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David Gillies on Jeremy Corbyn

Every so often I encounter a comment that seems to me to deserve to be dragged out of the credits at the end of the show, and given top billing in its own right.

Here is one such, by David Gillies, at David Thompson’s blog, on this posting. Someone had introduced the subject of Jeremy Corbyn into the comment thread. This was what Gillies had to say about the man:

Jeremy Corbyn was born in 1949. Stalin was still in power then. Since then we have been through the Korean War, the 1956 Hungarian revolution, the Prague Spring and its subsequent repression, the Communist takeover of Viet Nam and Laos, the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia, the fall of Eastern European Communism, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Tiananmen Square and the recent upswing in Russian revanchism. We have also seen free markets and the rule of Law lift billions out of utter destitution, leaving mainly untouched those areas where the Left still has sway. Despite all this, Corbyn still cleaves to the most disgusting, barbarous ideology that has been seen on Earth since the Conquistadors put the kibosh on Aztec thoracic surgery. That’s not misguided. That’s evil. Just because he looks like a geography teacher shouldn’t let him off the hook. He is a wicked man busily surrounding himself with wicked (mainly) men and a few wicked women. We should not be afraid to state, plainly and repeatedly, what he is and what he stands for. To do any less is to acquiesce in his vileness.

On the other hand, the commenter directly above Gillies pours scorn on Corbyn’s fondness for photographing manholes. I see nothing wrong with that. And if Corbyn could be chased out of politics and persuaded to stick to doing only that, I would then see a lot less wrong with Corbyn.

If only there was some way for the Labour Party to be trashed, which is what Corbyn seems to be doing, without the trashing of my country also being risked.

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63 comments to David Gillies on Jeremy Corbyn

  • Frank S

    An excellent comment. Corbyn is a disgrace to our fledgling civilisation, which happens to be the best the world has ever seen.

  • David Gillies

    It never fails to amaze me that continued adherence to one form of Left totalitarianism (fascism/Nazism) is considered thoroughly beyond the pale whereas adherence to another (socialism/communism) is not, despite the outcomes from each being similarly sanguinary. This isn’t an original observation, of course, but I feel it bears repeating. Why did Eric Hobsbawm get made CH while David Irving is liable to prosecution in several European countries? They are both vile, reprehensible apologists for terror and deserve nothing but contumely and brickbats; only one is so afflicted.

    Anyway, nice to see something I’ve written get a slightly wider currency.

  • Pardone

    Blair trashed the Labour party long before Corbyn showed up. I’m no fan of Corbyn, but at least he has made PMQs civilized, and isn’t a vain, narcissistic egomaniac like Blair. Small graces indeed.

    Corbyn actually has (admittedly wonky) beliefs, whereas Hameron only seems to believe in trashing restaurants and Piggy-pumping.

    The trashing of restaurants (for which he and Boris should have been jailed) and his perverted piggery give real insight into Cameron the man, or rather man-child.

    Our political class consists of man-childs and lobby-lickers.

  • AndyRoyd

    ewe humans had a war against fascism butt knot against communism there4 fascism is more ungood than communism doubleplus ungood in fact sew watt is the problemo also fascism claims that some models of humans r plus good whilst other models should be sent 2 the scrapheap which is just what some quote owners endquote tried 2 do 2 me communism treats all models the same there4 it is good even humans should b able 2 c that

  • Laird

    Basically the same description can be applied to Pope Francis. Just sayin’.

  • Basically the same description can be applied to Pope Francis. Just sayin’.

    So true.

    The deleterious effect Corbyn’s views has is magnified when attributable to a Pope, whose station ought to transcend government policies in general.

    Seeing a Pope dirty himself by venturing into the Congress today made me feel nauseous. I’m a Jew but there’s something not right in the world when the Pope finds it necessary or even beneficial to advocate for certain policies – at least in such a banal manner.

    The resignation of Pope Benedict never smelled right and I must confess that I wonder whether that resignation and the current Pope’s antics are related.

  • thefrollickingmole

    Just because he looks like a geography teacher shouldn’t let him off the hook. He is a wicked man busily surrounding himself with wicked (mainly) men and a few wicked women.

    Himmler anyone?

    And before I get ‘godwined’ Im referring to the outside of a person not always being a good indicator of the festering psychological deficits within.

    Its amazing how the essential difference between the 2 ideologies of the left Communism and Nazism share the same need to control the public, but somehow the ‘left’ gets to brand nazism ‘right’ because that state slaughter and repression targeted ethnic as well as political groups.

  • James Strong

    You will get nowhere using the word ‘wicked’ to describe socialists.
    Paul Marks sometimes uses the word ‘evil’.
    To change minds you will need to recognise that a lot of people who vote for left-wing parties think they are doing good.
    In the last year or so the phrase ‘virtue-signalling’ has come into widespread use.
    These people think they are virtuous. That’s not the problem though; the problem is that other, less-committed people think that left-wingers are well-motivated too, even if they think mhey are misguided.
    ‘Wicked’ and ‘evil’ entail the meaning that the doer is fully aware that what he is doing is bad, yet goes ahead and dioes it anyway.
    You won’t get anywhere using those words.

  • Tomsmith

    James Strong is correct.

  • Mr Ed

    James Strong is wholly wrong. You point out the crimes of socialism, the bombs and bullets of the IRA, the rockets of Hamas, the trip behind the Berlin Wall and the shooting of anyone who tried to cross that Wall, and you say this man is their friend. By their friends shall ye know them. You point out that they are wolves masquerading as sheepish socialists.

    If you do not, you concede the argument.

  • Mr Ed

    Socialism is theft.
    Socialism is evil.
    Socialism is bullets in the back of the head.
    Socialism is bureaucracy.
    Socialism is wicked.
    Socialism is rationing.
    Socialism is imprisonment.
    Socialism is subordination to the State.
    Socialism is the GULAG.
    Socialism is the Berlin Wall.
    Socialism is Mussolini deciding what job you do.
    Socialism is Hitler deciding if you die because of your parentage.
    Socialism is Mao starving you to death.
    Socialism is Stalin purging you because you knew an Armenian bourgeois nationalist.
    Socialism is Pol Pot killing you for wearing bourgeois glasses.
    Socialism is the guillotine.
    Socialism is banning words.
    Socialism is banning ideas.
    Socialism is shortages.
    Socialism is no toilet paper in Venezuela.
    Socialism is starvation.
    Socialism is the Berlin Wall.
    Socialism is 1984.

    Jeremy Corbyn is a Socialist.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    The difference of opinion exemplified by the views of James Strong and Mr Ed as to how we (Libertarians and other anti-socialists) should regard socialists (the majority of the population) matters a lot.

    Unfortunately, it’s not at all obvious which view is right. Whenever I read a well-put argument on either side I agree with it – until I read a well-put argument on the other side. I say this not to discourage debate, as if this forum were a tea party into which political argument comes as a boorish intrusion, but to encourage it.

    How should we conduct ourselves?

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    What Mr Ed said.

    I think James Strong and Tomsmith are confusing not getting everywhere with getting nowhere.

    And on the contrary, I think that many regular people, in electorally significant numbers, do now think that actually hardcore socialism is decidedly evil. They now live semi-nice lives, and they’d like to keep it that way.

    This is part of why Corbyn’s popularity numbers, linked to in the original posting, are now so very low. He didn’t just support the USSR etc., he supports bloody Venezuela, which is a disaster right now. This fucker didn’t just not care about millions of Russians and Chinese being murdered, he now wants us to go short of toilet paper, just as soon as he can contrive it.

    Number one rule of arguing: don’t give up before you start.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    That’s true, Brian, but…

    Number two rule of arguing: don’t start by calling the person whose mind you wish to change an evil bastard who just wants to see people starve.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    Natalie

    One, I’m not trying to change Jeremy Corbyn’s mind, merely other people’s minds about Jeremy Corbyn, and about people like him.

    Two, it is actually sometimes worth telling someone that you think they are evil, because until you said that, the thought had not occurred to them. Moi, evil? Good grief.

    You won’t completely change their minds straight away, but you might well set a change of mind in motion.

    After all, what is the point of “virtue signalling”, if other people don’t think you are being virtuous? And, maybe I was being evil …

  • ‘Wicked’ and ‘evil’ entail the meaning that the doer is fully aware that what he is doing is bad, yet goes ahead and dioes it anyway.
    You won’t get anywhere using those words.

    I think you might mistake the value of such words. To try and reach the likes of a true believer is a waste of time, so tagging them them terms like wicked and evil are not to shame them into repentance, it is for the benefit of observing third parties. It also happens to be true. My favourite phrase for Corbyn is “Jeremy Corbyn, who wants the Jews of Israel exterminated by the Islamofascist Hamas organisation…”

    Believe me, I am not trying to show Corbyn the implications of his beliefs.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    By “the person whose mind you wish to change” I did not refer to Jeremy Corbyn. I referred to the person you met at a party, or the work colleague you chat to when taking a smoke break. The person who, like most of the people in the UK, is either a socialist or close to people who are socialists.

    One reason Labour lost the last election is that their apocalyptic melodrama about a “food bank Britain” in which benefit claimants were being “ethnically cleansed” by gloating social Darwinist Tories simply didn’t relate to reality as far as many of the electorate were concerned.

  • Mr Ecks

    “The person who, like most of the people in the UK, is either a socialist or close to people who are socialists.”

    Well they fucking shouldn’t be and it is long past time that they realised exactly what they are supporting. The long silence about the crimes of socialism now needs to be broken.

  • Regional

    Most politicians are grifters.

  • Greytop

    I am ambivalent about Corbyn simply because I largely regard it as irrelevant who runs a desperate, ill-thought scheme like the Labour Party. I might once have thought that Labour stood for something, but with the passing years whatever drove the likes of Keir Hardie has long been swamped by something quite nasty.So, because they are narrow-minded and essentially incompetent it doesn’t matter much who sits at their head. Corbyn is as good as anyone, because within their ranks they don’;t seem to have much of a clue about anything other than spouting rhetoric and rushing to help dangerous people like the IRA and aiding various dictators in their quest to subvert humankind.

    As for him photographing personhole covers, well it might remind him that there were once workers who knew how to make such stout things, though no one in his group of friends would have clue how to go about it.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Speaking for myself, i call “evil” all actions that lead to evil outcomes, independently of the intentions behind the actions. By extension, for me all people whose actions have had predominantly evil results, are evil people. Also, all people who predominantly praise and advocate evil actions, are evil people. That makes Corbyn evil, whatever his intentions. I find that this counter-Jesuitic rule makes my life easier.

    An important qualification must be made, however: when people cannot be expected to know that what they do, or advocate, leads to evil outcomes, then they are not evil.
    However, Corbyn could easily figure out that what he advocates would lead to evil results: whether he has figured it out, or did not bother to do so, is irrelevant to me.
    Being too stupid to figure it out, is not an excuse: he should realize his intellectual limitations and stay out of politics; if he doesn’t, then he is still evil from my point of view.

    (For what it’s worth, I am inclined to believe that Corbyn has not figured it out: if he did, he would know that it is political suicide to praise Chavez.)

  • It occurs to me that if Corbyn does succeed in discrediting and destroying the Labour Party (he won’t, but I can dream), then there should be a profound realignment in the British polity, whereby the two major parties are centre-left and the other centre-right. Interestingly enough, the “centre-left” party would be the current (mis-named) Conservative Party, and the “centre-right” would be, for want of a better term, a new party called the “Traditional” party: one which is concerned with returning Britain to a 1900s “Edwardian” culture (excluding outliers like the women’s franchise and the rigid class system — i.e. the culture, not the polity).

    That won’t happen, of course; modern Britain is so thoroughly steeped in statism and socialism (some overlap) that such a change would be impossible. But that doesn’t mean it’s not desirable.

  • JohnW

    Most people are altruists who take a dim view of self-interest.
    It’s impossible to defend capitalism if you take something other than your own happiness as the purpose of your life.

  • Runcie Balspune

    whereby the two major parties are centre-left and the other centre-right

    Ever imagine a British parliament where there are more than two major parties, enough to prevent one party ruling us all? The schism needs to happen on one side or the other, in years past it would have been the anti-EU UKIP sympathizers breaking off from the mainstream conservative but the “anyone but Milliband” voters put stop to that and gave Dave his majority. Now we are back to another SDP moment on the left, however, it could be the case that if one side splits then so will the other.

  • Stonyground

    “It’s impossible to defend capitalism if you take something other than your own happiness as the purpose of your life.”

    Seriously? You think that I am unable to defend the only system that has consistently delivered the highest living standards for the highest number of people everywhere that it has been tried? As compared to socialism that has consistently done the opposite. In view of these facts I think that I can be altruistic and defend capitalism with laughable ease.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    Stonyground – strongly agreed.

  • Remember the Kim Dictum: “Socialism attempts to suppress human nature; capitalism merely exacerbates it.”

  • Paul Marks

    The quotation in the post is just.

    Mr Corbyn is not a thinker in the mid 1700s (such as the Abbe de Mably).

    Anyone who is still a collectivist in 2015, after more than a hundred million murders (see “The Black Book of Communism”) is not just making a intellectual mistake.

    Their position is morally obscene.

    But then Mr Corbyn makes no secret of his evil.

    He stands openly by the banners of Hamas and the “Party of God” of Lebanon.

    And those of the IRA.

    This person, and his associates, represents evil.

  • Slartibartfarst

    This discussion seems to be reverting to type.

    “When given the choice between changing one’s mind or proving one’s point of view, most people get busy on the proof.”

    (JK Galbraith, American economist).

    I think there might be a name for wanting the world to see things your way and being intolerant of people who don’t, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

  • Natalie, to your question (and to echo some of Snorri’s points): some people are evil and so are doing evil things. Other people who are not evil, support the former, thus leading to evil results. (The former tend to be politicians, current and wannabes, but may be beside the point). So the former need to be told that they are in fact evil, and the latter need to be shown that their support for the former lead to evil results. In both cases though, the term ‘evil’ or synonyms thereof, should certainly be used.

  • JohnW

    Seriously? You think that I am unable to defend the only system that has consistently delivered the highest living standards for the highest number of people everywhere that it has been tried? As compared to socialism that has consistently done the opposite.

    Even Corbyn is not demanding socialism i.e. state ownership of the means of production distribution and exchange. He only seeks ‘market socialism’ – a little more state ownership of finance and transport and housing – to make society less unequal.

    According to Obama, inequality is the defining issue of our time and Piketty’s anti-inequality screed [ I know, I know…] is an all-time best seller.

    Now you and I might say, well, inequality is a fact of life and recognising the facts is good for everyone, but when surveys ask which is the most moral society: State A where everyone owns more or less an equal of amount of wealth and, State B where everyone is richer than State A but there are vast inequalities of wealth, time and time again people vote the same way – and it is not for State B.

    After all, does not the law of diminishing marginal utility apply to wealth as much as anything else? What possible satisfaction could a multi-billionaire obtain from an extra million dollars of wealth – surely there would be more satisfaction if that extra million were spread equally among the poor? What use-value could a billionaire obtain that would in any way compare to the enormous satisfaction that would obtain if that use-value were distributed equally among the poor?

    [Of course, I know “wealth” is not the same a goods and services – but they don’t know that – so he says he wants to take a shit in a billionaire’s gold-plated bathroom and his audience applauds 1.31.45 secs…because that’s moral.]

  • Johnnydub

    John W – I might have more sympathy for your point of view if it wasn’t just a pipe dream.

    Look at the history of the Western World – at the same time that the worlds wealth has increased, so has the size of the state, principally with a re-distributive agenda. Look at the fact that the current entitlement programs will bankrupt each and every western national economy in time.

    Look at the size of the banking system and the fraud and instability contained within. This hasn’t happened in spite of the size of the state it, has happened because of the size of the state. Western Governments are in hock with the corporations. We have rampant corporatism. Look at the US political system or the EU. The people don’t get a voice. This is because the state’s influence is broad and yet so easily purchased. Yet all your solutions require more government, which will lead to more inequality which will lead to more corruption.

    Now you’ve got governments around the world realising that the writings is on the wall. The current system has a finite lifespan. And their response? Mass uncontrolled immigration. Smash the nation state. The societal movements of our time are driven by the agenda of difference, of setting one group against one another. And lets not even open up the Pandora’s box on this forum which is a discussion about Islam.

    And you think a bit more tax is the answer? FFS…

  • Chester Draws

    The long silence about the crimes of socialism now needs to be broken.

    Fucking Sweden, cesspit of the universe!

    Not every “Socialism” is Marxist. Some are really rather mild. And in Sweden’s case, for example, has delivered results that the locals are quite happy with.

    Tarring every Social Democrat with the crimes of Lenin is not only going to not win over the likes of Corbyn, it’s going to make you look like an idiot to mild Social Democrats. Most of the population, in fact. You need a better argument to socialised medicine and education than “Stalin was evil”.

  • Chester Draws

    And, yes, I know Sweden is not fully Socialist. It is possible to be mildly left-wing and not a nut case.

  • Tomsmith

    I think James Strong and Tomsmith are confusing not getting everywhere with getting nowhere.

    And on the contrary, I think that many regular people, in electorally significant numbers, do now think that actually hardcore socialism is decidedly evil. They now live semi-nice lives, and they’d like to keep it that way.

    I have a different experience of regular people. Everyone that I know personally is a socialist to some degree. All of my family. All of my friends. It isn’t that most have thought about the struggle of the workers against the capitalists and fully bought into it; it is more that they all have a point beyond which they will not go in terms of getting rid of social welfare provision, subsidies, protections, and so on.

    They believe fully that such beliefs are compassionate and motivated by care for others, and that they will lead to greater welfare for all. They believe that unadulterated individualism is sefish and wrong. Evil even. The vast majority are not evil people. More than half are not stupid people. They are mostly just people that don’t agree with me. I know from long and hard experience that getting too personal about political belief is a short route to losing friends and does nothing to convince anyone that I am correct. I have convinced precisely nobody that I know of the rightness of my political beliefs and I have stopped trying because I have a life to live with people that think differently to me.

    the only time I have experienced any success in political arguments is when I don’t insult or belittle the beliefs of the person I am talking to, no matter how much I might disagree with them. Nobody wants to be told they are stupid or evil, that must be obvious to everyone here if they stop to think about it for a second.

  • JohnW

    @Johnnydub
    You have misread my comments – I was only quoting the statists – I do not approve of them at all and I can easily disprove all their economic fallacies, the facts are indisputable and have been proven repeatedly both at the local level and on world-wide scale, in practise and in theory.

    The question remains: why is there no laissez-faire capitalism today? – why is the West labouring under the burden of increasingly regulated mixed economies?

    We cannot blame poverty, idleness, ignorance and incompetence for this irrationality – President Obama’s presidential campaign was funded not by impoverished and ignorant casual labourers but by wealthy self-made businessmen – so why do businessmen support their own enslavement?

    In 1992 Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign strategist James Carville coined the slogan “it’s the economy, stupid” to emphasise the importance of economic factors to electoral victory – but although Carville’s campaign was successful, his analysis was mistaken.
    People do not vote for political leaders on the basis that they will become a little wealthier or little more materially comfortable or have a slighter better car – they vote for the social system they believe to be moral and the system they believe to be moral is not capitalism.

  • mojo

    Perhaps it’s time the “socialist” masses got what they say they want (good and hard, as Mencken quipped).

    Evidently. the post-war Labour government wasn’t lesson enough.

  • Mr Ecks

    Chester Draws:”It is possible to be mildly left-wing and not a nut case.”

    No you don’t have to be crazy–just evil.

    Don’t come it. Anybody saying that they were “mildly Nazi” would be shat on from a great height. Why should the supporters of socialism–the parent of Nazism–and WORSE than Nazism get away with that bullshit.

  • Tomsmith

    Anybody saying that they were “mildly Nazi” would be shat on from a great height. Why should the supporters of socialism–the parent of Nazism–and WORSE than Nazism get away with that bullshit.

    Because most people don’t agree with you that socialism is in any way related to, similar to, or worse than Nazism. That may be because of clever PR on the part of socialists, but it is a fact, and you shouting that everyone is stupid and wrong for believing it will not win you many converts to whatever you believe.

  • Mr Ed

    Surely a sensible strategy is to point out:

    The evils inherent in socialism.
    The evil people who lead or have led it.
    The horrors of socialism.
    The lies of socialism.
    The origins and kinship of fascism, Nazism and socialism.
    The moral worth of liberty.
    The hazards of losing liberty,
    The economic errors in socialism.
    The economic abundance flowing from capitalism.
    The lie that socialism can deliver anything but poverty, misery and fear.
    Then to ask people what they want to achieve.

    If people know what socialism will lead to, regard it as unpleasant on their own terms but support it anyway, and I fear that many (educated?) people are like that, then that is unfortunate. Most people, the quiet people, who are not political exhibitionists and who are repelled or bored by politics but regard it as something that is interested in them and to be concerned about, like angry wasps at your picnic on a warm autumn day, may well take an interest and be concerned enough to act in a pro-freedom or least bad choice manner.

    E.g. ‘Did you know that Mr Farron wants to keep in place laws that prevent the deportation of foreign rapists on their release from prison, if they have a family life in the UK?‘.

    So would you regard his policies as based on morality?

  • Patrick Crozier

    I take issue with the idea (expressed many comments ago) that there was a time long ago when the Labour Party was made up of decent, principled, public-spirited men. My reading of The Times (OK, biased source) is that they were always evil, money-grubbing bullies who would do anything in their power to destroy freedom even if it meant having the Kaiser invade.

    When you look at the strikes – OK it’s trade unions rather than the Labour Party but they are of the same ilk – of the pre-First World War period they are as much about power – closed shops, rights to negotiation, demarcation – as they are about improving pay and conditions. And, as we know improved pay and conditions for somebody almost inevitably means unemployment and destitution for someone else.

    Despicable then, despicable now. The difference is that they now have the knowledge of what their ideas do. And still they do it.

  • Alex

    Mr Ed, I agree that the inherent problems with socialism should be pointed out but I agree with Tomsmith that it would not resonate with most people. They simply do not believe there is anything wrong with “a little socialism”. Look at how socialists undermine public support for the free market, they do not openly argue with private ownership or the market any more but they nevertheless advance their cause with lots of soft support by pointing out the problems. Of course we, being free-market libertarians of whatever stripe, know that most of these problems are in fact caused by distortions in the market originating from state-action. Most people in this country, though, think that supporters of the free-market support crony capitalism (which to such people is simply capitalism).

    The danger from socialism today is not some red revolution that will execute the Queen and install a soviet in Downing Street, nationalise the industries, etc. The danger is that they will win the long cultural war by utterly destroying the elements of a free society in a way that the communists never could. We already live in a society that openly defies biological fact and persecutes those who obstinately refuse to bend to the new orthodoxy. How does the free market survive in a world where “facts” are defined not by reason but by politics? All this to say, I guess, that Orwell was right – the real war is in the workings of the mind: language and thought.

  • Mr Ecks

    “Mr Ed, I agree that the inherent problems with socialism should be pointed out but I agree with Tomsmith that it would not resonate with most people”

    Well that is tough luck because it had better start “resonating” with the masses soon. Because if we lose to socialism we lose the lot. The universal triumph of socialism = universal collapse and death. Unless anybody out their thinks “Mad Max” is a viable and worthwhile lifestyle we had best to start at least to get the message out there that socialism IS evil and the consequences of endorsing and supporting it will ultimately make you wish you (and yours) had never been born.

  • Tomsmith

    Well that is tough luck because it had better start “resonating” with the masses soon. Because if we lose to socialism we lose the lot. The universal triumph of socialism = universal collapse and death. Unless anybody out their thinks “Mad Max” is a viable and worthwhile lifestyle we had best to start at least to get the message out there that socialism IS evil and the consequences of endorsing and supporting it will ultimately make you wish you (and yours) had never been born.

    It is impractical to call the vast majority of people evil if you expect to convince them of your extreme minority viewpoint. Most people think that a bit of socialism is desirable, good and beneficial. This is where you need to start. I agruing with these people, you don’t need to agree that socialist solutions are correct, but you do need to make sure that the people you are trying to convince don’t feel denigrated, ridiculed and hated by you for what they sincerely believe.

  • Alex

    I don’t see any comment here arguing that socialism is a good idea, the discussion is about strategy. Simply telling the average person on the street that socialism is evil will only result in 2 outcomes – they either agree or disagree. Those that agree we perhaps don’t need to worry about. Those that disagree likely think we are evil.

    Why did you choose to quote the first part of my comment? Do you agree or do you disagree that most people think “a little socialism” is a good idea? If you agree that they do, what is your opinion on how best to communicate the dangers in such a line of thinking?

  • I think some of you *may* be talking at crossed-porpoises about the difference between “collectivism” and “individualism”.

    Let me tell you a story. When I lived on Meanwood Rd, Leeds 7 (’89-’90) I vaguely knew this woman of c.40. She claimed every benny imaginable (and some that weren’t). All from the Social. She had a much better standard of living (in the GBP, anyway) than me. She watched her TV form the Social and got any new kitchen appliance buckshee. I was a “funded” Maths postgrad. I was amazed what she got. I had a bust-up 80386SX mains-only Elonex laptop I’d bought second-hand in ’93 off my own bat. She and her son (who was a scrote) had internet. And why was that? Her son shared his time with his father on the other side of town and she’d petitioned for him to have a proper laptop because of the time-share agreement over the son. She had argued it was unfair that because her ex- only had a desktop so kiddy was being discriminated against that he couldn’t take his stuff cross-town. It made me sick.

    That descent into a state-funded Dickensian crapulence that was LS7 was bad enough but that the state-funded it was dreadful but had nothing for the likes of me (well, not enough to buy a computer (and I was doing post-grad maths). But she knew all the buttons to push.

    My point is that collectivism can co-exist with selfishness. She was an example round there but there were others. Many others and she claimed them mercilessly with not even a pretence at the welfare state being a safety net. I said there were others. There was a group of four lasses two doors form me (again a much nicer house than mine) who quite openly (and with the complicity, indeed encouragement, of their parents) had got a council house.

    My point being there are those who have taken the “safety net” of the collective and exploited it as selfishly as any of these terrible, terrible bankers etc.

  • PS. I guess I meant to add that if they had put as much of that ingenuity and effort into doing something useful as they did to scrounging then… Well, the place wouldn’t have looked like Mogadishu on the Aire. And yes, a mate of mine was mugged by an “asylum seeker” in neighbouring LS8 for khat-money.

    I considered the LT Ripley option with Leeds.

  • JohnW

    My point is that collectivism can co-exist with selfishness.

    Only if you define selfishness to mean “satisfying your immediate needs by any means” – that is the whole problem.

    “The meaning ascribed in popular usage to the word “selfishness” is not merely wrong: it represents a devastating intellectual “package-deal,” which is responsible, more than any other single factor, for the arrested moral development of mankind.
    In popular usage, the word “selfishness” is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.
    Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word “selfishness” is: concern with one’s own interests.
    This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.”
    Ayn Rand, Virtue of Selfishness.

    You can only have that type of parasitism in a culture which favours and approves of self-sacrifice to finance the racket.

  • Snorri Godhi

    When you want to sway people to the libertarian point of view, i suggest (though i have little experience in this) that first of all you must not let them frame the debate. Shame them for their moral vanity, and if they bring up the US of A, dismiss their blather on the ground that the US is no longer a free market, without getting into details; instead, bring up some better role models (including the States free of slavery and segregation, but only before the New Deal). You could also point out that the US has seen the 4th largest decline in economic freedom since 2000, behind Venezuela, Argentina, and Iceland — not the sort of company one wants to be in. (See the last few paragraphs here.)

    Another thing that you might bring up is that the State inexorably grows over the long term: no matter how much socialism people want, they are probably going to get more than they want. (Recent trends towards more economic freedom — outside the US — do not yet disprove the general rule.) There is no point in discussing with people who want a totalitarian State, since they are moral idiots, but you could point out that totalitarian states have a tendency to collapse, so that they’ll suddenly get much less socialism than they want.

  • Laird

    @ Tomsmith: “but you do need to make sure that the people you are trying to convince don’t feel denigrated, ridiculed and hated by you for what they sincerely believe.”

    I don’t disagree that, as a tactical matter, denigrating someone is a poor strategy if the objective is to convince him that he is wrong (and you think there is some reasonable hope of changing his mind). However, I take issue with the claim that, for the average “soft” socialist, such beliefs are “sincere”. In most cases there is not enough thought behind those beliefs to grant them such respect. Such people merely have a vague feeling that a little socialism is “nice”, and they’re parroting the things they hear from their friends and, especially, the media.

    In any event, as has been repeatedly stated by others in this thread, socialism in an intrinsically evil philosophy, and anyone who “sincerely” believes in it (that is, has truly thought through its implications sufficiently for that belief to be considered “sincere”) is himself evil, and you have no chance of changing his mind. I have no problem with offending such people.

  • Tomsmith

    But people have gone from sincere belief in socialism to sincere belief in freedom and individualism. Are such people still evil, or are they cured?

  • JohnW,

    Only if you define selfishness to mean “satisfying your immediate needs by any means” – that is the whole problem.

    Yes, it is a problem but that is what my stories were meant to illustrate. If you can selfishly get it from the Social then why not? That is nasty selfishness.

    If, on the other hand, you want to make a good living creating a product or service people want and you ain’t doing it pro-bono then fine. Great. I am typing this on a computer that wouldn’t exist without Lenovo wanting to make a few quids out of it. Fair enough That is good selfishness. Because everyone wins.

    Sorry if this is incoherent but I watched the England-Wales game well time-shifted and am somewhat hung-over.

  • JohnW

    And how moral is Lenovo? How moral is Warren Buffet? Well, we know because he tells us – he is evil – so he intends to make amends and give his wealth away.
    That’s the problem – the West reeks of altruism.

  • Stonyground

    How selfish of me to hold down a job in order to pay my way and support my family. How selfish of me to saddle myself with a mortgage to put a roof over my head. I’m not rich but I do OK. What I don’t do is expect the state to sort out my problems using money stolen from other people. I believe that most of us here are what could be described as net contributors. We don’t ask the state to do much of anything on our behalf, we prefer to paddle our own canoes. Just one of the problems that I have with the socialists and their various schemes to ‘help’ the poor is that it is evil, selfish me who is expected to pay for them.

    Having said all that, I do sort of get the idea of just a little bit of socialism that has been discussed above. In the past I have been unemployed and had to claim what was then referred to as ‘the dole’. I was only ever out of work for a short time, a couple of months at most, but it is a fact of life that unemployment can happen to anyone. I think that it is probably impossible to design a safety net in such a way that some people will not abuse it but I would not want to live in a society that didn’t have one.

  • JohnW

    I suspect the main problem for the unemployed under laissez-faire would be the constant harassment of businessmen seeking to purchase their labour.

  • All this talk of tactics and strategy is futile.

    A government’s size, ceteris paribus, tends to expand at a rate proportionate to the extent to which the means by which said government’s power is vested by putatively democratic means. The more “democratic” a government is, in other words, the faster it expands. There are several reasons why this is.

    A suggestion for those fruitlessly striving to deliver better government to the English people than that which they so richly deserve: do not interfere in a state of affairs over which you possess no control. Abstaining from mitigating the harmful effects of an evil process accelerates the ending of said process, which must, in any case, run its course. An evil, carried to a certain point, necessarily consumes itself and England, tender reader, is long past the day of no return.

  • Supporters of the Conservative Party are giddy at the prospect of running against Corbyn-led Labor party – but for the wrong reason, I’m afraid.

    Corbyn is no Obama; Cameron is no Romney. But with that said, this snippet of Mencius Moldbug seems terribly apt in capturing a reality that many (perhaps most) commenters in this thread do not recognize, which is that defeating the Left democratically is actually counterproductive in the long run.

    Do you know what terrifies me? What terrifies me is that not only do I not think America deserves Mitt Romney, I don’t even think America deserves Barack Obama. After all, a couple of centuries of diligent looking-after has run us up quite a tab with God. A tab that will be paid or punished. What terrifies me is that while I see no collective interest in paying the tab, it doesn’t seem to me that the punishment has even begun to begin. Barack Obama isn’t exactly Robespierre, you know. “Capable” might be going too far, but “basically decent” isn’t that much of a stretch.

    What terrified me about Mitt Romney is that four years, eight years, of Romney would have been pure borrowed time. There was not even the slightest intention to pay the tab. Your intention, dear conservatives, was to sleep and be merry. Your debt is already terrifying. Fall on your knees, dear conservatives, and thank God from the bottom of your heart that you didn’t put another decade on it.

    The people WILL get the government they deserve – eventually. Slowing the inevitable augments the pain.

  • But people have gone from sincere belief in socialism to sincere belief in freedom and individualism. Are such people still evil, or are they cured?

    Indeed – and either they were not sincere (the way Laird explained it) to begin with, or they realized* their sincere belief was in an evil ideology, which they no longer wanted to support it.

    *either as a result of having been told so, or through having underwent a crisis that in hindsight they would much rather avoid – don’t you think the former option is better for everyone involved?

  • Tomsmith

    Indeed – and either they were not sincere (the way Laird explained it) to begin with, or they realized* their sincere belief was in an evil ideology, which they no longer wanted to support it.

    Or their belief in individualism is of just the same standard as their previous belief in socialism. Or they are personally “evil” people and they feel their interests are better served by individualism. Or new evidence appeared that they didn’t have before. Or their goals/moral values in life changed due to changing circumstances.

    Life is not black and white. It reeks of cultism to always identify the enemy as evil. This is what anilmal rights groups, radical environmentalists and socialists do. It is the action of a collectivist mindset.

  • Indeed, Tomsmith – and I am not suggesting that people who subscribe to evil ideologies are necessarily evil persons, in fact I’m fairly sure most of them are not (and BTW, I believe there are also people who support the same ideas I do, at least superficially, and yet they are innately evil). So no, my point is not telling such people that they are evil, but it is very much my point explaining to them (provided they are willing to listen, which often is not the case anyway) that they are supporting ideas and actions that will certainly bring evil results.

  • Tomsmith

    That’s a very different argument, and I agree one that is worth making.

  • Indeed. I don’t think anyone here was suggesting telling regular people who disagree with us that they are evil – granted, though, some of us will often misspeak and actually say that, and we have to be careful about that. Most people, on both sides of the ideological divide, are not innately evil – if they were, there would have been no point in trying to convince them to begin with. Truly evil people are a minority, probably a small one, and they will always exist. The real challenge is showing the benign majority that they may be supporting ideas and actions that are likely to lead to evil results.

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