Friday, 31 July 2009

The Teratology of Morals

‘Creationism is not a scientific theory - it's a belief that's based on 'evidence' that can't be tested or examined. As such creationism has no place in scientific discussion - if it is brought into scientific discussion then why not discuss Greek, Nordic, Australian Aboriginal or Hindu creation myths along with Christian ones?’

So wrote my friend Gareth

My response was that all of these could fit loosely under the 'intelligent design' label. Except for the last about which more later, after a brief rant.

My views on evolution are not formed much by being a Christian and I do not think that the book of Genesis is a literal account. There are many fascinating Orthodox essays on the matter.

I do not see 'Darwinism' as a contradiction to my Byzantine faith of Medieval hymns and mystic writings, but of what I see around me. OK, there are many people more knowledgeable than me about biology who believe in Darwinian evolution, but this seems an enlightenment era myth which is unfalsifiable and unprovable. According to Darwinism all life has the same source (something I agree with) but becomes different through 'natural selection', which is why we have big brains and opposable thumbs. Subsequently, life strives upwards.

My only problem with this is that I don't see evolution moving in this direction. And I think it is harmful to adopt the Darwinian philosophy because it helps instill in people the lurid concept of progress.

So back to Greek myths, we have the story of Prometheus and Epimetheus making all the creatures. According to Protagoras, they used up all the claws and fangs on the other creatures, so there was nothing left for us. Subsequently we were given fire, but Zeus thought this was a bad idea so punished Prometheus for this.
Fire was not good enough for people, however, who were all gobbled up, and so Apollo gave them cities as refuge from predators. But then what happened? They started knifing and slaughtering each other. So Apollo gave them laws as well. To me this seems more intellectually satisfying: people are a species with such little affinity for wisdom and kindness that they need to receive these things externally.

Now I know very little about biology but know a bit about ideas. And sadly, I also know a bit about internet message boards: which helps me understand why Epimetheus didn't give us any claws or fangs or horns. If you were putting organisms into a tiger infested forest and had to choose whether to give the last pair of antlers to a fawn or to someone who repeats Richard Littlejohn's 'ideas', what would you do?

What really astounds me is that neo-liberalism is blossoming right now in contravention of any law of 'survival of the fittest'. Not flourishing intellectually of course, but the ideologues are increasing in numbers and volume. Now we hear that a neo-liberal government is needed to sort out the banks which have been ruined by a Marxist clown, Gordon Clown. As Iraq is turning into a failed state and Afghanistan is getting increasingly violent, we keep hearing about the wonders of liberal interventionism. Scoffing be upon those appeasers. Let's take on Russia.

I really do not believe in survival of the fittest any more. It seems that the ideas which appeal most to the selfish, lonely, bloodthirsty mentally, socially and intellectually unfit are the ones which will increase in popularity. Because there's more of them.

I've pretty much gone off reading the newspapers, but whenever I do see an article in The Independent and The Guardian, there are always floods of comments from right wing idiots drooling with hatred. Take today's article by Johann Hari for example.

I'm very far from being an unambiguous fan of Hari, but it seems he's spot on in this one. Why does Britain lionise the repulsive Andrew Roberts? After all, he praises Lord Salisbury's concentration camps which inspired Hitler.

What's that? Britain is morally equivalent with Nazi Germany? Oh, the outrage.

Actually, Hari never once implied moral equivalence, yet seven right wing nutters thought their time would be well-spent upbraiding him for implied equivalence. Sadly, I think they are half-right. Not about Hari being wrong, but about their time being best spent repeating idiotic and illogical arguments on a left-wing message board; I can't imagine their social calenders are very full, especially for the bloke who scoffs that Hari has a degree in 'yoghart (sic) knitting' (?) as well as an evil line in moral equivalence.

Indeed, the 'moral equivalence' meme is to logic and ethics what the shark is to the biosphere. It is so primitive and fierce that it will paradoxically flourish; accusing opponents of 'moral equivalence' gives idiots an excuse for being selfish and nasty without even having to come up with any Nietzschian dissection of the geneology of morals.

And this is where we've gotten to 2500 years or so after Plato*. I don't agree with Plato on everything. He wanted to cut the exciting bits out of The Odyssey, had some unwholesome sentiments about young men and thought that people should live in barracks (or at least attributed these ideas to Socrates, his teacher). Yet no-one would deny that the dialogues are thought provoking and fascinating.

Just compare this to The Guardian's message boards, or The Independent?

Humanity is not the only species that seems to be making heavy progress, evolutionarily speaking. The giant panda has outlived many more formidable creatures, the cave bear for example and many other disadvantaged animals like sloths and slugs seem to be prospering as the leopard inches towards extinction. So please guys, let's ignore the creationists and ID movement, but also the Darwinian belief in 'survival of the fittest'. Let's look back to the Hellenes who were right about that. Maybe not in terms of the fossil record, but in terms of getting the general gist of things. And these 2500 year old texts will give us an ideal for our cultural evolution.

*To nearest semi-millennium

Sunday, 12 July 2009

New Auld Alliance

Two unrelated discussions on the internet have got me to thinking about Franco-British relations.

If nothing else, there is one positive thing about the financial crisis. It might knock the smugness out of the British media who sneer incessantly at the French. But of course it won't. No other inconvenient facts have.

I don't pretend to be unbiased. I support the economic egalitarianism and pragmatic foreign policy of France. Like most Scots, I have distant French ancestry. Some of the most 'Scottish' names (Bruce, Gordon, Menzies, Fraser, Stewart, Grant) are of French Norman origin and we have the Auld alliance.

Yet we Scots are also Brits and are thus part of a country that devotes itself to being not French. In this at least, we have succeeded admirably

-We do not have a world class transport system

-We do not have a world class healthcare system

-We do not have a world class education system

-We do not have influence on the world stage

-We did not avoid the debacle in Iraq

-We do not have a vibrant political culture with competing views

-We do not have a cohesive egalitarian society

-We do not have an intelligent film industry

-We were not not humiliated by Barack Obama's presents

-We are not not humiliated by America for our part in the war on terror

-We are not not deluding ourselves about a 'special relationship'

-We do not have proportional representation

-We have not such diplomatic achievements to our credit as securing peace between Russia and Georgia

It's good to know that Britain can still achieve something when it sets its mind to it.

My friend Bogdan discusses this on his website. He is right in his overall assessment that much of Britain is obsessed with past achievements and has a puerile attitude towards the French.

I'd agree with this, but add that France the material country that we defeated almost two centuries ago is one thing the neo-liberals moderately dislike. The theoretical France is something else: the hated embodiment of a theory that is at odds with neo-liberalism. It is based on a freedom that is unrelated to plutocracy or taxation. Where freedom IS freedom. Whilst France is regarded as an intellectual country, and has an excellent education system, the most famous recent philosopher is probably Albert Camus who stated that morality should be simple.

Ironically, it is Britain that has a far more contrived view of freedom. This is articulated by the neo-liberal media in terms that are blind to any type of freedom except financial freedom.

For the British neo-Liberals, the French form of positive-liberty has never washed off the stains of the French revolution, and egalitarianism will always lead to tyranny.

Instead, economical liberty is the only type worth having. Subsequently, General Pinochet brought freedom to Chile by lowering taxation.

Essentially there are people who think it would be a net contribution to freedom to use a starving rat and pair of pliers to torture dissidents if it means that top income bracket earners get a tax break.

France by contrast has a more cthonic Mediterranean view of freedom, which comes from being disrespectful to authority. Let's see how our two countries compare according to Privacy International:

Hmm. And before we hear the usual guff about Gordon 'McStalin' Broon thwarting the Anglo-Saxon love of freedom, let's also look at these statistics.

But... but... surely the French obsession with redistribution and state industry is a sign of fiscal irresponsibility, which will really hurt in the future compared with our pragmatic small government economy? Uh, no. The French foreign debt is roughly half that of ours.

The neo-liberal view of freedom is dead on its feet. Given that its leading lights include Pinochet, Yeltsin and Videla, I see no reason why it is still in existence.

Contrast this with the French view of freedom, which is far purer. Furthermore, their social structure is more economically egalitarian. However France is intellectually less egalitarian than Britain in the sense that high qualifications are necessary for power and influence. Yet they believe in promoting people due to their intelligence. Britain seems to prefer the caprices of the free market which usually over-promotes scumbags and goons (CF Murdoch, Rupert).

If Scotland gets its independence (which I think highly likely, especially if Cameron is elected and applies for an IMF loan: the tried and tested way of destroying a nation) I hope that we will have the wisdom to learn from the French and to form a special relationship. No, France is not perfect. Far from it. But some nations are further from perfect than other nations.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

I, Conspiricist

Recently I've been looking into conspiracy theories. I guess that the MSM has just become so mind numbing; the John Rentoul-Simon Heffer 'spectrum' of political opinion. All neo-liberals who want to reheat pre-packaged ideas. We will soon be at America's level of 'debate':
-So Alan, you're a liberal. I presume that means that you hate America and want to surrender us to the Taleban
-Not at all Bill, though I can see why you might think that. No I fully support George Bush's wars and his taking away our small freedoms to ensure our big freedoms. And his tax cuts, I liked them.
-A Liberal who likes tax cuts, say it ain't so Alan?
-It is so Bill, millions of my fellow liberals want us to turn communists, but us... 'good liberals' Bill, as opposed to the bad moonbat liberals who want environmental protection, poor relief and peace, we are gaining influence...soon we will hopefully help you to destroy them

You get the point. British 'liberals' are moving increasingly towards the right, whilst the right are becoming socially liberal. It is all very dull.

By contrast, the conspiracy theorists are active and they ask the right questions. And they very often come up with answers immensely unlikely and probably wrong.

What I find most fascinating though is that the anti-conspiricists feel very, very strongly against them. The conspiracy theorists are accused of being disrespectful to the victims in London and New York for... wanting open inquiries in both cases.

I came to be interested (albeit sceptically) in conspiracy theories over the deafening silence in the MSM concerning things that concern me: the 1984 CCTV network, the lies told in parliament, the convergence of the parties, the odd symbols, the lack of transparency, the private investigations that serve the public interest, the sudden interest in war in the Middle East and the violence in our Muslim population which has lived peacefully here for half a century.

Mainstream journalists either ignore these issues or mumble briefly about them out of duty. Only conspiracy theorists seem to have developed a culture where official accounts are treated with scepticism.

It seems to me that there are three psychological types who are interested in conspiracy theories

1. Aggressive losers. They will be certain that 'the government' and especially the Obama presidency is promoting egalitarianism and subsequently (though the exact process is unclear) preventing the world from appreciating the true Ubermensch that have so much to offer, but who are crushed by progressive taxation and 'big government'. Until auntie Ayn is cloned and made President of the USA, they have to deal with being corpulent mediocrities. They are often racist and anti-Semitic and blame a plot against the white race for their inability to wow the world with their genius. But until an objectivist white rider comes along to cut their taxes they appear to be dull mediocrities, though they know inwardly, they are the chosen.
2. Those (perhaps like me) who question official accounts and who have the Popperian view that 'facts' are there to be disproved. They do not look to conspiracy theories for answers but for questions.
3. People who have severe paranoia and often (literally) messianic ideas of their role in saving the world from the NWO and other nefarious organisations.

'Muad Dib' or John Hill would be an example of the last group. So we get the spectacle of the heroic BBC journalists harrying a mentally ill man for 'creating tension between communities' for saying that Muslims have not been killing Brits because Brits have been killing Muslims but Brits have been killing Brits and claiming that Muslims have killed them because Brits have been killing Muslims. Elementary really. A far better use of BBC resources than researching the lies that the government told us about 7/7.

Still, the ones who are interested in conspiracies offer a very diverse range of types and views. Those who feel strongly against conspiracy theories are rather more homogeneous:

 Bores. People who cannot bear the idea that the dullest idea is not the correct one.
 Cod empiricists. If something cannot be proven and measured, then it doesn't exist (hobviously). Overlap with 'new atheists'. Are liable to preach to others about sceptical thinking whilst being profoundly gullible.
 Na├»ve people. If the government says so, it must be correct. Must be.
 Conformists. They feel angry at the clever fish who jump out of the school (apologies to Captain Beefheart). Non-Conformists are to be crushed with a witticism of never-diminishing brilliance: 'where's your tin foil hat'?
 Patriots. They can readily accept e.g. that Fesbah blew up the Russian apartments, but not that the British or American government agents could do such things.

What is most interesting about the 'conspiracy' debate is that like two patches of air pressure meeting, they can create storms. Whenever I see a mainstream political forum, I often feel that I could make an interesting contribution, but they are always bogged down by people who want the world to know their FEELINGS. Not to share their thoughts or knowledge.

Far from escaping this sentimental side of political culture, conspiracy theories are at the centre. It annoys many people who feel superior that they cannot refute many conspiracy theories (no matter how unlikely they are) so they can only GET VERY VERY ANGRY.

Many of these people are influential in the MSM and made the abysmal 'The Conspiracy Files', which could better be described as 'The Anti-Conspiracy Files'.

I hope I don't need to say that I do not think that the BBC should have given support to any conspiracy theory. But there could have been an intelligent debate about the facts that were missing from official accounts and the trail of lies that the government spread in both cases.

Yet they did not. They used strawman arguments, gave very little airtime to the more intelligent researchers, used filming cliches to portray the conspiricists as mad and bad and supporters of the status quo as good and sensible. It was the worst kind of government propaganda possible.

Their website had an article on the subject, originally titled 'Sting in the Tale' because one 7/7 conspiracy theorist calls himself after a character in a novel which inspired a film which had a cameo with Sting. So despite having a connection that could not even be describes as 'tenuous', the British rock star was mentioned numerous times (they later changed the title). Blair's comment about 'four terrorists', accounts of police shooting terrorist suspects, lost CCTV footage, confused eyewitness accounts and forensic questions about the type of explosive used were not mentioned. Good to see the BBC have their priorities right.

In all, I am not a conspiracy theorist, but find it unpleasant that conspiracy theorists are treated with such contempt for asking questions that the MSM should be haranguing politicians with. In many regards I think it is brave of the 7/7/ conspiracy theorists to loudly demand a public independent inquiry. It will most likely highlight the shortcomings of their own arguments.

This sums up my overall view. It is those who do not want an inquiry that I do not respect. They are the ones who seem most worried that their view will be disproved.

Perhaps giving tentative respect to the Conspiracy Theorists makes me a weirdo (as if I wasn't alread) but in term of Civil Liberties, THE MAJORITY OF BRITS ARE WRONG!

(Believe it or not, the poster above is MEANT to be reassuring)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


The successes and failures of wikipedia are both very notable. That it is unprofessional is not so much an indictment of wikipedia (as no-one is forced to take its articles at face value) but of existing social and economic models for their failure to fill its niche in the internet with something professional.

I’d have thought that a national government could subsidise graduates to work on an academic version of the same thing. However, neo-liberalism increasingly disparages the thought that the state can do anything useful. Instead the state should make follies for those left behind by the free market to work on.

In scientific terms there is a debate that an intense focus on peer reviewed magazines is both expensive and stifling debate. Perhaps they should use open-access publishing sources more frequently in something akin to a hyper-wikipedia. It does seem to me that the scientific community (if there is such a thing) is becoming increasingly tribal and unflexible in its academic isolation.

This is most evident from the near religious way in which Darwin's theory of evolution is treated by academics, who do not like to debate it, even philosophically. The hounding of Michael Reiss for stating that teachers and lecturers should be PREPARED TO DEBATE creationism was one of the most unpleasant things that I have read about. Furthermore it is deeply unscientific. Karl Popper once described Darwinian evolution as ‘theology’ for its lack of falsifiability; Darwin’s self-appointed heirs seem determined to provide inquisitors for the theology.

On The Scientist website there has been a running photograph of a man standing beside a life size cutout of Charles Darwin. Darwin was himself a modest man and would no doubt be horrified at this.

In his book ‘A Devil’s Chaplain’ Richard Dawkins proudly displays a letter that he co-wrote with Stephen Jay Gould imploring academics not to talk to Intelligent Design advocates.

Whilst I have no interest in intelligent design, I find it difficult to see that stifling debate is ever positive. Of course, the reason could be because of the ID argument that Darwinian evolution through gradual natural selection itself leaves a vast amount unexplained.

This is NOT a valid argument that there is a creator. But it is a point that benefits the Popperian view of science, though not a point that most evolutionary scientists think should be heard by the unwashed hordes. In fact some scientific articles I’ve read actually seem to present evolution AS design. One instance is an article in response to a vital question, which has gnawed at man since the dawn of time: why are Greeks hairier than Africans?

The ‘scientific’ response was that hair protects from blood sucking insects. However, given that moderately more body hair would not be a significant advantage, I fail to see how gradual streamlining can work in this case. Anyway, midges in Scotland are worse than anything in Greece, yet this has not created a notably hairy people. If the incidental Greek mosquito puts hair on the chest, then surely the hordes of winged bloodsuckers in Scotland should create a race like this:

the midge problem in Central Ross-shire-joke for Russian audience)

Still, to return to Wikipedia, this ‘meme’ is evident in other fields. According to wikipedia mainstream scientists have not been debating the ‘conspiracy theorists’ in the Architects and Academics for 9/11 truth movement because THROUGH DEBATING THEM THEY WILL GIVE THEM UNWARRANTED CREDIBILITY.

I saw Richard Gage’s two hour talk on the issue, and thought that he made many very good points. I would define a ‘conspiracy theorist’ as someone who makes positive arguments rather than simply stating that the official account is deeply flawed. Gage does not advocate a conspiracy theory by this criteria.

I am entirely with ‘The Antiterrorist’ in using Okham’s argument against conspiracy theories. For all I know giant lizards may be ruling the earth, but I have no evidence and it is better to ask questions rather than to provide 'answers'. It is better to make the positive statements that we can make.

But the mainstream scientists think that this is nonsense, that through answering question about the third tower, primary accounts of multiples explosions and the shipping of the debris to China, they would be GRANTING CREDENCE to conspiracy theories.

In other words ‘put your unanswered questions away, and shut your mouth’ (apologies to Steven deSouza).

The humanities side of wikipedia is very similar. If a source is published, then it is worthy of respect. If not, it isn’t. This is becoming increasingly ambiguous as articles are published for their adherence to ideology rather than any intelligence or honesty of their writers.

The wikipedia page on ‘The Trap’ is a case in point. This is an excellent documentary about how diverse ideas helped to make selfishness appear a virtue in the West.

Our media increasingly treats economic liberty as the only liberty worth having. Yet Britain is turning into a dictatorship. Curtis is very open about how these theories arose through the failure of opposing theories: the terrorism of Soviet Russia and Revolutionary France; the economic stagnation of post-war Britain; the difficulty of facing the unimaginable during the Cold War.

And yes, The Trap does have its flaws. Curtis contradicts himself over the neo-conservatives stating they want democracy and demonstrating that they supported dictators. He similarly over-emphasises Thatcher’s ideas of freedom. And he exaggerates the totalitarian impulse of Putin, or at least the idea that Putin is any more authoritarian than his predecessor.

However, the central thesis is sound. We only need look at how the British state has coddled Berezovsky as a ‘dissident’ to see how theories of economic freedom have metamorphosed into Mammon worship.

Whilst British tend to disparage the concept of European liberty based on the fact that they still have state run industries, Privacy international proves that any smugness is unfounded.

In all, Curtis’s theories are worthy of respect. But the two articles invert the story of the Dutch boy and stick their fingers into the holes to destroy the dyke.

A bewigged troll in The New Statesman decides that the theories are so far fetched they are far fetched. No comment about the increase of greed in discourse of freedom. No, it made her confused therefore it was incoherent. Curtis-

‘Dug up footage of Donald Rumsfeld saying the same things of the USSR as he later did of Osama Bin Laden, an echo that had liberals rubbing their hands in glee.’

That goes to show he is biased towards the moonbat libruls, what with showing them real life footage and everything.

The other published source wikipedia links to as evidence of the documentary’s shortcomings is a piece in ‘Prospect’. Again it uses the word ‘paranoid’ in the headline. Not that they make any intellectual refutation of Curtis’s central hypothesis, that greed and selfishness have come to be portrayed as the foundations of freedom, but it is paranoid… because it is paranoid.

I’m not using this to bash wikipedia. As a historian I would never rely on wikipedia as a viable source, though as a casual websurfer it has its uses.

It is limited by the received wisdom of the day. Whilst its science pages have received some praise, its political articles are shackled by the limiting chains of neo-liberal editors. It is a reflection, not a parody of published material on politics.

Will academia or capitalism provide a comparable source of information? And will this be beneficial to the scientific community as well as th reading public?

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Ed Reckoning

It's not often that I get a pleasant surprise looking through remaindered items in bookstores. Usually it is books that no sane person would ever buy: books on diets that will damage your body and possibly make you temporarily thin; books devoted to farting; autobiographies of whatever moron has just fallen out of the public eye.

There are few books that are so abysmal they will be remaindered. I mean to actually be so bad that the British reading public will give it a miss because their money will be better spent on the works of Jilly Cooper and Graham Norton. But I was delighted to see that Edward Lucas's book 'The New Cold War' has achieved just that. It's tough competition out there Ed, and you just can't compete with Katie Price's talents.

For those who don't know, Ed Lucas is a right wing scrawny slaphead, who writes non-stop drivel about Russia. He plugged this book in The Guardian, criticising Bad Vlad for supporting heartless capitalism. Then simultaneously he plugged it in The Times, criticising Bad Vlad for puting Mikhail 'Alexander Solzhenitsyn' Khodorkovsky in prison. I tried to follow Ed's arguments, but I lost touch when he got to comparing Vladimir Putin with Saruman (sorry, maybe it was 'Sauron', please forgive if I'm misrepresenting your arguments Eddie).

Anyway, I don't know if we Brits are ready to spend a large chunk of our GDP on antagonising Russia. But we evidently aren't prepared to shell out a tenner for the latest piece of Lucas drek.

We'll save it for the fifth volume of David Beckham's memoirs thank you very much.

(Given his sinister baldy head, I used Nosferatu for this, but if I see Anne Applebaum's works heading remainderwise, I'll try to get a picture of Nosferatu with his mouth open)

Monday, 6 July 2009

Extraditing Litvinenko

From Yahoo news political expert:

'It's the diplomatic equivalent of stamping your feet - Britain used it against Russia following Moscow's refusal to extradite Alexander Litvinenko.'

Given that the British media were so obsessed with the death of the criminal Litvinenko, which supposedly heralded a new cold war, they could at least remember that he was the victim not the killer.

Our democratic media also use the News Headline Cameron Pledges to Cut the Quangos.

Though in truth he says that he will review them.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

When Putin Reacts

What type of political ideology privatises land, nationalises petroleum, introduces a flat tax, uses soldiers to verify tax accounts, enforces protectionism, celebrates diversity, celebrates patriotism, celebrates science, introduces state protection for the National Church, supports the NATO war in Afghanistan, opposes the war in Iraq, is strongly democratic but largely authoritarian, takes power from an atheist, alcoholic Communist apparatchik and leaves it in the hands of a devout, prissy lawyer? For want of a better word we could call it ‘reactionary’… or maybe Putinism?

This somehow highlights one of the oddest paradoxes about British Russophobia. Putin is only called a 'reactionary' because British ‘intellectual’ culture has frozen to such an extent that we have no real word for his ideology.

Ironically, the Anglosphere where Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are regarded as heroes is frozen in its political views.

As the World Bank and IMF are used as weapons to heighten the infant mortality rate of struggling countries and drain their resources, the state employs increasing numbers of people in Britain and the USA. As a government employee and British citizen, I support a form of intelligently planned Social Democracy in Britain (other nations can vote for their economy of choice). However, whilst most British journalists and politicians would break into a cold sweat at the idea of renationalising the railways, an army of bureaucrats run the passport agency and are employed in other unproductive roles.

This could be seen as an indictment of the free market: that it has not created universal employment and the state has to take over by creating 'follies' for people to work on. Yet religious belief in Thatcherism and Reaganism goes marching on.

It seems to me that as with so much else, this goes to demonstrate why Russophobia is so big in Britain. The Russians have moved ahead in ideological and political terms, have a class of politicians that are popular, patriotic and act in the national interest. Britain by contrast is stuck in 1979.

There is a lot of hated towards Russia. It is comical that Christopher Hitchens is called in to shower hatred on 'reactionary' Putin. Hitchens supported Lenin who destroyed the Silver Age of Russian culture. Now that Putin is undoing his handiwork, Hitchens is acting all indignant*.

Yet, ridiculously, Hitchens' feelings (I won't say thoughts) actually count for something. According to Prospect Magazine he is Britain's leading Public Intellectual.

Whilst there are many valid criticisms of Putin, especially his handling of the Chechen war, 'reactionary' is not one criticism that can be made against him. Yet all the negative epithets Stalinist/ Fascist/ Tsarist/ Imperialist are used against him. British intellectual culture is like a stage with papier mache pillars. They want to dress themselves up as Churchill or Pericles and their enemies up as Hitler/ Stalin/ Chamberlain. Words like 'dissident' and 'emigre' are applied to known criminals and scumbags. Perhaps this is a conscious conspiracy; or else it is an effort to distort facts to create familiarity.

Or to deny that the world has changed and that Britain has been left behind in the changing world, where 'reactionaries' are advocates of change.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

The wasteland

One of the strangest things about being a photoholic is the number of times one comes across a scene that seems to be composed for perfect symbolical value.

This was one such case. Many people attack Christianity in Britain and Britain is a secular country. Yet Britain is a deeply religious culture, where the Molloch of security replaces Christianity. Perfect Love Casts out all fear. Perfect love for oneself and one's possessions brings in all fear.

In some ways I find this photograph more disturbing than Churches with minarets, and less secular.

The CCTV camera symbol on the door of a boarded up church is a potent symbol that (to paraphrase a quote attributed to GK Chesterton)many people who have lost their faith in God are ready to put their faith in everything, not nothing. Click on photo to enlarge.

There was a cat that really was gone

Claudius Listening to Bach. Odd coincidence: noticed the book is 'The Bacchae'.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Quote of the Day

'Our government depends upon a simplistic economic model of human beings that allows inequality to grow and offers nothing positive in the face of the reactionary forces they have helped to awake around the world. If we ever want to escape this limited world view, we will have to rediscover the progressive positive ideas of freedom and realise that Isaiah Berlin was wrong. Not all attempts to change the world for the better lead to tyranny'
-Adam Curtis, The Trap