3REVELATIONS IN A STORMY TEACUP
The recent gale in the Green teacup as to whether an affiliate of the Far Right had contributed to these pages throws into relief some issues which might not be entirely welcome to those protagonists.
A sad fact of radical politicians is that they are usually hopeless at selling their ideological wares. Indeed many seem to have little interest in doing so. They become so paralysed by their own scruples that the very notion of achievement itself becomes menacing. All effort is thereby diverted into the declamatory posture where the maintenance of ideological haute couture so often requires argument to be transformed beyond the natural theatricality of politics into downright opera bouffe. Real achievement becomes subsumed to the loudly rhetorical strutting of moral superiority like some supermodel on the catwalk. A cynic might paraphrase C Northcote Parkinson in averring that the rigid perfection of the posture, whether Rodin's Thinker or The Boy Chatterton, lies in inverse relation to the influence it actually wields in the world. That cynic might well be right.
It follows that such a mindset is entirely impervious to argument and open debate. If challenged, its natural response is to shout, eyes and ears clenched shut, the relevant biblical krygma louder and ever louder in any successive exchanges. The maintenance of radical hauteur demands that the striking of the pose reflects the perfection of ballet. As the Prince Regent once remarked of silk breeches: the slightest crease is unpardonable.
So frenzies of unctuous, censorious, posturing, self righteous hysteria are best seen for what they are. Now the present proposition is that because a small number of its adherents have held unsavoury views the entire theoretical basis of monetary reform is false and its followers are to be execrated. This view is propounded without even the slightest reference to the merits or otherwise of the theory itself. Such an extraordinary mind process ... which I will not flatter by describing as 'thought' ... constitutes a degree of irrationality so profound, so egregious, as to amount to a form of mental disorder.
To see the results of the politics of ostracism look no further than the danses macabres of Cyprus, the Middle East, Northern Ireland and Kashmir. There, for much of the time, nobody speaks to anybody. If things are bad ostracism can only ever make them a good deal worse. Ostracism is bad thinking, bad practice, bad politics and downright bad manners.
Prejudice is inherent in the very structure of human thinking. Our minds summarise and then generalise information based largely on second, third and fourth hand sources. We simply could not cope with the world if our intellects were structured in any other way. At least 99% of all human opinions are prejudices. This is why communication and understanding are always of such paramount importance.
I have serious doubts about the veracity of the allegations which triggered this little storm. But that would not detract from the generality. Racists should be regarded as ignorant rather than as pariahs; as objects of sympathy rather than loathing. No person is beyond redemption. To claim otherwise is to place oneself above all the great religions of history. Beyond that I am not fearful of any idea, or of people who hold unsavoury views and I adamantly refuse to show in any way that I am fearful of them..
But there is a wider issue hiding in here. The first Far Rightists and Fascists had a good streak of the proto-Green in their anatomy. I think of such luminaries as A K Chesterton, Arnold Leese, Henry Williamson and Savitri Devi, of the pseudo-Nordic rituals of Himmler's SS, and the 'Blood and Soil' movement within 19th century German Nationalism which was subsequently adopted by the Nazis. The Nordic rituals and 'Blood and Soil' were pastiche but then so are the 'druids' and 'mystics' whose confections date back no further than Yates, Steiner, Crowley, Blavatsky, Bulwer Lytton and their ilk. Perhaps Greens do not like being reminded of how much of a romantic and atavistic commonality ... localism, autarky, basic living, paganism, pastiche occultism, 'back to the land', appeals to mythical ‘golden ages’ of the remote past, and so forth, there might be in certain strands of thinking between Greens and the Far Right. No wonder that they can sometimes get a little touchy about it.
As regards monetary reform we must speculate as to the degree to which dictatorships of both 'Left' and 'Right' have used state created money to advance their aims. Could we cite Stalin's Great Leap Forward? On the other hand how else could the Nazis have transformed Germany from a bankrupt failed state to a modem, full employment economy and create a war machine which came within an unpleasantly close whisker of world conquest within seven years? What of modem China? It certainly deploys at least some of the mechanisms advocated by monetary reformists such as the use (and effective use!) of statutory deposits as an alternative to interest rates in the control of money supply. These speculations must remain, for the moment, locked in their inadequacy because virtually no academic work has been done in this area. Are there any volunteers willing to remedy this deficiency?
Be that as it may, profound changes are taking place in the political landscape and a new axis is emerging around the globalise/localise, centralise/devolve divide which cuts diametrically across orthodox party and class politics. When a rabid Thatcherite commentator such as James Whale questions the necessity of nuclear weapons and attacks the Iraq war, or when the likes of Norman Tebbit begin lamenting the excesses of consumer materialism, then you wonder what is happening. Fissures arc opening up in unexpected places and it would be foolish to turn our backs on such developments. It would be too easy to underestimate the speed and degree to which globalisation is reshaping the political landscape.
People from what were regarded as irreconcilable ends of the old political spectrum will increasingly find themselves pitched into the same tent by events such as ID cards, greenfield development, European integration, the decimation of civil liberties, the hollowing of democracy, genetically modified crops, unbridled corporate power, global warming and so forth ... and, yes, perhaps monetary reform.
Support is growing steadily for 'fourth party' politics. As many as 15% would now vote for Greens, UKIP, Respect or the BNP, as well as for a rainbow spectrum of local kitchen-table parties. These parties are apparently very different. They exist in a state of profound mutual hostility. Yet in the deeper tide there is also an anti-globalist commonality and an appeal to people who reject the new global, corporate Bilderberg Dispensation.
In a world where every verity is being demolished before our eyes in a maelstrom of rapid change, globalisation, deepening insecurity and environmental degradation; where so many people all over the world feel simultaneously both intense 'Future Shock' alongside the 'learned helplessness' of Seligman's dogs, a regression into political and religious fundamentalism is inevitable ... indeed almost necessary. We think not only of the rise of the Far Right in Europe and Russia but of Christian fundamentalists in the USA, Al Quai'da, Likud and Eretz Israel, and the RIP in India.
The war between globalisers and localisers, between the centralisers and devolvers, between the centrifugal and centripetal forces of politics and economics, with all the ramifications of political control and the environment which that entails, shows some signs of becoming the most prolonged and ferocious in human history. Perhaps, in retrospect, its first big convulsion was the Vietnam War.
It may also be one of the most complex in that it will so often be difficult to distinguish friend from foe in the truest sense. We are entering an era of political transvestism where personal views are more motile and eclectic and political identities morph rapidly from one to another. So there will be some strange bedfellows before all this business is done. Yet that will create an opportunity to communicate with and learn from one another as never before. It can only be hoped that we can treat each other as fallible humans, learn from one another, understand, and in some cases ... yes, civilise one another.