Saturday, July 17, 2010

Riot, Dudley, U.K.

During the course of a Muslim rampage in Dudley, West Midlands, a car hurt six people. The car just jumped out from nowhere and hit six people for no reason. It might have been drinking the night before and was angry that its wife kicked it out of the garage. Yeah, that's probably right. Meanwhile, back at the riot....

From Jihad Watch, Hugh writes:

A story on the BBC website about six pedestrians hurt when the driver of a car tried to run them down in Dudley reads thus:

17 July 2010

Six hurt as car hits pedestrians in Dudley

Six pedestrians were injured, three seriously, when they were struck by a car in the West Midlands.

The ambulance service was called to the junction of King Street and Stafford Street, Dudley, at 1605 BST.

Three men, aged 42, 37 and 32 suffered head injuries. The 37-year-old also broke his leg.

Three others, including a girl aged 16 whose leg was broken, also needed hospital treatment.

An 18-year-old man suffered a foot injury and a 19-year-old man has a suspected broken leg, the West Midlands Ambulance Service said.
It will be interesting to see what further information comes out about the driver, and other occupants, of that car. Let's see how long it takes.

We won't find out from the BBC or from some of our media in Vancouver, Canada who are so confused and [...] that they think of the Tea Party as akin to Hizb'allah supporters. More here as it comes.

Up-Date. Dudley Police Report: 6.00pm

A man has come forward to police after six people were injured in a road traffic collision close to the scene of today’s EDL protest in Dudley.

The man came forward to West Midlands Police following the incident in King Street, Dudley at around 4pm today.

Police have appealed for witnesses to the incident but at this stage there is nothing to suggest the collision was deliberate.

A force spokesman said: “We are in the very early stages of the investigation but initial witness accounts suggest a family car was caught up in a small pocket of protesters.

“Whilst trying to work its way clear the car collided with some of the protesters as they left the protest area.”

The injured, none of whom have suffered life threatening injuries, were men and women ranging from 16-years-old to 45.

So it looks like nothing much happened but that a person accidentally hit six pedestrians. We need a national news corporation to inform us of this. Thank you, BBC. Thank you, Dudley Constabulary. "Man, family car, small pocket of pedestrians, no life-threatening injuries. "

Up-date 2.

A Hindu temple is attacked. Must be English racists, right? In the same way that Tea Party supporters are no different from Timothy McVeigh, so all English are racists who hate everyone else.

"Initially the demonstration was going off peacefully but protesters tried to force some of the barriers that had been placed around the car park where they had been allowed to gather," Little said.

"They did that with a little success and when police arrived in riot gear that's when it turned ugly."

Little said many more demonstrators could have been arrested "given the violence that was shown towards the police".

Police are also investigating possible damage to a Hindu temple in Dudley.

Sky News.

If you're wondering why it is that Dudley is in such a state today, then perhaps you'd like to look at the area and its relatively recent history, from c. 1810 to 2010 to see if there's a trend in the culture that produces a huge Muslim welfare population and a hostile and anti-native constabulary guided by a clique of burghers trembling over the end of Romance and the green and pleasant land of -- oops-- Dudley and environs.

Dudley, (not so much in particular but generally for the sake of this post-modernist England,) is the rough home of Ludditism in the early nineteenth century. The areas of Dudley(ism) are welfare and anti-Industrial backwaters of Reaction since c. 1815. [Yes, professional historians will quibble.] It's the general local tradition. Smash machines, deny industrial progress, live on the dole. Live under a tyranny of Labour government in one form or another, whether it be latifundista Toryism or Trotskyite dhimmitude. It's much the same.

I'm providing links to the tales of Sandwell below to show what there is in the way of local culture in the hope that one might take away a sense of how backward such an area is and why we shouldn't be surprise by this. It's not a perfect analysis, and nothing can be, but generally it fits. In an anti-Modernist culture stretching back for centuries, we will have to expect this kind of reactionary situation.

These links should give at least some idea why things are such as they are. It doesn't just spring up from the ground over-night. There is much deep background, and I hope that if one has the patience to look through the links and puzzle it out at least some of today's events will make sense in this context.


truepeers said...

Latifundia? I thought they were building a mosque in Dudley.

Dag said...

Where's your thinking cap, Peers? Yes, latifundia is alive and well in the West Midlands, today under neo-feudalist rule the same as previously under Tory rule and previous to that under post-Norman military manorialism/merchantilism. The labouring masses are always live-stock, whether peasants or proles, in these systems. Whether the oligarchs are feudal or post-Modern, the facts of obligation and appanage remain the same: that the great estates are held by the oligarch, in today's instance, by social engineers and their little Labour barons like Big Bill and Yvonne Davis.

England is not a democracy of individuals, it's a collective of voters and (m)aternalist parliament.

One cannot have a free nation of free people if the people do not have the right to own private property, which begins and ends with the ownership of their own lives. People who are not allowed to own their own lives are infanatalised, which is just what such as the BNP are keen on so long as it's a nativist-paternalist state in control. That doesn't suit the Romantics in power now who seem determined to import a replacement population of more exotic peasants to create for their pleasure an aesthetic experience as they gaze down from their towers across the land. The old peasants are boring. Hence, new ones and mosques to livey up the place. Grand manors and estates for the oligarchs, and carpets and minaret for the new peasants. It seems to please many.

truepeers said...

What has brought you to such contempt for the people of the EDL? I thought you wanted to be their chum. But now, it seems they are utterly devoid of any individuality, thugs who haven't had a new thought in two hundred years, these chaps who on their own dime and initiative have come from all corners of the Realm, to Dudley.

The Tory party used to have millions of members, signed up of their own free will. There aren't that many big estates in the whole world i dare say. I guess that was all "false consciousness" or something.

Dag said...

You've lost me there. The BNP and the local Labour councils are now in the role of peasants and manorial lords. That has nothing to do with the EDL, whom I think are doing a good job of trying to capture the middle ground of a functional democracy, such as it might be in England, which has little tradition of democracy.

The West Midlands is an area full of Labour slums, Sandwell being a prime example, as one sees in the links above.

And surely you are deliberately confusing the Tories of Churchill et al with the 18th century Tories of the Corn Law/Luddite generation to whom I refer above. Yes, the Tories were often enough supporters of the Luddites. I think we won't find any evidence of such among Churchillians or Thatcherites. Same name, different party.

Dag said...

But yes, there are vast estates in England, most of them owned by Labour, and they are "ridings." Look at any destroyed city of Labour voters, such as Sandwell to see my point. Look at much of East London. Or any number of areas totally given over to Labour rule. They might be paved over and piled up with council houses, but they are exactly "Estates."

Dag said...

That was sloppy on my part: Tories of the early nineteenth century, but too from 1760ish onward. My point is that the Tory latifundistas have morphed into the Fabian latifunistas of council housing estates, the landed aristocracy becoming the (en)titled oligarchies of Labour since WWII. Nothing much changes, especially my tyops and misdating of events.

truepeers said...

Well, maybe it's my sloppy reading, but my first reaction to this piece was that Dag is saying the EDL are like Luddites because the culture in Dudley hasn't changed in 200 years. I didn't get that you were calling the Council members Luddites! And I'm saying to myself, notwithstanding that these are probably in large part working-class people (though i imagine by no means exclusively), why assume that the EDL is distinctively aWest Midlands thing? Is it?

We're talking about the country that invented the free market (modern industrialism is not much like feudalism), modern civil society (the freedom and diversity of associational life, always important in industrial cities), the modern scientific method. Whatever has gone wrong with the rise of the "welfare" state, we should keep all that in mind when talking history as people are looking to tradition to renew their interest in the revolutions of modernity.

truepeers said...

Oh, maybe you're saying the BNP are the Luddite peasants, but not the EDL. Do we honestly know the EDL and the BNP are two distinct groups?

truepeers said...

BTW, the free market and modern civil society were 18thC inventions for the most part with some debt to the 17th religious revolution. Scientific method comes out of the 17th, also as a response to the religious wars.

Dag said...

I can't say with any confidence in my own statements that this or that is the case in Britain at this time. I know from my own experience that I must be in a place to find out for myself what I think to the point I feel I have enough over-all sense to conclude anything serious. I' not there. I don't know. However, till such time as someone informed in detail and sensitive and intelligent comes along and reports for us I can do a bit more than gab at the pub. It's my background to a large extent, and I have lived in the culture long enough over the decades to know more than nothing, though I can't claim any authority on that alone.

The West Midlands isn't the sole source of the EDL membership at all. It's a nationwide movement of post-Modernist working class people, from what I see, what we would call intuitive types who sense something definitely wrong in the nation at the neighbourhood level. Praxis tells them that the elite, i.e. the intelligentsia lie to the masses about the nature of national living, telling the people "usual p.c., m.c. cliches," and that the people, not following this dogma, are sinners and rebels. In a class-ridden society like England this is a harsh position that most people of all classes prefer to avoid. The terms sinners and rebels are replaced, of course, with neologisms and euphemisms, but the point is the same. And the class relationships are the same, more or less, among the natives. There are centuries-old assumptions one cannot shake individually without extensive effort, which most never think of looking for to examine in the first place. So we have an unbroken line of living as our ancestors lived, under vastly different material conditions, needless to say, but under social relations very much the same. The social template is similar but of a different shade, even of different colours, so to say. But little has changed in the relationship of man to class, top or bottom.

England did reward its talented and didn't prevent their rise in class over generations, as one sees happening in France prior to the Revolution. But England brought its working class into the upper class rather than allowing the successful working class to be successful in themselves on equal terms, comparing here the Eastern seaboard American millionaire to the Texas oil baron, both of the same class as Americans though dissimilar in social class. To be a success in Britain, the worker became an elitist. He gained class but lost class. That to this day prevents many from achieving what we would think of as progress in personal living. Class solidarity is more important that wealth and independence.

Those who do well in the working class at a professional level and wish to maintain their positions therein turn to the State and Labour to rise within the working class. But they do so by adopting all the worst traits of 18th century paternalist rulership: they patronise the people, who in turn accept it as natural. The BNP are the worst of the "traditional workers" in the Luddite sense, I think, in that they favour the nostalgic Romantic vision of England of Blake's time, i.e. "this green and pleasant land." They long for the Luddite reactionary life of pre-industrial living, even if such was genuinely horrible for the rich as well as the poor. Look at demographic tables, for example, to see how nasty, brutish and short life was for everyone. But one can easily, from this distance, and at the time of the Luddites from a time of fear of personal lose of authentic culture, regardless of how terrible, sentimentalise it. Most people, beyond the BNP and the Left Labour dreamers, are fairly satisfied with Modernity and its clean drinking water, its medicine, its television, and so on. There is no going back to the commune for most.

Dag said...

What I see, I think, is the relic of Tory paternalist governance in place today as practised by Labour. The outer aspects change with the popular fashions, but the nature of the beast remains the same.

I require some sympathetic readership here to make my next point: that Labour is in the tradition of England's pre-industrial period. It is a Luddite party of neo-feudalism. They are "Looking Backward." The best is what was, and to return England to its Romantic past is their ideal, with the BBC, of course. Thus, one finds a latifundista class living in manors in the cities, and the estates being council projects filled with peasants. The peasants live to supply the lords with life's needs; and the lords provide appanage in times of famine, i.e. give them the dole. We have a post-modern Medievalism, I think. I call it neo-feudalism, if only because it's catchy. It do think it's accurate.

The EDL, at some intuitive level, see that the nation is not as it should be at the neighbourhood level. The traditions of the Industrial Revolution, of work, for example, are up-rooted in favour of immigrant voter-blocs on non-workers, thus destroying class solidarity among the working class, which is why one finds Hindus and Sikhs getting one well enough with English natives but not with post-Mughal Muslims, i.e. pre-industrial peasants.

Dag said...

Maybe due to England's isolation from the Continent, and perhaps because there was often enough wide-spread death among the labouring classes, the labourer was freer to sell his labour on an open-ish market than other people, giving rise to a kind of privacy we don't see in communal lands. The point would then that for the average Englishman, mobility is a possibility, which means his fellows will be other than his family. Because he owns his own livelihood, i.e. his skills and tools, perhaps even his own land, England became "free" in ways other nations and people didn't. It ain't America, though, and there is class solidarity and class antagonism still. The average Englishman, sorry to say, is obnoxious and petty in many ways, not so much private as morose. Culd be the weather, for all I know. But there is a sense of privacy, regardless, that gives the people a sense of Justice. According to me, they accept far too much from tradition, e.g. paternalism, but they have more freedom than most outside America. We see it in that the Industrial Revolution began in England but was soon after eclipsed by America. It's freedom done it.

Now the happy medium, as it were, is over in Britain: the ruling intelligentsia of neo-feudalists rule paternalistically in lieu of the Tory paternalists of the 18th century. In fact, they go further and rule like the kings of France, the Normans in Britain, and so on. I think the people have passively accepted traditional paternalism to the point that they now have a delusional utopian Luddite rulership they can't shake. It's partly tradition to go along and take a pint at the poll for the lord. But this is beyond that point: now the people, living in the Modern world, are being pushed into areas of tradition that are too far removed from tradition.

During the Luddite period we see support for it coming from only from small segments of society, from the landed aristocracy and favoured crofters, all of whom faced not only impoverishment from machine economies but loss of social status. Most people stood on the side-lines and let the time play out, favouring "progress" but not committing themselves deeply to any position. The yeomanry though did act, and in ways I see as similar to the EDL today. I see the BNP as Luddites, and the Labour functionaries such as those profiled in the links above, as minor "entitled" class servants, now having "titles" bestowed upon them by the ruling class, e.g. "Lord Mayor" of, for instance, Sandwell, and so on. They, the BNP and the minor baronettes of Labour, resist any change from latifundia to Modernity. But more to the point, it's not the entirely marginal BNP who play the part of Luddite wreckers, it's the (Trotskyite) Unite Against Fascism faction who do the wrecking of Modernity, the privileged "middle" of skilled, or in this case, semi-educated, crofters who do the work of tearing down the forward movement of material progress. Hence, we see "environmentalism" and eugenics, we see communtiarianisms of all sorts, and so on, coming from the underground presses of the UAF. They are the Luddites of Labour neo-feudalism. The EDL are the yeomanry.

But I could be wrong. I have to be there to see it myself and taste the air and so on to have a good idea.

truepeers said...

As a general point, people who see history as mostly a recurring pattern recognize much but miss what is truly interesting about history: the freedom and necessity to make a difference, to add ever new degrees of freedom and information to inherited forms, these degrees not being simply epiphenomenal to underlying essences, but game changers in all kind of ways. I find it a little odd, in an ostensible defender of freedom, that events today are to be explained as if English people, with occasional exceptions, have been stuck in a rut for 200 years, programmed repetitively. But heh, sometimes they are; lives are ruined instead of liberated. Yet, does one make ready sense of English history this way?

My guess is that for the majority of EDL people, life has been more about the experience of modern urban anonymity and consumer culture than the kind of inter-personal "feudal" cultures you are describing. But consumerism and wage labour/dole, when done in ordinary ways that don't allow one to distinguish one much from others, may create a desire either for a politics that may be seen as key to renewing individual productivity and ability to differentiate oneself within a new national covenant of inter-personal freedom, or a turning back to some kind of bureaucratic neo-feudalism. In any case, I would look somewhat more to modern history to explain today's events in Dudley, than to Luddites.

But of course you're right to recognize signs of neo-feudalism in the British culture. But in order to draw some ideal picture in your mind, by way of explanation, you force a sharp contrast with "America", which "it ain't" (as if Brits couldn't find Americans obnoxious and petty - give me a real standard to explain the difference). There are all kinds of neo-feudalist forces in America too right now. Do Americans not often also have class solidarity over individualism just because their unions expect Obama to tax 10 generations forward so today's union man can live a very healthy "middle-class" lifestyle, with a nice, clean, pickup in every suburban garage, so that every wage-labourer can imagine himself an independent working man? Does he have to prove his class solidarity over individualism by drinking every day in a pub with cronies?

How do we explain neo-feudalism, if not in terms of what has gone wrong in 20thC history, with the "progressive" welfare-state? It seems to me a mistake, in some degree, simply to buy into the romantic myth of pre-modern England, even if you wish to scorn it, as explanatory of what's happening today.

truepeers said...

A turning away from freedom, a false aristocracy and paternalism, is always going to be a threat and always has been. But that this is so much a part of the human past is not itself an explanation for people's resentments of modernity, its failures, and continuing dependence on primitive social forms. The anonmymity and modularity of persons in the modern economy creates tons of grounds for resentment. Why did she get the job and not me - what can explain this? There is often no great answer in a free society and many wish to see unfairness; it's tough for many to maintain the discipline that allows us to see that a free market economy is the most rational way of keeping humans from killing each other.

If modernity cannot find ways to recycle the massive amount of resentment it creates back into its system, it will implode, horribly. But what does this recycling entail? Not everyone can get a job that maintains their dignity. There does have to be some kind of social safety net. There has to be some recrudescent "feudalism" in a maximally free society, though yes we should always try to minimize it. So what, exactly, does a covenant of individual freedom look like and how can it exist without some degree of "feudalism"? And when would we know we've got too much and really risk collapsing into serious neo-feudalism? What do the shared norms that maintain individual freedom look like? There can be no freedom without some degree of unfree closure. Individual productive discipline is achieved by closing off certain consuming desires, by maintaining certain shared expectations in family, church, and associational life. Civil society is defined by its freedom from the state; but within free civil society all kinds of disciplines exist, from the Hells Angels, to the Rotary Club, to the Catholic, Protestant, or Mormon Church, to CUPE, to Big Brothers, to the Mosque - the list is endless. But can we simply call these many disciplines - which often carry signs of the fedual past - neo-feudalism? Or do we have to ask just what and when are they contributing to making the kinds of disciplined individuals who can succeed in the free market and when not?

It would seem to me the problem with the welfare state is that it intrudes on the propery terrain of civil society. It's then that you start to talk about "neo-feudalism", but, from certain vantage points, primitive "feudal" rituals are much more a part of free civil society than bureaucratic stateism.

In short, modernity cannot be something absolutely different than feudalism. It is different in degrees. That means we can identify all kinds of signs within to suit different kinds of stories. That makes it incumbent on us to ask us if we are acting responsibly when we glory in stories of unfree Europeans in order to make "America" feel better. I see our intellectual challenge to be identifying and explaining the necessity of freedom in any historical explanation. If there weren't some degree of freedom, there would be no history to explain. Yes, most of the time we are recapitulating age-old patterns but that doesn't mean we aren't also different in all kinds of interesting ways.

Dag said...

Maybe my understanding of the nature of history is amiss here: I don't see history as discrete events over time within periods or eras or epochs; I see it as a continuous development of Humanness, that which is essential as Humanness itself, expressed in manifold variations according to any number of externalities, e.g. the weather, some guy having an idea, another falling off his horse at an inopportune time, and so on. Events don't stay the same, nor do fashions or styles; but the essence must remain the same over time because of the nature of the species: we weren't non-human then but human now. All that changes is the way in which the innate can perform what it was capable of anyway under those conditions. Thus, history is not what happened, that being events, but is what we do now to make history as future, even if we can't know what it is, which Kierkegaard writes of beautifully as Faith and I write of not so beautifully as Will. Like a game of chess or the arrangement of letters, the end is finite if unrealisable. There are only so many ways of being Human, not that we are likely to ever run out of new ways to express it. But if we do what is not Human, then we are not living in history, we are living something other. The patterns of Humanness, I think, are pretty clear because few people are daring or creative or willing to do more than accept what is the way of any particular life at the time in that place. As people become "set in their ways" so too does Humanness itself-- because it is that alone, the manifestations of it being accidental rather than essential. Everything we do is what can be done. If I board a plane and fly, it's accidental; but if I sprout wings an fly, it's an essential non-humanness. Learning to fly an aeroplane is accidental; but flying like a bird is to be something other than Human. Wanting to fly like Icarus or, more likely, Daedalus is normal, and so too is flying a plane, and almost the same thing in that one fulfils what one longs for before it is possible. I'd argue till I'm defeated that all of Modernity is epiphenomenal, a superstructure on the base of Humanness. The telos of Humanness won't change, only our abilty to meet it and greet it and live in it later, making us accidentally different from our ancestors.

Dag said...

I don't see any change in the game itself, which is ultimately Humanness itself, a matter of growing into what that can be, perhaps, I like to think, should be. That freedom is possible in Humanness is our delight rather than our curse, but still there is that part of man that resists it, destroys it when possible, and denies it to others whenever the chance comes by. The game does change in its direction, that people live lives longer and safer from harms, but the story or meaning of the game is the same: that we live to learn. Our game changes insofar as we elaborate on the game of Humanness, not that we alter its nature. As Camus puts it: "The child is the father of the man." Just because the child an the man look nothing the same is not to say the man is not the child grown into his adult self as something essentially different. any carrot seed that grows into an oak tree was a misnamed acorn. In the same way that a baby can be any kind of possible man within his being, he will not grow up to be a carrot. So too with Humanness: we are merely becoming what we are in development, inevitable in that we grow, not to say inevitably this or that. All this change is, according to my understanding of things, accidental. Thus, a Muslim can easily, (I joke) be something better. Muslimness is an accident of family and birth. It's not innate. And if a Muslim-born baby is rescued at birth and raised to be a Druid, so much the better, and not any different from any baby within itself growing up to be a Druid. Place any baby in any Human context or event and he will be himself within that context, not some incapable creature unrelated to the Humanness of others at that time or place.

That's my first response to the first paragraph of your first installment above.

Dag said...

Freedom and necessity do make a difference by adding new degrees of freedom and information to inherited forms, I agree. But I see that it is epiphenomenal altogether. Raising baby Socrates in Burnaby will probably change his brain in form from what Athens Socrates baby was, but only in form rather than essence, all the possible Burnabyness being teleolocially or ontologically there to begin with. So, like societies, some externals change but the essence of social life only changes in that it becomes what it can become. In many ways, and essential ways, it'll be a variation on a theme, even if unrecognisable to most.

Freedom, if nothing else, does exist, and has existed at least as a potential in all people even if it couldn't grow then and there into a function in the mind. If in fact we do grow wings and fly, then one will have to search hard and somehow genuinely find that all along we had that capacity as humans. Otherwise, that flying man is a bird. But freedom is not species alien. In a dangerous world of immediate death from anything at all, freedom is too high a price to pay to lose ones place in the hierarchy of the group. In the right physical conditions, it's natural for some, though not for many, I do think so. Most people don't really like freedom. They seem to hate it, in themselves and especially in others. That's not to say it's not Human. It is, like all things Human. Most people are personally and as cultures, stuck in ruts, the machinery of Modernity changing the outward behaviour of men but not what they are as men. They are freer in the physical sense, but oftener than not, not as free mentally as they were in the nineteenth century. so to see a reactionary movement to a time beyond the nineteenth to the semi-feudal past is not too strange to me. Humanness draws both ways, to freedom of mind and to security of mind. Why would we be surprised to find English today acting like they did 200 years ago? giving up the BBC will likely change the make-up of the brain. But one will still be the same kind of individual one was. Like those who quit exercising, one can devolve. So too with neo-Luddites. Their brains can devolve to the point they think and act similarly to 19th century Luddites. As a band member of Bryan Adamms once said in response to whether the man had changed, his mate said: "No, he's still an arsehole."

Dag said...

I seriously doubt that anyone living today in Britain seriously thinks that Britain today is a replay of any time in Britain's storied medieval past. Not a replay but a play of the same genre. Not the same script with different actors, but the same story with a different script. I see a cultural atavism here, i.e. in Britain. It's a step back to the possible. It isn't a new-feudalism version of the old, it's neo-feudalism, a child of its grandfather. Same family, different person, but directly and essentially related. No one is likely to claim to be his grandfather, and yes, I know but I ignore them.

The Ludditism comes, I think, not so much from a bad reaction to Modernist anomie as from a natural regression among some beings to do what their nature demands of them as beings connected to the physical past as family. Labour is acting in a manner too similar to patterns one can see in 18th century Tories to be ignored. Yes, there is television, and yes, it does terrible physical things to people's brains. But the accidental aside, the Tories of old and Labour New act in essentially Human ways, to type. It is those few EDL actors who grow into Modernity rather than against it. Those are the few, they and few others, who attain to the telos. They reject, one must hope, the confining of man's better nature in the collectivity of Labour neo-feudalism today. One can sense, if nothing better, that things are constricting daily, and that is something the free person is willing to rebel against. Not less Modernity but more, and far less "progress" toward the past of paternalism and appanage. Free men who value freedom, and they are few, I think, suffer for freedom what they would never suffer for the comfort of slavery. A free individual is atomic and insignificant, true, but that is his blessing, not a curse. The cursed man is he who would flee to the collective for identity. Not everyone loves the miseries of freedom.

Dag said...

I'll leave America's flaws for some other discussion.

I think we can explain neo-feudalism in tems of what is natural to some and many men: that they are innately fascistic, i.e. bound by choice to the power of the sadistic authority. People do not like freedom, as a rule, and they don't like having to do what they're told to do; so they opt for a respectable out: they submit to a terror with authority, legitimate or not, who will force them to do what they must to survive, giving them the right to feel hate and hope in spite of their concrete need to do neither. Modernity is too good for most, too beautiful for their shrivelled being in need of safety in the fold of the fasces. I wouldn't place much on the chances fo the average anarchy hippie today giving a clear account of Captain Swing, but emotionally I think many of them are right there with traditional and historical Luddites. I think shopping malls is no more offensive today to the neo-Luddite than a horseless carriage would be to the same creature 100 years ago. Regardless of what new thing, still he would complain about it and demand a return to the fasces of pre-industrial communalism.

The anarchy hippies of the UAF et al. are simply one side of the same atavistic coin, as it were. The Labour barons have a nostalgic sense as well. They must know, not just intellectually, that things are not as they were. We can sense in the landscape that there were different ways of living, some of which we might like large parts of and would recreate where possible, such as building castles in the centre of cities and having servants and maids. If one can recreate the ambiance of a Royal Court in the middle of a city and call oneself by title X, then one is, in some real sense, living a new feudalism. It's entirely natural to find any number of willing co-actors to play the part of peasants if one can find a way to make them pay so one can pay them a bit less each. It's not new or strange or a reaction to the new as Modernity but is a longing for a past that is possible as future.

That would-be communalists, rich and poor alike, are dissatisfied with Modernity is not grounds for anything like a return to feudalist mentalities. There are other options. One can learn to celebrate ones atomic existence even if it is a cosmic loneliness that one cannot recover from. There is no need to only return to the fasces of communal belonging in the grip of the sadist. There are other ways of accepting and rejoicing in the hardship of freedom, if only one cares for the looking, which obviously most don't. Some will never accept the free market no matter. They will never try to find a place in it that suits them because it essentially cannot appeal. Some people will be endlessly happy if someone else tortures them against their will. But being ignored is hell.

Dag said...

I don't see the reactionary movement of neo-feudalism as having much to do with resentments against Modernity itself; I see it as a natural longing among some for a safety that they would need no matter how good life is otherwise. Some will do anything to return to safety of not being free, not being independent to make personal decisions regarding themselves and their lives. They will always demand that they be forced to do something by someone to strong to resist. One cannot rightly blame Modernity for this.It's the nature of some men. A social safety-net won't ameliorate this hatred of freedom: only slavery will do that for some. Slavery actively desired and created. A social safety-net is not feudal, it's a natural aspect of a Modernist culture that isn't infanticidal and so on. But no amount of safety net is safe enough for the masochist. His need is for slavery for himself and slavery for others to assure him that such is good. No, social safety nets are not feudal. Feudalist control of the lives of otherwise free people is feudalism anew.

When association isn't voluntary, then we know things are off the rails. When we're forced to belong to associations of society, then we're little better than prisoners in a penal colony. Sometimes that's a good thing, in the case of criminals; but when the average social person is not free to associate or not, voluntarily choosing which ways and with whom he will associate, then he is a prisoner. That would be an open prison of feudalism. If most people will not volunteer to fund the state's military needs, then those volunteers are sort of done for as a free or even living beings. Most of us have the sense of self to contribute to the common weal for our own good, if for no other better reason. We do associate, and voluntarily so. But there are those who do not like the voluntariness of Modernity. They prefer the sadistic demand that allows them to be safe in their miseries. The modernist is willing to compromise his amorphous freedom for more and better voluntary freedom.

Voluntary association isn't feudal just because it limits freedom. It is exactly that it is voluntary, like a money purchase in a market, that separates Modernity from feudalism. Volunteers might well have impressed Christians, but the lions likely didn't care how people ended up in the arena. So too with feudalism: one was what was demanded, and agreement with it was redundant, probably impudent and likely punishable.

Dag said...

Oy! Bed time.

Dag said...

OK, there's not much more to address here now so I'll try my best in this condition.

The welfare state is not a feudalism in itself: it is the revanchist who hates freedom and it is both governor and peasant who attempt, successfully today in Britain, to take control of the land and people to destroy voluntarism, both in the market and in privacies. It's about control of all things controllable, which is increasingly much with modern technologies. Less privacy, more manorial control. Man as farm animal in a concrete setting, a modern feudalism of a milking barn. This hyper-statism is a neo-feudalism, not the welfare state itself. If the lords can find a way to starve the masses, I'm sure they will find many to agree to starvation, a la Gandhi. They'll all laud it, like Communists in the Ukraine during the forced famine. Durantys are easy to find. Zinovievs are a dime a dozen too. Freedom is not a popular state. That's why we keep having to fight for it.

truepeers said...

Yes, history is the continuous development of "humanness". But you use this insight as an excuse, it seems to me, to minimize interest in history and differences, and to maximize a general theory of the human, under which all the differences we have evolved become somehow "explainable" (but it is not really an explanation at all, just a tautology) in terms of this basic humanness. You think the structure of the human explains its various articulations.

But this cannot be the case. If it were, we would know it by now and find that all we needed now to live and communicate was the new world shorthand model of humanness. We'd be minimizing our language, not continually expanding it. And even if we didn't know it by now, the very idea of being able to minimize our language is ridiculous as if we can just throw out information as epiphenomenal and not essential. It's like a crazy Marxist going on about "false consciousness".

Each articulation of the human that is significant or memorable does something new that is not predictable or reducible to some structural explanation (which is not to deny our ability to integrate new information over time). "Humanness" is open-ended because its minimal structure is very minimal indeed. It's minimal content is not even any meaning or idea; it is simply an effect, an event that defers conflict by introducing a differentiation, or sign, that only works over time.

Each iteration of the human event will reveal its "genetic" heritage, in the possibility of the meaningful, memorable event; but it will not be in any way determined by that heritage.

History is a process by which we do new things to capture each other's attention, to fill time, and in doing so mediate or defer our tendency to murderous rivalry that no animal pecking order can keep in check. We do this - defer conflict - by representing the human in new ways that takes time for us to understand and integrate. Once integrated, we have in some sense "reduced" the events of history to some general understanding of the human. But we have reached a point in history, at least some of us, where we have learned it is foolish to think we can articulate this "understanding" as a perfect metaphysical system.

Each integration of events to a general "understanding" only creates a demand for another event to hold our attention and teach us something new, something that is not predictable in advace. In the process we learn new things about what is inherent in, but not dictated by, human origins.

Talking vaguely about humanness is no substitute for developing a hypothesis of human origins. The idea of "humanness" you seem to be developing is one that cannot have a history because it is made up of so many components, or significant differences - it is a metaphysical system - that you could not possibly describe how this complex structure first emerged or evolved over time.

If you do not believe in a history with a discrete point of origin, an origin reiterated somewhat differently and unpredictably in each event, you do not believe in history. You only believe in some structure outside history, and as such in something that is not explainable (biology won't do the job).

truepeers said...

Culture evolves in response to the problems of living in time (such that we are never always the same thinking thing but changing our attitudes through time). Our awareness of time is not constructed by any "idea", but by the simple presence of a sign, any sign, deferring conflict. All narratives unfold, in time. If you declare the problems of history to be fundamental to "humanness", some abstract concept out of time, you are ignoring how we live. And hence you can make general statements about most people not liking freedom, which are really rather meaningless since most people have all kinds of feelings about freedom and we can only begin to locate these well by attending to the different phases of events. Before there is any meaning about "freedom" in our minds, pro or con, there is first of all the experience of the event in which freedom has been exercised, whether we like it or not.

Human freedom can only be well understood if you work rigorously to minimize all unnecessary assumptions about what was original to the human, to the discrete event of our divine or self Creation. The less rigorously you do this, the less free and the more "essential" you imagine humanity to be.

There are only so many ways of being Human, not that we are likely to ever run out of new ways to express it.

-But each new way to express the human necessarily entails a new way of being human, not that there can be any measure of how different and how same. Ultimately, what matters is not the answer to that question of how same, how different, but how much time we use up in trying to think just how same and how different this new representation of the human is. And when we're tired of one representation, our mimetic rivalries will increase as we fight over an increasingly receding sense of difference - men will brood about will and masochism and slavery - until a new representation emerges in freedom to defer rivalry and create a new sense of shared freedom to differentiate ourselves without violence.

I don't see any change in the game itself

-but the game is becoming ever more complex; and you can have no belief it is the same game until you have mastered the latest iteration, felt you have integrated it, and then the next game will come along to raise your doubts again because no matter how powerful you are, you know you can lose. You may master the next one but if it really were just the same old game you would know it right away - there would be no point or interest in the "game", no exchange of differences, no humanity. We'd descend into pure thuggery from the get go and life would mean nothing more than what it does for animals.

but the story or meaning of the game is the same: that we live to learn

-but we couldn't learn anything if the story or meaning were really always the same. What is truly essential can never really be revealed.

truepeers said...

Raising baby Socrates in Burnaby will probably change his brain in form from what Athens Socrates baby was, but only in form rather than essence, all the possible Burnabyness being teleolocially or ontologically there to begin with. So, like societies, some externals change but the essence of social life only changes in that it becomes what it can become.

-of course we only become what we can become, but there is no obvious limit to what this can be - our brains only evolve very slowly; but our minds can go in all kinds of directions. Burnaby need never have happened. It could not have happened without lots of things that might not have happened, like Christianity. But if it had not happened we may well assume that sooner or later something like it would have happpened. But, again, the question of just how similar, or not, is not answerable and is not worth dwelling on. It may be inherent in humanity and history that we all evolve towards something like democracy and free markets as eventually necessary as the most effective ways to mediate conflicts. But that is not to say there is any end to what can be done, or the problems that need to be mediated, with democracy and free markets. "Burnaby" could never be quite the same thing twice, in two potential histories, and so its uniqueness should hold our interest more than the question of just how same or differnet. The uniqueness is what happened and worked, for a time, until the next time.

In a dangerous world of immediate death from anything at all, freedom is too high a price to pay to lose ones place in the hierarchy of the group

-no, it is only in dangerous times that we can really learn that we have no choice but to be free because the exercise of freedom, in face of the shitstorm of mimetic rivalry, is the only thing that can save us. We only accept hierarchy when it creates order. We may well fear being the scapegoat of that hierarchy but it is precisely when things are most dangerous that some will freely take the risk in order to try to help create a new order. At some point it's not even a question of cowardice or bravery; it just has to be. It is precisely when our lives are on the line that we are most attuned to learning something new and maybe even doing something new. "Most people don't like freedom" inasmuch as they don't like to admit we're in a crisis and have to act. GOing first is always a problem, until it's the least of our problems. But when "most people" come to accept an innovation, to second the motion, then they love freedom; they love salvation. Still today we worship every technological advance, which depends on freedom, as a form of "salvation", even when they aren't much.

truepeers said...

I think we can explain neo-feudalism in tems of what is natural to some and many men: that they are innately fascistic, i.e. bound by choice to the power of the sadistic authority.

-what hopeless nihilism! We are bound to the power of the sacred, whose control can lead to sadistic authority; but if that were the essence or end of it, or the beginning, we'd have no words like "sadistic authority", since naming is a process of undermining, in a revolving process; we'd just accept it. But people have a sense of injustice, which is much like their sense of shared freedom, and only the perverse accept sadistic authority as the essential way.

At the end of the day, I think your desire to scapegoat all and sundry as "fascists" is destructive of your own thinking. You are ignoring how in our freedom to overcome one problem we end up creating the next one, the next decay of one sacred form under the forces of human ambition and the desire to control. All you see are the problems, not the freedom; you see the freezing up of our system for creating differences under the forces of mimetic rivalry, but you don't see these problems as historical, as having evolved out of the excerise of freedom to solve the previous problem; and so you don't see how their "fascism" is not their essential cause, or even the normal mode of any form of the sacred that is the solution to the problem, but is rather only their decadent breakdown. "Fascism" cannot be the start or cause of anything, surely. It cannot be a historical agent. Only freedom can be. "Fascism" is not a historical explanation for humanity freely binding itself to a shared sacred. (ANd it is pure nihilism to reduce the sacred and all it gives us to "fascism") If you try to make it such an explanation, you leave your reader with little for real optimism or faith. Instead of pointing to a road on which solutions might be found, i.e. a new form of the sacred to bind us, you are happy to mope over a periodic dead end as the essence of the human. But if that were so, it would have ended long ago.

We've had this argument too many times before. Read on, read on; I can do little more... I haven't even read your last few comments.