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Culture Matters

Over the last few months the Brexit debate brought to a head long running arguments about immigration, racism and multiculturalism. It has not been uplifting. People accused each other of being racists, haters, ignorant and lost, as simmering discontents and prejudices all came to the boil. Is it possible to address any of the issues from a different starting place, one that might be less polarised and poisoned? Here is my attempt.

Culture Matters.
When refugees and immigrants arrive on some foreign shore they are more than just an economic burden or benefit and they come with more than the clothes they stand in. You cannot see it in the photos or videos but they bring with them their culture.  It is, apart from those whose hands they are holding on to, their most precious possession. And yet this word ‘culture’ has been too often missing from our debate.

The culture that refugees and immigrants bring with them forms a significant part of who they feel themselves to be, not just individually but collectively. It binds them together and gives them a shared identity. It is the end result of the long and rich history which they all recognise as theirs. Their culture is the storehouse of their history and of their shared assumptions and values. It matters to them.

By exactly the same token, wherever immigrants arrive, they are not arriving in a blank ‘territory’, or ‘place on a map’ where there is work to be had. They are arriving in a culture. A culture which is the result of another long and rich history. A history that has made the shared assumptions and cultural values of those who already live there.  And the people who live in that place hold that culture very dear. Their culture matters to them.

This is my starting place. Culture matters. It is a simple statement, but one from which, if you accept it, a great deal unfolds.
Indigenous Cultures.
If you accept that culture matters, then, for example, English culture matters. There is something which it means to be English or Welsh or Scottish or Irish.  These are indigenous cultures and are as valuable as any other.

If this is true then those who arrive in a country need to be sensitive to and respectful of the culture they are entering. Just as they should expect the same for their culture.

I think respect, nebulous as it might be, is important because when there is respect, then cultures can adapt and enrich each other and over time they can change. Culture is not static. It is a living conversation.  But a conversation will not happen if there is no feeling of respect and generosity.

Racism, bigotry, ignorance and fear on either side undermines hope of respect and generosity.

Which is all fine and perfect in an idealised world where cultural values do not clash or contradict. But in a world where they do, then saying ‘culture matters’ raises problems that cannot be dodged.

Cultural Differences/Different Cultures.
For me every person is created essentially equal. I believe this. I see dignity in every life. But I do not think this is the same as saying every cultural assumption and value is created equal. I recognise that female genital mutilation (FGM), as it is often called here, is a cultural value in some other cultures. But I am clear that it is not a cultural value I like or want to have as part of my culture.
Yet some of those who arrive here bring it with them as part of their culture. They value it. How should we deal with this?

On what grounds can I tell someone from another culture that part of their culture is wrong or if not wrong then just not acceptable where I live? In their country I should be extremely circumspect about saying so. Else one is half way to missionary conversion and cultural colonisation. Would you feel it right, for example, to go to India and say that allowing naked Babus to stroll around without clothes on in the presence of young children is ‘wrong’? Or would you feel such an attitude was itself verging on the racist? But in this country, in ‘your’ culture, you might feel strongly that men walking around naked in the presence of children is wrong and you might feel you could and indeed ought to say so. But on what grounds?

God as the moral arbiter and authority.
Some cultures and countries solve this problem by invoking God. Their values are paramount because their God says so. That is one answer. But it does invite the problem of different groups, with different Gods who have each declared different laws as paramount, all claiming God is on their side and telling the others they are blasphemers, heretics and sinners. Welcome to sectarian hatred. And of course this problem becomes more incendiary when those who hold such ‘God-ordained cultural values’ immigrate into another religion or into a secular country.  Those for whom God’s injunctions have never been questioned – and are told must not be questioned – are going to have a hard time living in a secular nation where God does not rule.

Indigenous Culture
Another solution, if you do not invoke God, is simply to say, this is my house not yours so ultimately my rules apply here not yours. The rules and culture of  the immigrating population will have to compromise. This solution relies on a rather robust and confident notion of an indigenous culture having precedence over any immigrating one.

Maybe you are now feeling queasy about the whole idea of an indigenous culture. But to question the existence of indigenous cultures would be to say there is no such thing as Indian or Senegalese culture? Would you want to argue that?  Every immigrant culture is an indigenous culture at home.

Majority Rules.
A refinement of the indigenous culture solution is what we might call the broadly ‘secular and democratic’ solution. The idea of an indigenous culture survives as does the idea that it has some sort of precedence.  But now instead of a blanket precedence for the indigenous culture we add in the idea of majority and minority. So we now say the ‘minority’ immigrant culture has to compromise. It is ‘fair’ in some democratic sense but can still come across as rather harsh.

But it’s a solution that raises its own familiar problems. Because we then have the problem of deciding at what point new ideas, some from immigrants, become part of ‘our house’,  ‘our culture’, ‘our nation’? Once enough people for whom FGM is a valued part of their culture have settled here, do I have to accept it as part of a multicultural mix of values in my country? Will it have to become legal and respected, perhaps in those areas where the immigrant population are the local majority?

Or are there any grounds upon which I can stand firm and say, not here, not in ‘my’ country? Or will it be a matter of how many are in favour and how many not? Once you confront such questions you can see how for some people it quickly boils down to who outnumbers who, hence fears over immigration rates. Would a concern over the rate of immigration and overall numbers of immigrants be racist if based on such concerns over specific cultural values? You might think the concern overblown perhaps but would it be racist?

You may not like this whole line of reasoning. You may feel it smacks of racism or latent racism. And some racists might well  use it to prop up their underlying racism. But, on the other hand, if you want to defend one cultural assumption, that FGM is wrong for example, against another cultural assumption, that FGM is right, and you do not want to invoke your god against theirs, how do you do it? Would it be wrong to appeal to the concept of an indigenous culture as a way?

I do not think there any easy short cuts here.

The Problems of Multiculturalism – England as an Example.
If you accept that culture matters, then indigenous cultures exist as a matter of logic. The question then becomes is there is a real and vital link between culture and place? For me the answer is yes. What links them is history. History unfolds in particular places among particular people. It weaves a fabric between them and the places they live. The link between culture and place is not some mystic nonsense because History Matters.

For example…
English culture is today, broadly secular. The English Revolution, the Renaissance, the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, WWI, the Suffragettes and Marxism all played a role in making it so.  Of course there are many of the trappings of Christianity in England and many Christians live here. But what I mean by saying England is secular is that, for example, Catholicism may say that abortion is wrong because the Catholic God says so, but in England abortion is legal and available, because secular laws and culture, not the Catholic god, rule supreme.  Catholicism and Catholics and indeed all religions, made, or were forced to make (you chose which) an historic settlement with the rising secular nature of this culture. To be Catholic in England, as opposed to in Italy or Eire, is to accept that secular culture takes precedence over God’s laws.  Similarly the Jewish god may say working on the sabbath is a sin but it is not in English law and custom.  England is a secular culture where people are free to worship but not to presume their gods’ laws have any authority above what this secular culture says they can have.
To enter English culture, therefore, to respect it and the history which produced it and the living conversation which vivifies it, anyone should be acutely and respectfully aware of this. But this will create problems for anyone who immigrates here from, and carries with them,  a culture that is still wedded to the notion that their God’s rules are, and must be, paramount. And there is the problem for multiculturalism. Different histories do not always meet in ways and at times in their development, where they can easily mix.

Unless multiculturalism means each person does in their home and in their community what their culture says is OK and no national laws over-ride that, then we inevitably have to face the problem of whose cultural values ultimately take precedence in any given territory. I do not see how this can be dodged.

Do these opinions make me some kind of little Englander? I do not think so.

I do not make any claim that my cultural values are in some absolute or universal sense, ordained as best. Only that I like them and wish to live by them.  Now if I stopped there I would be some kind of Libertarian. I would live as I wish and not impose any of my values on anyone else and in return not accept anyone else trying to impose their values on me.  Which sounds good but of course immediately conflicts with Gods who insist that everyone must obey, be converted, expelled or killed. So that simple creed doesn’t work for me in practice.

To take another example, I do not think honour killing is acceptable. If someone else did, how would it work if their family and mine became entangled and someone’s honour was felt to have been injured?

Multiculturalism still has to involve some notion of which cultural values take precedence and do so with due reference and respect for the history of each place. And that is what I think we are all going to have to talk about openly and without rancour.

Culture, History and Place.
I could have called this section “Homeland” if I had wanted to be provocative or Fatherland if I really wanted to set alarm bells ringing. The Left has a justifiable allergy to expressions of nationalism. But if you can accept, what seems to me to be undeniable, that the history of the peoples who have existed in a place over centuries gives them not only a culture they share, but a shared and important link to the place in which their history and culture have developed, then there is some concept of a homeland. The fact that such terms are often co-opted by right wing nationalists, xenophobes and warmongers does not mean homelands do not exist.

Is it wrong for someone to desire a homeland? The desire for a Jewish homeland was not a terrible thing I don’t think. It rose from the desire to have a place where their culture was the established indigenous culture. A place where Jews could live as Jews among Jews, rather than as Jew among gentiles. This doesn’t seem to me to be a terrible and certainly not a racist desire. And the same exact argument applies to the desire for a Palestinian homeland.

So would it be wrong for an English person to say I want to live as an english person among english people? There is an element of ‘culture’ which is collective and communal. It has always been the case that immigrant groups, have quite naturally sought each other out and preferred to live together as a community where their culture is locally dominant. Culture is not a strictly private thing. It is not a personal, life-style or fashion choice. To treat it as such is to deny the communal essence of culture. But of course such communal feelings and desires are not really part of our atomised, individualised, “consumer culture”. Where culture as I have been discussing it is replaced by your individual assortment of things you have bought so that you can be an individual and stand out from the crowd. In many ways ‘consumer culture’ with its emphasis on the individual is antithetical to the idea of a culture which gives a definition and collective meaning to a group. And here we come to what I feel is the real root cause of our fears over immigration.

Culture, Nationalism and Globalism.
The concepts of culture and of history now have many enemies on both the left and right of politics.

I suggest Left and right, though they still exist and are important, are no longer the defining political spectrum. Today the defining political spectrum is Global v Local. Global is about trade, and free markets. It is about everyone being an economic entity, a consumer and producer. Local is about valuing and being part of a place, its history and its culture. The problem is the right, the globalist, free market right, does not really recognise culture as having any real value and certainly no rights. While many on the Left are very prone to brand expressions of concern for an indigenous culture as inward looking and parochial, if not racist and xenophobic.

On the Right,  globalists do not like or accept the importance of culture, except in its high-culture and consumerist guises. According to the rules of global trade ‘cultural’ barriers to trade – a dislike of GM for example – would be an irrational, non-tariff barrier to free trade, and as such would be illegitimate, illegal and wrong. You can only oppose GM on scientific grounds. You, as a nation of people, simply may not say, I don’t like it and don’t want it.  That would be a cultural ‘prejudice’. What once we may have allowed as a cultural choice or preference is, for the Globalist, an irrational and illegal ‘prejudice’.

You might feel to oppose GM is indeed irrational. But that is not the point here. The point is, whether a culture is allowed to have its irrationalities if it wants them, or whether such ‘cultural’ notions are now to be over-ruled and dismissed?

Globalism does not see culture as I do nor value it as I do. Why not? Because Globalism is founded on a trinity of holy beliefs: The free movement of capital, the free movement of goods and the free movement of people. The free movement of capital , in real practical terms, in practice rather than in theory, means nations may not hamper corporations who wish to move their money off-shore to lower tax or no-tax havens. It is the belief which underpins tax havens, tax reduction, tax avoidance, and the race to the bottom where governments compete to offer corporations lower tax rates than their neighbours. I do not agree with it. It may be rational, but I have a cultural dislike of the practice.

The free movement of goods means  national governments and peoples should not, must not, impose tariffs on imported goods. It does not matter that imported goods may have been produced with near-slave labour, without any regard for the environment, without any regard for the treatment of indigenous people whose land may have been expropriated from them in the making of those goods. The free movement of goods says tariffs are bad and goods must be free to move. It underpins the off-shoring of jobs to places where wages are lower and conditions are worse. I disagree with it…for cultural reasons.

The free movement of people – and here we come to the crux. The neoliberal globalist creed embraces this freedom as it does the other two. People should be free to move to wherever they can find work. They are economic entities and the places they leave and the places they go to – all places in fact – are just places on a map where jobs are to be found because labour is needed. That those people may have one culture and the people already in the place they are going to, have another does not appear in the neoliberal globalist creed.

For Globalism, people are labour. They are economic entities first and only. If 100 000 people move from one culture to another in short order this is as globalism and its three sacred freedoms of globalism, require.  Where does culture and respect come in to this creed? It does not. There is no consideration of cultural differences and any difficulties with mass movement are to be denied and overcome, because culture is  largely ignored in the globalist, neoliberal ideology.

Margaret Thatcher once said (although she never quite said it so pithily)  “There is no such thing as society”. Neo-liberal, globalism goes further and says “There is no such thing as culture”. No one may have said it so nakedly, but I think we sense that that is what we are being told. People, all of us, immigrants and indigenous alike, are being reduced to economic entities who may be needed here today and elsewhere tomorrow. Our culture must be seen as something private and personal. We must all rub along together under the ONLY shared assumptions allowed, economic ones.

If this was something being forced upon us only by the Globalist Right I think we would find it easier to confront and oppose. But a strange thing has happened on the way to this anti-cultural globalism.  The Left have come to embrace its underlying trinity of sacred truths as well. The Left – in its mainstream incarnations at least – has bought in to the Free movement of capital, goods and people. And though the mainstream Left sees the problems Globalism is creating, it has a hard time articulating a coherent opposition to it. The centre-left can admit there are problems with moving money and lament the problems of jobs being off-shored but they are easily shouted down with cries of the need for “efficiency” and “growth”. The Left look and are confused and muddled. So the mainstream Left of the last thirty years has done little to oppose Globalism and has often been its ardent cheerleader.

But is has been with the free movement of People that the Left has been most tied to Globalism. For many on the Left the Free Movement of people is inextricably tied up with being anti-racist. How then could they be anti-globalist and reject such free movement? There is a mindset which declares that any opposition to the Free movement of people is racism. Needless to say I do not agree with this as all the above is witness.

But let me say this – before I am accused either of racism or a lack of humanity when it comes to refugees. Whether people like the influx of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq or not we have a moral obligation to accept them. We cannot be party to bombing their countries into oblivion and reducing them to utter desolation, poverty and lawlessness, and then complain when people do their utmost to escape the hell we have made for them. If we wish fewer refugees perhaps we might do well to stop bombing them.

I believe the politics of the next 20 years will be, already is, defined not by left and right, but by globalism versus something which values and champions the local or national culture and history of people.

This need not mean becoming inward looking parochial or xenophobic. It does not mean the insistence that one’s own culture is better or superior to all others. It does mean recognising that for all people Culture Matters and History Matters – to deny these things is to rob people, both immigrants and the indigenous, of one of the most precious, self affirming, necessary of parts of humanity.

Culture Matters – A conclusion

For a moment let’s return to that beach where we started. There are the people coming ashore, hoping for something better, for themselves and their children, than the war or poverty they left behind. They have little but what they do have, what they cling to, is the culture which connects them to their home, their past and to each other. Facing them what do they see? Another culture? Yes, but one that seems confused about itself, wracked with self doubt and attacked from without and within.

They find a culture which makes great efforts to welcome and respect other cultures but which pours scorn on expressions of its own culture. They find a culture where multiculturalism is talked about but where the engine of economic and legal change seems to be deeply antagonistic towards the indigenous culture and to culture in general.

I suggest immigrants who arrive here with a strong and energetic culture quickly see that what faces them is a culture under relentless attack from without by an economic ideology which has no place for culture, and that at the same time has been infected within, by a kind of cultural auto-immune disease of self loathing. The first comes from the politics of the Right the second from the Left.

If I am in any way right and this is the crisis we are in, then can anyone blame an immigrant for not wanting to join us? Their choice are simple, keep to the culture you brought with you, or join an infected culture which is destroying itself.

It is my belief that people have the right to say no to aspects of other cultures they do not like, but much more importantly they have the right to say no to the idea of no culture. Immigrants are already saying no to the ideology of No Culture. I believe they are right and we must join them. Only if we say no to ‘no culture’ and re-affirm our own, will immigrants be attracted by the culture they find here and tempted to it.

It is my belief that people are able to welcome strangers and other cultures when they feel confident in themselves and their own culture. I believe what has been fuelling concerns about immigration is not a rise in racism but a creeping feeling that English culture is being crushed between globalism from without and self-loathing from within. I do not loath English culture. I am proud of it. Like all cultures it has things of which it should be ashamed, but it also has things of which it can be proud.

For me multiculturalism risks becoming the cultural arm of the economic forces which make every place the same. I prefer a world of differences. A world of different languages not one vast sprawl of english. A world of different cultures, not a spreading multicultural one.

Allow people to have a strong sense of self worth and pride in their own culture. Allow them to say ‘this is my home’ and then they will be able to say ‘welcome’ to strangers at the door. Tell them they have no right to claim this place as theirs or say that ‘this is the culture of this place’, and they will become afraid and prey to the peddler’s of hate.

Celebrating your own culture is not the same as hating others nor does it lead to it. Culture Matters. History Matters. Place Matters. Deny these at your peril.

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88 Responses to Culture Matters

  1. Chris Bergin November 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    Very thought provoking, bringing clarity to much misunderstood and mis applied attitudes. Thank you.

  2. AllanW November 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    This is an insightful, learned, kind, useful and important contribution to the debate. Therefore extraordinary. Thank you David Malone.

    I’ve rarely seen a better problem definition than this;
    ‘Unless multiculturalism means each person does in their home and in their community what their culture says is OK and no national laws over-ride that, then we inevitably have to face the problem of whose cultural values ultimately take precedence in any given territory.’
    The answers we come up with will determine how successful our social futures are.

    And I’ve almost never seen a collection of such memorable and truthful sentences in such a short piece;
    ‘Culture matters.’
    ‘Racism, bigotry, ignorance and fear on either side undermines hope of respect and generosity.’
    ‘For me every person is created essentially equal. I believe this. I see dignity in every life. But I do not think this is the same as saying every cultural assumption and value is created equal.’
    ‘ Culture Matters. History Matters. Place Matters. Deny these at your peril.’

    Bravo!

  3. Elspeth Crawford November 13, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    I admire your analysis especially the first half, and agree most particularly with your emphasis on “respect”. Then I found myself in opposition to your discussion of global /local. As far as you argue you describe absolutely where the world is from the neo-liberal perspective. I fight – as best I can – for a different global/local founded more on the notion of Creative Commons – internet if you like, or as a hologram – try Elinor Ostrom say – where although local may look as if it is as you describe it, it also contains within each piece an aspect of the whole that is out there. This allows what you call indigenous culture to defeat tribalism, and to claim its own route to develop future, in a history that does not merely echo its past.
    Personally I understand but never feel at home in my root culture (northern ireland) but I happen to have an immediate family: son and chinese wife, chinese grandsons in China, next son and american wife american grand-daughters, in USA, more family in UK. I see what someone else has called “third culture children” and worry about my travel costs to the planet but am willing to live in the hologram of each place, especially in USA this week. Here my family and their friends are trying to have meaningful conversation with their children, that do not despair or denigrate ‘other’.
    There is an alternative “global” that already exists, under the surface of the trading consumerist one. Hence I feel that the words “creative” and “future” are missing from your excellent and thoughtful piece, but I so agree that culture matters, mixed and dual cultures also, and these should be addressed. What you write helps the thinking, thank you.

    • Roger Lewis November 13, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

      Elspeth, Your comment chimes with my own thoughts which relate to the absense of a sensibility of syncretism in the Empire being forged by the globalists. syncretism
      ˈsɪŋkrɪtɪz(ə)m/Submit
      noun
      1.
      the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.
      “interfaith dialogue can easily slip into syncretism”
      2.
      LINGUISTICS
      the merging of different inflectional varieties of a word during the development of a language.

      The Romans did it so did the Ottomans, it is a feature of secular democracy and found in most constitutional approaches to separation of church and state.The EU, Blairite Britain and the modern post berlin war washington consensus just does not seem to even acknowledge the prescence of local identities . The early Christian Church did it, and it is found in most ancient religous development. Why does Marxist internationalism and Global neo-liberalism feel it is a sensible idea to ignore what ancient cultures and the founders of modern representative forms of democracy ignore. Culture?who needs that they scoff. (Think of Angela Merkel snatching away the German flag) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rcc7xgD2dM

      David asks a very good question and gives us a lot of searching questions and possible answers. I find a lot in Michel Bakunins´ words about the Revolution and Dictatorship of the proletariat.
      ‘They [the Marxists,(Globalists/Internationalists added) maintain that only a dictatorship—their dictatorship, of course—can create the will of the people, while our answer to this is: No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation, and it can beget only slavery in the people tolerating it; freedom can be created only by freedom, that is, by a universal rebellion on the part of the people and free organization of the toiling masses from the bottom up.´´
      —Mikhail Bakunin, Statism and Anarchism[36)

      I suspect that divide and rule by fear is the chosen route for those in a hurry to lock in power, rush to TTIP, CETA, etc..Its a big area of huge importance but your comment provoked this early response for me and the idea of Syncretism. Hybridity in Elites is another area I have pursued with great interest lately as well, Hybridity in Elites is a process which leads to the dehumanisation of the masses. Best portrayed by a quote I first encountered in Michael Perelman’s the invention of Capitalism.
      ´´The Duchess of Sutherland, on seeing the starving tenants on her husband’s estate, remarked in a letter to a friend in England, “Scotch people are of happier constitution and do not fatten like the larger breed of animals.”´´.

      The distiction between belonging to a tribe and tribalism is a loaded area all to itself, Cultural tribalism and political ideological tribalism are perhaps two different thinks that just bsound the same like Astrology and astronomy or Metrology and meterology. If one devolved power and self-determination to a local or community level, village/Hamlet/Homestead some power structures will inevitably be tribal through cultural preference. In Scotland Clans and Such but local identities and say Gang identities are two distinct things belonging and feeling loved as opposed to joining through fear of exclusion are tow sides of the same coin the Ying and yang in all of this is endless isn´t it.

    • Rory December 25, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      If there ever were an example of how fragile yet important culture is, then it is China.

      The Cultural Revolution from 1966 – 76 attempted to destroy Chinese culture, and in great parts succeeded. 40 years later Mainlanders still suffer a cognitive dissonance in regard to this experience.

      Love of Mao was their enforced religion for 25 years and while not completely replacing Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist beliefs, the traditional beliefs have not yet made a total comeback. Compared to Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, and even some western China Towns, traditional culture in the mainland is weaker.

      People born in the early 70’s remember crying when they heard the news of Mao’s death in 1976, as on his death wide-scale sorrow and loss were common; so successful a cultural campaign he led.

      This in my opinion is what makes the Chinese susceptible to nationalism; people cling to national pride and expansion as a replacement for identification with cultural and intellectual traditions.

      British culture is also under attack. My parents were taught that the pink part of the map was British and to be proud, our generation learned nearly nothing of this time, instead focusing on early modern and then jumping to 20th century history.

      Our religion is in decline; leaving the British identity being very confused. I’d say this leaves us open to being manipulated by a Mao like figure, as we all tend to look to cling to something greater than ourselves. Reinventing British culture is the challenge.

      I think we first need to forgive ourselves about imperialism; teach our children the glory, innovation and crimes of our past. We should be proud of our secularism; reject dogma and encourage Humanism to become part of the CofE.

      This would be my starter for ten in the cultural wars now being waged.

  4. bubble November 13, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    commend David for being balanced and willing to likely make someone on all sides upset.

    I don’t agree w/everything above, but so be it.

    reasonable people can disagree and vote it out at the ballots.

  5. April November 13, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

    This is good. Well done, David, grabbing the bull by the horns. The overriding message for me is that it’s a subject that is being stirred around in an uncomfortable soup of conflicting messages, and must not be ignored. The gritty bits must be taken out of the soup and looked at, not telling everyone, ‘eat this, like it or not’.

    Perhaps you have just given one very balanced way of encouraging people to talk about the issue, to think how they feel, where they stand. People are people, good and bad, and that should be enough. But you’re right, culture matters, it makes us feel happy and secure, or frightened and intimidated. Very good.

    • Golem XIV November 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

      More than my particular view I was hoping I might offer a way, a vocabulary, for people to talk about all this without being shouted down.

      • penny bloater May 5, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

        An interesting read and an area I’ver covered in research myself. You might like to get a hold of Steve Hall’s ‘Rise of The Right’ which adds a further, economic dimension to the ‘culture wars’ that is generally ignored in public discourse.

        For instance, it would explain why the US Rust Belt which voted for Obama overwhelmingly four years ago voted for Trump overwhelmingly in 2016. and I’m sure is an argument you’re familiar with.

  6. bill40 November 13, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

    Great to have a post from you Golem, I shall be purring for the rest of the evening and following the comment thread, one of the best anywhere on the web. I shall try to keep my contribution as positive as I can but you are writing of things that I have been mulling over for some time.

    Look at us, just look at us for heavens sake. We are a small Island slowly dividing our union because we can’t get along with each other. Is it any wonder we recieve strangers with some hostility? We can’t even get along with our culturally similar neighbours in the EU.

    To be confronted with people confident and proud of their culture is a profound shock and a major opportunity for the demagogues we witness rising everywhere. If we can’t look after each other how can we assimilate others?

    The rise of poverty porn, people in non jobs, hard working people forced to claim benefit top ups because of third world wages, the list of people we wish to sneer at and look down on grows almost by the day.

    The first step to solving a problem is recognising there is one. The fightback must now.

    • Phil November 15, 2016 at 4:25 am #

      “We are a small Island slowly dividing our union because we can’t get along with each other. Is it any wonder we recieve strangers with some hostility? We can’t even get along with our culturally similar neighbours in the EU.”

      Well, I’m not so sure this is accurate. Given the scale of immigration in the last 16 years, I rather think the inhabitants of the UK and England in particular have been rather more welcoming than many other nation’s which have received such unbidden change. I mean, let’s be clear, there was no choice given about this – Labour and the BBC worked together to ensure that virtually all debate was suppressed for 10 years by which the changes Labour sought had been achieved irreversibly. And we know now that Labour did this precisely to change the nature and culture of the country. Just as the socialists and social democrats did in France, Sweden, Norway and many other European countries (even Poland where they are scornful of immigration from Belarus and Ukraine!) – all of whom are experiencing their own difficulties over this imposition. Had those parties had the decency to seek a mandate from their populations then we might not be having the strife that we are now. But then that is precisely why they did not seek a mandate because they did not want to face any opposition. And this opposition is not confined to Europe or North America: there were huge outbreaks of violence between black South Africans and Nigerian migrants which left scores of the latter dead. The Singaporese have been protesting about their government’s plans to make them a minority in Singapore by mid-century. There is opposition to mass immigration from Cambodia and Burma in Thailand. The Hong Kongese are not happy about the level of migration from mainland China.

      This is clearly not a British or English problem but a human one. And given that the left likes to believe that it is rational, i find it hard to understand why it continues to ignore reality plus the mountain of sociological evidence that ever greater diversity leads to less social trust, less democracy and less willingness to spend on social goods.

      “To be confronted with people confident and proud of their culture is a profound shock and a major opportunity for the demagogues we witness rising everywhere. If we can’t look after each other how can we assimilate others?”

      Well again, I wonder how true this is. A charge regularly levelled at the British and the English in particular is that they are ”arrogant” and think their culture is ”superior”. And this is what makes some incoming cultures hunker-down. I have met people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds who have enormous chips on their shoulders about Britain, the British, England and the English – and yet upon close questioning have had no negative experiences in the country. A Green party candidate I was once friends with, a woman whose parents had immigrated from Bangladesh, told me that: ”white America deserves to die off and Europeans deserve to become minorities in their own lands because of colonialism”. This was a woman who by her own admission had never experienced any racism in the UK and who had a very comfortable middle class life. I reported her comments to the Greens and guess what? Nothing was done about it. Similarly, while I was studying at Manchester University, I did some research about educational underachievement among white working class boys and Pakistani heritage boys. I conducted a focus group of six teachers, three from the two different ethnic groups. The white British teachers offered politically correct platitudes about everything; the Pakistani-heritage teachers on the other hand poured scorn on the white working class boys (which they were teaching) and demonstrated possibly the greatest amount of unthinking bigotry that i have ever heard. I spoke to my supervisor about this and they did nothing. I transcribed the focus group and changed the identities so that the Pakistani teachers appeared as white British and attributed their comments to Afro-Caribbean boys. I showed this transcript to another lecturer and they were aggrieved. When I explained what I had done, they became less concerned to take any action.

      What sort of society can continue with such double standards?

      If you look into the agendas of some of the ‘race activists’ in Britain, you find that there is a concerted attempt to deny the indigenous population a sense of their own culture at all. The EHRC even went so far at one point to deny that there is an indigenous culture while the Runnymede Trust lobbies for continued immigration which they know will make the indigenous population a minority by mid-century.

      Anti-white racism is very much alive and kicking in Britain and it doesn’t take much effort to find it as you will see below.

      “The rise of poverty porn, people in non jobs, hard working people forced to claim benefit top ups because of third world wages, the list of people we wish to sneer at and look down on grows almost by the day.”

      Where is the evidence for this ‘sneering and looking down upon’? The so called hate crime outbreak has been revealed to be something of a media concoction. The police have said that the vast majority of people are going about their lives as normal. It is true that *reports* of hate crimes via an online portal have increased but whither the prosecutions?

      By contrast, one hears very little now about a race crime scandal which has been going on in England for over 25 years and which my own personal investigation revealed to be very much alive, namely the sexual abuse of (predominantly) white working class children by gangs of Pakistani males and scores of rapes of white British women by the same demographic. We know about Rotherham and Rochdale, but what you find when you begin to investigate this is that there isn’t a town or city in England which has not been affected: gangs of Pakistani males have been jailed in thirty different towns so far with prosecutions and investigations ongoing across the country. And each trial reveals a number of things:
      – although a dozen or so Pakistani men are jailed, hundreds are involved in each place, as are hundreds of (predominantly) white working class children (mainly girls, though some Sikh children have been abused).
      – it is organised nationally, with gangs trafficking the children around the country
      – the abuse goes beyond sex and includes torture.
      – each court case reveals deep racist hostility to their victims.
      – each case reveals that inordinate lengths are gone to by the wider community to protect the perpetrators, up to and including the Muslim Council of Britain which until as late as 2010 was claiming that grooming gangs were a ”racist myth” despite the fact that community groups had been pressuring local authorities to *not even investigate* from as early on as 1995 in Bradford. Similarly, the ”anti-racist” organisations have put pressure on the police to *not even* try to deal with this quietly. It was they who helped pressure Channel 4 into not screening a documentary about the scandal in 2004.

      And we know, thanks to meeting Jayne Senior, the brave woman who fought for 15 years to bring to light this abuse in Rotherham, that the abuse is STILL going on THERE. And why? Because within the Pakistani community enough people don’t think there is anything wrong with it. For this reason I have been in contact with Dr Taj Hargay, who is one of the few prominent Muslims who has said that there are Imams preaching in Britain that white women deserve punishment and that for the sake of everyone this has to stop and these appalling hateful attitudes must change.

      And before the standard rebuttals come in – we know that white men groom children but we don’t shy away from it, we don’t seek to cover it up or excuse it. White men are not operating in gangs targeting Pakistani children just as Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Chinese and black men aren’t.

      Frankly, I think that Britain and England in particular has been welcoming to a fault. Would the Scots or Welsh accept their capitals becoming minority majority cities? I think not. Would the citizens of Pakistan passively accept the sexual abuse of their children by gangs of foreign men? How many other countries would sacrifice their working classes on the altar of free market globalisation?

      It is much too easy, and to my mind symptomatic of narcissism, to say that WE are the problem in these culture wars. If we are the problem then it is precisely because we have been too soft in accepting abuses that few other cultures would ever tolerate.

      • Roger Lewis November 15, 2016 at 7:07 am #

        Phil your comment is very refreshing to me actually, Facts are facts and denial is denial. Stating facts has a huge benefit scientifically as they can be checked and acted upon with certainty. It is absolutely true that truth is the first victim of War (Propaganda). The extent to which Organised paedophilia in Pakistani Gangs is cultural I would question, whilst there are different limits and cultural attitudes to human sexual relations in Pakistan they do not go as far as a sort of institutionalised cult of paedophilia. The practice in the UK is one of Opportunity and a sort of cultural mutation , a lot is written about the problem in Germany and here is Sweden. A section of Swedish political society seems to sweep it under the carpet but the Swedes seem quite able to discuss it amongst ourselves and see it in the context which it deserves. The press is fairly muted on the question but social media is much more outspoken. Sadly much of the outspoken comment is loaded with an agenda that goes beyond acknowledging and dealing with the problem.
        Being of the left myself I can only agree with your observations about my more zealous left believers , I hope you would also allow me to project a similar blindness to the zealous Right.

        • Phil November 22, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

          Thank you Roger. And of course you are right about the zealous Right. Personally, I now consider myself unaligned – my views don’t fit into any easy categories.

          If I am critical of the left it is because I invested a lot of personal time and effort and came away rather disillusioned. I tend to agree with my friend and colleague Allan (who posted above) that it is not about left and right but ‘up and down’ (i.e. inequality) and with David that it is about global vs local.

          The statistics re sexual violence and migrant communities in Sweden are horrific. Page 10 of this report provides some numbers:
          http://www.civitas.org.uk/content/files/Race-and-Faith.pdf

          • Roger Lewis November 23, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

            ´´But as early as 2002, a little-noticed study by academics at Karlstadt University concluded that 85 per cent of all those sentenced to more than two years’ imprisonment for rape were foreign born or second generation immigrants. The number of rapes in Sweden grew dramatically – from 421 in 1975 to 5,960 in 2010;6 and in that year more than half of those convicted were identified as immigrants. The total is still rising; in 2014 it was 6,697.´´

            these are the only figures I could find Phil, wikipedia gives more context.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_Sweden
            The wikipedia article on the situation in Sweden is pretty fair Phil. The overall level of rape seems high, If you know anything about the Assange case you will know that Rape is taken very seriously here, although I think the evidence in the Assange Case shows he it a bounder and a cad but not a Rapist, even according to the two Women he is accused of Raping.

            Sweden is hugely different culturally to the UK, I am much happier having my own Children a Daughter and a son growing up here, that said I am pleased we do not live in Malmå where there is a big problem with Gang Violence within the Ethnic community, the violence is not religous centred but proper old fashioned turf wars. Swedish Gangsters are really not very scary, the Bike Gangs are about as awful as it gets but even Hells Angels here help old ladies across the road and are not what I would class as violent Criminals. I spent a lot of time in the east end of London, violence there is much more common place and in the criminal classes staggeringly frightening.

            I am no expert and I am not complacent, the Swedish Government had a lot of cleaning house to do on its blase attitude to large scale immigration. I am myself an immigrant of course, but I look like a viking and no one can tell I am not swedish until I open my mouth. I read the booklet you attached, thanks for that. I would only add that whatever ethno religous group you consign to a ghetto you will get ghetto type phenomena, Islam is not the problem, ghetttos are and the problem Sweden has had results mainly from allowing ghettos.

            Not sure how politically correct that is but as we are being frank and I don´t give a hoot about political correctness ghetto will have to do.

            http://www.prisonstudies.org/country/sweden

            Foreign prisoners (percentage of prison population)
            30.7%
            (of sentenced prisoners, 1.10.2014)

            Sex crimes[edit]
            See also: Rape in Sweden and Prostitution in Sweden

            Rate of exposure to sexual offences have remained relatively unchanged, while the number of sex crime reports have increased.
              Total number of sex crimes reported
              Number of reported rape cases*
              Respondents exposed to sexual offences (rape incl.) in annual victim survey
            A long-standing tradition of gender equality policy and legislation, as well as an established women’s movement, have led to several legislative changes and amendments, greatly expanding the sex crime legislation.[31][32] For example, in 1965 Sweden was one of the first countries in the world to criminalise marital rape,[32] and Sweden is one of a few countries in the world to criminalizing only the purchase of sexual services, but not the selling (the prostitute is considered a victim).[33]
            The rate of exposure to sexual offences has remained relatively unchanged, according to the SCS, since the first survey was conducted in 2006, despite an increase in the number of reported sex crimes.[34] This discrepancy can largely be explained by reforms in sex crime legislation, widening of the definition of rape,[35][36][37] and an effort by the Government to decrease the number of unreported cases.[36][38][39][40] In SCS 2013, 0.8 per cent of respondents state that they were the victims of sexual offences, including rape; or an estimated 62,000 people of the general population (aged 16–79). Of these, 16 per cent described the sexual offence as “rape” — which would mean approximately 36,000 incidents of rape in 2012.[34]
            A frequently cited source when comparing Swedish rape statistics internationally is the regularly published report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) — although they discourage this practice.[41] In 2012, according to the report by UNODC, Sweden was quoted as having 66.5 cases of reported rapes per 100,000 population,[41] based on official statistics by Brå.[42][Note 1] The high number of reported rapes in Sweden can partly be explained by differing legal systems, offence definitions, terminological variations, recording practices and statistical conventions, making any cross-national comparison on rape statistics difficult.[43][Note 1]
            According to a 2014 study published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), approximately one third of all women in the EU were said to have suffered physical and/or sexual abuse. At the top end was Denmark (52%), Finland (47%) and Sweden (46%).[44][45] Every second woman in the EU has experienced sexual harassment at least once since the age of 15. In Sweden that figure was 81 per cent, closely followed by Denmark (80%) and France (75%). Included in the definition of “sexual harassment” was — among other things — inappropriate staring or leering and cyber harassment.[46][47] The report concluded that there’s a strong correlation between higher levels of gender equality and disclosure of sexual violence.[48]

            Sweden is very very safe, Violence here of any kind is very rare and people feel pretty safe. UK inner cities and swedish inner cities just do not compare. The problem of sweeping things under the carpet is I think likely to cause much more trouble in the UK than here.

  7. John Ward November 13, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    What you’re describing here is a philosophical vision, not an ideology. Hugely refreshing, and for me the key to a better future.

    Neocon economics, globalism and Big State socialism/collectivism are systemic processes, not anthropological philosophies. That’s why the citizens come last, and find little or no fulfilment beyond the greedy 3% damaged élite.

    My fear is that ideological armed camps throughout the West are forming and their ranks are closing along with their minds. We need to get a move on.

    https://hat4uk.wordpress.com/aims/

    • Golem XIV November 14, 2016 at 9:08 am #

      Yes, I believe you are right. They are closing ranks. I think they see that the window of opportunity for imposing Globalisation is closing and they are prepared “to do whatever it takes”.

      Like you I believe the time for action is upon us.

      • Jesse November 15, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

        This is how I see it as well.

        They’ll never learn. They will keep doubling down on their failures until they go too far.

        I think of that as the Tsar Nicholas II syndrome. But JK Galbraith captured the essence of it quite well.

        “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason. But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich.”

  8. John November 13, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    Hasn’t his been the problem since the dissolution of the Commons? That people have not felt a connection with their land and culture because over the centuries they have been herded from their land and into the pens of industry. Our culture like those of many others arose from the land, but most of us can only now dream of its connection, as we are now burdened in debt for a pile of bricks.

  9. Michael Fish November 13, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

    There is a relatively simple basis for judging many of the differences between persons and peoples that might be subsumed as being “culturally” conditioned: This basis may not be perfect, but it is as good as it gets, in my experience. This basis is called The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. My experience is that all of those “cultural” practices which harm individuals in their person and virtually all, if not absolutely all, of the not quite heinous practices and beliefs that people sometimes practice on other people, resolve themselves very nicely into right and wrong, legal and illegal, good and bad, for anyone with a moral compass set at “Do not to others that which you would not have done to you”. Its’ twenty odd clauses do not conflict with any cultural values that merit respect or propagation. Debate on any differences that persons or people of goodwill might still have on almost any matter, cultural or other should be resolved in relatively short order with it as a guide. There may be a situation that arrives as a link in a chain. This would be the case where one rich powerful state makes war on another causing a flow of refugees. Original causes are usually simply determined if not glaringly obvious. Left without name. charge. and consequence will not change how the Universal Declaration should be applied.
    Michael Fish, Canada
    And mind you, without a moral compass set at the same place as that mentioned, conflict is assured no matter what the discussion, no matter what the difference, no matter what the culture.
    The declaration is found at :
    http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

    • Golem XIV November 14, 2016 at 9:10 am #

      Hello Michael,

      It’s good to hear from you. I’m sorry I have been so long away. I am hoping to write something soon on the Declaration. Sometimes the deep answers shame us with their simplicity don’t they?

  10. Joel Wysong November 14, 2016 at 2:08 am #

    Wonderful. Reminds me of Rudolf Steiner’s “Threefold Social Order” in which a healthy society is one in which the political, economic, and cultural spheres are in balance. As you point out, the economic sphere in the form of globalisation is presently crushing the cultural sphere—and it is also controlling the political. It is only when cultures are strong and significantly guiding the other two spheres that healthy societies are possible.

    • Golem XIV November 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

      Yes, Steiner is often overlooked. Thank you for your comment.

  11. Kavy November 14, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    A good post, if you look in the archives you will see that I spoke about this here too in the past. It’s not an easy topic to cover it you are a lefty.

    • Golem XIV November 15, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

      Yes I remember.

      • Kavy November 15, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

        Thank you. I think the left should have some respect for people who are concerned about losing their culture. Integration needs to occur more slowly so that people have time to adjust to it. It might take generations. Ed Miliband understood it, but Corbyn is going to have consider this too if he wants to get elected. And I really want him to get elected.

        I was brave enough to talk to my Jamaican friend at work about this and then his eyes lit up. ‘Yes’ he said, ‘ I don’t feel that my town is my home anymore’. I’m going for a pint with him soon.

        My best friend is Indian and I shall be seeing him for a pint this Saturday. I’m not a racist, but I want to see my culture maintained, or change more slowly, although I hope it always remains liberal ( but not neoliberal, which is a type of fascism).

        This Russell Brand clip is excellent. Here he debates with Nigel Farage and he says that what is wrong with our society is that the bankers and the ruling elite have robbed us, it is not the immigrants. He takes an admirable position. Mass immigration is caused by poverty which is usualy the result of Western capitalism and Hilary’s wars. The whole world is being looted by the banking class and people are getting uprooted.

        Russell Brand is quite intelligent (I reckon) – see how well he frames his answers here as well as take on the UKIP supporters in the audience. He raises valid points

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sI7qhucmLxM

  12. Roger Lewis November 14, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    I watched this film several years back it is called expelled- No intelligence allowed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqNPlwLwIP8

    It talks about the Strang Verbotten concepts of Darwinian Evolution and the necessary submission to Atheism for the most convinced Darwinists. The attitudes to Culture of Homogenous Globalism and also the marginalisation Climat Skeptics from Climate Science are subjects that provke the same un easiness in my own mind about the idea of Open Borders, Immigration and ideals of Brexit and USAExit going against the received wisdom of Globalism. The arguments the witch hunts the lack of dialogue and the techniques of marginalisation David discusses in re.branding dissent.

    One of my favourite films with Davids participation is one in which he is the chairman of a debate at Haye and Wye, Rupert Sheldrake is one of the guests and question comes from the Audience from Daniel Dennet. These questions seem wrapped up in the point made about world views overshadowing scientific detachment.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0–Y82-o5c

    The questions in both of these linked videos, Davids First Blog of this Year Re-Branding Dissent and the current Blog on Culture Matters all are roads leading to Rome, the Rome that is of the Eastern Byzantine Empire , the decline of Neo-Liberalism and the Washington Consensus it seems is facing its greatest challenge from the people as opposed to the incompetence of its economic Models.

  13. philco November 15, 2016 at 3:17 am #

    I have been reading your blog for some time, learning a great deal about the world order, the financial crisis, and economics. Now that you are turning your attention to the importance of culture, I am on more familiar territory, although I probably subscribe to a wider conception of culture than you.

    You say that “there is an element of ‘culture’ that is collective and communal”. This is an understatement. As social animals, humans function primarily in groups. As members of groups, individuals are faced with two main challenges, getting along (co-operation) and getting ahead (competition). Culture is important because, although it can’t stop individuals from having selfish wants and feelings, it can provide the structures that restrain them, such as morality, religion, laws, and institutions that create loyalties. The power of culture is so strong that it can override the survival instinct (eg the patriotism that sends young men into battle).

    Getting ahead conflicts with getting along, and there is a tension between them. Harari in his book ‘Sapiens’ characterises human development over millennia of history in terms of the replacement of the strong family/community, alongside the weak individual, by the strong individual alongside the weak family/community. And as you say, neo-liberalism is the latest expression of this in its promotion of consumer culture and its narrow conception of the human as simply an economic actor.

    But what happens when getting ahead is no longer possible or realistic, as seems to be the case for many people? If they live in war-torn or blighted countries, their response is to emigrate. If they live in developed societies, they no longer have the strong family/community to fall back on, and, unless there is a strong state that can and will support them, they are left to fend for themselves. When these two groups share the same geographical space, tension arises over the competition for resources resulting in likely conflict. This sums up the current situation in many parts of Europe and in the USA.

    To avert future conflict, governments need to promote structures, practices and policies that encourage us to get along. Whether this includes promoting multi-culturalism or not is an open question, and I am interested to read the contributions of others on this blog.

    • steviefinn November 15, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

      I suppose that your last paragraph, after an excellent description, sums up the problem, in as much as governments have signally failed to fill the void due to industrial decline, but rather have contributed to the problem.

      You also mention the competition for resources, which in terms of UK immigration was for most of the time never a problem until recently as it filled the needs of industry. Most groups like the Irish eventually blended in & became part of the Working class. I once lived near to a miners estate whose population was mainly made up of Polish families. They were Catholic & had huge families, but the youngsters I knew, besides their surnames, became indistinguishable from anyone else in all that mattered, while I am sure, keeping aspects of their own culture, to share among themselves.

      The problem now is that the indigenous working classes are fighting for resources, which I think changes things dramatically. Also in terms of Muslims, there is very little effort on their part to assimilate into the native group. I think it is a recipe for disaster , which would only worsen if those people who have borne the full brunt of Globalism, are forced to take more of the same. After all, the largest lynching of negroes in the US, happened in New York as a result of their arrival, which was seen by the hard pressed recent Irish immigrants, as being a group who would undercut their already precarious existence.

      I would not say that what has happened to the thriving working class community I once lived in bears any real resemblance to Middle Eastern war zones, but on my occasional visits over the last 30 years or so, I have seen the results of a slow motion train wreck, which is understandably in my opinion, very likely to bring out the worst in people, who unlike the Political Correct brigade, have suffered most.

  14. patma2003 November 15, 2016 at 3:45 am #

    Great piece, and pause for self examination.

    Indeed i find myself buying into the belief that many cultures are better than one. A different train of thought for every language in existence. That is precious. We have so much to gain from one another, so much shared potential that seems unable to be explored in the failing neoliberalist experiment…such is globalism’s rejection in 2016.

    Surely there must be a common dialogue that can carry everyone forward, and not leave so many on the fringes.

    • Phil November 15, 2016 at 4:41 am #

      All the empirical evidence says that ever greater diversity produces lower social trust, more conflict, less democracy, more authoritarianism and less willingness to spend on social goods. A little diversity is a wonderful thing, a lot is Lebanon.

      And I prefer the richness of Japan over the melange of Guyana.

      My own personal fear is that for the sake of a philosophical or ideological ideal, the Western Left is going to repeat in the 21st century all the mistakes that the Soviets, Maoists and other Marxists did in the 20th.

  15. steviefinn November 15, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    A very good article in my opinion, that covers quite a bit of ground in terms of the likely huge changes we face, which includes hope that Trump might stop the endless Western poking of that festering sore, which is the Middle East & also actually do something for those forgotten & ignored American communities in terms of hope & employment, while making sure that the undead trade treaties have a stake driven through their greedy hearts.

    Hopefully the proxy wars will also end & places like Syria can rebuild, which I think like Iraq & other places we have stomped all over, the West has a moral duty to assist with. The refugee crisis will probably continue & I agree we should at the very least provide a refuge for these people, but not just by dumping them on already stressed communities.

    It’s just all hope I guess & judging by his likely choice of appointees, it could have all been very hot air. The article could I think also apply to the UK, although fortunately the angry here do not have guns.

    “And you can think like the majority of your peers do, that all that commingling with the anger, with racists and bigots and what have you, is inexcusable. But what you miss out on if you take that approach and hold on to it, is that in that case the anger does not get addressed at all. It’s instead left free to just wander over the land and fester and grow on society, out of reach of politics, media, everything ”

    .. Nice little quote at the end from Leonard Cohen ( who died as Trump was elected ), from the song ” The Future ”

    https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/11/no-more-flyover-country/

    • Kavy November 15, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

      A good article. I might be one of the few lefties that was pleased Trump won. He’s rich enough and so doesn’t need money from the ruling establishment and so I’m hoping he will take them on. Some US conservatives really like Putin and Russia and want peace with that country. They want an isolationist America with it’s military bases around the world closed down. Hopefully Trump will have enough support from this class to take on the corrupt neoliberals.

      The neoliberals are gangsters that support endless war, and their influence is everywhere, including in the Guardian, a disgraceful paper that had been spreading anti Putin and anti Russian propaganda for years now. Pussy Riot are degenerates who had orgies in public places often in front of children. They deserved to to jail. Putin said he hoped the judges worked be lenient.

      The Russian Church had asked the Russian parliament to pass a law banning the promotion of homosexual pornography to children. Putin talked to the BBC saying that discrimination against gays was illegal in his country, and that many Russians, including himself, liked artists like Elton John. Some US states are well known for their strong discrimination towards homosexuals, but none of this stoped the Guardian from spreading anti Putin propaganda saying he was anti gay.

      Trump was the peace candidate. People were fed up with Hilary’s and her wars. Here Max Keiser and Micheal Hudson, both lefties, explaining why they welcome Trump and why they hated Hilary.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TmL-pFaVA3A

      • Kavy November 15, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

        The spell checker on my phone made some mistakes, it should have said:

        ‘They deserved to go to jail. Putin said he hoped the judges would be lenient.”

        • steviefinn November 16, 2016 at 11:16 am #

          Kavy – Thanks for the link & I hope Mr. Hudson is able to keep smiling.

          I will still keep my fingers crossed in terms of Trump, but I would be surprised if he could be worse than the Neoliberals, who like the corporations they serve so well, are totally immoral in my view. That old saying of selling your Grandma for tuppence could I think be applied to them.

          Trump reminds me of some businessmen I have known – likes to be top dog, engages in very not PC locker room behaviour, likes fast cars & women etc. Perhaps he will try & run the US like a business, assuming he is allowed to do so & whatever anyone thinks of his actual real views on immigration, this at least might fuel a proper look under the carpet, which David has dared to lift.

          The Donald has obviously put a lot of powerful people’s noses out of joint, which I don’t think they will take lying down & there is a tantrum in the form of demos ( some of it funded by Soros according to wikileaks ) from those who formed that collective scream of cognitive dissonance when the election result was announced, as a result of prolonged hubris.

          The Europeans are not happy, with as usual that in my view detestable man Junker shooting his mouth off. I would be interested to watch him try his creepy touchy feelly thing on Trump, when & if they meet. Merkel is not amused & I was reading yesterday that there are calls to expand the German army coming from all parties including the Greens. On the other hand German industrialists are now hoping that the Eurasian Silk road opportunities become a reality.

          I sincerely hope that Merkel gets booted out as in terms of culture & not just through mass immigration, she is intent in creating an EU in her own image. Probably best illustrated in that country with a beautiful culture, that is now a failed state, being used as some form of hellish Ellis Island, where the population, as with other Latin countries, are being told that hey have to force their unique pegs to shape German shaped holes, helped of course by a financial system that requires workers to be crushed while the elites are propped up with QE.

          I believe that there is no bottom that the Neo-Libs would not stoop to in terms of profit making. I read about how the German legalsed sex industry was getting on recently – pretty well for the punters whose numbers it seems have recently risen by 30%. Adds billions to GDP apparently, which is handy for the pimp which is now the government. How it works reminds me of how the Italian prostitutes were organised by Milo in Catch-22. Very efficient & industrial as you would expect, with most of the girls being Eastern European immigrants, who are apparently very productive for their minimum wage. Of course it might have been worse for them before the Government stepped in, but as usual, their welfare comes a long way behind profit. An ordinary young German woman was actually sanctioned by their equivalent of a jobcentre, as she refused to take on a sex job, which are allowed to be advertised there.

          As for the UK with it’s Westminster paedophile ring & as Phil mentioned, those like the Rotherham predators & badness knows what else is lurking under the stones, maybe our as reported 120,000 child refugees from any chance of a decent start in life deserve some protection. Maybe Corbyn is the best bet for them, in terms of repairing the ragged safety net & doing something about housing, but his Achilles heal is i think his support for mass immigration, which I think could mean him not being elected – maybe hard & difficult priorities need to be considered here.

          I’m glad that Clinton & her corrupt court has gone. she reminded mo of Marie Aintonette, with her ” Let them eat GMO ” & her ” The deplorables are revolting ” attitude. I think that besides the risk of all of us falling victim to ICBM’s, that the US might well have descended into a revolt if she had been elected, has at least neen put on hold. Hopefully Sanders & Warren can scrub out most of the filth that they have left in the stables in order to offer something other than the same shite, different suit non-option.

          Rant over, need to work.

          • Roger Lewis November 16, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

            That covers all the bases Stevie, for me at least, I feel exactly the same way on all you mention.

  16. Tiernan November 15, 2016 at 11:30 pm #

    Thanks Golem for once again showing clearly and eloquently the nature of the underlying disease causing the manifestation of so many unpleasant symptoms in our society. Society and community of all forms has been under attack since Thatcher and perhaps even before then.

    I was recently listening to a brilliant audio production of Bertrand Russell’s ‘History of Western Philosophy’ and was shocked to learn of the unsettling parallels between Aristotle’s analysis of tyranny and the direction we, in the West, have been heading in recent years. If it quacks and waddles…

    http://www2.idehist.uu.se/distans/ilmh/Ren/flor-mach-aristotle-tyrant.htm

  17. Golem XIV November 16, 2016 at 12:01 am #

    I just wanted to say thank you to all who have commented here. I was nervous about publishing this article.

    I really feel we need to have a proper discussion about immigration, racism and culture.

    I have sent this article to Jonathan Bartley the co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales as well as the Deputy leader Amelia Womak, the former deputy leader Shahrar and a couple of other influential and thoughtful Green Party people here in the UK. My hope is that they will read it and feel that something in the article is worth engaging with.

    I am not in favour of an open door immigration policy and think we really must allow a proper discussion to happen without shutting it down before it begins. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read and to comment. I really appreciate it.

    • Kavy November 16, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      And thank you for bringing the topic up. It’s a very difficult subject for me as I’m a true liberal lefty. When you are a lefty you are certainly not a racist and you may have even gone on anti National Front demonstrations. You like to see no racial discrimination anywhere. We on the left extremely dislike the racist right.

      But when I go around my home town on some days, which 30 years ago was entirely English and now I’m the only English looking person in it, I feel uneasy, sad even, because my culture has gone. I’m surprised at my feelings because I’m not a racist, I’m entirely the opposite and always here been. But it was the neoliberals who had an open door policy and the CBI wanted it too. Some neoliberals and neoconservatives even openly admit that this was done to lower wages. So I can understand how the average English person feels. There’s millions of them and Labour (and the Green Party) needs to reach out to these people. Some are racist but most are like me and are not racist, they just like being English and living in an English town. It’s their way of life which they want to pass on to their children.

      The Western capitalist system has uprooted millions of people from all around the world and this is the cause of the problem, but unfortunately many English people vote for parties that will do nothing about this, the Conservative party and UKIP, both of which are pro the ruling elite. The Western ruling elite have always brought terrible suffering to rest of the world.

    • R.Read November 22, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

      Well done.

      Btw, i think that actually the principle of “We were here first” is much more reasonable than you make it sound – provided that we allow it to be even-handedly applied (i.e. Not just OK for us to use and not for others!!). It is offered in a very useful book THE CREATION OF INEQUALITY. Basically, without out, there would be permanent war and invasion everywhere. It is a very old, very well-respected principle, in human history.

  18. Patrica November 16, 2016 at 4:09 am #

    I am not in favour of an open door policy either and I agree it should be a matter of discussion. Here in New Zealand we have an election next year and it will be at the front of many minds. But discussion is unlikely. It will be people ranting and be called racist by the other side. I do think that nobody should be allowed to use the word ‘ racist”; it is designed to stop a discussion. If a person can be asked why they don’t like whichever foreigner they don’t like then then you can actually get to the nub of their concerns. And concerns are real. The good thing is that there are solutions but only if you can determine people’s concerns. Often it is the fear of jobs being taken and the lowering of wages. And that is certainly happening. Often it is other’s belief structures. For me, it is the “God” thing. For a very secular country as New Zealand is that is a real problem.
    After WW11 many Europeans emigrated to New Zealand. They were not allowed to group together and were split up and sent to the smaller towns where jobs were provided for the men. It must have been so hard for them. They had the comradeship of their work, the children had their schools and the women the local women’s groups. It certainly wasn’t a bed of roses but there was a plan. There were also 750 polish children brought to New Zealand during the War and who were sent to a camp at Pahiatua where they all lived together and where a polish school was set up for the younger children, although the older children went to the local secondary school. However the plan there was that the children were to go back to Poland after the War. Some did. Most didn’t. So perhaps the solution is always to have a plan! Each country has its own culture and it can be very easily destroyed. Just ask the Maoris and the Australian Aboriginals.

  19. David Morey November 16, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    Hi David

    Interesting and important stuff. I am an atheist and secularist, but one of the things that helped me appreciate my own culture was reading the philosopher Charles Taylor. He helped me see that my own culture is not simply formed from the Enlightenment and science but also Chistianity and Romanticism. These two fed into and created the rationalism, individualism and secularism that give us the values of ordinary modern life in the West.

    But economics and consumerism has become too dominant, we have lost sight of our culture and how it was formed. Science, reductionism, materialism and value free objectivity have also reduced our full understanding of what it is to be an encultured human being with values. So our culture and identity in the West is very complex, confused and in dispute.

    We are also not just a country of such progressives, conservative forces are very uncomfortable with much of the rationalism and equality of Enlightenment values, and they strongly dispute the centre ground of our culture and values.

    But Greens and Reds need to start talking positively about a progressive culture, one with some new ideas.

    How about opposing ‘competition’? People are fed up and stressed out with competition, better to cooperate and share.

    Efficiency and growth and productivity? We need a culture of enough is enough, modest consumption, sustainability, avoiding excess, free time, relaxation, family time, doing culture, doing nothing, doing education and science, less work, volunteering not more jobs. We have all the productive powers we need.

    Right to do the work you want to do, not working for the man, not working for a system you despise, so the right not to work.

    Getting the public/private balance right? Yes we need much more public work, public services, key services, care, health, fitness, education, research, sustainability, pensions, etc. We need to minimise private work and activity to maximise social goods and activity, democratic decision making over private and irrational market decision making.

  20. David Morey November 16, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    It is key we articulate what Western culture values are and what conflicts and disputes are ongoing. Only then can we engage and negotiate with other cultures and values and achieve accommodation with them. And also remain open to an ongoing conversation and evolution of our culture. We are really failing to do this, the BBC used to be better at having such a conversation, not much any more. We need to see ourselves as more than consumers and economic actors, religious people still do, our secular culture has become too flat and reductionist, materialism has played a bad role here too, and poor reductionist and determinist science too. We need a new Enlightenment.

  21. David Morey November 16, 2016 at 11:58 am #

    Nicholas Maxwell’s from Knowledge to Wisdom is worth a read. So is Roy Bhaskar’s from Science to Emancipation. For Charles Taylor see Sources of the Self and A Secular Age.

  22. Roger Lewis November 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    See first link from DC leaks of George Soros.http://soros.dcleaks.com/view?div=europe Kerry Warns of “Near Existential Threat” to the EU, Saying “This Is Our Problem”: US Secretary of State Kerry praised Merkel’s “great courage” during Europe’s refugee crisis, while warning that the influx posed a “near existential threat” to the continent. “We are facing the gravest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II,” he said at the Munich Security Conference. “The US understands the near existential nature of this threat to the politics and fabric of life in Europe…. We are not saying, ‘This is your problem, not ours’. This is our problem. And that is why we are joining now and enforcing a NATO mission to close off a key access route,” adding: “And we will join you in other ways to stem this tide because of the potential of its damage to the fabric of a united Europe.”

    Russian PM Medvedev took a far darker view in Munich, charging that “it’s quite simply stupid to open Europe’s doors wide and invite in everyone who wants to come to your country,” and added: “European migration policy is a total failure, all that is absolutely frightening.”
    UNHCR chief Grandi said at the same conference: “If Europe organizes itself, it can cope. That is my firm conviction.” But he underscored that, “the West has been too weak and too late in supporting Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey to take care of the refugees in those states. There has been woefully inadequate investment in neighboring countries.” (G. Maniatis)

    Rather a lot of reading in this lot, have fun.

  23. Pat H November 17, 2016 at 12:50 am #

    I do not altogether understand what is meant by culture as described here. If I try to articulate what ‘culture’ means in this context, the best I can come up with is shared experience and shared beliefs or assumptions. Beliefs about values, and about propositions political, ethical, philosophical etc. But I don’t see a correlation between the community of similar belief-holders and national boundaries. As for history, it is contested ground through and through, and meaning is in the eyes of the interpreter.

    Societies in many countries are massively diverse as to their opinions and lived experience, even if we consider only ‘indigenous’ elements (a term I admit to finding problematic, given the human propensity for migration) – witness Brexit, the US election etc. A person may very well have more in common with a counterpart in other countries than with his compatriots taken as a whole. (Is ‘culture’ any different from ‘identity’ in this regard?) I identify with those who share my beliefs as to key human values, regardless of their national/ethnic origin. My affinity with e.g. believers in climate change versus non-believers, or those whose political beliefs I share, is stronger than any feeling of patriotism or territorial/ethnic fellow-feeling. I have no particular reason to think that an immigrant, just because she is an immigrant, is any more alien to me than one of my neighbours.

    If we accept that the population of a country is hugely diverse in its opinions and beliefs about what really matters in life (‘culture wars’?), what is left to constitute this local culture that is under discussion?

    This is not about being a self-loathing lefty. I am an unapologetic internationalist, and I believe that people are people wherever you go, and by and large they are decent and trying to do the best for themselves. I can understand that in a crowded country such as England, people have problems with uncontrolled immigration, but I find this article puzzling. Not offensive, just a bit hard to understand.

    • Golem XIV November 17, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

      Hello Pat H,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I think you and I see the world and culture quite differently. At least if I have not misunderstood what you wrote. SO if I may ask a few questions.

      You point out that cultures are often quite diverse. Of course this is true. But surely you are not saying that therefore there is no such thing as Chinese Culture, or Japanese or Indian culture. Indian and Chinese culture encompass diverse peoples and variations but would you really want to say that neither exists as a culture? Those who live in those countries certainly say they have a culture which they label as Chinese or Indian or Japanese.

      You mention that national boundaries are contested and change. Of course they do. But German culture is generally found more in the territory around what we now call Germany as less so around what we call Spain. So there is some correlation between culture and place. They don’t have to match perfectly and be unvarying over time in order to exist.

      You say you find indigenous problematic. Do you think Japanese culture is indigenous to the current island of Japan? Or that Australian aborigines are indigenous to Australia? Or North American pre-columbus ethic peoples are indigenous to what we now call the USA? Surely there is such a thing as indigenous?

      What is it anthropologists study if not culture?

      But all my questions aside – I accept that if you really do not see culture as a part of being human and that your answers to my questions are largely ‘no’, would you still accept that because I do see culture and value it and value mine, that for me and all those like me, my culture is important and my concerns to live in it should be accepted and given consideration?

      • Pat H November 18, 2016 at 12:33 am #

        Hello David. Thank you for your response. I will do my best to answer your questions.

        First of all, I certainly accept that culture, as studied by anthropologists, is a human trait. Which I understand as comprising ‘that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals, law, customs, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society’, in the words of Sir Edward Burnett Tylor.

        I take this quotation from a provocative piece that I read in the Guardian last week, a condensed version of a Reith lecture by Kwame Anthony Appiah, which appeared under the head ‘There is no such thing as western civilisation’ (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/09/western-civilisation-appiah-reith-lecture). I must confess that I found that article more persuasive than what I have read on this page.

        It is not that I do not believe in culture per se. Rather that I believe in cultures, plural. As I partake in a national culture, I also partake in a more local culture, as well as cultures pertaining to larger groupings, e.g. European, existing at this particular time in history, not to mention myriad other cultures pertaining to ethnic background, class, education, political beliefs, and so on ad infinitum. The picture is more like a messy complex of Venn diagrams than a territory on a map, and I do not accept the primacy of the geographical determiner as a given.

        This is my difficulty: if a culture can be so diverse as to encompass diametrically opposing beliefs on nearly every subject we could think of, how do we pin down what we are referring to when we use the label? Take English culture as an example. Is it nostalgic for empire or politically progressive? Insular or globally minded? Pacific or aggressive? Religious or not? (Add any other pair of opposites you care to choose.)

        And if all of the above, then how do we distinguish it thereby from European culture, Yorkshire culture, human culture (except by specifying that we are talking about England in this case, which renders the question null simply by making it logically necessary – as in your example of German culture being found mainly in Germany). If we can’t describe its attributes, how can we define it?

        I am not saying that because of this diversity English culture, for instance, does not exist. Certainly it exists, just like Chinese culture etc. But what I doubt is that in a society that is so divided in its beliefs, Englishness is as important a determiner of an individual’s identity as e.g. community of political beliefs, which transcends borders, or class interests. My friends in England woke up recently to find that the centre of gravity of their national culture was not where they thought it was. Many Americans know the feeling.

        I absolutely oppose Theresa May’s recent statement that ‘if you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere’. I believe that all human beings are the heirs of all the human knowledge and achievements that have been won up to this point.

        On the subject of indigineity:

        ‘You say you find indigenous problematic. Do you think Japanese culture is indigenous to the current island of Japan? Or that Australian aborigines are indigenous to Australia? Or North American pre-columbus ethic peoples are indigenous to what we now call the USA? Surely there is such a thing as indigenous?’

        I agree, Aboriginals are indigenous to Australia. But can we therefore say that Aboriginal culture is coterminous and synonymous with Australian culture? The same goes for the pre-European ethnic components of what we now call the USA. Surely not.

        In the case of a millennia-old palimpsest such as the territory nowadays known as England, it is harder to see what is meant by indigenous. We are not all ancient Britons. We have to include all the components of society as it exists at whatever date we wish to take the snapshot. If we are talking about the present day, then English culture must include not only the traces of Roman, Celtic, Saxon, Norman influence, but also that of English Indians, Chinese, Arabs, Africans, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims…

        As for the wish to live in a culturally similar group, we already do, in many ways. We spend time with people with whom we feel cultural affinity. People are grouped geographically according to economic status. Look at the demographics of the Brexit result – the clusters on the map were striking.

        • Roger Lewis November 18, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

          I think it’s fair to say of we humans , the more we change the more we stay the same. In our, sameness there are still though differences in Goals or solutions to what EF Schumacher calls Divergent problems by whose very nature, which are insoluble. Here are some extracts from A Guide for the Perplexed. I have also been re-reading Maimonides Guide of the same name from whom Schumacher borrowed the title A Link to an Online torrent for one and PDF for the other is also attached for thoise who might be interested.
          E. F SCHUMACHER
          A Guide for the
          Perplexed
          PERENNIAL LIBRARY
          Harper & Row, Publishers
          New York, Hagerstown, s􀀧n Francisco, London

          Nulla est homini causa philosophandi,
          nisi ut beatus sit.
          (Man has no reason to philosophize,
          except with a view to happiness.)
          SAINT AUGUSTINE

          T H E F O U R F I E L D S OF K N O W L E D G E: 1 63
          Socrates (in Plato’s Phaedrus) says: “I must first know myself,
          as the Delphian inscription says; to be- curious about that which
          is not my concern, while I am still in ignorance of my own self,
          would be ridiculous.” Let us follow this example and start with
          Field of Knowledge No. 1: What, really, is going on inside
          myself? What gives me joy, what gives me pain? What strengthens
          me and what weakens me? Where do I control life and
          where does life control me? Am I in control of my mind, my
          feelings, can I do what I want to do? What is the value of this
          inner knowledge for the conduct of my life?
          Before we go into any details we should take cognizance of
          the fact that the above-quoted statement from Plato’s Phaedrus
          can be matched by similar statements from all parts of the.

          64 A G U I D E F O R T H E P E R P L E X E D
          world an d all times. I shall confine myself to a few:
          From Alexandria, Philo Judaeus (late 6.rst century B.C.):
          For pray do not . . . spin your airy fables about moon or sun or
          the other objects in the sky and in the universe so far removed
          from us and so varied in their natures, until you have scrutinised
          and come to know yourselves. After that, we may perhaps believe
          you when you hold forth on other subjects; but before you
          establish who you yourselves are, do not think that you will ever
          become capable of acting as judges or trustworthy witnesses in
          the other matters.
          From ancient Rome, Plotinus (A.D. 205?-270):
          Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not Snd yourself
          beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue 􀃈hat is to be made
          beautiful; he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line
          lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work.
          So do you also: . . . never cease chiseling your statue.·
          From medieval Europe, the Theologia Germanica (ca. A.D.
          1350):
          Thoroughly to know oneself, is above all art, for it is the highest
          art. If thou knowest thyself well, thou art better and more praiseworthy
          before God, than if thou didst not know thyself, but didst
          understand the course of the heavens and of all the planets and stars,
          also the virtue of all herbs, and the structure and dispositions of all
          mankind, also the nature of all beasts, and, in such matters, hadst all
          the skill of all who are in heaven and on earth.

          64 A G U I D E F O R T H E P E R P L E X E D

          Paracelsus (1493?-1541), who was one of the most knowledgeable
          men in the Europe of his time and foremost in knowing
          “the virtue of all herbs,” says:
          Men do not know themselves, and therefore they do not understand
          the things of their inner world. Each man has the essence of
          God and all the wisdom and power of the world (germinally) in
          himself; he possesses one kind of knowledge as much as another, and
          he who does not find that which is in him cannot truly say that he
          does not possess it, but only that he was not capable of successfully
          seeking for it.

          T H E F O U R F I E L D S O F K N O W L E DG E: 65
          From India, Swami Ramdas (1886-1 963):
          “Seek within-know thyself,” these secret and sublime hints
          come to us wafted from the breath of Rishis through the dust of ages.
          From the world of Islam, Azid ibn Muhammad al-Nasafi (seventh-
          eighth centuries):
          When ‘Ali asked Mohammad, “What am I to do that I may not
          waste my time?” the Prophet answered, “Lea,rn to know thyself.”
          And from China, the Tao Te Ching by Lao-tse (c. 604-531 B.c.):
          He who knows others is wise;
          He who knows himself is enlightened. ‘
          Finally, let us listen to a twentieth-century writer, P. D. Ouspensky
          (1878–1947), who states as his “fundamental idea”:
          that man as we know him is not a completed being; that nature
          develops him only up to a certain point and then leaves him, either
          to develop further, by his own efforts and devices, or to live and die
          such as he was born, or to degenerate and lose capacity for development.
          Evolution of man . . . will mean the development of certain inner
          qualities and features which usually remain undeveloped, and amnot
          develop by themselves. •
          The modern world knows little of all this, even though it has
          produced more psychological theories and literature than any
          previous age. As Ouspensky says: “Psychology is sometimes
          called a new science. This is quite wrong. Psychology is, perhaps,
          the oldest science, and, unfortunately, in its most essential
          features a forgotten science. ” These “most essential features”
          presented themselves primarily in religious teachings, and their
          disappearance is accounted for largely by the decline of religion
          during the last few centuries.
          Traditional psychology, which saw people as “pilgrims” and

          “wayfarers” on this earth who could reach the summit of a
          mountain of “salvation,” “enlightenment,” or “liberation,” was
          primarily concerned not with sick people who had to be made
          “normal” but with normal people who were capable of becom

          66 A G U I D E F O R T H E P E R P L E X E D
          ing, and indeed destined to become, supernormal. Many of the
          great traditions have the idea of “The Way” at their very center:
          the Chinese teaching of Taoism is nained after Tao, “The
          Way”; the Buddha’s teaching is called “The Middle Way”; and
          Jesus Christ Himself declares: “I am the Way.” It is the pilgrim’s
          task to undertake a journey into the interior which demands a
          degree of heroism and in any case a readiness occasionally to
          turn one’s back on the petty preoccupations of everyday life.

          10
          Two Types of Problems
          124 A G U I D E F O R T H E P E R P L E X E D
          I do not know who coined the slogan of the French Revolution•;
          he must have been a person of rare insight. To the pair
          of opposites, Liberte and Egalite, irreconcilable in ordinary
          logic, he added a third factor or force-Fraternite, brotherliness-
          which comes from a higher level. How do we recognize
          this fact? Liberty or equality can be instituted by legislative
          action backed by force, but brotherliness is a human quality
          beyond the reach of institutions, beyond the level of manipulation.
          It can be achieved only by individual persons mobilizing
          their own higher forces and facull:ies, in short, becoming better
          people. “How do you make people become better?” That this
          is a question constantly being asked merely shows that the essential
          point is being missed altogether. Making people better
          belongs to the level of manipulation, the same level at which
          the opposites exist and where their reconciliation is impossible.
          The moment we recognize that there are two different types
          of problems with which we have to deal on our journey through
          life-“convergent” and “divergent” problems-some very interesting
          questions arise in our minds:
          •Some people say it was Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin (1743-1803) who
          signed his works Le Philosophe inconnu, the Unknown Philosopher.

          Torrent for this amazing Book can be found here I also highly recommend Small is Beautiful http://accesspiratebay.co.uk/?load=/torrent/8582503/E._F._Schumacher_-_A_Guide_for_the_Perplexed_(pdf)

          http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~seth/perplexed/abridged.pdf
          Guide for the Perplexed, by Moses Maimonides, Friedlander tr. [1904], at sacredtexts.com THE GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED BY MOSES MAIMONIDES TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL ARABIC TEXT BY M. FRIEDLANDER, PHD SECOND EDITION REVISED THROUGHOUT London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. [1904]
          http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~seth/perplexed/abridged.pdf

          Introductory Remarks. [ON METHOD] THERE are seven causes of inconsistencies and contradictions to be met with in a literary work. The first cause arises from the fact that the author collects the opinions of various men, each differing from the other, but neglects to mention the name of the author of any particular opinion. In such a work contradictions or inconsistencies must occur, since any two statements may belong to two different authors. Second cause: The author holds at first one opinion which he subsequently rejects: in his work., however, both his original and altered views are retained. Third cause: The passages in question are not all to be taken literally: some only are to be understood in their literal – 29 – sense, while in others figurative language is employed, which includes another meaning besides the literal one: or, in the apparently inconsistent passages, figurative language is employed which, if taken literally, would seem to be contradictories or contraries. Fourth cause: The premises are not identical in both statements, but for certain reasons they are not fully stated in these passages: or two propositions with different subjects which are expressed by the same term without having the difference in meaning pointed out, occur in two passages. The contradiction is therefore only apparent, but there is no contradiction in reality. The fifth cause is traceable to the use of a certain method adopted in teaching and expounding profound problems. Namely, a difficult and obscure theorem must sometimes be mentioned and assumed as known, for the illustration of some elementary and intelligible subject which must be taught beforehand the commencement being always made with the easier thing. The teacher must therefore facilitate, in any manner which he can devise, the explanation of those theorems, which have to be assumed as known, and he must content himself with giving a general though somewhat inaccurate notion on the subject. It is, for the present, explained according to the capacity of the students, that they may comprehend it as far as they are required to understand the subject. Later on, the same subject is thoroughly treated and fully developed in its right place. Sixth cause: The contradiction is not apparent, and only becomes evident through a series of premises. The larger the number of premises necessary to prove the contradiction between the two conclusions, the greater is the chance that it will escape detection, and that the author will not perceive his own inconsistency. Only when from each conclusion, by means of suitable premises, an inference is made, and from the enunciation thus inferred, by means of proper arguments, other conclusions are formed, and after that process has been repeated many times, then it becomes clear that the original conclusions are contradictories or contraries. Even able writers are liable to overlook such inconsistencies. If, however, the contradiction between the original statements can at once be discovered, and the author, while writing the second, does not think of the first, he evinces a greater deficiency, and his words deserve no notice whatever. Seventh cause: It is sometimes necessary to introduce such metaphysical matter as may partly be disclosed, but must partly be concealed: while, therefore, on one occasion the object which the author has in view may demand that the metaphysical problem be treated as solved in one way, it may be convenient on another occasion to treat it as solved in the opposite way. The author must endeavour, by concealing the fact as much as possible, to prevent the uneducated reader from perceiving the contradiction.

          Sorry for the very long extracts but I think they are very apt to the question of culture and the idea of striving to a better nature, a virtuous goal which comes from knowing ones self part of which encompasses a sense of belonging and kinship.

  24. Pat H November 17, 2016 at 1:49 am #

    ‘Is it wrong for someone to desire a homeland? The desire for a Jewish homeland was not a terrible thing I don’t think. It rose from the desire to have a place where their culture was the established indigenous culture. A place where Jews could live as Jews among Jews, rather than as Jew among gentiles. This doesn’t seem to me to be a terrible and certainly not a racist desire. And the same exact argument applies to the desire for a Palestinian homeland.’

    But we have seen how this plays out. Not so well in Israel/Palestine, for one. Ex-Yugoslav nations. North and South in the American Civil War. Peace walls in Belfast. Tribal/religious fracturing in post-Saddam Iraq. Indian partition. Apartheid South Africa. Just a few examples that spring to mind.

    If we swap the word white for Jew and black for gentile, does it make you feel uneasy? Why and what is the difference?

    Isn’t this a prescription for wholesale ethnic cleansing as occurred in Europe after the first world war? Everyone who claims such and such a national allegiance, go to such and such a territory (and stay there). But the world is too small a place, and our common human challenges are too pressing to be met in this way. Not to mention that each one of us carries multiple identities that defy any such easy categorisation. Why privilege nationality? Why not e.g. a homeland for communists or vegetarians? Our homeland is this planet, also this village, also various complex patterns of affiliation according to belief, interest, associations physical and disembodied. And we group ourselves in all these myriad ways within the great soup of society.

    The desire for a Jewish homeland was a response to long-standing cultural/racist violence, which its eventual establishment brought into being in a different form and place. Ironic, perhaps, and sad, undoubtedly, but certainly not a compelling precedent. Culture is the product of a functioning society, not a recipe for its composition (or maybe imposition – was there not already an ‘established indigenous culture’ on the site of this proposed homeland?) Churchill is supposed to have said that democracy was the worst form of government except for all others that had been tried. Perhaps the same is true of multiculturalism with regard to forms of modern society.

  25. Jill November 17, 2016 at 2:20 am #

    There is one culture that is intolerant and we will never be at peace with it:

    War photographer Teun Voeten write about his personal experience living amongst muslims in Molenbeek:

    Excerpt:

    “Over nine years, I witnessed the neighborhood become increasingly intolerant. Alcohol became unavailable in most shops and supermarkets; I heard stories of fanatics at the Comte des Flandres metro station who pressured women to wear the veil; Islamic bookshops proliferated, and it became impossible to buy a decent newspaper. With an unemployment rate of 30 percent, the streets were eerily empty until late in the morning. Nowhere was there a bar or café where white, black and brown people would mingle. Instead, I witnessed petty crime, aggression, and frustrated youths who spat at our girlfriends and called them “filthy whores.” If you made a remark, you were inevitably scolded and called a racist. There used to be Jewish shops on Chaussée de Gand, but these were terrorized by gangs of young kids and most closed their doors around 2008. Openly gay people were routinely intimidated, and also packed up their bags.

    I finally left Molenbeek in 2014. It was not out of fear. The tipping point, I remember, was an encounter with a Salafist, who tried to convert me on my street. It boiled down to this: I could no longer stand to live in this despondent, destitute, fatalistic neighborhood.”

    http://www.politico.eu/article/molenbeek-broke-my-heart-radicalization-suburb-brussels-gentrification/

    Darío Fernández-Morera’s Myth of the Andalusian Paradise “is a first-rate work of scholarship that demolishes the fabrication of the multiethnic, multiconfessional convivencia in Spain under Muslim rule.”

    “The book ends with a short Epilogue that summarizes the record: In Islamic Spain there was no tolerant convivencia, but a precaria coexistencia. In cultural terms alone, the invasion, conquest, and colonization of Christian Spain by Islamic warriors was a disaster for her population because a promising young civilization—far superior to that of the coarse North African invaders—was nipped in the bud:
    This Christian Hispano-Roman-Visigoth population “deserved” to be conquered and enlightened by Islamic rulers no more than the population of the Americas deserved to be conquered and enlightened by the Christian Europeans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, or that the population of India deserved to be conquered and enlightened by the Christian British in the eighteenth.
    A similar hypocrisy, one might add, applies to the academic establishment’s treatment of the Crusades. The meta-message is the same: Islam’s “expansion” into the Holy Land was normal and even desirable—the Eastern Roman Empire’s southeastern flank was as “deserving” of conquest in the seventh century as Visigothic Spain was in the eighth—but any subsequent attempt by Christians to turn the tables was deemed a barbarous crime. Fernández-Morera is right to say that few periods in history have been more misrepresented than that of Islamic Spain. The same verdict applies to the two centuries of Outremer.
    In this age of rampant victimology, the largest group of victims in history—tens if not hundreds of millions of Christians who were murdered, enslaved, terrorized, or marginalized by Muslims from Muhammad to our time—is consistently denied its rightful status in the Western academy. This is a scandal, and in the final pages Fernández-Morera abandons his restrained tone when he summarizes the condition of the Christian Mozarabs (italics original):
    [T]hey were by definition a subaltern group, a fourth- or fifth-class marginalized people in a hierarchical society . . . the victims of an extortion system, the dhimma, that gave them the choice that gangsters give to their victims: pay to be protected, or else.”

    http://www.ruthfullyyours.com/2016/04/14/a-myth-demolished-by-srdja-trifkovic-a-review-of-the-myth-of-the-andalusian-paradise-muslims-christians-and-jews-under-islamic-rule-in-medieval-spain-by-dario-fernandez-morera/

    On “globalization”, James Goldsmith warned America of the consequences of GATT (WTO, NAFTA, etc.) in this interview back in 1995 ( Goldsmith is also author of the book “the Trap ” which also includes his warnings )
    The interview is in 5 parts…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PQrz8F0dBI
    Goldsmith also pleaded with the U.S. Senate…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maouTP8vTO0&index=1&list=PL7C94ADEE167CBB80

    • Kavy November 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

      For the real reason behind militant Islam see the video below.

      The US supports militant Islam to stop democray forming in the Middle East. Many Middle Eastern countries were moving towards becoming liberal democracies but this didn’t suite Washington which wanted to keep oil from the Middle East dirt cheap. The US also uses jihadists to fight it’s proxy wars for it.

      The US doesn’t believe in capitalism. If the Middle East had become more democratic enjoying freedom like westerners do, the price of oil might have risen. But western entrepreneurs would have produced new technologies to wean us off of oil and therefore global warming would have been less of a problem. Also, the new technologies would have saved us lots of money because our machinery and industry would have become more efficient.

      It’s sad, because if the Middle East had been allowed to become more liberal and democratic they world have developed social security and public healthcare and this would have helped stem population growth, another big problem, and there would have also been less immigration.

      So you can see how the greed of the selfish elite has completely messed up the our world. And yet these people think they’re particularly clever but they would have made a fortune out of alternative energy if they had invested in that instead. They didn’t need to steal someone else’s oil. They also paid economists to say that, ‘ Greed was good’, despite the fact that for centuries Christian teaching had taught us that being greedy was bad, which it is.

      The reason for the rise of militant fundamentalist islam in the Middle East:

      Why Are We In Syria? Shocking Facts Media Doesn’t Tell You –

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WcDLuf-3kaA

      • Roger Lewis November 17, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

        Hi Kavy, I like yoiur analysis and agree with it, Dollar Hegenomy is the only thing I would add a little about.

        On Global Warming or what I would re frame as the carbon surplus problem is a subject I am just writing a kids book about for helping my Children understand the Carbon Cycle. Posted this on Face book earlier.
        Hi Robin, thanks for responding and for your helpful commentary and questions. I do have suggestions and will enumerate them under a few headings. Scientific, Political, Economic, stakeholder representation.
        Scientific
        Scientific questions should be the easiest as science is objective? the human relationships aspects of science turn out to be as fraught with status based psychology as any other field of human endeavour, cognisant of this I would recommend this excellent slide collection from Anand Gnanadesikan.

        http://blaustein.eps.jhu.edu/~gnana/Presentations.htm

        There is a pedagogical deficit in public education on Climate evidenced by ignorance of the Carbon Cycle, this is hampering debate on solutions such as those proposed by Tony Lovell in the soil carbon video. Partial solutions are often attacked vigorously as a climate (no pun intended) of ad hominem dominates responses to anything not fitting the bag of nails demanded of the CO2 as pollution hammer.

        Political.

        Corporate capture of highly centralised government structures and the Government tendency to look for shiny photo op type solutions crowds out the incremental and sustainable holistic solutions which seem to be viable and easily mobilised. Husbandry of the problem as opposed to the undeclared War on Carbon. The Wars on Drugs, Wars on Terrorism , are analogues to the climate that politicians have fostered vis anthropogenic CO2 emissions, sadly this style ofGovernment is synchronous with the identification and onset of the problem of raised CO2 levels.

        Economic

        Economic aspects of the problem are as fraught with the problem of the, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_instrument ,Law of the instrument as political responses. Economics and finance as prctised in Financialised Capitalism will of course seek to apply its own false metrics of monetary price measures. These measures are not consistent with value or utility concepts. The Money measure of utility is bound in artificial scarcity of the measure, ignorant of the availability of resources to allocate. Economists and Bankers were a large component of the fourth UK carbon budget report,

        https://www.theccc.org.uk/…/CCC_4th-Budget_interactive.pdf ,

        If ever one needed confirmation that cap and trade is the financial hammer seeing all Carbon as an anthropogenic CO2 nail , this document should do it.

        Stakeholder perspectives.

        With respåect to Stake holders, I would like to speak up for the poor and those without a voice to speak for the Landless Peasants and the continuing ravaging of self-provisioning local economies by Global demands for mono culture cash crop and debt based economic solutions. These stake holders are as important as any of us and their voices are un represented it is also true that the skills and smaller scale permaculture and vernacular specific methods are an untapped resource in utilising the surplus of CO2 currently seen as a problem and not a misapplied resource.

        Discourse and Selection Biases.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

        Ad hominem and appeals to consensus or Authority typifies even Green Party discourse on these issues Ecological solutions will best solve ecological problems by denying the carbon cycle and submitting to an emissions centric financialised narrative obscures potential holistic solutions to a very natural problem ( of course human emissions are man made but the emissions are natural chemical compounds extracted from natural matter). This talking past and at one another generates much more heat than light and will all end in tears.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d70iDxBtnas

        I have been working on a more detailed but focused structured position argument with full references which is likely to take a few more weeks to complete. The occasional guffaw or cry of anguish will continue to emit from under my little rock here in Rural Sweden in the mean-time , I will try to muffle the volume but can not possibly hold it all in.
        discussion here.
        https://www.facebook.com/groups/GreenLeft/permalink/10154740994451255/?comment_id=10154741031921255

        two very good short videos on Carbon Cycling.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgmssrVInP0

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1esu_jS2DFc&feature=youtu.be

    • Golem XIV November 17, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

      Hello Jill,

      I agree that there are some strands of Islam which are today very intolerant. But there have been periods and places when Islam has been tolerant and coexisted happily with other religions. So I’m not sure we could say Islam by its nature is intolerant.

      It does, like Christianity, have a rather absolutist and missionary aspect to it, but like Christianity has had periods and given rise to factions which have been tolerant.

      And today there are many Muslims who are not as fundamentalist as those who appear on our news programmes.

      • Roger Lewis November 18, 2016 at 4:30 am #

        Wahabbism is a branch of Islam and really the big Khaune when it comes to intolerence. It is centred on Saudi Arabia which paradoxically is one of the Unite States main Allies in the middle east. Islam is one of the 3 main Abrahamic faiths, if you read the Old Testament, The Torah, and the Quoran one finds that the main strands of all three are pretty similar. The Wahabbi interpretation of the islamic tradition handed down by religious authorities as opposed to the Word of god as communicated by the prophet Mohammad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism
        Wahabbism is one branch of Salf Islam.The Salafi movement claim to take the first three generations of Muslims, known as the salaf, as exemplary models.[240] In the 18th century, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab led a salafi movement, referred by outsiders as Wahhabism, in modern-day Saudi Arabia.
        Religion in Saudi Arabia
        Virtually all Saudi citizens are Muslim[319] (officially, all are), and almost all Saudi residents are Muslim.[320][321] Estimates of the Sunni population of Saudi Arabia range between 75% and 90%, with the remaining 10–25% being Shia Muslim.[322][323][324][325][326] The official and dominant form of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia is commonly known as Wahhabism (proponents prefer the name Salafism, considering Wahhabi derogatory[327]) and is often described as ‘puritanical’, ‘intolerant’, or ‘ultra-conservative’ by observers, and as “true” Islam by its adherents. It was founded in the Arabian Peninsula by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab in the eighteenth century. Other denominations, such as the minority Shia Islam, are systematically suppressed.[328]

        The Saudi Population is 31 million there are 1.7 billion Moslems world wide, Whabbism is the main philosophical root of Islamic Terrorism although Adam Curtis gives an interesting history of suicide bombing and its supposed religious efficacy in his film Hyper Normalisation. As Kavy says the West particularly CIA and MI6 suppressed the socialist Arab Nationalist movement in Egypt and elsewhere in the middle East in the late 1940´s and 1950´s, the extent of the generalised conflation of Islam, Wahabbism, Islamic Militancy and Terrorism is quite staggering.
        I personally am A Christian and would happily attend any Synagogue, Mosque or Church to pray. I do not tend to go to Church although when I do I prefer to go outside of business hours as it were and I also happen to believe that Nature is really the only Church needed if one has faith and nothing else man made is to the glory of anything other than mankind’s own credulity for hubristic and vain monuments to its own power structures, including churches, mosques , synogogues and the institutional trappings of Organised religion.

      • Kavy November 18, 2016 at 10:29 am #

        Below is a fantastic video. The Iranians are well known for being the most friendliest people around. Is it true, watch this video and see? The West has been demonising Iran, and yes, it, does have an authoritarian theocracy, which in the past was particularly bad, but that doesn’t mean that its average citizens are. I outlined the reason for it horrible theocracy earlier: Western interference. Watch this video below and be amazed at how generous and friendly the Iranians are. To think that Hilary might have been planning a war with them, which would have ruined the lives of millions of innocent people, like she has done to millions of other people in the Middle East.
        .

        Riding a C90 Through Iran

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_2LEgowbzSc

  26. philco November 18, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

    It’s likely that the Brexit result was a result of English (and Welsh) voters pushing against the perceived encroachments into their identity and culture by the forces of globalisation, which, in this referendum, were represented by the European project. I think you are right to say that the future political divide will centre on the benefits or otherwise of globalisation, with traditional conceptions of left and right becoming less salient. We already see that extreme left and extreme right agree in their opposition to globalisation. The relationship of multi-culturalism to globalisation is, however, less clear. New Labour for example espoused both, and at the time (1997-2010) there did not seem to be any necessary contradiction between them. Indeed, welcoming immigrants was integral to the success of an outward-looking, globalisation-friendly government, which promoted multi-culturalism in order to stave off tensions arising from high levels of immigration from both EU and non-EU sources.

    Arguably, it was only after the London bombings, the Northern riots and the financial crash that the model of multi-culturalism promoted by New Labour began to be seriously questioned.

    Multi-culturalism fosters the view that racial identity predominates, and that individuals who belong to a particular ethnic group are a homogeneous bunch. Our lived experience, however, is that we have multiple allegiances (I speak as a white indigenous male), so why would we deny that immigrants might also have multiple allegiances?

    Multi-culturalism also tends to imply a homogeneity of behaviour and religious belief in, for example, Asian communities, so that Pakistanis and Bangladeshis must be conservative Muslims. Our lived experience, however, is that religions have different strands, and that cultural transmission is by no means assured so that younger generations can often reject the religion of their parents.

    Multi-culturalism fosters a belief that every culture should be accorded equivalence of respect. Our lived experience, however, is that while individuals should all be treated as equal in law, we do not respect cultures that demean women, as you rightly point out in your discussion of FGM.

    My view of multi-culturalism is therefore guarded. Has it led to greater toleration and opportunities for immigrant communities to prosper. Yes – look at the rise in the number of inter-racial marriages, the representation of minorities in positions of authority, and the representation of minorities in national events. Does it adequately describe the world in which I live? No – the paradox of multi-culturalism is that despite it presenting a rationale for respecting diversity, it undermines what is valuable about diversity, because it presents a limited and limiting view of other cultures, and does not truly do justice to the diversity that exists within those cultures. By regarding those cultures as being more coherent and homogeneous than they actually are, the white indigenous culture has been too afraid to intervene in the child abuse scandals referred to elsewhere in this blog, which are a deep source of shame for the majority of people in those Bangladeshi/Pakistani communities which produced the abusers.

  27. English Outsider November 21, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks for that. Sanity and balance in full measure even if the argument doesn’t lead to conclusions I could agree with.

    One small point. I’m uneasy about that quote “There is no such thing as society.” I’m not sure Mrs Thatcher was saying what we all take her to have been saying. Looking at the context in which she made that remark I don’t think she was.

    Google came up with this old article from the Daily Telegraph:-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/charlesmoore/8027552/No-Such-Thing-as-Society-a-good-time-to-ask-what-Margaret-Thatcher-really-meant.html

    That is certainly an apologist’s view but more accurate than the general one. My own view is that Mrs Thatcher was so all over the place, ideologically speaking, that there’s not much point trying to derive a coherent philosophy from any particular remark she made. But if there was any centre to her it consisted of an old fashioned adherence to traditional values within a nation-state framework. I find that wholly admirable: “Society” for her did in truth mean something worthwhile. Pity she contributed so much to wrecking ours.

  28. Kavy November 23, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    The Realistic Left, Trump, Putin, and Peace.

    The Realistic Left are interesting. I don’t know much about them but they seem to be going back to 1950’s working class Labour values. They are strong on family values, don’t like the hard left, don’t like the politically correct movement, or mass immigration. I’m a bit uncomfortable about the Realistic Left at the moment, but maybe they are right about some things. Could us liberals be wanting a such a perfect world which could never be able to exist? And so could we be allowing the Right to win elections because of this, maybe we need to compromise a bit?

    The traditional liberal left had become the party of war in the US which meant good had become evil. The liberals had been conned, of course, by neoliberal propaganda. We were told that Putin was evil because Russia was said to be very conservative and anti gay. Russians also didn’t like the band Pussy Riot but we were are said to be pro freedom and therefore we were relaxed about many punk bands even if they were horrible. For instance, Iggy Pop did a song for Death In Vegas about being psychopathic serial killer. It was pretty sick and i hated it, and this was the sort of thing that many Russians hated too.

    The Russians feared that the West had become decadent. The neoliberals were trying to start a war with Russia pretending to be fighting a country that they said was very authoritarian and conservative, and alarmingly many on the Western left were following them. What the war was really about was over oil, gas pipelines, and the fact that Putin would not allow GM crops into his country and neither would he allow Russians to grow them. Putin was also turning Russia over to more organic crops, none of which suited Monsanto, a massive US corporation. Russia also has a lot of diamonds, and Joe Bidon’s son runs a company that owns 80% of the world’s diamonds industries, but this isn’t enough for them.

    Many liberals mean well but have fallen for neoliberal propaganda. Neoliberals are right-wingers who are relaxed about gays and believe in climate change, but in every other way they are hard right. They now call themselves the Liberal Interventionalists, who were the Neocons, who are also now the neoliberals. Their faux liberalism is a cover for the US empire to rule the world – the Good West where everyone else is considered backward. The bankers and the mainstream media are also neoliberals, who all supported Hilary, the war candidate, and the liberals were foolishly following. The Realistic Left were pleased that trump won. Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end of the neoliberals and their evil empire.

    This is copy and paste is from the Realistic Left. Link below.

    ….

    Here are some things we support:

    – Economics consisting of Post-Keynesian and MMT macroeconomic policies, public investment, an industrial policy, a level of aggregate demand to ensure full employment, balanced trade and a modest welfare state. Opposition to neoliberalism, Libertarianism, Free Market Fundamentalism, globalisation, selling off of our natural assets to foreign entities and deindustrialization.

    – We are for modest levels of immigration, civic or “liberal nationalism” aka the “Melting Pot”, reintroducing objective morality, objective truth, are pro-family, pro-egalitarian and pro-Western values. We are against Cultural Leftism, particularly Open Borders mass immigration, post-structuralism, post-modernism, truth relativism, cultural relativism, moral relativism, “Social Justice Warriors”ism, the cult of diversity and toxic identity politics in general.

    3) We are pro-Free speech, and anti-censorship on college campuses and public debate in the name of “Political Correctness”. We oppose Islamization and appeasing reactionary Islamist political hardliners in the name of “diversity” and “tolerance”, and support assimilation into our cultural values.

    4) We tend to be against most forms of foreign interventionism, but are certainly not isolationists. We tend to be socially liberal and against punitive “Law and Order” measures, but don’t confuse us for lawless and “anything goes” Libertarians and Anarchists.

    https://realistleft.wordpress.com/

  29. steviefinn November 24, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    An extremely in depth report from Macrobusiness Australia is featured within this article, which shows the effects of mass immigration policies for a country with the highest levels in the OECD, at 22% as opposed to the UK at 10% & Ireland at 18%. Lots of charts showing why it doesn’t work, who supports it, the disaster of the drive to maga-cities etc.

    They are not against immigration, but believe like me, that it should be sustainable & that using the racist card prevents a proper debate:

    http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2016/11/stop-playing-racist-card-immigration/

    http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/MB-Sustainable-Australia-Presentation-Immigration-Nov-2016.pdf

  30. FallingLeaf November 25, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    David, thank you.

    I was once a refugee, perpetually an immigrant. I hope I may offer here some observations that contribute to this dialogue.

    There are certain broad traits that all the cultures in which I have lived share, but the main one is a national/cultural narrative. A creation/continuation myth, if you like. About the wrongs done to it and about its triumph in the face of adversity. These tend to tear across the political spectrum, much as they do in the United Kingdom. Even lefties – as I instinctively am – believe in it. Take, for instance, the many jokes about Englishness: “that was such an English interaction, we both hated each other but we were polite” etc.

    This construction tends to filter down across most areas of the culture. For example, I write and I dance, so these are two areas I know. In literature, many of the most succesful English writers of the last 30 or so years have tended to be culturally (and economically) liberal, and write very much in the realist tradition (I’m happy to debate the terms elsewhere but some examples are Amis, McEwan, Hensher, Byatt etc.). For them, the English are a “nation of shopkeepers” (Smith), practical, stoic and sober. And the literature, they feel, reflects that. Europe has altogether a very different and wider palette. Pessoa in Portugal captures a strong sense of hopeless sunniness. Proust a delicate balance of self-pity/aggrandisement and elegance. The TV show ‘Narcos’ recently made a link between magical realism and the wild goings-on under Pablo Escobar (no clue if they’re right or not). Rohinton Mistry, realistic but good-humored and compassionate. And many readers and writers claim these traits as belonging – in ways both specific and general – to their countries.

    Then we have the ballet. The English National Ballet and the Royal Ballet have dancers from all over the planet, but there is still what is known as an “English school” of ballet that both companies have at their heart. The way they move is small and subtle. A teacher of mine (like me, a multiple immigrant) referred to the style as “like serving a cup of tea”(!). The Americans, by contrast, like their style to be performative, big, showy and often intricate (think Balanchine). The Russians are into their big, spectacular jumps (Vasiliev). The Danes keep their jumps small but very intricate. The French love their huge, elegant extensions (Sylvie). I hope the point is clear.

    There is an identity that pervades and we all subscribe to it in one way or another. Pat H may see the contradictions in culture as indicating that the term ‘culture’ is meaningless in the modern world (have I read you right, Pat?). To that I would say that we can’t measure a culture by whether the beliefs stack up or not in some degree of symmetry. Religions don’t stack up symmetrically, are often contradictory (paradox is at the heart of almost all of them), yet I don’t imagine we deny that these are cultures, too.

    My observation about the UK, having lived here 18 years including all of my teens, is that David is correct and there is a certain denial going on that has helped bring us to this place. When people have been opposed to free movement in good faith, certain very good and humane lefties have declared them unequivocally racist. End of. I once had a conversation with one and Diane Abbot came up. I’m not a fan but not hateful of her either. Miss Abbot famously once said in a tweet that “white people love playing divide and rule”. Even though she acknowledged that it would be racist if the tweet said that about black or brown people, she claimed that Diane Abbot wasn’t racist for it…because white people do love playing divide and rule!! (This lady is white British).

    I didn’t read newspapers until 21ish, I got most of my news from the BBC, or books, and I avoided opinion pieces because they just didn’t offer me anything. When I decided to become a journalist, I thought that to be a proper person, a serious intellectual, I had to read all this and imitate them. I encountered here the Dawkinsian class of intellectual: bullying, hectoring, hateful beyond understanding (stereotypes of the angry young teenager pissed off at the world for no fucking reason came to mind) and that seemed to be the way forward, the articles that got the most comments, hits and sub-articles. I was on the receiving end of these many times – I have religious beliefs, naive and animistic ones, to be sure, but I was told I was “insane”, “stupid”, “retarded”, “delusional” (on a side note, this is the word most often used in the rhetoric of science when people tend to disagree with one another, it’s an interesting term, imply your opponent is mad for believing in parapsychology or cold fusion and let that do its work, forgetting that they are a human being).

    But I never had it in me to be bullish, certain, rude and sneering and to generate a rant every few days. Perhaps this is why I never made it very far, despite having had an opportunity nearly every kid aged 21 would have killed for. And this poisonous atmosphere exists on all sides. I guess I’m disappointed in the left because I thought they knew better than to: 1/ simply tar people with racism and leave it at that, and 2/ speak so bitterly against others.

    I think everyone needs a home. A place to dwell (as Hegel might say), if it’s not a physical space, it must be at least an imaginative one. And if you deny them that imaginative space by declaring it somehow illegitimate, old-fashioned, racist, ignorant, stupid, then you’re stripping them of that place within themselves. You strip them, to paraphrase David, at your peril.

    Just my two pence. Best wishes to all.

    • Golem XIV November 25, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

      Dear Falling Leaf,

      Thank you for your comment. It is great to hear your thoughts and know they are based on your personal experience.

      I was puzzled by PatH’s reaction as I have been by some who have emailed me. The main negative reaction has been to argue that culture doesn’t exist and by so doing not then engage with the substantive argument. Pat H seems to argue that people just have shared interests but not culture. That he believes this baffles me. Others have argued that culture and national boundaries and history are changeable and this changeability means they don’t really exist. I find it a weird argument for people to resort to. Why would they believe that something changeable somehow does’t exist?

      To me it seems that people want to believe that culture does’t exist. It leaves me both puzzled and a bit sad. But that’s just me.

      I am left wondering where to take this idea or if it is worth taking it further. I would value hearing your thoughts.

      • steviefinn November 26, 2016 at 11:07 am #

        I would suggest that those who believe that culture doesn’t exist should let me give them a tour of Northern Ireland. An hour should do it, within the stretch of the Falls road to the Shankhill. I imagine that it will change overtime, particularly as hopefully old wounds continue to heal, but the history, the sports, the religion & the mythology will always maintain the root of it.It is a cultural contrast that I live with, which has helped define for myself, the fact that I am English & very culturally different.

        Falling Leaf – I enjoyed your description of cultural differences within the representation of ballet, which is something I know virtually nothing about. I suppose that the Arts are one of the best ways of seeing how different cultures do things differently as in the painting, sculpture, music, architecture, literature etc, despite the borrowed influences from elsewhere. I think that is what has helped towards making the world a vibrant mix of colours, although for me those hues have increasingly become ever more muted. My worry is that if this trend towards uniformity continues, it will result in a palette condition which produces nothing other than a condition of general field grey.

        • FallingLeaf November 28, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

          Steviefinn, you said:

          “I think that is what has helped towards making the world a vibrant mix of colours, although for me those hues have increasingly become ever more muted. My worry is that if this trend towards uniformity continues, it will result in a palette condition which produces nothing other than a condition of general field grey.”

          Let me offer a metaphor.

          Chroma is, in some sense, the measure of the purity of colour i.e. how free it is from black or white (which are not, after all, colours).

          We seem to be in a place where as we move towards finding purity in each colour (call it identity, if you like) the more dull the colours seem to be getting.

          Chroma is, incidentally, the name of an excellent contemporary ballet for the Royal Ballet. 😉

          • steviefinn November 29, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

            Thank you for that smile of a reply.

            An anecdote featuring Oliver Sacks popped into my head yesterday. He recounted it as part of an interview he gave for a Dutch TV programme series called ” A glorious Accident”. As a twelve year old child he had knocked on Julian Huxley’s door & asked him if he could explain how human beings had progressed faster than evolution alone could allow ?, or words to that effect. Huxley replied that culture had become the driving force of that progress.

            Huxley was it seems enthusiastic about Eugenics & of course this would have been quite a while ago, & perhaps science has since come up with a different interpretation – but his words do make sense to me. I think that one of the foundation of this would be small communities, in whatever form they may take. Arts, Science, railway renovation groups, a housing estate, village, church group, pigeon fanciers, the workplace, a co-operative etc, which provide a necessary framework of support, which despite the inevitable squabbling, can lead to a large improvement within it’s environment.

            I fear that in these times of austerity & the seeming prevalence of the notion that life as a human being should be spent as some small cog in a profit making machine, wherein people are reduced to worn out easily replaceable parts, will crush most creativity, leading to a poverty of culture at it’s base. The abandonment of the Left of class for identity politics, will I think only make it worse, especially in those communities who are at the bottom of the heap. Of course, the same forces will most likely crush public funding, which I suspect will not affect the cultural adventures of the elite, who will be able to pay to play.

            I have been of late working on projects for a community & a culture that is alien to me, & would much prefer to be doing the same for one in which I feel that I belong, but I have to eat & for me, there are at the moment, limited alternatives. As an outsider looking in, I have some admiration for the collective effort that they make to create something that all their members feel a part of. There is although a very dark side to this within their history & they have ” The Other “, by way of cultural difference, mainly through religion & history, right next door.

            Fortunately at the moment there is a lot of reaching out, based on class rather than identity. This is something i fear that might be undermined if as seems likely, economic conditions worsen & i think that the a similar situation could develop in England, particularly if a rather obvious potential ” Other ” grows in number, putting further strain on the indigenous population – I fear for all in this. as the mob tends to prey on the weak & innocent.

            The Scottish political economist Mark Blyth recently stated that Trump was lying, when he stated that he would bring back the jobs from China. In terms of the old industrial giants, I think he is correct & besides, i don’t think it would really solve anything within a world in which sustainability should be of prime importance. I intend to bring back manufacturing to England, if only to sustain myself, but perhaps it could become something larger, perhaps as a cooperative, although of course this would only represent a drop in the ocean, for the increasing problems that will face us.

            I like Dmitry Orlov’s ideas on the 150 as a starting point, which could perhaps, if such a system were tried & seen to work, be used as a template for others to use within their own communities. I fully agree with the method he describes for running a factory, as i have seen too many companies ruined mainly by bad example from the top. This taken from extracts from his book, i think fits with your words on colour :

            ” In the symbol of the Tao, the two fields – one black, the other white – represent the pair of opposites, and ordinarily this is about as much as people would see: two opposing forces working against each other, yin and yang, action and reaction, masculine and feminine. Less obvious, but perfectly intuitive once you put your mind to it, and essential to the emergent significance of the symbol, is that it also represents a third force: the harmony that is manifested in the entire symbol, where yin and yang are held in balance, in equal proportions, which represents the organizing principle, or the reconciling force. In Taoist philosophy, without black there could be no white, and for both to exist they must be held in eternal balance by the action of the unknowable Tao “.

            http://renegadeinc.com/?s=150

            Back to Identity politics, which I think was seized on by, in particular the US Democrats as a much needed banner that they could wave in order to differentiate themselves from the GOP, whose Neoliberal policies were by & largely the same as their own. This article sums it up for me, which coincidentally features a ballerina :

            http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2016/11/global-left-destroyed-sex-not-rape/

            & finally for anyone who wants to spend some time with a wise & beautiful old guy :

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVkobRTbG8A

            Falling Leaf, if you ever land, may it be very gracefully.

          • steviefinn November 30, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

            Dozy old man cock up – the author of ” 150 Strong “, is actually Rob O’ Grady not Dmitry Orlov whose blog is the place where it was featured, where I first became aware of it’s existence.

      • FallingLeaf November 28, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

        David,

        Thanks for the lovely response. I’m always late to the party so wasn’t expecting anyone to read or reply. As you’ve noticed, I write very elliptically, so please excuse what may seem like digressions (I am exhausted today).

        I think that many people have bought implicitly into ideas similar to Fukuyama’s in the sense of seeing some sort of progress in history. I don’t doubt that such moments exist but they are pretty fleeting. To such, broadly speaking, progressives, the the idea of cultures, or religions (my mention of Dawkins was not accidental), anything that has the connotation of division, is seen as a dangerous throwback that has to be denied or we’ll go back 200 years.

        The inconsistency here lies in the fact that some of what is going on in leftist thought is also divisive but its forms are new and come from (often very valuable) 20th century thought (postcolonialism, queer theory etc.).

        For example, the categories broadly under LGBTQ (e.g. non-binary, and one I heard today, pansexual) is mind boggling. I don’t have a problem with anyone calling themselves whatever it is they choose but there is a level of anger around such discourse where it’s inconceivable to some people that there can ever be any sort of shared sympathy between me (Asian male heterosexual, public school, refugee, immigrant) and someone who is non-binary for the discrimination they have suffered because my heterosexuality is privileged over theirs. My privilege is undoubtedly true but why can’t I even sympathise? Purely because structural privilege creates a barrier in my humanity? Strange.

        And, by the way, I would call the above (LGBTQ) a pretty good example of a culture.

        As to taking this idea further, I don’t think we (of the left – or people who broadly hold the positions you and I would) have a choice. If we ignore the cultural aspects that you have so brilliantly articulated then I genuinely am not sure there is a way back – the mutual resentments will tear us apart, making the referendum and the election look like a playground spat. People want to be heard, on all sides but how many want to listen?

        I know it’s easy for me to say “go on, David, you’re doing good, keep banging the drum” as I’m not a public figure like you are. But someone has to grapple with this and I honestly can think of no one better right now than you.

        If you want to carry this on privately, David, I’m happy to drop you an email.

        Thanks again for engaging. I don’t comment online as a rule but your response made it worth doing so.

        • Golem XIV December 1, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

          I would be interested to hear more of your thoughts. If you prefer email then that’s fine. Please use golemxivg@gmail.com Talk further soon.

  31. richardA December 1, 2016 at 11:23 pm #

    To paraphrase Samuel Johnston, being in fear for your life concentrates the mind wonderfully, especially if the root cause for that fear is your identity and your values. Which brings me to the idea of nationality. I endorse the idea that nations are formed around a common language. This facility emerges from the complexity of multiple interactions between many actors, and because there is a mutual gain the language is shared amongst the occupants of a geographical area via trade, and by sharing entertainments and ideas. You become what you do habitually every day. You invest in your identity, your shared knowledge, land and constructions. At some point you are prepared to die for the things you hold dear, and you may see good people die in support of your values of truth and justice. That’s just human nature.
    Equally, you may see people with different values. Some may not support the values of truth and justice that you hold dear, and thus see things differently. Where things get interesting is how each sees the investment of earlier generations in the physical and intellectual structures within a Nation’s boundary. I would tend to agree that up to a point diversity is both good and beneficial. The tension can be a driving force for change. Unfortunately, differences can be exploited to provide benefits to a few, too often at a cost to the weak and to minorities. The greater the potential for change, the greater the possible damage to society and the Nation as a whole.
    When carried to an extreme, it becomes Treason, and for that reason we have laws to provide for those situations.
    For that reason, I suggest it is wise to limit the rate of change to Nations.

  32. steviefinn December 5, 2016 at 9:48 am #

    No identity, or one not recognised or valued ?

    ” For most of the 20th century, to be white in Britain was to be utterly unexceptional. In many places, it still is: Worcester, where I grew up, is 92.4 per cent white. There, white people are just people ”

    .http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/12/lesson-2016-identity-matters-even-white-people

  33. steviefinn December 8, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    It seems pretty obvious to me that this combination of culture denial & a kind of culture skepticism, in which after an almost shrug of the shoulders, the words ” Culture changes ” are uttered, are simply for some, just a way to block any discussion that might lead to very troublesome issues which are closely related.

    Culture does change as it is influenced by the ever changing environment – I would think that the US has had the biggest influence in terms of popular culture post WW2, but essentially culture is a human construct, which I think means that shrugging one’s shoulders with a kind of laissez-faire attitude of it will all work out OK in the end is irresponsible, which has been illustrated by the rise of Nationalism & so called populism from those who feel that they have become a forgotten tribe, whose indigenous culture is considered worthless by policymakers.

    Immigration is the elephant in the room here I think, especially the open borders version. which due to identity politics & political correctness for politicians of the Left, who over the years have constructed a platform based on these values – it puts them in a very awkward position, in terms of considering the subject.

    The Left as far as i can tell are pretty united on the subject of climate change, which should mean that they are aware of the environmental pressures ( not to mention proxy wars ) that are inevitably or at least very likely, going to cause huge population movements, particularly in Africa & the Middle East as was shown to be the case in Syria, even before the bombing began.

    Perhaps they are simply passing the buck or only interested in the short term & do not want to rock their little boat by going somewhere that will inevitably cause massive friction within their own company & then later lead to the necessity of having to make incredibly hard choices in terms of us becoming an already overladen lifeboat in a sea full of the drowning who we earlier promised to save.

    The culture of denial in many forms certainly appears to be thriving.

    • Golem XIV December 8, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

      Culture denial and skepticism is exactly how people have responded to me. And then as you say, they then tell me that ‘culture changes’ and feel that this ends any discussion.

      And the world Nativism is coming in to parlance from the neoliberal left. Nativism is to be added alongside populism as he terms to indicate those who have left the fold of acceptable political ideas.

      The neoliberal left keeps referring to liberal democracy, but what they mean the eliding together of democracy with neoliberal, global capitalism.

      I would say the fight is now on. They are getting together the vocabulary they think they need to demonise us. We must be equally prepared.

      Take care.

      • steviefinn December 8, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

        Coincidentally I just found this article from an American guy named Umair Haque, which I think adds to the conclusion that those you correctly call the neoliberal left are hiding behind specious fixed positions in order to confuse & avoid any serious debate on very important issues :

        ” The people who deny that extremism has economic origins are essentially liberalism’s equivalent of climate change denialists. Conservatives deny the facts on the environment — but liberals do so about the economy. The facts are very clear. Extremism does not rise ex nihilo, from the void. It has a material cause throughout history — whether it is Bolshevik Russia, Weimar Germany, or post-Imperial China. Extremism is always and everywhere a material product of stagnation ”

        .https://umairhaque.com/why-theyre-just-dumb-racists-is-liberalism-s-climate-denialism-52d5e7b605ca#.5gzfkv6xc

        You take care too.

  34. Roger Lewis December 9, 2016 at 6:17 am #

    Hi David, Hi Stevie, Your latest exchange is very interesting . As David says we need to be prepared with our own nomenclature when considering what culture means? and also what Neo-Liberal means? Whilst the main stream media has a common narrative and starting place as regards its defined and intended audience their narrative does not translate into other ´Media Terretories´. The Neo-Liberal Cool Aid is sold as Coca Cola in one country, Pepsi in another as upscale Virgin Cola in yet another and as Corner shop discount generic cola in other ´Markets´the essential ingredient remains the same but the packaging is a chameleon that blends into the limits of what is to be encouraged and praised or at least tolerated. Neo-Liberalism is a flexible homogeneous brew licensed and franchised but serving only one master, globalised financialised Capitalism.
    The Left of Neo-Liberalism clearly exists for the illusion of choice is a fixed pre-requisite of the Competing elites theory of democracy as conjectured by Schumpeter.What Left actually means in absolute terms needs some un-packing. The centre of gravity or the datum is something that has changed, what is relative to the right of neo-liberalism today is not what would have been called left 30 years ago. The terms of definition and measurement have changed the term misappropriated.
    Stevie from the quote above ´ Extremism does not rise ex nihilo, from the void. It has a material cause throughout history — whether it is Bolshevik Russia, Weimar Germany, or post-Imperial China. Extremism is always and everywhere a material product of stagnatio´´

    Lots to quibble with there . First is Bolshevism Extremist? Was Weimar Germany Extreme, in both case´s I would say no. Was Stalin Extreme was Hitler extreme? yes but conflating either of those two easily indexed Pantomime villains with either Bolshevism or The Weimar republic leaves a lot more out than it adds in terms of context or and supportable theory, vis, Stagnation? Inequality is not a variable dependent upon stagnation, Economic stagnation is a meaningless phrase, what does he mean by it? The crises which occur in Capitalism are well defined, Capitalism is pretty extreme yet how many people offering their panaceas take the trouble to look at the extremism of the US robber barons or indeed have any sort of clue about Henry George and his work Progress and poverty. Any slight reference to George and acquaintance with his work shows that Poverty in inherent in Capitalist development, baked into the Cake, Marx makes the same connections in Kapital but offers a different medicine to George´s single land tax by proposing his Communist Manifesto with Engels.
    Culture matters, we are all on the same page with that, Cultural Dogmatism would be as bad as any other sort in that when anything we value in and of itself for its own sake and eccentricities with tolerance and kindness is always killed by institutionalisation. A cultural institution of custom is somewhat different to a prescribed dogma, culture is not something we achieve by painting by numbers it is something we have to live and breathe feel and love. Standing for the National anthem is not a cultural artefact it is an institutionalised requirement. As it happens I personally do stand and sing the National Anthem God save the Queen when played at sporting events although I am rather more moved always by my own National Anthem. Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. I am a Welshman and musician and enjoy singing but I can and have been moved to tears by ´Land of my fathers´never so by any English Anthem, the Dream of Gerontius, if it were adopted might manage it though.
    Culture is in us and the best parts of it are not what we adopt because it is expected of us or we expect some reward it is in us and we embrace it and cherish it because it is an expression of our love for who we are and what we are part of and what we wish to preserve and cherish and nurture and pass on to our Children the sense of security and belonging and permanence it gives us. In a climate of fear that sort of security of feeling, belonging and safety does not help with scaring the shit out of them and do as we please politics. Neo-Liberalism is above all a politics of fear, culture gives us the courage to love and defend one and other perhaps this is why it is frowned upon and seen as a bad thing by those who would dominate and rule over us rather than be part of what and who we are and act in the common interest of our communities and wider society.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYWlfkS5CNk

    • steviefinn December 9, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

      I think that what he stated is something of a simplification, but the essence is I believe that when populations are under severe economic pressure, it leaves the door open for certain forces to move into & to take advantage of, which especially in the case of Weimar & the Soviet Union, didn’t work out very well.

      I liked it mainly due to his assertion that rather than actually looking at the possible causes, the Neo-left has resorted to a negative generalisation of millions of people. The poor old elephant who has been at the full sharp end of the free movements, which has barely touched most of those who sneer at them, now has to endure insults & I suspect, the usual disillusionment with the outcome of their cry for help.

      Still, as they are obviously all deplorable racist xenophobe chavs, they can, as has so often been the case through history, be regarded as the dark denizons of drive by or flyover places, where their betters never venture, unless of course it is to secretly visit by night to sample their desperate wares.

      There is a part of me that wishes that the Neoliberal mincer keeps chewing it’s way up the leg into the middle classes, who after all are not in any real position in terms of debt or employment, safer than those who many of them look down on.

      ” First they came for…..” Perhaps the above is because I am an angry little elephant.

      I watched the excellent ” City of God ” which tells the factual based story of certain members of the not very well named Rio slum . An extreme case of the reality of the underbelly of capitalism, but a logical conclusion of where people tend to head when they are screwed whatever they do.

  35. Roger Lewis December 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

    Hi Stevie, I appreciated your point on the article and the writers point as well, I assumed he was American perhaps he isn´t the niceties of the October Revolution are lost on many of a certain age and of course the events of 1848 a total mystery to the same folk. I Think when I saw Life coach I sort of felt a bit queasy? I think Georges progress and poverty tells us as much about prosperity and poverty as Stagnation and Fascism. Progress and poverty though I would argue is a certainty under capitalism, Fascism not necessarily inevitable under Stagnation conditions, but that’s splitting hairs isn´t it. Anyway time for a nice Glass of red to end the week, Cheers Mate have a great evening, hope the tooth infection is clearing up.

  36. Phil December 10, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    The Dame Louise Casey report is available here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-casey-review-a-review-into-opportunity-and-integration

    How Labour have ignored the forced marriages, FGM and honour killings in their areas for 40 years is for them to answer for.

    • steviefinn December 14, 2016 at 11:18 am #

      Much to consider in that lot, but it should be obvious that there are presently many problems out there, particularly in terms of the usual suspects, when it comes to the places who always take up the slack & bear the brunt of immigration policy. At the very least it might be wise to pause & to try & sort out the existing problems, before adding more fuel to the fire…..just don’t hold your breath.

  37. steviefinn January 26, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    Posting this here as it is in my opinion a very good description of the why, we are in the state we now find ourselves. In terms of culture – it does appear from this that certain cultures are considered by some as being of no worth & should be bred away :

    ” US anthropologists’ attachment to Obama and Clinton, seemingly regardless of the impact of their actual record of heightened inequality and increased war, followed the same lines of official class-concealment. One engaged in romantic praise of “the coalition of the diverse,” implying beauty and higher value attached to the “racially mixed” rather than those dreadful white workers (and predicted a victory for Clinton). Another US anthropologist, at the University of Chicago, produced a long, exoticist screed extolling the virtues of a browning society, preferring imported peoples over the natives, and in effect declaring the majority of the working class to be inconsequential, contemptible, and replaceable. That the article appeared in a publication funded mostly by George Soros’ Open Society Institute, should come as no surprise “.

    https://zeroanthropology.net/2017/01/18/the-dying-days-of-liberalism/

    • Roger Lewis January 27, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

      Brilliant Steve, I am appalled at the level of discourse in the green Party on Social media on these issues also this article you posted also chimes . The bile directed at trump is truly spewed without any care to fact checking or authenticity.
      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/01/james-f-on-hatred-in-our-divided-nation-anger-at-flyover-country.html

      • steviefinn January 28, 2017 at 12:31 am #

        It is strange how separate exterior things can as if by chance it seems, combine to form a thread. Which then further inform that other strand that is expanding inside your head,

        The second link adds I think poignancy to the first by powerfully illustrating the direct human cost, which is the story of the many who to all intents & purposes, are informed by those who consider themselves as the elect, that their lives are worthless & it is their stupidity which has threatened their superiors comfortable existence…….no fault of their own of course,,,,,,hubris squared ?

        As for the Green party, ( & I don’t like saying this )….I watched a GP video & the major impression it left on we was that in content & presentation, I had just watched a segment from something like one of those happy couple morning TV programs – perhaps they are right to go that way, as it will get more votes & I am just a stuffy old fella, who is way behind the times.

  38. Roger Lewis January 28, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    Just left these two posts on one of the GP deputy leader candidates from back in the summer Steve. The GP is really a bunch of Tory wets doing Gardeners Question time, just as the COE synod is known as the Tory party at Prayer.

    The identity politics safe space and lolipops vibe is frankly pathetic and I suspect the Joint Leaders are running headlong into a scapegoated oblivion.

    Linking Trump to National Holocaust Day trivialises the Shoa. Quite honestly the level of hysteria on Trump and Article 50 and the tenuous links to anything considered remotely discredible with the flimsiest of excuses is it seems OK as long as the Target is Trump. It is absurd and the GP should not allow itself to become part of the Theatre of the Absurd, sadly the leadership seems to be leading the charge.
    2020 will be very bad for the GP electorally and the level of Brexit hysteria will impact at local election level as well, the ´Progressive´labe is coming to denote a particularly shallow heart on sleeve sloganeering sort of wishywashy liberal politics. The Green Party should be Radical, Progressive is a neo liberal green wash I think what is needed is Radical Alliances and solidarity with Radical groups in sociuety, Progressive as a word, meme and movement denotes Inauthenticity and Caroline and Johnathan sadly are leading a Green Party Charge into the inauthentic niceey niceiness of chattering class nothingness.

    Kat Boettge
    Yesterday at 9:58am · Nottingham, United Kingdom ·
    Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. This is an important day for us all to remember the unspeakable terrifying genocide by a maniac and his followers. My thoughts go to all the victims, the Jews, the disabled, travellers, political opponents, homosexuals and all war victims.
    This is, however, also a time to reflect on current affairs where we must stand up against fascism, the far right, marginalising minorities and any political movement that could lead to dangerous territories. And furthermore we must also think of all the people today who are being persecuted for belonging to ethnic or otherwise minorities.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I5tqSiqyAI

    George Galloway on Why He Still Backs Brexit
    telesurtv.net
    http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/George-Galloway-on-Why-He-Still-Backs-Brexit-20170127-0024.html?fb_action_ids=1293274070739898&fb_action_types=og.comments The Trump tantrums are the same thing as the Brexit Hysterics. Its emo political incontenence and must stop!

    They really are a bunch of hysterics, its the climate change priest who are the worse but I have to say, the amount of wishful thinking I am encountering ion the face of easily checked fact over-reach, ( Fake News) is quite staggering.

    http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2017/01/climate-debate-know-your-co2-pseudo.html

    http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2017/01/would-radicals-switch-on-brains-and.html

    It is a badge of honour in this climate to be considered one of Hilary Clintons deplorable.
    Caroline Lucas seems set fair to become Soros´s UK Gill Stien with the recount scamon Trump with Calling for a second referendum of terms of Brexit. The electorate will neirther forget or forgive.

  39. steviefinn January 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

    Much to munch over there Roger, as I arrive here from my FB feed which since Mr. T got the hotseat, has exploded into hysterics – I will say something for him…..he has balls. Demos breaking out, one in response to the turning back of refugees at JFK, from people for the most part I imagine, who would never have done the same to stop the bombing which is a large part of the cause of it.

    I am keeping out of it & only added one link to a friends post on Allbright’s statement that she would register as a Muslim. The graphic showed the old gargoyle, with a large headline of ‘ SOLIDARITY ‘. My response was in the form of that short video containing her statement that 500,000 Iraqi children was a price worth paying for war.

    I have had to catch myself though, in terms of a tendency for me to look down with condescension on all of this – after all, I only know what I know because I sought answers after losing my once much more comfortable existence. When I chanced on this place, in comparison to my then understanding of the world, it felt like an alternative universe in which I stumbled about for a long time, gradually building for myself a negotiable path from the accumulated knowledge, which was so graciously given.

    But for circumstance, I would probably be not much different than most other people, as I was through cynicism basically apolitical & in this world which now seems to be spinning, never mind turning upside down – I would most probably would now only have the official narrative to cling to in a time of crisis, or at least a much lesser understanding of what is actually happening.

    Education is obviously important in all of this, which the elites are obviously fully cognisant of. The media & our own schooling play a large part in the largely accepted narrative, which gives a much simplified version of good & evil & is easy to twist in order to produce the correct monsters, whether they be men or countries. It’s kind of ironic that Neoliberalism very probably created one in Putin & now has done the same in it’s own backyard.

    Going back to the Zeroanthropology site which contains a lot of interesting articles, there is one in particular which i think is worth a read. as it refers to the 1994 WTO agreement with the EU, which lays out the plan to privatise education throughout the bloc, I have little experience of this world & it is perhaps people like Philip Duval who would be qualified to comment on it ( assuming that he is not already aware of it ) – Anyhow, I will gradually work my way through your links roger, & again, thank you for them.

    Culture attack ?

    ” On the eve of the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the European Union and its member states signed an undertaking in 1994, with other states soon to be members of the WTO, that would “guarantee free market access and equal treatment for most domestic and non-domestic providers in most areas of education” (Scherrer, 2005, p. 167). What was at stake was the deregulation and privatization of education, as Scherrer points out. English-language education providers would be permitted to deliver their services across borders, especially in the area of “virtual universities”. Education was thus reduced to a tradable commodity. Facilitating the trade in this commodity, the Bologna process sought to create a common European education market, which also entailed standardization ” (Scherrer, 2005, p. 167).

    https://zeroanthropology.net/2016/10/20/neoliberalism-brexit-and-higher-education/

    • Roger Lewis January 29, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

      Stevie you and I have been on a similar path, I also found myself here and took it as a lighthouse from which to navigate into the unknown waters outside of the narratives of my prior complacency and credulity.
      My ire is not with my friends and loved ones andf their freinds and loved ones who are not claiming political leadership roles. My anger actually is focused on those offering themselves as knowledgeable ´´Thought Leaders´´, in that most awful neo liberal term.
      The green party is littered with dogmatic Green Fascists, and fascists they are.
      The present Green leadership is naive and cynical rolled up in a ball of sacarine righteousness its not a good look and voters will be repelled, guaranteed.
      My latest mumblings on the phenomenon of no evidence required where Trump or Brexit bashing is demanded!
      Sorry mate another Link, I always read yours by the way texture is what creates the light and shade of real experience.

      http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2017/01/red-lines-settled-science-end-of.html
      I was unfriended by a long standing acquaintance following this exchange on Facebook. Other friends have also been nervous allowing my views to remain public on their public profiles, its a climate of fear I really worry about.

      http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2017/01/would-radicals-switch-on-brains-and.html

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