I found it too torturous making this period of Corporatist, Despotic, Oligarchic Plandemic fit into ‘The Republic’. Just the cliche of “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.” covered half of Thrasymachus’s point, and half of today’s situation.
I would look to the post third century Rome for a better equivalent. The Emperors rose from the armies, collected alliances, gathered the backing of the behind the scenes Elites, marched on Rome, took the Laurel crown, and within a year or two had died violently as another sociopath climbed the bloody heaps of corpses to do it again…. The Decline, and later Fall, as it was, but the modern equivalent may be forever with the Computing, and automation, and total monitoring, never allowing breaking the cycle.
People cannot understand, or actually believe, of the ‘Global Elites’ as it seems so alien to the myth of modern society. The Rockefeller, Soros, a hundred families of Croesus wealth and power – behind the scenes of banking, Finance, Industrialists, Kleptocracy. The Gates, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Dorsey – seduced to the Dark Side as surely as a ‘Star War’s fallen Jedi, and now one of them too. But it has been the truth from the days of the ancient Kings. Now, the means for this to finally become 1984 exist. The corrupted Social Media, the capture of the Education, MSM, and entertainment, and party politics, coupled with the absolute data and tracking on everyone has finally made it possible tor the Global Elites to take and posses all the world, as they never could in the past.
Finally the tech makes the Elites vision of the future possible
““If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
― George Orwell, 1984″
Politics is a game played by Psychopaths, power and wealth – just like Pelosi enters the game, and ends up super rich – insider trading is the game they are paid from – they do as they are bidden and are paid for it, and then positions of Corporate power and dynasty fallow, and they are one of the them. Orwell is better to look to then Plato.
““The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
― George Orwell Animal Farm”.
Excellent comment, thank you.
Great article although, as almost always with articles describing the “progressive” threat, there is no clear suggestion of how to effectively resist the tyranny of progressivism and its technological enablers.
For a current example of an “opposition, whose refusal to be silenced has been met with increasingly heavy-handed controls” see the fate of the Triggernometry youtube site that has been suspended for almost a week (so far) for noting, and agreeing with, Bari Weiss’s remark that cloth masks don’t prevent the spread of omicron (a statement supported by a wide range of scientists and scientific organizations, hence the CDC’s recommendation to wear surgical masks or N95s).
For those who’re interested, Triggernometry is currently broadcasting its show on Locals (a subscription-based platform). As I’m sure everyone understands, Unherd can be similarly banned if it ever strays across the invisible line.
There’s always been tension between the Elite and the Commoners. Every now and again there’s a spasm as too many Elite chase after too few Elite positions (See Wikipedia: Cliodynamics). The Elite naturally use all the social tools available to them to maintain their preferential social order.
Technocracy and ideology are intimately connected.
Quite so. But technology is only the most recent tool to be pressed into service by the Elite. Religion has been used previously, as has military force, patriotism, morality, or the use of approved arts or communications.
As I’m sure everyone understands, Unherd can be similarly banned if it ever strays across the invisible line.
And the invisible line is drawn and redrawn on a continual basis to suit the concerns of the Elite.
Ahh, that explains something- thankyou.
Listened to someone drivelling on BBC today that Spotify is now disgraceful etc. because Joe Rogan. I know nothing about him but the gist of the argument was it’s not fair he doesn’t include other views on his podcasts.
Coming from the BBc – hmmm.
The absurd thing s that Joe Rogan allows views from across whole spectrum, AND allows them to say their piece.
Of course that can’t be allowed in this wonderful new “progressive” society.
Podcasts like Triggernometry simply should not use YouTube period. All the best stuff I subscribe to I now watch on Rumble or Odysee. I refuse to use major Big Tech sites or services anymore; and anyone who does not approve of censorship should do the same.
“..although, as almost always with articles describing the “progressive” threat, there is no clear suggestion of how to effectively resist the tyranny of progressivism and its technological enablers.”
There probably are not enough lampposts for what I have in mind
Is ‘but you didn’t say how to solve the problem’ a valid criticism of a piece that characerises and sets out to characterise the problem? No, in my opinion.
That is really great article. I have seen the comment below that analogy with Roman Empire would be simpler and supposedly “better”. Simpler but that’s where it ends.
First, Roman Empire was an empire and the emperors had absolute power. Period. Emperor was not “the elites”, he did not need to lie, “reason” and obfuscate, they had praetorian guard. Elites were losing their heads at the same or higher rate as regular people.
Today there is no emperor, that would be too obvious.
The elites of today are operating by feeding the hordes of useful idiots, mostly in academia, because the “education” system multiplies useful idiots. And Thrasymachus is way better personification of a dictatorial moron armed with “science” of the kind that populates the government, the media, and TwitterSS.
“Simpler but that’s where it ends.”
My using of the Roman Emperors at the end of Rome is because it shows how people will kill and cheat their way to power – although they know it will destroy them. They will sell all, destroy all, die even, to gain true power for even a short time. That this always has been human nature. William the Conqueror – a tiny chance of success, death if failure, and he went for it – the Plantagenets, the Royals, the Tyrants, Japanese Shogun – they risked it all, and most die on the rise up.
It shows the ultimate addiction power drives some, I think sociopaths will die to gain power
We tend to think of People in Power as – say – Boris and his wife, like say, Jimmy Carter…. as just some guys doing it for a lark.
This is not true. In Two party politics some group must select who rises – as not being the Party approved person means NO chance of success. Thus to get to high position you must do as instructed. You must neglect some policies, and further others. Those are decided by the Global Elites.
As they backed the Emperors they chose, for reasons they wished – so they back – say Biden – because he will keep FED Chairman Powell – who in turn will give $$ Trillions to the Elite, as he just did. Every modern elected ruler – both Parties, they have instructions on things to do for the backing of the party. They must pay for their position. This has always been true.
The essay tries and only just fails to sqeeze today’s problems into Plato. A great intellectual attempt. But, as others have said, the essay does not advise UnHerders what to do to help to stop the rot.
Why is this happening now? FDR, with his New Deal, tried to make everybody equal but failed because Americans didn’t want equality. So, what’s new? I would suggest two things, one major and one minor, things which have cowed the Herd into submission.
The minor first. Today, people in universities study Arts subjects like History or Politics, apply statistics to a few figures and call themselves Social Scientists. Social Sciences are very popular and a degree in Social Science allows someone to call themselves ‘A Scientist’ when they have no scientific training. So, they are shysters and need to be identified as such.
The major one – the environment. Today, all arguments are stopped when someone mentions the environment. There is a collective shudder in the Herd. We are not allowed to discuss the environment; all discussion has been stopped for the benefit of the planet. So, anyone can do anything if they say it is for the environment. People can glue themselves to major roads, ships can be placed in city centres, gain-sayers can be openly attacked, politicians can be sacked. In the UK, we seem to be best in setting ourselves environmental targets when other countries are doing the opposite. As I have said before, Turkey and Greece almost went to war a couple of years ago because new undersea gas deposits were found – enough to keep the two countries going in energy for the next 100 years.
I have also said before that I think our government wants to get away from political dependency on Russia and the Middle-East. The ‘environment’ helps to dull the pain. This is not a bad thing but I would prefer honesty.
“He is more aggressive than inquisitive. His ideas are more precise than accurate, more critical than enlarging”. So eloquently expressed and sums up our present malaise. Thanks for the article.
Superb article and analysis. Agree with every point.
“Digital technology has amplified and accelerated the politicisation of almost everything, including scientific inquiry.”
Why caveat this with “almost”? What remaining aspects of life, of the digital life, are warding off the drive to politicise them?
A hundred years ago, Charlie Chaplin was the most famous person in the world. Kids, people, in Brazil or Italy who may not have known who Clemenceau or Henry Ford were, knew of Charlie Chaplin.
Today, the most famous people in the world may well be primarily individuals who talk politics or whose vested interests are political.
I don’t even blame digital technology entirely for this turn towards the miserable in how people entertain themselves. The trend toward cheerlessness began with the invention of the Talkies in 1928 or thereabouts. Imagine that! Man had been flying for more than two decades by the time sound could be matched to the moving image. And when sound came along, the name of the game became less about making people laugh and more about making them miserable: slowly but surely. In many parts of the world with no cinemas a complete comedy by-pass occurred.
A brief period of time when you only ever laughed at a screen to the accompaniment of jaunty piano music and yet you could fly about: a fun time to be alive. Well, what a novelty consolation those few things were! If one bears in mind all the other privations and hardships that had remained on after spilling over from the end of the 19th century. A sense of wonder about the world had come into people’s lives in the early 20th century.
Does a sense of wonder still exist today? A cold curiosity has taken over, I’m afraid. “If it’s any consolation… “: when was the last time you heard that phrase uttered? It seems a trite phrase when we’re snowed under a glitzy digital mountain of stuff.
So true, and sad. I was thinking about this whilst we were all in lockdown in early 2020. Whilst a serious imposition on freedom of movement, there was also an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, relax, have a break from work etc…
But… it became really apparent to me that politics had infected, and was ruining, everything. Turning on the TV to watch some comedy panel shows I hadn’t tuned into for years; they’re all deeply unfunny and politicised now — almost sneering. Ok, fine, well let’s not watch the news, that’s all C19 fear porn, so maybe let’s watch a sports match… Nope! — the game can’t even get started without political demonstrations, which no matter whether you support them or not, are violating a space that was formerly about unity and fun. Now it’s all about politics.
Kids TV, wow. I hadn’t realised what has happened to silly, fun shows for kids. It’s no longer fun sing-a-longs, crafting etc. Some of the same characters remain, but now they’re clearly meant to be ‘teaching’ kids social justice narratives, instead of counting and how to make little people out of toilet rolls and pipe cleaners. Depressing.
The new movies and TV shows coming out almost exclusively seem to want to act as vehicles for teaching ‘correct’ thought, even at the expense of any kind of plot or character coherence. We ended up mining the archives of older films like Die Hard — from the days of fun family blockbusters that weren’t trying to make overt political statements.
Politics has infected and colonised everything. I never considered myself a Luddite or regressive type, but this poisonous phase is making me nostalgic for a time when some things were able to be left alone, outside the realms of politics.
Just read your reply. Was a delight to read. If I get frustrated by the state of TV now, I put on Chaplin or Buster Keaton as a quick tonic. Sad to think that they are there at the touch of a button yet billions will never know them. They might eventually know OF them, but maybe unsuitably on a tiny, tyrannical screen.
What has suffered terribly in broadcasting of drama of late has been the diminishment of character. Just compare the character of the child actors in The Railway Children (1970) with that of those in a Harry Potter movie for evidence.
Yes, very true
An interesting article but I increasingly I think we sould start afresh, the history is too cluttered. Science is the study of cause and effect. Hard sciences describe a causal mechanism that very nearly provides a complete explanation so the conclusions can be relied upon. The soft sciences are at best correlations and the conclusions cannot be relied upon beyond some generalisation. In between there is science that should be used to help guide behaviour if you want to achieve or avoid a particular outcome, but it is there to inform not decide. The real problem is a lack of education so individuals do not have a feel for how hard the science is in a particular instance. That applies to most politicians who veer between following advice and ignoring advice because they have no feel for the advice.
Interesting. I am a student of “The Republic” and I fervently believe in the enduring power of the literary and philosophical classics. However I don’t see such a dark future ahead for democracy. I think America has always been a “land of extremes” and perhaps represents the most exacerbated tendencies towards decline in all the Western democracies. I hate technocracy and I see increasing encroachments upon citizens’ freedoms. But I don’t see a fundamental change in the rights of the citizen to a broad remit of individuation and self-determination. I think these qualities endure, and hence we aren’t gradually reduced to a benighted cave – especially when all the world’s knowledge and wisdom is readily available like never before – thanks to at least one of these technological behemoths, Amazon. Ready access to ideas and tradition is crucial for humanity’s existential situation, so I for one am secure about our collective future, for the time being at least.
Maybe. The truckers’ protest in Canada has given me hope that people are willing to lose their livelihoods for their freedom.
Not enough of them, it turns out. There is an element of betrayal in the Canadian majority that resonates around this increasingly apathetic world. The phrase ‘too late’ springs to mind as does Is3:4-6…
As an American, I think the woke have overreached. With the Covid-19 lockdowns, school closings, many 2020 election processes contrary to state law, rampant inflation lead by gasoline prices and supply chain disasters, the woke have demonstrated total incompetence. Their incompetence is so obvious everywhere, that unlimited numbers of Democrats who identify as journalists can’t possibly cover it up. The voters are furious. Democrats will get trounced in the mid-terms.
It’s after the elections that’s a problem. We know elections Democrats win have awful consequences. However, elections Republicans win bring out bureaucratic #Resistance, including FBI surveillance based on fabricated dossiers, prosecutorial misconduct that withholds exculpatory evidence, and anonymous leaks of not strictly true “facts.” It remains to be seen if Republicans have learned to be ruthless enough to overcome the Democrats’ deep state and censored news and social media.
Even if a Republican president wins in 2024, it’s going to take a lot of shock and awe to tame the deep state. A Republican president will have to fire everyone he can at the tops of the Justce Department, FBI, and Intelligence Services, and remove their security clearances. The president also will have to remove the security clearance of anyone even suspected of leaking, pending a hearing. If that means the person can’t do their job, tough. If the hearing doesn’t satisfy the president that the person didn’t leak, the president should make the revocation of the security clearance permanent. This will mean the individual will lose his government job, and won’t be eligible for any private job that requires a security clearance either.
Humanity’s last hope is, remarkably, Mr Putin.
For a man who hasn’t heard of Taranto that is a very bold statement.
Pulp Fiction is one of my favourites of his.
Ezekiel 25:17 all the way
S.M.S. Szent Istvan, 1918?
Yes, but I didn’t get a. reply
Try Royal Oak 1939.
..but who, pray, do you invoke as the contemporary Philistia?
Surely more Lk11:21-28?
He is not even an average film maker
He refers to Tarantino. You typed Taranto. The rest of the comments lost me entirely.
…wasn’t Vlad at the G20 Summit there in 2010 Sulpy?
Toronto I think you will find, Bernie.
thoroughly and depressingly well described thankyou. Those who dont know their history etc appear to be 99% plus of the global population. Paul Kingsnorth might have the right idea – ie a simple life in the countryside surrounded by likeminded folk (some who are ex army etc).
Having just re-read The Open Society & Its Enemies (3rd or maybe 4th time) I’m now re-reading A History Of Western Philosophy (ditto, maybe more). These are two books everyone should read – & they should be read actively, questioning any assumptions they contain (which is what the authors wanted, for they knew that science proceeds by doubt).
Science, more properly scientific method, is a procedure to provide accurate (a term which needs quantifying) predictive models, i.e. to answer that question most pressing upon all sentient life: what happens next. It can only deal with event data occurrence in a certain range; too few (UFOs, ghosts, or too many (economics, the weather) & it breaks down. It’s fabulous at Ohm’s Law.
Thus there could be no proper science at all in the present pandemic’s outset, perhaps some comparisons to previous pandemics, but nothing like a proper predictive model. In such circumstances caution is excusable while assessment takes place, but as the infection has progressed the actions of those in power have struck me as progressively inexplicable. However, I suspect I am in a minority, as most people seem to have wanted even more draconian measures than we had.
Science has been so incredibly successful at providing us with material improvements that we think it can solve every problem. The pandemic shows there are some problems it cannot. At times like these we particularly need leaders of sound judgement with all our interests at heart. I’m not sure that’s quite what we’ve got.
Bloody brilliant article by the way!
Well, Baconian science is observable, testable, repeatable, falsifiable. Not all that passes for ‘science’ nowadays ie evolutionary theory, paleo sciences etc follow those criteria. They make up their own. And their own swallow it.
Thanks for the article, though I think Plato might say that there’s way more outside of the cave than a “naturally ordered organic world”.
Thinking there isn’t is to be positioned still in the cave, if looking at the mouth wondering what light floods in.
“The arguments of these “transphobic” feminists get no mention; ”
And somewhere, James Damore and Strumia are having a quiet chuckle
There are some good points desperately trying to escape from this contorted attempt to fit everything into a classics lecture, together with a series of not quite non-sequiturs. But the starting point should be that the data at the start of the Covid situation was incomplete, conflicting, contradictory, constantly changing, open to any number of interpretations, and different in every discipline – health, politics, economics, and the rest. There was no ‘right’ answer. There never will be. But to assume that the world would have continued as normal without lockdowns and other restrictions, and economies, education etc would be unaffected is complete nonsense.
I assume the world would have been as normal with NO response to covid at all – and be 1000X in a better place, with a MUCH less loss of life as official covid deaths are fake, and nothing to the ‘unintended consequences’ deaths here, and coming.
It was a pandemic.
GA Wooley (funny name for here) please watch this – it is in the USA Senate, and is the world’s top physicians and scientists against the vax – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asw_FBipVpg It is the best video on Covid made.
Interesting false choice. If the world had only locked down people aged 55 and up, who in the US experienced 89% of deaths with Covid-19, and let everyone else work as normal, the economy would have been much better. Statistically, heavy lockdown US states and European countries didn’t consistently do better than light to no lockdown states and countries. Since locking down a healthy population is historically unprecedented, the burden of proof should be on the lockdown advocates to show their outcomes were far superior. So far, no such proof is available. It’s only assumed.
In New York, New Jersey and Michigan, the state governors sent recovering Covid-19 patients to old folks homes to recover, causing tens of thousands of needless deaths. These same states had some of the tightest lockdowns in the US. Obviously, their governors followed The Science (TM), not science or statistics. They also fiddled their reported numbers to conceal the resulting nursing home deaths, reporting them as hospital deaths.
I enjoyed that last paragraph.
The Republic was written a long time ago, but we are still here
yeah but surely we should have learned more by now !!!! Talk about stumbling from from one crisis of greed and corruption to the next ..sheech. We dont seem to be able to make any progress towards getting on top of our genetic predispositions towards control, competition, procreation and greed/security. It seems all we can really acheive individually is to position ourselves as far away from the mess as possible – hence all the migration that will continue to grow for ever. There is lots of room,work and cheaper houses in Australia for example – or NZ if you are loaded, scandinavia etc
Is the first step of overcoming these manic power addicts as simple as understanding that they may actually be no different to bullies in the playground? I think they often have very low self-esteem and low self-worth and their push for dominance, world dominance, like a James Bond villain,,,is but to compensate for their own negative emotions. This does not excuse their behaviour but goes a long way to explain why they act in this way, in their world enough is never enough. Lock them up on a luxury desert island somewhere and soon they would play out their own serialised version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,one by one, in turn, playing the role of Cassius, until it was last man standing in what would then be an empty world.
I never have used Facebook, nor Instagram, not tik tok, etc etc But am I just self-delusionary because I really know that their tentacles seep deep and unseen like Mycelium threads wrapping around and bore into roots of society? But anyway Rock on the Canadian Truckers I say..stir it up !
It is ironic that you first refer to the Sophist (in the technical sense) Thrasymachus, as portrayed by Plato, as the “baddie”, but then go on to – accurately – identify Plato as the Godfather of totalitarian ideologies.
We must be open to the suspicion that the Sophists had something going for them, and Plato used his bully pulpit to misrepresent and denigrate them. Sophists sought truth through argument – a notion picked up again in these days by Jürgen Habermas.
But the mixture of ideology and scientific expertise generates pseudo-sciences, such as Leninist dialectical materialism, which are used to consolidate and justify despotism.
Such despotism as the refusing of universities and granting agencies to support scientific research that might prove ‘the contrary’ to today’s groupthink and governance.
Here we have further proof that professors of philosophy offer nothing useful for mankind.
The problem is that, when you study ‘philosophy’, you may be under the impression you will become wise. In fact you just learn a lot about (mostly dead) philosophers.
They trick us into thinking they are wise by writing complex sentences quoting philosophers from the past.
A real philosopher (literally, ‘lover of knowledge’) would examine the problem. This one just uses obscure language to express his opinion.