Monday, 27 August 2012

Issue 92, June 2012

Nation Revisited
# 92, June 2012.
The Philosophers’ Arms
In a nondescript pub in Central London I overheard two men having a drunken debate. The existentialist said: “when you’re dead that’s the end of it,” but his metaphysical opponent insisted: “we must go somewhere – it stands to reason.” I tend to agree with him but “reason” has got nothing to do with it; belief in the supernatural is a matter of faith. The argument was settled by a third person, presumably the chairman, who said: “You’re all talking bollocks.” From that moment I have remembered that pub as “The Philosophers Arms” and made a point of avoiding it.

Another pub philosopher that I knew was an old soldier who constantly used the phrases “the direction of application” and “the application of direction.” I think that he knew the difference between them but I can’t remember what it was.
The world of philosophy is currently torn between Homer Simpson who epitomizes moral cowardice and Rab C Nesbitt who rejects altruism. Both men have risen above conventional mores but Simpson’s perpetual gluttony contrasts sharply with Nesbitt’s Spartan alcoholism. The objectivists cite cultural differences for this dichotomy but students of the great Liverpudlian mystic Pierre Head are undecided.
Cultural pessimism is a thinly disguised fear of death. If optimism is cowardice then pessimism is self-indulgence. It’s not Western civilization that is doomed but the mortal Oswald Spengler and it’s not God who is dead but Friedrich Nietzsche. 
As great minds wrestle with these eternal problems the rest of us can figure out how to feed an ever-expanding world population on finite resources. The answer lies in harnessing the power of the Sun and mastering the technology to rearrange matter to our requirements. These things are not beyond us. We already have the basic knowledge and we are making steady progress. But as we conquer space and time drunks and depressives will still be dreaming.
Better Days Ahead
Austerity may not be the answer to the current recession but we still need to economise. We can’t cut health, pensions or education but we could look at defence. We are currently spending £7 bn on two 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers that would be vulnerable to the Chinese “Dongfeng” (East Wind) anti-ship missile with a range of 1600 kilometers. Professor Andrew Erickson of the US Navy has described the missile system as placing US ships “at the wrong side of physics.”
The current estimate of £130 bn for big-ticket defence projects including the replacement of the Trident missile system is way beyond our means.  We should integrate our armed forces with the rest of Europe, negotiate a treaty of friendship with Russia, and withdraw from NATO.
Our biggest expenditure is welfare at £110.9 bn. The majority of welfare recipients are genuine but we are subsidising people who have no intention of going to work. And not content with our own scroungers we are importing them from all over the world. We could make massive savings on welfare. Many people are working cash-in-hand and still signing on the dole, and many so-called single mothers have got a man in the house who should be keeping them. We must clamp down on bogus claimants, strictly control our borders and adjust taxation to ensure that people are better off working.
Dave Cameron blames our economic problems on the eurozone. But the EU did not make us borrow £1.2 trillion to pay for unlimited immigration and our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Blair/Brown government borrowed money to buy popularity at home and prestige abroad. At the same time they neglected British industry and removed all constraints from the banks. This country would still be in dire trouble if the euro had never been issued.
European integration is part of a worldwide pattern of geopolitical realignment. China, South Korea and Japan have agreed to boost cross-investment in government bonds, worth nearly $15 trillion, in a move that will better prepare the countries to protect their financial markets from external shocks (Reuters 03-05-12). This is a revival of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The European Union and the North American Free Trade Agreement are further examples of related states coming together for mutual protection and assistance. 

There is no way that Britain can stand apart from worldwide economic developments.
Recessions are cyclical economic adjustments that occur about every 20 years. They perpetuate capitalism by killing off failing businesses and making room for new ones. And they prove that we are only an island geographically – not economically. The International Labour Organisation predicts that the world economy will recover by 2016. This is also the objective of Barack Obama. If they are right we can look forward to better days ahead. Until then we must keep our nerve and stop wasting money.
Democracy and the Power of the Press
Democracy is supposed to guarantee representative government but the Leveson Inquiry shows that we have been manipulated by Rupert Murdoch since the days of Margaret Thatcher. He took over the Times and the Sunday Times with her blessing and backed her in return. He supported the contemptible Tony Blair and tried to use the same tactics on Dave Cameron to take over B Sky B.
This inquiry shows that the British people are being rounded up and driven like sheep by the popular press. The press proprietors support free markets, open borders and American hegemony, and that is exactly what we have got. If newspapers had different policies there would be an element of choice. But there is very little difference between Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere, the Barclay brothers and Richard Desmond. They all pursue the same eurosceptic, neo-conservative, pro-Zionist policies.
Rupert Murdoch must be given credit for spearheading the modernization of the media. He took on the print unions that were clinging to obsolete technology. He introduced computerization and pioneered satellite television. But he will be remembered for his backing of Tony Blair, his enthusiasm for the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and his support for Israel. He is no better or worse than the rest of the press proprietors.
The less than one third turnout at the May UK elections shows that people are not interested in democracy. They know that voting makes no difference because the country is run by big business. The trappings of government alternate between the established political parties but the real power lies with the giant corporations. Britain is a plutocracy run by newspapers, banks and oil companies.

But cracks are appearing in the monolith of global capitalism. The laws of nature decree that nothing lasts forever. The great empires of antiquity ran their course and the empire of the Rothschilds will be no different. The British Empire relied on deficit spending and the USA adopted the same system when they took over the world in 1945. But now the West is running out of credit and the emerging nations have broken the industrial monopoly of Europe and North America. We live in interesting times. 

Does Race Matter?
The old guard of the far-right believed in keeping Britain white but apart from the National Front most of them have reluctantly accepted the presence of millions of nonwhites. They have been forced to obey laws against racial incitement and most of them now accept that Britain lacks the resources to round up and deport millions of people, many of whom were born and raised here. They have therefore switched their focus from race to religion and campaign against the Muslims. They are supported in this spurious crusade by the pro-Zionist popular press that includes all Muslims in their “war on terror”. Racial hatred is illegal but religious hatred is allowed so long as it doesn’t include anti-Semitism.
Followers of Sir Oswald Mosley’s ideas are divided on the importance of race and both camps use his quotations to justify their arguments. He was no racist but he opposed non-European immigration and campaigned to send them home. Of course their numbers have trebled since his death in 1980. In “Mosley Right or Wrong” he said: 

          “It is right to be proud of your race and to want to preserve it, just as it is right to be proud of your family and want to preserve it. Race exists just as much as family exists, and in much the same way. It is simply a wider form of relationship. Of course, a lot of nonsense is talked about race as about most of the great truths of nature. It is exaggerated nonsense both ways.”

Eu      Europe is defined by its culture and a minority of non-Europeans who share that culture are no threat to its existence. But millions of Africans and Asians with no intention of assimilating are a threat to the survival of the greatest force for civilisation and progress that the world has ever known. One does not have to be a white supremacist to be opposed to unlimited Third World immigration into Europe. The great Irish playwright Samuel Beckett defined an Aryan as: “Blond like Hitler, thin like Goering, handsome like Goebbels, virile like Rohm – and be called Rosenberg.” The Nazis got carried away with racial theory but the defence of Europe and its people is a legitimate objective.
Between the extremes of racism and liberalism lies commonsense. We need to stop all non-European immigration; not a difficult proposition at a time of record unemployment and economic downturn. We must deport non-European criminals, illegal immigrants and bogus asylum seekers. And we should assist all those who want to go home. But limited numbers of law-abiding non-Europeans who are prepared to work hard and embrace our culture can be accommodated. The liberals will sneer about our culture consisting of beer and football. But we have a perfect right to our own way of life and anyone who doesn’t like it only needs to make his way to an airport.
           Europe is the product of its entire people; Celts, Tuetons, Slavs and Latins forged together by war and scientific achievement into a unique civilisation. The USA and Canada are committed to the North American Free Trade Agreement. East Asia is coming together. Brazil leads South America. And the Russian Federation stretches from the Baltic to the Pacific.  The nations of the world are forming themselves into self-sufficient blocs and Europe will be no exception.

          The global capitalist racket depends on cheap labour and open markets but we are entering a new phase of geopolitical development that will link production to consumption. United Europe allied to a resurgent Russia would have the economic, logistic and military power to launch a great programme of resettlement. Non-Europeans who want to go home could be funded by the money saved on welfare benefits and their home countries helped by foreign aid programmes and trade deals. A self-sufficient Europe stretching from Galway to Vladivostok would develop its own foreign policy and act in its own interest. We would not have to bow to international pressure for fear of economic reprisals; we could ignore ratings agencies and outlaw predatory speculators. And the European people who have butchered each other for centuries would be united; not just by political agreement but by blood and culture    
Brave New Europe?
This is the title of a UKIP pamphlet that’s supposed to be a general audit of the European Union. It starts with a potted history of Europe:

“The concept of a ‘united’ Europe under a single authority is by no means a new idea. Imperial Rome was the first to try under the Senate. From then on several others have made determined attempts – a number of popes under the Vatican; Charlemagne with the Holy Roman Empire; Napoleon with his French Empire; Hitler’s Third Reich and Stalin’s Soviet Socialism. They were virtually all ruthless authoritarian or police states. Most viewed Britain with covetous eyes – but apart from Rome and William the Conqueror, none made it across the English Channel. Until now? For the European Union, under the European Commission, can be viewed as the latest adventure...”

UKIP’s contends that every European power from Rome to the Soviet Union was motivated by a desire to invade and occupy Britain. They conflate the EU with Nazi Germany but they fail to mention that Edward Heath had a splendid war record as an officer in the Royal Artillery, or that Jean Monnet served with Charles de Gaulle’s Free French forces.  Instead they accuse the founders the EU of conspiring to enslave us in an authoritarian super state. And they seriously believe that the clerks, accountants and administrators of the EU are dictators.

“A 1942 conference in Berlin, Europaische Wirtschafts Gemeinsschaft (the European Economic Community) published a series of 11 documents, presenting in some detail how Germany intended to rule Europe after winning the war. While this has many similarities with the EU project, the origins of the EU are quite separate. The 12 years of Nazi rule and 50 years of Communist rule, however, clearly gave many executives and civil servants of Europe an enthralling taste of authoritarian control without accountability. They are essentially the same sort of people sitting at the same desks now being increasingly similarly fulfilled by working for the EU project.”
“Vladimir Bukovski, the Russian dissident who spent a total of 12 years in Soviet prisons, labour camps and psychiatric institutes, gives his informed opinion of the EU (or he calls it – the EUSSR).”
“Two of the early enthusiastic proponents of the EU were French president Francois Mitterand (1981-85 was a member of the Vichy government that collaborated with Hitler 1940-1945), and Jacques Delors, an active member of the Vichy Youth (French equivalent of the Hitler Youth) and president of the European Commission 1985–1995.Jose Manuel Barroso, EC President, was an ardent Maoist when a student. President Mitterand of France once told his close confidant, Magoudi: “I will take my revenge on the English upstarts. I will destroy their beloved island by linking it to Europe.”
Mike Greenhough lists all the British institutions that will be banned under the EU dictatorship; our existing political parties, our judicial system, our trade unions and our armed forces. He then assesses the cost of our EU membership:

“The ‘cost’ to the UK of being in the EU is almost impossible to determine with any accuracy, but certainly in excess of £50 billion per year – perhaps even twice that. The nearest and best estimate can be found in an excellent publication by Gerald Battern, MEP for London.”

Gerald Battern’s figure of £50 billion – perhaps even twice that - is ten, or twenty times our actual contribution; but he is better known as a conspiracy theorist than an economist. He will be remembered for a speech on the Bilderberg group that he made to a bemused European Parliament in September 2011:
“It’s impossible not to reach the conclusion that the non-reporting of these events is anything other than a conspiracy between the (Bilderberg) organisers and the media. It merely confirms the belief of many that the Bilderberg group is to bring about undemocratic world government. It’s a disgrace that the European Commission is colluding in that.”
The author is worried about the democratic credentials of the EU but he ignores anti-terrorist laws in the UK and the USA that allow suspects to be detained without charge.  The police state that he worries about is already in place. He goes on:

“What I have done is to take the evidence and put it in a line to see where it points. To me, it points towards a very authoritarian and thoroughly undemocratic European society. There doesn’t seem to be any built-in democratic checks to prevent it systematically guided into becoming a police state. Much of what is in this pamphlet has had to be very short because of space restrictions. You, dear reader must read the references and come to your own conclusion.”
The Nazi concept of Fortress Europe and the Vichy regime were wartime expedients. Jose Barroso may have waived his little red book in his student days but he has been a Social Democrat and a practicing Catholic ever since. Vladimir Bukovski is a member of UKIP and a professional agitator who betrayed the democratic government of Russia when he defected to the West with their military secrets. And when Francois Mitterand referred to Britain’s island status he was talking about the Channel Tunnel that he opened with Queen Elizabeth in 1994.
All the fears and insecurities of UKIP are aired in this pamphlet. They see dark foreign forces including the Vatican and the Third Reich behind a monstrous conspiracy to undermine our pristine democracy. Only those who hate the idea of European solidarity will agree with this reactionary publication that is worthy of the Murdoch press.

Nationalist Perspective
UK newspapers report air disasters according to how many Britons were on board. If a jumbo jet with hundreds of passengers goes down their headline would probably read: “Air Disaster: Two Britons Dead.” This is the nationalist perspective; they see everything in terms of nationality. 
The subject of European unity and the ongoing economic crisis is the clearest example of their limited vision. They refuse to recognise that the sovereign debt problems of the European states are exactly the same as those of the UK, Japan and the USA. 

Greece and California are bankrupt because they borrowed too much money. Greece is a member of the European Union but under the limited remit of the EU she is still treated as a sovereign state. California is supposed to be a sovereign state under the terms of the US Constitution but in fact she is a federal entity kept afloat by Washington and able to borrow money at reasonable rates. If California was treated the same as Greece she would be reduced to starvation. And if Europe had a federal government with one finance minister and a fully empowered European Central Bank the Greek economic crisis would not dominate the headlines. 
Few Americans want to cut California adrift but British and German right-wingers want to throw Greece out of Europe. Their mantra goes: “bring back the drachma, devalue it, the tourists will come back and all will be well.” But Argentina’s experience of breaking with the dollar has been a long and painful descent into poverty. In or out of the eurozone Greece will need the help of her neighbours. We cannot stand by while 12 million Greeks starve to death. Isolation is not the answer.
Journalists writing for the popular press have finally realised that the euro is a political rather than an economic imperative. Well done lads you’re dead right. The next step is to grasp that France and Germany will defend the euro with whatever it takes. It’s not just another currency it’s the symbol of European unity. Of course that will mean nothing to nationalists who favour little states with marching armies and stirring anthems. They would drag Europe back to the days of competing currencies and protectionist tariffs backed up with bayonets. Back to the dark days of 1914 and perpetual hostility. 

If nationalism degenerates into tribalism Belgium will be carved up like Ireland and Spain split into half a dozen states. The UK will be divided into four states and the Union Jack hauled down for the last time. The Serbo-Croat states of the Austro-Hungarian Empire willingly banded together as Yugoslavia after WW1 because they spoke related languages and shared the same Slavic culture. But following the death of Marshal Tito separatists backed by NATO blasted Yugoslavia into seven mutually hostile republics; all of them eager to join the EU. This is what happens when the amoeba mentality of petty nationalism splits nations into ever decreasing units.
Yet Another Conspiracy
The world of conspiracy theory was robbed when the lightning that struck Francois Hollande’s Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft failed to bring it down. The newly appointed President of France was flying to Berlin to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel when it was struck. Reports that she was seen at the Idar-Oberstein Haupstadt der Deutschen Artillerie directing the crew of a Krupp 88 mm flak cannon have been denied.

This incident had everything beloved of the conspiracy enthusiasts; a French president on his way to meet his German counterpart to discuss EU business following an inconclusive Greek election. It would have taken its place along with 9/11, the death of Princess Diana, the JFK assassination and the Moon landing as another triumph for the forces of darkness now known as the “liberal elite.”

If the president’s plane had been less robust books would have been have churned out and the Sunday papers would produced beautiful coloured graphics showing how it was blasted out of the sky. Experts of all sorts would be paraded on television giving their considered opinions and the usual suspects would push their agendas. The left would blame the CIA and Mossad while the right would blame Hamas or Hezbollah. The Jews would put it all down to anti-Semitism, the born-again brigade would see it as a warning of impending doom, and the Daily Telegraph would blame it on the euro.
The fact that it never happened will not stop the conspiracists from speculating. After all it’s not their fault that the Frenchman survived. The website lists hundreds of conspiracies mostly involving Jews and freemasons but including the British Royal Family and a tribe of green lizard people. Some of them are plausible, most of them are beyond belief and nearly all of them tell only part of the story.
In his expose of the money power “The New Unhappy Lords” AK Chesterton blamed the fall of the British Empire on the Bretton Woods Agreement that linked the pound to the dollar and gave Britain a massive bail out. It marked the end of Britain’s independence but the alternative would have been starvation. Our current national debt is bad enough at 62% of GDP but in 1945 it was 180%. We had no choice but to accept an American loan. Our decline was caused by the rise of America, Germany and Japan, our involvement in WW2, the growth of Indian nationalism and the cost of maintaining global forces. It’s unfair to blame it all on Bernard Baruch and the Federal Reserve. 
Now that the West is massively in debt to the Chinese and the Arabs it’s unreasonable to blame our financial troubles on the American Money Power. There was no greater commercial power than Britain in her prime. British bankers and insurers dominated the world and the City of London still exerts enormous financial clout. There will always be trusts and cartels but markets are driven by supply and demand and nations rise and fall by their own efforts; not as a result of conspiracies.  

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