Good Articles That Don't Deserve Their Own Threads

belinmad

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As did the Junta in Argentina, suspect you know all about the Night of the Pencils?

I hadn’t been born. Also not sure what you are getting at. I come from a country that had a military-driven-event against some of it’s citizens 45 years ago. What’s your point?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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I hadn’t been born. Also not sure what you are getting at. I come from a country that had a military-driven-event against some of it’s citizens 45 years ago. What’s your point?
In accordance with CRT, you, yourself are responsible for that and should be up for reparations. That's if your family were part of the junta.

You're working in London, educated and so clearly haven't come from a villa miseria or you wouldn't have got of Argentina. I know how it works in Latin America, I've had dealings there for well over 20 years.

Any skeletons in your cupboard, genetic links to the fascist regime?

If you're viewing the world through CRT, you have to man up and take responsibility for that.

Do you get it now?
 

belinmad

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In accordance with CRT, you, yourself are responsible for that and should be up for reparations. That's if your family were part of the junta.

You're working in London, educated and so clearly haven't come from a villa miseria or you wouldn't have got of Argentina. I know how it works in Latin America, I've had dealings there for well over 20 years.

Any skeletons in your cupboard, genetic links to the fascist regime?

If you're viewing the world through CRT, you have to man up and take responsibility for that.

Do you get it now?
Lol. You are funny. Also a moron. Please tell me how Latin America works
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Lol. You are funny. Also a moron. Please tell me how Latin America works
It doesn't work, does it? Unless you're at the very top. But you already know that.

Did I get bit close there to the truth? A bit like our Queen Maxima here in the Netherlands, who's father was too toxic to be invited to the wedding being a member of the Argentinian junta.

CRT, which your postings show you agree with, would make you personally responsible for rectifying historic injustices and terror from the time of the junta. And much closer than historic slavery and jim crow in the USA.

As you buy into that groovy ideology, I merely asked, are you without sin?

Are you willing to pay the reparations inherited from your blood line?

You may be completely innocent, or not.

But I think you will agree, historic injustices need to be rectified through the reparations and through the lineage, especially if they're privileged. What's wrong with a bit of wealth redistribution from the sons and grandsons of the sinners?
 

belinmad

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Yes and as I’m sure you know, all 45 million of us are Maxima’s extended family.

Your poorly constructed ad-hominem attacks ignored, you lack of comprehension of Latin America’s history and politics is almost as astounding as your lack of comprehension of Critical Race Theory.

A subject of the Great United Kingdom, talking about how things are at the very top. Now that’s rich.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Yes and as I’m sure you know, all 45 million of us are Maxima’s extended family.

Your poorly constructed ad-hominem attacks ignored, you lack of comprehension of Latin America’s history and politics is almost as astounding as your lack of comprehension of Critical Race Theory.

A subject of the Great United Kingdom, talking about how things are at the very top. Now that’s rich.
Your lack of direct and immediate retort, tells me all I need to know.

Thanks.

As someone who chooses to live in London, you must like our culture and system of common law and democracy. Surely, you dig it, or perhaps not? This Great United Kingdom. Or was that somewhat mockingly, like Argentina went from being richer than Germany and France in the early 20th century to the great nation it is today?

All the Latin American countries suffer from the same affliction, a lack of a viable middle class.
 

belinmad

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Would you kindly stop accusing my (middle class immigrant) family of some untold and horrible crime you deduct they committed based on your comic-book understanding of Latin American Politics?

I fail to see how you attacking my family is relevant to a discussion on (your very poor understanding of) CRT?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Would you kindly stop accusing my (middle class immigrant) family of some untold and horrible crime you deduct they committed based on your comic-book understanding of Latin American Politics?

I fail to see how you attacking my family is relevant to a discussion on (your very poor understanding of) CRT?
The Mothers of the Disappeared and the Night of the Pencils, is not a comic-book understanding of Latin American Politics, in this case Argentina. Plenty of other examples of what Latin American Politics is all about within living memory and even now.

I've accused your family of nothing, only insinuated and said also you could be completely innocent. But you answered it anyway, but I wasn't looking for that.

I was drawing attention to how ridiculous CRT blood line vendetta/reparation stuff is.

No one is responsible for the sins of their fathers. Including you and I.
 

belinmad

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Oh my fucking good you are indeed a moron. I am done with this conversation. Please refrain in the future from making insinuations regarding my family.
 

güero

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The problem isn't with teaching CRT per se, it's teaching it as though it's incontrovertible fact when what it actually is is an intellectual framework to look at society. One of many.

By all means, teach it, but teach it critically as you would hopefully Marxism, Liberalism &c...
It's embarrassing how this is not understood pretty much everywhere in the public representation of this topic.

you need to view from multiple perspectives and then decide which combinations are most useful.
That is your opinion, with which I agree, but it is not what those people propose.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Oh my fucking good you are indeed a moron. I am done with this conversation. Please refrain in the future from making insinuations regarding my family.
Don't be a queen, but I do hope I planted a little seed there of doubt on the utter bollocks of CRT.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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It's embarrassing how this is not understood pretty much everywhere in the public representation of this topic.
When kids in primary school are getting taught about CRT when they're 6 or 7 years old, it's not about comparative world views is it?
 

Dropbear

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It's embarrassing how this is not understood pretty much everywhere in the public representation of this topic.


That is your opinion, with which I agree, but it is not what those people propose.

I took an economics 101 class when I started uni as a naive kid and was shocked when the professor explained that he was a Marxist and in fact we all were in that it informed our understanding of the world around us - at the same time he was a lover of the free market and hardcore anti-socialist.

in the same way, we can use CRT to see if it helps us understand stuff, without any commitments to specific solutions.
 

Rambo

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Not my cup of tea at all. This say's it all: ''Every dollar spent on luxury housing that is not spent on improving Black healthcare and Black schools is a deal made with the Space Traders.''
no that doesn't say it all. that in fact says that spending money on needless luxury housing is taking money away from spending on minority needs as a way to frame the debate. you don't do well with metaphors.

It's Neo-Marxism, stated and transparent.
you're just making up terms now

Where do white trash fit in with CRT?
THEY DON'T JESUS CHRIST

Have they not been exploited too or are they digging their psychic white privilege.
WERE THEY KEPT AS SLAVES BY THEIR FELLOW WHITE MEN???

So some homeless white crack head on Venice Beach has more privilege than black professionals, be they academics, in law, banking, sportsmen or musicians, or what have you?
WAY TO UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES OF WHAT THE FUCK WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

And in saying that, are successful black Americans Uncle Tom's or worse, race traitors, for investing in luxury housing for them and their families? Why are they not thinking of the collective, instead of making sell-out deals with the Space Traders?
now this is actually a good talking point and something that should be dissected by the black population in general.

It stinks, it's toxic and has no place in the school, court or university.
what the fuck does CRT have to do with court?

The race issues in America are not going to be solved by CRT
no one said they were. you're the only one pumping this fallacy.

but as a valid philosophy?
again, no one even said it was a philosophy. its entirely a construct of white right wingers like yourself who just can't stand the fact that your ancestors kept black people as slaves. hearing about it makes you all so so upset.

You cannot escape it's fallacy that everything, absolutely is to be viewed through the prism of racial exploitation of blacks by whites.
again, this literally is not being said by anyone.

As Formby it's way too complex for Marxism to grapple with.
no, no its not.
 

Rambo

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Marxism is a failed science: it looked at economics, society and if you like psychology and sociology and delivered utter failure. Strategically quite brilliant, tactically an embarrassment. It cannot be called out enough for the human misery it has caused.
no, no its not. none of this is in any way true.

Agree that CRT has a place to be taught in a wider study of history and sociology, limited to the USA, but it has no place in primary school, or in indoctrinating youth.
oh so british people didn't keep slaves? tell us more western man!

It's so ugly for the future of race relations, I cannot understand how a sophisticated society like the USA with it's history has been seduced by a ideology that will lead to a hyper-racialised society filled to the brim of grudges, historic reparations from 200 years ago, tribalism, race quotas and eventually apartheid based on mutual hatred with never the twain to meet.
i don't know. you don't live here so you really don't understand any of this, but if YOU were kept as a slave and your ancestors fought a war to liberate yourselves from slavery, and all around you in the modern era you see how the country and its people are literally exploiting you and siphoning off wealth from your community at every turn, then you yourself might be a little bit pissed off about that fact. it seems plausible at least...

the ugly truth about race relations is that we've been ass fucking these people for hundreds of years and in no way, shape, or form have ever done anything about even attempting to pay them back in full, much less even do right by them. allowing them to use the same water fountain isn't exactly a system of wealth redistribution.
 

güero

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what people? who are these boogey men you all have invented?
They are "the scientific community", because standpoint theory is a key tenet of critical race theory. The "view from multiple perspectives and then decide which combinations are most useful" which Dropbear Dropbear proposed is not really what CRT is about, as you may be aware. That does not mean that there isn't some important/interesting academic CRT literature especially in the early stuff, there might even be reasonable CRT scholars today.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Lol. Does this mean ad hominem attack
I've had plenty of ad hominem attacks on here and threats to my family life. Don't you worry about that, along with S&M gay porn sent to me in PM's. Which I must say, is quite unusual for a style forum.
no, no its not. none of this is in any way true.


oh so british people didn't keep slaves? tell us more western man!


i don't know. you don't live here so you really don't understand any of this, but if YOU were kept as a slave and your ancestors fought a war to liberate yourselves from slavery, and all around you in the modern era you see how the country and its people are literally exploiting you and siphoning off wealth from your community at every turn, then you yourself might be a little bit pissed off about that fact. it seems plausible at least...

the ugly truth about race relations is that we've been ass fucking these people for hundreds of years and in no way, shape, or form have ever done anything about even attempting to pay them back in full, much less even do right by them. allowing them to use the same water fountain isn't exactly a system of wealth redistribution.
If you look back over the last 500 years, most societies kept slaves. From the native Americans, Africans, Arabs, Russians, Indians, Europeans etc, etc. It's not unique to western civilization. Also you can cite conditions of the British working class in the 19th century in the mills and factory system which left people no better than slaves and with life expectancy to match. Even in 1918 the average life expectancy of Welsh slate miner was late 30's.

For non-Americans, it's strange to see highly privileged sportsman, actors and musicians with chips on their shoulders for historic crimes and injustices that they have never experienced.

The Brits had the morals to move to end and defeat the slave trade with gunships interrupting the slave routes before anyone. Other than the colonies, England did not have a slave economy, unlike the American plantation system.

But what do you propose to right historic injustices, how can a historic wrong to people who are already dead, be paid for to their ancestors, who may be poor, working, middle or upper class? How will that bring justice to those who experienced slavery?

Should rich black Americans receive the same wealth redistribution as poor blacks? And should the poor blacks have parity with rich black Americans? How are you going to artificially right a quality of hurt? I don't believe money or reparations will rectify that. As you see with the likes of Kaepernick a very rich and privileged man by any account, it's still not enough. Then what? Taking the knee, that means nothing and it delivers nothing to poor black Americans struggling in the inner cities of America.

As you say, we non-Americans don't understand your culture anymore. It's not something we Europeans look on with envy, which at one time many of us did.
 
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Rambo

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If you look back over the last 500 years, most societies kept slaves. From the native Americans, Africans, Arabs, Russians, Indians, Europeans etc, etc. It's not unique to western civilization. Also you can cite conditions of the British working class in the 19th century in the mills and factory system which left people no better than slaves and with life expectancy to match. Even in 1918 the average life expectancy of Welsh slate miner was late 30's.
yes keep going....

For non-Americans, it's strange to see highly privileged sportsman, actors and musicians with chips on their shoulders for historic crimes and injustices that they have never experienced.
why? you realize we only ended segregation a generation ago. these "sportsman" probably have grandparents that got their asses kicked for talking to a white man or woman.

The Brits had the morals to move to end and defeat the slave trade with gunships interrupting the slave routes before anyone. Other than the colonies, England did not have a slave economy, unlike the American plantation system.
england's entire economy was funded through the cotton they were getting from america after its founding. cotton that was, of course, produced by slaves. i also like the "other than the colonies that kept slaves they didn't have slaves" dropped in there. as if somehow they couldn't figure out those darn colonies they controlled. lets not even pretend to think about places like africa and india. sure there were no slaves there in the 1800's!

But what do you propose to right historic injustices, how can a historic wrong to people who are already dead, be paid for to their ancestors, who may be poor, working, middle or upper class? How will that bring justice to those who experienced slavery?
again you just do not understand this country. its not a moral victory or an emotional one, although those things are important in and of themselves. its an economic victory. we have kept black wealth in this country down since slaves became free and done everything in our power to continue to do so until the present day. since you're so fond of doing research on this subject look up black wealth statistics going back 100+ years and see how they're actually lower now than they were after segregation ended.

Should rich black Americans receive the same wealth redistribution as poor blacks?
maybe. isn't that for them to decide?

And should the poor blacks have parity with rich black Americans?
maybe. isn't that for them to decide?

How are you going to artificially right a quality of hurt?
with money. the answer to all of your questions is money.

I don't believe money or reparations will rectify that.
i assure you that you are wrong.

As you see with the likes of Kaepernick a very rich and privileged man by any account, it's still not enough.
what is not enough? what does collin kaepernick have to do with this discussion in any way, shape, or form? further more, what does one single individual have to do with this discussion of the most broad issue imaginable? i do not understand the obsession you have with boiling every single issue down to one instance or one single talking point. its not productive.

Then what? Taking the knee, that means nothing and it delivers nothing to poor black Americans struggling in the inner cities of America.
because it was a completely symbolic gesture. again, what does a symbolic gesture have to do with slavery and reparations???

As you say, we non-Americans don't understand your culture anymore.
well you never really did as evidenced by your discussion on this subject.

It's not something we Europeans look on with envy, which at one time many of us did.
you're going to have your own reckoning on this subject, one way or another.
 

Journeyman

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CRT, which your postings show you agree with, would make you personally responsible for rectifying historic injustices and terror from the time of the junta. And much closer than historic slavery and jim crow in the USA.

I really don't think you grasp either Critical Race Theory or Marxist socio-cultural theory.

As others have stated, it's a lens through which one can examine society. It's not making anyone responsible for anything.
 

formby002

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I agree this is a good observation:

1627860940147.png

1627861238854.png
 
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formby002

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Enjoyed this. Probably does deserve its own thread though.

 

Pimpernel Smith

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Enjoyed this. Probably does deserve its own thread though.

The whole trans ideology has nothing to do with being trans, as India Willoughby and others with skin in the game have called out. It's part of the bigger long con and trans women are pawns in the game and cis women are expendable.
 

Kingstonian

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If you look back over the last 500 years, most societies kept slaves. From the native Americans, Africans, Arabs, Russians, Indians, Europeans etc, etc. It's not unique to western civilisation.....

Correct.

The Barbary pirates enslaved many white Europeans. The Ottoman Empire built a standing army from white European children taken from the Balkan states. White people were effectively enslaved in the Caribbean. It is still traceable in places like Montserrat. Africans sold other Africans into slavery. Arabs ran East coast of Africa - places like Zanzibar. Lebanese ran and still run West coast nations like Sierra Leone.

The whole thing is just a big play on the victimhood theme which can be a huge money earner nowadays.
 
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Rambo

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The whole trans ideology has nothing to do with being trans, as India Willoughby and others with skin in the game have called out. It's part of the bigger long con and trans women are pawns in the game and cis women are expendable.
Yeah gonna need a few citations on this one big guy
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Yeah gonna need a few citations on this one big guy
Not really, it's quite clear in the real world. Whilst there's many genders and fluid ones...

When it comes to menstruation, giving birth and being a cis-woman and trans-woman having transitioned MTF with HRT and all the surgery - that's 50% of the population plus a very small niche who have gone all the way and deserve full recognition and respect.

There's a big difference between them...

And the half-way houses: the self-declare themselves as women tomorrow, or be non-binary but expect the same status and access to female physical zones, etc.

No, sorry, you have to earn that.
 

formby002

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I struggled to read this all the way to the end. It made my piss boil.


It is worth remembering that some of the perpetrators and enablers of this are enjoying comfortable retirements subsidised by the taxpayer which will include the abused.

Shocking.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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I struggled to read this all the way to the end. It made my piss boil.


It is worth remembering that some of the perpetrators and enablers of this are enjoying comfortable retirements subsidised by the taxpayer which will include the abused.

Shocking.
The common denominator there is Labour run councils. But then again, remember that care home in Wrexham where the Conservative MP of Chester, Peter Morrison use to visit in the 80's? He was a known nonce, gets special mention in Edwina Currie's autobiography. And he looked the type 100%. He had very nice house in Mollington, you could see it from the A41.

I'm surprised at the number of kids in care in the UK, over 100,000 that seems unfeasibly large. But maybe not.

The problem is those types, abusers of kids, are always going to be attracted to work with them and will seek out access.

It's going on now still. The grooming gangs are still there, and one care home took a 15 year old girl to the Islamic wedding of her to her abuser. The Guardian article doesn't mention their complicity: when the grooming scandal broke they ran not one, but several opinion pieces on how we need to face the facts that some working class girls - underage girls - are slags. The Guardian has no moral authority in any of this, they're part of the problem.

Labour has a special tolerance for child abuse, you had the support of PIE amongst Labour politicians in the 1970s. And Keir Starmer whilst he was Director of Public Prosecutions made it clear that underage girls who were substance abusers, had criminal records, or were working as prostitutes should not be believed - many being pimped out by their abusers. MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, took a lot of flack when she broke ranks to highlight the problems in her community.

And who can forget Gordon Brown's infamous circular to Police Forces in the UK stating that these underage girls have made an ''informed choice...'' so let the abusers get on with it.

The abuse continues unabated.

And fuck Labour.
 

Rambo

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Not really, it's quite clear in the real world. Whilst there's many genders and fluid ones...

When it comes to menstruation, giving birth and being a cis-woman and trans-woman having transitioned MTF with HRT and all the surgery - that's 50% of the population plus a very small niche who have gone all the way and deserve full recognition and respect.

There's a big difference between them...

And the half-way houses: the self-declare themselves as women tomorrow, or be non-binary but expect the same status and access to female physical zones, etc.

No, sorry, you have to earn that.
one of your like minded people

 

formby002

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source:https://www.newstatesman.com

The West isn’t dying – its ideas live on in China​


What the Western world confronts is not the threatening advance of alien civilisations, but its own dark shadows moving through China and Russia.

By John Gray


The retreat of the West began with the fall of communism in 1989. Our triumphal elites lost their sense of reality, and in a succession of attempts to remake the world in their image went on to vacate some of the planet’s most strategically decisive regions. The end result of their attempt to export their system of government is that Western states are weaker and more endangered than they were at any point in the Cold War.
Yet viewing this debacle as a defeat for Western ideas and values is a fundamental error. Western ideologies continue to rule the world. In China Xi Jinping has embraced a variant of integral nationalism not unlike those that emerged in interwar Europe, while Vladimir Putin has skilfully deployed Leninist methods to resurrect an enfeebled Russia as a global power. Ideas and projects originating in the illiberal West continue to shape global politics. At the same time, in an intriguing synchronicity, Western liberalism has itself become illiberal.
The geopolitical descent of the West was visible in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and is palpable in the withdrawal of American-led forces from Afghanistan. Iran is now the predominant power in Iraq. With the Afghan state and regular army melting away following the US withdrawal, the future will be decided by the Taliban and neighbouring states that are sucked into the ensuing power vacuum. After years of Western intervention and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, in Syria Bashar al-Assad is still in power and Russia is the deciding force. Following the Western-engineered overthrow of Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011, Libya is an ungoverned space and a gateway of people-smuggling into Europe.
In recent months the pace of Western retreat has accelerated. Joe Biden’s meeting with Putin in Geneva in June gave the Russian president what he most wanted. Accepting that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be completed, Biden has empowered Russia to cut off energy supplies in transit countries. Ukraine has been left twisting in the wind, and Poland and the Baltic states are exposed to increasing Russian power.
The rationale for what is, in effect, a major geopolitical defeat is presumably to allow Germany to secure its energy supplies in return for supporting US efforts to contain China. But the chances of Germany risking its commercial relations with China have always been small. Last year, Germany exported almost €100bn of goods to China – roughly half the value of all EU exports there. China has not only become the biggest German export market, on some measures, but also the fastest-growing.
[see also: Why there is no solution to our age of crisis without China]
German foreign policy is dictated mainly by domestic factors, and industrial lobbies will ensure that trade links with China are not compromised. For the influential Greens, Germany’s exit from coal and nuclear energy transcends any geopolitical cost. In conjunction with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel has made it clear that Berlin wants détente with Russia. In any great-power struggle, Germany – and thereby the EU – will likely aim to stay on the sidelines, neutral or non-aligned, while in practice inhabiting a Russian zone of influence. No longer as constrained by European diplomacy after Brexit, Britain is resisting this tendency. But without support from the major European powers it is not clear how much the UK can do beyond protecting its own national interests.
***
The decomposition of the West is not only a geopolitical fact; it is also cultural and intellectual. Leading Western countries contain powerful bodies of opinion that regard their own civilisation as a uniquely pernicious force. In this hyper-liberal view, which is heavily represented in higher education, Western values of freedom and toleration mean little more than racial domination. If it still exists as a civilisational bloc, the West must be dismantled.
This hyper-liberalism is not presented as one among a number of standpoints that can be examined and questioned in open debate. It is a catechism policed by peer pressure and professional sanctions. Those who enforce it like to dismiss practices such as “cancellation” as nightmares of the fevered right-wing mind with no basis in fact. At the same time, they believe disagreement is an exercise in repression.
In the hyper-liberal credo, only what are regarded as simple, self-evident, morally impeccable truths can be tolerated. Assessing the costs and possible benefits of Western empires for the peoples they governed is not far from being a prohibited enterprise, as is examining the involvement of non-Western states in slavery. Some on the right have compared such ideological restrictions to those enforced under communism. The difference is that in Western societies these curbs on free inquiry are self-imposed.
The upshot is that the liberal West is more a subject of historical investigation than a contemporary reality. Those who believe humankind is converging on liberal values overlook the fact that Western societies are fast discarding them. The “arc of history” points to a model that no longer exists.
This does not mean hyper-liberalism has won. Democracy, insofar as it still functions, imposes limits on ideological orthodoxy. The marketplace, for all its excesses, produces alternatives. Venues encouraging intellectual pluralism continue to survive; some, like this magazine, thrive.
Hyper-liberalism is the ideology of an aspirant ruling class that aims to hoard wealth and position while flaunting its immaculate progressive credentials. Intractable culture wars and an epistemic crisis in which key factual and scientific questions have been politicised are a part of a bid for power by these counter-elites. But except in New Zealand and English-speaking Canada, there is no sign of them achieving hegemony.
Even so, schools are pressured to teach a single version of history, private corporations sack employees for deviant opinions and cultural institutions act as guardians of orthodoxy. The prototype for these practices is the US, which regards its singular history and divisions as defining every modern society. In much of the world the woke movement is regarded with indifference, or – as in the case of France, where Macron has denounced it as “racialising” society – hostility. But wherever this American agenda prevails, society is no longer liberal in any historically recognisable sense.
The evanescence of Western liberalism does not mean we inhabit a post-Western world. Arguments for Western decline are usually rehashed versions of the Harvard political theorist Samuel Huntington’s speculations about clashing civilisations, joined with prognostications of inescapable Chinese supremacy. Such claims have force insofar as they reflect the sharp contraction of Western power. But they miss the most remarkable feature of the contemporary scene: the continuing dominance of modern Western ideas. Not those of liberalism as traditionally understood, but mixtures of fascism, communism and integral nationalism.
Both China and Russia – avowed rivals of the West – are ruled by ideas that derive from Western sources. (The same is true of Narendra Modi’s nationalism in India and some Islamist movements.) What the West confronts is not the threatening advance of alien civilisations but its own dark shadows.
***
The formative influence of Western ideas on China’s leadership is illustrated by the references to the ancient Greek historian Thucydides that used to be common among official spokespeople. China, they would assure Western visitors, had no intention of falling into “Thucydides’ trap” – the tendency of rising states to seek to dislodge established powers from their dominant position, leading to war. Since Beijing’s switch to “wolf-warrior diplomacy”, a more assertive and aggressive form of statecraft, some have questioned the significance of the Thucydides trap in Chinese thinking. But Xi Jinping referenced it explicitly in a talk I heard him give in Beijing several years ago. He appears to have become more confident since then.
The study of Western classics is actively promoted in Chinese universities. The texts are often taught in their original Latin or Greek (a practice no longer required at Princeton, where some consider it racist). China’s meritocratic intelligentsia is also notable for having a grasp of Western political thought that exceeds that of many in Western universities. The works of Alexis de Tocqueville, Edmund Burke and Thomas Hobbes, as well as 20th-century thinkers such as Michel Foucault, have been closely studied. The German jurist Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) has been accepted as having the most to teach regarding China’s political development.
Schmitt gained recognition in the German academy by examining the influence of theological ideas on Western jurisprudence. During the 1920s he fashioned a set of ideas in which the Enabling Act of March 1933, which formally established the Nazi regime, could be formulated and justified. Law was created by sovereign political decisions, and whoever decided when a “state of exception” or regime crisis existed was the sovereign. In 1932 he published The Concept of the Political, arguing that politics was not a dialogue among members of a shared community with divergent interests and values, but a struggle between enemies – in other words, a mode of warfare.
Joining the Nazi Party weeks after it came to power, Schmitt distinguished himself by endorsing the burning of books by Jewish authors . But he seems not to have been sufficiently anti-Semitic for his Nazi patrons, and in 1936 was accused of opportunism and had to resign from the party. At the end of the war he was arrested by Allied forces and spent a year in internment. He never recanted from his theories, elaborating on them in the decades that followed.
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Uniform vision: Carl Schmitt believed the sovereign should promote the homogeneity of a people. Credit: getty images
Schmitt’s theory of law is not wholly original, or necessarily anti-liberal. A similar view can be found in the work of Hobbes. The difference is in their view of politics and the state. Whereas Hobbes believed the purpose of the state is the protection of individuals from violence and insecurity – a fundamentally liberal position – Schmitt charged the sovereign with promoting the homogeneity of the people.
It is this aspect of Schmitt’s thought that appears to be most attractive to the Chinese leadership. If the state and the people are one and the same, minorities can be suppressed, or obliterated, in the name of public safety. The forced assimilation of Tibetans, Kazakhs, Uighurs and other minorities into a uniform Han Chinese culture is not oppression, but a necessary means of protecting the state from forces that would destroy it.
The German jurist’s ideas are well suited to legitimating Xi’s increasing repression. In 2020 the Beijing law professor Chen Duanhong drew on Schmitt’s thought in a speech in Hong Kong to support the recent “national security” law, maintaining that the exercise of China’s sovereign authority to extinguish liberal freedoms in the former British colony is no more than the state securing its future.
Schmitt supplies a template for Xi’s integral nationalism. The construction of homogeneous nation-states did not begin with National Socialism. It had a European point of origin in revolutionary France. In the early 1790s, the Jacobins used an idea of the nation to crush a popular rising in the Vendée region of western France, in a campaign of repression that may have cost in excess of 100,000 lives. The construction of the French nation-state continued in the 19th century through the institutions of military conscription and national schooling, eradicating the diversity of languages and cultures that existed under the ancien régime.
Ethnic cleansing became central to nation-building in the wake of the First World War. The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Romanov empires enabled the emergence of nation-states asserting a right to self-determination – a development reinforced by the US president Woodrow Wilson in the Versailles settlement of 1919. His goal was to reconstruct Europe as a community of civic nation-states. But there were internal minorities in many of these states, and in the years that followed large population transfers occurred. Huge numbers fled or were expelled – as many as 1.5 million Greeks from Turkey and around 400,000 Turks from Greece, for example.
The process continued during the Second World War, with the Nazis killing millions in the territories they occupied in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and attempting the complete extermination of the Jewish people. Stalin deported peoples whose loyalty to the Soviet state he mistrusted (such as the Chechens and Crimean Tatars) from their homelands to Central Asia, many of them perishing during the journey or soon after their arrival.
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The nation-state is a Western invention. Nationalism emerged in China towards the end of the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) as a response to the humiliating subjugation of the country by Western powers. Seeking to confer “Chinese characteristics” on his project, Xi Jinping has cited Han Feizi, a third-century BC aristocrat in the Han kingdom and a proponent of the Legalist school of philosophy, in which law is used to fashion a strong centralised state.
As in interwar Germany, Schmitt’s thought facilitates a shift to totalitarianism. The distinction between authoritarian and totalitarian states is nowadays dismissed as a relic of the Cold War. Yet it captures a crucial difference between illiberal regimes. Authoritarian states are dictatorial in their methods but limited in their goals, whereas totalitarian states attempt to transform society and intrude into every area of human life. Bismarck’s Prussia and late tsarist Russia fall into the former group, and National Socialist Germany and the Soviet state throughout most of its history into the latter. Xi’s China has moved into the totalitarian category. Through the 95 million-strong Chinese Communist Party, which celebrated its centenary on 1 July this year, the state aims to be omnipresent throughout society.
China represents itself as a “civilisation-state” based on Confucian ideas of social harmony. Yet Xi pays tribute to Mao Zedong, who between 1949 and the mid-1970s laid waste to Chinese civilisation in the pursuit of an ugly occidental utopia. The move to a more limited authoritarian regime that seemed to be under way in the time of Deng Xiaoping, who led the People’s Republic between 1978 and 1989, has been reversed, and totalitarianism renewed. China is the site of an experiment in coercive nation-building whose closest historical parallels are in interwar Europe.
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Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China are often understood as similar types of regime. There is some basis for this as both are vehicles for Western projects. Lenin always maintained that the Bolshevik takeover continued the Jacobin tradition in the European Enlightenment. A type of pedagogical terror was a feature of the Soviet state from the time of its foundation in 1917. Even after the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s, Mao continued to emulate the Westernising Soviet model.
But the differences between Russia and China today are profound. Putin’s Russia is an authoritarian regime in which the state, though violent, is weak. Its spine is the former Soviet intelligence services; but sections of them are semi-privatised, some working in opaque collusion with organised crime. Amorphous private armies operate in Russia’s near-abroad and other zones of global conflict. Putin’s authority appears to be unchallenged in the Kremlin, but he exercises it with the tacit consent of oligarchs who in turn depend on his patronage.
There are signs of decay in the regime. An earlier phase of Putinism in which the population was controlled through “post-modern” media techniques and the management of apathy has given way to one that relies more on the threat of force. Nonetheless, the control of the population by the state is less comprehensive than at any time under the Soviet system until it began its slide into anarchy with Gorbachev’s liberalising reforms from the mid-1980s.
In 2017 the Kremlin declined to celebrate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, with Putin reportedly asking, “What is there to celebrate?” The view of some regime-friendly Russians that Putin, an archetypal product of the Soviet system, is an essentially anti-communist leader is not wholly groundless. Yet the core institutions and methods through which he governs are Soviet inheritances. The “little green men”, for example – Russian irregular forces that effected the invasion of Ukraine – were following the Bolshevik practice of maskirovka (deception). His cyber-warfare applies a similar strategy.
The fantasy of world revolution has long since been abandoned, along with the goal of transforming society, but the state through which Putin rules remains Leninist in its structure.
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The belief that challenges to the West emanate from outside the West is a source of some comfort to liberals. The role of an earlier generation of liberal and socialist thinkers in downplaying the colossal human toll of communism in Russia and China can be forgotten. The West’s complicity in present-day crimes can be evaded.
The attempt to erase the Uighurs as a people is the most obvious example of ongoing oppression in China. Confining them in concentration camps, demolishing their mosques and cemeteries, deporting them to work in factories (some of them reportedly in the supply chains of Western brands) and subjecting women to rape, involuntary abortion and sterilisation are crimes against humanity. But any campaign against them soon confronts China’s economic power, which has the potential to derail the global market the West has constructed and on which it now depends.
Despite the Uighurs’ plight being raised at international meetings, there is little real support for them. In most Muslim-majority countries, many of them indebted to China, Uighur cries for help have been greeted with silence. A world in which hyper-liberalism coexists amicably with the restoration of slavery may well be the next stage of social evolution. The Uighurs are on the wrong side of history.
The suppression of minorities in China is instructive because it undermines a consoling liberal narrative: the modern world is based on scientific and technological innovation, which requires an open society. Dictatorship is not just wrong but inefficient and unproductive. Only liberal societies have a long-term future.
China has dispelled this legend. During the post-Mao period a dictatorial regime presided over the biggest and fastest process of wealth-creation in history. As a result of the shift from authoritarian to totalitarian government under Xi, innovation may slow. There are already signs this may be happening. But countervailing forces in the West could yet give China the advantage.
In California, proposals are under consideration that would discourage the teaching of calculus in high schools. In Canada, Ontario’s proposed “equitable” maths curriculum “recognises that mathematics can be subjective”. Deconstructing education in this way, during a time of intense geopolitical rivalry in science and technology, does not look like a winning strategy.
Whether Western elites are capable of strategic reasoning at this point is unclear. Many of their key policies are performative in nature. Schemes to achieve net zero carbon emissions are extremely costly, and will not prevent accelerated global warming. The vast sums would be more reasonably spent adapting to the abrupt climate change that is already under way. But that would demand realistic thinking, which Western opinion-leaders reject as defeatist if not immoral.
A world-view that gripped sections of the Western intelligentsia throughout the modern period and dominated the post-Cold War world is disintegrating. Stories showing humankind evolving towards liberal values are parodies of monotheism in which a mythical logic in history replaces a redemptive providence. Knock away this myth, and the liberal way of life can be seen to have been an historical accident. In time the regimes created by Xi and Putin will crumble. But if the long drift of history is any guide, they will be succeeded by anarchy and new despotisms.
While Western liberalism may be largely defunct, illiberal Western ideas are shaping the future. The West is not dying but alive in the tyrannies that now threaten it. Unable to grasp this paradoxical reality, our elites are left looking on blankly as the world they have taken for granted slips into the shadows.
 
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