latest

Digital Censorship Is Now the Perfect Crime

The combination of free speech and the internet should provide an unprecedented democratising effect on public discourse. After all, anyone with a decent idea can now reach out to millions of people worldwide, regardless of their wealth, respectability or social status. The potential for innovation is endless.

And yet, looking at the world today you would be hard-pressed to find a clear exemplar of this democratising effect. It appears that new technology has also created new forms of censorship. Control of public speech is now so subtle-fingered that it’s often hard to recognise as censorship or even detect when it’s happening at all.

To understand this new phenomenon, it’s worth taking some time to consider how social-media algorithms work and why they’ve become so important to our society.

Ideas spread through social networks and the fastest social networks are those found online, managed by large corporate platforms like Facebook, WeChat, Twitter and YouTube. These sites all curate what’s seen by the user into a ‘feed’. In order to create the feed, posts are ranked automatically based on numerous statistical parameters: the number of views, likes, comments and shares; the ratio of these quantities to each other; the upload date; the topics and tags assigned to the post; and so on. Network spread is accelerated by the number of followers of the poster and of the commenters and sharers. So far, this is common knowledge – but the algorithm doesn’t stop there.

It’s a trivial piece of programming to scan each post for keywords and assign a score to the post according to its content. Some words are coded as ‘negative’ or ‘positive’, or linked to different emotions like anger, outrage, joy, pride and so on. Based on this score, you can assign a different behaviour to how the social network treats the post. The post might be ‘throttled’ and shown to a disproportionately small number of accounts or it might be ‘boosted’ and shown to a large audience.

Instead of emotions, algorithms can also score posts on their political alignment with a range of contemporary pieties, such as racial or social justice, lockdown advocacy, or climate change. Individual accounts could then be given scores based on the type of posts they make, ensuring that the most egregious or inflammatory posters are quietly and gently smothered into irrelevance. Everything is automatic. No humans are involved. You, the poster, would have no idea whether censorship was happening or not.

The mechanism described above need not be the exact approach used by Twitter, Facebook or any other site. Consider it an illustrative example of how an engineer like myself could easily build multilayered and highly sensitive speech control into the networks of public discourse, to run a controlled speech environment that seems ostensibly like free speech.

Ultimately, all meaningful public discourse is now finely manipulated by the hidden algorithms of these social-media corporations. This is a reality of life in the 2020s. And with private companies manipulating public speech in these arbitrary and unaccountable ways, governments around the world are eager to get a slice of the pie.

Bearing the new algorithms in mind, consider how a government might suppress an idea that’s hostile to its interests. In the 1500s, the king’s men would march off to all the troublesome printing presses and intimidate the publishers with threats of vandalism, imprisonment or execution. It is against these weapons that the great Enlightenment arguments for free speech were constructed. Indeed, smashing up publishers was a risky move, creating martyrs and stirring opposition to absolute rule among the educated classes.

But in the 2020s, no such kerfuffle is necessary. State censorship has become astonishingly easy. The government need merely express its views to the management of a social-media company via their private channels, and every post sharing a particular idea will be throttled, demoted or blacklisted. Even if you can post the idea, the prominence of its spread has been hamstrung. It is thus the perfect crime, costing governments nothing, creating no martyrs and leaving opponents and their followers with paranoid doubts as to whether they were suppressed in the first place.

Different governments achieve this in different ways. The US is a world leader in invisible censorship, helped by the fact that almost all major social networks are Silicon Valley entities (enjoying close ties to the US intelligence apparatus). The most visible incidences of US censorship on social media concerned sensitive information about the Biden family during the 2020 US Elections, and the control of narratives surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures.

Across the pond, the EU has passed into law a Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into effect last month (25th August 2023). The law empowers a large taskforce on disinformation, answerable directly to the European Commission, to immerse itself in public discourse control and censorship on all major social networks. Twitter is required to meet regularly with this taskforce and answer to demands of the Commission regarding ‘misinformation control’ or face fines and other sanctions from the EU.

Critics of the EU will note that the EU parliament is again sidelined by this troubling new institution. And like the GDPR regulation of 2016, this is liable to become a global standard in the relationship between state institutions and the internet. 

What terrible danger demands such a robust approach to information control, you might ask? The usual suspects appear in a list of disinformation trends compiled by the EU-funded fact-checking hub, EDMO:

  • ‘nativist narratives’ and opposition to migration;
  • ‘gender and sexuality narratives’ that cover trans issues;
  • the ‘anti-woke movement’ that ‘mocks social-justice campaigns’;
  • ‘environment narratives’ that criticise climate-change policies.

Each of these problem issues is subjective and political in nature. It appears that the EU is concerned with changing the views and opinions of its 450 million subjects to match the ‘social justice’ ideology of their leadership – which is precisely the opposite of democratic governance.

The arguments of classical liberal thinkers are outdated when it comes to combating this new form of censorship. It is true that whenever an idea is silenced, the community is made poorer by not having heard its voice – but can that argument be made with the same vehemence when the idea is merely muffled or massaged into a lower engagement ratio by a tangled web of hidden algorithms? Is there an essential ethical difference between government interference with public discourse through social-media algorithms and the interference of an agenda-driven Californian software engineer who happens to work at one of these companies? Most media outlets don’t even describe this process as censorship, after all: it’s just ‘content moderation’.

Proponents of subtle censorship will point to the numerous social goods that might conceivably come from light-fingered thought control on social media. These include the suppression of enemy state propaganda, the neutralisation of dangerous conspiracy theories, and the management of violent sectarian ideology that could cause social harm or terrorism. But aside from the foiling of vague and nebulous threats, whose impact can never be reliably predicted, it is hard to see what conceivable gain comes from surrendering our right of free public discourse to unelected state organs like the European Commission taskforce.

The danger we face is that our present situation could rapidly evolve towards the total engineering of public discourse on social media. Western governments have shown an alarming desire to create populations that are docile, disorganised and progressive-thinking, rather than trusting the democratic process to produce good ideas through argumentation and open debate. Subtle censorship on social media has the potential to nudge us into a dystopia, where people are only permitted to organise around an elite-approved set of curated ideas.


Photo Credit.

Soundbites Over Sound Ideas

‘It’s a no to NOS.

We will ban nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, putting an end to the littering of empty canisters and intimidation in local parks.’

This tweet by Downing Street earlier this year tells you everything you need to know about its policies. In an attempt to curb antisocial behaviour and littering, the government wants to ban nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas.

Seriously.

Ok, is it the worst policy in the world? No. It’s probably one that most people would agree with. The problem is that the government has said that banning it would end the issues described. It’s a plaster on a stab wound.

That’s what the government likes to do. It likes to offer pretty promises that won’t do anything to curb real issues.

Anti-Social Behaviour 

Anti-social behaviour is evident in our communities. The elderly may grumble about how ‘kids in my day had more respect’ and to give them credit, they’ve got a point. 

Society has a lot to say as to why this is. One reason given is the destruction of the nuclear family, especially fatherlessness. Studies have shown that children who grow up in single-parent families, particularly those without a father present, are more at risk of becoming criminals. Others point to a lack of discipline in the home and school. Scottish teaching unions warn that teachers are at risk of dismissal and unfair treatment when disciplining children. 

Banning nitrous oxide will not solve the problem of anti-social behaviour. They will still drink and smoke weed and cause chaos. They will continue because they know that they can get away with it. The government and other authority groups are yet to actually come up with a solution to these problems. If they continue to allow criminals to get away with things, then they will.

Labour often blame the Conservatives for this. The usual line is that the Tories have slashed funding for youth and community centres, which encourages crime and anti-social behaviour. This is an argument many refute. Many live in areas with parks and swimming pools and leisure centres. These are free and accessible activities. Bored kids don’t go out and rob. These are kids with no discipline or regard for other people. It’s easy to find something to do these days. Instead, lack of discipline and glamourising such a lifestyle fuels this epidemic. 

Obesity

The Welsh government has unveiled plans to restrict 2-for-1 deals, multibuys and other deals on ‘unhealthy’ foods. They have argued that it will help decrease obesity and diabetes.

The English government did a similar thing in 2022, banning sweets and junk foods from being displayed near tills. 

The logic behind them is as follows: it will stop people impulsively buying junk food and will prevent kids from begging their parents for treats at the till. Suddenly, obesity and diabetes will drop.

Sure.

Obesity is more than just junk food. Firstly, perhaps the government should acknowledge that a lot of parents and people in general have a thing called self-control. They can easily avoid sweets or just tell their children ‘no.’ Sure, some may fall into it, but many can resist temptation.

Secondly, people will also still go down the sweet aisle. They will still get treats, even if they’re a little further down.

Thirdly, the government can bog off controlling lives. 

In a cost of living crisis, one would think making things more expensive is just a bad idea. If the government was to actually tackle costs, then maybe healthier food would be easier to buy and make. They cannot get rid of convenience, but it would be nice if prices were better. With more and more people feeling the squeeze, the idea of affordable good food is a tempting one indeed. 

One must also factor in things like exercise. Eating alone does not solve health problems. Once again, our elders will complain that kids don’t go outside because they’re glued to a screen. I don’t like to give it to them, but again, how often do you see a toddler being pacified by a tablet? 

Both indoor and outdoor sports are easily available. It does not even have to be organised- anyone can have a kickabout in the park. Perhaps we could encourage more PE and sports at school. It’s not just kids either- we should all move about a little more. 

Heat 

Once again, the government wants to ban something. This time, it’s oil boilers that are on the chopping block. The plans would see those not connected to the gas grid be forced to find a new source of heat. 

Having new boilers and heat sources installed is not cheap- it can cost up to tens of thousands to replace. That is money not many people have. Add that to high heat and energy bills, mix in the cost of living crisis, and you have a terrible policy.

The plan is a clear attempt to win over environmentalists. Politically, it’s extremely stupid. Most hardcore environmentalists won’t vote Tory anyway. Secondly, rural areas are usually Conservative. Annoying your voters is not a great idea, especially when you’re lagging in the polls.

It’s a policy that is not only politically useless, but it’s actively hurting people’s finances. Once again, the government claims to know best. It’s a pretty soundbite policy, but not a solution.

Once the government decides to find actual solutions- or even just stick their noses out- things could actually improve a bit. Instead, they just focus on nice graphics and soundbites sent out by their press officers. It’s idealism and stupidity in equal measure. 

Political spin seems to be the in thing. They tell us what they think we’d like to hear as opposed to using their limitless powers to help. If they are going to get involved in our lives, then let it be for the better. 

Soundbites don’t work and the second the government realises that, then progress can be made.


Photo Credit.

Immaturity as Slavery

“… but I just hope the lad, now in his thirties, is not living in a world of secondhand, childish banalities.” – Sir Alec Guinness, A Positively Final Appearance. 

The opening quote comes from a part of Alec Guinness’ 1999 autobiography which greatly amuses me. The actor of Obi Wan Kenobi is confronted by a twelve-year-old boy in San Francisco, who tells him of his obsessive love for Star Wars. Guinness asks if he could do the favour of “promising to never see Star Wars again?”. The lad cries, and his indignant mother drags him away. Guinness ends with the above thought. He hopes the boy is weaned from Star Wars before adulthood, lest he become a pitiful specimen. 

Here enters the figure of the twenty-first century man-child, alias the “kidult”. He’s been on the radar for a while. Social critic Neil Postman prophesies the coming of “adult-children” in The Disappearance of Childhood from 1982. American journalist Joseph Epstein calls this same creature “The Perpetual Adolescent” in a 2004 article of the same name. But the best summary of this character I’ve yet found is by the writer Jacopo Bernardini, from 2014, to which I can add but little.

The kidult is one who lives his life as an eternal present. As the name suggests, his life is a sort of permanent adolescence. He is sceptical of traditional definitions of adulthood, so has deliberately shunned milestones like marriage and childbearing, in favour of an unattached lifestyle which lasts indefinitely. His relations with other people remain short and shallow; based entirely on fun and mutual use (close friendships or passionate love-affairs are not for him).  

Most importantly, the kidult doesn’t change his tastes or buying habits with age. The thresholds of adolescence and maturity have no bearing on the things he likes and purchases, nor how he relates to these things. Not only does he like the same toys and cartoons at thirty as he did at ten, but he continues to obsess over them and impulsively buy them like when he was ten. Enjoying childhood fare isn’t a playful interlude, but a way of life which never ends. He consumes through instant gratification, paying no thought to any long-term pattern or goal.

Although it must not strike the reader as obvious, I think there exists a link between Guinness’ “secondhand, childish banalities” and a kind of latter-day slavery. To see the link needs some prep work, but once laid, I think the reader will see my point. 

First to define servility. I believe the conservative writer Hilaire Belloc gave the best definition, and I shall freely paraphrase him. The great mass of people can be restricted yet not servile. Both monopolistic capitalism and socialism reduce workers to dependency, but neither makes them entirely slaves. Under capitalism, society retains an ideal of freedom, enshrined in law. Even as monopolists manipulate the law with their money, the ideal remains. Under socialism, state ownership is supposed to give all citizens leisure to do what they want (even as the state strangles them). In either case then, freedom is present as an ideal in theory even as it ceases to exist in practice. Monopolistic and socialist states don’t think of themselves as unfree.  

Slavery is different. A slave society has relinquished even the pretence of freedom for a large mass of the working people. Servility exists when a great multitude are forced to work while having no productive property, and no economic independence. That is, a servile person owns nothing (or effectively nothing) and has no choice whatsoever over how much he works or for whom he works. Most ancient civilisations, like Egypt, Greece, and Rome were servile, with servility existing as a defined legal category. That some men were owned by others was as enshrined by law as the ownership of land or cattle. 

Let’s put a little Aristotle into the mix. There are two kinds of obedience: from a free subject to a ruler, and from an unfree slave to his master. These are often confused but distinct. For while the former is reasonable, the latter involves no reason and is truly blind. 

True authority is neither persuasion nor force. If an officer argues to a soldier why he should obey, then the two are equals, and there’s no chain of command. But if the officer must hold a gun to the man’s head and threaten to execute him lest he do his duty, this isn’t authority either. The soldier obeys because he’s terrified, but not because he respects his superior as a superior. True authority lies in the trust which a subordinate has for the wisdom and expertise of a superior. This only comes if he’s rational enough to understand the nature of what he’s a part of, what it does, and that some people with knowhow must organise it to work properly. A sailor understands he’s on a ship. He understands that a ship has so many complex functions that no one man could know or do them all. He understands that his captain is a wiser and more experienced fellow than he. So, he trusts the captain’s authority and obeys his orders. 

I sketch this Aristotelian view of authority because it lets us criticise servility without assuming a liberal social contract idea. What defines slavery isn’t that the slave hasn’t chosen his master. Nor that the slave doesn’t get to argue about his orders. A slave’s duty just is the arbitrary will of his master. He doesn’t have to trust his master’s wisdom, because he doesn’t have to understand anything to be a slave. That is, while a soldier must rationally grasp what the army is, and a citizen must rationally grasp what society is, a slave is mentally passive.

Now, to Belloc’s prophecy concerning the fate of the west. The struggle between ownership and labour, between monopoly capitalism and socialism, which existed in his day, he thought would result in the re-institution of slavery. This would happen through convergence of interests. The state will take an ever-larger role in protecting workers through a safety net, that they don’t starve when unemployed. It will nationalise key industries, it will tax the rich and redistribute the wealth through welfare. But monopolies will still dominate the private sector. 

Effectively, this is slavery. For the worker is protected when unemployed but has entirely lost the ability to choose his employer, or even control his own life. To give an illustration of what this looks like in practice: there are post-industrial towns in Britain where the entire population is either on welfare or employed by a handful of giant corporations (small business having ceased to exist). To borrow from Theodore Dalrymple, the state controls everything about these people, from the house they inhabit to the school they attend. It gives them pocket-money to spend into the private sector dominated by monopolies, and if they want to work, they can only work for monopolists. They fear neither starvation nor a cold night, but they have entirely lost their freedom. 

This long preamble has been to show how freedom is swapped for safety in economic terms. But I think there’s more to it. First, the safety may not be economic but emotional. Second, the person willing to enter this swindle must be of a peculiar mindset. He must not know even a glimmer of true independence, lest he fight for it. A dispossessed farmer, for example, who remembers his crops and livestock will fight to regain them. But a man born into a slum, and knowing only wage labour, will crave mere safety from unemployment. Those who don’t know autonomy don’t long for it.

There now exist a troop of companies that market childish goods for adult consumption. They typically do this in one of two ways. First, offering childish products to adults under the guise of nostalgia. The adult is encouraged to buy things reminding him of his childhood, with the promise that he will relive it. Childish media and products are given an adult spin, and remarketed. Toys are rebranded as collectibles. Children’s films get unnecessary, adult-oriented, sequels or remakes (what Bernardini calls “kidult movies”). Originally child-friendly festivals or theme parks are increasingly marketed to childless adults.   

The second way is by infantilising adult products. Adverts, for example, have gradually replaced stereotypical busy office workers and exhausted housewives with frolicking kidults. No matter how trivial, every product that is not related to Christmas, is now surrounded by giddy, family-free people engaged in play. The message we’re meant to get is that the vacuum cleaner or stapler will free us to act like children. By buying these things, we can create time for the true business of life: bouncing and smiling with one’s mouth open. 

I believe infantilism to be a kind of mental slavery. In both the above examples, three elements combine: ignorance and mass media channel anxiety into childishness. This childishness then binds the victim in servitude to masters who take away his freedom while robbing him in the literal sense.

An artificial ignorance created by modern education is the first parent of the man-child. Absent a proper and classical education, the kidult’s mind is an empty page. Lack of general knowledge separates him from the great achievements of civilisation. He cannot seek refuge in Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, or Dante, for he has never heard of these. He cannot draw strength from philosophy and religion for the same reason. Neither can he learn lessons from history, for the world begins only with his own birth. Here is a type of mental dispossession parallel to an economic one. Someone utterly ignorant of the answers great people have given to life’s questions will seek only safety, not wisdom.

The second parent is anxiety. Humans have always been terrified of the inevitable decay of their own bodies, followed by death. The wish for immortality is ancient. Yet the modern world, with its scepticism, creates a heightened anxiousness. When all authority and tradition has been deconstructed, there is no ideal for how people ought to live. Without this ideal, humans have no certainty about the future. Medieval people knew that whatever happened, knights fought, villeins worked, and churchmen prayed. Modern man’s world is literally whatever people make of it. It may be utterly transformed in a very short time. And this is anxiety-inducing to all but the most sheltered of philosophers.

Add to this the rise of a selfish culture. As Christopher Lasch tells us, the nineteenth century still carried (in a bastardised way) the ideal of self-sufficiency and virtue of the ancient man. Working and trading was still tied to one’s flourishing in society. Since 1960, as family and community have disintegrated, the industrialised world has degenerated into a Hobbesian “war of all against all”. A world of loneliness without parents and siblings; lacking true friends and lovers. When adulthood has become toxic and means to swim in a sea of disfunction, vulgarity, substance abuse and pornographic sexuality; it’s no surprise some may snap and long for a regression to childhood. 

Mass media is the third condition. It floods the void where education and community used to be. The space where general knowledge isn’t, now gets stamped by fiction, corporate advertising, and state propaganda. These peddle in a mass of cliches, stereotypes, and recycled tropes. 

My critique of kidults isn’t founded on “good old days” nostalgia, itself a product of media cliches. Fashions, customs, and culture change; and the citizen of today doesn’t have to be a joyless salaryman or housewife to count as an adult. Rather, the man-child phenomenon is a massive transfer of power away from the small and towards the large. The kidult is like an addict, hooked on feelings of cosy fun and nostalgia which are only provided by corporations. These feelings aren’t directed to the good of the kidult but the organisation acting as a dealer. The dealer controls the strength and frequency of the dose to get the wanted behaviour from the addict.     

Now we see how kidults can be slaves. First, they’ve traded freedom for safety (false as it is) like Belloc’s proletarians made servile. Unlike the security of a traditional slave, this is an emotional illusion. The man-child believes that there’s safety in the stream of childish images offered to him. He believes that by consuming these the pain of life will cease. Yet man-children get no material or mental benefit from their infantilism. Indeed, they’re fast parted from their money, while getting no skills or virtues in return. The security is merely psychological: a Freudian age regression, but artificially created. 

Second, while authority in Aristotle’s sense means to swap another’s judgement for your own, for the sake of a common good you understand; here you submit to another’s judgement for the sake of their private good, which you don’t understand. Organisations seeking only profit or power impose their ideas on the kidult, for their benefit. An immature adult pursues only pleasure, lives only for the present, and thinks only in frivolous stereotypes and cliches implanted during childhood. He’s thus in no position to understand the inner workings of companies and governments. He follows his passions like a sentient puppet obeying an invisible thread, leading always to a hand just out of sight. 

In the poem London, William Blake talks about “mind-forg’d manacles”. These are the beliefs people have which constrain their lives in an invisible prison of sorts. For what we think possible or impossible guides our acting. Once mind-forg’d manacles are common to enough people, they form a culture (what’s a culture if not collective ideas on how one should act?). Secondhand childish banalities are such mind-forg’d manacles if we let them determine us wholly. Their “secondhand” nature means the forging has been done for us, and this makes them more insidious than ideas of our own creation. For if what I’ve said above is true, they threaten to make us servile. If enough people become dependent on secondhand childish banalities, as the boy who met Alec Guinness, then the whole culture becomes servile. Growing up may be painful, but it’s a duty to ourselves, that we remain free.


Photo Credit.

If There is Hope, It Lies in the NIMBYs

~ To my good friend Chris, who – despite the best available treatment – continues to suffer with YIMBY brainrot. ~

If there was hope, it must lie in the NIMBYs, because only there in those nonconforming disregarded boomers, ~22 per cent of the population of Britannia, could the force to destroy the regime ever be generated. The regime could not be overthrown from within a newbuild. It is them and them alone who are capable of preventing further mass migration into these isles. Collective animosity to the transformation of our country over the last seventy years can only be galvanised through the emergence of direct and inescapable negative externalities of the immigrant population being here.

The NIMBY’s dug-in heels expose the costs of the unnatural population boom that has been imposed on us, through hospital appointment delays, waiting lists, the lack of available school placements, etc. and through these problems the British are made incapable of following the path of least resistance and fleeing their local ship and scurrying to cheaper houses elsewhere. NIMBYism will push us all against the wall and ensure we confront the real and existential threat facing our people.

Let us suppose we disregard the NIMBYs, fall to the knees of our enemies, and beg them to build more houses regardless of the protestations of white Lib Dem voters: for whom would they really be for? Such housing would only be accessible to the middle class and subsidised immigrants.

Around 80% of the population increase since 2001 has been due to immigration. Many settlements across the country such as Sunderland have seen a population decrease since 2001, yet have had vast newbuild suburbs tacked on around the area, so it has to be stressed that these houses being built are not for those already here.

The goal of house building is instead an attempt to maintain a semblance of stability as our occupation government intends to push immigration each year into the millions. The price of housing can never be brought down under this arrangement. All we can currently control locally in our own communities is how much space is opened up for displacement populations to be moved in. For a country that has had a negative birth-rate for decades, you would think that there would be no seething cries for concreting over the remaining pleasant lands unless there were some unnatural force being pulled forth from abroad artificially ballooning the demand for housing.

Quell your trivial lamentations, for if we are unable to own homes and the rent becomes too high we can always live with our families and they (the potential repopulators) can continue living elsewhere. The gap between rental supply and demand is like a Thermopylaen dam, holding back the forces of change and securing what remains of the villages and towns that we grew up in.  

It is worth looking at the impulse towards YIMBYism before continuing on with the defence of NIMBYism. YIMBYs are, basically, a self-interested cohort of deracinated individuals incapable of feeling any sincere communitarian connection to the country they purport to care about. No one who ascribes to YIMBYism in the present could ever truly be right wing, and they are certainly not nationalists by any real definition.

The motivation for YIMBYs is the desire for personal material gain irrespective of the consequences to the wider nation as a whole. You would have to be deeply, spiritually indolent to be aware of the racial dimension to the present struggle yet continue to spend your time focused on pushing for as many things to be constructed as possible (lest the Roman goddess Maia smite you down from her Olympian high-rise building).

This can all be contrasted with NIMBYs, where, on the surface it seems to be primarily a cause wrought from self-interest, yet there is an implicit racialism, or at least communal collectivism, that animates them into spending so much of their time trying to stop the construction of anything near their homes.

There is a subconscious understanding granted to NIMBYs, by their blood and bones, that any and all development is wedded to the immigration issue, even if they do not articulate their reasoning as such. Even if they are outwardly liberal and vote for the uniparty, in one garish form or another, they have still been compelled to try and halt the stampede of construction; compelled by grander tribal considerations beyond their conscious control and far beyond the petty desires of their local area.

NIMBYs, God bless them, sit atop the large ball and chain shackled to the YIMBY bug man that is desperately trying to claw the nation towards total multiracial capitalist dystopia, under the guise of it being ‘based’ someday.

The NIMBYs, by their actions, are making it as difficult as possible for those in power to bring about their desired thousand-year panopticonic hell of global technocratic control. They exclaim with righteous fury ‘the character of the area will change’ and, with this implicitly reactionary rallying cry, they proclaim a stand is being taken in defence of what our ancestors left for us; in defence of what is ours, in defence of what we must dutifully preserve for those that will come after us. If you oppose these sentiments and side with the YIMBY cause of pro-building you are anti-white.

Who else is deserving of praise when these issues are discussed in our circles but the late great Richard Beeching, without whose cuts to our rail infrastructure we would be deprived of rural Britain in its frozen primordial state. This is the power of Levelling Down, the inadvertent preservation of what really matters, of what we conjure in our mind’s eyes when we hear the word ‘England’.

What would the demography and texture of life of rural areas look like had those arterial transport lines not been severed by the British Railways Board at that moment in time? Those geniuses of bureaucracy looked only at immediate cost-saving measures yet ensured much of Britain would progress far slower than the urban warts in the fore, much like how Eastern Bloc states were shielded from decades of societal and cultural degeneration occurring in the west.

This has already played itself out before in our past. In Victorian Britain, Peterborough and Swindon were enlarged and urbanised due to their status as railway towns, and in contrast, towns such as Frome and Kendal remained intact due to being bypassed by the main lines. What could be argued to have been unfortunate then has been insulating for rural areas affected in the same way now.

It is far harder to displace local economies and people when there is simply no infrastructure to enable newcomers moving in, and those in power know this. Even in official government reports, our overlords lament how the rural areas of our country continue to be white spaces (in contrast to our grey polyglot citadels to nowhere), which has only been possible because of our inefficient and underdeveloped infrastructure.

Even setting aside the more esoteric takes on NIMBYism, NIMBYs have plenty of legitimate reasons to be opposed to construction in the areas they live in. Villages and towns throughout the country are under threat of being subsumed into a mass of soulless commuter zones around the nearest city. Everything is set to be absorbed into a blob of suburban prison cells without community or belonging, all to line the pockets of parasitic housing companies and give ascent to the ethnic machinations of our destructors.

People who live in these places know that expansion means that everything outside of their front door will look and feel more like London and they correctly reject it. People instinctively recoil at the efficiency with which 5G towers were pockmarked across our landscape during the Covid ‘Lockdowns’ and people are right to be repelled by all of the slick technological wonders of ‘smart homes’ sold to us by our masters. None of these things are congruent with how anyone deep-down wants Britain to be.

YIMBYism is deceptive in its overall presentation as being the sensible or reasonable option, in contrast to the supposed extreme positions of many NIMBYs (which is a self-own in its own right), but YIMBYs do not actually care about real development of this country. Most, if not all, of the real solutions that would give us good-quality, affordable housing would be contrary to a policy of deregulating the economy and doing whatever international finance asks of us to be done to our land and people.

Such solutions would likely be decried as socialism or communism and with it the YIMBY would expose himself as but a pawn of the oligarchs, no longer a Briton in character or spirit. These points though are a distraction away from what really matters and such policy debates can only be relevant in a post-regime world without the albatross of near-imminent demographic erasure around our neck. The elephant in the room is quickly forgotten about if you even momentarily entertain the notion of house prices mattering beyond any other silly partisan issue discussed in Parliament.

But it is not just housing that is in contention. All forms of expansion and growth are, in the long-term, detrimental to our people whilst we are occupied. Everything done freely in our liberal, capitalist country in the last 50 or so years has been to the detriment of the people our economy is meant to be built around. Every power plant built or maintained allows Amazon warehouses to keep their lights on. Every railway built or maintained ensures employers can reasonably expect you to submit to the Norman Tebbit mindset for how we are to live and work. Every new motorway has facilitated increased population mobility and with it the new motley generation of white collar serfs defend their creators, scuttling across Britain’s surface unable to understand why the older, whiter parts of the country might have deep-rooted connections to the places they live.

This new generation, marketed as the ‘Young Voters’ or ‘Young People’, do not really exist in the same way that Boomers and Gen Xers do. Trying to appeal to or identify with this spectral universal generation of youths is to view these issues through an inherently post-racial lens, and by extension, to misunderstand the driving motivations of NIMBYism. The older generations, which are the bulk of those that sympathise with NIMBYism, are the only ones that matter politically and economically and counter-signalling them is implicitly a form of anti-white hatred.

The temporarily-embarrassed plutocrats in our midst are becoming more and more apoplectic when confronted with the reality that the vast majority of the British people want nothing to do with Singapore-style excess capitalism, no matter how desperately they attempt to sell to them the potential material gains and goodies.

We should aspire to be more like Iran, a Tehran-on-Thames, a country that actively restrains the degree to which businesses can expand so that everything stays small and localised. People yearn for flourishing high streets and dignified work local to where they were born, something Iran has succeeded at maintaining with its constitution and system of dominant cooperatives and Bonyads. This is tangential to the NIMBY/YIMBY divide but integral for understanding what is going on.

The British people want the things that they care about protected and secured and valued above the interests of capital or the growth of the economy. Our people have simply had enough of growth, progress and rapid change that they did not vote for, and their views on construction and economics are shaped by that impetus. Brexit Bonyads are inevitable.

If anything is to be conceded to the YIMBYs, it is that their urge to make things more efficient is understandable (natural really for any European man) and a good impulse to have. However, this impulse is being exploited against us, a form of suicide via naivety, where we continue pursuing these instincts in spite of the fruits of said efficiency. My position on nuclear power plants would probably be different if we were the ones in power, or perhaps the small percent chance of something going wrong and having all of Britain’s wildlife poisoned would prevent me from ever endorsing them.

Let us suppose we put pressure on our current regime, a regime similar to the Soviet Union except without any of its upsides, to build a nuclear power plant: can we trust that the diversity hires, rotten civil service and corner-cutting private contractors will not bring about a disaster worse than what occurred at Chernobyl?

Point being, many things which are bad for us now are not bad for us in principle (and vice versa), something atom cultist YIMBYs are incapable of understanding. YIMBYs are equally incapable of understanding why one might be averse to scientific innovations that amount to playing God and making Faustian economic bargains. Money spent on scientific research is better spent on just paying people to leave.

There is an alternative lens to look at everything through though. For those that do not just want to talk all day about nuclear power plants with people that wear polyester suits, for those that have higher values beyond ‘Jee-Dee-Pee’, for those that are capable of having principles they would put before their immediate personal comfort, there is the true way forward.

It is our duty to be revolutionaries, in the vein of Hereward the Wake, villainous rebels resisting the occupation government perched above us. NIMBYism is a successful strategy for a time, this time, in which we have no realistic chance at having power. Frustrating outcomes and disrupting their long march onwards is all we have in our illusory democracy. 

Inefficiency is a good thing. We must crave blackouts like houseplants crave sunlight. Our only hope for liberation and true prosperity lies with our regime being as broken as possible. Our people must be pulled from their comfortable position in the warm, crimson-coloured bathwater and alerted to the fragility of their collective mortality. The international clique and their caustic bulldozer of modern progress now have a sputtering engine; it is all grinding to a halt and there lies the hope for our future.

Do not fret! Do not return like a battered housewife to those that wish to destroy us the moment things become inconvenient. Imagine pre-1989 Poles wanting to hold the Soviet Presidium to account, putting pressure on the government to be more efficient, the same government that is occupying their people – that is how ridiculous YIMBYs look to authentic British nationalists and patriots.

Our whole lens must be different if we are to meet the almost-insurmountable forces that tower above us, wishing for our end. As the Book of Job attests, the righteous suffer so as to test their faith in God, to make them more like Him, and to bring Him glory. So too must we be prepared to tolerate personal discomfort if we are to survive as a people, and it is absolutely a question of survival.

Existential threats require recalcitrant attitudes and policy positions and being unable to own a house or having to pay higher rent is a small price to pay to escape the present railroad we have been stuck travelling along since 1948. We all have a collective skin in the game. If the actual issue is not solved (the solution being our regime destroyed and immigration ended) then Britain, as it has existed for more than a millennia, is permanently erased off the map.

The inability to ‘live it up’ as a young voter in the supposed Gerontocracy is not something deserving of any hand-wringing, much less wall-to-wall tweets discussing housing and pensions every day. Some things, most things, matter more than housing being unaffordable and energy bills being costly. 

Until they become conscious they will never rebel and until they have rebelled they cannot become conscious. Every wrench in the system creates another ripple, another scenario where the masses have their eyes opened to what has happened to their country and what is intended to be done with it in the future.

What lies before us is a task seldom asked even of our ancestors, it is a task of securing our existence before the brink, of pulling everything out from the abyss before it is brought to a state of total oblivion. There are no mechanical little fixes to any of this, civilisation does not work like that and all of the Poundburys and HS2s in the world will not improve our lot in this current epoch. The finest of McTrad housing estates will never be more beautiful than God’s raw, untouched nature.

NIMBYs instinctively know they are in a death battle and understand what really matters in this world. YIMBYs, on the other hand, think this is all algebra that requires university-brained midwits to solve. Damn the YIMBYs. Go forth thy NIMBY warriors, heroes of the fields and hedgerows, paragons of Arthurian legend; lead Britain back to its pre-modern, Arcadian state!

To conclude, a simplistic allegory will be provided: we are farm animals, farm animals on a big gay tax farm. If more barns and cottages are built things will not improve for the animals. More generators will just allow the farmer to expand the slaughterhouse. The solution is not more generators or more buildings on the farm. The solution is to shoot the farmer.


Photo Credit.

How to contain an increasingly assertive China?

Tensions in the South China Sea are on the rise. The United States has just pledged to defend Philippine vessels if they are attacked over there, after Beijing and Manila blamed each other after a China Coast Guard ship fired water cannons at a Philippine boat. The incident may well be deliberately provoked by China to test the commitment of the United States in the region. 

A few weeks ago, a record-breaking number of Chinese warships were spotted in waters around Taiwan within a 24 hour period. This was followed by the unexplained firing of China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, a close ally of Chinese President Xi Xinping. In the same week, Taiwan held major military drills that simulated an invasion of the island, centred around defending vital beaches and airports.

This volatile mix of escalation and uncertainty is breeding a sense of anxiety for China’s regional neighbours who are all in tense dispute with China over its legally baseless claim to the entirety of the South China Sea – and all the vast mineral wealth beneath the waves. 

ASEAN – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – could well play a role here. This is a political and economic union of 10 member states in Southeast Asia. With lingering fears of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan within the next five years, ASEAN nations must build stronger ties between themselves to act as a stable and unified counterweight to China. This would not only help to push back against Chinese aggression in their own waters, but also give support to Taiwan in any eventual outbreak of war. Furthermore, it would alleviate the burden on the United States.

If ASEAN partners do not present a united front on territorial disputes in the South China Sea then the door will be left open for China to isolate certain nations and coerce them into giving in to Chinese demands. Given its rather particular interpretation of international boundaries, it is only a matter of time before China engages in legal warfare to challenge international boundaries, to the extent it has not already. 

Malaysia already experienced something along these lines, albeit not coming from China. Last year, a French court ordered it to pay $14.9 billion to the heirs of the last sultan of Sulu, a part of Malaysia whose sovereign enjoyed compensation from the British when they ruled over the area, which is resource-rich. The newly formed Malaysian state simply continued to pay the heirs an annual stipend of $5,300, until in 2013, following an armed incursion from the Philippines by a group claiming to be the heirs. The French court decision to rule in the way it has is highly controversial, to say at least. The arbitrator who issued the award in the case, Gonzalo Stampa, has now even been slapped with criminal charges in Spain over his role. 

In sum, even internationally well-accepted boundaries do not seem safe from legal challenges. Looking at how China has been treating Lithuania, after it was deemed too friendly towards Taiwan, Asian countries should not exclude that the increasingly assertive Chinese state tries to turn courts into an extension of its foreign policy domain.

It would be foolish to underestimate the chances of war in Asia breaking out. Decades of smaller scale lopsided conflicts have already blindsided us to the possibility of large-scale devastating conflicts and we can’t allow that to happen again.

One only needs to look at how Russia took advantage of western dithering to launch the largest war this century which has killed thousands and displaced millions across the European continent. The war in Ukraine is predictably capturing the much of the West’s attention given the acute geopolitical headache it poses, but this is allowing China to escalate tensions around Taiwan and the South China Sea under the radar.

A potential war between China and Taiwan is likely to draw in The United States and make Russia’s war against Ukraine look almost trivial in comparison – impoverishing billions and bring ruin to the wider region.

Indonesia has been singled out as one of the ASEAN partners unwilling to fully show solidarity in opposition to China’s territorial stances when it comes to the South China Sea, but it is not the only one. ASEAN trading nations should take notice how even Germany, always wary of conflict and probably the most diplomatically minded of Western nations, has decided to send two warships to the Indo-Pacific in 2024, repeating what it has already done in 2021. 

Germany’s purpose is to make clear to China that pursuing good trade ties should not mean allowing just anything. According to German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, the aim of this move is to demonstrate that Germany is “dedicated to the protection of the rules-based international order that we all signed up to and which we all should benefit from – be it in the Mediterranean, in the Bay of Bengal or in the South China Sea.” 

Those ASEAN countries that are still on the fence should take note.


Photo Credit.

In Defence of Political Conflict

It’s often said that contemporary philosophy is stuck in an intellectual rut. While our forefathers pushed the boundaries of human knowledge, modern philosophers concern themselves with impenetrable esoterica, or gesture vaguely in the direction of social justice.

Yet venture to Whitehall, and you’ll find that once popular ideas have been refuted thoroughly by new schools of thought.

Take the Hegelian dialectic, once a staple of philosophical education. According to Hegel, the presentation of a new idea, a thesis, will generate a competing idea or counterargument, an antithesis. The thesis and the antithesis, opposed as they are, will inevitably come into conflict with one another.

However, this conflict is a productive one. With the merits of both the thesis and the antithesis considered, the reasoned philosopher will be able to produce an improved version of the thesis, a synthesis.

In very basic terms, this is the Hegelian dialectic, a means of philosophical reason which, if applied correctly, should result in a refinement and improvement of ideas over time. Compelling, at its face.

However, this idea is now an outmoded one. Civil servants and their allies in the media and the judiciary have, in their infinite wisdom, developed a better way.

Instead of bothering with the cumbersome work of developing a thesis or responding to it with an antithesis, why don’t we just skip to the synthesis? After all, we already know What Works through observation of Tony Blair’s sensible, moderate time in No 10 – why don’t we just do that? That way, we can avoid all of that nasty sparring and clock off early for drinks.

This is the grim reality of modern British politics. The cadre of institutional elites who came to dominate our political system at the turn of the millennium have decided that their brand of milquetoast liberalism is the be-all and end-all of political thought. The great gods of this new pantheon – Moderation, Compromise, International Standing, Rule of Law – should be consulted repeatedly until nascent ideas are sufficiently tempered.

The Hegelian dialectic has been replaced by the Sedwillian dialectic; synthesis begets synthesis begets synthesis.

In turn, politicians have become more restricted in their thinking, preferring to choose from a bureaucratically approved list of half-measures. Conservatives, with their aesthetic attachment to moderate, measured Edwardian sensibilities, are particularly susceptible to this school of thought. We no longer have the time or space for big ideas or sweeping reforms. Those who state their views with conviction are tarred as swivel-eyed extremists, regardless of the popularity of their views. Despite overwhelming public dissatisfaction with our porous borders, politicians who openly criticise legal immigration will quickly find calls to moderate. If you’re unhappy with the 1.5 million visas granted by the Home Office last year, perhaps you’d be happy with a mere million?

The result has been decades of grim decline. As our social fabric unravels and our economy stagnates, we are still told that compromise, moderation, and sound, sensible management are the solutions. This is no accident. Britain’s precipitous decline and its fraying social fabric has raised the stakes of open political conflict. Nakedly pitting ideas against each other risks exposing our society’s underlying decisions and shattering the myth of peaceful pluralism on which the Blairite consensus rests. After all, if we never have any conflict, it’s impossible for the Wrong Sorts to come out on top.

The handwringing and pearl-clutching about Brexit was, in part, a product of this conflict aversion. The political establishment was ill-equipped to deal with the bellicose and antagonistic Leave campaign, and the stubbornness of the Brexit Spartans. Eurosceptics recognised that their position was an absolute one – Britain must leave the European Union, and anything short of a full divorce would fall short of their vision.

It was not compromise that broke the Brexit gridlock, but conflict. The suspension of 21 rebel Conservative MPs was followed by December’s general election victory. From the beginning of Boris Johnson’s premiership to the end, he gave no quarter to the idea of finding a middle ground.

Those who are interested in ending our national decline must embrace a love of generative adversity. Competing views, often radical views, must be allowed to clash. We should revel in those clashes and celebrate the products as progress. Conservatives in particular must learn to use the tools of the state to advance their interests, knowing that their opponents would do the same if they took power.

There are risks, of course – open conflict often produces collateral damage – but it would be far riskier to continue on our current path of seemingly inexorable deterioration. We must not let the mediocre be the enemy of the good for any longer.


Photo Credit.

Kino

The Chinese Revolution – Good Thing, Bad Thing?

This is an extract from the transcript of The Chinese Revolution – Good Thing, Bad Thing? (1949 – Present). Do. The. Reading. and subscribe to Flappr’s YouTube channel!

“Tradition is like a chain that both constrains us and guides us. Of course, we may, especially in our younger years, strain and struggle against this chain. We may perceive faults or flaws, and believe ourselves or our generation to be uniquely perspicacious enough to radically improve upon what our ancestors have made – perhaps even to break the chain entirely and start afresh.

Yet every link in our chain of tradition was once a radical idea too. Everything that today’s conservatives vigorously defend was once argued passionately by reformers of past ages. What is tradition anyway if not a compilation of the best and most proven radical ideas of the past? The unexpectedly beneficial precipitate or residue retrieved after thousands upon thousands of mostly useless and wasteful progressive experimentation.

To be a conservative, therefore, to stick to tradition, is to be almost always right about everything almost all the time – but not quite all the time, and that is the tricky part. How can we improve society, how can we devise better governments, better customs, better habits, better beliefs without breaking the good we have inherited? How can we identify and replace the weaker links in our chain of tradition without totally severing our connection to the past?

I believe we must begin from a place of gratitude. We must hold in our minds a recognition that life can be, and has been, far worse. We must realize there are hard limits to the world, as revealed by science, and unchangeable aspects of human nature, as revealed by history, religion, philosophy, and literature. And these two facts in combination create permanent unsolvable problems for mankind, which we can only evade or mitigate through those traditions we once found so constraining.

To paraphrase the great G.K. Chesterton: “Before you tear down a fence, understand why it was put up in the first place.” I cannot fault a single person for wishing to make a better world for themselves and their children, but I can admonish some persons for being so ungrateful and ignorant, they mistake tradition itself as the cause of every evil under the sun. Small wonder then that their hairbrained alternatives routinely overlook those aspects of society without which it cannot function or perpetuate itself into the future.

And there are other things tied up in tradition besides moral guidance or the management of collective affairs. Tradition also involves how we delve into the mysteries of the universe; how we elevate the basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing into artforms unto themselves; how we represent truth and beauty and locate ourselves within the vast swirling cosmos beyond our all too brief and narrow experience.

It is miraculous that we have come as far as we have. And at any given time, we can throw that all away, through profound ingratitude and foolish innovations. A healthy respect for tradition opens the door to true wisdom. A lack of respect leads only to novelty worship and malign sophistry.

Now, not every tradition is equal, and not everything in a given tradition is worth preserving, but like the Chinese who show such great deference to the wisdom of their ancestors, I wish more in the West would admire or even learn about their own.

Like the Chinese, we are the legatees of a glorious tradition – a tradition that encompasses the poetry of Homer, the curiosity of Eratosthenes, the integrity of Cato, the courage of Saint Boniface, the vision of Michelangelo, the mirth of Mozart, the insights of Descartes, Hume, and Kant, the wit of Voltaire, the ingenuity of Watt, the moral urgency of Lincoln and Douglas.

These and many more are responsible for the unique tradition into which we have been born. And it is this tradition, and no other, which has produced those foundational ideas we all too often take for granted, or assume are the defaults around the world. I am speaking here of the freedom of expression, of inquiry, of conscience. I am speaking of the rule of law, and equality under the law. I am speaking of inalienable rights, of trial by jury, of respect for women, of constitutional order and democratic procedure. I am speaking of evidence based reasoning and religious tolerance.

Now those are all things I wouldn’t give up for all the tea in China. You can have Karl Marx. We’ll give you him. But these are ours. They are the precious gems of our magnificent Western tradition, and if we do nothing else worthwhile in our lives, we can at least safeguard these things from contamination, or annihilation, by those who would thoughtlessly squander their inheritance.”


Photo Credit.

Technology Is Synonymous With Civilisation

I am declaring a fatwa on anti-tech and anti-civilisational attitudes. In truth, there is no real distinction between the two positions: technology is synonymous with civilisation.

What made the Romans an empire and the Gauls a disorganised mass of tribals, united only by their reactionary fear of the march of civilisation at their doorstep, was technology. Where the Romans had minted currency, aqueducts, and concrete so effective we marvel on how to recreate it, the Gauls fought amongst one another about land they never developed beyond basic tribal living. They stayed small, separated, and never innovated, even with a whole world of innovation at their doorstep to copy.

There is always a temptation to look towards smaller-scale living, see its virtues, and argue that we can recreate the smaller-scale living within the larger scale societies we inhabit. This is as naïve as believing that one could retain all the heartfelt personalisation of a hand-written letter, and have it delivered as fast as a text message. The scale is the advantage. The speed is the advantage. The efficiency of new modes of organisation is the advantage.

Smaller scale living in the era of technology necessarily must go the way of the hand-written letter in the era of text messaging: something reserved for special occasions, and made all the more meaningful for it.

However, no-one would take seriously someone who tries to argue that written correspondence is a valid alternative to digital communication. Equally, there is no reason to take seriously someone who considers smaller-scale settlements a viable alternative to big cities.

Inevitably, there will be those who mistake this as going along with the modern trend of GDP maximalism, but the situation in modern Britain could not be closer to the opposite. There is only one place generating wealth currently: the South-East. Everywhere else in the country is a net negative to Britain’s economic prosperity. Devolution, levelling up, and ‘empowering local communities’ has been akin to Rome handing power over to the tribals to decide how to run the Republic: it has empowered tribal thinking over civilisational thinking.

The consequence of this has not been to return to smaller-scale ways of life, but instead to rest on the laurels of Britain’s last civilisational thinkers: the Victorians.

Go and visit Hammersmith, and see the bridge built by Joseph Bazalgette. It has been boarded up for four years, and the local council spends its time bickering with the central government over whose responsibility it is to fix the bridge for cars to cross it. This is, of course, not a pressing issue in London’s affairs, as the Vercingetorix of the tribals, Sadiq Khan, is hard at work making sure cars can’t go anywhere in London, let alone across a bridge.

Bazalgette, in contrast to Khan, is one of the few people keeping London running today. Alongside Hammersmith Bridge, Bazalgette designed the sewage system of London. Much of the brickward is marked with his initials, and he produced thousands of papers going over each junction, and pipe.

Bazalgette reportedly doubled the pipes diameters remarking “we are only going to do this once, and there is always the possibility of the unforeseen”. This decision prevented the sewers from overflowing in 1960.

Bazalgette’s genius saved countless lives from cholera, disease, and the general third-world condition of living among open excrement. There is no hope today of a Bazalgette. His plans to change the very structure of the Thames would be Illegal and Unworkable to those with power, and the headlines proposing such a feat (that ancient civilisations achieved) would be met with one million image macros declaring it a “manmade horror beyond their comprehension.”

This fundamentally is the issue: growth, positive development, and a future worth living in is simply outside the scope of their narrow comprehension.

This train of thought, having gone unopposed for too long, has even found its way into the minds of people who typically have thorough, coherent, and well-thought-out views. In speaking to one friend, they referred to the current ruling classes of this country as “tech-obsessed”.

Where is the tech-obsession in this country? Is it found in the current government buying 3000 GPUs for AI, which is less than some hedge funds have to calculate their potential stocks? Or is it found in the opposition, who believe we don’t need people learning to code because “AI will do it”?

The whole political establishment is anti-tech, whether crushing independent forums and communities via the Online Harms Bill, to our supposed commitment to be a ‘world leader in AI regulation’ – effectively declaring ourselves to be the worlds schoolmarm, nagging away as the US, China, and the rest of the world get to play with the good toys.

Cummings relays multiple horror stories about the tech in No. 10. Listening to COVID figures down the phone, getting more figures on scraps of paper, using the calculator on his iPhone and writing them on a Whiteboard. Fretting over provincial procurement rules over a paltry 500k to get real-time data on a developing pandemic. He may well have been the only person in recent years serious about technology.

The Brexit campaign was won by bringing in scientists, physicists, and mathematicians, and leveraging their numeracy (listen to this to get an idea of what went on) with the latest technology to campaign to people in a way that had not been done before. Technology, science, and innovation gave us Brexit because it allowed people to be organised on a scale and in ways they never were before. It was only through a novel use of statistics, mathematical models, and Facebook advertising that the campaign reached so many people. The establishment lost on Brexit because they did not embrace new modes of thinking and new technologies. They settled for basic polling of 1-10 thousand people and rudimentary mathematics.

Meanwhile the Brexit campaign reached thousands upon thousands, and applied complex Bayesian statistics to get accurate insights into the electorate. It is those who innovate, evolve, and grow that shape the future. There is no going back to small-scale living. Scale is the advantage. Speed is the advantage. And once it exists, it devours the smaller modes of organisation around it, even smaller modes of organisation have the whole political establishment behind it.

When Cummings got what he wanted injected into the political establishment – a data science team in No. 10 – they were excised like a virus from the body the moment a new PM was installed. Tech has no friends in the political establishment, the speed, scale, and efficiency of the thing is anathema to a system which relies on slow-moving processes to keep a narrow group of incompetents in power for as long as possible. The fierce competition inherent to technology is the complete opposite of the ‘Rolls-Royce civil service’ which simply recycles bad staff around so they don’t bother too many people for too long.

By contrast, in tech, second best is close to last. When you run the most popular service, you get the data from running that service. This allows you to make a better service, outcompete others, which gets you more users, which gets you more data, and it all snowballs from there. Google holds 93.12% of the search engine market share. Amazon owns 48% of eCommerce sales. The iPhone is the most popular email client, at 47.13%. Twitch makes up 66% of all hours of video content watched. Google Chrome makes up 70% of web traffic. There next nearest competitor, Firefox (a measly 8.42%,) is only alive because Google gave them 0.5b to stick around. Each one of these companies is 2-40 times bigger than its next nearest competitor. Just as with civilisation, there is no half-arseing technology. It is build or die.

Nevertheless, there have been many attempts to half-ass technology and civilisation. When cities began to develop, and it became clear they were going to be the future powerhouses of modern economies, theorists attempted to create a ‘city of towns’ model.

Attempting to retain the virtues of small town and community living in a mass-scale settlement, they argued for a model of cities that could be made up of a collection of small towns. Inevitably, this failed.

The simple reason is that the utility of cities is scale. It is the access to the large labour pools that attracts businesses. If cities were to become collections of towns, there would be no functional difference in setting up a business in a city or a town, except perhaps the increased ground rent. The scale is the advantage.

This has been borne out mathematically. When things reach a certain scale, when they become networks of networks (the very thing you’re using, the internet, is one such example) they tend towards a winner-takes-all distribution.

Bowing out of the technological race to engage in some Luddite conquest of modernity, or to exact some grudge against the Enlightenment, is signalling to the world we have no interest in carving out our stake in the future. Any nation serious about competing in the modern world needs to understand the unique problems and advantages of scale, and address them.

Nowhere is this more strongly seen than in Amazon, arguably a company that deals with scale like no other. The sheer scale of co-ordination at a company like Amazon requires novel solutions which make Amazon competitive in a way other companies are not.

For example, Amazon currently owns the market on cloud services (one of the few places where a competitor is near the top, Amazon: 32%, Azure: 23%). Amazon provides data storage services in the cloud with its S3 service. Typically, data storage services have to handle peak times, when the majority of the users are online, or when a particularly onerous service dumps its data. However, Amazon services so many people – its peak demand is broadly flat. This allows Amazon to design its service around balancing a reasonably consistent load, and not handling peaks/troughs. The scale is the advantage.

Amazon warehouses do not have designated storage space, nor do they even have designated boxes for items. Everything is delivered and everything is distributed into boxes broadly at random, and tagged by machines so the machines know where to find it.

One would think this is a terrible way to organise a warehouse. You only know where things are when you go to look for them, how could this possibly be advantageous? The advantage is in the scale, size, and randomness of the whole affair. If things are stored on designated shelves, when those shelves are empty the space is wasted. If someone wants something from one designated shelf on one side of the warehouse, and something from another side of the factory, you waste time going from one side to the other. With randomness, you are more likely to have a desired item close by, as long as you know where that is, and with technology you do. Again, the scale is the advantage.

The chaos and incoherence of modern life, is not a bug but a feature. Just as the death of feudalism called humans to think beyond their glebe, Lord, and locality, the death of legacy media and old forms of communication call humans to think beyond the 9-5, elected representative, and favourite Marvel movie.

In 1999, one year after Amazon began selling music and videos, and two years after going public – Barron’s, a reputable financial magazine created by Dow Jones & Company posted the following cover:

Remember, Barron’s is published by Dow Jones, the same people who run stock indices. If anyone is open to new markets, it’s them. Even they were outmanoeuvred by new technologies because they failed to understand what technophobes always do: scale is the advantage. People will not want to buy from 5 different retailers because they want to buy everything all at once.

Whereas Barron’s could be forgiven for not understanding a new, emerging market such as eCommerce, there should be no sympathy for those who spend most of their lives online decrying growth. Especially as they occupy a place on the largest public square to ever occur in human existence.

Despite claiming they want a small-scale existence, their revealed preference is the same as ours: scale, growth, and the convenience it provides. When faced with a choice between civilisation in the form of technology, and leaving Twitter a lifestyle closer to that of the past, even technology’s biggest enemies choose civilisation.


Photo Credit.

Between Tradition and Modernity: A Review of “British Conservatism: 2024 to 2044”, by Richard Cruston

This lively volume follows the development of right-wing thought in Britain between the beginning of the premiership of Labour’s Keir Starmer and the end of the presidency of Mark Hall of the United Party.

Richard Cruston, Professor of Political Theory at Trinity College, Cambridge, is a learned scholar who has written biographies of Edmund Burke, Roger Scruton and Jacob Rees Mogg. His deep knowledge of ideas and personalities were clearly essential in developing this book.

His story begins with the astonishing electoral failure of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in 2024 — ending almost fourteen years of more or less unrivalled Conservative success. In exile, the Conservatives found themselves fragmented, both politically, with the Johnson loyalists in a fiery campaign to make the unenthusiastic former Mayor of London and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Leader of the Conservative Party, and ideologically, with “post-liberals”, “national conservatives” and “classical liberals” vying for influence.

If conservative ideas mattered at all, it was in their influence on the Labour government. Professor Cruston is an authority on the development of post-liberalism — a communitarian trend which earned support in the wake of the 2028 London riots — which spread from the capital across provincial England — as its emphasis on order and localism chimed with the state’s management of societal division. Cruston suggests that there might have been the faint whiff of opportunism in the combination of communitarian rhetoric and neo-authoritarian security measures — with more of an emphasis on “community hubs” and “peace enforcement” than on family and faith —  but it was politically successful.

The 2030 blackouts were considered the beginning of the end for the Labour government. Prime Minister Meera Devi won the 2032 elections on a platform that some commentators called “neo-Thatcherite” — promising economic liberalisation, energy reform and closer links with what became known as “the younger powers”. Professor Cruston disapproves of what he describes “the fetishisation of the market” — though he doesn’t say where the power was meant to come from.

Devi’s government placed significant emphasis on character and individual responsibility. “Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important,” she was fond of saying, quoting Britain’s first female prime minister, “Is the high road to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.” Regrettably, her time in power was dogged by scandal, with ministers being accused of cocaine addiction, using prostitutes, doing cocaine with prostitutes and being addicted to doing cocaine off prostitutes.

Ashley Jones’ Labour premiership offered conservatives a chance to regroup. Had they forgotten the ends of politics as well as the means? Were they too focused on economics and not culture? Cruston is informative on the subject of the traditionalist “Lofftism” which flourished in the late 2030s, only being interrupted by the “Summer of Crises” which finally led to the United Party taking power in March 2039.

Conservative thought flourished in the early years of the 2040s, with generous funding being invested in private schools, universities, think tanks and private clubs. Here — if you were fortunate enough to be invited — you could hear about great right-wing minds from Hayek to Oakeshott, and from Kruger to Hannan. It was a time of intellectual combat but also intellectual collegiality. Millian liberals could debate Burkean conservative and yet remain friends. You could say anything, some intellectuals joked, as long as you didn’t influence policy.

With the unexpected departure of President Hall on the “New Horizons” flight the future of British conservatism looks mysterious. Professor Cruston counsels that we return to Burke — a voice that spoke in a time of similarly great upheaval. Perhaps we should heed his words.


Photo Credit.

Featured

Immaturity as Slavery

“… but I just hope the lad, now in his thirties, is not living in a world of secondhand, childish banalities.” – Sir Alec Guinness, A Positively Final Appearance. 

The opening quote comes from a part of Alec Guinness’ 1999 autobiography which greatly amuses me. The actor of Obi Wan Kenobi is confronted by a twelve-year-old boy in San Francisco, who tells him of his obsessive love for Star Wars. Guinness asks if he could do the favour of “promising to never see Star Wars again?”. The lad cries, and his indignant mother drags him away. Guinness ends with the above thought. He hopes the boy is weaned from Star Wars before adulthood, lest he become a pitiful specimen. 

Here enters the figure of the twenty-first century man-child, alias the “kidult”. He’s been on the radar for a while. Social critic Neil Postman prophesies the coming of “adult-children” in The Disappearance of Childhood from 1982. American journalist Joseph Epstein calls this same creature “The Perpetual Adolescent” in a 2004 article of the same name. But the best summary of this character I’ve yet found is by the writer Jacopo Bernardini, from 2014, to which I can add but little.

The kidult is one who lives his life as an eternal present. As the name suggests, his life is a sort of permanent adolescence. He is sceptical of traditional definitions of adulthood, so has deliberately shunned milestones like marriage and childbearing, in favour of an unattached lifestyle which lasts indefinitely. His relations with other people remain short and shallow; based entirely on fun and mutual use (close friendships or passionate love-affairs are not for him).  

Most importantly, the kidult doesn’t change his tastes or buying habits with age. The thresholds of adolescence and maturity have no bearing on the things he likes and purchases, nor how he relates to these things. Not only does he like the same toys and cartoons at thirty as he did at ten, but he continues to obsess over them and impulsively buy them like when he was ten. Enjoying childhood fare isn’t a playful interlude, but a way of life which never ends. He consumes through instant gratification, paying no thought to any long-term pattern or goal.

Although it must not strike the reader as obvious, I think there exists a link between Guinness’ “secondhand, childish banalities” and a kind of latter-day slavery. To see the link needs some prep work, but once laid, I think the reader will see my point. 

First to define servility. I believe the conservative writer Hilaire Belloc gave the best definition, and I shall freely paraphrase him. The great mass of people can be restricted yet not servile. Both monopolistic capitalism and socialism reduce workers to dependency, but neither makes them entirely slaves. Under capitalism, society retains an ideal of freedom, enshrined in law. Even as monopolists manipulate the law with their money, the ideal remains. Under socialism, state ownership is supposed to give all citizens leisure to do what they want (even as the state strangles them). In either case then, freedom is present as an ideal in theory even as it ceases to exist in practice. Monopolistic and socialist states don’t think of themselves as unfree.  

Slavery is different. A slave society has relinquished even the pretence of freedom for a large mass of the working people. Servility exists when a great multitude are forced to work while having no productive property, and no economic independence. That is, a servile person owns nothing (or effectively nothing) and has no choice whatsoever over how much he works or for whom he works. Most ancient civilisations, like Egypt, Greece, and Rome were servile, with servility existing as a defined legal category. That some men were owned by others was as enshrined by law as the ownership of land or cattle. 

Let’s put a little Aristotle into the mix. There are two kinds of obedience: from a free subject to a ruler, and from an unfree slave to his master. These are often confused but distinct. For while the former is reasonable, the latter involves no reason and is truly blind. 

True authority is neither persuasion nor force. If an officer argues to a soldier why he should obey, then the two are equals, and there’s no chain of command. But if the officer must hold a gun to the man’s head and threaten to execute him lest he do his duty, this isn’t authority either. The soldier obeys because he’s terrified, but not because he respects his superior as a superior. True authority lies in the trust which a subordinate has for the wisdom and expertise of a superior. This only comes if he’s rational enough to understand the nature of what he’s a part of, what it does, and that some people with knowhow must organise it to work properly. A sailor understands he’s on a ship. He understands that a ship has so many complex functions that no one man could know or do them all. He understands that his captain is a wiser and more experienced fellow than he. So, he trusts the captain’s authority and obeys his orders. 

I sketch this Aristotelian view of authority because it lets us criticise servility without assuming a liberal social contract idea. What defines slavery isn’t that the slave hasn’t chosen his master. Nor that the slave doesn’t get to argue about his orders. A slave’s duty just is the arbitrary will of his master. He doesn’t have to trust his master’s wisdom, because he doesn’t have to understand anything to be a slave. That is, while a soldier must rationally grasp what the army is, and a citizen must rationally grasp what society is, a slave is mentally passive.

Now, to Belloc’s prophecy concerning the fate of the west. The struggle between ownership and labour, between monopoly capitalism and socialism, which existed in his day, he thought would result in the re-institution of slavery. This would happen through convergence of interests. The state will take an ever-larger role in protecting workers through a safety net, that they don’t starve when unemployed. It will nationalise key industries, it will tax the rich and redistribute the wealth through welfare. But monopolies will still dominate the private sector. 

Effectively, this is slavery. For the worker is protected when unemployed but has entirely lost the ability to choose his employer, or even control his own life. To give an illustration of what this looks like in practice: there are post-industrial towns in Britain where the entire population is either on welfare or employed by a handful of giant corporations (small business having ceased to exist). To borrow from Theodore Dalrymple, the state controls everything about these people, from the house they inhabit to the school they attend. It gives them pocket-money to spend into the private sector dominated by monopolies, and if they want to work, they can only work for monopolists. They fear neither starvation nor a cold night, but they have entirely lost their freedom. 

This long preamble has been to show how freedom is swapped for safety in economic terms. But I think there’s more to it. First, the safety may not be economic but emotional. Second, the person willing to enter this swindle must be of a peculiar mindset. He must not know even a glimmer of true independence, lest he fight for it. A dispossessed farmer, for example, who remembers his crops and livestock will fight to regain them. But a man born into a slum, and knowing only wage labour, will crave mere safety from unemployment. Those who don’t know autonomy don’t long for it.

There now exist a troop of companies that market childish goods for adult consumption. They typically do this in one of two ways. First, offering childish products to adults under the guise of nostalgia. The adult is encouraged to buy things reminding him of his childhood, with the promise that he will relive it. Childish media and products are given an adult spin, and remarketed. Toys are rebranded as collectibles. Children’s films get unnecessary, adult-oriented, sequels or remakes (what Bernardini calls “kidult movies”). Originally child-friendly festivals or theme parks are increasingly marketed to childless adults.   

The second way is by infantilising adult products. Adverts, for example, have gradually replaced stereotypical busy office workers and exhausted housewives with frolicking kidults. No matter how trivial, every product that is not related to Christmas, is now surrounded by giddy, family-free people engaged in play. The message we’re meant to get is that the vacuum cleaner or stapler will free us to act like children. By buying these things, we can create time for the true business of life: bouncing and smiling with one’s mouth open. 

I believe infantilism to be a kind of mental slavery. In both the above examples, three elements combine: ignorance and mass media channel anxiety into childishness. This childishness then binds the victim in servitude to masters who take away his freedom while robbing him in the literal sense.

An artificial ignorance created by modern education is the first parent of the man-child. Absent a proper and classical education, the kidult’s mind is an empty page. Lack of general knowledge separates him from the great achievements of civilisation. He cannot seek refuge in Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, or Dante, for he has never heard of these. He cannot draw strength from philosophy and religion for the same reason. Neither can he learn lessons from history, for the world begins only with his own birth. Here is a type of mental dispossession parallel to an economic one. Someone utterly ignorant of the answers great people have given to life’s questions will seek only safety, not wisdom.

The second parent is anxiety. Humans have always been terrified of the inevitable decay of their own bodies, followed by death. The wish for immortality is ancient. Yet the modern world, with its scepticism, creates a heightened anxiousness. When all authority and tradition has been deconstructed, there is no ideal for how people ought to live. Without this ideal, humans have no certainty about the future. Medieval people knew that whatever happened, knights fought, villeins worked, and churchmen prayed. Modern man’s world is literally whatever people make of it. It may be utterly transformed in a very short time. And this is anxiety-inducing to all but the most sheltered of philosophers.

Add to this the rise of a selfish culture. As Christopher Lasch tells us, the nineteenth century still carried (in a bastardised way) the ideal of self-sufficiency and virtue of the ancient man. Working and trading was still tied to one’s flourishing in society. Since 1960, as family and community have disintegrated, the industrialised world has degenerated into a Hobbesian “war of all against all”. A world of loneliness without parents and siblings; lacking true friends and lovers. When adulthood has become toxic and means to swim in a sea of disfunction, vulgarity, substance abuse and pornographic sexuality; it’s no surprise some may snap and long for a regression to childhood. 

Mass media is the third condition. It floods the void where education and community used to be. The space where general knowledge isn’t, now gets stamped by fiction, corporate advertising, and state propaganda. These peddle in a mass of cliches, stereotypes, and recycled tropes. 

My critique of kidults isn’t founded on “good old days” nostalgia, itself a product of media cliches. Fashions, customs, and culture change; and the citizen of today doesn’t have to be a joyless salaryman or housewife to count as an adult. Rather, the man-child phenomenon is a massive transfer of power away from the small and towards the large. The kidult is like an addict, hooked on feelings of cosy fun and nostalgia which are only provided by corporations. These feelings aren’t directed to the good of the kidult but the organisation acting as a dealer. The dealer controls the strength and frequency of the dose to get the wanted behaviour from the addict.     

Now we see how kidults can be slaves. First, they’ve traded freedom for safety (false as it is) like Belloc’s proletarians made servile. Unlike the security of a traditional slave, this is an emotional illusion. The man-child believes that there’s safety in the stream of childish images offered to him. He believes that by consuming these the pain of life will cease. Yet man-children get no material or mental benefit from their infantilism. Indeed, they’re fast parted from their money, while getting no skills or virtues in return. The security is merely psychological: a Freudian age regression, but artificially created. 

Second, while authority in Aristotle’s sense means to swap another’s judgement for your own, for the sake of a common good you understand; here you submit to another’s judgement for the sake of their private good, which you don’t understand. Organisations seeking only profit or power impose their ideas on the kidult, for their benefit. An immature adult pursues only pleasure, lives only for the present, and thinks only in frivolous stereotypes and cliches implanted during childhood. He’s thus in no position to understand the inner workings of companies and governments. He follows his passions like a sentient puppet obeying an invisible thread, leading always to a hand just out of sight. 

In the poem London, William Blake talks about “mind-forg’d manacles”. These are the beliefs people have which constrain their lives in an invisible prison of sorts. For what we think possible or impossible guides our acting. Once mind-forg’d manacles are common to enough people, they form a culture (what’s a culture if not collective ideas on how one should act?). Secondhand childish banalities are such mind-forg’d manacles if we let them determine us wholly. Their “secondhand” nature means the forging has been done for us, and this makes them more insidious than ideas of our own creation. For if what I’ve said above is true, they threaten to make us servile. If enough people become dependent on secondhand childish banalities, as the boy who met Alec Guinness, then the whole culture becomes servile. Growing up may be painful, but it’s a duty to ourselves, that we remain free.


Photo Credit.

Aliens are not real

In the past three years there has been a lot of open discussion on the topic of UFOs, both in the media, and in government. What initially started as the government “declassifying” video footage of unidentified flying objects captured by the US Air Force, along with vague explanations of their origin or their purpose, has, for many, snowballed into an irrational fear, or hope, that the existence of extraterrestrial beings will be soon made public.

Note that I’m not using the word “alien”. The textbook definition of “alien” simply means “foreign” or “belonging to a different place”. It is a phrase which is simply too broad, and too indescriptive of what these UFOs might be. In fact, the exact phrase used by the American government to explain the original viral video that was released in 2020 and further declassified materials has always been along the lines of “unexplained aerial phenomena”.

The most recent viral video that took Twitter and Instagram by storm was a hearing in Congress on the nature of UFOs/UAPs, where former U.S. intelligence officials testified on their dealings with such matters. The most notable of these testimonies came from David Grosch, who had worked on recovering “crashed” UFOs/UAPs.

In his testimony, Gorsch explained that on recovery of these objects, they recovered “non-human biologics” from the sites. This was the soundbite that took the world by storm, but still, it was incredibly vague.

Neither the committee, nor those giving testimony, could, or would divulge any specifics. “Non-human” biologics could mean anything. You’re surrounded by non-human biologics with plants and animals. You are covered in non-human biologics through the bacteria on your skin.

The fact that no-one on the hearing committee that was asking the questions pressed further to confirm definitively whether or not the source of these craft, and the accompanying “non-human biologics” were from another planet, or at the very least not from Earth, leads me to believe that there is a smoke and mirrors show going on.

By keeping things vague, it keeps engagement and speculation pumping online. It’s also rather convenient that these new developments in regards to “UFOs/UAPs” always seem to occur around the same time the current administration is copping heat for blatant corruption, or dirty back-door deals. Why would anyone care about Biden’s dealings with Bursima and Ukraine when they can be easily entertained and distracted by the government “cover up” about spooky aliens!

Now, let’s get one thing perfectly clear. Aliens are not real. They’re just not, guys.

I know. Gutting news to hear. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if things were actually Star Wars, and interstellar travel was right on our fingertips if it wasn’t for the pesky government keeping things so hush-hush. Oh when, oh when will our extra-terrestrial little green friends come down in their ships, share their technology, and launch us into a new Space Age where we’ll want for nothing, explore the stars, and live in the techno-future of our dreams? Luxury gay space-communism for everyone!

Never. It’s never going to happen.

On a less condescending note, I will do my best to explain why the existence of extraterrestrials is a farcical delusion at best, and at worst an intended deception to hide something more sinister.

Before we dive into that, we are going to have to go back to the beginning of the very concept of “extraterrestrials”. Where did we dream of the idea of visitors from another world?

The answer is actually rather modern, and only goes back to the late 19th century. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the works of H.G. Wells – the father of science fiction. Wells was an incredibly influential and popular writer during his time, and his most popular work War of the Worlds was by far the most impactful on the public consciousness.

Stories of “other-worldly” beings had been written about before, of course, but not in the same sense as Wells was able to. Through his incredible writing, he was able to describe a Martian civilisation that was incredibly similar to ours, driven by similar goals of conquest as we humans were, but expanded to a larger, galactic scale.

Wells described often how War of the Worlds was inspired by interactions between European empires and far less advanced tribes in foreign lands, and through this very real and observable reality in the 19th century of advanced civilisations conquering lesser ones, it made the concept that we too may also be the conquered savage’s one day made for a very terrifying thought indeed.

Wells would spark the wave of science fiction that would go on to dominate the literature market well into our time, and through this popularity of science fiction, came a way for us to try and understand things we previously thought unexplainable.

You see, UFOs/UAPs are hardly a “new” phenomena of the past two centuries.

Lights in the sky, unexplainable interactions with “beings” that don’t appear to be human, and many of the experiences that we chalk up to “aliens” and extraterrestrials used to be explained through other means; namely spirits, angels, demons, gods, and so on.

There are countless stories throughout history of people interacting with these phenomena. You can listen to a few of them with Voices of the Past’s excellent video taking five separate accounts through history.

The accounts, especially from the very distant past who were uninfluenced by works of science fiction, would’ve hardly thought that these experiences came from extraterrestrial visitors or “little green men” as we often do.

Even though these experiences that others in the past had with the unexplained or “paraphysical” phenomena were fantastical and unfamiliar, they didn’t get lost looking at the stars, and instead tried to explain them through more worldly means – whether that was through religion or myths.

For the secularists amongst us who don’t believe in the “supernatural” or “spiritual” realms and interactions from them being a more likely possibility for UFO/UAP experiences, there is always the statistic that ghost-sightings and stories of possession began to subside heavily around the same time that stories of alien abductions and UFO sightings took off.

If you don’t want to explain the mysterious lights in the sky and interactions with the unknown through spiritualism and religion, you can always explain it through mass psychosis and delusions. As Carl Sagan once regarded the noticeable increase of “abductions” amongst Americans in particular, “…because of human fallibility, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Let’s also not forget that some of the most famous stories of “extraterrestrials” and UFOs turned out to be nothing more than obfuscation to cover-up the truth about weapons tests and top secret technologies.

One of the most famous of which, the 1957 Roswell Incident, occured when a rancher discovered a crashed “alien spacecraft” on his land. The press ran wild with the story, and Roswell, New Mexico became a hotbed for alien enthusiasts the world over. It wasn’t until 19944 that it was revealed that the “alien crash” turned out to be a high-altitude balloon used to detect nuclear tests from the Soviet Union, as part of the top secret Operation Mogul.

Of course at the time it would not be in the best interests of the American government to have come out and said “no, this test aircraft is actually part of a secret surveillance program”. It is much better to let the fantastic and whimsical stories capture the imagination of the public and distract them from what’s really going on. From then on, any aircraft or weapons tests in the New Mexico/Area 51 area could be attributed to extraterrestrial visitors, rather than the development of next generation stealth aircraft.

It’s the perfect cover-up, really. Convince the gullible and easily captivated masses that you are hiding the truth of something as absurd as aliens, that they’ll never actually dig for the truth of what you’re actually doing. It’s such an effective method of obfuscation and misdirection that public officials, even Presidents, will believe it.

Looking at you, Ronald Reagan.

So, with pretty much all processes of logical deduction, one’s best assumption that these stories of extraterrestrials are delusional stories from the bored or mentally unsound at the very least, and at the most are stories that are allowed to spread like a virus to cover-up what government/military institutions are actually up to behind their hangar doors.

But what are the consequences of letting this mass delusion take up the public consciousness?

For one, the whole “aliens are real, and the truth of their existence will be revealed soon” line is a bit doomsday-ish. Not in the sense that they will be harbingers of destruction, but more that many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, are banking on the fact that aliens will finally interact with humankind within their lifetime, and bring an end to the “world” as we know it. Much like the XR folks are convinced we will all be dead in a decade, or how the Millerites in the mid-19th century were convinced that the Apocalypse would occur by 1843, it is mass hysteria distracting people from bettering their lives immediately by distracting them with an “end date” or singularity to wait, often perpetually, for.

Simply put, it’s putting false hopes into a false entity. Idolatry of the most basic kind. As Fr. Seraphim Rose put it in his book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future in regard to the phenomenon and nature of UFOs; “the message for contemporary mankind is: expect deliverance, not from the Christian revelation and faith in an unseen God, but from vehicles from the sky.”

Unfortunately, the false hope of aliens “saving” us from our problems seems to be an all too-persistent opinion amongst many these days. In my own experience, I have known of very smart, successful, and otherwise very sound-of-mind individuals who are convinced that in the next decade we’ll be invaded by extraterrestrials. These aren’t schizophrenics that are becoming obsessed with the world beyond and apathetic about the world around them – these are regular people like you and me.

And just like with the cover-up surrounding test aircraft and weapons programs in the Cold War, the American government is far too enthusiastic embracing the “UFO/UAP” publicly that it is incredibly suspect, especially given the myriad of scandals, abyss of financial debt, and extreme corruption that is persistent in Washington DC and beyond.

It is much better to distract the masses with a smoke-and-mirror show about the prospect of potentially existential-altering news, rather than have them dig deep into the crimes and lies which are staring them right in the face from very real, very tangible, and very accountable human beings.

Why would people want to try and seek justice for themselves with their time on Earth when the threat/promise of extraterrestrial beings looms over them? With the imminent threat of invasion/promise of a Roddenberry-esque future, that seems like small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. We’ll just have to wait patiently until they deliver us from our Earthly coil with their advanced technology that will save/destroy us!

It’s foolish to think this, and it’s time to grow up and understand that no one is coming to save us. Not beings from another planet, and not a miraculous apocalypse that looks like something from a Kirk Cameron televangelist B-film.

It is up to us, and us alone to seek the salvation, justice, and enlightenment we need. With the guiding principles of Christ, and living as best as we can with fundamental Christian principles and lifestyle. Even then, it may never be enough, we are flawed after all – but it’s better than losing our minds in the stars and essentially burying our heads in the sand.

Hopefully, for any fence-sitters or extra-terrestrial enthusiasts that have read this I have been able to convince you to grow out of your obsessions with the little green men – or at the very least I have been able to persuade you to come at the topic with a healthy amount of skepticism and caution.

“But what, pray tell, are those darn lights in the sky and abductions?” I hear you ask from beyond the screen in front of me.

The truth is we may never know for sure. Frankly, it’s probably better that we don’t. There is a hidden world beyond human comprehension that is out there, that is largely responsible for the paranormal, the “otherworldly”, and the unexplainable. Certainly there are countless accounts and stories throughout human history of these experiences and interactions that are convincing enough that the world we occupy isn’t just inhabited by the physical, but that there are other energies, and possibly entities out there.

But, like with anything that steps on the edge of that unseen world – whether it by psychoactive substances, Ouija boards, the occult, or those mysterious lights in the sky – sometimes it’s better to let them remain hidden, unexplained and to not invite them into your life and become obsessed by them.

No good can come of it, and most stories of human interactions with that hidden world point towards the fact that no good ever has come of it.


Photo Credit.

The Supreme Court is Our Ship, Don’t Let it Sink

As conservatives and moral traditionalists, it’s easy to get despondent and fearful over just how vast and endless the problems we face today are. Here in America especially, the analogy of the “blue wave” of Millenial and Gen-Z voters often leads one to believe that we are surrounded on all sides by an endless sea of “progressivism”.

Nevertheless, in the great blue sea of blue-haired androgynes, we still have our ship, and we still have strong winds that will, in the long term, lead us to the safety of the land.

That ship is the Supreme Court, and it is our job as voters and conservative/traditional activists to ensure that she sails, and that we don’t let this next decade of judicial dominance go to waste as we have with other institutions of power – like the 2019 dominance of the Tory Party in the UK Parliament.

Where power resides is often unclear to most voters, especially in American politics. Our elected representatives in the Senate or the House are often bought and paid for by donors, PACs, business interests, or lobby groups well before they swear their oath of office and promise to represent their constituents to the best of their ability. The same goes with the Presidency, and the hundreds of millions of dollars that are spent on individual runs for the Oval Office.

However, out of the three branches of government that I would trust the most with representing my best interests, I would have to place my faith in the power of the Supreme Court.

These days we’ll often hear and see politicians and activists on social media and in other public forums hounding about the “abuse of power” in the Supreme Court, especially after the recent decisions to overturn Affirmative Action for university applicants, striking down Student Loan Forgiveness, and allowing businesses to refuse services if it goes against their religious beliefs (a.k.a being allowed to refuse baking a cake for a homosexual wedding).

Hillary Clinton, everyone’s favorite former First Lady and “future President”, accused the Supreme Court of being on the side of the wealthy and major corporations.

AOC cried that the recent decisions were “destroying the legitimacy of the court.”

Many more have advocated for more Supreme Court Justices, or regulatory bodies overseeing the Supreme Court so that it doesn’t make the “wrong decisions” for the American people.

While there are plenty of detractors to the efficiency and legitimacy of the Supreme Court, I still argue that this is probably the most important branch of government to protect, and fight for, due to the nature of its being. It was around this time last year I wrote about the Supreme Court in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision.

Once again, demonstrably, we have seen why the Supreme Court is the most important branch of government, and why it is under attack, and why these days in particular it is the most important battleground for American conservatism in politics.

Unlike Congress, or the Executive, Supreme Court Justices are not elected – they’re selected, by nomination, from a sitting President. The power of money and lobbies are, at the very least, dampened by the fact that they have no official power in choosing a Justice, nor any means to fund campaigns or influence election processes.

Justices are in the role for life. An appointment that doesn’t rely on reelection is one that doesn’t rely on being financed by donors and backers. Once they’re there, they’re there for good. Personally, I trust a judge who doesn’t need to go begging to anyone that will fund their campaign coffers every two to four years more than I do a sitting member of Congress, Republican or Democrat.

When it comes to the selection process, the concern for almost everyone is that those who are selected are “the wrong type of person”, and stacking the Supreme Court with partisan ideologues. Often, if not always, the nominated judge will reflect the character and ideology of the serving administration. Our most recently appointed Supreme Court Justice, Kentaji Brown Jackson reflects the Biden administration almost perfectly. She’s an activist judge, appointed not just because of her record and experience, but also because she fits the diversity quota, and agrees with the “current thing”. This is a shame, because I can only imagine how humiliating it must be to be selected primarily because of your gender and race, rather than your achievements.

And it was no secret that it was a race-based decision. The Biden administration promised well before his decision to select Jackson that he was “looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court to make sure we in fact get everyone represented”.

Naturally, any one who points these facts out is an intolerant racist who wants to “keep Black Women™ down!”

It is no secret that Republicans select conservative judges to the Supreme Court in a similar fashion – rather it’s expected that they will.

But, as I’m sure you know dear reader, politics is not about compromise or shaking hands with the other side of the aisle. Politics is about winning. The Supreme Court in the United States is no different.

Which is why the Trump administration was a Godsend for conservatives in the United States. Not one, not two, but three successful nominations of conservative Justices have ensured that the Supreme Court will remain one of the few branches of government that is on “our side” at least in terms of beliefs and core values.

If Trump is able to secure a second non-consecutive term, or if we are able to have any sort of Republican in the next administration, it is likely that we’d gain at least one more conservative Justice, ensuring that a liberal Supreme Court is almost virtually impossible within the next two decades.

In recent years, with the overturning of Roe v. Wade amongst other landmark decisions, we’ve merely had a taste of what sort of power the Judicial Branch of government in the United States holds, and what they can do with that power.

If we were to see a completely stacked conservative Supreme Court, with Justices Sotomeyer and Kagan aging out of the role and being replaced, who knows what sort of decisions could be reversed and which others could be implemented? One can only dream!

But leaving the Supreme Court to its own devices is simply not enough. While I trust our current conservative Justices more than most politicians to make well-guided, reasoned, and inherently moral decisions in the judicial branch, they cannot tackle all problems on their own.

We ought to take a lesson out of the Left’s guidebook, and through demonstrations publicly and online, through widespread discussion, and most importantly through trawling through the hundreds, if not thousands of landmark decisions to nitpick and find Constitutional inconsistencies and government oversteps. They are there, and a case for overturning them can be made with the right amount of knowledge, preparation and legal due diligence.

So, while in many other aspects of American politics it may seem that we as conservatives and moral traditionalists are overwhelmed by the crashing waves in a sea of rabid liberalism, we still have power over a mighty ship that we must ensure does not sink into the abyss.

The only way to survive those rogue waves is to sail over them, and sail we will.


Photo Credit.

The Monarchy is Britain’s Soul

With the ascension of a new Sovereign and the recent controversy surrounding the coronation, the British republican movement has reared its ugly head once more, spearheading a renewed debate as to the Royal Family’s ‘relevance’ and ‘value-for-money’ in 2023. Throughout the day we were bombarded with news coverage of anti-monarchist activism, primarily from Republic and their leader Graham Smith. However, with their focus on democracy and the ‘need for modernisation’, left-wingers fail to fully appreciate the Monarchy’s national function.

Having existed since the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, Britain’s constitutional monarchy has been able to develop organically and overcome numerous challenges (from wars and republican dictatorship, to callous individualists like Edward VIII). With a basis on preparing the heir apparent from birth, many of our kings and queens have been embodiments of duty and moral courage – the late Queen Elizabeth II being a prime example. Indeed, alongside an organic and family-based system comes an inherent sense of national familiarity and comfort – they provide the British people with a unifying and quasi-parental figure, and almost a sense of personal connection with the other royals.

As well as this, the institution acts as a crucial barrier against the danger of democratic radicals and the idiocy and ineptitude that resonates from the Commons. Our entire political class seek to further their own interests, and with the Lords having seen terrible reforms under Blair, the Monarchy is left as the People’s last defence against the whims of power-hungry elites.

They also act as a link to Britain’s past and cultural heritage, as a source of national continuity. The Monarchy embodies our religious character with the Church of England, as well as nature of constitutional government with the different organs. As Sir Roger Scruton eloquently put it, it acts as ‘the voice of history.’ This point fundamentally speaks to the Left’s opposition to the Monarchy’s continuation. They can shout about equality and elected decision-making, but their attack on the Royal Family is inherently an attack on Britain’s history, which they vehemently despise. They want to tear down Britain’s unifying soul, and replace it with some soulless political office, one with no roots in national history or organic development.

The renowned Edmund Burke spoke of the need for national myths, a library of inspiring stories and a rich historical character. This is what maintains a nation’s identity and keeps the people united. It is for this reason (amongst others) that he so fiercely opposed the French Revolution, responding with Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790. These idealist revolutionaries could topple the Bourbon dynasty and establish a new ‘progressive’ society, but based on what? What would these ‘unifying’ ideals be? Without a solid foundation that had developed and grown organically, what could people possibly hold onto?

Now from the perspective of left-wingers, the transition to a republic would merely be a political one – simply making politics ‘more democratic and egalitarian’. A referendum would most likely be called, people would vote, and the Will of the People would be obeyed absolutely. Consider their preferred alternative, most likely a presidential system. We would be burdened, like so many nations, with yet another incompetent, weak, and self-interested hack at the top – an office created by and for the existing political class to monopolize, the final step in achieving a grey managerialist Britain.

But such an event would in truth represent so much more – a fundamental shift in Britain’s identity. Constitutional monarchy is our one national continuity and forms the basis of our mythos. All else is transient – politicians, the values of the day, social debates. Through the royals, Britons throughout the ages maintain a living link to past generations, and to our Anglo heritage as a people. Once again quoting Scruton, ‘they speak for something other than the present desires of present voters’, they are ‘the light above politics.’

The royals are especially important in Britain’s climate of national decline, with an assortment of failing institutions, from the NHS to the Civil Service to the police. It is increasingly evident that we require a national soul more than ever – to once again enshrine Britain’s history. We can’t survive on the contemporary values of ‘Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion’, on the NHS, Bureaucratisation, or record-high immigration levels. A return to order and stability, faith and family, and aggressive nationalism is the only way forward – Britons need to feel safe, moral, unified, and proud.

This Third Carolean Era has the opportunity to revitalise the role monarchy plays in peoples’ lives. By making it more divine, more mystical – alongside a conservative revolution – we can ensure Britain’s soul remains whole and pure. 


Photo Credit.

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Since Brexit, an embittered, drawn-out separation procedure which homogenised the UK’s political news for almost half a decade, political commentators have routinely surmised the future of the UK-EU relationship.

Whatever differences may exist in the specifics of their predictions, many operate under the pervasive assumption that the relationship is a work in progress – it doesn’t quite know what it is yet, it needs time to root itself into something tangible, which thereafter can be analysed at a deeper level.

Unfortunately for professional pontificators, the essence of the post-Brexit UK-EU relationship has already materialised: “anything you can do, I can do better.”

One might argue that every international relationship is like this. Even where this concord and sainted ‘co-operation’, the vying interests of states lurks beneath the surface.

Whilst it’s true that competition is an indelible component of politics, it’s worth noting that just because states can act in their own interests doesn’t mean they will. Now more than ever, the course of politics is dictated by PR, rather than policy.

As such, when policy considerations arise, states are prone to pursue goals which aren’t necessarily in their interests but provide a presentational veneer of ‘superiority’ when compared to rivals.

“Shot yourself in the foot, eh? What’s that? With a flintlock pistol? Pfft. Amateur.”

*Proceeds to aim cartoonishly large blunderbuss at own foot*

The UK’s ‘divorce’ from the EU was officialised over 3 years, yet both are desperate to ensure the other is perceived, well-in view of family, friends, and random strangers, as the cause for the nasty, bitter, and very well-publicised breakdown of relations.

In response to the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act, the world’s first AI regulatory framework, Paul Graham’s brief, but accurate, outline of the EU’s relationship with technology regained online attention:

Following the EU’s announcement, the UK government announced their intention to one-up them. Prime Minister Sunak pitched Britain as the future home for AI regulation.

On the surface, it looks like the UK is one-upping the EU, beating them at their own game, doing EU tech policy more effectively than the EU themselves.

This wouldn’t be bad thing if the EU didn’t suck at tech, something even its most ardent supporters have admitted. It’s not a coincidence that none of the top 10 tech global companies are from the EU, or that every tech start-up leaves for (or gets bought-up by) the United States or China.

In America, you are told to “get out there and do it!” In China, you are told to “get out there and do it, or else.” In Europe, you are told to “sit tight as we process your application.”

Despite their differences, whether ‘entrepreneurial’ or ‘statist’ in their methods, both America and China have a far more action-oriented culture than Europe, which is inclined towards deliberation.

Given this, the UK is well-poised to become technophilic outpost in a seemingly technophobic region of the world – the beginnings of a positive post-Brexit vision.

The Prime Minister seems to, at the very least, loosely understand this fact, as the recent tweet gaffe would suggest, but continues to push the aspiration of turning Britain into Europe’s biggest bureaucratic wart.

However, this “Anything you can do…” attitude transcends the realm of tech policy, extending to other major areas, such as the environment and energy security.

Back in 2021, UK Environment Act came into force. Described by the government as the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth, the bill includes, amongst other loosely connected environmental commitments, new rules to stop the import of wood to the UK from areas of illegally deforested land.

Initially implemented as an expression of new powers acquired through Brexit, hoping to upstage the EU by implementing comparatively stricter environmental regulations, the EU have since ‘one-upped’ the Brits in pursuit of going green.

In December 2022, the European Commission approved a “first-of-its-kind” deforestation-free law: European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR).

EUDR is one of several measures by the EU to tackle biodiversity loss driven by deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, aiming to achieve net-zero by 2050.

Set to be implemented in December 2024, the EUDR prohibits lumber and pulp companies ensure from importing any material which has contributed to deforestation after December 2020.

Additionally, companies must know the origin of their products, ensure their products are produced legally in their country of origin, and obtain precise geolocation data for all the products they place on the EU market.

If companies fail to comply with the incoming regulations, they will not be allowed to sell their products on the EU market. Expectedly, companies with business practices in violation of the EUDR will face criminal charges, including non-compliance penalties of up to 4% of their EU turnover.

Putting aside snide comments about European pedanticism (isn’t selling lumber definitive proof of deforestation, what more proof do you need?!), this new regulatory framework is significant for two major reasons.

Firstly, the EU accounts for one-sixth of the global lumber trade and over $4 billion in tropical timber-related imports alone, contributing to the highest import value in a decade.

Whilst wood imports to the EU from Russia have declined, largely due to incrementally impose restrictions dating back to the 2014 annexation of Crimea, Russia was still Europe’s main provider of wood, exporting (alongside Belarus and Ukraine) $6.71 billion’s worth of wood (including furniture) to the EU in 2022.

To provide such a strict and through regulatory framework for a market as large and as unprepared as the timber trade is ambitious, to say the least.

New data from the Zoological Society of London’s Sustainability Policy Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT) assessment shows only 13.3% of lumber and pulp companies are publicly monitoring deforestation within their own operations, and only 4.3% are monitoring their supplier’s operations.  

Only 6.4% of the 90 companies surveyed by SPOTT are currently able to trace 100% of their supply to the location of harvest. Additionally, only 21.3% of companies report the processes they use to ensure suppliers comply with their legal requirements.

Secondly, during the winter of last year, firewood prices spiked, warehouses were placed under immense pressure, and crime (especially illegal logging) flourished, both in the EU and the UK.

In August 2022, firewood sales in the UK surged by a fifth, around which time wood pellets nearly doubled in France, Bulgaria, Poland, and several other EU counties, with practically all of Europe scrambling for firewood, drowning out the protestation of environmentalists.

Whilst this was certainly caused by Europe’s ‘green’ policies, such as the closure of Germany’s last operating nuclear power stations, and the embargos on Russian gas, leading people to source alternative sources of fuel, the EU’s less-than-publicised import ban of Russian wood and pellets in the month prior certainly did the trick.

Given that building up a reliable, long-term stock of relatively clean energy is politically untouchable, it’s safe to assume things will get worse, if not much better; that goes for both the Europe-wide energy crisis and the UK-EU relationship.

Indeed, “Anything you can do…” has trickled down into the media class. Several commentators have remarked that as Europe lurches rightward, the UK has remained a bastion of liberalism, on course to elect the centre-left Remainer-led party by a landslide.

This flies in the face of several important facts, such as Britain’s electoral system which does not reward upstart or fringe parties in the same way many EU countries do, or that Britons (when asked) generally display conservative views on immigration (and have done so for over 30-odd years), having arguably led the ongoing ‘right-wing populist revolt, etc, etc.’ with UKIP, Brexit, and the 2019 General Election, or that Christian, social, and liberal democratic still have a lot of electoral influence across Europe.

If Britain is a bastion of liberal/social democracy, and Europe is becoming a post-fascist conservative bloc, where does that leave their droopy-eyed fascination with ‘Bregret‘?

The rather boring reality is that the politics of the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU will be non-existent. Policy agendas and goals remain aligned on a fundamental level, with the only ‘political’ tension constituting a war of nerves – in short, not especially political at all.

If it was political, there would be room to instate the reform our state so desperately requires.


Photo Credit.

Britain Is No Longer a Land of Opportunity

A recent viral tweet showed two doctors leaving a hospital. They’ve surrendered their licenses to practice medicine in Britain and are instead heading off to work in Australia. It’s not unusual- the majority of foreign doctors in Australia are Brits. The problem lies in the fact that young, educated doctors do not see themselves thriving in Britain. Our pay and conditions are not good enough for them. 

Are you annoyed at them for being educated through taxpayer funding before going abroad? Many are. Are you understanding as to why? So are others.

Whilst this particular tale does come down to problems with the NHS, it’s also an example of what is wrong with Britain at the moment. People, especially younger ones, haven’t got the opportunities that they should have. There is no aspiration. There is a lot to reach for and not a lot to grab. 

What has happened?

Wages and Salaries and Income, Oh My!

A recent investigation by a think tank has revealed that 15 years of economic stagnation has seen Brits losing £11K a year in wages. Let’s put this into perspective. Poland and Eastern Europe are seeing a rise in GDP- Poland is projected to be richer than us in 12 years should our economic growth remain the same. The lowest earners in Britain have a 20% weaker standard of living than Slovenians in the same situation

That’s a lot of numbers to say that wages and salaries aren’t that great. 

By historical standards, the tax burden in the U.K. is very high. COVID saw the government pumping money into furlough schemes and healthcare. As the population ages, there is a further need for health and social care support. This results in taxes eating into a larger amount of our income. In fact, more adults than ever are paying 40% or above in taxation. It’s a significant number. One might argue that this does generally only apply to the rich and thus 40% is not a high amount for them, but is that a fair number?

With inflation increasing costs and house prices rising (more on that later), a decent standard of living is beyond the reach of many. This is certainly true for young people. With wages and salaries falling in real time, we do not have the same opportunities as our parents and grandparents. Families used to be able to live comfortably on one wage, something that is near impossible. Our taxes are going on healthcare for an aging population.

Do we want old people to die? Of course not. We just do not have the benefits that they did. Our income is going towards their comfort. Pensioners have higher incomes than working age people. 

Compared to the United States, Brits have lower wages. One can argue that it is down to several things- more paid holidays and taxpayer funded healthcare. That is true, and many Brits will proudly compare the NHS to the American healthcare system. That is fine, but when the NHS is in constant crisis, we don’t seem to be getting our money’s worth. The average American salary is 12K higher than the average Brit’s. The typical US household is 64% richer. Whilst places like New York and San Francisco have extortionate house prices, it’s generally cheaper across the US. 

Which brings us onto housing.

A House is Not a Home

Houses are expensive- they are at about 8.8% higher than the average income. This is compared to 4% in the 1990s. That itself is an immediate roadblock to many. Considering how salaries have stagnated, as discussed in the previous section, it’s only obvious that homeowning is a dream as opposed to reality. 

Rent is not exactly affordable either. In London, the average renter spends more than half of their income on rent. Stories of people queuing for days and landlords taking much higher offers are commonplace. 

House building itself is not cheap- the price of bricks have absolutely rocketed over recent years. Factors include a shortage of housing stock and increased utilities. House building itself is also not easy.

NIMBYs have an aneurysm at the thought of an abandoned bingo hall being turned into housing. MPs in leafy suburbs push against any new developments, lest their wealthy parishioners vote for somebody else. Theresa Villiers, whose constituency sees homes average twice the U.K. mean price, led Tory MPs in an attempt to prevent house building targets. 

We get the older folks telling us that we just need to work harder. It’s easy for them to say, considering a higher proportion of our income is needed to just get a damn deposit. If we’re paying more and more of our income on rent, how can we save?

Playing Mummy and Daddy

The ambition to become a parent is something many hold, but it is again an ambition that is unattainable. Well, the actual having the child part is easy, but it’s what comes after that makes it tough. 

Firstly, we cannot get our own homes. Few want to raise their children in one bed flats with no gardens. To plan for a child is to likely plan a move. 

Secondly, childcare is very expensive. Years and years ago, men went to work and women stayed home with the children as a rule. Of course, that did not apply to the working class, but it was a workable system. Nowadays, you both have to work. Few can survive on a single income from either parent. Grandparents are often working themselves or simply don’t/can’t provide babysitting duties. This leaves only one choice- professional childcare. The average cost of childcare during the summer holidays is £943. Some parents pay more than half of their wages on childcare. 

Thirdly, as has been said, everything is more expensive these days. One only has to look at something basic like school uniforms- some spend over £300 per child. It’s not cheap to look after adults, let alone children. 

The Golden Years 

The focus of this piece is generally on young and working age people, but the cost of social care is pretty bad. With the costs of home and residential health care increasing constantly, it means that many will lose their hard earned savings. Houses must be sold and pensions given up. It is unfair that we must work all of our lives but then leave nothing for our children if we wish. Whilst residential homes are alien concepts to many in cultures where they look after the elderly, many factors in the U.K. mean that it is more common. 

On balance, pensioners are better off than the young, but what about those who need care? It may be bad now, but what about when we ourselves are old? We will likely still be working at 70 and having to pay more for our care.

The Party of Aspiration and 13 Years of Power

The Conservatives have always called themselves the party of aspiration. They’ve been in power for 13 years, eight of which were without a coalition party. The Tories won a stunning majority in 2019 under Boris Johnson. They’ve had the opportunity to do something about this but haven’t. It’s amazing that they wonder why young people don’t vote for them anymore.

Let’s not pretend Labour and the Lib Dems are any better either. The Lib Dems won the historical Tory seat of Chesham and Amersham partially by appealing to those worried about new housing. Labour’s plans aren’t particularly inspiring. 

We cannot dream in Britain anymore. The land of hard work and fair reward is no more. We must simply sit by as our wages stagnate, houses get too expensive and the opportunity for family passes us by. Our doctors head to Australia for better pay and better conditions. Countries that would see immigrants come to us for a better life are seeing their own economies grow. 

People shouldn’t be living with roommates in their 30s when what they want is a family. We deserve to work hard to secure a good future. We don’t deserve for our income to go on poor services and for our savings to go on residential care.

The Tories have had thirteen years to sort it out. Labour and the Lib Dems have had chances to put their plans across. Our politicians care more about talking points and pretty photo ops than improving our lives.  

Let us have ambition. Let us seek opportunities. Let Britain be a land of opportunity once again.


Photo Credit.

Scroll to top