Anonymous blog by a member of For Britain
The Western World stands at a crossroads concerning its future, and yet seems uncertain as to which road to follow and undecided whether to continue along the path hitherto trod. Democracy is wavering in the face of at least three authoritarian philosophies. Many people are losing sight of core democratic values, or have little stomach for resistance and may succumb. If current trends are maintained, creeping Islamisation could result in activist Moslem minorities, and even majorities, in several European countries by 2030/40. The rise of neo-fascist movements in Europe is gaining momentum. Populist movements lean towards both extreme right and extreme left positions, there being little between them on some issues, in the hope of giving a voice to the people, who no longer understand for whom or for what society and its political class stands.
A particularly effete and sanctimonious, loosely “politically correct”, Socialist, or even Social Democrat Left finds it beneath its dignity to defend Western civilization and has taken refuge in “cultural relativism”. These people have a strong propensity to stifle information and refuse to discuss the very real issues of Islamist and Islamic encroachment. They can denounce shrilly anyone who opposes their creed as racist, while being flagrantly discriminatory and at times racist themselves. A position which is as odd as it is intellectually disappointing.
Although it most certainly is constructive to question our core values, it is highly negative to discard them on insufficient evidence. Today, we can speak of a certain moral disarmament, and consequently of a need for moral rearmament. In other words, to avoid decline, there is a need for the West to determine and resolutely defend a simple, clear ethic, to decide what it truly stands for and to proclaim its principles at every turn. Many democrats experience distinct uneasiness on this issue, but seem to have little clear idea as to what to do about it.
The result is great moral confusion and a growing sense of powerlessness. To a growing number, the West seems to be entering a phase of decline. In some quarters this heightens doubt concerning the probity of its democratic principles, and in others a positive desire to desert or replace them. But, in the present state of the world, by what can Democracy be replaced? Only by highly unsavoury regimes, under the banner of Socialism, Islamism or Populism, which would, in the shorter or longer run, put an end to an age of freedom, rational inquiry and enormous social progress. We may just be sleepwalking into a trap. A clear and unambiguous reaffirmation of democratic principles as a prelude to action is therefore currently of the utmost importance. This is the subject of the following paper.
The moral background
There exist fundamentally only two forms of society: composite/pluralist, monolithic. In the seventeenth century, born of the English republican experience, Hobbes’ model depicted a society where compromise between opposed interests, to avoid a barbarous existence, results in a least-bad “win/win” deal, cemented by a social contract. Rousseau, a century later, replaced this pluralistic society by a monolithic model where one either accepted “the common will of the people” or was eliminated from the society. This model is the ancestor of non-monarchical absolutism. On this basis, the nineteenth century saw two political doctrines brought to the fore. One was essentially right, and the other was wrong. Provably so, given the acceptance of some very basic parameters, as we shall see. The first can usefully be named Democracy, or Liberal Democracy, the second Marxism or Socialism. The first has made quiet headway, despite having catastrophically lost many intellectual and political battles to those who can only equate progress with forms of compulsion. The second has infested political thinking with bogus ideology and corrupt regimes, and has caused untold damage.
Karl Marx gave us: “class struggle”, “dialectical materialism”, the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, and the inverted Hegelian Weltanschauung, which was necessary to predict the inevitable downfall of bourgeois society, in the unstoppable march towards a classless society where total equality would engender total harmony, and where the “common will of the people” would be enacted by a unique party, unopposed. His arguments and premises are the result of a nineteenth century form of, largely Germanic, investigation with a fondness for philosophical system-building which today must be considered as shockingly unscientific, presumptuous and incomplete (except by those that continue to practise it, among which, certain “French intellectuals”). Whatever Marx’s merit in pointing up the social injustices of his time, this does not validate his overall theory. It is sometimes said that if Marx were born today, he wouldn’t be a Marxist, given the horrors his system has spawned. And it is important to realize that the overall theory rests on no provable fact or telling observation, since this was not required at the time and has not been provided since. Quite the contrary!
In his quest for social justice in social virtue, Marx gave birth to the first formal theory of modern totalitarian government. Among his fundamental errors were his incapacity to see society as anything beyond the clash of classes, and his positivist attitude towards class interest, which was, for him, without any nuance, always selfish and brutal. His inquiry, in other words, prejudged every issue. In refusing Hobbes’ model of social contract, he refused the role of the individual and denied the possibility of fruitful co-operation between opposed interests. Yet it happens every day. Having imagined the distribution of power among selfish, inimical interests, he proceeded, first to describe a ghastly money-grabbing society in constant turmoil, then to invent the miracle remedy provided by the single class with redeeming features, the proletariat! And in so doing, among the chimera of his very own “cloud-cuckoo land”, modern totalitarianism was born!
It has resulted in several “Marxist/Socialist” states (which in their turn bred two notable National Socialist States Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany). The results were foreseeable. The system, largely inspired by the totally unsubstantiated Rousseauist view of the innate goodness of human nature in its primitive state, “the noble savage”, the corrupting influence of all society, “the common will of the people” as being the remedy and means to an ideal society, was doomed to failure, because it allows, even encourages, compulsion and subjection, albeit in the name of the “people”. Any such pre-Darwinian theory can no longer be taken seriously at all. Natural selection makes it clear that both cooperation and competition are necessary for survival. The art of government in a complex society cannot be reduced to any recipe. Fixed a priori rules can only be inoperant. Marxist Socialism was, and remains, an open door to any cynical and corrupt dictator who can hoodwink the people into voting for, or accepting, absolutist government which for want of opposition, becomes of the worst and most inhuman kind. It has given rise to widespread gross, indecent persecution and corruption. In Russia, China, Cambodia, North Korea and other more minor states this outcome has been demonstrated time after time. Over recent history, the death toll is above 100 million. Whole sectors of society, whole peoples have been persecuted out of existence in its name. Its twin nemesis appeared in National Socialist Germany, and even in Imperial Japan, which together accounted for another 60 million deaths. Furthermore, we must deplore a horrendous disregard for human rights and the untold misery which resulted from the grinding down of all opposition, in thought as well as deed, in the objective of producing like-minded worker/units as per the Socialist theory, which insists that this end, however ruthless, must always justify the means.
In a more recent period, we can add Islamist Fundamentalism, some 10 million deaths over 70 years, to the totalitarian list. And so, we can fix the total death toll caused by fundamentally totalitarian, anti-democratic movements and regimes at about 150 million over the last century. (Both the Columbian Farcs and the Syrian/Iraqi Baath parties were inspired by Stalinist Marxism.) It is therefore quite incredible that we still live under the sway of such an ideology. But that is what we do! So, quid Marxism/Socialism (and even its Nationalist variant) today?
A moral crisis
Many would say that the lesson has been learnt and that these observations serve only to batter down an open door. But they would unfortunately be mistaken. Despite the total discredit of totalitarian doctrines, some still atavistically cleave to them openly in part or covertly in their totality. Many still believe that at bottom Collectivist Marxism is the best route to social justice. Western political thinking still readily accepts elements of its doctrine in many insidious ways. Broadly Socialist terms of reference are unconsciously espoused, for example in the bogus but rigid distinction in political leanings between left and right: either to the left and for the people, or to the right and against the people, with the rationale that Socialism is “social” and any other political hue is less “social”. It is still axiomatic that Fascism is to the right and that Liberalism lies somewhere along the same axis, whereas Fascism is authoritarian and retrograde, while the essence of Liberalism is openness and progress. This won’t do. The plain fact is that Liberal Democracy countered and defeated German Fascism and then Soviet Communism. Political Liberalism is in its nature the defender of rights and freedoms, and Economic Liberalism satisfies societies’ material needs through free enterprise, while avoiding the ideology of compulsion, which makes it both more social and less Socialist. Hence the unwavering opposition to it by Socialists, who have given it a bad name by shameless manipulation, misrepresentation and pandering to base populism.
Many of us are still tempted by a love of system and of ideology, and the sterile sectarian disputes which characterize them are still rife. Some form of quasi-religious messianic belief in the finality of a perfect society still underlies some political viewpoints. So many yearn for a new “golden age” when “Alle menschen werden brüder”, when “all men become brothers”, where total harmony would prevail – if only all these recalcitrants could be brought to share our vision! These views are, and can only be, a lure: a hangover from Rousseau, Hegel, Marx and others and, in short, from all these bogus ideologies and false religions with which we have been plagued for centuries and to which we must put an end very quickly while there is time. Marx abolished godliness and invented a new religion. Among his greatest critics we find those who lived in Eastern Bloc countries, Isiah Berlin and Friedrich August von Hayek to name but two eminent examples.
Ideologies, be they religions or absolutist political systems, are all disastrously wrong and immensely harmful. But we are in increasing danger from them! Why? To use a hackneyed expression, “the paradigm is all wrong”. But we don’t need a new vision, not another one! – just a little clarification
Authoritarian regimes are wrong not only because of the immense harm they have done, but because, at their root, these systems share a common flaw: they all believe that they know best and accept the premise that if one knows best, if the faith, the doctrine or the ideology demands it, then one can exert total power over the others, that one’s will can be imposed, that the people can be subjected, albeit for their own good, at any cost. Some meekly believe this, others cynically exploit it, without our ever knowing with certainty which is which. But we can be sure that the distribution and wielding of power are at the root of society’s organization. And that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Liberal Democracy is by far the best means of preventing the creation of a concentration of power, of an overly powerful ruling clique. Under unbridled Capitalism, the rich become powerful, under Socialism, the powerful become rich. One of the primary functions of government is to prevent these two phenomena, and, above all, to prevent them from combining. Now cast your eyes towards China where, as Huntingdon predicted, capitalist production is largely in the hands of a political oligarchy.
Although humanity has greatly progressed materially, have you ever noticed that morally we are laggards? Marxism cannot explain this and supposed that material well-being would determine moral progress towards universal “proletarian values” which would banish all discord. This, very conspicuously has never come about at all. It all may have started out from good intentions… or may not. But in its peremptory, all-conquering mode it is evil and must be stopped. We might say that “the best is inimical to the good”, meaning that any and all such “systems”, whatever their exaggerated promises, are ultimately harmful chimeras. All the “-isms” must go!
A new paradigm: THE GREATEST HAPPINESS PRINCIPLE
The second quieter way we owe to more modest and humane men, Jeremy Bentham, Tom Paine and John Stuart Mill among others. Its early versions sometimes went under the name of Utilitarianism. But it isn’t, nor should it be, an “-ism”. Based on Locke’s principle of natural unalienable individual rights, heedful of the Jefferson’s American Constitution’s declaration of “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, it simply states two things: one, society should seek the greatest happiness (satisfaction, contentment, fulfilment) of the greatest number; two, people (not “the people” or “the proletariat”), but individuals, should decide what makes them happy. Therefore, maximizing freedom to choose should produce a maximum of happiness for everyone in whichever way it is sought by each person. Even if that maximal happiness is relative, not absolute, and far from total bliss! – it is the best we can hope for in a real world of complex interplay between multiple interests where, for the moment at least, fear will continue to produce hate, and hate violence. There is no rejoinder to this principle unless one wants, in one way or another, to impose one’s subjective value judgments on society. This course of action, being a contravention of the stated principle, no one should be allowed to do. Society, in other words is either authoritarian or it is not. If not, it is because it authoritatively espouses this same stated principle to bring down authoritarianism.
The very first principle of human conduct in its social dimension is and can only be not to impose one’s ideas by force, even for the supposed “good”, but only by persuasion, and under the Rule of Law. The second is that we should defend others’ freedom, even if we do not agree with their choice – unless, of course, their choice is anti-freedom, in which case our opposition is unconditional.
Only under a close reading does the full beauty of the maximum happiness principle come to light: clearly in the case where a choice, individual or collective, tends to curtail others’ freedom, then the law must step in to preserve it, otherwise we achieve a result directly contrary to that intended. So, maximum freedom and anarchy are not the same thing at all. The rule of law becomes necessary in this case, and only in this case. This doesn’t seem a difficult concept, the State exists to provide protection. The State exists for the people, not the contrary! But ask people around you what they hold as moral imperatives. You will rarely get a clear and coherent answer of any description, be it at the level of individual conduct (Do as you would be done by?) or an ethic for life in society. And that is the precise problem we face, because “choice for happiness” has been trashed by exalted or evil-minded authoritarians and we have too often been gulled by their empty promises.
We now have a very simple paradigm that places freedom of choice at the apex of society and recognizes happiness as a legitimate pursuit. This arrangement teaches people enough modesty to refrain from imposing their will or any predetermined ideology, and sets up the law as the guarantor of maximum choice in the quest for maximum happiness – or whatever other name we may give to the ineffable quality of life which apparently all men strive for: contentment, fulfilment… (unless they choose not to – which really becomes the same thing, if masochists enjoy suffering). But I ask you, is this what we are taught from birth? Is this the dearest value of each and every one of us? No, it is not! Yet it should so obviously be so! This is no more a “recipe” than “do as you should be done by”. It doesn’t provide all the answers, in fact, it provides none. But as a tool it is invaluable in defeating all forms of authoritarian government and totalitarian regimes, at home and abroad.
These simple principles have been lost sight of, muddied over by a welter of ideology and – dare one say so – in recent years by deluded pseudo humanists practising “political correctness”. There is a fashionable theory called “declinism” which states that Western Society is over the hill. It most certainly is not. Today it is simply suffering from a totalitarian hangover, and can quite fully recuperate tomorrow. “The finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion for equality made vain the hope for freedom”, said the famous political historian, Lord Acton, 1902. So, where exactly has it all gone wrong?
The root of the problem. The need for moral rearmament
Liberty and equality are scarcely compatible as imperatives. A priori, if freedom predominates, nothing more than equality before the law can be imposed, for the reason we have outlined, viz. that no one can arbitrarily impose his conception of equality on society because freedom of choice is a higher value. If equality prevails, for the converse reason, freedom becomes conditional not on maximizing choice but on fulfilling the external imposed condition. This is tantamount to negating the whole basis of what is considered free and open society.
Let there be no mistake. Either you are for maximum choice within the rule of law which guarantees the pursuit of happiness, or you are not. If not, you open the door to the external imposition of an extraneous concept. If so, you must define your notion and apply it by means of compulsion. Worse, since you have introduced an extraneous concept, you cannot be surprised if others introduce other forms of totally objectionable, subjective moral imperative, e.g. the various religions, Islamo-fascism? - and political ideologies that we all know, which would lead us inevitably into subjection. And again, here is the problem. We can only successfully oppose them if a majority of the population directly opposes their ethical basis. We can have no truck with authoritarianism whatsoever, and to prepare ourselves for the clash we must be ethically prepared. However superficially tempting authoritarianism may still at times seem to half-savage, superstitious minds, any deviation from the greatest happiness principle will be, at best, inefficient, at worst, counter-productive. It may seem a bitter pill to swallow, this realization requires great humility and encourages clear thinking. It is the only viable solution and may save our doubt-ridden society which has been lulled into a false sense of security regarding the dangers of a resurgence of totalitarianism, which, the next time, once installed, could never be ousted.
So, in a very real sense total freedom and total equality are both dangerous and incompatible. Total freedom means the Hobbesian jungle, anarchy; total equality means strict Fascism/Marxism/Socialism and any trend towards them, which, under widely accepted criteria, we have now comprehensively demonstrated to be mistaken. Conversely “Equality before the law” is designed to maximize freedom in pursuit of happiness, and freedom is only curtailed where it threatens to reduce freedom in the longer run. We should note here that, apart from revolution, the only way Socialism can hope to introduce overall equality is by convincing the electorate to vote for it. And that is why Socialists tend to subvert democracy by buying votes with promises of state handouts, which, today, are already impoverishing the new generation by the massive creation of State debt. The electorate should be wary of such sweet talk.
Surely enough, some form of social cooperation is important to ensure fairness, especially of treatment – but fairness of treatment, or equality of opportunity does not equate equality of outcome. Equality of opportunity is already a key characteristic of Western democracies. On the other hand, equality of outcome is not desirable and has never worked in socialist countries – it automatically implies restrictions of freedom of choice, and subverts equality of opportunity. Therefore, all that ever could be asked of one is to be tolerant enough to accept others’ individual choices, when they do no harm to the basic principle of maximal happiness. It is as simple as it is good and workable.
Such respect for individual choices is a safeguard against political groupthink, mob rule – against what is today known as identity politics. Just think of the knots hard-line socialists get into regarding racism and wealth: all racists are white and all the “rich” are robbers. If you are white and rich, you are a racist thief, the enemy, and an object of hate. And all this in the intention to achieve a fairer society, in the name of equality! It is a huge joke and just another witch hunt born of hate and dogmatic obsession, quite the opposite of openness and tolerance.
This brings us to the final point. Tolerance, the fact of being open-minded and therefore tolerant, is not an easy, lazy, cop-out solution. True tolerance is in no way weak. It can only exist if it opposes intolerance with all its might. The one and only acceptable militancy is altruism. Opposing intolerance is probably one of the most difficult, but certainly most noble, forms of human behaviour. We know and recognize this through many chapters of history, where revolutionary minds and democratic heroes have given their all to take mankind forward to overcome forms of savagery, ignorance and superstition in the great social impetus which we can only name progress. Thus, the darkness receded, thus humanism has progressively replaced barbarism, even though the work is not complete, and, at present, we seem to be straying from our path.
“Tolerance” in this sense is not grudging acceptance. It is akin to open-mindedness. It is in no way hate-driven but conversely the expression of benign love. The greatest thing about tolerance is that it is open. It accepts unknown unknowns. It can manage uncertainty. It doesn’t seek “off-the-peg” solutions to difficult problems, to life’s mysteries. It gives room to and for tomorrow. It prompts change and transcendence. It allows mankind to “haul himself up by his bootstraps” by providing opportunity and encouraging change. Just as without genetic mutation a species will tend towards extinction, so, by its very nature, tolerance stimulates diversity and renewal. It moves in the direction of progress and opportunity. Opportunity is crucial to the realization of potential and to self-transcendence. These we may suggest are generally considered as great sources of satisfaction for all, both the doers and the done-by. We should note in passing that optimism promoted by the belief in improvement and betterment is given as a great source of happiness by all modern scientific studies on the question.
An approved-by-the-people ethic: CHOICE, OPPORTUNITY, TOLERANCE
In conclusion, we can say that a new ethical basis is contained in a couple of very simple almost incontrovertible principles, and largely thanks to John Stuart Mill, whose ideas are today sadly neglected and who receives very little credit. They are not new, but have been too long eclipsed. They point precisely and decisively towards a form of society for which we have a word: Liberal Democracy. Liberal Democrats should not occupy the unflattering place on the bogus political left-right scale that is attributed. They are in no way “right wing” or "left wing". They have no more to do with Fascist Xenophobia than with Communism/Socialism. They are freed from ideological behemoths. They are hard-headed but humane moderates in all except their will to promote happiness as the goal of society and their desire to combat intolerance under any form. Moreover, they warn us that, in the light of recent history, all deviation from this route is fraught with peril.
The principle of maximum choice for maximum happiness in an open society comes with the principle that any compromise on democracy must be sternly opposed. The ethic of maximal happiness could be contained in a new maxim – choice, opportunity, tolerance.
These three simple principles stem from no creed, ideology, religion or system other than common sense, intellectual humility and a desire for happiness. They receive no divine benediction, nor the support of any lofty intellectuals who pretend to have penetrated the sense of history. As such, and even under their own terms, they cannot be imposed but only accepted. It is therefore necessary that they be fully expounded and discussed before being put to a wide electorate for adoption by vote. For perhaps the first time, populations would be invited to vote to constitute their own code of ethics, to say clearly, simply and unmistakeably what they stand for. It would be a powerful act and an exciting prospect. But would they be willing? It would probably be much harder to organize the referendum than to win it!
What has been proposed is emphatically not a system; in fact, it denies the utility of “systems”. It is a simple tool. One may say, then, that the problems of society and of government remain whole. True – everything will lie in the details, the particular adjudications concerning choice for happiness – but it can be no other way. However, the principles give a framework and strong guidelines, and confer the advantage of being an “approved-by-the-people” ethic.
It should not be worth mentioning, but, for absolute clarity, will be stated, that this ethic is clearly perfectly democratic, egalitarian, inclusive and non-racist. It is certainly neither to the “left” nor to the “right”, which yardstick must be superseded. Its object being happiness, it is also totally humanitarian, but not woolly-minded about what that means. It will also, in time, make deeply shameful all forms of authoritarian rule and subjection emanating from ideological systems of any stripe. All religions and politically systems will be brought to book, being judged exclusively on their capacity to serve the good as it is defined by our maxim. One might say that Islamo-fascism or Neo-fascism would not stand a chance against it. Our enemies will either defect to our camp or be unmasked and restrained.
Application of the maximum happiness principle
To test these simple principles by application, we should try to straighten out some of the many kinks in society at large, where, unfortunately, many are hesitant or lost regarding their ethic. And where more than half the population, due often to no more than frustration, immaturity and a sense of insecurity, entertain the most outlandish and prejudiced ideas – conspiracy theories which justify them in invalidating or hating this or that target group/population. And neither is Government any better: ideological obduracy, fudging, dishonest compromises, sell-outs and plain bullying are endemic. The overall result among the population is a deep distrust of politicians, a loss of purpose and moral disarmament. The democratic and humanist core of Western values is challenged by other philosophies and regimes, and, as we have said, some unsuspecting Westerners are tempted by them, while others seem prepared to go under without a fight.
It is essential to know: does a nation espouse the cause of maximal happiness or not? The answer is important; it will thoroughly condition inter-state relations. Think of strictly Islamic countries, for example, where an apparent majority believes in the imposition of the Koran and Sharia, under their own exclusive interpretation, with no concern for opposed views, even based on Koranic interpretation, or humane practices. And North Korea: the regime is beyond the pale. It must, one way or another, be changed or removed. We can have no truck with such regimes and are duty-bound to militate against them without compromise. Diplomacy is our first line of defence.
Another vital issue concerns insecurity: Any form of terrorism, criminal, state or religious, goes quite obviously and totally against the choice for happiness principle, while also being the antithesis of tolerance. Therefore, no form of terrorism, or terrorist organization, can be tolerated at all. People can think whatever they like, and there should be a far livelier debate of ideas where the freedom-loving and tolerant are allowed to broach the issues, defend their idea of tolerance as the best solution and convince even the intolerant. Can you imagine the power of conviction and persuasion the defenders of choice and tolerance would have? But this is sadly far from the case today. However, any deviant act, or preparation thereof, falls immediately under the law and is eradicated with the greatest firmness. Otherwise intolerance will succeed in its overt goal of destroying tolerance. In facing up to this threat, we must not fall into the “tolerance trap”: tolerance doesn’t mean that anything goes, far from it: it is a positive value. Simple “Democracy” just means “going with the majority”. “Liberal Democracy” is a positive, humanist position, and therefore not at all the same thing : it prevents intolerance from driving out tolerance.
The issue of immigration is a very “hot potato”. There is quite naturally no consensus on immigration. From open borders to zero immigration, all points of view are legitimate; debating the issue is not tantamount to racism or xenophobia. Welcoming immigrants is a humane action, but accepting into our midst those who plot our downfall is a crime. Islam is clearly a special case and directly linked to terrorism. Islam’s objective is hegemony and its creed forceful conversion. It is openly racist/discriminatory; it refuses rights to women and encourages violent martyrdom as a means to gaining heavenly bliss. Many Islamic regimes are murderous theocracies that vaunt Koranic law and despise democracy while using physical threat against their populations. All this cannot be right: if a god is good, he/she/it does not exhort slaughter. And in this respect Islam is very deeply suspect. And this partly explains why people are emigrating from Muslim countries to the West in their millions. Under current demographic and immigratory trends, Muslims will become a majority in several European countries in less than 50 years. Will they uphold principles of choice, opportunity and tolerance? Not so sure! What are we doing to preserve them? In what state is the national debate about this very real and pressing problem?
Any “accommodation” or yielding to terrorism is an abomination. It stands in direct contradiction to all we believe in. There are more than 20,000 known radicalised Islamists in the UK. They should already be behind bars. Prisons should be radically reformed to prevent Islamist radicalization, knowing that over 70% of prisoners are Muslims, who are 25 times more likely to serve prison sentences than the rest of the population. This is in no way a racist comment. It is a fact and points up a priority: it is a totally scandalous defeat to argue that prison isn’t a solution because that is where radicalization occurs. This form of radicalization, at least, can be stamped out by prison building (an unfortunate but highly necessary palliative). Islamism is clearly another form of fascism and should fall immediately under the law. Under our simple paradigm, each and every one of us would be brought to oppose it on every occasion, including, above all, all politicians and all media. The whole nation should be united in the effort to counter their ideology and stamp out their activities, again, with all our politicians and the media in the vanguard. Is that what is happening? Is that what we are doing? No. We don’t know the facts, we can hardly discuss the issues: “political correctness”, "virtue signallers", “Islamo-leftists” and a whole gamut of other obfuscators reduce tragically our chances of clear, concerted, noble resistance, because they are either morally bankrupt or, being in total moral confusion, aggressively refuse to face the issues. Many don’t feel directly concerned (yet), since they live in bourgeois “ghettos”. They may sooner or later find out.
The re-instatement of Liberal Democracy
At the end of the day, in the final account, one is either a democrat or one is not. One either believes in self-determination or one does not. Under our simple paradigm, there is no longer anywhere to hide. Democracy is fragile. In broad historical terms, it has hardly ever existed, and can so easily perish. But its accomplishments are highly impressive in terms of social and technological progress, as well as increased affluence (the West is six times richer than after the war, and over one billion people have risen above the poverty line). The benefits are incomparably greater than any other regime has ever been able to muster. Its performance is impressive, but its ethic is even better. There is no contest, it performs better because it is just. “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others”, said Winston Churchill. It is the “least bad” form of government. But it is preferable to any other known regime by several million miles. You know this is true! Or you should do. Liberal Democracy must be defended without stint. This is the bottom line: either yes or no, never maybe! If you don’t think so, go look for another solution. Do it now! You will be doing a service to mankind.
As a last word, it is now absolutely essential that all those who waver should decide. And if they decide in favour of open democracy, they should stop fudging, stop finding pretexts, stop tolerating intolerance and act to bring humanity out of servitude! They must “exchange easy bondage for strenuous liberty!”, as John Milton said. And if they decide against, they should know that democracy will shortly wither and die. In post democratic society, the “politically correct” would not only have betrayed their conscience, at least to some degree, but would have compromised their own physical integrity; they wouldn’t stand a chance in hell!
The preceding discussion serves only to sketch out, on a few issues, what change might be wrought by a new ethic. Each one of us should proceed to its application to diverse issues in order to appreciate its worth, which before this task is accomplished cannot be fully evaluated or appreciated. This ethic can only be chosen not imposed. But it does seem reasonable to suggest that if we could agree on this ethic, we might be able to set the stage for a distinctly less confusing and more attractive moral landscape, which could bring many people together in ridding the world of its most terrible scourges, without any form of compulsion whatsoever. In reality, the “Choice for happiness” ethic is the only escape route possible from the dilemma of using violence to create harmony, ideology to open minds, and servitude to create freedom.
This is, at heart, a very simple proposition, but no one is saying it would be easy!
The most important point, at present, is that moral rearmament must be carried out, in order to consolidate a Western consensus with which to oppose violent Islamo-fascism and creeping Islamisation. Without this consensus, what should be a bipartisan fight is vitiated by the waverers in our own camp of which many, perhaps unknown to them, have fallen into a trap, and have slackened in their support for democracy. They have descended into moral dithering, which saps our strength, and which they then take as a sign of decline, whereas, in reality, they themselves have produced it. Having some reserves and caveats about “Liberalism”, they have gone over to the opposition, thus effectively “throwing the baby out with the bath water”, whereas what they should do is examine their own conscience closely and return to or remain in the democratic camp whilst exercising a critic of it. But what they must not do is trash Liberal Democracy in favour of Socialist or overtly Islamist doctrines, be they old-style authoritarian or inspired from the insipid, gutless stuff of “cultural relativism”. Neither must they equate Muslims with a new underprivileged, repressed proletariat that must be liberated to gain the benefits of Socialism, which are illusory.
This paper clearly shows the impeccable credentials of the Liberal camp as the only ethical position which can roundly defeat Islamism and other authoritarian drifts: It is totally untainted by Fascism, Xenophobia, unbridled Capitalism or any other non-humanist non-democratic movement. It is more concerned for well-being, in the form of happiness, than Socialism has ever been. Contrarily to the Socialist rump, or the new soft-in-the-head left, it is prepared to fight intolerance in order to save freedom, choice and openness. It also points out the potentially disastrous results of any compromise on this point, since the creation of a strong, united democratic front against barbarism is now essential, tomorrow will be too late.
Types of mythical thinking:
If we want a new ethic, we need to gain insight into the mindset of those who refuse the obvious and disregard the evidence regarding democracy. They do so often because they are psychologically vulnerable (timorous, masochistic, hatefully anti-social), and/or because they have fallen prey to a number of myths, traps, phantasies, fallacies and moral confusions which can easily be enumerated and illustrated before being eliminated from debate.
The liberal phantasy: This paper argues in favour of “Liberal Democracy”, but the word “liberal” has several connotations. It has gained a thoroughly undeserved reputation in Europe where it has been maligned by Socialists and other authoritarians. Liberalism essentially protects open society and individual freedom, which, as we have argued, means preserving people from the predations of the powerful. It curbs and distributes power rather than concentrating it. Liberalism has therefore no direct link with “Capitalist exploitation”, in fact, quite the contrary. “Liberal Democracy” can only be humane and progressive. Both the concepts, “liberalism”, and, “democracy”, militate against absolutism and oligarchy. One can judge both economic and social policies on a “liberal” or “authoritarian” scale. The resulting four-box double matrix covers a broad range of political policy. A liberal social policy means greater freedom and choice in matters of life-style. A liberal economic policy means competition in markets and in enterprise in both high productivity and low prices. State financing is reserved solely to social goods. It also means strong legislation to protect society from all forms of economic abuse, both on the supply side (producers’ access to resources and markets) and the demand side (consumer protection, tax evasion, cartels etc.). It is clear to see that the other side of the scale promotes the contrary.
The left, right fallacy: The left/right divide of political parties or platforms is universal, but can only be a lazy, confusing and falsely naive simplification. Historically, the left is “for the people”, so any move away from it is considered as less favourable to the people. The extreme left is still considered “respectable”, whereas supposedly right-wing movements are branded as “Fascist” and thus invalidated. But this is all wrong. There have been dreadful totalitarian regimes both from left and right with little to discriminate them. The word “Liberal” provokes confusion and rejection, yet Liberal Democracy defends individual rights. It is unreservedly social, but not “socialist”. How can the defence of democracy, freedom and tolerance be “right wing”, almost fascist? If an innovative buoyant enterprise culture greatly improves social conditions, as it has done, to what extent is it Conservative or to the right? The politics of Liberal Democracy can only be non-extremist, possibly centrist but in a higher dimension, at a higher overarching level. All extremes are authoritarian. However, our politicians and the media tirelessly hark on the false left/right alternative because they know that about half the electorate are incapable of any finer reasoning than to vote “along party lines”. This whole gambit restricts sensible and detailed discussion of the real issues to a minimum, thus opening the door to daft populism. It is mendacious by omission and therefore disastrously counterproductive in terms of real solutions to real problems.
The tolerance dilemma: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Intolerance drives out tolerance. Tolerance cannot therefore tolerate intolerance. So, being tolerant doesn’t mean accepting anything, condoning, standing back and letting things slide until it is too late. To be tolerant and open, one must learn to detect intolerance, face up to it, condemn it unequivocally and defeat it. Intolerance can only be defeated by open debate of all ideas and the application of the rule of law against all violent acts. It is a brave stance requiring constant vigilance. All forms of intolerance must be countered, but not by further intolerance. Unfortunately, today we have too many examples of this. For example, the BDS movement, on certain issues, refuses to countenance relations with Israel but apparently condones the flagrant moral turpitudes of all the states surrounding Israel, including the potential nuclear threat represented by Pakistan and Iran. How can a Liberal Democrat condone the present regimes of Iran and Pakistan, among others, in any way whatsoever, while militating against Israel? What is going on inside this highly “selective conscience”?
The zero-sum fallacy: The broadly socialist “left”, even if it is Social Democrat, still doggedly believes that what profits one deprives others: i.e. there is no possible “win, win” situation in economic activity. Everything points to the contrary. Liberal Democratic government has produced the greatest rise in living standards in world history and can continue to do so. The invention of money and capital were the crucial factors in improving productivity by a factor of thousands. Even the poorest in the West are a hundred times richer than the middle class of three centuries ago and live nearly three times longer. (But that doesn’t mean that they are any happier.) Capital cannot exist in a vacuum. It pays well so that richer consumers buy more. It seeks a virtuous spiral. Why should that be a difficult concept? Socialists refuse it because they need to breed hate and division to exist. All bar one of the world’s richest fifty individuals are self-made, starting from a no capital position, or the second-generation heirs to a self-made fortune. Social mobility means that capital in the modern world changes hands quickly, not like in the nineteenth century. International trade increases productivity and, in cementing bonds between nations, generates a peace bonus – not perfectly, but better than any other system.
The messianic fallacy: There is still a widespread belief that society should tend towards perfection: the perfect society would abolish poverty and create total harmony. All men would live as one. This belief has caused more death and destruction than any other single idea, because it inevitably sacrifices all to perfection. Seeking perfection entails hatred of all those deemed “imperfect”, and that is how the door to persecution and ruination is opened. The quest for perfection is the end that justifies the most inhuman means imaginable (cf. Mein Kampf, the Reich of a thousand years.) Democracy can only be the least bad alternative. It is not perfect because perfection remains well beyond our reach, if it may exist at all.
The imperialist fallacy: “Cultural relativism” maintains that all cultures are equally good, such that any interference by one in another is bad. This is a value-judgement against value and can, at bottom, be applied to any form of interaction including progress or amelioration. In other words, it is bosh. It is true, even if uncomfortable, that the history of mankind is in large part a history of conquest and imperialism: Homo Sapiens supplanted homo Neanderthals, who eradicated Homo Habilis, etc. etc. The Egyptians, Hittites, Parthians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Huns, Arabs, Mongols, Moghols, Indians, Chinese, Turks, Russians, Spanish, French, British, Germans to mention only a few nations, counting leaders from Atilla to Genghis Khan, from Charlemagne to Peter the Great, from Napoleon to Hitler, all conquered and colonized in their own way, with varying levels of success, permanency and civilization. More importantly, it is naïve to simply think that the Aborigines of Australia, or the American Indians lived in blissful harmony, only to be robbed by the white settlers. Two human sub-species became extinct in Australia thousands of years ago! – obviously they were annihilated by the victors. Pre-Columbian American Indians lived in a state of cruel and perpetual warfare. Every square inch of the planet has been conquered, often many times over. It is not generally possible to affirm, in hindsight, that the world, or any territory, would have been better or worse off, with or without colonisation or empire. The standard of comparison is lacking. All the present-day survivors were at some time conquerors. Just as, it has been observed, all formal languages are dialects which have succeeded in propagation.
The anachronic trap: It is anachronic to judge historical acts on present day moral standards, which have only evolved over essentially the last two centuries. If one wishes to judge anachronically, then all past regimes become barbaric and about equally blameworthy. The advances brought about by Western Civilization are second to none, without any possible contestation. Unfortunately, they too have come at a cost. The European practice of slavery over three centuries was wrong. It is wrong now and was then, but was learnt from the Africans, who either enslaved or devoured their enemies. Its abolition and suppression in the West was humane and greatly progressive. There are still today about 4 million slaves in mainly African, Islamic and Hindu countries. There are none in the West. The only logical way forward is to cease attributing blame. The West can still atone for past misdeeds by continuing to spread open egalitarian Western society, since our capacity for amelioration is accelerating. No other society today can say as much.
The false reasoning of “tit for tat”: Muslim activism often pretexts past wrongs as justification for present savagery: If the West embarked on morally reprehensible Crusades, then Islamism is morally entitled to repost: eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Islamisation is revenge for Western Imperialism. You cannot deny it so must accept it! The Crusades took place eight centuries ago. Today they are totally irrelevant. We reach here the height of stupidity and bad faith. The crusades were motivated by an attempt to stem Arab Imperialism, in the first place, which over the centuries has contributed nothing to civilization. Besides, revenge can only ever be as reprehensible as the initial aggression. Urging revenge on the West for past and colonial misdeeds is disastrous, hateful nihilism. Two wrongs will never make a right. How can Islam be served by becoming as reprehensible as the West? Muslims might as well become Christians, if they act like them! That way they can leave behind a mindset which is 800 years out of date! Let’s be a little serious. Far better to look towards the future with a constructive programme than drag humanity backwards into obscurantism resulting from competitive moral outrage to justify competitive savagery.
The losing is winning fallacy: Underlying much highly emollient ideology is the notion that victims are moral victors; because domination is always wrong, the dominated must always be in the right: all winners become losers, which is a perfect non-sequitur. Only those who have never wielded power, it is believed, are entitled to an easy conscience. They can afford the luxury of criticism because their record is pristine, untainted by any turpitude. But everyone knows that any society worth the name would prefer to occupy the dominant position. This is just “sour grapes”. If we advocate the underdog mentality, then there will be competition to be the “underdog” and avoidance of all responsibility, with an immediate precipitous decline into indolence and anarchy. It is just too easy to shun responsibility; it is plain irresponsible and childish. This is a cruel “dog eat dog” world; if you can’t stick up for yourself, you can’t complain at what you get. That is the bottom line. It is hard to hear for “do-gooders”, but, sorry, any “civilisation” must be by necessity able to defend itself against going under.
The “virtue signalling”, “sanctimonious”, “holier than thou”, “better dead than staining my conscience” capitulation: The word “love” denotes several phenomena, some of which are incompatible: “Love” can be mild, disinterested and even remain unrequited. It is a positive desire for the well-being of the loved one, and even sometimes self-sacrificial, comparable to parental love. “Love” can also be possessive, jealous and destructive. Above all, this form of love seeks to be loved. It takes more than it gives. It is highly selfish, narcissistic and akin to a psycho-pathology which can breed petulance and hate. This is why we cannot trust the "virtue signallers" among us. They are the pedlars of false sentiments, insincere even to themselves. “Love” at a societal level means being “charitable”, the Latin “Caritas” or care. Caring is good. But care is not shrill, media-grabbing, restricted or piecemeal. It finds its expression in a great, patient, constructive movement towards a more just, more pacific society brought about, touch by touch, by people who genuinely care, every day. It is not sporadic moral outrage totally lacking in measure or discernment. Its goal is not served by occasional, frantic, high-profile, seeking of some pretext for offence – the defence of some “right” or other, or the identification of some new injustice which, it is said, condemns the whole system, only for the issue to be dropped once the media buzz has died down. This superficial and sanctimonious sub-class in our societies lives and breathes purely to parade its moral superiority over the rest of us in a vast pretence – even if some of them think themselves sincere. The richer among them even buy a good conscience through some paltry charity for which they are feted by the media. The whole movement is sickening. Their actions are fatuous. They betray their cause because, in a common expression, “they have lost the plot”, confusing superficialities with deep-seated trends, and are more self-serving than they will ever be in the service of amelioration or greater happiness. They are largely irrelevant but can be the “useful idiots” of counter democratic movements, or simply get in the way of real humane progress through their obfuscation.
This text is not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but could become the end of the beginning in a fight to re-instate genuinely temperate, progressive, humanist and democratic values.
Thank you for your attention.