Ideological Struggle

Phew! WW3 doesn’t seem to have started this morning.

I spent much of yesterday thinking about the American Empire as a continuation and extension of the British Empire. Instead of the Royal Navy patrolling the oceans, to keep the world’s trades routes open, the US Navy did so instead. Instead of the command centre being in Whitehall, it moved to Washington. The empire fell under new management, with the USA as its major shareholder. Or, if the British Empire had been a business run by an English patriarch, it was his American son who inherited the job of chief executive officer when the father became old and enfeebled, as fathers always eventually do. Britain  was as broken and battered and bankrupt as any other European state after two world wars. It had really only survived the war with American assistance, firstly with convoys of ships coming from America bringing vital supplies, and later with American armies and air forces.

The winners of WW2 were America and the Soviet Union. But the Soviet Union, rather like Britain, had only just survived the war, also with considerable assistance from America. And it had taken a terrible battering. Much of western Russia lay devastated, much like much of Europe.

But America was not devastated by WW2. No German or Japanese armies fought their way across it. Nor did German or Japanese planes ever bomb New York or San Francisco. America became the arsenal for much of the world, once it had ramped up the production of ships and planes and tanks and trucks to levels beyond anything its enemies could match.

What had they all been fighting about? Well, the Germans wanted their own empire to match that of the British empire. And so did the Japanese. And the Germans managed to overrun the whole of Europe, and a large part of Russia. And the Japanese managed to overrun much of the southeast Asia, and a large part of China. And so by the end of the war, it was the Americans who controlled Japan and much of southeast Asia, and western Europe as well. And the US Navy controlled both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. America was the big winner in WW2.

But there was also an ideological battle as well. The USA stood for individual enterprise and industry and freedom, while the Soviet Union stood for Scientific Socialism. The Soviet system was one of a centrally-planned economy, with state-owned industries following 5 Year Plans. The American economy was not centrally planned, and was much more haphazard. If the Soviet system was intended to benefit everybody in society, the American system benefited the most enterprising and inventive and hardworking. The proprietors of US corporations could – and did – become fabulously wealthy. Hence the Fords and Rockefellers and Gettys and all the rest. Soviet Socialism was intended to benefit the whole of society. In the USA there were winners and losers.

This ideological battle was really over how economies should be organised. Should they be centrally planned, or should they be allowed to evolve and grow and decay? Or, if an economy is seen as a garden, should it be allowed to grow unchecked like a jungle, or should it be carefully laid out with flowerbeds and paths and lawns, with carefully manicured flowers and bushes and trees? The US model was the Amazon mato grosso, in which the plants found their own natural equilibrium, and the Soviet model was Kew Gardens, in which everything was carefully managed.

This is an ideological struggle which knows no borders. It’s been going on for centuries – even millennia – everywhere in the world. For there are always people who want a level uniform equality across society, and those who want the excellent to excel above all the rest.

And in Britain, at the end of WW2, the returning soldiers voted for  uniform, centrally-planned economy: the Labour party’s Welfare State. Many industries were taken into state ownership. While a great many industries remained in public ownership, the rest were to be carefully centrally planned, much like in the Soviet Union.

But somehow or other, despite the best of intentions, this sort of central planning never seems to quite work. It never really worked in the Soviet Union, and it didn’t really work in Britain either. State-run industries always seem to be inefficient, unproductive, and wasteful. And after a few decades of bumbling inefficiency, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives sold off most of the state-controlled industries back into private ownership.

And in many ways, the European Union is another centrally-planned Soviet Union. It’s not that European  industry is state-owned, but it is effectively state-controlled by a forest of restrictive rules and regulations.

And smoking bans are wonderful examples of centralised top down state control. The state decides what’s good for everyone, and introduces laws banning smoking, more or less everywhere. The job of individual smokers is to stop smoking, in accordance with the decree of the state. We are not to live as individuals, making up our own minds how we will live: we are all to be obedient members of society, and we should conform to the social will, as enacted in Brussels by the experts. The EU parliament voted in 2009 for a European smoking ban, with show trials for recaltricant smokers. In the more haphazard USA, only a few states and cities have done the same.

The Soviet Union may have disintegrated 30 or more years ago, but it seems to have reproduced itself in the European Union. And having reproduced itself and expanded, this new European Union is now experiencing the same sort of mounting centrifugal forces that tore the Soviet Union apart.  More and more people want to escape from it.

One might almost say that if the centrally-planned Soviet Union confronted an anarchic, free-wheeling America at the end of WW2, the two have now more or less swapped places – or swapped ideologies – with the USA now well on its way to becoming a socialist state, particularly in California. And Europe is already a socialist state.

And Donald Trump is an American magnate who is setting out on the herculean task of restoring the USA to being an anarchic, free-wheeling, enterprising place rather than a planned and regulated and controlled society. For in the US Deep State, that I was writing about yesterday,  he’s up against something that is essentially concerned with planning and controlling society. For the military are always planning and controlling and regimenting.

This struggle between spontaneity and planning, between the individual and society, seems to swing first one way, and then the other. At one time anarchic individualism reigns, before being subdued by planned social collectivism, which then gives way once again to anarchic individualism. It seems to be a never-ending tug of war, going one way and then the other.

And the two sides in this struggle always seem to demonise each other. It always seems to be a struggle between black and white. Donald Trump is regularly described as being more or less a new Hitler (another thoroughly demonised figure). I’ve been listening to Jerome Corsi ‘decoding’ QAnon in recent months, and he talks regularly about ‘white hats’ versus ‘black hats’. The white hats are the good guys, and the black hats are the bad guys, and there seems to be no place in between for ‘grey hats’ or ‘beige hats’. And so in his demonology, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the principal satanic figures, wearing the blackest of black hats, while Roseanne Barr may or may not be a black hat. And what is going on in the US intelligence agencies is like Mad Magazine’s Spy vs Spy, with the white hats in US military intelligence fighting the black hats in the CIA. The entiire US political system seems to be in a state of civil war. And in fact many commentators are saying that a real civil war is imminent.

Similar tensions seem to grip a great many nations these days. There has arisen in the UK, over the last couple of years, a deep division between the Brexiters and the Remainers.  And in Spain there’s a deep division between Catalan separatists and Spanish loyalists. And in Italy there’s division between the industrial Northern League and the rural south.  And these are all tensions within nations, rather than between nations. So much so that if a global war erupts, it looks likely to be a global civil war, with Americans fighting Americans, Englishmen fighting Englishmen, Spaniards fighting Spaniards, Italians fighting Italians. And we already see precisely this sort of civil war in Iraq and Libya and now Syria. Perhaps that’s how world wars start?

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About Frank Davis

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14 Responses to Ideological Struggle

  1. Roobeedoo2 says:

    I don’t think it’s an ideological struggle so much as an idealio logistics struggle, and to win a war, any war, be it over resources, people or even ideas, the best logistics wins:

    http://www.universalcargo.com/top-10-logistics-quotes/

    The rest is evolution; best adaptation.

  2. Frank Davis says:

    Trump’s last 3 tweets don’t seem to suggest to me a President about to launch an attack

  3. Dmitri says:

    Not only logistics win wars. Lies are very helpful, too. And who lies better that the World Health Organization?
    Syria, that Duma town which is where a terrible chemical poisoning was supposed to happen. The WHO issues a paper, saying that, indeed, 500 people have been gassed. What’s the source, Moscow is asking? Hm-hm, reliable people. Have you sent your own medical experts to Duma, which is now crawling with camera crews, etc.? No. Have you asked the only big hospital in Duma if it was treating any victims? Hm-hm. Where are the bodies? How about the survivors? Where are all these poisoned chiiiildren, or maybe their mothers? Somebody sent them all away, erasing all the traces and removing the ground at the place of that poisoning? Have you watched the symptoms of chemical poisoning even on these videos, produced God knows where? What kind of treatment it was for somebody poisoned? Where are the ones who treated the victims and who are these people? Hm-hm.
    First conclusion: the WHO was busy making new plans to harass smokers, had no time to check its sources for fraud. Second conclusion: fraud is a second name to that WHO, regardless of the topic. We know their “reliable sources” like nobody else.
    It would be a pity if the WHO’ll be ruined by that Syria case, not by us.

  4. waltc says:

    You say: “Soviet Socialism was intended to benefit the whole of society. In the USA there were winners and losers.” I’d merely counter that in the course of the 20th c. American “workers” as a whole were all winners–the free society creating well-paying jobs for almost anyone who wanted one and allowing the “working class” to become middle-class. Post war America was a booming economy. As for the Soviet Union, from everything I’ve read (Dmitri, you’re welcome to contradict me) the majority got an equality of poverty, while–human nature being what it is– the planners carved out the winners seats for themselves. Or as Orwell loosely put it, Some pigs are more equal than others.”

    Now in the west, on little cat feet, we approach the old Soviet model . The planners, who will never have to live with the unassimilated immigrants they exuberantly welcome, or the unemployment their globalism creates, or the agricultural waste their EU standards mandate, or will never have to fight in the wars they choose to fight, or give up the smoking they’ve already given up, feel free to dictate, censor, and legislate against their own people. Their regime is creating more “losers” than any 19th c laissez-faire economy could ever manage to create, or at least as many and, without accepting it, they become the “robber barons” they claim to despise.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Post war America was a booming economy.

      That’s true. And it’s also true that American workers were winners in the post-war era (though I’m not sure about during recent years, as businesses and jobs went elsewhere).

      But pre-war America during the depression wasn’t all winners.

      • waltc says:

        Right. Your point is true now –as I said in my second paragraph –and true in the depression, except in the thirties many of the winners were also losers. The crash destroyed many of the rich and comfortable. Nor, with the exception of the Famous Fortunes–the Vanderbilts, Fricks, Rockefellers, Goulds, and all the former mining and railroad lords who’d made their fortunes in the 19Th c. by screwing the workers, was there the kind of widespread disparity of wealth that there is about now.

    • Dmitri says:

      Not that I really want to contradict you, Walt, but the picture was much more interesting. The “planners” in the USSR certainly were not poor, and that gave birth to one of the rather false slogans of the 1980-s turbulence – “down with elite’s privileges”. Today even a middle-rank Russian bank manager would turn up his nose at the lifestyles of the USSR top leaders: squalid, unimaginative, third-rate. The difference between the top 10% and the bottom 10% became shocking in no time at all after the end of the old system
      One of several factors that destroyed the Soviet regime was the desire of certain part of the elite to live much, much better, to get rid of obsolete Communist-style modesty. So they first destroyed the system by unleashing the beast of populism on it, saddling the movement, and then let their imagination run wild in the realm of ostentatious consumerism. And then Putin came along, with his attempts to rein in at least some of the government personalities. Not sure he is very successful in that, but at least the age of unrestricted glamor is over. So we are somewhere in the middle now.

      • waltc says:

        Contradict away. I admit to knowing little about contemporary Russia. The Soviet state I learned about was a two-class system where the party elite had country dachas and shopped at Gumm while the “working class” i.e. everybody else, had several families sharing a one-kitchen apartment and standing on line for chicken. If you want to tell me that was all propaganda, I’ll accept that, too. If you also tell me that the elite’s apparent lifestyle was, nonetheless, relatively shabby, I’ll totally believe. It.

        At one point in the early eighties I met and briefly befriended an emigre couple, he, a writer (though I know not of what caliber), she, a UN translator and a smart, pretty woman. . What I most remember is her telling me that the longed-for escape to America was anti-climactic, that life in freedom lacked the exciting edge of having every thought, move, transgression against authority present an almost thrilling frisson of danger, and where was the thrill when you were free to do anything? Their story had a really gamey ending. The guy was increasingly bitter and angry at not having been instantly published in America and in fact his bile and misunderstanding of how such things work made us American writers (who had, ourselves, struggled to get published) eventually drop him. A few years later, I read an article about him. He’d joined the Russian mafia, murdered his wife, and IIRC been murdered by the gang. Freedom had freed him to become rotten.

      • Frank Davis says:

        One of several factors that destroyed the Soviet regime was the desire of certain part of the elite to live much, much better, to get rid of obsolete Communist-style modesty.

        They got greedy.

  5. smokingscot says:

    O/T

    Way down in the dross section of The Express comes a study from Canada, with a message our lot are only too happy to commend.

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/945288/smoking-cigarettes-cost-20-pack-smokers-study

    Essentially they want cigarettes to cost £20 a pack.

    • Lepercolonist says:

      The controllers have banned smoking in cars with children under 18. For the chiiildren..
      Why don’t they make it mandatory to wear a helmet while driving ? It’s been shown to save lives. Too much of an inconvenience for the elites.

    • waltc says:

      All the comments are way against this.

      • Joe L. says:

        The absence of astroturfers is noticeable. Either they haven’t been made aware of the comments section on this article, or this is a sign that the funding for Tobacco Control is really drying up. I hope it’s the latter.

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