Faggots: Food For Thought | Samuel Davies
It is the worst kept secret since Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, but the long-term goal of the left is global communism. They don’t say it out loud, even amongst themselves – the dirty word is avoided by all but the likes of Ash Sarkar and John McDonnell – but their aim is nonetheless clearly definable as communism. Abolition of property rights, high taxation, acquisition of industry, education, and infrastructure, no inheritance… all of the ideals laid out by Marx more than 150 years ago are there in black and white, spread across manifestos, interviews and blog posts. Labelling such moves towards centralised control as socialist or progressive fools none but the least interested and is yet another example of the leftist use of semantics to dress up an unpopular ideological bent as something modern and fresh.
The 20th century saw multiple examples of the catastrophic effects of communistic forms of government control of production, and more recently we have had several examples of the difficulties inherent in a supranational approach to delivering services. The most recent example is European Union’s vaccine rollout which, when compared to the success of the UK’s process, appears increasingly disastrous and highlights the benefits found in acting as an independent nation. Whilst top-down imposed restrictions such as lockdowns have met resistance and challenges, many obeying only through coercion, the vaccine rollout has been devolved to local services.
But there are more subtle examples too, less reported issues that arise when a centralised authority attempts to intervene in people’s lives ‘for their own good’. Last week such a story will have caught the roving eye of anyone familiar with the Black Country and its cuisine, as Facebook fell foul of their own attempts to curtail abuses of the right of freedom of speech. ‘Faggots’ are a popular local meaty dish in the region that gave us the Industrial Revolution, but the simultaneous use of the same word as an insult brought it to the attention of the social media platform’s censors – who duly deleted posts in a thread discussing the joys of ‘faggots and paes’.
In the last few years, the Black Country has found itself offending the woke with its flag featuring three chain links on a red, black and white background. In 2017 newly elected MP for Wolverhampton, Eleanor Smith, wanted it changed because the chains on a black and white contrast had connotations of slavery, and in 2020 a local Fire Station banned the station from flying the flag on Black Country Day. The flag’s design was the product of a school girl’s winning entry in a region wide competition, and reflected the region’s deep historical links with chain-making and the famous description of the sky over the Black Country as “black by day, red by night” – facts lost on the complainants.
The more recent incident over the culinary use of otherwise pejorative terms, is a perfect example of the chronic and repeated failures of top down organisational systems. Ignoring, for now, the issues around freedom of speech and the role Facebook sees itself in when ‘protecting’ people from language before a concern has even been raised, what is evident is that there is no substitute for human knowledge of intimate details and local context. Indeed, many communist ‘world-improvers’ argue that with modern technology ‘things could be different’ – nothing could be further from the truth. In the digital era a centralised system is even less likely to understand localised concerns than its human counterpart, as demonstrated by Facebook’s admission that the censor was a bot.
Even with human censors who have local knowledge, communities are no longer always formed geographically, by culture or creed within boundaries. The internet, cheap global travel, and access to all cultures via mobile phones and computers mean that people find, start and join new groups, unhindered by antiquated limitations, at an unprecedented rate. It is currently unfeasible that anyone, alive or digital, could monitor all such groups, understand their nuances, and make decisions that accurately reflect the context.
While it may be a misrepresentation of William Easterly to cite him here – knowing nothing of his politics – he sheds a powerful light on the top down fallacy in his polemic work “The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little”. In it he unwittingly demonstrates the predictable failure of the left’s endgame by demonstrating how the international community’s efforts to solve the issue of global poverty through the use of foreign aid has failed:
“…the tragedy in which the West spent $2.3 trillion on foreign aid over the last five decades and still had not managed to get 12-cent medicines to children to prevent half of all malaria deaths. The West spent $2.3 trillion and still had not managed to get $4 bed nets to poor families. The West spent $2.3 trillion and still had not managed to get $3 to each new mother to prevent five million child deaths.”
In contrast, he demonstrates the almost miraculous change in fortune of aid workers efforts in Malawi when they stopped handing out thousands of free mosquito nets to whoever put their hand out, and instead empowered new mothers to become ‘searchers’ and find others with children to sell nets to. Whilst the leftists seethe at the use of capitalist market systems to help the world’s poorest, Easterly calmly points out that this program was subsidised by charging more in the wealthier cities, and saw a nearly fifty percent increase in the number of children sleeping under nets, as well as increased use of the nets issued from thirty percent to almost universal. Yet still the global community, led by left-leaning world leaders, pour trillions into overly ambitious and ineffective top-down solutions to poverty, and wonder at the results.
They will not stop. From the moment the post war consensus shifted from a model of negative freedom to one of positive freedom, we have been blighted by what Thomas Sowell so eloquently monikered ‘The Vision of the Anointed’. A constant interference in ever more aspects of our lives under the guise of a vision for a better future. Except all the evidence suggests that their futuristic dream is one that involves curtailing all of our freedoms. From censoring our language, to erasing celebrations of our heritage, to wasting literally trillions of taxpayers’ money on virtue signalling projects that bear no fruit. The future they want is a nightmare disguised as a utopian dream.
Happily, the evidence also suggests that they will continue to fail and is, in a nutshell, why far left ideologies do not work; never have and never will. Free markets, capitalism, small units such as family and community, individuals on the ground searching for answers – these are systems that can solve local issues and that are intuitively aligned to the needs and feelings of a community in a way that top down, centralised systems cannot ever be.