pushback, society


Culture is the evolving software of human society. History is its essential version control.

Reese Macbeth (Culture Euthanasia, 2015)

“Rhetoric is an egocentric rubric homiletic, a hermetic critic-antithetic arithmetic of generic academic splenetic mimetic delivered by a magnetic energetic cleric as cosmetic epistemic polemic.

@MertonFuton We hear social media is bad for kids. We’re told it’s turning society tribal and pushing the tribes into extremism. Why then, if that’s the case, are young adults – supposedly the most susceptible, the most immersed in a social media world – the ones calling for a society that cares for its citizens and urging all human beings to work together to save the planet?

Compare this to the elderly, with all their historical advantages, the savings they’ve hoarded and a life experience that should’ve laid bare the tricks and dodges of the political classes.

The elderly choose to build walls to building communities. The elderly vote isolation over inclusion, conservative over progressive, and, when given the chance to pick the best leaders for society’s future, vote to empower luddite demagogues preaching messages of 21st-century fascism? What’s more, it’s the elderly whose voting is so cynical and self-serving the prospect of universal rights to healthcare and education are reasons to mistrust and often outright deride.

Seems the less the exposure to social media and the more limited the access to a plurality of media, the more prone to tribal extremism. No surprise this isn’t a truth given airtime by the mainstream media.

There’s a world of difference between tweeting and talking (verbally, in text, whichever). People often think the difference is in the content i.e. tweets are short, sharp soundbites whereas talking is open-ended, detailed and more like natural speech.

But maybe the difference between talking and tweeting in the intention. Talking is a mutual hope, reaching out to other human beings. Talking includes an expectation of interaction. Talking is personal. Tweeting is a word graffiti, reaching out to public spaces, a self-interested isolated form of expression. Tweeting excludes the expectation of interaction. Tweeting is impersonal. Tweets don’t need to respond to anyone’s reply.

@BDSixsmith When people like Sir Philip Pullman call Britain a “foul country” it represents the leafiest, most comfortable kind of parochialism.

@sterileprom In different times, an old respected writer like Philip Pullman might’ve been able to play the role of literary social butterfly without it being distasteful. He probably perceives himself as embodying a benign, comfortable England; a great seafaring nation that’s renowned the world over for being civilized, discerning and quite reasonably top of the tree.

But this is 2020. England is not what it was. The lie of its global image has been exposed. Pullman’s smug paternalism is offensive. Doubly so because his ilk – his educated, entrenched middle class – had the power to do good and chose not to stand up when it mattered. Time and time again, this wealthiest of demographics declined to act against economic and cultural tyranny.

Brexit and the degradation of the British electorate are merely the latest in a long list of consequences for the English middle-class’s smug passivity. Its wealth and influence are nowadays being plundered at such a rate, there may be no avuncular Philip Pullmans left in a few generations. Few will mourn their passing.

Little soundbite terms like “go figure?” get used by so many intelligent people, unable to escape the self-satisfied rhetoric trap (e.g. their tweet) but – without saying it – choose to be unable or unwilling to reach out in a personal sense, to communicate with and possibly persuade the contrarian outgroup individual (e.g. MAGA hats, Brexiteers). Do they ever really try? They know it will be difficult, mostly thankless and often disdained. Intelligent people, anticipating this powerful rebuttal, dig their heels in and choose to deride the opposing demographic, mockery being safer and easier than engagement.

@Anna_Soubry Most striking take away from today’s [February 2020] #reshuffle [British government cabinet] is #Johnson‘s [Boris Johnson, British PM] barefaced hypocrisy. When he was Foreign Sec he did, said & wrote exactly what he wanted. Now he’s finally got his paws on the top job he demands from every Minister the one thing he’s never had – loyalty.

@STERILEPROM Authoritarians like Boris appeal to the worst instincts of the target demographic, whatever is needed to win power, with no respect for continuity or truth if the gain outweighs the risk of future harm. This thinking defeats moderate conventions not because it’s inherently hypocritical but because it’s playing a different game altogether.

@STERILEPROM Until opponents face this new paradigm, wily populists with good public relations teams will continue to win elections. These elections are, after all, simply popularity contests. One man one vote. Judging on merit as a voting criteria is 100% optional.

“Human culture is the complex software that’s transformed us from short-lived hunter-gatherers. But it’s never perfect. History is our software’s essential version control.”

@peoplesvoteUK We will march with up to a million people, to bring our message to the heart of government. We will present this online petition with over 6 million signatories. We will call for a second referendum. We must be allowed to vote on the Brexit deal, with an option to remain. Come one, come all, come join us this weekend. We’ll give the Tory government our ultimatum together, united!

@JohnWest_JAWS The Government will try to pretend there is no real wish for us to be in the EU. We must challenge this lie. Margaret, of the 6.1m petition, has launched this new one. People, we need EVERYONE to sign. This HAS to be the biggest petition in history. https://t.co/NVRxtcDlAK

@sterileprom Another petition? Then maybe yet another jolly march through wide cafe-lined streets in central London? It’ll be a lovely day out I’m sure but it’s a vanity project celebrating middle class diversity and not a call to the plurality of voters (working-class included). Look; until the educated, well-meaning middle class get off their arses and personally engage the Brexit-supporting voter base in their segregated communities, there’ll be no change to government policy OR misguided voting demographics along lines of class.

Progressive “Remainer” Engaging Reactionary “Leavers” in the UK over Brexit

@Femi_Sorry We [the liberals and the progressives] weren’t polite ENOUGH. We allowed the narrative that Remainers are calling all Leavers stupid to thrive. Remainers weren’t EU experts any more than Leavers. Our job was to call out stupid arguments WHILE respecting Leave voters, e.g. an argument that a $17.5 trillion economy of 500 million people needs a $2.5 trillion economy of 65 million people more than the reverse is an objectively stupid one. But very few people heard it put that way. Only extreme nationalists would buy that.

@sterileprom Remain (and the Labour Party) lost because they spent all their time communicating en masse, like proclamation to an audience rather than conversation with individuals. This condescension quickly becomes dehumanizing. Why should the liberal opinion presume an authority that deserves the metaphorical podium? The majority, not yet decided about how they felt about Brexit, was alienated and never recovered. Tribalism developed and it was perpetuated rather than countered by disrespectful patrician conceit!

Half the battle against extremism is lost if you allow it to flourish unchecked; and checking it can’t be done without communicating one to one, human to human. @Femi_Sorry had a feel for this – he made a point of getting out and debating Brexit voters direct – but even this was part-performance. Nobody progressive ever tried to engage the moderates, leaving a void the populist right-wing quickly exploited as an opportunity for profit and power.


@MertonFuton What fun it is to be a voyeur on someone else’s fall from grace! Comment. Pray for. Criticize. Joke. Hate. Sympathize. Mock. Gossip. Rubberneck. Preach. Doesn’t matter which you do, it’s all the same. It’s nothing. Anyone cares enough about mental illness (or this drug-addled basketball player) should find the call of conscience simple: go find the guy (or 500,000 like him in the United States). Shake him by the hand, when you’ve found him. Helping him, in a real life way, begins and ends with personal contact. Everything else is either virtue-signaling or sententious trolling, however pretty you think you’re spinning it.

@Andrew_Adonis Cummings & Corbyn are the twin evils of modern British politics. The sooner they are both history the better Let’s get back to sensible social democracy

@sterileprom Twin evils? But Johnson and Cummings are two sides of the same Thatcherite sociopath coin. The REAL other evil, if we genuinely want to course correct, is middle-class disconnection. Maybe it was ever thus. But newly embedded or fanning the embers of past xenophobia, populism always fills the vacuum left by middle-class retrenchment. The biggest failure of sensible social democracy was its failure to stay connected with the whole of society and it looks like nothing has been learned from the past 10 years of Conservative austerity.

If you abandon the lower classes to their ghettos, don’t be surprised when the demagogues hired by big money corporate interests find a way to mobilize them into a source of power and profit.

Trump’s MAGA blue-collar supporter base spells out the consequences of disconnection in letters that should be visible on both sides of the Atlantic.



#2 was selected for the challenge entry. It’s not perfect. Any suggestions for improvement would be welcome!

  1. Reality is an objective aspiration to see the world as it is, subjectivity held to account by science. It is the distillation through the scientific method of the observed, experienced environment – from the proximately tangible all the way to universal conditions – separating the erroneous white noise of bias, habit, ephemera and error from those persistent peer-reviewed conclusions that most accurately codify the diverse crucible of existence.
  2. Reality is the distillation of observed experience using the scientific method to winnow the erroneous white noise of cognitive dissonance, bias, presumption, subjective distortions and imperfect memory – so as to most accurately codify, without objective evidential contradiction, the persistent conditions of macrolimbic existence.
contrarian, politics, society


Boris Johnson and his Brexiteer organ grinders have two goals: Exit Day and a Parliamentary majority. They go hand in hand. Winning a majority in the House of Commons will hand the new government absolute control over when and how Exit Day happens. It is only the hung parliament and Conservative Party in-fighting that’s prevented Exit Day from happening already. If Boris Johnson wins the election on December 12th, any expectation of a moderate, progressive resolution to Brexit and the UK’s future becomes, overnight, a busted flush.

EXIT DAY is enshrined in British and European law as the Brexit rubicon. It is a specific day, whatever the eventual date. On EXIT DAY everything changes. Brexit happens. Future agreements, borders, customs, withdrawal legislation details, political promises: whatever these may or may not become, EXIT DAY stands as a distinct, legally unambiguous end-point.

On EXIT DAY all legal regulation of Parliamentary authoritarian excess ends. Any government with a safe majority in the House of Commons will have free-reign to do as it pleases. Be assured, an ambitious servant of the big capital like Boris Johnson will use this mandate to the fullest possible extent. He’ll govern with the twin aims of bolstering his position (future elections included) and forcing through an extreme legislative agenda. Deregulation will begin immediately, sweeping away pesky safety standards and social protections, removing all pretence of regulatory restrictions on what can and can’t be sliced up for capital exploitation.

There objective will be to change the British regulatory infrastructure. This will result in no safety net, no fundamental human rights, no independent centres of legal authority capable of limiting extreme partisan policy. Everything is up for grabs: public finances, the NHS, pension funds, national debt, utilities, infrastructure, schools, colleges, media, police, prisons, justice and the courts. The United Kingdom will become a de facto commodity, a smorgasbord of multi-trillion dollar opportunities for capital exploitation.

Everyone below the line of financial independence will become cannon fodder; not only those at the bottom – the zero hours contracts, the pensioners, the legally ambiguous migrant poor – but the traditional ‘working class’ labour force, the industrious ‘lower middle class’ and up into the liberal ‘professional’ middle classes. All those demographics whose day to day life is tied to the UK by reason of money, property, family, roots, hope and fortitude, will face a future at the mercy of a rapacious, deregulated authority outside their control.

Government, in thrall to the crony capitalist cabal, is a profit-first policy maker. The electoral system in the United Kingdom invests its executive with dangerous but – in effect – direct and unfettered legislative power. Britain is a populous high-GDP country with a fairly affluent, passive citizenry. Bank bailout and austerity have shown the entrenched big capital interests how easily the ‘people’ can be worked, taxed and abused.

There was a short period of anxiety, in the immediate aftermath of the 2008-2009 financial crisis but no consequences were visited on those behind it. Billions were handed over from the government treasuries and, ultimately, all the costs were borne entirely by the people.

If anything the bail outs were a profitable exchange for the investors as the public footed the bill. Small wonder the crony capitalist class quickly regained its self-confidence. Austerity can fade away now; not because the government has balanced its finances but because big capital has a far bigger opportunity in the crosshairs: the institutional bleeding of tens of millions of helpless British cash cows with nowhere to go and – perhaps soon – nowhere left to hide.

All the government needs to do, to set in motion the big capital coda, is carry out a comprehensive deregulation. The first and most important part of this plan is to cut the United Kingdom off from the European Union. This happens on EXIT DAY and it can’t be walked back.

In the blink of an eye, this lot gets repealed: European Communities Act 1972, European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, European Parliament (Representation) Act 2003, European Union (Amendment) Act 2008, European Union Act 2011, European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Act 2012, European Union (Approvals) Act 2013, European Union (Approvals) Act 2014, Serious Crime Act 2015, sections 82 and 88(5)(c), European Union (Finance) Act 2015, European Union (Approvals) Act 2015… and all the subordinate and associated legislation.

And changes: Finance Act 1973, Interpretation Act 1978, European Economic Area Act 1993, Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, Human Rights Act 1998, Scotland Act 1998, Northern Ireland Act 1998, Government of Wales Act 2006, Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

Make no mistake, Britain (and its component nations) won’t collapse after EXIT DAY, but the government will be – in effect – a dictatorship. It won’t need to push its authority into the public sphere immediately, though it will be tempted to flex its muscles, to underline what unopposed is going to mean for the country. This will be a way to make sure the media spin is properly in line with directives from above. What’s more, institutions built up over decades using tax-revenues from generations of hard-working men and women, like the National Health Service, are vast propositions ripe for organised government sanctioned plunder. Carving up one of the world’s biggest economies will take years. There’s no modern precedent.

It’s the EXIT DAY that enables unregulated government by an elected totalitarian executive able to make law over 65 million citizens without fear of contravening supranational human rights. EXIT DAY leaves government free to legislate away protections of all kind, safe from EU oversight. EXIT DAY raises the drawbridge between the United Kingdom and Europe. EXIT DAY is the breach in the wall separating the unregulated forces of hungry capital from the public sphere (civic goods and services, private citizen rights) millions rely on for their health and daily quality of life.

The UK will never recover what’ll start bleeding away in earnest once EXIT DAY happens. That will be the day its membership of the European Union terminates, de facto de jure de profundis. Forty five years of agreement, compromise, mutual benefit and legal protection become repealed, instantly. It beggars belief there are some in the English working class planning a celebration their loss of freedom!

Whichever way a democracy votes, however much one may cry out against being guided by misguided, manipulated self-interest, it’s nonetheless making a choice. That choice may have been conditioned by complicit media, ramping up prejudice and vanity to scapegoat anyone presuming to warn the public, but it’d be a cop out not to face the reality. No gun, no police baton, no fear of authoritarian violence will be forcing the general public to place their vote for a servant of the vested interests on December 12th. Britain’s electorate is free; and this includes being free to vote for an act of unparalleled self-harm.

If the British electorate vote the Conservative Party under Boris Johnson into power, it’ll be hard to argue against the new Tory orthodoxy. After all, the UK has been through a decade of austerity under this self-same party. It’s endured years of Brexit shenanigans. We’ve witnessed firsthand an unapologetic executive disdain for the legislature. The Supreme Court has had to censure the unrepentant government for illegal abuses of the constitution. There is near-universal certainty Brexit will cause economic hardship.

Tory victory can only come if the people most hurt by austerity, Brexit and broken public services choose somehow to forget their lived reality and vote once again for the political class responsible for their plight.

What’s more, Britain has a long history of Conservative governments – most far less extreme than Boris Johnson and his crony capitalist cabal – taking a wrecking ball to the working-class communities across the country. Margaret Thatcher’s war against the mineworkers is just one of many cases in point.

Conservatives have always advocated the interests of corporate business over public services. Their policies, even before Brexit, came from a vision parsed exclusively by a cartel of elite historical wealth in alliance with new money actors essential for keeping the deeply entrenched but segregated establishment de rigeur with the voting cannon fodder. This cosmopolitan money class has always disdained the lower orders as authors of their own self-sabotaging destiny. Conservatism in the United Kingdom has mirrored these beliefs for a century.

Big capital ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality cherry picks the upwardly mobile exceptions from the mass of lumpen proletariat, allowing the ‘best’ to class migrate, leaving the ‘rest’ to fester in their unspeakably awful world. One might almost share their belief that the lower classes were born to live degraded lives, given their widespread acceptance of their lot.

What better demonstration of this cynical Darwinian principle than millions of freeborn untermensch turkeys voting for Christmas in the form of successive Tory governments? Who’s to say it isn’t “right” for the country, if that’s the outcome December 2019? Hardcore Conservatives will explain a victory as the self-evident proof of the ways real people function in the real world What’s certainly self-evident at this point is it’s a real world the right-wing disaster capitalists have a vested interest in making a fait accompli.

EXIT DAY will be the end of the Act one way or another. Parliamentary majority will define what comes after. The crony capitalist cabal in control of government or purity socialists trying to fight the tide of greed and austerity by sheer main force of their blundering but conceited altruism? The former is worse, by far. The latter is no blueprint for long-term success and the UK has a history of rejecting parties running on unapologetic left-wing ideology. Whatever happens, it won’t be pretty.

contrarian, politics, questions, society


The end of the decade is fast approaching. On the 12st of December 2019, the United Kingdom goes to the polls in the most divisive, fucked up election in living memory. Whether the voters know it or not, the stakes are enormous. Eleven months later the United States Presidential election will play with similarly high stakes. The two great English-speaking democracies are facing an unparalleled existential threat.

On one side, the democratic ideal, fact and accountability, public service as a standard that transcends political team games. This might be public service as social democracy provisions, national utilities and wealth redistribution but equally it could be serving the public best by regulating the level playing field for competitive winners-and-losers free market capitalism. Between those poles is politics and that’s fine.

But on the other hand, the dealer’s side, this British election and elections elsewhere is entrusting the future of a free and democratic society to the vicissitudes of an stupefied electorate that’s been degraded by austerity, distracted by Brexit and targeted relentlessly by a media who’s purpose is to amplify the agenda of freewheeling big capital.

Government always exists in tension with sovereign speculative wealth but in the UK, the Conservatives – traditionally party of business and self-interest – has been taken over directly by big capital completely. This takeover is a game changer. The same has happened in the United States and it has created an unseen but fundamental schism at the heart of government. It means at least one of the main parties likely to be voted into executive power is no longer looking to govern for the sake of the best possible future for the country. In the United Kingdom, less resilient than the United States, executive power equals authoritarian power and the potential for abuse is unregulated even by checks and balances.

Big capital actors don’t care about what’s in the national interest. Why should they? That’s not the game they’re playing. They’re not concerned with the traditional political arguments about more or less socialism, bigger or smaller budgets for public services versus spending on stimulating business as the engine of economic growth. Big capital is about profit and monopoly. These speculators are global in outlook, because national borders are a ringfence for the unimportant distinctions between mythologies of populations; idiosyncrasies to be exploited, nothing more. It’s your problem, if you’re an advocate for democracy, to deal with the collateral damage of big capital’s hunt for profit running through the domain of public interest. The masses exist to work, pay tax, consume and – when necessary – take the hit when the boom bust economics dip into the red.

Big capital owns most of the European and American media. Big capital interests largely control the message (through media and advertising and consumer services). Big capital is profit-driven. Its interest in people goes only so far as how best to use their labour and exploit their consumption. This makes the training of a stable culture of mass-consumer acquiescence a collateral requirement of the profit chase. Stability and consumption are a tricky proposition, balancing well-defined homogeneous demographics at the same time as keeping the population atomised against socialist ideas.

Collective power versus entrenched power. The mainstream must be regulated, subordinated to the dictates of the consumer here and now, or else profit suffers. Profit can’t be allowed to suffer so big capital dominated government becomes, inevitably, an organ of control, not liberation. By default it’s an ideology of mythology over history, reaction over reflection, short-term instincts encouraged to eclipse long-term interests.

The Conservatives in the UK, just like the Republicans in the USA, have been taken over by the big capital ideology. Emboldened by the capitulation of the population to austerity and the government to underwriting consequences of bad investment (diverting tax income and future debt into the coffers of the speculators), big capital is pushing to seal the deal.

In a sense the UK election – and the American 2020 vote – are a line in the sand. Will big capital succeed in placing its well-paid employees in government, taking control of the reigns of power to deregulate and deck stack its entrenched power? Or will the public get wise to this?

Have enough regular voters been affected by the degrading of their own lives so they realise the real enemy of their long-term quality of life? Or has the media and the stubborn consumer conservatism of the electorate built up a coda of mass introversion where the public opt for a surrender to populist fantasy?

In short, has the ever-practical, patient big capital cabal trained enough turkeys to not only refuse the hands that feed but instead, far worse, on December 12th 2019 and November 8th 2020, vote in favour of Christmas?


From Common “Free” Market to Government For The Corporations, by the Corporations

Reagan and Thatcher and centrists in Europe used their largely uninterrupted time in power during the 1980s to shift the world economy into the hands of the financial sector – speculation, futures, options, leveraging, banking liquidity chains – and the expenses of social democracy (welfare state etc) were brought under the aegis of “value for money” public spending.

Regulations that had built up over the decades following the Second World War were gradually dismantled – disconnected from government’s direct authority and placed into “independent” regulatory bodies. This deregulation liberated the full spectrum of corporate profiteering. It consolidated lobbying – including purchasing political influence – and quickly corrupted what remained of the independent power of regulatory bodies. Banks were central to the flow of money and, unregulated, reaped enormous profits from an increasingly fragile model reliant on perpetual growth.

The bubble burst in the Financial Crisis of 2008. This was a global moment of vulnerability for big capital and entrenched political power. It could have resolved in an accountable financial system, had governments been less under the thumb of corporate and banking power. What emerged from 2009 was the opposite of accountable…

Banks and financial institutions received a huge bailout from the big global economies. Governments fell into line, taking on the debt of the bailout while hailing the handover of trillions of dollars as a successful averting of disaster. This sudden explosion of national debt forced the social democracies of the world to decide who paid? Capital (the financial system) or Labour (working class plebs and middle class professionals)?

Contrast the Summers-Gleichner plan adopted by American President Obama with the reaction (and action) of the Icelandic government. You may have trouble finding information on Summer-Gleichner via an internet search. Good luck there. Bailout, quantitative easing and making the public pay – these were solutions to the Financial Crisis chosen by the G7 governments.

Moral failure. Integrity broken. Trust lost. Austerity a joke, paying back the banks AND their profits from the pockets of the workers. Yet the workers paid and, despite loss of faith in politics, continued to vote for their own continued exploitation. If anything their suspicions veered towards politicians offering respite.

Realisation that the mass of the electorate were not only happy to allow the bankers behind the financial crisis to escape justice but also had no major backlash against governments handing a chunk of taxpayer money directly to the financial sector.

Small wonder this led to carpetbaggers, extremists and scavengers gathering around a big capital-political cabal: Tories in the UK, UKIP-Corbyn in the UK, Trump in the US, GOP nest-feathering, Brexit, establishment Democratic Party orthodoxy (including Clinton-centrist corruption) and a plethora of right wing parties in all the consensus governments of mainland Europe.

An electorate without faith, exploited, poorer each year and yet too stupid and stuffed full of propaganda, turns to the loudest speaker with the simplest explanation and the most confident, familiarly authoritarian delivery. Fantastical slogans attributing blame and informing ways to think became widespread. Superficially this led to a polarisation of the voter public: vote Trump or go SJW corporate Democrat; blame immigrants and choose UKIP, Tory extremists or hail Corbyn as if he’s a messiah; Brexit, Austerity, Trump, Bolsonaro in Brazil, etc etc.

More significant than any of the frontline pantomime of celebrity politicians, however, is the economic narrative playing out with seemingly irresistible force. The wealthiest, the biggest corporations, the 1% and the entrenched powers have emerged from the bail out after the Financial Crisis with vast confidence and energy. Austerity makes the workers pay the bill for the banker bailout. Tax breaks for corporations ensure wealth continues to travel upwards.

Government increasingly in thrall to Big Capital – and well rewarded for its service – has shifted its role. It is now about maintaining itself in power (winning hearts and minds, propaganda and control of the message) while pushing the business of inverse taxation.

This is a step beyond cutting public services. It is a more brazen military industrial complex. It involves the government using the great sums of money collected by taxation, via direct and indirect investment, to transfer as much as possible to private wealth and informal corporate confederations. In short: take money from the wageslaves, give the money to the rich and powerful, while making sure the electorate continues to vote for this to continue. It’s not evil. It’s not simple corruption. It’s what people continue to vote for; for now.