Thursday, 17 November 2016

"Post-truth" politics

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"Post-truth" is Oxford Dictionaries' 'Word of the Year 2016'. When did a 'word' so annoy me? Not since Islamophobia? 

What I hate about the word 'post-truth', more than its mendacity, is its smugness. And the way it is a value judgement which people who use it think is an objective assessment. 

Because they think their opinions are objectively true and those who disagree are rather thick (or racists, or both). 

It goes with putting bureaucracy in place of democracy, which is how the EU works. Committees of intelligent, objective experts can decide the big issues, critiqued intelligently by Oxbridge arts graduates, who work for the Economist or the BBC and only have everyone's best interests at heart.

15 comments:

  1. Down with reality! If you don't like reality just make something up and pretend it's reality. The future will be bright.

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  2. Oh do stand a moment and look yourself in the eye in a mirror and say that Paul. Any hairshirted, objective ,liberal expert who has seen your UC performance or watched your hero Mr Gove give a speech would spit out their muesli guffawing to hear you so inject pathos into the debate.Perhaps you find the term so objectionable because you feel , however slightly it is an AH attack on many of your own postings, an affront to your obvious intellectual superiority over us mere and simple minded lefties ? I expect you feel this response is directed at your id, rather than your subjective view of liberalism.

    Watching Milo Yiannopoulos claim feminism, the gender gap and rape are not real , Mr Farage calling a sitting President a creature ( which is of course the third step to genocide and a beloved mechanism of Katie too ) an election and referendum where outright and blatant lies designed and calculated to be emotive carried both of them , the age of demagogues we have entered is practically and succinctly defined by the term.

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    1. What if we stopped saying or implying that others are racists or Nazis and then see what if anything had been lost? It would free up much mental space. The habit of calling people racists, homophobes etc is a very large part of the reason why voters voted for Donald Trump. Now we are in for a helter skelter ride, something I enjoyed but was scared by as a boy. In those days of course my dad protected me from harm.

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  3. If they are how about we don't ? The language of hate is more divisive than anything . As for a disingenuous nature , the new right win hands down. Doublethink and speak has nothing on them. Between 1978-1980 several things happened. In the US The supreme court ruled that Corporations are people, and they have the right to spend money on elections. In the US and the UK President Reagan and Mrs Thatcher kickstarted trickle down economics. They began cutting taxes and all of those bothersome social payments that had contributed to the previous three decades of growth in standards for all, but only for rich people and corporations (owned by now even richer people). Up until 1980, as the GDP of both countries increased, the median income increased proportionately. But after 1980 the median income in the USA and UK began to flatten out, despite the fact that worker productivity continued to rise. Trillions of Pounds and dollars was stolen from the lower and middle cases and given to the top 1%. The majority of Westerners know that something is wrong with the system biased in favour of an elite, but they don't know what. They say "Make America Great Again" or " Smash the EU " but they don't understand why they are angry or worse off. Its always easier to blame the other, the outsider .Trump and Farage who milked the system and the public purse for all they could in those years and enriched themselves , are Reagan and Thatchers legacy. I forget at times that before I sullied my brain with work I was a scholar of Philosophy and Theology and so once in a while I nudge my self to look back at the lessons of history. Rome did not fall with the arrival of the barbarian hordes at its gates anymore than Christendom declined because of waves of immigrants. Rome fell when it stepped from Republic to Empire, when it put its faith in strongmen on gold thrones using the rhetoric of the marketplace and the ranks and file rather than argument in the senate to gain power. So here we find ourselves with the three most heavily militarised countries on the face of the globe led by men of the same ilk. In this new atmosphere of Machtpolitik I know only that bread and circus's will appease the mob for just so long. That is what worries me today I am the father and I do not know how to equip my children to weather the storm that is coming.

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    1. What a well considered, articulate comment. Thank you.

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    2. No shortage of confidence there, PaulChristopher, but it could only really be called "well considered" if it wasn't so full of mistakes.

      We could start with

      << In the US and the UK President Reagan and Mrs Thatcher kickstarted trickle down economics. They began cutting taxes and all of those bothersome social payments that had contributed to the previous three decades of growth in standards for all, but only for rich people and corporations (owned by now even richer people). Up until 1980, as the GDP of both countries increased, the median income increased proportionately. But after 1980 the median income in the USA and UK began to flatten out, despite the fact that worker productivity continued to rise. >>

      ...which is wrong and/or misleading in several respects.

      What _actually_ happened is that mistakes and burdens taken on by the Atlee government came of age in the 1980s when the last generation of machinists trained up in the factory-apprentice schools that Atlee closed down (in broad agreement with wartime coalition Tories like Butler though the 1940s Labour government oversaw the incompetence in the detail) came up for retirement.

      The new growth in earnings inequality and new rise in social inequality you mistakenly attribute to Thatcher in Britain in fact both started in the mid-1970s, and correlate convincingly with Wilson and Crosland's start to the rolling closure of grammar schools in the late 1960s.

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    3. Rome fell when it stepped from Republic to Empire,

      Rome survived for five centuries after going from Republic to Empire. That suggests that going from Republic to Empire may have been a good move.

      Rome did not fall with the arrival of the barbarian hordes at its gates

      I think you'll find that Rome actually did fall with the arrival of the barbarian hordes at its gates. That was after a long period of allowing the barbarian hordes into its gates.

      Perhaps Rome wasn't the best example for you to choose.

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    4. Trillions of Pounds and dollars was stolen from the lower and middle cases and given to the top 1%.

      Now on that point I'm in complete agreement with you.

      The big problem is that in the US, Britain and Australia this theft has been supported by both mainstream parties. In the US the Democratic Party is now the Billionaires' Party. That's why Clinton lost. Trump won because he was the more left-leaning of the two candidates.

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  4. It amazes me that the left seems to talk about Trump like Enoch of Nod as if he came from nowhere, that his father and mother were not globalisation and neoliberalism and that the rising tide of discontent has not been his succouring milk .

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  5. "But we live in an age now when not even big lies like Trump being a racist or boasting about sexual assault can stick, because people have direct access to the truth. I thought Trump was toast after the pussy thing, until I watched the whole tape. Then I knew he'd be OK.

    This is also going to be the case with Breibart and the alt right drivel that people are going puce in the face about at the moment. They will never learn. You can't win by screaming lies at the unconvinced."

    Peter Risdon

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  6. Very kind of you to quote me, Paul.

    I can't be bothered with the fantasy version of history in the other comments.

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  7. Peter again:

    1. The claim is made that Trump boasted about sexually assaulting women.

    2. People en masse, male and female equally, decided they could never support him.

    3. Selective quotation from the tape reinforces this.

    4. The wild overstatement even of this distorted version of events by left wing zealots makes some people start to say, 'steady on...'

    5. The actual words spoken start circulating, and it turns out to have been Trump talking about the groupies 'stars' find around them, in vulgar terms - and not about sexual assault.

    6. People start thinking, well yes, we know there are groupies. We know athletes, pop stars, film stars get them. Even so, it's a bit of an unpleasant way to talk.

    7. The *mainstream* left and *mainstream* media up the ante, insisting against the evidence everyone can now hear and see that Trump sexually assaults women at every opportunity while boasting about it on live TV.

    8. People react against this, and vote Trump.

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  8. Haven't at least a proportion of the electorate alaways voted for their own reasons....emotional, tradition , social and disregarded campaign arguments and fact checking?
    And shockingly arent some of those people not stupid , racist etc?

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  9. PaulChristopher, you give yourself away with bogus terms like < neoliberalism >.

    This is a left-wing term popular with people unable to grasp that Keynesian ideas were already failing in the late 1950s, and who prefer to ignore that the "rise in living standards for all" was bought with massive inflation, destruction of savings habits (with the resulting knock-on effect when savings shifted into housing bubbles), and heavy damage to the vigorous culture of self-help Britain used to have. Chickens which were very visibly coming home to roost even during the Seamen's blockade of British ports in the late 60s which effectively lost Wilson the 1970 election.

    Like < capitalism > < neoliberalism > is a word people (largely though not always on the left) use to give their sweeping misunderstandings apparent gravitas.

    Real liberalism never went away. It's simply that after a couple of decades' excitement about the ideas of Keynes and Kalecki (overlapping with the disastrous wartime fashion for planned economies) that purported replacement to the classical consensus in economics started to sicken and wilt, leaving liberalism where it was already.

    Nothing "neo" about it, except to people who praise Keynes but haven't bothered to read his books and believe they're following economics by reading the occasional Monbiot piece in the newspapers.

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  10. Mark
    Firstly I dont think I had or have anything to hide so what would I be giving away?

    Secondly you show your own rather occluded view of political economics with your blaming the ills left by the previous governments on socialist agendas that were infact the result if more complex geopolitical events, two world wars in a row were going to have an effect on peoples thoughts as was a shift in the demographic. As for Kenyesian mechanisms I 've read them back and forth thanks even quoted them in my doctaral thesis and the problem with all demand side theories is they are fine as long as there is one and that will not help the coming economic storm. As for Neo liberalism being a made up idea you are such a silly billy as its very definition implies it is the reassertion of the 19th century ideas of economic liberalism, I suppose you dont believe in the neo gothic, neo lithic or the neo raphaelites either. I suppose you dont like it because of its negative connotations rather than it's ideals which I see you embrace, well sorry to burst your little bubble but there are other economic and social models and it will fall out of favour again at some point in the future.Practical application of Keynes has left me quite comfortable thanks. Your correlation with the closure of the grammar schools and the lack of technical apprentice routes is interesting and has a limited validity, but as it also correlates perfectly with the decline in the sale of bowler hats in the same period as well as the availabilty of fresh eels in Central London in the same time span , it is rather difficult to see if it causal or symptomatic.

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