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

The victory of Donald Trump, and how it happened

I won’t lie, as I was going to my bed last night to get my sleep (as a UK citizen with a university schedule I can’t be expected to stay up to catch the whole election play out) I was expecting that I would wake up today and find that Hillary Clinton became president elect, in spite of the part of me that thought that, surely, Trump could not be stopped. But, to my surprise, I was wrong. Against all odds, after every sling thrown at him from literally everyone outside his support base, Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States of America.

I could not help but laugh. This crazy radical populist has managed to capture the highest position of political power in the Western world! I have admit, I applaud the Donald Trump campaign for their success in defeating Hillary Clinton despite every obstacle. And already, I think people are losing their shit. While the pro-Trump people, particularly his more died in the wool supporters, are doubtless celebrating, the pro-Hillary people are shitting their pants, and apparently they are crying about it. Some of the celebrities are apparently in tears as well, like Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. I imagine their tears must taste like make-up, which is a shame because it would be satisfying to drink them at this point in time, along with the tears of everyone else who foolishly got emotionally invested in her campaign through the lull of the loathsome cult that is modern left-wing identity politics. And it’s not just in the US. I heard from my brother that some of his fellow students got really upset about the election result, to the point that one of them got so distressed that he refused to attend his classes. In my class it wasn’t so bad, but we were at a point where we couldn’t stop going on about “President Trump”, and most of us took the piss but I think my tutors were kind of ignorant of the subject of American politics, for the most part at least. One of them was at least charitable enough to point to some kind of voter disenfranchisement, that we as a society refused to engage with the ideas of ordinary people even if, in his eyes, they were wrong.

I ask my fellow Brits, does this not strike you as familiar? America is going through similar tensions that we, the British public, during the Brexit vote. Only I suspect that now those tensions are worse, playing out in a much more polarized environment dominated by political tribalism. And if what my brother tells is to be accounted for, that some of those tensions have spilled over into this country. But I wouldn’t know it at my university. When one of my classmates said that he’d rather America have the Mexicans pissed off at Trump than the Russians with Clinton, no one seemed to mind this slight difference of opinion. I didn’t even receive any major backlash when I told them about a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about Clinton’s planned no-fly zone in which General Joseph Dunford basically tells the Senate that her plans will require the United States to go into a hot war with Russia in Syria.

Regardless, I think that the backlash against a Trump presidency has already begun. I have heard that Hillary supporters have taken to fervent protests against Donald Trump, some of them taking to vandalism and burning the American flag, and apparently police have been preparing for the possibility of full-blown riots. And just like in Britain when we had vapid idiots declaring themselves to be part of the “48%” to denounced the result of the referendum, America Hillary supporters are taking to Twitter under such hashtags as “#StillWithHer” and “#NotMyPresident”. Make no mistake, if they believe themselves to be in service of a greater good, then they will not accept the reality that, let’s be honest, they themselves and their precious candidate helped shape. They’re part of a mainstream culture and status quo that has refused to engage with ordinary people, particularly the working class, with a different viewpoint and divergent interests and try to convince them to their side with honesty and openness and instead decided that the people who oppose their vision deserved to be shunned, leaving no home for them but the realm of populism, nationalism and, in some cases, radical politics.

If you were alive for the George Bush Jr years and you noticed how all those who opposed the neoconservative war fever as “unpatriotic” and yet you don’t recognize this phenomenon, then, frankly, you are a tool. There’s nothing else I can tell you, because if you had any awareness of the Bush Jr years then I would have thought you should know better. I remember when I was teenager I would hear about people being sick and tired of Bush, because under him, they though and with some good reason, that Bush represented nothing but war, fear dressed as patriotism, authoritarian, economic collapse and a lack of progress regarding environmental policy. I suspect it was 8 years of Bush that lead to a lot of support for, and the eventual election of, Barack Obama in 2008. Obama seemed like a breath of fresh air to a lot of Americans, and he seemed to be the path to meaningful change in the system. What’s better, he was a charismatic and charming public speaker, he seemed like a real positive force. And John McCain? He was seen just another Bush-era Republican. But Obama was slandered by the conservative establishment in his day as well. Not so much because he was black, but because of the fact that his name was Barack Hussein Obama, and to them this was surely a sign not just that wasn’t as American as apple pie but also of his allegiance to Islam. I know, silly if you think about it. But that’s how it was. Now look at Donald Trump. Every sling in the book was thrown at him, and he was even accused of being a pawn of Vladimir Putin, to the point that none of it matter to a whole lot of people anymore. And in 2008, the attacks from the right weren’t enough to stop Obama from becoming President.

When I was 14 years old, I remember hearing shit like “Rosa Parks sat so that Martin Luther King could walk, and so Obama could run.” That was from the BBC by the way, and quite the optimistic picture they painted. If Obama became president, surely, the economic crisis, the war-mongering and racial tensions in America would fade away, and America could look forward to a brighter future under his Presidency. I wouldn’t hear the end of how Obama was supposedly the best thing that happened to American politics, and truth be known there was a time where I had supported him myself. And then he turned out to be just another politician, another cog in the neoliberal epoch of American politics. The first thing I remember him doing was bail out the big banks. You know, the big banks that crashed and were widely seen as the cause of the 2008 financial crisis in the first place? Over time, I saw him as being supportive of the NSA’s massive spying regime, which Edward Snowden helped expose to the public, his healthcare plans resulting in shambles, the US under him was droning the Middle East and their actions in Syria, along with those of the UK, helped create the migration crisis that Europe is now still dealing with.

Oh, and under the watch of this supposed great healer of a divided America, race relations have only gotten worse after the start of his second term. The rise of Black Lives Matter and other forms of identity politics spread by the social justice movement have only furthered fractured relations between the races with by painting African-Americans, and other non-whites, as a victim class and Caucasian (white) Americans as the evil oppressor bourgeoisie class who need to be overthrown. It’s the same with gender – women are angels, men are monsters, regardless of any sense of individuality. That’s the law of modern feminism, and this has resulted in a divide between the sexes to the point that men are starting to flee from relationships with women. Through this we also have the phenomenon of political correctness, which had now risen to the point of being a meme unto itself, metastasized into a considerable force of cultural authoritarianism (some would argue even fascism), and had become emboldened by a mainstream media that was completely fine with spreading the lies of the cultural Marxists in order to control what the population thinks. America is now at a point where the lie of a police force waging war on black people is enough to convince some African-Americans that killing police officers, and attacking white people because they’re white, is a morally good thing to do. That’s how bad it is now.

On top of all that, people now feel that Obama changed very little, at least for them. Either that, or things are getting somewhat worse. The poor are still poor, the national debt has gone up, people are more divided than ever, the country is still sticking its dick in the Middle East, which proved partly responsible the rise of ISIL, and the middle class is shrinking, while American culture drowns in political correctness, identity politics and laziness. Then you have a government that is perceived as way too soft in a world that is seen as increasingly hostile with the continuing rise of Islamic terrorism. It was only natural that someone like Donald Trump would rise, and Bernie Sanders for that matter. Bernie Sanders offered a revolution of his own. It wasn’t Trump’s radical populist revolution, but rather a left-wing (in truth, socialist – or democratic socialist) and somewhat populist revolution. Though I now dislike Sanders and denounce him as a socialist snake-oil salesman (particularly after having learned more about his “democratic socialism” and socialism in general), he seemed like he genuinely wanted to affect change in the political system, particularly regarding money in politics. Then Hillary won the Democratic nomination, and Bernie sold out and supported Hillary, who embodies a great deal of what Bernie Sanders opposed. Then the DNC leaks were published, and it was revealed that the DNC basically rigged the Democratic primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton. And all the while, Obama, the hope and change candidate from 2008, endorsed Hillary Clinton as his successor. Bernie’s revolution was over, but the American people are still angry at the system. Who else do they have to do turn? None other than Donald Trump. And the leaks didn’t stop. Combined with the Veritas tapes, and the already public knowledge of her corporate backers, this was evidence enough to many people that Hillary Clinton was a corrupt and manipulative career politician unworthy of the public’s trust. Not to mention, the mainstream media is widely distrusted – only 6% of Americans actually trust the media today – and there is reason to suspect their corruption and collusion with Hillary Clinton.

It should be no wonder Donald Trump won, if I think about it, and yet I see too many people acting totally shocked that Donald Trump could even remotely grasp the power of the presidency. Although Trump is clearly not an ideal candidate (as a matter of fact I initially rather disliked him), he represents a significant overhaul of the old order of things, as evidenced now by the panic and shock across the world and particularly in America that has accompanied his electoral success. And no mythical devil worshiping conspiracy managed change that, by the way. Of course, I think that even if Trump did not win, Hillary Clinton is the gatekeeper to some big change in her own right. And no, it’s not because of her gender. She would represent the apex of the neoliberal interventionist American establishment, which would culminate the heating up of a new Cold War, possibly resulting in nuclear warfare (with both the US and Russia possessing nukes, not to mention Clinton’s past statements on attacking Iran). And I think society, regardless of either candidate, looks set to go in a new direction – as I said before, we just don’t know what shape that new direction will take. But regardless, again, I don’t think Trump’s candidacy will be taken lying down, and as we are already seeing there will be plenty of opposition. If it’s anything like Brexit, it’s going to be ugly. Speaking of Brexit, guess what I found? A petition calling on Hillary Clinton to redo the election to stop Trump. That’s right. Just like Brexit, the opposition will actively oppose the democratic will of the majority, even to the point of spinning fictional narratives, if they don’t like the outcome of an election or referendum. And I would not put it past the Americans who voted for Hillary to go on more protests. I wouldn’t even put it past them if they started riots across the country. It reminds me of when David Cameron was re-elected in the UK and a bunch of twats went out and protested and clashed with police just because they hated him being re-elected. It was stupid and futile then, and it will be stupid and futile now.

However, my brother thinks that the electoral college won’t allow Trump to actually be sworn in. I don’t know how true that is, but if it is, then it will probably be seen by a lot of Americans as a sign of how meaningless democracy would become. Only time will tell what Trump’s presidency will look like. But in the meantime, I should try to keep a close eye on things. I think a lot of people are going to have a strong desire to move to Canada because of Trump’s election. You know what? Let them! I’m now fine with some day going to America regardless of Trump or Clinton, so that’s just more room for me! Not to mention, I think if too many people leave America, then here’s a thought: maybe it will necessitate a reform of the immigration system so that it’s much easier for people like me to lawfully emigrate to the country. That’s one thing to look forward to at least.

In the end, I personally am ultimately glad only for the fact that Hillary Clinton has been defeated. I could never conscionably support her, not in a million years, and everything I’ve seen of her has only convinced me or her corruption and the depths she will go to get herself into power, laws and ethics be damned.

Finally, I just want to say that if I feel sorry for anyone, it’s the third parties. Particularly the Libertarians. They had the best opportunity ever, what with the undercurrent of disgust for both Hillary and Donald in America. The Libertarians should have kicked ass. On top of that, the Libertarians and the Greens got quite a few appearances in the mainstream media. But in the end, the Libertarians only got 3% of the vote, and the Greens only 1%. I’ve heard a lot of hype around Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, as well as independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin, but in the end they have proven to be fucking useless. It’s a sad day for anyone seeking the overthrow of the two-party system, to be sure.

We all need to calm down

What I am going to ask of everyone who reads this is something that will probably be impossible for the vast majority of people on Earth, particularly as we draw close to the end of the US election cycle, but I think it needs to be said. Calm down. Just calm down.

I know it’s hard. There are good reasons to be on edge – democracy itself may well be on the line, the values of a free society that we in the West cherish are under attack from a new rise in collectivism masqueraded as righteousness, governments are likely to face popular resistance for certain plans that they have, we could be facing an increase in war in this world and there’s the possibility that it may involve nuclear weapons, and in general it feels like the world we live in will never be the same again. But we must not lose sight of our sanity, and more importantly, our personal values. I am talking of course about we who travel the Left Hand Path, in whatever form we choose to do so.

Make no mistake, big things are coming no matter who wins in November 8th. Not immediately, but give it time and we may yet see whether or not they actually manifest. We should not fear the collapse of the old order of the world, for there is no immortality afforded to it. That old order will die, and it will be replaced by a new one. The only thing left to our imagination is what shape that new order will take, and whether or not it’ll end in the desolation of civilization itself as some of the more fearful individuals may believe. I think there will be many foolish individuals who cling to what the media or their social cliques tell them without any critical thinking and they will believe that by following the crowd and practicing the virtue of the peacock then they will prove themselves to be good and saintly people who will have preserved the old order. But they will fail, and be shocked to see that it does not last forever. I think those of us who favor rebellion and despise conformity should embrace the thought of our current societal paradigm getting a good kick in the ass, at least if it’s in a direction that will result in the renewal or expansion of liberty or won’t end in bloody purges.

No matter what happens though, we must keep ourselves in order. We must not give in to the forces of collectivism, fear and stupidity, we must try to be consistent in acting and thinking as rational actors, at least to some extent, and we must make sure our commitments to our principles is strong. We should be on guard and canvas the world around us, and think about what we see very carefully and clearly. This is what we whose minds we expect to be free from tyranny should consider doing. We cannot otherize those whose oppose our values completely, or we give in to the forces that we should be fighting against. To do so is to reject the universalism of the value of individuality, and before long we will wind up rejecting the humanity of everyone and our own values in the process. Is that truly what we wish to do? Go mad with the rest?

In the meantime, at least consider this proposition: if you decide to follow the aftermath of the US election, make sure to have some popcorn or some snacks with you. You’ll see why in Wednesday.

For now, I think this clip from the Simpsons should lighten the mood in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion.

Bloody puritans

People over the weekend have been talking about the fall of Donald Trump, with top Republicans joining the chorus of outcry over a recent scandal of his. What scandal could that be you might ask?

Was he found making deals with black markets? Was it discovered that he had affair? Was he found molesting children? Was it discovered that he was part of some secretive cabal of murderous elite businessmen seeking to establish some kind of New World Order?

No. It was a tape from 2005 about how he talked about how if you’re rich and famous enough women will let you grab them by the pussy. That’s it. And no, he wasn’t caught admitting to sexual assault either. It was just Trump being a braggart. And for that, the media decided to crucify him more than ever? For that, Republicans and conservatives turn against him? Actually, I’m not surprised about the latter part. Typical conservatives. But I digress, Trump’s campaign is over because of this?

I’ve seen the second presidential debates, and only after the first question Hillary Clinton uses that pathetic excuse of a scandal as a means of painting Trump out to be a monster, and somehow say that these tapes paint Trump as he truly is. They don’t. They show nothing more than a bunch of braggadocio from 11 years ago! And then, by the end of the debate, Hillary had the nerve to sing praises of Trump’s children and then claim that they say a lot about Trump. Even though she accuses Trump of being nothing short of a total monster, she tries to claim that he is a great father and you can’t claim that someone is both a complete monster and a great father. It disgusts me how dishonest this whole thing is.

Everyone seems quite fine to demonize Trump over the tapes for being so lurid, whilst it embraces a pop culture that I would argue is pretty sexualized to some degree, and yet despite this society cannot actually be open about human sexuality without imposing high-minded ideals upon it – whether those ideals come from some God in heaven or from some secular ideology (or ideologies) that proposes cultural authoritarianism in the name of progress or social justice. And all the while, Bill Clinton seems to be getting off the hook by the mainstream media, despite having an alleged history of actual sexual assault and not bragging about grabbing pussy. It’s to the point that his alleged victims are actually called tramps on national television to the sound of applause! Bill Cosby Clinton can apparently harass and assault a number of women, but Donald Trump merely talks about grabbing people by the pussy and everyone is outraged. Talking about scoring in some jockish fashion is a monstrous evil and a sign of being and evil person for someone running for the office of President, but actually raping people let alone actual adultery is not. Frankly, I am taken aback at the way people think these days.

It just reminds me of my hatred for popular morality regarding sex, and how much I want to see it burn down, along with the hypocrisy that surrounds it.

A war on for your mind…

Yes. Lately I am of the impression that something is going on in the world and there’s a faint connection between the way certain events are playing out politically, socially and culturally.

As the migrant crisis rolled on through the current year, and even as social cohesion is slowly breaking down in Europe, a narrative is being pushed about how this is all still a positive thing that we should be celebrating, and the German government is working to silence any criticism of the country’s immigration policy and the effects that mass immigration is having on their communities. Not to mention, the German government and the European Union have been collaborating with Facebook and Twitter in order to censor what they deem as “hate speech” – which is no doubt going to include expressing a dissenting opinion on the migrant crisis. There have been reports of right-wing groups being banned from Facebook for talking about what they feel is the Islamization of their communities, as well as conservative commentators who would likely have a problem with an establishment that is putting multiculturalism above all else.

In the UK, it has been that police have been tracking tweets on Twitter and it is suspected that they can arrest people simply for offending someone on Twitter. People have actually been arrested for sending the wrong tweet or publishing the wrong video on YouTube in some cases. Not to mention, anti-Islamic tweets are being tracked by Demos and being treated as Islamophobic, and given the actions of the British police it’s not such a wild stretch to suspect that the government might start using a narrative of protecting the “real victims” as a means of justifying widespread surveillance and prosecution of thought-crime.

In America, as the political battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump continues and the culture war rages on, Hillary herself has proven herself willing enough to declare Breitbart, one of the largest voices of opposition to her campaign, as a site that has no right to exist. She has outright declared her contempt for a large selection of the electorate by referring to them as “deplorables” and declared war on the so-called “alt-right”, which to her basically means a vast conspiracy of Trump supporters, Nigel Farage and his supporters and InfoWars and their supporters lead by Vladmir fucking Putin! And when the DNC leaks came out, she and her team blamed a Russian conspiracy rather than face up to the fact that they are unscrupulous and corrupt.

The mainstream (read: controlled) media seems to mostly be on the side of Clinton, or at the very least firmly against Trump (but let’s face it, I’m sure for many Americans at this point there is almost no difference). And guess who has ties to the US mainstream media? Recently, chat logs from Crash Override Network have been leaked. Crash Override Network is a group started by Zoe Quinn (yes, that Zoe Quinn) supposedly set to fight online harassment, but in truth are nothing but a bunch of schemers conspiring against the people involved in the consumer revolt known as GamerGate. And it was also revealed that the people in CON claimed to have friends in mainstream media outlets like CNN, PBS, and Wall Street Journal, as well as the Canadian CBC, awaiting reports from those outlets, which suggests that they might actually be in collusion in order to get their side of the story. These people have also been in support of a gaming media that has pushed for gaming culture to be aligned with progressivism and the propping of abstract art over actual gaming, and declared its own audience to be dead for opposing it, and they have been, and still are, prepared to lie in order to push a narrative. And let’s not forget Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn petitioning the United Nations (which is now almost a joke anyways) to push for greater control of the Internet in order to allow social media companies to, quite simply, ban people from telling them that they are liars and that they suck. Facebook and Twitter have already had a reputation of suppressing conservative and sometimes libertarian thinkers for pushing against the status quo, and in Twitter’s case people like Milo Yiannpoulos get banned for something his fans apparently did while ISIS members and pedophiles get off scot-free. All Sarkeesian and Quinn want to do is, like the EU and Germany, expand the power of the state and big social media (as I call it) to censor people.

Not to mention, Barack Obama is basically giving away America’s control of the Internet, allowing foreign powers to control it instead. What this means is essentially that foreign countries, countries that have less respect for freedom of speech than America, can disable websites and censor speech without the protections of US law, which are part of the reason that the Internet has managed to stay free and open.

The Internet is the single biggest liberator of information known to Man. Think about it: before the age of the Internet, it was much easier for the media and whoever was in power to control the information you have access to, meaning it was far easier for people to have some control over what you think. With the rise of the Internet this changed dramatically. You still have media outlets presenting a controlled version of reality, and you still have people believing it, but it is way easier to access a vast diversity of ideas and worldviews today and by simply performing a search on Google or something you can find thousands or millions of results and a lot of them don’t dance to the same tune. Many ideas and ways of thinking that might never have been known to the common public 30 years ago can now be discovered easily on the Internet. People in the government, the media and in large corporations seem to be aware that those who control information can control what people think, and he (or she) who controls the Internet will control the world and the minds of its population. That’s why you have people who are trying to impose greater restrictions on speech and expression on the Internet under the guise of saintly intentions such as “protecting victims” from mostly imagined and/or poorly defined threats.

All of this leads me to wonder: what if InfoWars (and I must stress that I am no fan of InfoWars or Alex Jones) is right and there really is a war on for your mind? Perhaps it likely isn’t what the people at InfoWars think it is, and the Illuminati most likely isn’t going to be involved, but it’s hard for me not to suspect that there’s something much bigger going on. Or, for that matter, that something big might be coming. And you don’t even need to delve into conspiracy theory in order to suspect that this is the case. I think there very well could be a larger agenda of control at work, one playing out right before our eyes no less! We may, within our lifetimes, see Western society become so controlled that the freedoms we hold so dearly in the West will become unrecognizable. And I don’t believe that everyone will take that lightly.

That face you make when you’re breaking the conditioning… 😉

So it’s come to this

Well, it looks like the US presidential primaries have yielded Donald Trump as the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. I have to say, I’m not entirely surprised. Ever since April or May I had the impression that this outcome was all but inevitable, and whatever miracle that could possibly have saved Bernie Sanders simply did not materialize. And to be honest, even Sanders did get a miracle, it might not have helped considering that as of this weekend Wikileaks revealed that the Democratic National Convention basically rigged the competition in favor of Hillary Clinton, or were very inappropriately agenda-driven for an organization that was supposed to be neutral towards the Democratic candidates.

That said, I’m now going to give what are probably my two cents on the two people that most Americans will probably vote for.

Donald Trump

Over the course of his campaign Trump has become the great bogeymen of American politics, in fact he is widely perceived as villain du jour. And do not be fooled into thinking he is the apex of the Republican Party or American conservatism: even other Republicans and conservatives such as Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney, John Kasich, Ben Shapiro and even Glenn Beck are against Trump. I think that might be because he advocated for a higher minimum wage, has flip-flopped on the gun issue and apparently is willing to support more protectionism than would be favorable to Republicans (at least that’s what they think Trump “fixing” trade is going amount to). So it’s not just progressives and liberals who are against him. Personally, I am still concerned about what might happen if Trump got elected, and he is not my candidate of choice. But I have gone from practically fearing the prospect of a Trump presidency to the point that I declared that I would not want to emigrate to Trump’s America, to being ultimately rather skeptical of the idea that he’ll destroy the country. Put simply I was being hyperbolic. Granted, he still has quite a lot of bad characteristics: he is a buffoon, he is not very intelligent and there are worries from scholars that he may threaten the rule of law and go against the US Constitution. Not to mention, I have not heard anything about Trump changing his mind about forcing the military to kill the families of terrorists. But even with that, I think he may not be as villainous as he’s painted out to be. He has had a history of being very unpredictable, and his lack of intelligence may yet be a sign that he may be too inept to do much. What he has going for him is his ability to appeal to the portions of the working class that are disaffected or disillusioned by the Obama presidency and loathe the political establishment for what they perceive to be its ineptitude. And the problem is that they might have reality on their side, as was revealed by Brexit, the migrant crisis and the increasing number of terror attacks plaguing Europe – all of these events have exposed the political establishment’s true colors, mostly their indifference to the concerns of ordinary people and their detachment from ground-level reality. Recent events in America, such as the Orlando massacre, recent shootings carried out by police officers and the slaying of police officers by a Black Lives Matter supporter (not to mention the violent rhetoric from many Black Lives Matter supporters) may be convincing Americans that they’re country is suffering an epidemic of violence and that there is a need for a strong “law and order” president, despite the fact that that crime rates overall are still lower than they’ve been in the past. At any rate, I think he is certainly not comparable to Hitler. In the post I linked, I implied that Trump’s campaign may have, as others have suggested, been similar to that of Adolf Hitler, but I have learned that this was mostly hyperbolic. At any rate, there is no evidence that Hitler ran on a slogan of “make Germany great again”. In the end, despite everything about Trump as a person, I find his treatment to be a joke – ironic, considering that when he started his campaign Trump himself was seen as a joke. Hell, Trump even got compared to jihadists recently by Barack Obama on the grounds that “they always fail” – the day I see Donald Trump strapping a suicide bomb to himself or shooting cartoonists to death whilst shouting “Allahu Akbar” is the only time I’ll be more inclined to believe him and others like him. It is a rare person in America’s political climate to understand why Trump has managed to be successful, and most simply resort to “MUH XENOPHOBIA” or “white people are evil” (the latter especially egregious considering that there are African-Americans and Indian-Americans who are willing to support Trump and I don’t see them thinking so heavily about race; mind you they probably get referred to as Uncle Toms or something like that due to the tradition of demographic propriety). To the people voting for him, he is an outsider who dares to say things that the establishment doesn’t want to be said, even if they are rash and unintelligent. Until Trump’s opposition can deal with the same issues that he is addressing in a reasonable and intellectually honest manner, and through doing so convince Trump’s supporters that he is the wrong person for the White House, then I think that Trump’s opposition will fail to defeat him. And since I’m still not entirely enthusiastic about a Trump presidency, it might be better that Trump’s opposition succeed in meaningfully deconstructing his campaign.

Hillary Clinton

As I already pointed out already in a previous post, Hillary is a different creature entirely. She is not interested in serving anything besides her own interests, which at the very least is highly inappropriate given not only the fact she is seeking to run for an office where she will be expected to lead the nation but also that, in her capacity as a government official, so is supposedly expected to serve the American people. And I haven’t got a doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton has wanted the top job for a long time. One of my main problems with Hillary Clinton is her odious appeal to identity politics over the course of her campaign. When she last ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, she wasn’t running as a woman. In 2016 she is, and that’s being treated as proud and historic. She can even get articles written about her defending the idea of voting for her based solely on her gender. She is also of the opinion that white people need to “change” in order to reduce the number of African-Americans killed by cops. She doesn’t think all Americans should change, just white people. And people say Trump is the racist! Never mind that that the statistics on police homicide suggest that the majority of people killed by the police are actually white. In 2015 she spoke to Black Lives Matter and she told them “you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate”, which to me only says that she encourages whatever Black Lives Matter does to that end. Like Donald Trump, she is willing to play the fear card when it comes to violence in America. Only for her it is specifically gun-related violence that is the subject of sentimental manipulation. Then there’s the fact that Hillary Clinton is known for her dishonesty and duplicity. She famously claimed that she landed under sniper fire in Bosnia with no greeting ceremony, but of course there exists footage of her landing in Bosnia to a greeting ceremony and no sniper fire. She also claimed to be an instrumental part of Northern Ireland’s peace process. Not to mention, there is a lot going around about the email scandal surrounding her in March, which to me is enough to suggest there was a lot that she didn’t intend the average public to know about, like her history of interventionism (which to me suggests that she will probably make the situation in the Middle East much worse than it is now). It also bothers me that, at one point, she refused to say whether or not the right to bear arms was protected by the Constitution. Then you have the fact that she is backed by several large private corporate interests, including billionaire hedge-funds, as well as the revelation that the Democratic National Convention, both of which I mentioned in my previous post. There’s also the matter of the Clinton Foundation, which apparently only gives a small portion of its money to jobs and charitable causes while the rest goes to the Clintons and their friends. Finally, I remain unconvinced that she will be on the side of civil liberty, given her history of promoting censorship and government surveillance. At any rate, I am not convinced she has changed her mind on whether or not national security is more important than human rights. Needless to say, I am very much dead set in my refusal to support Hillary Clinton regardless of Donald Trump being the Republican nominee. Negative partisanship just isn’t for me, at least in principle anyway.

I’m also not impressed by either of their vice presidential picks. Donald Trump’s pick – Mike Pence – strikes me as just another neocon, while all I know about Hillary’s pick – Tim Kaine – is that he is apparently a favorite of Wall Street. Neither of those things are very encouraging to me.

If these are the two candidates that most Americans will be faced with choosing, I can’t blame the American public for being so sharply divided. These are of course two extremely polarizing candidates, albeit in a country with an already frequently polarized political environment often divided among rather tribal and fiercely dogmatic lines. At the same time though, I think there might be another option. I am of course talking about the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Say what you will about the Libertarian Party, but I find that he is certainly more appealing a candidate than Trump or Clinton. For GOP voters now stuck with Trump but still despise him and would never vote Clinton, he is surely the sane option. For Democrat voters who supported Bernie Sanders but got Clinton and would never support Trump or Clinton, he offers hope as another outsider, at least to the two-party dynamic that dominates American politics. If I lived in America, I would probably spend some time campaigning for Gary Johnson and trying to convince people that he is the better alternative to either. As a moderate libertarian, albeit with some liberal leanings, he is certainly the candidate that more closely represents my own views or values. But according to Johnson himself, his best chance is if he gets into the national debates, and that requires him to poll at least at 15% in five mainstream news polls. I would very much like to see Johnson have the opportunity to debate Clinton and Trump publicly, so that the American public can see what kind of politician he is compared to both of them. It may be unlikely to happen, but Johnson is the only candidate I can support wholeheartedly. That said, however, there is a part of me that would like to see how everyone reacts to a Trump victory. Will I laugh? Will I cry? Will I convulse with anger or horror? Or will I be fairly indifferent? There is only one way to find out…

I sincerely hope this is the last post I write about American politics for now, aside from maybe the odd mention – at least until November or until Gary Johnson actually succeeds in getting into the national debates. Until then, Good luck Gary.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t understand what she is being accused of

In an interview with Scott Pelley on CBS, Hillary Clinton was asked about the accusation of corruption that frequently follows her campaign, citing an anonymous young man Pelley had spoken to before the interview. Here’s how Hillary sums up the accusations:

“there’s been a concerted effort to convince people like that young man of something, nobody’s quite sure what, but of something.”

I have a question for Hillary Clinton: What the fuck are you talking about, Clinton? Are seriously that unaware of what you are being accused of?

You are accused of being a creature of Wall Street, money in politics and powerful private wealthy interests, and we know you are being supported by those same interests. You are accused of being guided by no principles whatsoever, as evidenced by your appeal to identity politics and your apparent willingness to co-opt some of Bernie Sanders’ positions in order to beat him. You are accused of taking money from Saudi Arabia, a country ruled by a brutal Islamic theocracy where the punishments for breaking the law are brutal and the punishments for being gay or a non-believer is death! You are accused of exclusively serving your own personal interests instead of the interests of the American people and the nation you expect to lead. You are accused of being a force of yet more destabilization in the Middle East, a force so callous that it would rather continue to bring destruction, as evidenced by the emails leaked in March. You are accused of covering for your husband’s many alleged rapes. You are accused of being such an unremitting liar that I swear it’s comical in some cases. And, more recently, your party is being accused of smearing your political rivals (mainly Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump) and clearly demonstrating an agenda to get you nominated at all costs, as was revealed by Wikileaks this weekend.

In summary, you, Hillary Clinton, are accused of being everything wrong with the American political establishment in one revolting package! And you’re the person who is now running for President as the presumptive Democrat nominee!

How on Earth can you be so unaware in this instance of what you are being accused of, or the gravity of these accusations? I can only assume you are trying desperately to obfuscate these things once again, and in doing so you have proven that you are more than willing to lie through your fucking teeth!