Saturday, November 06, 2010

Hope and Democracy? I s**t on Hope and Democracy (redux)

All things considered, nowhere near as formidable as some principles backed by a dash of bloody-mindedness

There's a post over at Craig Murray's blog which has a stab at a reasonable summary of the current plight of the UK and which ends with the line 'I see no hope'

A moderately interesting discussion ensued in the comments underneath, on the subject of the impending national implosion and the nature of hope and democracy.

That was until Craig's devoted trolls got stuck in and people started calling each other c*nts

Personally, I've maintained for a long time now that, just on a mathematical basis alone, the UK is economically and therefore probably socially fucked for a fair while into the future.

Whilst, on the face of it, that's a pretty pessimistic point of view, I'd argue that living through some kind of unpleasantness is the only way the majority of people will realise that they've allowed the significance of their own lives to be devalued in exchange for some cheap junk, both physical or psycological

So, I believe that there's a good chance that 'things' will eventually get better but only after some serious interim grief

But this 'hope' thing?

People who need hope to get by run the very considerable risk of losing it

Should someone only do what they believe to be the Right Thing if they expect success at the end of it?

Or should they do it because they believe it is the Right Thing to do?

I'm all for picking my battles and only getting into fights that I expect to win, at an acceptable cost. That's on one level. On a higher level, if you think in terms of a war that you believe to be worth fighting, rather than the individual battles which make up a war, the fight justifies itself, regardless of the expected outcome. As long as you've been true to yourself and done the best that you can, hope doesn't come into it

If the analogy with warfare seems too melodramatic, think about commercial pilots flying stricken aircraft. If you've ever heard a crash tape there is something uniquely spooky about doomed aircrew working through their recovery routines right up to the moment their plane hits the ground. But however unnatural that behaviour might seem to be, would you rather, as a passenger, have people who behave like that up front or the kind of people who'd take time out on the way down to say, or think, 'gosh, I hope we don't crash'

Bollocks to hope

Spivs like this are in the hope-peddling business...

They are also in the democracy-peddling business

There's a lot of discussion in the Conspirasphere about the nature of, and possible replacements for, the existing money system

There's a lot less discussion about political systems

Which is understandable, given the way that such crucial subjects as economics and civics are misrepresented in our schools

We've all got a lot of catching up to do, and the money thing has been uppermost in most people's minds, but the political system is actually more important as it dictates who controls the money supply

The prevailing narrative goes that democracy is the least worst system available to us and, with the fall of communism, there are no viable alternatives on the table


A little while back, I was supervising a group of young kids; four girls and three boys. They were working on a project that required a series of decisions to be made. And it didn't take too long for the girls to decide that the best way to reach those decisions was on the basis of a majority vote, which they called for regularly. I enjoyed the comedy frustration of the boys for a little while before imposing a somewhat less democratic system of government

Without some constitutional basis which lays down invariable principles, democracy is open to becoming the tyranny of the majority over the minority. Or in the case of most British parliaments in recent years, the minority over the majority

And the mob is very easily bought off with some bread, a few circuses and a dash of cynical fear-mongering

Democracy, fuck yeah!

Plutocrats absolutely love unconstrained democracy. That's why they've got soldiers forcing it on people at gunpoint around the world

It's worth remembering, as many Conspiraloons already appreciate, that the founding fathers of the USA set it up as a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy, and they thought things through long and hard before doing so.

Admittedly, many of the founding fathers were genocidal slave owners but, perversely, they do appear to have created a system which had the potential to work against their own class interest.

This is not normal, was probably not wholly intentional, and is unlikely to be repeated on a regular basis

Now, here's the tricky question

How do you impose a set of fundamental principles on a society which establish the rights of the individual and minority groups in such a way that they cannot subsequently be removed by the 'democratic' majority?

How do you do that in a democratic way?

And what's to stop the plutocrats imposing their own, deliberately flawed, set of allegedly fundamental principles?

I only mention this because I suspect it might become an issue at some point in the not too super distant future



Hubris said...

How about we do away with voting all together and establish a computerised open-source (audited by anyone with the ability to do so) lottery system?

All citizen s above a certain age, that can demonstrate an ability to practice the 3 R's at a practical level, should be legally-bound to serve a five-year term in office, if they happen to be one of the few chosen at random by the computerised lottery system

For this they should be remunerated handsomely - so handsomely that they should never feel the need to accept bribes of any sort - say something in the region of 1 or 2 million quid per annum, to be paid at the end of the five year term. During that time all expenses (private and professional) to be the responsibility of the Taxpayer. Any person found to be corrupt forfiets all remuneration and is sentenced to a manditory minimum of at least 5 yrs.

A buffer between leaders and Civil Servants, consisting of independent individuals with suitable qualifications, i.e: a degree/specialising in a particular area (business and Commerce, Medicine etc) - these individuals could again be chosen at random by lottery, from a database of anyone and everyone holding such qualifications. Free education so that virtually anyone with the brains and will to learn can meet the minimum criteria for inclusion as an adviser - again advisers to well paid - say 200,000 per year, subject to the same conditions and penalties as the leaders in the event that they are found to be corrupt - the bar to be set pretty low on what constitutes corruption

No one can serve more than one term as leader or as adviser.

therefore no need to pander to fickle Public sentiment nor to the wishes of Media Tycoons, since no one is running for re-election

Statistically speaking almost any of-sound-mind individual could potentially find themselves chosen as either a leader or an adviser.

Statistically speaking there is no way they could be any worse at governing than the shower of craven fucktards we now call 'politicians'.

(I'm sure there's a ton of flaws and loopholes in this idea but could it be any worse than the system we call democracy?)

Me again said...

OR: Let the current system continue as is BUT: have another database (open-source etc) of Really fucking Rich cunts and every five years or so make a list of the top ten richest/most-powerful and then

execute them live on TV

- that way you'd be freeing up space at the top AND generating loads of cash from the advertising breaks in between each execution.

you could donate the advertising-cash to homeless charities and homes for the bewildered

Stef said...

Back to the Founding Fathers again, their dislike of a political class and their belief in the principle of citizens only serving one term before returning to private life

but how to impose such a system?

Stef said...

Logan's Run

but with money

I like it

Stef said...

Sticking with the sci-fi theme, I'm kicking around an idea based on a self-selected elite of top scientists creating a heavily-armed, invulnerable master computer, hard-coded to enforce fundamental moral principles for all Eternity

My problem is that this plan seems almost too perfect. There must be a flaw in it somewhere...

gyges said...

"hard-coded to enforce fundamental moral principles for all Eternity"

Morality is a movable feast.

Check out Spalding Gray's, "Swimming to Cambodia".

gyges said...

Link, "Swimming to Cambodia - Part 1"

paul said...

Or why not avoid collapse and eyeing our friends and neighbours gold fillings?

Stef said...

@paul - not a happy link, unfortunately

Which is a shame as I could some do with some tips preparing myself for the $23 loaf of bread

as impressive an example of forecasting precision as you're ever likely to see

Edo said...

I'm more worried about people turning on eachother in order to protect themselves and their family. Any breakdown of infrastructure coupled with social, political and financial unrest is sure to bring calamitous results, especially in urban locations.
How to build communities that are self supporting under these conditions?
I have friends who own land, live and work it, homeschool their 5 kids, and are 75% or so self sufficient. It's a tough hard slog, and even they'll admit to having to rely on the remaining 25% for now, although they are working at that.
Should the worst occur, I fear that even they would find survival hard, although probably much easier than the rest of us.

I think it's naive to think that the majority of people will pull together for a common cause, and a better world. They'll think self/family/group/the rest.

That's the hope i have. The hope that people will have true empathy for eachother, when its effect can have the greatest impact.

Fat chance. And to paraphrase one of our favourite Conspirators, "Barring some great catastrophy, like a New Pearl Harbour..."

Stef said...

In one way or another, there's been a heck of a lot of empathy destruction in recent years and, as discussed elsewhere, internal strife does seem to be on the cards...

non-muslim vs. muslim
public sector vs. private sector
the old vs. the young
spenders vs. savers

...and not enough people currently equipped to look past their own immediate self-interest

People are capable of doing that but the current material conditions of most are not conducive to it

As for living off grid, individually or in a mutually sustaining community. Anyone who comes close to that will soon find themselves acquainted with bodies of armed, uniformed men

And there's always the knotty problem that however self-sufficient you do make yourself you always have to plug yourself into the system in some way so that you can grovel for the fiat necessary to pay your existence taxes...

paul said...

Sorry for the shit link- here's the deal

Stef said...

I'd give it a go

paul said...

I find myself totally out of sympathy with collapsarian thinking, we are living in decadent times, but that does not mean much more than prolonged decay.

If the present arrangements have any goal, I think our PM's saucer eyed trip to India pointed the way, an extremely soft, corrupt state serving a plutocratic elite.

I also find agrarian pipe dreams pretty silly, however attractive they are.

If people want change, they'd be better starting from here, not waiting for some catalysing catastrophe.

Stef said...

My grandparents were peasants from a pretty crappy part of Italy. The living wasn't that great and they chose migration and factory work over a life of rustic charm

No illusions about agrarian pipe dreams here

But all the folks in my grandparents and parents generations moved backed to their land and the communities they left when they could afford to

and I would too

It's a pretty decent life if you can figure out a way to make it pay

Stef said...

I've probably made this point before but I do ponder upon the fact that when people can afford to, usually when they retire, they very often occupy themselves with creative, productive tasks - gardening, craft work, child-minding, charity work etc

The thing I ponder upon is why is it that folk have to wait till the last quarter of their lives to fully occupy themselves with such things? Is having millions of people fucking around in offices for 30 or 40 years of their lives really the best way to go about things?

Stef said...

As for being a collapsarian, I spent a little time in Russia post the 1998 collapse. It wasn't Mad Max, people got by and life went on, but it wasn't a giggle. Ditto for Argentina a couple of years later

And yes, prolonged decadent decay was on the cards but, and I appreciate I'm getting all Alex Jones here, the Money Masters really do seem to be currently bending over backwards to speed the process up

And no, I'm no fan of stocking up on beans whilst hanging around waiting for everything to go tits up. Like I said, it's always worth getting stuck in whatever you think is waiting around the corner

Stef said...

"If people want change, they'd be better starting from here, not waiting for some catalysing catastrophe."

...and I probably didn't emphasis this enough in my original post but that is the issue I'm currently kicking around

How do people, currently a minority of people, go about implementing the changes they want to see in the context of the existing 'democratic' system?

In the past those changes have typically come about in the wake or war, revolt or collapse.

Have there been occasions when this wasn't the case?

Expressions of passive resistance in the Southern US and India are the best examples I can come up with but that required a large number of people who were aware of their situation

Stef said...

Here's another, oft quoted, example

but the situation had to get pretty awful first

Stef said...

As luck would have it, Max Keiser's just posted an interview with Damon Vrabel talking about v. similar stuff, especially pt3

It's also heart-warming to see Max's loving fan base giving him yards of shit for his shameless, and persistent, AGW ramping

paul said...

Say what you like about the cadaverous gold bug, he certainly knows how to dress.

Part 4 of the DV video was a bit of a downer, but then most things seem impossible before they happen.

Anonymous said...

Bring the troops home >> to kill the darkies over here - a much higher priority than killing them over there, no doubt.

word = oufxfme

paul said...

I don't want tread, even softly, on anyones dreams but I certainly can't see a widespread return to the land.

That's what people were doing in Zimbabwe (which was a consequence of an extremely botched land reform which decinated food production, not a problem with the fiats) and it didn't do much apart from allowing people to starve slightly slower. It certainly wasn't empowering anyone.

The thing that disturbs me about the survivalist/collapse stuff is the sheer disgust and contempt they have for the lumpen.

James Kunstler's / Michael Rupperts vision of the world is not really one I want to share.

For some reason the agrarian dream reminded me of a poem they used to have on an audio test record:

It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspars work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

I looked up the rest of it, and its pretty good, these problems have always been with us.
The Battle of Blenheim
by Robert Southey

It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspars work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head
And with a natural sigh,
Tis some poor fellows skull said he,
Who fell in the great victory.

I find them in the garden,
For theres many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men, said he,
Were slain in that great victory.

Now tell us what t was all about,
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for.

It was the English, Kaspar cried,
Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for,
I could not well make out;
But everybody said, quoth he,
That twas a famous victory.

My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

Great praise the Duke of Marlbro won,
And our good Prince Eugene.
Why t was a very wicked thing!
Said little Wilhelmine.
Nay . . nay . . my little girl, quoth he,
It was a famous victory.

And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.
But what good came of it at last
Quoth little Peterkin,
Why that I cannot tell, said he,
But twas a famous victory.
Westbury, 1798

The Antagonist said...

In case anyone wants to appropriate another meme, I've always maintained that "Hope is the last bastion of desperate people".

The Antagonist said...

Or, in the manner that someone else coined during the Hopama presidential fuss and which is equally applicable in a general context:

"Stop smoking the hopium!"

paul said...

Though the urban farmers in the ankor wat like detroit were pretty cool

Anonymous said...

Pity, I was all in for giving Marx a good deserved kicking.

stef said...


Bless you, but I am sadly lacking in dreams so there's no risk of you getting your feet dirty

No agrarian dream, no harking back to a mythical Golden Age, no scorn for my fellow man, I just enjoy growing courgettes and brewing my own hooch, as did my father and my father's father

I have no expectation that everyone will joyfully return to the land and merrily plough the fields under the beneficient gaze of Prince Charles or any other landing-owning cunt who whacks off at the thought of returning to the good old days

stef said...


Funny you should mention that poem as I was out with some high end friends and their 10 year old daughter a few nights ago and she was clutching a book of mnemonics which included a handy way to remember the names of Marlborough's famous victories and their dates, which she read out

I commented to my chums that I was surprised this stuff was still being included in kiddies' books as Marlborough's victories were so legendarily pointless that poems had been written about them

And now, a couple of days later, someone is quoting that poem to me

I haven't heard a peep from that fucker for 30 years and now it comes up in conversation twice in one week

I'm shagged if I know how the world is wired up but I suspect that it's a lot stranger than we think

stef said...

and I enjoyed Requiem for Detroit except for the final, Year Zero-esque, reel which, yes, I found a little distant from being entirely convincing

The Antagonist said...

The Dirty Digger's New Labour Camps are go!!!!

Unemployed told: do four weeks of unpaid work or lose your benefits

Anonymous said...

To all those who voted in the last election, gimme your address so I can send a few muck-spreaders around.

IDS looks like ht shagging a goat.

The Antagonist said...

Never forget: Arbeit Macht Frei!

Stef said...

I know just the thing

Eco-friendly too

Stef said...

as is a spot of this

Bridget said...

All power to the Soviets!

Wolfie said...

There is nothing new under the sun.

Plato: The Failure of Democracy