When the world turns dark

The world turns on its dark side......it is winter
A Child of Our Time, Michael Tippett

"Man has measured the heavens with a telescope, driven the gods from their thrones," proclaims the contralto at the start of Michael Tippett's wartime oratorio A Child Of Our Time. Like our counterparts before the dark time of which Tippett writes, we too believe that science leaves no place for religion. But religion endures, and when the world turns, it comes back in its most violent form, tearing part communities and entrenching sectarian division and even outright racism. 

Our world is turning. As the memory of the financial crisis fades, the financial world moves "from war to peace", gradually restoring interest rates, somewhat relaxing tight constraints on banks, wondering how financial institutions should be regulated to prevent crises in future. But outside the rarefied world of finance, movement is in the opposite direction. It is only a small distance from an uneasy peace, to the semblance of war. The world turns on its dark side. Winter is coming.

The first signs of a chill in the air became apparent not long after the financial crisis, as people who previously rejoiced in the ability of governments to rescue broken banks and restore damaged economies suddenly became fearful of the consequences. Country after country turned away from generosity towards harshness, imposing austerity measures that hurt the poor, the sick, the disabled and - extraordinarily - the young, justifying those measures on grounds that had increasingly little to do with economics and more and more to do with the resurgence of a twisted morality last seen in the nineteenth century. Cries the Child Of Our Time,
I have no money for my bread, I have no gift for my love....How can I grow to a man's stature?
The Poor Law reformers of the 1830s believed that hard work is a virtue in and of itself, regardless of usefulness to society or financial benefit to those doing it: the workless are "moral defectives" who must be forced to work in order to correct the defects in their personalities. Thomas Malthus believed that public spending that supports the poor encourages them to breed: the poor must be condemned to a life of poverty and deprivation to discourage them from choosing to have children at state expense. The children of workless parents must be protected from their malign influence. The Mother's lament resonates with all too many of today's mothers:
How shall I feed my children on so small a wage? How can I comfort them when I am dead?
 This is the creed of meanness and selfishness, lampooned by Dickens in "A Christmas Carol". It is the creed of the false gods of Hard Work and Saving. But we, cocooned by the belief that we are better than our ancestors, invoke these false gods and publish the creed anew. The morality of the workhouse has become the morality of the Daily Mail. 

Tippett's contralto continues:
But the soul, watching the chaotic mirror, knows that the gods return.....
In bringing back the "old religion", we have set the poor and vulnerable against each other. Solidarity disintegrates; the poor fight each other for a share of a pot of money that is deliberately kept too small to meet all needs, and demand that others who might need a share too are kept out. "Close the borders". "Stop immigration NOW". "We can't afford refugees". These are the cries of those who fear that the arrival of others will mean that they lose even more. 

In Europe, the same harshness is evident, but on an even larger scale. Here, it is not just the poor within countries who are fighting over scraps: the countries themselves are at each other's throats, as harshness is imposed by stronger countries on weaker in support of the same twisted morality. Countries that struggle to compete for export markets are morally defective: they must be forced to compete through harsh treatment. Countries that attempt to give citizens a decent life instead of paying creditors must be forced into poverty and deprivation to discourage others from the same path. Governments must be supervised by technocrats to make sure they obey fiscal rules even at the cost of recession and high unemployment. The Oppressed cry out: 
When shall the usurer's city cease? And famine depart from the fruitful land?
Worshipping the false gods of hard work and saving comes at a terrible price. The sacrifices those gods demand are the lives of those who do not - or cannot - live as they dictate. But as yet, there is no widespread challenge to their authority. People still believe the lie they tell: "There is no more money". 

People used to believe the promise of the gods of borrowing and spending, "The money will never run out". But their belief was shattered in the crash of 2008, when the debt edifice abruptly collapsed, causing widespread financial destruction. People not only stopped believing that promise, they also stopped believing in themselves. The terrible recession and ensuing long slump created an enormous confidence gap. Into this gaping hole stepped the old gods and their new lie. 

But the new lie is dangerous beyond measure. Societies under such strain are fragile. Social bonds are stretched to breaking point: people are fearful of loss, scared of the future, and angry at those they think are getting "something for nothing". They lash out at those who deny their own right to dwindling state support. And as the screws slowly tighten, they lash out at others, too - especially strangers, those who are "not one of us", and those towards whom they feel historic animosity. 

Nassim Taleb, in "Antifragile", speaks of a sudden change in Lebanon, when people who had been friends and neighbours all their lives suddenly turned on each other. In a flash, peace became war, tolerance evaporated, old wounds reopened and tribal hostilities reasserted themselves; violence erupted and the weaker fled from the stronger for fear of their lives. 

We have seen this happen many times, not just in Lebanon. Something pushes society beyond a tipping point, social bonds shatter like glass, and the flying shards cause deep and lasting wounds. War erupts, atrocities are committed, towns and historic sites are bombed to rubble, whole communities - sometimes even entire ethnic or religious groups - are murdered. 
Away with them! Curse them, kill them! They infect the State.
When the violence eventually dies down, the mass graves are found and mourned, perpetrators captured and brought to justice (or, more likely, murdered in their turn), and the work of rebuilding starts, we look back on the conflagration and wonder, "How on earth did that happen?" Hindsight is a wonderful thing: studying the sequence of events, we see the strains appearing, the apparently random incidents that together make a pattern leading inexorably to the disaster, the policy decisions that seemed sensible at the time but actually made society even more unstable. 
Truly, truly the living God consumes within, and turns the flesh to cancer....
The growing instability in Europe is apparent in the rise of nationalism, driven by an unpleasant xenophobia and a widespread belief that we "can't afford" to support people from other nations. This is, of course, the old gods at work, convincing people that "there is no money" and they must tighten their belts. Fearful that local services will be unable to cope - even though the fragility of these services is entirely due to government cost-cutting - countries refuse to accept immigrants, even genuine refugees; while there is growing support for fringe political parties proposing exit from supranational institutions and the end of foreign aid. 

Creeping instability is also evident from increasing intolerance of minority views, both political and religious. It is becoming unacceptable to express contrarian views: you are likely to be silenced, pilloried, denounced and abused. When I recently refused to support a campaign by a group of aggrieved women, they responded with a stream of personal attacks over the course of three days, across several different media: while my refusal to join in the vilification of Muslims in the wake of the Paris attacks resulted in a storm of insults. Others have even been refused the right to speak at all. The "safe spaces" campaign in universities is nothing but outright denial of free speech. 

There is no justification whatsoever for this. Contrarian views are not necessarily intolerant ones: Katie Hopkins, aggressively anti-immigration to the point of racism, is more "mainstream" than the pro-immigration liberal Jonathan Portes. But people have the right to express even very intolerant views, provided that by doing so they break no laws. 

So people with contrarian but lawful views are silenced. Conversely, some people with far more extreme views are not silenced. I am concerned about the amount of racial and religious hate speech I see in social and conventional media. This is not a sign of a healthy society. When people seriously discuss banning certain religions, preventing adherents of those religions from entering the country and interning those already there; when people hijack statistics about emotive subjects such as rape to spread hatred of particular racial or religious groups; when people blame particular racial or religious groups for atrocities without any real evidence of their involvement, and abuse those who try to set the record straight; then we are already on the slippery slope towards sectarian division and conflict. Fomenting religious hatred does not prevent terrorism. On the contrary, it increases it.   

We do not know exactly what pushes societies over the edge into conflict, atrocity and genocide: often there seems to be some kind of shock applied to a society already made fragile by bad policy decisions and growing social divisions. In the case of the Lebanon, Taleb describes how the Ba'ath party's policies set up the inevitable civil war:
But while Lebanon had all the right qualities, the state was too loose, and by allowing the various Palestinian factions and the Christian militias to own weapons, it caused an arms race between the communities while placidly watching the entire buildup. There was also an imbalance between communities, with the Christians trying to impose their identity on the place.Disorganized is invigorating: but the Lebanese state was one step too disorganized. It would be like allowing each of the New York State mafia bosses to have a larger army than the Joint Chiefs of Staff (just imagine John Gotti with missiles). So in 1975 a raging civil war started in Lebanon. 
Those who think "this could never happen here" should study their own history. Western nations are by no means immune from conflict. The EU itself has not experienced a major conflict since its formation after World War II, but Europe is more than the EU, and many countries along the EU's Eastern border have suffered wars, economic collapses and in some cases partition, ever since the fall of the USSR. The US is perhaps less likely to suffer a domestic conflict, but that is because it has historically defused tension at home by starting a war somewhere else in the world, often in the Middle East. It is by no means the only country to do this. Among others, Russia and China both have form for exporting domestic unrest to favourite trouble spots. 
"The cold deepens.....the world descends into the icy waters"
A tide of desperate humanity is washing up on the shores of Europe. The majority of those attempting this hazardous journey are genuine refugees seeking to escape from war, persecution and torture in the war-torn places of the Middle East. Many are hoping for a better life for their families. But a tiny minority perhaps have other motives. 

One of the Paris bombers had arrived in Europe via one of the main refugee routes. He used a false passport. Serbian police, who identified the fake, said that Bosnian Muslims were involved in producing false passports for refugees. Whether this is true or not, we may never know. But Bosnian Muslims were the victims of some of the worst violence in the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, suffering mass rapes (20,000-50,000 women are estimated to have been raped), massacres and genocide, mostly at the hands of Serbs. Given this, how reliable is the testimony of Serbian police about the origin of false passports? Do we really want the Bosnian conflict to come to life again on the excuse of complicity in refugee smuggling?

The Paris "refugee bomber" is thought by authorities to be an EU national who used a false passport because he was already on an international terrorism watchlist. This does not, however, wholly explain why he used a hazardous refugee route. Perhaps he used the refugee route in order to convince the world that refugees were involved in the bombing. ISIS is desperate to stop refugees leaving the areas it controls, since this casts ISIS in a really bad light. Nothing would please ISIS better than Western nations slamming the borders shut, resulting in refugees freezing or starving to death. After all, it has already produced large amounts of propaganda aimed at convincing would-be refugees that they will be badly treated by the West. 

If forcing the West to close the borders was the reason for the Paris bomber's route, it succeeded all too well. Now, the world is terrified of "Syrians" and "Muslims". Not all refugees are Syrians, and not all refugees are Muslims. But no-one cares. They just want the borders shut. Just as in the 1930s, Jewish refugees were denied asylum by country after country, so now Middle Eastern refugees are denied asylum. Many are still drowning in the Aegean. Many more will die from hunger and cold as winter comes. "We have no refuge," cry the Persecuted in Tippett's oratorio.

The EU has handled the situation appallingly; but for me even worse is the behaviour of US presidential candidates who refuse to acknowledge the origin of the refugee crisis in the US's inept and meretricious foreign policy, deny that the US has any responsibility for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of people displaced by its wars, and demand the complete banning of Middle Eastern refugees from America. 
We cannot have them in our Empire. They shall not work, nor draw a dole. Let them starve in No Man's Land!
As the world turns on its dark side, we still await the shock that will push the fragile countries of Europe over the edge. But a shock does not have to be large. In Tippett's oratorio, it was the shooting of a German official by a Jewish boy desperate to save his dying mother. "They took a terrible vengeance...."
Burn down their houses. Beat in their heads. Break them in pieces on the wheel!
Muslims are not strangers. They are our neighbours and our friends. And refugees are not terrorists. They are fleeing from terror. We can, and must, do better than we have done in the past. Offering asylum to the persecuted, and guaranteeing the freedom to practise any religion or none without persecution, are marks of a civilised society. If we abandon these, we give in to the darkness.

Our world turns, to darkness and danger. But by far the biggest danger is our own unreasonable fear. Let us not forget Lebanon and Bosnia. And the oddly prophetic Child Of Our Time.

Related reading:

Europe's Shame

Who pulled the switch?

Recording of Michael Tippett's A Child Of Our Time can be found here (Youtube link)


  1. I couldn't have said it better myself.
    Excellent post.

  2. Very good piece, but I have an issue with just one point :

    "many countries along the EU's Eastern border have suffered wars, economic collapses and in some cases partition, ever since the fall of the USSR."

    Well before the demise of the USSR, Europe had had wars and partitions with dire economic consequences on its borders: Cyprus, but also that civil strife in Northern Ireland, a wound that was allowed to fester for decades.

    In other words, there were already a couple of examples highlighting what could happen. It is notable that serious attempts to negotiate and solve the Northern Ireland and Cyprus problems only took place after similar situations of civil strife escalated to untold devastation with the wars in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Moldavia.

    It is doubtful whether EU politicians took lessons learned really to heart though, when seeing what happened in Ukraine since.

    1. As a British citizen and UK resident, I can tell you that resolution of the Northern Ireland conflict had little to do with anything in Eastern Europe.

    2. Northern Irish conflict ended because of a replacement of Christianity ( in its two very different forms)

      The new religion: liberal materialism.

      Irish commentators who remained in touch with its older non Roman christian / pagan roots such as Crotty and Fennell got the coming collapse of civilization correct.

      Sorry Francis but I do not buy the fake London liberal concensus on this.

      There comes a point where you must define a state into something coherent.
      Such mass movement of people makes this impossible.

      The banks favour and wills this constant state of flux.
      Then blames us for lashing out while we remained locked inside their lab.

      God help us and save us from Peter Sutherland like compassion for his fellow man.
      The truth is he sees us as cattle.
      He is the shepherd of the slash and burn variety engaged in a massive transhumance movement.

    3. A lament for the few embers of civilization which Corkery tried to relight.

      The Gaelic (really disgruntled English ) revival and reaction to Victorian England was in the end pointless.

      The constant slow entropy of the free state combined with the rapid convulsion /Americanisation of Ireland from two shock fronts (both corporate America and its European experiment ) has meant the end of Ireland on a level even Cromwell could not have dreamed possible.

      My town now lacks a soul

      Mission accomplished I guess.

  3. This was a wonderful essay, thanks.

    Your point about the lack of money and its effects on our children rings a bell with me. At the end of WWII, my father and other young men came home and for a time many of these young men would gather at our house to discuss what they had seen and done. They were all children of the Great Depression, so they talked about how America would fare economically. They talked about what it would take to keep us safe. They talked about political philosophy, jobs, sports, religion, education, world affairs—they were, for me at least, a wonderful window on the world. I was permitted to sit with them and I could even ask questions which they would patiently answer. But eventually most of these men moved away from our small town to jobs or colleges in Fort Worth or Waco, both cities about seventy miles away. My father, three uncles, the husband of my mother’s cousin (whom I called, “Uncle John”), and a few family friends remained. For more than a decade they would meet often and spend an hour or two conducting a seminar that my mother called, “Solving the World’s Problems.” It was fascinating for me.

    Those veterans—those young, wise, and caring men—taught me that the purpose of government was to serve all of the people. They were very clear that government, above all else, must help those who need help, protect those who need protection, and recognize and cherish those who have served and sacrificed.

    I listened to them from 1946, when they returned from the battle, until 1957 when I went away to college. They talked of many things, but the most impassioned discussion was about the Great Depression and the effects it had on them and their parents. Most of these young men were not quite teenagers when the Wall Street stock market crashed. Then they spent most of their teen years living through the Depression. From those experiences they developed a clear understanding of the weakness of our economic system.

    Those young men looked at their own lives and at the lives of their parents to serve as a guide as they began to define what our new economic system should do for the people. They were dead certain about one thing, and when they talked about it I could often hear anger in their voices. They knew beyond any doubt that America had failed their parents, and America had failed them as well. They would recall the way the Great Depression had virtually destroyed the lives of their parents and ultimately drove them to despair. They would remember what their own formative years had been like. Hunger was no stranger to many of them. Being kicked out of their homes was a burning memory for some.

    They also were certain that Herbert Hoover was to blame. They did not blame him for the 1929 crash, but they talked about his refusal to do anything to help the people who were suffering. In their discussions I heard for the first time about Hoovervilles, and I heard them talk about Hoover ordering General Douglas MacArthur to obliterate the Hooverville that had been constructed by World War I veterans who were seeking the bonuses they had been promised. This terrible act took place in 1932. Those veterans of World War II probably learned of this misuse of military power from their parents or other adults with whom they had contact. The stories of those adults probably led them to dislike Hoover and MacArthur. They ridiculed Mac-Arthur’s famous “I shall return” proclamation after he fled the Philippines just ahead of the invading Japanese army. They were offended by his use of the first person singular pronoun.

    So, it became crystal clear that those veterans were demanding that such mistreatment at the hands of the government should never be repeated. They thought that the World War I veterans should have been given their bonuses in 1932. They wanted help to be given directly to the people if serious economic downturns should come again. They remembered how hard it was to watch their parents suffer through the Depression and they did not want their own children to witness the same tragedy.

    1. Too bad nobody is talking about the forgotten depression of 1920-1921.

      'The conventional wisdom holds that in the absence of government countercyclical policy, whether fiscal or monetary (or both), we cannot expect economic recovery — at least, not without an intolerably long delay. Yet the very opposite policies were followed during the depression of 1920–1921, and recovery was in fact not long in coming.' https://mises.org/library/forgotten-depression-1920

    2. Actually rather a lot of people talk about this, and to my mind deduce far too much from it. Yes, America had a short sharp recession in 1920-21. It really doesn't justify the name "depression" at all, and is in no way comparable to the awful collapses both in America and in Europe in 1930-33. I would remind you also that although America recovered fast in 1920-21, much of Europe - still terribly damaged from World War I - did not. Sometimes Americans really need to look beyond their own back yards.

    3. Americans did look beyond their own back yards, hence the Marshall Plan. Which might have been unnecessary if the Allies had looked at the future instead of seeking revenge in the aftermath of WWI.

    4. The problem is that the big creditor nations of today (Germany and China are the biggest ones) lack the spirit of generosity found in 1945 America, and are determined to cling to their trade surpluses come what may.

  4. I recall a few years back being at a First Night Of The Proms when the Tippett was performed on his anniversary. I fear we are now in a world of never ending war in part conducted by governments who take little account of their peoples.

  5. "Muslims are not strangers. They are our neighbours and our friends. And refugees are not terrorists. They are fleeing from terror. We can, and must, do better than we have done in the past. Offering asylum to the persecuted, and guaranteeing the freedom to practise any religion or none without persecution, are marks of a civilised society. If we abandon these, we give in to the darkness."
    Sorry, completely crazy. And I ask, why feminist love so much Muslim? that crazy me. I think your progressiveness is quite puerile.

    1. I am not a "feminist" in the conventional sense. My support of equality for women comes from the same source as my support of equality for people of colour and my support of the right to free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of movement. Freedom. It is ALL about freedom. If you are not the equal of those in power, you are not really free. Coming as I do from an English Catholic background, freedom of religion is REALLY important to me and I defend it absolutely. As a female intellectual, I defend absolutely the right to freedom of speech and freedom of thought. And as a free spirit - my name means "free woman" - I defend absolutely the right of people to move to wherever they can find a nest and a source of nourishment, both physical and spiritual. This post is ultimately about my own beliefs. And I defend them passionately.

    2. I knew your answer would be defensive. I recommended you to read LK, SDXXIS, http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.com.es/2015/12/rushdie-on-extreme-multiculturalism.html

    3. Defensive? Hardly. I made a clear statement of my own beliefs. You are entitled to your opinions, but my beliefs are not for changing.

  6. Unfortunately I find myself agreeing with almost everything you write,in particular the precariousness of the current situation and the feeling in the UK that we are insulated from much of what might happen if things get worse.

    I am convinced that if the economic gap here between the rich and the rest continues to widen we will begin to see a reaction which will involve violence. We are right on the cusp of a rerun of the collapse of the financial markets,stress amongst those already suffering from austerity cuts will increase and those who believe they are dispossessed and have nothing to lose will understandably decide they have no option other than to take action to protect their own family.

    I sincerely hope I am wrong

  7. Stavros Hadjiyiannis14 December 2015 at 21:50

    Part 2:

    Also. The reason why the US goes to war in the Middle East is not so much to relieve domestic pressures (at least not directly) but the maximization of control of oil & gas reserves as well as potential pipelines routes. Most crucially, the US (as well as many of its Euro-allies) wishes any new pipelines that may be built to perform at least 3 functions:

    a) Exclude Russia. An absolute imperative.

    b) Exclude Iran. Vital, but not as vital as a)

    c) Include Turkey. Turkey has to be included because otherwise, Turkey's function as NATO's primary obstacle to any Russian southern ambitions would be gravely compromised.

    The reason why Russia sends forces beyond Russian borders are twofold: a) For the Russians, the ex-USSR (especially Ukraine, Belarus and Central Asia) is nothing but lost Russian territory which must remain neutral (no-NATO) until Russia gathers enough strength to take them back. Whether one likes that or not is besides the point. That is how Russia sees her former lands and will go to extreme lengths for this policy to be followed through. And b) For Russian interests to be served, the above NATO imperatives must fail. Hence why the fate of the Iran-Iraq-Syria axis is crucial for Russian interests and even survival.

    China has not fought outside her borders for many decades. I honestly cannot recall the last time anything of the sort happened. But China is indeed showing willingness to be more assertive in relation to the use of her military. This is for the following reasons:

    a) China cannot allow the US (and assorted allies) to control all of the world's main energy reserves.

    b) China cannot allow Russia and Iran to fall to her western enemies. It would then mean the total and complete siege of China from hostile forces.

    c) China needs the chaos spread by the US-NATO-Israel axis to gradually die down so that its overland silk-road projects can materialize as much as possible. The seemingly schizophrenic foreign policy of the US is no such thing. The first imperative for a US imperial strategist is how to destroy Eurasia if need be.

    1. Re: China has not fought outside her borders for many decades. I honestly cannot recall the last time anything of the sort happened.

      Possibly on other occasions, but certainly not earlier than 1979 when China invaded Vietnam.


  8. Stavros Hadjiyiannis14 December 2015 at 22:54

    Part 1:

    Some of my own thoughts on the essay above:

    a) The vast majority of the refugees that have been arriving to the EU during the past few months were already stationed in refugee camps in Turkey for years. Erdogan decided to release them this summer (most probably with the consent of the rest of his NATO allies)

    Why was this case?

    In my opinion (of cold geo-politcal calculation) there are multiple agendas at play here:

    1) Strategic drainage of Assad's manpower pool. With so many young Syrian males being "welcomed" to prosperous Europe and entitled to receive some benefits (while modest by European standards, are mythical for a poor country such as Syria) and the existence and proliferation of social media, this can serve as a siren in encouraging widespread defections from the Syrian Arab Army, that has been holding at bay NATO-backed mercenaries for years now. These NATO-backed mercenaries shuttle to and from Syria mainly via Turkey (as does "ISIS") and Jordan.

    2) It has been a long-held and widely advertised goal of Europe's ruling liberal "elite" to deal with the continent's deep demographic "problem" by increasing the influx of immigrants. The Syrian crisis provided the perfect cover for such an operation to commence on a grand scale. The benefits of immigration are quite substantial for some within Europe. Upward pressure on real estate prices and rents, downward pressure on real wages, more taxes (if enough of the desperate immigrants find work, remember they are far less choosy than "natives")

    3) The refugee influx (remember, initiated by Erdogan opening the floodgates) in my opinion was designed to coincide with what NATO was suspecting would be a Russian air campaign in Syria. Russian intelligence realized the NATO script and cleverly delayed its air strikes until after the influx went into full swing. Otherwise, we can only imagine the hysterical headlines and punditry of the Western MSM.

    4) Another possible aspect of this refugee story. With the EU's economy depressed for almost a decade (which means another inevitable downturn is not far out in the future) this epic and heart-wrenching drama of desperate immigrants, literally dying to reach the EU, serves as a brutal reminder for the populations of even the poorest EU countries of how lucky they are. In a perverted sense, this is true.

    5) It's also an attempt to control the narrative and political debate. The ruling cliques (as well as intelligence agencies) are well aware of how different people within Europe would react to these immigrant waves. Both the liberal left and liberal right would welcome them with open arms as a matter of dogmatic principle (as well as for some very concrete potential benefits) The conservative/xenophobic right would of course howl in horror! This serves to both strengthen as well as isolate the right-wing populists who are the one political force in Europe that poses a serious threat to Euro-cracy, Atlanticism and most of the other policies followed by the ruling oligarchs of Europe.

    I would also add that Sofia's swift dismissal of the fears and concerns of many Europeans over industrial-scale immigration is questionable. The concept of borders, national sovereignty and socio-cultural cohesion is a very serious and legitimate one. You can't merely brush those things aside because they seem xenophobic and racist to others.

  9. Thank you for a great piece. Where are the politicians with the courage and leadership to get this kind of message across?

  10. The world needs a Wisdomics, Gracenomics and Gracientialism...and soon.

  11. But... the 'borrowing too much money is dangerous' and 'spending too much money is dangerous' and 'too much inflation is bad' and 'therefore we must balance our budgets' is a coherent narrative that is not *obviously* wrong to the ordinary person in the street.

    In my opinion none of the arguments about spending or borrowing more have been assembled into a coherent counter narrative, and piecemeal they are easy to dismiss.

  12. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/12/14/angela-merkel-multiculturalism-is-a-sham/

  13. the apparently random incidents that together make a pattern leading inexorably to the disaster, the policy decisions that seemed sensible at the time but actually made society even more unstable.

    In October 1939 the German government passed a Decree for the Strengthening of German Nationality; it gave the SS responsibility for deporting 'aliens' from Germany into the territory of what had been Poland, and for creating ethnically pure Germanic settlements - out of the territory of what had been Poland. This was (many historians believe) a good eighteen months before anyone in the Nazi regime started to think in terms of mass killing, but the logic was there - the plan was quite straightforwardly to move ever more Jews (and Slavs) out of Germany, while making the area they could be moved into ever smaller. The contradiction between the two goals went unnoticed because they were both, in National Socialist terms, entirely praiseworthy - and in any case it would only be subhumans who bore the brunt of it.

    I dread to think what fine and uncontroversial expression of British/European/American values historians could be looking back at in another 75 years. I hope it hasn't been passed yet.

  14. For liberals, I would hope that, when Coppola says, "even worse is the behaviour of US presidential candidates", you acknowledge that H. Clinton's (i) vote for the war of choice in Iraq, and (ii) her Libya policy as SoS, have contributed to the refugee crisis FAR MORE than anything done by any GOP candidate.

    1. Interesting that you assume I am referring to GOP candidates, when I made no such reference. Defensive, much?

      I would also remind you that two wrongs don't make a right, and "tu quoque" is a fallacious argument.

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Poor auld Billy blog makes the assumption that migration problems boil down to materialistic concerns only.
    Given that he hails from a continent without culture this is understandable.
    Countries must have a narrative be it real,partially real or fake.
    And the narrative must rise above materialism.

    Once it is accepted people can relate to each other on a gutteral level rather then a formal sterile polite interaction - then trust levels increase.
    Australia did not have a Standish o Grady type figure for sure.

    As for materialistic concerns Ireland in previous capitalist periods offloaded its population to capitalist centers such as the UK.
    As recently as 1986- 91 the population declined but per capita living standards increased, benefits or no benefits.
    This is most certainly not the case today.
    Ireland is now only a geographic entity.
    It's fate is that of Detroit.

    Ireland failed to listen to Crotty.
    During the 80s crisis he at least gave a alternative.
    The Capitalist / Fascist state did not give him the airtime.
    Most people were not aware of the man outside referendums.

  17. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standish_James_O%27Grady

  18. The press seemed more dynamic 100 years ago.
    Certainly it expressed Corks schizophrenic attitude to England.
    It had to both look inward to its farmers and outside to the sea.

    "The Order of the Bosses was that no person with a Cork Accent should be allowed near the platform of a Molly Maguire Convention.
    The Cork Accent will now help in saving Ireland from the Degrading Thraldom of an Incompetent Clique, who have ruined the Irish Cause,
    Betrayed the Irish Farmers, and have converted the Irish Party into the despised tail of British Liberalism."


  19. How I imagine a MMT White Hot (capitalist mobilisation) Christmas.


  20. Irelands greatest Fantasy / sci fi / comedy.

    And yet it is unknown in Ireland
    Its political content is simply far too dangerous
    This would have a explosive effect on the Irish mind if wildly read and popularised .
    Obviously the Dublin castle / Pravda set will not speak of it.

    Would a typical Pole get it ?
    Culture does not transcend all - it simply does not.

    Never have I met such a dry cold bunch

  21. Normal sinister stuff on Irish Pravda.
    Top of the news :
    Farmer prosecuted for dealing in cash.
    Tax Gestapo crushes his life force - BEWARE.
    Learn to love the state etc etc.

    Even more sinister , the health fascists are now banning smoking in cars with children.
    A 11 year old interviewed said he once spotted a woman engaging in this great crime.
    The state is clearly teaching this youngfella to become a stazi agent .

  22. The true reason for the Cork rebellion ?


  23. And the previous.
    Same cause .
    First real transcontinental war ending.
    Expansion of production ceased .
    Increased costs sustained
    No market .
    Rents and tithes must be paid to the Church of Ireland regardless , creating resentment and brutal violence.

  24. Seems lefties and members of the political correctness brigade who back a never ending stream of people from the Middle East and Africa can't work out that this will turn Europe into something resembling the Islamic part of Nigeria. But strangely, not one in ten thousand lefties choose to help themselves to instant Nirvana and move to the Islamic part of Nigeria. Unfortunately the irony / hypocrisy there is way above the heads of Guardian journalists and other self appointed intellectuals.

    It's a bit like the lefties in the UK in the 1950s, 60s and 70s who attacked capitalism and lauded central economic planning, but not one in ten thousand of whom migrated to the alleged Nirvana that was Eastern Europe.


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