’s referred to, has only benefited the same people who got us into this mess: the bankers. The government could remedy this by taxing the rich more. Whenever this idea is proposed, our imperial masters respond by telling us this will hurt the “wealth creators”. These people only create wealth for themselves. They don’t even work for it. They get other people to do the work.

Work is over-rated. Hard work more so.

The cyclical deficit refers to, as its name suggests, the economic cycle and is caused by downturns in output. Low levels of business activity and high levels of unemployment are the manifestations of this kind of deficit. Some economists disagree over the terms ‘cyclical’ and ‘structural’ and claim that there’s no difference between the two.

A balance of trade deficit occurs when imports outstrip exports. If you’re not making and selling enough stuff to other countries but are buying in loads of stuff from overseas, then this is what happens. Every outgoing Tory government since 1964 has racked up a massive balance of trade deficit for the incoming Labour administration to deal with.

Finally, there’s the balance of payments deficit. This is related to the balance of trade. A balance of payments deficit is created when the imports of goods, services and investment income exceeds the exports of the same things. In 1974, this led to the Sterling Crisis of 1976.

So what is the national debt? Well, this is when governments borrow money from the central bank (In the case of England, this is The Bank of England), which is a private concern and not owned, in spite of its name, by the state. Governments borrow by issuing bonds, securities and bills.  In the United States the level of debt to GDP is 73.60%. In the UK, it’s 88.7%. Does this make a difference to you or I? Well, not really, since the government can borrow money at preferential rates of interest. The Tory-led government claims that it’s “reducing borrowing” but it hasn’t. It’s actually borrowed more money  than the previous government. Furthermore, all governments borrow money. It’s a fact of life.  The Tories’ continual claim that they’re borrowing less (sic) is a lie. In fact, most people don’t even know how much the national debt is, yet Westminster politicians will usually pretend to know when they’re busy conflating the national debt with ‘The Deficit’.

I realize that I have simplified these terms without going into heavy economic theory, but this is how deficits need to be explained to the public.

Do I expect our imperial masters to come clean on government finances any time soon? I doubt it. These people can’t even lie in bed straight.

Here are more blogs about the government’s deficit lies.

Finally! Exposed! The Deficit Myth! So, David Cameron When Are You Going To Apologise?

The Great Debt Lie and the Myth of the Structural Deficit

Another Cameron myth: the coalition hasn’t reduced the deficit by “a quarter”

 

 

 

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Filed under Conservative Party, Cuts, Government & politics

Burns, Bachmann and Smith: A Gruesome Threesome

Many of the Tory Party’s extreme ideas come from the American Right. In the United States, the Tea Party is supported by a wide variety of right-wing think tanks like Cato and The American Enterprise Institute, as well as the Koch (pronounced ‘coke’) Brothers, who provide them with millions of dollars of funding.

I saw this photograph on Conor Burns’ Twitter timeline. Burns, who recently complained about Oxfam for being ‘socialist’ because the charity dared to question the government’s austerity policies and their effect on ordinary people’s lives, was formerly a Hammersmith and Fulham councillor along with Donal ‘Fulham Homes for Fulham People’ Blaney. Both of them formed the Young Britons’ Foundation, a sort of right-wing entryist group. Burns (left) is pictured here with fellow YBFer, Greg Smith (right), the new leader of the Tory group and Michele Bachmann of the Tea Party. They apparently had dinner together.

Burns, Bachmann and Smith

 

Isn’t that nice?

Here are a few of the mindless things Bachmann has said. This one demonstrates her extraordinary ignorance on slavery.

“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President”.

Regarding the very anti-intellectual Tea Party, she said:

“Our movement at its core is an intellectual movement.”

She’s an advocate of paying people poverty wages too. No surprise there, given her ahistorical take on slavery.

“If we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”

On CO2 emissions, she had this to say:

“Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”

Carbon dioxide is harmless, eh? Well, you try breathing it then.

No wonder the Tories are a clueless, spiteful, ruthless, anti-intellectual bunch: they take most of their weird ideas from the Tea Party. But that lets them off the hook slightly. The Tories have always been spiteful and clueless. Their anti-intellectualism, however, is as American as apple pie.

Oh and did I mention that Bachmann is apparently a fan of Ludwig von Mises?

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Filed under Hammersmith & Fulham Tories, London

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#23)

No matter how hard they try (perhaps they’re not trying at all) the Telegraph can’t stop the numbers of fruitcakes that flock to its comments threads. This is no doubt due to the kinds of blogs that are published on the site and, in spite of Dan Hannan’s complaint that the blogs shouldn’t be judged on the kinds of comments that appear below them, his complaint sounds like the insincere whining that’s born of a lack of self-awareness. “It’s not my fault, blame that lot over there”! These people know what they’re doing and the more clicks these blogs get, the more money for the Telegraph. Clickbait: it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 clicks.

This week, a new horse arrived at the Telegraph stable. Posing as a recent history graduate, Jago Pearson wrote an article in support of Michael Gove’s education policies and complained that academia was “dominated by lefties”. The thing is, Pearson is actually working for a Tory-friendly PR company. This sort of thing happens a lot: the government has made much use of astroturfers and Twitter accounts that harass anyone who doesn’t support the government’s classist policies. Gove is not a pedagogue, he’s an ideologue and a former journalist and it shows. It’s all about the narrative. However, what Pearson seems to have forgotten is that universities do not fall under the auspices of The Department for Education, they are the responsibility of The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Oops! Perhaps he should have written an article in support of David Willetts instead?

Here are a couple of snippets from his first article.

The dominance of the Left is deep-rooted and for all to see, especially when it comes to the teaching of history. I write as a 21-year-old graduate of History and Politics, just six months out of university.

Don’t get me wrong: I had some superb teachers and lecturers, both throughout my time at school and while studying for my degree – individuals who enthused and inspired and knew their subjects inside out.

But the majority of them were rabidly Left-wing and the subjects they chose for their students matched their own misguided outlook on society.

Towards the end he tells us:

When it came to my dissertation, I managed to retreat to something more traditional, in the form of British defence policy and the Falklands conflict. Luckily, my supervisor was just about the only in the department without a Left-wing grudge to bear. To be expected I suppose, as an expert in intelligence and strategic defence.

Jesus H. Christ! Talk about paranoia. But “traditional”? What is that supposed to mean? Pearson’s prose style is reminiscent of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾, but not quite as entertaining.

After he was exposed as a fraud by Tom Pride, Pearson thought he’d ask Damian ‘Blood Crazed Ferret’ Thompson for another crack at those awful, horrible lefties. The result is even more hilarious than the first article.

The tactics of the Left are so predictable, especially where certain subjects are concerned. You give them a prod; shake them around a little and they stir into life. How dare we criticise their cosy stranglehold on education?

The point of Higher Education is to get students to think critically and to ask questions. Pearson appears to have done neither during his time at Loughborough University, the alleged hotbed of academic radicalism and focus of his ire. The rest of the blog reads like a sixth form rant and it’s hard to imagine how Pearson managed to obtain a degree at all. On the basis of this, I’d say he’d have been lucky to achieve a third.

Now for the comment. This one is full of the usual clichés and hackneyed phrases that we’ve come to know and love.

Jim Bilge

“Jim Blane” just vomits the words onto the page. He opens with “White middle /upper class Neo-Leftism is a racist anti-White ideology”. So we now know this person is probably a white nationalist and possibly a member of the BNP or UKIP. But what is “anti-White ideology” other than paranoid drool? Have a look at the spelling, it’s clear this person doesn’t much time for such trivial things as grammar and sentence construction. Such things are, no doubt, indicative of ‘Left-wing indoctrination’. We can’t have that.

This comment wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory “Cultural Marxist” thrown in but, in typical headbanging style, Jim Bilge crams far too many epithets into his sentences and the result is a sort of mush with long sentences like: “Most self described Lefties and most NeoCons are Cultural Marxists or have adopoted the core tenets of Cultural Marxist /Cultural Deconstructionism / Blank Slate Theory / Critical Theory and yet at the same time don’t even know what these things are”.  Get all those hatreds in Jim, time’s running out.

Critical theory offends the far-right mind because nothing should be questioned. The leader is always right. The world was created in seven days and the story of Noah’s Ark is better than any scientific analysis.  Evolution, dear friends, is a commie…no, scratch that, Cultural Marxist plot to destroy the White ‘race’. That is what passes for free speech in Toryland, a country in which people accept their place under a regime of bullies, dummies and their pals in the PR industry.

This kind of rant against “left-wing intellectuals” is typical of the anti-intellectualism of, well, right-wing dictatorships. Oddly enough, it’s also the kind of thing that’s been happening in the States for decades where students are asked to report “left-wing” academics, who are then hounded out of their jobs.

Truth? These people haven’t got a clue.

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Filed under Media, Telegraph Comment of the Week, Tory press

UKIP: elitism, libertarianism, anti-intellectualism and contradictions

Ever since last Friday’s county council election results tumbled in, the Kippers have been crowing. Emboldened, too, by the BBC’s rather one-sided coverage their party, UKIP supporters have taken to social media in their droves to spout their anti-intellectual bullshit and hurl abuse at anyone who doesn’t share their belief that Nigel Farage is Britain’s political messiah. The BBC ought to know better: UKIP doesn’t have a single Westminster MP, while The Green Party not only has an MP, it also has a large number of local councillors and members on the Greater London Assembly (The Green have 2 AMs and UKIP has none). It also has representation in the Scottish Parliament (The Greens have 2 MSPs and UKIP has none), whereas UKIP have found it difficult to win a seat in both parliaments. But the Greens got no mention, while  Farage and his mates Paul Nuttall and Godfrey Bloom have been interviewed and given free passes.

Right-wing parties hate ideas and they despise anyone who possesses critical faculties, whom they erroneously refer to as “elitists”. The use of the word in this context owes a great deal to the American Right who employed the word to describe intellectuals, academics, city-dwellers, the disabled, gays, lesbians, Blacks, Asians and anyone who didn’t share their reactionary point of view. Anti-intellectualism is a dominant feature of far-right politics – especially fascism and Nazism. Franco’s regime wasn’t textbook fascist but it came close. In Spain, the Falange held ideological sway and like other far-right variants it was notable for its anti-intellectualism. In a right-wing world, you question nothing and accept everything that you’re told by the leadership – who form the elite group of their party (as it is with other authoritarian forms of government, including Stalinism). A Kipper will lazily join a few dots rather than produce anything that borders on a coherent argument. Just look at the way they dismiss climate change science out of hand without producing an epistemologically-sound counter-argument  of their own.

Speaking of which, here’s a video of UKIP’s Christopher Monckton railing against climate change.

Monckton once claimed to have been Thatcher’s science adviser… which is odd, because he has no science qualifications. John Selwyn Gummer, the former Environment Secretary, poured cold water on Monckton’s claims, saying that he was “a bag carrier in Mrs Thatcher’s office. And the idea that he advised her on climate change is laughable”. Brilliant, eh? I’ve seen some figures that give us an interesting profile of the typical UKIP voter. 51% are over 50 years old and around the same number hold nothing more than a GCSE. In other words, these are largely under-educated old reactionaries who take their opinions directly from the mouths of UKIP’s elite and the Telegraph’s bloggers who play them and their paranoid emotions like fiddles.

The discursive tricks used by UKIP supporters are redolent of those methods used by the Tea Party in the United States. This is manifested in their inability to discuss anything without hurling abuse or breaking Godwin’s Law. I had several of them rock up on Twitter and spout the most unbelievable rubbish at me. One tried to proselytize and when he resorted to flattery, I cheekily told him that “flattery would get him nowhere” and that I was on the Left of British politics, this gave him the excuse to chuck “Hitler” at me by way of reply. “Nice riposte” I thought, so I blocked him. I can’t be bothered with trolls. The leadership of UKIP describes the party as “libertarian” but as I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this blog, their brand of libertarianism is both a means to deny their true authoritarian core beliefs and rationalize their social Darwinism and imperialism (the latter is perhaps the highest ideal in the mind of the New Right). For example, how can a self-described libertarian party claim to stand for freedom and then say that they’re against equal marriage while keeping a straight face? Well, Kippers can and do. Thus far I have only been able to identify a single example of their libertarianism: the freedom to kill oneself by smoking 100 cigarettes a day. Farage admits to being a chain-smoker. That says a lot about the party’s ‘libertarianism’: it’s pretty selective. Some UKIP supporters believe that those of us who work to expose them as a party of hypocrites and liars are simply scared of them. Well, if criticizing them and shining a light into the dark recesses of their discourses is “scared”, then baby, I’m shit scared; too frightened to come from behind the sofa scared. The only people who are really scared of UKIP is the Conservative Party’s high command. Other Tories, like Daniel Hannan, have even argued for a merger or, in this case, a coalition with UKIP.  Yes, you read that correctly: a coalition with a party that doesn’t have a single Westminster MP.

Let’s have a look at what the Lyin’ King’s saying.

The prospect of a Tory-Ukip coalition is no longer theoretical. A blue-purple pact – which I think this blog may have been the first to propose – is now at least a mathematical possibility in Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire. Whether or not such pacts happen will, of course, be decided county by county, and rightly so. No truly localist party would want to tell its councillors whom to sit with. Still, my guess is that most of the Conservatives in question would rather deal with Ukip than with the Lib Dems.

The Cat thinks Hannan is getting a little ahead of himself here. We’re two years away from a general election and already, the one of the party’s biggest headbangers is calling for a coalition. Of course Hannan is trying to cover his arse by suggesting that the two parties co-operate on a local level to shaft the voters with their authoritarian-libertarian mush. But, make no mistake, a man like Hannan would love to see a Tory/UKIP coalition in government with Bozza as PM and Farage as Deputy PM. Sort of makes you want to vomit. No? Towards the end of his piece, he tells us:

Six months ago, I mournfully predicted that the two parties would fail to get their act together, because of all the petty considerations that held up Canada’s Unite the Right movement for a decade:

“Unite the Right”? Good luck with that, Danny. In my mind, there’s no chance of a unified right-wing electoral arrangement either now or in the immediate future. Indeed, Farage has demanded the immediate removal of Cameron as a precondition for any kind of marriage. We must remember that Hannan was previously involved in the formation of a British (read English) Tea Party. The project, it would seem, has not taken off in the way that he or The Freedom Association would have liked. I guess there is little demand for this kind of Americanized right-wing astro-turfing here in the UK, and as much as men like Hannan enthuse about such things, the more I am likely to think they’re deluding themselves.

The fighting between UKIP and the Conservatives has exposed the barely-concealed fault-lines over the EU within the Tory party that have existed since the time of John Major’s government and his “bastards” comment. On that occasion, the divisions in the party over Europe contributed to the Tories battering at the ballot box in 1997. It now looks like history is repeating itself for the Tories, only this time they face external pressures from the upstart Kippers. Some Tories may be tempted to run off and join Farage’s motley band  of late League of Empire Loyalists and chain-smoking free-marketeers, while others like Hannan will continue to make conciliatory noises without making any effort to join the party. Shouldn’t he be putting his money where is mouth is?

Finally, here’s something for you to dance to.

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Filed under Conservative Party, County Council elections 2013, Government & politics, UKIP