Conservatives Against Equality

The Trojan horse has made its way inside the Conservative Party with an egalitarian agenda it will stop at nothing to implement, including rooting out any trace of actual right-wing policy. However, the enemy within has only been given power by the fact that the Conservatives themselves have no clue what they stand, giving space for leftist ideology to creep in through these infiltrators.

The Conservatives’ abandonment of conservative principles in favour of identity-driven equality can be exemplified through the Equalities Minister speaking at an LGBT event of “Celebrating 50 Years of Pride” with the new, even more hideous pride flag behind him. For one, there should be no such thing as a “Minister of Equalities” (as there also shouldn’t be a “Minister for Women and Equality”). These positions are divisive and identity driven. Secondly, a Conservative MP should not be proudly endorsing a flag that represents gender ideology which encourages children to go through harmful surgery in order to “change gender” and for women to have their toilets and changing rooms infringed upon by perverted males who are into autogynephilia.

Then there are the Conservative Members who are more concerned about Laurence Fox posting an edgy tweet making fun of gender ideologues than the actual gender ideologues themselves. They seem to be silent when the left captures our institutions and calls for destructive and disturbing policies. However, when a Conservative decides to stand up for conservativism in the slightest, they go ballistic. While they claim to be “economically conservative”, they spend all their time arguing with right wingers about social issues, lecturing them that there’s “bigger fish to fry” (while they themselves barely even discuss or talk about these “bigger fish”). Who’s going to tell them that they are participating in the culture war they claim to hate by trying to silence any conservative who stands up for our culture? It would be better if these crypto leftists left the party and joined the Liberal Democrats or the Labour Party.

Conservatives should be against equality, both in the economic and social terms. This doesn’t mean you should be cruel to people. You can argue for better treatment of groups without having to advocate for equality. I don’t treat people nicely based on whether they’re equal to me. I don’t treat people of different races or sexualities the same because we’re equal, I treat them the same because I believe it’s nonsensical to base my treatment of someone on irrelevant characteristics. Furthermore, we shouldn’t treat people equally. A ten-year-old should treat an adult stranger different to the new kid in the playground. A teacher shouldn’t give equal attention to the kid who doesn’t need help and the kid who does. These are both forms of discrimination. We discriminate every day.

However, leftism has convinced the public that “discrimination” is represented by its worse examples and “equality” on its best examples. However, doing things for the sake of equality is stupid. We should embrace that everyone is unique with both skills and weaknesses. We should promote people’s unique skills through the free market. Capitalism is a system that that discourages people discriminating for reasons that do not impact people’s skills (for example, the economist Thomas Sowell has done incredible work to show how racism is unprofitable for businesses). Yet capitalist systems tend to be the most unequal in terms of wealth and income. You can favour social progress and be against unfair treatment without favouring equality.

Eammon Butler states in his book Economic Equality:

The universal case for equality is that, in all important respects, human beings are alike. They have a similar identity, which implies that they are essentially equal and should be treated equally. There are problems with this suggestion. For a start, we cannot infer equality from identity. The numbers 3 and 5 share the identity that they are both integers. But they are not equal; and nor can we make them so. Though people speak glibly of humans being “born equal”, the plain reality is that they are not. They differ naturally in many ways – physically, intellectually and morally.

If the Conservatives want to win, they need to show conviction and know what they believe in. Equality is antithetical towards right wing ideology, and we should not be ashamed of this fact. We shouldn’t have a party where MPs can easily switch between “the left wing” and “the right wing” parties. To the people in the party who are more concerned with the right than they are the left, we should politely guide them to the door. No Blairites please!

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Tories for Revolution

Whilst writing this, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has survived a no-confidence vote, brought about by, of all things, having an ‘unloicensed’ booze-up. Although he’s allowed to stay in the job, his prospects are grim. Most of the Tory backbenchers not on the PM’s payroll voted against him, and the Conservatives continue to trail behind Keir Starmer’s Labour – a man with as much positive energy as a recently divorced mortician, a deflated man for a deflated party.

That said, the Conservatives’ tanking popularity cannot be reduced to “a bad look”. I’m sure such a notion is very consoling for the parliamentary party. Never mind the insufferable coverage of “Partygate”, the government’s track-record over the past few months has been utterly terrible – far more severe than a regrettable office party to any serious person. Most people could vote for a lockdown-breaking Prime Minister provided he was governing in their interests, but he’s not.

Giving a blank cheque to Ukraine to fight a losing war with Russia, betraying his Brexit-voting supporters on immigration – continuing to permit absurd numbers to pour across the border, legally or illegally, and an underusing a historic supermajority; consequently failing to break the stranglehold of NGOs and a Blairite civil service, and reinforcing the government’s failure to implement supply-side solutions to Costalivin, the people with the most reason to hate this government are the conservatives that (theoretically) should be supporting it. All this said, we’ve been in similar circumstances before. Economic turbulence, government scandal, political disaffection, and an absence of progressive vision, it should be remembered that all these factors contributed to the rise of a new and dynamic political force. Of course, I am talking about the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus.

Co-founded by Jonathan Bowden and Stuart Millson in November 1992, the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus (RCC) was a fringe right-wing pressure group aiming to introduce a new, radical, and idiosyncratic brand of conservatism into British politics. In Bowden’s words: to introduce “abstract thought into the nether reaches of the Conservative and Unionist party”.

Before the establishment of the RCC, Bowden and Millson both operated in right-wing circles. Bowden became active in local Conservative Party politics in the late-80s and early-90s after dropping out of Cambridge University, during which time he joined the Monday Club. After failing to get elected to the club’s executive council, Bowden was appointed co-chairman of the club’s media committee alongside Millson in 1991. 

Meanwhile, Millson was an officer at the Western Goals Institute (WGI), a right-wing anti-communist group that formed out of Western Goals UK – a British offshoot of the USA-based Western Goals Foundation. Although it was based in Britain, the WGI was not bound to the Conservative Party or British politics, opting to associate with a wide range of right-wing parties across the world, such as the Conservative Party of South Africa and France’s Front National. The Board of British Jewish Deputies described the WGI as “not fascists or anti-Semitic” but as inhabiting the “nether-world” of the fringe right.

When Bowden and Millson were expelled from the Monday Club in 1992, the controversialist and vanguardist energy of the WGI, combined with the desire to influence British politics within conservatism’s remit, lay the foundation for the RCC identity. Self-described as “Conservative, Nationalist, Unionist, and New Right”, the RCC saw itself as anglicised parallel, rather than a direct outgrowth, of the European New Right – a right-wing pan-European nationalist movement that ascended to prominence in the 1970s following the establishment of GRECE – Groupement de Recherche et d’Études pour la Civilisation Européenne (Research and Study Group for European Civilization) in 1968, led by Alain De Benoist and Dominique Venner.

Despite its short lifespan (1992-1994), the RCC acquired national notoriety. The Labour Party and Conservative Party liberals attacked the RCC as far-right infiltrators, whilst the more Eurosceptic and traditionalist factions of the Conservative Party, despite ideological and strategic differences, were more sympathetic to their cause. In terms of activity, the RCC published policy papers and even hosted some well-attended fringe events at Conservative Party Conference. However, it mainly centred around the publication of a newspaper aptly named: The Revolutionary Conservative.

Despite being a short-lived publication, the content was surprisingly diverse. A defence of a right-wing alternative to the European Union, a nationalist economic proposal, as well as attacks on Major’s leadership, British intervention in Bosnia, “The Bolshevik Broadcasting Company”, immigration-led demographic change, Liberal Conservatism, all designed to “set the blood pressure pounding in those Oxfam veins”, are just a few examples of the articles published whilst the RCC was active.

However, unlike conventional party-political groups, the RCC was united by a belief in the political power of culture. As such, one could also find think-pieces on The Windsors and national decline, military heroism in the works of Ernst Junger, rumours about Michael Jackson, the sexual politics of Camille Paglia and Andrea Dworkin, and cream teas with Alan Clark. The literary section formed a notably large chunk of the newspaper, with reviews ranging from novels to biographies, from politics to socio-biology, as well as ponderings on art (Wyndham Lewis) and music (Richard Wagner vs Tina Turner).

However, what is most notable about The Revolutionary Conservative is its overtly anti-PC articulation, being humorously cruel and sometimes bordering on total misanthropy. Indeed, the RCC referred to its flagship paper as “the most politically-incorrect magazine in Britain”. The “Introduction to Revolutionary Conservatism” reads as follows:

“Are you sick and tired of being bullied by women who look like men in your local library? Are you sick of transvestite vicars running the country down as they reach for their macro-biotic dieting recipe books? Are you sick of anti-racist Noddy? Does your gorge rise when you see Peter Tatchell engaged in a die-in opposite the Palace of Westminster? Are you sick of your local council hosting Chad-awareness days at your expense?”

…We say, burn the Red Flag! Kick those trendy vicars in the seat of their pants (although they would probably enjoy that), let Peter Tatchell die of AIDs (the sooner the better) and put tanks on the streets of Handsworth. If you agree with these modest proposals… then you should subscribe to The Revolutionary Conservative”

The extent to which the rhetoric is to be taken in earnest or is merely a matter of performance is neither here nor there. One gets the impression that they enjoyed the ambiguity, whether it was a practical necessity or not. Even if the following write in was an advertising tactic or genuine, it’s still hilarious:

“Dear Sir… I obtained a copy of your noxious publication… I almost threw up my breakfast. To refer to Madonna as a slag is over the top… She is merely a distracted and somewhat sad girl in need of prayer, recuperation, and the sort of church socials my wife organises… the general tone of your magazine is harsh, masculine, ultra-reactionary, yet abusive yet stentorian…”

“Dear Vic… The idea of you gagging on your All bran and Hovis gave us considerable pleasure in the Editorial Department. We have decided to use your description of the magazine – harsh, masculine, ultra-reactionary, and yet radical, etc. – as an advertisement”

Gradually, a fringe-right ecosystem would develop around the RCC. The most notable outgrowths were Right Now! – a magazine dedicated to “politics, ideas, and culture” that ran from 1993 to 2006, featuring contributions and interviews from various people across the political right, and the Conservative Democratic Alliance – a group of ex-Monday Club members, opposed to what they saw as “sleaze, double-dealing, arrogance, incompetence, Europhilia, indifference and drift” within the Tory Party – particularly its leadership, which it often decried as neoconservative.

Contrasted to the political zeitgeist of New Labour and Compassionate Conservatism, the RCC and Right Now! soon acquired reputations as being “extremist”. Robin Cook attacked William Hague for failing to contain “extremists” within his party – Right Now! serving as a reference point for the claim. Overtime, the fringe-right Tory scene declined, partially due to sustained attacks from the left and centre-right, partially due to the unwillingness of more right-wing Tories to associate with a movement that was increasingly critical of their party, and partially due to disorganisation, infighting, and a feeling of hopelessness to achieve change within or alongside the Tories.

In retrospect, were they “extremists”? In my view, I would say no. Upon inspection, the RCC was closer to “culturally-oriented” paleoconservatism or right-wing populism than anything fascistic. Granted, the RCC’s presentation and political priorities certainly differed from the bourgeois moralising of traditional conservatism; being far more concerned with mass immigration, nationalist rhetoric, and embracing bohemianism for culturally right-wing ends, than re-sanctifying Christian morals or pushing free-market Euroscepticism. The RCC et al. often found themselves torn between what they saw as “the free-market worship” of Thatcherite Dries and the social wetness of the… Wets.

In 1994, the RCC dissolved as Bowden and Millson went their separate ways. Bowden would continue to operate in right-wing political circles, briefly joining the cultural nationalist Freedom Party, momentarily serving as its treasurer. However, Bowden would eventually join the BNP in 2003 after being offered the role of “Cultural Officer” by then-leader Nick Griffin. Bowden left the party in 2007 citing concerns about the party’s finances, political strategy, and Griffin’s dictatorial control of party elections; he compared the BNP to a “tin-pot dictatorship”. Whilst he would continue to attend events organised by local BNP groups, he dedicated most of his time to artistic pursuits and ultimately cut all ties with the party in 2010. Similarly, Millson would orient himself more towards culture, mainly reviewing music and art.

Given how ‘forthright’ the RCC was, it’s interesting to imagine how they would react to the present government. After all, the Conservative Party of the early 2000s was bad enough in their eyes. Naturally, one can imagine they would be mortified, but would they be wrong? Britain is on track to becoming a third-world country and its main right-leaning political force are behaving like communists. I’m willing to bet that an RCC-style organisation would do very well. Then again, the same laws which make opposition to the regime so difficult are often the ones which have caused the specific problems we currently face.

Marked by weakness and a lack of imagination, the only thing currently between the Tories and political annihilation is their ability to note how terrible the opposition is. It has been the Tory Party’s go-to tactic for a while now. Eager replenishers of the status quo, Britain’s main “opposition” is underpinned by a sincere and existential hatred of the nation. Civil-servant galvanising, NHS-worshipping, border-abolishing, rape-gang denialist NIMBYs, they fly into tireless frenzy should it be rumoured that the Conservatives have opted to be slightly less useless than usual.

Some will point to the RCC as an exemplary case of how Tory Party radicalism is destined to fail. Whilst it is easy to understand this view, very few have been able to pose convincing alternatives. Reclaim is a joke, Reform is in many ways worse than the Tories, the SDP have one (1) council seat, the Heritage Party has zero (0), and UKIP hasn’t been relevant since 2015. If you’re going to join a political party, you might as well join one with a chance of winning. Once you accept that, the RCC transforms from another failed movement into useful case study to learn from. Right-wing dissidents should not conflate ‘political failure’ with ‘political worthlessness’. If one-hundred failures should inspire one glorious triumph, then those failures are not so worthless after all.

Above all else, the central problem identified by the RCC persists to our current political situation – conservatism can only win if it’s cooler than the left. There’s nothing attractive about delay, hesitation, or lamentation. Political energy belongs to the transgressive and the constructive. Conservatives, more than anybody else, should know that if one thing is constant in humans, it is the desire to feel a part of something exciting – such as a revolution, like “the one in France” or not. Bemoaning the Left’s successes and cultural power, calling them mean, hypocritical, high-status, and so on; projecting yourself as some blighted Chattertonian romantic for the attention of your enemies is nothing more than embellished whining. Whining with a cause is still whining and no revolution in history materialised from whining and whining alone.

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Johnson’s Intermarium – A new Geopolitical Bloc?

In the closing days of May, Boris Johnson came public with a proposition that could be characterised, at the very least, as surprising, especially to us here in Eastern Europe. This proposal was the creation of a new “European Commonwealth”, which would encompass the UK, Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic States and possibly, later on, Turkey. The Italian daily Corriere della Sera quoted that this commonwealth would provide an alternative to the EU, aimed at countries that are united by their distrust of Brussels and the German response to Russian aggression. While this proposal didn’t create much public discussion in the mainstream, many in the nationalist and dissident right sphere, including yours truly, were definitely intrigued. Partly due to this idea coming completely out of the blue, but mainly because it echoed the idea of Intermarium.

 The promotion of the Intermarium, Międzymorze or “between seas” idea has been a long-term geopolitical project of many nationalist organisations and activists in Eastern Europe, especially in the Baltics and Ukraine. While the details occasionally vary, Intermarium can, in general, be understood as a (con)federation of Central and Eastern European states, such as Finland, the Baltics, Ukraine, Belarus, the Visegrad Four, the states of the Caucasus and some Balkan states. These are countries, which by and large, share three important aspects: geopolitical interests, historical experience as part of the communist world and similar socio-cultural values. The aim of this project is to unite the aforementioned countries into an united bloc, which would be economically, militarily and culturally strong enough to resist both the globalist West and the imperialist East. The final goal would be this bloc becoming both a new pole of power and a new centre for Europe, eventually supplanting the declining Western European states.

This project is not really new, but rather a revival of an old idea, tailored to fit the realities of the modern world. The original idea of the Intermarium federation was the brainchild of Polish marshal and statesman Jozef Pilsudski, whose dream was a recreation of the historical Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It would have served as a basis for a “Third Europe”, countering both Soviet Russia and a revanchist Germany. Pilsudski’s project failed to materialise in the 1920s due to several reasons. Firstly, Soviet Russia proved to be too strong to overcome by the nascent Polish Republic on its own and the creation of a united anti-soviet front was hampered by a disunited Ukraine and several disputes Poland had with its neighbours. Secondly, many of the envisioned constituent states saw, somewhat justifiedly, the project as solely advancing Polish interests and domination in the region. Lastly, Poland itself experienced strong domestic opposition to the idea, mainly from the nationalist camp. There are today, however, several promising indicators that we’ve learned from the mistakes of the past. While there still is bickering stemming from historical grievances, the success of regional cooperation forums, such as the Visegrad Group and the Three Seas Initiative, indicates a positive reception towards increased regional cooperation and integration.

Coming back to the role of the UK, the involvement of HM Government in this region has an interesting and long history, especially in Estonia. After Finland, the UK can be considered to be Estonia’s largest supporter during our War of Independence. In addition to providing significant amounts of material aid (arms, ammunition etc.), the Royal Navy played a crucial role in the fight against the invading Red Army. The 6th Squadron under Rear Admiral Edwyn Alexander-Sinclair not only secured the Estonian coast from any seaborne assault into the rear, but also kickstarted the Estonian Navy by donating two captured Russian vessels. Even today, Estonia honours this contribution, with our naval jack bearing a close resemblance to the Union Jack. Later, during the opening years of the Cold War, MI6 provided extensive support to Baltic anti-communist guerrillas through Operation Jungle. This operation was unfortunately brought down by the betrayal of the infamous communist spy, Kim Philby. Nonetheless, the presence of the UK has been a strong influence over here up to this day, with units of The Welsh and the Queen’s Royal Hussars forming the strongest allied contingent of NATO troops.

Now, I’m not so naive as to claim the UK provided this support out of the kindness of its heart. Like any nation, they were advancing their own geopolitical interests. Indeed the British command was quite perturbed when instead of joining in the assault on Petrograd, the Estonian government decided to consolidate the country’s independence by making peace with Soviet Russia. As in 1918-1920, even today the UK has its own interest in making diplomatic headways into Eastern Europe. But just as before, by virtue of a common foe, our interests seem to align. The reason for our animosity towards Russia has different roots, Estonia’s being nationalism and the UK doing it, most likely, out of a desire to spread “freedom and democracy”. Nonetheless, I would still consider the enemy of my enemy to be my friend, at least to some extent. Historically and out of pure necessity, Estonians have fought alongside powers which may not have had our national survival as a priority.

Why would have Johnson proposed something like this new commonwealth? Britain’s geopolitical position in the post-WWII era can be easily summed up with the adage calling the British Isles a permanent floating aircraft carrier of the United States, destined to play second fiddle to the new preeminent global power. We must keep in mind that the early warning systems at RAF Fylingdales are solely for the benefit of the US, not the residents of Yorkshire. While the Falklands campaign was an unprecedentedly sovereign move from the UK, common wisdom would still consider it as an exception that reinforces the rule. Whether it was Iraq, Yugoslavia or Afghanistan, Britain has answered the call of the US, not vice versa. 40 years on, the rusted wreck of the General Belgrano at the bottom of the South Atlantic might occasionally invoke some pride and nostalgia in an ageing boomer, but after that, the British canon seems to lack such definitive moments. Johnson, I believe, had also noticed this lack of assertiveness.

A post-Brexit Britain, not burdened by the collective bargaining requirements of the EU, has the position and opportunity to regain some of its international clout and the new alliance proposal is definitely an attempt at that. An important aspect to remember is that this whole project is strongly tied to the war in Ukraine and while much of the EU dithers, the UK has taken a particularly strong stance in support of Ukraine, becoming one of its main supporters. This began already before the Russian invasion, with the “friend of the US”, president Poroshenko being replaced by Zelenskyy, a friend of the UK. Strategically, this move is intelligent and definitely in line with the current goals of a UK wishing to regain its international importance. Increased material and diplomatic support shows not only Ukraine, but also much of Eastern Europe, that Britain is indeed prepared to help while the big players of the EU are hesitant. Conversely, Eastern European states will start seeing the UK as a much more valuable ally. It seems that the Johnson administration, by sidestepping both the US and EU, was actively trying to improve its international standing and expand its sphere of influence into countries that may already have been somewhat sceptical of the EU. Whether this was being done to further British strategic and economic interests, spread liberal-democratic ideology, to invoke past glories, or all three simultaneously, remains to be seen.

What has the reaction been like over here in the East then? As mentioned before, the new commonwealth proposal was barely noted in the media over here, but at least in Estonia, it did create discussion in the right-wing nationalist camp. Sharing a common enemy in imperialist Russia and euroscepticism, it can’t be denied that we have aligned interests. Furthermore, we see this proposed framework as a possible stepping stone towards the dream of a modern Intermarium alliance. There are some reservations though. Firstly, just as we in Eastern Europe do not wish to be dominated by the EU or Russia, any such attempt from the UK would be received with equal disdain. Additionally, any form of deepened political, economic and military ties would inevitably lead to an increased socio-cultural influence as well. This might not be a problem automatically, but given the reticence of our national cultural establishment, I am wary. Instead of Morris dances, the UK is exporting liberal progressivism, and aggressively so.

The anglosphere and its establishment have become the vanguard of liberalism in the world. There is much talk of Russian influence in both the West and the Baltics, but the influence of large-scale propaganda campaigns of the liberal West is constantly omitted in the mainstream. The UK government, along with the US, Canada and Germany (to name a few), is funding and supporting NGOs, magazines and events that actively support a left-leaning progressive and anti-national ideology among the Estonian and broader Eastern European population. A very tangible example of this is the UK ambassador, Ross Allen, taking the stage at the US-sponsored Pride event in my home city of Tartu. While Russian imperial ideology is detestable and I wish never to live under it no matter how anti-liberal it is, the prospects for Estonian nationhood as part of the rapidly declining liberal-democratic West are equally low. If the UK would, in this new alliance, focus on strategic geopolitical and military interests instead of ideological exports, we would be more receptive.

To conclude, while Johnson’s proposal of a new European Commonwealth is definitely an interesting prospect for both Eastern Europe and the UK itself, it raises several issues. On one hand, it could prove to be a geopolitical boon to both parties, with the UK re-establishing its influence and Eastern European states moving from a peripheral position towards the core of a new international bloc. The support of an emerging powerful player such as the UK could very well be beneficial in establishing the new Intermarium alliance as a truly viable alternative to the ever-centralising and anti-national EU. However, as of yet there are no signs that this alliance would give a central role to nationalist principles which many Eastern European nations value, especially if led by the current UK political establishment. The Intermarium concept has always stressed nationalism as one of its core tenets and we certainly would not wish to replace EU liberalism with the Anglo variant. Time will tell if this proposition gains any traction and how it will evolve. Johnson’s resignation adds a whole new dimension, and perhaps this whole concept will quickly be forgotten and UK foreign policy will pivot significantly. In any case, these are developments which we should follow closely.

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Modern Feminists and the Anti-Bildungsroman

Over the recent decade, we have seen a certain type of storyline rise to popularity among critics. The plot usually follows a female character with some type of special power or circumstance who, by virtue of said power, is beset by some type of related conflict; sounds normal enough—this is the beginning of virtually every story.

However, in this case, the conflicts that develop around said heroines’ uniqueness do not always follow their growing or learning how to ethically or effectively use their power. Instead, it’s the opposite: their stories or the cultural interpretation thereof often involve the discovery, decision, or insistence that they do not have to grow or learn, but that it is society or the surrounding world that must adapt to and accept them. From Elsa, to Carol Danvers, to Rey (it cannot be stressed enough) Palpatine, some of the most lauded heroines in current media have followed this type of storyline—which, due to the the ways the characters interact with their settings and conflicts, involves several tropes of a common story type, the bildungsroman.

However, the plot structure and underlying tone of the aspects emphasized as worthwhile by critics classify them as an attempt to form a new genre: a kind of anti-bildungsroman that, in line with the beliefs of the modern feminism that usually advocates said storyline type, actively seeks to subvert the assumptions of the individual’s (here, the individual woman’s) relationship with the broader social structure. The execution of this storyline ironically does the female characters—and stories with female leads generally—several disservices that run counter to the stated goals of those behind the stories.

The Bildungsroman: what it is and what it isn’t.

Just for a refresher, a bildungsroman—German for “education novel”—is a story that intertwines the character’s ethical, psychological, and spiritual growth with the resolution of the conflict. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is as much about Alice’s learning not to behave like all the examples of toxic femininity she encounters through the story as it is actually getting out of the rabbit hole. Harry Potter learns as much about how to be a responsible young adult as how to actually cast spells (with the when and why invariably outweighing the what). The bulk of Aang’s story in Avatar: The Last Airbender involves not his learning how to use his powers as the Avatar, but his learning not to be a childish idiot who sticks his foot in his mouth at every turn. And who can forget Uncle Ben’s injunction to Peter Parker (established by Spider-Man: No Way Home as a theme that transcends the multiverse) about power and responsibility? It’s become nearly as iconic a scene as a still novice Luke Skywalker running through Dagobah with Yoda on his back, with nary a trickle of Force to be discerned by the anticipating audience.

In each of these, the external conflict is resolved and made more complex and dramatic by the character’s resolving some type of inner conflict—usually involving the growth from maturity to immaturity, selfishness to sacrifice, idleness to responsibility, &c.

Now, not every story is or needs to be a bildungsroman. We don’t always need heroes that change or grow—sometimes we need the opposite! It’s no coincidence that Conan the Barbarian and Superman, both unique because of their unchangeability, came out of the flux of the 1930s, when the average Joe, Jane, Jimmy, or Jill might rather enjoy a character who stands in opposition to the instabilities and shiftings around them.

There are many other examples of changeless characters coming out of changing times. The Lord of the Rings—specifically, Aragorn—came out of Tolkien’s effort to preserve English virtues and history through the trauma of values that were the Great War and Modernism (though, granted, Aragorn did a lot of growing up before Frodo receives the Ring). Later in the twentieth century, James Bond stood like a modern Conan (the parallels between their stories and characters are many, despite the obvious differences) amidst the unease of the Cold War. Nor does it always need to be so dire as these: in the ‘90s, Forrest Gump’s charm often inhered in how his simplemindedness showed how the problems around him might really have simple answers (at least within the bounds of his film), and the Dude of mistakened Lebowski fame would not be His Dudeness if he grew through his misadventures.

I list these to head off any claims of my placing standards on the female characters discussed below that I won’t apply to male characters. This is also why, other than this sentence, I won’t use the oft-bandied phrase “Mary Sue;” besides simplifying the argument into mere stereotypes, the phrase, or its male counterpart Gary Stu, implies that strong or unchanging characters are always bad or always lack depth. They may very well be, but my interest is not to simply descry it but to find out why. I come at the topic and characters below with one goal: to encourage complex characters and stories that do what we need art to do—to concretize the values we need to experience at a given time in ways that are timeless. Sometimes that can best be achieved by characters that grow, sometimes not; usually we need iterations of both simultaneously—often in the same story.

But the stories I’m focusing on do assume the complexity of a bildungsroman framework; in each case, the female character is placed in a situation where she is expected by society (and, often, the audience) to grow and she either flatly refuses to do so, or she grows in ways counter to her respective canon. In fact, the characters often self-consciously push against and subvert the canonical expectations for growth in various ways.

Elsa: Letting Go of Past Story Structures

The phenomenon that was Frozen was hailed by many as a deconstruction of the archetypal Disney princess story. Its setup follows many tropes of said genre: a girl of unique birth locked away by parents to prevent a misuse of her powers. However, from there the movie breaks the tradition of stories as late as Rapunzel (2010), which, itself, broke several tropes while adhering to familiar formats. Parents? The uredeemed source of her abuse. Prince charming? Actually the villain. The protagonist’s powers? To be used without compunction after letting go (of expectations? Of the need for self-control? The unnamed antecedent of her song’s Dionysian “it” is as multifarious as the audience might wish).

It would be wrong to say Elsa experiences no growth or argue her character lacks compelling internal conflicts. After going to live alone on her mountaintop (notably embodying several characteristics of the traditional ice queen villain), she does come down and remit her isolation upon learning that by embracing her powers she has caused an eternal winter in Arendelle. Furthermore, not all of the movie’s deconstructions are negative. While the ending of stories in a marriage signifies the restored balance and completion of comedy—and is much more than merely reducing the female to an ornament of the male and his restored power structure, as the format’s feminist critics allege—Frozen’s replacing the familiar eros-driven love story with one of phileo between sisters should be welcomed as an expansion of the virtues and values we enjoy being explored. However, from there we are faced by the irony that the same voices who push the “sisters > prince charming” dynamic often insist on seeing eros in any story featuring two male friends—an unfortunate sexist double standard…

My focus here on Frozen and the others is as much on the cultural response to the stories as the stories, themselves. The danger to Anna posed by her love-at-first-sight relationship with Prince Hans was not rectified by placing it against the authentic relationship with Kristoff; rather, the reversal of the form was turned retroactively onto all other Disney stories about love at first sight, which had the tone less of adding complexity that had never been established than of burning down the now malicious parts of what had. Finally, it was not a song about Elsa’s learning how to judiciously use her powers that every parent of kids of a certain age (or, let’s face it, young adults, too) had to listen to on repeat for the rest of 2013 and most of 2014. It was a song advocating the audience (especially girls) vicariously “Let it go!” along with Elsa. It was a kicking song, and I don’t begrudge any young girl for making her parents want to break a speaker because of it, but it did, thematically, set the ideological perspective and tone for latter heroines that would come after.

Rey Palpatine: A Victim of her Advocates

The next female character who declines to grow in ways prescribed by her lore is Rey Palpatine. Establishing Rey’s arc or lack thereof is difficult due to her appearing in three films with different directors with conflicting goals for her movies. The lack of unified vision, added to the retconning the trilogy exacted on the established Lucas canon and universe, makes it difficult to treat Rey’s plot either as a uniform whole or as a consistent intentional decision to buck expectations.

Nonetheless, against the backdrop of Luke’s growth under Yoda Rey’s development falls short. While Luke’s progression is drawn over two, if not all three, of the original movies, Rey is able to, for example, beat Kylo Ren the first time she touches a lightsaber. This could be possibly excused if, like Anakin, she were shown to have a high concentration of midichlorians and, thus, a more preternatural adeptness with the Force; however, such a reveal, set up by Abrams in The Force Awakens, was rejected by Rian Johnson in favor of making her a nobody in The Last Jedi (a more vicious crime against Star Wars lore than simply creating a new heroine backstory—or, really, refusing to—might necessarily entail). Abrams, then, had to pick up the pieces in The Rise of Skywalker to make what he could of Johnson’s arson. Central as it is, Rey’s disjointed arc is by no means the only problem with the new Star Wars trilogy.

Enough has been written and recorded about the canonical breaks between the original and the prequel trilogies and Rey’s that I don’t need to belabor the differences. Furthermore, many of Rey’s lacks can be explained, and possibly excused, by acknowledging the directorial conflicts of the trilogy. However, this does not excuse how Rey’s character was marketed: she was, we were often reminded, a female heroine, and that to reject her and all the incongruous elements of her story, even for the sake of preserving the larger Star Wars universe in good faith, was nothing less than sexist bigotry resulting from an irrational fear of strong women (which, strangely enough, had not reared its head in response to any of the other strong, complex females in the Star Wars universe).

The insistence among Rey’s defenders that she is a prime example of both a strong female character and a victim of unfair bigotry unfortunately sets the bar quite low for what is considered a good character—besides disregarding a devoted fanbase who were already invested in finding in the star of the revival trilogy as much depth as they could. Again, my focus is less on whether Rey consistently grows (if she does, it is disjointed due to director disagreements and rushed in a “tell rather than show” kind of way—a sin for character development of any genre). At issue here is the implied insistence that she should not have to grow—that standards of growth from a previous canon are at best an unfair standard and at worst a reactionary response from a threatened tradition of supposedly (but, as fans know, not really) male lore and predominantly male audience against a new heroine. That Rey’s greatness, thus, relied on the spectre of sexist pushback for its vitality and clout did not strike anyone as an issue to be worried about.

Carol Danvers: The Unrestrained Will

My final example of a heroine who rejects the complexity of growth prescribed by her own canon—and the one that does so most openly—is the adult version of Elsa, Marvel’s Carol Danvers. Begun in production as Elsa was gracing theaters, Captain Marvel (2019) added the element of the character’s rethinking her entire culture—of decolonizing her mind, as it were—to the formula, providing her further justification to eschew the self-control and prescribed growth of the traditional superhero story.

Danvers’s story begins with her training opposite Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg, who is preparing her to be a Kree warrior. It is against his mentoring admonitions to control her impulses and to use her head over her heart—and to become “the best version of yourself”—that the rest of her story takes place. Through the movie, she pieces together her disjointed memories to discover the Kree she is fighting for against the Skrull are actually the baddies, and that she is a human whose powers come from Kree technology she destroyed but which Yon-Rogg and the civilization’s Supreme Intelligence AI are trying to still utilize in her.

For the present I’ll ignore the fact that the movie reduces the 1970s “Kree-Skrull War” match between two bloodthirsty races in into a one-sided genocide of the Skrull by the Kree that resembles less the source material and more the modern revisionist simplifications of history into binaries between rapacious, patriarchal colonists and innocent, victimized indigenous. At issue here is that the heroine discovers, in a reverse-brainwashing sequence, that she has actually been misled (gaslit, brainwashed, Stockholm syndromed, all the common terms) by the Kree, and that her assumptions and even her own mind are complicit with the evils of the Kree. She must, thus, decolonize her worldview as she works out whence she got her powers—which, upon learning she gained them through an attempt to save the Skrull, could be used without any moral qualms about their being created by the antagonists.

Within the bounds of the movie, it’s a compelling conflict, and one which does necessitate Danvers’s rethinking and rejecting Yon-Rogg’s inducements to use her powers in what the Kree would say were the right ways (but which are, in reality, against her practical and ethical interests). However, it is not, technically a character arc: rather, it is an anti-arc. Released from the usual inducement to meet power with self-control, or to clearly delineate between her power and her self (with the former always needing to predominate), Danvers simply uses her powers.

This results in some great cinematics that, I’ll admit, meet the desire for a decent action movie with a satisfyingly insolent protagonist. However, Danvers nonetheless loses a major potential character arc.

Even in the final moment with Yon-Rogg, where, in rejecting his last-ditch effort to manipulate her into fighting as herself without her powers (i.e. on terms in which he knows he can beat her), she simply blows him away, thus showing that he’s right: that she cannot control her impulses.

She claims she has nothing to prove to him, but what about to herself? This is, after all, one of the classic canonical superhero conflicts—where the line between self and power falls, which can provoke further questions of what can ultimately be relied upon, or how to maintain one’s self despite the changes brought by power. What about conflicts regarding the dependability of her newfound way of seeing the world, a major question in a movie where the inability to trust reality (brainwashing Kree, shapeshifting Skrull, etc) is a common motif? No, once she gets woke to the Kree, Danvers never questions her new episteme. Why allow internal conflicts to burden her character with unnecessary complexity—especially when we can resolve all the movie’s external conflicts with unlimited girlboss power, smashing the patriarchy—err, the Kree—with their own tools, instead?

This lack of reflection on her powers is a major part of what makes Danvers’s character flatter than either Elsa’s or Rey’s. Both of them at least experience doubt regarding their powers and their relationship to them and their relative place in the world. However, as if stuck in Elsa’s famous song, Danvers’ climactic embracing of her powers keeps her in a third-act moment of what could have been a five-act growth arc.

There is also the unadmitted Superman paradox.

The Superman paradox arose when writers realized an all-powerful being could have no serious conflicts—and, therefore, no compelling story. His creators had to steadily introduce kryptonite to keep him interesting. Presumably her creators knew of this but didn’t think it would apply.

It can certainly be argued that incorporating both an awakening embrace of power and an overcoming of weakness to that power would be expecting too much—and trying to include two major conflicts in one movie. However, completely eschewing any real weakness (Danvers’ conflict involves her adopting and subsequently rejecting weaknesses she does not intrinsically have, which are accidental and, thus, ultimately unserious as conflicts) still sets a low bar of complexity when most superhero movies include some sort of chink in the hero’s armor for future exploration. Danvers’s embracing of her powers is so wholly untainted that, as cathartic for some as the final sequence may be (complete with her acquiring the ultimate symbol of freedom, flight), the seeds for future growth or reflection—the marks of a hero’s staying power—are, sadly, lacking.

[1] Feminist Heroines: A Rejection of Complex Females

None of this is to deny that Elsa’s, Rey’s, or Danvers’s movies are entertaining and have devoted, good-faith fanbases. As with the unchanging heroes I mention above, people can and should enjoy what they like and feel they need. However, this leads to my qualms with the idea of a character type that shouldn’t have to grow in expected or sympathetic ways. Among other things, I fear the contention that traditional complexity and character growth are arbitrary impositions meant to reject characters because of their femaleness will result in less complexity in female characters, as well as create, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, an antipathy or apathy among audiences towards new female characters—not because they are female, but because they are simple.

However, so long as a certain brand of feminist critics assume that all efforts to mold a female character according to a broader ethical framework are, really, a patriarchal attempt to keep women down, we will continue to get simplistic stories and morals thereof like these. This should not surprise us. The same critics who hold to this implicitly Marxist reading of traditional story structures interpret Pride and Prejudice as an anti-woman novel because it suggests some of Elizabeth Bennet’s problems can only be fixed by personal reflection and reformation—i.e. because the novel is in part a bildungsroman—despite her embodying most of the same traits of their stated favorite heroines (even those discussed above!). If that is how such critics interpret a thoroughly complex character arc, we should not hold out hope for better from them or from studios working to satisfy them as an audience.

So, what should we do? For one, we should flatly deny the accusations that disliking an individual character equates antagonism or bigotry against an entire category; besides employing an irrefutable denial of moral legitimacy, it tries to shoehorn a Marxist reading that sees individuals as merely instances of their group or class. In trying to save characters from simplicity, we should also fight the simplification of critique.

When stories or characters come out that do, indeed, participate in complexity in some way, we should promote them. This may mean being open to new reworkings of stories (on that note, I had originally included The Legend of Korra above, but on further reflection and research of perspectives, I decided the Avatar Korra does grow in ways consistent with the precedents of the Avatar universe that I had not considered before). While above I critiqued the characters for breaking from their canons, it can be equally damaging for story to never stretch what has already been. The best stories will, in my view, resurrect familiar elements of their canons while showing that new arcs are still possible therein. So, we should vote with our pounds, dollars, and online engagements to show at least the less ideology-driven studios that complexity of story matters to audiences more than character identity politics.

A converse of this is to reject stories built around transgressive or socially deconstructive elements, and to educate ourselves on why such things do not and should not be privileged as equally valid views or stories (being anti-stories) in the marketplace of ideas—especially when those who promote them would not and are not extending the same toleration to the rest of us.

Finally, as we at The Mallard have advocated and tried to put into practice, we should create the things we want to see. If nothing else, this will help us understand how to interpret the other art we consume. Complexity is difficult, and accomplishing it subtly and succinctly is even moreso. It might discredit me as a writer to put it in print, but I had to cut 250+ pages of my novel Sacred Shadows and Latent Light, most of which was backstory and characterization. Necessary for fleshing out my characters for myself, but not inherently necessary for developing the book’s conflict. The experience paradoxically made me more sympathetic but also less yielding when it comes to character depth. I hope I’ve shown both above in my treatment of characters who have, in theory (certainly in budget), better writers than I behind them.

[One aspect of Captain Marvel that is only peripherally related to Danvers’s relationship with her powers, but which nonetheless aligns with the eschewing of usual self-control progression, is her treatment of the minor male characters in the film. Danvers has the perfect excuse to treat new people with suspicion, and, perhaps excepting Stan Lee on the bus, she enjoys it—from ____ to committing theft grand auto. Of course, the trope of an apparent alien not conforming to local property laws goes as far back as Thor (and, of course, farther), but the undertone here is that the theft is justified in response to the man admittedly creepily asking Danvers for a smile. She later shows that her default to rudeness is not a casualty of her untrusting circumstances: she responds to someone as unthreatening as Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in Avengers: Endgame in as insolent a manner as she does to the characters in her movie—an indecency for which I have not been able to forgive her.]

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Oswald Spengler: Prophet of Doom?

The legendary German historian, Oswald Spengler, was born in the German Empire on the 29th of May, 1880 AD. He is best known for his two-volume book The Decline of the West, published after the First World War, and his “pessimistic” and “deterministic” views on History – or so the liberal academia claims. In truth, Oswald Spengler postulates that Cultures play the central role of world history, and are analogous to biological entities, each with a limited, predictable and predetermined lifespan which he would define as Destiny. He proposes a Copernican revolution of historical science, substituting the progressive linear course with the conservative cyclical model of history. Although one could find a few obvious mistakes in Spengler’s entire narrative, which were upgraded by other authors such as Arnold J. Toynbee and Amaury de Riencourt, many of his theses are on point. He has indeed discovered the hidden rhythm of History, the ebbs and flows of Cultures and Civilizations – which are completely different terms in Spengler’s model.

Cultures are the original spiritual organisms, born from rural areas, characterized by a unique and deep spirituality, manifested through the Culture’s art and architecture. They are young and vigorous, representing the Spring and Summer seasons of a High Culture’s life-cycle. A Culture’s values are aesthetic, religious and, usually, aristocratic. Civilizations are overripe Cultures, mechanized spiritual organisms bound by ethics – secular and democratic in nature. Civilizations are born in the Autumn Stage of a High Culture’s lifespan, lasting out until the very end of its Winter Stage. By the coming of Winter, a series of powerful figures rise to tame the chaotic waves of Democracy as Civilization crumbles. These figures are, out of convenience, named as “Caesars”. Caesarism is will-to-order personified, a century-long process of societal militarization under the watchful gaze of absolutist dictators. Spengler believed that Western Civilization would bow itself before its Caesars somewhere between 2000 AD and 2200 AD, just like its predecessor, the Civilization of Rome, which was overtaken by its Caesars between 100 BC and 100 AD.

In Hitler’s National Socialism, or Mussolini’s Fascism, Oswald Spengler saw no Caesars – just reckless adventurers who would go on to destroy their countries. In 1933 AD, Spengler accurately predicted that the Third Reich would collapse by 1945 AD. Thus he was, and remained, a stark critic of Nazism and Fascism. However, in the appearance of Benito Mussolini, Spengler saw the shadow of the future Caesars. He saw their shadow in the person of the legendary British colonial entrepreneur and adventurer Cecil Rhodes as well. Spengler predicted that by the year 2000 AD, Western creativity will cease. Any observer of modern cultural trends can see the devolution of music, film, video games and art in the last three decades – in different rhythms, of course. He also believed that a Second Religiousness will follow the footsteps of the future Western Caesars. The seeds of this future Second Religiousness could be seen in the de-secularization of society, either by New Age cults or the impulses of more traditional religious forms across the West.

All of these predictions he made are just the beginning…

The mind of Oswald Spengler provides future historians (and historiosophers!) with far deeper insight than mere predictions about the future. An often forgotten fact is Henry Kissinger’s senior undergraduate thesis, titled The Meaning of History: Reflections on Spengler, Toynbee and Kant, which was over 400 pages long. And the role of Henry Kissinger in international affairs, as well as his relationship with the American political or business establishments, needs no introduction. Thus, an objective analyst of international relations should ask himself – what role did the ideas of this now-forgotten German historian play in the shaping of the modern world as we know it. Other important discussions started by Spengler are concerned about themes quite relevant to our time: the relationship between Man and Technics, the need for a Conservative Revolution across the West, the role of Socialism in the coming centuries, and many others – each a topic for itself.

What was sparked by Ibn Khaldun in the Islamic Civilization, carried by the Italian and Russian historians – Giambattista Vico and Nikolay Danilevsky, respectively – was finally delivered by Oswald Spengler, whose mind forged a new perspective on History. This torch was then carried by Arnold J. Toynbee – whose erudition and classifications reached unseen heights, Amaury de Riencourt – whose insight discovered even deeper currents of History, or Carroll Quigley – whose purely scientific method of analysis broadens some of the arguments proposed by Spengler, and especially Toynbee.

His ideas have been influential among right-wing and left-wing thinkers alike. Socialist figures such as the German intellectual, Theodor Adorno, or the Afro-American revolutionary, Malcolm X, saw merit in the theories and models of Oswald Spengler. Conservatives, such as the Spanish philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Ernest Junger or Leo Strauss, were influenced by Spengler’s ideas. The American policy maker, George F. Kennan, as well as the famous American horror writer, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, were also interested in Spengler’s view of History. Joseph Campbell, an American analyst of comparative religion, claimed that his view on religious history would be impossible without the ideas proposed by Oswald Spengler. Fascists, like Francis Parker Yockey, Karl Haushofer, Oswald Mosley and Julius Evola, were quite impressed by Spengler’s revolutionary theses. Even the notorious Russian philosopher, Alexander Dugin, quotes Oswald Spengler quite extensively. Islamic radicals are well-acquainted with his ideas as well. Various, often opposing parts of the political spectrum have shown support or praise for the insights offered to us by this, often ignored and easily dismissed, German historian.

It should be noted that Oswald Spengler deals in quite interesting terms – such as Destiny, Will, God, Blood and others – while remaining neither a religious nor a secular historian. Thus, from his quite objective standpoint in the dispute between the faithful and secularists, he more often than not affirms the important role religion plays in the development of a Culture’s Soul. Some of Spengler’s ideals are derived from Goethean science, sparked by the German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and later popularized, at least in the Anglo-Saxon world, by the works of the Austrian occultist, Rudolf Steiner. 

But another important question must be asked before this essay about the great German historian ends…

The importance of Spengler’s ideas for the philosopher and the social scientist are quite obvious by now. However, of what importance are his ideas for the common man?

In his book, Man and Technics, Spengler paints a very bleak future for the West in the coming centuries. But at the same time, he offers a very simplistic solution. Spengler advises the Western Man to behave like the Roman soldiers stationed at Pompeii during the eruption of Vesuvius – a stoic resistance to the inevitable currents of History which will be remembered by future generations until the End of Days. A last stand, if you will, against the inescapable Doom which eventually awaits the West, whose sheer willpower will stand the test of time as one of the most tragic, yet the most epic tales of all time. In the end of all things Western, against the encroaching Darkness, Oswald Spengler offers a manly solution – worthy of the old Germanic warrior sagas whose motifs still inspire the last aristocrats of the soul across the modern West.

As the cult-classic American fantasy novel written by George Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire declares: “Winter is Coming.”

And Western Man should brace for it…

 For this Winter may prove to be the harshest one of them all…

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The Death of the Young Conservative Dream

All my life I have had a certain idea of Britain. A sense of patriotism that is derived from the instinct to defend and preserve one’s own home. But what happens if the prospect of owning your own home is merely a dream of generations gone by?

Last week I attended my third Conservative Party conference: I encountered many energetic and optimistic Young Conservatives (YCs) who shared my once glowing optimism. I also encountered many older, veteran Tory members who didn’t share that level of enthusiasm but rather stubbornness to defend the tired, mediocre and boring status-quo of conservatism. Dislike some aspects of Tory policy? Lib Dem Labour leftwaffe loony. Want more houses built? Not in my borough you’re not. Want a better Britain? Woke. This is not an environment in which young conservatives’ interests are welcomed.

The biggest barrier to any centre-right young person voting Tory is the lack of commitment to homeownership by the government and by local associations. This can be divided by examining the demand side and supply side aspects of this issue. On the demand side, the government has failed to lower net immigration to the ‘tens of thousands’ since 2017, inevitably resulting in more homes being occupied and thus shooting up house prices. On the supply side, the government consistently promises a bold target of housing that mysteriously fails to come to fruition. Why? Partially the threat of Lib Dems sucking up the core Tory vote of older, relatively wealthy voters on the local council level that run on the platform of NIMBYism. Also, however, a shared generational trait of stubbornness and disdain for the future generation, that cannot be denied. Some may be aware of a certain Vox Pop of a Somerset Conservative councillor by Times Radio urging young people to be ‘more realistic’ on homeownership. Help-to-Buy is not good enough: if the government is failing to meet housing targets, betraying their promise to cut immigration and local councillors/backbench MPs actively opposing housing development then what is there for the next generation to achieve in society and thus conserve?

On this theme of holding a stake in society, young people want to see a vision resulting in them reaching personal milestones along the same trajectory as their parents. They want to choose life. They want to choose a career, choose a family, choose a starter home. These facets are the fundamentals to sustaining conservatism and thus the Conservative vote for generations to come.

To quote Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies’ Forgotten People speech ‘Now, what is the value of this middle class, so defined and described? First, it has a “stake in the country”. It has responsibility for homes – homes material, homes human, and homes spiritual.’ Look to those nostalgic Conservative election posters championing ‘New homes for a million folk last year’ from decades gone by. The solution is there: Homes for Britons and Make Every Briton a King. Combine populist messaging to deliver basic conservative policies and the Zoomer vote can be tapped into and thus sustain the long-held notion that people gradually become more conservative as they get older.

What is to be Done?

To view the Corbynite Momentum movement, despite however left-wing this organisation is, serves as a good example of how the youth can be energised and organised. Momentum serves as a hub for welcoming radical policy proposals that can be relatively easily pitched to MPs and thus become party policy. Let us not forget that the Monday Club essentially was a right-wing Momentum in the 1980s advocating for ‘radical’ policies such as curbing immigration, ‘cancelling’ left wing agitators such as Ken Livingstone and Gerry Adams, and condemning the European Economic Community. God forbid those things ever happened today.

The Conservatives have become too scared of radicalism in the present day. The conference agenda is tightly controlled and so is the Conservative Policy Forum and, too, the Young Conservatives organisation. Margaret Thatcher is consistently idolised at conference yet in a caricature manner, rather than understanding that it was her radicalism and commitment to the strong state and free economy that energised a generation of conservatives. Sadly, the Labour Party is much better at listening to its youth grassroots. Young Labour members feel more welcome, their ideas are welcomed by the party leadership, and they are energised. The CCHQ led organisation of the Young Conservatives’ only function in the present day is to connect YCs to campaigning opportunities and little beyond that. Treating YCs merely as free labour to campaign for policies which do not directly benefit them is not a sustainable strategy for future elections.

What is the alternative? Ignore the next generation of conservatives and the Tory Party will find its vote share steadily declining as years go on. Real wages have stagnated since the 2008 Financial Crisis and today’s average house prices are between 12 and 24 times the average workplace-based earnings in 23% of local authority areas. This gives today’s youth no reason to vote Conservative but rather to destroy the system (the free market) which has failed them. Recall that 42% of 18–24-year-olds voted Tory in 1979 and 1983. Today that number is less than 10%. My generation are not ‘woke’ en masse, my generation is more attracted to a bold, hopeful and alternative vision – as consistently hammered by the idolised Jeremy Corbyn. Look to Hungary and Poland, who have eliminated income tax for under 25s, and 26s in Poland respectively, and you will discover an attractive and successful environment for young conservatives to emerge from.

The conservative future is real and must be transmitted from the grassroots membership, moulded by the philosophy of conservatism itself. The Conservative Party must move beyond the repetitive ‘Same Old Labour’ attack lines and adapt by offering a principled and optimistic Conservative future if it wants to survive beyond the 2020s.

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A Libertarian Case Against Immigration

Immigration is a massive issue within the UK. Many libertarian and neoliberal think tanks seem to be out of touch with what the ordinary man thinks about immigration as they advocate for a more liberalised immigration system and even open borders. This has given the term liberal a rotten taste for many Britons on the topic of immigration. A notorious example of this is Sam Bowman, a senior fellow of the neoliberal institution The Adam Smith Institute, who tweeted:

“I also favour huge amounts of immigration from unskilled workers from poor countries on the grounds that if it improves their welfare, including if it reduces the welfare of Britons, e.g. through higher crime.”

This, of course, comes off as insensitive and patronising. It is a real concern of the British public, both for economic and cultural reasons, to want to control our borders. This concern should not be dismissed by neoliberals who dismiss the negatives of immigration. In fact, those who claim to be champions of freedom should also take into consideration the freedom of those already inhibiting the country and their property rights.

Those who advocate for “freedom of movement” forget the enormous amounts of benefits that immigrants receive once they enter the country. From the NHS, housing benefits, universal credit, and roads: there are an enormous amount of entitlements that immigrants receive, regardless of whether they pay tax. Even Milton Friedman observed that “you cannot simultaneously have free immigration and the welfare state”. Shouldn’t the British taxpayer be free from being forced to subsidise the lifestyle of those who enter the country?

Currently, the government is trying to implant an asylum centre for up to 1,500 in the small village in Yorkshire, Linton on Ouse. This would severely change the culture of a village which has a population of about 700. The neoliberal approach would be to allow them in, after all freedom of movement is a human right! This mass importation which would massively change the environment is disrespectful to the locals. The solution which respects the rights and concerns of the native population is to decentralise decision making to the lowest level possible. It’s easy for Westminster bureaucrats to assign a thousand men to a small village without acknowledging the consequences. The residents of Linton on Ouse should have their voices heard.

In his book Against the Left, Lew Rockwell discusses how Switzerland’s immigration policy before joining the European Union could be shown as an interesting example of decentralising immigration policy:

“In Switzerland, localities decided on immigration, and immigrants or their employers had to pay to admit a prospective migrant. In this way, residents could better ensure that their communities would be populated by people who would add value and who would not stick them with the bill for a laundry list of “benefits.””

The notion of “freedom of movement” disregards property rights. An individual cannot come into your home without invitation. As Hans Hermann Hoppe noted:

“No one has a right to move to a place already occupied by somebody else, unless he has been invited by a present occupant. And if all places are already occupied, all migration is migration by invitation only. A right to “free” immigration exists only for virgin country, for the open frontier.”

Furthermore, even though libertarians argue that public property has been appropriated illegitimately, it does not mean that the property is unowned and a free for all. Hoppe continues:

“It has been funded through local, regional, national or federal tax payments, and it is the payers of these taxes, then, and no one else, who are the legitimate owners of all public property. They cannot exercise their right – that right has been arrogated by the State – but they are the legitimate owners.”

In his article, Nations by Consent, Murray Rothbard sets out his argument against open borders even within a stateless society:

“On rethinking immigration on the basis of the anarcho-capitalist model, it became clear to me that a totally privatized country would not have “open borders” at all. If every piece of land in a country were owned by some person, group, or corporation, this would mean that no immigrant could enter there unless invited to enter and allowed to rent, or purchase, property. A totally privatized country would be as “closed” as the particular inhabitants and property owners desire.”

Having controlled borders is not antithetical towards libertarianism. Those who actually favour liberty should value freedom of association and property rights rather than the false leftist notion of “freedom of movement” that tarnishes the name of liberalism and freedom. The Westminster liberals should stop sneering at the British public for their concerns over immigration and join them in the fight for freedom. 

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From Stanley To Kiev: It’s Time To Move On

It’s been 40 years since the war that marked a turning point in the relationship between Argentina and the United Kingdom. For the British, a distant dispute in time that year after year seems to lose its relevance. For us Argentines, an open wound yet to fully heal.

Since the end of the conflict, the different administrations of the Argentine government decided to maintain the claim for the lost territories as a State policy; relying on a provision of the National Constitution that establishes that “the Argentine Nation ratifies its legitimate and imprescriptible sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia, and South Sandwich”. Nevertheless, it appears that rather than achieving its target, this policy has worked as an anchor that prevents us from having more fruitful relations not only with the United Kingdom but with other countries as well. After years of isolationism with the Kelpers, who would have thought they would overwhelmingly vote to remain British in the 2013 referendum?

Maintaining a hostile relationship towards the United Kingdom has been a resounding failure, considering that from 1983 to the present day we have not had any major successes except for those in the period 2015-2019, when flights between Argentina and Port Stanley were reestablished (which led a public prosecutor to accuse President Mauricio Macri of “treason against Argentina”), and later with the identification of unknown Argentine soldiers’ bodies, after the exemplary joint work between the Argentine government, British Ambassador Mark Kent, and the Red Cross.

As part of the G7 summit taking place in Germany, Argentina was the only Latin American country to be invited. Given the recent rise in the price of wheat and gas as a result of the war in Ukraine, our presence represented a historic opportunity to position ourselves as suppliers of agricultural products and energy. Yet, rather than ride the wave of rising commodity prices with policies that encourage production and exports, when President Alberto Fernandez was asked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson about importing Argentine products, he rejected trade in any shape or form until Mr. Johnson agreed to resume talks to resolve the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) sovereignty dispute.

It all comes down to chance, and all it took was just one moment of ill-judgment for our economic opportunities to go down the drain. Diplomacy is about offering to the international system those values ​​that your country can give, and others cannot. What we can offer today are our exports, and because of a war that occurred 40 years ago, we are not doing so. What can we expect when we ask for the foreign investments and capital we desperately need? In other words, we need the world’s help because we lack sufficient domestic savings capacity, but the world won’t ever help us if we turned our backs on it when we were able to do so. As Wall Street Journal editor Mary O’Grady said, “these policies harm the Argentine people and hurt the world’s poor because they diminish global food supplies.”

Argentina is hostage to a State Policy that has failed and far from bringing us closer to the islands, it has alienated us from its people to the detriment of our domestic and international interests. We entered the 20th century being one of the richest countries in the world, in 2020 we entered the pandemic in 70th place and we are going through one of the worst economic crises in our history. We are in no position to question the islanders’ decision to self-determination, which is why denying a trade agreement is not only a political mistake but an economic catastrophe for our nation. I cannot think of a better way to honor our soldiers than by revaluing a relationship we lost and improving the standard of living of millions of Argentines enduring times that are arguably harder than ever before. That is why it is time to move on.

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A New British Bill of Rights will Keep Everyone Happy

Human rights are controversial. They probably shouldn’t be, being instead something we should all be able to rally around as the bare minimum we can do to protect our fellow man from the harms that could be inflicted upon them by the cruel. But that is not the case. As with most other things, human rights have been co-opted by both sides of the debate to feed the war-machines of angst. The Rwanda immigration policy is the latest battleground, but it won’t be the last. This will never fully be resolved, but a new British Bill of Rights will go a long way.

Personally I have never been a fan of a codified set of rights. I am not sure we need to be told by a specific document that we have the right to life. It should transcend a piece of paper into our way of being. We have, being a civilised people here in the United Kingdom, worked it out on our own, with many of the rights we have anticipated in the European Convention on Human Rights.

But that is often forgotten due to this constitution-style system. People seem to forget that these rights are as human to us as breathing, and that they didn’t just burst into existence upon drafting. The only time this happened was at Mount Sinai, and even then, I would contend that most of them were already held within the hearts and minds of the assembled peoples who heard them. Codified sets of rights take on a mythical status, used by those of a more puritanical bent to suggest that without said list, we would all fall the next day into some purge-like hellscape, acting with horrendous disregard for all others.

However, just as nature abhors a vacuum, the cogs of the judicial system thrive on vagaries. There will always be room for interpretation (especially, somewhat ironically, with things so fundamental), so it is the lesser of the evils to have these rights written down for all to see, so our intent is clear. There will always be lacunas to fill, but you can rest easy knowing it will be by like-minded individuals, attuned to the clear direction of the people they will impact, understanding their tradition, position, and direction.

But that isn’t the case as things stand, and it is where most of the current controversy around human rights actually sits. As things stand, we have a scenario where the interpretation of these fundamental items, these things so personal to a people, is conducted supranational, by a group not attuned to how these rights are embedded within us, and how we in the UK wish them to be used. It sows division within our country to have these matters decided for us, outside of our own structures that we have built to govern and protect each other.

Of course, we did sign up, there was originally consent for this position, but we are a long way now from the post-war mindset that led to the ECHR being created. We have moved on. Not to the extent that we wish to abandon any of the rights themselves (no matter what certain commentators would have you believe), but in terms of how we wish the grey to be made black and white.

The best thing to do, therefore, is to withdraw from the ECHR, and recreate the convention as an Act of Parliament. It shouldn’t be too difficult, given how involved in the drafting we were in the first place. This glorious legislation should then be given the fanfare and patriotic name it deserves. And in doing so we will free ourselves from the shackles of the current situation, while still providing a beacon of hope for all to rally around.

Each side should be happy with the result.

As the precious document will still exist, the ‘frothers-in-chief’ will be content that the UK won’t slip into lawlessness overnight, while the rest of us can be happy that we will be in the position where any interpretation is done within our own judicial structure, using our thought processes, aligned to our own (lower order, but still important) values.

There will still be much need to call on the judiciary to interpret our fundamental rights, and there will still be cases that cause division. But we will be able to at least point to our own shared national heritage, and our wonderful common law, as the reasoning for these decisions. They will have been made by us, for us, to protect us. Just like our human rights.

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One Simple Way to Fix the Government

Sorry, not this government. The idea of proportional representation seems to be fluttering about, but you don’t even need to go that far. There’s a much simpler solution which doesn’t rely on changing the electoral system. Even better, all you have to do is lean into existing political expectations. And, well, it’s not so much one simple way to fix the government. First comes the political party, which then becomes the government.


Put party appointments, candidates, and occupants of elected positions under the direct and total command of the party leader. Yes. Run the party like a company, military unit, the mafia, etc. whatever comparison works for you. In other words, like any group organised to actually achieve a common purpose in the face of external pressures.

But what about party members?

Shouldn’t the members have a say? No. At least not the way they do now. It’s better that way. They’ll come around when their party wins.

Party members don’t really have much, if any, of a say in party matters as it is. Whether it’s council, parliamentary, or leadership candidates, there’s quite a lot of filtering which goes on before they are presented to members. At the lower level, staggeringly few party members vote on internal party association positions, or even council candidates, so there’s no real loss there. At the higher levels, in the Conservative Party, for example, Kemi Badenoch was the most popular choice for leadership this time around, among the members, before MPs filtered her out and narrowed the field to Truss and Sunak. Now it looks like the party isn’t even really getting Truss. (A lot of that is her fault to be fair).

As a party member, what exactly are you losing by not getting a say? Even after all that, you were almost certainly going to vote for the party anyway, so what are you even complaining about? Isn’t it more important to get behind those who reflect your principles, or back who you think is the best shot, etc. rather than “having a say” exactly?

The reason you want a say isn’t that you want power, exactly, it’s that you want to feel like you matter. Trying to get thousands of cooks to meddle in the broth isn’t the way to matter. When you identify the leader and plan that you want to back, fall in line, and follow their lead. As part of the masses, you have a very small amount of individual energy. If you want it to do anything, it needs to be focused like a laser. Let yourself be focused.

Success happens when there’s a plan and everyone sticks to it. It doesn’t happen when everyone starts fighting over their own ideas. Make the party leader ultimately responsible not just for their plan but for all the resources and people they will need to execute it. That means party members do not get a say. Party members must be rewarded in other ways, but that’s a topic for another piece.


There is one aspect of party candidate selection which is worth keeping: loyalty. The selection process today selects for loyalty above all else, to the party, and to nebulous groups of insiders within the party itself.

Loyalty is important. You need everyone to act as one, working to the same goal, with the same ethos, presenting a strong, united front. The leader at the top should have a plan and will need loyal people to get it done. Make it obvious where that loyalty is going to – to the leader – rather than vaguely to the party, which really means planless, disorganised, venal, behind-the-sceners.

Members don’t really have a say as it is. When it comes to it, most don’t seem to mind and vote for the party in elections anyway. Activists keep knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, donating, etc. Lean into that political reality, clear up the leadership structure, and, even better, make it much more honest by showing plainly where that loyalty really goes.

Just in that regard, putting everyone under the direct and total responsibility of the party leader would make everything better for the candidates, party activists, and the party as a whole.

For candidates, they don’t need to waste time with the chaos and pettiness of the local party and activists. They don’t need to waste untold hours doing pointless tasks to prove their loyalty. If they owe their position entirely to the party leader, that’s where you get the loyalty. Remove some big obstacles to getting the best candidates 1) the time they have to spend doing politics instead of whatever highly demanding civilian job they have, and 2) the risk of not getting selected even after all the loyalty-proving they have to go through.

Do you want better politicians? Make it easier for the better ones to put themselves forward.

For the party leader, the benefits are obvious. He squashes the potential for distraction and dissent, potential rivals from within his own camp, and gets to act much more pragmatically.

This all increases the chances of winning. You like winning, don’t you?

What If It All Goes Wrong?

If the leader turns out not to be a winner, at least it’s totally clear where the problem is – the leader. If the party can only go where the leader does, and the party fails, you know what to do. This makes it much easier to cut your losses, move on, and try again with someone else in a new party.

This criticism is more or less a criticism of the status quo anyway. When party leaders don’t work out, the leaders change. Often the party as a whole changes, merely the branding stays familiar. How many of you have asked whether the Conservative or Labour Parties are really Conservative or really Labour?

What’s the difference, practically, between junking an entire party with its leader and starting again fresh, and more honestly?

Better Government

If you were reading closely enough, you noticed that the solution included total responsibility over those in elected positions.

Let’s face it, people don’t really elect the individual MP. They vote by party or leader. Lean into that political expectation. Use it to clear up and prevent parliament becoming whatever it is now. Stuffed full of has-beens, inadequates, and failures, many occupying “safe seats”.

The party leader should be able to fire and hire as they see fit to the parliamentary seats they/their party has already won. Accepting this should be a condition of candidacy in the first place. It could even be the first law the party passes.

The ability to replace bad MPs might keep them good for longer and allow for a proper cycle of “tested and done” out for “promising and new”. For example; what is the point of Matt Hancock? He’s just blocking someone potentially useful, or at least someone who is not a net negative. Let’s be real, nobody voted for Matt Hancock. Come on. Why wait around? Fire him and get someone else.

Spent losers hanging on is one of the reasons the Conservative Party today is having so much trouble. It happened to the Labour Party too in the dying days of the Gordon Brown government too. Too many MPs hanging around long past their usefulness. It diminishes the pool of potential ministers.

Before you know it, we’re all pretending that Dehenna Davison is a minister who actually does any governing.

The Party Leader

Command over all party appointments, candidates, etc. would include the party leader himself.

No party leadership elections. Most people vote by party or for a party leader, presidential style. Lean into that. Spare everyone the mixed and mashed chaos of whatever normally goes on in the background of party politics. Spare everyone the same mixed and mashed chaos of what goes on in the foreground of party politics!

But isn’t it a problem if you can’t remove a leader from the party? No. Just back the leader you want in a new party. It doesn’t really matter if someone can’t be removed as leader in a party if everyone leaves to do something different. Just look at UKIP/Nigel Farage/the Brexit Party. And now Reform UK or whatever the Brexit Party rebranded as.

The solution for fixing the government

In summary: there’s a leader, a plan, their team, who they will hire and fire to get the job done, and do you want it or not? If yes, you have a structure which might actually be able to get something done. If not, don’t vote for it, and from your perspective, nothing is lost. Simple.

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