Guilt by Association

Jeremy Corbyn has appointed Andrew Murray his Chief of Communications. The far-left Murray only left the Communist Party of Britain in December 2016.

It’s a standard tactic of many on the Left to attempt to shut down debate by accusing others of being far-right, if not directly, then through ‘guilt by association’, irrespective of the actually openly and plainly-stated values of the target of these accusations.

Perhaps those on the mainstream right should take a leaf out of this book and use the same tactics in kind, and they’d have every justification in doing so.

Consider the record of the extreme left and extreme right during the 20th century.

Fascism killed 28 million people.
Communism killed 94 million people.

IdeologyDeaths20thCentury

Communism killed 335% as many people as fascism.

Can you imagine the outcry if someone who had only recently left the BNP were given a senior position in the Conservative Party? The party which is widely considered to be on the extreme right of British politics (UKIP) has an explicit exclusion clause for members of the BNP – something which can not be said of either of the two main parties.

Communism is not a cuddly and fluffy ideology. The above facts should put any such bizarre notions out of people’s minds. There are complex reasons why it is not seen by a British or a wider European audience in as negative terms as fascism, mainly to do with the inconvenient fact that the western Allies were forced to align themselves with Stalin in order to fight off the more immediate threat of Nazism.

So, I want to emphasise this again. A man who, less than six months ago, belonged to a party which holds an ideology which killed more humans than any other ideology in the 20th century is now a senior member of the Labour Party’s electoral campaign.

This is where any rational mind of the mainstream right would turn to a leftist and use the same ‘guilt by association’ tactics right back at them.

We rightly condemn those on the far right. By those on the far right, I mean those who actually are on the far right, and not those who are commonly accused of being on the far right by anyone who considers anyone to the right of centre as ‘scum’.

By any objective consideration, and unless those on the left are prepared to debate issues without resorting to ad hominem or guilt by association arguments, it’s time that those on the mainstream right simply responded in kind and dismissed their opponents as far-leftists in the same sneering and disgusted tones.

 

Vigenonilateral Negotiations and Stockholm Syndrome

As Lawrence Tomlinson explains in the above excerpt, the reason negotiations between the EU and other nations take so long is because they are not in fact bilateral, but have been vigenonilateral – i.e. not between two parties, but between 29!

This is a long-standing problem in the EU. How do you reconcile the balance between nation states’ sovereign decisions and being able to work efficiently, speedily, and decisively?

The simple answer is that you can’t.

You can have prolonged and tedious discussions to try to elicit a compromise solution between the 28 (soon to be 27) members of the EU, which will inevitably please a minority of member states, probably annoy others, and invariably require some agreements on give and take compromises over other matters, which mean that nobody gets the best of anything and everyone settles for less-than-ideal outcomes.

The obvious (and preferred solution in the EU institutions) is to create a United States of Europe and increasingly erode national sovereignty. This happened in the Council of Ministers following the Treaty of Lisbon, but will be required increasingly across the institutions if the EU hopes to deal with crises and changes in geopolitics in any kind of realistic and sensible timescales.

In the meantime, the UK can get on making plans with the other 168 countries of the world, who somehow manage to survive outside the EU, or at least those which have progressed beyond the Bronze Age.

Regarding any future EU/UK agreement, if it truly takes a decade to hammer out an agreement when we start from a position where our standards are aligned and we incorporate all existing EU law into UK law, that says more about the EU than it does about the UK, and merely demonstrates all too perfectly why we are better off out of the EU.

If the EU prioritises dissuading other potential exiters over the interests of the people and businesses of its member states, is that really a club which appeals? The EU can have a free trade deal with the UK on perfectly decent terms, but says that the four freedoms of movement of goods, capital, services, and people are indivisible. But it is only since January of 1993 that this has been the case.

The more fundamental question is why should the EU need to threaten any member state which wishes to exit? Is that the sign of a healthy relationship? A more confident and self-assured EU would stand by its own positives and appeal to prospective accession countries – in essence, more carrot than stick.

A party which has to lock the doors and demand that its guests enjoy themselves is no party which any sane person would attend willingly, unless they get off on that sort of thing, of course.

A chacun son goût, and all that.

 

Arrogance in Academia

DawkinsAndBoyleEU

This piece was originally written earlier this year, but I didn’t get around to posting it. However, a talking head piece by Richard Dawkins, someone I admire for his other work in evolutionary biology and promoting atheism, once more reminded me of its relevance in the debate around the EU.

People are getting hot under the collar about this article, but they shouldn’t really. It’s utterly revealing about the bigotry and sweeping generalisations of a certain mindset. In short, it is a clear demonstration of how a free press allows people to show their true colours, and out of anger, to reveal their innermost prejudices.

His caricature of Brexit voters, steeped in stereotypes that could only be possessed by someone wholly out of touch with ordinary people, is one which, had it been applied to any other national, racial, or religious group, would have been countered by howls of revulsion from the brigades of PC virtue-signallers.

So, this is a very useful and revealing piece. It not only betrays the author’s true prejudices, but undermines his own credibility.

In the same way that giving BNP an open platform to discuss its ideas was the best means of defeating it (who could forget Nick Griffin’s car-crash appearance on BBC Question Time?), the best means to expose this kind of bigotry is to give its purveyors a platform—or perhaps a scaffold and enough rope would be more apt.

That last paragraph itself would probably leave Boyle confused.

“Wait, this is a Brexiter who says bad things about the BNP? But if he’s a Brexiter, he’s bound to be a UKIPer, pro BNP and have an instant dislike for anyone vaguely foreign or with a strange accent.”

Rather depressingly, this simpleton’s narrative is one I encounter quite often. It speaks volumes as to the lack of nuanced thinking in some people.

It would perhaps astound Boyle that someone like me could be anti-EU; someone who has something in common with himself; namely an academic, university background in Germanistik; and what is more, someone who shares his clear love of European culture; someone who has been “groomed” by the EU’s Erasmus programme, and under the wings of recipients of Monnet money, to be a helpful promoter of the EU agenda.

Unlike Boyle, however, I make a clear distinction between a supranational organisation and a continent.

But of course, whereas I left the halls of academia to seek my fortune in the heady world of employment in business, he remained in academia, studying the fine works of Goethe, Schiller, Böll, Grass, inter alia, surrounded by his fellow soixante-huitards and successive generations of idealistic youngsters, poised at any moment to throw off the old order and usher in a new utopia.

Given the time, I could explain to Boyle that I love Europe, its people, history, heritage, diversity, and geography. But I particularly love its languages. I especially appreciate being one of the all-too-few (and decreasing number of) Brits who learn foreign languages and treasure the fact that I can travel anywhere in the German-speaking or French-speaking countries and communicate fluently in the local language. My Russian is extremely ropey, but I did learn that as a third foreign language from scratch too.

I treasure this linguistic ability. Not only does it allow me to converse with people in other nations in their native tongue, but it allows me to strike up friendships with people with whom I can only communicate through a mutual foreign language—an especially satisfying experience of bridging the gap in communication between peoples, which has allowed me to share great conversations and laughs with people from Spain, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, and many other nationals, none of whom spoke English, and whose languages I couldn’t speak. It has even enabled me to assist fellow Brits when dealing with foreign companies.

But I could also explain to Boyle that, routed in history and politics as my German, French, and Russian studies were, they also taught me of the histories, but most significantly of political developments in those nations, including the background to the foundation of the EU, and, in politics lectures and seminars in Germany, the development of the EU.

I would tell him that one of the key skills I learnt during the course of my studies was that of arguing a point dispassionately, and therefore of the ability to look at things rationally and objectively, and the ability to change views through rational discourse; but perhaps most importantly, the value of primary sources of information, the ability to think things through from first principles, and most importantly, to think for oneself, rather than to rely on anyone else’s narrative, be it that of a political party or media outlet.

I would tell him that one of the aspects I enjoyed in essay writing was being a little contradictory, almost for fun, when situations allowed for it, by making points and backing them up with references. I had a good appreciation of certain lecturers’ own particular biases and quite enjoyed ‘prodding them’ in essays occasionally. To their credit, they would generally take this the right way and give credit for supporting arguments, perhaps going so far as to reward contrary views.

In one German essay I wrote, critiquing the book Der Aufmacher by German undercover journalist and writer, Günter Wallraff, I delighted in pointing out Wallraff’s hypocrisy and actions he carried out for which he condemned others. I still have the essay. My lecturer’s notes at the end:

“A sophisticated study. Well expressed. Complex sentence structure and choice of words. Perhaps more pro-BILD than the facts warrant.”

Having read it again, it was actually a fairly balanced essay, broadly supportive of Wallraff, but I don’t think that he was used to arguments which were in the least bit supportive of BILD, or more accurately, the journalists who worked at BILD and only maintained their positions, and therefore their livelihoods, by following editorial requirements.

Boyle would be a prime target for such ‘prodding’, but based on what he has written here, I fear he would not have the same patience so clearly exhibited by my great lecturers, or a sufficiently open enough mind to read contrary views.

I remain a passionate advocate of foreign language learning and have done as much ‘selling’ of it to my children as I can.

Not only has foreign language learning been shown to be extremely beneficial for our mental faculties and to improve our grasp of our own language, but it opens up a world of new experiences and understanding, of travel and employment opportunities, and of music and literature, although I suspect that Boyle and I diverge on literature as a subject of study.

Foreign literature study has been forever poisoned by my experiences dissecting Camus’ La Peste for A level French—sad, because reading the book for pleasure some years later was an altogether more enjoyable experience—to the extent that a fictional book about the outbreak of plague in 20th century Algeria with allegorical references to the Nazi occupation of France could be described as a subject for enjoyment.

I’ve dwelled on the above personal references merely to point out the weakness of Boyle’s arguments. Supposedly, as an Englishman, I fall nicely into his category of “lager louts of Europe.” Hopefully, the above points illustrate the vacuous nature of his assertions.

We’ll gloss over the fact that I’m not keen on lager and not really all that louty. In fact, I’m pretty rubbish at the whole being a lout business—middle class vicar’s son and all that.

But I have gone through the conditioning of middle class academia and I know what that entails. I indulged in it myself at the time—even buying the whole notion of cultural relativism at one point. But then I continued to read, observe events, discuss, and use that pesky, learned ability to think for myself.

Boyle’s portrayal of fellow English people who voted Brexit is not one I recognise at all.

No, it really isn’t.

There is not a single person I know who voted Brexit whom I would describe as the slightest bit xenophobic. And, I suspect my social circles are a little more varied than those of a Cambridge professor—just a hunch. His attitude is one he’s gained from spending too long in an intellectual echo-chamber where the prevailing attitude is that only people who diverge from its group-think are knuckle-dragging bigots.

But make no mistake; as much as I wholly support his right to make an arse of himself publicly, his article is vile and prejudiced and that is perhaps why, in a superb case of people being hoisted on their own petard, it was quite rightly reported by the head of the English Democrats as a hate crime: reference 42/17384/17.

Ultimately though, what makes a small elite think that it should defy the wishes of the people? We all share the same nation—the difference being that ordinary people, away from the “ivory towers” of high acadmia, are rather more exposed to everyday politcial decisions. Even if the public were wrong in its decisions when consulted, it has just as much right to make bad decisions as those in privileged positions do.

There is no politcal consensus and politicians do not always make good decisions. The current state of the world should be a big indicator of this.

And once again, I can’t help noticing that the country which has the highest citizen engagement in regular referenda and through the direct democracy measures of initiative and recall—a country which is the very politcial antithesis of the EU: namely Switzerland—consistently tops the worldwide rankings on a number of measures.

Use the Ex-Force

American journalist, Tim Pool, has been sending back some excellent reports from his visit to Sweden.

Pool decided to visit Sweden for himself, following Trump’s rather clumsy comments about “last night in Sweden”. His trip was partly funded by Paul-Joseph Watson, a vlogger who offered to pay to send any journalist to Malmo.

Pool’s approach from the start seems to be a refreshing change in its objectivity. We have grown so used to media spin on stories and selective reporting to conform to an editorial position that we have forgotten what decent journalism is. You don’t get opinions from Pool, but straightforward reporting on what he encounters (good and bad) and some great interviews where he poses open questions. It’s nice that he leaves the opinion-forming in the hands of the reader/viewer again. So many outlets now are built on conjecture pieces—and the BBC has become especially guilty of this form of journalism—that it’s a very refreshing change.

Many people who follow current affairs are aware that things are not well in Sweden. And despite Trump’s clumsy attempt to confine Sweden’s problems to one night, only the most unobservant or willfully ignorant person could claim that Sweden remains the bastion of peaceful, harmonious, socially liberal democracy it was recognised as being for decades.

Yesterday, Pool uploaded his interview with Mustafa Panshiri: a refugee from Afghanistan who became a Swedish policeman, but recently resigned from his position to concentrate on educating newly-arrived refugees about Sweden’s and the West’s cultural norms, because, unlike the open-borders fanatics, Panshiri has personal knowledge and experience of these matters from both perspectives and understands that cultural values which are perfectly normal in Afghanistan are not normal (or in some cases even legal) in Sweden.

Why does it take a recently-resigned Swedish policeman, who happens to be an Afghan immigrant and nominal Muslim to point out the bleedin’ obvious? This guy is just full of common sense, and it’s so frustrating that what he says is not mainstream opinion.

It’s frustrating, but obvious why this is the case.

Panshiri can say these things because he himself is an Afghan Muslim immigrant to Sweden, and so can be accused neither of Islamophobia nor racism. It’s a very sad state of affairs when only a member of a perceived oppressed group can speak on these issues to make people listen.

Some things apologists for uncontrolled immigration need to understand:

  1. As Panshiri states, different cultures have different values. His own background is from one where women just don’t have rights. For the elimination of doubt, he tells you this himself. Perhaps doubters will finally grasp this rather self-evident fact.
  2. People’s values don’t magically change when they cross borders. They need to be properly integrated and told that that their own religious views are trumped by western values of secularism and tolerance. Yes, we can criticise your religion, and no, you don’t get to react violently in response. In some cases, immigrants need to be taught how to use toilets.
  3. There is a reason Sweden stopped releasing data on the national origins of criminals in 2005 and has actively blocked the subsequent release of these, even though they are recorded. Why do you think that was? If the ‘far-right’ crowd is wrong in its assertions, these could be swiftly dismissed by releasing these figures. Not releasing the figures not only fuels speculation on this issue, but such reticence merely leads to conjecture that things are far worse than anyone thinks! Release the figures and set the record straight by showing that there is no link between mass immigration and crime.
  4. The first victims of dogmatic identity politics are the victims of the crimes themselves.
  5. The second victims of dogmatic identity politics are the fellow migrants who accept the secular rules of western societies and are happy to integrate, but who are the victims of indiscriminate reprisals.
  6. The third victim of dogmatic identity politics is wider liberal democracy.

Members of society, faced with the daily onslaught of the crimes of backward savages (yes, I’ll happily call them that), and the media and mainstream political apologism for these actions, have increasingly come to the conclusion that the mainstream does all it can to not feed into any racist narrative by taking the opposite approach of denying that there are any problems with large, indiscriminate immigration from backward societies. But ordinary people aren’t stupid. They, unlike the media and political leaders, don’t have the luxury of isolating themselves from what is actually happening on the street.

A further video, again by another immigrant to Sweden (this time a Bosnian immigrant who goes under the moniker the Angry foreigner), takes the Swedish government to task over its rebuttal to widespread assertions over the ongoing issues in Sweden, including the standard response to Sweden’s high rape figures being down to Sweden’s different methodology of recording sex crimes.

It’s well worth a watch.

So, if mainstream politics and media do all they can to cover up these problems, even going so far as to stop gathering inconvenient data, exactly whom do you think the people turn to and elect? If nuance is no longer possible and you either choose to excuse the actions of backward cultures unleashed on western societies or to side with the only people opposing this from the so-called “far right” of politics (which roughly translated, means anyone to the right of centre in SJW-speak), where do you think the direction of travel is likely to be?

Has the penny dropped yet?

Behind the Veil of Respectability

A thought came into my head earlier. It took me back to my student days, studying the German ‘constitution’ (quotes explained below) in Potsdam in 1992, when the burning issue at the time was how to elaborate on the asylum clause in the document.

A few days ago, the German Bundesverfassungsgericht, or Federal Constitutional Court blocked a ban on the NPD—the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands or National Democratic Party of Germany, which is a far-right party, and has existed since the early 1960s.

It has sailed close to being banned in the past (I can recall that it faced such a threat during my student days, and it came close to a ban again in the early 2000s), but just managed to keep on the right side of constitutional law. There is no doubt though, that it is a party which attracts the more extreme elements of the German far right. It has never managed to cross the 5% hurdle required to gain representation in the German Bundestag, or Federal Assembly, but has managed to gain seats in state parliaments.

The German Grundgesetz, or Basic Law, is the German ‘constitution’. It was not officially called a constitution when it was draughted, post World War 2, because that term was reserved for the then hoped-for constitution of a future reunified Germany.

Since this goal of reunification was achieved (and far more quickly than anyone expected), the term Grundgesetz is still used to refer to the document which sets the legal framework of the Federal Republic of Germany, evidently because reunification was effectively (with few exceptions) a takeover of the German Democratic Republic by the Federal Republic of Germany and the merger of the newly-created six states of the former GDR into the Federal Republic rather than a mutual union of two nation states; a state of affairs which caused (and continues to cause) much consternation for years on the part of those Ossis, or GDR citizens, who believed that not every aspect of the GDR was bad, and that an opportunity to incorporate positive aspects of GDR society into the newly-unified Germany were squandered.

The first nineteen articles of the Basic Law relate to core human rights and cannot be revoked. They are the ‘eternal clauses’ and were written, post World War 2, very much with recent German history in mind. They can be expanded upon or clarified, but they are, to all intents and purposes, permanent and irrevocable.

Article 4, Paragraph 1 states:

“Die Freiheit des Glaubens, des Gewissens und die Freiheit des religiösen und weltanschaulichen Bekenntnisses sind unverletzlich.”

“Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom to profess a religious or philosophical creed, shall be inviolable.”

So, at the start of the Basic Law, freedom of religion is set out as a core right.

In Article 21 of the Basic Law, Germany has a controversial article which some believe borders on the curtailment of freedom of conscience, but was designed to prevent the rise of a successor to that funny mustachioed Austrian bloke.

Article 21, Paragraph 2 states:

“Parteien, die nach ihren Zielen oder nach dem Verhalten ihrer Anhänger darauf ausgehen, die freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung zu beeinträchtigen oder zu beseitigen oder den Bestand der Bundesrepublik Deutschland zu gefährden, sind verfassungswidrig. Über die Frage der Verfassungswidrigkeit entscheidet das Bundesverfassungsgericht.”

“Parties that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their adherents, seek to undermine or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional. The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule on the question of unconstitutionality.”

The article was used a couple of times in the 1950s as the legal framework for the German Constitutional Court to ban the extreme right SRP, the Sozialistische Reichspartei (the Socialist Reich/Empire Party) and the extreme left KPD, the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (the Communist Party of Germany).

Some are appalled that political parties can be banned, but I have some sympathy with the notion that a constitution should not allow for the existence of parties or organisations which seek to undermine its fundamental principles.

But this is where things get interesting…

Whilst political parties can be banned for being anti-constitutional, there is no such provision in the Basic Law which would cover religions, so presumably adherents to a religion which didn’t believe in the fundamental principles espoused by the German Basic Law would be free to preach the downfall of the German Republic and the repeal of its laws in a way that would see secular promoters of such ideals prosecuted. Not only that, but followers of an anti-constitutional religious doctrine would be protected by their inviolable right to freedom of religion or philosophical creed, as set out under Article 4, which, if you recall, is a right which cannot be revoked.

This presents a couple of interesting potential scenarios.

On the one hand, there is clearly nothing to stop religious adherents preaching the downfall of the German state in line with their own holy books and scriptures, in a way which a political party could not do in its own core principles without finding itself banned.

On the other hand, it does make me wonder why any determined extremist party doesn’t simply hide under the veil of a religion.

There are adherents to certain religions who have equally backward and anti-constitutional beliefs to extreme political parties. In fact, many religious adherents often go even beyond revoking the German Basic Law, rejecting the notion of any man-made law and demanding the imposition of religious law.

So, without wishing to give any ideas to extremist parties, what would happen if a new Führer arose and dressed his political ambitions up as religious beliefs? The Nazis were halfway there as it was, founded on the back of the Thule Society, and with a mixed bag of occultism, astrology, and Nordic mythology playing a big part in the highest ranks of the Nazi party.

In other words, what if an extremist party were simply to assume the trappings of a religion?

Sure, such a party wouldn’t be recognised as an official religion, which seems to rely on numbers of adherents and offers tax breaks and special status under German law, but could well potentially enjoy the officially-recognised status of a ‘sect’.

How would the German Constitutional Court address such a problem? What is it that gives otherwise abhorrent ideologies the veneer of respectability if they invoke the supernatural?

Answers on a prayer card to the Bundesverfassungsgericht, c/o Frau Kanzlerin Angela Merkel.

 

Playing the Dead

Back in 2004, I was playing in a band I was with for many years, called BAiT. At the time, we were writing material for a new album under a new line-up. Our keyboard player, Nick, shared a love of Prog rock, and we were making efforts to write generally concise and melodic songs using a pallette of Prog instrumentation, with Andy using a Rickenbacker 4001 bass and Moog Taurus bass pedal sounds, and Nick making extensive use of his genuine vintage 1973 ARP Pro Soloist keyboard, virtual analogue synths, and, perhaps notably for the guts of the underlying keyboard texture, Mellotron samples.

For those unaware, the Mellotron was a kind of proto-sampler, developed by Streetly Electronics in Birmingham, England, comprising a keyboard which played individual tape recordings of recorded instruments (or voices, or musical segments) for up to eight seconds. They were the mainstay of Prog and are easily recognisable for their distinct sound.

During the couse of writing one track for the album, at the time untitled, which we were working on as a group, Nick said something quite profound.

“Of course, you do realise that the people who played the actual instruments sampled on these tapes are probably dead now.”

His comment was latched on to and we instantly titled the song Playing The Dead, which gave us a concept around which to hang the song, and the lyrics for Andy, to whom the task of writing lyrics in group compositions generally fell.

The latest Star Wars film has seen a bit of a reaction in certain media about the use of the likeness of Peter Cushing, who played in the original Star Wars (A New Hope), but died in 1994. The assertion in the Guardian and Huffington Post is that the use of a CGI manipulation of Cushing is disrespectful. How exactly is this disrespectful, if Cushing’s family gave its blessing? And why do such objections not apply to listening to the vocal performances of now deceased singers?

Should we stop listening to dead singers out of respect? I imagine there were similar thoughts about capturing recorded human voices in the first place. Indeed, hearing Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinvil’s sound recordings from 1860 is a little eerie.

I’ve had a conversation a couple of times with people along the lines of how in the not-too-distant future, deceased artists will be able to be “resurrected”, thanks to technological developments.

In my head, I can conceive that we will be able to extract individual phonemes from an existing, isolated vocal performance of a now deceased singer and use these as part of a wholly original vocal performance in a new song. As technology improves, we will be able to refine this technique, synthesising missing phonemes and accurately altering pitch with ever-improving technology until the end result sounds authentic. Artists like Mike Oldfield have already made use of full voice synthesis, such as Vocaloid, but this still suffers from the “robotic” effect and remains unconvincing to the human ear, but this technology will inevitably improve dramatically.

Some may see this as weird, others will see it as disrespectful, but others still will see it as a yardstick against which we can see how these technologies are progressing.

And as uncomfortable as it may be to some, perhaps the idea of being able to interact with a level of AI in the guise of a deceased love one may actually provide a great deal of comfort for a lonely, old person in future.

Perhaps today’s great singers could oblige by providing recordings of themselves singing a range of words in different pitches to lay the groundwork for such a legacy. And if that seems odd, consider that as Freddie Mercury faced his own mortality, he was selflessly, and despite great suffering, busily recording vocal parts for his Queen bandmates, for songs he knew he would not hear completed.

For my part, I kind of look forward to a development which allows for a natural sounding synthesis of classic voices from the past and to hear these resurrected in new contexts. I see the recreation of a vocal part of a deceased person no more or less disrespectful than using a sound sample of them passing a bow across a string or blowing into a flute and I’m quite looking forward to future releases of long-deceased artists.

What finer tribute to their voices than making them alive and relevant again to future generations?

Sticks and Stones

I’ve just seen an interesting video (warning – usual sweary content from the start) by that omnipresent gobshite of the left-leaning millennial’s social media feed, Jonathan Pie, and, unusually, I find myself in almost full agreement with him. OK, so the guy has made his career out of relying on “righteously” angry and sweary videos, as though rage lends credence to arguments, but his latest offering is quite insightful and his anger is directed at a section of his usual supporters.

In essence, he’s blaming the victory of Donald Trump on the Left.

Sam Harris has said similar, albeit emphasising the liberal inability to name Islamist terrorism for what it is, when anyone with half a brain can see that mass murder accompanied by cries of “Allah uh akbar” probably does have something to do with Islam and a president or presidential candidate who not only won’t admit this or worse still, goes out of their way to deny it, is engaging in pure obscurantism.

Faced with people prepared to lie in the face of plainly-observable reality, where does that leave you? Apparently it leaves you in the hands of an unsubtle orange bloke who shoots from the hip and isn’t political establishment enough to tread very carefully with mealy-mouthed words, all the time ensuring that one or another section of the electorate isn’t offended, lest it should fail to support you on election day.

On Brexit, anyone I attempted to engage in positive discussion on the issues, with one exception (a friend who happened to move to the U.S. several years ago) declined, or even said they didn’t want to because I supposedly knew more about the facts around the EU!

Name-calling, forwarding bullshit on social-media, and failure to engage in true debate got the world where it is.

Those who disagree with the course the world is taking had better start to equip themselves with solid, logical, arguments and above all had better start to grasp that the way to win people around to their side is probably not ad hominem attacks.

I am no fan of Trump, but the contrarian in me is increasingly disposed to defend him and his supporters, simply because I find the reaction to him (including calls for the murder of white men, alongside rejections of the democratic process) more distasteful than the Donald himself. And yes, I can at least see why a disaffected worker whose job has gone overseas to a cheaper Chinese worker might be tempted to vote for an isolationist, who’s threatened to impose massive import tariffs on multinationals if they don’t repatriate significant numbers of their jobs.

Pie is right. People won’t declare their true intentions publicly or even privately to pollsters, because they fear the reaction. At a time when the level of debate has sunk to such a low level that people actually use the terms “right wing” or “Tory” (in the UK) as insults, as though these perfectly respectable epithets somehow magically won debates, it’s hardly surprising that people who fall into those categories won’t disclose the fact publicly.

Someone summed the situation up brilliantly in something I read just after the U.S. presidential election.

“Trump supporters didn’t believe everything Trump said in his campaign, but respected him. The liberal media believed everything he said in his campaign, but didn’t respect him.”