THE SATURDAY ESSAY: The sound of silence and the silence of sound

I’ve become aware of an organisation called They began in Asia, they have some shall we say eclectic backers, and there’s an awful lot of East Coast pc Democrat-think in the blurb on their website. Nevertheless, their goal is a fine one, and should not be decried – as the organisation points out, one in seven adults around the world still can’t read.

It’s just that, looking at the site, I get a nagging feeling there are some things dnrt would rather that, um, their beneficiaries really didn’t read.

If the erosion of illiteracy is going to reshape the future in a positive way, then it  needs to be attached to a similar increase in the use of experience and discernment by developing kids.

Many kneebone-jerkers would suggest that the two aims are indistinguishable, but that in itself is an ignorant opinion: even if people can’t read or write, they can still hear what’s said – and then speak to others about what they make of it. In that context, even if one teaches people what the hieroglyphics mean, it won’t help them discern whether they add up to wisdom or self-interested lies.

Under many circumstances, therefore, increased literacy could lead to the spread of both ignorance and deception.

In the West, our educational systems over the last three decades have on the whole been driven by hitting linear targets in levels of facility with any given subject. Pardon the pun here, but looking for facility is nearly always facile: I am, for example, these days reasonably fluent in French, but I lack the experience of French culture and linguistic irony to discern the presence of either sincerity on the one hand, or mendacity on the other.
I’m increasingly convinced by the need for a new measure in education called familiarity rather than facility. To me, familiarity can breed either contempt or awakening. What I’m saying is that, among many other goals, in the 21st Century education must make our children and grandchildren media savvy.

If genuine creativity overwhelms a million shibboleths, then contemporary examples can illuminate any theory. So I offer in this essay some news items from the last few days, weeks and months to make my thesis ‘live’ (pronounced ‘livv’ not ‘lyve’). In the nearest I can get to a nutshell, these are its main contentions:

1. The use of language in the last forty years has undergone a 180° change in purpose: it used to be to inform in various ways; today, its aim for too often is to mislead in every way.
2. If we don’t render the vast majority of every mass electorate savvy to this perversion, we are doomed to the Dictatorship of the Commentariat.
3. The persuasively hidden fascism in communications is apparent at both ends of our outdated spectrum of Left and Right in the contemporary econo-politics of the West.
4. The most important weapon in the armoury of those of us who would like to reroute Homo sapiens onto a less destructive path is the replacement of bigoted ignorance by objective awareness.


The head of the IAAF – international athletics’ nearest thing to a ruling body – is a chap called Lord Coe. In  more normal times, he used to be Seb Coe the Olympic gold medalist runner. Then he became Sebastian Coe, pole-climbing Tory MP, then Coe the 2012 Olympics organiser, and now he is Lord Coe of the IAAF.
As the man in charge of that organisation, Coe now faces a tidal wave of criticism because it has become apparent that the IAAF has for years been turning the Nelsonian eye patch to its endemic corruption by the drugs trade.

In an interview earlier this week, Coe gave out all the bromides so elequently described by George Carlin a decade before his death: we must redouble our efforts, lessons will be learned, I take full responsibility, but no, I will not be going – all the predictable excuses. But Sebastian Coe has undergone all the usual media training (right down to the concerned nodding and facial language) and so I have no doubt he is going to get clean away with what is, let’s face it, about as good a case of dereliction of duty as you’re ever likely to see.
If journalists and athletics fans enjoyed full familiarity with the techniques he employed in this case of wriggle-room, he would be out of a job today.


As market forces did their advertised jobs across the world yesterday many professed fans of such forces stepped forward to try and save their ideology. I suppose the first question I need to ask is who is this girl Val Ativerdee? She seemed to be everywhere – in stocks, commodities, forex and futures –  but my view is that Val Ativerdee is innocent: she didn’t do it viewers…..the big selloff was caused by a world recession. Take QE out of the equation, and that depression is a recession. Look at the infinite stream of international trade data, and you can see that it’s a slump.

Yesterday opened with a general consensus that no way do we have a recession. But as every market in the world fell, by nightfall the language was “We lack evidence of growth, but heh – this is still not another 2008.

I’m not asking for those in education to come out of it with a complete grasp of bourse economics: that’s a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst detractor. I’m asking for them to be familiar with the linguistic strangulation of the narrative. What in blue blazes is the difference between no evidence of growth and recession?

Actually, my goal is a situation where such obfuscation is not only discerned and satirised, but also questioned – à la “What’s so special about growth anyway?” However, we need to take this one step at a time: the damage done to free thought by American pc, Western Feministas and the infantile ideas of British New Labour is profound. If I may rephrase an old adage, Nazi Germany wasn’t destroyed in a day: we need to walk before we can run.


Very quietly a few weeks ago, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (cps) announced that there would be no further media phone-hacking enquiries, as the remaining evidence of it was “at best equivocal”.

Here’s what the police are supposed to do: if quantified suspicion of organised crime comes to light, they do not need the evidence to be any more than equivocal….they simply need to make enquiries and follow up leads to see whether, under such closer examination, enough evidence can be found to bring a prosecution.

But if, say, the Metropolitan Police service is corrupt in general – and so close to Newscorp that it has an interest in doing nothing – then those enquiries (along with myriad others involving bizarre events in Richmond) will be stopped….especially if London’s Mayor is an unalloyed admirer of Rupert Murdoch.

Now – thanks to, of all channels, Russia Today – anyone who wants to go there can read that in fact several prominent celebrities are continuing with their civil prosecutions against Newscorp for what (they claim) is blatantly obvious evidence that the Hacking Enquiry has barely scratched the surface of the criminality involved.

Again, I’m not suggesting that every school-leaver should have a detailed knowledge of legal process and media ownership; I ask only that when a government institution says there is no case to answer….but it takes a foreign news service to show that there is everything to answer for, the average citizen should be able to smell a rat.
We are not in search of relentless cynicism here. Merely a questioning attitude to all things  transmitted by those whose objectivity cannot be assumed.

Ultimately, this extends not just into what one hears, but also what one is ‘allowed’ to say. We have multivariate sets of rigid mores in our contemporary Western culture, and especially in my own homeland of Great Britain. They are, in no particular order, divisive, wrong, hypocritical, fascist, stagnant, and above all unhealthy for individual thinking and cultural liberty.

The ease with which people of all demographics slip into blind obedience to these politically correct diktats is at times astonishing, but mainly frightening. And again, it could only have gained the hold it has in the presence of a docile population largely incapable of thinking for itself.

For me, the worst side-effect of political correctness – it would be far more accurate to call it cp, for crass politesse – is the tribal divisiveness and consequently aggressive mud-slinging, spitting hatred it produces. This is a recurring theme at The Slog, and I don’t apologise for it: yet the irony is that all of these packs want the same thing: an insistence on active obedience to the ‘culture’ of the tribe.

For eco-warmists, the problem of human CO2 is ‘settled science’; for climate change deniers, all measures to improve the environment are a tax conspiracy. For the Corbynistas, all capitalism is wrong and most capitalists are racist, full-blooded socialism is the only answer; for Camerlot’s dark knights, Friedmanite capitalism is the eternal future, bankers can do no wrong, Thatcher was a Goddess, and all critics are conspiracy theory nutjobs. For the feminists, gender is a socialised condition, all men are misogynist rapists, women are more rational; for the woman haters, divorce law is a crime in itself, women can’t drive, and all women in the workplace work the system. For the liberal camp, all immigration is good, the EU is perfect, and all Muslims are very nice but genital mutilation is a man thing not a stone age ritual, and Israel is to blame for everything; for the most recessive parts of UKIP, all foreigners are to be distrusted, all migrants are dangerous Islamists, and the EU is to blame for everything.

For rare exceptions like Kate Hoey, all these inflexibilities can be engaged and views cherry-picked to suit reality – which is as it should be. Kate Hoey is an exceptional person – and I would guess Britain’s most popular politician by far. But she is close to being both unique and (no offence Kate) extinct.

Recent news stories to illustrate these points do not require further elucidation: the lack of objective analysis applied to the question of who shot down the MH17, the endless false flags in the Middle East from Saddam Hussein onwards, the at times almost Tass-like views of the Special Relationship clan in their coverage of Ukraine, Greece and Syria…..on and on it goes, the steady aggregation of two bonkers belief systems….the flotilla to Gaza had purely peaceful intentions, Hamas never fires missiles into Israel, nor does it deliberately do so from bases in heavily populated regions, Viktor Orban is a Nazi….multivariate and equally deluded schisms calling for everything from Sharia Law to fracking in the UK.

And yet oddly, these tribes, these high priests in their stockades, probably have zero effect on at least 70% of the population. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have this perpetual majority of unthinking, passive and habitual electors right across the West beyond the austerity-battered politics of ClubMed.


This may seem like a contradiction, but it isn’t: Slog’s Law of Sclerotic Politics states:

The insouciant naivety of the Activist Ideologist is exceeded only by the cynical mendacity of the Executive in manipulating the Passive Acceptor

The active ideologists create the catechism, and their Executive then pretends to believe it, dishing out a watered-down version to the goggle-eyed passive acceptors.

The acceptors have a facility with the terminology – the spin, the euphemism, the selective statistics, the infantile gags at PMQs, the financial services to Trotskyite syntax of drivel – but they lack any real familiarity with how or why this slop is being served up to them.

The outcome is bizarre: a one and at the same time oil and water suspension of disbelief alongside fanatical belief. Which is, by and large, what all ideologies in the end become. So, for example, Harriet Harman is able to defend the multiculturalism that excuses Islamic misoginy, but remain utterly condemnatory of male aggression against women. And white supremacist Adolf Hitler was able to declare his Japanese allies Honorary Aryans.

Keep right on to the end of the road, and you will arrive pretty much at where we are now:

1. Disinterested acceptors keeping a ruthless, controlling and self-interested government in power based on 25% electoral support
2. Activists determined to avoid infection by the other Opposition Parties, whose morally-based anti-Camerlot attitudes they share – thus producing a clear run for the dark knights
3. Desperate and easily distracted folks at the bottom whose non-voting status isn’t abstention, just apathy – and conviction that all politicians ignore them
4. Establishment opinion leaders like Jeremy Hunt, Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch, Andy Coulson, Boris Johnson, Tim Yeo, Tony Blair, and Michael Fallon able to avoid the due process of law so rigorously applied to those who object.

And so finally, back to the title of this essay. There is a decent and desperate majority in the UK, but the sound of their silence is deafening. And there are myriad activist fanatics, but the sounds they make might as well be silence for all they add to greater utility, accountability and fulfilment in Western culture.

What we really need at the outset of education is a truly apolitical Civics course that makes future generations more familiar with how linguistics are perverted for the purpose of power in all media. And probably, another related course encouraging research among primary sources to check out what they’ve been told. One of the many drawbacks of the invasive internet is how easy it has made the accumulation of secondary evidence.

The bottom line, I think, is we must train our kids to be expert sleuths.

Yesterday at The Slog: Capital punishment in the House of Correction

25 thoughts on “THE SATURDAY ESSAY: The sound of silence and the silence of sound

  1. “Docile population largely incapable of thinking for itself” Perhaps you describe the purpose of the changes in state education over the last 30 hearts.


  2. Of course there is a built in growth of populace every year for reasons we know well.
    The wealth cannot be increased at the same pace – even with the conflageration of fossil fuel energy – which is in fact the major reason ALLOWING the feeding of this absurd population growth.
    But yes,
    ..’The bottom line, I think, is we must train our kids to be expert sleuths…’
    sack the lazy teachers, and bring on the online class at home. The kids will be engrossed in their thirst for direct knowledge without the pc spin.
    Maybe there is hope after all, but I wouldn’t bet on it…


  3. If many jobs that required a certain level of educashun have been automated then the state does not need so many well educated serfs. Education leads to questioning of the status quo. The establishment does not want this. The cunning plan of eradicating grammar schools and charging students fees, while encouraging such courses as medja studies has been betraying young people for the last two generations.Dumbing down has been a policy. You will also probably find apathy drugs included in breakfast cereals.


  4. *What’s so special about growth anyway*

    Because … which answer do you want?

    The farmer wants growth for produce.

    The child wants growth to be taller just like their dad.

    The central banker wants growth … for themselvers.

    Tto preserve the system in its current form (without it the Keynes inflate game is a dodo) to pay the interest on the sovereign debt (they like to call the deficit, not the rate of growth of the debt). You see that growth of debt even if you don’t borrow anymore still grows, tirelessly and unrelenting. Central banker growth is CTRL-P value into existence or rehypothecate it like 250-300x for gold, all driving the value up and what we are witnessing is a reversal of all that bankster “fake” growth because it was not based on anything real.

    If they try to attach it now, this late in their game chances are gold goes to the moon and so does the price of peanuts. Real growth hits the wall when you can’t consume more, normally because the banksters are robbing you as fast as they can and then calling you for not having enough!


    Let the asset values fall … all that red around the world right now or … horrific for the poor … they attempt to attach the over-inflated values to real things that if it was a peanut you could never afford it. Not quite got the 2009 feeling about the markets yet, but 2016 is only starting got a long way to go.


  5. “There are horrible people who, instead of solving a problem, tangle it up and make it harder to solve for anyone who wants to deal with it. Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.”
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  6. ‘we fashion words and imbue them with meaning
    then seek to use them as expression of feeling
    or with another purpose much less appealing
    that is to do with deceiving and cheating and stealing…’


  7. As the man in charge of that organisation, Coe now faces a tidal wave of criticism because it has become apparent that the IAAF has for years been turning the Nelsonian eye patch to its endemic corruption by the drugs trade.

    Ask him to investigate the East German production of the Captagon sports drug. Can o’ worms there….


  8. @iain

    Quite correct. I’m not sure that those involved really think like this, it is a case of the road to Hell being paved by good intentions. Well intentioned idiots in the education establishment have eroded quality education to the point where schools and universities have become ‘certification’ factories. It has become a case of ‘Never mind the quality, feel the width. As state schools have been forced to ‘compete’ by the introduction league tables, and standardised testing, the elite institutions attended by the likes of Cameroon have been exempted from the ludicrous assaults of ‘educashun experts’ and can actually concentrate on providing a quality education to its paying customers. I remember clearly twenty years ago chatting to someone who had just landed a job teaching at Eton at a time when ‘Parent Power’ and ‘transparency’ were busy destroying professional autonomy amongst experienced state school teachers. He informed me that the only way a parent got to discuss an issue with a teacher at Eton was to go through the Housemaster. No Housemaster had ever given such permission for decades. A very good overview of the impossible situation faced by dedicated and intelligent teachers in the state system can be found by reading articles at Andrew Old’s site.

    @Ramble22 ” sack the lazy teachers, and bring on the online class at home. The kids will be engrossed in their thirst for direct knowledge without the pc spin.”

    This might possibly work in a world where pornography and kitten videos were not ubiquitous on the web. Online learning is a superb idea in principle, but in practice, very few children have the self-discipline to direct their education without constant monitoring. ‘Child-centred learning’ has been a buzzword for years, but unfortunately the results to not live up to the hype. The same is true of online learning. The Acquisition of useful knowledge is often uncomfortable, as sustained thought requires considerable energy consumption. Human beings evolved to be very conservative with limited energy. As Bertram Russell put it, “Most people would rather die than think. In fact they do.”


  9. Excellent, John. x

    Open, read, absorb, buy ‘Dumbing Us Down’ and realize that John Taylor Gatto was an award-winning teach in New York, of 30 years standing, who came to understand that *he* was part of the problem. Thus, he changed his life…and in doing so, he changed the lives of millions of people around the world, giving them the strength and belief to take their children OUT of a system that is often killing them, and into Home Education.

    He most certainly did this for me when I was at that crossroads in my life with my own children.

    By a remarkable coincidence, John was also one of the teachers in the very school my second husband went to in New York. Michael couldn’t recall him, having switched off early in his schooldays, but his best friend, Howie, did and very clearly, saying John was one of the most inspirational of teachers that he remembered having. Back then though, John was still teaching ‘to the system’.

    So, I’ll leave you to open, to learn, to feel that someone UNDERSTANDS why our Education System is so horribly broken and the reasons for this…..



  10. @Lizzie Cornish

    I have read much of Gatto’s work and was fascinated to read his history of public schooling in the U.S. It is clear that many of the plutocrats who designed the system were motivated by a desire to condition and control the thinking of the ‘common herd’, based on the Prussian system.

    Public education in the UK had other foundations however, although I’m sure there were parallels. Not that the U.K. system has ever really functioned as it should, part of the problem is that many appalling ideas have been imported into the U.K. from the U.S. by Atlantacist ideologues. Two originally distinct systems have begun to coalesce and in time will become indistinguishable. Both will ultimately result in Boobusamericanus/Boobusanglo populations.

    The domination of public education systems by huge corporations such as Pearson on both sides of the Atlantic have accelerated the decline in quality.


  11. @Landscaping

    Perhaps this is what is really behind the refugee crisis in Germany. The U.S. is desparate to destabilise Germany to prevent its leaders from looking East.

    “For the United States the primordial fear is Russian capital, Russian technology … I mean, German technology and German capital, Russian natural resources, Russian manpower, as the only combination that has for centuries scared the hell out of the United States. So how does this play out? Well, the US has already put its cards on the table. It is the line from the Baltics to the Black Sea.”

    and… “So, we (the U.S.) don’t have the ability to go across but we do have the ability to first, support various contending powers so they are concentrated [supported] themselves with political support, some economic support, military support, advisors, and in extremists, do what we did in Japan, in Vietnam, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan … spoiling attacks. The spoiling attack is not intended to defeat the enemy it is intended to throw them off-balance. ”

    George Friedman Founder of STRATFOR Feb 4 2015.

    The inundation of ‘refugees’ is certainly a way to throw the German nation off-balance and it seems to be working.


  12. @ Canexpat – Since it was Merkel who invited the migrants in, are you suggesting she’s colluding to de-stabilise her own country? Inevitably shooting herself in the foot, in terms of reputation and re-election? Or are you suggesting the US held a gun to her head (to continue the metaphor) to force this massive influx into Germany? The outcome would seem to benefit Russia, not otherwise, since they won’t suffer the ensuing societal repercussions ……….


  13. How nice to know that J.W.finds time to look at Russia Today, as his plug seems to have been rather grudgingly given, I am gladly going to give it another one with the caveat to avoid Crosstalk because of the uncalled for partisanship of its host.
    Also good to see J.W’s apt description of Lord Slippery Coe, whose speed of advancement in the ranks of the Powers that be have not diminished since he trounced my preferred runner Steve Ovett who I believe had a humbler background.


  14. “”The takeover of education, of medicine, of the monetary system, of the food supply itself, showed that the aim was much greater than a mere oil monopoly: it was the quest to monopolize all aspects of life, to erect the perfect system of control over every aspect of society, every sector from which any threat of competition to their power could emerge … But the oiligarchs are not done yet. …” –

    The Corbett Report describes today’s dire situation not just in education but banking, medecine and the general monopolisation of most aspects of our lives –

    or, for a quicker summary, read this:-


  15. @alexei
    Good point about Merkel. I have to confess that on the surface her pronouncement seems inexplicable if you believe that Merkel acts in the interests of ordinary Germans. I doubt this is the case. As with most of the machinations of the international elites I suspect that there is no simple answer to her stance on migrants. Merkel is the creature of several competing power groups who have made common cause over the migrant issue. Germany remains a vassal state of the U.S., and the NSA probably has enough dirt on Merkel to ensure that the interests of the German people are secondary to the geopolitical aims of a Neocon-led State Department. This was probably amplified by the desire of the German business lobby to have a pliant and relatively inexpensive workforce as the aging demographics of Germany begin to kick in. This motive was even articulated by the Bundesbank chairman Jens Weidmann.

    I’m sure there Merkel’s pronouncement was supported by many well-meaning and empathetic souls who, (following a media barrage that emphasised the plight of desperate refugee families), had admirable concern for the plight of genuine refugees. Refugees, (lest we forget), that only exist because of unconscionable Neocon meddling in stable and secular ME states. Such concerned and empathetic Germans were duped of course, but this is not new.


  16. To quote the revered George Carlin once again,

    ” Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests” … “They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly sh1ttier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it”.


  17. @Caratacus

    Carlin was totally correct. It would be dangerous for the elites if the populace had even a passing acquaintance with the Physics of free fall for example.


  18. I think our youngsters should have compulsory Orwell studies. He was well aware of how language can be used to misdirect. After all, “Newspeak”, “Double Think” and “Thought Crime” are everywhere these days.


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