Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know,
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
That was The Second Coming by WB Yeats. Good eh? No didn't like it? Such a philistine age. I suppose you'd be crazy for a repeated sample of some classic 80s track and some alpha male shouting all over it. How about 'Video killed the radio star' by Buggles. I always thought that was catchy as hell. No! Don't actually do it! I've got nothing to threaten you with! I'm holding a gun to my head. You want see a little bunny shot dead? What are you talking about, Bluebell? This is 2016, that's exactly the sort of thing people want to see. Look at them out there. Each with a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun.
Eat my little round droppings, humanity. Your time has come.
Bluebell here again! Last time I expounded on why anti-politics political candidates might be snake-oil salesman and ended by saying that real change mostly comes about through war and revolution. That’s what I’d like to expand on here but before I get going I am aware that it’s hard to read a big block of text on the internet if only because how many great distractions there are. I understand but stick with it you human-people. This is worth your time I swear to Frith! Without wanting to blow my own little trumpet too much I have to point out that I’m smarter than the average bear. Now that might not sound too impressive but that is much smarter than the average rabbit which is what I am, sort of. I’m probably not as smart as the average human, I’ve simply not been bothered to do the relevant tests, but I can at least provide a view from a different perspective.
So yes I’m probably talking about fundamental change in socio-economic relationships predominantly but not entirely as technological changes can be generated by the necessities of war and the intellectual ferment of revolution but this is by no means a rule. The first and second world wars certainly produced profound innovations as did the cold war (like this internet thing here) but world war 3 could easily reverse decades or centuries of progress and as for revolution I don’t need to list revolutionary movements that have seized societies whilst being anti-science. You could argue that they don’t stay successful being anti-science and you probably should. Of course there are many other changes that occur on society like cultural or philosophical but I’d best not get too bogged down as it all links together in the big web of everything anyhow.
So to explain how real change can come as opposed to the at best geologically gradual improvements that stable democracy provides or the cheap and dangerous product sold by anti –politics demagogues I’m afraid I’m going to have to use a bit of an analogy. Now I’m aware that analogies don’t always bear the weight that strident people load on to them but they can be somewhat helpfully illustrative. It’s not a big or complex analogy. I’ve talked it down too much. In fact I’m going to pretty much ditch it but still imagine a great pendulum swinging between the power of labour and capital. That is those who tend to do all the work and those whose work is to own. At crisis points of history like after the black death or during a war, the collective can greater dictate the terms of its labour and gain a greater share of the wealth it creates in society but when capital has more power it can risk more of its inflated share on more speculative innovation that can create value that would not have existed in society otherwise. This is where you are at the moment and why real power in your society is held by high-technology robber-barons whose libertarian Atlas-Shrugged ideology is still dominant in western society especially in the English-speaking bit. The failure and current near absence of the a planned collective alternative to this kind of thing has accelerated this swing why the gap in living standards between the top and bottom has grown so wide pretty much everywhere. On a related note I’m well aware that this is essentially a Marxist analysis on the current human situation but don’t be all scared off by that. Economic class relationships exist and it is only human social choices that dictate how these are negotiated. It doesn’t have to be some binary history-driving pendulum swing nonsense. Hey perhaps the crank is a better analogy. Too late! Anyway even applied Marxism had its moments. A Marxist state was able to have not only the first man orbiting the Earth but also the first corpse of a dog.
So if it’s a choice between war and revolution I think I’d pick revolution but war seems more likely and would probably abort prematurely or immediately follow revolution anyway. ‘The revolution is an act of violence’ says Mao. Perhaps coercion is the bottom line for your kind? You are driven by fear and desire like any other animal and like any other natural phenomena human society exhibits ebb and flow and tipping points. The difference is that you can attempt to consciously influence the flow and force the point to tip with a cold rational act of violence if you choose. Or alternatively try to live out some vision of solidarity and carefully try to negotiate out the many various needs that generate national, civil, social conflicts. State structures accumulate corruption and bureaucracy but try to keep them well maintained through participation and vigilance and they can actually serve you well and provide a minimum of civilisation that’s way better than waiting for a super-rich benefactor to provide for you if he feels sorry enough for you little people. I know, I know. This is super-lame pinko bunny-rabbit talk. Better advice is to hope the coming nuclear wars stay limited to military targets rather than over your house and keep a few tins of beans handy or something so you can survive and pass on your flawed carnivore genes to another generation of nasty primates.
Hope some of this made sense. It’s hard you know. I feel I’m not what I was but somehow I’ve got to get it out before I end up as someone or something’s food which is not only likely as I’m in the form of a helpless bunny-rabbit but is the fate of all living things.
(To the theme tune of The Flintstones)
Norquist! Grover Norquist!
Out of the Republican Party
He was on my TV
Talking about tax policy
Quit while you’re ahead, Bluebell. Norquist was on BBC’s Hardtalk programme discussing an election wots going on in The United States of America. Now as a bogus European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) it’s really not my place to comment on the political process on a different continent but I’m sure there’ll be an ersatz American Cottontail rabbit (Genus Sylvilagus) somewhere or other to supply you with some fraudulent Lagomorph opinions if that’s what you like. Hey you’ve read this far! Perhaps you do.
Anyhoo all I’ll say on the subject of the US Presidential election is to congratulate that nation on picking some real interesting candidates for that role. Nuff said. However I am entitled to speak of European elections and we have some pretty important ones heading away not least in the French Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany where President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel respectively both face the challenge of movements that can be described (with a very broad brush) as being anti-political; that is of rejecting a perceived political mainstream that has held power for as long as most of the population has been alive. Now in both these cases the challenging parties (National Front and Alternative For Germany) can also be reasonably described as populist, euro-sceptic and anti-immigration like UKIP here in Britain and a host of other parties throughout our continent but the anti-politics trend goes further to include Marxism re-emerging after decades of relatively little activity and even groups seeking (and sometimes winning) elections on comedic platforms . Is this a bad thing? Certainly not! If you believe (and this has been a mainstream belief in western Liberal Democracy) that competition is inherently good then competition of the prevailing ideology of the entire civilisation can only be a healthy, revitalising thing and if these new developments appear ludicrous or even dangerous then you’ve entered the wonderful realm of cognitive dissonance. Don’t worry it’s not as bad as it sounds and really the worst that can happen is you might find yourself imagining despite all appearances to the contrary that you’re a woodland animal or something.
No I have no beef with anti-politics. Who likes politicians? They’re often almost childishly partisan, too willing to take the opportunities for crafty self-betterment that are invariably placed under their noses, too keen to implement ill-thought out, expensive gimmicky policies and too prone to pandering to a herd-instinct news industry agenda. Perhaps, though I should attempt some expectation management as they call it these days to those hoping their kind can be expunged, because what politicians aren’t responsible for (certainly not solely responsible) are the vast changes that have occurred to the global economic system especially since the end of the cold war but are really much much older in development. I’m speaking of the forces that close factories and change vibrant communities into ghost towns and have erased the concept of a safe life-long career for individuals whilst creating glitzy organisations more powerful than nation states that feed the human need for novelty and innovation while simultaneously redesigning the social contracts that have underpinned societies that pre-date us all. See how big all this is? How naïve it is to imagine that any of this can be diverted by not returning a mainstream candidate. Perhaps the single biggest change I can really think an elected politician having made is President Nixon’s opening to China in the early 1970s which may have been intended as a strategic move against the Soviet Union but to put it rather crudely awoke Napoleon’s sleeping dragon and here we are nearly 50 years later and China’s directed capitalism built on the foundation of Mao’s centralising tyranny is a fact in all our lives. That’s where your factories went. The rise of living-standards of the west may not be so impressive any more but in China, India and the rest of what used to be called the developing world this is an awesome human achievement. Not that it makes me happy. Bunny-rabbit remember.
So take your anti-politics candidate. Put them in the position of making decisions over what may or may not be done by in your nation state and who pays for what and who should be paid for it and then has to juggle all the competing baby-bird mouths demanding their share and there you are; you got yourself a politician right there. Just ask the Greeks what happened to their rebel Syriza government. Same thing if the Americans elect that guy there. He’s got his excuses ready-those clowns in congress etc. Only wars and revolutions really change society and whilst those effects can be positive in the long run, they’re a bummer to live through.
Anyway sorry if the writing goes a bit askew there. I bit off more than I chew and was wasting valuable time that could be spent doing…well anything else. Like drinking tea or sleeping or something. Maybe just sniffing some bushes. I’m going to go and do that. Perhaps I'll clean this up later so it makes slightly more sense.
Apologies also to Andy Zaltzman & co too.