THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Previous month:
October 2016
Next month:
December 2016

November 2016

Winning the War on Error

For the first time in decades I am optimistic we can win the battle of ideas against statists in general (difficult) and Leftists in particular (beginning to look easy). It will involve a journey that Jeremy Corbyn will never make; from the cosy mutual warmth of opposition, where all policies are theoretical and all consequences are optimistically imaginary, to the harsher land of reality.

We must avoid Corbyn's main error and engage with both doubters and opponents. We are true democrats; enemies of violence and no revolutionaries. We accept we must win votes from people of all walks of life. Our younger folk must be careful what they say and write in actual and virtual public, for it will be used against them if they ever run for office.

When we have no TruLib™ candidates in an election we must needs compromise by engaging and working with anyone whose policies are less hostile to our principles. They may be Hannanite Conservatives, Lbertarian-wing Kippers, Gladstonian LibDems or even John Mortimer or Frank Field-type Labourites. Most of my Labour-voting family and friends up North hate being bossed around by snooty people with meaningless degrees as much as we could wish – and are more likely to do  something about it!

Voters for both Brexit and Trump transcended traditional divides of class, ethnicity and even sexual identity. If there is a single issue that unifies them, it is not ideological (though some ideologues will struggle with it more than us). It is really a matter of respect. They want their political "leaders" to stop condescending to them and taking them for granted. This is democracy. They are the demos. They want their supremacy acknowledged and their political servants to stop being uppity, distant and divorced from their everyday reality.

If your child's education is poor. If it takes you and your life partner's full-time effort to meet everyday expenses, you want your MP and your PM to be focussed on that, not on the "rights" of mongers of imaginary grievance. If you see a spoiled brat in college weeping, or a pop star bleating that all women are "in fear", because of the outcome of a free election, you expect your representatives to ignore them, or even laugh along with you, not take their fantasies seriously.

If I am right, this is therefore a dangerous historical tipping point. It's perfectly possible that the Left will be the first to figure this out. Watching them froth and rage at "ignorant, bigoted" proles like Empire Loyalist colonels of the 1950s I grant you it seems bloody unlikely at present, but it's a risk.

If we are to engage with the ordinary voters who have better things to do or needs too urgent to address than to have time to obsess about politics, we must speak to their concerns in their language. They have seen through the warped words of the Left at last and this gives us an advantage to be seized and exploited – or lost.

Reading like-minded blogs, I think we have learned at least one thing in the long dismal night of the Left. We understand better than most how they warp language itself to serve their ends. I will address that in my next posts.

Hating the haters

In the wake of Brexit and Trump, I am becoming a little tired of all the accusations of hatred and division being thrown at those who voted the "wrong way". Leftists are utter hypocrites when they use these words of their opponents.

Their ideology deliberately sets people against each other by class, ethnic group, gender and sexual identity. Markets don't give a stuff about any of that and nor do employers. They only care if a given individual, regardless of skin tone and reproductive apparatus, has some economic value to add and is prepared to show up to do it.

Show me a shrieking hater divisively accusing others and I will show you a leftist. When they scream that anyone who opposes them is a hater, they are projecting. When they complain about division, they unintentionally reveal that the only way to have unity in their terms is to agree with every word they say. That same totalitarian tendency leads their intellectuals to "no platform" their opponents.

They're obsessed with hatred and division precisely because theirs is a hateful doctrine predicated upon social division. Without setting one group in society against another, they can never win or keep power. Which is why when they're in power the hatred and division never goes away.

It is time to call them out on their dishonesty. They are not the principled, ethical people they virtue signal themselves to be. That are not kindly or idealistic. They foment envy, hatred and division selfishly to give themselves the chance to live without producing.

Politics is show business for ugly people. Leftism is economics for parasites.

The Infants Still Crying Wolf

You Are Still Crying Wolf | Slate Star Codex

I have said my piece on Trump for now but the worldwide wets of the special snowflake meltdown just can't give it a rest. Scott Alexander over at Slate Star Codex is trying to administer some soothing facts to them. Good luck with that. Here's how he addresses their anguished cry of "racist!!!" for example. 

Trump made gains among blacks. He made big among Latinos. He made gains among Asians. The only major racial group where he didn’t get a gain of greater than 5% was white people. I want to repeat that: the group where Trump’s message resonated least over what we would predict from a generic Republican was the white population.

Nor was there some surge in white turnout. I don’t think we have official numbers yet, but by eyeballing what data we have it looks very much like whites turned out in equal or lesser numbers this year than in 2012, 2008, and so on.

And here's the voting data. Not that facts ever got in the way of their identity politics hatred and division campaigns before, right?


If they weren't making people hate each other by falsely accusing people of hating each other it would be funny. God knows it's all I can do to keep from hating them.

The closing of the Millennial mind

How different would  the western world be today if more people had read The Closing of the American Mind in 1987 when it was published?  Shortly after publication, the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War was won by the West. Marxism proper had comprehensively failed and Fukuyama naively told us that history was at an end. However in our schools, colleges and universities cultural Marxist enemies remained firmly entrenched, living behind our lines and at our expense.

That treacherous cadre has convinced generations of the luckiest people in the World that they are oppressed. It has turned citizen against citizen on spurious grounds of race, gender and sexual orientation. It has created false contradictions to be resolved by the ever more powerful state it craves. It has sought to enforce by stealth an ideology that has failed everywhere it has been tried.

It has poisoned the wells of our civilisation. All around at present you can hear the robotic, monotonous drone of the journalists, politicians and other opinion formers whose minds it has warped. Ideologically entirely ad idem, its members vie only to divorce their notions ever more widely from reality and to "no platform" anyone sane enough to laugh. Most on "social science" courses would have done better to leave school at eighteen and join the real world than to wallow in this academic mire.

"Drain the swamp" is a fine and noble slogan. The vilest and most difficult swamp to be drained is academia.  It won't be easy, but unless it is achieved all other efforts are a waste of time. 

Can Matthew Parris trust the people?

Can we trust the people? After Trump, I'm no longer sure | Coffee House.

The right-on Conservative in name only, Matthew Paris, has the gall to ask openly the question in the hearts of treacherous metropolitan élitists across the Free World. It's not an easy question to answer because it depends on:
  1. How trusting he is. In my experience an inclination to trust is a good indicator that a person is himself trustworthy. If you see your fellow men as a threat it's often because — given the opportunities presented by power — you would be a threat to them. 
  2. How prepared he is to compromise. I kept working, contributing to the greater good and taking care of my family for decades while people who despised me and had contempt for my values rewrote every rule to shave slices off my liberty. They packed the judiciary, subverted the command structure of the police and staffed academia with their lackeys. They sought to cow me into submission with abuse and denormalise my ethics. With the tables turned, can Mr Parris keep calm and carry on as I did? Can he assume his political opponents are well intentioned even as we dismantle his orthodoxies?  
I don't know the answer to these questions. I can however ever be certain of this. The people can't trust Matthew Parris. 

The party is over. Time to get to work

It has been delightful to wallow in the grief of triggered leftists. Yes, their candidate lost. And no, they have neither self-awareness nor irony and that is bloody hilarious. But for classical liberals/libertarians or even smaller state Conservatives, the man who won is by no means our guy. Not by the longest of long chalks.  Nor were most of his voters motivated by even the faintest approximation of our views.  If we were rationally assessing what ideas won in the presidential election, we would be crying into our beers as much as our authoritarian enemies. 

Not that I suggest we do so. I am far from depressed by Trump's victory, though I agree with him in so few respects. Not least because our statist foes are about to relearn a proper fear of excessive state power and in particular of such undemocratic and unconstitutional devices as presidential executive orders. 

The people who voted for Trump were mostly nice, ordinary people. That is to say, they are not very interested in the nasty, corrupt game that is politics.  They voted on the basis of impressions formed from half heard bits of broadcasting, half read articles in newspapers, jokey conversations around the water cooler, Facebook, Twitter and blog posts by people not much more interested than themselves, gut reactions to the candidates, and the climate of opinion amongst their family and friends.

Here's the rub. The same is true of the people who voted for Clinton.

This is not to say either group is stupid or in the sneering phrase of the statist elite, "low information voters".  Nor is it to say that they were wrong. If you want to encounter real stupidity and prejudice, you will need to visit the political science department of a university.  An obsessive interest in any topic is no indicator of superior understanding. In fact, as George Orwell wrote:

 There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them

The difference between high and low information voters is that the former actively seek material for their confirmation bias, whereas the latter just happen upon it. A casual voter is probably more likely to be open to new information and ideas. 

This election is not a fatal blow to the status quo, but it's a political earthquake that has shaken things up enough to offer new opportunities for political discussion.  Dangerously, that might be as helpful for those promoting bad ideas as good ones, so it's vital to stop celebrating our enemies discomfiture and start trying to win people over.

Goodness knows, leftists are opening a wonderful window of opportunity by continuing to scream insults and abuse at anyone who disagrees with them!  Right now they are doing our cause far more good that we can ever expect from Donald Trump. And, when he takes office, what with his authoritarianism and theirs, we will have a fresh opportunity to put ourselves across as the kind, rational people we are. 

Most importantly, the Left's odious tactic of deliberately dividing society into oppressors and victims; of actively promoting inter-community hatred and resentment through identity politics and victimhood culture has backfired. Calling people "racists, sexists, homophobes, transphobes, islamophobes" or even just bigots didn't work against Trump, not because ordinary Americans are any of those things, but because they are inured to the abuse. The boy has cried wolf many times too often.

Every decent American now knows that someone calling you such a name doesn't mean you are a bad person. It just means he disagrees with and despises you. Dangerously, because bigotry is not good, it has become almost a badge of honour to be so abused.

Similarly the outrageous bias of the mainstream media, so long a cause of despair for us, has become counter-productive. Maybe they don't hate them as Milo claims but no one believes them any more. Nor does anyone trust their opinion polls rigged by graduates of aforementioned PolSci departments. In fact, as Michael Gove observed, no one believes in so-called "experts" on politics, "Social Sciences" or (worryingly) economics. Like jaded judges who have spent years listening to "expert witnesses" saying whatever the hell they were hired to say, the voters' main problem in the face of "expertise" on soft subjects is politely to stifle their yawns. 

From January 20 onwards, the Leftists in academia and the media will begin to unite against what President Trump actually does, not around the various lies they have so unconvincingly told. They are obsessive. They don't have work to do. The academics are #fundedbyforce from our taxes to twist, scheme, agitate and propagandise for the ideas they could persuade workers neither to launch a revolution nor vote for. Their proven tactics have failed them for once but that only opens a window for honest political discussion, free of political correctness, for a while. As most of us turn back to living our lives kindly, sanely and productively, they will be doing everything they can to close that window so seize the day! It may not come again in our lifetimes. 

Quotation of the day

"A liberal’s* paradise would be a place where everybody has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities, and only law enforcement has guns. And believe it or not, such a place does, indeed, already exist. It's called Prison."

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff's Office

*American English sense of the word, i.e. Authoritarian leftist thug 

Too strong for Facebook

The Facebook feed of most people who move in smug  "educated" metropolitan élite circles today is awash with the plaintive cries of leftist butthurt. Mine is no different. 

I try to keep my Facebook page light and social. After all I can express my political grievances here, where they are only read by volunteers. We classical liberals are big on voluntary exchange!

The barrage of whingeing was just too much this morning however and rather than waste the day responding to it I posted my own comment on what they see as Trumpageddon. Then I decided to be better than them and set it to private. Then I thought my work should not go to waste and so here it is: 

I am glad to have so many "liberal" friends on FB because (a) it shows how tolerant I am and (b) I can metaphorically bathe in your tears today as you have bathed in mine for so long. 

You set one group in society against another with your victimhood culture and identity politics. You formed whole university departments based on lies and brainwashed our children with hatred and stupid conspiracy theories like "the Patriarchy". Then you closed down debate by screeching "racist", "sexist", "homophobe" and "islamophobe" at anyone who dared demur from your demented groupthink. 

Even now, when the "basket of deplorables" turned out to be yuuuuge you are everywhere calling them stupid, racist etc. Your inferiors. To be despised. Good luck winning them over with that line. It worked so well for HRC right?

You have fomented societal mistrust for years and now you DARE call Trump "divisive"?

Hillarious (pun intended). If he's the monster in this horror story, YOU are Doctor Frankenstein. Suck it up.

If you want to use it on your own Facebook page I hereby grant you copyright for personal use. As for my Facebook friends, I know they don't deserve to get off so lightly given how they bored the pants off me with their political views but what can I say? I love them.


Overheard in West London pub at lunch time

Enter stage left. A well-spoken, expensively-dressed white guy — let's call him Rupert — with an unconvincing dash of Estuary diction to disguise his public school plumminess.

I'd guess an academic of some kind from his chit-chat to the bored but polite barman about a conference he's addressing tomorrow. A similarly attired friend arrives — let's call him Ralph — and they take a seat together with their craft beers.

Rupert  "I didn't turn on my transistor radio this morning. So I didn't know until my cleaner told me. I said 'you must be kidding dear' and she said with a strange smile on her face, 'No he won'..."

He then proceeds to regale Ralph — his equally distressed luncheon companion (if you still have a transistor radio I'm sure you don't eat a mere lunch) — with sundry views on the lack of higher education, general stupidity and racism of both Trump and Brexit voters.

They had not one shred of self-awareness. These entitled Guardian-reading bastards have convinced themselves that everyone who disagrees with them is sub-human. And they are prepared to say so in public where one or more of us may be listening.

They stupidly assume all around them are of the same mind and don't realise some are smiling to ourselves and silently stiffening our resolve to see them in the political oblivion their arrogance and condescension so richly deserves.

They can be defeated. How did they ever fool us? They are not even foemen worthy of our steel.

Is Trump's win a cause for celebration?

Donald Trump's win in the US presidential election tells us something.  It's hard to be certain what that something is — apart from the fact that opinion polls, even now exit polls, have an inherent left wing bias. Perhaps because conservative voters now seem to delight in lying to them  

The American people have rejected the political establishment. Those of us who oppose that establishment therefore have grounds to celebrate. We should take a happy moment to revel in the discomfiture of our enemies and certainly shed no tears for the corrupt Clinton clan, but our celebrations should be muted and perhaps tinged with fear. 

During the BBC News live coverage one of the pundits said that, in a sense, this was a contest between two New York Democrats. Mr Trump was a contributor to the Clintons in the past.  Like the Democrats, he is a man who speaks of government in terms of power. He is certainly no Ronald Reagan.  

His answers to his nation's problems involve more government, not less.  The free market would not "build that wall".  The free market is pulling in the people he wants it to keep out! He has promised the people of Detroit that he will rebuild the automotive industry there just at the point when free markets are reshaping it in a disruptive and possibly lethal way.

As a businessman, he may be expected to be sympathetic to the concerns of American business.  That is not necessarily a good thing. Although our socialist opponents often mistakenly condemn us as capitalist lackeys, classical liberals favour markets, not businesses. From Adam Smith onwards we have understood that greed is not good unless guided by the invisible hand of the market.

Trump's track record in business does not fill me with optimism. This is a man more inclined to suck up to and donate to politicians to win support for his projects than to focus on what his customers want. He has shown what he thinks politicians are for in a crony capitalist system. God help America if that is a predictor of how he will perform as a politician. 

Mr Trump plans to restrict competition to benefit favoured American businesses.  That is why he has won the support of unionised blue-collar workers in rustbelt states. In the boardrooms of American big businesses this morning they will be calculating how to use him to channel taxpayers money to them.

There are some positives.  He studied economics at Wharton, which — combined with the fact that he has never lived directly as a parasite on the public purse — makes him more qualified in that respect than most leaders. At least it should make him unlikely to say stupid things like Mutti Merkel when she claimed that politics should have primacy over markets.

His election may signal the death of political correctness, freeing Americans to talk honestly about such problems as race relations. That is the essential first step to solving them and would never have happened under a forked-tongue Clinton presidency. On the contrary Clinton would have stoked the imaginary grievances of the Black Lives Matter agitators. Trump thinks climate change is a fraud and while I disagree I am happy his view will stop America committing economic suicide by the kind of crazed overreaction to it Greens and other anticapitalists favour.

In foreign policy terms, he will end the freeloading of nations like France and Germany which have failed to contribute enough to the defence of the West. We can only hope he will prove the correct response to Putin's devious geopolitics is plain speaking.  Putin may fabricate invitations from Russian speaking populations for "assistance", but Mr Trump will call them what they are – invasions.  How he will respond to them is another matter however. He has already made the first major mistake of his presidency by saying during the campaign that he would be selective in deciding which NATO members to defend. 

US voters have punched professional machine politicians in the teeth and they were right to do so. This is a therefore a good morning for Western democracy. It remains to be seen whether it's as good for the leadership of the West.