Gender-Neutral 2

The whole G-N policy being promoted needs further explanation to the wider public or it is in danger of being dismissed as a looney fad. Serious thought is required as to what G-N individuals/ body are expecting from society. Simply making demands immediately meets opposition. Therefore, any attempt to force an agenda on the public would be counterproductive.

I was taken by the decision making of school (s) on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Here twelve (12) elementary/primary schools have adopted a change to G-N washrooms (toilets). According to a news report by, cbc.ca/news quoting one principal that the move to G-N washrooms ‘reflects society’.

“A school is a reflection of society and in society you see gender-neutral washrooms”. Principal Norbet Carpenter – Montague elementary school.

We could spend ages deconstructing this statement but suffice to say that G-N does not reflect society otherwise there would not be a call to implement it. The introduction of G-N washrooms is a new development that stems from a political agenda.

Let’s be bolshie, the news report states that the trend was begun by “a” family that complained on behalf of their child. Of course this could be a typo error or woeful reporting. However, no mention was made of consultation with parents or seeking for consensus. That being the case we are left with two assumptions:

  • The policy was forced on the majority without agreement. (who needs Stalin)
  • The reporting was atrocious.

Further confusion was caused by Julia Gaudet, director of student services at the Public Schools Branch, “We are not getting huge amounts of requests, but we are getting requests,” Again there are several questions that could be asked about this statement. Does each request result in a school adopting a G-N washroom? The statement does convey the suggestion that there are few requests.

More general questions come to mind:

  1. What does a child understand by G-N?
  2. Is it based on feeling? Is it to do with embarrassment?
  3. Does the child/family realise that their request affects all in the school?
  4. If the child is female they already have cubicles; what is the problem.
  5. If the child is male then some coaxing and/or coaching to use available cubicles might prove appropriate.
  6. Should any anxiety experienced by the child not be dealt with by counselling in the first instance?

The child/family that raised the issue of G-N washrooms will not be alone in suffering degrees of anxiety. There are numerous issues that confront children of all ages; are these being dealt with on an individual basis? Mental health and abuse/mental trauma are but two. What are the schools doing about these issues? Or, if no complaint, is the physical/mental anxiety left in the unknown tray?

There seems to be a nucleus of schools in the area that have changed to G-N washrooms. Twelve out of sixty-four (64) not a conclusive number but sufficient to stimulate discussion. The population and school numbers are in decline, one reason being that teenagers who are of age are leaving for the big towns/cities elsewhere in Canada. What will they find in the metropolis?

In trying to understand the term G-N I looked it up in a dictionary; merriam-webster.com to find the following definition: ‘not referring to either sex but only to people in general’. I can foresee many problems arising from this and much embarrassment caused by numerous faux pas.

Is it therefore time to re-write our dictionaries to exclude such terms as: boy, girl, she, him, her, woman, male etc. etc. etc. I can hear screams of Noooo! coalescing in a suburban area just before the explosion.

It was my understanding that equal opportunity covered all the bases when it came to human rights. Why then has the G-N faction broken off to pursue their own agenda? Do they perceive their own predicament as of greater need than those of others? Or are they adopting the child philosophy of, scream loud until they pacify you? Note the conclusion of Ha-Joon Chang (213)*

“Equality of opportunity is something to be cherished”.

Kilts are Back!!!

A fashion breakthrough!

All pupils to wear kilts at new G-N schools!   No?

Why not?

Because…..

Sorry I couldn’t hear you. No, you’ll have to speak louder.

The boys won’t wear kilts!

Oh, so all the girls will wear trousers? I see, its equal opportunity at work. Hm.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an all-inclusive focus with the pursuit of a G-N agenda. There seems little or no consideration for the needs of others (touché). It smacks very much of we will get what we want and you lot will have to put up with it. Like arguments have been made on several occasions mainly by those on the left whom history has shown are just as prone to diktat as the right-wing whom they condemn as fascists.

Every faction is in a hurry and the only thing holding up ‘progress’ is the dullards’, otherwise known as the general population. This body may well be thinking of self-interest but so are the G-N lobby. The general population may be experiencing what Daniel Kahneman (305)* calls “loss aversion” e.g. they like things as they are; thank you very much. And, who might well prefer an approach similar to that proposed by Karl Popper:

That change requires “critical rationalism”,* (107) meaning it has to be thought out and be under constant review and to the benefit of society.

BIG Q: Why is G-N being pursued in primary schools? Is this because kids are more malleable, more open to suggestion? Are children therefore being used as political pawns?

“It is not possible, nor desirable, to try and be gender neutral all the time.” Most of us have a gender we identify with.

www.liveabout.com/gender-neutral-2982565

*Ha-Joon Chang, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About CAPITALISM

*Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

*Bryan Magee, Popper

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-schools-gender-neutral-washrooms-1.4290514

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Edward_Island

 

Trolls: Lazy Bias

Trolls are often seen as loud malcontents and as such get little sympathy. We are all bias but some people are lazy bias. They simply adopt another person’s view as their own. No scrutiny is necessary; if they like it that’s it. You’ll find that they are most likely to pick it up if a statement has had some publicity, is trending on social media. Welcome to the world of the Troll!

Example of lazy bias:  T = Troll// Q = questioner

I hate the Daily Mail (newspaper).

  1. Why?

  2. Because.

  3. Because why?

  4. Because it’s right-wing.

  5. When did you last read it?

  6. I’ve never read it.

  7. How do you know its right-wing?

  8. I just do!

  9. Why don’t you read it and form your own opinion?

  10. What’s the point, it’s full of lies.

  11. How would you know if you’ve never read it?

  12. Everybody knows it!

  13. Give me some examples of everybody.

  14. Oh, piss off! You’re talking crap!

Unfortunately, people form opinions often without first trying to verify if true or otherwise. This is quite common; it is groupthink, a kinsman of fascism! A nicer term is ‘echo chamber’, but that lets some trolls away with not putting their thinking cap on.

The discussion above was a true exchange. There is little hope of moving that person from their fixed belief. Well, there was no time to discuss it any further. These people are, to my mind, LBP’s – lazy bias people.

I am a troll and I live in a hole, I only come out to shoot my bow.

Is this an accurate description of a Troll? Or are they just like us – highly sophisticated folk? Although trying to determine their motivation is equally difficult. We just don’t know what makes them tick.

Do they have an emotional hang-up, angry at the world? Have a need to be famous? Need a hug? Some make little attempt at empathy. Well, there’s no fun in that! They want to vent, perhaps let others feel their pain. They just feel the need to vent – against whom – anyone really, who cares. Mostly they follow others lead.

BIG Q. Should they be censored? No! They need to be challenged, to be asked to think. They need time and space to grow, to mature. Shutting them off may cause their anger to fester.

Is it more to do with de stressing by letting their anger burst out? Or does it have something to do with the need to belong by being part of a trend. Then, not happy with just criticism, they dig deep into their reservoir of sewage vocabulary; a need to stand out. If they could invent new caustic words, that others could understand; it would be like major – sergeant major – e.g. shut up, I’m talking!

Most people have an activity that they like to do and usually it is with others, e.g. football, tennis, hockey, cricket etc. Trolls just tend to troll. Are they isolated characters or are they one of your crowd? They might meet you on the street and smile and seem like nice people BUT once in their den environment Mr Hyde comes to the fore.

What is annoying is that these people have talent. Unfortunately, that talent is used in a negative way. If only they could be turned around to spend their time on the computer/phone to make positive things happen.

There are a myriad of good fights out there, e.g. the environment, education, kids need better schools, animal welfare and a host of others. If folks want to vent, aim at the politicians who take but don’t give. Bombard them with facts & figures. Ask them what they are doing to help the community, kids play areas etc. Oops. Have I become a dictator?

Do some research on the net and once you have good stuff, hit the politicians with it. A nice long email with oodles of info every couple of months might have them knocking on the door at the local looney bin. Give them a wave- bye. Have I morphed into a Troll?

Is negativity eating you? Get creative!!!

Pick a topic – play areas for kids – get on social media ask if anyone has good info and ask them to share. It would be interesting to find out how many respond. Start a trend, ask all respondents to follow your example and write to their local politician. Make a video of your campaign and put it on YouTube.

Put yourself on the map by making a difference. Be different, be hyper, and take the fight to those cretins who don’t really care. It’s good to be good! Or is it? Perhaps the buzz from attacking others brings more dopamine (reward chemical) to the pleasure centre of the brain. Hm, is evil good? I don’t think so; we all live in a community and, the better the environment the happier the people. More smiles, more chats, more making new friends. Hey, win, win, win!!! That’s the way to do it!!

 

Gender Neutral 1

Gender-neutral (G-N) is a very hot topic at the moment and as such there are contrasting views as to whether it is a genuine cry for understanding as a sexual orientation. Or has it been made into a political stick with which to beat traditional society. A number of schools have introduced G-N toilets/washrooms but so far extremely few in the wider community.

A question immediately springs to mind of why that should be. And, a secondary point is why in primary schools. Opponents will shoot straight from the hip that the reason is that it would not be tolerated in adult society. Therefore the argument goes on to suggest that it is an attempt to push the issue through the backdoor.

Another point raised is the number of people who consider themselves as G-N and inevitably what percentage they make up in society as a whole. We do not know but it would seem to be small, very small. This leads to the next question of why should society change to accommodate such numbers and, should society change to suit a tiny minority. A case of the tail wagging the dog!

The latter points have some credence because a change to G-N would necessitate a considerable change in outlook. It would entail a huge financial commitment by governments/States/businesses throughout the world to implement it. And, that assumes that the sexes would readily accept the new environment. Questions arise:

  1. There have been clashes between G-N supporters and feminist groups. Therefore, does it have widespread support?
  2. What would be the extent of embarrassment to both sexes which can lead to feelings of intimidation?
  3. Would urinals be included or would all be expected to use cubicles? I’m sure that many women would welcome the addition of more cubicles within existing arrangements, instead of the perpetual queues that many endure.
  4. Who would be in charge of the seat-up/ seat –down predicament?(no pun intended)
  5. Would disable / child facilities be incorporated?
  6. Would women’s private functions be catered for adequately?
  7. It could take generations for males to respect the new arrangements. (and in the meantime?)
  8. Sex is a most predatory instinct! Is this to be flushed away? Can it?

? In a multiple of places I have seen separate disable and child changing arrangements. Why not a similar idea for gender-neutral?

Therefore, is the promotion of G-N an attempt to manipulate society through a political desire for change? This brings us to the classic philosophical debate of whether the needs of the individual should supersede the conditions set by the majority. Taking a purely elitist liberal stance the individual is supreme. Does that therefore mean that the individual has no responsibility to the community? John Stuart Mill has a lot to answer for.

A supportive view is mentioned by Francis Fukuyama, (534) when he suggests that majorities in a democracy can ‘violate the rights of individuals and minorities,’ and find ways to impede there progress. It is, he submits, a question of law and who implements the law. However, democracy itself can and is circumvented by powerful interest groups to get their own way. In many cases this can be simply put as ‘the louder you shout the more you get.’

Big Q: Who owns the franchise on openness? 

Can manipulation be condoned when following an ‘enlightened’ agenda? The alternative view must be that no form of manipulation can be acceptable because we can never be sure of the long-term consequences of change. To be welcomed by most change must happen at a pace that can be tolerated by the population, otherwise you are likely to be hit by various fault lines.

A scenario of a backlash leads us directly into the old –traditionalist V the avant-garde which is a false setting. The given scenario allows the promoters of change to castigate the mainstream as backward etc. This of course is a huge misrepresentation as many who wish to hold tight to the reins of change just want to ensure that the baby is not tossed out with the bath water.

 

It is indeed rational to want to digest possibilities, to think things through and eventually feel comfortable with the proposal. Youth on the other hand has a tendency to charge ahead without due consideration. If it sounds exciting, if others are doing it, then we can’t be seen to be a stick in the mud. Charge!

“Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.”

Tennyson

 

As an alternative we might look to Ambrose Philips 1671 – 1749

But when reflection comes with riper years,

And manhood with a thoughtful brow appears;

We cast the mistress off to take a wife,

And, wed to wisdom, lead a happy life.

Hm. It’s all a matter of perception which fosters opinion but reflection should be a critical element in our thinking and development. It may be fun to run but a walk gives us time to talk.

Moreover, how much consideration has been given to the long-term consequences of G-N on a world bases? Or is there a built in assumption on the part of the G-N lobby that their programme of change will make everyone happy. Everyone get on board – the Titanic comes to mind. (Unforeseen consequence)

Questions arise:

  • How will the education system be affected?
  • Can we expect greater sexual confusion?
  • What percentage of the new society will consider themselves G-N?
  • How will it affect relationships?
  • How will that affect population/species survival?
  • Will there be an input from genetic engineering?
  • Will opposition be allowed to thrive?

There are too many questions. It’s time I started on a book!

  • Francis Fukuyama – Political Order and Political Decay

 

Naomi Klein V Trump 4

The victory by Trump has been characterized as a ‘ferocious backlash’ ∗(20) by Ms Klein, and yes, that’s what it was. However, what was the backlash against? There was no trigger moment. It had a lot to do with the electorate looking at a dead end; turning round to see Fagin awaiting them. ‘Got to pick a pocket or two’. Exasperated is a solid verb; it sums up the feeling many felt. They, the people, had been screwed by all those in power. Trust was on a bus to some desert, somewhere.

Trump may be a flash octopus having tentacles into everything but crucially, he was not part of the political establishment. He had no history of promising sunshine only for it to piss down. Therefore, the backlash was an attempt to find a safe shoreline, a place to put their feet up for a while and take stock. Get some rays! To become the unforgotten! (27)

It is little wonder that Starbuck’s boss could present the coffee shop as a ‘third place’, a retreat, (25) clever advertising! Presenting the coffee shop, as a sanctuary from the hustle of daily life for half an hour or so. The ‘left’ need to get better at marketing!

Another mistake would be to run with the assumption that Trump’s vote came from rednecks only. Lots of ordinary decent folk cast their vote for change, change that offered some protection that wasn’t clouded in deceit. The electorate wanted something different and not from the same old political class. It’s just a pity they chose wrong. But the choice was limited.

A similar experience was sought in France with the election of Macron. He had been a member of the political class but managed somehow to distance himself and to be perceived as an independent. Macron’s different label won’t last long. In many countries around the globe we have witnessed the voting public thrashing about trying to find honest representation.

What Trump offered was a sense of stability and fed the emotional hankering for how things were. He promised to bring jobs back. (219). Allow people to hold fast with the beliefs that they grew up with.

The big question the democratic left have to answer is how to engender trust. The need is to convince ordinary Joe that there is the prospect of a brighter future. Make a future seem plausible, even desirable, (220). And one that needs everyone to help build. In the present political climate most will scoff and say it’s not possible. That’s the task, to find a methodology of approach that stirs the juices and makes people want to go there.

A starting line for thought is what happens when Trump is booted out? What are the choices?

Involvement would be my keyword. And stop talking down to people. Assume that they can rationalize and offer a bona fide response. Start the conversation and don’t be surprised if you don’t get a word in edgeways (edgewise). Moreover, it would be foolhardy to make it all about Trump, ‘anti Trump camp’ (17) for when he’s kicked out people might slouch and think everything’s all right now; time for a coffee. “And that was not a safe place”. (98)

Ms Klein’s verve at writing goes without saying (?). However, her rhetoric seems to run away from her at times; “…with unleashed white supremacy and misogyny.” (220) Who let the dogs out? In her list of the nasty side of capitalism she adds, “That white men are better than the rest.” (257)There is no qualifying of these remarks; they are simply left to interpretation.

I’m sure she does not intend to insult all white men but wants to unleash her vent at the Neanderthal supremacists, no problem. However, if taken out of context it opens her up to attack. In such a scenario it could be construed as suggesting that that attitude is embedded in white culture. No!

In explaining how heartless the system is and of an elite, “That treats government as a resource to be mined for private wealth, leaving wreckage behind.” (99) She makes a powerful statement that needs to be explored more fully. E.g. subsidies:

  1. Just how large are they?
  2. Which industries benefit most?
  3. What is the return on investment to the nation?
  4. Should this money not be better channelled?

Moreover, governments borrow vast sums and like any ordinary Joe have to pay interest on the loan.

  • U.S. as of November 2016 gross national debt was $19.8 trillion. Interest on debt in 2014 was $231bn rising to $799bn in 2024. WOW!
  • UK in 2015 government debt was around £1.56tn interest was £43bn
  • Canada projected for 2016/17 is $1.4tn the previous year’s interest was $62.8bn

It’s a double whammy, government borrows loads – gives out loads in subsidies, and we pay. In both these examples the big boys are getting fat on our money.

In effect government is propping up the market. It exposes the tale of the neoliberal economists that the market creates its own checks and balances.

Big Q’s: How much are governments pumping into the economy? And, how reliant on government financial input is the market?

As for the ‘wreckage’; there is a whole, whole lot less money to spend on essentials – welfare, health, education and infrastructure.

It’s true the rich pay taxes but: the rich giveth and the rich taketh away – with interest!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_of_the_United_States#Calculating_the_annual_change_in_debt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_national_debt

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/cost-of-government-debt-in-canada-2017.pdf

There are two statements which keep me upbeat:

1

“The economy is much bigger than the market. We will not be able to build a good economy – or a good society – unless we look at the vast expanse beyond the market.”

Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: The User’s Guide (456)

“Altruism, generosity, solidarity, and civic spirit are not like commodities that are depleted by use. They are more like muscles that develop and grow stronger with exercise.”

Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy (130)

I so want to believe!!!

*Naomi Klein, NO Is Not Enough

Ah hell, an Addendum

At present the American Left are on a major anti-Trump campaign. It’s a single issue, it’s a bull run. It’s an issue that will NOT end the plight of millions of poor in the country. They might succeed in getting him out, then what. Go back to the political class for guidance? Why do their job for them?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jink Gang

CHARGE! And they roar as they stampede towards the enemy. Suddenly they come to a halt at the moat, hurdle their abuse, stomp their rage, and make threats they cannot impose. Just then someone shouts – another fight! and off they run. Charge!

Meanwhile, the residents of the castle carry on; as do the folks on the bailey, little changed. In the distance if you strain your hearing there’s a faint echo of: charge! The stumbling, fumbling ‘Jink Gang’ push on.

Gradually some will tire as other commitments surface and the mantle is passed to the blood of youth. Others will stay for they wish to retain the notion of youth and have no ambition to accept responsibility. Love, marriage, home and kids take centre stage. Having a job and keeping it becomes a major priority.

HORROR! There is no remorse as they meld into the society they abhor to become castle dwellers or ambitious folk from the bailey. Gone is their naked rage to be replaced by a conscious awareness that needs change. It is not their war anymore. And the carousel continues to turn.

Such is the existence of the liberal left. With no clear plan, and little understanding of how to attack the castle stronghold or gain the support of the bailey folk, they tread on. Busily, they chase after every concept of injustice believing that they, are the acorns of change.

Taking sides is part of the ‘must plan’, embracing any group perceived to be downtrodden. Thus they have pigeon-holed minorities as the only true sufferers, all others are fakers. Unfortunately, there is no big picture for that would spoil the view and it takes time to draw such a picture. And haste is of the essence.

Fighting fascism is a pivotal rule of the ‘must plan’ but questioning the fascist tendencies of communism is so blasé. If you cannot abide by the rules don’t apply to join.

After the dinner party at the theatre the entourage, behind the canvas throw, demand a uniformity of approach to all injustice they identify. There are rules for a purpose: listen, learn, and adopt the new language, let us speak in neutral terms in all conversation.

Accept the new thinking, it would be boorish not to. Pay heed to the wisdom of our leadership and the world will achieve a new harmony where all will be at peace.  We shall build from the bottom up so that all benefit. Just follow our lead. You know we are right.

You cram these words into mine ears against

The stomach of my sense.” Alonso. The Tempest (11.i.)

Out of context but sharp and to the point on sentiment.

Excuse me Sir/Madam/ Neutral person, what about capitalism?

*Don’t trivialise our movement with unanswerable questions!

In our world the individual is supreme; their needs are paramount. We show our humanity by such actions.

Excuse me Sir/Madam/ Neutral person, which individuals?

*You are a peevish little sod!

Excuse me Sir/Madam/ Neutral person, where do I fit in? I’m a poor working class person and suffer from ego-depletion1 (42) which means I’m more likely just to give up. You see, most who live in poverty suffer from these symptoms and when you live in my world misfortune walks with you every day.

You may not know but I have a high U-index which means I spend a lot of time in an unpleasant state of mind. (393)Another thing Mr Kahneman2, points out when studying the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (396-397) is that:

“The objective of policy should be to reduce human suffering. We aim for a lower U-index in society. Dealing with depression and extreme poverty should be a priority.”

I may be wrong but Mr Kahneman’s view seems to be very broad and means everybody in those circumstances. And do you know what – everybody includes me!

1 & 2 Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow               Penguin Books

Excuse me Sir/Madam/Neutral person, can I ask a few questions?

  1. What makes you think your way is better than any other?
  2. How do you differ in approach from fascists?
  3. Will we still be living under the capitalist system?
  4. How do you plan to control the underbelly of sex and money?
  5. If you believe in a better world with decent welfare for all; why do you have a tax avoidance business arrangement?

*Nosy little shit!

 

Klein V Trump 2

It’s time to reflect.

Naomi Klein berates Trump for using the rage and despair of the people to get elected (27). The same can be said for almost any politician. If there is a flow in opinion they start to paddle in that direction to try to keep abreast of the current. Most politicians speak with a forked-tongue.

For decades the elite aided by their bovver boys have done whatever they deemed necessary to make a profit. This led to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1999, which freed the money men to make honey in a desert. Thank you to the democrats!

The ‘left’ have either been acquiescent or asleep. Some were to be found hopping-mad at Davos screaming themselves hoarse. Anarchists wore their masks, not the superhero variety, to fight the class war. The poor, they struggled on trying to make ends meet.

A massive cash bonanza for the big boys was globalization. A nice big can of gloss was used to paint a picture of relieving poverty worldwide by taking jobs to the poorer regions. Yes, the number of recorded poor did drop but that was conditional on what a living wage was deemed to be: $1 or $2 a day. Workers in the west could not compete against cheap or slave labour.

Factories closed, tens of thousands were thrown out of work. Some districts began to look like ramshackle places and hope went whistling with the wind (27). However, the big boys made a killing. Globalization was neatly summed up by John J. Sweeney labour leader of the AFL-CIO 1955-2009:

“In the ‘Nike Economy’ there are no standards, no borders and no rules. Clearly, the global economy isn’t working for the workers in China and Indonesia and Burma anymore than it is for the workers here in the United States.”

www.azquotes.com/author/14360-John_J_Sweeney

The ‘left’? They were absorbed in their new quest; identity politics. The ‘left’/liberal’s had no reasoned argument to overcome the horrors of capitalism and so sought to stamp on the toes of the elite. Multiculturalism and Political Correctness were unleashed with some fanatical adherents rattling on every door locked or ajar. (91)

Note the words of Trevor Phillips, former head of the Commission for Racial Equality writing in the Daily Mail newspaper. (16/08/17)

My comrades on the Left flaunt their moral superiority. But many of them are the most racist and sexist of all.

 

Unfortunately, there was little consideration given to the bulk of the population in particular the poor. There are a horde of issues out there that directly affect millions of poor folks. To many people the sweeping changes of the liberal/left took on the role of a drill sergeant: Attention! About Turn! Forward – March! It proved a very divisive policy. Those who would not be regimented were castigated as bigots, Neanderthals and trash etc. The louder they were screamed at the more entrenched they became. Surprise!!!

‘Audite et alteram partem’.

Listen even to the other side

Cited by Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: the User’s Guide (458)

The poor were facing a barrage of economic woe: globalization, wage freezes, benefit cuts, the full bucket of austerity. On top of that they faced a tsunami of political dogma. Add to the mix their main source of information, the cheap tabloid press and you start to see where confusion nests.

Between a rock and a hard place ordinary Joe starts to shimmy towards the ones who seem to understand and who make good promises. It’s the WIIFM! What’s in it for me?

Throughout the world we have witnessed the movement of ordinary Joe, fed up to the back teeth with the establishment and hearing nothing but abuse from the liberal/left. America, France, the UK and in South America people are searching for direction.

Yes, people can regress at times of crisis (192) but what helps them get back some dignity is understanding and assistance. And yes, encouragement can be taken from ‘- explosions of utopian imagination’ (217) of the 60s and 70s, but.

The radicals of Chicago and Paris 1968 are silent now. The peaceniks and the make-love-not-war army of self-indulgence have all gone to the care home. Well, that’s how it seems. The huge movement in the UK, CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) failed. There are a whole tranche of organisations and committed folks willing to help but there is no unity of purpose. Initially (228)!

Let’s be clear, you cannot build a better society without the majority of the population in support. Crucially there has to be an acknowledgement of the significance of the WIIFM for ordinary Joe no matter his/her race. Anything that creates a barrier lessens the opportunity to advance change.

Trump surfed the waves like a seasoned pro (119) but what was the alternative? The Democratic Party snuffed that out! So it’s not about, “…being willing to engage in a battle of ideas-.” It is about proposing new alternatives, being open (243) and willing to discuss what makes some so angry. Perhaps you start from the basis that they are lost in a no-mans-land.

It was not the “…wealth-worshipping world view that created the backlash in the first place.” We have always had bling since the earliest of times. It was that most people were not engaged in political life. Many simply viewed it as distasteful. We need to reconnect!! Dogma is still dogma if you are being forced to accept it.

Therefore it is about the ‘injustice of it all’. (119) It’s about fairness and how it is perceived. My perception might be overshadowed by my politics.

Johnathan Wolff, Political Philosophy (85) in discussing Rousseau’s polity:

“…without rough equality of wealth, factions will form. This would not only cloud the judgement of the voters but perhaps create an obstacle to the existence of a general will; a policy equally in the interests of all voters.”                             

Naomi Klein V Trump 1

I saw the book title, ‘NO is not enough’ by Naomi Klein, read the blurb and thought this is my cup of tea. However, I was met with a cup of gloop. No doubt well-meaning and to some extent forward thinking. But! Then I hit the last pages and began nodding my head, yeah, I’ve hit hard core. Ooh! I was at last excited, Klein and I are on the same train heading to somewhere better. But!

The mention of dismay that Hillary Clinton failed and could not be, “…a role model…” (17) had me reaching for the megaphone to scream the title of the book. Clinton was and is an entrenched and fully paid up member of the establishment. Many in the Democratic Party did not support her and actively campaigned against Clinton as their candidate. The champion of the hour was Bernie Sanders.

In hindsight, perhaps, the ruling elite of the Democrats regret their decision to force Sanders off the ticket. He could have beaten Trump but the fat cats at the top did not want to wrestle with Sanders brand of politics.

Ms Klein to her credit supported the Sanders campaign but later found fault in his policy decisions. Notable was the decision on reparations for slavery. (125) Klein quotes Sanders that reparations would be ‘”divisive”’ and that that decision may have cost him a substantial black vote. Is she suggesting he play to the gallery just for votes? I disagree with her analysis and believe that Sanders showed more understanding of the big picture of what it takes to unite the people.

Opposition to Sanders on that issue points more towards a lack of understanding of the bigger picture, which has become characteristic of the ‘Left’ in politics. There are too many questions associated with the policy of reparations: would payments be generic or individual? How much overall? Who decides how to spend it? Spend on what? The whole episode could prove fractious in the extreme. Not to forget the rest of the poor looking on.

The ‘left’ get a policy idea and run with it without much, if any, debate. You are either with them or against them. It’s an assumption of righteousness. On the mild side it’s patronizing on the other it’s dictatorial. We know what’s best for you! They get so engrossed in pursuing their own agenda they don’t see the need to consult or feel the anxiety of the poor. It’s the Moses syndrome!

Isn’t ironic that Klein supports Sanders only to go nit picking when he fails. She should be having a go at the hierarchy of the Democratic Party for their lack of vision and courage, which she acknowledges (123). But then all the guys at the top think alike. They may sport different colour ties when they meet up at the country club but eat at the same table.

Going back to the possibility of Hillary Clinton as president would only have ensured a continuation of the same old policies. Gender has no bearing on what a leader does; it’s their politics, their belief system. A female leader does not ensure a more thoughtful or caring approach to policy.

My way or …

I’ll refer you back to 1979 in the UK and the premiership of Margaret Thatcher. Her policies battered the working class into submission and caused severe damage to the manufacturing base of the economy. Her approach involved the ‘shock’ attack of neoliberalism, economic thinking of the Chicago School.

And recently, we have the rule of

Better my way …

Angela Merkel, a so called centrist politician leading a left leaning coalition. Well!! If we are to believe Yanis Varoufakis, finance minister of the Greek government 2015 and no one has refuted his analysis of what took place.* The sting began with the bailout of €110bn to the Greek economy in 2010, the first of three. Varoufakis is adamant that as the money poured into Greece it was just as quickly siphoned off back to the German and French banks that were facing collapse.

*Yanis Varoufakis, Adults in the Room (34)

This blatant and shameless robbery of the people’s money to save the banks was one of the most audacious scams in our history. To pay the debt Europe was forced into austerity. Merkel used the clout of the troika* to impose the deal. A decade later the debt is still being paid. Europe has been put on a very strict diet while Germany feasts on its ill-gotten gains.

*European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Klein bemoans that Obama did not take the opportunity during the financial crisis (2008) to steer America in a different direction but no such condemnation of Merkel. Instead Merkel is commended for the creation of 400,000 green jobs (214) while coal still remains the basic energy provider for the nation. The decision to extend the green environment may have more to do with a dependency on Russian oil and gas.

Moreover, the ordinary people of Europe have paid an extreme price to bolster and maintain the German economy. Cracks are now appearing as the duration of the German plan continues to hurt. The EU is in deep trouble!

We must commend Ms Klein for accepting that Merkel’s raid on Europe was “merciless” (214). The actions of Merkel were a precursor to Trump’s campaign. Merkel put Germany first and had no concern for the needs of others. Trump has stated on numerous occasions that he will put America first come what may. Is he following Merkel’s lesson plan?

Merkel kicked democracy into the tall grass while she went about her business. Clear evidence can be found with the troika’s actions in Greece and Cyprus. Will Trump go that far?

Let’s leave the last word to Yanis Varoufakis:

I witnessed first hand what I can only describe as a naked class war that targeted the weak and scandalously favoured the ruling class.