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Samizdata quote of the day

The United States under Biden and Harris and the UK under Boris Johnson are set to travel in very different directions. While America is accelerating down the segregationist cul-de-sac; Britain is seeking a way out.

Alex Story

49 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • bobby b

    “While America is accelerating down the segregationist cul-de-sac; Britain is seeking a way out.”

    Sure, by limiting immigration. Britain remains a much more homogeneous society than the US. If you add up all of the various US Victim groups and their members, you’ll get to a figure of over half the total population. Get ready for payback.

  • “While America is accelerating down the segregationist cul-de-sac; Britain is seeking a way out.”

    Not just that, but the ones currently in charge are attempting to ensure that the electoral steal becomes permanent.

    As for the British “War on Woke”, lots of talk, not much action.

  • John Lewis

    Paul Joseph Watson highlights the fact that many Chelsea fans (I’m not at all convinced it was just only one set of supporters) loudly booed the players kneeling before Saturdays Champions League final.

    Naturally the bbc led commenteriat chose to ignore this.

  • Martin

    @bobby b: Maybe. But the various “victim groups” aren’t homogenous at all. The arrogance, display of entitlement and “violent victimhood competition” of Afroamericans currently alienate them from a lot of other groups, especially asian americans, but also latinos. There might not be “payback”, but rather a backlash against the “white guilt” parasitism of the last decades.

  • itellyounothing

    How long before Asian guilt has to be added to white guilt?

  • Mark

    Black lying murderers simply have no place here. It’s not just grift, it’s an attempt to pretend that Britain equals Mississippi and to rewrite our history accordingly. Nobody, who isn’t black, has any place in their twisted world, except as props, rides in the theme park of invented black grievance. And that is doubly so if you are black and call them out.

    Just fuck off, I mean totally and absolutely fuck off!!

    Labour got their arses handed to them when they tried to peddle their version of the protocols of the elders of Zion (sorry, the “race and faith” manifesto), as well as the real one of course! The tories are pretty dense, but it seems like they might have noticed. It remains to be seen if they do anything practical (not holding my breath). Starmer “bending the knee” was just depraved

    I don’t know where the US is headed, but it doesn’t look good. I mean the democrats fought the cleanest, most open and honest campaign in US history: To put a demented mediocrity and a truly horrifying VP into the big chair. Biden at least has the excuse of dementia. It would be nice to know who is actually running things!

  • Bell Curve

    Nobody, who isn’t black, has any place in their twisted world

    Blacks who don’t share their views are equally unwelcome in their twisted world, which means most British blacks. These people are a cult that makes noise out of all proportion to their actually numbers, aided and abetted by a bunch of white middle class cunts.

  • Paul Marks

    The situation is complicated – “Woke” forces are very powerful here in the United Kingdom, including within the Conservative Party, but there is some “push back” against them (including within the Conservative Party), I am very much part of that internal conflict – and so can not really be considered an objective observer (I may be too close to things to see them clearly).

    The position in the United States is, I believe, much worse – the Democrats have total power now, and the Democrats (the party of the education system, the media and the vast “Woke” Corporations) have totally accepted the Frankfurt School Marxist agenda – accepted it without any real internal conflict.

    Whilst these “educated” forces control such agencies as the FBI and the “Justice” Department and have increasing influence even in the military, the United States of America is in mortal danger.

    The situation really is that serious.

  • Ferox

    accepted it without any real internal conflict.

    Hope, if it exists, lies here. The Left is beset with internal conflict; consider TERFs vs. trans activists (and the subset of female athletes vs. absurd “trans-women” who are driving them from organized sports), or pro-immigration extremists vs. black community activists, or pro-Muslim vs. gay rights groups. The Left is a sort of “hate whitey” coalition of groups who hate each other almost as much as they hate their avowed enemies.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Britain dodged a bullet in December 2019, when it didn’t elect Comrade Corbyn and his associates. Unfortunately for the Americans, that bullet kept right on flying across the Atlamtic, and hit the USA last November, when the Democrats stole the election.

  • Rudolph Hucker

    What ever happened to Common Purpose? Doesn’t that have any “woke” folk?

  • Snorri Godhi

    What is troubling to me is that few people, even here, seem to view this Frankfurt offshoot the way I (and a few like-minded people) see it.

    In my view, wokeness is not a movement “of the Left”. The woke are not lunatics who are taking over the asylum: they are lunatics acting as enforcers for the people who run the asylum. They are henchmen of the ruling class; or, more precisely, of the Establishment.

    I think that this should be reaffirmed over and over again.

  • Flubber

    To paraphrase Solzhenitsyn, the Democrats have decided to release the criminals and prosecute their political opponents.

    The quote that we need to remember going forward is:

    And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward

  • Paul Marks

    Rudolf Hucker – I have been in politics for many years, and I have never been invited to a “Common Purpose” event. However, I am not the sort of person they would invite.

    There is a legal commitment to Equality and Diversity in public bodies – under various pieces of legislation (such as the Equalities Act of 2010). However, no where do any of these pieces of legislation require any commitment to the Marxist interpretation of these terms.

    That is the loophole I use – I give LITERAL support to “equality and diversity”, I do NOT support the Marxist interpretation of these terms (I use my own interpretation – for example “equality before the law” NOT “equality of outcome”). “But Paul the Marxist interpretation is what is implied” – of course it is, but it is not formally stated so I can say I am committed to “equality and diversity” without working for totalitarian collectivism.

    “Paul you are politician” – YES I am, when have I ever said that I am not? I give LITERAL support to “equality and diversity” (my own interpretation of these terms) without working for Marxist totalitarian collectivism. If the powers that be want me (as a condition of employment) to work for Marxist totalitarian collectivism, they are going to have openly write that down – and, so far, the powers that be have not been prepared to do that. If they openly write it down – then it would be my moral duty to bring their wise guidance to a wider audience.

    “But it is implied” – again, yet it is, but it is not formally stated. No where in any piece of legislation is commitment to Marxist totalitarian tyranny required.

    I suspect that all of the above comment applies to Prime Minister Johnson – not just Paul Marks.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the racist policies of the Biden/Harris Administration and of the Democrats generally. If such things as the 1964 Civil Rights Act of 1964 mean anything they mean it is UNLAWFUL to hand out taxpayer money and use regulations on a RACIAL bass.

    However, the intellectually corrupt courts (and they are sickeningly corrupt) have long allowed universities that take taxpayer money (government backed student “loans” and so) to discriminate against Asians in favour of blacks – this clearly violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but the judges despise both the Constitution and the laws.

    As we have seen in so many places – who the judges are matters just as much as what the law or Constitution says (hence, for example, the free market Constitution of South Africa not being worth the paper it is written on). Why judges, rather than JURIES, should decide these matters is never explained – as the sole “advantage” of judges is their ability to use impressive sounding “legal” language to deliver judgements that are AGAINST both the Constitution and the laws.

    By the way – even in France, not known as a “right wing” country, it is unlawful for a public body to even ask someone their race or their religion – so Mr Biden’s policies of handing out taxpayer money and using regulations on a RACIAL basis would be impossible in France.

    Yes – the government of President Macron (a man of the establishment LEFT) is vastly more moderate than the Biden/Harris regime and the Democrats generally.

    The Democrats have always been racist – they have just changed the racial group they back. In the past they used the power of government to help white people at the expense of black people, now they use the power of government to hurt white people to (supposedly) help black people – they think this balances out the historical record, actually it just piles injustice on top of injustice.

    No sane person would want to stay in a Democrat ruled city such as Chicago of St Louis – where crime (looting) is openly encouraged (as “Social Justice” without the middle man of government) anyone who really thinks this “helps black people” in the long term is a RACIST – as black people do NOT benefit from stores and other business enterprises closing down.

    This is what is happening – other than in a few ultra rich area (where the Democrat leaders themselves live) the cities the Democrats rule are collapsing – the stories are closing, business enterprises are moving out.

    I have often talked about “the collapse” in the sense of a future event – but in wide areas of many Democrat ruled cities, it-has-already-arrived.

    As for the Frankfurt School Marxist dominated education system (the agitprop indoctrination centres that call themselves schools and universities) and “mainstream” media – they just chant about “White Supremacy” and totally ignore the real threats to the lives of black people, and to everyone else.

  • John Lewis

    More booing of players “taking a knee” at last nights England v Austria game.

    It’s not going to go away.

  • AFT

    @Snorri Godhi

    Spot on. Wokism may be a movement of self-styled ‘progressives’ but it is most certainly not a movement of the Left.

  • Paul Marks

    John Lewis – no one can honestly say at this point that they do not know that BLM is a violent Marxist organisation. Even the head of BLM in Saint Paul (only a few miles away from the Minneapolis of the late Mr George Floyd) has resigned and denounced the “movement”.

    Any Association Football player who “takes the knee” is supporting, looting, burning and murdering – this does not “help black people”, quite the opposite.

    AFT “Wokism is not a movement of the left”. Wokism is the Frankfurt School of Marxism – the late Herbert Marcuse and others. If this is not a movement of the left then Edmund Burke, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were all leftists.

    People are over thinking this – even the NON Marxist part of the establishment (including the Corporate establishment) are on the left – they are supporters of Technocracy, of the ideas of Saint-Simon and co.

    The ideas of Saint-Simon and co are OF THE LEFT – they inspired many people in the home town of Karl Marx when he was young.

    BLM is Marxist, Antifa is Marxist, being “Woke” means supporting Frankfurt School MARXISM.

  • Paul Marks

    What is the left? The left is the destruction of traditional society and its replacement by a new society where every aspect of human life is controlled by an “intellectual” elite.

    The left is a boot coming down on a human face – for ever.

    Being “Woke” means being on the left.

    By the way – look at Ludwig Von Mises “Omnipotent Government”, F.A. Hayek “The Road to Serfdom” and the philosophical analysis of Erick Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn on what the National Socialists (Nazis) really were. There were also a radical revolutionary movement – aimed at breaking traditional civil society and its replacement with a society planned from above.

    By any objective analysis both the Italian Fascists (Mussolini and co) and the German National Socialists were leftists – they were NOT conservatives.

    Antifa (although a Marxist movement) has a lot in common with the Fascists it claims to hate – they are both on the totalitarian side of those who wish to replace traditional society with a society planned from above – they are LEFTIST movements.

    Just as the extreme elements in the French Revolution (the Jacobins and so on) wished to replace traditional society with a society planned from above – even such things as the calendar and weights and measures, and the family.

    The Jacobins were not a conservative movement – they were a LEFTIST movement, they believed that traditional society should be destroyed and replaced by a society where all of human life was planned from above by a small elite (themselves).

    Each viewed himself as the “Lawgiver” of Rousseau.

    And the intellectual debts of Rousseau do not just go to Thomas Hobbes and Francs Bacon (of the New Atlantis) they go all the way back to Plato.

    Plato wished to replace everything (everything that ordinary people had developed over centuries) with a supposedly ideal society designed by himself – he was a leftist, it is no accident that the same people in Cambridge who admired the Soviet Union and Marxism started out as admirers of Plato.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Paul:

    What is the left? The left is the destruction of traditional society and its replacement by a new society where every aspect of human life is controlled by an “intellectual” elite.

    That is a reasonable definition, but not the only one. And there are other words that can be used for a party that wants “the destruction of traditional society”. ‘Progressives’ and/or ‘revolutionaries’ come to mind, in contrast to conservatives and reactionaries.

    OTOH I cannot think of any other words than ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ to describe the party of the middle+working class, and the party of the Establishment, respectively. And yes, by this definition Thatcher, Reagan, and Trump are ‘of the Left’.

    Whatever “the left” means to you, the key concept is this:

    The woke are not lunatics who are taking over the asylum: they are lunatics acting as enforcers for the people who run the asylum. They are henchmen of the ruling class; or, more precisely, of the Establishment.

    Marx, were he to come back still inclined to speak for the working class, might not support Trump but would definitely denounce Wokeness as false consciousness.

  • Paul Marks

    Snorri – the “people who run the asylum” are the left.

    Look at the Netherlands – look at the universities and the television stations, the people who control them have a Marxist background, and no they have not had some great change of heart. It is the same here in the United Kingdom – and the United States.

    Some Marxists really do have a profound change of heart (a “Road to Damascus moment”) my own father did – but my half brother did not. This how I can tell the difference between a Marxist who has repented and a Marxist who has not. People such as Barack Obama or John Brennan (Marxist former Director of the CIA) never had a profound moment of SHAME never “what am I doing, what have I become?” as my father did – no real repentance, no more than other Marxists I have known personally.

    And, I remind you, that Technocracy (the movement of Saint-Simon and others who inspired the young Karl Marx) is also a movement of the LEFT. The World Economic Forum and the rest of the international establishment are leftists – they are the “Woke” Corporations and government bureaucracy, and the education system.

    The terms “left” and “right” come from the French Revolution – with the left wanting a new society (planned from above) and the right defending the traditional society.

    It is true that some free market people later described themselves as “left wing” – most notably Frederick Bastiat – who insisted on sitting on the left hand side of the National Assembly in the early 19th century. But look who surrounded him – socialists and communists, they listened with bemusement a he defended private property and Civil Society independent of Collectivism.

    “You believe in freedom and I believe in freedom!”.

    Yes Frederick – but they believe in FREEDOM TO LOOT and FREEDOM TO MURDER, that is not what you mean by the word freedom.

    As for the United States – the ultra respectable President Woodrow Wilson did not believe in mob violence, but only because he believed that such things should be done BY THE GOVERNMENT.

    Control of everything – the “New Freedom” (read – despotism), as outlined in the book “Philip Dru: Administrator” written by Woodrow Wilson’s chief adviser (and “other self”) “Colonel” House.

    The American left go back to people such as the “leading intellectual” Ricard Ely – the mentor of BOTH Woodrow Wilson and T. Roosevelt.

    The “Progressives” were the LEFT – I thought everyone knew that.

  • Michael Brazier

    “OTOH I cannot think of any other words than ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ to describe the party of the middle+working class, and the party of the Establishment, respectively.”

    I can. “Populist” and “elitist”, respectively, do very well.

    Historically, parties of the middle classes have been placed on the Right, and parties of the working classes have been placed on the Left. The present situation, with the middle and working classes allied by necessity against a dominant clerisy, breaks that pattern, and shows the inadequacy of defining the Left as “working class”. But if you understand the Left as basically technocratic – advocating for the rule of experts based on systematic theory, and against traditional customs and personal liberties – then the present situation makes sense. You just have to admit that the Establishment is Left, and the people against them are Right; but that’s no hardship, for both sides accept the labels, not only for their opponent, but for themselves.

    You may recall that, though Marx presumed to speak for the “working class”, he was never of it, and Marxist movements never got their cadre from people who worked for their living. The typical Marxist has always been someone educated at a university (and thus coming from a family of means) who lives in a world of abstractions and has as little to do with practical labor as possible. Marxism can be sold to real workers, but its natural appeal is to intellectuals who feel their talents aren’t receiving their due.

  • I have to strongly agree with Michael Brazier.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @Michael Brazier
    Yes, most definitely yes.
    “Populist” is an amazing insult in the mouths of the intelligentsia — it seems to mean “wants democracy rather than rule by a technocratic elite masquerading as democracy”, so pretty much Marxism (or another totalitarian ideology).

    Have you seen The Economist’s takedown of Mexico’s President AMLO based on exactly this pretext?

    To his credit, he speaks out loudly and often for Mexico’s have-nots, and he is not personally corrupt. Nonetheless, he is a danger to Mexican democracy.

    Apparently he calls votes

    but not always on topics that are best resolved by voting.

    What a bastard!

  • Michael Brazier

    An additional thought – not mine, I got it from the blog Thinking Out Aloud – the “woke” business is best understood as a status fight within the clerisy. Younger members, who bought admission to it by attending expensive colleges but did not receive any real education, are using the tropes of Marxist propaganda against their elders to get rid of them, allowing the younger set to rise to positions that, by the standards which once obtained among the clerisy, they couldn’t have attained. But this works only because the clerisy is basically Marxist already. If the Establishment were not Left anyone who appealed to “critical theory” would be swiftly ejected from any position of influence and forced to dig ditches, or some other form of useful labor, to stay alive.

    Of course this process will do enormous damage to the Establishment, depriving it of pretty much everyone who can actually govern competently, and thus of the technocratic basis of legitimacy. A council of “experts” that drives off all the actual experts can’t retain power for long; its own absurdity will bring it down. But it can make the rest of us suffer immensely before it dies.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Apologies to Paul for not replying to him, but i honestly cannot see how his “reply” is relevant to the issues that i raised.

    What Michael Brazier writes is more relevant, and not entirely wrong 🙂

    Let me begin with this:

    You just have to admit that the Establishment is Left, and the people against them are Right; but that’s no hardship, for both sides accept the labels, not only for their opponent, but for themselves.

    I was just thinking about what “the other side” think that Left and Right mean (on the way back from the gym) and i came to the opposite conclusion: there is a complete lack of common ground on this, especially in the English-speaking countries. If you tell Anglophone ‘leftists’ that you are “of the right”, they’ll understand that you are a psychopath who does not care about the disadvantaged. And most of them do not seem to believe that the Establishment is “of the left”.
    (At least, this has been my constant experience in 3 English speaking countries.)

    That is if you say that you are “of the right” without explaining what you mean by that.
    You could explain that you do not mean that you are against the disadvantaged, and that they completely misunderstand what ‘right’ is supposed to mean. Good luck with that!

    I submit that attack is the best defense in this case. Instead of defending your position, you should deride them as suffering from false consciousness, which makes them tools of the Establishment.

  • Michael Brazier

    Anglophone Leftists believe a lot of crazy things.

    The sides I meant are the Establishment and the not-Establishment. And certainly the Establishment is Left – you need only ask them which is more dangerous to them, the Left or the Right? Conversely, if you ask an ordinary American (or European, I suppose) which is more dangerous to them, the Left or the Right, you’ll get the opposite answer.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I think that Michael is correct in his second comment. This is worth commenting on:

    the “woke” business is best understood as a status fight within the clerisy.

    My comment is that we have to distinguish between ‘the ruling class’ and ‘the Establishment’. I define the Establishment as the majority faction within the ruling class.

    I think that Wokeness might indeed be best understood as a revolt against the Establishment. But remember: every revolt needs leaders, and such leaders ipso facto become members of the ruling class. At least until they die a violent death, as most leaders of peasant revolts did in Imperial China (usually at the hands of would-be leaders of the revolt).

    —-As for Michael’s first comment, i have a few additional notes.

    Historically, parties of the middle classes have been placed on the Right, and parties of the working classes have been placed on the Left.

    I beg to disagree. I tend to think that the fundamental class conflict has always been between the Establishment and the private-sector middle class (including independent farmers). The working class (dependent manual workers) generally did not have the luxury to think about politics. Peasants’ revolts did not generally end well.

    Of course, the middle class needs leaders (such as Thatcher, Reagan, and Trump). See what i wrote above about all revolts needing leaders.

    —-Interesting comment from Clovis, but it is worth keeping in mind that ‘the left’ switch from populism to elitism, and back, whenever it is expedient to switch.

  • Snorri Godhi

    And certainly the Establishment is Left – you need only ask them which is more dangerous to them, the Left or the Right?

    You still don’t get it?
    They say they are “Left” because they claim (sincerely or not, i could not care less) that they are the party of the people, not the party of the Establishment.

    The same goes for Marx btw. Although he was not of the Establishment.

  • Michael Brazier

    every revolt needs leaders, and such leaders ipso facto become members of the ruling class.

    … I don’t think defining “the ruling class” as anyone with significant political power, regardless of how they got it, what they plan to do, or who supports them, is analytically useful. It’s much more likely to confuse matters.

    Terms like “Establishment” and “ruling class” tell you precisely nothing about the people they describe. States have quite different characters depending on what sort of people are in charge of them; a state governed by great landowners, one governed by soldiers, one governed by scholars, one governed by merchants, and one run by whoever can raise the biggest mob do not behave alike. I happen to know that the Establishment in the West is academic, but not because the name tells me so.

    I tend to think that the fundamental class conflict has always been between the Establishment and the private-sector middle class

    Which leads you to claim that small proprietors are all Leftists – and that’s obviously wrong. Those are the very people who suffer most when the Left has its way.

    The goal of self-proclaimed Leftists, from the beginning, has been to put the intelligentsia in charge, and turn government into a science learned and practiced only by experts. The West’s Establishment has followed that exact policy ever since it came to power in the World Wars. Therefore they are Leftists. What other Leftists, who aren’t in the Establishment, say about it is irrelevant.

  • Paul Marks

    Snorri if you really do not understand that the “Progressives” (Richard Ely and co) were on the left you are going to have trouble understanding my reply – which you say is my “reply”.

    Of course the left are the establishment – in that they have dominated the institutions for many decades, if dominating the institutions does not make a group of people the establishment what does?

    “But the left are the party of the people”.

    That is where you are making your mistake Snorri – because they are NOT, and have never been, the party of the ordinary people.

    Rousseau himself (the founder of the modern left) did not really want ordinary people to rule – that would have been, according to him, evil “pride” (not true “self love”), it would have been “the will of all” NOT his “General Will”.

    Rousseau (again the founder of the modern left) wanted the “Lawgiver” (himself – or someone like him) to decide what the “General Will” was – NOT the ordinary people, whose opinions were just the “will of all” (to be despised).

    The followers of Karl Marx called what people said their opinions were – “false consciousness” they had no intention at all of obeying factory workers and so on. Do you really think that Karl Marx or Frederick Engels or “Lenin” or Mao would have done what factory workers or coal miners told them to do? That is NOT what the left is about. They rule “in the interests” of ordinary people – but THEY (the “intellectuals”) decide what those interests are – ordinary people do NOT get to decide.

    Do you think that Robespierre and the other French Revolutionaries wanted ordinary people in France to rule? I can assure you that they did not.

    Most people in France were Roman Catholic peasant farmers – do you really think that he left wanted them in charge?

    The left wanted to create a society where the intellectuals (themselves) controlled every aspect of life – not a bunch of Roman Catholic farmers following their traditional society.

    It is no different in Britain or the United States.

    The left (the “Woke”) have nothing but contempt for ordinary people – who they regard as “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic”, “transphobic”, “Islamophobic” and-so-on. It was not different even a century ago – the leading Fabians (the Webbs and so on) utterly despised the opinions of ordinary people – and if the Fabians were not the “left” then we really are using different languages.

    This is not complicated – if you really do not understand it, that is your fault Sir, not mine.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the Big Business Technocracy types – the World Economic Forum and co (Klaus Schwab and his corporate and government associates) – they are very much on the left. After all their ideas come from thinkers such as Saint-Simon – who partly inspired a young Karl Marx.

    “But they want to keep their comfortable lifestyles and order everyone else about” – YES, which is what this part of the left has always wanted.

    The bankers and other such who became followers of Saint-Simon and others, did not want to live in hovels and take orders from ordinary people – they wanted to carry on living in their nice homes and have MORE power than they did under the traditional society.

    What is the point of creating a new society (the aim of the left) if you have less power than you did in the old one? The point of the left is to have MORE (not less) power.

    A handful of Woke Corporations joined-at-the-hip with vast international government – enforcing Collectivism.

    This is the left – or, at least, the Technocracy supporting part of it (the part that looks back to Saint Simon and even back to Francis Bacon with his dream of rule by “scientific experts” – like “SAGE” in the United Kingdom) wants.

    Some members of SAGE are Marxists – does that come as a shock to you Snorri? Are you still having a problem understanding this?

    The gap between the ideas of Saint-Simon and the ideas of Karl Marx is more language than reality – they BOTH wanted Collectivism.

    Karl Marx talking about “the workers” was like Rousseau talking about the “General Will”, he KARL MARX would decide what was in the interests of “the workers”, the workers themselves would decide NOTHING.

    So, in practice, the division between the Marxists and the Saint-Simonists does not matter very much.

    Of course the different factions of leftist may slit each other’s throats at some point – but different factions of leftists have ALWAYS done that.

    As Edmund Burke pointed out – the different factions of Rousseau followers murdering each other in the French Revolution arguing which of them were the “true” followers of Rousseau (who was dead and could not tell them) – “in truth they all resembled him”.

    The various factions all wanted to control everything and tell everyone else what to do – they all despised ordinary Catholic farmers and other such.

    They wanted to create a new society – with themselves in control of every aspect of life.

    That is the left.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Michael:

    Terms like “Establishment” and “ruling class” tell you precisely nothing about the people they describe.

    In which case, this sentence of yours would be meaningless:

    I happen to know that the Establishment in the West is academic, but not because the name tells me so.

    …But my main objection is to this:

    Which leads you to claim that small proprietors are all Leftists – and that’s obviously wrong. Those are the very people who suffer most when the Left has its way.

    Except that i do not claim that. What i am claiming is that, when ‘leftists’ call themselves ‘leftists’, THEY mean that THEY are the party of the people. If you call them ‘leftists’, that means to them that you agree that they are the party of the people. So i don’t call them ‘leftists’.
    Hence my first comment:
    In my view, wokeness is not a movement “of the Left”.

    NB: I myself did not say that wokeness is a movement “of the Right”. But there are people who did claim, or at least implied, that socialism is a movement of the Right. Beginning with Tocqueville (anti-socialist) right after the 1848 French revolution. Several others (socialists) are mentioned in this essay by George Watson.

    Perhaps Mussolini was most explicit in this, claiming that fascism is of the “right”* because it is for authority, the collective, and the State — exactly the reason why you would call fascism “of the left”.

    * I am writing it as written in Dottrina del Fascismo: lower-case R (D in Italian) and quotation marks.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Paul:

    That is where you are making your mistake Snorri – because [the left] are NOT, and have never been, the party of the ordinary people.

    Except that i did not claim that “the left” are the party of the people.

    I claim that for SELF-IDENTIFIED ‘leftists’, “the left” is BY DEFINITION “the party of the people”. Go tell THEM why they are wrong.

    But first you might want to read section II of chapter 11 of The Open Society, on why it is pointless to argue about definitions.

  • Michael Brazier

    There is no good reason to accept the language of conscious liars. Whatever Leftists may say about themselves, the Left is the political tradition that began with the Jacobins of the French Revolution. Even Leftists will grant that much when you argue with them (though they might claim that the Soviet Union was a defective Leftist state, and thus “not really Left”, they have to admit where it came from.)

    Leftists who claim that the Left is by definition the popular party are stealing a base, and should be called out for it, by citing its real intellectual history. Accepting that false definition, and then trying to argue that one specific movement like “wokeness” doesn’t satisfy it, is truly pointless – you will convince neither the Leftist nor anyone else. The Leftist “knows” that BLM and Antifa are fighting “privilege” just as surely as he “knows” the Left is “for the People”, and if he won’t listen to evidence against the latter, why would he listen to evidence against the former?

    And in any case, you’re not arguing with Leftists now, so the best way of doing so is rather off the point.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Michael: what effective way have YOU found to argue with “”leftists””?

  • Snorri Godhi

    WRT Paul Marks’ claim that the “left”

    are NOT, and have never been, the party of the ordinary people.

    I’d like to point out that

    (a) the Left/Right terminology was never used in the Anglosphere before the xx century (to the best of my knowledge).

    (b) Within France, movements of “the left” were regularly displaced “to the right” by parties of the “new left”, in the following order:
    Orléanists
    “Opportunist” (ie moderate) Republicans
    Radicals
    Radical-Socialists
    Socialists
    Communists.

    It seems to me, from what little i know of French history, that at least the Orléanists, Republicans, and Radicals, were indeed parties of the people (in their time).

  • Snorri Godhi

    A question (not rhetorical):
    Can anybody explain to me what Lenin meant by ‘Left-Wing’ in his intriguingly-titled book:
    “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder?

  • Michael Brazier

    Snorri, you can’t have a productive argument about lions with someone who thinks the word “lion” means what people generally call an armadillo. You have to explain what the word really means just to get started. To have clear and accurate thought, you need clear and accurate language.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Michael: you urgently need to read section II of chapter 11 of The Open Society. And if you don’t get it, read all the footnotes.

    AND: you still haven’t answered my question.

  • Michael Brazier

    What was the question? “How does one convince a Leftist that Black Lives Matter is a weapon of the Establishment?”

    Well, if the obvious fact that BLM is funded, protected and promoted by the Establishment, quite openly, doesn’t persuade him, the only way I can think of is to attack his preconceived idea that the Left is not in power. Which means you have to argue definitions – there’s no helping it.

    And since I flatly disagree with one of Popper’s theses in The Open Society, that a belief in the reality of universals entails believing that societies are more real than their individual members, I don’t expect to be persuaded by the passage you refer to. Do you want to start an argument on metaphysics here?

  • Snorri Godhi

    the only way I can think of is to attack his preconceived idea that the Left is not in power. Which means you have to argue definitions – there’s no helping it.

    Michael: If you are trying to convince someone that ‘the Left’ is in power, you are not arguing definitions, you are arguing facts.

    And you still have not answered my question: have you ever convinced a ‘leftist’ of anything by arguing about definitions?

    To which i add another question: where in the book is Popper’s thesis that you disagree with?

  • The Leftist “knows” that BLM and Antifa are fighting “privilege” just as surely as he “knows” the Left is “for the People”, and if he won’t listen to evidence against the latter, why would he listen to evidence against the former? (Michael Brazier (June 4, 2021 at 3:48 pm)

    I discuss why it is hard to reeducate one subgroup of this deplorably ( 🙂 ) common kind of leftist here. A simpler problem is that the loss of ego involved in confronting this very basic lefty “knowledge” makes confronting past beliefs and actions about the origins of the ChiComCold seem almost minor.

    Like the smile on the face of the Cheshire cat, some “knowledge” can survive exploding the context in which its arguments made sense. Trump made ‘racist’ comments like calling the virus the ‘Chinese virus’ or the ‘Kung Flu’. People who are now having to notice the evidence for its creation in the Wuhan Lab – i.e. how likely it is indeed a ‘Chinese virus’ in more than the usual sense – will, with hardly a pause for breath, explain that of course they treated it as a tinfoil hat idea a year ago because Trump said it and he was making ‘racist’ comments. (Similarly, back in the 1790s, by the time British Whigs were waking up to the horrors of the French Revolution, some of them ‘knew’ that Burke was ‘prejudiced’ against it.)

    A dissenter’s ‘premature’ correctness is not just offensive to an intellectual’s ego – it also has to fight against a layer of false deductions made from the initially false premise and now, as Michael indicates, “known” as if independent confirmations of it.

  • Michael Brazier

    Previously:

    What i am claiming is that, when ‘leftists’ call themselves ‘leftists’, THEY mean that THEY are the party of the people.

    Now:

    If you are trying to convince someone that ‘the Left’ is in power, you are not arguing definitions, you are arguing facts.

    You need to figure out what you’re actually arguing for. You started out claiming that “the Establishment is the Right, the people are the Left” was the best way of describing politics – that is, you accepted the definition yourself. When challenged, you pivoted to saying that self-described “Leftists” use the definition, so we were obliged to do the same to debate them. Challenged on that, you concede that whether “the Left is in power” can be decided empirically – which means the definition is invalid – but pretend that persuading Leftists was the topic all along.

    As for Popper’s thesis… most of Volume I of The Open Society? As in, all the arguments that Plato’s philosophy was the inspiration of collectivist ideologies ever since it was published?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Michael: I appreciate your giving thoughtful replies … but you STILL haven’t said whether you convinced any ‘leftists’, or indeed anybody, by arguing about definitions!

    In other news:

    —-I do not see how the 2 sentences of mine that you quote, are contradictory.

    —-Surely, volume 1 of The Open Society cannot be reduced to:

    a belief in the reality of universals entails believing that societies are more real than their individual members

    !

    —-To be continued. Tomorrow.

  • Michael Brazier

    Nor have I told you what I had for breakfast this morning.

    And if someone does think the Left is by definition “the party of the people”, he obviously will never be persuaded by facts that at this moment the West’s ruling class is Leftist. To convince him, you have to argue against his definition of “Leftist”. Which means the type of Leftist you describe in the first quote is a counterexample to the claim you made in the second.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Michael: It is true that my views have ‘evolved’ in the course of my debate, but you have misunderstood/misrepresented them at every stage.

    You started out claiming that “the Establishment is the Right, the people are the Left” was the best way of describing politics – that is, you accepted the definition yourself.

    No: I started out saying that Paul Marks gave a reasonable definition of ‘the Left’, but it is not the only reasonable definition, and i gave a reason to prefer another definition.

    And it is certainly NOT the best way to understand politics: the best way is never to use the words ‘left’ and ‘right’.
    If you cannot avoid using them, at least put them always in quotation marks, as i do: single, double, or even quadruple.

    When challenged, you pivoted to saying that self-described “Leftists” use the definition, so we were obliged to do the same to debate them.

    I certainly did not say that you are obliged to use the words in any specific way. (By using quotation marks, i feel entitled to use them inconsistently.) I said that if you choose to use those words, ‘leftists’ might understand them differently from what you mean. I fail to see how this is ‘pivoting’ from my original position.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Michael:

    Challenged on that, you concede that whether “the Left is in power” can be decided empirically – which means the definition is invalid – but pretend that persuading Leftists was the topic all along.

    What I wrote:

    If you are trying to convince someone that ‘the Left’ is in power, you are not arguing definitions, you are arguing facts.

    I put it very badly indeed, i must admit.

    Whether X is in power is indeed an empirical question — but only after X is replaced by an unambiguous term (other than: X is whoever is/isn’t in power). So i withdraw the claim that ‘whether the Left is in power’ is an empirical question.

    But i fail to see why you must argue that your definition is correct. You can just tell your opponents in the debate that
    (a) the Left is not power by their own definition, and
    (B) your opponents are not Leftists by their own definition.
    There is no reason to accept ‘their’ definition, nor to impose your definition on ‘them’, when you can put them in trouble by showing the consequences of their own definition.

    As you might have seen from my link (June 4, 2021 at 4:29 pm), in France people started arguing over who is the “true” Left long before the term was adopted in Britain:

    “at the 1974 presidential election, only one candidate declared himself as belonging to the right: Jean-Marie Le Pen; in 1981, there was none.”

    Presumably, the French have never agreed on whether ‘the Left’ is in power.

  • Paul Marks

    The left are the people who are pushing “Wokeness”.

    “But Big Business is pushing it” – that is because Big Business is dominated by the left. Both the Frankfurt School left – AND the Technocratic left.

    Remember such people as Saint-Simon (whose vision inspired the young Karl Marx) and Klaus Schwab today (the World Economic Forum – Big Business and Government getting together) are on the LEFT.

    They want a new society – they want to get rid of the old society. They are the left. They want a society where culture does not evolve over time by voluntary interaction – but is imposed by an intellectual elite. That has been the vision of the left as long as there has been a left – it goes back to Rousseau and his “Lawgiver”.

    It is really basic stuff – and if someone really “does not understand it” or claims that “Wokeness” (i.e. Herbert Marcuse and so on) are not the left – then they need to wake up.

    If someone really does not understand that Joseph Biden and K. Harris (who had the most left wing voting record in the Senate – to the left of Senator “Bernie” Sanders) are on the left, then it is difficult to know what to say to them. Other than “you are obviously wrong”.

    By the way – it is not just a matter of Joseph Biden being senile and being manipulated by the far left (although that is true), if one looks at his own voting record when he was a Senator he was very much on-the-left, the “moderate” image was a pose.

    Is is really pointless to argue over all this – it is like arguing over whether 1+1=2 – of course it does, and if someone denies it then one should walk away from such a person.

    I am reminded of when a certain person denied that persons (moral agency – free will) even existed. A person arguing that persons (human BEINGS) do not exist is bizarre – at some point one just needs to end the conversation and walk away.

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