Oscar Rhodes

On Setting Yourself on Fire

A man sets himself on fire on Sunday afternoon for the Palestinian cause, and by Monday morning his would-be allies are calling him a privileged white male. At the time of writing, his act of self-immolation has already dropped off the trending tab of Twitter – quickly replaced by the Willy Wonka Experience debacle in Glasgow and Kate Middelton themed conspiracy theories. 

Upsettingly, it is not uncommon for soldiers to take their own lives during and after conflict. This suicide, however, is a uniquely tragic one; Aaron Bushnell was a serving member of the US Airforce working as a software engineer radicalised by communists and libtards to not only hate his country and his military, but himself. His Reddit history shows his descent into anti-white hatred, describing Caucasians as ‘White-Brained Colonisers’. 

White guilt is nothing new, we see it pouring out of our universities and mainstream media all the time. But the fact that this man was so disturbed and affected by it as to make the conscious decision to douse petrol all over himself and set his combat fatigues ablaze reminds us of the genuine and real threat that it poses to us. Today it is an act of suicide by self-immolation, when will it be an act of suicide by bombing?

I have seen some posters from the right talking about the ‘Mishima-esque’ nature of his self-immolation, but this could not be further from the truth. Mishima knew that his cause was a hopeless one. He knew that his coup would fail. He did not enter Camp Ichigaya expecting to overthrow the Japanese government. His suicide was a methodically planned quasi-artistic act of Seppuku so that he could achieve an ‘honourable death’. Aaron Bushnell, on the other hand, decided to set himself on fire because he sincerely believed it would make a difference. Going off his many posts on Reddit, it would also be fair to assume that this act was done in some way to endear himself to his liberal counterparts and ‘atone’ for his many sins (being white). 

Of course, his liberal counterparts did not all see it this way. Whilst videos of his death began flooding the timeline, factions quickly emerged, with radicals trying to decide whether using phrases like ‘rest in power’ were appropriate. That slogan is of course only reserved for black victims of white violence. 

Some went even further, and began to criticise people in general for feeling sorry for the chap. In their view, his death was just one less ‘white-brained coloniser’ to worry about. It appears that setting yourself on fire, screaming in agony as your skin pulls away, feeling your own fat render off, and writhing and dying in complete torture was the absolute bare minimum he could do. 

There are of course those who have decided to martyr and lionise him. It is hard to discern which side is worse. At least those who ‘call him out’ are making a clear case to left leaning white boys that nothing they do will ever be enough. By contrast, people who cheer this man on and make him into some kind of hero are only helping to stoke the next bonfire and are implicitly normalising the idea of white male suicide as a form of redemption.

Pick up your phone and scroll through your friend’s Instagram stories and you will eventually find at least one person making a post about the Israel-Palestine conflict. It might be some banal infographic, or a photo carefully selected to tug at your heart strings; this kind of ‘slacktivism’ has become extremely common in the last few years. 

Dig deeper through the content accounts that produce these kinds of infographics however, and you will find post after post discussing the ‘problems’ of whiteness/being male/being heterosexual etc. These accounts, often hidden from view of the right wing by the various algorithms that curate what we see, get incredible rates of interactions. 

The mindset of westerners who champion these kinds of statements is completely suicidal. They are actively seeking out allies amongst people who would see them dead in a ditch if they had a chance. Half of them would cheer for you as you put a barrel of a gun to your forehead, and the other half would still hate you after your corpse was cold.

There are many on the right who believe that if we just ‘have conversations’ with the ‘sensible left wing’ we will be able to achieve a compromise that ‘works for everyone’. This is a complete folly. The centre left will always make gradual concessions to the extreme left – it is where they source their energy and (eventually) their ideas. Pandering to these people and making compromises is, in essence, making deals with people who hate you. If you fall into one of the previously discussed categories, you are the enemy of goodness and peace. You are eternally guilty, so guilty in fact that literally burning yourself alive won’t save you.

Photo Credit.

To be Anti-Refugee is to be Pragmatic: A response to Mike Bevan (Britmonkey)

A recent article written by the YouTuber Britmonkey (Mike Bevan) discusses the case in favour of increasing the number of refugees. I would like to preface this response by saying that his article is clearly well researched, sourced, and written. I find myself somewhat sympathetic to his line of arguments, but at the same time completely opposed to his conclusions and recommendations. In the current scenario we face as a nation, it is a wholly pragmatic and reasonable opinion to be against the idea of increasing the numbers of refugees taken into Great Britain. In this article, I would like to go through his arguments and make the case as to why I, and so many others, would disagree with him; my article is written in good faith, and I look forward to his reply (if he chooses to make one).

Britmonkey’s opening remarks around clarifying what he means by a refugee come across as extraordinarily reasonable when compared to most pro-refugee pundits. It is true that many of the people claiming asylum in Britain are not genuine refugees, but instead are economic migrants. The fact of the matter is, however, that the British state continues to treat these people as refugees. Despite the bluster and talk of the ‘tough on crime’ Tories, virtually none of those entering this country illegally are deported home – those who are, are done so at vast expense to the taxpayer. Despite this, the British pro-refugee charity cabal still continues to act as though the Royal Navy is going out into the channel and sinking boats by the dozen, whilst the home secretary dines on the flesh of those who managed to slip past a fictional iron barrier to Great Britain. My question to Britmonkey is this, if we are to take people on face value, how on earth are we supposed to determine who is and isn’t a genuine refugee? If we are to start a process of filtering the two groups, who will be allowed to determine who is and isn’t a genuine refugee? (A task which the current British state seems woefully incompetent at, at the current time) and what qualities will be used to determine who is and isn’t legitimate?

Britmonkey goes on to argue that we should be seeking to allow considerably more people from Hong Kong, Ukraine, Iran etc to gain access to Britain. Clarifying that he himself understands handing out 21 million visas to all the stateless peoples of the world would be insane and impossible, he does not deliberate on what exactly the number should be. The government allowed  in 89,000 Ukrainians, 21,000 Afghans, and 76,000 HK residents last year (and have handed out close to 150,000 BNO visas total for HK citizens). We have therefore already taken in 186,000 refugees last year at a minimum and could potentially be taking close to another 80,000 more if all BNO visa holders decided to make the move. This is an eye watering number and blows the 4,000 French refugee figure of 1792 he cited out of the water. Coupled with the fact that current migration to Britain last year hit half a million – this is already almost completely unsustainable, how does he expect us to take in more?

Britmonkey goes on to discuss Britain’s immigration policy in the Victorian era and points out that there were no immigration restrictions at all at that time – this is certainly true, but what he does not mention, however, is that immigration to Britain between 1800 to 1945 (a 145-year period) was just shy of 2.4 million, an average of a measly 16,500 a year. As mentioned previously, Britain took in half a million people last year alone, how can he claim it is fair to equate those two groups? It is totally unreasonable, therefore, to use this line of argument. The world is more connected than ever, and whilst those borders were open, the Victorians did not have the technological ability to bring in the scale we do now. I wonder if the British public in the 1800’s would have been as willing to keep their country borderless if they had access to jet planes, huge passenger ships, and a large tunnel running under the English Channel? I doubt they would.

The article continues with an appeal to British right wingers who have delusions of contemporary British prestige. Britmonkey states that Victorian was so committed to free asylum, that they were willing to cause international incidents to maintain it. Much as I lament to be reminded of it, Britain is not in the same position as it was in the 1800’s. We are not the most powerful nation on earth anymore, we do not have fleets of ironclad greyhounds patrolling the high seas. We have a failing service economy and a second-class Navy (and armed forces in general) that would struggle to function without the support of NATO. Britain should be bold on the world stage, but we should also accept the fact that we are not in a position to bully or blindside foreign powers anymore for the sake of refugees – as Britmonkey suggests we are.

The author then goes on to contradict himself. He seems almost happy that the ‘noble’ anarchist refugees that we took in in the 1850s were convicted of planning a terror attack against the French government (justifying it by saying that British politicians at the time were okay with it because it harmed France),  and then goes on to say that he is not suggesting we do the same today – explaining that we should instead use these examples to forge a new policy on what a political refugee is. This is a hypocrisy. Either Britain was wrong to take in anarchist terrorists in the 1850s, or it is right that we take in potential terrorists today. He seems unbothered to apply Victorian logic when it suits the argument, but refuses to again when it might hinder it.

Britmonkey talks briefly about how we are helping to hinder the efforts of anti-western powers by taking in their dissidents and allowing them to continue their activism campaigns. I do not believe that this is true. Firstly, the news cycle and the public zeitgeist are much faster now than in the 1800’s, we talk about issues for days instead of decades now. Unfortunately for those poor and threatened people of Hong Kong, most of the world has either forgotten about their plight or simply doesn’t care anymore – despite the efforts of their active dissidents abroad online. Secondly, I would argue that taking in the most threatened dissidents hinders any attempt at resistance. Much in the same way that evaporation has a cooling effect on water by removing its hottest and most energetic molecules first, allowing exiles to leave freely seems to only cool down dissent and remove the troublemakers – essentially pulling the thorn out of the tyrannical despot’s side for them. This is of course conjecture, but perhaps the reason we no longer see much dissent in HK and other places like it is because a lot of their most vociferous activists have left?

In regard to crime, I hope that his statistics on low crime levels in Germany post the 2014 refugee crisis are true. I would argue that Germany is an exceptional case example, given the high levels of historic Turkish immigration to Germany have left them to more easily to accommodate Islamic immigrants (again, I appreciate that this is merely conjecture on my part so take that with a pinch of salt and remember that I hope he is correct). In comparison, I could also just as easily point to Sweden, which has seen a dramatic increase in homicides since 2011 (from 81 in 2011 to 113 in 2021).

I think Britmonkey handles the next section of his argument well. He recognises the fact that, throughout most of history, the exiles and refugees who came to Britain were of western European decent and would not struggle as much to integrate into British culture. The English, French, and German languages all come from similar roots, Western Europeans are generally Catholic or Protestant, and (so as not to be a coward and dodge the elephant in the room) all of these people are Northern European Caucasians and look very similar. With the exception of Ukrainians, the same cannot be said of most of the modern refugees that he talks about. I am not using this as an excuse for those who seek to attack people based on their race, I am merely pointing out that peoples of remarkably different backgrounds do often struggle to integrate without direct intervention. This is a trope that been seen throughout all of history.

In terms of his next point that the average refugee stays for less than 10 years, I have no quarrel with this statistic. All I would say, however, is that that same article he cites in his article also concedes that the numbers on this statistic change every year. We also have not yet had time to adjust the numbers to better reflect the current type of refugee that comes here. Indeed, it is very likely that the vast majority of Ukrainians will return to Ukraine once the war is ended, but it would be foolish to apply the same logic to those from Hong Kong and Afghanistan (unless Xi Jinping succumbs to a mysterious change of heart (or death); or the Taliban simply decides to ‘give in’ to the protestors respectively (both seemingly very unlikely scenarios within the next 10 years)).

In conclusion, whilst I appreciate that Britmonkey is not advocating that we let the world in, and he is not falsely equating economic migrants with genuine refugees, I still think that his argument is flawed. Whilst I strongly agree with his view that we should attempt to be altruistic and remain a beacon of liberty in the world, I think it is unpragmatic to assert that we have the state capacity or ability to take in more refugees than we currently do. We are no longer the wealthiest country on the planet, we can’t even build enough new houses to match our own population growth (quick sidenote, the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 should be abolished), and we already do take in a considerable number of genuine political refugees every single year.

I hope that Mike Bevan will read this article, and I sincerely look forward to his reply if he chooses to make one.

Photo Credit.

I’m Never Going to Get a State Pension, So Why Should I Pay for Yours?

The modern state pension is one of the greatest Ponzi schemes ever inflicted on the British people, yet our government continues to offer their unwavering support to it. Why? The answer is simple: moronic and selfish baby boomers (the largest and most active voter demographic in the UK) who still believe that it is working just fine.

Now, a lot of our nation’s issues stem from the boomer problem but for the time being, I would like to focus solely on the disgusting nature of the state pension and how it saps the life and well-being of young and working-age people.

Firstly, to circle back to my initial point, pensions are indeed a Ponzi scheme. Baby boomers will endlessly harp on about how they ‘paid their fair share all their working life’, but this is simply not the case. When the boomer was working, they were not putting money into an investment pot (like private pensions); they were, in fact, paying someone else’s pension. The flaw in this system immediately becomes obvious – it relies entirely on never-ending steady population growth.  It requires the nation to always have a normal population pyramid with many young people and few old people. Unfortunately for the system, boomers were some of the first generations to have access to free healthcare and cheap prophylactics and abortions. Indeed, many boomers have had one or fewer children and are living considerably longer. Meaning they haven’t even replaced themselves. After the release of the 2021 census, we now know that we no longer have a population pyramid, but instead a population rectangle.

This is bad news and I don’t know how to put this nicely, so I’ll just say it plainly; unless something changes soon, we (along with many other economically advanced nations) are facing a complete demographic catastrophe. There are nowhere near enough children being born to pay the pensions of current working-age people now.

This is the final form of any Ponzi scheme. The initial investors have already been paid back by the newer ones, and soon enough the rug will be pulled and all those people at the bottom will have nothing to show for it.

Let us also not forget that most people over the age of 70 in this country have been recipients of the most glamorous state-subsidised lifestyles ever to exist. The baby boomers are the wealthiest generation in history and it is hard to grasp just how good they have had it. They grew up in a country eager to build a functioning welfare state and a booming population and experienced consistent economic growth for the first 55 years of their lives. Their children and grandchildren, on the other hand, are the first generations in decades to be poorer on average than those who came before them. They have been forced to suffer through stagnant wages and terrible interest rates for most of their lives.

Why do we not fix this problem? Well, for a start, baby boomers vote en masse. Due to the abnormally large amount of them, they were effectively able to establish a voting block which has existed in British politics since they started to turn of voting age (the 1960s/70s). Due to their size, politicians know that they have to pander to them if they hope to win any election. So the government is forced to do their bidding until such a time as there are no longer enough of them to make an impact on elections.

This means that young people (who have remarkably low voter turnout nationally) stand no chance of influencing government policy in comparison to them. The state will, therefore, continue to suck the wealth away from young people to fund the ponzi pensions of boomers.

The important question that young people need to be asking themselves now is, what happens in the future when we run out of new young people? We are already importing about a million people a year via mass immigration to try and plug the gap. But this cannot go on forever. Immigrants also have a habit of getting old, and importing more immigrants to plug the ever-increasing gap is insanity. It would require an unlimited supply of immigrants and levels of housebuilding that have never been seen in this country, it’s hard enough as it is to get permission to build a house let alone a couple million.Eventually, the state pension will cease to exist. I sincerely believe that I, and other 20-somethings, will never have a state pension. This would not be a problem for me (I can afford to buy into a private one) but I, and all other workers, are forced to pay into a scheme that we will never see the benefit of. There is no opt-out, there is no escape from it.

Young people are not stupid; a lot of them realise that this is the case. They fully understand the fact that they are unlikely to ever see a penny from the state after they turn 67 and it’s absolutely soul-destroying. We are the main cash cow for the subsidised boomer lifestyle, and we will not see a penny or even a word of thanks.

It would be extremely difficult to fix the situation we are in now, but here are some potential solutions:

1. Force the wealthiest amongst the elderly to sell their assets to pay for their own care.

Boomers are the largest asset controlling class in the country. 1 in 4 are millionaires and, as a group, are extremely asset rich. They own vast amounts of stocks, property, and other assets.

2. Reform the state pension system.

It is unfair to abolish the state pension immediately. Many people have handed over considerable sums of money towards it over their lifetimes. If a state pension must exist, it should operate on an investment model like other pension schemes, and not the current Ponzi scheme model.

3. Make the state pension optional.

Give young people the choice to join the state pension, save up their money, join private pension schemes, or just use it when they receive it.

These are just some ideas of ways that we could at least marginally improve the situation for young people, and make our state’s welfare system fairer and less focussed on the elderly. Young people are the future of Great Britain, and our treatment of them is beyond disgusting. Give them some hope and support schemes and policies that actually seek to invest in them. We should not just be transferring their money to old people.

Britain Is A Dump

I am sure that you, along with literally millions of others, have by now seen the infamous tweet from Daniel Grainger calling Birmingham a ‘dump’. I found his tweet very strange, not because I have a particular fondness towards Birmingham, but because the design and aesthetics of the place are fairly standard for a large British city. The cream coloured flagstones near the train station, strange metallic water features, beggars sat on most corners of the main high street etc. These are all scenes that are probably familiar to anyone who has ever been outside.

Herein lies the problem, not that Birmingham specifically is a dump, but that every British city is a dump. We live on an island of rolling fields, dramatic coastlines, and precious woodland. However, this land is marked and stained by some of the most disgusting examples of urbanism in Europe, only occasionally pinpricked by a fine example of pre-war architecture which the local council has not yet found a reason to knock down and turn into a car park.

Please, you must believe me when I say that I am no enemy of urbanism. Many ‘trads’ and ‘LARPers’ feel as though the only part of this country with the ability to be beautiful is its countryside. I think this is a fallacy; cities have the amazing potential to be well crafted and beautiful spaces which lift the spirits, and demonstrate the finest achievements of culture and civilisation. Of course we have the ability to build beautiful spaces, instead we decided to turn these areas over to the managerial classes who seek only function.

What caused this? The most obvious answer is the Second World War. Thousands of tonnes of high explosives being dropped onto dense urban areas do tend to have the habit of leaving buildings destroyed, and we found most of our cities completely ruined. After the war, a fleet of urban planners and architects took it upon themselves to rebuild the United Kingdom. A lot of these planners and architects came from new schools of thought on design, and wanted to demonstrate this. It is indeed true that some examples of early post war brutalism are genuinely impressive, but cheap imitation after cheap imitation has sought to destroy this legacy. Now we are left with miserably grey spaces with no room for beauty and flare.

Worst of all, a lot of these areas are not maintained very well. Stroll through the city centre and buildings are normally kept in a somewhat decent condition. But venture past these and you will find endless graffiti, crumbling masonry, cracked pavements, and large dangling electrical cables. The people who live in these spaces do not have the money or the justification to keep these areas looking nice, and why would they? They never really looked that good to begin with.

If these spaces were at least affordable to live in, it would be somewhat justifiable to have them look like this, but that is not true. Disastrous planning policy (mainly the Town and Country Planning Act 1947) has left our most industrious cities with nowhere to grow, and no ability to destroy ugly monuments to the post war consensus and put up something better. These spaces are ridiculously expensive and still look appalling (with the few remaining beautiful areas costing unimaginable sums to even shop in, let alone buy). We are therefore left with the worst of both worlds: sky high property price, and terrible looking buildings. 

For the trads in the audience who endlessly harp on about rural life whilst never leaving Manchester, the countryside is not much better. Yes, the fields and hedgerows are beautiful, but drive around any rural community for a few minutes and you will find the most depressing and ugly looking council bungalow estates you could imagine. Rural councils have a genuine need to house elderly people affordably (otherwise they would never downsize and allow young people into their 5 bedroom houses), but they choose to do so in the worst types of buildings fathomable. Damp, cold, and smelly bungalows with pebble dashed exteriors. No wonder your granny from the village is desperate to hold onto her 3 bed Victorian farmers cottage when that is the alternative.

Culturally and economically, we are stuck. We haven’t the imagination and courage to propose something new and aesthetically pleasing, the wisdom to go back to old styles and designs, or the money to action those proposals anyway. We are instead cut off to drift into stifling mediocrity. The only crumb of consolation being that most of the western world also seems to have this problem.

As ever, I would like to propose some solutions to these problems:

Firstly, as everyone seems to be saying, we need to abolish the Town and Country Planning Act 1947. This is not a particularly imaginative or bold position to take as an under-30, but it will arguably be the most difficult to do.

Secondly, universities should teach a broader curriculum on architecture and urban planning. I am fortunate enough to have some friends who have taken degrees in both architecture and planning at a range of institutions, and they all come back with similar stories. Lecturers seem to focus entirely on modernism, recyclable buildings, and the temporary. Few focus on beauty and traditional design.

Thirdly, people need to be given a reason to look after the places where they live and the means to do so. The means is easy: they need more spare income. This can be achieved by making houses more affordable by building more of them (see point one). The reason is more difficult, they need to be living in areas genuinely worth keeping nice (see point two).

Unfortunately, I do not foresee any of this happening any time soon. The tweet by Grainger received immeasurable amounts of criticism and made national headlines. Yes, his tweet was rude and careless, but serves to show the difficulty in having this conversation. British people seem to be perfectly happy living in hell world and are absolutely immune to all criticism of it. We need to face facts: Britain is a dump.

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