I have today received some exciting breaking news concerning local politics. Just this afternoon in Cardiff, there was a major rally for Welsh independence that caught the attention of the media British. It was organized by a group called All Under One Banner Cymru, which seems to be the Welsh branch of a Scottish group called All Under One Banner, which campaigns for Scottish independence, and attendants apparently numbered in the thousands. In addition to this, of the thousands of people who attended the rally, hundreds of them consisted of people from North Wales who drove all the way to Cardiff just to be there.
I have to say, this was a surprising and impressive development. Mind you, I have been hearing murmurs about the subject of Welsh independence for quite some time now, I sometimes hear about it in news stories about local politics. But this rally and the attention its getting tells me that we could be seeing from real momentum for the cause of Welsh independence. And let me be among the first to say that I proudly support the cause of Welsh independence. I believe in the general principle of national independence, sovereignty and liberation as an extension of the broader principle of political liberty, and the fight for freedom is an important existential, evolutionary struggle in the hierarchy of struggles that we observe. What we forget about the class struggle, for instance, is that it is, within bourgeois society, the primary expression of this ancient struggle. And when you consider the fact that the British national government was at one point planning on dumping their toxic waste beneath our cities, I think the case can be made that the national government doesn’t have much regard for our land.
The only forebearance I may feel towards this whole thing is the fact that the momentum for Welsh independence movement will likely be seized by Plaid Cymru, a liberal party of about the same stripe as the SNP. Like their Scottish counterpart, they are sheepish supporters of the European Union and will use our break from the British union as a vehicle by which to attempt to repatriate with Brussels, a move that I doubt would be supported by the European Union. I want Wales to be independent for the UK if that is what we desire, but I also want us to be apart from the decrepit, bourgeois European Union. We won’t quite be sovereign unless that is the case. And besides, I doubt that Wales will be free to go in a more leftward direction transcend Labour’s brand of class-collaborationist social democracy if we remain in the European Union.
Wales has always been more amenable to at least a somewhat leftward direction that much of the country, and although it is debatabely whether any socialist class consciousness has emerged successfully here, socialism has been a part of the country’s history in some imperfect form or another since the late 19th century. There are some British socialists who believe that talk about Welsh independence is counterproductive to the cause or working class politics, and that instead we should instead pursue unionist (as in the British national union, not as in trade unions or syndicates) praxis instead of secessionism. An example of this sentiment can be found in the Proletarian CPGB-ML Party, who by an astonishing coinicidence are also big fans of Nigel Farage. But we don’t live in opportune circumstances where we can just wait for everyone to become radical so we can do the British equivalent of the SFRY. It’s better then that we should just seize the moment and lead by example instead.
I first entered into some vague sense of political consciousness, like many in my generation, as a teenager during high school, and I started out with a heady mixture of idealism and confusion without any theoretical or ideological ground upon which to base my political assumptions, goals and ideals beyond a consistent passion for the idea of freedom. In my early years, I would oscillate frequently between an undefined anarchism and an equally vague left-liberalism, though many times I would often fall on the side of anarchism. Before that though you would probably find me supporting political candidates like Barack Obama or Nick Clegg in my early teenage years because I didn’t like the opposition or I suppose I was something of a basic liberal at the time. In the case of the anarchistic tendencies and passions, there was no real detail or ideology behind it, although I think I can say with some certainty that I was never an “anarcho-capitalist” (which I put in quotes because anarcho-capitalism even as a moniker is as much of a joke as the actual ideology appears to be). Literally, my primary reasoning was simply that the state was a bad thing, an infringement upon human liberty at its core, and alongside that I saw what I vaguely recognized as the right wing of politics, the conservative wing, as interested in the suppression of culture and the harvesting of the planet through hegemony and warfare. Back then I also used to be somewhat into the Zeitgeist films for a while, though I disagreed with what I perceived as their collectivism as well as their raging case of technophilia and utopianism, and I admired people like Bill Hicks, George Carlin and even Michael Moore, and I also had a fascination with people like Timothy Leary who were essentially free-thinking hippies for lack of a better word. So I guess you could say that I was pretty left wing at the time. This also coincided with the seeds of my interest in spirituality and to some extent the occult, as I discovered via the Internet the writings of people like Vadge Moore, Robin Artisson, and Osho.
By the time I entered college, I aligned less with anarchism or left-liberalism and drew closer to what I would call a sort of libertarian-lite sort of philosophy. Like with my anarchist phase, there was no ideological or theoretical base or praxis that I worked with, and it was still not clear if I was into left-wing libertarian ideologies or right-wing libertarian ideologies, in fact often times I would hold positions from both sides of the aisle – from the American right, for example, you’d find me with a notably strong support for gun ownership, particularly in contrast to pretty much everyone else in my college class, while on the left you’d largely find me supporting fairly socially liberal and sometimes even progressive causes. Keep that in mind, because for a long time going forward, until very recently, I had a certain personal distrust of socialism and related ideologies. It was around this time, or perhaps somewhere before that, that I became a Satanist as well. The emergent egoistic perspective, loosely borrowed from Anton LaVey and largely drawn from my obsession with the thematics of the Shin Megami Tensei series, lent itself rather nicely to the satanic libertarian phase of my life. Even after abandoning anarchism, I have often said on this blog that I would still held anarchy as an ideal of things, just non-attainable in reality. Why, I’m surprised that I never read the writings of Max Stirner at the time, because open introspection something tells me that the egoistic outlook probably lent itself at times to being something of a crypto-Stirnerite without me realizing it (although, in all fairness, it’s probably for the best that I didn’t outright embrace Stirnerite philosophy from what I’ve heard). Instead I thought of myself more in line with LaVey, and I guess Ayn Rand by proxy to some extent given how influential she was to LaVey’s philosophical outlook, as well as the ancient Chinese egoist Yang Zhu, who I even devoted a short blog post to back in 2013. Anyways, this egoistic vaguely libertarian outlook remained fairly consistent, although as time drew on I became very cynical, even to the point where I would dismiss democracy as a failed system.
However, as you may know, a lot changed back in 2016. By this time I had been vaguely aware of concepts like political correctness, and I had started seeing all manner of ludicrously illiberal proposals put forward and laws enacted by my country’s government, but eventually I would start to become more and more aware of exactly what kind of hot mess liberal society was in. In the space of two months I went from a cynical individual who didn’t care about the Brexit referendum much other than “maybe the EU will stop the Tories from making anti-porn laws” to becoming a strong and convinced Eurosceptic after realizing that my rationale for this was complete nonsense (and after seeing David Cameron, one of my most hated of politicians and then Conservative Party leader, come out in support of remaining in the European Union). As I begun to see large sections of the “left” oppose this, and in general act as antithetical to the liberty of their political opponents, I shifted right over the course of the year and began to take interest in things like populism, nationalism and “classical liberalism” (I’ll explain why that’s in quotes later on). With regards to American politics, I eventually became one of the rare Satanists to lend his support to Donald Trump, having rejected Bernie Sanders, become fed up of the Libertarians, and utterly opposed to Hillary Clinton, and because initially it looked like he might actually. Of course, we now know how that worked out.
Being on the right hasn’t actually been that easy on me, and it’s more often than not been a source of conflict on my part. On the one hand, being a Satanist, I could justify sympathizing with the right through the sort of socially Darwinist perspective that you find in Satanism and that I stressed as separating Satanism from simply being humanism. On the other hand, the tendency towards traditionalism or just cultural conservatism makes them annoying from time to time, and trying to deal with some people who went on and on about Christian culture whilst being a Satanist who supported secularism has been frustrating. Even on economics I was never such an absolutist as many libertarian capitalists are. Looking back, I wonder how many people on the right managed to reconcile economic libertarianism with the desire for the nation state to maintain control of its borders considering that full on economic libertarian logic inevitably leads to the conclusion that borders violate the non-aggression principle (an argument that I oppose), as well as, as I will go on to mention, the fact that capitalism cannot stay nationally grassroots because it must transgress borders in order to sustain itself. And then there’s the alt-right, who I never supported but always had to deal with the fact that they were on the radical end on the right.
In addition to this, I had noticed quite a few dubious things. The first, and this is honestly where I get into repudiation territory here, when you look into it, what the right calls “Cultural Marxism” is largely a myth. It has nothing to do with Marxist economics, and the way they use it is simply a stand-in for what would otherwise be called postmodernism or simply liberal political correctness. The only reason I used the phrase at the time was because I didn’t know shit about Marxism at the time, and I wanted nothing to do with the left so I distanced myself from them too much to learn about it until recently. I will leave a video below from a channel named Comrade Pierre Tru-Dank which I think explains the myth quite well, and I highly recommend you check out his other content as well.
Of course what my man Pierre doesn’t mention is that the term “Cultural Marxism” originated by critics of the Frankfurt School, such as Trent Schroyer, before becoming distorted by people like Pat Buchanan and William Lind into the “Cultural Marxism” meme we know today so that they could wage culture war against socially progressive, hell even just plain liberal causes, under the guise of fighting communism after the fall of the Soviet Union. I don’t think I can say I was a total believer, in fact it was often when I saw it applied to religion that I often saw glimpses of the theory’s weaknesses (seriously, Christianity is not dying because of “Cultural Marxism”, it’s dying because it is an increasingly irrelevant religion, impotent before the dawn of consumerism and the death of Yahweh), but I was simply aware of the term being paraded by “classical liberals” and thought of it as just another way of referring to the particular ideology that we kept seeing from campus ideologues and their progressive apologists. I think it’s fair to say that many people who found themselves opposed to the modern, authoritarian culture warrior breed of the left ended up getting duped by this trope and its proponents, and sadly I think many of them will not realize the same thing as I did before they become further entrenched into the right than I was.
Another thing I began to realize is how many on the right will often lay claim to a principle, such as opposition to political correctness, and then violate it for tactical reasons, or sometimes out of pure idiocy and hypocrisy. We saw this with Laura Loomer and Jack Posobiec gatecrashing last year’s Shakespeare In The Park rendition of Julius Ceasar and having it shut down because they seemingly believed that the play was endorsing violence against the president, which anyone with two brain cells would have interpreted as utterly nonsensical. You can also see this with how many on the right will claim to hate Saul Alinsky and his tactics because of his communist political leanings, and condemn Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for allegedly using their tactics, only to cite the very same Alinskyite tactics as a rationale for condemning someone as having offended them, as was the case when a Twitter personality named psychicpebbles uploaded a caricature of Ajit Pai to express disapproval of the repeal of Obama-era net neutrality protections. Both of those things they will rationalize with some unprincipled tripe about how it is the only way to teach SJWs the errors of their tactics, when in reality all it does is showcase the idiocy of the people who play them and their willingness to violate the ideals they claim to stand for just to compete with, let’s face it, blindingly insane college liberals who have no real politics beyond the realm of outrage culture and a kind of selfish intersectionalist metaphysics. That leads us nicely into another thing: as time went on I noticed that the whole social justice thing had petered out and slowly become irrelevant, but the right on the other hand keeps wanting to milk the whole thing for what it’s worth, and all the while you’ve got plenty of right wing snowflakes out there. In fact, just this week I have noticed that a high school teacher in California was fired over a rant he made just shy of two months ago where he basically dissed the military, and not only that but the student who got him fired said he was happy to get a man fired over his speech. Yes, there’s people on the right who believe that mere offensive speech constitutes bullying, the same side that rallied in support of Jordan Peterson for refusing to say whatever pronoun Canada asks him to, and almost no one was calling this out. And it’s all a product of the culture war which we’ve allowed ourselves to think is another other than bullshit that distracts us from the real problem.
What real problem you might ask? The short answer, frankly, is capitalism. The long answer is multi-faceted, but I’ll do my best to explain. For starters, you may remember a series of events concerning social media and censorship, in particular pertaining to YouTube. I have covered YouTube’s path towards authoritarianism and retardation many times, including that time Jeremy Crow found himself the subject of demonetization. Also, as it turns out, it’s not just edgy right-wingers who get subject to the limited state feature. Even communists are subject to it. Even liberal SJW apologists are subject to it. I’ve even seen channels like ReviewTechUSA get a video put into limited state at one point. Once you discover this, the idea that Google is solely attacking right-wingers or Nazis falls apart, and what you instead see is that this is probably the product of the particular algorithm that YouTube has. But, that’s not my main point. My main point is that companies like Google and YouTube are simply doing this in order to secure advertisers on their platform, and you can also see Twitter banning far-righters and collecting data on what website you go on in order to curtail “hate speech” as simply a reaction to their decline in the market and the perception that it this is caused by an online harassment problem. Thus, the erosion of freedom of speech on social media is directly caused by capitalistic incentives via the profit motive: or, in other words, you. Not to mention, we all know that many of these companies also sell your data and information and have been doing so for years for much the same reason: to make a profit off of it. This on its own should be a refutation of the axiom of “the freer the markets, the freer the people”. But more than this, it is a manifestation of the capitalist, even liberal, idea that freedom is all tied in with property, meaning that, if you are a subject of that property, the property owner takes away your freedom of speech. See, many critics of the actions of these social media websites I’ve seen will question the private company argument because they rightly think that you should not be suppressed arbitrarily by these companies, but in every other instance they will ultimately use the propertarian lens to support the very same political and economic system that has made these problems manifest to begin with.
Then you have the looming automation crisis, which I have discussed before. I have always been worried about the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, and the effects that it will have on humanity and society at large. What I never realized though is that this is another reason to reject capitalism. Think about it: you’re going to see millions of people economically displaced, they’re not going to be able to get employment because they’re not needed anymore for the most part, and universal basic income will not help because you’re going to run out of money to support it because no one is going to get any income because they can’t get jobs. And if that’s not enough, . Not to mention, the only reason we have things like planned obsolesence is because companies like Apple know that they can make an extra buck by shortening the life span of their products, forcing customers to buy more. Oh, and if political correctness and feminism bother you, take a look at the kind of people who sponsor it. Then there’s mass immigration in regards to the current migration crisis, which, as it turns out, can be explained largely by decades of American destabilization of the Middle East coupled with the capitalistic interest in cheap labour. Hell, what I recognize as globalism is nothing more than the product neoliberal capitalism inevitably transgresses the borders of the nation state because, as a system built on profit, growth and consumption, it must access new markets by any means or it will stagnate and die. Not to mention, pretty much everyone who can accurately be pointed to as one of the globalists is also a died in the wool member of the capitalist class (just look at the American Deep State, the European Union, or the IMF and you’ll see what I mean). Then there is simply the fact the consumer culture that I have long hated can easily be traced to the mass industrialization of culture that the capitalist mode of production has generated.
I mean there are so many capitalistic interests underpinning what I’ve been opposing the entire time that I’m starting to think the only reason the right is so autistic about Marxism is because they don’t want to oppose capitalism despite it being the logical conclusion of some of their grievances. Only by replacing the current economic system with a system that isn’t based off of profit and consumption, and is instead based on putting economic power into the hands of the people rather than corporations or the state, are you going to get rid of the incentives that drive all of the woes I speak of, but I guess they’re not smart enough to realize it. And we’re going to need to do it pretty soon before either automation robs us all of jobs or we run out of the resources needed to make even tiny little computer chips within a century. Not to mention, when the next economic crisis arrives, which it is predicted to do so within relatively short order, people are going radicalize in response to the material conditions and turn away from liberal capitalism. At that point, the two options most people will pick will be either socialism or fascism. And I really, really, really would not like to see the return of fascism. I’ve even discussed this before when writing about Edward Bernays, just from the libertarian and anti-socialist perspective that I once had. Mark my words, we have seen fascism arise , it will happen again.
In many ways I am starting to think that I was right-wing for the following reasons: (1) I sympathized with libertarians on wedge issues, (2) I simply reacted to the left at the time, and without any understanding of the actual ideas of the left I could not criticize the actions of people like Antifa from a left position, and (3) because at the time I began to think that supporting some form of national populism was the logical means of rebelling against the establishment. But if I think about it, the position I was in really ultimately supports the system more than it opposes it. The only area in which that isn’t the case is in the culture war and the whole globalism thing, and even then, unless it goes outside of and opposes capitalism in meaningful way, all it’s going to do is support the status quo that generates my woes to begin with. All I did was dislike the way some of the left was acting, and then I found myself in a position that really isn’t going to do much in the long run, and is based simply on reaction. It was, I guess for all intents and purposes, a reactionary phase.
That, in one long rant, encompasses my political journey, and the realizations that I have made along the way. I hope it wasn’t too boring. I won’t be deleting any of my posts from my prior political phase simply because there is no point in trying to scrub that out of my blog’s history.
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.
Recently I have been out in town in my local area, and I have seen a few of these posters:
At first glance, I thought this was the announcement of the beginning of some kind of Nazi-esque far-left and racial nationalist organization because I thought the eagle and that rune, which resembled the kind of runes you usually see associated with far-right organizations, and this created the impression that they might have vague ties to fascism. But when I looked up the movement I found that it turns out that they aren’t some kind of left-wing fascist movement, but they are socialist nationalists (no, not national socialists; just bear with me for a moment).
According to their website the movement is known as Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr, which is Welsh for “The Great Unrest” (which seems to be a reference to a series of demonstrations, strikes and civil unrest that occurred in the UK around the time of World War 1), and they describe themselves revolutionary socialists (apparently as opposed to reform socialists) who are interested in Welsh independence, which would of course mean that they want Wales to break from the union. They appear to be a very recent movement, but their blog suggests that they’ve been around for at least three years.
I didn’t realize this at first, but the eagle you see on the poster is actually the White Eagle of Snowdon, which they believe is a symbol of Welsh resistance to imperialism. That rune is a representation of that eagle, and it is also known by its Welsh name Yr Eryr Wen. Other symbols tied to the movement include the Red Pitchfork, which is they consider to be a symbol of their rural land campaigns, and the Scotch Cattle, which they consider to be a symbol of their commitment to a supposed class struggle in Wales. I’ll be honest – you know you’re in for a good time when they talk about how committed they are to the idea of class conflict.
They also seem to have flags with the number 1831 on it, and I’m not entirely sure what that means.
They also seem to be opposed to the European Union, which frankly is something I think we can agree on. In fact they consider themselves to be part of the left-wing Brexit movement, or Lexit (I hope that doesn’t get confusing when or if Luxembourg decides to have its own referendum on the EU). I suspect their opposition to the EU is tied to their apparent nationalism and their opposition to imperialism, or at least what they see as imperialism – they may view the European Union as an imperialist institution, and to be fair I wouldn’t blame them for thinking that.
There’s not much information out there, at least that I can find, about this Welsh Socialist Republican Congress that they are planning. When I looked up “welsh socialist republican”, I get results for something called the Welsh Socialist Republican Movement, and older left-wing Welsh nationalist movement that started in 1980 and apparently did not last very long. They seemed to be disillusioned with the Plaid Cymru party, which they saw as being uncommitted to the nationalism, socialism and republicanism that they were supposed to uphold. Beyond that, I know little of the movement. Given that Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr are planning a “Welsh Socialist Republican” congress, it seems to me that they me that they might be trying to revive the original movement, or something to that effect. There are apparently pre-congress meetings to be held this month in Carmarthen, Wrexham and Merthyr. I don’t think I would want to attend those sort of meetings, but if I did want to go it might be a good way of getting more information first-hand considering I actually live not far the area of one of their planned locations for these meetings.
There is something I am worried about with regards to the movement, and it does concern the Yr Eryr En symbol. In researching the symbol I found that it actually has been tied to radical nationalism, and not just specifically left-wing nationalism. There was the Free Wales Army who were a militant Welsh nationalist movement back in the 1960’s. They used the symbol to represent their movement. Apart from that, who else should I find brandishing the symbol other than the Welsh branch of National Front. On one of their flags, that very symbol appears alongside three flag designs.
In fact, these are the same people who held a white pride rally in Swansea back in March, and there do exist images of this flag being waved in Swansea.
That both Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr and National Front seem to the use the symbol is surely not entirely coincidental. It doesn’t matter to me that one of them are avowed socialists and the other are far-right white supremacists. Both adopt the symbol for their respective movements, which suggests a commitment to radical and/or possibly authoritarian nationalism, based on the authoritarian values of the supremacy of the state, as is the case in any dictatorship. The kind of nationalism where national identity would be enforced from the top down instead of springing from the bottom up.
Whatever Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr are planning, you can rest assured that I am diametrically opposed to their movement (apart from the fact that they oppose the European Union), mainly because of their advocacy of socialism but also because of what I suspect their brand of left-wing nationalism might entail (not least because of the fact that Scotland is currently controlled by an illiberal left-wing nationalist party). These people want to bring both socialism and Welsh nationalism to the fore of Welsh politics, and I honestly think that doesn’t sound like a very pleasant combination. It also seems to me that, between these guys and the presence of Antifa and Anarchist Action Network, it seems to me that there is a lingering far-left movement in Wales. I really hope these people don’t gain any legitimacy in Welsh politics. They are one of the last things Wales could possibly need.