"we carry death out of the village"

Month: August, 2011

Say you want a revolution

It is hard to know whether Mr Dillow’s conventional wisdom is more conventional than the average, or just more coherently expressed. Whatever the case, it is both wrong and harmful.

Like a typical liberal intellectual, Dillow plays good cop to the rioters’ bad cop. “Just give them what they want,” he advises in a calm voice, “and the violence will stop. I want to help you, but I don’t know how long I can control them for.” Well, gee, thanks Chris. You’re all heart.

Isn’t it strange how there is no symmetry between right and left where political violence is concerned? Can you imagine one of our intellectual elite suggesting that the proper response to the massacre in Norway is to meet some of the murderer’s demands? After all, we don’t want any more violence.

No, there is absolutely not even the faintest whiff of compromise where right wing violence is concerned. Amazingly, our society instantly rediscovers its testicular fortitude. Any journalists and bloggers thought to have encouraged the violence by feeding the unjustified sense of grievance are roundly condemned in polite society. “What did you expect, Ms Philips, what did you expect?”

And, by an equally mysterious coincidence, there is no concomitant deluge of grievance fuelled right-wing violence. It simply never materialises. Now, isn’t that weird?

And yet, and yet, and yet… if we don’t want the children of the wretched of London’s earth to raise our capital city to the ground ‘pon the regular, then—apparently—we’re going to have to issue a humiliating apology for making them angry and then meet all their demands. Or are they Chris’s demands? Perhaps a little from Column A and a little from Column B, Chris?

In either case, our strategy for preventing future violence with regards to the riots is to (1), tell the rioters and looters that their grievance, whatever it might be (we’re not sure), is just and true; and (2), validate their use of violence to satisfy that sense of grievance by trying to buy them off. Can’t imagine that this will backfire, no sir! Don’t see how this could look weak to anyone, not at all!

And the broader lesson vis-a-vis political violence is that we don’t compromise with rightist violence: we condemn it and all even tangentially associated with it. This is not thought to imply that more violence will result; or, if it is, it is not important enough to mention. But, mysteriously, when the violence is leftist, we must instantly and totally capitulate in order to prevent it from occurring again.

If you are confused: good. The whole purpose of modern political thought is to defy rational analysis by making no sense whatsoever. An old friend of mine had a similar strategy. Here is a typical example of his shtick. He was going through some personal problems and his long suffering girlfriend paid for them both to go on holiday to the Caribbean. They were relaxing one evening on some deckchairs by the beach outside their hotel. Waiters were bringing them cocktails and they were sharing some chocolate covered strawberries and watching the sunset blaze across the sky. She eats the last strawberry and turns to him. He looks at the empty bowl, and then up to her and says, “You selfish bitch.”

To which there can be no response. How can you reason with someone so insanely out of touch with reality? It is impossible. We have the same problem with our political and intellectual class. They are beyond reason, for, as someone once remarked, “You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.” For our elites, liberalism itself is their religion. And, like your quack medic, their response to any evidence of its failure is always to increase the dose. “Just increase the dose. This time, it will definitely start working.”

Let’s hope so, eh!

Thoughts on tHE ONGOING DAVID STARKEY CONTROVERSY!!!11!

Oh my, the horror! A man who is notorious for making idiotic statements on television has made some more idiotic statements on television.

Specifically, he’s saying that white people are turning into criminals because they have been in some way Blackified by malignant osmosis with some black people, who aren’t themselves criminals due to biological or racial characteristics – oh, heaven forfend that anyone should take it that way! – but because of “cultural factors”.

Now, I consider myself to be an admirer of Mr Rodent’s work. Few make trolling that most confused of creatures, the liberal or “respectable” right-winger, look so enjoyable or so effortless. “Exploit the contradiction,” Lenin advised. Just so. But there are times when his relentless flippancy can be quite tedious. Even a troll should be serious sometimes—it can’t be Friday night every day of the week.

Over at Liberal Conspiracy, taking advantage of the ongoing and manufactured horror of The Great David Starkey Controversy, our mercurial mammal has laid his snares and trapped a slew of big dumb animals. In the comments section, he takes aim,

It’s amazing how many people are keen to reinterpret Starkey’s points for him, given that he’s a professional communicator. I’d imagine he picks his words very carefully indeed, given that’s what he’s been paid to do for his entire adult life.

I agree that it is silly to suggest that Starkey didn’t mean what he said. The words didn’t simply make their own way out of his mouth and up into the studio glare. Oops, there I go again, accidentally saying shit I didn’t mean to say!

However, it is perfectly legitimate to use this opportunity to discuss the things that Starkey said, and, yes, even to reinterpret those things, as long as one is honest about it. Certainly, the Flying Rodent does no less: Starkey did not say, unless I am very much mistaken, that their being black caused people to riot. That really would have had Jones, the teenage left-winger appearing alongside him in the studio, in paroxysms of disdain. The issue is rather not that he said it, but that he was somehow trying to smuggle it into the debate without saying it—in other words, it’s entirely about how you interpret him.

So what did Starkey say? The full transcript does not appear to be online, but the most discussed section is below.

David Starkey: I have just been re-reading Enoch Powell, The Rivers of Blood Speech. His prophesy was absolutely right in one sense. The Tiber did not foam with blood, but flames lambent, they wrapped around Tottenham and wrapped around Clapham. But it wasn’t inter-communal violence. This is where he was completely wrong. What’s happened is that a substantial section of chavs have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion. And black and white, boy and girl, operate in this language together—this language, which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has been intruded in England. And this is why so many of us have this sense of literally, a foreign country.

Presenter: In that speech Enoch Powell talked about, 15 or 20 years time the black man having the whip hand over the white man.

David Starkey: That’s not true. What has happened is black culture—this is the enormously important thing. It is not skin colour, it is cultural. Listen to David Lammy: an archetypical successful black man. If you turned the screen off, so you were listening to him on the radio, you’d think he was white.

These are the principle ideas around which the controversy has centred: “whites becoming black”, “blacks becoming white”, and of course, “Enoch was wrong, but”. While for some, clearly the only things of interest that can be said here are (1), that David Starkey is a racist, and (2), that you are as well, unless you proclaim (1) with sufficient enthusiasm; for many of us, the overriding concern is to understand the riots and the society that produced them. And we feel that David Starkey’s opinions are completely uninteresting, except insofar as they inform that understanding, or facilitate debate.

And no, when I write “facilitate debate”, I don’t mean debate about Starkey’s opinions—which are, in case you hadn’t noticed, racist, racist, racist—which is what we got. Is this Starkey’s ethnic year zero? On a scale of one to ten, how disgusted and appalled did it make you feel? What does Piers Morgan have to say about this? Oh, won’t somebody think of the children?

Firstly, is there anything to the idea of “whites becoming black”? Of course there is—this is conventional wisdom, or is usually, when David Starkey, who is a big stupid-head, and has probably never even heard of Young Jeezy or Wocka Flocka Flame, is not saying it. “The history of cool in America is really (as many have argued) a history of African-American culture.” Not my words, or David Starkey’s, but those of that notorious and hysterical right-winger, Naomi Klein. Whatever can she mean?

Londoner and Grime godfather Wiley tweeted about the riots, “I think urban people just hate the police and they wanna test them”, and, “the bottom line is young urban Britain don’t give a fuck about nothing”. But who are these “urban people”? “Urban is like any colour who likes black life or music or style.” Oh. Hey, wait a sec… Guards! GUARDS!

Only an idiot would accuse Wiley of being racist toward himself. Evidently, then, there are plenty of idiots with Twitter accounts, because accuse Wiley of racism is exactly what they did. In short, we had something like the following:

  1. Black people riot, because they hate the police;
  2. Black people explain to white people that they were rioting because they hate the police;
  3. White people explain to black people that they’re not allowed to say that black people were rioting, because it’s racist.

The lulz just keep stacking up, don’t they? In Britain today, there is a certain type of person for whom widespread criminality and the destruction of our great cities is not at all shocking, but for whom speech unencumbered by the requisite quantity of euphemisms is the most offensive and disgusting thing in all the world. Sixty years ago, Orwell decried a country where, “political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness”. Plus ça change, George!

And if the British proclivity for understatement remains largely the same as it ever was, elsewhere, our culture and our population has changed immeasurably. How? Well, there is certainly a good deal more to it than British youth listening to gangsta rap. Our social institutions—the criminal justice system, the family, the English language, the education system, British history, and so on—have undergone five decades of reform under the UK’s own post-war liberal consensus. And years of ever-increasing rates of net in-migration have produced a substantial immigrant community. Both things are good or bad according to taste, but it is hard to take seriously the argument that they did not occur (or that they happened “by accident”). So if David Starkey feels, at times, as though he is living in a foreign country, that’s largely because he is.

Next, is there anything to the idea of “whites becoming black”? Again, yes: as distasteful as it is to all, the typical middle class (“successful”) Briton is white, because the modal Briton is white. Gasp! Truly, “human kind cannot bear very much reality”—it’s already bringing me out in a rash. If ethnic minorities are to “integrate” into British society, then they will have to “become white” by necessity, which is to say, adopt the native culture and abandon their own. Double gasp! Thus, David Lammy is a model of successful integration—and in that sense is basically indistinguishable from an indigenous middle class Briton, except for slight variation in skin-colour.

In fact, the goal of social policy with respect to ethnic minorities should naturally be to encourage them to “become white”, to “go native”. Under the current regime, such groups are given a protected status and are encouraged to retain and develop their own identity, not simply as Britons, but as African-Caribbean, British-Asian, and so on. The downsides to nurturing a foreign population within one’s national borders have been well-demonstrated in the first decade of the 21st Century. Things fall apart? They do if you set fire to them or stuff them full of explosives.

Humphreys (2003) notes that,

Case study work suggests that it is not inequality between individuals that matters for conflict but rather inequality between ethnic groups or between regions—sometimes referred to as “horizontal inequality” or “categorical inequality.”

Social scientist in Discovery of the Bleeding Obvious shocker—I know, I know. But there it is all the same. If different groups occupy the same territory, then they will clash wherever and whenever their interests diverge, which will be more frequent the greater the differences between groups.

Unfortunately for those of us who would prefer to live in a cohesive and well-integrated society, our political and intellectual classes are as incapable of requiring integration from migrant communities as our police are of requiring that people abide by the law. Indeed, it is not hard to see where the police acquired their postmodernist approach to crime and criminals. Since people believe all kinds of shit, who am I to say what’s right and wrong, thinks our modern liberal, incorrectly believing himself to be some kind of relativist. Just as the government lacks the moral authority to say, “You will adjust to our culture”, because it does not believe in the primacy of any cultures, much less its own; so the police lack the moral authority to say, “You will observe our standards of behaviour”, because that would imply that some behaviour is better than others, and therefore that some behaviour is worse, and that would be mean. And avoiding being mean, of course, is one of the guiding principles of modern criminal justice. The police’s role is value-neutral arbitration between consenting factions. When faced with a group of people who, as Wiley said, don’t give a fuck about nothing, the whole model breaks down. What—impose our will on a group of people? Impossible: the cognitive dissonance would be too great, which is why the riots ended when the rioters ran out of steam, and not when the police “fought them with sticks”.

Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men

We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
We are born into a government 60 years in debt
That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
And the banks will burn
Money will be useless
There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
It will be guns and roving mobs
Land will be useless
Food will become a diminishing return
Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
Explosions will continually shake the earth
Radiated robot men will stalk each other
The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante’s Inferno will be made to look like a children’s playground
The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
Trees will die
All vegetation will die
Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men

–Charles Bukowski, Dinosauria, We

The Solution

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

–Bertolt Brecht, The Solution

Some fucking youth clubs

Forgive my scornful laughter when told that what caused the mob to raze our cities to the ground was nothing more than–deep breath–wait for it, wait for it–the closure of some fucking youth clubs in Haringey!

On the other hand, at least know how to create an instantly hostile insurgent force, should Adolf Hitler ever invade.

Agents of Satan

The Guardian helpfully inform us that the riots can still be blamed on police brutality–even though the police look congenitally incapable of being mean to children, let alone strangling great swathes of the criminal population like some Victorian serial killer.

At least 333 [deaths in police custody] since 1998 and not a single conviction of any police officer for any of them.

A strange thing: at least 333 deaths and not a single conviction. Notice as well that around 800,000 people die every year in toto in the UK, but only about 500 people are convicted of homicide—evidence of a deeper conspiracy, no doubt, though I’m sure the Guardian will join us in demanding that the number of convictions is increased arbitrarily. That or, given that people die, and that the people in police custody are people, people dying in police custody is a statistical inevitability. But who can say?

I don’t see any resurrections either. And not only do we see a statistically impossible lack of resurrections from death in police custody, but 333 is exactly half of 666: the number of the Beast; signifying, according to the Hebrew numerologists, none other than the demoness Choronzon, Lord of Hallucinations and Obscene Gardener of Bitterness herself.

Is this not evidence enough that the police should be replaced by Jesus Christ, or at least His earthly representatives, at the first available opportunity?

Blind Boy Fuller

The Ideal City

Every public passion was thus wrapped up in philosophy; political life was violently driven back into literature, and writers, taking in hand the direction of opinion, found themselves for a moment taking the place that party leaders usually hold in free countries… Above the real society… there was slowly built an imaginary society in which everything seemed simple and coordinated, uniform, equitable, and in accord with reason. Gradually, the imagination of the crowd deserted the former to concentrate on the latter. One lost interest in what was, in order to think about what could be, and finally one lived mentally in the ideal city the writers had built.

–Alexis de Tocqueville, The Ancien Régime and the French Revolution

In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

The Guardian report that the IPCC have just released a statement in response to an inquiry by one of their journalists:

Analysis of media coverage and queries raised on Twitter have alerted to us to the possibility that we may have inadvertently given misleading information to journalists when responding to very early media queries following the shooting of Mark Duggan by MPS officers on the evening of 4th August.

The IPCC’s first statement, issued at 22:49 on 4th August, makes no reference to shots fired at police and our subsequent statements have set out the sequence of events based on the emerging evidence. However, having reviewed the information the IPCC received and gave out during the very early hours of the unfolding incident, before any documentation had been received, it seems possible that we may have verbally led journalists to believe that shots were exchanged as this was consistent with early information we received that an officer had been shot and taken to hospital.

Any reference to an exchange of shots was not correct and did not feature in any of our formal statements, although an officer was taken to hospital after the incident.

Shock! Horror! Who could have predicted such a thing, etc, etc, etc.

Before we draw a veil over the whole sorry affair, let us briefly recap: The public is apparently told by the police that Mark Duggan was killed resisting arrest and firing at an armed police unit. The IPCC, the public’s champion, then contradict the police and release a statement saying that, on the contrary, Duggan never fired a shot. The public, understandably rather miffed at being led astray, very reasonably smash and burn London to the ground in a weekend long festival of violence and destruction. The pigs lied; people died. We’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take this any more!

Only now it appears that the IPCC were the source of the rumour that the police were fired on first, as well as being the source of the statement that they were not. So far from protesting against a police cover-up, the rioters were, at best, protesting against the IPCC contradicting and then correcting itself. Oh, noble cause! Oh, noble work!

Update: The Guardian adds,

Many of the first media reports specifically attributed the line about Duggan firing first to the IPCC. And our crime correspondent Sandra Laville tells me that Scotland Yard did not on any occasion brief her that officers were fired on first…

The first trouble began in Tottenham on Saturday evening after a vigil in support of Mark Duggan outside the local police station. One of the Duggan family grievances was poor communication from the authorities in the early stages. They were particularly upset at suggestions in media reports that Duggan had fired first.

Let them handle us robustly

Has any word been more abused this week than “robust”? Politicians, journalists and senior policemen queued up to deploy it before a shell-shocked population. “Our response will be robust,” they announced impressively, while somewhere off-camera, England’s major cities burned. “Our view of what the police should do to the rioters is understandably robust,” they told us: a robust view of a robust response. (A robust view—does such a thing even make sense? Trouble yourself not with sense or reason my friend; what is important now is that we come together under one banner, that of robustness). “Robust policing shown to work”, the newspapers exclaimed.  And how!

It is a fortunate thing, is it not, that as well as a method of policing that does not work, our leaders thought to keep in reserve one that does? Such foresight! All deserve badges, at the very least.

 

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