Tag Archives: intellectual dishonesty

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#26)

Every so often, the Lyin’ King produces a blog about the American Civil war in which he muses over what it would have been like if the war never happened. All of Hannan’s blogs on this subject are, more or less, grandiloquent attempts at historical revisionism: they tend to play to a particular constituency of reader who sees the Civil War as the end of a golden era and any attempt to say otherwise is part of an huge conspiracy by the “Feds” to deceive you.

Hannan’s view of the American Civil War is perfectly aligned with the neo-Confederalist movement in the United States. This movement is, as I have written elsewhere on this blog, intellectually supported by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which produces all manner of revisionist stuff about the war and of the role it played in the abolition of slavery. On this latter point, the neo-Confederates can’t quite come to terms with the fact that slavery is, fundamentally, an evil enterprise. Instead, what we see from them is the continual production of articles that support and justify the institution of slavery as a noble enterprise that proceeds, albeit ahistorically, in a fine epoch’s old tradition.

Today Hannan asks “Could the American Civil War have been avoided”? The short answer to that question is: no, it was inevitable. Yet, we find with the Lyin’ King and the neo-Confederates that such things as historical materialism are despised and, in their eyes,  it is much better to fantasise about an alternate world in which the southern states are still practising slavery and the slave-owners are a uniquely noble form of human being who really care about their chattel. In this dystopian fantasy world, everyone knows their place.

This doesn’t stop Hannan from dreaming of what might have been:

Might slavery have been abolished without bloodshed? It’s hard to say. The ban on the import of new slaves would eventually have finished the institution, but at a price of decades of suffering for those already in bondage. Peaceful manumission, as had happened much earlier in Britain, was the obvious alternative, but the slave-owners were in no mood to sell. Then again, had they been able to foresee the future, they would surely have grabbed at compensated abolition.

Hannan claims that the import ban on slaves would have finished the institution. What he doesn’t dare mention are the slave-breeding farms of Virginia and Maryland, the internal slave trade in the Southern states, or the plan to seize Cuba from Spain and use that island as a slave state should the South be forced to relinquish slavery.  The capitalists, in this case the slave-owners, are compensated, but the victims – the slaves themselves – are considered unworthy of reparations; they’re just human capital in the minds of the hard-nosed, hard-faced capitalist, who only sees the world in terms of profit.

I’ve seen Hannan claim, like the LvMI claim that the American Civil War was a “tariff war”. It’s a feeble attempt at a economic rationalization of the war. The war and its causes were much more complex and a major part of the reason for war was the issue of slavery. Hannan would do well to read up on the slave revolts, John Brown, Bleeding Kansas and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Now to our comment of the week. “Jim Blane” has already graced this series and so, once again, we find he’s come to give us the benefit of his knowledge deficit. He justifies chattel slavery by claiming that “Slavery has been practiced for thousands of years by all races and civilizations”. All “races and civilizations”? Laughable. But because it existed in history is no excuse for it to exist today. Moreover, the kind of slavery that existed thousands of years ago was not based on what Fanon called “melanism”, it was predicated on the idea that the vanquished should be enslaved because they had been defeated in battle.

Dim Blame

Here “Dim Brain” claims that the first slave owner in “North America” was a “Black African”. This is fictitious. Notice how he doesn’t actually provide any evidence for this assertion. The right despises evidence as much as it despises the working class and they only accept history as long as it’s been airbrushed first.

The level of ignorance in this comment is shocking. Nowhere does our dim friend make a distinction between the nature of chattel slavery and the forms of slavery that were practised before its introduction by the Spanish and Portuguese. The entire point of this comment is to claim that white people are superior to other ‘races’. Notice how he begins his comment with “Educating White Guilt Ego Glow Peddlers”. What does that mean? If he’s setting himself up as an educator, then it’s no wonder these people are so dim. Then there’s his claim that “The White man was the first to ban slavery . and if he had not it would still be going on in Africa and Asian today” (sic). Nonsense. Slavery continues to this day in the so-called developed countries as well as parts of Africa and Asia.

“Dim Brain’s” last point is an exercise in how to write white nationalist drivel. He claims that ” Only the White race has served up an indictment for crimes against humanity upon all of it’s children’s children for all eternity as a way for White middle /upper class progressives to insaiate their insataible greed for moral supremacy” (sic).  Put down the crack pipe, matey.

Related blog

Life on Hannan World (Part 8)

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Telegraph Comment of the Week (#22)

If it’s one thing the Right loves to do it’s to claim that it’s philosophically and epistemologically superior to the Left. Yet its constant rewriting of history actually demonstrates the opposite. In recent years, many on the Right have claimed that the Nazis are ‘left-wing’. Why? Because they can’t cope with the idea that the Nazis (and fascists) occupy a space further along from them on the political Right. They do this for two reasons: first, to smear the Left and second, to claim a tenuous moral superiority over them. The Nazis are ‘socialists’ they will exclaim because the word ‘socialist’ appears in their name. There can be no more a feeble rationalization. For example, the Australian Liberal Party, in spite of its name, is not a centre left party but a right-wing party. If you tell them that, they start hurling insults. Names count for nothing but try telling them that.

This week’s comment was found on a Delingtroll blog, which makes the same tired claims about how Nazis aren’t really right-wing. In this blog, he attempts to create a space between Nigel Farage and the Front National’s Marine Le Pen but ends up making himself look foolish and ignorant in the process. No mean feat for Delingpole or Dan Hannan, who is cited in this hilarious piece.

To lump together fascist parties (Golden Dawn in Greece, Ataka in Bulgaria, Jobbik in Hungary, the BNP) with bellicose but essentially constitutional anti-immigration movements (FN in France, PVV in the Netherlands, Freedom Party in Austria) is clumsy. To add in eurosceptic parties of the democratic right (AfD in Germany, Mouvement pour la France, Danish People’s Party, Ukip) is deliberately tendentious.

When someone groups all these parties together under the label ‘extreme right’, he is telling you more about himself than about them. Parties like Golden Dawn are not right-wing in any recognisable sense. They favour workers’ councils, higher spending, state-controlled industries; they march on May Day under red flags. They could just as easily sit at either end of the European Parliament’s hemicycle (our closest equivalent, in its combination of mystical nationalism and loathing for capitalism, is Sinn Féin). Calling such parties right-wing isn’t intended to make anyone think less of them; it’s intended to damage mainstream conservatives by implying that the difference between them and the Nazis is one of degree.

Hannan’s article for The Spectator Dictator is desperate as well as intellectually dishonest. UKIP have, through Godfrey Bloom, established friendly relations with Le Pen’s FN. Moreover, the FN recently met with Geert Wilders PVV with the intention of forming an electoral pact in the European Parliament. There’s nothing ‘clumsy’ about those connections. They are real.

The above quote is preceded by a characteristic whinge from Delingtroll:

Yet our lazy and parti-pris media – even many newspapers notionally on the right-wing side of the debate – continue to do the liberal-left’s dirty work for it by labelling any party with instincts which are nationalistic, anti-immigration, or anti-EU as belonging to the “far-right” – and therefore automatically beyond the pale of reasoned political discourse. The loons of the green-left, on the other hand, get a more or less free pass to spout their anti-democratic drivel at will.

The nationalism that is expressed by the likes of the PVV or the other parties mentioned here, belongs on the far-right. There can be no question about it. Furthermore, there is nothing ‘reasoned’ or reasonable about the shrill paranoia that dominates the Right’s anti-immigration discourses. Words like ‘floods’ and ‘tides’ are constantly used alongside exaggerations like ‘mass immigration’ which is itself a euphemization of the phrase ‘floods of immigrants’. These words are often joined by hygiene metaphors like ‘contamination’.

Now to this week’s comment. This one comes from ‘eufreedom’. Yeah, I laughed at that name too.

euignorance

The key to this comment is “ALL British born” and in spite of “eufreedom’s” claims that no distinctions will be made according to colour, creed and denomination, questions are invariably asked by such parties regarding one’s right to claim national identity – particularly if they look different. Kippers often claim that they are “neither right nor left” but given their nationalism and obsession with difference, this is evidently dishonest. ‘eufreedom’ also takes umbrage with the fact that people disagree with his/her drivel and pronounces them “neo-fascist-marxist-EU drones and trolls”. This comment may look like a self-parody of a Kipper, but this is how they really think and talk.

For more hilarity, have a look at Toby Young’s feeble attempt to unite the Tories and UKIP under the “Country before Party” banner. 

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Life on Hannan World (part 6)

Ed Miliband’s speech was such a roaring success with Tory hacks that even the Lyin’ King has pitched in.  But remember, this is Hannan were talking about, so he has to get in a swipe at what he believes to be socialism even if it isn’t socialism. It’s in his nature. So it comes as no surprise when we find that, like an incontinent, he can’t stop himself from repeating his  claim that Labour (and by implication the Left, generally) has a monopoly on “hate”. He dribbles,

Britain has historically been fortunate in the temper of its Left-wing party. You don’t have to look far to find socialist movements rooted in envy, authoritarianism and bloodthirstiness.

Here, Hannan’s understanding of Britain’s Left-wing parties is woeful. Like so many Tories he can only see one party, the Labour Party.  He also repeats the by now familiar canard that the Left’s politics are “rooted in envy” (Number 1 on my list of the Right’s clichés) . Unfortunately for the Lyin’ King, I can always find legion examples of Right-wing authoritarianism and bloodthirstiness. Hitler? Pinochet? Salazar? Franco? I could name more if you would like me to.  Then there’s the iconic figure of Churchill, who sent troops into Tonypandy and warships to the Mersey and Humber. His enthusiasm for gassing Kurds and Arabs in Mesopotamia is well documented. But Hannan’s pathological dishonesty leads him to the false conclusion that his side – the Right – is free from any taint of authoritarianism.  Labour’s alleged Left-wing position is entirely relative but for the Lyin’ King, that’s proof enough of their culpability. It’s been said many times that Tories are thick and here’s further evidence of their join-the-dots mentality.

The paragraph below treads some familiar ground.

[…] While there has always been a hate-filled element in Labour, it has been balanced by a different tendency: one that sought to improve the lot of the poor, not by tearing down the system, but by extending opportunities.

The Cat knows Dan is projecting. I’ve seen it before.The real hatred resides in the Tory Party and its policies, which are designed to attack those who are poor, disabled, low-waged or claim benefits. What’s more is that we have plentiful evidence.

Ed Miliband nodded at that ambition in his speech yesterday. By invoking Disraeli, he echoed the Fabians, who used to cite Dizzy as an exemplar of ‘Tory socialism’. The old egomaniac can be slotted, without much difficulty, into the tradition of Blake and Morris and Cobbett and Chesterton and Ruskin (another Tory socialist) – a tradition Labour once valued.

What is this “Tory socialism”? There is no such thing. Notice how he labels Chesterton (we can presume it’s GK Chesterton that he’s talking about) a “socialist”. He was no such thing. He was a Distributist. There’s a big difference between Distributism and socialism. Briefly, Distributism was the Catholic Church’s response to socialism. The Vatican loathed socialism and sought to find a way to attract those Catholics who were tempted to embrace it. Indeed, Chesterton was briefly interested in socialism but only briefly. He was also an anti-Semite. Remember, anything that doesn’t look like laissez-faire capitalism is socialism (sic) on Hannan World. He cannot tell the difference to save his life. He also believes that Strasserism is socialism and takes any opportunity to tell us that the Nazis were socialists and how all on the Left are, in fact, closet fascists. It would be amusing if it wasn’t so pitiably stupid.

Hannan saves up his bile for the end of the blog, which I have highlighted in bold.

A glance at his neighbours, though, tells us that Frank Field is in the minority. The party of Keir Hardie is now mainly the voice of the white collar public sector, less interested in raising the working man than in expanding the legions of administrators and liaison officers, outreach workers and racism awareness counsellors, regulators and inspectors, licensors and clerks who make up Labour’s electoral base and supply most of its MPs.

Laughable. If Frank Field is left-wing and a socialist, then I’m the King of Tonga. Field was originally a Tory, which explains why the Tories like him so much. It’s also revealing that Hannan doesn’t like the idea of anti-racism initiatives. This is generally the position of those who call themselves “classical liberals” (sic), most, if not all, of whom accept Galton’s social Darwinism as scientific fact. This is why Hayek is so appealing to Hannan and his brethren: his theories provide an economic justification for social Darwinism. His word is unassailable truth in the mind of the free-marketeer.

Hannan’s article exists to reassure his fellow Tories that they have nothing to fear; they can carry on smashing what’s left of Britain’s trade unions and rewarding the rich with more generous tax cuts, while the poor take the hit. That is what passes for fairness in the socially Darwinian mind of the Right. This is the topsy-turvy Randian logic of Hannan. No wonder this country is in such a mess.

Finally, if my criticism and analysis is an example of “hate”, then tough. I can hate for Europe in that case. Now go home and get your shine boxes.

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