Friday 12 November 2021

Behold, The Losing-Class.

We Shall Come: Who are these people? The brutally straightforward answer is that they are the people for whom no room can be found on the board game called Neoliberal Capitalism. The people who, 35 years ago, suddenly discovered that the promise of a steady job with good wages and a home of their own to live in, had suddenly and irrevocably been withdrawn. Without the credentials now deemed essential to a minimally respectable existence, the only title they can aspire to is “Loser”.

MANY NEW ZEALANDERS recoiled with shock and disbelief at Tuesday’s (9/11/21) Anti-Government protest outside Parliament. That all manner of crazy stuff could be found on social media was well understood, but to see that online extremism suddenly brought to life on the streets of the capital city was deeply disturbing. That such a frightening combination of ignorance and anger was festering away inside New Zealand’s body politic came as a profound shock.

Who were these people? How could they hold such absurd beliefs? What has gone so wrong with New Zealand’s education system that so many of those emerging from it can no longer distinguish between reality and utterly delusional fantasy? So complete seemed the destruction of the protesters’ critical faculties that it was difficult to look upon the spectacle without experiencing pangs of guilt. These were, after all, fellow Kiwis. How was it possible that they had been allowed to sink so low?

One imagines that many educated English people experienced very similar feelings when they realised that a majority of their fellow citizens had voted to leave the European Union. Or when educated Americans realised with a rising sense of horror that their next President would be Donald Trump. Social layers that had been dismissed, by one of their own, as “a basket of deplorables” could no longer be ignored. The question remained, however: Where had this vast army of the political living dead come from?

The brutally straightforward answer is that they are the people for whom no room can be found on the board game called Neoliberal Capitalism. The people who, 35 years ago, suddenly discovered that the promise of a steady job with good wages and a home of their own to live in, had suddenly and irrevocably been withdrawn. Without the credentials now deemed essential to a minimally respectable existence, the only title they can aspire to is “Loser”.

As hundreds-of-thousands of New Zealanders have discovered, to become a loser is to become invisible. Economically, socially, culturally, politically: their contribution goes unnoticed. Nobody cares what they do; what they think; or how they feel.

That they will always be there, grinding away, is simply assumed. At the check-out counter; behind the wheel of a truck; driving a forklift in a cavernous warehouse; cleaning the toilets and emptying the rubbish bins in a high-rise office block: the people who do these jobs are just the flesh-and-blood cogs whose teeth turn the implacable capitalist machinery. Those who dwell in the world of the winners may thank them politely as they wheel their shopping trolley away from the check-out counter, but the faces of the losing-class are forgotten long before the winners reached the car-park.

A cruel enough existence, the winners might concede, were anyone bold enough to ask them, but most of them lack the imagination to understand just how cruel. In the ad-breaks that punctuate the endless reality shows on free-to-air television (themselves carefully crafted exercises in accentuating the personal failings of all but one of the contestants) the world of the winners, in all its plenitude, is constantly on display. The couples who effortlessly purchase a house with the help of a friendly Aussie bank. The magnificent motor vehicles. The holidays in far-off and exotic locations. A world whose inhabitants wouldn’t be caught dead eating KFC, or shopping at Pak N Save – alongside the losers.

But, if the world of the winners is not for them, then, by the same token, their own world is not for the winners. To be uneducated is not the same as being dumb. The losing-class has its own rules, its own moral code. Heroism is measured by the extent to which the odds, so outrageously stacked against the losing-class, are successfully defied; by how decisively their players emerge victorious from a game so obviously rigged. Freedom means smashing through every obstacle erected to slow the losing-class down. Because no loser ever got very far by following the rules written by the winners.

What, then, did the losers see when Covid-19 arrived upon the scene?

They saw the winners sent home with their laptops and smart-phones. They saw themselves heading out to work every morning, as usual, to do what were once called the “shit jobs” – but were now referred to as “essential occupations”. They wondered about that. If their jobs were “essential”, why weren’t they paid the same sort of wages as the people on “Zoom” meetings, whose jobs clearly were not? They saw a world which kept on working pretty well, even when more that half the workforce was doing nothing more productive than exchanging e-mails. Some members of the Team of Five Million seemed to have a whole lot less to do than others. Something was definitely wrong with this picture.

For the losers without jobs, however, the picture was more confused and worrying. They had learned to live in ways that kept them at a safe distance from the winners and their flinty-faced enforcers. That might mean living in the wop-wops: miles away from the nearest WINZ office; taking under-the-table payments from friends and neighbours; doing stuff that the local cop knew better than to ask about; surviving off-the-grid.

It was harder to remain anonymous and invisible in the big cities. Harder – but not impossible. The trick was to have as little to do with the winners and their rules as possible. The last thing these members of the losing-class needed was the authorities taking an interest in them, personally. As in demanding they come in and get vaccinated against Covid-19 – now.

If one goes looking for reasons not to do something, one will almost certainly find them – especially on the Internet. There were plenty of people, all over the world, who were adamant that the winners were talking nonsense. Really, Covid was no worse than the flu. For some reason, however, the winning-class was dead set on smashing its way into the world it had condemned the losers to live in. They were coming for them, hypodermic syringes at the ready. “It’s for your own good!”, they cried. Like the losing-class had never heard that before! “If you don’t get jabbed, we’ll take your job!” Ah, yes, that was a more familiar tune. Where had they heard it before? Of course, that’s right, in the mouths of Nazis and Commies. Well, fuck that!

It is easy to theorise that the reaction of the losing-class here in New Zealand might have been different if this country had experienced the mass deaths common to the rest of the world. But, one only has to think of the United States and the United Kingdom, and the vehemence of their Covid-19 deniers and anti-vaxxers, to realise that not even the grim reality of hundreds-of-thousands of Covid victims is enough to change losing-class minds.

Neoliberal Capitalism has destroyed the illusion of a united society and driven millions of human-beings off the Monopoly Board it has made out of Western societies. In “normal” times these two worlds: the one made up of those equipped to play; and the one reserved for those with no hope of participating – let alone winning; had few, if any, points of contact. But Covid has forced these two worlds together and, like matter coming into contact with anti-matter, the reaction is fraught with danger.

Who are these people? This poem, written by an anonymous unemployed worker in 1932, captures something of the losing-class’s mood:

We shall come, the unemployed,
The disinherited of this earth,
We shall come into your temples
And your marble halls of mirth.
We shall come as you have made us,
Ragged, lousy, pale and gaunt,
You, the House of Have, shall listen
Unto us, the House of Want.
We are measuring the weed-chip gangs
That stretch from coast to coast,
We shall come, us, the rightless,
Us, the God forsaken host.
We shall come in all the madness
Born of hunger, pain and strife,
On our lips the cry for vengeance,
In our souls the lust for life.
We shall swarm, as swarmed the locusts
That on Pharaoh’s kingdom fell,
And sling your politicians
And your damned police to Hell.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 12 November 2021.


Odysseus said...

Who "recoiled with shock and disbelief"? I certainly didn't. It was good to see New Zealanders exercising their right to protest government policies. They were certainly diverse. But to be concerned about vaccine mandates is not the same as being an anti-vaxxer. The moral outrage about forcing people to undergo medical procedures goes all the way back to Nuremberg. There were also many whose banners indicated they wanted an end to division, with the unmandated, racist He PuaPua agenda now being rammed down New Zealanders' throats via 3 Waters, the Health system and the Education curriculum. And overall the demonstrators demanded the restoration of their freedoms. "Losers"? I don't think so. They are the ones who continue to put their faith in this appalling and, happily, failing excuse for a government.

David George said...

Well said Chris.
It's difficult to capture the mood, some would say madness, of the times. This looks to me very like the French Gilets Jaunes - a reaction to a government and an elite completely out of touch with the hopes and fears of the people. The Groudswell protest on the 21st will be a better indication of common cause, rural and urban, expect it to be huge. Labour have lost the plot and the everyday people.

The American situation is perhaps a portent (for better or worse) of ours. A very good essay on the broad (some would say revolutionary but more a return to foundational principles) within the American Right. I suspect we will see the same thing here before the next election - if it isn't happening already.

The Rise of the Republican Class Warrior

"Blake Masters is a Republican Senate candidate in Arizona backed by billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel. Until recently, his signature issue would have been free trade or privatizing Social Security. Instead, it’s his belief that a family should be able to get by on one income.

In his most recent ad, the 35-year-old former venture capitalist, standing in a field of sudan hay, says, “We used to be able to do this. Something happened—globalization, decades of inflation. Can’t really do it anymore.” Our biggest problems, Masters says in his launch video, include corporations that “think they’re bigger than America.”

It’s an argument—Corporate America is killing the little guy! The free market is rigged!—that old-fashioned liberals, people like Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis and, more recently, Bernie Sanders, used to make. Now, it’s the rallying cry of a new species of Republican.

Call them national conservatives. Or populists. Or Thielists. The Silicon Valley titan, who backed Trump in 2016, has given $10 million to super PACs supporting Masters and J.D. Vance, the author of “Hillbilly Elegy” who is running for the Senate in Ohio.

What they really are is nationalists, and the fear that binds them together is that the nation—the American people—is falling apart, succumbing to its many economic and political fissures, splintering, losing its sense of self. To the extent that they sound like class warriors, that’s not only because they’re angry with the corporations that have outsourced jobs and replaced humans with robots. It’s because those corporations—like so many American institutions—have embraced a left-wing identity politics that, in their view, conflicts with middle- and working-class values."

Anonymous said...

Oh do get a a life. More and more people are waking up to the wicked govt tyranny over both long lockdowns and the division they are causing over the vax, or the clean and the unclean, as they keep pushing it. Kiwis in ever increasing numbers have had enough and are seeing Ardern as some kind of control freak, rather than the kind PM she says she is. This country is being torn down the middle over a trumped up virus, and all you can do is diss the swelling numbers who are saying enough. They are down in three recent polls too, the worm has well and truly turned. And peeps can't even get back into their own country, still, not to mention the ever long Stasi like Auckland borders. Ardern is now being openly heckled, and when she visited Auckland, it was carefully stage managed, and she didn't even visit those affected by her huge mishandling of Delta. Hipkins is breaking ranks, and the rising dissent and protests out there is almost tactile. It's all downhill from here for Labour. Expect them to lose, and largely, the next election. Affecting too many lives, looking callous and very very dictatorial. Kiwis don't like extreme, and extreme Ardern is being, as other countries all move on, ditching all the Covid measures and living with what is simply a virus amongst many, that is now the killer it was promoted as being. The fear mongering has been disgraceful, I believe Kiwis are tired of Covid, and tired of the govt abusing their rights and freedom, and then saying we know best, you don't. They are ever more transparent in their jackbooted tyranny by the day.


oneblokesview said...

Must have been a hell of a good bottle of red before the fingers hit the keyboard.

Neoliberal capitalism of course means less Government control and more individual rights.
But lefties want a fancy sounding term that will confuse the plebs in to thinking it is some lofty term to cover the problems of the world.

While I often agree and sometime applaud your columns.
This time I have to call bullshit.

The crowd of 3,000 were by all accounts a cross section of kiwis who have had enough!!!!

Knowing how hard it is to get such a diverse group out on the street.
It is easy to imagine they are each probably representing 100 others. ie 300,000 voters and that was just Wellington.

So your lame attempt to blame the ethereal concept of neoliberalism falls in to the arena of bovine excrement.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I would like to see some evidence that these people are those that society has forgotten. It may be true, but I doubt if anyone has done the research yet. And the only antivax people I know are reasonably well educated and certainly not members of the "losing class". And the members of the "losing class" that I do know are pretty much all vaccinated. But then I don't have any real evidence either.
Because in the US it's not necessarily true.Religion plays a huge part in support for Trump among white evangelicals, many of whom are relatively prosperous.Trump supporters have a higher income than the US median. I suspect in the US it's more a question of religion and race than it is in NZ. I once went to an evangelical website and asked them why in good conscience, they could vote for a man like Trump – it all came down to Roe versus Wade. Okay, some of them thought Hillary was a witch, but basically they were willing to swallow a dead rat in order to get rid of abortion. And many of them have an exaggerated fear of migration and being "replaced". All fuelled by Fox News and Newsmax. And it's these same people who are protesting about wearing masks, and – sigh – misunderstanding Critical Race Theory.
When I was a kid pre polio vaccinations, there were whole rooms of people in hospitals having to live in iron lungs, and a number of kids at my school with leg braces because they had polio. Most of these eejits are far too young to remember this. If you see an iron lung now, it's in a museum – Whanganui to be precise:).

And they have been infected by this modern "it's all about me" nonsense propounded by facture and Ronald Reagan. Ironic though that the march in Wellington was led by about 100 gang members. Waiting for the conservative screams of horror, but of course we won't get them.

Anonymous said...

Is one to assume therefore, that the class of people that defeated the Fascist's, the communists and Nazi's 75 years ago, are to be now classed as losers, someone has there wires crossed...

Chris Trotter said...

To: Anonymous@11:19

The Fascists and the Nazis were ultimately defeated by the Soviet working-class, led by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. A fact of history which we in the West prefer to gloss over. More than 20 million Soviet citizens died for your right to express ill-informed views.

Peaceful Pilgrim said...

My shock and disbelief was reserved for the mainstream media's reporting of the protest. Inflammatory and discriminatory language throughout, describing those who gathered as a disorganised, disunified and angry mob, led by bikers, gangs and other undesirables, who are not representative of everyday (read normal, respectful and educated) New Zealanders. I wish I had saved the article now as I am unable to find it any longer. Disappointing, biased and vexing coverage, by those who should know better.

The Veteran said...

Chris Trotter @11.27 ... so the UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand were all johnny come latelys to the war against the Nazis and the Fascists. For the record ... 'our' war started in 1939 ... 'your' war started in 1941. Up until then Germany and Russia were bosom pals having dismembered Poland together with Russia providing Germany with strategic war material up until the last hour before invasion.

A hell of a lot of Brits, Canadians, South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders (including my uncle who was killed in the western desert in 1940 while the Molotov and Ribbentrop were toasting each others countries at their respective national day celebrations) died for your right to express ill-informed views.

DS said...

The protesters aren't the losing class. They're something quite different. After all, the poorest of the poor - South Auckland's Pacific Island community - have very solid vaccination rates. Elderly Maori have very solid vaccination rates too.

So who are they? Well, there's the rich right-wing muppets, who literally don't care how many people die, so long as they can go shopping. There's the far-right nutters, who have always championed conspiracy theories. There are the liberal BORA fetishists who hate an active state on principle, and who screaming fire in a crowded theatre is just fine. There are the ageing crazy Hippies. And there are the crazy Evangelicals, the creatures of Destiny Church... and a disturbing number of National's current voters.

None of these are dirt poor... because for once the underlying factors aren't economic. A significant number are almost certainly people who are angry that (for once) their sociopathic views are playing second fiddle to public health. Others are just liberals who take individualism to its ultimate extreme, and can't understand that this is getting in the way of the collective good. And plenty of social media nutters don't exactly work dead-end jobs - the bigger issue with social media is that it allows people to live full-time in their own reality, without encountering views outside their echo chamber. There is a market for catering to muppets, of course.

In short, these protesters are indeed the product of neoliberalism, but not in the sense you suggest.

(The true irony is that the media is getting so angsty about the protesters.. considering that it has been the media who have been systematically undermining the public health response. Poverty didn't create this protest. Talkback radio and its ilk did).

Barry said...

The changes that started in the 1980's were the precursor to a society of people who had to move from jobs that made something to jobs that made no sense - box ticking and call centers etc.
Slowly the price of labour dropped and people slowly got mad.
Add to this the change in education. We had "girls can do anything" -which they cant and those that couldnt got mad.
Then we had the "you are amazing" era ( almost no one is amazing) and when reality struck and they learned that not only were they not amazing but hardly had any strengths from their education - so they got mad.
Then slowly but surely we had an influx of biased teachers who thought culture and (their own) principles were more important than things like arithmetic and literacy - ie: protest for the sake of protest.
So these people have been badly treated by pretty much everyone and any human desires a group that welcomes them - and social media crazies are such a group.
Thats why they follow insane ideas - and they believe the wrong stuff and the more authority figures push them the more they push back.

Chris Morris said...

Of the 20 million Soviet citizens that died during WW@, about a third to half were killed by Stalin's own policies by most estimates. They weren't fighting for USSR. They were starved to death or murdered by their paranoid dictator.

The Barron said...

"The fathers have eaten sour grapes, but the children's teeth are set on edge"

Leading theologian (and avowed atheist) Dr. Robert Price interprets this passage -

"You have the right to yield only yourself up to martyrdom, not to make others suffer for your principles."

John Hurley said...

Neoliberal Capitalism has destroyed the illusion of a united society
Societies need boundaries. That is completely out the window. Susan Devoy's speeches were designed to point out that there is no archetypical NZr. Who loses and who gains there? No one was asked and this is against a back ground of massive overpopulation and differing birth rates (Oscar Knightleys). There is no "us" without an "other". Before you worry your head about economics you look at your society. "Celebrating diversity" is a luxury belief of retirees at White Diamond Harbour who travel around Vietnam and "get down with the locals".

The fact is we are heavily censored. I note Shamubeel Eaqub ("super economist" according to that Mediawatch twerp whose name escapes me) giving the playbook for the new density rules. According to him you can get 3 houses on the quarter acre section up to 11m "when it is done well". Given that recession planes were an environmental feature (sunlight) these rooms will require extra heating. Not only that but there will need to be a clothes dryer. All this so we can have more Mai Chens, Oscar Knightlys and Shamubeel Eaqubs.

How many times have we heard needed skills in the MSM. John Key was famous for it; Paul Spoonley is famous for it; Mike Hosking is famous for it. After all who could argue with ___ Boats of Whangarei needing a welder. The lie is exposed by economists (Michael Reddell) who point out that what makes perfect sense at the firm level doesn't necessarily translate to the macro level.

I was kicked of (___ Cohen didn't elaborate where or what I said). What I think I said was that Chinese come here buy a large house and then a Rosa or Mercedes Sprinter or two appear outside and what do you know they are in the tour business (low value services). That being our second largest industry. Within 10 years locals were outnumbered. I also said that people look at migrant ethnic groups and asses what price they pay to get into "our" country. The illusion was broken long ago when the owner of one of 6 Chinese newspapers abandoned his 2 year old daughter at Melbourne Airport. Celebrating diversity is a luxury belief.

The data is on my side. NZ isn't an exception [Ref. Eric Kaufmann "data driven pol sci academic"]

David George said...

Thanks Barron, your atheist chap is not being honest in his interpretation. "Sour grapes" is an allusion to resentment and jealously. Not sure why he sneaked "matyrdom" in there, trying to twist the thing to his own ends I suspect.

David George said...

From Stuff: The schools have now been told "they can call the police if any unvaccinated teachers or staff turn up on school grounds next week.

In a notice in the Ministry of Education gazette yesterday, school leaders were advised that if a staff member who has not been vaccinated against Covid-19 turns up from Monday, they will be committing an offence."

The totalitarian impulse is in full flight.

David George said...

"here's the deal, I'll get the vaccine you fucking leave me alone"

Jens Meder said...

Let us not forget, that Neo-Liberal Capitalism was introduced to reverse the unsustainable diminishing returns of excessive Welfare Capitalism -

and that both failed in introducing special efforts to widen participation in personal wealth creation and ownership (i.e. plain, "ethical?" capitalism) -

among hand-to-mouth living potential losers on the economic level.

Or what other, better way can there be to reduce the proportion of unsatisfied losers ?

Certainly not State Monopoly Capitalism ?

Shane McDowall said...

Chris Morris

So the over 3,000,000 Soviet POWS who starved to death in German captivity were victims of Stalin's paranoia?

If 3,000,000 American servicemen starved to death in German captivity US retaliation would have been biblical.

The Veteran

Stalin and Molotov were well aware that Britain and France were eager to push Nazi Germany east to the USSR. This was the main reason the USSR entered into a pact with Hitler.

I note with interest that you failed to mention the Indian and African troops that served in the Imperial forces.

My guess is because they were not white.

To think that we nearly lost our entire army in Greece in 1941, thanks to Winston Churchill's military "genius".

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Freedumb! How you too can reject modern medicine and die like a mediaeval peasant.

Patricia said...

Watch the Squid Game on Netflix to understand the neo liberal world we live in.

R Singers said...

Chris, that's a very weird view of the second world war. Germany lost because ultimately it could not compete with the manufacturing capability available to the allies, coupled with it not having any of its own oilfields.

greywarbler said...

On dictators that were profligate with their people's lives: Eddie Izzard's short history in common language is quite instructive.

greywarbler said...

Barry - Among the people you list who get mad are those who have ended up listening to the educated-without-deeper-insight pontificate and try to sort out the licorice allsorts by finding some way to differentiate them, incorrectly. So add to the groups those with differing viewpoints driving each other mad as each contests that the other is attempting to focus but has missed the main point explaining the observed activity.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well David, you are very confident in your interpretation of that Bible verse. Mind you, every Christian website I've looked at seem to have a slightly different interpretation.Even so, associating sour grapes in this context with jealousy is a very, very long bow.

The Barron said...

In apologies to Dr Price, it it more likely I could have attributed his comment out of context. Not sure, but he is possibly the most qualified Biblical scholar,is a former Baptist Pastor and was Professor of Religion at Mt. Olive, prior to his atheism. His writing style can be with depth, so I hope my interpretation of what I thought was his interpretation was correct
Otherwise, attribute the martyrdom comment directly to Price. It stands on its own.

The Barron said...

Sorry David, I am not the best person on Biblical meaning but I may share what I think Dr Price was saying.
Jeremiah 31: 29 "In those days they shall say no more: the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge"
Jeremiah 31:30 "But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge"
This is a reset of the sins of the father, which previously could be liable for four generations, in the new covenant you and only you are responsible for your own actions/sins.
In this Dr Price makes sense.
I apologize, the quote I had given from him was in his New Testament commentary as an explanatory comment and is not referenced. "Sour grapes" occurs in numerous passages in the old testament, so it is my guess in regard Dr Price's use. It is also very likely it is used elsewhere in the context you have used.

The Barron said...

That is the standard advice for schools if unauthorized people are on premises. A while back a DP was killed by an intruder with a shovel from memory. Health and Safety should dictate it is not the teaching or administrative staff role to remove people. Under the new legislation, unvaccinated people cannot be on the site, therefore protocol needs to be in place for this. Not authoritarian, just an extension of what is in place.

sumsuch said...

Two things, this has been a bloody brilliant time materially in the First World for most and the free marketeers have stolen the state. This noddy-ness is all down to the last -- you can't steal in the broad daylight of modern media (or anything else for that matter in the end). It's down to Douglas here, who was a more general expression of the time. There is a thin defence against the overthrow of democracy when you won't allow demo-cracy.

The first thing allows people without scruples -- the people who rule in America --to weaponize ordinary human dissatisfaction for their own purposes.

Philip said...

Chris, I think the problem is that we just don't trust the Government or "Science" with good reason. So many recommendations from "the science" have been shown over time to be wrong that it is simply logical for people to start to question what they are being told from the "top". Take for instance the dietary recommendations to reduce fat in the diet - this actually led to worse health outcomes for many through replacing fat with poor quality carbohydrates - hence the higher rates of metabolic disease (heart disease, type 2 diabetes etc.). They also recommended reducing dairy fat intake - again now the evidence shows higher dairy intakes are strongly correlated with reduced risk of obesity, reduced risk of heart disease etc.

All throughout history science sometimes gets it right but also regularly gets it wrong! Therefore you would be an idiot to not look at an issue for yourself. Look at the energy crises in Europe and elsewhere brought on by reducing the use of fossil fuels and refusing to use nuclear power. The fears around peak oil - well past its predicted demise and still more an more reserves being found (the USA become fully energy independent a few short years ago). Predicted iceages, now switched to a predicted hothouse apocalypse. The Sun orbiting the earth instead of the other way around, Cigarettes good for health, infant formula best for baby, you get the picture.

Science is moved forward by specialists in a field who sometimes miss the broader picture or the unforeseen consequences of a kneejerk reaction to a challenge. Sadly once it gets politicised it is no longer science. Personally I am double vaxed and see the benefit for those over 18, but I don't see much benefit for those under 18 having the vaccine. But politics means those who have doubts must be forced to follow the rest even if they may be wrong. In my mind mandating a vaccine is the wrong thing to do, share the science findings as they come to light, simple graphs etc. but don't hide the other side of the story (maybe only minimal benefit for children, and most of all stop the scaremongering - children are at least as safe around covid as they are around influenza - if not more so. If you are vaccinated you don't need to fear the unvaccinated - in Europe and elsewhere the virus spreads through the vaccinated just as fast it seems, simply with less hospitalisation.

David George said...

Thanks Barron and sorry for continuing with this thread but I can't agree.

The Bible and Christianity are not against martyrdom as such. Wasn't Jesus himself the ultimate martyr, is the Bible not a consistent call to sacrifice, to pick up your cross and carry it, didn't Christ say "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Equally consistent is the absolute injunction against the harbouring of resentment. The terrible consequences of the eating of the sour grape? From Cain and Able to the Cross the message is a glorious call for responsibility for yourself and for the future and for forgiveness and sacrifice for others.

Flaneuse said...

DS summed the situation up perfectly for me. from what I've been seeing his observations are exactly right and these protests are driven by people such as Brian Tamaki and Destiny church, also City Impact church (pastor Peter Mortlock) and other assorted evangelical churches, the likes of Sue Wells and her Outdoors Party, hangers on such as Chantelle Baker, but also, more insidiously, people like Kevyn Alp of Counterspin media (reportedly funded by Steve Bannon and Guo Wengui). The protest movement has gathered up the disaffected from all sorts of different areas includng the "wellness" communities who are antivax, (such as Claire Deeks, Alia Bland AKA Alia Bee, and other assorted individuals - Sue Grey is in there with that lot). A lot of these people have fallen for QAnon conspiracy theories as was evidenced by the rhetoric of some of the more extreme protesters that were interviewed. There will be people whose incomes have been affected by losing jobs - perhaps due to covid lockdowns or who will lose their jobs due to the vaccine mandates - or they may just be those people that Chris places at the centre of all of this, but I do not believe that is the full story without including all of the other groups I mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Chris, completely off topic, but your site has been blocked by Norton for those who use Norton, as a Suspicious Website. You will be aware that Norton is probably the world's largest web security company. While a user can get around it by choosing to ignore the warning, it's not a great look. As the website owner, I believe you can request they amend this. Cheers, Ian

David George said...

The antidote to the temptations of tyranny cannot, warns Boehm, be built on an identitarian ideal. It can only be achieved through “the glorification and empowerment of the ordinary individual.” This does not require a perpetually static status quo or the toleration of rigid dominance hierarchies. Rather, it means the ongoing evolution of those hierarchies as they become more open, more tolerant, and less despotic over time. This is the incremental change that defines the improbable and fragile success of liberal democracies.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Unfortunately David 'sour grapes' has absolutely nothing to do with resentment and jealousy. It's simply belittling something you can't have. And the biblical meaning of the word has pretty much nothing to do with the original Aesop fable. The "atheist chap" is not only being honest, but quite possibly correct. :)

sumsuch said...

Truth, demo-cracy, words and history are what excite me. Why I love Chris's grand vistas encompassing all of these. Some differences here, 'aboot' the role of 'age of comfort' complacence and modern media in producing these idiots, while agreeing entirely about the dire effect of the retreat from social democracy.

If, oh if ... the pre-freemarket takeover influence of the people had been maintained around the Anglo world we wouldn't be facing imminent death of the species now, let alone anyone under 60 before their natural end. I despise Roger Douglas on down still in control of the Labour Party for this. Though I recognise immediate self-interest has always been the basis of democratic politics so it was difficult to resist despite 'our' good campaign til 1999. Helen's win somehow marked the end of the resistence.

Big ups as ever for GS.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Anonymous @ 15:29

If Bowalley Road wasn't considered suspicious by the world's largest web security company, I would not be doing my job!

But, thanks for the heads up.

The Barron said...

All good David.
In the context you quote the passage from John, it doesn't deter from my reason for citing Dr Price. The martyrdom remains a personal choice and commitment. In regard to Vaccination, my extension of Dr Price was to suggest that while you have the right to martyr yourself to the folly of you thought process by being unvaccinated, the pathogen spread and disinformation forces the suffering on others. This is not your right.

While everything is open to personal interpretation, it is always worth trying to understand the original context. In this I think you have deviated from the intention of - "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." The ‎Johannine authors were not meaning martyrdom or take a bullet for your mate. 'Lay down his life' was reference to total lifestyle commitment to the 2nd Century ‎Johannine community. As with many sects, the term 'friends' or 'brother' (as it is sometimes rendered) refers to the church. It is a total emersion requirement such as many sects called for today.