Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Toynbee, you Tool!!

Dame Polly is usually good for a laugh. Thanks to the guys and girls at Total Politics for running this - It seems that in her new book, the Queen of the British PC left awards New Labour a somewhat surprising six out of ten - I say surprising, since I expected more like a four on account of them not being 'radical' enough for her tastes. Anyway, after suggesting that New Labour's problem was that they didn't do PR well enough (oh, the irony), Polly produces something of a gem even by her own stupendous standards. Brace yourself:-

"Left Wing people are more intelligent and just generally better people" than those 'of the Right'.

You might wanna read that twice, rub your eyes then take it in a third (and final) time...

I try to avoid using the terms Left and Right because this axis simply isn't applicable to the three-dimensional nature of modern politics. Sure, it can be a simple way by which to refer to 'Tory vs Labour' or 'Democrat vs Republican' in a two party system, and I know many commentators still apply it in this context. However, Toynbee's latest test appears to be looking at things from a deeper and more philosophical level than that, which begs the question:- "By Left, what does she mean?" What is Toynbee-ism and once we establish that then we can work out what is the complete opposite, then fathom for ourselves which train of thought owes more to intellectual rigour and/or common decency.

If I could sum up the thinking of the Toynbeeist left in a very simple way, its central strand goes something like this, "the state is there to referee in ways that go beyond protecting people from violence, fraud or theft. Without nanny's interference, the less fortunate will become victims of economic and constitutional exploitation, since you cannot trust people to behave in a way that is decent. The state is therefore a necessity to improve living standards, exercise compassion and protect people from themselves and the wicked who seek to exploit and/or abuse them". This contrasts sharply with the instinctive Liberal philosophy that the sole functions of the state are to protect us from criminality and invasion, while providing a minimal safety net in those instances where individuals fall through the cracks of private charity (and some Libertarians wouldn't even include that last bit).

What are the practical solutions to everyday concerns that stem from such thinking? 'Making poverty history' necessitates high taxes not just for the rich, but for all of us - worry not since if you're left without enough money to live on then a tax credit from nanny will make up the shortfall. Welfare is, apparently, the only means by which people can be prevented from falling into the 'poverty trap'. Poor, oppressed ethnic minorities need 'protecting' from the millions of vicious racists who would no doubt shoot them dead were it not for the laws that had been passed preventing 'hate crimes', and make it their mission to stop them from gaining an opportunity to work in this lifetime or the next but for 'equal opportunities' legislation.

'Climate change' and 'our beloved NHS' are Toynbeeist sacred cows, so drivers, drinkers and smokers are evil drains on the rest of society who must be taxed to death before they either blow up the planet or take up a hospital bed that could be used by a far more deserving patient having a sex change operation. Kids 'failing' at anything will destroy them, so we must have prizes for everyone - and if you're gonna play that horrible game they call soccer at school, try not to do anything too bad, like tackle anyone (health and safety) or keep score of who's winning the game - it's the taking part, remember. In the same way, exams should be made progressively easier until everyone gets a grade that constitutes some sort of pass - and those that continue to fail are not lazy, stupid or both, but victims of 'poverty' or 'disenfranchisement'.

In reality, not only is this 'ideology' profoundly dumb, it is also dangerous and poisonous. The end result, whether intentional or otherwise, is to leave people less empowered and condition many to believe that they somehow need the state to survive on a day-to-day basis. "Thank god for my tax credits/child support/EQUOP legislation that got me my job, as opposed to me getting an opportunity myself on merit". People like Toynbee are not "just better people" than the rest of us, nor are they revolutionaries. Something that members of this particular section of the Statist left are loathe to tell you is that they have got the overwhelming majority of what they always wanted. High taxes, state-controlled diversity, political correctness and nationalised compassion, enterprise and initiative suffocated with individuals slung back into their little box.

Why not claim the credit for what is surely a glorious victory? Because, very simply, it would mean explaining to the general population why their 'solutions' have not worked. Why are state healthcare and education such disaster zones of MRSA and illiterate teenagers with no interest in doing anything useful? How come the welfare that was meant to 'make poverty history' has actually resulted in more families living a millimetre above the breadline courtesy of the taxpayer, taking the sweeties on offer as an incentive to have more children at somebody else's expense? Let me guess - it's a woman's right to have as many kids as she wants, even if she has no intention of supporting them and no idea how to?

I'll point you again in the direction of what was, in this bunny's view, Malpoet's finest ever work -

Why are we on third generation worklessness, which had far more to do with the recent 'shopping with violence' in our cities than 'poverty' ever did? What a great idea that minimum wage was, pricing hundreds of thousands of young people out of gainful employment and consigning those that could still care less to a life on welfare - don't let some wicked capitalist bastard 'exploit' you, stay at home with nanny and watch Trisha. When are Grade A muppets like Polly going to entertain the possibility that we are not all evil racists and homophobes and that the laws on 'equal opportunities' and 'hate crimes' achieve nothing other than policing thought? Inciting people to commit crimes was itself an offence long before the PC loons took over this particular asylum.

To paraphrase ManNotNumber - "I've no problem with seeing a coffee shop that says "no Blacks allowed" in the window. Why? Because as a white man who finds racism stupid and repugnant in equal measure, I'll know not to go in there".

In short, when the State does people 'favours' it essentially deprives them of the sense of achievement that comes with making progress in any walk of life. I feel just as sorry for our young people and members of ethnic minorities as Dame Polly claims to, only she'd never quite understand why since my sympathy is sincere. Imagine feeling that you owed everything good that might punctuate your existence to a Guardian reader, or worse still, a Guardian columnist?

That's not an 'intelligent' state of mind to impose on someone, and it's certainly not 'nice' either. Take care and I'll catch you tomorrow.


  1. I am just going to have to open a coffee shop and put up a notice saying:

    'No over intelligent lefty prats.'

    Seriously, this is an excellent article full of great insight and profound truths. Fortunately I don't get too many of Dumb Polly's insights making their way into my world.

    Thanks for the link. I sincerely hope that rather trivial piece isn't the greatest thing I have ever written, but since I have written bugger all for a while I am grateful for any acknowledgement. Haha.

    Now going back to emptying our stock of red wine and puffing on my new found cigar habit. I was was too thick to maintain my youthful leftism.

  2. Hi Mal - appreciate the kind words. Barely got out of second gear mate, but when you're bashing Toynbee, do you have to?

    Have a glass of red, and as Ronnie Davies (trainer of Chris Eubank) used to say, "don't waste your perspiration!!"

    You made a great observation about one of the many social concerns for which Immigration is wrongly blamed. I'll link something on the indigenous workshy if you've got it!!

    Enjoy the cigar mate and know that Polly will be mightily pissed off for your doing so!!

  3. Nice piece Daz. I do pick up a free Grauniad when I can to read PT and MoneyBot to wind myself up and see what the enemy is saying. As the Grauniad is losing more money than Merson at the bookies it may not be with us too much longer, unless tptb give them lots of lottery cash as they are too big to fail. Anyway I am on holiday in a villa at the moment soaking up some rays, so it is too much effort to get too wound up at the moment. See you back on Statist Island (good name for a reality show ) in a couple of weeks.

  4. Good piece Daz, and blisteringly honest; I think we all need a good dose of sheer honesty now and again. I don't know a great deal about Polly Toynbee so I can't really comment there. However, I think that a number of strands of ideologies have locked together and become curious bedfellows indeed. On meeting PC people, of whatever background, I have found them tedious in the extreme and usually the type of people who have nothing of value to say, to put it mildly!

  5. Y'know TC, there is something highly tedious about anyone who claims to have an 'opinion' then reveals that it is essentially whatever the conventional wisdom is on that topic.

    Group thinking is no thinking...

    I think much of the borrowing of certain bits of ideologies owes itself to career politicians who are more interested in achieving power than actually believing in something.

    No wonder all three major parties in Britain sound virtually identical - it's just the small differences are magnified and exaggerated in the name of tribalism...

  6. Mr Fashion Trousers1 September 2011 at 21:54

    Hey Daz what a smashing article. The trouble with being a libertarian is that it is actually very difficult to achieve the goal of a smaller state and less government. I have been thinking about it and really the only way of succeeding is to masquerade as a mainsteam party, get into power, then just do less government. This could take years and the problem is that the public might not believe that we really are libertarians and just think that we are doing less goverment because we are lazy sods. So I have a plan of how we can start to change things more quickly. Basically it involves infiltrating statist institutions, then just not doing the job properly. For example we could become traffic wardens and just let people park anywhere. Or we could get jobs on the bins and go around un-segregating peoples rubbish so that we can put more in landfill. We could become doctors and when people come round to the surgery with some namby pamby ailment, don't give them a prescription, give them a packet of Malborough Lights. We could work for the Health & Safety Executive and encourage unsafe work packages. We could put the lead back into petrol. We could promote pie eating as a healthy pastime. We could discourage excersise by telling people that getting sweaty gives you cancer. Best yet, we could introduce a range of perforated condoms.
    What do you think?

  7. Daz, the quality of your trolls is dropping.

  8. Mr Fashion Trousers1 September 2011 at 23:23

    How rude, to refer to one of your supportors as a troll!

  9. "No wonder all three major parties in Britain sound virtually identical - it's just the small differences are magnified and exaggerated in the name of tribalism..."
    Perfect summing up of party politics there Daz. Government seems to be about propping up the super-wealthy at the expense of everyone else now.