we’re all rootless cosmopolitans now

There was an interesting remark recently on A Political Refugee From the Global Village about the displacement of Europeans from their ancestral lands. Now I don’t want to see that happen either but I think you have to ask yourself whether people in the West today even have ancestral lands.

If you have no knowledge of the traditions of your own society, no culture and no sense of history (which is the case for most westerners today) can you be said to have any actual ancestral lands? If you have no actual home town, no sense of community and no sense of a link to the place you were born (which is also the case for most westerners today) then do ancestral lands have any meaning for you?

Until a hundred years ago most people in the West still felt an emotional and even to a certain vague extent a spiritual connection to the place in which they were born and grew up. I’m not talking about ethnic identity. Just a sense of having a particular place which is home and having some link to one’s own past, one’s family’s past and the past of a community.

Today we are all rootless cosmopolitans.

Which explains why Europeans don’t care about being displaced from their ancestral lands. They don’t even understand the concept of ancestral lands. They don’t know about their ancestors. They have no past. More often than not they have no children, so they don’t have a future. What they have is an eternal present of consumption, hedonism and mindless entertainment.

The question is – if Europeans don’t care about their home and have no past or future why should anyone care about their fate? Europeans themselves don’t care about it.

The problem is that rootless cosmopolitans aren’t worried about losing their homes. They have no homes. If things go bad in one place they’ll just move somewhere else. It doesn’t matter. One place is the same as everywhere else. They’re not ever going to fight to hold on to what is theirs because they can’t even comprehend the concept. It’s not that they’re not materialistic. They’re materialistic to an extreme degree. But the material possessions that matter to them are infinitely portable. You sell your house in one city and buy a house in another city. You sell your consumer goods and buy new ones in your new city. You still have your bank account. You still have everything that matters to you on your smartphone.

To a rootless cosmopolitan home is anywhere that has a wifi connection.

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hope, alternatives and Jeremy Corbyn

I’ve been spoken before about my theory that in order to have hope people need to believe that viable political alternatives exist, even if those alternatives are rather unattractive. During the Cold War people disgruntled by life under communism could console themselves that a viable alternative existed in the West. And people disgruntled by life under capitalism could console themselves that a viable alternative existed in the Soviet Union.

Brexit was largely motivated by Britons’ belief that a viable alternative to the EU was possible. That’s why the political establishment has worked so tirelessly to destroy Brexit – in order to teach the British voters that they are not ever going to be given an alternative. That’s why so much effort has been put into opposing Trump. The fact that Trump has achieved nothing doesn’t matter – what matters is that Americans must be taught the lesson that real democracy means you get to choose between two candidates approved by the Establishment, two candidates whose policies are in fact pretty much identical. Americans most learn that an alternative is not permitted.

Which brings us to the current well-funded campaign to destroy Jeremy Corbyn. Now I’m not suggesting that Corbynite Labour is a great alternative, or even a good alternative, but it does at least represent some alternative. Which is why powerful interests have decided that Corbyn must go. It is unthinkable that British voters should be offered anything resembling an actual alternative.

Once Corbyn is destroyed the Labour Party will return to Blairitism, which is of course in every way indistinguishable from modern Toryism. Once again Britain will be a genuine democracy with two absolutely identical parties alternating in power, and with the British people properly trained to vote the way they’re told to vote.

the TERF wars continue

The war between the trans mob and the TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) continues to provide amusement. Martina Navratilova, having been savaged already by a Twitter SJW mob for daring to suggest that women’s sports should be for, you know, actual women, has decided to double down. She has now suggested that having “women” who were born male competing in women’s sports is cheating.

It’s actually very amusing to see Navratilova, who has been for years an ardent SJW and a zealous persecutor of those like former tennis star Margaret Court who have refused to bend the knee to SJWs, suddenly realising that the latest manifestation of the LGBT agenda is going to destroy women’s sports such as tennis. This means that lesbians will suffer!

Personally I’m looking forward to seeing women’s professional sports destroyed. Women have enthusiastically supported the LGBT agenda. It would be very useful if they were brought face to face with the reality of the hostility of the trans crowd to actual women.

I can’t wait for the day when every single major women’s tennis tournament is won by men masquerading as women. I can’t wait to see every single major women’s golf tournament won by blokes in dresses. Best of all will be seeing every single Olympic gold medal for women’s events won by men in skirts. I have no doubt that all these things will come to pass within a decade at the most.

Feminists have been overjoyed by the prospect of infiltrating and destroying male leisure activities. Now they’re going to get a taste of the same medicine. Perhaps women will start to realise that feminism and LGBT activism are anti-women.

feminism – root cause or consequence?

Feminism is without a doubt the worst plague ever to afflict the human race but was feminism a root cause of the evils that followed or merely a consequence of other social changes?

By the time second wave feminism made its appearance in the 1960s a number of crucial social changes had already occurred. The first and the most disastrous (possibly the single most disastrous event in human history) was the introduction of the contraceptive pill in 1961. That irrevocably turned sex into a recreational activity rather than a part of the sacrament of marriage. It made sex all about short-term pleasure. From that point on traditional marriage was doomed.

While in theory divorce was still difficult in many places it was clear that there was a trend towards making it easier in practice. And from about the 1920s onwards divorce had gradually become more socially acceptable. Divorce means marriage being transformed from a sacred unbreakable bond into a short-term arrangement to be terminated when it becomes inconvenient.

Women moved into the workforce in increasing numbers in the first half of the 20th century. That was not necessarily a problem. Women had always worked. But work was something women did until they got married. By the 50s it was becoming more socially acceptable for married women to work. This was a very unfortunate trend.

Even more disastrous was the expansion of higher education for women after the Second World War. In fact the expansion of higher education in general was a calamity. A university education is something that only a small proportion of the population (maybe 5%) will benefit from. For most people it is actually a bad thing. For all but a very tiny handful of women it is a disaster.

And of course the 20th century saw a continuation of the decline of Christianity. Without religion there is no basis for morality. Without morality there is only power (for the elites) and pleasure (for the masses).

These changes did not come about as a result of second wave feminism. These changes preceded second wave feminism, and in fact were largely responsible for making that horror possible. By the time the feminists got going western society had already started to lose its way.

There was also the Sexual Revolution, which was mostly a result of the contraceptive pill. The Sexual Revolution was of course very bad for women. Sexual liberation does not work fir women. They’re not wired that way. It simply makes women self-hating and miserable and chronically emotionally dissatisfied.

Men made the mistake of thinking the Sexual Revolution was going to be great for them. It would mean lots more sex. In fact it meant lots more sex for a very small number of men.

This is a large part of the explanation for the failure of men to stop feminism in its tracks at a time when that was still possible. Men were inclined to think that feminism was like the Sexual Revolution – they would end up getting more sex. Mostly they didn’t get the extra sex and what they did get was an ongoing nightmare. By the time the realities became apparent it was too late.

Feminism was largely a symptom of a society entering the terminal stages of decadence. It appeared at the same time as other symptoms like the drug culture and the worship of homosexuality. Maybe feminism could have been stopped but it would have required a willingness to confront other much more basic societal failings.

Space – the Final Frontier?

One of the many major changes to the western world over the past century has been the disappearance of the frontier.

In the early 20th century, in fact to some extent even up to the 1950s, westerners who wanted to opt out could find a frontier territory in which to do so. There were the remoter outposts of the British Empire (and of the other European empires). For Americans there was South America. For those who found their lives unsupportable there was always that escape hatch – they could start a new life in the Colonies or in South America where they were unlikely to be bothered too much by questions about their past and unlikely to have too much trouble with intrusive bureaucracies or police forces.

Britons would commonly choose somewhere like Kenya or Malaya. There was plenty of money to be made if you had drive and if you didn’t have drive there were fellow countrymen to sponge off, who were reasonably indulgent of expatriates (even if they mildly disapproved of expatriates who “went native”).

All that is largely gone. Escaping from the modern surveillance state is next to impossible. Any bolt-holes that are left are pretty uninviting and bureaucrats and police are likely to will hunt you down anyway.

One response to this is the emergence of the idea of space as the final frontier, the one sure refuge for someone who wants or needs to opt out completely. It became a major theme of science fiction in the 20th century and it also took on a definite political complexion. It became a popular right-wing fantasy, and it became a very popular libertarian fantasy. The fact that colonies in space would in reality face immense practical difficulties tended to get glossed over (and libertarians never do worry too much about irritating details like reality).

It’s a fantasy that also has a following among the nerdier elements of the alt-right.

Personally I find it very amusing that so many people have convinced themselves that colonies in space or on other planets would be havens of liberty, veritable libertarian paradises with no government at all. It amuses me because I’ve always assumed that a space colony founded on libertarian principles wouldn’t last a week. Space, or colonies on Mars, are not the sorts of environment that are likely to be very forgiving of rigged individuals with a contempt for regulations. They’d be the sorts of environments where one mistake would mean death, and quite possibly death for every member of the colony. Such a colony is more likely to succeed if it’s composed of rigid conformists with no imagination, no more than moderate intelligence, a respect for hierarchies and a passion for following rules and regulations to the letter. Military-style discipline is more likely than glorious liberty.

Such colonies would also have a very much better chance of survival if they adopted a very traditionalist approach to morality and to sex roles. You would only need one member of a colony to start sleeping around to very soon find yourself sitting on top of a ticking time-bomb. It’s also very obvious that no colony can survive without children and therefore the women would need to focus more on child-rearing than personal fulfilment and careers.

A space colony might well end up being more of a traditionalist paradise than a libertarian one.

Not that it matters, given that the practical difficulties (not to mention the political obstacles) are so overwhelming that colonies in space will probably remain science fiction for a long long time.

Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel

Isaac Asimov’s classic 1954 novel The Caves of Steel might not sound very relevant to this blog but bear with me.

The Caves of Steel is usually considered to be important and interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a crucial book in Asimov’s famous robot cycle. Secondly, it’s a genre hybrid – it’s both a science fiction novel and a traditional fair-play puzzle-plot murder mystery. And it’s a rare example of a novel that is a success in both genres.

There is a third reason why this book should be celebrated. It’s an extremely interesting dystopian novel with very strong political overtones. I personally don’t agree with Asimov’s politics but he was an intelligent liberal (yes such creatures once walked the Earth) and his work has been immensely influential.

The future Earth of the novel is massively overpopulated. Almost everyone lives in enormous cities. It’s a world that makes the world of Orwell’s 1984 seem benign and even idyllic. Food is in short supply (the rationing is nightmarish in its pettiness) but living space is in even shorter supply. There is zero privacy. Zero. Even high status individuals do not have bathrooms. A washbasin is considered to be an almost unimaginable luxury. Absolute social conformity is enforced. This is the soft totalitarianism of Brave New World but combined with the squalor and misery of 1984. There is an all-pervading atmosphere of resignation and pessimism.

It’s fascinating to see overpopulation hysteria in such a fully developed form as early as 1954.

Of course being a science fiction writer of the golden age Asimov saw the answer to the problem as lying in the colonisation of space. This is something that has always seemed rather fanciful to me.

Leaving aside the overpopulation hysteria it’s a fine example of what I would consider to be a plausible dystopia, enforced by propaganda rather than overt repression. And it’s an interesting look at the psychological consequences of soft totalitarianism – the way people end up not even contemplating rebellion because they can’t even imagine doing such a thing (or even thinking such thoughts).

It’s also actually a very entertaining book and while there’s plenty to disagree with it is an interesting example of intelligent dystopian science fiction. And the murder mystery part is fun.

are healthy people interested in politics?

Are normal healthy well-adjusted people interested in politics? Is politics something that only interests people who have a personal axe to grind? Is political enthusiasm a sign of mental illness, or a sign of personal unhappiness? If it’s a sign of personal unhappiness or dissatisfaction is this a healthy thing? Is it a form of therapy?

And how do you explain a historical period like our own, in which every single aspect of life has become politicised and politics has become an obsession? Is this a sign of an illness in society? Or a sign of a deeply unhappy society?

These thoughts occurred to me after reading a recent post on the poet Shelley on Oz Conservative.

Shelley saw himself as a political and social revolutionary. What’s interesting is that Shelley was a rich and very privileged young man, a member of the aristocracy, good-looking and talented. It’s hard to imagine how fate could have dealt any young man a better hand than it dealt Shelley. And what was Shelley’s response? He wanted to smash his own society.

Shelley also managed to leave a trail of chaos and misery behind him. His behaviour towards women was nothing short of appalling. He was selfish, irresponsible, impetuous and shallow. He also had very definite delusions of grandeur.

It has to be said that Shelley is an all too typical example of the political progressive. His personality was clearly warped, although whether this was genetic or whether it was warped by his childhood or his schooling is difficult to say. He grew to adulthood (or in his case it mighty be more accurate to say that he failed to grow to adulthood) at a troubled time, when revolution was fashionable and the ruling class was rapidly abandoning Christianity. Perhaps Shelley was simply a very weak personality easily swayed by social fads.

It’s also interesting that Shelley, like so many subsequent social revolutionaries, was a vegan. So he was an all-round crank.

Orwell noted many years ago that socialism attracted cranks. He was disgusted and dismayed by the phenomenon.

Is it only left-wing politics that attracts misfits and cranks? A few years ago I’d have inclined to give an affirmative answer to the question. Now I’m not so sure. There are a few strange types in the alt-right and similar sub-groups who seem to be at least partly motivated by personal bitterness.

While it might be slightly disturbing at times to note the number of politically engaged people who are either slightly odd or deeply unhappy it is possible that this is not entirely a negative thing. If you’re unhappy with your life you can feel sorry for yourself or crawl inside a bottle, or you can try to change the world. Of course your ideas on how the world ought to be changed might be sound or they might be crazy, but at least you’re using your unhappiness as a motivation to do something.

Of course if you’re not a believer in democracy you might argue that all politics is unhealthy and that in a sane society we would leave government in the hands of the king.

It can also be argued that if society is truly diseased then being disgusted and enraged and wanting to change things is actually a sign of mental health, while the people who think that everything is fine are actually the crazy ones.