Hard left abusing a Blairite MP for disobeying their boss when he worked with the Tories. This, ladies and gentlemen is what political realignment looks like.
Westminster media is focused on Brexit negotiations. Labourites are arguing like they can pretend that Jez isnt wanting hard Brexit, and if we just ask we will get single market trading conditions witout being a member. Its a circle jerk and fantasy exercise. We could send Pokemon to negotiate because it isn’t negotiation, which is fortunate because we sent David Davis and he is out of his depth.
The reality is that Brexit is not decided by negotiation. Brexit began the day the vote came in and the world watched to see how we handled it. Our political system fell apart, the hard left saw an opportunity and there is nothing that a negotiation or a deal can do to undo what is happening. Paris, Frankfurt, and other European Cities are making sure they have capacity for what leaves London and London has been popped. The UK and the London premium was about our reputation for stability which is hundreds of years old and is now gone. We are a small country who have deliberately undermined relations with the major allies we bridged, and we are isolated and we don;t understand what this means. Cambodia is an interesting parallel although it doesn;t seem immediately obvious. We tell ourselves it was the bombing of Cambodia that led to the atrocities of Pol Pot, it wasnt. It was their neutrality being undermined as they found themselves a tug of war in a struggle between two powers. They weren’t big enough to sustain that and the political vulnerability created meant that in 2003 and I was there, it was shocking to realise how young everyone was and that a generation was missing.
Everyone is focused on the appalling Westminster circle jerk and companies all over London are preparing to leave. The bubble that is London has hidden the erosion of other parts of the counry and London doesn’t know how quickly this can happen. For those us in deindustralised areas this is not new. We have grown up on the tide of this.
It was never negotiation that would determine our post Brexit deal, it was how we maintained political stability after the vote. We failed. The negotiations are a formality and we will told what terms to accept., The EU as a whole will extract benefit and then we will be contained. Isolated. Our political instability interesting to noone unless it presents a risk to a greater power. The staggering levels of delusion that define Westminster and their media have not worn off. Centre left guppies without even the basic knowledge of our contsitutional arrangements normalise Corbyn, and the Tory part is in disarray. We have negotiated the terms of Brexit. We didn’t realise we were doing it. And by the time we realise it will all be done.
Its important at times like these to record for the future. Amazon are seeing soaring sales of the thinkers and writers who emerged in the pre-World War 2 period. That period is taught as history and for my generation its a shock to find its our future. I never thought I would be writinga post like this, and certainly I never thought when the fake anticuts movement that triggered this I would be here. But here we are and there is a responsiblity on us all, if we cannot learn for now to record for later.
Its clear as day Jeremy Corbyn wants a hard brexit, always has. Morning of Brexit result he demanded immediate triggering of A50, and as covert narcissists do he undermined the Remain campaign and is now trying to lock the country into a hard Brexit they don’t want. He is enjoying is new found celebrity status. If I could find make up that did for my skin what the bodies of Grenfell tower did for him, I’d stock up.
Reality does not matter. We have gone past the point Hayek described where truth is lost. It doesn’t matter that his movement was about erasing consensus on welafre cuts and local authority cuts. It doesn’t matter that his fake anti-cuts movement required the abuse of welfare claimants, and people living with austerity. It doesn’t matter that his leadership bid required abuse and intimidation of elected officials, journalists, jews, women. It doesn’t matter the Labour Party is not safe for its jewish MPs or members. It doesn’t matter that he is associated with extremists who advocate stoning of women, or equate homosexuality with peadophilia. The Guardian and the New Statesman have normalised him and they know this. THey dont care. Truth has gone. Chuka Umuna tabled an amendment in parliament about membership of the single market, and several Shadow Cabinet members were sacked. Twitter is a flood of Corbynites screaming traitor, and scab at him. Like this is not deranged behaviour. Labour politicians were on television later thonight saying ‘there is a debate happening’. Murray, head of communist party, Milne, a stalinist who sends his kids to private school, and McDonnell who sees parliament as a tactic and a step to revolution have the Labour Party and their tenure is being normalised
Corbyn follows Trumps blueprint to the letter and facebook is full of memes of Labour propaganda and we are slowly learning how the atrocities of World War 2 occured. The problem is not the hard left freaks currently out in force trying to intimidate and punish Chuka Umuna for his treachery, its not them at all. The problem is te normal people who are nice. Who want to believe they are nice and have decided that they are projecting what they want onto this symbol they have been given and watching how they will attack you for interrupting their false reality is alarming. Its not difficult. Corbyn is pro-hard Brexit and upheld welfare cuts to bribe middle class students. Welfare cuts that come with a body count and even the Tories are trying to find a way out of.
Stating this simple fact is enough to get you abused, but the threats and actual abuse are easier to swallow than the thing that will drive him to power. ‘Can’t you just be nicer about him…you are irrational in you hatred of him Lisa’ ‘Cant we just have this?’. The endless circular passive aggressive discussions where you are insulted, and abused and hammered at until you relent and pretend that the thing sthey have projected onto Corbyn are real. They aren’t but noone cares. Oh you must be a Tory, you are a traitor. MY friends Brother yesterday told me I deserved 30 pieces of silver for my treachery. Apparently I owe loyalty to a political movement which relies on the abuse of women, jews, elected representatives, journalists, and which has preveiously demanded that MPs cease to serve their constituents and become delegates of a party.
The problem is austerity was by consent and noone wants to admkt this. Noone wants to admit that welfare cuts were easy because the publci would consent, that George Osborne didn;t dream out of thin air he could focus on Local Authorities, he knew that was what the public wanted. And now they want absolution. Women like me were expendable during austerity so their mortgages could be kept low, and the Guardian sold it while endlessly telling its readers how good they were for occasionally feeling a twinge of worry about this. But now people want absolution. The middle class friends who were happy to watch you hammered with poverty, happy to watch you abused, get death threats when you tried to challenge it, now want the movement that means you are always at risk and could you please not mention te threats and abuse or the fact that wlefare cuts are still going to kill people if they Corbyn delivers them. Welfare cuts are no lonegr austerity.
They dont sometimes outright abuse you. Sometimes its endless circular conversations where they need you to respect their delusion. Sometimes its just silence and ignoring and turning a blind eye to what is in plain sight. Sometimes its dreadfully polite. But ultimately they want absolution for austerity focusing on those they thought were expendable. THis is how inequality generates political risk. Its not people tired of the Tories driving this. Its the people the Tories placated by hammering the poorest, who want absolution and the same people the Tories hammered are expendable in their new movement. Its the need for absolution and the protection of self image that drives the political risk.
And for people barely touched by austerity its uncomfortable to know that the cost of their movement is women who are scared, who are increasing security in their houses, worried for their kids safety. Its uncomfortable to know that Jewish Labour Mps need security because the man they idolise tacitly condones and encourages their abuse.
A Tory MP stood up at PMQs this week and described an extraordinary level of abuse, intimidation, urination on her office and there was no shock just jeering from Labour MPs. Jeremy Corbyn looked right at her, did not acknowledge what she said was done in his name and moved on to wear the corpses of Hillsborough victims as shield. He likes the corpses of working class people. No fuel like it for Corbyn,
Its spreading, The use of facebook means there are endless memes in peoples private channels and these memes are more or less all lies, but noone cares because tey are pretty lies. And everyone wants a pretty lie.
Absolute obedience to leader, MPs work only for the party and not for their constituents and women and jews, and anyone who dissents will be swarmed and abused. THis could catch. Only the lesson we are learning here is the holocaust was not caused by single monsters, it was caused by these people, The people who need absolution for things done in tehir name cannot reflect and will do anything to avoid it, and if that means a movement that requires abuse, intimidation and democracy being undone, then so be it.
The most dangerous thing to do now is to state very clearly that Jeremy Corbyn is pro-brexit and included welfare cuts in his manifesto. That statement injures them and they want believe they are opposing welfare cuts, opposing Brexil and they are willing to enable a political force entirely reliant on abuse and intimidation to protect the false reality they get from facebook memes. We have established tere is no line and every day it gets worse. Today we had The Canary, a propaganda, anti-semitic conspiracy site, legitimised on BBC. Truth is gone.
As history taught many times before, the people who will push this, the people who will cause this, are the ones who want to believe they are good, they want to pretend austerity was not by consent, and they want to be protected from that at all costs. And ‘all costs’ may be a terrible eupemism one day.
The system failure underpinning his support is real, and once people have bought into it they will do anything to protect that belief. Somewhat heartbreaking to realise these people would allow anything to be done in their naem and all they have to do is tell themselves they didnt see it and then it didnt happen.
We are in scary times, more terrifying than Iever thought. I only started this blog cos I had come out of work, I only knew these people because austerity hit me and they wanted a genuine novelty pov. I thoughT iwas recording them whitewashing austerity, wit a view to using that information when we needed to redefine systems. Turns out I am recording something altogether darker. And whatever it is I am expendable to it as far as the people who want to believe in St.Jez are concerned. Given what can now be done in broad daylight while people choose not to see we can assume this has no limits.
“They use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again. And then they use their ex-president to endorse the resistance.
“All to make them march, make them protest, make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia. To smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding — until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.
“And when that happens, they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage. The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth. I’m the National Rifle Association of America, and I’m freedom’s safest place.”
10 counts of penetration without consent, rape by any other name. 2 years psychological abuse, including the complete creation of a false reality with multiple fake identities engaged in psychological abuse and coercion. Victim was then reabused by media, who said she was gullible, and the problem was she was the perpetrator of harm because she was too picky, homophobic. My heart goes out to her victim who has never been treated like the victim of a gross and serious sustained and repeated sexual assault. Sentencing of Gail Newland reflects the crime she committed. She didn’t ‘trick’ someone into sex. It wasn’t a jolly jape. She took over two years of this womans life and made it about rape, and then had her reabused by media. And media played along like the woman devastated at the centre should just accept her life, her body, her autonomy over what goes inside her body, was nothing. A serious sex offender was treated like a victim and her victim was reabused repeatedly by media.
There is a story doing the rounds that Sandeep and Reena Mander have been discriminated against when they tried to exercise their right to adopt a child, because they are Sikhs. people are sharing this story because this poor couple with their five bedroom house apparently had the right to adopt a baby, and its racist to consider that baby’s cultural identity. Sandeep and Reena are deliberately obfuscating what they were told, which is standard.
They were told we minimise cross cultural adoptions and they were told this because we do. There are good reasons for this. We have learned over a long time how harmful it is to treat adoption like a consumer activity, its not buying a doll. Children from ethnic minority families placed with white families, growing up without a sense of identity or culture, children with already interrupted attachments and identities growing into adulthoods of confusion, feelings of loss and incredible pain as they grew up without the thing most of us take for a granted. An identity you dont have to consider. They were told that adoption is not a consumer service, they were told the central consideration in any matching process is the child and not the rights of the adopter and they were told its not like other parenting because the child is not a doll or a blank slate, they were told that theprimary consideratoin of adoptive families after that child is adopted is that child’s identity and attachment, and had they gone further in the process would have been shown the catastrophic consequences of failing to consider this. You can go check adoption breakdown rates, particularly international adoptions and cross cultural adoptions. They were told they would probably have to wait longer than other couples, and then when they showed they had no understanding of why a child’s identity was important am guessing they were told they were not suitable.
And here’s what they did when they were told that. They went to the media to tantrum like children denied a chocolate bar. Because Sandeep and Reena cannot prioritise a child over their own needs, because they thought their infertility made adoption a service to provide them with a baby, they were told to reflect on this and consider it and that at present they were not suitable. They were not told they were not allowed to adopt because of their skin colour. They were told it was about abiluty to prioritise a child’s identity and the wait might be longer for them because of the ethnicity of children coming into htis system. Children who have an identity and for whom a terrible thing has already happened and the attachments that shape their lives have been interrupted by legal order.
If I had been presented with a couple saying the things they said in their interview, I would have told them to go away and learn what adoption was and I’d have been thinking they needed to grow up. No judge would approve an adoption for these people, not because of their skin colour, but because they cannot see why we prioritise a child’s needs over theirs. And that makes them ineligible to take on this very serious responsibility.
Adopters are entering into a situation where their skills as parents will need to be exceptional, with children with very serious needs and likely children who come from a very complicated background. The use of the media is manipulative and the people sharing their story are mistaken. I am not saying Sandeep and Reena are deliberately lying, they probably aren’t. They just are ont mature enough to enter into this process amd meet a child’s needs by their own admission and their 5 bedroom house doesn’t actually come into the equation when that is the case. I have used their names in this blog post. The Local Authority cannot comment on this, but have upheld it. THis blog post is in case they search for responses to their manipulation of the media and to tell them that had they expressed those attitudes in any introductory session for adopters, I’d have told them to go home and take some time to learn what adoption is, what it involves and I’d have been thinking they needed to grow up,
They won’t find a judge or a social worker who will approve an adoption for them. Because they are not fit and have demonstrated this. Adoption is not a consumer activity, you are not buying a doll and at no point durig the adoption process are your needs anyone’s primary consideration and nor should they be. You cannot be discriminated againts being turned down for something you are not entitled to in the first place. They are now going to use their financial resources to deplete Local Authority resources to avoid the very basic truth that they need to grow up and the job of Local Authority’s is not to farm out the babies of the poor to the spoiled affluent couples who think they are buying a doll.
Its a welfare cut when John Mcdonnell will swim through vomit to vote against it. It’s a welfare cut when Jeremy Corbyn bases a leadership campaign on encouraging abuse of MPs who abstain on the vote for it. It’s a welfare cut when IDS resigns because even he thinks it;s a step to far. It’s a welfare cut at the same time as inflation increases food prices, hitting people on fixed incomes hard and those suffering that cut even harder. Its a welfare cuts when a judge says its impositin is causing misery for no good reason. It ceases to be a welfare cut when Jeremy Corbyn includes it in the manifesto and then the people who abused on MPs for abstaining, will abuse welfare claimants for saying it’s a welfare cuts.
Cos we looked from pig to man, man to pig, and nooone could tell the fucking difference. Except me. I could tell the difference. Cos at least Tory welfare cuts didnt come with an army of personal abuse demanding you pretend malnutrition tastes better under Labour.
His manifesto kept the Tories’ benefit cap in place at the election three weeks ago, even though he was initially propelled to the Labour leadership by his one-time opposition to it, and even though former welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith had called it arbitrary and unfair.
Meanwhile Corbyn committed billions of pounds in the same manifesto to axeing university tuition fees – a move that would be of most benefit to high-earning graduates.
Corbyn’s speech at Glastonbury came just days after the High Court had upheld a legal challenge to the benefit cap. Following a judicial review brought by young single mothers in poverty, Mr Justice Collins said the cap was causing “real misery for no good reason”.
To secure this verdict, which will help 26,000 struggling families, these women had to painstakingly demonstrate a relationship between childcare, the job market, benefit payments and maternal poverty. They did this with little outside support.
“For the many, not the few”. Because the political left rely on Twitter, historians will be able to marvel at the audacity of this statement. Twitter will allow them to trace how a small group of comrades from elite universities, media organisations, and a political party, built a trade union-funded ‘movement’ over seven years. They’ll be able to trace the younger comrades back to one small peer group from Oxford University and other Russell Group institutions.
Watching their journey from the anti-fees movement to the cult of Corbyn, taking in the ‘radical’ media of Novara, and the exploitative whining of Owen Jones, historians will be able to study how this tiny privileged peer group extracted maximum career benefit from austerity and then prioritised bribing middle class students instead of reversing welfare cuts.
Historians will note how Corbyn used welfare cuts to get his job as leader, and how families hit by austerity drove the vote that denied the Tories a majority. Instead, he assumed it was driven by students. The same historians will note Momentum was a company owned by a Jon Lansman, not a movement.
What the Labour left do not understand is the archaic juvenile nonsense they call socialism will have to be ditched. The rule of law will have to be applied to our welfare system and the data within it used to inform us about the economy and inequality. This means an end to welfare politics where the poor must audition to the left for pity and sympathy. New institutions will have to be created via cross-party consensus if they are to survive for another seventy years, not just a faction of one party.
Corbyn may be boosted by tragedies such as Grenfell, but he has a harder job than the Tories, and the omission of the benefit cap from his manifesto says neither he nor our trade unions can see it. His execution of a hyper-partisan media strategy on the back of Grenfell won’t be remembered as evidence of how much he cared about the victims. Meanwhile John McDonnell sees Brexit and our economy as crises to exploit, and is jumping up and down on the ice we’re skating on while telling us there’s warm water underneath.
It’s been the best part of a century since the working classes were enfranchised. Corbyn is now going to have allow us a voice that isn’t injury, tragedy, and loss.
Corbyn may think ‘the poor’ are fuel for his movement, but he needs to adjust to the precariat as swing voters, and the scale of the crisis he just rode in on.
This blog is 8 years old this week. I now have an 8 year record of the post war settlement unravelling. Wow.
Reproduced from here.Joan Didion began covering political campaigns in 1988. By then, she had switched to being a Democrat, which did little to change her views of the world or change her life in any tangible way. This made her incredibly skeptical about America’s two-party system. Back then, she noted that, “[T]he political process had become perilously remote from the electorate it was meant to represent. It was also clear in 1988 that the decision of the two major parties to obscure any possible perceived distinction between themselves…” was done purposefully in the hopes of appealing to a small niche of “target voters,” and had “imposed incredible strain on the basic principle […] of assuring the nation’s citizens a voice in its affairs.”
The poverty of distinction was, in other words, intentional. Bill Clinton embodied this tendency, especially when it came to his domestic policies. Let’s take two important examples that seem to be ripped from the GOP party platform. First, his infamous repeal of the Glass-Steagal regulation that brought us the 2007 financial crisis, absolutely ravaged the middle and working classes, and nearly ended the world economy. Second, in 1992, he ran as a “tough on crime,” “law and order democrat.” His 1994 Crime Act, of “superpredator” fame, was a disaster for the black community and for the criminal justice system. As Keanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes:
Clinton lobbied for his legislation in the same Memphis church where King had given his last speech the day before he was assassinated. Clinton’s pulpit speech demonstrated the tremendous shift in racial politics. King had used that pulpit to support poor Black maintenance workers attempting to unionize; Clinton used it to ask Black people to support expanding the death penalty. Clinton claimed to be using the words he assumed King would say if he were alive to deliver the speech himself: ‘I fought to stop white people from being so filled with hate that they would wreak violence on black people. I did not fight for the right of black people to murder other black people with reckless abandonment.’
An appalling statement and a merciless policy. As a result, we have 4.4% of the world’s population and 22% of its prisoners. The human cost has been incredible, the drain on the state unbearable. By 2015, Clinton would admit it was a horrible mistake even if he didn’t fully understand why. With Clinton’s presidency, we had finally arrived in the era of the Third Way consensus, the “post-political” and “post-ideological” era (Obama, of course, would complete the third part of this trinity: the “post-racial”). This political consensus created new challenges for the media. After all, if there’s little difference between Democrats and Republicans, why bother? The horse race of electoral politics, especially for the media, needs to showcase the difference. And it can’t look vague.
In 1996, the recently deceased elephantine orb of Elmer’s Glue, friend of Rachel Maddow, and former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes took over the network. He cultivated an incredible propaganda machine dedicated to scaremongering senior citizens into thinking gender neutral bathrooms are the first step towards sharia law. Ailes’ monstrosity has been disastrous for modern life. It is hard to name anyone else so successful in polarizing the country, especially given that he started off at a time notable for its political blandness. His network also created a backlash in the liberal media. In response, the liberal media catered to the dumbest, pettiest, most self-congratulatory parts of their viewership. They created a culture of smug narcissists, and narcissists fiend on two compulsions: short term ego boosts, and shitting on other people. More clinically, ingratiation and aggression. That’s called narcissistic supply. And it’s not just a habit. It is a need.
To get their fix liberals tuned into The Daily Show, MSNBC, or the Aristotelian quaalude that is Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. Each monologue, each snide quip about NASCARnation was meant to affirm the viewers’ sense that they felt the right feelings, saw the world the right way, and, most importantly, weren’t hateful slobs who refused to floss their only tooth while singin’ the songs of that old time religion. Never mind that most liberal policies are now built around marshalling state violence to immiserate and discipline minorities and working class whites, or marshalling state violence to needlessly carpet-bomb the Middle East or go Zero Dark Thirty on some children (remember: consensus!). This largely took the aesthetic form of lectureporn. It is the apex of narcissistic supply delivery.
So what is lectureporn? It is the media spectacle of a lecture whose audience is the opponent of the lecture’s intended target. Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow (again, friend of Roger Ailes), Aaron Sorkin, and a whole host of others have built their careers on this form. Lectureporn pulls off an amazing trick: it simultaneously delivers both elements of narcissistic supply. You sit and watch someone ingratiate themselves to you while they eviscerate someone you don’t like who is, in turn, unlikely to watch said lecture.
We’ve all seen the the moment when one of these well-coiffed smirks turns to camera three and says, “And I’m talking to you, Red America. You whine so much about taxes and welfare and yet you’re the ones that suck up all that nanny state help. Well, I’ve got news for you. From now on, everytime you say ‘welfare queen,’ or ‘culture of dependency,’ we’re going to personally drive to your house and hold up a mirror to you and remind you that we, the blue states, make your lives possible with our generosity. Be grateful we don’t refuse to pay up because we actually believe in decency.” Or any time an Aaron Sorkin character starts a sentence with, “And by the way,” while talking to any female character ever. The whole point of lectureporn is to get off on a political opponent getting rhetorically owned by the best version of yourself. That’s what the media alleges to present: the best versions of ourselves.
But the problem isn’t just that lectureporn is snide, tedious, elitist, lazy, and naive—and it is. The problem is that it’s dangerous. It breeds confirmation bias and a lack of empathy—two things liberals saw backfire in 2016 after years of media class scoldkriegs. Confirmation bias is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the habit of looking at new information strictly in a way that confirms your beliefs. Everyone does this to an extent. But this is the “short term ego boost” part of the ingratiation in narcissistic supply. All you experience is media coverage that psychologically reinforces how you already feel and what you already believe. You feel rewarded for having all the right perspectives and feelings because you’re smart and worthy enough to understand how it really is.
Constituents and politicians alike end up confusing the map for the terrain. It has real consequences. The book Shattered and the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone have ended the need for post-mortems on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, so all I need to say here is that her defeat, taken with the fact that the Republicans are something like five state legislatures away from being able to rewrite the U.S. Constitution, highlight the danger of lectureporn and the narcissistic pathology it encourages.
There are more reasons for our present political reality than lectureporn, but lectureporn is without a doubt a contributing factor. It has shaped the liberal perception of the world. In the Bush era, I remember every arrogant suburban dad big on Monty Python and “REALITY HAS A LIBERAL BIAS”-type bumper stickers telling me they only watched The Daily Show, because it was the only real news out there. Even at 16, I knew that was not a good sign.
The thing that falls out of this kind of confirmation bias is a lack of empathy. Narcissists are known for being totally unempathetic, but this has a unique character. Bill Nye’s new show and the March for Science perfectly illustrate one of the fundamental contradictions of liberal ideology: the truth is both politicized and neutral in the way that science is alleged to be neutral. The level of cognitive dissonance here is incredible. There is no such thing as political neutrality. And this ideological contradiction creates a major problem: the fetishization of rationality. The fetishization of rationality means you think reasonableness paves the road to political office and, on an individual level, that anyone who opposes you is an idiot who can’t understand reality. Thus, you have no purchase on someone else’s perspective because you’re narcissistically invested in your own view—the “correct” and only perspective. Dissenters are just the unworthy. Matt Taibbi puts it like this in his piece about the rash of Democratic special election losses:
The unspoken subtext of a lot of the Democrats’ excuse-making is their growing belief that the situation is hopeless – and not just because of fixable institutional factors like gerrymandering, but because we simply have a bad/irredeemable electorate that can never be reached.
This belies an important distinction between liberals and conservatives, lectureporn and the ubiquitous tirade in conservative media. It’s the Nietszchean distinction between contempt and hate. You can hate an equal or someone with power over you. So conservatives hate liberals (hence their paranoiac victim narrative), whereas liberals have contempt for conservatives, which means they’re arrogant. Arrogant people are lazy in general and inept when it comes to empathy. If you can’t empathize with people, you can’t understand them. And if you can’t understand their worldview, you can’t hope to either win them over or defeat them. You’ve played yourself. No one cares if you’re right and ineffective. That’s called being an impotent loser. For all the talk about “bleeding heart liberals” who vote with their tears, they’ve proven to be staggeringly emotionally incompetent.
Now, let’s go back to that part about thinking reasonableness makes ready the path to power. The lethality of lectureporn to political thought and participation is its misapprehension of what political power actually is. Regardless of whatever we think or feel about the GOP’s platform and its coterie of alleged rapists, bigots, and unfuckable sneers, they actually get what it means to gain, maintain, and wield power. In 2011, when the Republicans shutdown the government, everyone wondered why Obama couldn’t have his “LBJ moment” where he grabbed Boehner by the lapels and said, “And by the way, you son of a bitch…” and brought him around with sheer rhetorical force.
But even LBJ didn’t have an “LBJ moment,” as his biographer, Robert A. Caro reminds us. Johnson’s real power on Capitol Hill came from his access to a money pool that could make or break political careers. These grab-them-by-the-lapels moments known as The Johnson Treatment were, as Caro writes, “only tassels on the bludgeon of power.” Obama had no such reservoir of financial power. While he tried to grand bargain and concede his way to victory, the Republicans banded together to deadlock Obama’s regime through dirty tricks, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and intercine parliamentary rules. That’s political power—even if it’s corrupt political power.
The idea that rhetorical force can be equated with political force is a fantasy. Lectureporn perpetuates this fantasy. It is the ultimate narcissism to say, “We lost because they’re dumb. They are our inferiors incapable of grasping the righteousness of our cause.” If they’re so dumb, why’d you lose so bad? Let’s face it, the Democrats have been losing for decades. They don’t think it’s a bar fight.
Too bad—it is. And bar fights only have two rules: punch hard and never assume the other guy’s gonna fight fair. That’s why it’s crucial to get people on your side. But in order to fight at all, it must be clear who and what you’re fighting for and who and what you’re fighting against. This is one of the major lessons to be learned from Jeremy Corbyn’s recent success in the UK general election. He made an honest and real distinction. “For the many, not the few.” It’s that simple. If you can’t make a real distinction between you and your opponent, you’re getting your nose broken for nothing and for no one.
Emmet Martin Penney is a poet and essayist. His writing has previously appeared in Paste Magazine, Hollow, Madcap Review, and The Bad Version. He also runs the blog Museum of the Half-Forgotten, and co-hosts the leftist political video/podcast How to Talk to Girls at the Mall. You can find him on Twitter.