Quotulatiousness

October 25, 2017

QotD: Oligarchies and universal franchise democracy

Filed under: Government, History, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Fortunately the ideologues had a solution to overcome these minor imperfections of limited franchise democracy… universal franchise.

The more recent concept of Universal Franchise Democracy, is founded on the ridiculous, and incorrect, early 1900’s assumption that all Europe’s problems can be traced back to a limited voting Oligarchy.

Clearly if the ‘ruling classes’ in a state are the rich and powerful – i.e., the naturally conservative propertied elements who make the economy work and provide the productive jobs – then the chattering classes who want change will need to enfranchise the not-rich and not-powerful, so they can ride the wave of demand for change into their ideal world. In fact so they can direct it to provide taxpayer funding for non productive jobs… For people like them.

It is certainly no accident that the modern ‘ruling class’ is the nouveau-rich chattering classes – and the power base they have established in the completely unproductive taxpayer-supported lawyers and civil servants and union officials – who lead inevitably to ‘leaders’ who have the right and duty to lecture their stupid populace for not being politically correct enough… People like Merkel, Obama, and the European Union President. (Go on, name him? He has more practical power to interfere in his ‘citizens’ lives than either of the other two. Who is he?)

It is not just the Australian Union Movement of which we can say ‘they used to consist of the cream of the working class, now they consist of the dregs of the middle class’. All the petty tyrants who gorge in the taxpayers trough, and who try and force the ignorant peasants under their care down the correct path – whether medieval monks selling indulgences, or modern human rights lawyers banning free speech on issues they disapprove of – tend to be the dregs.

The dregs, of the intellectual fervor, of the previous generation, of wrong thinkers.

The dregs of any intellectual movement eventually have to accept that their ideal is hogwash. Even Marxists have started to admit that after a century of promoting Communism, they can no longer hide the hideous nature of Communism. Still, they are not going to give up their world-view just because the evidence against it is so overwhelming that continued attempts to argue in favour of it become ridiculous. Instead they move smoothly to supporting another, equally ridiculous ideology that they think will support their worldview. Say Environmentalism, or Multiculturalism.

Nigel Davies, “The Solution is… European Union/Multiculturalism/Communism… Name your poison!”, rethinking history, 2015-12-26.

October 12, 2017

Britain’s Old Boy Network – from “the Establishment” to “the Embarrassment”

Filed under: Britain, Government, History — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In the media rounds supporting his new book, The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies and the Struggle for Global Power, Niall Ferguson discusses the decline and fall of the oldest power network in Britain:

It used to be that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was the United Cronydom of Great Poshhouse and Northern Grousemoor. The only network that mattered was the Old Boy Network. The OBN was formed by men who were the old boys of a tiny elite of boarding schools known as “public schools” because they were closed to the public. Most boys at those schools were scions of the aristocracy or the landed gentry: future barons and baronets.

Even if thick to the point of educational sub-normality, these young gentlemen would attend either Oxford or Cambridge. They would then be given one of the following jobs:

1. Estate manager and courtier (eldest son).

2. Foreign Office or Treasury mandarin (brightest son).

3. Cabinet minister (most extrovert son).

4. Governor of [insert Caribbean island] (youngest son).

5. BBC director-general (Left-wing son).

This is of course a caricature. In reality, there were all kinds of sub-networks — clusters — within the elite network that ran Britain. Sometimes, a brilliant group of talented young men would come together to achieve great things. There was the “Kindergarten” formed by Alfred Milner, which tried (and failed) to transform South Africa into a second Canada or Australia. There were the Apostles — the Cambridge Conversazione, the most exclusive intellectual club of all time — to which the economist John Maynard Keynes belonged.

However, with increasing frequency after 1945, the OBN’s achievements were less than brilliant. Suez. Wilson. Heath. Double-digit inflation. The three-day week. From being the winners of glittering prizes, the OBN degenerated in the eyes of a previously deferential public into the upper-class twits of the year.

In the Sixties the journalists Henry Fairlie and Anthony Sampson popularised the disdainful name that the historian A.J.P. Taylor had given the British elite: “The Establishment”. By the Seventies the Establishment were more like The Embarrassment — objects of sitcom ridicule. By the Eighties they had been almost entirely driven from the corridors of power. Nothing better illustrated this than the Thatcher governments: not only was the prime minister a woman from provincial Lincolnshire (albeit one with an Oxford degree); there were enough ministers in her Cabinet with Jewish backgrounds to inspire off-colour jokes about “Old Estonians”.

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