If my posts don’t piss people off …

2 Sep

… then I’m slacking on the job.

Can’t stand the thought of losing friends you once held dear? Fine – just don’t take up political blogging is my advice. Not if your key message is out of step with mainstream fairy tales whose Numero Uno Big Fib is that the West is Good because informed by Enlightenment values …

… and because it is ruled by democracies held to account every few years by free citizens duly informed by mainstream media whose first loyalty is to truth.

Losing pals who at some level of consciousness do buy that arch fairy tale kinda goes with the terrain. That’s obvious, right? I mean, they “know” the misery in Venezuela is down to “failed Chavism“, and in Syria to evil-for-evil’s-sake Bashar al-Assad. (I’m sampling, you understand. Setting out the entire picture, or even the pieces known to me, would crash my blogsite.) So my insistence that the ultimate authors of such suffering are liars answerable not to you and me but to the sociopaths who truly rule the West – a matrix where huge corporate interest, deep state, and the surface forms of governance all intersect – will go down like a bucket of cold sick.

Take my recent posts on the Afghan horror show. When I say things like

Beijing will certainly want the Taliban not only to desist from cross border meddling in Xinjiang – as will Moscow vis a vis the ‘stans’ of Central Asia and far off Chechnya – but to stop other Islamist groups doing that. (Quite the opposite, in fact, of what the Americans would be after.) For its part a beholden Taliban will be inclined to comply …

… I not only notch up a triple whammy on siding with The Official Bad Guys – China, Russia and Taliban. I also get bonus points for painting The Official Good Guys (flawed but well intentioned Uncle Sam and, by extension, his coat-tail riders) as bent, through unbridled venality 1 wrapped in layer after layer of nauseating hypocrisy, on thwarting human decency at every turn.

So, yes, I will lose friends. And being well intended (more or less) but flawed, some losses will be needless. Some will be down to crass insensitivity – I do better on verbal reasoning than on emotional intelligence – and some because a dangerous sarcasm here, a provocative analogy there, is misconstrued. Indeed, some losses may be down to cowardice rationalised: baulking at swallowing my pride and picking up the phone, while telling myself I’ve bigger fish to fry.

Shit, I can’t even lay hand to heart and claim – isn’t all human motivation mixed at best? – that this post is free of self pity and/or boasting. But let’s say it isn’t. What then?

I never said I was perfect. Just that those lost friends who rise to other of life’s many tests with greater virtue and grace than I do happen, on this one particular, to be completely wrong.

And it’s driving us to the abyss.

* * *

  1. That “unbridled venality” cannot, in truth, be bridled but for the why of that we need a basic grasp of how really existing capitalism, in its monopoly phase of imperialism, works. Few have such a grasp. Least of all economists, their salaries conditional on its absence.

13 Replies to “If my posts don’t piss people off …

  1. I really don’t know how sane or intelligent people cannot be reasoned with and see the truth when it is available not only on this site, but many, many others from well informed and knowledgeable “experts” to use the term for demonstrative purposes.
    Reading your posts daily has kept me sane in an insane Alice in Wonderland world.
    Everywhere I turn people are repeating the propaganda of our mainstream articles which are held as fact rather than the fiction they really are. The BBC is probably the best source of pro establishment propaganda anyone can listen to.
    We may not agree on everything but at least your opinions are grounded in your interpretation of facts ascertained by countless sources who actually have both honesty and integrity.
    I get about all over the many blogs written by people are really are wide awake and paying attention.(I don’t know what “woke” actually means, so I haven’t used it here).
    If you lose friends because they want to be like the three wise monkeys with regards realities that are misinterpreted, misrepresented and uttered by egregious and perfidious liars, then they are the ones who need to question their own cognitive assumptions.
    Keep doing what you do, as a Brit telling it like it is, you are priceless!
    Many thanks Phillip,

    Susan 🙂

    • Susan I’m so sorry I only just spotted this comment from you. Not only do I continue, mystifyingly, to have to approve comments from you and one other (also an Irish name!!!). To this problem we can add one more recent. Despite having checked that I have the correct settings, since August if not before I’ve stopped receiving email notifications of all comments – whether or not they await moderation. I spotted two from you, and a few others, this evening while going through the comments page in WordPress. I really shouldn’t have to do that.

      Anyway, many thanks for your kind words. I hope you’re well!

  2. It’s true, there is that arch fairy tale about the West. But it’s not the only one. There is its analogue: that the bad guys as portrayed by the evil West are the real good guys, or maybe not the real good guys, but certainly ‘better.’

    From the standpoint of ordinary people, however, life is pretty much shyte everywhere.

    The world in its entirety is exploited by means of money, and the rule of money implies wage slavery and property and force and propaganda because its rule, i.e., that of the moneyed, is illegitimate and founded upon coercion.

    The Russian or Chinese or Syrian or Venezuelan or Taliban establishments, or any other that you care to add to that list, are no different than the evil West: they all rule by the same means and to the same ends.

    To echo Sartre: there are no good or bad capitalists, but there are capitalists and there is capitalism.

    No matter where you are or who you are, it kinda feels and looks the same for those most put upon.

    As for friends: integrity must choose.

    • Well as you know, Norman, I disagree on Syria, Russia and China. I shan’t rehash old arguments – though I’m mildly surprised you still read me – but will pick up on the most important of the three.

      As best I can tell, and if you have contra evidence do please supply, China’s capitalists (a) have been an important component in a miracle that’s lifted hundreds of millions from what the World Bank calls extreme poverty, (b) are subordinate to state policy – when in the West it’s the other way round – and (c) exist precisely because the failure of the West’s Left to make its own revolutions obliged China to adapt to global conditions of entrenched neoliberalism.

      I see China’s rise as to be welcomed, albeit cautiously. Arguments over the nature of Ba’athist Syria and capitalist – but I say not imperialist – Russia are separate matters, though they too have my support given the absence of credible alternatives.

      By the way, I’m saddened by the death of Louis Proyect. We differed profoundly on Syria, and along similar lines to my differences with you. Worse, I loathed his debating style. But I appreciated his clarity, and on some important matters saw him as correct when others closer to me were wrong.

  3. Greetings Philip,
    apart from losing friends, or lets just say people who appear to have a very different understanding of that rather over-used term, I sincerely hope you are well!
    Am away on a 3 day business-trip, so of course my solace in the evenings is the likes of you and your blog.
    So I can only implore you to keep up the fantastic work, it means a lot to many of us out on the ether.
    You take extra care of yourself and your loved ones.
    PS. Still no word from on the Techie-front, but I know he just hates to be pushed, so if you could bear with me a while longer…….

    • Thanks Billy. Re your son, absolutely no worries and no pressure. Nice if it happens but there’s a thousand reasons why it might not. Personally speaking, as a young man I’d have thrown a right royal hissy-fit at a parent signing me up for voluntary work without asking me first!

    • Painful to hear of this rift, Dave. But I’d back Glenn on the line you quote and, if what I can glean of the affair is accurate with nothing important missed out, on the rift itself.

      If Chelsea’s gripe with him boils down to his having appeared on Tucker Carlson then (a) without knowing context, what said and why; (b) given Glenn’s principled stand on other matters (like leaving The Intercept where Naomi Klein and others stayed); (c) his generous support (and not just money) for Chelsea – I remain admiring of Glenn, a tad less so of Chelsea’s ad hominems. (Though nothing can take away from what she has done for truth, and the price she has paid.)

      Glenn featured in a recent post on this site, on how Obama officials lied and continue to lie about Edward Snowden

      Back to the general point: where true friendship and political alignment merge, that’s great. But life is no cakewalk and for all our tendencies to psychological manichaeism – with its concomitant need for everything to fit neatly into good guys and bad – I have friends who are liberals and even tories on the one hand; on the other, political allies I find cold-hearted, mean spirited and fundamentally narrow minded.

      C’est la vie, as the Germans say.

      • The quoted observations from other twitterari in this piece in regard to the insular echo chamber which passes for the ‘left’ these days, whilst being pertinent, are nowhere near blunt enough to explicitly capture the sheer paucity of character endemic in a critique wallowing in its own self righteous safe space purity spiral silo sniping at any attempt to persuade the “official enemy” of the value of your own arguments and positions.

        Any fool can spend all their time preaching to the converted. It’s a lot harder collar going into the lion’s den to put your message across. All credit to Greenwald on that aspect. And I suspect that’s the nub of the issue. He’s shown people up who are too shallow to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.

        Of which there seem to exist an overlarge surplus – who don’t have friends, only opportunities

  4. It’s easy to make the mistake that because someone is resisting a bully, they are any less capable of bullying. I take the side of the person being bullied against the bully, but I don’t then join them when they behave badly towards someone else. You can understand their need to lash out, but you can’t condone their actions, and if it is the practice of bullying that you abhor, you should abhor it in all instances.

    So, while I tend to go along with your view of US / “Western” foreign policy, and internal politics, I don’t then subscribe to being a supporters of their opponents. My enemies enemy is not my friend; he might be a temporary ally, or someone I speak up for in certain circumstances, but I don’t make the mistake of thinking he is a friend. I accept that Russia, China, Iran and Syria, for example, are defending their interests, and that their main crime to the “West” is that they resist hegemony and defy the “established world order”, but I don’t imagine that they are any more benevolent, humanitarian, altruistic, or compassionate than their opponents.

    I also find the argument that our “democracy” is a sham, but that their lack of any is somehow more admirable (which is the implication of what you seem to be saying) illogical if not entirely contradictory. Our democracy is in urgent need of fixing, but their forms of governance do not offer an improvement, just a different way of oppression for the majority and self-interest for those in charge.

    For example, it would be wrong to think that because the “West” uses China’s treatment of the Uighurs to make propaganda points, while no doubt doing their best to stir up as much trouble as possible by stoking any sparks of unrest, that that treatment is any the less repugnant. The point we should take from our tendency to “whataboutery” is that each wrong needs to be addressed individually, not that there is a score card and whoever is top of the table is uniquely deserving of criticism.

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