breaking news from the world of ideas

by Paul Embery
Friday, 10
September 2021
Response
09:30

The myth of Blue Labour Boris

Economically and socially, the Prime Minister remains an instinctive libertarian

That’s it! True conservatism is dead. Boris Johnson, closet pinko, has ditched the Tories’ traditional low-tax, small state philosophy and, in its stead, adopted some kind of Blue Labour agenda.

Can this be true? Well, certainly it is the case being made by some Right-wing commentators in the wake of the hike in national insurance contributions and the resulting inevitability that the tax burden will hit its highest-ever level.

Assuming that these commentators are referring to the distinct Blue Labour movement, and not using the term as some loose pejorative, I for one don’t buy the analysis. While it is undeniable that the Tories have, over the past couple of years, adopted a kind of “radical on the economy, conservative on culture” Blue Labour posture — to great effect, it must be said, across much of working-class, provincial England, as the 2019 general election showed — there is little evidence that they “get it” instinctively or that the messaging will ever translate into reality. ...  Continue reading

by Peter Franklin
Friday, 10
September 2021
Chart
07:00

How Conservatives MPs are different from their voters

The party is economically liberal, but the people who vote for them are not

With the Government putting up taxes to pay for the social care crisis, Conservative MPs are in need of some care of their own. In the Telegraph, one anonymous MP is reported as saying that he “had gone home to his partner and cried because of the decisions he had had to vote on, adding that he did not know what a Tory was any more.”

He and his colleagues should brace themselves for more ideological pain. The fact is that the Conservative Party now has a split personality. While the Parliamentary party is economically liberal — if not downright libertarian — the people who vote for them are anything but. ...  Continue reading

by Ben Sixsmith
Thursday, 9
September 2021
Explainer
16:39

Curtis Yarvin schools Tucker in ‘neoreaction’

The Right-wing blogger joined the Fox News host to discuss his theories of power

Among the shouty pundits and greasy politicians who litter cable news like rubbish in a landfill, Curtis Yarvin was an unlikely fit. Looking like Silicon Valley’s biggest Grateful Dead fan, one of the founding thinkers behind “neoreaction” appeared on Tucker Carlson Today to discuss his theories of power.

Yarvin’s opinions were once sufficiently esoteric and unspeakable that he wrote under a pseudonym, “Mencius Moldbug”, on his now defunct blog Unqualified Reservations, where he wrote hundreds of thousands of words of political theory in dense, allusive, and occasionally playful prose. ...  Continue reading

by UnHerd News
Thursday, 9
September 2021
Spotted
14:02

Denmark is paying the UK to take their Afghan refugees

An undisclosed sum was paid to Britain to accept 23 interpreters

Denmark has paid the UK an undisclosed sum to accept 23 Afghan refugees who worked as interpreters for the Danish state for eight years.

According to a report by Swedish broadsheet Svenska Dagbladet, the interpreters were granted a residence permit in the UK after twelve of them had their visa applications to Denmark rejected and eleven wanted to travel to the UK themselves.

Even though the interpreters were technically employed by the British military, they worked for the Danes, wearing Danish uniform and received a Danish salary. 

The amount — paid for in secret by the Danish state — has been calculated according to what it would cost the British to evacuate the interpreters, integrate them into society and pay social costs for five years. The payment has been confirmed by the Danish Ministry of Defence to SvD. ...  Continue reading

by Ed West
Thursday, 9
September 2021
Idea
11:50

Will the Amish take over America?

Historically persecuted religious sects are winning the demographic war
Most Amish communities don’t allow phones in their homes, but it’s not because they think phones are inherently evil and ban them completely. They often have shared phone booths at the end of the street to use when necessary and at their places of work. They just don’t have phones in the home because they believe it will take away from the purposes of a home — things like family bonding, chores, and recreation.
- David Larson

So writes David Larson in Crisis magazine, examining the rapid growth of a community which has doubled in size in just 20 years. There are now 350,000 Amish in the United States, and their demographic growth shows no real sign of letting up.

The Amish are notorious for their restrictive lifestyles, with their communities essentially functioning ‘off the grid’. Having two tweenage daughters and becoming increasingly aware of the sheer evil that is TikTok, this all sounds pretty sensible to me. If only they’d change their rules about booze I might sign up.

Groups like the Amish are notable for their continued growth as a sect, even as wider America has seen a sharp drop in church attendance, particularly amongst the younger cohort. This change has almost certainly played a part in radicalisation both on Left and Right: socially isolated Republicans as well as self-identified liberals are far more likely to find meaning in politics than religion. ...  Continue reading

by Greg Barker
Thursday, 9
September 2021
Explainer
08:00

The cynicism behind El Salvador’s Bitcoin decision

The people don't want it, but that won't stop the currency's cheerleaders

It was the morning of September 7th, 2021, when El Salvadorian President, Nayib Bukele, was about to officially enact Article 7: a law declaring Bitcoin as legal tender that he seemingly cooked up in a hurry, only a few months prior.

In the run-up to its passing, Bitcoin’s biggest promoters worldwide hyped up the event as a revolutionary moment for El Salvador, one that could liberate its citizens from the clutches of the U.S. empire, and its supposed unofficial puppet, the World Bank.

This Bitcoin elite, however, has seemed to discount President Bukele’s questionable past. As journalist Manuel Melendez-Sanchez writes: “[He] has used state agencies to harass journalistsinvestigate opposition parties, and undermine government oversight.” ...  Continue reading

by Toby Green
Wednesday, 8
September 2021
Debate
17:23

Bill Gates finally realises that lockdown hurts children

A major advocate for social distancing is having second thoughts

This week The Guardian featured two articles funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) as part of its sponsorship of the paper’s Global Development coverage. One noted on Monday that hundreds of millions of children had fallen behind across the world during the last 18 months, and the other stated that Covid measures meant that education was at risk of collapse in one quarter of the world’s countries.

However, the articles did not mention that these outcomes were the direct result of the lockdowns enthusiastically supported by, er, Bill Gates. These results were entirely predictable — and were indeed predicted at the outset of the lockdowns by UNESCO. ...  Continue reading

by Julie Bindel
Wednesday, 8
September 2021
Reaction
14:15

No Judith Butler, gender-critical feminists aren’t ‘fascists’

The academic can't frame everything as a Right-wing transphobic attack

In 1999, The Guardian ran a piece on an annual prize for bad writing, which celebrates “the most stylistically lamentable passages found in scholarly books and articles”. The only condition for entry was that no parody was allowed. The winner was Judith Butler, for this:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and re-articulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities…
- Judith Butler

This week, The Guardian ran an interview with Butler who boldly stated that: “…we should not be surprised or opposed when the category of women expands to include trans women.” Here, Butler’s argument is much more clear: the category of women must be expanded to include men.

While I don’t contest that Butler is a bad writer, it appears to me that her linguistic obfuscation serves a purpose. Butler follows the post-modernist school of feminist thought, hoping to “disrupt” the categories of gender, thereby rendering it meaningless. Of course, such a proposition is ridiculous. ...  Continue reading

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