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Samizdata quote of the day – the enemy class at work

I had direct experience of how certain messages are everywhere in the culture. I recently went to a forum hosted by a large London law firm. (The event followed Chatham House rules, so I am being deliberately vague about names.) The forum was about the role of philanthropy advisors, and the kind of issues in philanthropy today. The panel included a Black guy, who is at an Oxford business school, who talked a lot about how conventional models of philanthropy are full of problems, such as how they are more about people trying to impose a view on communities and how from his point of view, philanthropy is more about supporting local people who should be in charge of their own destinies. I actually agree with quite a lot of that. But then he came out with the term “my truth”. This is post-modernism and a red flag. Another panelist said much philanthropy is questionable because the people who make lots of money and want to give it away do so in “extractive” ways or by exploiting people. He is some sort of Green and also reiterated fairly standard lines about neoliberalism, inequality and the evils of capitalism.

Another panelist was an advisor who is also a paid-up member of the Labour Party, and she said it was necessary to have philanthropy, however much one may prefer the State to do what philanthropy does, because we cannot wait for progress. (There is a kernel of truth to that.) Two other panelists were talking the conventinal lines about the need to “understand” clients and so on.

No-one, apart from your correspondent, challenged any of this. When I said that much of the modern philanthropy sector appears very political, and that some of these conversations are better had in Westminster, I was told by the Black guy that I had “come to the wrong place”. Further, this gentleman talked about the need to have “uncomfortable” conversations with rich donors. Others agreed. I bet it must be fantastic for a rich donor who writes a check to endow a hospital to be told he is legitimising an unjust capitalist order, or whatever. (Of course, there is nothing wrong if an advisor says, “Sorry sir, but we don’t approve of the sources of your wealth, and don’t want you as a client.”)

Where am I going with this? Well, the room was full of largely middle-aged, middle class lawyers, charity advisors and the like. I was left feeling pretty much on my own in asking the question that I asked. And this goes for lots of other issues in the public square right now. For instance, I bet that 99% of those present fully buy the catastropic, Man-made global warming scenario, and the decarbonisation agenda. Their views are, to them, so normal and right that dissent of any kind is regarded more than just unusual, it is seen as unseemly.

Interestingly enough, one or two people at the event came up to me and rather sheepishly said they agreed with some of what I said. I have no idea what effect my questions would have had.

Johnathan Pearce, whose comment here was too good not to be highlighted.

10 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – the enemy class at work

  • Sounds like you were in a room full of the kind of people who bring out the worst side of me. I would have been far less polite & never got invited back 😀 My loathing of self-satisfied bourgeois statists is transcendent.

  • jgh

    Yesterday’s announcement that men who think they are women are not to be allowed to compete in UK Women’s Cycling was met with accusation that this was evil capitalism to blame.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Magical thinking is everywhere.

    Parts of the Left have a problem: 20-plus years ago, people such as Corbyn and even less obviously batshit people cozied up to Islamists, often for cynical reasons (the enemy of my enemy is my friend). Muslims aren’t exactly keen on LGBTQ etc stuff, are they?

    At the next GE, those of a genuinely conservative bent might want to point this out.

  • Paul Marks.

    The idea that people become rich by “exploiting” others is nonsense – if (if) one is talking about free enterprise. The present hyper regulated and Credit Money dominated system is light years from free enterprise – but that is NOT what these people (and so many others) are complaining about.

    They are captured by leftist ideology, or too scared to argue back.

    The United Kingdom is in deep trouble – indeed the Western World in general is in deep trouble.

    Basically only leftism is taught in many countries, especially the United States (whose education system is even more “captured” than education is here) – it is no longer a matter of bias, it is full on indoctrination.

    The institutions, public and private, reflect this.

  • Lee Moore

    Maybe 86.75% of the people in the room agreed with JP, but JP was the only one who didn’t fear being fired for saying the wrong thing.

    I remember an old geezer from way back, who I knew socially. He was the company secretary of a middle sized UK quoted company – so a glorified peon pulling in a reasonable salary and having plenty of contact with directors and senior management, where it is wise for a glorified peon to be ready with the “yes, sir”s and light on the “I told you all this last week you berk”s. His nature was irascible and so it was obviously a bit of a strain to keep the kowtowing going. But a paycheck is a paycheck.
    When he retired, I asked him what he was looking forward to most. He said – I’m looking forward to never being polite to anyone ever again. Nor was he.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Sounds like the kind of event that would have had Philip Rearden and Claude Slagenhop in attendance.

  • bobby b

    “Parts of the Left have a problem: 20-plus years ago, people such as Corbyn and even less obviously batshit people cozied up to Islamists, often for cynical reasons (the enemy of my enemy is my friend). Muslims aren’t exactly keen on LGBTQ etc stuff, are they?”

    I’ve had this conversation with some honest lefties. Their rationale: They attempt to reason a backwards culture still entrapped within a wacko religious mythos into a post-religion mindset – sort of a free-the-colonized-into-the-new-man syndrome.

    Once this succeeds, the newly-freed will recognize that their anti-gay mindset is wrong and unjust. But, those people who already exist within the western, post-religious world – i.e., anti-gay westerners – have no such excuse, and there is no rescuing such people.

    So, in their minds, there is no contradiction between courting gays, and courting Islamists.

    As with every “victim” class in the world, the left tacitly hold Islamists as inferior and in need of training and enlightenment. But they’ll never say that part out loud.

  • Kirk

    The Left is three things: A religious faith, a delusional complex syndrome, and a cynical worldview, all wrapped up in one.

    It’s more about power, than anything else: They are, in their essence, control freaks. If you ever talk to them, it’s all about control; you’re a bad person if you’re not amenable to their ideas, and they despise those that do not think like they do, or believe as they do. This is why they insist on demonizing anyone who doesn’t go along with their flow; it’s a necessity, because that’s the only way they can see of dealing with them. Thus, the re-education camps and the death camps for those that aren’t amenable to re-education.

    Brutal honesty? I don’t think that they can be lived with, or reformed. They’re going to keep on keeping on, amping themselves up, egging each other on to more and more transgressions. Look at what they’re doing with the whole January 6th thing; that’s a signal, that is: If they could, those people would be burnt at the stake out on the Capitol Mall with all their freaks and minions capering before the bonfires.

    If you think you can live in peace with these people? I have to laugh; they’re not going to suddenly embrace sweetness and light. They’re going to try hunting you down, driving you before their mobs of activists and criminals.

    I don’t see this ending in anything other than armed revolution at some point. Along with ethnic and class cleansing efforts on the scale of Pol Pot in Cambodia; there are locales where an Ivy League diploma on your wall will become a death-notice, and others where possessing an actual copy of the Constitution will be the same. This whole thing is spinning out of control, into a religious war as we watch; the Left looks at what has been going on since 2016 approvingly, thinking that since they’re the ones in control and making it happen? It’s all good; they fail to think through the consequences of taking over the machinery of state and lording it over their opponents, and how that delegitimizes the entire framework they rely on. End-state comes? It’ll be full-on Mad Max time; I fully expect that there will be co-opted elements of the American military that wind up using nukes on their own citizens by the end of it all. For all the good that’ll do the delusionals in control

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Maybe 86.75% of the people in the room agreed with JP, but JP was the only one who didn’t fear being fired for saying the wrong thing.

    It is possible, but my gut instinct was that it would have been closer to maybe 25%. The fact the law firm in question invited the sort of speakers it did suggested it was confident there would be a receptive audience.

    I honestly think that a large part of the so-called professional middle class, in various service sector jobs, including law, is now fully infected with this sort of mindset. The sort of folk who, for example, become “human rights lawyers”, and who, it turns out, get minor government jobs, sit in various NGOs and the like.

    One of the may reasons I dispise the current “Conservative” government is that it does very little to push back at all this.

  • Paul Marks.

    Many people do not know, or say they do not know, that EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) or DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) is Frankfurt School “Critical Theory” Marxism – designed to destroy the West. That “Woke” doctrine is not about “creating a new society” – it is about destroying society.

    But whether they know or not – the result is the same.