Categories
All in the Mind

Billions more on the Symptoms of Social Malaise

brain repair

In the autumn budget the UK government has just decided to pump an extra £20 billion into the struggling National Health Service. Don't get me wrong the tens of thousands of sick people on waiting lists for routine surgical operations would certainly welcome the extra funds. Not least the NHS could use the additional cash to train more nurses rather than rely on agency staff and ready-trained imported labour. We could give trainee nurses more generous grants so we can not only become self-sufficient in medical professionals, but tackle a vicious cycle of long-term welfare dependency in so many communities. We might even pay our nurses more and improve their working conditions with fewer hours and less stress by alleviating chronic overcrowding in some urban hospitals. Another idea might be to reopen or upgrade smaller provincial hospitals to reduce travel time. Here in West Fife, the Accident & Emergency department at the local Queen Margaret Hospital only treats minor injuries. For anything else you have to travel 20 miles to Kirkcaldy.

While successive governments have paid lip service to the many practical steps it could take to improve our health service in the best interests of ordinary tax payers and patients, it staggers from crisis to crisis. The NHS once had a reputation as one of the world's most efficient health services when compared with alternative insurance-based systems common in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland and certainly much better value for money than the profit-driven US system that incentivises hypochondria and overmedication. As a rule, the NHS works best if you need routine treatment for a well-defined condition or injury. It doesn't fare so well if you want personalised care or want a second opinion about suggested treatment options, which explains the steady growth of the private healthcare sector, often added as a bonus for well-paid jobs. If you want a flu jab, the NHS will gladly comply. Indeed they spend countless millions of tax-payer funded pounds advertising the benefits of flu vaccines. On the other hand if you need physiotherapy to treat intermittent episodes of painful sciatica or any other treatment that requires human expertise, you'll be put on a long waiting list while they advise you which painkillers to take.

Yet guess where the biggest chunk of the new NHS funding will go? I award no prizes for correctly identifying psychiatry as the destination for over £2 billion with specialist psych teams for young people in every A&E unit and in every school. Naturally in these enlightened times, we tend to say mental health to cover all ailments from mild sadness to psychopathic madness. The powers that be seem much more concerned about your mind and soul than your physical wellbeing or personal independence, which usually requires both good general health and a rewarding occupation, namely a purpose in life.

Neuropathology, as we may more accurately call this form of human surveillance, used to play a niche role in public healthcare as it affected less than one percent of the general population, but since the mid 1980s a forever wider gamut of aberrant behaviours and irregular moods have warranted medical attention. There may be nothing new about emotional challenges, misery, obsessions, drug abuse, exhibitionism, promiscuity or violence, but until recently only extreme cases of dysfunctional behaviour merited neurological analysis and, more important, we assumed most adults and even older children should be held responsible for the consequences of their actions. If you stabbed your neighbour in a drunken brawl, your actions would be subject to criminal investigation. Once in jail a criminal psychologist may investigate why some categories of people are more prone to violence than others, but the concept of free will implies not only that you may make rational choices through independent thought, but that you should bear the consequences of any bad decisions you may make especially if your actions harm others. Now if you exhibit noncompliant behaviour, such as throwing acid in someone's face, it is a mental health issue. By this logic we should view the incidence of acid attacks, not as heinous crimes that law enforcement agencies should deter with vigilant policing and harsh sentences, but rather as unfortunate manifestations of social unease in which the assailants are as much victims as the assaulted.

Alas this move should surprise nobody. Just after London's Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced that we should treat knife crime as mental health issue, the Conservative Home Secretary, Sajvid Javid, made the same claim. Labour have attempted to blame the Tories for not spending enough on police and mental health care, while asking the police to allocate more resources to tackle purported hate crimes or even just perceived hate incidents reported by third parties. By their logic low-life gang members are stabbing young Londoners, and the largest victim group is young Afro-Caribbean males, because too many people express views critical of unbalanced mass immigration on social media.

As many of us await routine operations for physical conditions, the NHS squanders more and more resources on lifestyle medicine. Last week Psychotherapist Bob Wither exposed the growing tendency of vulnerable youngsters on the autistic spectrum to embrace a new variant gender identity. In the past I've questioned the scientific validity of the extended autistic spectrum. Now many of the same awareness raisers who promoted the diagnosis of allegedly neurological disorders such as ADHD, Tourettes, Asperger's or OCD are quite happy to recontextualise the emotional distress of our younger generation as sexual dysphoria leading to lifelong medication and growing demands on public healthcare.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The true sign of an authoritarian state is its obsession with your mind. Our rulers do not intend to respect our opinions, but seek instead to tame our minds so we comply with their brave new world of supervised underlings.

Categories
Power Dynamics

How to spot an Élitist

Scrabble
or rather how to spot their sycophants.

There is a certain category of pseudo-intellectual whose views are utterly predictable, though this subspecies of mildy affluent trendy lefties may come in a variety of shapes, sizes and intelligence levels. In an insular British context we might refer to this group loosely as Guardian readers, the kind of people who look down disparagingly on unenlightened tabloid readers, but yet also claim to stand up for the downtrodden, especially those who belong to identifiable victim groups. They also regularly fall for mainstream fake news about our rulers' hate figures, hence fanciful conspiracy theories about collusion between Putin, Assad, Nigel Farage, Julian Assange and Tommy Robinson, currently behind bars much to the delight of media pundits.

  1. Free will is an illusion. Your thoughts and behaviours are a result of millions of years of genetic and cultural evolution. Therefore, we can dismiss any inconvenient opinions that do not suit our preferred narrative as mental illnesses, ignorance or backwardness. If you enter into a long debate with an elitist, just ask if they believe in free will and personal responsibility. Logically democracy and individual liberty are meaningless without free will. If you don"™t know what"™s good for you, why should we care what you think?
  2. We need more proactive mental health intervention. When loosely defined nobody could disagree with the importance of nurturing our spiritual as well as our physical wellbeing. Nobody wants to be unhappy or dysfunctional. Whenever you hear talking heads blether endlessly about mental health , what they really mean is the psychiatrisation of the human condition, so that any behaviour or belief at odds with the new orthodoxy can be categorised as some sort of personality disorder. This is really a variant of the above, but watch out for key phrases typical of elitists, "*That"™s just your opinion*", "*That sounds like a conspiracy theory*" or "Have you read XYZ report published in XYZ official journal which refutes your ill-informed anecdotal evidence?". In short your political views are a mental illness and your experience is worthless.
  3. Claims to oppose racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and, of course, Islamophobia and to champion the rights of vulnerable disabled people. No self-respecting elitist would want to openly express any prejudice on grounds of race, ethnicity, sexuality, biological sex, gender identity, religion, physical or mental disability status. However, that"™s just a rhetorical device to shut down debate on a wide range of far-reaching social issues that affect not just our sense of identity within previously viable societies, but also our very humanity. What they really mean is that a only minuscule intellectual elite may express any opinions on these subjects. The rest of us are apparently simply too stupid.
  4. Loves fertility clinics. Why have Western elites embraced the LGBTQ+ agenda with such a passion and championed the fertility rights of other groups unable to procreate naturally or raise their children unassisted, while simultaneously introducing invasive measures to spy on traditional two-parent families? In short they do not trust ordinary people to raise the next generation. Fertility clinics and social services transfer responsibility away from families and close-knit communities to the state and biotech businesses. Fertility clinics also pave the way for enhanced biogenetic services available only to professional elites and compliant prospective parents vetted by social services. Such prenatal intervention could not only exclude genetic markers for many diseases and lifelong disabilities, but also insert DNA sequences associated with superior intelligence, physical strength or longevity. While fertility treatment is still very much in its infancy, CRISPR (a weird acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat) will soon set the stage for the divergence of natural homo sapiens sapiens and genetically enhanced humanoids.
  5. Loves mass migration. Doesn"™t everyone want a second home in the Mediterranean or Caribbean, affordable childminders and plumbers, a wide choice of restaurants and the chance to participate in international professional and academic exchanges? Rhetorically, self-proclaimed progressives love to champion the rights of new migrant communities, while besmirching the more conservative sections of the settled population. Damned angry nativists! Another common tactic is to claim that we"™ve always had such a high level of immigration or to downplay its extent and cultural impact, often moaning about the lack of ethnic diversity in cultural backwaters like Hull or vast tracts of seemingly empty countryside just waiting to be culturally enriched by new housing, roads, shopping malls, windfarms, sewage treatment facilities, hospitals, mosques, gay bars, robotised warehouses, office blocks and day-care centres.
  6. Thinks ordinary people are stupid, unless we can be persuaded to support one of their progressive causes. If you happen to be a working class lad involved in a gay relationship, elitists will love you if faithfully join their LGBTQ++ awareness-raising campaigns, but they"™ll hate you if you campaign against the Islamisation of your neighbourhood because you do not feel safe to walk the streets at night with your boyfriend. If you happen to be a young woman wishing to embark on a career in neuroscience or software development, they will love you if you unite in their crusade against the patriarchy, but they will hate you if you don"™t want to share your changing room with transgender persons wielding male genitalia. Elitists see their favoured victim groups as pawns in a larger chess game to gain greater influence over our future society.
  7. Always sides with global institutions like the European Union or the United Nations or with NGOs like Amnesty International or Oxfam. Trendy lefties, many of whom actually work for these institutions, may occasionally criticise them if they pander too much to populism or protectionism. If an elitist starts talking about reform, what they really mean is even faster cultural change, not listening and learning from the experiences of commoners, the kind of people who cannot afford exclusive properties away from the madding crowd.

Protagonists and Sycophants

Now you may reasonably complain that most trendy lefties are not really that privileged at all. Many struggle to pay their exorbitant rents in overcrowded metropolises, have to cope with traffic congestion and pollution on their cycle to work in chic advertising agencies, may have fallen victim to street crime and some have experienced genuine intolerance of their lifestyle choices from other sections of their diverse multicultural community. Logically their only explanations for such mishaps lie in a concentration of power and privilege in the old guard, the spectre of shortsighted nationalism and ignorant native underclasses buying into xenophobic propaganda from the sensationalist Tabloid press. Indeed any convoluted explanation for society"™s ills seems plausible unless enlightened opinion leaders can label it as in some way politically incorrect.

If you scratch beneath the surface of any middling Guardian reader, you"™ll find they"™re only marginally more successful than the much-maligned Lumpenproletariat (underclasses) and are only a few paycheques away from bankruptcy. If artificial intelligence can replace human lorry drivers or machinists, it can displace lowly graphic designers, accountants, solicitors and recruitment consultants too. Many university-educated professionals may soon join the ranks of the welfare-dependent underclasses. This may in part explain the rise of Corbynism in the UK and the popularity of Bernie Sanders in the US. Yet their one big idea is to use the proceeds of multinationals to bankroll a welfare panacea, which would in effect subjugate us completely to the hegemony of a handful of tech giants. The CEOs of Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, Tesla and Microsoft seem quite happy for social justice warriors to demand UBI (universal basic income) and more theoretical rights for all perceived victim groups, because they hold the technological keys to our Huxleyan future.

However, in some parts of the world we"™re beginning to see some overlap in the critiques of the disenfranchised native working classes and the disillusioned left. Both feel abandoned by the political classes and by global corporations. How long will it take for trendy lefties to realise they have more in common with ordinary working people who just want to defend the nation states and mixed economies that helped their parents prosper than with genuine global elitists hellbent on destroying such societies. When will it dawn on wishful-thinking hipsters that the global elites do not really care about their cherished victim groups and will be happy to sell them down the river just like they did with the native working classes of affluent Western countries? Just ten years ago trendy lefties hailed Polish migrants as hardworking taxpayers embracing the opportunities that globalisation provides. Today, some of the same progressive media pundits denounce Polish voters as myopic nationalists for failing to accommodate more North African migrants and find on many issues their darling migrant communities hold more socially conservative views. Yes your average senior project manager on a relatively comfortable salary of 80 to 100K (you need to earn that much to get mortgage on a modest house in SE England) may have more in common with former steelworkers from Port Talbot than they do with the likes of George Soros or Bill Gates. The Guardian readers of today may well be the disaffected has-beens of tomorrow, unable to adapt to a world that no longer needs their expertise or loyalty.

Categories
Computing Power Dynamics

On the Brink of War again

#Fakenews may soon kill millions as the liberal enlightenment gives way to corporate mind control

Barely a month after Donald Trump replaced Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and appointed John Bolton as senior national security advisor, we stand yet again on the brink of a major military showdown between NATO and an emboldened Russia. Except this time the Eastern Bear has forged strategic alliances with Iran and China and enjoys greater popularity on the ground in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East than the US and its regional proxies, chiefly Saudi Arabia and Israel. Just five years ago such a confrontation would have been unthinkable. Russia may have expressed dissent with US-led military adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, but it was powerless to act unilaterally. When two million Britons marched against the upcoming invasion of Iraq in late February 2003, Russia Today did not even exist. Indeed the West believed Vladimir Putin would follow in Boris Yeltsin's footsteps to give global big business and Russian oligarchs free reign to exploit the country's copious natural resources. We got our news from alternative media, mainly based in North America or Europe. John Pilger remains one of the few mainstream anti-militarist journalists with decades of war-zone experience to appear occasionally in the Guardian or on the BBC. Many of us agreed with former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, that the war basically about oil. We may have disagreed about the scale of crimes attributable to deposed dictator, Saddam Hussein (though few would absolve him of the kind of state-sanctioned brutality common to most Middle East countries), but observers concur that the US-led occupation has contributed significantly to the region's destabilisation with the proliferation of Islamic fundamentalist militias under the guise of Al Qaeda, ISIS or Al Nusra. While the US State Department blamed Al Qaeda for the infamous 9/11 attacks, they seemed happy to arm their close allies in Libya to topple Gaddafi only 10 years later. Since 2011 the US and UK have not only directly funded Syria opposition militias, they have trained their very own agitprop outfit the White Helmets, set up by former British Army officer and mercenary James Le Mesurier. They masquerade as first responders, but work almost exclusively in rebel-held zones. Their focus is not so much on saving lives as on atrocity re-enactments and photo-opportunities with face-painted children such as the infamous boy in the back of an ambulance, Omran Daqneesh, who came to symbolise the victims of Syrian air force attacks. However, only a few months later after the Syrian government had recaptured Aleppo he appeared alongside his family on Syrian TV decrying the rebel militias.

Ever since the start of the conflict the main Western media outlets have consistently portrayed forces loyal to the Syrian government as the bad guys and ill-defined maze of rebel militias known initially as the Free Syrian Army as the good guys. Bellicose politicians have repeatedly reminded us how Assad is responsible for far more deaths than the opposition, but only if we include the total death toll of a previous Muslim Brotherhood uprising that the Syrian government successfully suppressed in the late 1970s and early 80s. It's almost impossible to keep an accurate tally of deaths attributable to rebels as they can just attribute all deaths to real and alleged air strikes. However, Syria's two and half million Christians have been the worst affected by Islamist Jihadis intent on eradicating all infidels.

Just as the British public began to doubt the BBC's narrative on the Skripal poisoning case (both alleged victims of a lethal nerve agent are amazingly alive), we are being fed more disinformation about purported chlorine or sarin gas attacks in Eastern Ghouta. Why would Assad authorise the use of chemical weapons when his forces were the on verge of defeating their enemies, the head-chopping militias armed by Saudi Arabia? What strategic advantage would Assad have in the age of instant communication? None. It would be a massive own goal. He would have committed the very act that the Western media has long associated with him and would serve to justify immediate reprisals from the US Air Force? Whatever crimes Bashar Al Assad may have committed, he is undoubtedly a smooth operator and gifted strategist. Yet as Donald J Trump resorts to threatening Russian forces in Syria with brand new shiny missiles via Twitter, Assad focuses on rebuilding Syria from the rubbles of the last 7 years of intensive warfare. Astoundingly Boris Johnson's new hawkish persona wins the approval of the guitar-strumming Butcher of Baghdad. Despite his early flag-waving phoney patriotism, arch globalist Tony Blair will probably go down in history not as the man who defeated Saddam Hussein, but as the architect of the breakup of the United Kingdom. If the British regime follows Trump's neocon cabal into a conflagration with Russia, Iran and China which is very likely to lead to a humiliating military defeat as any US-led ground troops would face overwhelming opposition from ordinary Syrians, it may well trigger the breakup of the United Kingdom, destroy Britain's status as a soft power and stop Brexit in its tracks. If World War Three starts, expect alliances to change fast as an ethnically modified Germany realigns with Turkey and Emanuel Macron's France lends his support to John Bolton's vision of regime change, emboldening Islamic fundamentalists both in the Middle East and Europe. If you want endless bloodshed and ethnic cleansing, you may welcome more airstrikes. If you want peace and stability, boycott the organs of war propaganda!

Categories
Power Dynamics

End of an Era

That's all Folks!

The Eclipse of American Power

Just 15 years ago in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the alternative antiwar media was abuzz with talk of the Project for a New American Century, championed by the likes of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld as they pushed for more proactive military interventions to spread the USA's vision of neoliberalism. We can split the opponents of this strategy into two camps: those who oppose neoliberalism and/or militarism on principle and those who believed whatever its merits the policy was ultimately doomed to backfire. Today most of the globalist media who lent their moral support to successive US-led wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans under the pretext of humanitarian intervention, are now openly critical of the US and UK governments and much more supportive of the European Union, which despite the outcome of the UK's 2016 referendum is forging ahead with plans to set up its own unified defence forces and federalise its structures into a United States of Europe. Just 15 years ago the Anglo-American media lampooned the cowardly French and German governments for failing to support the 2003 US-led ousting of Saddam Hussein, now they mock Donald Trump for colluding with Putin and failing to accommodate enough refugees from countries the US military has destabilised, while hailing Angela Merkel and Emanuel Macron as inspirational leaders of the progressive world.

What we are witnessing may be the steady demise of the United States as the main world power. By 2025 China's economy is set to outstrip the USA's. While US-based tech giants will continue to play a leading role in the development of artificial intelligence, the scientific centre of gravity has moved from California to Russia, China and India. You just have to look at the number of graduates in STEM subjects and the origins of the people shaping our cybernetic future. It appears our European neighbours have caught the British disease of focusing on marketing and people management rather than hard sciences. Slowly but surely Chinese and Japanese multinationals are buying their way into Europe, Australasia and North America. The next century will be a lot more Asian than many anticipated. While Anglo-American customs and language may linger on in global culture for some time to come, just as Greek and Latin outlived their respective empires, our future cultural development will be shaped largely by Asians with contributions from Africans and Latin Americans. With over half the world's current population, Asia is home to great civilisational diversity. Yet, thanks to the industriousness of its peoples and relative social stability, the East Asian model will prevail, while the Islamic world's strategy of conquest through high birth rates will only succeed in destabilising other countries, not in gaining control of the commanding heights of the techno-industrial complex.

However, the demise of the American dream is also due to the generally unanticipated failure of neoliberalism to adapt to a world of smart automation that in just 20 years could not only render most jobs obsolete, but subjugate most workless citizens to the dictatorship of a few global corporations. Neoliberalism promised a future of enterprise, competition and personal responsibility with governments intervening only to ensure equality of opportunity and some form of social safety net. In reality we have seen a transfer of power away from small businesses and local institutions to multinational businesses and global organisations. Today's small businesses are often just contract workers, whose income depends entirely on their subservience to the global mafia, e.g. in the Web development industry many of the most lucrative contracts are with advertising agencies or, would you believe it, with charities. There is not very much money to be made advocating localism or any viable alternative to global governance.

Imperialism versus Localism

The national imperialisms of the 19th century have now morphed into unabashed global imperialism, after an interlude of North American dominance. Many observers may wonder how a longstanding opponent of British imperialism, such as myself, could advocate greater national sovereignty for the United Kingdom. If you're anti-British, would you not simply wish to see the dissolution of the UK into smaller regions integrated into a larger superstate? The main flaw in this logic is that the interests of ordinary citizens have seldom coincided with those of their ruling classes. Mercantilism was the primary driver of English and later British imperialism in the 17th and 18th centuries. British may refer either to an imperial state that evolved from the 1707 union of English and Scottish crowns or it may mean the peoples who have long inhabited the British Isles through successive ruling dynasties. I opposed British imperialism, not its peoples. The East India Company helped expand British colonial influence in the subcontinent with a little help from the Royal Navy. Christian missionaries and English language teachers may have followed, but the main purpose of imperialism has always been to expand markets and subjugate peoples by peaceful means if possible and by military means if all else fails. English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh peasants and factory workers did not suddenly decide to colonise the Americas, Africa, India or Australasia. Most did not even leave their homelands or only migrated to another part of the British Isles. Some took advantage of new opportunities in their masters' new colonies, but many died in the process. One may argue that much of Britain's wealth in the 19th and early 20th century came from its colonies, but it was very unevenly distributed. Before the growth of an educated and skilled working class in the late 19th century, most inhabitants of these windswept isles endured poverty every bit as bad or even worse than typical living conditions in 19th century India if we look at comparative infant mortality rates which only began to decline with the advent of modern plumbing.

Today our business leaders only cling to commercial and cultural links with the British Commonwealth through self-interest and tradition. In 2017 India exercises more influence over tiny Britain than vice versa through its large and successful ex-pat community and its dominance in the business services market. Just as China overtakes the US in economic output, India's total GDP is poised to pull ahead of the UK's. Yet big business does not seem to mind one iota. Not only do they have a larger market of new consumers, they can tap talent from a larger pool of university graduates. Subsidising the workless underclasses will be a problem for governments and global charities.

We would like to think that our governments endeavour to give us the best headstart in life through better education and high tech skills training. In the near future a country's wealth may depend more on the percentage of its citizens able to undertake intellectually demanding jobs in scientific research and innovation than by its prestige or the strength of its banking sector. If your youngsters can only aspire to medium skill clerical and manual jobs, their livelihoods will be swept aside by artificial intelligence and global competition. Yet our politicians seem more concerned with promoting gender theory among gullible primary school children than giving them the firm foundations in mathematics, reading and writing they will need to stand a chance in tomorrow's high IQ labour market.

Nationalism has earned itself a bad name by association with 19th century imperialism and 20th century fascism. Yet positive nationalism is just a way of managing in-group preferences and shared cultural values within a confined geographic area to ensure governing institutions can be held to account. Countries can choose different paths and learn from their neighbours' mistakes. If the whole world has to converge on the same social and economic policies, we will thrive or wither together. I'm happy for Moroccans to choose to prioritise Islamic studies in their schools. Its up to them. I'm not so happy for Scottish schools to adopt the same policies or for other countries to unduly influence local democracy here. Localism means devolving power to the smallest viable unit, which may be a farm, a village, a town, a county, a region or small country, a large country or community of countries, but at each stage power has to spread from the bottom up giving each community greater responsibility over its destiny and ultimately greater personal freedom. This stands in contrast to universalism which assumes billions of human beings can magically converge on new cultural norms without coercion. I choose bottom-up democracy and not top-down manufacturing of consent.

Categories
Computing Power Dynamics

Establishment Stitch-Up amid Shifting Alliances

Did you naively think the whole EU membership debate had something to do with Europe and its smörgåsbord of cultures, cuisines and intellectual enlightenment? No doubt some of those who voted to leave the EU reminisced simpler times and older ways where at least we had a sense of social cohesion based on shared values, but most simply wanted to regain control over the country's administration so it works in the interests of its current citizens rather than serve as a social engineering playground.

Nostalgia is not unique to Britain, but it is easy to understand why those who endured the repressive dictatorships of the mid 20th century may be keener on belonging to a community of peaceful free-trading European nations. For many the expansion of the European Economic Community and its later transformation into the European Union coincided with a period of unprecedented economic and technological growth. Yet these apparent advances have failed to improve the perceived quality of life of most Western Europeans. The relative socio-economic security of the 1950s, 60s and 70s has given way to a new era of permanent volatility in our jobs, family structures, local communities, housing and dependence on external organisations.

So come April 2019 the UK will no longer be half in the EU, it will be half out of it. Some imagined the UK could regain its national sovereignty, stabilise migratory flows to more sustainable levels, forge new more advantageous trade deals and give our young people a chance to learn new skills through greater labour market protection. Alas all that is happening is the UK will technically be able to open its markets even more to the rest of the world. I suspect the end game will be like being an associate member of the EU, NAFTA and ASEAN with special deals with India and Australia. None of these trade deals are likely to restore power to our Parliament. Quite the opposite, such trade deals will merely transfer yet more power to unaccountable multinationals, headquartered not only in places like Chicago or Frankfurt, but in locales as exotic as Hyderabad, Mumbai, Shanghai or Seoul.

If you still harbour illusions in the European Dream, Martin Schulz, former President of the European Parliament and current leader of the German SPD (social democrats), let the cat out of the proverbial bag by openly advocating a United States of Europe and urging countries that do not share this vision to leave. What's also clear is that the international elite no longer follow the lead of the United States administration. The USA's share of the global economy has been steadily declining for over 50 years. China's economy is set to overtake the USA's by 2025, while many leading trading countries are moving away from the US Dollar. Worse still US-led intervention in the Middle East has lost the all-important battle of hearts and minds as its collusion with Saudi Arabia and Israel becomes all too clear. The Syrian Civil War, fuelled by foreign mercenaries, marked a watershed as Russia, rather than the USA, helped defeat ISIS and enable millions of displaced Syrians to return to their homes. Both the BBC and CNN have lost enormous credibility as the facts on the ground fail to match the fairytale accounts of evil Assad-led forces targeting heroic freedom fighters.

While most Europeans want both peace and stability through international cooperation on environmental and security matters, few outside the metropolitan elites and idealistic students, want a United States of Europe with open-door mass immigration from Africa and the Middle East. Yet this is precisely what Europe's politcial elites offer. Only coercive means, usually threats of economic meltdown, can persuade national electorates to support tighter integration. Oddly the strongest resistance to European Federalisation comes not from France, Italy, Spain or Portugal, whose economies have struggled to adapt to the Euro, but from Eastern Europe, whose people do not want to accommodate rapid change in the ethnic composition of their countries. Eastern Europe has seen its fair share of ethnic cleansing over the last century and the spectre of Islamic hordes at the gates of Budapest and Vienna loom large in the collective psyche.

However, Europe faces another little-mentioned crisis. The continent's primary strengths have long been its educational excellence and strong skills base. Yet most technological innovation now comes from the United States and East Asia. Hundreds of millions of Indians, Iranians, Chinese, South Americans and Russians can now compete with Europe's younger generation. As standards continue to rise in much of East Asia, they're falling in much of Europe as schools have to accommodate children from new migrant communities, who seldom speak the local language at home. At the same time many traditional low and medium-skill jobs are undergoing smart automation leading to the growth of workless underclasses and the proliferation of part-time non-jobs such as charity awareness raisers. With millions of Eastern Europe's best and brightest now in the UK, Germany or Scandinavia, local youngsters are less motivated to pursue many high-stress professions such as nurses or plumbers. More striking is the dramatic fall in the scientific excellence of major Western European countries, of which only France remains in the top ten countries with the most engineering graduates. And guess which major country has the highest number of engineering graduates relative to its population? Not Germany, France, Italy or the UK, but Russia. In computing we see similar trends, Russia, Ukraine and the Far East produce proportionally more talented programmers, especially in the more demanding domains of machine learning and artificial intelligence, than North America and Western Europe. Whereas once the top developers would be attracted by higher salaries in California, in our interconnected world more and more startup companies run their operations east of the old Iron Curtain. JetBrains, the company behind Android's new Kotlin programming language (named after island near St Petersburg) comes to mind. Not only does Google rely on many engineers trained in East Asia and Russia, but both Russia and China have their own home-bred alternatives, Yandex and Baidu.

So what was really going through the minds of our politicians as they negotiated the UK's new relationship with the EU? I suspect their two main concerns were how to continue the process of globalisation on all fronts while the UK nominally leaves the EU and second how to placate public opinion back home and keep alive the illusion of democracy safe in the knowledge that the only likely alternative government, a Corbynite Labour administration who may well end up in coalition with the more business-friendly Liberal Democrats, will seek an even deeper relationship with the European Union and do nothing at all to address the issues that concerned voters most, unbalanced mass migration and job security. In just two years since Jeremy Corbyn's surprise election and Momentum's takeover of the party, Labour have fully embraced a future of extreme interdependence. If you dream of a borderless utopia with universal basic income guaranteed by taxing global corporations, the EU may well seem a side issue or a mere means to an end. As things stand, I can only think the future of our country's younger generation may be slightly better if we emulated the high-skill economies Japan, South Korea and Russia than follow Sweden and Germany's recent conversion to welfare consumerism (a common argument among Swedish politicians is that while many of their low-skill immigrants do not work at least they contribute to the economy through their consumption).

The sad truth is we're a small archipelago that imports around half of its food and is a net importer of most manufactured goods and raw materials. A larger population will only increase our dependence on imports. Our geography and historical ties push towards two dwindling blocs, either with Donald Trump's USA or with the EU. Both are discredited on the world stage. The EU tries to cast aside the imperial legacies of its constituent nations, while collaborating with the USA in the destabilisation of the Middle East and its attempted economic colonisation of the Balkans and Ukraine. The world is changing before our eyes. The whole Brexit debate may be swept aside as smart automation and the growing power of East Asian multinationals consign both the EU and US to the status of regional bureaucracies overseeing divided communities that could easily descend into civil war.

Categories
Power Dynamics

Infantilising Political Theatrics

Cry baby

Whatever you may think of the most influential British politicians of the last century, whether prime ministers such as Clement Attlee or Winston Churchill or dissenting intellectuals such as Tony Benn or Enoch Powell, few can doubt their depth of historical and philosophical knowledge and acumen. Naturally historians can identify many past politicians whose main focus lay in pursuing their career or representing the vested interests of commercial or aristocratic lobbies. However, today's mainstream politicians seem by comparison complete and utter amateurs, less aware of power dynamics than millions of ordinary citizens. One can probably envisage Theresa May as a parish councillor or Jeremy Corbyn as secretary of the local branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, but do these politicians really know more about economics, ecology, military power, social welfare, healthcare, subversion or terrorism than we do? At best our politicians are actors at the mercy of an army of advisors and civil servants playing to a crowd of wishful thinking followers who believe their anointed representatives will stand up for their electors.

We keep hearing from the establishment media that voters back populist platforms because they lack education or distrust experts. Yet experts advised us on the invasion of Iraq, on joining the Euro, on deregulating gambling and on large comprehensive schools. Luckily our political leaders ignored the experts who wanted the UK to sign up to the Euro project. Unfortunately, they heeded their advice on the other issues. The same upper middle class professionals who complain about poorly educated native Britons unable to fill high-skill vacancies also tend to support comprehensive education and then wonder why our schools fail to produce conscientious plumbers, mechanics and nurses.

The Blair era exposed the sheer vacuity of our parliamentary leaders. Only in opposition or from the back benches could the more intellectual MPs challenge the corporate elite, and usually only in guarded language or in ad hominem attacks. As soon as dissident politicians challenge mainstream propaganda or expose hidden agendas, our leading newspapers and TV channels will slander them as extremists or mavericks. What inside knowledge did Tony Blair have on Kosovo, Iraq, Northern Ireland or economics that humble citizens did not? I think it's plainly apparent to all diligent analysts that he had no special expertise on these matters and merely acquiesced to pressure from the powers that be, while trying his level best to deny that external forces influenced his government's policies.

It saddens me to note that 2016's great plebeian rebellion against corporate globalism will once again be betrayed. British voters did not reject the European Union because they loathed Europe, but because they disapproved of the kind of borderless no man's land that is rapidly transforming the social fabric of our towns and cities. Whether the United Kingdom actually leaves the EU or not may not actually matter, as Ms May and her team of overgrown teenagers will only entangle the country in another set of international treaties and free trade agreements which bind governmental decision-making to the diktat of the same transnational bodies. Some of us felt leaving the EU might enable us to build an alternative to corporate hegemony in the same way as abandoning a major supermarket chain like Tesco might enable you to embrace local farmers or independent shops. Instead our puerile leaders offer us an alternative between Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda. The United Kingdom, Ms May assures us, is leaving Tesco and will instead shop at Sainsbury's, Asda or, money permitting, Waitrose. It's like it's leaving a mobile phone contract with Vodafone and opting for Everything Everywhere instead. I don't regret voting to leave the EU, but the UK's economy depends so much on international trade and imported goods that true national sovereignty will remain elusive. To be truly independent, we'd need either a much smaller population or a much larger island to regain relative self-sufficiency in food and energy. Our only other strategy would be to emulate Japan, also a densely populated archipelago, as an export-oriented high-tech power house, but successive governments have failed to motivate enough youngsters to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I'm not sure how long the EU can last in its current guise as Eastern European countries reject mass migration and Southern Europe struggles with debt and mass youth unemployment. I suspect that the EU's strategic importance will wane as the balance of power shifts away from North America and Europe to China, India and Russia.

As editor of the Spectator, Boris Johnson occasionally expressed his penchant for snide remarks and critical thinking, going so far as criticise Tony Blair over his handling of the Iraq war. Within hours of attaining his first Cabinet post as foreign secretary, he fell into line with the Anglo-American foreign policy establishment hailing the White Helmets as nonpartisan rescue workers and amplifying anti-Russian propaganda. Meanwhile the Chancellor of Exchequor, Philip Hammond, exhibits the same degree of economic prudence as Gordon Brown, racking up the nation's debt in the name of growth. The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, appears powerless to tackle a breakdown in social cohesion caused by fragmented communities, but is only to keen to empower the police and social services to spy on the citizenry.

Things look little better on the opposition benches. The SNP, Labour modernisers and the sole Green MP are eager to back the Europan Commission against the interests of the UK at every juncture, while urging the government to boost spending on welfare and relax immigration controls. Seriously, some MPs seem much more concerned about the rights of EU citizens who have moved to the UK over the last 20 years than of their unemployed constituents born in the country. Parliamentary debates have descended to virtue-signalling about our hardworking neighbours from other European countries and the lack of mental health services for our neighbours born in the UK. Has anyone wondered why we can no longer persuade our youngsters to train as nurses or drive buses in London ?

Don't Believe in Conspiracies!

To keep alive the illusion of democracy, our politicians have to pretend they are merely negotiating with other global actors on our behalf. If we can't quite get our way, it's because we had to make a compromise with our international partners, who promptly tell their people the same fable. It's the same everywhere. Most ordinary people are smart enough to realise they cannot aspire to higher living standards without playing an active part in wealth creation. Translated into English this means most people still want to be able to earn a decent living and may reasonably expect their government to facilitate rather than hinder their endeavours. As long as Western governments could deliver prosperity and relative social cohesion, we had the illusion of choice between rival political factions. However, as real power migrates to unaccountable global organisations, governments can at best mitigate the side effects of policies decided in remote boardrooms and think tanks.

While Ms May's administration pretends to respect the outcome of last year's referendum, it's busy empowering the same large multinationals who wanted the UK to remain in the EU. While many voters supported the misnamed Conservative Party to defend family values and restrain the power of big government, Ms May's team has expanded surveillance of private citizens and succumbed to pressure to redefine gender identity. Just as many Americans are beginning to doubt their new President wields any effective control over lawmakers, I suspect Ms May is hostage to her corporate handlers, eager to manufacture phoney political crises over the terms of the country's withdrawal from the EU to seize more control over a weakened UK. As events in Iberia show us, Europe is far from united and currently facing one of the fastest demographic transitions since the Moorish conquest of Spain. The inescapable truth is that more interdependent we are, the less democratic control we have over our governments. The universalist left would have us believe that institutions such as the European Union could better reflect the will of the people, but which people? Those who want less centralisation and more personal freedom or those who want to milk the system?

Categories
All in the Mind Power Dynamics

Intellectual Freedom

Free speech march

In the era of hate speech laws, safe spaces and fact checkers

Many may argue that hunger, environmental depredation, nuclear war or extreme disparities of wealth are the main challenges of our times. I don't dispute for a moment that without life's necessities, a hospitable environment, peace and social stability, free speech may seem a luxury. If you don't know where your next meal is coming from, then you might not care much about Internet censorship and mass surveillance. Indeed if the alternative to tyranny is starvation, you may just choose to embrace the illiberal ideology of your new masters, but will lack the analytical and informational means to challenge the ruling elite's supremacy. You may be rewarded for your compliance with the system, but others may not be so lucky. Neither democracy nor individual freedom can exist without intellectual freedom, which in turn is ultimately meaningless without free will. If we have no independence of mind, other than the outcome of a complex interplay of biological and environmental influences beyond our control, then our ideas are mere physiological phenomena, which may like other faculties of human nature be healthy or unhealthy, strong or weak, valid or invalid, functional or pathological.

Back in the 1960s and 70s it was usually the notional left who would champion free speech on matters such as military adventurism, women rights, gay rights, dress freedom, workers' rights, pollution, censorship and even on psychiatry, which many correctly viewed as a tool of mental tyranny. While the left in those days was far from united, encompassing socially conservative trade unionists and cultural revolutionaries from privileged backgrounds, we could at least agree to disagree. If someone dissented from the party line on a contentious issue such as abortion, they were perfectly entitled to their deeply held convictions. I recall such a discussion at a local Socialist Workers' Party meeting. Everyone seemed to accept that our Irish Catholic comrade had a different opinion on that matter. If anything intolerance would often emanate from the conservative right, unwilling to depart from strict interpretations of traditional Christian teaching on sexuality or countenance a radical critique of British foreign policy. Only 30 years ago at many dinner tables it may have been unwise to express your support for gay rights in the polite company of devout Christians. Today you'd be unwise to express your opposition to gay marriage or transgenderism in many places of work and education. Indeed you could even get fired for expressing your deeply held Christian beliefs.

Of course, the pretext for silencing public debate on these matters is that many traditional perspectives on human morality and values constitute hate speech. Opposition to gay marriage might offend homosexuals who are allegedly denied a right that heterosexuals have always enjoyed. Likewise if you oppose gender reassignment therapy for pre-teens, you deny somebody of their right to identify with a gender at odds with their anatomical sex. If you question the scientific validity of many new-fangled personality disorders, you may hurt the feelings of those who identify with their assigned psychiatric labels. If you support immigration controls to stabilise your country's population and maintain social cohesion, by the logic of hate speech you are merely revealing your pathological xenophobia against those who wish to move to your country. To question the orthodox account of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks would dishonour the memory of those who died that infamous day. If we may only express opinions consistent with authorised and sanitised facts, then any digressions can be associated either with hatred or misguided denial of officially certified reality.

Gear Shift

My interest in corporate and state propaganda grew largely from a critical analysis of the advertising industry and later of mainstream media bias over US and UK military interventions in the Middle East. Indeed these two sectors are deeply intertwined. In 1929 Edward Bernays notoriously paid a group of young ladies at a women's rights march to smoke cigarettes. While mainstream media have long depended on advertising revenue, advertisers promote not just products and services, but also ideas and lifestyle choices. I remember in 1990 after Iraq occupied Kuwait, PR Firm Hill & Knowlton launched a multimillion dollar awareness raising campaign featuring the Kuwaiti ambassador's daughter who testified that she had seen Iraqi soldiers removing Kuwaiti babies from incubators. I would explain the bias of the BBC and liberal newspapers such as Guardian simply in terms of Britain's submission to US-centred military industrial complex. However, until the early 2000's my critique focused on consumerism and militarism from a clearly left green perspective. I blamed capitalism for triggering avoidable wars over resources or letting us succumb to mindless consumption. Then I noticed a strange phenomenon. The media began to co-opt many causes I had always associated with the radical left. The liberal media not only rebranded military interventions as humanitarian missions to avert genocide as in Kosovo or to free women from barbaric oppression at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists, it championed environmentalism, gay liberation, disability rights, greater awareness of mental illnesses and open borders. I initially dismissed corporate sponsorship of progressive causes as cynical marketing ploys, but I kept discovering new issues that failed to fit the classical left / right paradigm, while ideas once associated with mainstream conservatism attracted vitriol from the new liberal establishment. I began to notice how scientific and historical controversies that we once openly debated had become off-limits. Only mavericks, quacks and extremists would question the new received wisdom.

The Pharmaceutical Lobby

Around the turn of the millennium I became aware of the presumed link between MMR vaccines and autism. There were a few public debates on the issue including one broadcast late at night on Channel 5. I had mixed feelings. One of my wife's Italian childhood friends, a latter-day hippie, had prevented her children from being vaccinated on principle. I recall discussing the issue with my wife when our children were due to get their triple jab. I was very much in favour at the time. Only my wife had reservations. Having been diagnosed with a mild form of, Asperger's whose validity I now question, my interest in this controversy grew. To this day I honestly cannot be 100% certain whether or not either thimerosal (a mercury additive used in most MMR vaccines before circa 2005) or a combination of three viral strains could cause neurological defects leading to regressive autism where previously sociable toddlers rapidly retreat into their shell, lose speech and suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. In 2003 I began to volunteer for various Asperger's support groups in Scotland and met Bill Welsh, an intrepid MMR truth campaigner, shunned by the growing autism support industry. He tried to persuade me that my condition had nothing to do with autism, but MMR vaccines had caused an epidemic of a previously rare disorder. One Guardian columnist, Polly Toynbee had earned my disdain through her consistent support for Tony Blair's wars. On cue she unleashed her literary skills in favour of the pharmaceutical establishment in her 2004 piece urging us to dismiss any concerns about the new 5-in–1 vaccine jabs. All I wanted was a fair and open debate grounded in science, but we didn't get one. Wikipedia articles on the subject were hastily edited to remove all links to sites sceptical of vaccine safety. Dr Andrew Wakefield, who had urged parents to have separate staged injections for Measles, Mumps and Rubella, had become a public enemy comparable with Saddam Hussein. To doubt the safety of MMR vaccines was now routinely compared with Holocaust denial as discouraging parents from having their children vaccinated might lead to epidemics of preventable childhood diseases. If the evidence so overwhelmingly supports the safety of MMR vaccines, why would the unholy alliance of governmental and commercial forces seek to stifle all debate?

However, vaccine safety was hardly the only issue that upstanding laypersons could no longer question. If you have ever discussed hot topics as varied as gay marriage, the Twin Tower attacks, the environmental sustainability of mass migration, US/UK funding of Islamic fundamentalists or even the 2008 mega-bailout of the banking sector, you will have discovered a new corporatist orthodoxy among self-styled liberal, progressive and green pundits. I don't suggest for a moment that the truth always lies with unorthodox perspectives, but rather with empiricism and reasoned debate.

I could have added man-made climate change to the list of phenomena that the liberal establishment does not want us to dispute. An exponential rise in human industrial activity, not least over a billion cars with millions of miles of highways, are likely to have adverse environmental effects, but our business leaders are doing little to persuade us to consume less. I keep seeing ads urging me to buy a new car. Instead our rulers use the spectre of rapid climate change as a pretext to regulate us more. I suspect some prefer to believe climate change is not anthropogenic because they fear losing the greater personal freedom afforded by individual car ownership. I just want to know the truth. What's happening and why? Then we may debate what action we should take.

Mental health prison

Meanwhile more and more youngsters were diagnosed with a new range of personality disorders and relative learning disabilities, which require special needs education and/or psychoactive medications, while emotional challenges in adults were reconceived as mental illnesses with biogenetic causes and medical cures. My brief involvement with autism charities taught me they did not really want to engage with adults on the spectrum unless we toed their line, which is basically that autism is a genetic condition that has always existed, but has until recently been severely underdiagnosed. They saw us as tools to further their agenda. We were all supposed to take pride in our diagnosis and our neurological otherness. Guest speakers at support group meetings would proudly cite new research claiming as many as 5% to 10% of people might be on their ever-widening autistic spectrum, but they did not welcome my suggestion that this spectrum might encompass the whole of humanity. Then I noticed that not only were alternative views on the MMR controversy being edited out of Wikipedia, but any serious challenges to psychiatrisation. Advanced societies have long had to deal with a tiny subset of the population who pose a serious threat to public safety. Just as we accept that some violent criminals should be locked up to let the rest of us enjoy relative peace and security, it seems reasonable that some extreme neurological conditions may warrant either medical detention or monitored treatment in the community. In my view psychiatry might be only valid as neurocriminology as long as we clearly define for which crimes we need neurological explanations. Over last 30 years the boundaries between sociology, psychology, psychiatry and pharmacology have blurred under the amorphous concept of mental health. Yet to question the mental health agenda is to invite instant ridicule. Dissent is limited to a few nonconformist writers, such as Robert Whitaker author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, who have challenged mass medication or over-diagnosis of mental illnesses.

Redefining Biological Diversity

If we fast-forward ten years, the same lobbies that silenced anti-MMR campaigners and promoted early years mental health screening are now busy supporting transgenderism. Now young children will learn not only about diverse neurological profiles or normalised mental illnesses, but also about a diversity of sexual orientations, family structures and gender identities. Let me be frank. Young boys and girls are impressionable creatures with wild imaginations. It's not uncommon for children to identify as monsters, fairies, supermen, princesses or even as alien species. However, a good parent teaches their offspring to be proud of their biological reality and accept their natural limitations and potentials. A young boy may dream of being a Premier League footballer or a medal-winning athlete. If he doesn't excel in sports, there are plenty of other worthwhile career paths or personal ambitions a young man may pursue. But why would a young boy want to identify as a girl? As a keen swimmer from an early age I sometimes fantasised being reborn as a dolphin. Like many I sometimes wondered what life would be like as a girl. Yet everyone around me treated me as a boy, although I never enjoyed football or took much interest in play-fighting. A relative bought me a toy gun, which failed to enthuse me. I was much more interested in building contraptions. Nobody indulged my fleeting fantasies except in games. Yet all of a sudden a growing number of youngsters identify as the opposite gender. I first became aware of this trend not in real life, but via the BBC school drama series, Waterloo Road, that featured a girl who identified as a boy. The same series had highlighted personality disorders and homophobic bullying too. Now schools in Glasgow are building unisex toilets to avoid embarrassing transgender pupils, a problem that barely existed just 5 years ago.

Joining the Dots

Now you may wonder what all these topics have to do with free speech on matters such as war crimes, terrorist attacks, genetically modified food or nuclear power. You may not care about the scale or culpability of US bombing of Indochina or the exact death toll of Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward. Most of us tend to leave such disputes to historians, forensic scientists and archaeologists as we lack the means, time or academic background to verify their accuracy. Besides nothing we write today can undo historical crimes against humanity. By contrast our identity as male, female, non-binary, neurotypical or neurodiverse affects us all intimately. Of these only male and female have a firm basis in biological fact. The other categories are largely subjective.

Infantilising the public discourse

If we reduce human life to mere feelings that may be either indulged or closely monitored lest their expression unsettles the social order, we live in a mental prison of infantile emotions regulated by paternalistic experts whom we may no longer hold to account. Maturity means above all else learning to accept your true self and your place in nature and in wider society. That doesn't mean submitting yourself to tyranny or curbing your ambitions, but understanding that you can only gain greater personal freedom, and thus independence, through honest self-awareness. Identity politics based on arbitrary and volatile categories empowers those with the technical means to sway emotions. Once we have acquiesced to restrictions on intellectual freedom to protect victim groups from alleged hate speech, we have effectively relinquished not only personal freedom but any meaningful democratic accountability. Free speech would cease to mean freedom of inquiry and rational debate, but merely the monitored expression of feelings.

Categories
All in the Mind Power Dynamics

Just gimme some Truth

On the importance of intellectual freedom

Hardly a week passes without a brand new high profile campaign against the Orwellian concept of hate speech, perceived public ignorance or the spectre of unofficial fake news. Naturally ignorance no longer denotes an absence of knowledge, but a failure to internalise a specific worldview or cultural attitude. By the same logic we need not worry about officially certified fake news, because no doubt experts wiser than we have sanitised the truth for the greater good of humanity, while evil dissidents probably have ulterior motives.

Presumably all enlightened progressives should welcome the arbitration of third party organisations over all contentious social, scientific, historical, economic or moral issues. It's a truism that none of us, no matter how wise or intellectually gifted we may be, could conceivably fully comprehend all controversies that affect our lives. At some stage we have to place our trust in someone who has had the time, intellect and resources to gather hard evidence and present it in a succinct and readable format. Who is qualified to decide on issues as complex as nuclear energy, arms sales to foreign regimes, support for rebel militias in entangled ethno-religious conflicts, genetic engineering of human embryos or sex education in primary schools? Can we trust the general public to reach rational conclusions on these matters based on incomplete data and swayed by emotions?

How do we make sense of the daily deluge of confusing and conflicting information about our rapidly changing world? Surely we need some sort of independent verification service to help us sort the wheat from the chaff. This begs the question, whose interests do these non-governmental fact checking outfits serve? Do they just want to give us raw data and let us make our own minds up or do they want to discredit any evidence that runs counter to their preferred narrative and may lead a larger cross section of public opinion to rebel against the policies that major corporate and state organisations are seeking to implement through deceptive means ?

Indeed as soon as someone accuses the government or big business of deceiving the public, they may attract the epithet of conspiracy theorist or tinfoil hat wearer. We've gone a long way from the days when these slurs were mainly aimed at quirky nostalgics uncomfortable with the implications of modern science and technology. Some Americans genuinely believe the Lunar Landing was a hoax staged in Iceland or possibly in film studios. Others believe extraterrestrial creatures have landed on our planet. Without evidence, this remains nothing but wild conjecture and given the sheer size of our galactic neighbourhood exceedingly unlikely. Most UFO sightings may be exactly what the term suggests, unidentified flying objects, in all likelihood meteorites or military aircraft. However, now it's often those of us who doggedly insist on scientific truth who fall foul of the new postmodern orthodoxy on subjects as diverse as gender identity to the sustainability of rapid mass migration.

On Wednesday, Labour MP, Sarah Champion, resigned her position on the front bench for having told the truth about mainly Muslim rape gangs targeting mainly white (or at least non-Muslim) teenage girls in a popular tabloid newspaper, the Sun, which the left, myself included, has long despised. I could think of few cases that could better exemplify the problem with politically correct censorship of both open debate and objective investigation as this. Her Labour colleagues have accused her sensationalism bordering on racism and collobarating with the hated Murdoch press, yet at the end of the day what matters is not what the liberal intelligentsia believe today, but what diligent historians will conclude tomorrow. Who's right, obedient Guardian columnists who pretend there are no irreconciable cultural differences between sizable sections of the growing Muslim community and the indigenous population or tenacious journalists such as Douglas Murray and Raheem Kassam, author of No Go Zones, who challenge the new orthodoxy? Should we await an official report to reassure us that our benevolent authorities are looking after our best interests or should we challenge media bias and demand both truth and common sense solutions? Now imagine a near future where the truth about rape gangs is no longer contested by rival sections of our media, but is flagged as hate speech and all Internet searches on such issues point to fact-checking services that essentially obfuscuate reality through selective statistics and emotional arguments.

So let us for the sake of argument agree that both racism and sexual abuse are morally reprehensible, but we have a logistical problem here. If the main concern of the police and social services were the welfare of vulnerable teenage girls, it would be an open and shut case once they had sufficient evidence to prosecute the perpetrators. Don't get me wrong in all such cases we need to corroborate evidence on the ground to prevent the police from arresting innocent participants in consensual sexual encounters. However, the recent trial of a Newcastle-based grooming gang follows a familiar pattern seen up and down the country. Young playboys, mainly of South Asian Muslim descent, lure working class non-Muslim teenagers to sex parties plying them drugs such as cannabis and mephedrone. As detailed in Peter McLoughlin's book Easy Meat: Inside Britain's Grooming Gang Scandal, these organised gang bangs have been going on for some time, but the establishment colluding with the regressive left have done their best to hush up and downplay the scale of this phenomenon. When the Rotherham case first hit the news, many viewers of mainstream news programmes could be forgiven for thinking it was isolated to one town. Ever since the authorities have been in damage limitation mode. Yet Channel 4 journalists have known about it since the suppressed 2004 documentary Edge of the City.

An online campaign has been launched to try and stop Channel 4 from airing a documentary that features claims Asian men are grooming white girls for sex. Edge of the City, set in Bradford, had been shelved in May after police warned it could incite racial violence ahead of local and European elections. The Black Information Link website asks readers to lobby Channel 4, police and the Culture Secretary to stop the film.

Some wishful thinkers may prefer to believe that Britain's growing Muslim communities are integrating just fine with the settled population and share our wonderfully enlightened liberal values on women's rights, sexuality and tolerance of diverse lifestyle choices. They may prefer to disregard the higher fertility rate of Muslim families or their higher dependence on social welfare (a consequence of larger families and widespread inbreeding). Indeed any problems that cannot be easily swept under the carpet are often explained away as by-products of past Western imperialism or of despotic regimes, which our enlightened governments opposed.

However, if objective analysis of hard facts revealed that not only have hundreds of thousands of British non-Muslim girls been systematically targeted by gangs of mainly Muslim young men, but such behaviour is deeply engrained in their culture, some may conclude that in the interests of community cohesion and indeed the safety of vulnerable teenagers (some boys have also been targeted), we should restrict further immigration from mainly Islamic regions without extensive background checks. You see in our private lives we'd behave in more rational ways. We may welcome our new neighbours and be pleased for them to play with our children, as long as we can agree on a core set of shared cultural values. Until recently we did not need social workers or pervasive surveillance to manage community affairs. Neighbours would look out for each other and any transgressors would soon be identified and dealt with. Within a culturally homogeneous community people know the bounds of acceptable behaviour. Tolerance is a wonderful word when applied to diverse cuisines, music or literary traditions, but not when when our naive tolerance blinds us to hateful intolerance and we become an ethnic minority in what used to be our parents' homeland. Indeed the whole concept of homeland is anathema to globalists, who imagine the world as some sort of playground or university campus interspersed with national parks and connected by airports and high speed rail.

The trouble is the truth is seldom convenient and often ugly. Human beings can be violent, selfish, vindictive and morally corrupt, but we can also be loving, resourceful, creative and conscientious. In different circumstances the same human beings can behave in very different ways with radically different outcomes, but we are not all the same. Some of us cope very well with stress and take heightened competition in our stride. Others thrive best as loyal members of a team learning mainly through social osmosis. Indeed creative or critical thinkers often make very bad team players, but our modern world would be very different without the innovations of a non-conformist and often reclusive minority. Successful societies need to harness the best of both mindsets. If we rely exclusively on experts endorsed by our dominant institutions, we risk closing our minds to institutional bias that serves our true rulers' agenda.

Shaming Dissenters

Speaking out against organised rape gangs may seem a no-brainer in a society that almost universally condemns such acts, but not when it conflicts with other priorities, such as facilitating cultural change to undermine the self-determination of all viable national communities. When the progressive media starts talking in terms of Islamophobia, transphobia (a term that only entered the Oxford Dictionary in 2013 after a petition) and hate speech, alarm bells should ring. As soon as one dissents on issues as diverse as the environmental sustainability of mass transfers of people from poorer countries or state-funded fertility treatment for lesbian couples, one is labelled a hater. People are named and shamed for defending hard science on building viable communities and respecting natural biological differences.

Can state planners really want to simultaneously promote tolerance of an ideology, Islam, that abhors sexual deviance and treats women as sex slaves, while teaching young children that gender is a social construct rather than a biological reality? Today in Canada one may be arrested for protesting against Islamisation of one's neighbourhood, but also for failing to use the correct gender pronouns for a tiny minority of transsexuals who fail to identify as either male or female. While Islam and transgenderism (or the LGBTQ+ agenda) would seem to lead in opposite directions on sexual ethics, both dogmas push us towards more social interventionism and greater surveillance. I suspect what we lazily call the globalist elite for want of a better word, will only tolerate the rapid Islamisation of many European and North American neighbourhoods until they devise means to subvert this culture too. Indeed most Muslims today would feel utterly ashamed of the grooming gangs that blight towns and cities across Britain, the Netherlands and other Western countries with large concentrations of randy Muslim males. Maybe these young men have been corrupted by exposure to Western decadence. Maybe the guardians of their female victims failed to protect their daughters against dangerous sexual predators. Whichever way, the multicultural experiment is failing the underclasses, namely those least responsible for Britain's imperial past.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/d5IZ16UpE7U

I wonder if John Lennon would welcome the new idealism embraced by the bankers and warmongers he once decried.

Categories
Power Dynamics

Who’s really behind Momentum ?

Trotsky and the Neocons

How former Blairites morphed into radical advocates of a borderless utopia

Politics is really the art of winning influence over other power brokers to further one's true agenda, which may be self-aggrandisement, commercial interests or the pursuit of long-term ideological change. Personally I think most politicians fall into the first category of wishful thinking opportunists, eager to make a few gestures to please their electoral base, but more concerned with their career. Over the last century or more it seems it hardly matters who wins parliamentary elections, big business will always get its way anyway. The old dichotomy of a state-interventionist redistributionist Labour Party and a more laissez-faire pro-business Conservative Party was always a mere façade. In reality big business supported most of Labour's radical social transformation policies. The age of mass consumerism required a compliant but contented populace, something that naked capitalism could never provide left to its own devices. Indeed welfare dependency rose fastest not in the 1960s or 70s under Labour, but in the 80s under Margaret Thatcher as manufacturing moved overseas.

In the last two years British politics has undergone some quite unexpected realignments. The reemergence of Left Labour as a major force in British politics under veteran backbench rebel Jeremy Corbyn has taken many by surprise. Labour now has over 600,000 members, mainly critical of Tony Blair's legacy as a poodle of US foreign policy and big business. Back in 2003 many Momentum supporters would have marched against the US-led invasion of Iraq. I remember powerful speeches from the late Tony Benn, a younger Jeremy Corbyn and a grandiloquent George Galloway. The protest attracted broad support from disparate groups. The two most visible contingents were the far left, in their neo-Trotskyite and neo-Stalinist incarnations, and the Muslim Council of Britain. We also had a lower-key ensemble of mainly middle class Greens and left Labour activists embarrassed with their leadership. However, most participants were just well-intentioned teachers, social workers, charity workers, learning support assistants and even a few with normal jobs who were like me just generally disgusted with the idea that our government was about to authorise a military intervention that would likely trigger a wider conflict. Two years later the British electorate gave Tony Blair's government a reduced majority, but with just 35% of popular vote (and only 21.5% of potential voters). Many left-of-centre opponents of the war such as myself voted either Liberal Democrat or SNP in protest. When the Labour lost to a Conservative-led coalition with the Liberal Democrats in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, this rainbow coalition regrouped to oppose cuts in social services, welfare and the perceived privatisation of healthcare. Nonetheless the general public had little appetite for a traditional left platform that might include the re-nationalisation of privatised services and industries, much higher taxes for the rich and massive cuts in defence spending. On this latter point many fail to realise that while conservative public opinion tends to oppose military adventurism in far-flung places, it's all in favour of defending the realm. In power New Labour seemed to take the opposite approach overstretching limited military resources in numerous conflicts around the globe, while failing to defend national borders, literally instructing border officers to wave through new migrants with minimal checks. Amazingly working class voters were much more concerned with social cohesion in Birmingham, Bradford or Luton than media reports of atrocities in Baghdad, Kabul or Pristina.

We may speculate that social media has played a major role in building support for the various causes that tend to inspire virtue-signalling trendy lefties. However, this apparent shift may reflect the changing strategies of corporate wheelers and dealers eager to undermine the residual power of national governments and replace traditional cultures with a global superculture.

Since the fall of the former Soviet Union, Marxism has kept a low profile, despite the fact many Western far-leftists had long distanced themselves from Stalinism. In Britain the Socialist Workers Party used the slogan Neither Washington Nor Moscow but International Socialism. As early as the 1930s Antonio Gramsci realised the workers would not rise up to overthrow their capitalist overlords, without a cultural revolution. Ironically Mussolini's government pioneered a close collaboration between the state and large companies, known as corporativismo, although in Italian a corporazione was not a limited liability company, but a state entity that coordinated smaller industrial concerns. Nonethless mid 20th century fascist regimes believed strongly in close liaison between the state and private enterprise. They viewed democracy as an illusion and tended to prefer plebiscites as a form of patriotic consultation. Gramsci feared that a workers' uprising in the more advanced capitalist countries would result in the kind of national statism we saw both in the German Third Reich and Stalin's Russian Empire. Many of us misunderstood what Marxism really meant. Marx did not argue for an all-powerful national state to protect the interests of local workers against predatory global corporations. Instead he argued that modern capitalism would inevitably yield to socialism, which in turn would eventually evolve into stateless communism, in the same way as primitive communism (based on an idealised Rousseauian view of early humanity) gave way to slave societies, feudalism and later, following the industrial revolution, capitalism. Early Marxists concerned themselves as much with culture as with economics. In 1884 Friedrich Engels wrote The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State advocating the eventual dissolution not only of private property, but of nation states and families. Engels genuinely envisioned a world free of economic, ethnic or sexual hierarchies where we would be motivated not by personal betterment, familial or tribal advantage, but by the progress of humanity as a whole. Over the last 120 years Marxists have mainly debated how to achieve these ends.

As the student-led protest movements of the 1960s failed to inspire the working classes of Western Europe, who despite their daily struggles were by and large glad they did not live on the other side of the Iron Curtain, the Marxist Left, still strong in Italy and France, devised a new strategy, Eurocommunism, which advocated a mixed economy and gradual social reform. Indeed on practical policies little distinguished the Italian and French Communist Parties from their social democratic cousins in Britain or West Germany, where local communist parties struggled to win popular support. On the great divide between the Warsaw Pact and NATO, the mainstream Labour Party remained staunchly Atlanticist in outlook. The Eurocommunists simply recognised that the Soviet Union could not serve as a model that would unite the working classes of the West with their comrades in the developing world. Their aims had not changed, only their strategy. Yet among a small clique of intellectuals in the Labour Party and the tiny CPGB (Communist Party of Great Britain), the New Left exerted much influence via organs such as the Socialist Register and later Red Pepper. One such intellectual was the late Ralph Miliband, born in Belgium to Polish Jewish parents who later migrated to England 1940 to escape Nazi persecution. He remained a committed Marxist until his death in 1994, having published numerous articles and books on Marxist theory. He was a close confidant of historian Eric Hobsbawm, who notably sympathised with the former USSR, and the radical Fabian, Tony Benn. In recent years the Miliband brand has been more associated with Ralph's sons, David and Ed. As Labour leader from 2010 to 2015, Ed Miliband tried to distance himself from Tony Blair's military adventurism. However, his brother not only supported the Iraq War, but willingly served as Foreign Secretary working alongside Hillary Clinton to promote commercial and military globalisation. After narrowly losing to his brother in the Labour leadership contest, David Miliband accepted a well-remunerated role in New York as CEO of the International Rescue Committee, which seeks to aid refugees worldwide. Earlier David had worked as Tony Blair's head of policy from 1994 to 2001, when he became an MP.

To most Momentum activists, Tony Blair is nothing but a traitor to the causes of social justice and international peace. However, the young Aaaron Bastini, one of the masterminds behind Momentum, opted in 2010 to support David rather than Ed Miliband. I mean at least the latter decried the Iraq War. Did Mr Bastani suddenly have an epiphany before he embraced Jeremy Corbyn's idealism only five years later? This would seem a rather odd move as most of us tend more to idealism in our youth. Not surprisingly two of the other leading lights in the People's Momentum, Adam Klug and James Schneider hail from the same upmarket districts of North London as the Milibands. Small world, isn't it?

One may wonder how both Tony Blair and Tony Benn could belong to the Fabian Society or how the son of Marxist scholar could embrace early 21st century US imperialism, while one of his close associates backed a longstanding opponent of US imperialism as Labour leader. Here it is important to understand that most Marxist strategists are not pacifists. They are quite prepared to support military might if the outcome is more likely to pave the way to international socialism. Indeed over the decades self-professed Marxists have adopted some startling positions on global conflicts. The British Communist Party failed to support the Second World War until Hitler's invasion of the Ukraine and Western Russia. Meanwhile some former Trotskyists, while opposing US imperialism before the fall of Soviet Union, became cheerleaders of US-led global policing operations ever since, most notably the late Christopher Hitchens who supported the 2003 Iraq War to defeat the looming danger of Islamism. However, the globalist left remained bitterly divided over military interventionism in the Middle East. They had to support both global cultural convergence through mass migration and the projection of Western values on the rest of the world on the one hand and appease the growing Muslim lobby at home on the other.

Every problem in the world today seems to demand one solution, more globalisation. It doesn't matter whether it's climate change, unemployment, unsustainable debt, regional wars, organised crime or terrorism, our main media outlets, national governments and global institutions just propose tighter international integration and the undermining of traditional nation states and support structures. The growing concentration of power in a handful of high tech multinationals naturally demands greater coordination of governments to regulate them and prevent tax evasion. It should really not surprise us that the New Left does not advocate the nationalisation of Google, Amazon, Microsoft or Tesco. It needs these profitable organisations to bankroll its social engineering plans. And it appears it's succeeding. Big business has for some time not just embraced rapid cultural change, but openly promoted it.

Ahead of the Curve

Momentum has cultivated an anti-establishment reputation, often accusing the BBC of bias and openly campaigning against what it sees as reactionary newspapers or political organisations. I've lost count of the number of online petitions against the Daily Mail or Nigel Farage. Yet one only needs to watch a BBC soap opera to understand the convergence of the BBC's social agenda and Momentum's objectives. Both support open door immigration. Both welcome the ethnic transformation of British cities. Both support greater state intervention in people's private lives. Both support the concept of multiculturalism, while also promoting the dissolution of traditional family structures at odds with practically all traditional cultures. However, the BBC still has to offer the pretence of impartiality and patriotism. It only seems yesterday when each evening of televisual broadcasts would end with the national anthem. Now we have 24/7 news, non-stop sports, endless repeats of soap operas and pop concerts.

Rebranding Globalism

Behind the scenes the leading proponents of Blair's third way do not really disagree with Labour's radical rebranding. They may complain about Corbyn's irresponsible spending plans or his opposition to Britain's expensive token nuclear deterrent, but actually such disagreements may not matter as much as we might like to think. The current debate about Britain's exit from the European Union has only exposed just how little independence once powerful nation states really have. It seems without the oversight of one supranational organisation or another, the country will grind to a halt. Vegetables will rot in the fields and sick patients will be left untreated because of a lack of migrant farm labourers and nurses willing to serve us tirelessly. You see both Blairites and Momentum activists love mass migration, because they hope the ensuing social dislocation will let them turbo-charge their vision of a socialist utopia, bankrolled by the same corporate behemoths they claim to loathe.

Of course, some people will always be more equal than others.

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