Hmmmmmmmm. It is certainly true that young people admire Corbyn. It has much to do with his claim to take their student debt and pay it off. Unfortunately, like all Socialists, he fails to explain that paying it off means putting it on the state’s books thus burdening the Millenials and those who come after them i.e. generation economic Armageddon with debt’s that will have to be paid off after the last “boomers” have been dead for decades. A friend of the Millennials? We don’t think so! The state will simply continue to undermine the Nation something it is getting better and better at!
Most ordinary people have had a sufficient raising of their consciousness not to be too concerned or indeed perplexed by an individuals desire to “transition”. As most ordinary people consider it to be a matter for the individual. Push them a little harder and they will possibly say it is not a matter for the taxpayer. However, the bourgeois rights to contract, choose and consent in reality means that this like so much else in a civilised community is down to the individual concerned. It doesn’t require any further analysis.
Oh but wait…the intellectual left feel the urge to promote the issue to the point where their opinions start to reveal the rather unpleasant underbelly of their prejudice, a kind of “left-wing shadow self”. How so? Well, a young person transitioning from male to female called Lilly wanted to be included in “woman of the year”. There was a lot of unpleasant “trolling” before the “intellectual” left came along in support of the position Lilly had adopted that “a trans woman is still a woman”. Well, sadly this position is insulting to women, in the same way, that a white person “appropriating” Black culture and changing their skin colour, is insulting to black people.
By adopting the position they have, the “intellectual” left have shown themselves again to be misogynistic in that they are happily demeaning the experience of being a woman in what is the hostile and unfemale-friendly culture of the 21st century. From Saidi Arabia to London and New York women are indexed, categorised and preyed upon, abused, executed and murdered based on gender plus class; looks and desirability; race, status and lifestyle. No transitioning male to female can “appropriate” that negative experience of being born a woman and to deny the relevance of that life experience when it is so significant. It is as we have said an insult to women the world over.
So what is the answer? Well it is quite simple really we either have to get rid of gender and all “characteristics” so anyone can be anything, a woman can try for “man of the year” and vice versa, or we simply stick to gender as like race having “cultural status” and discourage or prevent inappropriate “cultural appropriation”. Mind you we could simply start a “Trans man or woman of the year” award and get over the whole issue and move on!.
In the western world, we have a problem. What we love is destroying us and the planet. We no longer love each other we can only see each other as “opportunities” or “opportunity costs” essentially economic terms that have nothing to do with love and we see the same in everything else too.
This has happened because our real love is consumption of the world’s resources and to some extent consumption of each other. In the post-industrial West, we have to borrow to sustain our consumption. The incompetent activities of governments and banks since the 1970’s and governments in the UK specifically since the 1960’s have fuelled a regrettable debt binge to fuel consumption and maintain “jobs” and the domestic economic system.
Ignoring the complex world of gold standards and financial regulation, we will concentrate on the bigger picture for the benefit of the less economically inclined.
First some context. By the 1960/70’s it was clear that in “capitalist” countries the inherent “contradictions of capitalism”, (basically it over produces goods and undermines both the value of them and the ability to pay living wages to make them or buy them) were leading to poverty and crime. New “industries” like illegal drugs, porn and prostitution started to replace the traditional industries that were the envy of the world only twenty years earlier. This was the case on both sides of the Atlantic. Of course, governments could employ people; in the forces say but this was paid for out of tax from a declining tax base. The western world was getting poorer, it was a crisis and it was the Cold War… Cripes! There had to be a way to re-engineer the system so it could pay for itself again.
There was no way an economy built on taxing profit and increasing levels of income could adapt to this crisis….essentially it was existential. The only possible solution for governments back then was to introduce public ownership of industries, but the 1940’s British experiment was clearly a failure due to “industrial hierarchy” (more of this later) continuing to alienate workers even when in theory they “owned the means of production”.
In the US there was no appetite to go down the “socialist” UK model. Jobs were being exported (a process that sped up over the next two decades)and communities were thrown onto the dole or as we call it “the global labour market” but takers for their expensive labour there came none. The careful balancing of the state’s books became difficult as the tax base shrank and the welfare burden increased. Bruce Springsteen made a career out of singing about these “global unemployed” and Ronald Regan couldn’t balance a budget!
In the UK whether by accident or design Margaret Thatcher adopted “Thatcherism” a combination of free-market economics and fiscal conservatism. Just as no one could fathom out, back in the day, why Regan made such as a hash of his last budget no one could work out the success of Thatcherism. Factories, mines and shipyards closed but still, the economy carried on apparently “growing”. In the US after Regan, Bush then Clinton reaped the “rewards” of the same phenomenon.
Back in the UK selling Council homes in deprived areas opened up new avenues for “business” in the finance sector and coincidentally as the North Eastern mines, steel plants and shipyards closed so the Malls sprang up. They sold everything from lingerie to furniture now almost all made in China at very low unit cost but sold at prices comparable to British produced products. Profit margins were healthy for stores “commissioning” these products.
Foreign production costs, borrowing against inflating property prices, including discounted ex-council stock, stocks and shares, and the payment of state salaries and investment with “regeneration budgets” (building new housing and Malls) kept the whole economic show on the road and has done for decades. The whole thing was allowed to simmer rather than boil with Private Finance Initiatives and other means of embedding taxpayers money into the profit margins of corporations no longer able to cut it on the world stage without reliance on the state. To cut costs Governments acting as always in the interests of the “State” rather than the “Nation” swooned into the arms of the financial racketeers. John McDonnell promises the same solution again on an even grander scale to pay for renationalisation.
Thatcher, Major, Blair and Cameron were all symbols of this model which was presented by crony economists and bankers, the City or Wall Street as an anti boom and bust perpetual money machine. However, it could never be that. Only deluded politicians like Blair and Cameron in the UK or Clinton in the US thought this was their passport to immortality. Everyone else from 2003 onwards…us included, held our breath waiting for the collapse. Eventually, it came in 2007/2008.
The only solution was to bail out the banks. Other fanciful options could not have worked as the banking sector was central to the whole national ecosystem. If the banks failed in their death throws they would have consumed not only the economy but society as well. So like the six foot tall 20 stone teenage son they had to be indulged with bail out’s and a mass of Quantitative Easing. In an open world, this has done little to rebuild real economies but it has made bankers and asset owners very rich. An unintended consequence? Perhaps less “unintended” than we might think.
So working on this analysis having some passable link to the actualete’, western “capitalism” ended in the mid-1980’s when China provided the worlds proletarians to produce cheap goods for a greedy western free market. The west became a free market of racketeers and chancers buoyed up on its own arrogance and incapable of seeing that it’s so-called “wealth” was simply debt based or tax derived, of little or no actual “value”. But for those to whom it flowed it has made life very agreeable whilst making governments fearful of their electorate and the electorate smelling a rat somewhere hostile to their governments.
Now we referred to “industrial hierarchy” above when talking about Nationalisations in the past. Nothing better illustrates the problem of the “State” now, than the phrase “Industrial Hierarchy”. The State is not the Nation and some parts of the state work better than others, for example, the Constitutional Monarchy works well in the UK. The UK Parliament itself, however, is a shocking bourgeois throwback to the 18th Century which is no longer capable of delivering long-term prosperity for the Nation but being “in charge” is unlikely to concede to any reform.
Hierarchy is a means of running a complex system and when you have few “leaders” it works comparatively well albeit always biased in favour of the “leadership”. When Capitalism replaced the old feudal system it was simply replacing a “there by right” for a “thereby effort or luck”. It created opportunities for the able business person to get rich and the whole “feudal establishment” yielded to the new bourgeois power base.
The feudal establishment and institutions could yield because capitalism was a hierarchy. There was a “natural fit”.
So why is this a problem today? Well, today we don’t have a capitalist West we have a bankrupt free market. In the west we still have people schooled and socialised to believe they have a natural right to a high public office or large amounts of wealth, however, acquired.
Our free market is based on mass consumption, not mass production and this consumption is paid for as we have said by tax, asset inflation and debt. Basically, we are no longer being “exploited” in the Marxist sense but to keep our hierarchical legal, political and every other public body in existence (Housing, Health, Education, military etc) with their 100K plus Barrons at the top (we call them the pubicsectocracy) we the people are being alienated into borrowing and allowing our governments to borrow trillions of Pounds or Dollars.
The western economic system is the most immoral in history and it is destroying the planet and itself.
The problem for the West is two-fold. By saving the banks and not having a long-term contingency to avoid the same problem again we are back on the banker’s money go round and we await the next and probably final cataclysmic failure. What will that usher in? Well, the end of democracy for a start.
Secondly our binary Parliamentary and two-party system and 5-year cycle democracy (4 in the US) make real democracy and sustainable economic stability impossible. This is why all political parties turn to the short-termism of financial engineering. It is impossible to save ourselves with this model which can only ever favour the banks and commercial interests and not the Nation as a whole.
Banks are vital to the health of the nation but today it is only ever the banks to the rescue of the state (even for the Labour party) and that’s bad for the Nation.
The solution is a Blue Revolution. Ordinary people shaping policy with more democracy not less. Long-term (30 years) planning by ending binary Parliamentary politics and the Party System, not by force but by voting for unaligned candidates. There needs to be a complete overhaul of what the state can and should do and a review of how it does it moving rapidly from an industrial model of service delivery to a “social model” where individual practitioners are interdependent and self-regulating, not top-down managed! and how much the state should pay “its” state people in wages and terms and conditions is also important in a post hierarchy age. This is because state workers are paid out of what are essentially the debts or taxes of the nation …….errrrr that it!
John McDonnell was asked this question and seems to have had difficulty answering it. Leading to the obvious conclusion that of course, he is a Marxist….shock horror to all right-thinking people. He probably sees himself as a Marxist, a man with a scientific insight into the fundamentals of the misfiring capitalist economy. Except for err…he really isn’t.
John and the assorted collection of shhhhhhhh “Marxists” in the ranks of the Labour party are not Marxists at all. They are socialists and not only that their confused “messaging” reveals that they are not really democratic “socialists” but nasty trolling socialists who would like to use the bourgeois state to take control of the economy and that includes its workers and of course silence dissent. Real Modern Marxists would accept as Marx would have, the bourgeois values of freedom of speech, of conscience, of lifestyle, of contract, choice and consent but reject the bourgeois state which crystalised exploitation and the exclusion of workers from decisions about the economy.
When has the state really represented the workers and promoted worker involvement? Whether it is the 1970’s and the state on behalf of the workers was “running” industries like rail or coal mining or the 1920’s with Lenin’s Russian state “running” industries on behalf of workers, workers never feel particularly empowered.
So our “Marxists” as they unashamedly promote, simply want to run the economy under public ownership as though they owned it. This is the tried and tested model of failure we have seen for nearly a century. Our “Marxists” are simply public ownership socialists who tax and spend using debt. Not fully grown up Marxists. Our observations, however, beg a very important question, If McDonnell et al are not Marxists, who is?
Well, we are nearer to it than any socialist can ever be. We believe in redistribution of wealth but unlike “Marxist” McDonnell we don’t count debt or it’s derivatives in the form of free market profitability as wealth. We don’t see the state as being anything other than a burden on workers who have to pay tax to pay for inefficient waste and an army of bureaucrats meddling in the economy. We believe in worker involvement in the economy and society via a wide legislative structure and not the 18th-century party system. For an example of what a modern democratic Marxist might believe, and we are not being big headed here, please read our manifesto.
Going on twitter is an absolute eye-opener onto the state of the current political and economic narrative being peddled by left and right alike. We want to scream “a plague on all your (political) houses”. But where to start? As we registered on 19th November 2017 we have only a few twitter followers. So we have to “tweet” comment to an interesting array of the self-appointed twitterocracy who whether left or right singularly miss the people’s point that the system is at best rigged and at worst broken. So with the brevity of Twitter lets pick up two or three big-ticket issues missed by the left and right and comment.
Number one on the left wing is the nieve belief that the economy dependent as it is on debt can fund an even more active and interventionist state. They all queue up to extoll the merits of their version of Marxism singularly failing to grasp that Marx’s proletariat was creating social and economic value which was brought into existence by the capitalist’s production methods and is then misappropriated by the capitalist. The state then takes this value back on behalf of the worker. So far so 19th century. Today the economy relies on debt to provide the services people expect, but the state top slices tax income and uses debt to ensure it can pay for itself. Nice work if you can get it.
Now the right. Margaret Thatcher oversaw what in the 1980’s was a radical policy of selling council homes. This was and still is seen as a way of nurturing Tory voters. However, this “revolution” was tied in with relaxing the financial sector and the slow remorseless shift of work away from Britain to China and countries that paid a “world” wage level as opposed to an “unaffordable” western one. What happened was that we in the west stopped making stuff and began consuming cheap stuff made in China. The old industrial-scale manufacturing and extractive economies in the west became a “marketing and sales” economy and this has, in turn, become a kind of economic “bandit country”. Now making money, not creating value is the “supply side” and the “demand side” is consumption paid for with debt both government and private much of it backed by house price value. Thatcher wasn’t to blame she couldn’t join the dots up, but the bankers could and still are
Finally, the context of this mess is the canvass upon which politicians try to represent the people. On the left, the solution is government jobs and more debt welfare and healthcare without a thought about final economic collapse. On the right, it is to treat the unemployable victims of the world labour market as failures and to manage the decline of their communities whilst finding ways of passing the cost of the whole sorry mess onto the people, via low wage employment, student debt, and adult social care costs paid from the estate of the deceased, oh and more debt but not as much as under Labour.
With both parties so spectacularly missing the point about the true nature of the British economy the only conclusion we can come to is OMG!!.
We can assume that capitalism didn’t fail before it was created so we have the first tragedy of capitalism in the late 1920’s leading to the Second World War a decade later. Capitalism was rescued by that war and later fake news militarism in the US and welfarism in the UK provided the economic stimulus that let “neoclassical” economics reboot capitalism and then presides over a slow relentless decline until western capitalisms death in the mid 1980’s. The Second World War war was the tragedy….and today post the 1980’s we have the farce. How so?
Well, capitalism has failed again. If you don’t believe us just consider what capitalism needs to justify its name. It needs capital and that capital has to be the misappropriated value taken from the workers who created it by, you guessed it Capitalists. What we have now is the ridiculous spectacle of the rich simply and like Sir Phillip Green lazily tapping off the proceeds of workers and taxpayer debt, acquired in the form of profit for rubbish mostly manufactured at low cost in China. This is not capitalism…this is the free market. The free market is the “farce” in Marx’s quote above.
So when capitalism is exhausted to the point of extinction in the Western world and the “state” has given up trying to tap off economic value from capitalist because they no longer exist (rich people are not the same as capitalists whatever Britain’s Labour Party think) we are all encouraged to turn to the smoke and mirrors, the Alice in wonderland alchemy of debt. Debtamorphosis is what we call it. No one really understands how this debt based system drives odd behaviours and creates values that are unfair to the poor. Debt also promotes lifestyles that, whilst not exactly immoral are hardly mainstream. Welcome to the Marxian 21st-century farce.
We will consider this later but it is not pretty. Handbagging between the west and Russia, “fake news”, proxy wars between adolescent nations that are still to grow up and a western world that is narcissistic, obsessed with itself and yet self-loathing enough like some neurotic bingeing on debt before throwing up at each and every economic convulsion since 1945.
The free market needs to create only one side of the economic binary of demand and supply, and unlike in the old days when supply created it’s own demand via wages and profits now the system needs only to have demand. But with the link to production, working and wages severed the demand has to come from somewhere and it comes from debt. That is the dirty secret that a few “oddballs” talk about on programmes like Russia Today but their smugnesses the western mainstream media ignore.
But a debt based economy has many flaws. Firstly it is unsustainable as the debt can never be paid off as it simply goes into immediate consumption. That is why the screeching socialist of Corbyn’s Momentum have no idea what they are talking about. Debt based “anti-austerity” without a corresponding productive investment is simply wasted on the here and now. And the biggest waster of debt would be the left wing’s sanctified socialist state.
The next problem with debt is planetary. Whilst we grumble and Corbyn’s Momentum screech about “austerity” the poorer parts of the world look on in horror as valueless debt based wealth gobbles up the planet’s resources to meet the shallow needs of the western worlds entitled consumers. The world is being destroyed not simply be consumption….but by its progenitor, debt.
Debt is as we all know tomorrows consumption today. So it affects the young who have to pay off the debt and in doing so maintain their own consumption paid for by more debt. The additional burden the Wests young have though is with their already indebted governments. These governments help to indebt the young with student loans and higher house prices (a direct result of the cash-raising against their asset price inflated property of the baby boomers). It could not be worse for the young. The solution, build more houses, invite in more migrant workers to ensure demand and borrow more money which is the left wing answer simply makes matters worse. Worse because new houses will simply become an asset against which working people can borrow more cash. Without that debt however the economy will quickly contract. Real as opposed to a pretend austerity.
So within all this, the beneficiaries of the debt based economy, essentially the wealthy public servants and the financial elite know that at some point ordinary people will not simply be mentally pauperised by stupidity they will be financially pauperised by debt. They the elite, however, will jet off to join the other world elites who using more traditional forms of exploitation (like pumping oil out of the ground and keeping the sales receipts) have carved out places of pleasure in more agreeable parts of the globe like Dubai.
This final point explains the “Big Ticket” consequences of our 21st-century farce. World tensions and fake news. The world has too much debt to go to war. No one could prosecute a serious conflict for more than about a week. And with nuclear weapons and so much synergy between most modern nations who would want to go to war anyway. So we have conflict zones where a scaled-down battle rages between those who can see the West’s debt-based economic model for what it is an Alice in Wonderland alchemy, for example, The Russian Federation, ISIS, North Korea, and Iran and those who think the model creates a haven for liberty but who simply fail to understand how it really doesn’t do that at all.
In addition to the proxy wars, we have the farce of fake news. Fake news has been a staple of the western world for years. Who the hell knew what was really going on in the 1950’s to 1990’s. However only now is news being used to “call out” the Western hegemony for the debt-fuelled nonsense it really is. And the western powers don’t like it. Fake news in the new farcical “cold war”
The sad truth is that western politicians are too stupid to understand how they are being played by a system that is enslaving their voters with debt. They fail to see that fake news is simply a critique of the west by nations who are more traditional about how they exploit their people. There are the seeds of revolution within all this but at the moment most people would prefer to stick with debt. The economics of the West both left and right wing is such a farce you couldn’t make it up.
Is this a daft idea or isn’t it? It depends like most things on perspective. To the unenlightened, the question might be about what exactly is Boston’s role in any hub of world history. Others may argue that the history itself is shaming and should not be celebrated.
We believe that Britain in the 17th and 18th century laid down the global foundations of what was essentially a liberal bourgeois revolution. It was this revolution more than anything else which established freedom based on the commercial freedoms of Contract, Choice and Consent. These commercial freedoms have legitimately acquired a social character and therefore define our lives in a positive and liberating way. They underpin the politics of identity.
If we care enough to look we can see where these freedoms are absent and if we are clever enough we can see how the absence of these freedoms distorts societies or distinct communities within society, restricting rights for many including women and the poor.
The economic and religious freedoms that the Pilgrim Fathers and celebrated Bostonians took to America (from Plymouth, not Boston just to be accurate)laid the foundation for the Capitalist powerhouse that became the USA. Whilst these freedoms are not sufficient to create a just society you can’t have a just society without them. They are therefore an essential ingredient of any nation that wants to call itself “free”.
So in the age of the internet and the decline of the town centre, Boston like the whole of Britain needs to work on it’s global narrative its Unique Selling Point, and place itself foursquare at the heart of one of the most transformational periods in world history, the revolution in freedom delivered to the world in the 17th and 18th century by Briton’s and Bostonians alike.
Boston’s contribution to the world can be drawn on a flowchart of world history and can be linked to other British towns and foreign nations. We should not let being PC stand in the way of a remarkable and world-transforming story.
There are many reasons to look back on the period between 1997 and 2010 with regret. Blair promised “Cool Britannia” but gave us the laughable claim to end “Boom and Bust”, the death of David Kelly, the war in Iraq, the Bank or rather debt crisis, wasteful Millennium projects, sucking up to US neo-Cons and the nonsense of Post neoclassical endogenous growth theory. All were and some still are calamitous policies that have weakened and indebted Britain and the British worker because we were persuaded Blair knew best. British history is confirming Blair knew how to look after himself best at the expense of Britain as a nation no more and no less.
There is one issue which is only now beginning to emerge as a “crisis” and that is the mental health of the young. Again the “left” are banging on about resourcing when the problem is with the usual time delay for cause and effect squarely down to the period from 1997 onwards. The Tories can’t struggle off the leash entirely but the policies that affect the young are essentially Blair’s.
In 1997 and leading up to the hubris of the millennium young people were seen as the saviours of Britain. Young people were to be “invested” in and schools would deliver bright millennials who would deliver the “cool Britannia” success promoted by Blair. At that point, the “Cool Britannia” brigade were not millennials but Thatcher’s Children or even pre Thatcher, Pop idols and TV people in their 20’s and 30’s. Still, they could be “culturally appropriated” by Blair and of course they were.
The real millennials were fed a diet of New Labour Hubris, had to endure an education system which took away the competition and promoted an unrealistic sense of equality by “coursework assessments”. Grade inflation was the means of persuading parents that children were getting brighter and that a university education would transform working-class lives for young people. There was also a “gifted and talented” programme for anyone who could hold a pencil the right way up. Money was given to students in tertiary education, most of it went on drugs and booze. These were woolly and naive aspirations with “shonky” mechanics underpinning the social engineering.
However what has created the current Mental Health crisis amongst the young isn’t just the woolly New Labour thinking of their early childhoods or its less deranged but not yet wholly abolished form, today. It is the social and economic context within which all this naive social engineering was and still is operating. Add in the breakdown of all too many families, and the stress of single parenthood and you have just about the worst context within which to lack wealth, have debt and possess a second-rate degree.
The outcome of the whole lot; social engineering, educational tinkering and context, from 1997 to the present day has in too many instances resulted in more crime from the unemployed second generation ex-industrial and agricultural workers; and rising levels of mental health problems for the employed working and middle classes. So how do we analyse the problem at Blue Revolution? And what would we do to put it right?
Firstly the workplace was described as a place of opportunity for the new graduates. How many proud parents from derailed working class communities believed that a student loan was money well borrowed. Whilst their proper working class jobs might have been rendered uneconomic by the standards of the global labour market, their kids with degrees would be able to cut it with the worlds best. Or perhaps not. The market for degrees is unlike the state education system, overall fiercely meritocratic. Having borrowed to get their degree the youths returned to their working-class communities to the sort of work they were doing before they left. The additional problem for many was that unskilled migrants had taken up much of the “work offer” limiting opportunities whilst driving the wage level down to the minimum wage. (NB the minimum wage was needed by New Labour because without it mass immigration would have resulted in starvation wages for working people). The minimum wage has become the maximum wage for too many young people.
So that’s the impact of the unplanned for globalisation of labour, student loans and too few good jobs for the thousands of graduates the system churned out, immigration and the minimum wage. If that were not enough, what else has contributed towards the mental health problems of the young?
Well, “economic reality” affects the poorer young more than say someone like Euan Blair. Most of the graduates from the run of the mill Uni’s know they have been ripped off to help keep a supplicant socialist industry funded. Higher education (like most of the education sector) is the “intellectual” wing of the Labour Party and so who cares if a few poorer kids get into debt to fund this important left-wing leaning national industry.
So with all the disadvantages of competing at the bottom end of society, with debt and diminishing opportunities in their own communities, the poorer student has to stand back and watch as the sons and daughters of the elite, more often than not a taxpayer-funded elite, hoover up the few decent jobs that there are in what apart from “the City” remains the lucrative part of the labour market, the top ranks of politics and the public sector.
The students from poorer backgrounds have the same expectations as the Blairs. Blair was great at selling a dream. Unfortunately, it was a dream few could achieve. So the final insult to the poorer young and students is that they are given a sense of personal failure. This isn’t delivered in the usual way by pushy parents. Modern poorer parents are genuinely sad about their children’s limited opportunities with debt and worthless degrees, and sad about their own gullibility at believing the worthless Blair mantra “education, education, education”. So the expectation that creates the sense of personal failure is the hubris of new labour and it’s belief that supporting a client “industry” like education with student debt was a way of killing two birds with one stone and delivering “Cool Britannia” and making most of Britain’s young globally competitive.
Unfortunately, we can see now that with weak economic fundamentals this hubris is causing depression, feelings of hopelessness and catastrophe. This is however only amongst poorer kids with their debt, worthless degrees, no home too “own” and the prospect of losing what little inheritance they might get as the state, supporting another “industry”, cares for their ageing unemployed parents.
On a positive note, at least we can see the state sorting out the problem by piling money into “Mental Health”. Perhaps however if the present “state” were to shrink and let people run the country with some semblance of a constitutional monarchy we wouldn’t need a Mental health “industry” at all. Just a thought.
PC could stand for many things in addition to Political Correctness. It could stand for policy confusion, political censorship, psychological conditioning, or it could stand for proceed cautiously or it could stand for all four.
As economic determinists we believe we understand the urge for political correctness-after all we are more equal and deserving of respect. So it somehow feels right for the “PC brigade” to stand up for minorities. However whilst the historical process of tearing us away from tribe or feudal overlord is in the western world almost over, the process of achieving this was a legacy of capitalism. Capitalism’s need to establish bourgeois values like freedom based on contract, choice and consent meant that speech or thought, or expression should not be subject to illegitimate control as they had been in the centuries preceding the late 17th century. No wonder the hard left hate these values, they are after all bourgeois.
But bourgeois values are not the same as bourgeois institutions which (with the exception of the constitutional monarchy) the hard left want to maintain. They misunderstand the fundamental difference between bourgeois values and bourgeois institutions and they thus misunderstand how corrosive PC is to our bourgeois values and in particular freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
The bourgeois origins of our freedoms should not be used to dismiss their importance to us now. When we try to protect the more vulnerable members of our communities with PC values that strike before even the law can intervene, we are behaving in a pre bourgeois, and thus also a pre socialist and pre freedom way (socialism is capitalism’s first born!). The problem with PC is that it is essentially about protection from being “offended”. To the shiny new Oxbridge undergraduate who is excited about protecting the trans community or the disabled, PC isn’t seen as a justification for control. But it is just that. It is a means by which bourgeois values of freedom, including freedom of speech can be brought under someone’s control. With Political Correctness we are back in the pre capitalist world of illegitimate authority and control over thoughts and expression, control over ideas and behaviour. Control over who can think what and why.
To put this into some kind of perspective imagine if, after we had accepted that the bourgeois notion of “freedom of speech” could be compromised to avoid causing offence we were faced with a growing demand from people who felt “offended” about shaking a woman’s hand and demanded more segregation. Or people “offended” about unmarried parents and demanded controls on behaviour to prevent “illegitimate” children. We would be back in the 16th century.
Once you protect from “offence” where do you stop. In such situations as above the progressive legacy of our 18th century bourgeois revolution would have been squandered and progressive thinking reversed on the altar of trying to be nice and not offend.
To avoid a calamitous waste of three hundred years of bloodshed and social evolution we should all grow up, grow a thicker skin and continue to evolve as a species rather than return to an earlier simpler world where we are told what to think based on factors such as our gender, social position, race or sexuality. We no longer want people to know their place unless we are a hard left neandertal in which case we actually do. So with PC we say proceed with caution or simply abandon the project altogether.
In 2015 Oxford student Ntokozo Qwabe expressed the view that the statue of the patron of his Oxford scholarship should be removed as Cecil Rhodes was an imperialist and “looted Africa”. Ntokozo Qwabe’s view exemplifies the well-intentioned conflation of political correctness, moral relativism and anti-imperialism which has dominated the debate about Empire for a long time.
Of course, Empire was and still is “problematic” but not always in the way imagined.
When the likes of Rhodes and others took charge of parts of Africa they saw the potential to spread Christianity economic “freedom” and make money. Without being aware of it they proletarianised those who could be taken out of the tribe and placed in waged employment. Proletarianisation is the precursor of socialism.
With slavery diminished and urban tribalism in decline, these proletarianised workers were contracted or “freed” labour. They had, in theory, a choice for whom they worked. People will say that this was exploitation on a grand scale. We agree it is exploitation in a Marxian sense but disagree it was worse than tribalism if the end result became freedom from tribal oppression, particularly for women.
What Rhodes and others did was replace the poverty brutality and sexual discrimination of tribal life, it’s uncertainty and ritualistic practices and allowed more modern values and agricultural techniques to generate greater economic value in Africa. Greater value than the indigenous population could hope to have created by repeating ancient rituals and superstitions.
Now Ntokozo Qwabe makes a couple of points which whilst perhaps true, typify the limited and constrained nature of the debate. Firstly the value taken, what he describes as the “resources and labour of my people” were acquired by the Empire builders but they, in exchange, liberated people from what by modern standards would be seen as the horror of tribalism. Where this happened it spared some women the savagery of FGM and assisted people, in general, to create better lives for themselves. Well-intentioned westerners should reflect on tribal ritualism, gender-based and backed up by superstition before monstering Rhodes and his ilk.
In Africa and the Middle East today we have the collapse of feudal societies and their slide into tribalism. In Syria feudalism is sliding into tribalism and in Western inner cities, crime empires have for decades mirrored feudalism, now they resemble tribes. Capitalism has failed its global mission to proletarianised us all so the world can progress to socialism and beyond. Where this process has happened many more people benefit including Ntokozo Qwabe. Whilst not necessarily celebrating Rhodes we should at least have a balanced view of his and other Victorian’s long-term legacy.
Ntokozo Qwabe is benefitting from a western economic system that has liberated him and could go further and liberate his continent from religious separatism, tribalism fear and war if only he and others would stop bashing people like Rhodes.