Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Classy Britain

I: There's a whole Lots of Times I wish I Could Say I'm not Middle Class

But after reading this, I think I'll have to. Mrs Elliot writes an article 'Why I use the term Middle Class as an Insult'. Her answer appears to be that it is because Te Graun pays middle class feminists to spout all sorts of illogical socially liberal gobbledegook that self-flagellating metropolitan leftists lap up.

But Elliot describes why she isn't middle class:
'It's also because I probably am a bit of a Marxist in that I don't believe material things define class so much as power does, along with some ownership of the means of production, and I know we don't possess either of those...
This is the key when it comes to talking about class. It's about knowing, when push comes to shove, which group or class of people has your interests at heart. And it's this that I'm referring to when I use "middle class" as an insult.

People who have never known anything but privilege and wealth, who went to private school, then Oxbridge, and who, thanks to mummy and daddy's connections, has had doors opened to them all their life, cannot possibly know what it is to be poor.'

See! Unless you've been to Oxbridge and have high-level connections, you're working class, and entitled to feel a victim.

Given the government cuts that are coming up there's a good chance that I'll soon be joining the proletarian class in employment terms (and of course by Elliot's definition I can't be middle class anyway). Not that I would regard being fired as meaning anything but moving to a different type of workplace (or possibly the rock and roll if I'm unlucky): I'm hardly living a middle class existence now, either socially (by choice) or economically and I myself have criticised the 'middle class' as an institution. This was because I was diagnosed as 'ill' for not being too good at sums and for not being able to tell when someone is speaking bullshit. But given how Michael Gove has climbed the social ladder and doesn't seem to be regarded as too deviant, I can't say I'm complaining that I was deemed unsuitable for work in a professional office environment.

Still, I would define myself as middle class purely because I don't want to make out that I can really claim to share in the suffering of those who are truly impoverished.

And that is what gets to me about people like Elliot, who provoked the charming (and evidently very popular) rebuke captured above.

II: Opposites Attract

The irony is that Herremott actually has more in common with Elliot than either of them would think. Whilst I don't know if Herremott has enlightened anyone with his opinion on the subject I'd be very surprised if he didn't share Elliot's attitude towards abortion. The weird thing is though that the feminist left that patronises the working class does seem to be moving towards union with the very neo-liberal right that is full of hatred for the working classes. Elliot fully supports a pro-abortion advert, even though it is obviously aimed at getting rid of people that the powers-that-be want rid of (who they think are too stupid to know that a missed period is a sign of pregnancy). However, she is smug because her opponents are the 'religious right', or at least she defines them as such for their opposition to sexual equality legislation. whilst I am myself very squeamish about the way in which many Christian groups focus on homosexuality, especially whilst bankers, weapons-traders and war-mongers are ignored, I do think equal rights legislation can often increase the role of statism, censorship and litigation in our society.

But even then, I think Elliot has little right to be smug about the company she keeps. Just look at Ian Dunt's neo-Malthusian attitude towards the liberal eugenicist argument for abortion:

'The excellent and challenging book 'Freakonomics', by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner documents a fascinating case study showing a sudden decrease in serious crime in American inner-cities. The authors posit, with a commendable indifference to the controversy they would detonate, that this began the first year that Roe Vs Wade, which effectively legalised abortion in the US, began to have an effect on society. Suddenly, the up and coming criminals, born of families which could not care, love for or afford them, were simply not being born. They were being aborted. Crime plummeted.'

Did crime really 'plummet'? And if so what type of crime? Is it better for someone never to have been born than to be born and steal a handbag? And how many others would would it be worth depriving of the right to life so that someone wouldn't be born to steal a handbag? Also note the creepy way that Dunt implies that those who disagree with his subjective comments is mentally ill or a religious fundamentalist. And this isn't even taking into account that Roe V Wade came shortly after Johnson's Great Society movement (though it was introduced during Nixon's presidency). And look at the strange neo-Puritanical idea of people being destined by economic class to be criminals. No idea of spiritual development: people are pre-destined by their income bracket to be eligible for being killed with a vacuum cleaner. It is for this reason that whilst I am generally sceptical about Christian involvement in politics (and find the ID/creationist movements very embarrassing) I'll always be 'Orthodox' philosophically.

I would be the last to say that abortion is an uncomplicated issue and I realise that social democrats who oppose it have a long struggle ahead. However, I do wish that others would look at how it is marketed. Nick Clegg's jumping into bed with the Tories could be a more sinister sign than many appreciate and a demonstration of how the social leftists and economic rightists who destroyed the British working classes in the 1980s are still in tandem and won't miss a few unborn 'council estate scum'. The Malthusian idea of Britain and the world being overpopulated is actually quite popular in upper class circles what with it being an interest of Prince Charles. Though to be fair the Prince only has one sprog himself. Did I just say that? Sorry, I forgot about his younger ginger-haired 'son'. Anyway, Boris Johnson is also worried about population growth, but evidently doesn't think a surplus of Johnsons is a problem if his brood is anything to go by.

In my humble opinion a plague will come upon the earth and create vast depopulation, but even if that did happen, our betters would still be concerned that the underlings are having too many children.


  1. Great post. I am so happy you are blogging again, really great stuff. Decades ago, French Communist leader Maurice Thorez and his wife Jeannette Vermeersch opposed birth control and abortion because they saw them as weapons against the working-class. In their view, birth control and abortion were bourgeois ideas designed to avoid raising living standards for workers.

    Instead, workers would be encouraged to limit family size. This would also make the working-class less powerful politically because their numbers would decline or at least stop growing. Vermeersch also noted that birth control would encourage individualism and “took the poetry out of love,” which is an interesting statement for a Communist.
    Beyond words, Thorez and Vermeersch also supported policies to make life better for people with large families, for example, supporting family allowances for big families.

    I wish pro-lifers would add these kinds of ideas to their repertoire, because in my view, it is not enough to simply be anti-abortion, we must actively be pro-life, which means supporting policies that directly contradict the neo-Malthusians.

    Unfortunately, much of the industrialized world is in thrall to the gospel of extreme utilitarianism exemplified by books like “Freakanomics.”

    It is shocking how many people I encounter who support abortion precisely because they feel it reduces crime by eliminating certain kinds of babies. It is amazing how many folks in our supposedly enlightened, progressive world are able to approach human life with such clinical coldness. And as you mentioned, if one tries to argue against this kind of utilitarianism, people will call you a religious wacko or a foolish sentimentalist.

    While I often disagree with Christian fundamentalists, I think they sometimes have a point about how dangerous science can be if it is not grounded by a moral code that comes from outside the world of science, since I believe that scientists qua scientists are unable to answer moral questions.

    ---Mr. Piccolo

  2. Thank you for your comment John. I will try to read more about Thorez and Vermeersch.

    I think the problem with utilitarianism is that it is founded on 'logic' which is a word that is strangely meaningless as you can make entirely contradictory logical statements(interestingly from the same untranslatable Greek word that provided the Christian term 'Logos' though as with much else I find it reassuring that the Christian meaning is less totalitarian).

    As for science, I am generally enthusiastic about science teaching, but don't think that scientists have much to say about ethics.

  3. Gregor said:

    “As for science, I am generally enthusiastic about science teaching, but don't think that scientists have much to say about ethics.”
    Yes, I agree, I like the way you put it, much better than I did. I have always had a layman’s interest in some scientific topics, and I am a supporter of things like the space program. I was sorry to hear that Obama might cut the NASA budget or even privatize some parts of the American space program. That’s all we need, Halliburton in space!

  4. Interesting points about abortion and prevailing attitudes about what constitutes a 'worthwhile' existence. A purely 'logical' darwinian approach would surely have to be that a life can only be judged 'worthwhile' by whether it has passed on it's genes. Under those 'rules' you'd have to say abortion is illogical.

    Though I personally think woman should have the choice.

    Noticed you're flirting with treason by openly flaunting the 'gingergate' question...!!

  5. Abortion propaganda might be directed at the lower classes but I think feminism has made inroads into the bourgeoisie as well. You have the glorification of the career woman, later life pregnancies etc.

    I'm not sure the Marxist left ever sincerely cared about the working class. I met some of these contemporary Marxists and they were all bunch of snobs. Marxism is a hardcore materialism so this is nothing surprising.

    Marx's ideas about governance are much more attractive to contemporary elite than his ideas about class, which are hypocritical and proven wrong.


    I have noticed there is a very evolved class culture here in Britain. People have a tendency to correct my East London expressions, I have also witnessed how some in my Uni would try to elevate themselves to the level of Oxbridgers.

  6. @Gareth
    I think that the powers that be think certain groups are a bit too successful at reproducing and want a kind of managed Darwinism.

    But I think that Dunt expresses a very arrogant and yet prevalent belief that science can both determine what a human is and what a worthwhile life is. I think ironically this is very unscientific because both of these things are subjective.

    As for the gingr question, what about that lad you voted for who's all for privatising Royal Mail? I reckon we should call a constituency meeting, bung him in a wicker man, set it alight and dance around in circles as he blubbers that he's a true progressive. Just to show what happens when you mess with the tcheuchters.

  7. @Leos
    Yes, it's true that feminism is very middle class and tends to ironically glorify the woman's role in the capitalist system above woman's role giving birth, which seems to me very sexist in itself. However, I think that it is one thing believing middle class girls should wear power-suits and take on men on their own terms. It's quite another to see the proles reproducing whilst the middle class women are too bus for children.

    I generally agree with you. OK, I haven't read much by Marx, but the cultural left is deeply hypocritical in many ways.

    I've never been to London, but it is a strange place by most accounts. A vast immigrant population, yet a fanatical pro-American elite of public schoolboys decide British policies. I think you should use the East London expressions anyway.