Monday, 18 March 2019

Ruling on behalf of The People, or against them?... Old Left versus New Left

This is one of those times when politics forces-itself into the spiritual life.

I find it hard to ignore (what seems to be) the fact that my country, England, is right in the midst of the single most crucial time of my life. Whatever happens about Brexit; I feel that the most important thing has, perhaps, already happened; which is a deep loss of belief in the good intentions of politicians and the ruling class; such loss affecting everyone except the administrative class themselves.

Up to now, and for many decades, the English have pretended to disbelieve in the good intentions of their rulers - but this was superficial. It was merely 'grumbling'. It made no difference to compliance; and the English have gone-along-with almost everything their rulers suggested or imposed. The masses 'consented' to being ruled; albeit tacitly and without enthusiasm.

Now that grumbling disbelief in good intentions has become real.

For the first time in, probably, centuries; England is on the verge of becoming one of the (many) nations where the populace at large loathe and fear their rulers; where the rulers govern without consent.

This has not happened by accident. It is a consequence of a change in the mainstream ideology of ruling that began fifty years ago but has worked-through only slowly. 

The new thing about the current brand of totalitarianism, is the shift from the Old Left claiming to rule for the good of The People - i.e. rule on-behalf-of the Majority; to the New Left ruling to protect 'minorities' from The People - i.e. rule justified on the basis that the Majority are evil and need to be restrained and retrained.

(I am here assuming what is true: that The Left includes all mainstream political parties, all mainstream public discourse both in the mass media and officially, all the leadership of all the main social institutions and organisations and corporations. The Left rules, and the Left is all the rulers.) 

This is why the modern British rulers are perfectly happy, indeed delighted, to thwart the will of the masses on a permanent basis; to reject the Brexit which a large majority of English people want very strongly to be implemented - because the rulers regard the will of the English people as exactly the bad thing which they exist in order to thwart.

The rulers now (and for some decades) claim their moral legitimacy for control on the basis of protecting 'minorities' from The People. This has been a vast, tidal change - an inversion - in the rationale of government.

But until now most people have not been explicitly aware of it - Brexit has made it undeniable.

There is now an absolute division between the morality of the rulers and the ruled - and the ruling morality will only be supported by the ruled insofar as the masses agree that they themselves are the problem; and that they 'need to be defended from themselves' by a benign and enlightened elite.

To the extent that this is believed (and to some extent it has indeed been internalised by some people, especially among the intellectual classes) the inevitable result is a profound despair and demotivation.

So the rulers attempt to control the population by (deliberately) inducing despair and demotivation; and the more effective the rulers, the greater the misery and inertia of the masses... Meanwhile, the rulers regard opposition from the People - their cowed, resenting and reluctant state - as evidence that they are doing the morally correct thing...

It does not take a genius to recognise that this is unsustainable; and what cannot be sustained will not be sustained.

Since it is a fact that literally nobody can, no matter how hard they try, regard the current UK government as a 'benign and enlightened elite' - then our government has (Here, Now, Today) precisely zero legitimacy in the hearts and minds of those who are governed.

The age of (however reluctant...) Government By Consent has come to a close; and the new era of Government explicitly-against consent has arrived.

In other and simpler words; the actually-existing tyranny is now recognised.

And that must and will make a big difference to everything.



Desert Rat said...

You are discovering that forest so well hidden by all those trees. It is these kinds of insights that are both mind-blowing (OF COURSE! I think to myself) and humbling (why didn't I see that?). Thank you for sharing them with us.

Bruce Charlton said...

@DR - Thanks for the compliment - but to be fair, I only just understood this for myself *properly* this morning; as I was writing a post that was missing this point. Such is the value of blogging.

It is a strange thing, this 'understanding'. In a sense, the above was implicit in what I have believed for a decade - but it is only by bringing the specific aspects together in a brief statement that I have genuinely grasped the magnitude of what has been happening.

The Old Left to New Left transition of the middle sixties has fascinated me for a long time, but is has not been studied with the depth and seriousness it deserves... Or at any rate people are not properly aware of its fundamental nature.

I was trying to understand the current situation by analogy with the fall of the Soviet Union. But our situation is different. The USSR ruling Party, the communists, claimed to represent the proletariat - the masses. Of course, the Bolsheviks waged war on the actual masses from day one, slaughtering their own population at an grotesque rate for year after year. But they excused this to themselves by assuming that once they had removed the false consciousness of the masses, then they could govern with consent.

When fifty years had gone by and the masses *still* loathed the leaders; The Party could no longer convince even themselves that they were ruling on behalf of The People - and became self-disgusted and demotivated.

But our rulers have been (tacitly) ruling against The People since about the 1960s - for example in relation to abolishing the death penalty, beginning mass immigration; then by the ever-increasing focus on issues of sexism, antiracism, the sexual revolution etc.

So, for the ruling class, Brexit is just another in a long list of instances in which The People need to be managed and manipulated into accepting something they don't want.

Our rulers have been governing without representative legitimacy and against public consent for so long, that they have internalised the situation; and are apparently no longer capable of the self-disgust that the Soviet rulers felt.

But for the ruled, this has been a belated wake-up call. And the sordid shenanigans have continued unabated, indeed have increased, for more than two years - so the situation has become impossible for anyone to ignore. This has been lies and treachary piled upon lies and treachery to the point of public incredulity.

Parliament specifically, and the ruling class in general, seem to have No Idea what this looks like to those outside the bubble - they just carry on with their twisting and fudging, continue broadcasting their smug moralising superiority - and things are still escalating daily.

And all the parties are complicit - the whole system is discredited; there only no 'goodies', only Baddies. The party system is broken, gone, dead - it just hasn't yet stopped moving.

People don't believe anything they read about Brexit - except that our rulers are determined to prevent its reality. I think there is a sense of waiting untl March 29. If something Big has not not happen *on that day* - if we have not left the EU, and that fact is not immediately obvious in our everyday life - then we will be at a point of no return.

Things will never be the same again. What that means, I have no idea at all; but it will be a break-point, an inflexion in our national history such as nobody living has experienced, and has not happened for some hundreds of years.

Lorenzo said...

The anti-Trump coup fomented by government apparatchiks in the USA has had exactly the same effect here.