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How race politics liberated the elites If society is taken to be inherently oppressive, the notion of a common good disappears

Defund the police, and the explosion of murder will be confined to black parts of the city you never see. Credit: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty

Defund the police, and the explosion of murder will be confined to black parts of the city you never see. Credit: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty


December 14, 2020   7 mins

The HBO series Succession depicts the dynastic dramas of a family-controlled media company, headed by patriarch Logan Roy in a spirit of vigorous tyranny. This clan is ultra-rich and totally amoral. One of the sons, the dissolute and aptly named Roman (played by Kieran Culkin) is gleefully immoral, skewering the petty decencies of “normal people” with lines that make you wince and laugh out loud at the same time. It is a delicious depiction of aristocratic license that would be recognisable to observers of the senatorial class in late-empire Rome, or the court of Louis XVI. To watch the show is to take an hour-long break from the relentless moralism of contemporary life and watch power operate with bald-faced corruption, rather than self-righteous bullshit. It’s refreshing that way.

The Roy family occupies the most rarefied level of globe-trotting oligarchs. Dropping down a rung or two on the pyramid of power, consider the moral ecology inhabited by the broader gentility: the salaried decision-makers and ideas-managers who service the global arrangement from various departments of the ideological apparatus. They may work in NGOs, the governing bodies of the EU, corporate journalism, HR departments, the celebrity-industrial complex, the universities, Big Tech, etc. They, too, enjoy a kind of freedom, but it is decidedly not that of the high-spirited criminals depicted in Succession. So far from living “beyond good and evil”, this broader class of cosmopolitans asserts its freedom through its moralism, precisely. In particular, they have broken free of the claims of allegiance made upon them by the particular communities they emerge from.

How does this work, psychologically? The idea of a common good has given way to a partition of citizens along the lines of a moral hierarchy – one that just happens to mirror their material fortunes (as in Calvinism). Instead of feeling bound up in a shared fate with one’s countrymen, one develops an alternate solidarity that is placeless. The relatability across national borders that the gentlefolk feel in one another’s company — the gracious ease and trust, the shared points of reference in high-prestige opinion — has something to do with their uniformly high standing in the moral hierarchy that divides citizen from citizen within their own nations. The decision-making class has discovered that it enjoys the mandate of heaven, and with this comes certain permissions; certain exemptions from democratic scruple.

The permission structure is built around grievance politics. Very simply: if the nation is fundamentally racist, sexist and homophobic, I owe it nothing. More than that, conscience demands that I repudiate it. Hannah Arendt spelled out this logic of high-minded withdrawal from the claims of community in the essays she wrote in response to the protest movements of the 1960s. Conscience “trembles for the individual self and its integrity,” appealing over the head of the community to a higher morality. The latter is discerned in a highly subjective, personal way. The heroic pose struck by Thoreau in Civil Disobedience is the model for this kind of moralistic anti-politics of conscience, in which the good man may be quite opposed to the one called a good citizen.

In The Revolt of the Elites, Christopher Lasch spelled out in greater detail the role that claims of racial and sexual oppression play in securing release from allegiance to the nation — not just for those who identify as its victims, but for those with the moral sensitivity to see victimisation where it may not be apparent, and who make this capacity a touchstone of their identity. It becomes a token of moral elevation by which we recognise one another, and distinguish ourselves from the broader run of citizens. Both Lasch and Arendt argue that black Americans serve a crucial function for the white bourgeoisie. As the emblem and proof of America’s illegitimacy, they anchor a politics of repudiation in which the idea of a common good has little purchase.

This illegitimacy transcends any particular historical facts about slavery and segregation. Indeed it transcends America, as one can surmise by the ease with which American grievance politics has been exported throughout the Western world. In this we sometimes see the use of American historical references that have been weirdly transposed, as when a house once lived in by Rosa Parks was relocated from Detroit to Berlin, the financial seat of the European Union. (Under the empire of Christendom, the market for material relics from the Passion of Christ was similarly global; they left the holy land and ended up in various seats of earthly power.) Most recently, the transatlantic festival of George Floyd attests to the fact that it isn’t simply America that stands accused.

The social order is corrupt, then. The labour movement once had an alternative order to offer in its stead, drawing on the socialist tradition. It was one that included African-Americans – not as African-Americans but as workers. And this movement was fairly successful. The pressures that organised labour brought to bear on business and the state helped to secure America’s brief period of shared prosperity, lasting roughly from the end of WWII to the 1970s.

What happened then? The new prominence of the term “repressed” in the 1960s is significant, and marks a shift into a new terrain of psychologised politics. The object of attack for the “new Left” was no longer laissez-faire capitalism but “society”, the Freudian superego more or less, with its insistence on standards of behaviour that are binding on all. Arendt and Lasch both identify this attack on shared standards as the decisive inflection point in our turn away from a politics of the common good. Society is taken to be inherently oppressive, and discredited in the name of liberation.

One can find such an idea in a selective reading of Freud, for whom there is an inherent conflict between self and society. But for Freud, reconciling oneself to this conflict and entering into the world of shared meaning and exchange, indeed identifying with it, is how one becomes an adult. The world does not love you simply for being you, as your mommy does. One holds oneself accountable to prevailing norms, or else remains trapped in infantile narcissism.

The Left’s posture of liberationism provided an interpretive frame in which the deadly riots and wider explosion of urban crime in the 1960s was to be understood as political rather than criminal. This interpretation played a key role in the wider inversion: it is “society” that is revealed to be criminal. The utility of urban rioting for the new Left lay in the fact that it was thought to carry an insight into the illegitimacy of even our most minimum standards of behaviour. The moral authority of the black person, as victim, gave the bourgeoisie permission to withdraw its allegiance from the social order, just as black people were gaining fuller admittance to it.

Consider the images that had so impressed the nation in the 1950s and lead to the passage of civil rights legislation: marchers demanding equal treatment, and being willing to go to jail as a demonstration of this allegiance to the rule of law, impartially applied. The civil rights movement began as an attack on the injustice of double standards; it was a patriotic appeal to the common birthright of citizenship, as against the local sham democracy of the South. Notably, the civil rights activists of this time wore suits and ties, the costume of adult obligations and standards of comportment. But in a stunning reversal achieved by the new Left working in concert with the Black Power movement, Lasch points out, “the idea of a single standard was itself attacked as the crowning example of ‘institutional racism’.” Such standards were said to have no other purpose than keeping black people in their place. This shift was fundamental, for shared standards are what make for a democratic social order, as against the ancien rĂ©gime of special privileges and exemptions.

For the new Left, then, it was not capitalism but the democratic social order altogether that was the source of oppression — not just of black people, or of workers, but of us, the college bourgeoisie. The civil rights movement of black Americans became the template for subsequent claims by women, gays and transgender persons, each based on a further discovery of moral failing buried deep in the heart of America. Hence a further license, indeed mandate, granted to individual conscience, as against the claims of the nation.

But the black experience retains a special role as the template that must be preserved. The black man is specially tuned by history to pick up the force field of oppression, which may be hard to discern in the more derivative cases that are built by analogy with his. Therefore, his condition serves a wider diagnostic and justificatory function. If it were to improve, denunciation of “society” would be awkward to maintain and, crucially, my own conscience would lose its self-certifying independence from the community. My wish to be free of the demands of society would look like mere selfishness.

The white bourgeoisie became invested in a political drama in which their own moral standing depends on black people remaining permanently aggrieved. Unless their special status as ur-victim is maintained, African-Americans cannot serve as patrons for the wider project of liberation. If you question this victimisation, you are questioning the rottenness of America. And if you do that, you are threatening the social order, strangely enough. For it is now an order governed by the freelance moralists of the cosmopolitan consensus. Somehow these free agents, ostensibly guided by individual conscience, have coalesced into something resembling a tribe, one that is greatly angered by rejection of its moral expertise.

The notion of expertise is important. There appears to be a circle of mutual support between political correctness, technocratic administration, and the bloated educational machinery. Because smartness (as indicated by educational credentials) confers title to rule in a technocratic regime, the ruling class adopts a distinctly cognitivist view: virtue does not consist of anything you do or don’t do, it consists of having the correct opinions. This is attractive, as one may then exempt oneself from the high-minded policies one inflicts upon everyone else. For example, the state schools are turned into laboratories of grievance-based social engineering, with generally disastrous effects, but you send your own children to expensive private schools. You can de-legitimise the police out of a professed concern for black people, and the explosion of murder will be confined to black parts of the city you never see, and journalists are not interested in. In this way, you can be magnanimous while avoiding the moral pollution and that comes from noticing reality.

With this clerisy’s systemic lack of “skin in the game”, the idea of a common good becomes a weak abstraction. Maintaining one’s own purity of opinion, on the other hand, has real psychic consequence, as it is the basis for one’s feeling of belonging — not to the community one happens to reside in, but to the tribe of the elect.

If the ideal of a de-moralised public sphere was a signature aspiration of liberal secularism, it seems we have entered a post-secular age. Populism happened because it became widely noticed that we have transitioned from a liberal society to something that more closely resembles a corrupt theocracy.


Matthew B Crawford writes the substack Archedelia


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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

An outstandingly good article.. One of the best I’ve read this year on Unherd or anywhere else. It will be interesting to see how long the writer continues to be employed in academia after writing this:

‘For example, the state schools are turned into laboratories of grievance-based social engineering, with generally disastrous effects, but you send your own children to expensive private schools. You can de-legitimise the police out of a professed concern for black people, and the explosion of murder will be confined to black parts of the city you never see, and journalists are not interested in. In this way, you can be magnanimous while avoiding the moral pollution and that comes from noticing reality’

This perfectly encapsulates these people and their belief system, which is doing a great deal to destroy the West.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes, I was just thinking this is the best article I’ve read all year.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

For me, one of the crucial interpretative remarks emerges at the start of the article: “if the nation is fundamentally racist, sexist and homophobic, I owe it nothing.” Now the classical Liberal riposte is to say, justly, that western society is none of those things; for it has removed all the barriers which might have represented such views. Nevertheless, I want to suggest a Conservative reply: that these categories have been slanted and bloated to such a degree that they no longer represent errors at all. By “racist” the left means loyalty to the founding culture and peoples of western society; by “sexist”, it means a belief in hard-wired gender roles which have their origins in the hard facts of our condition, whilst by “homophobic” it means the due belief that heterosexuality is the usual, socially central expression of carnal desire. As the foundation of the family, it cannot and should not be displaced. Faced with Conservatism, which gently enforces these beliefs through custom and inherited law, the left is out of ammo, having spewed it all over the Old Liberals. And faced with those to the right of Conservatism, who seek to enforce the beliefs I mention with far more than custom and inherited law, they would be speechless. Finally, I would say to those gathering under Old Liberalism’s banners, your position in the centre of the battlefield is clever but weak. It might be better to take the hard left at its word and assert the virtues of nationalism, naturalism and the former moral order. Hasn’t Old Liberalism helped the hard left into power, after all?

Josh Barrett
Josh Barrett
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Yes. Redefining words seems to be central to their long March. The progressive anglicans are one example.

Katherine McDuffee
Katherine McDuffee
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

I agree! Best article I’ve read in a long time.
As an undergraduate at UCBerkeley (late 70’s) in a course on European 20th century history my professor talked about the “center-périphérie theory – the idea that people identify more with class than nationality. Pre WWs that was how it worked, well, it worked for a few.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago

That’s what many pre-WWI Socialists thought too. That conflict largely destroyed that viewpoint, as workers as well as others quickly rallied to their respective countries’ aid. That, and it demonstrated how little hold Socialists had on those for whom they purported to speak.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

‘Maintaining one’s purity of opinion’, Love it, strait out of Dr Strangelove with the mad General’s ‘POE’ (purity of essence) mania ending up destroying the world.

Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
2 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Gentlemen, you cannot fight in there !!! It’s the war room !

Jordan Flower
Jordan Flower
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Thought the same thing reading this. It’s an idea some people have explored conversationally, but as far as I know, there isn’t any substantial literature on it. Crawford should write a book on this.

tim cole
tim cole
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

But don’t you get it. They want to destroy society. Then they get to rule the next one that comes along. It’s blindingly obvious.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And it will destroy their own and certainly their children’s futures.

R mcd
R mcd
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fortunately the author does not depend on academia for his livelihood.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  R mcd

Upon whom he depend then? His institute is aligned with the University of Virginia, after all.

Josh Barrett
Josh Barrett
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Agree

Jordan Flower
Jordan Flower
3 years ago

It’s called “woke-screening”. When you go through some obligatory motions to signal your virtue to the world in order to absolve yourself of any impending charges of your contribution to oppression. It’s probably one of the easiest social exercises for the elites and even corporations to engage in. Throw a black tile on your instagram. Pronouns in your bio. Post a selfie at a BLM march. Criticize capitalism.

They tell us that taking these stances “require courage”, but that’s part and parcel of the woke-screen. None of these things carry an iota of social risk. They are all completely mainstream and acceptable opinions.

Of course the Hollywood, cosmopolitan, college-grad, journalist, elite class would all adopt these views. They’re first to the gallows, and woke-screening is their clemency.

These people have tried to convince us they are “on the side of the oppressed”, “for the working class”, “against the rich”, to name a few slogans. But they have hemorrhaged the working class, are now “the party of the 1%” (““Bernie), and have a higher proportion of rich donors.

These are the kind of people who live in Brooklyn luxury apartments that were retrofitted into old buildings and maintained a few walls of “exposed brick”, so these $15-latte-sipping-nobles who reside in them can have a synthetic feel of “raw urban connection”, all while they scroll through their IG feeds reposting support for lockdowns that don’t affect their livelihoods, and/or race riots they don’t actually participate in, both which rip through poorer parts of town in ways that will take decades to recover, streets they would never admit they don’t venture down, but would lunge at the opportunity to call out someone else for avoiding.

This is woke-screening. It’s hypocrisy at its finest.

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago

I enjoyed reading that, and there may be something to it. I’m a bit suspicious of any claims to explain the opinions of people you disagree with as being motivated by hidden, ignoble reasons, though. It’s a bit too easy to use that to refuse to engage with the opinions themselves.

That said, yes, I do find it very annoying – and just the tiniest bit creepy – that we live in a time when morality is considered by the loudest talkers to be a matter of scientific fact. It sets my teeth on edge every time I have to hear someone say, with all apparent sincerity, “no no no, you don’t understand, people with fancy degrees have discovered that X is right and Y is wrong, so that means that it’s objectively true!”

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

The moment that people with ‘fancy degrees’ assert anything I immediately assume that the opposite is true. For some decades now, across all areas of pubic life and policy, these people have got literally everything wrong.

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Except for immunisation (and many other aspects of medicine), the importance of early education, many aspects of policing, climate change, and a host of technological achievements, etc, etc. People with fancy degrees can still be wrong, but in their own field of expertise (and too many pontificate outside it, IMO), they are much more likely to be right than anyone else.

jmskennedy9
jmskennedy9
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Not necessarily. In medicine there is a lot of false woke ideas of disease that has no scientific basis-at least any more than the usual quake psychology. Take Social Determinants of Health. Please take them!

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  jmskennedy9

The NHS is first a social engineering organization, second a health one. It was the organization held up to open the doors of migration, it also dropped health wages and status so low Native British no longer would do the work, and so caused the schools to shrink, and so it opened the door wider, Then the pernicious other 1000 ways – a big part of eldercare as managed by the NHS is about 2 things, spending huge amounts of tax money on wages for unskilled third world on the low asset old people, and harvesting the accumulated wealth of the better off old people. NHS is like the BBC, not really what it is purported to be.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

I think the care for older people comes out of the social care budgets held by Councils, not the NHS.

What’s your evidence for the NHS lowering wages and status of healthcare workers?

The NHS’s ability to set wage levels is determined by the money it is allocated by Central Government. Many low paid staff working for the NHS are actually employed by Private Companies to whom work has been outsourced – a key policy objective of successive governments. Governments reduce public sector pay – not the NHS.

Nurses, followed by Doctors, are reckoned by UK people to be the most trusted professions (Statista and Ipsos Mori) so I don’t think lack of status is true.

MagentaPen 07mm
MagentaPen 07mm
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

In one of your examples, climate change, funding agencies require research outcomes that support their theory (the theory being that CO2 and methane-induced global warming is a global catastrophe, end of story). So people with fancy degrees that choose that field can’t even be right or wrong. They’re just either good or bad story tellers and grant writers.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago

“hidden, ignoble reasons”

People can and do sincerely hold beliefs that also coincide with their self interest.

Ceelly Hay
Ceelly Hay
3 years ago

People do not realise that science explains the how but does not take into consideration the importance of the why – the context.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Ceelly Hay

science explains the how on scientific problems, which are non-existent in social, ethical, moral, cultural, historical, philosophical, psychological matters. It takes wise people to explain those.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Ahem. Unfortunately…

Glaciers, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research
Carey, M., Jackson, M., Antonello, A., et al. (2016). University of Oregon

Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy…
.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Tinonint

Yes, that seems quite mad certainly. But as the economist Robert Solow once said of a similarly abstruse economic argument: It’s the dammedest argument for Socialism I’ve ever heard – imagine troops storming the Winter Palace so that (such-and-such) could be effected! (I left out quotation marks as I don’t have the exact quotation at hand and probably made some small error(s) as a consequence.)

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Tinonint

Mercy! That’s a mouth full…”human-ice interactions”? Your tax dollars at play…

Paul Blakemore
Paul Blakemore
3 years ago

What an excellent piece!
In London at least, the ‘white bourgeoisie’ could quickly lose interest in defunding the police. Back in pre-Covid times, the residents of wealthy suburbs such as Richmond and Kingston were outraged at becoming the victims of street crime; as the enterprising street criminals hopped onto the Tube to ply their trade in smarter more affluent areas. There were outraged howls from the residents, demands for police action and mithering about ‘why do we pay our taxes!?’

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Activism is among the great cons of all time. There is never a goal in sight or an end game to strive toward; there is just the manufacture of perpetual grievance, because those who make a living off the topic wish to continue doing so. Pick your cause and evidence of the periodic relocation of the goalposts is there.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Again I think of the ‘Sienfileld’ show on the invented secular holiday of Festivus which replaced Christmas in George’s weird childhood. (worth a youtube if you do not know it) where the two main events are after the Festivus dinner are, the ‘Feats of Strength’ where you have to wrestle the strongest man, and ‘The airing of grievances’ which are just that and everyone tells everyone else off.

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

Put simply the elite are corrupt, hypocritical and authoritarian. They may genuinely believe they are morally better because they hold the “correct” opinions but their actions and their beliefs grate against reality. They are rightly loathed like most undeserving elites and the power of their language to persuade is waning (The words racist, fascist etc etc have no power in 2020 in comparrison to just 10 years ago) so they are forced to use more and more authoritarian measures (hate speech laws = blasphemy laws etc). The populace will be criminalised and pathologised and there is only one way that leads and that is to uprising.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

Is Jacob Reese mogg part of the elite?
Is Boris part of the elite?

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Does Jeremy Smith have a minor place among London’s elite ““ I wonder?
Lifestyle qualifiications:
1. Lavishly paid job in the hedge-fund world of London’s Mayfair.
2. Luxury flat in the sought-after Woke enclave of Islington.
3. Roots in middle-class America
4. Enjoyment of the luxury provided by the comfortable moral certainties of that Woke worldview he never tires of sharing.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Why bother going to the trouble of playing the ball, when it’s so much easier to hack down the man?

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

You criticize the argument for not naming specific individuals, but once that happens, you claim it’s ad hominem.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Ah! That trusty old ad hominem red card ““ brought into play by those commentators who like pretend (when it suits them) that they honour genteel debating society rules of etiquette.

Can you really separate the man, his background and, above all, his motives from the arguments he deploys?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Your ideas stand, or fail, based on their own merits. Or do you have one rule for people who you think you can identify, and another for those who hide behind anonymous pseudonyms?

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

If you could, for just a moment, stop struggling to position yourself a step higher up on the moral highground we might be able to engage in a more serious a discussion. However, that struggle exists as persistent thread through most of your comments so I don’t imagine you will relinquish it in the near future.

I really shouldn’t have to explain such basic things to you (especially as you believe I am up to no good) but anyway, here goes:

You might flatter yourself that ideas stand or fail purely on their own merits but if that were true we might be able to pass the administration of human affairs on to machines ““ an unlikely outcome even though deluded Marxists (no shortage of those!) insist there is such a thing as “political science”.

So many discussions in online forums such as this are concerned with moral issues. Morality, as expressed through religion or politics, is always about power ““ the power to define how people should conduct their lives. The drive behind that “will to power” never originates from a cool assessment of which “ideas stand or fail based on their own merits” ““ there is too much at stake.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

I don’t believe you’re “up to no good”. I have no opinion on the matter. I don’t like personal attacks and it’s particularly bad when it’s on named people from the anonymous. But that’s obviously my persistent thread showing through.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Is that really all you have to contribute to this discussion ““ your usual moral point-scoring? Are you aware that this moral one-upmanship is a persistent thread that runs throughout your comments?

The anonymity issue is a red-herring to say the least. As a tactic to avoid confronting the questions I have raised it is obviously useful to you (as is the ad hominem red card) ““ but it could hardly be described as honest.

By the way, do readers here have any way of knowing whether “Jeremy Smith” or “Kevin Ryan” are the real names of those commentators?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

You implicitly invited others to start personal attacks on him. You’re now attacking me and asking what other readers know about me. (nice)

You’re also the person who couldn’t bring himself to say whether “Black men are generally useless” was a racist statement or not.

Keep your own moral points score. You’ll probably only need one hand.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I really am starting to wonder if you actually understand any of the points I have made. This may go some way to explaining why I am finding it difficult to engage in a serious discussion with you. Your comments (at least the ones I have read) do not rise above the level of moral condemnation/denunciation ““ your latest being another instance of the same.

For example: on the ad hominem question I made the effort to explain as clearly as possible my views on that subject and to respond with a clearly outlined retort to your (frankly rather clichéd) assertion that arguments stand or fall on their own merits. Your response? Moral condemnation of course ““ you could have widened the discussion by putting forward an argument of your own. There was nothing to stop you. On that score you remind me of those musicians of limited ability characterised as Johnny-One-Note.

“…the person who couldn’t bring himself to say…” (!) Just like the woman in that US restaurant who couldn’t “bring herself” to raise a fist in support of Black Lives Matter. But I dealt with that point previously.

Asking what other readers know about you?!
Sounds a bit paranoid to me.
To quell your fears I had better clarify the relevant comment:
1. You criticised my use of the so-called ad hominem method saying that it was particularly bad coming from place of anonymity.
[Clear so far?]
2. I replied that the names you and other people use here could be equally anonymous. Just because a name looks conventional does not mean it is real.
[I hope that’s clear ““ and a fair point wouldn’t you agree?]

Your last line ““ was that some sort of reference to masturbation? If so, then you really have run out of ideas.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Well, I replied to your comment on Saturday 19 December but that reply seems to have vanished so I will try again.

Your first paragraph includes accusations which are, quite frankly, so off the mark that they come accross as paranoid.
You accused me of attacking “named people from the anonymous”. I simply made the point a real sounding name is not necessarily real. [with me so far?]. Readers should not therefore assume that a real sounding name is the real name of the commentator as it could be equally anonymous [simple, straightforward and a fair point ““ would you not agree?]

Do you genuinely imagine I am interested in what other readers know about you? You flatter yourself. I have countered the arguments you put forward (yes, the actual arguments) and given my views on the ad-hominem question in some detail. Your responses have been so unimpressive (to say the least) that I wonder if you really have a grasp of the discussion.

That view is reinforced by the fact that you are now reduced to making dubious accusations and worse ““ that last line in your comment above ““ grubby and cheap.

Finally, I have clearly explained to you in another thread that, like the woman in the US restaurant who refused to raise a fist to show solidarity with BLM, I will not be pressured by your moral bullying into giving a verdict on another reader’s comment.

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Well, nearly a dozen people played the ball and you didn’t play it back. I guess he just did it to grab your attention

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Yep

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago

Does your first sentence defint the elite or is wealth part of the definition? Does being elite depend on wealth or opinions?

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

The article compares it to theocracy and I think that is a good comparrison. To me it looks like believers get rewarded and they get rewarded by the wealthy elite they are supporting and maintaining a few of them are then raised to elite status to demonstrate the rewards of belief and conformism.

MagentaPen 07mm
MagentaPen 07mm
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

I don’t think wealth is required to be part of this elite. At least not a tremendous amount of wealth relative to the average person. In the U.S., there are millions of people who work jobs at universities, government agencies, etc. many of whom don’t make more salary than about the median U.S. salary. Consider a department administrator at a state university. But they consider themselves part of the “elite” because they believe the “correct” opinions. So I would say “no” wealth isn’t part of the definition, although certainly almost all of the elite at least believe that they have the option of pursuing wealth.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

10 pages of comments, several along the lines of ‘best thing I’ve ever read’, and yet there’s not even agreement on who these ‘elites’ are supposed to be. It’s ridiculous.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

Well and clearly written, truly refreshing-good luck going forward…
I am finding it increasingly tiresome hearing all of the grievances of the BLM movement. In America they de-value the country because of supposed “institutional racism”, ignoring the fact that many thousands gave their lives to end slavery. Where are the protests in Brussels (the new E.U. capital)? In the 20th century, years after the civil war in the U.S., Belgium slaughtered 10 million in the Congo, and enslaved the rest. Our schools are grooming future partisans with narrowly selected facts, while discouraging independent thought and research. BLM is a racist-Marxist organization.

James Dye
James Dye
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Stephen, the Red Scare is out of date. Outside your right-wing bubble, nobody takes this seriously.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  James Dye

You need to get out and about…maybe visit a few Marxist paradises-perhaps read the BLM statement of Marxist ideology.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

So to summarise for my understanding. The system is build on the idea that some people (minorities) are oppressed by the system. Everyone buys into this. That the system is corrupt and isn’t morally correct, is accepted. These morals (opinions) are elevated above the system (capitalism etc) which gives leaders the power not to play by the old rules, but only hold the accepted views. They are therefore liberated from actual responsibility to make things better. Their only responsibility is to hold the necessary views. This means that by playing the oppressed, minorities are not fighting for change, but cementing a new hierarchy that will keep them oppressed (or one where nothing changes, accept for some minorities that buy into the idea of oppression completely- write books etc).

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Yes, that is it, more or less. A good example of being ‘liberated from actual responsibility to make things better’ is the public education system in the US and, to a considerable extent, the public education systems in the UK and many other western countries.

For as long as these education systems are devoid of all reason, rigour and discipline, and run primarily for the benefit of left-wing teaching/administrative unions, they will continue to fail poor kids of all colours and ethnicities.

Another example if the green/environmental racket. The elites wish to build windmills etc everywhere that will make energy unaffordable for most people, and lead to energy blackouts. And they want to take away your car. What they should have been doing is creating towns, cities and societal structures that enable people to work either at home, or within walking/cycling distance of their home.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It is all in the ‘Frankfurt School 11 Points’. Going back to the left, Nihilist, humanist, Liberal philosophies of 1930s Germany. They figured better to break the system so it can be rebuilt back (into some dystopian mess).

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

Your summary starts well but then veers into the weeds. Yes the system is unfair, not everyone gets a fair crack of the whip. Most people see this as something to improve. Yes it shows that unrestrained capitalism isn’t a cure-all path to fairness, if anything it cements social division.
This is where we head off the road. Which ‘leaders’ are we talking about? What power do they get from only holding accepted views ? Who liberates them (whoever they are) from responsibility? How is this demonstrated? In what sense do minorities ‘play’ the oppressed? How do all the arguments against BLM square with ‘not fighting for change’ ? etc etc? I could go on, but basically we’re into the fictional world that the article creates of vague characters with unexplained motives doing unrecognisable things.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

It is difficult to explain exactly but Noam Chomsky makes some arguments to this effect. Basically, it is not about any one individual but about cultural norms within institutions. By challenging BLM etc, we are trying to make a logical case. We are not fighting for racism but in a sense trying to focus on practical solutions that work in the real world because it is apparent that virtue signaling can set up perverse cultures and hierarchies as outlined in the article. Liberation takes the form of left wing parties that used to support the oppressed now talking about cultural issues because this is easier, it lets them off the hook.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

Noam is wrong about everything, the guy is what the above article is about.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

In what sense do minorities ‘play’ the
oppressed? Umm, Kamala Harris (child of a very privileged background) was just gifted the US Presidency because of her race and gender. This isn’t fictional. This isn’t vague.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Oh ok. I thought she was vice president and that she was long qualified lawyer, who’d previously been San Fran D.A. and California Attorney General. Does her colour and gender exclude her from the job, in your opinion?

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Is it possible or do some minorities use their oppressed status to get things they want?

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Biden (who has vowed not to run for a second term, unlike any other president in history) specifically said that he would only consider a women of colour as VP.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

A “long qualified lawyer” who put thousands in jail for partaking of a smokable weed that she laughed about using herself…

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Is that what he said?
And where exactly did she place in the democrat primaries?

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Actually, she’s neither at the moment: she’ll become VP on the 20th of January. But there has been speculation that Joe Biden is unlikely to serve out his term, and therefore she’ll take the office of the POTUS. That remains to be seen.

Viva R
Viva R
3 years ago

Not “everyone buys into this” and not everyone accepts that the system is “corrupt and isn’t morally correct”. Those are the positions of elites who regard with contempt the deplorable masses who reject/disagree with their version of “morality”.

Not “the system” but the attack and destruction of “the system is built on the idea that some people are oppressed by the system”.

Populism happened because it became widely noticed that we have transitioned from a liberal society to something that more closely resembles a corrupt theocracy.

The elite version of “morality” is fanatically religious and anyone who disagrees is a heretic who needs to be punished (cancel culture). The rules of the elite religion are “for thee and not for me”- like Pharisees. Populism/Trumpism is the revolt of the “deplorables”.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago
Reply to  Viva R

Can’t understand your response. I am summarising the article’s ideas which about how these ideas are pretty mainstream in organisations- I accept that not everyone accepts this, they don’t have to, it only has to be the dominant ideology by those in charge.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

If race did not exist the left would certainly have to invent it.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

You know they really wouldn’t. The right keeps the populace sufficiently divided by class and wealth, that the left always has enough work to do.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Ahhh yes, I remember Old leftie Uncle Joe, strolling about and sharing bread with the kulaks.

Sarah
Sarah
3 years ago

A fantastic article. Reminded me uncannily of a passage from Dostoyevsky’s novel, The Idiot, which I’ve pasted below. The Elite today are like the Russians of the 19th century – they are not American, they are not British, they are not nationals. They yearn to be global as the Russian elites yearned to be French.
Page 302-303:
‘Well, my fact is that Russian Liberalism is not an attack on the existing order of things, but is an attack on the very essence of things, on the things themselves, not merely on the order of things; not on the Russian regime, but on Russia herself. My Liberal goes so far as to deny even Russia herself, that is, he hates and beats his own mother. Every unhappy and disastrous fact in Russia excites his laughter and almost his delight. He hates the national habits, Russian history, everything. If there is any justification for him, it is that he doesn’t know what he is about and takes his hatred of Russia for Liberalism of the most fruitful kind… This hatred of Russia was quite lately almost regarded by some of our Liberals as sincere love for their country. They boasted that they knew better than other people how that love ought to show itself; but now they have become more candid and are ashamed of the very idea of “loving” one’s country; the very conception of it they have dismissed and banished as trivial and pernicious. This is a fact; I insist on that and”Š and the truth must be told sooner or later fully, simply, and openly. But it’s a fact that has never been heard of and has never existed in any other people since the word began, and so it is an accidental phenomenon and may not be permanent, I admit. There cannot be a Liberal anywhere else who hates his own country. How can we explain it among us? Why, by the same fact before, that the Russian Liberal hitherto has not been Russian; nothing else explains it, to my thinking.’

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

Another example of Dostoevsky’s prescience. In this instance he foretold Emily Thornberry, Nick Clegg and Andrew Adonis.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago

Wow. Just wow.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it put this clearly before.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

Sure you have, just earlier about how if there are no ‘Good Banners’ to march behind, people will march behind poor ones.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

It’s hard to know actually, if the elites are actually in delusion or self delusion.

From a lower middle class background I went to a posh uni and had posh friends. Generally a likeable bunch to hang with but…

I do remember a dinner party ( something I didn’t normally attend prior to this university). There was discussion about public schools (that is fee paying schools for the non English amongst you).

Everybody was against them except myself. I suggested they be kept for their educational standards but be made more meritocratic. This clearly displeased the table.

Later on though during the drinks section of the party a large enough group assembled on the sofa, and started discussing, albeit quietly, what schools they would send their kids to to help them get into the best secondary schools later on. Some of these people – most – had no children yet although the graduate program was for mature students. One guy who had the most useful information was the very guy who was most vehement earlier on.

I don’t know how this works, does everybody in this class know the original moralising is mere performance? I suppose so. It would have been a monumental social faux pas for me to to have interrupted the conversation to point out the hypocrisy. And needlessly aggressive. So I didn’t.

I did get a bit of a rep for being a Tory though for supporting fee paying schools.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

I’ve noticed exactly the same behavior in my rich, liberal friends. They preach what they don’t practice.

gravesspicer
gravesspicer
3 years ago

Interestingly US black men have done economically well in the Trump years, and psychologically in the 8 years prior. Perhaps that partly explains the summer revolt of the cosmopolitans. They are intolerant people. Arendt wrote another book about people who were ‘certain’ and pulled down statues.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
3 years ago
Reply to  gravesspicer

Stick around Zee, some of the best here is from the interchanges and repartee. Don’t forget to allow for the difference in British and American
languages.

patjahsd
patjahsd
3 years ago

Excellent piece.

In the USA, we have suffered since 1990 under a plague of work visas. These have brought in millions of low-paid indentured serfs which are used to replace high-cost USA citizen workers with low-cost low-skilled foreign workers.

But the key point, in relation to this article, is that these are Asian – Indian, Chinese. The false doctrine of “diverse work force” is sometimes used to justify the wholesale dumping of all USA citizen workers in favor of the cheap Asians. The real reason is economic, but the false claim of “diversity” is the cover.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  patjahsd

You have no idea what you are talking about.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  patjahsd

I think the problem here, when it comes to work visas for educated and hard working Asians, is that the US public school system does not produce enough people capable of doing the STEM to any level. Meanwhile, middle class Americans generally prefer to study the social sciences and all that nonsense at college.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  patjahsd

Read ‘Janesville – an American Story’ as one explanation to what has happened to the US work force. It covers the closure of a GM plant in Wisconsin. It’s a depressing read, but as a European reader it boggles the mind the standard of living that US workers enjoyed in 2013 for bolting doors on trucks. I suspect what was true for GM is true for much of US industry.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago

Am I supposed to simply not notice that all of this “identity” (across n-dimensions) driven squabbling is perilously adjacent to Jay Gould’s observation that he could pay one half of the working class to kill the other half?

Which is to say that the oligarchs have at least as much to gain from this morass of distractions as the rather more nebulous cabal of leftists conjured up by Crawford?

Feh. A pox upon all of their houses …

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

In March 2016, NATO’s senior commander in Europe (US Gen. Breedlove) warned that Russia was weaponising Syrian migration to destabilise Europe. Three months later, heavily influenced by rising immigrant numbers, the British voted for Brexit.
The Left argues for human rights, the Right populists rise across Europe and it all kicks off.

Na Zdorovie suckers.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

The Anti-QAnon !! Spasibo, comrade.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

That was 3 facts in a row. The conclusion confirms the warning of NATO’s senior commander. I can understand not wanting to hear it when you’ve been played though.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Hmm, I seem to remember being told that ‘correlation’ is not ‘causation’, or some such.
Besides, your statement seems to ignore the preceding 40 odd years of lived experience.
As an aside, I would take the statement of Breedlove with a pinch of deflectionary salt given the fact that arming the ‘rebels’ lead to the continued destabilisation of the region, was something the West seemed to think was ok. All the best.

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago

Simply the best article I have read in 2020. Thank you.

Paula Adams
Paula Adams
3 years ago

What I hear you saying is that millennials and academics are full of themselves. Amen! Knowledge without God has corrupting power.

Teo
Teo
3 years ago
Reply to  Paula Adams

They have become atomised, they believe they have usurped the (Christian) God.

Zee K.
Zee K.
3 years ago

Just became a member only so I could log in to say this was a fascinating article, and thank you for sharing your perspective.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
3 years ago
Reply to  Zee K.

Zee, stick around – some of the best writings here are some of the
interchanges and repartee.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

The policing question is a very difficult one. I most certainly wish the police in this country had never been armed. I think if I were the kind of person to go in for either face masks, slogans or public protestations my slogan would include a call to disarm the police. I would wish them to return to the thing they were supposed to be when Robert Peel created them. I would not want them to be defunded, but I don’t wish them to be sanctified like the NHS and for them to become an armed arm of the state and so well remunerated that they are effectively above criticism because their huge salaries cannot be questioned or justified. In fact the more I think about it, the more I would like the police, as they have become, to be disbanded and then remade, in accordance with Peel’s principles.

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

I could get behind “demilitarise the police.”

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago

In the USA police are definitely much too highly militarised. This is not really an issue in the UK, and we don’t have a big issue with trigger happy police gunning down innocent citizens – though it does happen occasionally, but we hardly ever get stuff like this https://en.wikipedia.org/wi… – at least, not yet. Police ‘Flying Squad’ who ambushed would-be armed robbers outside my front door a couple years ago – & shot one – have actually been put on trial!

We do have a problem with ‘Anarcho-Tyranny’ where the police prefer to police speech on the Internet, and target people who breach Covid ‘guidelines’, while avoiding dealing with actual crime, especially crime by politically protected and politically sensitive groups.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

The “trigger happy police” narrative is as popular in Canada as it is in the UK and it is just as misguided because it attempts to apply the realities of distinctly ‘non-gun’ cultures to a society where guns are absolutely a cultural reality.
Does that mean that American police don’t shoot un-armed citizens?
No.
And they should be called to account.
But it means that policing in the US is a totally different ball game because of the proliferation of guns both by criminals and law-abiding citizens.
In cultures where most people have never seen an actual gun , mush less owned one it’s a difficult thing to get your head around.
Simply put, in a police-citizen interaction, say a traffic stop for speeding, a London or Toronto cop has to be aware that there’s a small possibility a weapon may be present.
A Chicago cop would be surprised if there wasn’t a weapon.

The stats are also quite clear.
The instances of ‘shot by police for no apparent reason whatsoever’ are as rare as lightening strikes.
In almost all cases where an altercation ends badly you’ll find that the ‘victim’ simply didn’t respond or obey a lawful order by the police and needlessly escalated the situation.
Of course the current climate of race politics suggests that a certain demographic is being targeted but I don’t care what colour you are, if you respond to a police instruction to “show me your hands” with “Go eff yourself” it will not end well for you.
Why?
Because unlike the UK, where such stroppy behaviour may result in a wrestling match or a cuff on the ear for your impertinence an American cop, for his or her own personal safety, must assume it signals a willingness and intention to escalate to deadly force.

As Black conservatives such as Larry Elder keep saying – “If you comply – you don’t die”.

For a lighter, yet equally truthful treatment, look for Chris Rock’s “How not to get your a** kicked by the police”

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

A (white) friend of mine’s brother was shot dead by police in Corvallis, Oregon for standing in traffic waving a car aerial. The police said they felt threatened by it. You might call that a reason, I guess. The news reports I google are now all off limits to UK thanks to the GDPR, but here’s a flavour:

DA says police shooting justified – Corvallis Gazette-Timeswww.gazettetim… “Âș news “Âș local “Âș da-says-police-sh…
23 Dec 2005 ” A Corvallis police officer’s shooting of a mentally ill man brandishing a metal rod was justified and no charges will be filed, said Benton County …

Corvallis police involved in fatal shooting | Local …democratherald.com “Âș news “Âș corvallis-police-involved-in…
26 Nov 2005 ” CORVALLIS – Corvallis police officers were involved in a fatal shooting Friday night. Police are withholding the name of the deceased and the …

Corvallis officer cleared in fatal shooting | Local …democratherald.com “Âș news “Âș corvallis-officer-cleared-in-…
23 Dec 2005 ” Officer Brett Roach fired four shots at Richard Townsend, with the fatal bullet puncturing the 50-year-old’s heart, a medical examiner concluded.

Edit: The police version is mentioned here https://www.corvallisadvoca… – I like how the car aerial he was using to ‘conduct traffic’ becomes a ‘metal bar ‘ or ‘metal rod’. Anyway you can be sure there was no national media uproar!

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

There’s no denying that deadly force incidents happen that are seemingly unjustified and cause any reasonable person to say “WTF?”
My point is that the stats clearly show these are extremely rare and completely debunk the dangerous and unhelpful fake news spread by BLM and their useful idiots that the police are actively ‘hunting’ black people as a matter of policy.
The irrefutable truth is if you are a young black male not involved in criminal activity and you’re making a list of all of the bad things that could possibly happen to you today – getting shot by the police will be one of the last on it.
However
You bring up an important point about another tough job the police are increasingly facing – confrontations with the mentally ill.
In hindsight yes, in some cases it seems obvious that the police use deadly force unnecessarily but these incidents happen very quickly in real time and threat assessments arising from failure to comply must be made without the benefit of team meetings and discussion groups.
There are a couple of cases in Canada that stand out.
A mentally ill teen with a knife was shot by police even though he was not in a position to harm anyone but himself.
The office was charged and convicted of manslaughter.
In a more recent case police received and responded to multiple 911 calls regarding a domestic situation.
A woman was acting irrationally and physically assaulting other family members . (the family had called 911).
Police and EMS were on scene, recognized what was happening and were making arrangements to take her to hospital.
These facts were all easily verifiable from several sources.
The distraught woman ran to the balcony and fell to her death trying to climb to another floor.
But that didn’t stop local activists from running the “police take another innocent black life” narrative.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

The media narrative is certainly false, in fact it’s close to an inversion of the truth. In the US the stats show police (of any race) are significantly less likely to shoot unarmed blacks than unarmed whites – they know that killing blacks can get them in trouble; while no one cares if they kill whites or Latinos etc.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Newman

I lived in Corvallis back in the 1970s, back in my drifter days. Used to get drunk at Squirrels Bar, with the other tree planters. Wild times, and I even managed to get beaten up by the police there. Although they are not mean cops, just a coincidence.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

My understanding is that Corvallis would hire dirty cops kicked out of the LAPD, because they were cheap and Corvallis is poor.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

I am from both sides of the Atlantic and speak both dialects. British just do not realize how guns are in USA Go to any ‘Gun Show’, and they are everywhere, and you can buy any weapon for cash with NO ID required. Just give the seller $200 and walk out with your makarov pistol and a box of ammo. Then in my current State you can then carry it loaded concealed or openly on your person or in your car. NO permit what so ever is needed. To buy in a personal sale, nor to carry a concealed gun. Just buy and put it in your pocket and go armed, 100% legal.

It is also legal to kill anyone who threatens you, or is in your house without permission.

Back in London when I turned legal age, I think it was 17, I applied for my first shotgun certificate, and was granted it, they are easy enough to get in UK, but then the laws are massive about the gun and what it allowed with it. If you say you wish to own a gun for defense they will ban you for life from ever owning a gun in UK!

I like the American system very much as I think it a right to defend yourself from all causes. I do not go armed, but feel it is good if I had to. Police are not required to defend you at all, they just investigate any crime against you, your defense is up to you, and the weak can do nothing against the strong.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Canada’s situation is unique.
We have UK style gun laws so hunting weapons are allowable by permit but a handgun carry permit is virtually unobtainable except in rare and special circumstances.
On the other hand we share a 4000 mile border with the biggest source of guns on the planet so our local gangs and criminals have no problem getting locked and loaded.
Our politicians have proven themselves either unwilling or unable to do anything to redress that other than call for gun bans that criminals wouldn’t obey anyway.
I have friends stateside and I totally get the ‘defend your castle’ attitude.
If criminals have guns why shouldn’t law-abiding citizens have them as well is a fair point.
Even though I do like the idea that guns are not so prolific in Canada in my view the air of moral superiority so often displayed by Canadians or Britons in the public discourse is entirely unwarranted and simply demonstrates historical and cultural ignorance.
America does it different.
End of.

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

As Black conservatives such as Larry Elder keep saying – “If you comply – you don’t die”.

Justine Ruszczyk.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

You are certainly correct that the Police should not be armed. Their record over the years has been atrocious. They have neither the training ‘bottle’/ courage nor esprit de corps to perform such a function. It should be left to the Army who can at least shoot straight, and are highly disciplined.
Currently our armed police remind me of that rabble in Northern Ireland, the late, but unlamented B Specials.

However on pay I think you are bring slightly mean. A senior ‘officer’ in say the Met, only “trousers” about £ 65-75K, pa. You can hardly keep a boy at Eton on that, and still live a reasonable life can you?

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Whilst I understand your sentiment – it most certainly should not be the Army for both pratical/tactical reasons and legal/constitutional ones:

Practical/tactical:

1 – Armed police, largely due to the threat of Charlier Hebdo style attacks are highly trained marksmen. They also simply have the ability to be on hand rapidly in an emergency by their numbers and resourcing/structures/manning.

2 – The army is not able to train its soldiers to the required standards of marksmanship. There is only just enough funding for all personnel in the army to achieve the basic minimum markmanship standards for warfighting. One heck of a lot of time, effort and resources would be required to get even a few specialist units up to the standards required. Then we are back to point 1 because even a few units could not be available across the UK across all major towns and cities at readiness at all times.

3 – Soldiers are trained from day 1 to shoot to kill. Police training is far more nuanced and apt for civil issues (preservation of life is paramount for example)

Legal/constitutional:

There are lots of laws governing the use of the military in domestic incidents. Even using the Army to stack sandbags requires high level approval (Military Aid to Civilian Authorities). Constitutionally it’s a big step to deploy the Army in the UK for any purpose.

It is essential that we remain sceptical of any moves to arm the police further, and we should only keep this capability whilst it is required, but just to see how effective the police were in London over the past few terror incidents suggests that I think we have it about right for now.

I also do not agree at all that their record has been atrocious – it’s actually remarkably good aside from a few high profile accidents. Applying lethal force in a lawful manner is exceptionally complex and difficult. In the UK in 2019, shots were fired in c.0.00065% of fire arms events.

https://assets.publishing.s

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

As you may have guessed I can recall
the days when the unique feature of this country, and one of which we were inordinately proud, was that we had very, very, few armed Police

The ” lesser breeds” as Kipling termed them, were, and still are, armed to the teeth, and what a truly revolting sight they are to behold.

If I may address you points in reverse order. History does expunge the record, and I would have thought that the shooting of Mrs Groce, by “Lovelock of the Yard”, the slightly earlier near slaughter of Stephen Waldorf by Finch & Jardine, and the more recent killing of Mr Grainger, all rank as atrocious, do they not?

And let us not forget the Police Firearms Instructor who shot and permanently crippled a Police student at Kidlington, whilst play acting “Dirty Harry” with a .44 Magnum. (or was it a .357, I forget).

However I grant you things are improving, and only about twenty people have had to be shot over the last ten years. So we are not talking about Rorke’s Drift.

I agree there are certain legal constraints, which if they are thought inadequate, it is for Parliament to change. However the storming of the Iranian Embassy by the SAS was quite legitimate was it not?

Your comment “Police training is far more nuanced” implies they taught to wound not kill. Are you sure about that?

I find your comment that the Army ” is not able to train its soldiers to the required standard of marksmanship” absolutely astonishing.

I doubt very much if our various Special Forces or the the Small Arms School Corps (SASC) would agree you.
Thanks to ‘adventures’ in Iraq and Iraq, Army sniping skills have never been better. Perhaps you were thinking of Northern Ireland, when for obvious reasons sniping was restricted, the ‘rubber bullet’ being (reluctantly) the preferred weapon of choice.

Whilst we are on this interesting topic do you happen to know how the Police and Army have performed at Bisley recently?

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

There are still “very very few” of our 123,200 regular Police Officers in the UK who are armed. In 2018 there were only 6,500 trained firearms officers, in total, who could be deployed; that is is fall of 200 hundred in comparison with 2016.

So, I think we can still be very very proud.

There have been 26 fatal police firearms incidents between 2008 – 2018, from a total of 62 incidents of police operational firearms discharges.
Speaking as an ex-serviceman, I also would take exception to the idea that service personnel cannot be trained to the required standard; after all, we don’t need the ‘red dot’ to achieve accuracy.
I think the ‘nuance’ comment (OP correct me if I’m wrong) was referring to the inter-personal people skills that are required in modern policing before reaching for a firearm. Which has, to be fair, been a shortfall in operational service units that have been sent into hot-spots on ‘policing’ missions. (figures from fullfact) All the best.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Red Reynard

That’s about 5% or more than a Roman Legion or a modern Brigade.

Given the threat, of Sinbad & Co, is that really justified? The reduction of 200 since 2016 is be applauded, but much more should be done don’t you think?

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Thanks for your response.

I agree those were atrocious incidents – and should not be forgotten or lessons ignored, but two were more than 35 years ago, before most serving policemen were born. Given that armed police respond to over 10k incidents a year this is quite remarkable.

Your comment “Police training is far more nuanced” implies they taught to wound not kill. Are you sure about that?

Was possibly a bit vague there, but the main gist is that from day 1 Army recruits are taught conventional warfighting – kill the enemy. Police marksmanship training from day 1 is about preservation of life, i.e. only apply lethal force in order to protect the life of innocents/others.

Domestic counter terrorism training, for example, is much closer to the first (warfighting) than regular firemarms policing, but contains a significant degree of nuance that the police are already highly versed in. The army – significantly less so (at present), although there has been a ramp up in recent years.

I am sorry to say that the Army is in no position whatsoever to step in, certainly not without wholesale changes which in turn would affect their other capabilities.

It’s not the Army’s or soldiers’ fault however – there isn’t the funding to put the required number of soldiers through the level of training required. Shooting on a range (at Bisley for example or any) is very very different to the skillsets required for armed policing/counter terrorism. There are precious few facilities that can accommodate units to train in these techniques. At present there’s barely the ammunition requirements for soldiers to get to the basic required standards for a regular deployment.

On a side note, yes there are still some units at the required standards, though these will be exceptional circumstances. The SASC are however, for what it’s worth, just custodians of range safety and firearms drills – they generally don’t care how you shoot as long as you don’t kill anyone or damage anything (in short!).

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I think we are “drinking at the same well”!

Thanks for explaining the nature of ‘far more nuanced approach”.

I’m not sure the SASC would agree with you! However there were keen fans of the SA 80, which is hard to forget.

I am glad you agree that our Special Forces still have excellent sniper assets, and presumably ‘Hereford’ still has all the required training facilities?

However I gather most Infantry Battalions still seem to able to maintain a least a Sniper Section within their Recce Platoon or whatever they now call it.

Hypothetically if we had another Iranian Embassy Siege Operation, who would execute the mission? Surely the Special Forces, or is that anachronistic thinking?

Incidentally of the roughly 6.5 K armed Policemen, do you happen to know how many are women, if any?

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Haha – the SASC might not agree for sure, but the rest of the Army probably would 😉 The SA80 is very accurate for sure – but not the best rifle. Too heavy, high maintenance and cannot shoot from both shoulders easily (an important skill in room clearance). There’s a good reason no specialist units have adopted it and only Jamaica bought it.

Perhaps this isn’t the forum to discuss this in more detail – inshallah perhaps one day over a pint.

I do not know about the number of women serving armed police I am afraid. Despite my apparent championing of the thin blue line my experience is greener in colour.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Indeed, thanks for the Craic!

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

https://www.youtube.com/wat

Very topical – good interview if you’re interested

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Many thanks, I’ll get back to you.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

How very encouraging, we are going to need that sort of pragmatism come the Spring! Thanks again.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Agreed – and no worries, glad you liked it. I thought it was an excellent interview

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

As I mention in response to Mark Corby – I think we have policing about right in the UK with regards to firearms.

However it is essential to not allow this to be the norm. Should the requirement for armed police be reduced, we must be prepared to follow suit in manning etc. It needs to be a two way street and not just a one way sliding scale towards full militarisation.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

The regular Police Officers in the UK are – famously – not armed. In 2018 there were only 6,500 trained firearms officers, in total, who could be deployed; that is is fall of 200 hundred in comparison with 2016. From a low of 6 occassions of weapons discharge (fired suring operations), figures for 2018 show 12 occassions. We are not the USA (no offense), and the importation of American issues into our National Narrative is unwanted, uneccessary, and unwise. (figures from fullfact) All the best.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

“…the absurd state of mind revealed by these masses; they are only concerned with their own well-being. As they do not see, beyond the benefits of civilization, marvels of invention and construction which can only be maintained by great effort and foresight, they imagine that their role is limited to demanding these benefits peremptorily, as if they were natural rights. In the disturbances caused by scarcity of food, the mob goes in search of bread, and the means it employs is generally to wreck the bakeries.”
Ortega y Gasset
“The Revolt of the Masses”-worth reading.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago

Why is that that so many of those sanctimoniously preaching to us about white privileged, are white and highly privileged?

We have Cambridge’s Vice Chancellor, Stephen Toope, hectoring the faculty about white privilege.

UK universities have an ethnic representation of 0.6% of male professors and 0.5% of female professors, far, far lower than the country as a whole.

Surely the right thing for the sincere Mr. Toope to do, as it is for all white people so concerned about their white privilege, is to make amends by stepping down from his position, on the proviso that it is given to someone from the BAME community.

.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Tinonint

Exactly, and I make a similar point in a post below.

Bruce McKay
Bruce McKay
3 years ago

Thomas Sowell goes into great depth about this in his Intellectuals and Society (2010) for those who would like to read more on this.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

A perfect analysis. Unimproveably apt.

What we need to recognise is that there are in this world people who genuinely want a civilized society; and others who most passionately don’t.

The motives of the Destroyers are various. Some have had hopeless rotten parenting, taken to drugs, feel deeply aggrieved at growing up in a world where they have no sense of a meaning and a goal in life; and are full of angry resentment. All such are used and exploited by those Destroyers who quite simply are of the Devil’s party.

These latter are furiously angry with God for creating a universe which is under judgement and where everyone and everything will be adjudicated according to absolute standards of right and wrong. This includes God Himself.

They want an impossibiity; the freedom to sin without paying any ultimate absolute penalty.

Since they refuse to repent (= turn away) from this position, they are (and they know it) doomed; but in their rage against the Creator they desire to take as many others as possible with them, in order to wound the Maker of all things, who, in His character of Parent, can be hugely hurt by seeing his offspring become paltry ethical failures.

So, until the spiritual Millenium arrives in which everyone has decided to become happy and good the only way we can do so, there will always be these strategies on the go from the Totalitarian Nihilists aimed at subverting civilized living and turning human communities into jurisdictions where any brave word or act is severely punished; leaving each individual with a grim choice. Either he/she stands out against the tyranny and is tortured (cancel culture in our country already costs people their jobs); OR they conform to what is demanded of them in terms of Groupthink, in which case they are cowardly and contemptible.

The Totalitarian Nihilism takes protean shape-shifting forms; sometimes it is Fascism, sometimes Nazism, sometimes Communism. Currently it is Social Justice Warfare.

But underneath the face paint it is always the same diabolic desire to degrade human beings ethically.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Fantastic post! What absolutely amazed me was getting free Amazon Prime and seeing about half the shows are actually Evil. Netflix fewer, but evil as entertainment is the most common form almost. Much of the rest are merely degenerate, and a very few good and entertaining.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Why is it Americans always view Ancient Rome as some sort of colossal Bacchanalian Orgy?

That aside, an excellent essay. The remarks about “bloated educational machinery”, “smartness” and “state schools are turned into laboratories……”.etc, were sheer nectar to read.

This intellectual cancer will have to be addressed soon, as major conflict with China is not far away.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

“Why is it Americans always view Ancient Rome as some sort of colossal Bacchanalian Orgy?”
wide spread general ignorance

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Including parochial generalizations about “Americans”

greg waggett
greg waggett
3 years ago

Excellent.
Also, political cowardice by our institutions, moral cowardice by parents and left-wing ideology in schools and universities don’r help and ensure the eventual destruction of democracy.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

No one has yet mentioned the glaring irony that most of these elites, at least in the West, are extremely white. For instance, I cannot think of a prominent member of the EU’s various politburos that is not a white, middle or upper class caucasian. It is Hitler’s dream made real. This applies especially in the case of von der Leyen who, I believe, has approximately six kids. That would have earned you the Iron Cross or something in the Third Reich.

The same applies to most of the boards of the mindlessly shallow corporations who are jumping on the BLM bandwagon.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You mean their relentless virtue signaling has not convinced you of their innate goodness?

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It seems about half the Government of UK is some minority. BBC is Wokevill.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Brendan O’Neill talks very well and at length on this subject in yesterday’s Triggernometry podcast.

Michael Hobson
Michael Hobson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Think I recall O’Neill (on a Dave Rubin interview?) naming Christopher Lasch’s Culture of Narcissism as the best book he’d ever read on the New Left and the 60s and 7Os. It’s certainly an interesting read – but it’s a long time since I did so.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hobson

I read Lasch’s Culture Of Narcissism just a few months ago. Lasch was certainly a profound and prescient thinker. One can see intevriews with him from the early 1990s in which he talks about the elite that Crawford discusses here.

Hadyn Oriti
Hadyn Oriti
3 years ago

I really enjoy receiving the Unherd email in my inbox. Do not drop standards – ever!

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

The line of argument of this piece feeds tangentially into an opinion which I’ve have been inching towards for the last few years and it leads to a conclusion that will be catastrophe for those not in privileged positions. Let me clarify up front: I’m not making a political or moral judgement, just offering an opinion based on what I observe.

I think the ‘Nation State’ model is going to come under severe pressure everywhere as the decade progresses, including the US and China. (I accept it doesn’t look remotely like this is the case for China right now). The trend that is becoming clearer is the fact that the elite of global talent is increasingly distancing itself from narratives of the ‘Nation State’, and instead buying into a particular form of Global Cosmopolitanism – born in one country, educated in another, careers, businesses and assets distributed across multiple countries, retire in another. The core strata is obviously small as a percentage of total global population, but nevertheless hefty enough – perhaps a couple of hundred million people globally.

This shift of power is the result of the hardest of 21st century currencies – talent pools and talent hubs. The core strata is a symbiosis of two sectors: Capital and Knowledge – serial entrepreneurs, investors, etc on one side and the top end of STEM researchers, IT specialists, complex-plus management experts (law, finance, consultants etc) on the other.

The core strata are cheerled by a much bigger tranche who buy the package of values wholesale, but in reality are themselves nearly as much under financial and globalisation pressure as the left-behinds they are contemptuous of – urban University educated under 30’s, large numbers of those employed in civil services, NGOs etc. The key difference is, the employments and skillsets of the cheerleader class are not high-expertise or specialist (general management, administration etc), and therefore very vulnerable to automation, offshoring and inward migration – but they are as of yet blind to this.

The core strata is increasingly mercenary and is starting to call the shots across the west, and it is only a matter of time before it does so across the east, even in China. Driven by the fact that their services are bid, and any nation that loses it’s talent pools will stall. The outlooks of people in this class have significantly more in common with each other across nations than with the bulk of their own fellow citizens. The instinctive inclination of this class is to resent boundaries anywhere to the movement of capital and services (essentially people, although the physical movement of people is perhaps less important than the free movement of data, as big tranches of services can be supplied remotely; and they are less bothered about the movement of physical goods). This strata has the skillsets to thrive in the tech driven virtual levitation of the 21st century. It does not value rootedness.

And counter to this class are the majority of common people, and the incumbent ruling stratas within Nation States who represent them. This political class will preserve the status quo if they can, but can themselves switch sides if things go badly. Naturally, neither the large numbers of people rapidly losing ground to technological and globalisation forces in terms of their voice being heard and their sense of rootedness, independence and prosperity, nor their representatives within governments, will give way without a fight, so the potential for a violent counter reaction exists, especially in authoritarian nations.

But I doubt this trend is ultimately resistable, because you cannot really prevent people whose capital and services are in demand from moving – especially if they are ‘moving’ remotely. As an aside, perhaps China will attempt to put shackles on in a few years in the form of golden handcuffs to prevent it’s talent pools from draining out.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I think you’re a couple of decades behind the curve. These people have been assuming more power and influence for 20 or 30 years now. Brexit and Trump were a reaction. as are the governments in places like Poland and Hungary. Whether this reaction can succeed – at least in some countries – remains to be seen. We can already see that it has been rolled back in the US by a combination of the MSM, Big Tech and electoral fraud.

As for these people and China, they are more likely to be shot than to be ‘calling the shots’, although China will continue to deploy them as useful idiots, a subject written about here on Unherdl by James Bloodworth on Unherd last week.

Of course, one might accept the influence of these people had they proved to be principled and competent, but they are nothing of the sort.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I agree the trends have been building for a couple of decades at least, though they were not obvious to me until the last few years. My general point is somewhat different: we are seeing the rise of a new meritocracy based aristocracy, which will nevertheless see the bulk of common people become ever more disenfranchised, but this time with the narratives of meritocracy to offset those of unfairness. And it leaves the current middle tier, University educated but without top end skills, extremely vulnerable because they are walking away from narratives of the Nation State which afforded them some protection (at least in wealthy nations) and instead buying into globalisation narratives that will not help them one iota when they themselves become victims of those precise same forces.

Paula Adams
Paula Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Exactly. They were duped into believing a false narrative about how awesome it is to be service workers for the “common good” and how terrible it is to have ‘selfish’ individual goals. Communism marches on.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Paula Adams

Communism?! That is truly a stand out deluded comment (in a crowded field of contenders)

The force throwing most of the Western world out of work to be replaced by a combination of Asian brains and labour and AI/ robots is profit-driven, unrestrained, global free market CAPITALISM

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The stupid under 30s sheep do not realize they are so well paid because of the Office. The office meant you had to be a citizen or have a scarce work visa to do their computer based job. Work From Home is like TV makers in the 1960s cheering Japanese improvements in TV manufacturing. Their jobs will offshore like birds migrating in fall. Globalism is about to nail them. In USA about half the cost of an employee is costs other than pay. Take those costs away by using contract workers overseas, and also pay them half as much salary, and get 60 hour weeks for 40 pay…. jobs gone.

abookandart
abookandart
3 years ago

Captured perfectly. The transnational elitist tribe would be better labelled as the ‘basket of deplorables’.

Frank Leigh-Sceptical
Frank Leigh-Sceptical
3 years ago

Excellent. Outstanding. More please

elrobertowinson
elrobertowinson
3 years ago

What a timely read. I’ve been wondering on a personal level how to reconcile with a society that’s, in my view at least, rotten to the core. But this was an excellent contribution and gave me some perspectives so I can continue turning over my dilemma and hopefully manage to get in where I fit in.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

Wise words. The left has adopted the fake religiosity of the Reagan era “moral majority” as new clothes for its old cause. The difference being they are not content with having a war on drugs, or aids, or promiscuity. Because even with their fancy new clothes the electorate remains unwiling to vote for them, they think the answer is to try and create wars between races, genders and generations. I hope there are not enough bad people out there to help them achieve this. What is astonishing is the lack of interest in stopping them at the state security level. The likes of blm would have had the resources of Mi15 and CIA etc ranged against them in the 70s or 80s, and now they appear to be floating free.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

The CIA and MI5 are government bureaucracies, so you can expect their personnel tend to support BLM and other Establishment-backed causes.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

I think your post one of the most wrong here. Conflating the Moral Majority with the modern Liberal movement is such a false equivalent it could not be more wrong.

Ceelly Hay
Ceelly Hay
3 years ago

Excellent article, Augusto Del Noce back in the 60’s compared the underlying 60’s protest movement philosophy of ‘individual well being’ to the ‘common good’. With this philosophy the individual perspective is superior to a society perspective. Having a belief that complex problem ‘can not’ be solved by considering various perspectives to gain an understanding of the overall context certainly does suit the rich.

kecronin1
kecronin1
3 years ago

Really excellent article. With the passing of Walter Williams, I have been concerned that these conversations would die. To understand the shift that has occurred, an excellent book to read is the autobiography of Dovey Johnson Roundtree. She chronicles the struggles of a black woman to achieve during the Jim Crow era, but achieve she did in a breath taking way. Her belief system is no longer in fashion as she loved the constitution as did Walter Williams. They understood the constitution was interweaved with the weaknesses of men but its essence was its true value for all citizens. Today the constitution is held with disdain. As Mr. Crawford points out, this position is joined by the globalist technocrats as well as educators. I firmly believe that this confluence of various actors is why governments can achieve stringent Covid related lockdowns in the US, most notably in California, without abiding by constitutional standards. Because if he constitution is racist and illegitimate, why would use that as the framework to determine the legitimacy of authoritarian actions?

davidgmurphy
davidgmurphy
3 years ago

To sum up Crawford’s article in Marxian terms, the ideological rule of the intelligencia of contemporary globalized capitalism is the result of the triumph of neo-liberalism. The radical decoupling of this elite from society that has occurred is hyper-liberalism. It happened as a result of the political-economic crisis of the West in the late ’60s and early ’70s when the choice was between moving on with Keynesian social democracy toward more economic democracy or going backward to unfettered capitalism to create a contemporary version of feudalism, with rule by corporate property owners and disenfranchisement of everybody else. The recent ‘movements’ such as BLM, trans-rights, and identitarianism generally come from and are supported by this new elite, which is why their slogans have been quickly and uniformly adopted by all the central institutions of western society. One could call them Marxists if you like, but they are a perversion of Marx, where rather than the working class and socialism supplanting the capitalist class and capitalism, it is the middle class and individualism carrying out the goals of contemporay capitalism to create a Darwinian nightmare. So, please don’t libel poor Karl by calling them Marxists.

Steve Moxon
Steve Moxon
3 years ago
Reply to  davidgmurphy

It’s a long-developing backlash by Marxists in the vain attempt to salve their ‘cognitive dissonance’ over the failure of Marxism to win over ‘the workers’. This began back circa 1930 when Marxist intellectuals came up with the nonsense that ‘the worker’ is ‘repressed’ by ‘capitalism’. This, together with Engels’ weird anti-family notions, led to the basis of current extreme feminism. Transferred from Europe to the USA, this idiocy combined in Ivy League university with French philosophical notions to ‘confiscate the ball’ / ‘throw the toys out of the pram’ as in ‘postmodernism’ to deny any platform to debate the failure of Marxism. The New Left then co-opted the non-Left but seeming proto-revolutions of the civil rights and Stonewall movements, giving post-1970 three new putative victim classes of females, ‘blacks’ and ‘gays’. We all know the ridiculous extensions of this garbage that have ensued.
So it’s all by Marxists, but a perversion of Marxism, as you say, David. A truly obscene perversion. But then Marxism, indeed Leftism generally is an obscene fraud in the first place. It is the seeking of a cover for own status striving by ‘projecting’ it on to everyone else, whilst pretending your own status-seeking is somehow egalitarianism. Everyone susses that it’s a case of ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’, and there’s nothing Marxists can do to disoblige everyone of this common-sense insight, and hence the absurd totalitarian behaviour of Marxists in ‘identity politics’ / ‘PC’ / ‘cancel culture’ / the hokey wokey jive.

Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago

In the late 1840s Sir Charles Trevelyan came to Ireland – contrary to the myth that he wished to kill the Irish, he was actually filled with zeal to help them (although he HATED the Irish LANDOWNERS – in spite of most of them being Protestants, like himself). He was filled with a sense of moral duty – a fierce desire to serve the Common Good.

Again contrary to the myth, Sir Charles Trevelyan did not “leave things alone” he was not (contrary to almost every history textbook) a supporter of “laissez faire” (stop ordering people about – let them cooperate with each other voluntarily). He not only supported the Poor Law Tax (introduced in Ireland just over a decade before) he supported its massive INCREASE – under the slogan “Irish Property Must Pay For Irish Poverty” (in the mind of Sir Charles a tax on the landowners in Ireland somehow just hit them – and did not destroy the general economy, he had no understanding that all taxes are “passed on” to everyone, including the most poor). And as various local “Poor Law Unions” went bankrupt – Sir Charles Trevelyan in Dublin and the government back in London supported forcing areas of Ireland that were NOT dependent on the failed potato crop to support areas that were dependent upon it – by imposing higher taxes on such areas and “redistributing” the money to areas (Poor Law Unions) of Ireland that had gone bankrupt.

The result was predictable – the entire Irish economy collapsed under the burden of savage taxation (savage in relation to the poverty of the country – even in the 18th century Edmund Burke had pointed out that taxes in Ireland were heavier than in England in-relation-to the size of the economy). Areas that were dependent on the potato and areas that were not, it was pointless looking for work as there no longer was any to be had – apart from on the utterly demented Public Works projects of Sir Charles (such as the infamous “roads to nowhere” – roads that started in the middle of nowhere and ended in the middle of nowhere, but which cost the taxpayers a fortune and thus prevented any PRODUCTIVE investment in things that would have actually benefitted Ireland). About a third of the population either died – or left Ireland (1 in 3 – in only a few years). As for farmers exporting food out of Ireland – they had to do that to get the money to PAY THEIR TAXES – not just the Poor Law tax. but the taxes that supported such things as the new network of government schools, that had not existed in Ireland only a few years before.

Sir Charles Trevelyan was a highly moral man – he never stole any money for himself or seduced any serving maids. And he was filled with zeal for the Common Good and was a hyper active interventionist (about a far from the “laissez faire” man he is supposed to have been, as it is possible to be). He was also an utter disaster. Such policies are always an utter disaster.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
3 years ago

I don’t see how the bourgeoise feeling them selves free of the common good situation can be said to have made a “moral” decision: a psychological one, yes. In some ways the small percentage of the population who are that wealthy and opt out of society are just those who can afford a superior version of the safe space craved by students unable to stand a challenging viewpoint in a book.

Teo
Teo
3 years ago

The antidote cosplay national socialism.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

I agree about ‘what is happening’, but to oppose this to some nugatory, unphilosophical concept as ‘the common good’, or ‘shared standards’ is to land us in exactly the false perfectionisism which it is the business of this article to criticise. Only an individual can act in a way which is ‘moral’. To think otherwise is to impose extraneous criteria on our judgments, and the question then needs to be asked: ‘Who defines the ‘common good’? Which standards should we share? There has never ever been agreement on either of these things, in any field.

Both approaches attack or devalue the rule of law, which apportions blame and punishment according to distinct crimes which have been committed. This has nothing to do with a perfectionist mindset. Justice is ‘lex’, it cannot reside in arbitrary selections of ‘favourable’ or ‘admirable’ decisions by interested parties.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
3 years ago

Really excellent. Of course, I understood the personal virtue-signalling in anti-racism. But to justify global elitism, and the whole credentialed class as being above mere national membership, darling! Brilliant!

plynamno1
plynamno1
3 years ago

Food for thought, isn’t it? Presumably many will recognise the social types and the positions and attitudes that get adopted, which the article identifies and holds up for examination. I’d love for certain people in Britain to read this article but I don’t know that they listen to criticism or practise self-criticism. Fortunately left-wing people aren’t confined to these types of left-winger, so not all is lost!

Sholto Douglas
Sholto Douglas
3 years ago
Reply to  plynamno1

but I don’t know that they listen to criticism
I DO know that they DON’T listen to criticism! True, not all lefties are like that, but the exceptions seem to be shamefully few in number.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

In the US there are several overlapping “ocracy” tranches. There is the Eliteocracy that you describe above, which is, as I understand after this first reading, congruous with the “Elites” that Christopher Lasch identified and described.
There is, however, another privileged tranche that, economically, is well-positioned, but culturally is quite apart from the academic/siliconV group. This other group is defined somewhat by the “Calvinism” that you mention above.
This group–call them Evangelical–is well-positioned, comfortable and privileged, largely “white” privileged but that would be an oversimplification. These people have removed themselves from conscientious awareness of the societal issues associated with poverty, race and low-wages, and quite content with their narrow social associations in a typically suburban environment.

The easiest way to distinguish between these two comfortable groups is, if you can Venn-picture it . . . Evangelicals v. Episcopalians, or perhaps Business v. SiliconV or MainStreet v Academe, or Tradesmen v Teachers.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

The white male suburbanites you refer to are the only group amongst whom Trump lost support this year, as a percentage, relative to 2016.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

You have left out so much in your screed, that it takes my breath away-the U.S. is a continent-wide republic, filled with persons of all colors and persuasions, working away, watching and listening to the people that you are discussing-including you…”privileged…”white”…”narrow…”,”typically”-you take a lot on your self, whoever you are…

Euan Ballantyne
Euan Ballantyne
3 years ago

Truly brilliant. I almost felt like my brain was being rewired, but maybe that’s what true revelation and eye-opening feels like.

john.hurley2018
john.hurley2018
3 years ago

I’ve been given a lecture about racism (opposing immigration sentiments) and told that it is associated with low intelligence. Meh, so is income.

Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall
3 years ago

Since the woke cult is impervious to criticism or fact but instead deliberately unpicks and destroys the fabric of family & society – it doesn’t stop at racial violence – should the woke indentitarian creed be classified as a dangerous cult, inimical to the continuity of family & society, and its practitioners/envoys be treated exactly the same as terrorists?

Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago

The court of Louis XVI was rather tame – do you mean the court of Louis XIV (the “Sun King”)? Louis XVI was a well meaning, if weak willed, man – and he certainly did not go in for any great immorality, and neither (contrary to the lies of the people behind the Revolution of 1789) did most of the people he associated with. The poverty in France had a connection to government policy – but they were old policies such as compulsory guilds (introduced by Henry IV) not anything that the kindly (if a bit dim) Louis XVI did. And poverty in France had much more to do with the bad harvests caused by volcanic eruptions in Iceland – and it hard to see what even the most moral and capable King of France could have done for the “common good”, especially when the people really behind the Revolution were not poor at all (for example the Duke of Orleans, the richest man in France, who financed the Revolution – and the various well off, but power crazed, lawyers and other “professional class” people who actually carried it out).

As for modern politics and economics. I contest the central thesis of the essay – namely that Frankfurt School concerns (race, sex, gender…..) mean that the modern left is not interested in ECONOMIC matters. On the contrary – they are very interested indeed, holding that all inequality is “injustice” and that any success is the result of “exploitation”. The super rich international elite do indeed back the Frankfurt School (Marxist) movement – but they are not wise to do so, as this movement is NOT just about race, sex, gender……. Although the fact that much of the wealth of the international elite comes from Credit Money expansion (a process that both Richard Cantillon and, later, David Hume warned against – three centuries ago), rather than any real “capitalist” work (Real Savings and Productive Investment in manufacturing) may have a bearing on this.

There is also implied assumption in the essay that policies that are meant to be for the common good actually are – that what matters is good intentions. For example, in my life time California has gone from being the most prosperous society in the history of humanity, to being the State with, adjusted for the cost of living, the WORST poverty in the United States (yes – if you are poor you are better off living in West Virginia or Mississippi than California now, an idea that would have seemed totally insane only a few decades ago), not IN SPITE OF the Progressive (endless government spending, taxes and regulations) followed in California – but BECAUSE OF these Progressive policies.

The elite are Progressive not just in their social opinions – but in their economic opinions as well. They support ever more government spending, taxes and regulations – in spite of the utter failure of such policies in California, New York and-so-on. The idea that such policies make things worse, not better, never enters their minds. Every failure is met by “doubling down” with yet more Collectivism – cheered on by the education system and the media.

I am reminded of famous Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII in 1891. In his first paragraph Leo XIII states that capitalism has led to a terrible increase in poverty, and also a terrible increase in moral vices. These are very bold claims – yet no evidence is presented for either of them. In reality there was LESS poverty at the time than there had ever been before (although there was still great poverty by modern standards – due to the inferior TECHNOLOGY of the time), nor is there any evidence that moral conduct was worse in 1891 than in 1791 or 1691 or 1591 or 1491 (if anything moral conduct had IMPROVED).

However, the Encyclical of 1891 (which laid the foundation for “Common Good” “Social Teaching”) just carries on, ASSUMING that the claims of the first paragraph are true (having provided no evidence that the claims were true), and suggests state intervention (although mild by modern standards) – but, again, it provides no evidence or logical argument that higher taxes, more government spending, and more regulations will improve things rather than make them worse than-they-otherwise-would-be. It just ASSUMES these policies are correct, just as it ASSUMES that poverty and immoral conduct had got worse over time.

Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago

Expensive private schools are not safe from leftist doctrine – the expensive private schools in America have been dominated by these doctrines for many years. And now British ones are to – for example a teacher at Eton was just sacked for the “crime” of telling the truth (that men and women are biologically different) – and he had not even committed this “crime” on school time.

The idea that the super rich can use their money to opt out of the results of their Progressive policies is becoming myth. After all if a rich man or women just goes for a walk in San Francisco (or many other cities) they are likely to step in human excrement on the sidewalks – and increasingly likely to be physically attacked. What is the point of being super rich if you are a prisoner in your apartment – especially when the lights go out because of “Green” taxes and regulations.

Eddie Chad
Eddie Chad
3 years ago

Excellent article, they do indeed imagine simply holding particular views is moral even if they do the exact opposite themselves. Climate activists jetting around the world. Claiming to be against racism whilst making all discussion about race. I can just about abide the fact they are nutters and fruitcakes, but the hypocrisy is what is nauseating.

Doug Plumb
Doug Plumb
2 years ago

It’s not only race politics, but it’s the masks, the wars, the phony money, the corrupt politicians, and the glorification of sexual deviance. It’s likely turning more of the weak-minded educated class into nihilists as we speak. They will put on their masks, go to work and be angry that they are being dragged into a cauldron of stupidity and evil by the stupid.
People have forgotten what an asshole is. Stupidity is worse than evil.
This is a great site! I wonder how long it’s going to take to read all these essays!

Last edited 2 years ago by Doug Plumb
Doug Plumb
Doug Plumb
2 years ago

It’s not only race politics, but it’s the masks, the wars, the phony money, the corrupt politicians, and the glorification of sexual deviance. It’s likely turning more of the weak-minded educated class into nihilists as we speak. They will put on their masks, go to work and be angry that they are being dragged into a cauldron of stupidity and evil by the stupid.
People have forgotten what an asshole is. Stupidity is worse than evil.
This is a great site! I wonder how long it’s going to take to read all these essays!

Last edited 2 years ago by Doug Plumb
Ceelly Hay
Ceelly Hay
3 years ago

Thanks, I have been thinking about Augusto Del Noce’s comparison between the common good and what we would call today the progressive left individual well being gained the liberation of traditional morality.

https://www.commonwealmagaz

kecronin1
kecronin1
3 years ago

An added thought, with the technocrats replacing the constitution as the arbiter of correct behavior, we will essentially remove humanity and replace it with algorithms. https://childrenshealthdefe

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh
3 years ago

I suggest reading Hooker’s account of his encounters with the Roundheads, e.g. as excerpted in Voegelin’s New Science of Politics, along with Voegelin’s discussion. Still very prophetic.

Montana Moss
Montana Moss
3 years ago

Having read the article and many of the comments, I’ve come to the conclusion that no one can or wants to ever change the status quo. World/national peace is truly impossible. We are all hard-wired to b***h and gloat. We will never be able to reach across the aisle and look at things for someone else’s perspective. There can be no overarching naturalistic sense of “Mitakuye Oyasin”. That’s why we’ve effectively silenced the aboriginal message, reducing it to little more than a meme on reservations across the Anglo world. Since the dawn of bipedal man, humanity quickly reduced itself to a putrid blob of garbage doomed and damned. There can be no Heaven–only hell, and we are it, folks. Can I get an “Amen”?

Tom W
Tom W
3 years ago

Well-written and subtly passionate. However, I think the author could offer clarity around the section including “The civil rights movement of black Americans became the template for subsequent claims by women, gays and transgender persons…” In the prior paragraph the author drew a sharp line between the beginning of the civil rights movement and the subsequent New Left / Black Power movement. I believe the author is claiming that the “subsequent claims” were rooted in the latter movement rather than the earlier manifestation of the civil rights movement. I think this should be made clearer.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

It strikes me that the same could be said for Climate Change activists.

A Hofstet
A Hofstet
1 year ago

Wow! I found this article 2 years later and am frankly stunned by how spot-on it is.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

Watch Bill Maher _ new rules on youtube.
Hilarious and true – my kind of guy.
Check out his video about the Blue Wave.

New Rule: Strife of the Party | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

Except, no one in any role of institutional influence, whether in local, state, or federal government, or in scientific institutions, or business and industry bodies, or the educational establishment, or the “corporate media” (which I think means just the media), is calling for the disbandment of the police.

Lyn Griffiths
Lyn Griffiths
3 years ago

I felt your thoughts trundled in circles and your point lost, if there was a point in the first place.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Lyn Griffiths

He was hoping to find one if he kept talking long enough. It worked out ok though, most of the audience didn’t notice.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

The author creates a straw man ““ or rather a straw class of people ““ in order to feed resentment against trends in public discourse. Who are these “salaried decision-makers” and “ideas-managers” who have “broken free of the claims of allegiance made upon them by the particular communities they emerge from”? And what does that even mean?

He locates them in peculiar places: NGOs, the governing bodies of the EU, corporate journalism, HR departments, the “celebrity-industrial complex” (?), universities, and Big Tech, which correspond neatly with the cast of bogeymen conjured by the populist right and left.

Notice he doesn’t include in his “clerisy” swathes of other sorts of people who, thanks to their education and acquisition of competence by dedicated work, rise to positions of responsibility in society, whether they be the chief operating officer of a swamped hospital in Bismarck, North Dakota, a high school principal in the Bronx, or the head of planning in Phoenix, Arizona trying to extend a light rail system five miles down Central Avenue to reach poorer districts of the city.

Does his roll of suspect technocrats include people like Anthony Fauci? Or the heads of the American Meteorological Society and the United States National Research Council? Do they swan off to Davos and dream up ways to denigrate “the American People”, too?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

Very well put. The fictional Roy family fly around in a fleet of black helicopters. If we ‘drop down a rung or two’ are we talking about people who only have the one black helicopter ? And they work in the HR department ? The article is fomenting anger towards a vague fictional target, that readers will then hang their pet grievances on.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

The article is eloquent, reactionary sophistry.

R Perspectives
R Perspectives
3 years ago

The essay corresponds to similar points being made by Thomas Sowell back in 1995 in his book ‘The Vision of the Anointed: Self-congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

Recent quote (2020) by Thomas Sowell:
” Racism is not dead, but it is on life support – kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by demonising others as racists”

Quote by Eric Fromm:
“There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feelings as ‘moral indignation’ which permits envy or hate to be carried out under the guise of
virtue”
Watch it in action in these two short video clips:

e.g. https://www.youtube.com/wat
and: https://www.youtube.com/wat

And similar or related points are made by Theodore Dalyrmple writing about the white (and other) underclass in Britain in his: ‘Life at the Bottom: the World View that Makes the Underclass‘ first published in 2001.

Also his recently published essay in City Journal : ‘The Age of Cant'</

R Perspectives
R Perspectives
3 years ago

Is it?

It seems to me to be saying similar things to what Thomas Sowell pointed out in his ‘The Vision of The Anointed: Self-congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy’ first published in 1995; and in ‘Intellectuals and Society/Intellectuals and Race.

And Theodore Dalyrmple in his: Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass’ first published in 2001

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

‘Who are these “salaried decision-makers” and “ideas-managers” who have “broken free of the claims of allegiance made upon them by the particular communities they emerge from”? And what does that even mean?’

In relation to his argument, it means they live in an self sustaining echo chamber, not accountable to the people they are supposed to serve- minorities etc- but to each other. These institutions are the idea generators and supporters, what they believe carries weight and influence in our society. These ideas can be nothing to do with their actual work. The prevailing beliefs in these institutions matter for society and if they are self serving (intentionally or unintentionally) they are less likely to serve society.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

How does Anthony Fauci, say, or the other people I mention, live in a self sustaining echo chamber, not accountable to the people they are supposed to serve? It seems to be a sweeping, baseless claim.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

I am talking about ideas and cultures, not individuals, I don’t know how he thinks but in order to fit into an institution you often have to buy into their culture as the article explains.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

The article doesn’t explain it, though. It posits it as truth without evidence.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

Ok, the hypothesis is that left wing views such as BLM and others are accepted by powerful institutions. This isn’t necessarily a good thing if you disagree with some of BLM views and their methods. It also allows people who have no intention of doing good to pretend they are, in order to obtain power, by saying the right things. This effect magnified will not change anything.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

YouTube
New Rule: Strife of the Party | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

But that is just supposition, Peter. If that’s the author’s hypothesis, he should be able to name a powerful institution calling for the abolition of the police.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

I’m not sure that’s true. I think it may be more subtle than that, no institution has to say we want to abolish the police, they just have to support BLM. This creates are society in which these views are accepted. And here I am using BLM as an example of a wider set of views.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

Most people readily support the proposition that “black lives matter”, while having little awareness or interest in BLM’s radical agenda, which remains fringe.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

I think this is a digression from the main points of the article.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

Let’s see what happens to Anthony Fauci if he says he doesn’t believe in systemic racism?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Well, the Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police in London has said it, and she still has a job.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

I worked in an Investment Bank (NY and London) and some of the HR people should be flogged.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

some…?

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Right after the investment bankers.

Michael Cowling
Michael Cowling
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Why limit it to the HR people in investment banking. I’d be much more liberal in my collective punishment of HR people.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
3 years ago

Perhaps the divide between the new clerisy ““ the “salaried decision-makers” and “ideas managers” ““ and those still attached to the nation state (David Goodhart’s “somewheres”) is most glaringly apparent in attitudes towards immigration. Those who are most vocally in favour of open borders or liberal immigration policies tend to be the ones least likely to be adversely affected by them in terms of livelihood and housing. In other words, they can afford to take the moral high ground in a way that others cannot.

mminns
mminns
3 years ago

As a child of the 70s/80s everything extolled the virtue of the individual against the dead hand of community or social cohesion, see Thatcher/Reaganism.

What we see todays is just the natural consequences of that shift multiplied by the power of globalisation.

Why should I put solidarity with my geographical neighbours ahead of that with like minded people elsewhere in the world?

Change is never easy, but I’m relaxed about all of this.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  mminns

Because Patriotism is mankind’s most Nobel virtue.

mminns
mminns
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Why?
The government?
The people?
The rocks and soil?
What does that mean?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” more like

Pete Rose
Pete Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  mminns

While I agree with your first two paragraphs, I’m not convinced by your conclusion.

I would argue that those intolerant authoritarians masquerading as “progressives” who fawn over a neoliberal corporate club (the EU) that has the only constitution in the entire world that has effectively outlawed Socialism with its rules on competition and procurement and its regulations on State Aid is in fact, the conclusion.

Jon Mcgill
Jon Mcgill
3 years ago

This is an erudite, compelling and lucid essay which, in total, is empty. When was :”grievance politics” not a factor in the Us? Grievances, do you recall, had something to do with the revolution against the mother ship? Grievances occupied the time of the South post civil war. Grievance and identity have shaped the American project since inception. This is one more failed attempt to undermine the entire concept of racism as if it did not really exist. Your readership, some of whom are pouting below, have clearly read nothing that would challenge their (mostly white) sense of “gotcha” when they read a superficial article full of sociological depth and little else.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Mcgill

Something is indeed empty (and mostly pink)…

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Mcgill

It’s hugely ironic. The emotion that comes pouring through on 90pc of the comments is grievance (against the ‘elite ‘ oppressors)

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

That is because they are oppressing people in various ways. And I say that having spent the last 30 years as one of those who might be described as being among the ‘broader class of cosmopolitans’ the writer refers to in his second paragraph. I am not unaware of my very, very minor role in all this.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Mcgill

Yet the article only mentions “grievance[s]” twice, while you use it three times in one paragraph. It’s actually about the “common good” about which you have nothing to say, it seems.
And in some ways, the concept of racism is so unstable, and used for different things at different times, that it may very well not exist.

jessegalebaker
jessegalebaker
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Mcgill

Agreed with you in general, but Crawford does highlight some of the absurdities in the “woke” approach to social problems, and could have added the fact that it hasn’t brought any gains for Blacks with respect to living standards, health outcomes or relationships with police. Most of what Blacks have achieved since the civil rights era has come through their own individual efforts, not from the movement liberals.

Grievances driving politics of course occurs everywhere, yet in America we are seeing a new kind of complaint, one directed at language, speech and narrative, or at the optics of a particular event, instead of at policy, and these complaints often ask for the punishment of a specific transgressor instead of for class relief even though they’re claiming the events in question represent the total lived experience of the petitioning class.

For someone who grew up in the 1970s, it’s very strange. Not that I deny racism still poses difficulties for America, but I think we’re reaching the limit of what can be accomplished by p