Saturday, 18 November 2017

Kingdoms Rise and Fall

Kingdoms Rise and Fall


The Ottoman Empire ended with WWI. Before that it had been styled “the sick man of Europe”. Before before that again the Roman Empire based in Constantinople had at one time been a flourishing and powerful civilisation, But by the time of the Muslim invaders had lost its inner vitality and fell.


Then in the Middle Ages, the centres of learning, of science, mathematics and philosophy were all in the Muslim East. But then they declined and the West advanced and with the Industrial Revolution completely dominated.


In England one can visit ruins of centrally heated Roman villas and baths that indicate a level of comfort at least that was not regained until the nineteenth century.


Perhaps in centuries to come history will say the same things about our time. Perhaps they will talk of the Anglo-American era, or use some other name for what will seem to them a tiny blip of “democracy”, middle class wealth, prosperity, health and scientific achievement. It may be millennia before what we enjoy now is regained – if ever.


Think for a moment what we take for granted.


Rule of law: this is fundamental to universal prosperity. It is in itself a superlative “good”. It is part and parcel of a free society. Historically it has not been common, let alone the norm. Even in our time, few third world countries enjoy it (that one reason for their poverty in places that abound in natural resources or rich soil). China as I write is sweeping away the last vestiges of rule of law as Xi Ping tightens his grip on power. Even Western nations are dallying with progressive socialist notions that “the end justifies the means” to discredit it.


Freedom from poverty: True “the poor are always with us”, but it is relative poverty, not the absolute poverty of the third world! We live in a time of wealth, not for the few but for the masses.
Good housing, clothes enough to keep us warm, food – not just for survival but in vast choice and quantity such that obesity is a common health risk! Natural energy for heating, cooling, lighting, labour saving machines and transport. We forget just how well off we are.


Science and technology. I can't even begin to catalogue the technologies that would have astounded our forebears even two hundred years ago! In the field of health alone we understand so much about disease that we can take effective preventative measures. (sewerage systems are possibly the biggest lifesavers ever). We have diagnostic tools that for most people are beyond our comprehension – bringing the danger that we simply equate them with the “voodoo” of folk medicine. We have surgery that improves and prolongs lives. We have antibiotics – but we risk loosing the race against microbes becoming immune to them. We have mass vaccination – but risk loosing communal immunity by pseudo-science convincing people immunisation is bad. And the politicisation of science we are currently seeing in the West risks destroying the core integrity essential to it and in turn destroying our ability for scientific achievement.


Freedom of speech, and religion. We have recently had a plebiscite on “same Sex Marriage” in Australia. 80% of voters responded. Of them 61.6 were in favour and 38.4 against. The only electorates where there was an overwhelming “No” vote were the predominantly Muslim enclaves. Firstly we have here illustrated why Muslims see us as decadent and irredeemably immoral, giving us some insight into why Islamist terrorists can recruit among home-born Muslims, and portending ill for the future. Secondly it shows that Judeo-Christian values have been rejected by the majority. Thirdly it is becoming apparent that this was not an end in itself but largely desired as a device to suppress freedom of speech and the suppression of Christianity. Time will tell how this plays out.


Education. Never has information been so readily available. The printing press was revolutionary in this regard. The internet is orders of magnitude more so. But information alone is not education. Training in the tools of “reading, writing, and arithmetic” is a big part. Learning a framework – whether of history, science, literature and so forth so that one has something to “hang” pieces of information on” and analytical tools to sift truth from error – or downright falsehood are essential to “education”. Discipline – then internalised as self-discipline, the duties we owe as well as the rights we should enjoy are all part of the socialisation that rounds out the education process. True we have universal schooling, we have a high rate of literacy (not universal – I found it Common in a farming community that wedding applicants would have the girl fill in the form because the boy only literate.)


But …. Asian countries are leaving us behind in the levels of training they are achieving. Not a good sign for our future. Worse, we are failing to teach the basic tools – in physics for instance not teaching the basic laws and how to apply then to new problems. In discipline … we have failed utterly and this is already coming back to bit us! Worst of all, Marxists, who have been infiltrating our education systems and training colleges for the past century have triumphed! Kids are being indoctrinated not educated. Socialist dogma is fed to them all the way through their school (and university) time. We are turning out young people convinced of the truth of socialist politics but ignorant of the devastating effect it has had on the lives of people and the wealth of nations wherever it has been implemented.


But wait there's more: Marxists are now using current tide in favour of homosexuality to introduce destructive teachings that even Marxist countries would stamp out – though of course their introduction into free societies to facilitate social destruction and revolution are part of their play-book. Homosexuality is being pushed to the extent that normal kids are being made feel they must be homosexuals. Gender fluidity is being pushed. (My wife yesterday had lunch with an old school friend who told her that one of her daughter's friends had just had a baby and the couple have announced that they will let the baby choose its own gender!) Boys and girls are being made to doubt that they really are male or female – and even have sex change operations at young ages when they cannot comprehend what they are doing and have not yet experienced the normal hormone rush of puberty. This is so terrible I do not have words to express my feelings! But it is happening in our schools!


My conclusion is that we have been living in a golden age – but also in a fools paradise. We are neglecting to do the hard things necessary to retain let alone improve what we have enjoyed.


As olden day civilisations succumbed so shall ours unless there is awakening.


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Social Stresses Weakening Nations

Social Stresses Weakening our Countries.


Unintended consequences destroy the best laid plans of mice and men

But on my hypothetical “super-human spirit intent on causing misery to humans and destruction of Christianity and all godliness”, unintended consequences are a delight. One can motivate us dumb humans to adopt policies firmly - fanatically even, believing that we are doing so for the good of humankind all the time kept blind to the fact that the real consequences will be just the opposite.


I live and work in a small suburban fringe town 10kM from the next hamlet. Traffic is not a problem! But for workers in the inner suburbs an hour each way to and from work in frustrating traffic jams is the norm. For those on public transport routes waiting for an already overcrowded train, tram or bus and the subsequent jostling ride is only marginally better. So people arrive at work already stressed and cranky – how easily the day only goes downhill from there on! Then they arrive home exhausted and frazzled – kids to bath? Family dinner to make? It all seems a crushing burden: no wonder birth rates are dropping alarmingly in first world countries!


Then our well intentioned activists shout: “No more freeways!” “Public transport is all we need” and “The future is car-free”.


Half a century ago those of us at school were taught that cities were like concentric circles with CBD and industry in the centre and transport routes radiating out. Residential development surrounded these or made ribbon development following the train lines. Maybe once cities were like that. Not today! True there is still the “downtown” area. But additionally there may be multiple CBD-like centres scattered around it. Some of these may be particular areas of heavy industry. But most people travel, not to the centre or even to a subsidiary centre, but cross-town from where they live to the small businesses and factories scattered all over the city. You simply cannot service the bulk of a modern city's travel-to-work needs by public transport. It is just too complicated a web. Add to that all the tradesmen – and there are lots of them in a western city – needing to carry heavy tools and materials and the problem magnifies. The idea of a car-less city is an impossible dream: but its currency serves to stifle good road planning and development – and adds to the build-up of social frustration and time waste.


Then there is lack of provision for the needs of working women. In the last half century or so the ideal of the stay-at-home mother has vanished like the morning mist. But provision for her to still be a mother and balance career with the vital role of nurturing kids has not followed pace. 

I had one parishioner who was a highly competent executive. When she had a baby she looked for part time work. There was nothing to be had at her level. She was told repeatedly that it was “all or nothing”. She chose the “all” but you can guess the extra stress this generated.


Another lady worked as a high level consultant for the United Nations. In every studyshe wrote up the UN insisted that she include a section detailing how it would affect women's lives. So you would think the UN would be sensitive to the needs of the women it employed. Not likely! She would start early because, as she explained to bosses, she had to leave on the dot of 5pm to get to the child-care centre before it closed. Did they accommodate this reasonable request. No! The bosses liked to start late and never got round to commencing the meetings they wanted to have with her until nearly five! She had to give up that job.


You probably know many similar examples. The point is that “we” being Western societies have made one huge change in life and work practices, but have not made the subsequent necessary changes for it to work out well for people. Result: stressed out people and families missing out, giving stressed and fragile communities.


These are just two areas to demonstrate how unintended consequences are coming back to bite us.


Saturday, 4 November 2017

Stressed Nations Succumb Pt 2

Stressed Nations Succumb  Pt 2


Last post I said that our nations were in a state of psychological civil war, but then I got a bit off the topic. Let me finish that idea and then I will go on to look at some of the factors making our societies stressed.


Nearly a decade ago I was struck how some of my friends (OK one in particular!) could not talk about then President Bush without bubbling over with anger. It was an anger that really amounted to hatred, not just of Bush's policy decisions but of the man himself. This friend really saw Bush as an evil man.


In the past year democratic elections have supported “Brexit” and elected Donald Trump as president. Progressives have not stoically accepted these reverses as people on both sides of politics have in our past, but have been enraged. In the US we saw demonstrations by people who actually wanted to overturn the result of the election! This only used to happen in third world countries! And in third world countries the elections may have been rigged, but in the US the election was carried out according to the law of the land. So to actually want to overthrow the decision of the voters was a very serious and disturbing development.


We are getting to a situation where progressives are increasingly minded to use all the devices of their Communist or Fascist philosophical forebears against their fellow citizens to make them toe the “party line”. The “silent majority” (if they are still a majority!) keep silent out of a very real sense of fear, but come elections where they can vote in secret they make their voices heard, hence Trump and Brexit.


As Jesus said “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. Neither can our divided societies.


Now for some of the stressors weakening us. Many of these are being pushed now by progressives, but “come the revolution” when collectivists are in power the proponents of these will go to the wall. Others are just conditioning people to accept collectivist and will become much worse.


Take “climate change”. Collectivist China is not silly enough to destroy its industry by following this. No. No. you may say: “they signed up to the Paris accord”. Well of course they did! It does not require them to do anything 'till 2030 and they are already the biggest producer of CO2. So their economy is not hampered – but those of Western nations are! Could they ask for anything better! (True they have terrible smog – I've been there and seen it – but that is not CO2, that is particulates and similar pollutants – and they are curing that often by shutting down old and inefficient plants.) Russia with her huge gas fields … if you believe she will leave that in the ground you will believe anything! Besides in Russian eyes global warming would be a god thing – think of the vast froze wastes that might become farmable!


This applies whether or not you believe in human climate change – I say human because earth's climate is continually changing – it has been through 5 ice ages, and periods when it was much warmer than now – Oh, and times when it has had 15 or so times the present level of atmospheric CO2, so of course in the future it will be different to now – it's just a matter of whether we do or can influence it and whether it's going to get warmer or cooler (we may be enjoying the warm spot in an ice age!)


But in the West activists are making us do really silly things. In Australia for a start out electricity prices are going up and up because the government is mandating increasing levels of “renewable” sources. I the one state where the government is leading in this the've had blackouts because if the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow they don't get enough electricity. You can imagine what this is doing to industry, and the effect on ordinary huseholders. In other states sitting on huge gas reserves, utilisution of this gas has been banned, so people and industry face shortages and high prices. We have huge reserves of coal which used to provide very cheap electricity. Now it can't be used. There is a huge coal basin an Indian company wants to develop to export to India where they need cheap coal powered electricity for development – but activists are making banks and governments block it.


It is looking increasingly as though anthropogenic climate change theories will go the way of the flat earth theory! But supposing it is right – China and Russia are still going to push thing over the edge! But very conveniently for them, in the meantime we are destroying our own nations in the name of “climate change”.


This likely weakening of our economies and loss of jobs and living standard will make it easier for extremists to overthrow our democratic system and bring in a totalitarian one. It also makes us more vulnerable to invasion. Either way once a new dictatorship is in power there will be no more talk of climate change or “renewables” it will be produce, produce, produce. Those “useful idiots” - the climate and environmental activists will have a very quick change of mind – or a quick trip to the gulag!


That took up more words than I intended, so I'll postpone talking about other social stress factors til next time.




Saturday, 28 October 2017

Worn Out Nations Pt. 1

or: Stressed Bodies Succumb to Sickness Pt 1


Now you've likely noticed that when you are fit, healthy, and well fed sure you still can catch a cold, but when you are over tired, stressed, and run down you catch cold much more easily. OK same goes for civilisations. When they are functioning efficiently and well, sure they can be conquered, but they are much more easily overrun when they are dysfunctional and weakened internally.


Hayek even put the theory that social organisation has evolved in a Darwinian sort of way. Societies that had a more functional organisation tended to survive better than those that didn't work as well.


So back to our theoretical malevolent spirit. From the last two posts we had got a picture that the sorts of things such an entity would try to produce in a society to destroy it were in fact happening in the West. We were building ourselves a nice path to destruction.


Today I want to begin the idea that there is a last twist of the knife: Making our societies stressed and run down so they succumb easily.


So far I've said that whatever ups and downs Christian faith has endured over two millennia, there is an identifiable process happening since the late 1800's that has been both systematically and cunningly destructive to Christianity and all it stands for. On one hand weakening society and on the other depriving organised religious bodies of the power to rescue us. It is indeed so cunning a process that it lends further plausibility to the idea of a malevolent intelligence at work.



Then we noted that even the best intentions of humans over the past decades have gone wrong. What seemed like good ideas have had unintended bad consequences or have veered off into a destructive path. Tragically now a generation is emerging that would not and indeed could not defend itself against invasion.



We now see a last twist of the knife, our societies are being sapped of their very health, vitality and functional organisation. They will be prey to being taken over from without or within.



We are divided. There is internal hatred. There are seeming irreconcilable differences: we not only disagree but we cannot imagine how a rational human mind could even think what the other believes.



For ages Britain, Australia, the USA and some other western countries have had stable two party government. It wasn't perfect. But each party knowing that a slight shift in popularity could give government to the other party did much to keep them honest, and attentive to the electorate. So although nations were roughly evenly divided conservative / labour, or Republican / Democrat, there were two notable features – Firstly each party was pragmatic enough to do things out of the other party's play-book to make the country run better; Secondly whilst voters were loyal to their party, there was no hatred.



All this has changed. Changed in so many ways! But I will take just one.



Our nations are now divided on the very nature of what we want our society to be. This transcends party lines. And, at least on one side, it wells up to passionate hatred not just of the ideals of the other side, but of the people as well. We are nations psychologically in civil war.



Left Vs Right” is too simplistic – even if we could agree what we mean by “the Right”.



Left” is almost a usable description. “Progressive” is a term often used as a self-descriptor. Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton epitomise it in the US. The Antifas protesters, the Black lives Matter group, and the students who bar any dissenting viewpoints from being expressed on campus are all manifestations of it. But it is a multi-headed hydra. Different sections are passionate about different issues, but subliminally they all recognise each other as collaborators in a greater scheme.



That greater scheme is, simply put, a collectivist takeover of our nations.



The coordination of disparate groups and people of no discernible group to a common goal is so extraordinary that it again lends support to some invisible supra-human mastermind. Let me describe some of the themes of collectivist governments and you may recognise how different interest groups are all acting like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle fitting together to complete the picture.



Collectivist governments:
Stress the group as everything and the individual as nothing apart from its role in promoting the welfare of the group.
Stress wealth re-distribution. The famous catch-cry was: “from each according to his ability: to each according to his need”
Stress centralised control of the means of production. (ie government says what factories will be built, what and how much they will produce; sometimes even what jobs people will do and where they will work)
Destroy religion: It is seen as a threat, or at the very least in competition with the Collective for control of people's minds.
Destroy the family: Once again family ties are seen as competing with the State for control of people's minds and allegiance. Hence the classic collectivist ploy of getting children to spy on their parents and to denounce any non-conforming views.
Destroy freedom of speech and thought: The views of the collective have to be ruthlessly enforced simply because they are philosophically arbitrary. All dissenting voices and views must be suppressed.



Look around and you will see groups pushing one or more of these objectives. Attack on family, Christianity (It is the dominant religion), freedom of speech, freedom of ideas and academic thought are all too obvious at the present.



There are also groups pursuing goals that a collectivist regime would suppress once in power. The are being fostered now precisely to cripple the economies and social cohesion of our societies to facilitate a collectivist takeover. Of course whilst our societies are crippled, we may succumb to invasion first! Either way if collectivists succeed we are in for a very nasty time! This is an important issued and I will examine it next.



It is a fact of history that everywhere collectivism has been tried it has failed. The result has in every case been economic failure leading to misery and starvation, it has led to dictatorship with its secret police, gulags and concentration camps, the spread of misery, and the stifling of thought. China is perhaps the only one that has emerged out the other side of failure, and only time will tell if this was temporary and due to a temporary slackening of the reigns of centralist control.



Do we really want this for our countries?






Monday, 23 October 2017

Know your enemy: Part 2

Know Your Enemy Pt.2


Last post I set a mental exercise of putting ourselves in the shoes of a malevolent spirit trying to destroy all that is good in the West.


I found it quite a daunting exercise, but here is what I concluded:


There are two levels, the microscopic and the macroscopic. The first is the level of individuals or small groups. Here the (usually petty) selfishness, meanness, greed, lust and even cruelty of the individual would be fertile ground for any malevolent spirit to incite thoughts words and deeds to destroy joy and multiply misery. But that situation is universal (except when and where it is better restrained by social mores, laws, or other means), so I thought it more helpful to concentrate on the macroscopic – trends effecting whole societies.


Here I found myself floundering a bit until I added in the idea that this posited spirit would be interested in causing misery over the entire world, not just in destroying the West. Then I saw a place to start looking:


So here are some of the things I thought up:


1. The road to hell is paved with god intentions they say. What if well intentioned human efforts could be cunningly or subtly pushed doff course so that they caused rather than alleviated human suffering. Here are some cases that occurred to me:


a) The Silent Spring. This film and the activism that surrounded it had the worthy aim of preserving the environment. It achieved a 10 year ban on the pesticide DDT. After 10 years research had shown that DDT was not as “bad” as activist had believed. But the damage had been done and could not be undone. When DDT was banned it was the key weapon against the malaria spreading Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito was, after a huge worldwide campaign, on the brink of extinction. This would have been the end, forever, of the killer disease Malaria. The ban on DDT meant the Anopheles rapidly increased and re-infested it former habitat. Tens of millions of people have died because of that one activist campaign.


b) Dams in India and other needy countries. Another activist campaign – doubtless with good motives – has been waged against building the dams needed in places like India to provide safe drinking water and irrigation for agriculture. The Western first world activists persuaded lenders such as the World Bank to refuse loans to these projects. Result: human misery plus a reservoir of hatred in these countries against “the rich West”.

c) Feminism. Good early achievements: the vote for women, equal opportunity for education, independence of property from husband – and so forth. By the early 1970's women no longer had to give up their job when they got married. Women had careers open to them – my sister was hired as a lawyer by a very conservative law firm in '68 and went on to become a partner. When my wife graduated from medical school in '74 about half the class were women. About that time banks began giving house loans to women. In so many ways important things had been achieved.


Then the cracks started to appear. The 1950's middle class dream had been of the garden suburb. Men ventured into the grime of the city to work, but their wives could stay out in their pleasant homes in pleasant suburbs enjoying some measure of leisure and raising a family. The early gain of women now having the choice to follow a career soured. Soon one income was no longer enough to support a family. To maintain their niche in society both had to work. We had poured scorn on the Soviets with children in daycare and both parents working – now we had created a same situation. Women faced a multiplication rather than a redefinition of roles, producing a crushing burden. Family sizes reduced to below that needed to maintain the population. Family stress and dislocation increased: net result: better for some, but worse for many, long term problem for country.


2. Church is a major sociological institution. I won't try to detail all the roles it plays in society, I'll just detail some ways it could be crippled to produce social harm.


By the 70's many protestant denominations were so debilitated by liberal theology that they lacked any spiritual vitality, and looking for a reason to exist turned their attention to social issues or became virtual museums. “Relevance” became an excuse to ape whatever was popular in the secular world, and even dress it up in Bible verses and call it “Christianity” - really just a sophisticated version of Aaron giving in to the people, making the Golden Calf and saying “here are your gods O Israel!


Protestant churches in particular were thus crippled so that even to their own members, let alone to the nation they failed to teach traditional morals. A clever twist was exploiting both the perverted lusts of some clergy and the typical reaction of a human institution to go on the offensive against criticism served to create the child sex abuse disaster for most denominations. As well as the actual harm to children, Christianity was besmirched and institutional churches lost all moral authority I the eyes of the public.


Traditional Christian morals, far from being wowserish, were in fact a prescription for individual, family and societal happiness. So the destruction of these roles of a church have led to less not more happiness in our nations.


Also the demise of genuine Christian influence allowed the rise of all sorts of ideologies based on a false view of human nature. Christianity says we are all sinners: human nature has a bias to evil. This bias has to be continually fought against and necessitates safeguards in all political schemes. The false view that generally replaces this assumes human nature is good: proper education is all that is needed. One can readily see this false assumption in most “progressive” ideologies, and can see then why their schemes are always doomed to failure!


There are many more examples but the above should serve the purpose of illustration.


3. The Long term goal: collapse of the West or it being overrun by some new equivalent of the Barbarians is well under way.


The 70's breakdown of sexual morals has recently extended to sexually perverted teachings to school children and the popularisation by film, television, internet and social media (aided by human nature) of gross immorality and addiction to pornography. Apart from the short term effects of destroying happiness in those seduced by it, there is a long term effect. Previous great cultures and empires have frequently become similarly dissolute just before they collapsed.


Again all over the West children from pre-school up have been saturated in progressive and collectivist propaganda. Just look at today's college students. As Hayek said so many decades ago: collectivism whether under the banner of Socialism or Fascism is the road to serfdom. This is the road we are dancing down to our doom, like mice after the Pied Piper.


We still have brave and patriotic people (especially in the US) enough to repel any immediate attack. But the rise of the “snowflake” generation who have been so coddled and brainwashed that they have no coping mechanisms for adversity means a future generation completely unable to fight and where some ruthless “barbarians” will find they can easily sweep us away. And there is no lack of peoples who would like to do just that!


I fear there is indeed a malevolent plan and a fall back position and it is already in progress! It aims to bring about: Socialism wit its inevitable economic collapse followed by descent into tyranny; or internal collapse and being overrun by some more warlike and ruthless peoples. Looking at the score so far, I fear the malevolent spirit is winning!




Saturday, 14 October 2017

Know Your Enemy Pt.1

Know Your Enemy Pt.1


Let's try an “opposite sketch”. I've been looking at how to save the West; But what would a supernatural opponent of this try to do?


Imagine for a moment that you are some malevolent spirit and you want to destroy the West. I'll be more specific. Imagine you are the sort of spirit that wants to turn happiness into misery, health into sickness, peace into war, prosperity into poverty, freedom into slavery … and so on. What would be your strategy?


For the sake of somewhere to start, let's zoom in just after the close of World War II.


You have suffered a tremendous defeat. Your servants – Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito have been defeated. (OK Stalin is still in play!). War has given way to peace. The men and women of the Allied armies have fought against evil with courage and self sacrifice and have prevailed. They return to their homelands now seeking to enjoy the rewards of peace, prosperity in return for hard work, family and community. Moreover churches are full. Faith in Jesus and obedience to his commands are at a high. With the Billy Graham crusades true religion expands further and your opportunity for destruction seems to diminish.


Is your situation irretrievable? ...  No. As it happens plans laid a generation earlier come in to play. You cunningly beguiled theologians in the late 1800's. However clever, they were only human. They could be tempted in the area of their pride and prestige. Most fell. Thus was born so called “liberal theology” - the dogma of doubting and often dismissing all the great timeless truths of the Christian faith. Now, a generation later this scourge had filtered down to the level of the theological colleges training priests and pastors.


So even as Christian faith looked to be gaining strength, the seeds of corruption had already been sown in the field!


The new crop on ministers – however genuine they had been on entering their calling – had come out of the training colleges spiritually crippled. Worse, they came out infected with an intellectual disease fatal to faith. They preached human ideas instead of the truths of God. Then, bereft of the real Gospel, they looked for fulfilment outside of bringing men and women to faith and maturity in Christ. They became political activists and second rate social workers forsaking the high calling to which Christ had called them. If they had left the churches they would have only ruined their own faith. But no, like warships flying false colours, they stayed – they went on in churches – often rising to the top – all the while betraying their true Master. So whole congregations and denominations were subverted.


Meanwhile, from let us say the 60's on another string is set to your bow. It starts with Vietnam.


Was it virtuous of the US and allies to try to protect the South from Communist Viet Cong in their midst and straight our invasion by the North? Once I was of the “no” camp. Mature reflection leads me to believe emphatically “YES”. But ... Did the US do it wisely or well? … Sadly…. NO. Of course there were good men – watch the film “Once We Were Soldiers” for one heart-rending example. But you, the malevolent spirit was able to befuddle, mislead and tempt enough minds to bring about bad strategies and bad ideas – like sending drug-addled unwilling and unprepared teenagers against an unbelievably ruthless , cruel and merciless enemy where often one could not tell friend from foe – and in the spotlight of a hostile but ubiquitous media coverage. No … Not ubiquitous …. the widespread and ghastly crimes of the Viet Cong went largely unreported. But US atrocities got worldwide coverage.


So you (the malevolent spirit) bred, so cleverly the rebel generation. The anti-war marches (I'm now ashamed of it, but I was in those) were a start. The things that flourished in that milieux: Woodstock, drugs, sex, throwing away the wisdom, morals and the religion of the wartime generation. That was a good days work – This mixture of behaviours definitely led to an increase of misery and diminution of true joy.


Now so far I have been merely laying out what is plain from history – though from an American and Australian perspective because that is what I know about. For those in other countries you can modify this in the light of your history over this period.


This brings us up to say the early 1970's. Your homework for next week is this: Take again the unpleasant mental role of the malevolent spirit. What would you try to do from the 70's on to plot, with great patience, the destruction of virtue and happiness in the West?




Saturday, 9 September 2017

Left, Right, What does it Mean

Fascists, Communists and Capitalists


I want to look at this question a bit more closely, because I think it may be the key to current politics in the West.


I was brought up to think that politics was one dimensional:
 left wing = Communist and right wing = Fascist
I guess you were too. Some more observant people made it a circle rather than a straight line, with Communist and Fascist “meeting round the back”.


In my reading over the past few years I've come across authors who say this is NOT correct. Some go further and say it was and is a deliberate obscuration of reality, an Orwellian attempt to prevent us from even being able to think in terms of reality: a Collectivist – Individualist political spectrum.


But what if Communism and Fascism are just the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Collectivism and should be lumped together on the “Left Wing”


OK that may seem weird, so let me first compare and contrast these two ideologies – who naturally each view the other as wicked heresy.


a) What Fascism and Communism have in common:

1. Central control of production: In traditional communism every enterprise is state owned and decisions are made by the central government. Fascists like Mussolini were prepared to have private ownership – as long as all enterprises ran under strict state control. And he warned that corporations should not run for private gain but for the good of the state. In practise there is not much difference between the two. So both are anti- Capitolist.


2. Uniformity of thought. Both Communist and fascist governments ruthlessly suppress dissidents, and, as Mussolini said, use law and education to make everyone think alike and accept the same moral values. The Communists, particularly in China were more effective in using “shaming”, social pressure, deprivation of livelihood and “re-education camps”.
Interestingly These (apart from the camps – so far) are being mercilessly used now in the West by “Progressives” to enforce orthodoxy.


3. Anti-Christian. Both communism and fascism are avowedly atheistic. (Though Hitler did try to re-introduce old Norse paganism and is said to have used astrologers) They have either tried to eradicate Christianity as in Russia, or where faced with a powerful institutional church as in Italy made a compact trading institutional survival of the church for political obedience. In China Christians were persecuted by the Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution, and new opposition seems to be on the rise under Xi Ping.
Modern Western “Progressives” are also coming out stridently anti-Christian.


4. Violently suppress dissent. As Hyack (in “The Road to Serfdom”) demonstrated, the objectives of any state espousing central control of production and redistribution of wealth cannot be achieved without the use of force. Violence has historically been evident as in Mussolini's Black shirts, Hitler's Brown Shirts and later Gestapo, Mao's Red Guard and Tiananmen Square, and the Stalinist secret police.
Some modern “Progressives” such as “Occupy Wall Street” and “Antifas” are singing from the same play-book.




b) what are the main differences between Fascism and Communism?

1. Marx envisioned a class struggle within nations. Mussolini saw this had not happened in England and he could not ignite it in Italy so he changed to a national struggle: Italians all united against “inferior” nations. Similarly Hitler named his party the “National Socialist Workers' Party of Germany”. He also added the racist element (absent in Italy): the Aryan race above all and Jews to be exterminated.


2. Marxism was internationalist, fascist states were, as said above. Nationalist. However currently Communist states Russia, China and North Korea are nationalistic.


3. Marx had an idea of equality, with committees of workers making decisions. Russia started with all being “comrades” (True in practice they ended up with dictator Stalin and the Chinese with Mao) and committees set up at all levels. Fascists had no such illusions: The masses could not organise themselves – they needed leaders. The state needed a strong supreme leader – Hence Mussolini and Hitler. Hitler took it to the extreme with “Germany is the Fuhrer and the Fuhrer is Germany”.
One way authors describe this is: Horizontal collectivism (communist) Vs Vertical collectivism (fascist). Collectivism being their common trait.

………………………...

As we see, Both of these are fiercely opposed to both Capitalism and the idea of a free market in economics, and individual freedom of thought, speech and association in social structure. They are also both anti-Christian. So lets put them together where they belong!


So what am I (among many others!) suggesting “right-wing” actually looks like?



It is the opposite of collectivism!
(the common feature of communism and fascism)


a) in economics: individual decision making in private enterprise (with only natural monopolies state owned). This is “Darwinian” in that efficient and valuable enterprises succeed whereas less efficient or less socially valued enterprises succumb to competition. Other descriptors are “competition” and “free market” In “moderate-right” government regulations are provided to ensure a “level playing field”, restrict anti-competitive behaviour and provide consumer protection. All of which we see in most Western nations at present.


b) Morals and hence laws: traced back to deistic absolutes (in the West, Christian). So whereas collectivist morals are arbitrary – decided by the State - (and precisely because they are arbitrary, uniformity must be enforced and dissenting opinions ruthlessly suppressed). Morals based on absolute principles allow freedom of thought and debate as to how those principles work out in practice. (This does not work for Islam – it does not set out principles, but rather end practices)


c) in society: the enlightenment ideals of freedom of thought, expression, association and religion have been painstakingly built up in Christian and especially Protestant states (often against church institutions!). We should not take them for granted.
They are incompatible with collectivism, and so can flourish on the “right” but will be extinguished by the “left”.


d) in Academia: truth matters – so free debate is encouraged to test theories. This was the basis of Western scientific achievement. It was also what gave us the enlightenment.
It is incompatible with collectivism.
Today we are seeing dissenting ideas brutally suppressed on campus and in left-leaning corporations. And we are seeing – climate “science” is one example – the prostitution of science to political dogma.


e) in government: Government of the people by the people and for the people. Resulting in small rather than large government. Individual responsibility rather than a “nanny state”, private enterprise rather than state control. Individual freedom rather than “red tape”. Free elections to make politicians answerable to the people. And above all: freedom rather than servitude.


Let's simplify all this into a table of Left-wing Vs Right wing.


Politics 1.01½


LEFT WING



RIGHT WING

Tends to
Tends to


Big government


Small government


More government control of businesses


Less government control & regulation


Less freedom of speech, belief etc.


More individual freedom


The individual exists for the state



The state exists for the individual
In its extreme
In its extreme


State controls all means of production


Private enterprise starts & controls all businesses


Individuals give up their rights to the state “for the greater good”


The rights of the individual are paramount


Historically atheistic so ...
MORALS: are decided by the state – so have to be ruthlessly enforced because no higher power (as Nietzsche said: without God there is no basis for morals)


Historically “nominal” Christian so …
MORALS: are an attempt to live godly lives – left to individual conscience
– This ignores sinful human nature! (some people have no conscience!)


TOTALITARIAN: because its agenda can only be achieved by force (as Hyack demonstrated)
(think, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin & Mao!)


HELLISH: because some humans will use their “freedom” to cheat, defraud, oppress and enslave others (think C18 English factories!)


Aristotle, you remember said that virtue was generally the mean between two opposing vices. So in politics “Ideal Government” is the golden mean between the extremes of Left wing and Right wing.



Do you see our current problem? The present Left – Right definition gives us “the mean between Communism (Collectivism) and Fascism (Collectivism)” … which is … Collectivism! No wonder we can't talk sensibly about politics!


But once we sort things out as above we get:


Ideal Government = the Golden Mean between Collectivism and Individualism



Now we're cooking with gas! On each individual issue we can discuss sensibly with both allies and opponents. We know where our opponents are coming from (collectivist or individualist). So we can understand them. We can now debate whether on a particular issue more or less government control would be better. Not just WHAT the government control should look like!


In Australia at the moment electricity prices are rising because private (and government owned!) enterprises are gaming the system to get windfall profits. One could argue for more government control to protect consumers.


Also at present in Australia gas prices are rising and in part this is the result of state governments banning new gas exploration and development of known gas fields. One could here argue for less government control so the gas can flow.