On raising the game above politics
A valued Greek source asked me the other day (being genuinely unsure where to ‘put’ me on the politico-philosophical spectrum) what my political leanings are. I think most of what follows are learnings rather than leanings: but anyway, here goes.
I’m for decency, liberty, personal responsibility, strong community, functional family and lots of other things ending in y….up to but not including profligacy, mendacity and pointless parsimony.
I am not Right or Left because I believe the terms to be a curse upon the decent majority looking for new ways out of our problems – not old Catechisms repeated as if they might be Hail Mary’s.
I am not a Socialist and never have been, because its ideas are 0% correlated with anthropology – especially social anthropology. Among the best social anthropologists, pc is viewed with at best suspicion. For myself, I’m condemnatory of it: I think it a ready catalyst for optimistic denialism and undeserved privilege. Homo sapiens is a pack-species based on hierarchical gene competition and cooperation: we are not all born equal, we have only an equal responsibility to look after those less fortunate than ourselves. Observe higher primates in the wild, and you will see that this applies universally on that evolutionary tree. That – not Devil take the hindmost – is the Natural Order.
I will never be a neoliberal, because its ideas are opposed to everything I stand for – see ‘I’m for’ at the start of this piece, and the preceding paragraph. Neoliberal capitalism is an insane and indefensible socio-economic outlook, because it puts the corporation before the citizen. It is therefore, by definition, fascist. Chiefly, however, it is an excuse for the greedy to behave badly.
I have been anti-globalist for forty years this year. The first ad agency I co-founded with five others (Aspect) openly rejected the Saatchi claptrap in favour of locally marketed products. We rejected all multinationally ‘aligned’ clients on principle. I wrote regularly and vociferously in the communications trade mags about why Ted Levitt was a fanciful (but for big business, useful) idiot.
So far not so good, because most of the above is about what I’m not.
First and foremost, I am a Benthamite – although I was born a long time after him, so I don’t suffer from his assumptions. He called for ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’. I prefer to replace ‘happiness’ with ‘fulfilment’.
I’m a communitarian mutualist. The problem with that term is it sounds so brown rice, tree-huggy and mediaeval. But that’s just the way the Murdoch tabloids have framed our references.
A good 60% of my career was entrepreneurial…and that continues. I think I was a grounded company officer who could read the balance sheet and use common sense. But if me making money doesn’t bring benefit to the wider community, then it’s inhuman – end of. The daftest of endlessly daft things gushed by Friedman the Real-Life Failure was “The only responsibility any company has is to the shareholders”. I reject it completely: who educates the company’s workforce? Who keeps them healthy? Who protects them from asset-strippers? Answer: the social weal.
The future for radicals like me is not a political one: it is as a campaigner for the Citizens – their rights, their fulfilment, their communities and their families. It is in pursuit of a Constitution backed up by the Rule of Law, Equality before that Law – and a depoliticised civil police force devoid of pc careerism. And mainly from now on, as someone dedicated to outing all those who seek to undermine liberal democracy through monied or otherwise corrupt influence. Like the Poor, they will always be among us. Unlike the Poor, however, they live secretly under a stone, awaiting the right moment to crawl out and declare themselves to be acceptable.
As time goes on, I see myself as less and less political, but more and more keen to enshrine the Law way above politics…in a written Constitution backed up by a Judiciary completely separate from commerce, bureaucrats, representative legislators, and the police. We don’t have an econo-political problem in the West, we have a culturo-constitutional problem.
The best – albeit long-winded – way to solve the cultural problem requires the reader to go back to the first line of this ‘What I am’ analysis…and add socially eclectic education encouraging students to think for themselves, and teachers to bring out the best in every student.
The only way to solve the constitutional problem, however, is to remove the unelected from influence over legislation. And that means banning all Party donations and all monied lobbying. This could be done overnight if politicians had the will: but they are now so risibly short of individual citizen support, they turn to undemocratic media gargoyles, the very rich, and dubious trade union power in order to maintain their Closed Shop on power. They are, overwhelmingly, glorified junkies: to feed their addiction they will gladly commit criminal acts…and if the money comes from the rich and unelected power freaks keen to leverage their influence, the policies that follow are inevitable. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the UK, EU and US in 2015.
In the UK, we do not need another political Party – although a repositioning of Labour, the LibDems and UKip could without question produce a Common Front to stop Corporacratic domination of our social culture. It’s not going to happen – which is why extra-Parliamentary strategies are now the only way open to the real Opposition.
We need to starve the political beast of its funds. I’ve been advocating this now for five years. If that involves illegality and violence, I don’t want to know. But there are a dozen ways at least to get the munneeeee taken out of politics…if only the ideologues will receive a new idea…rather than just transmit an old one.
This requires a new kind of crowd-sourcing that isn’t demo, riot or money-collection…but rather, concerted boycott.