Reflections on Brexit and British politics on the anniversary of the Brexit vote

Yesterday marks a full year’s departure from the UK referendum on membership of the European Union. Because we voted to Leave, some of us (myself included) have decided to mark June 23rd as our very own Independence Day, in recognition of the fact that we are becoming independent of the influence of the European Union.

One year later, I think we are still on the path towards the Brexit, but it seems things have been bungled in recent months. I regaled you all already with the outcome of the snap general election from just two weeks ago, but I will briefly explain again: Theresa May called the election thinking that she would snag a decisive majority in order to secure the “ultimate mandate” for Brexit even though she already had the democratic mandate to begin with, only to lose her majority through hubris, complacency and a terrible manifesto, forcing her to form a minority government with the DUP.

In the time between the Brexit vote and the snap general election, I have felt some changes in me politically, both in terms of my own political alignment and my opinion of British politics and the government. Before the EU referendum, I was constantly unimpressed with British politics to the point that I never voted in any elections or referendums until last year. In addition, when I look back, I realize that though I had a specific ideal that I wanted to uphold, I often times did not have a strong or precise ideological framework through which to pursue that ideal. That’s not a meaningless thing: freedom is an ideal and goal that is claimed by a diverse range of political movements in the modern age, what the difference between all of them is (1) what a free society looks like to them and (2) how they wish to achieve it (like with liberals vs conservatives for instance). Through my youth I’ve gone through self-styled anarchism, liberalism and libertarianism but without being all that well-read in either of them.

Because of my cynicism and lack of political knowledge, I was at one point sort of pro-Remain, even thought I didn’t like the EU at all, and there was no positive argument on my part – I only thought it would stop the Tories from enacting their more deeply authoritarian legislation. When I realized that such an argument made no sense and contravened my values, and I learned about what else the European Union actually did, I became more staunchly anti-EU, and from there an opponent of globalism in general. When I voted to Leave and found that my side had won, I felt meaningful democratic and national pride for probably the first time. We elected to kick the ass of a giant anti-democratic superpower in the making that didn’t give a damn about liberty, and we were in the process of saving the nation. But almost as quickly, the British government wasn’t having it, and with the help of progressive (and supposedly liberal) activists tried to block the democratic will of the people. They didn’t have their way, fortunately, but for the next year I would soon become reminded of everything I despise about British politics and the government.

I voted for the liberty of my nation state and its people, knowing that , only to see my government continue in the direction of authoritarianism that, let’s face it, it was probably already heading in by this point. The government seeking further control of the Internet, the police arbitrarily arresting people for “hate speech”, and in general not caring for the concept of freedom of speech very much to the point of still very much having a decidedly more European than American approach to the matter. Coupled with the fact that I’m pretty convinced that the British government doesn’t like the idea of strictly the democratic will of its people and principles of liberty, I remain thoroughly convinced that I fit more in the United States of America than in my own country.

However, in spite of all that, I’m willing enough to stand by the country on the issue of leaving, unless they compromise too much and the EU ends up taking us for a ride again. In the mean time, I am looking to form a strong ideological framework based on liberty, so that I can at the very least contribute to the battle of ideas that shapes the country, along with the West. I see pro-freedom ideas being on the decline in my country, so until the time when I live the dream and emigrate to America, I think I should try and spread those ideas in my own country. I’ll try and make time to read about politics, economics, history and related subjects (yes, in addition to my other reading plans) to build up my own framework.

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The 2017 UK general election results

Well, I know it’s late, but now that the dust has settled I think I’ve gathered my thoughts and I can safely say that this election has been a clusterfuck. I didn’t comment on the announcement of the general election as part of a rule I imposed on myself to not comment on current events and politics during the spring holidays so I can concentrate on down time and my plans for the blog, but now the time is right and I can offer my thoughts on the events.

First of all I’ll say straight up: this election was completely pointless. Prime Minister Theresa May called the election in April 18th out of nowhere, and I don’t think many people asked for it. May claimed at the time that she called the election in order to secure the ultimate democratic mandate for Brexit. However, as I saw it, we already had the mandate in every possible sense of the word. In case you don’t know, back in 2015 the Conservatives under David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union, and the British people gave them a parliamentary majority, thereby giving the Tories the democratic mandate to hold that referendum. Then, last year, we held that referendum, as was promised to us by the Tories, and the majority of the British public voted Leave. This was the basic democratic mandate that we needed in order to invoke Article 50 and leave the Union, but time and again Parliament insisted that we couldn’t leave without giving the Parliament a say, even though it was not their place to vote on the issue. Parliament voted on the Brexit issue three times, and each time they voted in favor of triggering Article 50. So despite all the bullshit from the British political establishment, we had the democratic mandate already. I always suspected that the election was a response on May’s part to the constant whining from Remoaners (the term we Brits use to refer to pro-EU people who constantly whine about the referendum) who always refused to accept the democratic mandate of Brexit and refused to accept the legimitacy of Theresa May as Prime Minister because she was unelected, having been appointed via a leadership contest following Cameron’s resignation immediately after the Brexit vote. What irony then that we could have Gordon Brown as our unelected Prime Minister in 2007 following Tony Blair’s resignation and we’d hear ne’ery a word about the democratic legitimacy of his rule.

But anyways, in order to achieve this “ultimate democratic mandate”, she called the snap election to strengthen the Conservative Brexiter support in parliament and weaken the opposition. At first, it seemed like things were going very well for the Tories. They seemed to be the party that was going to support Brexit, and the other Eurosceptic party, UKIP, was becoming increasingly irrelevant. In fact, we had local elections a month before the general election, and the Tories absolutely dominated the polls, with Labour crashed and UKIP annihilated. All the Tories had to do was not fuck up.

And then, they actually released their manifesto.

And just like that, the Tories instantly became more reviled than ever. They announced plans to introduce more control over the Internet by the state, peppered with some nice Orwellian language to prop it up (“Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree”). That alone, i think, instantly drove young and tech-oriented people away from the Tories, leading straight into Labour simply because they were the second largest party and weren’t the Tories. Oh but that’s not all. They also came out in support of fox hunting, despite that most of the country doesn’t want fox hunting to come back. They introduced a set of social care proposals that came to be collectively known as the “dementia tax” and the death tax (which is basically the same kind of idea that harmed Gordon Brown’s campaign), which was widely condemned as being directly harmful to the elderly, only for Theresa May to back-peddle on that policy almost immediately. She also apparently planned to scrap free school meals. Before the manifesto, she could have done nothing but endlessly repeat Brexit sound bites on a loop and she would have won the majority.

And that wasn’t the end for May’s woes. When it came time for the leaders’ debates, she almost never showed up to represent her party to debate the other leaders. From what I’ve seen of her she is a capable public speaker, and I think she could have defeated Corbyn in the debates. But no. She didn’t. For some reason she thought that getting into debates with the other leaders was pointless. This cowardice made her the subject of ridicule, for she was seen as incapable of defending her own policy ideas. Oh, and then there’s that questionable moment when she said “if human rights laws get in the way of stopping terrorism then I will change them”, which quickly became translated into “I will rip up human rights” by everyone else.

All of that served to give a black eye to the Tory party, to the point that in my thoroughly honest opinion it’s a miracle that the Tories managed to win more seats than they did. To their credit, the Tories managed to weaken the SNP’s hold over Scotland, and that’s no small potatoes: had they failed to break the absolute dominion the SNP had in Scotland, we would probably be forced to enter into a coalition with the SNP, maybe even with Labour being the larger party instead of the Tories. Not to mention, had the SNP performed worse, the Tories might have won an overall majority after all. But in many respects, they failed to achieve what they set out to achieve. They failed to win Wales for the first time, where Labour maintained their 100-year long hold over the region, they failed to achieve the decisive majority nationwide and they may well have alienated large sections of people that might otherwise have supported them. Far from strengthening their democratic mandate as May had hoped, the Tories had actually weakened it. And it was all down to Theresa May’s booming hubris and delusion. May thought that she was unstoppable, that she could do anything she wanted, propose anything she wanted no matter how stupid and awful, and the British public would still support the Tories in droves. But she was wrong, and now she looks set to pay the price for her arrogance.

And then there’s the Labour Party. Apparently Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters are delusional enough to believe that they have claimed victory yesterday, when in objective reality all they have “won” is a hung parliament in which they still gained 56 seats less than the Conservatives. He hasn’t really won anything, yet Corbyn talks about how he’s ready to launch his “new program”, while his supporters and the media make the election result out to be some kind of massive victory for Labour when all they did is lose to the worst Tory campaign ever. It’s like Kim Jong-un losing a game of soccer and the North Korean papers declaring he won somehow. Corbyn wasn’t alone either. Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats joined him in claiming that this was some kind of golden opportunity for them and defeat for the Tories, even though they only won 12 seats. Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP did it as well. In fact, when a reporter questioned her about the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum, she dodged the question as thought trying to deny that her referendum might not be possible.

And let’s talk about Corbyn himself for a moment. I personally find it baffling how the youth could ever support the Labour Party, let alone under Jeremy Corbyn. This is a man whose central economic proposals echo the old kind of socialism that Labour believed in before their historic defeat by Margaret Thatcher. Corbyn wanted to nationalize the railways and the energy industry, raise the corporate tax to 26%, raise income tax everyone earning not £100,000, not £200,000, not £1,000,000, but £80,000, grant extra powers to HMRC to prosecute whose who avoid paying taxes, and create a Ministry of Labour in order to grant more power to trade unions. The last time the unions had any power, they almost take over the government during the 1970’s. Before the 1980’s, everything was nationalized and the British government eventually began running out of money to pay for it. Corbyn himself is nothing more than a well-meaning moron, with often confused stances on key issues. He refused to say anything about immigration other than he would impose no cap on migration. He said nothing about Brexit other than he doesn’t want a second referendum. And when asked about whether of not he would retaliate in the event of nuclear strike, he repeatedly dodged the question and fumbled all over the place. He is also a relic of perhaps more radical times during the 1970’s and 80’s, which goes a long way towards explaining why his links with Sinn Fein and far-left movements, not to mention past involvement with violent extremist movements, has come to the far, which we’ll explore further later on.

The Labour party itself, it must be said, is still not a party of the working class as I see it, much as they would claim otherwise. Before Corbyn, it was the party of Tony Blair, New Labour and their corporate masters. Now it’s the party of Marxism, socialism and the middle class twatwaffles who actually support it, even though it doesn’t quite work the way they think it does. That said, they did still manage to gain a considerable amount seats across the nation (other than Northern Ireland). And most shockingly of all, Diane Abbot – perhaps the least competent MP Labour has to offer -, a noted anti-white racist and apologist for Mao Tse Tung’s regime, actually managed to increase her majority in Hackney North and Stoke Newington by around 9,000 votes and effectively winning in a landslide. All-in-all, I am glad that Labour didn’t win this one. Given not just Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot, but also the presence of John McDonnell –  an avowed Marxist – and Seumas Milne – a communist apologist – in the party, I really don’t want to see those kinds of people in my government. Sadly, because Labour managed to do better in this election than they did last time and made out like heroes even though they won nothing, I don’t think the Marxists are going away, and it looks like they might actually influence British politics for the next few years. This is the Labour we have to live with now.

In the day of the vote and the day of after, I swear that the left, particularly the Corbynites, have been proving themselves to be very anti-democratic if not borderline or outright fascistic, if you’ll pardon the fairly liberal use of the term. The Corbynites actually went out of their way to buy tons of right-wing newspapers such as The Sun or The Daily Mail and burned every copy they bought, because they are apparently so confident about their candidate they just couldn’t stand media outlets talking shit about him. It’s basically the same thing as Christians burning Beatles’ records because they said they were bigger than Jesus: all you’ve gone and done is give the people you hate more money, and you look like literal Nazis. And on social media, I saw Corbynites come out virtue signalling about the importance of democracy and voting, only to bemoan to the public for voting against them and accusing them of ruining the country, with at least one even proclaiming that all Tory MPs should be jailed. And just like with Brexit, they’re supporting petitions calling for the overthrow of the democratically elected government so that their Dear Leader can become Prime Minister instead.

What really grinds my gears is simply this: how can young people justify voting Labour in order to oppose the Tories in order to save the Internet from Tory regulation, without any guarantee that Labour actually cares about Internet freedom? I’m not kidding. I haven’t seen any evidence that Labour has come out in support of internet freedom, not even after the release of the Conservative manifesto. In fact, Jeremy Corbyn has come out in support of passing laws that would crack down on what he deems “sexist hate speech”. In fact, it was the Labour Party (albeit before Jeremy Corbyn became leader) who promised to introduce a mandatory version of the Internet filters proposed by the Conservatives to block websites based on age verification. So all these people are doing is replacing one form of Internet regulation and control with another. The only difference, of course, is that in this election the Tories were more arrogant and in your face, openly proclaiming that they want control of the Internet, whereas Corbyn and the left use sneaky terms like “hate speech” and “misogyny” to justify regulating how people speak online. In short, the young people who were outraged by the Tories would have been better off if they voted for neither the Tories or Labour, and instead voted for literally any other party. And yet Labour managed to capture the youth, sometimes in the most cringeworthy way possible. Jeremy Corbyn may as well be Pastor Jim Colerick, and my generation ate it up just like that!

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe that can be counted as something of a victory for Labour after all.

We haven’t even addressed the other major part of this result yet. Because the Tories failed to win an overall majority, they will have to form a coalition for the second time this decade. The Liberal Democrats will not be forming the role of the smaller party, having already done that in 2010 and thus having no desire to repeat that outcome. Believe me, I wouldn’t want to see that either. Instead, that role goes to the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, who won 10 seats (which, for the UK as a whole, is less than the Liberal Democrats, but in Northern Ireland amounts to over half of all seats, making them the majority party). The DUP is a socially conservative party that was founded by a Protestant Christian preacher named Ian Paisley, who was apparently known for his staunch opposition to Catholicism, republicanism and homosexuality. Looking at them, they don’t seem to be as horribly evil as the salt-bearing Twitterati make them out to be, but they’re not that good a party. They are strident opponents of gay marriage, and the party has actively blocked the legalization of gay marriage in Northern Ireland. They are also known in Northern Ireland for having supported a campaign in 1977 to oppose the decriminalization of homosexuality.  And when the Good Friday Agreement was signed, the DUP were apparently the only major party to oppose it. It is, then, somewhat understandable why the DUP are treated with contempt, which leads me to wonder how they managed to achieve a majority in Northern Ireland. A lot of the anger I have seen directed at them comes from things their MPs have said rather than recent actions, but it’s not like the DUP were such a good party.

The DUP are also reviled by some sections of the media because they are accused of being sympathetic to Northern Irish terrorists, specifically a group called the Ulster Defense Association – a Loyalist paramilitary group that opposed Republicanism and wants Northern Ireland to remain in the UK. The group made headlines recently for shooting a man named Colin Horner in front of his child in broad daylight. DUP has recently stated that they do not accept endorsements from UDA, and I haven’t actually found any explicit links between the UDA and DUP other than the fact that the party’s leader, Arlene Foster, met with the UDA chief recently – by an unfortunate coincidence, that meeting took place 2 days after the murder of Colin Horner. But despite the vagueness of this connection, the left seems to be using the DUP and the UDA to smear Theresa May and the new government. To me, it seems that the same people who would’ve have defended Jeremy Corbyn, and by proxy the Labour Party as a whole, from accusations that he is sympathetic to the IRA – the Republican paramilitary who wanted Northern Ireland to be unified with the rest of Ireland – are now scaremongering about how our government is entering with the DUP because they are apparently supported by terrorists. And that’s strange to me. I have whereas I have little links between DUP and the UDA, in fact the DUP has outright condemned the DUP and other paramilitary groups, Jeremy Corbyn has not only refused to condemn the IRA on multiple occasions, but has also not just talked to Irish terrorists, he’s even invited IRA-linked individuals into Parliament, had tea with terrorists and opposed anti-terror legislation. Unlike the DUP, Corbyn has found himself in situations where he got involved with the side of terrorists, several times. Clearly, it seems that the left is playing the terrorism card where it suits them by, as is characteristic of them, creating false equivalencies.

I feel like I should be clear: I do not support the DUP in any meaningful way other than they were only realistic option for a Tory-led coalition. Like I said earlier, the Liberal Democrats outright rejected a new coalition with the Tories, and I don’t see the SNP forming a coalition with them either. Not to mention, both of them aren’t exactly pro-Brexit. And while I don’t support the Tories either, I want my government to carry on with the Brexit. And since the DUP at least wants some kind of Brexit, coupled with the fact that they had enough seats to actually prop up the Tories as a coalition partner, I simply don’t see any other coalition that would work. The alternative, to me, is a Tory-SNP coalition where the SNP grinds the Tory government to a halt on Brexit and could pressure them to give them what they want by using the threat of a second independence referendum as a bargaining chip. Oh, and I reject the idea of a Labour-led coalition with minor progressive parties. Not only is it mathematically impossible because none of those parties would have enough seats combined to make an overall majority, but it would also make for an unstable minority government without proper democratic legitimacy. Not to mention, Alex Salmond of the SNP suggested pretty much the same idea when it was called the “rainbow coalition” in 2010, and it would’ve been impractical for the same reason.

Of course the main issue for me is Brexit. Contrary to what you might expect from a party as traditionally right-wing as DUP, the party is actually soft on Brexit. They don’t want a “hard” Brexit – that is we leave the European Union full stop, including the single market and customs union – because they fear it would create a hard border between the UK and Ireland. Theresa May, by contrast, has been pursuing full departure from the European Union and believes that getting no deal from Brussels is better than getting a bad deal. This had led to concerns that the Brexit pursued by Theresa May will end up being watered down in order to keep the coalition together.

I know this has gone on for quite a while, but at this point I need to mention UKIP. Because I voted to Leave in the EU membership referendum, my choice was between either the Conservatives or UKIP – all the other main parties were pro-EU, and thus could not be trusted. For a while, I wasn’t totally sure who to go with, but then the local election results came (I didn’t vote in those, by the way, because all the local candidates in my town were leftists) and UKIP were resoundingly crushed. Because of that I felt I had no choice but to support the Conservatives in order to see Brexit go through. And then, when they released their manifesto, I just couldn’t reconcile their ideas with my own views or principles, so I considered either voting UKIP or spoiling my ballot in protest. Either reading the main points of UKIP’s manifesto, however, I decided it was better than the Tories – and that they can’t possibly fuck up worse than the Tories did – so I decided to vote for them, even though I knew the party was done for. And sure enough, UKIP tanked in the general election, winning no seats and taking an 11% drop in the vote share, which led the party leader, Paul Nuttal, to resign after only six months in office. However, some are suggesting that UKIP may yet become the benefactor of this disastrous general election, as former leader Nigel Farage has hinted that he may return to politics and to UKIP if he thinks the current government will compromise our exit from the European Union. Given the options available to me in today’s political climate, if this turns out to be true, I would be happy to support Farage and UKIP for the foreseeable future.

Overall, this election was an unfortunate one for everyone: neither Labour nor the Tories won, the other parties suffered significant losses (including the Liberal Democrats, whose former leader Nick Clegg famously lost his seat), and we are about to enter into what is technically a minority government propped up by the DUP, with an emboldened left-wing opposition, and a tumultous political climate where progress on Brexit is in danger of being pushed back. There is even talk of Theresa May being “done for”, with her being expected to resign within the remainder of this year and a new Tory leadership contest down the line is already being speculated. Whatever your views on either of the parties, or on Brexit for that matter, this will most likely go down in history as a major failure for the Tories, and May will come to be seen as a uniquely terrible Tory leader and arrogant Prime Minister. And all the while, I suspect that my country is not heading in a good direction regarding liberty, and perhaps would not have fared much better in that regard whether you voted left or right.

Pictured: the only sensible conclusion

The Scottish referendum: meh

The past week or so I’ve heard discussion about the possibility of Scotland having a second referendum on its independence from the United Kingdom, and today I have just learned that Scotland intends to carry out this referendum some time between 2018 and 2019. And you know what I think? Go ahead.

Yes, go ahead. If Scotland wants to pursue self-determination as its own country independent from the UK, even if it causes a major shake-up, then so be it.

Don’t think I don’t know what this is all about. It’s patently obvious, at least to me, that this is the SNP trying to get Scotland into the European Union separate from the rest of the UK because almost all of the Scots voted to Remain. That they chose to stay a member of the UK in 2014, thus staying as British citizens and therefore voting in the EU referendum as British citizens, appears to be irrelevant in this at least for Scots who want to secede from the UK.

And to be honest this is actually what bothers me, not the premise of Scottish independence in and of itself. Essentially Scotland’s plan is to secede from an existing national power and become its own nation-state, only to try and integrate into a larger supra-national political/economic union. One that is run by elite bureaucrats whose power cannot be affected by a democratic vote. That just seems like a damned farce to me. What’s the point? And from what I understand, the Scots won’t be automatically granted EU membership if they secede. They will have to apply to become an EU member state. And that’s assuming they’ll be accepted by the European Union at all.

Now this is just a hunch on my part, but I have a suspicion that the European Union isn’t interested in Scotland as a standalone nation. To me, a United Kingdom is too valuable for the European Union for them to take in only separate parts. Why do you think the EU leaders pursued the punitive measures that it did in response to the Brexit vote? Because they were about to lose a member state that they considered to be an important benefactor, whose separation from the union may well have inspired a succession of populist triumph across the rest of Europe and undermine the stability of the project as a whole. Beyond that, I suspect that a United Kingdom is simply of greater economic value to the European Union than Scotland, which has been hit with a major oil crisis in recent years.

I currently see two potential outcomes of a Scottish secession: if they succeed in leaving the UK and in entering the European Union, then it will be a farce; Scotland will have gained independence only to hand some of its power to the European Union – and make no mistake, the EU is very much on the path towards becoming its own supranational empire, with its own army, and its own central bank. If they succeed in  leaving the UK and fail to become an EU member state, then it will still be a farce, for Scotland will have pursued its independence only to fail – essentially they’ll have done all that for nothing, and that’s important because I don’t believe for a minute that, in this instance, Scotland is interested solely in its own independence.

But then there’s the elephant in the room that is the SNP itself. If Scotland becomes indepenedent, then barring a Scottish general election afterwards I presume that the new nation-state of Scotland would be governed by the SNP. That’s a little worrying because I suspect that the SNP has an authoritarian bent, an example being their advocacy of the named persons scheme which requires that children have a state-appointed guardians intefering with their lives on a regular basis, and another being Alex Salmond’s desire to “ban all Donald Trumps”, and then there’s the super ID database they proposed a while back. So needless to say, I worry that an independent Scotland won’t actually be freer at all, and may become more authoritarian instead.

Other than that, I don’t feel compelled in any way to oppose the Scottish referendum ultimately, or its outcome. Either way they vote, then bully for them. If they’re doing this because of Brexit, then I am willing to accept an independent Scotland and/or potentially a divided United Kingdom as the price to pay for us leaving the EU (not least because that was my vote).

Oh, and if the British government or whoever does decide to rename the UK if Scotland successfully secedes, then whatever you do don’t call it England! I have a funny feeling that it might just piss off Wales.

On the Netherlands

In just three days the Netherlands will have a general election, which may prove to be a highlight of this year’s European elections and another portent of doom for the European Union’s project of “ever closer union”.

The main candidates for the upcoming election are Geert Wilders, the leader of Party for Freedom, Mark Rutte, the current Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Lodewijk Asscher, leader of the Dutch Labour Party, and Emile Roemer, the leader of the Socialist Party, among quite a few other candidates, though I assume much of the election coverage will focus on Wilders and Rutte. The election is being treated by the media as a bellwether for the growth of populism in Europe, and perhaps not for an entirely invalid reason. Europe’s last shake-up was the Italian referendum, when the people voted against the government of the then-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi when it proposed its changes to the constitution. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders is getting a lot of attention due primarily due to his strong stance against Islamization and Islam in general,  as well as his platform of limiting immigration and exiting the European Union. The fact he is running against the current Prime Minister kind of shows that he is going against what is currently the established order in the Netherlands.

The thing is, I find that Wilders himself leaves a sour taste in my mind. While I sympathize with his desire to oppose Islamization in his country, I don’t like his solutions: mainly the fact that he wants to outright ban the Quran and mosques. Honestly I find it quizzical that Wilders is being treated as so analogous to Donald Trump because, say what you will about Trump, at least he never talked about actually banning the dissemination of the Quran or mosques. He talked quite a bit about the threat of *radical* Islam, and wanted to ban immigration from Middle Eastern countries (which is actually permissible according to US law by the way), but not a hell of a lot about Islam as a whole. Wilders, however, seems to view Islam as a doctrine as part and parcel with the threat of Islamic terrorism. To be fair on him, I’ve done a whole month’s series of posts back in August excoriating the teachings of Islam for, among other things, having Quranic verses and Hadiths that justify violence against the non-believers and “hypocrites” (in other words, Muslims who don’t fully or properly practice Islam). But I think that closing mosques and banning the Quran will just drive more Muslims into believing that they are persecuted by the West, which would likely cause them to gravitate towards Islamism, and the measure is simply a form of authoritarianism. For all the acrimony I espouse towards Islam, we already know that the Bible worships a God who talks about genocide on non-believers and at one point commanded murders, so as trite as it seems to my ears one must wonder if the Bible should be banned for being violent religious literature from savage times just as the Quran is if we go down the line of reasoning.

However, I support his desire to exit the European Union, and at the moment it looks like he is the most likely to pursue that exit. I also think he is probably going to take the stronger stance against Turkey. Why is that important? Recently Trukey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is in the business of eroding the liberty and secularism of the Turkish state, had been doing some political campaigning among the Turkish diaspora within the Netherlands and he jailed a Dutch journalist who happened to be a critic of the Erdogan regime. Apparently Erdogan also has a “satellite party” in the Netherlands known as DENK, supposedly representing the Turkish diaspora. So it kind of looks, at least from the outside, as if Turkey is playing a role in influencing what goes on in the Netherlands, which I would describe as very much out of order. And recently, there have riots in the city of Rotterdam carried about by Turkish diaspora members who support Erdogan over the fact that the Netherlands has banned a Turkish foreign minister from visiting, apparently because he was planning to do some political campaigning on behalf of Turkey in the run up to the upcoming election. In response Erdogan, in what I can only assume is an example of a lacking in self-awareness on his part, actually accused the Netherlands of being a fascist country or something to that effect, a sentiment echoed by encephalopaths who actually supported the riots and condemned Turkey for actually blocking a foreign country from influencing its own elections! And Mark Rutte, though recognizing Erdogan’s judgement of the Netherlands as crazy, still wants to maintain relationships with Turkey. Wilders, on the other hand, has sent a video message out to pro-Turkish rioters, and his stance on Turkey is quite clear.

Honestly, this actually makes it harder for me to be totally against Wilders. Don’t get me wrong I don’t like Wilders, but I also detest Erdogan and the Turkish state and thus find the latter party to be worse. And not just for what they’ve been doing in the Netherlands either. Erdogan has gotten a German comedian in legal trouble for satirizing him, used last year’s military coup to, frankly, set Turkey on the road to totalitarianism, and he’s blackmailed the European Union into being friendly with Turkey and opening up negotiations for Turkish entry into the EU on pain of flooding migrants to the European continent. For that, I would likely vouch for anyone in the Netherlands who’s prepared to stand up to Turkey. And, unfortunately, it looks Wilders is the guy to do it.

It’s probably going to be a real shit show out there, and I’m not enthused about any of the candidates. All’s I can hope for is that something worthwhile comes out of all this.

Vault 7

This most may seem sudden, but I want to share something very important, particularly for my American readership. Last month, Wikileaks released a series of cryptic tweets on their Twitter page regarding the mysterious Vault 7, and until now we didn’t know what it meant. But yesterday, Wikileaks released a document revealing the extent of CIA hacking tools and confidential documents. Vault 7, as it turns out, was the code name for these documents. It revealed, among other things, that the CIA under the Obama administration stole Russian malware and used it to hack into computer systems in order to extract information from them using that malware, and apparently they lost that malware along with other hacking tools.

Given that the CIA lost the malware recently in 2016, this was also probably some time before the election or even around that time (I can only speculate) and that the malware the CIA obtained was from Russia, I am wondering if this has something to do with the theory that Russia hacked the DNC, and why the CIA claimed to have evidence but refused to provide it or put a name to it. I can only speculate.

But it does show that the NSA was not the only intelligence agency under Obama that had been gathering information , and apparently they are doing this as some kind of larger project involving cyber warfare. As if I *needed* another reason to hate Obama.


Vault 7: https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/

And the new face of the resistance is…George W. Bush?

For the first of the political posts I want to get out of the way, you might not believe what the American media has been up to this past week: promoting America’s 43rd president George W. Bush: the man who got America into a war in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 while never going after Saudi Arabia in any way, effectively lied to the American people about Saddam Hussein having chemical weapons so that he can destabilize Iraq and whose administration instituted the PATRIOT Act, diminishing civil liberty in the name of patriotism and security, and paving the way for the Obama administration’s own legacy of authoritarianism, all while pontificating about the higher power of Jesus Christ.

Yes, that man has gone from being the face of everything wrong with the GOP to being adorable in the eyes of the left. In the last week or so he spoke of his “affection” for Michelle Obama, with whom he scooped an opportune photoshoot, he made an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show (with whom he had another photoshoot) where they talked about some stupid wet poncho photo that was taken during the Trump inauguration ceremony, as well as on the Jimmy Kimmel show for laughs, and I’ve seen lots of articles promoting his paintings. And the Guardian, the supposed bastion of journalism and left-wing commentary? They are hailing Bush as a “welcome return”.

What the fuck happened here? I mean I get that you can’t go around hating George W. Bush all the time given that he’s no longer President and up until now he was pretty much not active in politics, not even pressuring the Obama administration as far as I’m aware. But now I find the “liberals” lifting up a man who they should’ve been opposed to. And why? Apparently because he is opposed to Donald Trump. Because he called insinuated that Trump was a racist and because he thinks Trump is attacking freedom of the press by not allowing media organizations into his press conferences – which is exactly what the media thinks as well. George W. Bush, it seems, is being embraced by the liberals and the media for one crucial reason: the rationale that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. And to that end, the left will ignore the ramifications of the policies of Bush’s administration, which they themselves opposed, to wage their ineffectual war on Trump. And don’t kid yourself. Bush’s policies had considerable ramifications in the eight years that Obama was president, namely that it gave the state more power over the rights of its subjects. Obama was an authoritarian, sure, or at least very illiberal, but upon election he ultimately just jumped a machine that was already geared towards the erosion of civil liberty. I have to wonder if “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is such a good reasoning to have.

Bush and Obama, united at last

The echoes of the past that today’s intelligentsia probably don’t want you to think about

My brother had to sit through another contextual studies lecture at university, this time he was introduced part 1 of a four part documentary series by Adam Curtis entitled “Century of Self”, which is all about how the thinks the idea of a consuming self was manufactured by society, and last night he invited me to watch it because he wanted to see what I thought of it. And let me just say something up front: I personally detest Alan Curtis. I think of him as someone who trades in sophistry and generates a living from it (does that Nixon documentary he aired on Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe ring a bell?). Weirdly enough it’s not so much that the documentary I’m talking about is based on complete lies – there is factual content to be found within the documentary – but Curtis’ argument is also misleading in that he presents half-truths alongside otherwise factual information. But the documentary also provides a fascinating window into a historical parallel to the political travails of the current era.

This film (which is subtitled “Happiness Machines”) centers around the exploits of a man named Edward Bernays, an advertiser, propagandist and innovator in the realm of public relations during the 20th century, and how according to Curtis he was responsible for the creation of modern consumer culture. Right away I have a problem with the essential premise. According to the film, Bernays seemed to view humans as passive consumers who are ruled by drives that they cannot control (he even seemed to view the masses as stupid), and that by satiating their desires they can be controlled, deriving his theory from Freud’s theory of the unconscious. But strangely enough the film often makes it seem like Bernays is responsible for implanting desires into peoples’ heads that they didn’t have before, and that this is where today’s consumer culture comes from. But it seems to me that all Bernays did was exploit desires that were already there and do what we already know advertisers do today – take a desire that already exists, and appeal to that desire and convince people to follow that desire via persuasion.

I had a similar discussion in a dissertation-themed contextual studies lecture once when one of the speakers talked to us about advertising and subliminal messaging – he argued that we are driven to want something that we otherwise wouldn’t through carefully crafted imagery, while I pointed out that many of the drives being exploited via advertising – lust, envy, hunger etc – are already present in the human condition. All the advertisers do is find a way to titillate them in order to achieve the outcome of consumption. It’s not exactly brainwashing in the strictest sense. The film makes it seem like corporations and politicians create desires, but desires are not created by others. They already exist, just that they can be awoken through the power of suggestion. And man’s desires and needs are part of a hierarchy – we don’t just pursue only what we need, and then have to be conditioned into wanting more. Once we have the lower parts of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs fulfilled, we can pursue other desires, like the desire for self-improvement for instance. Hell, I’d argue that even the basic needs spring from one desire in particular – the desire for self-preservation. After all, if we didn’t want to stay alive, we would we bother killing animals for food, building shelters or fires for warmth, drinking water or even sleeping, and if we didn’t want to continue a line of succession for the species, why would we procreate?

The film seems to present Bernays as responsible for getting people to trade stocks, pushing what would become the first department store, convincing women to smoke and getting an entire generation of Americans to believe in the magic of the free market. And this guy claims he’s not a leftist. For starters, the idea of a market where people trade in stocks or bonds has been around for centuries, dating back to at least the 17th century via the East India company, and the New York Stock Exchange we know it has been around since 1817. Also the first department store was established in 1858 and the idea that begun to spread before the 1920’s, free market capitalism has a long history, the ideological formations of which dating back to the likes of Adam Smith, and women have been smoking for centuries (though there may have been a social taboo surrounding it). And you can find most of that out with only a couple seconds or a minute on Google. It’s not great that you can find flaws in Curtis’ case so easily.

Apparently, at some point during the 20th century, confidence in the idea of democracy was weakening. It was increasingly believed that Man was incapable of making informed, rational decisions, was dominated by unseen and dangerous unconscious forces, and because of that Man was by nature an “unrational” being and needed to be controlled. Bizzarely enough the Russian Revolution, which happened in 1917, was seen as evidence by the media class of the day, who were according to Curtis influenced by the pessimistic view of human nature held by Sigmund Freud, that Western democracy needed to be challenged because of the mob mentality that erupted in Russia was proof that humans could not make rational decisions, seemingly invalidating a key principle of democracy, despite the fact that Tsarist Russia was both an autocracy and an empire – the opposite of the kind of republican democracy envisioned in the United States of America. Of course, not that the Soviet Russia that succeeded it was any better (in fact, arguably it was somehow worse). Bernays’ daughter Anne recounts who her father felt that democracy could not be trusted because he couldn’t trust “all those publics” to make the right judgement and not vote for the wrong person or have the wrong desires, which sounds like what the Remoaners were saying after they lost the Brexit vote. Are you beginning to feel like you’re in familiar territory yet?

A contemporary of Bernays, a political thinker by the name of Walter Lippmann, advocated for the concept of an elite group of people to manage democracy on behalf of the people and control their opinions through communication and media. Apparently he too was influenced by Freud and was interesting in psychological persuasion techniques, like those of Bernays, to convince the people that what Lippmann’s elites said was true, one of the methods of which was to form a “barrier between the public and the event” thereby allowing for the manipulation of information for public consumption. Well fuck me if that doesn’t sound like the mainstream media we have now. Oh and by the way, Lippmann also happened to be an advocate for socialism, and he was a member of various socialist groups including the Socialist Party of America. And isn’t that just magical? A socialist intellectual arguing for an elite, aristocratic class to stand above the people? Why is that relevant you might ask? Because it sounds a lot like the thought process behind the conception of the idea of the European Union before World War II and the actual foundation of what would become the European Union afterwards. Before World War II there was The United States of Europe, a paper released by Arthur Salter which documented his vision of supranational governing entity to govern the nations of Europe. After the war, Monnet, another leftist (not a died-in-the-wool socialist, but a consistent supporter of the French Socialist party), paved the way for federalism by working to pool economic resources into what would become the European Union, which over the years would grow from a supranational economic power, to a full-blown supranational political one with its own anthem, treasury, borders and the ability to override the will of its member states, managed by an elite technocratic class who cannot be elected or ousted democratically and obsessively and single-mindedly march toward the fruition of their “European project”. It’s like a billion-piece jigsaw puzzle suddenly falling into place, to quote Dave Lister in Red Dwarf, as if I needed another reason to despise the American, British and European left.

Bernays apparently felt like they had to guided from above (like in conventional religion, much?), believing in an “enlightened despotism”. Which, honestly, sounds a fucking lot like Bob “MovieBob” Chipman’s Twitter feed, a Guardian column about Internet “hate speech” or every filum of technocratic, anti-democratic dribble spewed from the leaders of the European Union. Assuming this is true, then we have a modern media and so-called liberal class that is full of people who follow the doctrine of Edward Bernays to this day. For today’s progressives and “liberals”, you can’t trust humans to think for themselves and you can’t trust them to be active citizens in a democracy, democracy doesn’t mean anything if they don’t vote the right way, so you have to convince them through propaganda to vote the right way or else the end of civilization as we know it is inevitable. That, my friends, is the philosophy that our political class follows today.

Apparently there was talk of the idea that, because Man is unrational and driven by unconscious desires and needed to be controlled because of it, a leader could ascend to power by taking the deepest fears and deepest desires of a subject or a citizen and appeal to those desires and use them to your own purposes. When I saw that with my brother I thought “this sounds like naked demagoguery” – demagoguery being when someone neither uses conventional reason nor speaks truth to power, instead cynically manipulating deep-seated longings and even prejudices in order to ascend to power – and this is what every Guardianista, every Clintonite and every modern leftist think that the likes of Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and the European far-right are doing, to the point that I honestly ask myself, how come the former are not ardent supporters of the latter?  If they truly believed that Donald Trump existed solely to give . Oh that’s right, because Hillary was the one actually doing this. Using sentimental slogans (Stronger Together anyone?; by the way, the Remain camp called and they want their originality back) and appealing to the vapid political and social climate of the day (for fuck’s sake she even had selfies taken of her as part of her campaign) rather than honestly addressing the issues outside of towing the Democratic party line. And that’s not getting into her corporate backing or the numerous wrongdoings that are now out in the open for all to see.

Or maybe it’s not because of Hillary. Maybe it’s because the media is the one decided what the terms are for being a demagogue. Someone speaking truth to power on anything, to those people, whilst going against the established order of things is a demagogue to those people. Either that, or it’s their job to make you believe that this is the case – which, let’s be honest, it is!

By the way, if you want to see what an actual demagogue looks like in my country, consult Owen Jones’ speech at an NUS rally circa November 19th 2016.

Getting back to the point, we also have Sigmund Freud coming out with his own take on civilization, which he felt was not an expression of human progress but instead nothing more than a necessary cage for human passions that would otherwise become dangerous. Apparently Freud felt that humans constantly needed to be controlled, and freedom of self-expression was impossible because it would bring about destruction. The implication is, thus, that humans are incapable of controlling themselves and constantly need to be guided by someone else. The problem I have with this is that this is not the proper remit of a government. It is true that humans can’t contain the savagery of a lawless state of affairs on their own, try as they might, and there is the need to outsource the need for security and stability to a larger body of power (hence, government). But a law enforcement can usually only contain savagery and criminality after the fact, they cannot and should control the passions of a citizenry. The onus is on individuals to at least attempt to control their own passions. Otherwise, if you want to live in a Demolition Man or Minority Report style world then go ahead – enjoy governments that act on the thoughts, feelings and desires of others rather than on actions and real issues and actively attempt to control or outright police them at the expense of your own freedom – but I would rather not. And the idea that civilization doesn’t bring content? Sounds like something I actually used to believe not too long ago, but now recognize as bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, modern civilization has its problems and can be a limiting force on the human spirit, but the idea that civilization doesn’t bring content or progress can be refuted by literally any technological and economic advancement that has ever been made in any civilization in the realms of not just entertainment, but also medicine, security and raising the standards of living. Anyone who actually believes that people aren’t happier living in a civilized society than otherwise should spend sometime in the pure state of nature, divorced from civilization and its benefits, and then see if that makes you much happier (I’m looking squarely at the anarcho-primitivists).

Let me tell you, I find the central premise of Lippmann and Freud’s assessment of human nature and democracy and their proposed solutions to both to be ultimately insensible. Don’t get me wrong I am apprised of the fact that there is indeed the innate capacity for savagery within the human species, and the fact that human history with resplendent with accounts of violence, war and mayhem, whether it’s in the name of either God (or the gods), a higher set of ideals or simply perceived self-interest. But I am also apprised of the underrated capacity for what others might call humanity. We are, at least in part, social animals. One of the key aspects of our survival as a species is the ability and willingness to cooperate with each other to achieve a desired goal, in fact I am willing enough to concede that certain fundamental aspects of our civilization is probably doomed without it. But more importantly I’d like you to just ponder for a moment: if we are all irrational, all eternally guided by unconscious forces and we are in no position to control ourselves, then who is? Who is enlightened compared to the rest of us beasts? Who then is fit to control us besides the strong, and the next strongest after him? What is the guarantee that the philosopher kings that Lippmann and his modern inheritors (like the EU and MovieBob) advocate for aren’t going to be exactly as irrational and beastlike as the rest of us? If we are not without sin by dint of our very humanity, why are they without sin, and how is that decided? This is why I don’t like the benevolent dictatorship concept. Not simply because at the end of the day it’s still a dictatorship, but because I don’t trust the dictator be benevolent, especially given that human history is also resplendent with the fallibility or outright corruption and even despotism of its leaders and elites. And ultimately, these people, whilst holding us as utterly savage and as falling short of their ideal of a rational human, hold that the solution is to controlled by an elite class who they expect us to believe will not be more savage than us.

Case in point, we get to how the Nazis seemed to take the ideas of Bernays and the growing despair about democracy and ran with it, blaming democracy and capitalism for economic decline and unemployment and that by sacrificing individual liberty and giving up the will of the people to a totally centralized state under National Socialism. You see, the 1930’s was a time that began fresh off the heels of the Great Depression, and this caused people to lose faith in both democracy and capitalism. At the same time eugenics was a part of popular ideology and was seen as desirable, while fascism was a growing ideology that was gaining some support, including in UK (with the British Union of Fascists), Japan (with the rise of extreme militant nationalism) Spain (the rise of fascist groups such as Falange) and Italy (with the rise of Mussolini). Nazi Germany thus can be understood as an unfortunate product of its time – a time were desperation and a crisis of confidence in democracy led people to genuine political extremism (unlike the modern populist wave that is still being spun as political extremism). And guess who admired Bernays’ work and used it to build the foundations of his own propaganda campaign? None other than Joseph Goebbels. He kept Bernays’ books in his personal library and studied them attentively, despite the fact that Bernays himself was a Jew and Goebbels a Nazi (not that the Nazis didn’t believe that Jews could collaborate with the Nazi regime, of course). From there, the Nazis aggressively propagandized the German people to accept the rule of a political elite with complete control over German society that would eventually destroy anyone it deemed undesirable.

For a party that embraced the idea that democracy threatened to reek destruction upon society, we all know the barbarism they inflicted on Germany and the nations it conquered in pursuit of its ideological goals. Just think about it: the Nazi Party wanted to save the German people from the “irrational” power of selfish individualism and the destruction it was perceived as causing by inflicting an irrational totalitarian regime upon the German people and liquidating people on the basis of race, ethnicity, sexuality and political opinion? This, though it is an extreme example, is a demonstration of why I find the Lippman and Bernays way of thinking to be internally inconsistent. For an influential political intellectual and a talented propagandist, they were both fools.

And you know what I find unbelievable? If Curtis was correct then we must come to the conclusion that the Second World War traumatized the entire world, with the Western world particularly troubled by the horrors inflicted by Nazi Germany, and yet the Western World has somehow managed to convince itself that the path to saving itself from repeating those horrors is by applying the same philosophy of propaganda, and the worldview that accompanied it, that the Nazis via Joseph Goebbels built on and utilized in order to convince the German populace that democracy needed to be discarded, the state needed absolute control of public life and that Jews, non-Aryan Europeans, gays, political opponents and other “untermensch” needed to be exterminated. That is nothing short of the grandest folly that the Western world has ever imbibed in, grander even than the phenomenon of political correctness and cultural Marxism we are seeing today, itself still carried forward by the doctrine of propaganda. Among the clear lessons of World War II is not that there is a dangerous force within humanity that must be controlled at all costs, but that some of worst horrors in human history were incited by the propaganda that men like Bernays and Lippmann thought were instrumental in subduing the irrational powers that caused them!

Yet here we are, living in an age where the mainstream media in the Western world can lie to your face in order to try and control what you think, and now outright browbeating the people with the causes of activist journalists, and Western leaders view the solution to the world’s ills as being more centralized control over the lives and minds of their citizens. And at the vanguard of this is the modern “liberal” left, who have been supporting a propagandist media, corporatist politicians, authoritarianism, and social engineering and they been in the business of propaganda through the media and through universities in order to disseminate their ideology.

The connection between all of us is the zeitgeist of Bernays’ and Lippmann’s time – the zeitgeist where Freud’s view of human nature has been taken as the basis of a worldview that holds that human beings must be controlled by a higher societal force in the form of an elite class that will propagandize them by manipulating their emotions and desires, because they thought humans could not be trusted to make rational decisions –  a view that, if Curtis is right, was discredited by the rise of scientific political polling. The rise of fascism in the 1930’s sprung out of this zeitgeist, and the modern antipathy towards democracy among the progressives echoes it. For all the sophistry that’s sometimes scattered throughout the film, there is a valuable window of insight into a historical parallel, if not a historical root, to some of the modern travails of our political climate.

Fuck Edward Bernays, fuck Walter Lippmann and fuck the modern inheritors of their way of thinking.

Now I would like to address the people who took the side of the mainstream media, social media, popular groupthink and the ideological agendas that they supported: you are all fools. You have been misguided by an elite class that, despite demonstrable failure in its worldview in the past, continues to follow the doctrine of Bernays, Lippman and Goebells whilst actually believing that this will prevent fascism from claiming the world within our lifetime. The only chance you have of escaping the cycle of history is to reject the mainstream media, cut yourself off from the zeitgeist of social media and the corporate culture that lingers over it, free your mind from the boundaries of herd mentality and think for yourself. And the only chance mankind as a whole has of becoming free from this is if those of us who succeed in doing this learn to spread this authentic free thinking to others as best they can without force.

Edward Bernays (left), Walter Lippmann (middle) and Joseph Goebbells (right)

Edward Bernays (left), Walter Lippmann (middle) and Joseph Goebbells (right)


If you actually want to see the documentary here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DotBVZ26asI