A month ago, in a post on capital punishment, I wrote of my objection to the death penalty on practical rather than principled grounds, but followed with this:
If the death penalty could be shown to be a deterrent – and to date that just hasn’t happened – and if there were some way to guarantee no innocent would receive it – there isn’t – then it might be supported as a net saver of lives. No?
No. Not if you’re on the Left. Because as the Irish Experience [Birmingham 6, Maguire 7, Guildford 4] demonstrate, you don’t, and this is a matter of principle, surrender a scintilla of extra power to rule over the many by and for the few; be that extra power in the arena of state surveillance, censorship, inroads on habeas corpus or any of the other theatres of class war in which we’ve spent two decades sleepwalking into totalitarianism.
And in a post a week ago, on the illusory nature of parliamentary democracy, I said:
To insist that the sun orbits the earth cannot but lead, buffeted by so many inconvenient empirical findings, to all manner of confusion, seeming paradox, denial and spatchcock workaround. So too does the cherished fairy tale that we in the West live in democracies, as opposed to national variants on a world run by criminal elites.
Britain being a monarchy is an important variant but not a crucial one. France isn’t a democracy either, not least because like every other nation .. it lacks independent media, while America’s red/blue comic turn stands as lesson to us all in how nakedly class war can be waged by big money. Class war at home, class war abroad – class war helped rather than hindered by the charade of government by and for the people.
Britain’s successful colonial and slave trading past is another important but not crucial variant. Germany had few colonies, Scandinavia fewer and Switzerland none at all, yet those states are thriving imperialisms. As such they are no more democratic than Britain, France, Holland or the once great powers of Iberia, and for a very good reason. Class rule and democracy can no more coexist than fire and ice. It’s a matter of irreconcilable interests, you see.
Except most don’t. That’s the clever bit.
On the illusory nature of democracy, and the reality of a world run by high class gangsters, I recommend this 2015 intervew of Chris Hedges by Vice Media.1 A presbyterian minister, journalist and frequent guest (and host) on RT (formerly Russia Today) Hedges is one of many radical liberal voices – others being Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Cook, George Galloway, Caitlin Johnstone, Craig Murray, John Pilger and many, many others – challenging the drift of the West, led as ever by the USA, into a very dark future.
(Assuming, that is, we have any future at all given that the very same currents carrying us into totalitarianism with a smiling and politically correct face are also edging us closer to nuclear armageddon and environmental catastrophe. But that’s another story. Sufficient unto the day the evils thereof.)
- Just to show how weird the world has become, Murdoch’s Fox News had a 5% stake in Vice, which it sold to Disney in 2013. Less than a week ago there were lay-offs at Vice Media. Wall Street Journal reported that “CEO Nancy Dubuc has prioritized getting the company to profitability …[with] the company on track to lose more than $50 million that year on revenue of $600 million to $650 million.