Wednesday, 26 November 2014

‘The Revolution’ will not be what you’re hoping to see - The truth about modern Left wing politics (part one)

To put it simply; the truth is the modern Left wing have got it all wrong…

Wrong in so much as there are always significant problems when their ideals and systems are put into practice. And wrong in that they are averagely too self righteous to see or accept the problems.

So many people want to appear to be altruistic, want to be on the side of ‘the people’ and while the intentions may indeed be good, the politics aren't practical, not now, not at this moment in history.

Many people work to change the world and that is vital, but wholesale change; a revolution or ‘the revolution’, is not a good idea.

    The recent Million Mask March in London
    Suggested reform may include a 'maximum wage'? 

Even forgetting how bloody revolutions have generally been in the past, the resulting system wouldn't necessarily be any better and in terms of conventional or moderate Left wing politics, the situation is the same, the system is never ‘fairer’ as it always turns out, it’s usually unsustainable and subject to many of the same problems as revolutionary politics.

The issues with Left wing politics are many and complex, and that is part of the problem in itself, Left wing politics fundamentally rely on simple idealism and principles that aren't as widespread within populations as necessary, in reality (even if they are professed views, it doesn't mean they’d be followed through…). Despite the complexity, I have managed to break it down to a few overriding points that do to some extent encapsulate the problems of Left wing systems.

To be clear from the start, this isn't advocating Right wing or even Centrist politics; this is simply a critique of contemporary Left wing politics, from a former Left wing idealist. At times it pains me to take such a standpoint, I used to believe that a revolution would be a good thing, but then I realised nothing is ever perfect...

The three problems are:

  1. Control
  1. Corruption
  1. Impracticality
The first two are significant features of Left wing systems, they combine with circumstance and individual and cultural differences to make the politics impractical; up to the present day the politics have failed on too many counts, they are impractical in the modern world. The systems do not work now, they may well in the future, in fact there's a good chance they will. But then the circumstances and the systems would be different and the Leftists' arguments of today would still be wrong, as much as they will always claim moral superiority.

One of the Left's main problems is that they struggle to see reality through their ideals and their holier than thou attitude. There is always a need for some compromise, but the belief that they are intrinsically right clouds their judgement when faced with reality, that is where the problems begin and why I wanted to write this, to make it clear.

Any current Left wing system would involve some sort of redistribution, whether it is just taxation or something more fundamental like removal of private property, it goes without saying that there would be opposition and therefore you have to have control. Otherwise it doesn't work; you would have to force people to follow the rules, one way or the other.

If you have a high taxation system or an effectively communist system, you would have not only internal opposition, but also external opposition and alternatives. You only need look at the many socialist systems of the 20th Century and their attempts to subdue and crush opposition to illustrate what would have to happen to some extent, when there is an alternative to the system and dissenting voices.

    Lest we forget...
    Socialists can ignore it, but we can't let them re-write it.

There are of course fewer examples of modern Socialist systems, though Venezuela, oft touted by the Left as an example of socialist success, has recently been having problems with opposition

(Of course the Guardian don’t like it. But everyone sees things differently – BBC QandA. And the make up of any opposition and the way it’s perceived will depend on many different circumstances. In Hong Kong the Chinese also blame 'hostile foreign interests', while it is students at the forefront of opposition again)
There are some seven billion people in the world and around 200 countries, how any effective truly socialist system can succeed in this vast diverse world is almost beyond reason.

And if all seven billion were to live under one system that would take strict control and enforcement, and if just a percentage were to live under such a system, then the remaining population and territory provide an alternative and potential opposition.

If there were to be a bloody revolution and property is removed by force, along with all the other potential facets of a Leftist movement, then obviously control and force is being applied and immediately they undermine and contradict their altruistic principles.

In the past there were at least clearer divisions along class lines and the revolution was for the working classes, but those divisions hardly exist any more, even in the developing world, with its burgeoning middle classes. Where is a line to be drawn? And how many would suffer because of a hastily drawn line?

The truth is ‘the poor’ are nothing of the sort in the developed world when compared to the equivalent populations in previous revolutions; from the French to the Cuban Revolution. And in those revolutions of the past the perpetrators openly and actively sought to destroy the ruling classes, not only the existing order. But the ‘revolutions’ so many groups speak of now in the West, not so much about the destroying?

You don’t remove your principal opposition? That’s going to make it less likely to succeed… I don’t think there have been many peaceful revolutions; change maybe, but a complete overthrow as some would have it? (The ‘Bloodless Revolution’ in Britain ushered in the current system).

    Old School
    Che knew the score.

    New School
    Who would follow Russell into conflict…?

    A fool...?

In a genuinely ‘bloody revolution’, power has corrupted instantaneously.

That leads to the second problem; corruption. This problem is relevant to all systems, Left or Right, but at least with Right wing systems it’s viewed by almost everyone as tacit, seemingly even by those running said systems. But the Left claim to be righteous, at times almost to a religious extent, ironically.

This aspect is also more relevant than control to many Western Left wing governments, the likes of the British Labour party. Too much or conspicuous levels of control is difficult for them, though try they will, there appears to be a high level of freedom, particularly economic, but corruption; incompetence, idleness and more besides, comes very easily to them…

Corruption is a loose term used to encompass a wide variety of sins. Corrupt can be in terms of making a very good living from doing very little, ignoring or excusing incompetence and the antonym to Labour's claims of a ‘meritocracy’; nepotism. (What Labour’s Red Princes tell us about Britain - New Statesmen article on Labour's nepotism) 

    'I paid for my son to become a Socialist'
    'It's a damn liberty he has to stand for election...'

The public sector could be seen as corrupt in this sense and Labour only made the problem worse. Why doesn't more money go to front-line staff; nurses, etc and why are there ‘non-jobs’ like the position I've looked at previously; the Grass Monitor…? 

There is a lot of money flying around and if they keep enough of it in the air, no-one will see where it’s landing. It's not even worth going into the MPs' expenses scandal again, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Fantastic that after so many years of being a Leftist stalwart Tony Benn left us all with a lot of talk for the Left to happily quote, but his parting gifts were nepotism and now we discover some very well timed tax avoidance

    Tony Benn
    A man of principle (talked a good game).

    Benn on Marx and Christ
    But Karl and Jesus didn't have any power Tony... 

The various elements of corruption occur within Left wing systems of all kinds, whether it is extreme such as North Korea or just a Left wing sham, such as the UK Labour party.

    How a future Labour conference might look...?
    If certain people had their way...

In the extreme it leads to the horrific injustices of a regime like that of North Korea and in the watered down version of socialism under New Labour in Britain, it led to incompetent government over-inflating the public sector, creating inefficiency, unfairness and further accentuating many divisions in society.

Left wing idealists come across as in utter denial about the problems of corruption, as well as crime. Perhaps it’s part of their idealism; if everyone becomes (by force…) equal, then all the ills of the world will be solved and there will be no crime. No-one would want to have more power or possessions (will there be possessions…?) than their neighbours or comrades, so there will be no crime. The Mafia will give up the game, drug cartels will just disband…

Now, in this time, this age, it is utterly ridiculous. (Judging by the murder rate in Venezuela, I think we have a reasonable contemporary example.)

And in terms of corruption within the system, maybe Left wing idealists and advocates do not mention the problems because they know they will benefit from them; there’s just in on the scam, they’ll get a good position in the regime…?

    Committed Socialist Owen Jones
    'When the Revolution Comes - Let the good times roll...'

I think there’s almost no doubt they don’t bring up the subject, because it will undermine their arguments.

There would be crime and corruption, and either it would be ignored or it would have to be cracked down upon, therefore further strict controls on the population.

It is the Left ignoring the complexities of the modern world and that is true of so many aspects of Left wing politics. With extreme Left wing politics, it is absolutely fundamental; in terms of how a communist system would work when it has transformed from a complex highly specialised society? (Irrespective of the pedantic nature of political academics) Marxists are referring back to theories devised over 150 years ago, when economic and class systems were much more simplistic.

Following the recent economic crisis, how many times has someone stated that Karl Marx was right? Far too many times, because he lived in a different world, and he certainly had some points about anarchic capitalism at the time, but that doesn't mean he's right now. It’s hard to say he was even right 100 years ago, if you look at how his ideology was applied through the 20th Century. 
It is the nature of the modern world that makes Left wing ideals impractical. The need for control and the corruption are indeed fundamental to this; they are symptomatic of the impracticality. But Leftists just ignore it. Their focus is simply the problems of the current global system and their solutions are idealistic.

It is often actually a dangerous level of ignorance. Blinded by their idealistic visions of a fairer society, one where we suddenly all get along and share; pacifism is a significant part of Left wing politics.

The current situation in the Middle East and conflicts elsewhere around the world (such as the Ukraine), are again highlighting the fallacy of pacifism, the complicated and competing cultures and interests in the world, and the friction they induce, are unlikely to change overnight.

The protests at the recent Nato summit in Wales were actually relatively muted (perhaps in the face of almost insurmountable need for military options), but the pacifist ideals were certainly there (No Nato Newport).

Do they believe that if the West were to disarm that the likes of ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS, ISIL, who cares what they want to be called…?!) would in turn just throw down their weapons and pick up peace pipes (or rainbow banners)?

    Spot the difference:

    No Nato Newport

    Naturally aligned...?
And a West without significant military capabilities leaving a world dominated by Russia and China, do we really want to see how that would work out? It is irrelevant that Western idiocy created the current situation in Iraq or if you want to look further back, the world situation at large, through the course of industrialisation and various conquests and wars, we have to the deal with the current global situation as it presents itself.

On an economic front, as Russia and China continue to grow and dominate, would a Left wing led Western world be able to maintain the economic strength to foster the desired lifestyles promised by Leftist politics, in the face of competition from the emerging economies of the world? The EU is fundamentally Left leaning and there are no guarantees that on its current course, let alone if it took a severe Left turn, that it can maintain living standards and its economic standing in the world (BBC business news - Eurozone economic forecast cut by European Commission and Eurozone growth sluggish as Germany avoids recession).

If you think about the practicalities of pacifism combined with the potential economic focus of a Left wing pacifist nation and ask; if we were to spend all of our defence budgets on the NHS and employing Doctors, Nurses, etc (as No Nato Newport has previously suggested), would that lead to the preservation of both world peace and our economic prosperity? Could we secure world peace and end world hunger by simply switching the funds as they now proclaim?

Too simplistic…?

The complexities and diversities of the modern world make the notion of a successful worldwide socialist revolution almost laughable, not to even go further into the need for control and the inevitable corruption. It was impractical in the 20th Century 'Second World'; worldwide revolution would take this to a new ridiculous scale.

However, even moderate Left wing regimes suffer from the same problems in a global economy, France are an example of a struggling European economy, but when they are taxing their rich at higher levels and while implementing potential economic burdens like a reduction in the retirement age for an ageing population, it isn't hard to see why…?

Again this isn't advocating Right wing economic policies, or 'austerity', investment is necessary, but when funds are misused or misdirected; then the Left’s arguments are again undermined by practical reality. They so very often, don’t know what they’re doing…

There isn't any need to go too far into the problems caused by the UK’s recent foray into ‘Left wing’ government.

    New Labour - all there
    Bunch of c**ts.

While many do not see the recent Labour Government as strictly Left wing, however confused it may have been; much of their politics was derived from post war social democracy. They blindly pumped money into the public sector and created some of their socialist ideals in that protected environment, while giving the financial sector something of a free rein.

The financial crash may have been a once in a generation downturn but it highlighted Labour’s errors and incompetence. The level they were able to spend in the public sector was only facilitated by the height of the boom they presided over and they could have invested in that time both to create a balanced economy and also to have surplus funds for a softer landing after the crash.

    Gordon Brown, on reflection...
    'I should have seen it coming...'

The balance of creating a functioning economy with improving living standards and working conditions is something moderate Leftist regimes have consistently struggled with since World War Two. It’s not that in theory, they couldn't work in practice; moderate aims working within a global market economy could succeed, and they do sometimes on a smaller scale. If it weren't for the stresses of competition and global crises they might fair better on a larger scale, they have for short times, but it is exactly that larger scale where they begin to fall apart. And while the control of moderate systems may be more subtle, the corruption, as outlined previously, can make them far from attaining the fairness and equality they claim to strive for. 
Left wing systems should work, if everyone acted and thought the same way, but they don’t. The Soviet led Socialist world of the last century was able to provide a necessary like minded economic bloc, every nation needs to have some ability to trade in order to survive and develop and they were able to survive for a time. This fuels the Trotskyist desire for world wide revolution, to make everyone think and act the same, but there again we fall into the need for control and economic control is just one aspect, conditioning of minds is a further part of the necessary control in Left wing politics, which I will look at again.

As I have already stated this has nothing to do with the rights or wrongs of right wing politics; Corporatism, Laissez-faire economics, Conservatism or Libertarianism, it’s irrelevant to this argument.

I don’t agree with the set up of the current system, from established wealth to the new super rich. Particularly for the latter; tax avoidance on an international level is something that should be tackled, but large scale Left politics, of almost any kind, is not the answer. It is something I've addressed before and the situation (tax havens, etc) needs to be changed through worldwide consensus and agreement. 

Egalitarian society appears to be a noble cause and worth at least striving towards, but that’s not the same thing as enacting the change overnight and it doesn't have to come directly from socialism (believe it or not…) or what one might deem to be a Left wing system. There are no easy answers as much as some might present their solutions as such.

It's true that Left wing politics of a sort can work on a smaller scale; Scandinavian systems are often touted in the UK as what we should be aspiring to if not modelling. However, even forgetting the population sizes, there are significant cultural differences, let alone the specific economic differences (BBC article - How Norway has avoided the 'curse of oil') and the majority of the world’s nations couldn't be changed very quickly to replicate such systems. Consensus and direction are easier to come by on a smaller scale, with fewer people pulling in different directions.

Scotland has recently been flirting with the idea of becoming the next Scandinavian country and while I don't intend to go into the specifics of that particular political nest of vipers here… The SNP were certainly looking at a Left turn for an independent nation and one aspect was disarmament. Again on the smaller scale it essentially wouldn't make any difference to the position of the West and the worldwide situation, but in view of the reality as opposed to the ideal of this Left wing idea; George Orwell made comments on Celtic Nationalism, in his essay Notes on Nationalism, which are clearly still relevant to this day – “…the delusion that Eire, Scotland or even Wales could preserve its independence and owes nothing to British protection.”

In the modern world the threats have changed but for British, read ‘NATO’, the USA, or even the EU; if those organisations and national structures were to disappear the situation of a small independent nation could change very quickly, but circumstance will not see that occur any time soon.

Orwell also comments on Pacifists and their denial; “those who ‘abjure’ violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf”. In the modern context it is fortunately more a case of ‘willing to commit violence’.

This article is principally aimed at more extreme Left wing politics, but the fallacies and failings of the Left pervade…

At the end of the day change has happened in the world and by and large it has happened under the capitalist system. Things aren't as bad as they first appear, according to the academic and statistician Hans Rosling, or they're not as bad as many want to believe.

(There's even been some positive news from the world of conservation, which came to light on Twitter recently - A Conservationist Sees Signs of Hope for World’s Rainforests. And I had remained pessimistic in this area...)

Change has of course occurred from major events, often unforeseen, shocks like the major wars and economic crashes, but still, relatively continuous progress has been made under the current system and it has come from what is a compromise between the conservative and the liberal or radical. And in the main, in the West at least since the end of World War Two, this has stopped the transition being too shocking and uncompromisingly brutal.

Change is still being played out through the world with varying levels of brutality and again do Leftist radicals think we'd somehow be immune to this?

    People have been saying humanity's doomed for hundreds of years
    But now we're here and they have the internet...

    Every generation does.

All the things the Left desire, all of their ideals, could come from changing standards and attitudes along with technological advancement. Generational change drives a lot of the evolution in attitudes and technology can provide practical solutions. This is over the natural course of time, with the odd shock accepted, so that's not to say it won't be a bumpy ride, especially in the UK and the right  political decisions are required.

No matter how much the Left might want everyone to think like them, not everyone does (not all seven billion at the beginning of the 21st century); very far from it and therefore their ideals are rendered impractical.

Obviously this subject is vast, tackling half of the political spectrum isn't easy and as it turns out it couldn't be summed up quickly... And this dissection won't be to everyone's taste, who likes to be bluntly told they're wrong? Not me. But the second post on this subject looks further into the problems of Left wing politics and includes more points from Orwell's writing.

The Left want to champion Orwell as their own and claim his every word, but so much of his writing appears to have been shining a light up to contemporary Left wing thinking. He'd have seen a lot of parallels with the modern Left and their attempts to re-write recent history, particularly that of Soviet Socialism, of which Orwell was a strong critic.

The second post will also look at modern protest movements, the activists in the likes Occupy and the Million Mask March are the front line in how the modern Left wing is evolving. In the modern complex world they represent a tremendous variety of interests and outlooks, and this is part off their problem, but many of the young disaffected will be influenced by old Left wing revisionism.

The Occupy movement want change, though truly they won't be the people organising any new system (well I f***ing hope not...) in the near future, so what they are doing is calling out for someone else to do it on their behalf.

    The Million Mask March takes its demands to parliament
    'And somebody do everything better...!!'

    The crowd breaks and a champion appears...
    'Russell Brand will show us the way...!?'

They want freedom and they should never lose sight of that, because just as capitalism and freedom/democracy aren't necessarily the same things; the 'alternatives' to capitalism do not guarantee freedom or democracy.

These minds could be led to believe that there are better alternatives and answers, which can be taken from the recent past...

    'For the Glory of Communism'
    These are not the easy answers you're looking for...

I don't know which would be worse; a world run by Soviet style Socialists or a world led by Russell Brand...
    Help us all...