At the End of the Day

Is there really any difference between the pinched goblin and the knuckleheaded bully?

It’s been a topsy-turvey week for everyone, including the Slog. But come credit crunch or censorship, the overall picture of Homo sapiens at the moment changes little. We seem to be as greedy, delusional, controlling or apathetic as always.

Certainly, there is no shortage of empirical evidence for that assertion. Today’s later post here about Newscorp’s barbarian behaviour in the US mail-coupon sector is really no better or worse than the continued censorious intervention of the US liberal Establishment online. The last ten days have seen The Slog’s loyalist subscriber email account disabled permanently, Slog comment threads at the Huffington Post banned, and Huffpost’s owner AOL screwing up Slog emails to subscribers.  I suspect that very little of this activity, in any area, has an innocent explanation.

In the 1930s, the Nazis’ Sturm Abteilung street thugs beat the crap out of anyone who said, wrote or even implied either criticism or ridicule of their Party. They burned books disagreeing with them, too. Contemporary ‘liberal’ news sites have learned this lesson well: despite the predictive genius of George Orwell, they too immolate any comment designed to question the bad science propagated by their media.

In the 1950s, interrogators in the USSR and Mao’s China produced better results by simply depriving the human senses, or ‘correcting’ any news from outside until it conformed with socialist reality. This too used the Newspeak horrors of Orwell with unconscious irony. So too the contemporary Labour Party rewrites every bit of history that might blame it for anything. Ed Balls, for example, insists that overspending during his time in government made zero contribution to our deficit. Anyone suggesting otherwise will not get a hearing in the Guardian, even though the empirical statistics show that he is lying. Balls is, like Brown – and Osborne, and Huhne, and Cameron – the man in Room 101 asking you to disbelieve the existence of four fingers on your hand. And after shaking hands with these gargoyles, perhaps they might have a point.

Fox News in the US routinely doctors video footage, or quotes out of context to make its point. Murdoch’s New York tabloid simply lies as necessary. The Guardian prints nothing about Johann Hari, a hack now shown to be at best a fantasist and at worst a craven propagandist. But whether the bending of truth is done by physically violent suppression or the faceless moderator, the result is the same. The pinched goblins at the Huffington Post are the same disturbed folk as the knuckle-draggers who threatened and bullied MPs, employees and witnesses during the UK’s Hackgate saga. They are still doing it, and they will always do it.

I’m sick to death of hearing how the ‘smart’ thing to do is stay beyond the reach of these awful people. What’s the point of running a blog designed to show the experiences ordinary people have to put up with if one merely uses one’s influence and erudition to escape their fate? Well in a way, I sincerely hope there is one, because I think The Slog has almost reached the point now where some kind of offshore, fully-protected domain hosting is required. However, doing this still smacks to me of sanctimonious Labour MPs sending their kids to private schools: it sticks in my gullet.

In an age where both media and government have encouraged citizens in the West to escape, deny and enjoy, the encouragement is of late turning into a perceived obligation: ‘You will eat this bread and attend these circuses, or else’. Rousseau wrote of forcing people to be free, and it increasingly seems to me that the soi-disant liberal democratic West follows this idea. Harriet Harman insists that we be freed from our racism, sexism and nationalism by simply passing legal instruments saying ‘it shall be so’. Camerlot has talked a good game about repealing this fascist bollocks, but little or nothing has been done. The Tea Party talks of freeing the citizen from the State, but what they really mean is freeing themselves from taxes, and letting the poor folks go hang.

My view remains the same: I would like to massively restrict the State, mutualise much of its tentacular grip on our lives, and devolve an enormous amount of responsibility down to community level. But that community must recognise the existence of genuine unfortunates – and, if they want to be at peace with themselves, offer them genuine help. However, in order to do that, it must put travellers onto unwilling bikes and tell them, “Either muck in or ship out”. We are entering an age where legal loopholes, niceties, angels and pinheads will be at best grudgingly tolerated, and at worst ignored.

I think we are heading for a less laissez-faire age. If this is to be used by society as a means to more personal responsibility and self-discipline, then bring it on. If it is to be used as a stick with which to poke anyone disagreeing with madness, then it must be opposed. Choosing to prefer the lies of one side to those of another would merely be playing into all their hands.

40 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Thanks JW another Post I enjoyed.

    It seems to me there is only one option, that is to ‘assess the assessor’. The result, regardless of political dogma, is about the best that we can do. Which of course is not saying very much at all.

  2. John, well, in the ‘big’ ( very big) scheme of things we have some universal laws at play. Firstly, entropy – ie. increasing disorder. Drop a bottle (or carton) of wine on the floor and it is spilt and makes a mess; it’s very unlikely all those atoms will spontaneously go back into the bottle. Same thing with animal societies. Got a pristine new car? No point in trying to keep it that way – if you believe in entropy.

    Secondly, the polarity of the universe. For every black there is a white. Be a really really good boy and the universe will balance it out with some evil deed at the other end of the planet. It ain’t gonna change. Pacifists become violent and angry. Animal rights protesters blow up human beings. Etc

    And at an individual level, you struggle (consciously or unconsciously) to become whole (or individuation as Jung might term it). As you do, you unconsciousness finds a way of teaching you – through illness or accident – or relationships ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

    The way through all of this can be summed up in a word. Love.

  3. Entropy is a well established physical concept, and it is all around us. The house that is crumbling, the politicians that are struggling, the service industry that finds it increasingly difficult to serve, the human body that is decaying… We nonetheless spend massive efforts trying to stop things getting worse, knowing all along that depreciation is ultimately unavoidable and can only be postponed by significant effort. That’s the nature of life, the universe and all the rest of it. Sad, but unavoidable it could lead one to fatalism ….

  4. Your analogy of the US current Tea Party is spot on. This party has been implemented for the low info voters, and they play off their greatest fears (along with our other two party systems). I am (partly thanks to you) beginning to see, this is not all cut and dried. There are forces of money and manipulation that the average citizen doesn’t realize, and our current leaders hope we won’t discover. I come here everyday looking for answers….not only from you John, but from your readers and their comments also. I fear the new world that is coming, but I have become to embrace the welcomed change also. Thanks for your help
    Amanda Burger
    United States

  5. JW
    There is one event regarding the freedom of press and expression that has stuck in my mind. My Father came over as a refugee from Hungary in 1957 after fleeing the soviets following his participation in the “Hungarian revolt”. During the time when Hungary was still under the “Iron Curtain”, his friend’s daughter came to visit (getting a visa to come here was difficult). He took her to the steps of 10 Downing St and had an honest conversation with the policeman outside loudly stating “Harold Wilson is an idiot and should step down”. She was mortified and believed they would be arrested and just disappear. I think times have definitely changed

  6. Because this is a financial site,I will be brief,but it is relevant to Johns article. The Americans have been sold down the river on health,so much so,that,more Americans have died of ill health,than all the soldiers,in all wars,from the Civil War on. Is it because the medical authorities,do not have the answers,to cancer,heart disease,diabetes,and other major diseases? No, of course they do. Its corporate America putting profit before lives,as they have always done,thats stopping cures coming to the marketplace. I watched a sickening 2 hour video,with children dying,whose cure,was being prevented by the FDA. The cancer charities,funded by corporate America,are in on the act as well. Bad as we, are sometimes,I am glad we live in Europe,and not the USA.

  7. @nerdyman:
    The inference I draw from your comment is that the latest drugs are not available in the US for corporate or political reasons but they are available in the UK/Europe. Is that right?
    We hear a regular commentary about NICE blocking new drugs or only allowing them to be available in limited cases in the UK for entirely financial reasons, or else taking forever to ‘approve’. IIUC the new so-called cancer *wonder* drug in the media over the past few days is one example. Can’t speak for the rest of Europe.

  8. Look at the percentages in my comment above and you will see why NICE has to ration drug spending relative to other countries. This is hugely unpopular, but the UK is not a very productive nation and our lowish GDP can only go so far. And that’s with huge state borrowings…

  9. @Carys: Indeed. Some interesting info there. But does it change my comments to nerdman? I think not.

    The other thing in the UK (to be expected I guess, given our sloppy “it’s good enough” approach to most things) is that the NHS is stuffed full of wastage and, frankly, employee incompetence. IME the latter – plus a regular diet of NHS cock-ups – adds considerably to the user perception of poor service and standards.

  10. Nerdo
    But those who have insured health in the US are over-medicated, according to some research I read yesterday.
    Too much for the haves, too little for the have nots.
    I wonder whose fault that is? I’m never sure.

  11. The US system, of which I have lengthy experience, treats the insured very well (at least for a first illness) and reduces the uninsured masses to the least possible level, sometimes below. The average, of course, is wildly above the UK average, or even France’s (30% above the UK level). The US spends 16% of its very high GDP on health, France 11% and the UK 8.4%. With double the % spend of the UK (and much more in cash terms if you remember that the GDP/capita of the USA is 40% higher than ours), you might think US healthcare would be wonderful. For some, it definitely is.

    The problem is twofold. Unit health care costs are high. The pay rates of many medicos are stratospheric and sector inflation is high. Hospitals are expensive, despite HMOs’ attempts to constrain them. You get fantastic treatment but at a fantastic price. The other part is that such treatment cannot be afforded for all, even in a country as rich as the USA, without a big step towards socialism. There are 313m people in the USA, and 50m of them are not covered by any health plan. The better off are quite happy about this, or so it seems, because those without health care tend to be minorities.

    Obama’s dilemma is that without a massive hike in taxes, he can only spread health care more evenly if he reduces the excessive unit costs for the present ‘top end’, which is pretty well impossible. To cover the whole population at the top end standard is a tough challenge, while the Republicans won’t let him reduce the top end standard. The issue is highly complex, with silos very well defended as one might expect.

    As for how it got like this, it’s hard to say. Some version of the NHS is clearly much cheaper and probably fairer to the poor, but there are a lot of very wealthy people in the USA and they inevitably will want the best and can buy it, forcing up the price. In the end, health care reflects society. The USA has a very unequal society. That’s what Obama needs to change, and the Republicans are dead against.

  12. There is also (as in the case of diabetes tretment funding in UK) the repeated case of short termism being applied to all the (Possible) solutions
    We’ll spent amount X today (this year) because it is 20 times smaller than amount Y that would solve the whole problem in one go but we’ll spent it for the rest of the patients life (perhaps 40 – 50 years)

  13. Very short term thinking is one of the UK’s key problems today. Nobody is thinking more than a budget/bonus year ahead. Except Ed Milliband, and he is praying for a miracle a couple of years hence. You never know…

  14. Unfortunately the elites have far too much profits to make from us minions by providing only the treatments and keeping the cures for themselves. How many of those billionaires do you hear of dying before they reach a ripe old age?

  15. @Carys:
    Ed Miliband is referring to nothing less than a “Cultural Revolution” based upon HIS view of “values”.

    To be followed if/when he gets elected, by a “Great Leap Forward”.

    His plans will certainly solve the over-population problem…

  16. Regarding health, an interesting question to ask is: are there any communities that do not suffer from heart disease, cancer and all the rest of the “modern” killers? The answer might surprise you. For me, an illuminating but by no means perfect read in this area was “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith.

  17. Matt, vegetarians typically use a boat load of dairy products so they shouldn’t be expected to have better health than omnivores. Vegans can claim otherwise (read John Macdougall, Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish etc). I will say though, it’s best not to use Lierre Keith as a stick to beat vegetarians/vegans with, she’s a fantasist and a liar. Feel free to google her a bit.

  18. Posted not long ago on Zerohedge in regards to Greek debt numbers…

    “So let’s get this straight: the funding hole was €109 billion two months ago, and it is now €172 billion or more, an incremental diferential of €63 billion in two months, or €360 billion annualized.

    …Pardon us, while we…


    We apologize but…


  19. “I think The Slog has almost reached the point now where some kind of offshore, fully-protected domain hosting is required. However, doing this still smacks to me of sanctimonious Labour MPs sending their kids to private schools: it sticks in my gullet.”

    Not at all John.
    The best way to see it is a win for you: they try to get at you but fail.

    Short of bloody revolution, we can’t end the trash & slime that is the life of the political elites, MSM and corporate fascists but we can expose them.

  20. That’s right John: ‘Nil illegitimatum non carborundum’; go offshore, things are only going to get worse, much worse. You will get support. Just ask.

  21. If you are going into the secure off-shore hosting, stick up a donations method of some kind and I’ll happily chip in. If you don’t want to use paypal, I’ll send you a cheque.

    Also as part of this planning, it might be worth setting up some mirrors, I know a hosting company in Serbia for a start.

  22. The French had the right idea with the guillotine. Perhaps we could have some success bringing it back to cull the bankers with their bonuses, dodgy politicians and ex newscorp nasties. Trouble is, things will probably have to get worse here than the situation that prompted the original use of the guillotine before the apathy of the electorate is stirred sufficiently

  23. I believe our present ‘state of play’ across the globe – in all its many forms – will lead to the implementation of rigid new structures of living and working, to which we have no right of moderation or approval. Then will come a darkness which knows no horizon. In that dark time any dissention will make you a ‘terrorist’ – you will be seen as ‘for the system’ or against it, and all those who speak out and up for what is moral and right will be quickly isolated, as a threat to the many who will, at best be silent out of fear, or at worst will be riding the crest of the power over others that they crave.
    These are the days that herald the coming of the perfect storm. and there will be nowhere to hide.
    I hope that those of us who read this blog because we hear and see the sense it makes, manage still to find each other for some comfort then.

  24. It is reported that Sky News cut the live reporting of Red Ed’s speech yesterday as he launched an attack on Murdoch. I guess that is the problem with the passion for live reporting – you cannot edit it after, only cut it altogether.

  25. The BBC also lost live coverage at the same time.
    Personally, I was very happy because Red Ed talks utter bollix and hasn’t got a clue about running a country. Why should he have? …he’s a Marxist.

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