Thursday, 10 November 2016

Rage Against the Machine

First Brexit and then Trump. Pundits were utterly confounded by both, having naturally assumed that voters would vote in their own best interests. Recent events, however, have shown that method of forecasting is no  longer applicable and people are paradoxically, and incredulously, voting against their self-interest as a last resort in order to he heard, even to the extent of biting the very hand that feeds them.

It's as if this is the only means available of changing the status quo - the overthrow of the established order. In both America and the UK this is being achieved by utilising a selfish egotist, apparently without an ounce of compassion, who actually seems to revel in that deficit.

It's being interpreted as Trump and Farage being handy and convenient tools to express frustration with the system. A societal revolution is possibly taking place before our very eyes - but what will follow? Demagogues thrive in such environments by whipping up the angry mob - and a mob is unpredictable, as well as notoriously fickle. It can just as easily turn on those who seek to manipulate it, as lies and deceit are the tools of its trade.

However, what is the problem with the system that needs fixing? What complaint isn't being listened to? I can't help feeling that within certain sections of the electorate it has rather a lot to do with fear of 'others' and their encroachment on what's seen as one's territory (ref yesterday's post). Too much too fast, perhaps? If that is the cause in the USA, then it's rather ironic, since America was founded on mass immigration. A friend in who lives in the USA reported yesterday that Confederate flags (the totem of right wing, white supremacists) are now appearing on front lawns and pickup trucks.

In the UK it's undeniable that immigration features high on the list of UKIP voters, no matter how the argument is dressed up in the figleaf of easily refuted 'economic' rhetoric, and despite unemployment being at the lowest level since 2005 (thus leaving the 'coming over here and taking our jobs' argument dead in the water). As Leon Trotsky once said; "If poverty was the cause of revolution, there would be revolutions all the time".

Another factor is in play too and it's centred on what's now termed 'peak ME! and the narcissism explosion' "I know my rights. Meh - I'll show you, Mr intellectual, I don't need experts!" The cluelesness among some sections of the population is simply breathtaking; the cult of ME and individualism; the selfishness and self-centredness; the utter disregard for others; the demonisation of the judiciary; the infantilisation of culture; the unanalytical and anti-intellecual expressions; narcissistic photos on social media; vicious comments on certain newspaper comments sections; the deification of the Kardashians; unsustainable credit card debt; terminal cynicism; the constant desire for more 'stuff'.

This is finding expression in the school uniform argument, the images of mothers pushing packets of chips through school railings for their children, the number of pushy parents challenging their children's exam results, the rise of violence against teachers by both pupils and parents, the increase in ludicrous conspiracy theories (e.g. climate change), the rage against alleged corrupt elites (despite little or no evidence of such corruption), etc.

Within some sections of the population the balance between rights and responsibilities has become weighted heavily in favour of rights, with almost no focus on responsibilities, civic or otherwise. Many fall into the trap and psychological crutch that threatens all people who see themselves as oppressed; not just one's social circumstances, but all one's own personal faults, weaknesses and vices come to be blamed on the alleged oppressor. It's not my fault, guv!

One is reminded of the eve of the French Revolution, the manner in which Hilter came to power, the Roman Praetorian Guard placing utter incompetents on the imperial throne in exchange for gold. None of it ended well and tremendous carnage ensued and, when it was over and the dust had settled, what replaced it was certainly not the Utopia that was dreamed of - the old order merely came back wearing different clothes. Elites can't be eliminated, we rely on them, by default, to keep order because we just can't be bothered.


  1. Behead the professionals and intellectuals; trial by pay-per-view reality-tv; vote now, all credit cards accepted.

  2. your countries are not unique... in PL it's similar as you may have heard... perhaps it's the beginning of international move towards.... nowhere