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David Thompson
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June 10, 2012

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peter horne

The whole right wing/left wing thing is extremely confusing. The pro-state, anti-capitalism Fabian mentions is as much fascist/national socialist as left wing I would have thought, if we think of these things as right wing. They seem to contain traditionally right wing elements such as nationalism but was the USSR not nationalist? Or North Korea? I think they are all left wing in which case Fabian's blog is to the right of them all. Does it matter?

sackcloth and ashes

'I’m sure it’s purely coincidental that Laurie Penny rails against the “small, ugly ambitions” of bourgeois advancement'

Laurie Penny. Educated at Brighton College. Read English at Wadham, Oxford. Her entire life is a testimony to bourgeois advancement (or rather, that as practiced by her parents).

Mind you, the words 'small' and 'ugly' are well applied to both her and her beliefs.

David

Sackcloth,

“Laurie Penny. Educated at Brighton College. Read English at Wadham, Oxford. Her entire life is a testimony to bourgeois advancement (or rather, that as practiced by her parents).”

Yes, these are the same “small, ugly ambitions” that gave Laurie her comfortable upbringing and subsequent career as a generic leftwing columnist. But most self-declared radicals benefit from - and depend on others having - the same bourgeois values they affect to despise. Marx being an obvious and telling example. I wonder what Laurie’s parents would make of her belief that the values that underpin their prosperity - and the prosperity of countless others - are “ugly” and should be “abandoned.” Laurie doesn’t tell us why these tools should be done away with, but apparently it’s radical. And hey, that’s what matters.

As noted here before, it’s one of the great problems for cartoon radicals. In denouncing bourgeois habits (usually while enjoying the benefits of such behaviour, directly or residually), they have little of practical use to offer their followers. If you do away with marriage, monogamy, responsibility, deferred gratification, personal territory, etc., you’re basically left with a recipe for failure, dependency and unhappiness. Though if a person’s objective is the cultivation of failure and unhappiness...

Henry

"The whole right wing/left wing thing is extremely confusing"

Not 'arf :) Perhaps the best way to look at it is that the labels refer to groups whose concerns changed over time. "Left" and "Right" tend to be a kind of name-calling, attached to the parodies invented by each side to ridicule the other.

Another label, "Nazi"* is still routinely trotted out, to decry either an overly authoritarian policy (surely the domain of the left in the UK these days?), or the nastier elements in the BNP etc. Talk of reducing levels of immigration is very often pounced upon as a link with these groups and therefore as a kind of fascism. The link is pretty tenuous, but influential in public debate, due to the fear of being associated in peoples minds with racist thuggery.

The controversy over whether the Nazis should be thought of as left or right arose heatedly in the comments of this blog a month or so ago. A parallel to what you say about the USSR. The labels in use are quite inadequate for actually understanding the issues

sackcloth and ashes

'Marx being an obvious and telling example'.

''[This] cult of the worker is a bit wearing. Ironic that it sprang from a fat, free-loading German academic who never had a job in his life, but just sponged off his acquaintances and who indulged in such very bourgeois practices as impregnating a chamber-maid. And so boring. People often overlook the work of a poor carpenter who chose fishermen as his company''

From Tibor Fischer's 'Under the Frog' (p.77) - a gem of a novel. While I don't share this particular character's religion, I love quoting this line.

Michael Williams

"The labels in use are quite inadequate for actually understanding the issues"

Someone needs to pen a 1984 for the present day so we might have a vocabulary to articulate them. Which was essentially what Orwell was writing about, a political culture in which it was almost impossible for anyone to actually have a concrete idea of what anyone actually stood for, since, as Orwell put it, almost all attempts at political labeling were simply crude partisan attempts “to make lies sound truthful.”

Mags

Good blogging, Mr Thompson.

Their ideas are simple and rigid, and they rely heavily on conspiracy thinking that infers far too much from too little. They are powered by emotional commitments that are highly resistant to the lessons of experience.

If that's not a description of Laurie Penny I don't know what is.

David

Mags,

Well, self-styled student radicals are typically the ones who’ve internalised without question the assumptions of their leftist peers and leftist lecturers. See here, for instance. And so the ones who need to announce continually just how edgy and serious they are – and brave, so very brave - tend to be quite credulous and conformist. Obstinately so.

sackcloth and ashes

'[Minority] students are met on the way to campus by hard-left radicals who claim to have the interests of the newcomers at heart but in reality prey on them to advance their own selfish interests'.

It strikes me that Asian-Americans can have a fair claim to a history of exploitation as well. Chinese were used as cheap labour, Filipino-Americans had their country colonised by Uncle Sam, Japanese-Americans were interned during WWII, all have experienced racism ...

But their solution to their problems involved hard work, family-kin solidarity and pushing the next generation forward. They had no 'radicals' to 'support' them, which is probably just as well.

David

Sackcloth,

It’s hard to see how any student would be helped by the race hustler and public money leech Dr Caprice Hollins. Hollins is a speaker on “multicultural issues” and was until recently the Director of Equity, Race and Learning for Seattle’s public schools. Among her healing insights is a belief that individualism, grammatical English and long-term planning (or “future time orientation”) are “white values,” and thus dubious. The expectation that all students should be responsible individuals and meet certain linguistic and organisational standards is, according to Hollins, a form of “cultural racism.”

And Hollins is by no means unique. She’s part of an industry, a racket, an institutional hustle.

sk60

disagreeing with Obama is, for some, always, always racist.

Calling Obama 'cool' is also racist.

http://weaselzippers.us/2012/06/11/congressional-black-caucus-official-calling-obama-cool-is-racist/

Ben

Of interest, thsi from Chris Snowdon

Sock Puppets: How the Government Lobbies Itself, and Why.

http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/sock-puppets.html

The full linked paper at the IEA is well worth reading.

Mags

“future time orientation”

So she helped black kids by treating them as idiots.

David

Mags,

“So she helped black kids by treating them as idiots.”

Basically, yes. On the basis that we mustn’t expect those negro children to master the concepts of planning ahead or turning up on time. Not correcting children’s grammar, thereby ensuring they sound like idiots, is apparently a great way to ensure they get jobs and escape poverty.

Hollins is a good example of the general dynamic and its shameless idiocy. She was paid, and paid well, to search out “institutional racism” in Seattle’s public school system. Three years later, despite finding no evidence whatsoever, she continued taking the cheques and insisting that further “investigation” (and subsidy) was needed. The total lack of evidence had no discernible impact on her assumptions. Eventually, she was venturing way beyond the school gates and turning over stones in the children’s summer holidays because this, she claimed, would reveal “systemic problems… within the school system.” It didn’t.

That Hollins’ own dogma might be at fault – and patronising and itself racially bigoted - didn’t occur to her, or to her employers. Which, when you think about it, is quite stunning.

sackcloth and ashes

Caprice Hollins, what a shyster. $86,000 p/a for doing fuck-all of any use ...

When exactly did race relations become a racket?

David

Sackcloth,

“$86,000 p/a for doing fuck-all of any use...”

It’s worse than useless; it’s perverse. One might say predatory. Children are just fuel for her career.

Hollins says she wants to “allow students of colour to see themselves reflected in a positive way,” yet she thinks they needn’t learn the grammar and fluency she herself employs - and which many employers will expect of job candidates - because those things are “white values.” Likewise punctuality, personal responsibility and foresight – these too, she says, are suspect. She thinks that treating students the same regardless of their pigmentation is wrong because doing so doesn’t “acknowledge racial and ethnic differences” as defined tendentiously by her. We must, she says, see people as “racial beings” and “teach [children] to view the world through a racial lens.” Again, as defined by her.

And so, instead of students learning to turn up on time and structure their writing – and their thoughts – she wants teachers to fret about “white privilege” and “the dominant Eurocentric perspective.” How this will help black students fulfil their potential is not at all obvious.

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