Friday, June 24, 2011

Beware the Clockwork Elves!!



One of the staple cliches of on-line conspiranoids is to make constant allusion to the 'false left-right paradigm' and to refer to left and right wing politics as being 'two wings of the same bird'


Now, as it happens, I agree that mainstream politics are frequently manipulated into two horse races where both horses have the same owner

I also agree that the left-right paradigm is a restrictive, 'two dimensional' representation of the possible spectrum of political viewpoints. The political bird in question also has a head (libertarian) and an arse (authoritarian) - and several other appendages that could be pressed into methaphorical service, but not in this post

By bringing the additional libertarian-authoritarian axis into your simple left-right political paradigm it becomes possible to shed light on all sorts of otherwise difficult to explain behaviour...

  • Why Hitler and Stalin got on so well, for a while anyway
  • Why on certain issues such as personal freedoms or overseas wars, libertarian right wingers can sound a lot less bloodthirsty than left wingers with an authoritarian streak

  • How it is possible for a certain type of young 'Marxist' (sic.) to effortlessly become a middle-aged Neocon, or Melanie Phillips

Ooh, nasty ...and not in a good way


If you are the kind of person who enjoys petty power and telling people what to do you would probably fit just as well into a 'hard' left as a 'hard' right regime. If you do not like giving or taking orders you are going to have real issues living under a paternalistic regime, however benign


Having said all that, simplistic as the left-right paradigm may be it is not a false paradigm

There are such things as left and right wing sensibilities and one of the falsest paradigms out there on the Interweb is the assertion that left wing ideologies are entirely a fabrication of the Illuminati Jew Bankers, created to destroy the transcendental beauty that is Christian Free Market Capitalism

Oh hum, where do you start?

  • You could point out that the Christ depicted in the New Testament is not what you would call a raving free market capitalist
  • You could explain that the vast majority of workers in free market nirvanas such as Victorian England didn't exactly have much scope to savour the joys of all those capitalistic opportunities and freedoms, on account of being too poor and dying prematurely from a variety of exciting lung diseases
  • Or you could simply suggest that anyone who dismisses compassion for and empathy with fellow humans as being nothing more than the product of Zionist mind control is probably in dire need of a hug

Without going into the ins and outs of who allegedly funded and promoted which political group, which writer or which revolution, plain common sense and a little knowledge of history, should tell you that the quest for fairness, compassion and empathy goes back a long way and is not some 19th century cabalistic invention conjured up out of the ether by Marx



Zionist pawn Watt Tyler - getting it in the neck as punishment for falling for the 'false left-right paradigm' super early; almost 500 years before the publication of Das Kapital


The really bizarre thing is that of the plethora of conspiratorial websites and personalities out there the great majority are anti left-wing and pro capitalism*. Somehow socialism gets discounted as a capitalist plot but capitalism does not

Which, from an evil, plutocratic overlord's point of view is a bit of a result, and exactly the manner in which you would like to see your opposition behaving


* = That would be a special kind of never yet seen magic capitalism which does not rely on banks and does not result in dangerous concentrations of dynastic wealth and power


Anyway, all of the above was merely a preamble to this short clip of Alex Jones explaining what true political insight is really all about. It is not about false paradigms and birds' wings. It is about elves, clockwork elves...





PS And if anyone who has bothered to read my latest spate of posts detects a certain confrontational tone being directed towards conspiracy theorists as well as official narratives they might well be onto something. It could be that I am either a) a Zionist keyboard monkey basking in a shower of Jew Gold, or b) a contrarian scrotum who is bored of reading the same old lazy-arsed, confirmation bias-riddled BS on conspiratorial sites and which is rapidly achieving the status of unquestionable orthodoxy. Fuck that

63 comments:

Tony Mach said...

Stef,

you are painting a little bit black and white and attacking strawmen, aren't you?

I have seen in my country some former "Marxist", "Maoist" or whatever "*ists" that somewhere along the years thought "gee, it is actually quite nice and we need only to iron out the details" and started to soften their critic (and making a better living in "the system"). That these people have to choosen to support the system, like your mel philips, doesn't mean you have to too. I consider myself left and I am not defined by mel philips or gregor gysi.

And gee, germany was only adolf and the soviet union was only josef. And josef talked friendly to adolf, so you can not trust the lefties! Yeah, right. You are conveniently forgetting the soviet union was under attack from the moment it was created. When they stopped their participation in WWI, they got an invasion by US, british and french troops. After that they got attacked by the polish. And when they tried to forge a alliance against the german fascists, they were sliced out of any talks and capitalist UK cut up czechoslovakia to prevent them from allying them with the soviet union. Until 1940 the british establishment was considering allying themselfses with the german fascists and to attack the soviets through scandinavia - maybe you should read some Michael Parenti. Yeah right, josef got cozy with adolf, because he was an asshole and not because the soviets had to buy time (and by that way get rid of the constant problem with the polish nationalists having territorial claims against the soviet union). "That's realpolitik", as Kissinger, that asshole, said. It's not like the soviets tried to avoid this, but they ran out of options.

BTW, is it the fault of josef that the fascists killed over 30 million soviet citizens and the british allied themselfses after the war with the german fascist that were left and shunned the soviets. Yeah, right. I think that mel philips is blinding you quite well.

paul said...

Quite right. Next time you express an opinion, make sure you cover everything.

paul said...

What I find dispiriting is that, while there is an open, concerted effort to enclose large parts of the economy,deflate it as a whole, reduce employment and pay for it with increased financial tribute, people can barely conceal their glee at the supposed come-uppance of the public sector.
I can only assume this animus outweighs any wider considerations.

And just in case anyone thinks I might be against the glories of the private sector, where would get this from without it?

(...and I thought there were only 7 signs of the apocalypse)

Stef said...

What is it with the straw men this month?

Stef said...

On the subject of Josef

This is the tyrant who liquidated every Bolshevik he could get his hands on including Trotsky, slaughtered or starved millions of people and made accomodations with American capitalists and Nazi Germany

He was an authoritarian shit, which is why he found it so easy to do business with that other authoritarian shit in Berlin

Stef said...

Tony

I think there is possibly an issue of language and idiom here as you have not taken my intended meaning

On the question of Marxists for example I qualified myself in three ways - I refered to a 'certain type' of Marxist, enclosed the word Marxist in parentheses and followed it with sic.

I have defined the characteristics of the certain type of 'Marxists' sic. I am talking about by referring to US
Neocons and the very lovely Melanie as examples These are people who don't care very much about left or right labels and will adopt either as is convenient to them

If, after all of that, a reader believes that I am referring to *all* Marxists and accuses me of weaving a straw man there is little I can do, aside from politely asking them to reread what I have written

Stef said...

"maybe you should read some Michael Parenti"

lol

he's written so much

do I have to go through it all again?

Bridget said...

Stef I admire you for tackling some very urgent and compelling subjects recently, including this one.

I certainly find the anti-Marxism/left/Communism overt and covert amongst 'conspiracists' deeply troubling - and tellingly is something that J7 haven't followed as evidenced here, here and here. This is usually although not always linked to a so-called 'anti-Zionist' agenda but any debate often ends up with Marx being re-named Mordechai and Trotsky's Jewish heritage making an appearance.

That these issues need an airing at this time is no small accident - the world is changing rapidly, class forces are on the move again after a period of relative peace, and solutions are urgently required. The British left were woeful over Iraq and even moreso in their analysis of Libya and the 'Arab Spring' - their support of the Imperialist bombardment of Libya no different to the 2nd International's support for their own ruling classes in WW1 (an International that Social Democratic parties such as our own Labour Party belong and with which Lenin & the Bolsheviks broke).

Stef said...

For the sake of disclosure, I should mention that my personal beliefs could by no means be described as Marxist

However, the blanket dismissal of all leftist ideologies and sensibilities as being an elitist construction is, not to put too fine a point on it, fucking stupid

Taking the 'Arab Spring' as an example. From Day One I have suspected that these uprisings were instigated and nurtured by outside forces. However, that does not invalidate the grievances or revolutionary aspirations of the mass of people in the countries affected

If I dismissed the aspirations of those Arabs as being nothing more than a CIA plot and started referring to the 'false tyrant-pleb paradigm' that would be patently idiotic

However, that's exactly the kind of logic that gets plastered all over the conspiratorial regions of the Internet in reference to leftist ideologies

Stef said...

"Stef I admire you for tackling some very urgent and compelling subjects recently, including this one."

Yeah, I woke up one day and decided this blog wasn't niche enough

Once my vision is fully realised there'll just be me and the occasional penis pill marketer visiting

And on the subject of the fucktard left, how about this stroke of genius...

Support our striking public servants - in fancy dress

"Come dressed as a worker; a nurse, a teacher, a builder, or anything you choose."

Stef said...

"I certainly find the anti-Marxism/left/Communism overt and covert amongst 'conspiracists' deeply troubling"

You do realise that the probability of someone posting a comment saying that this never!! happens in the way I have described is quite high

I'm thinking about a new career in the scarecrow manufacture business. Herzliya-based, obviously

Stef said...

Have you noticed that I never post on a Saturday?

Stef said...

...that's not actually true but someone might have noticed it

Bridget said...

Stalin, never a Marxist of the ilk of the Bolshevik leadership, played his part in the setting up of Israel which went entirely against the (prophetic) position of the Comintern:

In 1920 the Second Congress of the Comintern had issued a statement on the colonial and national question, in which we can read the following: "A glaring example of the deception of the working people of oppressed nations by the united forces of imperialism of the Entente and the bourgeoisie of these nations is the Palestinian adventure that is being put forward by the Zionists (and Zionism in general, which, in claiming to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, in practice is advocating the expulsion of the Arab working people from Palestine, where the Jewish workers constitute only an insignificant minority, a role that is exploited by Britain.)"

The role this treachery played in the disintegration of Marxist parties in the Middle East and Arab nations and specifically the CP of Palestine:

Stalin and Zionism | In Defence of Marxism

Bridget said...

Jewish Bolshevism was the doctrine of the far-right Russian Whites (supported by Churchill) and the Nazis.

Stef said...

@paul

re. the stephen fry jeeves alarm clock

Fry is the Robert Oppenheimer of light entertainment

first 'Peter's Friends' and now this

Is there no end to the Horrors that Men are willing to inflict on their fellow creatures?

paul said...

I foresee terrible outcomes as he tightens his vice-like grip on the popular imagination.

The fancy dress idea doesn't look like a masterstroke of popular mobilisation, and will be unlikely to turn any tides.

Stef said...

"Jewish Bolshevism was the doctrine of the far-right Russian Whites (supported by Churchill) and the Nazis"

That entry quotes Daniel Pipes

There isn't a spoon long enough for me to dine with that particular character

CanSpeccy said...

Paul said: "What I find dispiriting is that, while there is an open, concerted effort to enclose large parts of the economy,deflate it as a whole, reduce employment and pay for it with increased financial tribute, people can barely conceal their glee at the supposed come-uppance of the public sector."

Not sure that I follow all that but if you want to know what folks are up against, you need to grasp what global free trade means for a country such as Britain.

I just bought some 9 volt batteries. A pair of Duracell batteries (made in Japan) were priced at CAN$7.69. A pair of Energizer batteries (made in the US) were priced the same. A pack of four Likewise batteries (made in China) was priced at $4.29.

And my experience of the retail trade is that mark-ups are vastly higher on stuff that comes in dirt cheap from a third world country than on stuff made by people earning real wages in the West.

What this means for working people is not short of catclysmic, as I discussed tediously and at some length here.

In that context, the idea of having a vast 519 billion pound sucking bureaucracy with guaranteed incomes for life sheltered from the freezing winds of change is naturally resented by those on minimum wage, or those whose labor is worth even less than the minimum wage.

By the time the western nations have come to grips with competition from China, India, Vietnam, etc. it will be necessary to lower wages relative to those in China by something like 95%: the only compensation being that the cost of shoes and shirts and cars and computers will also fall.

CanSpeccy said...

Re: Jones and Elves,

This is part of a pattern of seeming insanity.

A further example of both Jones and Webster Tarpley propagating looney lies here.

Stef said...

"By the time the western nations have come to grips with competition from China, India, Vietnam, etc. it will be necessary to lower wages relative to those in China by something like 95%: the only compensation being that the cost of shoes and shirts and cars and computers will also fall."

And how much fiat would ordinary people in the West have to earn if the burdens of finance capital and land speculation were removed from their monthly outgoings?

Stef said...

I've enjoyed the delightful experience of auditing a wide range of organisations - from local authority and health service departments through to financial and commodity trading firms

And, yes, I have witnessed practices in the public sector which made me cringe

But by far and away the worst value for money I've witnessed, remuneration-wise was at the top end of the private sector

And the public sector has no monopoly on having a strata of appalling, over-paid, full-time back stabbers and politicians who call themselves managers and executives

Any organisation, once it passes a certain critical size becomes prey to parasites

One thing I never said to myself whilst working in the private sector was 'I wouldn't do his or her job for twice the money'. I found myself thinking that frequently whenever I dealt with front line public sector workers

Antipholus Papps said...

Once my vision is fully realised there'll just be me and the occasional penis pill marketer visiting

Still finding your posts entertaining and insightful Stef. Keep up the good work!

p.s. $$$$ now I'm in Canada, I have access to cheap Cialis tablets to help you bend her like Beckham. Pump it all night long with our new winning formula that gives you the extra boost you need! $$$$

Stef said...

I've touched on this already but by far and away the most egregious examples of public sector 'waste' occurred in its interactions with the private sector

For a time I started to have a 'thing' about Andersen Consulting and maintained a lovely thick file of news clippings of some of their most outrageous acts of larceny

Out of that £519 billion quoted something like 20-25 billion is paid out as housing (ie landlord and bank) benefit, 60 billion plus on bank benefit (interest on money the government could print for itself), several tens of millions on pharmaceutical company benefit, another few bill' on management consultancy benefit, and so on and so on

Out of whatever's left over and designated as bureaucratic waste a goodly portion of that will be paid by the bureaucrats on rent, mortages, monopolistic utility charges and all the rest

I am not denying the existence of bureaucratic waste. I am questioning the relative scale of the problem and the failure of the allegedly efficiency conscious to address the largest wealth sinks in our society

CanSpeccy said...

Stef asked: "And how much fiat would ordinary people in the West have to earn if the burdens of finance capital and land speculation were removed from their monthly outgoings?"

The total net worth of the UK has been assessed at 6.7 trillion quid! Which works out to 115,000 per person, if I've not got the decimal in the wrong place. Of that, 60% consists in housing. So if 65% of the population own their own homes, and if owner occupiers occupy the better, more valuable, homes, one can say that most of the real estate in Britain is privately owned, the benefits enjoyed more or less exclusively by the owners.

But, it's true that house prices are largely determined by land prices and building land prices are determined by government restrictions on development. Thus a significant chunk of the wealth of the nation must be sitting in the pockets of land developers who were able to turn farm land at 10,000 an acre into building land at a million an acre.

This, I believe, is the biggest scam in Britain, and it has been ongoing for generations. The remedy would be a windfall development tax, with compulsory acquisition of development land where landowners are reluctant to accept a reasonable price for land best suited for development.

Looking at this from an income perspective, one has to remember David Ricardo's rule that when wages rise profits fall and vice versa, i.e., wages plus profits equal GDP. In quarter 4 of 2010 corporate profits were 12.2% of GDP.

That includes profits from all activities including finance. So the capitalists, say the top 1% of the population who own about 80% of the stock market, are doing nicely.

However, if they were all taken out and shot and their income divided among the populace as a whole, it would not make a radical change to the standard of living, which depends mainly on the productivity of labour.

Offshoring of production means moving capital offshore, which lowers the productivity of labour. That there is no restriction or any idea of restricting capital movements or protecting home industries means that the outlook for wages in the western economies is grim.

CanSpeccy said...

Stef Said:

"by far and away the most egregious examples of public sector 'waste' occurred in its interactions with the private sectora"

True. The waste in public spending is greatly aided by the private sector that lobbies and bribes to get contracts for products and services of questionable or negative value, such as airport x-ray equipment, domestic spying systems, computer systems that often don't work, etc.

I guess the private sector gets to waste what the bureaucracy lacks the technical knowhow to waste or which the private sector can waste more efficiently, i.e., with less waste, than the public sector.

CanSpeccy said...

Stef said

"And the public sector has no monopoly on having a strata of appalling, over-paid, full-time back stabbers and politicians who call themselves managers and executives"

Absolutely.

The public sector is largely staffed by people who are fairly intelligent, fairly honest and fairly lazy and who are prepared to accept relatively modest incomes, by the standards of corporate executive suite.

The private sector is where astounding payoffs are to be achieved. The President of Canada's Potash Corporation stood to collect $400 million on completion of a proposed takeover by BHP Billiton -- but, poor bugger, the deal fell through.

The corporate sector is where you have the big time psychopaths who "play for keeps," and have little compunction, it seems, about theft, fraud and in even murder.

Lukiftian said...

Some of the images flying around looked a lot like depictions of buddhist and taoist demons. Perhaps there is a connection? I've never met any entities like these when I've been tripping, but I've never taken DMT either... however I have met... ummmm.... 'things' in other ways and places-- I can't be sure whether they're 'real' or not, for that matter I'm not sure you're real either, or if I am... :-)

Stef said...

"Some of the images flying around looked a lot like depictions of buddhist and taoist demons."

What flying demonic images?

Stef said...

My favourite quote from my readings about clockwork elves thus far comes, of course, from Terence McKenna...

The mushroom states its own position very clearly. It says, "I require the nervous system of a mammal. Do you have one handy?"

Anonymous said...

The start of the second paragraph was tantalisingly close to a Jimmy Savile impression.

Stef said...

Lest I'm accused of being a tease - a fully consumnated Jimmy Saville impression here

and a completely uncalled for video of Jimmy Somerville here

rob said...

what is a marxist or communist can anyone explain to me?

Stef said...

lol

If you talk to most marxists or communists they'd claim that they're all about social justice and a fair deal for all

If you talk to right wing conspiraloons such as Edward Griffin and Antony Sutton they'd tell you that marxists are fanatics out to spread the virus of collectivism under the direction of the capitalist elite

If you talk to some ultra conspiraloons they'll tell you it's a bunch of Jews out to control the world (with the aid of the filthy collectivist virus)

Stef said...

My take is my usual one - just because an idea or movement may be co-opted and corrupted by malevolent interests that does not mean the original idea was or is an intrinsically malevolent idea

Loons who claim that *all* 'leftist' thinking is the creation of elitist/ Zionist manipulators go too far; way, way, way too far

Stef said...

a competing definition of marxist (or communist) would be...

'the word a conservative uses to describe any authoritarian or failed regime'

by the same token a definition of fascist would be...

'the word a leftist uses to describe any authoritarian or failed regime'

in practice, these are the definitons used by an awful lot of people an awful lot of the time

Stef said...

For me, the distinction between rightist and leftist is a lot less fundamental than the difference between authoritarian and libertarian

Most people are basically 'OK' and if left to get on with things they would agree co-operative structures to get stuff done

If you introduce a power structure with a monopoly on violence into the mix - a state or a gang - that enables the minority to enforce its will on everyone else

which is a no-no in my book

Even though there are genuine differences between right and left thought, politics frequently operates at level where two groups of power seekers are struggling to assume the monopoly of violence

Fuck both of them afaic

rob said...

years ago I read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tresell.Someone told me it was a sort of Marxist Socialist type philosophy behind it.I thought myself that the authors views were pretty much spot on and were moral common sense.

Stef said...

I read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist a while back as the result of a recommendation someone made here, probably you I guess

A lot of what is described as leftist thinking strikes me as moral common sense

The issue afaic is if you enforce what you believe to be moral common sense through the state, and its monopoly on violence, is it still moral common sense?

I think not

As I'm trying to get at with this post, there is a fair amount of discussion of the 'left-right paradigm', a lot less about the 'authoritarian-libertarian' paradigm with which the 'left-right' intersects

CanSpeccy said...

Stefz: "just because an idea or movement may be co-opted and corrupted by malevolent interests that does not mean the original idea was or is an intrinsically malevolent idea"

But when the author of that idea advocated a "dictatorship" i.e., of the proletariat, then watch out.

Also, you have to consider the feasibility of what is advocated, and if it is not feasible then it is either a recipe for chaos or a plot to gul folks while power over them is ruthlessly accumulated by villainous bastards like Stalin.

Socialism, the idea that those of exceptional energy, brains, beauty, etc., should not achieve some degree of privilege and power is simply nuts.

Human society has always been hierarchical and it has always been the charismatic, the physically strong, the clever, or the beautiful who have dominated society.

The real challenge is not to ensure that all good things happen equally to everyone, but to ensure that the power of the elite is constrained in such a way that it serves society, rather than enslaving it, while the rebellious forces of the mass are constrained to prevent revolution and chaos.

Stef said...

Human society has always been hierarchical and it has always been the charismatic, the physically strong, the clever, or the beautiful who have dominated society.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that if you took all your social anthropology from Norse Sagas but my personal experience has been that human society is frequently dominated by the psycho and sociopathic

Darwin, of course, shares a good portion of the blame in promoting the belief that the fittest triumph, his definition of fittest being 'those who triumph'

Let's put this another way and selecting a ruling structure close to home as an example...

The Queen or David Cameron, they're not exactly what most people would describe as being charismatic, physically strong, clever, or beautiful are they?

Stef said...

But when the author of that idea advocated a "dictatorship" i.e., of the proletariat, then watch out.

I haven't read enough Marx to be sure of this but people I know who have tell me that Marx saw the state as being only an intermediate step on the path to a stateless society

I am intensely suspicious of the state and therefore suspicious of any ideology which embraces the state, even if only as an intermediate step

I need to do more research on this issue but my preliminary investigations indicate that this chap had the foresight to anticipate my concerns more than a century before I was born

Stef said...

"For Bakunin, the fundamental contradiction is that for the Marxists, "anarchism or freedom is the aim, while the state and dictatorship is the means, and so, in order to free the masses, they have first to be enslaved"

Though, it has to be said, Bakuninist doesn't roll off the tongue as easy as Marxist

Stef said...

Bakunin also had a way cooler hairstyle

Anonymous said...

"You'd be forgiven for thinking that if you took all your social anthropology from Norse Sagas but my personal experience has been that human society is frequently dominated by the psycho and sociopathic."

With you on that Stef. There are a ton of 'beautiful', physically strong, and clever people who do not want to dominate others.

IMO Sociopath/narcissistic/self-centered tending people who are able to also utilize any clever/charismatic/beautiful tend to have the assets to riser through the hierarchy.

Stef said...

If Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg is ever up for an arm-wrestling or Scrabble challenge to decide who gets to be Head of State I'll donate the board

craggy said...

An excellent and very astute post (and follwing comments), Stef, rich with insights. Many thanks.

One quick comment in respsonse. It strikes me that one reason some conspiracists bang on about the "false left-right paradigm" is that they are disillusioned with the main political parties and feel that they are all similarly morally bankrupt and beholden to vested interests. So, while I agree that there are real ideological differences between left and right in theory, functionally the political parties purporting to be of the "left" or "right" are often indistinguishable (backing wars, kowtowing to big business, etc) , differing primarily on relatively trivial and obscure matters.

paul said...

Fair play to Darwin:
if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin;

Which is an admirable insight, unfortunately swamped by the majority of his outpourings.

CanSpeccy said...

"...but my personal experience has been that human society is frequently dominated by the psycho and sociopathic"

Strong, beautiful, clever, devious, psychopaths!

It's said that about one in twenty of the population is psychopathic, so there's plenty of leadership material.

"Darwin, of course, shares a good portion of the blame in promoting the belief that the fittest triumph, his definition of fittest being 'those who triumph'"

I wasn't saying these bastards are the fittest. The fuckers seem intent on blowing up the world!

But the thing is, these are the people that people follow.

When you bring up the Queen, you are introducing a red herring.

People get excited about the Royal family. Encouraged by the likes of Tony Blair and the leftist press, they feel resentment at the Queen's wealth, privilege and supposed power.

The truth is, however, the Queen probably has less disposable cash than J.K. Rowling. Her privilege consists in having to traipse around the world, sniped at by leftists ignoramuses in the media, being polite to boring civic politicians, war-criminal politicians and tedious ambassadors, etc. All this at an age when most Britons have been retired for 20 years.

As for her power, she has essentially none. That is the whole point.

Under the constitutional settlement of 1689, the monarch became in most respects a mere figurehead, totally dependent on Parliament for financial supply.

After 1689, the mental limitations of the Hanoverians ensured that Parliament was able to assert near total authority.

The only important function of today's monarchy is to deny the Prime Minister the additional charisma and authority he would possess if, instead of plain Mr. Cameron living in Downing St, it were President Cameron living at the Palace and serving not only as head of government but also head of state, head of the armed forces, and supreme governor of the Church of England.

When you point to David Cameron's lack of beauty, brains, charisma, etc. you have a point. But he is not really in the driving seat. He's a PR man, ready at a moment's to run to Washington to represent BP or any of his corporate backers. He's a puppet of the plutocracy.

So, yes, we have a new form of government, where the charismatic leader, the Wellingtons, Lloyd George's, Churchill's etc. have mostly been replaced by the dynamic plutocrats who prefer, for now, to wield power secretly, pushing their projects through bought agents, such as Blair and Cameron.

My point remains, however, that society has always had and will surely always have in the future a hierarchical structure and any attempt to destroy the structure of society only leads to a tyranny of the strong, the beautiful, the intelligent, the devious and the psychopathic, who take advantage of chaos created by the destruction of one social hierarchy to create a new one in which they stand on top of the manure pile.

Stef said...

"When you bring up the Queen, you are introducing a red herring"

My selection of Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg was not altogether a random one and was chosen with you in mind

And it's very possible that she has less disposable fiat than JK Rowling. Most aristocrats are cash poor; preferring instead to store their inherited advantage in acres, ounces and other tangible assets

Stef said...

As for the issue of hierarchy

I don't deny that most people throughout most of the last 6,000 years have been subjects of tyranny

Where I took issue was in your original list of selection criteria for the tyrants. You've updated it to include the devious and acknowledge that lack of empathy is also a distinct advantage, so we're sort of on the same page now

So, onto the question of whether we should accept tyranny because that has been the norm in the past

No

Stef said...

A longer answer could go something along the lines of...

Tyrants and plutocrats seek to secure the advantage they have won by creating systems designed to set the existing hierarchy in stone

Examples would be regressive tax systems, access to education based on ability to pay rather than merit, and all the other good stuff we see back on the way up in recent years

My take is that most people are capable of strength, beauty, intelligence, creativity and all sorts of other positive qualities that can contribute to rather than dominate everyone else's lives

The problem is that there is group of people who will do everything in their power to fuck that potential up so that they can stay on top of the manure pile they have manufactured

I choose to resist that fucking-up process in whatever small way I can

And I don't give a damn about my chances of success

Bridget said...

We can of course manufacture reasons for the existence of hierarchical societies, which have not always existed, or as Marx shows in the Communist Manifesto, understand the true nature of society as based on classes:

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.

The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.

Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other — Bourgeoisie and Proletariat
.

The streets of Greece today show just how Marx's method of analysing history, (historical materialism), even 170 years after the Manifesto, remains absolutely essential to any understanding of Capitalism and our present situation.

Stef said...

"Most aristocrats are cash poor"

f*** me did I really write that

Most aristocrats are relatively cash poor and spend their serfs' rents rather than the interest on their Post Office savings accounts

Stef said...

"We can of course manufacture reasons for the existence of hierarchical societies, which have not always existed"

Maybe not always but for the span of documented human history, virtually all of the time

Bridget said...

Further:

All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.

Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie.

In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.

Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of the feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern labourer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the process of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.


The essential conditions for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour.

then:

What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.

The result of this revolution will be the end of class society, Capitalism as a system will be overthrown:

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.

Bridget said...

Maybe not always but for the span of documented human history, virtually all of the time

In pre-history, primitive communism, the communal ownership of land or herds was the norm and it wasn't until the development of surplus which laid the foundation for private property did hierarchies and hence classes appear.

Stef said...

"In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all."

That sounds awfully certain and teleological

Personally, I can come up with all sorts of possibilities of what we shall have

Some of them aren't very nice

Stef said...

"In pre-history, primitive communism, the communal ownership of land or herds was the norm and it wasn't until the development of surplus which laid the foundation for private property did hierarchies and hence classes appear"

And how do we know that it wasn't the establishment of a hierarchy which led to the surplus?

And, it seems to me, that hierarchies are quite OK with scarcity and frequently go out of their way to create it

Regardless, you don't appear to disagree that for most of documented history/ the last 6,000 years hierarchies have been the norm

As for the undocumented bits they're undocumented

Knowing the flaws that exist in anthropology and evolutonary biology I wouldn't ground my personal politics on either of them. And even if someone proved that cavemen had kings that wouldn't change anything for me in the here and now. So, I'm ducking out of this one

Bridget said...

That sounds awfully certain and teleological

Hardly teleological which is the reason it's a Communist Manifesto and why a worker's revolution has to be a conscious revolution. As Marx said, philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point however is to change it. How we change it and what we change it to requires conscious action, theory and practice rather than blind faith.

Personally, I can come up with all sorts of possibilities of what we shall have

Some of them aren't very nice


What we have now 'isn't very nice' though is it, and it's going to get a lot nastier.

rob said...

meanwhile over in Greece.

Greece Protest Photos 4

CanSpeccy said...

Stefz: "Tyrants and plutocrats seek to secure the advantage they have won by creating systems designed to set the existing hierarchy in stone"

That is correct. And of course we, the people, should resist. But we will, nevertheless, always have a hierarchy!

Not everyone is fit to run a railroad, a hospital, a nuclear weapons system, etc. But just about every revolutionary is a potential tyrant.

What to do. I think we just keep rollicking along, advancing from one disaster to another, with occasional moments of calm, where wisdom and decency is combined with power.

But there is no particular reason to assume that humanity + advanced technology has an evolutionary future.

My own view is that Malcolm Muggeridge was correct in saying that liberalism is worse than communism and fascism, for communism and fascism are today discredited, whereas liberalism remains as the disease of our age. In particular, he maintained, it upholds false hopes about the perfectibility of mankind, while destroying the Christian belief that all men are born in the image of God and are equal in his sight, a belief that must in some degree moderate the exercise of power.

CanSpeccy said...

Bridget said: "In pre-history, primitive communism, the communal ownership of land or herds was the norm and it wasn't until the development of surplus which laid the foundation for private property did hierarchies and hence classes appear."

I suspect that for the first million or so years after homo sapiens branched out the from the ancestral stock of apes, gorillas, and chimpanzees, men had no conception of land ownership, or animal husbandry.

The generally accepted view, I believe, is that early humans existed mainly in small bands of one to two hundred people, each band headed by its own alpha male who had the pick of the available mates and sired most of the next generation.

This is the basic human hierarchy (cf. DSK), which corresponds with the social structures in many other mammalian species. It is a structure that promotes rapid evolution of any advantageous trend that may emerge, e.g., in communication or other intellectual skills. It is also a structure that would allow the rapid evolution of the Machiavellian social skills that give rise to hierarchies.