As one approaches Death’s epiphany, it is odd how the mind thinks about shuffling off the mortal coil in an almost disconnected manner. For myself, I think more and more about my grandchildren, and the world they’re going to inhabit.
The above is not virtue signalling: I am not the most thoughtful of people, I frequently forget anniversaries and birthdays, and often seem (at least to those inside the immediate circle) to make light of our cultural decline into a copy-cat depravity inspired by sociopathic élites.
But there is something about entering the eighth decade that – in what seems at times like a genetic tick of some kind – adds a sense of urgency to “arrangements” of one form or another. This can be anything from planting a new part of the garden to becoming increasingly intolerant of people who are blind to reality, or uncaring as to the consequences of their behaviour.
I used to remain silent, for example, when my more markedly EUtonian, socialist or neoliberal mates and acquaintances burst forth after a decent sized glass of claret on isues they clearly find immutable. These days I am far more assertive with fluffies, bigots and others whose arrogance is exceeded only by their ignorance.
But over the last half-decade, I’ve changed.
The biggest single reason for my new response to casually thoughtless social behaviour is that much of the last fifteen years have been spent researching the background to macro issues. But the increased urgency in my head of late is something quite different; it is akin to that planting of a tree you know may not fruit until long after your demise.
It is, in short, the whole what you leave behind thing.
I don’t mean by that ‘a body of work’ in the literary or comedic sense, but rather the persuasion of a large enough group of people that it is no longer enough to be “just” a good citizen: from here on, the citizen has to be an active prosecution counsel – constantly doubting everything the State says, and accusing the media of either censorship or complicity in State lies.
Awareness of how bad things have become is still very far indeed from anything approaching “universal”. It’s true that the public’s opinion of politicians in the West has never been lower – 35% approval in the US and 17% in the UK – and that the biggest single change over the last thirty years has been a loss of confidence in their competence. But that ‘definition’ of blame is simplistic: ask most people today to give an immediate word association to saying “The State”, and they will say “politicians” first, then “civil servants” second….with the latter far behind the former.
This is quite plainly not the real situation. All of us now live in thinly-disguised corporacractic States; put simply, that means nations where the political and unelected governmental élites are in each other’s pockets, and work openly with banking and global manufacturing/service interests against those of the citizenry – without whose votes they would not have a salary.
I have been opining for over ten years now that Britain does not merely have political problems: the United Kingdom has cultural and constitutional problems. The same applies to the US, and across the EU, to Spain, Italy, Greece and – increasingly – France.
The nature of the problems differ by country, but they are all to do with religious, economic, migration and sovereignty issues. Sovereignty relates in turn to many different things across these countries, but primarily to three different impasses: distant authority, cultural ideology and politico-bureaucratic corruption by financialised globalism.
To take those three subjects in turn, distant authority tensions exist in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Italy, Greece and Spain. They include, as the discontented, Ulster Catholics, Scottish Nationalists, English working class artisans, Spanish Catalans, Basques, Brexiteers and both Italian and Greek eurosceptics.
Cultural ideology is now a dividing line as never before in my lifetime. In the US, ‘liberal’ multiculturalism v Trumpian conservatives; in Britain, neoliberalism v collectivism….as well as Islamic practices and religious intolerance; in France, centralised Macronic monetarism v Gallic communitarian devolution; in Italy, EU migrationists versus eurosceptic nationalists and socialists: and so on. In the vast majority of countries now – including even Sweden and Germany – the idea of consensus is, if not dead, then certainly being buried alive with the help of compliant mainstream media.
The vast corporate wealth available to corrupt the political and administrative class is now such that the issue has morphed from being one of simple money passage into full-on naked power takeovers…such that quintessentially fascist States are emerging – albeit still masquerading as elective democracy.
The US unelected State stretches from Texan oil via the Pentagon to Wall Street banking firms, media concentration, and the State Department’s neocon priorities as dictated by multinational business. The White House is crammed with those representing this alternative State….and both houses of Congress were long ago bought, member after member, by those lobbying for commerce and the military.
In the UK, our Houses of Parliament are chosen by those who came before them, be that via familial privilege, corrupt ennoblement or local constituency activist ideologue cliques. The “electoral” system allowing entrance to the lower House is rotten: winner take all and increasingly open to fraud, it favours the large, bankrolled Parties along with their petrified belief systems and various unpleasant donors.
Quite how Whitehall Civil Servants are chosen is a mystery wrapped in a degree certificate: my view after many years of dealing with them is that the main criteria are arrogance, amateurism, and the ability to do a vomit-inducing Uriah Heep impression when required. For years now, revolving doors have existed between UK functionaries and those in senior corporate life. Simple but vital precepts like the separation of powers, independent judiciary, apolitical civil police and equality before the Law are ignored: but the manner in which this is done has gone from being commonplace but hidden, to overt and unapologetic.
Some readers may find the above descriptions unnecessarily sweeping and cynical. But I could provide an avalanche of evidence stretching back a decade to prove every observation I have made. The élitist structure of the contemporary First World State simply isn’t appreciated by those braindead denialists found in every sector of society; and to most smart, decent, informed minorities, it represents an irresistible Citadel best left alone. (Hence my recent plea for people to get “off-grid” at the local level, rather than charging full pelt at MI5 HQ).
The developments I’ve been discussing have, unfortunately, coincided with the maturation of a form of conformist and target-driven education that seems to me almost identical in America, Britain and France.
The UK version was developed initially by guilt-ridden bourgeois liberal forced-equality morons during the 1960s – and then put totally on-message by Blairite pc brain-washers after 1997. The British Left positively revels in the everyday robotic syntax it has produced, risibly unaware of how it has played into the hands of their neoliberal enemies…who steal it as and when it suits their book – for example, the suppression of wages by uncontrolled immigration.
The purpose of such discursive discipline is to stifle the healthy debate that comes with free thinking. “You can’t say that sort of thing these days”, “How can you even think such a thing?”, and “There must, in today’s multicultural society, be a zero-tolerance policy toward hate-speech” are all classic examples of what one hears over and over again emerging from the mouths of otherwise quite intelligent people.
Liberal politics are ‘correct’, and liberal policies are ‘progressive’. Diversity is by definition ‘good for society’ even when brazenly divisive. And of course, if we leave the EU without a deal, we shall ‘crash out’. Those happy to leave the EU in general are ‘poorly educated Little Englanders’, those who vote UKIP or TBP are ‘fascist bigots’, and those who want to control immigration are ‘racist scum’.
The German Nazi media owner Julius Streicher referred to all those who opposed the ideas of Adolf Hitler as “allies of the Jewish bacillus”. Compared to contemporary, utterly hateful criticism of contrarian thinkers, today that phraseology seems almost tame by comparison.
In the digital age, my feeling is this: a contrarian view backed up by reasoned empirical observation is almost always a Truth that hasn’t as yet gone viral.
I accept totally that most people won’t appreciate the thought that went into this post. That’s not me being an intellectual snob, but rather the conclusion of a realist.
All I can ask is that, if it moves you, I’d very much appreciate your sharing it with others racked by the same fears. At our age, we are, after all, talking about the fate of the next but one generation.
Enjoy what’s left of the weekend.