Tuesday 29 June 2021

Of Commoners And Kings: Steve Bannon’s New Traditionalism

Telling It Like It Was: In order to restore the natural balance of society, New Traditionalists like Steve Bannon (above) argue, it is necessary to look deep into the heart of the ordinary people whose daily labours keep society going. Only when guided by the simple but durable virtues of those at the bottom of society, they argue, will those positioned at the top re-discover the wisdom, strength and power required to restore their nation to greatness.

CONSERVATIVE POLITICS in New Zealand is running out of puff. Both National and Act are struggling to offer voters much in the way of new political insights. The radical right-wing ideas that swept all before them in the 1980s and 90s have solidified into a pallid orthodoxy: one increasingly at odds with observable reality. The Churches’ political influence in New Zealand has been in steady decline since the 1970s. Robust though it may be in caucus, National’s right-wing Christian faction merely testifies to the growing distance between their party and the electoral mainstream.

When a political party is fortunate enough to possess a charismatic leader, such ideological frailty counts for much less. Absent such a leader, however, philosophical cluelessness constitutes a formidable barrier to electoral success. Unfortunately for their respective parties, Judith Collins and David Seymour cannot be included in the same company as Sir John Key and Jacinda Ardern. It remains to be seen whether Winston Peters still possesses the power to harness the political zeitgeist to NZ First’s battered chariot.

If Peters has spent the last few months scouring the conservative landscape for an ideology to match the temper of the times, then it is likely he will already have encountered the most radical right-wing movement since the rise of fascism, almost exactly a century ago. Although “Traditionalism” predates fascism by at least two decades, it shares the latter’s comprehensive rejection of Enlightenment values, liberal capitalism, scientific rationalism and democratic politics. When one considers that the leading promoters of Traditionalism in the world today are Steve Bannon – formerly Chief Strategist to President Donald Trump – and Aleksandr Dugin – long-time behind-the-scenes adviser to the Kremlin – any temptation to dismiss the movement as something wacky from the fringe should be resisted.

Like so many of the reactionary creeds emanating from fin-de-siècle Europe, Traditionalism fetishized what it considered to be the core values of the pre-modern era: hierarchy, spirituality and the (now very rare) ability to live honourably in the moment, unburdened by the weight of material concerns. The two individuals most closely associated with the early Traditionalist doctrine were the Frenchman, René Guénon, and the Italian proto-fascist, Julius Evola. Their Traditionalist utopia combined theocratic government with what amounted to a socio-economic caste-system. Cloaked in this antique guise, the doctrine’s prospects of political success in the Twentieth Century were slim. As modified by Bannon, however, Traditionalism has the capacity to act as an extremely powerful solvent of the electoral status-quo all over the Western World.

Bannon’s Traditionalism imputes to what New Zealanders would call the “ordinary Kiwi bloke” (or, in colloquial American, “the average working stiff”) the core definitive values of the nation’s character. It is in such folk: most particularly in their faith, generosity and resilience; that the nation’s ability to endure and triumph over all manner of adversities is located. They are the bedrock: the best; the people without whose support nothing of any lasting worth can be accomplished.

In the unanticipated triumph of Brexit and Trump, the world witnessed the extraordinary political resonance of Bannon’s version of Traditionalism. It had the power to mobilise electorally groups which had, for decades, been disengaging from their traditional electoral champions – Labour in the UK, the Democratic Party in the USA. It was Bannon’s strategic, and Trump’s performative, genius that caused these disillusioned and disgruntled citizens to reassess, at a personal level, the costs and benefits of political engagement. Hillary Clinton may have dismissed them as “deplorables”, but Trump transformed her insult into a badge of honour: convincing them that they were the only people who could make America great again.

To be politically effective, however, Traditionalism needs a special kind of enemy. In this regard, an elite layer of effete professionals and managers, who look down with disdain upon “ordinary people” and their beliefs, and who react with abject horror at the very thought of these usually biddable yobbos intervening decisively in the political process, is exactly what Traditionalists are looking for.

In the eyes of the elites, this ignorant lumpen element presents itself as an army of terrifying zombies. Civilly dead, but now, by the power of Bannon’s weird political voodoo, electorally re-animated, they represent the very deepest fears of the people in charge. Shuffling menacingly towards them, their arms outstretched for ballot papers, these possessed political corpses must be cut down where they stand. Under no circumstances can general elections be turned into re-runs of The Night of the Living Dead.

A less tendentious presentation of Traditionalism may be found in the television series Yellowstone. In their sprawling ranch, “Yellowstone”, set in the rock-ribbed Republican stronghold of Montana, live the Duttons – a powerful family in whom the best constitutive elements of the American character are embodied.

On every side, however, a hostile world is pressing in upon them. From the adjoining Native American tribal reservation – in which an even older embodiment of America is stirring – to the avaricious development buccaneers poised to turn the Dutton patrimony into ski resorts and casinos. Interestingly, those “best constitutive elements” include a willingness to defend the family’s interests with deadly, and often illegal, force. (Which is, at least, an honest admission of core American values!)

In the lead character, John Dutton (played by Kevin Costner) the viewer is frequently presented with something approximating that Zen-like ability to live in the spiritual moment which the original Traditionalists prized so highly. The series’ general contempt for the democratic process, and its clear preference for maintaining the established hierarchy of ‘natural’ leaders, similarly echoes the ideas of Guénon and Evola.

New Zealand political leaders as different as Rob Muldoon and John Key have secured lengthy stints of political power on the strength of elevating ordinariness into something very special. Muldoon pitted his “ordinary blokes” (aka “Rob’s Mob”) against the hapless “Citizens For Rowling” – whom he successfully portrayed as an ineffectual collection of over-educated snobs who thought they were better than everybody else. Key’s trick was to convince nearly half the electorate that they were already the ones in charge; and all they had to do to prove it was make an ordinary millionaire their Prime Minister.

At the moment, few conservatively-minded New Zealanders would admit to feeling in charge of very much at all. Quite the reverse, in fact. In Traditionalist terms, all the worst elements of modernism are in the saddle and riding New Zealand hard. Even worse, no political party of the Right is currently willing (or, seemingly, able) to swing the axe in defence of the values of “Real New Zealanders”, or even explain, in simple terms, what those “real” values are. While this remains the case, the conservative cause will continue to languish.

What Bannon and his Russian equivalent, Dugin, understand is how quickly Democracy exhausts the ordinary man and woman. How ready they are to put their faith in those they recognise as belonging to the natural hierarchies of wisdom, strength and power. And how angry they become when those they trust to lead them prove unequal to the task.

In order to restore the natural balance of society, the Traditionalists argue, it is necessary to look deep into the heart of the ordinary people whose daily labours keep society going. Only when guided by the simple but durable virtues of those at the bottom of society, they argue, will those positioned at the top re-discover the wisdom, strength and power required to restore their nation to greatness.

This is, indeed, a step backward into pre-modernity. What Bannon and Dugin are describing is the enduring political alchemy of leaders and followers: that allegedly sacred bond between sovereign and subject which owes nothing to the intervention of elite interests, or, at least, not to those elite interests who refuse to make their first two priorities the protection of the leader and the welfare of the people. Bannon and Dugin may call this Traditionalism, but a better name for their system might be “Monarchical Socialism”.

Think, the King and the Commons, without the Barons and the Bishops: the doomed dream of the Peasants’ Revolt. Or, the Fuhrer and the Volk, without the Capitalists and the Jews: the murderous dream of Hitler’s stormtroopers.

An earlier version of this essay was posted on the Interest.co.nz website of Monday, 21 June 2021. This version was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 29 June 2021.


David George said...

There was a popular T shirt out at the time of the last US presidential election with the logo
TRUMP 2020 Because fuck you twice.

No body likes to be told what to do or what to think, especially by people that don't even comprehend your POV, that view you with contempt. I was disgusted, but not surprised, by the campaign to discredit Simon Bridges on account of his Kiwi accent, even Winston was into it - the party that positions itself as the bastion of the ordinary Kiwi? The Greens even made a silly mocking video that actually showed themselves up as the pretentious elitists they are; punching down on a working class Maori boy from Tauranga's accent?

I've read a few essays on the New traditionalism, generally not favourable, but I've got a lot of respect for Steve Bannon so I'll have to find out a bit more.

Anonymous said...

Sure, Guo Wengui is a real traditionalist...

To pitch Bannon as the right wing enemy suits him, and suits his equivalents on the "left".

Bannon is the phantasmagoria "left" politics - outwardly progressive politics that disguise long-term hedge fund priorities - requires. Perhaps that's why his people here set up groups in New Zealand like the "Agricultural Action Group"?

Note that the so-called Capitol insurrection, which was greatly driven by Bannon and his cohorts, turns out to have been an FBI operation after all. It's certainly served a purpose, mostly in respect of narrative.

True fascism is a particular set of relations between a government and its corporate partners or "stakeholders", as the WEF calls it.

In walk the military generals to defend Critical Race Theory, having well-recognize the power that cultural phenomenon has to control the populous - and cheaply. So much self-policing.

Meanwhile, the real left are labelled antisemites if they criticize the banking system, or racist if they criticize this neoliberal government - many of them hoping for a job at Palo Alto when they retire from lobbying and selling out the country in-House.

Fascinated to see the growing narrative about "eco-fascism". Funny that this emerging narrative should move to target people who work to be self-sufficient and autonomous, just as this government of lobbyists - House of lobbyists - seeks in various ways to increase dependence on the government and to open up our lives, our bodies and minds, to big tech; that seeks above all to gather data on the citizenry so it can be sold to the private sector.

AB said...

"Real New Zealanders" - a blast from the past. One of the few benefits of identity politics is that we now understand that every New Zealander is as 'real' as any other - just in slightly different ways.

greywarbler said...

Traditionalism as described in the post reminds me of the theme of a young adult novel The Guardians - by John Christopher which is a straightforward good quick read that anyone could dig into with enjoyment and edification.

Set in the year 2052, it depicts an authoritarian England divided into two distinct societies: the modern, overpopulated "Conurbs" and the aristocratic, rarefied "County". Crowded city districts and all-pervasive technology make up the Conurbs while manors and rolling countrysides typical of 19th-century England make up the County. The story follows a young Conurban orphan named Rob as he experiences life in both worlds, uncovering truths and choosing sides in the process. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guardians_(Christopher_novel)

(I recently quoted on a blog from a novel and got a raspberry along the lines, 'What, using fiction as a source of merit'? In defence of fiction though, I understand it is women who mostly read fiction, while men prefer biographies or spy novels etc, they therefore limit their own imagination. The works of fiction usually draw on factual reality given a certain twist as shown in 'The Guardians' review. On the basis that human initiative is so wide it could be said that anything imagined might have been done, is being done, or could lead to 'novel' features in the future for instance, satellites* and Arthur C. Clarke come to mind.)

* After the crest of World War II, from his base in Stratford-on-Avon, England, a young officer in the Royal Air Force, Arthur C. Clarke, who dabbled in science fiction writing, floated the idea of global communications satellites in a 1945 letter to the publication Wireless World. https://web.mit.edu/m-i-t/science_fiction/jenkins/jenkins_4.html

I think the Cadfael series about 12th century Britain - was it Great then? - could be said to display Traditionalism. They are quite descriptive and Ellis Peters appeared to have been an ardent historian.

A good quotation to finish with is from early Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru:
“Fine buildings, fine pictures and books and everything that is beautiful are certainly signs of civilization. But an even better sign is a fine man who is unselfish and works with others for the good of all. To work together is better than to work singly, and to work together for the common good is best of all.”
― Jawaharlal Nehru

Wayne Mapp said...

A lot of your recent articles seem to be about the dissatisfaction of the archetype voters who determine the outcome of elections. Who are they and what do they believe?
In the early 2000's I spent a lot of my time thinking about this. From 2005 to 2008 I chaired the National Party caucus policy committee. One of my reference points was how Bill Clinton won over middle America. He did two things, identify them and address their concerns. Clinton could readily identify Middle America and importantly could be their advocate, mostly because that was his own background. Not so different to John Key and his state house upbringing.
In the past you identified these voters as "Waitakere Man". You weren't far out. Our polling and political intuition told us the same thing. But there were many more women in the group than was generally understood.
Second, what were their concerns? Mostly it wasn't culture issues, although they played a part. Mostly it was all about getting ahead. That meant good schools, a safe community, taxes on middle incomes that were not onerous, particularly as they "got ahead", and a business friendly culture.
To what extent have things changed on the last 20 years? It is clear the political culture is much more women friendly than in the past. Reference to "Waitakere Man" would not do today, though it is not irrelevant. Concerns of women feature much more strongly than in the past. I hazard to suggest they are not primarily about culture wars. The concerns of women are much about safety and security, hence the reason why protection from covid resonates so strongly. Safety and security are also about securing the future of family and children, both at a personal and social level. Barriers to progress will be viewed unfavourably. If the whole sense of aspiration is the subject of disdain, this will turn off both the men and women of middle New Zealand. Especially if the government looks wholly preoccupied with the concerns of the urban elite of Grey Lynn and Wadestown.
In the past Jacinda Ardern's great achievement was to be in tune with middle New Zealand, to seamlessly articulate their concerns while being empathetic and modern. It was an incredibly powerful combination, a gift that few politicians have. At the moment she is focusing on the concerns of the urban elite above those of middle New Zealand. She already has the votes of the urban elite, only a few will migrate to the Greens. But if she loses middle New Zealand, then both her electoral chances and her legacy will be imperilled.
As you note, it is middle New Zealand who put government into power. In 2017 enough of them were in Labour and NZF, especially once Jacinda became the leader to p[ropel Jacinda into government. In 2020 they were all in Labour.
Labour, and in particular Jacinda, are now in danger of loosing them. I am not convinced that middle New Zealand is quite as traditional as you imagine. They are quite happy to vote Labour, provided Labour looks like they understand them and respects them.
At the moment the allegiance of middle New Zealand is in contest. Middle New Zealand likes to vote for parties that will become the dominant part of government. While they will vote for smaller parties if there is not a credible alternative, that is not their preference.
National will need to be a good deal better organised and be be clearly focussed on the concerns of these voters before they can win them. That really only leaves Act and NZF. Act looks like they are working out how to speak to these voters. David Seymour has very rapidly matured as a political leader. He is no longer a startled newbie. His caucus is both diverse and relatively young. It is impossible to characterise them as the lunatic right.
Within the next twelve months it should start to become clear where the votes of middle New Zealand will go.

DS said...

You mean what Oswald Spengler termed Caesarism.

Brendan McNeill said...


Conservatives typically don’t look to politicians to provide answers in their lives the way the left appears to. For the most part, politics is something we have to deal with, not a ‘means to an end’ which again, appears to be the domain of the left. Second, we don’t look to politicians to provide civilisational or philosophical thought leadership, we would all be impoverished if that were the case. There was once a time when that may have been possible, but vacuousness is the order of the day for most politicians of all persuasions. There are exceptions of course.

Thankfully there are many conservative thought leaders, several of whom have exhibited a good deal of bravery and some lost their lucrative Journalism carers, like lesbian Bari Weiss who was insufficiently ‘woke’ for her peers at the New York Times. Others like Andy Ngo and Andrew Bolt suffering physical assault for daring to hold views outside of the current zeitgeist. I list some of them below, many of whom may be new to your readers, although I'm guessing a few names will be familiar.

Douglas Murray – Author and Journalist – Associate Editor of the Spectator


Michael Brendan Dougherty – Author and Journalist


Jordan Peterson – Author and Professor of psychology


Rod Dreher – Author and Journalist – Columnist at the AmericanConservative.com


Ross Douthat – Author and Columnist at the NY Times:


Paul Kingsnorth – Author and environmentalist


Bari Weiss – Former NY Times Journalist


Brendan O’Neill – Journalist and editor of Spiked


Ando Ngo – Author and Journalist


Andrew Bolt – Author and Journalist


John Johnson said...

I have to say that thinking Bannon actually has anything to do with the Traditionalist School is completely false.

He has claimed to have read Evola but his actions are completely contrary to this. Bannon still pushes for values that are inherit to modernity, he is still a slave to the capitalist system and his only criticism of it is some minor protectionist outbursts. His views of race basically boil down that he wants everyone to act white in the same sort of assimilationist agenda that NZ gov had until the 1960s. He has not claimed any real racial ideas. Evola and Guenon would be appalled at his ideas since to them America was a horrible abomination of country, a place that is spiritually empty and it's very conception came from radical modern ideas stemming from the enlightenment. And his links to American Christianity would also be seen abhorrent to Evola and Guenon with Evola only finding in any form of Christianity that being the only things that were worth keeping was Ritualistic forms in Catholicism and esoteric elements which were lost to the medieval ages. In contrast Bannon's American Protestantism has nothing at all to connect to the Traditionalist School. In implementing any form of Traditionalism on the NZ is virtually impossible.

Any form of ideology on the right side in NZ is already almost non existent and that which remains is just rabid capitalists and evangelical christians both who hold enlightenment ideas opposite of the Traditionalist School with Capitalists destroying any sort of structure of society by moving money around to where it is most profitable and destroying communities as they did so and it's personal creed that anyone can become rich goes against the traditional idea of heirarchies where everyone has there place in society and do not move from where they are supposed to be. Because of this Evola dropped out of his doctorate because he thought it was nonsense to want a bourgeois title when he was already born to a barony. Then on evangelical Christianity, individual interpretation of the bible and personal salvation has no connection at all to Traditionalism and it's views on the universal equality of man and of it's slave morality which Evola agreed with Nietzsche on are too obvs to even comment on.

And any ideas of Folk and Fatherland which itself is a derivative of nation states and since nation states are an idea of modernity they are opposed to them, remember that Evola used to perform pagan rituals in the hope of restoring the Roman Empire. But as modern ideas of the right in NZ they would also not work because NZ is a colonial society there is already a native race here which is seen and sees themselves as being truly connected to land while no European in NZ can really say the same. Thus the only other real idea of the right that is left is the old idea of white supremacy which was widely believed and spoken off until WW2 then it was not spoken off and died off with that generation. But there is no chance of it returning with anyone who is supposedly on the right currently opposes Maori actions as creating division and being racist themselves rather than as an attack on their own race which they must defend. But in conclusion don't ever expect any form of ideology out of the right in NZ

Tom Hunter said...

When a political party is fortunate enough to possess a charismatic leader, such ideological frailty counts for much less. Absent such a leader, however, philosophical cluelessness constitutes a formidable barrier to electoral success.

Oh I think you'll come to eat those words Chris. Is that not a perfect description of the current Labour Party? Something that will only be revealed once Jacinda is gone, even though the bleak, naked horror of it was laid bare for all to see through four leaders right up to the brink of the 2017 election before Andrew Little threw in the towel. What else does polling in the low twenties before the rise of a telegenic young woman pushes it into the mid 30's tell you?

It was only five years ago that this was your tune in An Opposition Worthy Of The Name?:

The party’s inability to respond coherently to John Key’s National-led government has allowed the latter to escape, Scot-free, from economic and social policy failures that daily grow more intractable. All over New Zealand, voters shake their heads in frank disbelief at National’s extraordinary run of political good luck. Everywhere their cry is the same: “If only we had an Opposition worthy of the name!” How right they are.

God that sounds familiar!

That comment was followed by your bitterly respectful acknowledgements of how Key's National led government had, with "ruthless efficiency" wiped out its Right-wing competitors. In despair you offered the following:

A genuinely “broad church” party of the Left would balance off Andrew Little with Hone Harawira, Jacinda Ardern with Laila Harré, Stuart Nash with John Minto, Kelvin Davis with Annette Sykes, Grant Robertson with Julie Anne Genter and Annette King with Metira Turei. The whole spectrum of alternative power: from Soft Centrists to Hard Leftists; would be covered.

Heh. But hey, at least you noted Adern and Robertson. And you're correct to note people like Bannon and his ideas rather than frontman Trump. But don't fret; for all the evils you Lefties imagine about the Mordor-like National Party, there is absolutely no evidence that they will take this path. Refer to Wayne Mapp if you don't believe me.

Jens Meder said...

All this lengthy philosophizing about traditionalism and other (sometimes very) debatable concepts might be good fun, but coming back to physical, measurable matters based realities, may herewith be repeated again the speculative thought:

That if National reverted to its victorious faith in the "Property Owning Democracy" with policy proposals actually aiming to achieve it for 100% of citizens - and not leaving it to wishful thinking that it will be achieved through pure economic liberalism -
then there will be real competition for the "middle New Zealand" vote again between National and Labour.

At present it looks like through the COMPASSIONATE CAPITALISM of the NZ Super Fund to keep our NZ Super entitlement sustainable from age 65 and Kiwi Saver, Labour has solid support from "middle New Zealand", but there is no drive yet for its successful completion with systematically achieving adequate wealth ownership potential by all - from birth !

And John Johnson please note - while there have been a lot of undesirable actions and crimes committed with the help of capital (same as e.g. with the help of higher education)-

we cannot survive satisfactorily without capitalism, and if you don't agree with that, please come up with an example of anything achieved without capitalism.

Don't forget that true Socialism (the "dictatorship of the proletariat") is nothing but totalitarian state monopoly capitalism.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Oh dear Brendan.

Bari Weiss – liar and hypocrite, who claims to have been "cancelled" but in fact really cancelled herself, accuses people of being anti-Semitic yet tried to get professors fired for being Muslim.
https://benjiwheeler.medium.com/no-bari-weiss-is-not-just-asking-questions-1e858b29db9cAndy Ngo – not actually a journalist, but simply someone who tries to provoke reactions from the left in order to get sensational stories about violence.

Jordan Peterson – I think I've been through this before – but someone who misinterprets other people's research to come to conclusions about subjects he knows very little about, and who has had as ideas debunked repeatedly by experts in these subjects. A man who is supposedly an expert in addiction, yet became addicted, and refused proper treatment for it – preferring to go to Russia for "experimental" treatment, and damn near killed himself. Someone who touts himself as is free-speech advocate but has sued several people for using their free speech to critique his work.

Andy Ngo – not actually a journalist, but simply someone who tries to provoke reactions from the left in order to get sensational stories about violence. Has been described more accurately as a "media activist". And who selectively edits are stories to make the left look bad. Essentially a fraud.
Douglas Murray – a racist conspiracy theorist. Who I could go on at at some length but Brandolini's law Brendan. Commonly known as the Bullshit asymmetry principle.

Anyway, if the rest of them are anything like these few not people whose opinions I would value.

CXH said...

John Johnson "there is already a native race here which is seen and sees themselves as being truly connected to land while no European in NZ can really say the same"

I have a great affinity to this country, much more than many of your native race that I see around me on a daily basis. The generalisation is a fallacy and reminiscent of the noble savage concept.

David George said...

The Tradionalist philosophy is very much like what Paul Kingsnorth has been promoting; he is not so much political of course. It's a return. https://paulkingsnorth.substack.com/p/the-dream-of-the-rood

"Most people don't listen, naturally, and we all know how the story ends. God himself walks on Earth and what does humanity do? We torture and kill him.

But the joke is on us, because it turns out that this was the point all along. The way of this creator is not the way of power but of humility, not of conquest but of sacrifice. When he comes to Earth he comes not as warlord, king or high priest, but as a barefoot artisan in an obscure desert province. He walks with the downtrodden and the rejected, he scorns wealth and power and through his death he conquers death itself, and releases us from our bondage. He gives us a way out; a way back home. But we have to work at it. The path back to the garden can only be found by giving up the vainglory, the search for power and the unearned knowledge which got us exiled in the first place. The path is the path of renunciation, of love and of sacrifice. To get back to the garden, we have to go through the cross."

"Now imagine that a whole culture is built around this story. Imagine that this culture survives for over a thousand years, building layer upon layer of meaning, tradition, innovation and creation, however imperfectly, on these foundations.

Then imagine that this culture dies, leaving only ruins.

If you live in the West, you do not have to imagine any of this. You are living among those ruins, and you have been all your life. Many of them are still beautiful - intact cathedrals, Bach concertos - but they are ruins nonetheless. They are the remains of something called 'Christendom', a 1500-year civilisation in which this particular sacred story seeped into and formed every aspect of life, bending and changing and transforming everything in this story's image.

The West, in short, was Christendom. But Christendom died. What does that make us, its descendants, living amongst its beautiful ruins? It makes ours a culture with no sacred order. And this is a dangerous place to be.

When a sacred order collapses, despair can ensue, even amongst those who would not want its return, or who are not even aware what is missing. Day by day, more people are realising that our new sovereign, the Machine, is a false god, and we have no idea how to dethrone him. But the cycle of rise and fall is an inevitable part of the human historical pattern; and a necessary one. 'The passage from one cycle to another', wrote Guénon, 'can take place only in darkness.'

We are in that passage now; we live in a darkness between worlds. Macintyre concluded that the West was waiting for 'a new - and doubtless very different - St Benedict.' That was forty years ago, and we are still waiting, but it’s not a bad way to see the challenge we face. Modernity is not at all short on ideas, arguments, insults, ideologies, strategems, conflicts, world-saving machines or clever TED talks. But it is very short on saints; and how we need their love, wisdom, discipline and stillness amidst the roaring of the Machine. Maybe we had better start looking at how to embody a little of it ourselves"

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The West, in short, was Christendom. But Christendom died. What does that make us, its descendants, living amongst its beautiful ruins? It makes ours a culture with no sacred order. And this is a dangerous place to be."
Mystical nonsense. The most religious countries tend to be the poorest, and the unhappiest – not surprising considering they also have much more crime.
Iceland – one of the least corrupt places in the world. Jailed their bankers after 2008. One of the lowest crime rates in the world – majority atheist population. And I might say, very little despair.

sumsuch said...

Thankee for the delving.

84 cut off force for the people, but it had withered to the point where it could so be. Ozzie ferocious anti-authority-ness put up more of a resistance. But their mines and the evil Murdoch now put them behind us.

On the downside captured in your picture, 3 of my close relatives are probable fascists. Chills me who grew up with them under the light of the democracy and freedom ignited by the Allies' WW ll victory. On the upside our country 'remembers' on some level. You're right, my relatives put belonging before reality. But if we are open to weak Labour's incrementalism there's still hope for a force for our people. Versus poor America.

sumsuch said...

Thanks GS for the denigration of Petersen I've been looking for for a long time on Youtube. The American progressive vlogs are so ego-driven and business-minded, and behind every Commonwealth response to the freemarket revolution of 80 on. Business-minded is where we differ. And our progressive talkers are a little more humble.

Nick J said...

David, I read that article, there are some observations there that people from both sides need to understand. It parallels the "Death of God" i.e what will we replace it with?

David George said...

This is off topic (though not entirely once you understand the motivations) but too important to ignore.

When we politicise ethnicity – by classifying, categorising and institutionalising people on the basis of ethnicity – we establish the platform for ethno-nationalism. Contemporary and historical examples should make us very wary of a path that replaces the individual citizen with the ethnic person as the political subject.

Interestingly those examples show the role of small well-educated elites in pushing through radical change. In Rwanda the ethnic doctrine ‘the Mahutu Manifesto’ of 1953 was written and promulgated by eleven highly educated individuals identifying politically as Hutu. The raw material of the ethnic ideologies that fuelled the violence in Bosnia and Serbia was supplied by intellectuals. Pol Pot began his killing campaigns immediately on his return from study in Paris.

In my 2006 speech to the NZ Skeptics I said: “In New Zealand we are obviously not far down the track towards ethno-nationalism. However we need to recognise that the ideas which fuel ethnic politics are well-established and naturalised in this country and that the politicisation of ethnicity is underway”. Fifteen years later the He Puapua Report shows the progress towards ethno-nationalism. Why has this racial ideology become so accepted in a nation which prides itself on identifying and rejecting racism?

Apart from the success of culturalist intellectuals in muddying the waters between inclusive and exclusive biculturalism, activist judges have played a significant role. New Zealand’s democratic system is based on political decisions made by elected representatives who are accountable to the people. The judiciary is required to interpret laws made by politicians. However, the Court of Appeal’s 1987 reference to the Treaty of Waitangi as ‘akin to a partnership’ set in motion the development of principles for such a partnership and for their inclusion in legislation. From this time, judicial activism in Treaty matters has influenced political decisions. The He Puapua Report unquestioningly accepts and promotes an activist role for the judiciary. Its writers suggest that the “co-governance structure would require a Tiriti body or court to regulate jurisdictional boundaries between the respective governance entities”.

Ethnic fundamentalism is no better, no worse than the myriad of other fundamentalisms that some individuals impose upon themselves (or have imposed upon them) to give their lives meaning. It becomes a danger to liberal societies regulated by democratic politics when ethnicity is politicised. By basing a governance system of classification and categorisation on historical rather than contemporary group membership, we set ourselves on the path to ethno-nationalism. ‘He Puapua’ means a break. It is used in the Report to mean “the breaking of the usual political and social norms and approaches.” The transformation of New Zealand proposed by He Puapua is indeed a complete break with the past. For this reason it is imperative that we all read the Report then freely and openly discuss what type of nation do we want – ethno-nationalism or democratic nationalism?


Professor Elizabeth Rata, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland

greywarbler said...

Gosh Chris these are funny comments in both its 'queer' and 'risible' meanings. Very enjoyable to me, now I have become resigned to the idea that in NZ when there is talk of values and intellect the farce that emerges is outstanding in its performance. Why bother with tv I think - so I haven't got it, though I have got it as far as understanding the quality of daily life here.

I have just been watching John Clarke's send off, and that man encompassed most of the world's gifts - he had to go to Australia, NZ was too small a stage for him. But we try, and the Lord loves a trier despite what Brendan thinks he knows about him/her.

JC - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=539bkrv7g2k

Brendan McNeill said...


You have expressed our present context very well, displaying the depth of both you Biblical and historical literacy. It seems incredible that it was only eighty one years ago that our Government brought the rights to Thomas Bracken's hymn "God Defend New Zealand" and made it our national anthem. An act that would be unthinkable and politically impossible today.

It is often said that politics is downstream from culture, which of course it is. However, culture is downstream from religion. One of the reasons we have lost our meta-narrative defining what it means to be a New Zealander, and have splintered into the conflicted world of identity politics, is that we have abandoned the Christian faith of our forebears. We no longer have a 'north star' to guide us, no moral framework affirm the good or to define our cultural taboos. Ultimate authority has moved from the transcendent to ourselves. We have become our own god's rejecting the old order, and instead finding our identity in race, gender and sexual orientation. This is an experiment that is unprecedented in human history, attempting to build a social order that is not predicated upon a sacred order.

We have created a social problem for which there is no political solution. Let us hope there is still time for another St Benedict. In the mean time, let us embrace the love, wisdom and stillness that you referred to, found only in the Christ of Christendom.

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear GS

I thought you might appreciate Bari Weiss recent substack article, where she defends the rights of workers at Amazon, and the journalists who suffer under communist oppression in Hong Kong.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Pol Pot began his killing campaigns immediately on his return from study in Paris.

You realise he was killing intellectuals right? Or anyone with education.

"However we need to recognise that the ideas which fuel ethnic politics are well-established and naturalised in this country and that the politicisation of ethnicity is underway”

I wonder what you would have said to Martin Luther King. "You shouldn't be using identity politics Martin"?

Brendan. I try to limit my exposure to hypocritical people from the right, but I did go to the website and have a look. One of the first words I saw was "woke". Of course I immediately shut down the website on the grounds that anyone over the age of 30 or so who users the word woke in a pejorative way has nothing has nothing useful to say.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I notice you are on this thread sumsuch. What the hell is a BAC? I wish you young people wouldn't keep using all these acronyms. I can't keep up. :)

The Barron said...

I have always looked to an earlier HBO show to understand Bannon and the wonderfully crafted character of Lord Petyr Baelish, popularly called Littlefinger. The only aim is power for power sake, the only strategy is to cause chaos and take advantage.

I'm reluctant to think that Bannon has any real ideology other than the disruption social cohesion, from which a claim to power and resources can be made.

DS said...

This is an experiment that is unprecedented in human history, attempting to build a social order that is not predicated upon a sacred order.

Brendan, the eighteenth century called. They need to talk to you about 'the Enlightenment.'

David George said...

Thank you for your kind words Brendan but that was part of Paul Kingsnorth's essay; I should have made it clearer.
Well said with the rest of it. It's sometimes difficult to see the mood of the times, the zeitgeist as it's called, caught up in it as we are. The statistics give you the bones but not the soul. What to make of the addictions, the suicides, the broken marriages, no marriages at all, the bashed and broken kids, the attraction of absurd ideologies, of the blatant lies we're forced to mouth, the art without beauty, the pit of loneliness and the unbearable, endless meaninglessness of it all. Hell?
More from Paul and his essay: The Dream of The Rood, who sits on the vacant throne;

"The vacuum created by the collapse of our old taboos was filled by the poison gas of consumer capitalism. It has now infiltrated every aspect of our lives in the way that the Christian story once did, so much so that we barely even notice as it colonises everything from the way we eat to the values we teach our children. Cut loose in a post-modern present, with no centre, no truth and no direction, we have not become independent-minded, responsible, democratic citizens in a human republic. We have become slaves to the power of money, and worshippers before the monstrous idol of the Machine.

The old taboos are not coming back, and Christendom will not be returning to Europe any time soon. Neither do we need to desire it. The point is not to make an idol of an obviously imperfect past - one which regularly betrayed the teachings it was supposedly built around - but to recognise that when a culture kills its sovereign, the throne will not remain empty for long. Dethrone Christ if you like - dethrone any representative of any sacred order on Earth. But when you do, you will understand that the sovereign, however imperfect his rule, may have been the only thing standing between you and the barbarians massing outside - and inside - your gates."

Nick J said...

Just read the Dr Rata article, the implications of He Puapua if implemented are chilling.

David George said...

GS: " I immediately shut down the website on the grounds that anyone over the age of 30 or so who users the word woke in a pejorative way has nothing has nothing useful to say."

Chris does that, I guess we won't be seeing you around anymore. Bye.

Nick J said...

Mystical nonsense.... maybe GS. It is that mystical nonsense that gave rise to the culture of the West, probably every culture owes a debt to its own "mystical" nonsense.

Im agnostic (I tend toward atheism but find that to absolutist). As such I find it hard to either believe in religion nor to cast away the beliefs of my forebears. I dont see the Enlightenment as drawing a line dividing religious and non religious times. Our culture is an echo of our past, it frames our attitudes, language concepts etc.

Currently I see the arguments over political position driven by materialist dogmas, such as market fundamentalism or Marxism. They all have adherents who have faith, a belief in a transcendence to Heaven on Earth. I see the echos of prior religious outbreaks, "Woke" looks very like English Puritanism.

Sorry GS, religion has not died, merely moved on. And it doesn't appear to be making us any more happy.

David George said...

Nick: "Just read the Dr Rata article"

Masterful use of the language, a beautifully crafted essay, don't you think, and yes Nick, a chilling prospect indeed. I have no doubt that our current crop of leaders have even considered the possibility of the problems their "progressive", ideological interventions are creating for the future. Regardless, it's an extraordinary betrayal by Labour, in an earlier (2013) essay ER asks and attempts to understand the reasons:

"The baffling question is this: Why has a political party comprised of those with a steadfast commitment to the democratic ideals of social justice for working people abandoned its commitment to universalism, the idea upon which democracy is founded?

Why has this commitment been exchanged for a return to race as the foundational identity, to tribe as the political category, and to ‘culture’ as the social authority. Why did the liberal-Left and the Liberal-right make the Cultural Turn?

It was a regressive turn with hugely damaging consequences. It is steadily weakening the idea of the public and weakening the constituted institutions of democracy. The current move to co-governance arrangements at local and national level between a democratic public on the one hand and a race group on the other is profoundly subversive of democracy.

For the Labour Party in particular, with its commmitment to the unifying force of public resource ownership, the Cultural Turn is an act of self-destruction. By weakening the idea that national resources should be owned by the public, the idea that follows – that those resources are available for use by all people – particularly to provide employment – is similarly weakened.

By taking the Cultural Turn, the National Party also corrupted its founding liberal philosophy. Its liberal ideals of the free individual who is responsible for the good of the public sphere is corrupted by the distortion of liberalism into ‘neoliberalism’. In losing the idea of the ‘public’ for the ‘private’, the National Party has lost one of the twin poles of its philosophy – the common public sphere for which we all are responsible. No wonder the philosophical remnants of that party exist only in habits of pragmatism"

David George said...

DS, did The enlightenment just spring from nothing, was it a mere coincidence that it arose in the Christian West.

"liberalism, secularism, human equality and natural rights, the social contract, and the shielding of the private from the public and of society from the state should not be treated as innovations of modernity in either of these ways. Instead we should understand these essential features of the modern West as products of Christianity itself."

For Siedentop, “Christian moral beliefs emerge as the ultimate source of the social revolution that has made the West what it is.” The peculiar insights and commitments of Christianity took many centuries of development to unfold in all their dimensions. But it is notable that Siedentop draws his story to a close with the 15th century: The foundations of liberalism were in place before the Renaissance and Reformation, before Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke, before the Enlightenment and the revolutions of the 18th century".

"The political doctrines of our Founders’ liberalism sprang also from the sturdy faith of John Witherspoon, from the theology of Jonathan Edwards, from the natural-rights teachings of medieval canonists and philosophers, from the insights into the free human will of Saint Augustine, and from the caritas for all souls that we see in the letters of Saint Paul. We would do well to remember whence we really came, to recover our own story, and to tell it all over again."


greywarbler said...

From David George's 7.14 extract from Dr Rata.

Why has this commitment been exchanged for a return to race as the foundational identity, to tribe as the political category, and to ‘culture’ as the social authority. Why did the liberal-Left and the Liberal-right make the Cultural Turn?

It was a regressive turn with hugely damaging consequences. It is steadily weakening the idea of the public and weakening the constituted institutions of democracy.

If Class and Capitalism were not discussed in that essay, then an essential component of the drive for change is ignored. Race can override much when participants in education opening up social mobility accept capitalism and middle class mores ahead of common or cultural ways, look at the Maori PMC (professional middle class), many of them inclined to deride Maori unemployed or criminals, and old ways of doing things that are still relevant today. Then there are those who enable maintenance of practices, but in a better, safer way. I think here of the initiative for keeping babies in bed with parents safe, with the design and manufacture of wahakura,* pepi-pod, as just one example.

By recognising 'race' and the culture that applies within each ethnic group, democracy can be strengthened with commitment to the important good policies that are decided on to be inculcated in the whole community. Instead of resulting in 'separatism', that scary word that is used to imply partition, isolation and difference within the larger community, it can mean a weaving of other strands of togetherness resulting in a stronger, more vibrant one with better wellbeing for all. That requires planning as to the building, the new ideas, the methods, the expectations and attitudes that have to change by either side, some movement being required to adjust where the outcome will work well for all.

I have a feeling that Alan Duff might have a perspective in his own thoughtful and questing way about this. I have a lot of his books so must set to and read them thoroughly. I am not going to read all that is presented here, as looking at the conclusions presented by the r-w commenters with fixed minds, enlightenment for today's needs doesn't seem to arise from their reading, rather fading into the distance.

* The wahakura (pepi-pod) - the safe bed-sharing project
Sadly, each year in New Zealand 60 to 70 babies die suddenly when they sleep. Most of these can be prevented. One way to lower SUDI risk is through the use of a wahakura. A wahakura is a woven flax bassinet for infants up to 5-6 months of age.
Wahakura/Pepi-Pods — Whanganui District Health Board https://www.wdhb.org.nz/other/wahakurapepi-pods/

greywarbler said...

Something noticeable on this and other subjects is that the commenters views make me think 'prolix' and also 'paralysis by analysis' and too much hooey and not enough dooey. It is entirely possible that we can start making baby steps forward and notice that the sky hasn't fallen.

I see however, no reason for us to do everything suggested. For instance, changing New Zealand's name is not an advantage, keeping our name of Aotearoa as our word (and being intelligent and rushing off to trademark it which probably no-one in MoBie has enough foresight to do). New Zealand is a good business name, and for citizens it implies that we are not stuck in 'old' , we can move to new ideas, the name sounds fresh and welcoming.

Let us not be cast into uncompromising positions based on some superior idea that has been formulated in academic workshops, and powered by charges of PC till it lurches up into life and stumbles off into the world flailing at all who cross its path. The system should be keep doing the hui, using sensible rules of time for submissions and discussions, with proper note-taking that includes headings of all points made and who made them, and summaries of those chosen to be explored. These are then printed out and available to all in the evening or the following day, and checked for agreement with all participants at that time. Then agree on what and how to carry out the dooey, stop, monitor, evaluate then repeat.

sumsuch said...

One case during the former hate speech laws. And this is looser in certain details. Like the prick Geoffrey Palmer's anti-gang laws -- shit for dimwits' sake.

As a social democrat I take any mention of freedom as a way of saying plutocracy is right. Hate the mention of this false flag.

The only freedom worth anything comes from the rule of the people and that will need the unity of them, so in this time a queer fellow with Left rhetoric.

David George said...

Thank you for your response Greywarbler.
if I understand you correctly, you are concerned that the various cultural values, beliefs and practices can be incorporated within a unique (and continuously developing) New Zealand culture.
The questions then become; do we want an inclusive identity or an exclusive one based on ethnicity, then, do we want to make ethnicity political?
Rata discusses this issue at some length, the difference and dangers of these approaches in a paper from 2013. I urge you to read it in full, it really is a very insightful piece.

"The very existence of the “public” in modern democracies requires the separation of public and private, of religion and state. Collapsing one into the other weakens both. Secular civil society is essential to safe-guarding the public realm. Once belief systems cross over into the public space and enter our political institutions, the essential character of those institutions is weakened.

Belief systems are not available for criticism – you either believe or you don’t. Democratic institutions, on the other hand, are based not on belief but on the modern commitment to rationality and all that that involves – criticism, accountable authority, change.

Bringing biculturalism, a belief system, into those institutions has subverted that rationality and with it, the democratic political system based upon rational concepts: the public, the secular, the citizen, the universal . . ..

The problem with biculturalism is not that it has not delivered the promised social justice – that was never going to happen. The problem is that it became a belief system for a new professional class that lost its intellectual nerve and its political way. The Cultural Turn of the Labour Party follows from that as does the shallow pragmatism of the National Party. Both parties have betrayed their philosophies although my interest today is to focus only on the Labour Party.

That party’s social democratic ideals require the concepts of 1. universalism, 2. The public (demos not ethnos), and 3. The material resources that make the ideal of the public a reality. It gave those away in the Cultural Turn. Only with a foundation in a unified New Zealand public can the distributive ideals of the Labour Party make sense. The New Zealand population may consist of diverse peoples but the public consists of one people. That unity justifies the public ownership of the country’s resources and the fair distribution of the products of those resources – products that include employment and fair wages and conditions – the basis of Labour politics."

David George said...

Greywarbler: "Let us not be cast into uncompromising positions based on some superior idea that has been formulated in academic workshops"

Yes Grey, it's the old human conceit, the arrogance to pretend we really understand ourselves and reality itself. The folly of falling for some idea or ideology that explains everything? The danger of regulating speech and therefore genuine discovery?

“Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Or, put another way, this beautiful piece from painter Cecil Collins:

"Rationalists are very fond of saying that without reason the universe would be a mad place; but of course it is a mad place even with reason. Any artist, or poet, or really alive person, knows it is mad. It is a horrible and terrifying place full of a bitter cruelty and obscenity. It is a place full of wonderful, profound beauty, and the tenderness of vast mysterious sacrifices. What it is not is a nice little rational puzzle that works out in the end.

No, the universe of experience is a different matter. It is a deep abyss, full of voices, some whispering, some shouting, the voices of frustration, the voices of unfulfilled longings, the voices of mysterious lusts, of mystical desires that can find no place in the world, the voices of deep, buried wrongs that cry out from an abyss of world desolation, the voices of misfits, neurotics, failures, the weak, an abyss full of the ecstasy of the poet, the glow of the praise of life, full of an incomprehensible love and an incomprehensible destructiveness.

All these voices are centred in man’s consciousness and in order to escape from them he builds in his mind a prison of rationality, and then tries by the aid of the official world, to shut them out."

Tom Hunter said...

Iceland – one of the least corrupt places in the world. Jailed their bankers after 2008. One of the lowest crime rates in the world – majority atheist population. And I might say, very little despair.

What bankers? They owed their debts largely to foreign banks and I'm not aware they jailed any of them. What would the local franchise managers have been done up for. Also their suicide rate is higher than many European countries.

And while it's entirely predictable that a Marxist would hail the greatness of an atheist society we need to remember things like this:

Evgeniia Ginzburg’s remarkable memoir Into the Whirlwind points out what many observed: the people least likely to behave badly, and to refuse to do what they regarded as evil even under severe punishment, were the religious believers. She describes one group who were made to stand barefoot on the ice because they refused to work on Easter; they withstood the punishment while singing hymns. She and other atheists wondered if that showed heroism or fanaticism. And an uncomfortable question occurred to them: Would atheists have had sufficient courage to resist doing what they regarded as wrong? It was considerations like these that led many—not Ginzburg herself—to become believers.

Shorter message: when you find yourself stuck in such a camp with the likes of GS, keep your eye on him at all times. :)

Guerilla Surgeon said...

1.These bankers. The ones that engaged in reckless borrowing from foreign banks.


2.And while it's predictable that a fascist would use religion to help control society "Gott Mit Uns" remember on every German soldiers' belt buckle, we need to read people like Premsyl Dobias to remember where such things lead.

"But suddenly we heard machine-gun shooting from two sides and with horror we
noticed that all the prisoners who were marching to that farm, crossed the so-called border and were
gunned down dead. I could have been one of them. Then the SS turned back, laughingly came back to
our Kommando, we again stood at attention and one of them laughingly said ‘who else knows how to
feed pigs?’ That is an experience which will haunt me all my life."

Shorter message, if you're stuck in a camp with me, keep your eye on me if you like, but I'm much less likely to put you into a camp than Tom Hunter.

3. Try defining Marxist, before you again associate me with the Stalinist purges please. Because if you can do that, I can easily associate you with the Holocaust.

greywarbler said...

What do we want? We want it now is a chant for a protest march.

But reading the long discussions here which quote Jordan Peterson et al I think that commenters don't want anything to happen, it's discussing matters in a superior way that gives pleasure.
Winning the point is more important than improving the obvious faults in society. Parent says 'Not another word till your bedroom is tidy.' That is one way of shifting things along.
Have a values guideline, have a checklist of aims to be served, and start making changes that would be good if they work. Then discuss the outcomes, faults and successes. All this yap yap and posturing is nuts.

Tom Hunter said...

1. Exactly as I expected. Local bankers. Moreover they were done for a very explicit type of fraud which other bankers have been done for, the most prominent example being junk bond billionaire Mike Millikan in the 1990's.

Unfortunately, that's not what the GFC was about, being more a case of banks pushing legal stuff to levels of risk they should not have. Stupid. Bad. But not, unfortunately, illegal. Having said that I would have liked to have seen executives go to jail, particularly those of the big ratings agencies like S&P and Moody's, who gave the AAA rating to MBS securities that were full of crap mortgages. But then it was the government that gave the seal of approval to the Big Three as being the rating agencies that had to be followed when investing. The likes of Brownhole Capital, Burry and others who had looked inside the MBS securities were not "official" so were ignored. They were free enterprise players who did not have the official seal of government.

Bankruptcy was what I wanted. Lots of it, but we only got some, and while I approve of Iceland's bankruptcy of their three main banks it could happen because the government couldn't afford to rescue them and they were bit players internationally anyway. As with many other things about Iceland it doesn't scale up. In the USA for example it was the Republican Party that led the way on voting down the TARP rescue bill in the first vote - but the gut-churning fall of the markets as a result scared even them to vote for the bailouts in the second vote.

It should also be noted that a number of America's largest banks told the government that they didn't want any bailout money because they weren't in trouble, having not indulged in the MBS insanity. They were forced to take it anyway.

2. The old "Gott Mit Uns" ploy as part of the religion bashing. I've lost track of how many atheists I've seen pulling that stunt. What's important to note is that while an ordinary member of the Wehrmacht wore it, as they had in WWI and earlier, the SS, the most dedicated troops of the Nazis, did not, using "My honour is loyalty' instead. All part of the Nazi's effort to push traditional Christianity out of the Reich and replace it with whatever strange pagan stuff they attended to.

Tom Hunter said...

3. So you're back to this nonsense of "defining Marxist" again, even after you stated some posts ago that for you, it's a belief in Marxist theory, followed by a rapturous extolling of his 19th century predictions for capitalism. I don't want to lengthen an already extended and somewhat off-topic response, but suffice to say that his ultimate prediction of capitalism sliding inevitably into communism was based on those supporting predictions you boasted about and that by the end of the 19th century even his followers were asking why that had not happened, followed up by looking more closely at those underlying factors and finding that they had not come true. From time to time - the Great Depression, the GFC - they look like they do, but then they correct, which is why communism hasn't happened outside of vanguard parties and other perversions.

Which brings me to your juvenile defensiveness about being associated with Stalinism. What I said was that we would both be in such camps and I had thought you would have had the wit to see that I was referring to property-owning Kulaks like myself and sad old Marxist theoreticians like you. I was not accusing you of being a Stalinist but that you would be the victim of one.

And spare me the unsubtle threat of associating me with the Holocaust (wink, wink). Lefties do that all the time anyway: for you it's like breathing. Given that I want much smaller government and state power than we have now, let alone what the Nazi's required, it's an intellectually lazy and stupid slur, but one I'm used to.

By contrast, the likes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and virtually any communist leader you care to name, always arise in the wake of your Marxist "theory" being imposed on a society. It has to, given that the theories don't work without an all-powerful central state, which then produces such people. Hence my amusement at the thought that you'd find yourself tossed in the same camp as me, although in your case you'd be saying "If only Stalin knew"/.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Jesus time, just piss off with your stupid incomprehensible posts will you. Just try to stick to a civilised rational argument instead of all your "rapturous" bullshit.

"Lefties do that all the time anyway: for you it's like breathing"

For Christ's sake, no we don't – this is pure bullshit as usual. Give me an example from my posts or anyone else on this site. You're just a bag of wind.

You always read stuff into other people's posts that you want to, no matter what they actually meant. So I guess in that case me reading stuff into your posts that you didn't mean is fine.

I guess you have to have something to be afraid and angry about, I think it's what conservatives do to be honest. But maybe you could stand outside Parliament with a sign or something instead of bothering normal people.

David George said...

Very good, well reasoned, response Tom, I think you're a wise and well informed man.
Probably wasted on the intended unfortunately.
What is it with the lefties on this blog, is their limited capacity for clarity of thought and lack of commitment to genuine, respectful discourse par for the course from that side of the aisle more generally?

sumsuch said...

If that prick could look deep into the heart of economics I'd note it. Instead he's the social side of every fascist movement later neglected.

sumsuch said...

Born again christians, my friend GS. BAC. I regard them as grenades rolled into our social democracy. They'll always put their personal feeling of security and weekly envelopment before reality. Since I have them in my close family I despise them mightily. But if you note Chomsky and America you don't need more hate than me.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"What is it with the lefties on this blog, is their limited capacity for clarity of thought and lack of commitment to genuine, respectful discourse par for the course from that side of the aisle more generally?"

" rapturous extolling of his 19th century predictions for capitalism. "

David. Please tell me which part of the second quote is "well reasoned" or "genuine respectful discourse"? Have a look at my original comment – tell me which part of it was "rapturous". Then again – find me a right-wing writer who has the predictive ability of Marx. I've asked this question several times all I've got is crickets.
I have also in the past, criticised Marks for various things which of course you have ignored. I said he didn't put enough thought into what happens after we "slide inevitably into communism", and of course he is very, very Eurocentric and obviously knows very little about Asian history and cultures. Have you criticised your heroes Jordan Peterson, the little American fella with the squeaky voice? Ever? Seems to suggest that you have a limited capacity for clarity of thought.

David George said...

It was a general comment GS, just something I've observed, there are obvious exceptions. Another thing I've noticed, not just here, is that people tend to be a lot more reasonable if they use their proper names. Understandable I suppose.

greywarbler said...

Reasonable hmmm. I suggest that equality applies for unreasonableness coupled with repetition, hyperbole and fantastical notions, to those with pseudonynms, those with no-nyms and those who have apparently normal names. The only way to tell if people are using their real names is to search for information on them which only when they appear really unreasonable am I prompted to do.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well David, I was seriously thinking about posting on here with my real name, because someone had mentioned that the abuse they received online decreased when they use their real name. And the incident of my son being abused on the phone when he was little because of a letter I wrote to the evening Post isn't an issue anymore given that he's grown-up, and never answers the landline anyway.:) But then Chris let through a couple of posts that he said he would normally have censored, and said they weren't the worst. And to be honest, I wouldn't let those barking mad sick bastards within a country mile of my family. So I'm sticking to my well-known pseudonym, which is in fact all over the Internet anyway, stemming from the time when you were just about always asked for a "username".