Sunday sermon: sobering thoughts from the adults across the pond.
This is NOT the most recent version of this grid point.
It has been updated: View it here.
Thrust of argument: Kenn Orphan writes: << Thousands of socialists and leftists were marched into stadiums in Chile in the 1970s and gunned down, tortured, or disappeared in a country with a much smaller military than the US. Between 1965 and 1966, at least a million communists, or those believed to be communists, were hunted down and brutally murdered in Indonesia by rightwing death squads and the police. And millions of Jews, Roma, communists, homosexuals and the disabled were persecuted, rounded up and sent to concentration camps in the 1930s and 40s in Germany and Nazi occupied countries, where most perished at a time when many ordinary people thought "the logistics" of doing something like that were too "enormous" to be fathomed, much less carried out. And each atrocity was preceded by the rise of a pernicious fascism and the language of dehumanization by leaders. >>
Direction of resistance / implied resistance: The neoliberals may remain in denial but you reader ought to heed Orphan's warning: << One thing history has proven is that mass atrocity can be committed with few people, with great efficiency at a moment's notice, little technology, and with shocking approval or the complacence of the majority of ordinary people. But it must first be normalized. To be sure, if a people can tolerate dehumanizing language of entire groups by its leader, and the utterly sadistic policy of ripping children from the arms of their parents and putting them in cages, or pregnant women being shackled to beds, or the torture of non-violent LGBTQ and mentally ill migrants via solitary confinement for days, or militias working in tandem with government agencies to round up unarmed migrants, or a government prosecuting those who provide water and shelter to other human beings in desperate need, it is certainly capable of tolerating, or even applauding, even worse monstrous depravity. And without a doubt, we are only one absurd tweet away from that potential nightmare. >>
Removal of resistance: And let us not forget, and repeat as often as necessary, what neoliberalism really is, what it is precisely that we are attacking:
Let me begin by saying something about liberalism, which is a very complicated concept, I think. It's correct, surely, that liberalism grew up in the intellectual environment of empiricism and the rejection of authority, and trust in the evidence of the senses, and so on. However, liberalism has undergone a very complex evolution as a social philosophy over the years. If we go back to the classics, or at least, what I regard as the classics, say, for example, Humboldt's limits of state action which inspired Mill and is a true libertarian, liberal classic, if you like. The world that Humboldt was considering--which was partially an imaginary world--but the world for which he was developing this political philosophy, was a post-feudal but pre-capitalist world.
That it was a world in which there was no great divergence among individuals in the kind of power that they had, and what they command, let's say. But there was a tremendous disparity between individuals, on one hand, and the state on the other. Consequently, it was the task of a liberalism that was concerned with human rights, and the quality of individuals, and so on. It was the task of that liberalism to dissolve the enormous power of state, which was such an authoritarian threat to individual liberties. And from that, you develop a classical liberal theory in, say, Humboldt's or Mill's sense. Well, of course, that is pre-capitalist. He couldn't conceive of an era in which a corporation would be regarded as an individual, or in which enormous disparities in control over resources and production would distinguish between individuals in a massive fashion. Now, in that kind of society, to take the Humboldtian view is a very superficial liberalism. Because while opposition to state power in an era of such divergence conforms to Humboldt's conclusions, it doesn't do so for his reasons. That is, his reasons lead to very different conclusions in that case.
Namely, I think, his reasons lead to the conclusion that we must dissolve the authoritarian control over production of resources, which leads to such divergence as among individuals. In fact, I think, one might draw a direct line between classical liberalism and a kind of libertarian socialism, which I think, can be regarded as a kind of adapting of the basic reasoning of classical liberalism to a very different social era. Now if we come to the modern period, here liberalism has taken on a very strange sense, if you think of its history. Now liberalism is essentially the theory of state capitalism. Of state intervention in a capitalist economy.
Well, that has very little relation to classical liberalism. In fact, classical liberalism is what's now called conservatism, I suppose. But this new view, I think, really is, in my view at least, a highly authoritarian position. That is, it's one which accepts a number of centers of authority and control--the state on one hand, agglomerations of private power on the other hand, all interacting with individuals as malleable cogs in this highly constrained machine, which may be called democratic, but given the actual distribution of powers, very far from being meaningfully democratic and cannot be so. So my own feeling has always been that to achieve the classical liberal ideals--for the reasons that led to them being put forth--in a society so different, we must be led in a very different direction. It's superficial and erroneous to accept the conclusions which were reached for different society and not to consider the reasoning that led to those conclusions. The reasoning, I think, is very substantial.
Lazy attempts to sidestep having to read and face up to that, oh 'protectors' of corporate power, like that MP (once I can dig up what it was you said and identify which MP you are I'll edit this post to include your name, and any other examples of people who say what you recently said), will not pass muster. I will put these questions on the lips of 10 million young adults as soon as I can. It's happening day by day, and you cannot stop that, least of all by burying your head in the sand and reverting to your shallow pantomime.
Unification: I address my comments above all to the so-called 'genuine left wing' in Britain, ie the (in many ways) admirable movements which together make up one significant part of Jeremy Corbyn's voters and supporters, if we may call them that for now, but they have been doing what they do and Corbyn came out of all that, he didn't create it, the way those who see him as Satan often seem to imagine.
It's up to this 'genuine left' to learn and teach and act upon the truth forensically, precisely, in a determined way, and not be distracted and side-tracked. Understanding what neoliberalism really is and explaining it well is one of the primary tasks of all 'left wing' or 'libertarian' persons who participate in our political systems, even 'just' with a vote.
What neoliberalism is, in a nutshell, that is the key to making most ignorant people understand who their enemy really is! Learn to understand that core truth and relay it easily as and when you 'need to'.
Pay especial attention to the fact that: "The psychology of leaders is a topic of little interest. The institutional factors that constrain their actions and beliefs are what merit attention."
And the American left may do well to note this (the genuine American left, as they see themselves, distinct from the right wing and corporate power fully - ie without compromise) that Chomsky is an anarchist, not a socialist, and thus does not see socialism as a kind of ideal form per se, thus it is itself a corruption, thus working with it is already 'a lesser evil' - thus when he chooses to support Sanders, AOC and even, at times, only to oppose Trump, Hillary Satan Clinton herself, he is only moving along a scale of lesser evils which has always been there. She's less less evil than a genuine left wing government, but even that is only a lesser evil on the way to the anarchist utopian civil society at the end of the road of all this hungaama and mussibat.
Note also that even the 'genuine left' in Britain, unlike the genuine American left, is often ignorant of the history of 'the right turn' in the USA, the scandalously demonic behaviour of men like Nixon, the purges in society, above all the media, of 'evil people'.
A great deal has to be learned about that and some of the key material you will find in the 'numberwang' document in the references below. Perhaps starting there may be a good idea. Although you may want to read the counterpunch article first - it's a hell of a lot shorter than the numberwang doc.
Perhaps out of intellectual honesty I should not hold back something I'd otherwise "keep in the closet" but belongs in a sermon, this one, at this time:
(something I wrote today but wasn't intending to publish)
<< Angela Eagle equates not teaching 5 year olds about homosexuality with forcing adult gay people to 'go back in the closet'.
I fully believe that in sex ed lessons, British (and all) students should learn about homosexuality.
But teaching 5 year olds about homosexuality doesn't seem like a good idea.
To suggest that criticising the teaching of 5 year olds about homosexuality is 'homophobic' is fairly stupid.
Even stupider is to pretend that criticism of those who teach 5 year olds about homosexuality amounts to telling gay people to 'get back in the closet'. Angela Eagle's intellect is not good enough for the job we have given her. She should not be an MP. She is far too stupid. Can anyone here pretend that 'failing' to teach 5 year olds about homosexuality is a way to force gay people 'back into the closet'? Anyway, I'll bring this up another day, not today, because the responses to the situation are clearly overly emotive and not made using the faculties of the mind which should be used.
There is nothing wrong with being gay, nothing at all. And whether or not 5 year olds should be taught about sexuality, about homosexuality, is an interesting question. Taking one side or other doesn't make you a bad person. It's clearly not a straightforward debate at all: young people do see many romance-related things, although never sexual ones. Teaching 5 year olds about homosexual romance is what is being debated. There is no doubt that many of us can understand why some parents may be concerned about teaching 5 year olds anything at all to do with sex.
Frankly the 'debate' should be secondary to real debates about what sexuality really is, what marriage really is, and so on - I believe the latter debate if argued correctly would preclude the need for this less important debate, because once people's attitudes and beliefs matched with reality, I think that anything being taught would be taught in an intelligent way. Right now, on the other hand, we can be sure that those who teach, those who lobby, all these gobshites are somewhat divorced from a genuinely scientific view of our world, our selves, our lives. That's why this topic isn't worth debating on tvhobo right now and remains 'in the closet'! People like Angela Eagle force me to keep it here, in the closet. They are not capable of listening to objective debate on this topic. >>
I'm probably right, though, to suppose it's not really worth going into at this time in such an unenlightened society, submerged in hyperconsumerism and mindless chattering as it is. Since Eagle's remarks may well be part of more efforts to brand all muslims evil, though, I cannot keep that particular observation "in the closet", sorry Angela.