Sunday 3 September 2017

Rip it up and start again: I reset my political compass

Where do I stand?

"Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part... and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists"
Fredrick Engels: On Authority.

This 1872 quote was the first that came to mind when Keri Smith's 'A Liberal Definition of the Alt-Left' prompted me to write about the statements I made in this facebook thread a week past Tuesday.

Still a fringe leftie!

I have reset my political compass since my last post nearly 2 years ago. The above picture shows how it has swung to the centre, putting me on the fringe of the centre left, but definitely centre left. I was surprised at where I came out on the Libertarian axis, until I saw where I came out on the 8values test. In any event, The Political Compass proved itself a second time as an accurate reading of my political opinions. I would recommend it, even if it's just for shits and giggles.


The result of my 8values test surprised me more even than The Political Compass's Libertarian axis- not even a social liberal? Well, liberal values have a respectable tradition, and a mixed economy presided over by a representative democracy is the best type of economy and governance we have yet created, one whose main ideological competitor- the collectivist left- always fails to deliver either better economics or better democracy, let alone both. The very notion that I had indeed become a centrist felt like treason to me, but videos like this one were unanswerable:

 The notion of the 'regressive left' put forward by Dave Rubin (and others, and others, and others, and others, and others, and others, and others), aptly caught the tenor of the leftist tide whose antics filled me with derision, so that the months' long rabbit hole I fell into after watching this video by Sargon of Akkad:

- that new to YouTube frenzy of a bunch of strangers rudely rummaging through your fondest politicial ideas without let or hindrance; after about a year that rabbit hole came out here:

"Death to the Bolshevik meme!"

- with an added touch of this:

"Death to the Bolshevik meme!"

Which brings us back to the 8values, which adds interesting new dimensions to the overall picture:
  • Economic axis the most centrist of all, at a mere 1.8% from the mean;
  • Diplomatic axis is well into nation, appropriate for someone who has recently eschewed open-borders internationalism;
  • Civil axis- 42% authority is about the proportion who vote Tory- well, we've got to keep them happy.
 62.5% progressive is a nice counterpoint to that centrist core of values, something which makes me feel comfortable with my new-minted political position, whose watchwords I cribbed from Orwell:

Freedom of speech

The alt-left

All of which brings us back to old Engels, a.k.a. 'the General', and his remarks about revolutions, which, in this day and age of regular Antifa actions in the streets of the USA, is the problem entire. "Yeah, but they're actual Nazis!" or "False equivalency!" are typical cries at this point, but, if Engels is right about revolutions (and he fought in one and watched another go down to bloody defeat just across the Channel a generation later, so he should know, after all), then any revolution- left or right- will be authoritarian and terroristic, and thus inimical to liberty. That there has been an actively violent revolutionary leftist street presence in the USA for months now is a well-established fact; that there is emerging a rightist counter-force is now also evident. Both of these groups offer nothing but violence, authoritarianism, and terror, and the newly-memed 'alt-left'- in its play on alt-right- hits the left right where it hurts, in its moral equivalence to the right.

Keri Smith describes the alt-left thus:
"It is not simply Antifa; it is the ideology that undergirds Antifa, and it has swallowed much of BLM and intersectional third wave feminism. It wishes to swallow the whole of the left, the country, the world. It is rooted in nihilism, resentfulness, and arrogance, though it presents itself as being rooted in equality, justice and morality. It favors collectivism over individualism, statism over liberty, forced equality of outcome over freedom."

This is the generation that seek to become "ungovernable":

A fine, uplifting aspiration

- who have no positive project other than their own desire to break things up and we are supposed to be outraged that Trump called them out as the alt-left? Somebody had to go prime-time on it.

A bit of Jordan B. Peterson...

Jordan Peterson is a "Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are the psychology of religious and ideological belief, and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance." Here he talks about how the exercise of good intentions or otherwise typically orderly and agreeable social traits can- and did, step by tiny step, lead to the absolute worst of outcomes.

Saturday 31 October 2015

Manifest interjections

Tax credits, the living wage, and the minimum income guarantee
The angry reactions to Osborne's decision to cut tax credits show a recognition that labour is now so cheap to capital that it must sell itself below the cost of its reproduction, a simply intolerable situation to be in. You'd have to think that a situation like this is inherently unstable. After all, several million people who thought they'd done everything right are learning the hard way the class content of the austerity agenda: no one is safe from the predation of the 1% and their political lackeys- the system consumes everything in its path, itself included.

The mere existence of tax credits demonstrates that this reproduction problem pushes towards a solution breaking free of the wage-labour form itself, a solution whose final appearance depends on the degree to which money ceases to be the primary medium of the circulation of labour and its products, a degree which increases the greater the not-for-profit (NFP) sector in the economy. In the context of attacks on the living wage the extra-Labour left should leave arguments over tax credits and the living wage to the reformists, and should instead raise the minimum income guarantee as a concrete demand- a manifesto pledge for a socialist party standing candidates in bourgeois elections.

Sunday 4 January 2015

The future of coalition

MSM chatter- another National Government?
A hung parliament has long since been seen as the most likely outcome in the most uncertain British general election in years. Questions are already being asked about possible coalitions with the ConUKIP option being seen as the nightmare scenario by many. On the other side people are wondering how Labour might deal with the various parties offering the prospect of an anti-Tory alliance. In this context, what are we to make of notion floated in the media, that the 2015 general election might result in a National Government, ie. a ConLab coalition?

The earliest reference I have to the idea is an FT thinkpiece from December 30th 2014. Arguing that a coalition with the Libdems won't secure any government, Johnathan Ford continues by asserting that "the price of doing business with the surging fringe parties, such as the Scottish National party and Ukip, will be too high for either Labour or the Conservatives to stomach", hence only a National Government will suffice.