Have I written about Breivik at all? I don’t think so. Whenever I try I end up with something so wide-ranging and rambling that I can’t finish or satisfactorily edit it. His story touches on my themes in so many different ways.
He’s also something of an embarrassment. In claiming the “neoreactionary” label, I am in a sense grouping myself with whoever else puts a return to traditional forms of government on a modern theoretical basis. I would argue that fascism doesn’t count as a neoreactionary theory, but it’s not easy to exclude Breivik.
I’ve read his “compendium”; well, read quite a lot of it and skimmed all the rest. There’s some sense there, along with the major error I originally started this blog to oppose: a huge overestimate of the actual and potential power of Islam in the West. (And along with an inordinate fascination with medals.) I answered the question Is Europe Becoming Islamicised with a “no” in 2004 and I stand by that.
The reason I haven’t posted before to make this point is that, after all, I know very little about Norway. Maybe it really is as bad there as Breivik claims: what standing do I have to claim otherwise?
However, my self-restraint from describing conditions in Oslo has not been reciprocated by Breivik, who in his defence speech described my home town of Luton as a “war zone” containing “no go areas”.
Now I am not here to sing the praises of Luton in all its glorious multicultural harmony. It’s a rough old place, not without conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims. I have reported on the Begum case, the violent demonstrations, the odd leaflets, and the (thin) connections with islamist terrorism. But there are not no-go areas. I walk through the back streets of Bury Park after dark with less trepidation than past the nightclubs of the town centre. It was a rough town long before the Muslims got here, and the police constable who was murdered a few years ago was knifed by a schizophrenic Nigerian, not by some jihadist.
As I said all those years ago, Islam is used as a proxy by the universalist ruling elite with which to attack those aspects of traditional culture which native Europeans cannot be simply persuaded to abandon. Breivik obviously understands this to some extent: it is the reason he directed his attacks at white politicians rather than Muslims.
(Incidentally, the same immigration strategy can, and on occasion has, been used by conservatives to manipulate the culture: immigrants could be used to encourage patriarchy and disciplined child-rearing. But we are ordered to accommodate some aspects of immigrant culture, while others are hidden or treated as a problem, and it is clear who is giving the orders).
Indeed, Brevik’s own operational competence is an indication of where the balance of power between Westerners and Islam lies: by himself, with no funding, he did more damage than the eight Al-Quaeda trained and funded operatives who attacked London in July 2005. If we ever really have to fight Islam on our own ground, it will be easy. But I don’t think we will.
Rather, I suspect that at some point when the elite have no more use for the Muslims they will turn on them as they habitually do to their allies. At that point the immigrants will be driven out or forced to conform to the new culture, their free pass to to retain outmoded privileges like freedom of religion and independent exclusive institutions withdrawn.
So while Breivik is right about the existence of a universalist attack on European culture, he is mistaken in making Islam such a central aspect of it.
Since I am in part defending Breivik’s position, I must address the violence question —- could action such as his ever be justifiable?
All serious politicans are willing to kill people in a good cause: that is why all governments have armies and armed police. Most are willing to kill innocent people in a good cause: that is how we get policies like the bombing of Libya.
Of course, Breivik was not acting on behalf of a state —- does that make his violence automatically wrong? The mainstream of thought idolises the armed rebels whose causes it agrees with. So it can’t oppose Breivik on that basis. Rather, it probably relies on the fact that the state Breivik opposes is democratic as a reason why his violence cannot be acceptable.
However, as he himself pointed out during his trial testimony, the democratic states will always take steps to ensure that views like his will not be able to advance through democracy.
So, working on widely-accepted principles, it all comes down to his views — violence against the innocent in order to overcome a state which does not allow a legitimate method to remedy its failings is, apparently, justifiable, but is Breivik actually on the path to remedy the Norwegian state’s failings?
Er, no. I don’t think he has any realistic idea of what would be a better state, and I’m sure his one-man war is not going to help create it even if he has.
But that is my judgement of his political position — one based, unlike those of most journalists who have written on the matter, on actually reading what he wrote. And, for that matter, since this shit is difficult™, a judgement that might still be wrong.
In any case, while fighting an unjust state is right according to modern mainstream principles, it is not right according to reactionary principles. Reactionaries do not believe in a right to choose one’s government, by vote or by terrorism.
As to Breivik’s vision, while he said that he “gave up on democracy”, he has not given up on democracy in the way I have given up on democracy. He meant that he had given up on being able to solve what he sees as the immediate problems through Norway’s existing democratic processes. He doesn’t, as I do, see democracy as the problem in itself, the thing that must be got rid of. Like so many others, he has fallen into the trap of believing that democracy can be “fixed”.
But my real problem with him goes further than that. He wants to build an organisation —- the PCCTS —- to fight for power on behalf of European culture. I think that cannot work. It is the fight for power itself that is the root of the problem, and by joining it you are chasing the enemy into the abyss. That is as true of fighting with carbombs and shooting sprees as it is of fighting with demonstrations and election campaigns. By being an organisation that fights for power, you become a certain kind of organisation —- you succumb to the vicious logic of propaganda and coalition-building. You also, if you succeed, come to compromise with the system and in return become implicated in its inevitable failure. No good can come of it.
What on earth can we do, if we cannot fight for power? I do like to be original, but all of this is pure Moldbug. It is the Steel Rule. We become worthy of power, and wait for it to be given to us. Or we raise children and grandchildren who will be worthy of power, and wait for it to be given to them. This is not a short-term project, but neither is Anders “2083” Breivik’s. It’s a long shot, but so is his and as Moldbug wrote, if we fail, we have done no harm, which cannot be said of a terrorist campaign.
When a system collapses, power is given away. Everyone who is fighting for power with any success is already part of the current system. When the system fails, power will be given to someone else.
Looking at it another way, there are two narratives describing what has happened to European civilisation. One is that there is a somewhat conscious movement, which Moldbug first dubbed “Crypto-Calvinism”, then “Ultra-Calvinism”, and finally “Universalism”, which has continuously dominated English-speaking society for centuries, and utterly conquered Europe in 1945, and which has some ideological principles that have been consistent throughout (such as that humans are all fundamentally the same), and others that have become ever more extreme (such as Limited Monarchy to Constitutional Monarchy to Republic to Democracy to Universal Suffrage). The elite holding these beliefs have steadily pulled the resisting masses behind them.
The other narrative, also due to Moldbug, is the cold mechanical one. Since the end of divine-right Monarchy, the logic of the struggle for power pushes an ever-wider splintering of power, as people and groups seize what fragments of influence they can, and hold on to them. Responsible decision-makers are replaced by committees, working groups become institutions and own little bits of power, and all this fragmented power is directed by factions in the unending struggle, not for any external public or even private benefit.
Breivik describes the first narrative, though he doesn’t recognise how far back the universalists go. And the narrative is real: the infamous former Labour speechwriter who said that the British government of which he was a part deliberately and surreptitiously multiplied immigration “to rub the Right’s nose in diversity” was making as blatant a declaration of culture war as it is possible to imagine.
But the second narrative is real too, and that is what Breivik does not understand. That is why he thinks that universalism can be defeated by shooting a sufficient number of universalists in the head. But universalism hasn’t won for all these years because of divine providence, or by Dawkins’ “mysterious movement of the zeitgeist”, but because the logic of competing for power favours it over reactionaries.
Breivik is obviously sane*, and obviously right that a Norwegian state that was sane and honest would execute him without blinking. The Norwegian state is not sane or honest. It is incapable of sustaining or defending itself in the very long term. That is a fact to be deplored, not, as Breivik sees it, one to be taken advantage of. When the collapse comes, the duty of replacing the old order will fall not to those who accelerated its demise, but to those who expected and explained it without accepting any responsibility for it.
* What about the probably-fictional organisation of which he claims to be a member? I am not sure whether it exists, but I am sure Breivik knows. If it doesn’t, then it is not a delusion, rather it is a deliberate lie for the sake of propaganda: it is easier to recruit followers to an already-established organisation than to one which is yet to practically exist.
I don’t mean to imply that the EDL actually are fascists — I don’t know what they are, and it really doesn’t matter at all. Their enemies, who control the media, all political parties, and every arm of government, will call them fascist, so any discussion of them is a discussion of fascism, whatever it is that they really believe.
I side with the fascists against many liberals in that I don’t see dispersed political power as a desirable end. It’s not that I’m in favour of concentrated political power as an end — I would happily accept dispersed power as a means if it advanced good ends, but I don’t think it does. Concentrated power, for me, is a means towards government that will protect peace, prosperity, security, freedom etc.
I think many fascists, possibly including Schmitt, would not have listed peace as a good end, as I have done. So on that score I oppose the fascists: other things being equal, peace is better than war.
The bad things associated with fascism are excessively aggressive foreign policy, persecution of selected minorities, economic collectivism, omnipresent dishonest propaganda, and a clampdown on opposition.
The belligerence, persecution, collectivism and propaganda all derive from the requirement for a broad popular base. This differs slightly from a democracy: democracy requires the acquiescence of a large majority, fascism requires the active support of at least a large minority. The similarities are close enough, however, that in the last 60 years the democracies have taken on levels of collectivism and propaganda that are indistinguishable from those of 1930s fascism. (George Street is still strewn with the purple streamers of “Luton in Harmony“, a fairly typical government propaganda exercise). Collectivism is part of the mix because it enables the government, by controlling economic activity, to reward support and punish dissent in a subtle but sustainable way that a laissez-faire government cannot.
The direction of the democratic propaganda is of course opposite to that of fascism; this reflects the difference between the popularity requirements of democracy and fascism. Luton in Harmony is supposed to generate a diffuse low-level hostility to opponents of the regime across as wide a base as possible, whereas Fascists need to stir active fear and hatred among a a smaller group who will maintain the regime in power — what Dsquared elegantly paints as “arseholes”. That is the reason why democracies are generally less unpleasant to live under than fascist parties. The ability of the regime to survive on no more than passive acquiescence of the population is the real advantage of democracy, though it only exists because people believe other good things about democracy that aren’t true. It is the feature of democracy that needs to be held onto through a transition to a better system.
Comparisons between democracy and fascism on the foreign policy side are interesting. Britain has operated an aggressive foreign policy over the last decade, but that appears on the face of it to have arisen despite the demands of democracy rather than because of them — it does appear to have been driven by the personal convictions of Tony Blair. But just possibly that is missing the point. The link between war and popularity is not necessarily that war is popular; it is that the people are more inspired by a leadership personality who displays the characteristics that are likely to lead him to war. Hitler and Blair, then, were popular not because they had war policies, but because they had the conviction and charisma of crusaders. That conviction is what then produced the war policies.
Or maybe Blair was just weird. After all, many other democracies are less belligerent. I’m not really convinced either way on this question.
As for the curbing of opposition, I have no problem with it. The reason why it is generally considered proper for a government to tolerate opposition is that it is generally believed that the need to compromise and satisfy opponents pushes government policy in a beneficial direction. I believe the exact opposite: that nearly all governments, good or bad, are made worse by opposition. All competent governments treat sedition as a crime. Politics in the real world is a matter of life and death, and those who perpetrate it must accept the risks.
That is not to say that opposition to any government is bad: even if all governments become worse when they are opposed, they may be replaced by something better if they are actually overthrown. But I don’t expect bad governments to cooperate in their own overthrow.
Concretely, if the current events in Egypt result in regime change, that could possibly be beneficial (though I would be surprised). But if they don’t, any “reforms” that the current regime is driven to will make things worse. True revolutionaries understand this — they want concessions not for their own value, but because concessions further weaken the regime, bringing its fall nearer.
So to strengthen my earlier post, which was slightly equivocal, I reject fascism. It relies on mass popularity, and therefore fails to improve on democracy, but going further, because it has to win more positive support from the population than democracy does, it has the problems of democracy in a stronger and more dangerous form. One of the worst things that can be said about democracy is that, particularly in it’s young form, it has a tendency to devolve into fascism. A young democracy is little more than a battle between competing fascisms — each party is the active street-fighting kind, rather than the passive tick-in-the-box democratic kind.
That actually explains a mystery that troubled me in the past: why it is that there is such an exaggerated fear of fascist or near-fascist organisations like the BNP, despite their appearing laughably weak and incompetent. At some level, the regime must recognise that in intellectual terms fascism is the obvious response to democracy, however irrelevant a particular party might be. I think it’s fair to say that if fascism had newly appeared twenty years ago, without the baggage of history, it would by by now be popular enough across Europe that it would probably have taken over most of it.
3 new leaflets this morning – one from the Labour candidate, one card from Nick Clegg, and one letter from Nick Clegg. All three carry pictures of two running horses. The Lib Dems say only they can beat Labour, but Labour say only they can beat the Conservatives. That’s the main point of all the material.
The Lib Dems seem more convincing – for one thing, unlike Labour, their illustration demonstrates that they understand that horse races involve jockeys. But of course, the authorities on horse races are still considering the Lib Dems outsiders, though at 11/2 they’ve nosed ahead of Esther Rantzen.
Only one of the three documents (the postcard from the Lib Dems) has any mention of policy, and one of the four bullet points there is “action to get our economy moving again”, which doesn’t quite qualify as a policy for me.
Anyone out there who thinks that democracy is a good thing – how can it be right that the vast bulk of the material given to me by candidates is concentrated on the question of who is more likely to win? OK, PR would change that somewhat, but really, what is the explanation?
Earlier in the week, I wrote of the Liberal Democrats’ election literature, that it says “that ‘in many areas’ only the Lib Dems can beat Labour. It tries to give the impression that I am in one of those areas, without being so dishonest as to actually say so.”
Possibly they were stung by my remarks into stepping up their dishonesty, because I got a leaflet yesterday claiming outright “It’s a two horse race here – the Conservatives can’t win in Luton South.”
If I wanted to know about horse races, I would, as the Labour and Conservative parties did, look at what the bookmakers were saying, and they do indeed have the “can’t win” Conservatives as odds-on favourites, and the Liberal Democrats as fourth-place outsiders, behind even Esther Rantzen.
I wouldn’t criticise the LDs for claiming they have a chance when impartial observers say they don’t, but when they claim that the odds-on favourites can’t win – why should any intelligent observer believe a word they say about anyone else?
There is a slight moral conundrum. Tactical voting, like other coordination games, can exhibit self-fulfilling prophesies. If the Lib Dems can lie well enough that they are bound to beat the Conservatives, it would become true, as tactical anti-Labour voters who believed them would vote for them. So if they do come third or fourth, will their offence be that they lied, or that they didn’t lie enough?
The other interesting element of the election is the literature I’m being sent. The letter from Gordon Brown is about the sort of policies he would introduce if he were ever to become Prime Minister. It barely mentions the Labour party, and makes no suggestion that this Brown person has ever had power of any kind in the past.
The one from Cameron is about civil liberties – ID cards, ContactPoint, and so on. I’m suspicious enough to think that I am on some Conservative database as being concerned about those things, and my neigbours are getting letters from Cameron about clamping down on immigration or spending more on hospitals, depending on what the database says about them. (Actually, rising immigration is one existing phenomenon that this Gordon Brown chap claims in his letter to be opposed to).
The letter from Clegg is the most interesting. It has nothing to say about policy, but says only that “in many areas” only the Lib Dems can beat Labour. It tries to give the impression that I am in one of those areas, without being so dishonest as to actually say so. (Update: they have since rectified that)
Attempts to guide tactical voters are not restricted to party leaders though. The local Labour leaflet devotes one side to claiming that the Lib Dems can’t win in Luton South, and that therefore only Labour can keep the Tories out, and the local Conservative leaflet agrees fully. They are not identical, though – Labour cite William Hill as an authority, but the Conservatives go with Ladbrokes. (if the leaflets are correct that 14/1 is available against the Lib Dems, I think it’s probably worth a flutter).
Meanwhile local LD blogger Andy Strange is keen to claim that they’re really in with a chance, because Nick Clegg has visited twice…
I’m a bit confused about the Lib Dems claiming on one hand that Labour and Conservative are so alike as to be one “Labservative” party, and on the other that I should not vote Conservative because only the Lib Dems can get Gordon Brown out. If I want the Conservatives, and the Dems’ first claim is correct, then I should prefer Labour, who are like the Conservatives, to the Lib Dems who are claiming to be different.
OK, I’m not really confused. I am perfectly aware that the Lib Dems will say anything at all that they think might get them votes. Not that the others have more moral scruples, but they have slightly more actual history to tie down voters’ idea of what they stand for, and can’t therefore claim as wide a range of different positions simultaneously as the LDs
As a change from analysis, here’s a bit of reportage.
This document was distributed in Bury Park, Luton last week (click on it to enlarge to read it, and the full text is below):
It’s printed on A5 paper and came through the door. I didn’t have to transcribe it as text because googling about I found it in this comment from the “islamic awakening” forum. Only the title is changed. The text below therefore exactly corresponds to the leaflet. I added the bold and italics to match.
The document is not dated, but “the demonstration which we saw on Friday” refers to the 29th May (2009). The background situation is described in this Independent article. I can’t add to or validate that account – I always seem to miss the actual aggro, somehow.
NOT ALL DEMONSTRATIONS ARE ALLOWED IN ISLAM…
In response to a demonstration held in Bury Park on Friday, we would like to inform all Muslims in Luton about some important facts:
The demonstration held against the Royal Anglian Regiment on 10th March 2009 was to forbid the evil of the illegal occupation of Iraq, the murder of innocent Muslims in the name of freedom and democracy by the US and UK regimes and a call for Islamic law i.e. the Shari’ah as a solution for all our problems. This was done in response to Allah (SWT) saying: ‘Let there arise from amongst you a group(s) of Muslims, calling to Islam, enjoining good and forbidding evil, these will have success [Quran 3:104]
The response from the Muslin Ummah world-wide was phenomenal, with praise and happiness for the small group of Muslims who had the fortitude to speak the truth in front of the army of Pharaoh. This demonstration also led to many discussions openly and publicly about the illegal and oppressive war waged by the US and British against Muslims in Iraq.
On the other hand the demonstration which we saw on Friday in Bury Park led by Abdul Qadir Baksh and those from the ‘Islamic’ centre was clearly calling for the arrest of Muslims, was co-operating with the same police who routinely raid and arrest innocent Muslims and was intended to forbid the call for the Shari’ah and support the law and agenda of the taghout British government. And Allah (SWT) says concerning people like this: The hypocrites, men and women, are from one another, they enjoin (on the people) evil and forbid (people) from the good, and they close their hands [from spending in Allah’s Cause]. They have forgotten Allah, so He has forgotten them. Verily, the hypocrites are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah). [Quran 9:67]
They may feel justified in their stance because of the attack against their centre but when did they ever become angry when the masjids in Baghdad were on fire? When did they ever raise their voices when the masjids in Gaza were being bombed? Even worse when did they ever demonstrate when our brothers and sisters were being tortured, raped, killed and murdered in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Chechnya, etc..? Especially when the Messenger said: “One drop of Muslim blood is worth more to Allah than the Kaba’ah and its whole surroundings.” It is indeed ironic that the very people who have never lifted a finger to defend Muslims being oppressed around the world have only found the courage to condemn Muslims that have the courage to stand for the Ummah. Verily guidance and knowledge is a blessing from Allah (SWT) granted to those He loves.
We call upon Muslims in Luton to remember that our purpose in life is to please Allah (SWT) and not Gordon Brown, to serve Allah (SWT) and not the Saudi regime [supporters of the disbelievers], that we must stand up against those at war with Islam and Muslims and not against practising Muslims.
The Muslims must remain strong and not give in to the whisperings of Shaytaan to sell their religion for some miserly gain in this life. We are in the strange times, where the Prophet(saw) foretold there will be those who stop commanding good and forbidding evil, who in fact enjoin evil and forbid good and who further call the trustworthy liars and the liars trustworthy. This is the time mentioned in the narration of the Prophet when the ruwaybiddah will be ruling (such as the Saudi regime) who are the worst among the people but in charge over their affairs. May Allah (SWT) protect us from the tawagheet and their alliance, as he protected our brothers Musa (as), Essa (as) and the Messenger Muhammad (saw).
Finally we would like to ensure all Muslims and non-Muslims that Insha’Allah we will never stop calling for Islam, until the Deen of Islaam becomes dominant or we die in the struggle for its domination world-wide, as was the struggle and call of the best man who has ever walked the earth, the Messenger Muhammad (saw).
I have just listened to your World at One interview, in which you said that, in spite of Margaret Moran MP’s announcement that she will not contest the next election, you will stand as an independent if the people of Luton South want you to.
I am only one of those people, but speaking for myself, I would prefer that you did not.
It is often the case that a parliamentary election is something of a formality, where everyone knows in advance what the result will be. Unusually, that is not likely to be the case here next time; the indications are that Luton South will be very much in play, and we voters will have an opportunity to have a real say in which party will make up the next government.
I am not likely to avail myself of that opportunity, by voting for a leading party, but that is not because I see the need for a “non-partisan” or “non-political” MP. On the contrary, the major parties are not political enough for me. I will use my vote to express my strongly-held political views.
If the circumstances were different — in particular, if Margaret Moran appeared likely to retain a safe Labour seat — then your candidacy, by providing the option of a very strong and visible protest vote, would be about the best thing that could happen. Fortunately, that is not the case.
It is conceivable that your intervention was decisive in persuading the incumbent to step down, in which case you have already achieved something worthwhile. And of course, you have a perfect right to construct a political platform and stand on it, just as I have, or anybody else.
But as for standing as a non-descript “alternative” or “non-partisan” candidate — thanks but no thanks.
An M.P. is supposed to spend time in the constituency she represents, and also in Parliament. Margaret Moran represents Luton South.
Now, it is perfectly possible to live in Luton South and work in Central London – I know, because I’ve done it for over a decade. I’ve spent 2 hours a day, five days a week on a train for that time, costing me getting on for four thousand pounds a year at today’s prices. Note that this is not considered a legitimate expense, so I have to pay income tax on the money I spend traveling.
So I’m a little bit miffed that my MP gets the maintenance of her second home in London counted as a legitimate expense that she doesn’t have to pay tax on. More than that, since the expense is paid by her employer, the state, she not only doesn’t pay tax on it, she doesn’t pay at all.
Now, a bunch of people have been complaining about all this for a while. Good luck to them, but in my merely “miffed” state, I haven’t bothered to join in.
After all, there is one small difference between me and my MP. I chose to live 20 miles from my place of work, her role as an MP means she more or less needs to. So there is some thin kind of argument about her 2-location life being more of a necessary expense than mine. Irritating, but not worth making a huge fuss about.
And now details have been published, it emerges she claimed GBP22,500 for dry rot treatment for her second home.
OK, now I am no longer miffed.
(For the geographically challenged, Southampton is 80 miles from Westminster, and 94 from Luton)
There is a video of her making pathetic justifications on the BBC. Again, the reason why my employer is not allowed to pay my train fare, even if it wanted to, is because I do not have to live such a distance from my office. There are all sorts of good reasons why I choose to do so, but at the end of the day, I have to pay the fare out of my taxed income because it’s my lifestyle choice.
Moran says that it is essential for her to have three properties because her partner lives in Southampton. Well, guess what. My wife lives in Luton, but that doesn’t mean I can claim the costs of being based in Luton and London as a business expense. It was her choice to come to Luton to run for Parliament, and it is her choice to have a partner who won’t move from Southampton, and reasonable as those choices may be, they are her choices to spend her own money on.
(There was a time when candidates who came to an area in order to stand were frowned upon. I don’t think that’s important – the “local” element of M.P. work is not sensible – but if candidates do want to move from their homes to another area where they think they’ll get elected, they can do so at their own expense.)
Don’t look at the cameras! Anyone who looks at the cameras is a terrorist! If you see anyone looking at the cameras, call the police!
The cameras are for your protection: that’s all you need to know. And anything you don’t need to know, you’re not allowed to know. Only terrorists care whether they’re on camera or not.
This is a public service announcement from Anomaly UK.
Seriously, I find this much more disturbing than the presence of the CCTV in the first place.