Poppies, Poppies, Poppies:

Anzac_poppies

November is here and the poppies have begun their grinding and ubiquitous arrival.

‘Where is your poppy? Do you not support soldiers? Those men [sic] died for your freedom!’

Even being a mundane and menial pedestrian, I am confronted by these questions and statements at least a handful of times during November. I can only imagine the pressure experienced by recognised faces. I have stopped wondering why almost no talking-head on television is ever without their protective poppy.

I have a hard time responding to these statements because the answer is nuanced. It isn’t ‘no, no I don’t support the troops.’ I don’t even feel that way about contemporary soldiers, much less those who fought in significantly more justified conflicts in an historical context where the overt patriotism that leads one to join an army was much more excusable. It is more that everything about the Poppy Appeal rubs me the wrong way.

It is too popular. It is too solitary in its cherished position. It drips with nauseating patriotism. It appears vacant to the problems and reality of our times: an anachronism of the world destroyed by the war that created it. The mythos of the soldier, the romance of sacrifice for the nation, the indivisibility of the nation and the unwavering righteousness of national action are inescapably imparted by the ubiquity of the poppies. I want nothing to do with this.

In the best possible light, I view the modern soldier as misguided. An individual who believes they are undertaking a noble task. Someone who simply does not share my views on the institutions and systems for which they fight, or the nature of the enemy they strive to kill. This does not mean I hate them, or wish them to suffer. They should certainly receive care.

But there is a lot of pain and suffering in the world. There is a lot of pain and suffering on the streets of London. Pain arrived at for less self-incurred reasons than the pain experienced by soldiers. In my personal opinion, if you pick up a gun and go off to a foreign country and start shooting people, maybe you shouldn’t be so surprised if someone blows off your leg. I am not advocating a dismissal of our social responsibility to provide for those we send to war. But that is why we pay taxes. I do not appreciate being guilt tripped by society to help pay extra for the ramifications of a conflict I did not want to occur just because the MoD doesn’t have sufficient funds to pay for the soldiers it unnecessarily maimed. And I especially do not wish to place a symbol on my chest of my complacency to a portion of the system I despise: the pervasive power of the military industrial complex and an irrational fear of terrorism.

It is a shame that the sacrifices of the past, of those who fought against truly existential threats, are caught up in the politics of modernity. But so it goes. I didn’t choose for our states to sully their reputation. I didn’t choose where the money given to the British Legion goes. And regardless, I believe that to pay homage to those who died in the World Wars through a sectarian, militaristic and patriotic symbol is to entirely miss the point that their deaths should serve to prove. It displays a failure to learn from the past and a superficial understanding of the conflicts the action seeks to memorialize.

There are more deserving charities to which I would give money, charities that more greatly deserve annual national attention. And the popularity of the Poppies, their omnipresent autumnal stare, simply solidifies my resolve. It makes them eerie. An ominous reminder of the power of group-think. Of the narrow breadth of social empathy. Of the nationalistic fervour that still stalks our streets. A solemn testament to why we may always have soldiers for whom we must mourn, for whose shattered bodies we must care. A reminder of the sectarian World in which we live.

Discourses on Voting, Revolution and Russell Brand:

Russell Brand’s appearance, and ensuing diatribe, on Jeremy Paxman’s BBC Newsnight was uncomfortable. Both men came off as self-absorbed twits: a microcosmic display of why the Progressive movement so often falls on its face.

I have few feelings towards Paxman. Coming from an American background, his ability to ask minimal follow up questions has always mildly impressed me. He seems to have palatable political leanings to my taste. But he has never struck me as a veracious and capable champion of media or social reform. His performance last night was no exception. He clearly underestimated Brand, and the propensity of many to dismiss Brand’s intellect on the basis of his status as a performer and novel nature of his attire stinks of pompous pretention.

Truly, I appreciate much of what Brand has to say on politics. He is clearly smart and often proposes worthy and unique ideas. On the whole, his force as a social presence has done more good than harm. Helping to further the perception that smart is cool. I generally approve of his ascendance to guest Editor at the New Statesmen. He was very correct to state at the end of the Paxman interview that it is not naive to work for change, that he does not need approval to take the right to change society.

But where Brand does come across as naive, where his lexical verbosity does not protect him from being derided as a fool, where he should be rejected as a counter-productive extremist disgorging nuance deprived nonsense, is on the two points of action he advocated to Paxman: revolution and a disengagement from the existing political infrastructure.

This is why that interview was so frustrating. Brand was right about many of his complaints. Paxman even agreed with much of what Brand had to say. But then Brand continued on with self-righteous and inane blather, at which Paxman merely sneered. Paxman came off as a square tool of the establishment while Brand appeared platitudinous, a ‘mananarchist’ lacking perspective or tangible goals.

It is important to address why Brand’s ambitions deserve sneers, rather than simply to disengage from them in a similar manner to which Brand advocates disengaging from the existing political reality. Both are damaging.

Personally, I do not think the Revolution is coming. Maybe I am just projecting; maybe I am the only one who is selfish. But I look at humans and I see a species that comes with a highly insular, shortsighted, pleasure addicted and self-absorbed operating system. Despite watching the interview three times, I cannot decide if Brand is advocating a ‘Western’ revolution for the sake of the World, or for the sake of itself. But one is only slightly more absurd than the other.

To my knowledge, the World has a resource problem. Many of the destitute in the First World still constitute a section of the global elite. Even Occupy protesters still wandered around with their iPads constructed with the souls of Chinese orphans.

It seems laughable to think that huge numbers of humans will put their own lives in peril in a bid to lower their own standards of living simply to improve the conditions experienced by individuals half-way around the World. Sad, but laughable. It is hard enough to imagine a localized revolution aimed at actively improving the lives of those participating. The general population is too concerned with scraping by and keeping up with the Kardashians.

But aside from my erroneous and pessimistic thoughts on human nature, I am not particularly distressed by the unlikely probability of revolution. Revolutions, particularly poorly fomented and ambiguously aimed revolutions, are dangerous.

Metaphorically, George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a masterpiece of articulation concerning the fears we should all have in this regard. Power vacuums are always filled and power corrupts. To quote The Who: ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’

If a revolution is to succeed, it has to be well planned and perpetrated by a highly informed populous capable of throwing off its own leaders once power is obtained. The historical event of which Animal Farm is a satire, the Russian Revolution, provides the corpses of millions as a testament to why this should never be forgotten.

Brand is correct in stating he is not obligated to provide specific delineations regarding the future he wishes to create. And I would wholeheartedly agree that haranguing him on this point, as Paxman did, would be a Red Herring were Brand simply critiquing the status-quo. But he was not. He was advocating specific action: disengagement from the existing political infrastructure in favour of revolution.

Revolution under the uniting pretence of ambiguous hatred for the establishment, rather than particular goals, is even more destined for failure than simply a poorly fomented revolutionary cause.

Egypt is the most contemporary example of such a failure. Mubarak’s government was overthrown by a population united by general contempt for the system, but little else. A religious theocracy took control through the subsequent elections, alarming the huge segments of the population that had envisioned a different future. Protests continued, further fractures engulfed the population and the result was a military coup. The corrupting influence of power didn’t even have time to wrought destruction upon an ideological leadership. The ambiguity of the cause fractured the revolutionaries as soon as power was ceased. The only probable outcome other than military dictatorship was protracted civil war.

But honestly, why do we need revolution? Revolutions can only really change the reigning political infrastructure. And the political infrastructure we have is pretty good, it simply is not working for us. Whinging about our voiceless exploitation at the hands of our governments is an insult to the billions who languish under truly tyrannical regimes. To those who have no say, and no possible outlet through which to channel political dissent. To those that do not live in democracies.

This is not to say that our systems function properly. Or that they are not stacked against those wishing for change, particularly those wishing to change society to be more equitable. But this brings me to the other point on which Brand is wrong: the importance of voting and engaging with the political system.

First, although Brand brings up the United States, it should not be forgotten that he is speaking in a British context. A context thoroughly deprived of anything resembling the insanity of the Republican Party. Britain’s Conservatives much resemble American Democrats on policy, and simply lack some of the populist rhetoric.

I feel greatly betrayed by the Democrats, jaded even, by their incompetence and centrism. But to suggest they are not superior to the Republicans, or at least different, defies logic. Beyond the fact that Republicans now seem intent on dismantling all existing social programs, the Democrats have made improvements since taking the Executive Office. Although ObamaCare is not a paragon of Progressivism, it has expanded insurance coverage to over 32 million Americans, and increased the level of coverage received all-around while reducing cost.[1] Something that would never have happened had Romney or McCain won either election. The Democrats may endorse corporatist policy regarding much of the economy, and possess a significantly neo-conservative outlook on foreign affairs and defence, but things could be a lot worse.

Although it would be naive to assume that the Democrats will fix all of our problems on a Federal level, voting for them is a means to temporarily slow our slide towards ever greater dystopia. And breaking the system is not the way to fix our society. The infrastructure already exists to make the government representative of the population, to bypass the Federal Government and force campaign regulations on our legally-bribed Legislatures: a Constitutional Convention. Groups such as Wolf-PAC are currently working towards gaining the grassroots and state level support to force such an event. If they were as popular as not voting, we would live in a different world.

But Brand is wrong about Britain as well. Although there is huge similarity between the current mainstream British Parties, it is foolish to despair at the British system for the same reason they are free from the Republican scourge: comparatively restrictive campaign finance regulations. Admittedly, the candidates for office are often cut from similar cloth, but maybe that is because only 1% of the British electorate is a registered member of a political party and can therefore vote in Party primaries.[2]

Even if greater awareness of inner-Party politics couldn’t change the system, creating a new party has been shown to have noticeable effects on the system as a whole. UKIP has successfully done that. Although they are not in contention to take the government, they have somewhat surpassed the Liberal Democrats as the ‘Third Party’ and their rise has correlated with a rightward shift in the immigration policies of both Labour and the Tories.

The dialectic can be shifted from within the system. It has been. It has just often been in the wrong direction. New Labour and corporatist Democrats showed up in the UK and the US following the right-wing landslides of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The American Tea-Party movement has huge corporate donors and benefits from gerrymandering, but is a genuine grassroots movement shifting the American political dialog.

This is why what Brand is advocating is so obnoxious and dangerous. The Left, and those advocating social equity, are already at a disadvantage to those on the right: our grassroots movements do not help the rich. But the imposition of xenophobic fears regarding immigrants on establishment politics shows that things out of sync with business interests can be inserted into the system.

Yet, if the Left is hampered by romantics and loons, those wishing for the impossible, we will simply fight each other and fail to gain support among moderates. The self-righteously disengaged are of no help to the pragmatic Left’s real attempts to better the world. They are sitting in the clouds like the drug addled hippies of the ‘60s, apathetically allowing the Reaganites to shit on us all.

The only bastion of refuge for those calling for revolution is to claim that it is too late for gradual change. Maybe, but it is our only hope. To advocate revolution in our present state is to ignore the past, it is to ignore our present failures.

If the population was informed and motivated enough to pull off a revolution without succumbing to subsequent tyranny, the Revolution would not be necessary. The infrastructure already exists for such a populous to impose its will upon the political hierarchy. We simply fail to do so. Perhaps this failure is an indication that our culture is dying, that we are doomed. But even so, revolution and disengagement is not the way forward. Such actions would only hasten our demise while muting our chance at victory.

[1] http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/215795-cbo-health-law-to-cost-less-cover-fewer-people-than-first-thought

http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43076

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/113xx/doc11379/amendreconprop.pdf

[2] http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05125

Human: The Agony There of, and the Stupidity of Scotland

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Humans want to be special. Humans wish to be important. Unfortunately neither are generally true. And plainly, except the odd aberration [the Newton’s, the Einstein’s], neither are ever true. ‘You are one in a million’… maybe, but even then you would still exist in a world with approximately seven-thousand doppelgangers.

Admittedly that is only an annoying axiom, but the sentiment holds. You are but a drop in the human sea. And on a cosmic level, all of us humans are insignificant.

But who cares? I don’t, not really. Everyone plays the lead role in their own movie until the day they die. Yet many humans loathe the nihilism of cosmic and social insignificance with such a passion it leads them to unfortunate conclusions.

A theistic God is one of them. But God bores me; of more interest is regionalism, sectarianism and ethnic joy.

Clearly these thoughts, these proclivities, more effectively combat social insignificance, but many simply ignore the cosmos and most believe in God anyway. Regionalism also often interplays with religious orientations, but nevertheless all are rooted in an irrational and counter-productive claim to importance.

I fear that statement needs further explanation.

It is an irrational claim to importance because it is a claim to importance through vicarious action. Most ‘groups’ of people, at some point, have done something that can be construed as ‘important’. If one views their own life as insignificant, this may seem less crushing if they hide behind the achievements of the group.

The irrationality of this claim is further borne out in the fact that it is terribly temporally arbitrary.

Even if one ignores the fact that knowledge and achievement are not passed through blood –they are learned and earned– and that no ‘group’ is immune to miscegenation and outside cultural influence, the idea that an ethnicity exists is thwarted by the question ‘well, what about the previous generation? Do they count?’ This line of questioning inevitably ends up in East Africa 100-200 thousand years ago, and the question changes to if those in question are human or hominid.

The entire idea of ‘ethnicity’ rests on the premise that it is appropriate to make an arbitrary line in the past. To say ‘us’ and ‘them’. To make yourself, your kind, separate from humanity. To make them important through making them special. But this is a lie. A lie the weak tell themselves because they are afraid.

It is also a divisive and limiting lie. Regionalism is tantamount to declaring you only care about what certain segments of humanity have created: limiting your cultural perspective. But since only the most extreme actually attempt to abstain from the globalized culture, and most simply pretend they are culturally ‘different’, the divisive nature of regionalism is much more damaging. This is not to suggest that there are not real cultural differences on a global level. But simply that they are often exaggerated and that emotional regionalism allows groups of people, that when viewed from the wider context are very similar, to view themselves as very different.

This brings me to Scotland, the SNP and Alex Salmond.

Being a monoglot, self-centred, First-Worlder, hypocrite, the problems of the Anglo-sphere dominate my thoughts. I vaguely know this diatribe could bring itself into the real world through looking at Kashmir, the Yoruba of Nigeria, or Catalonia. But that would require research I haven’t already done only to talk about a conflict almost no one in the UK or US knows exists.

I always knew Salmond was a liar when it came to the EU, but to my glee this was recently revealed as indisputably true. Salmond has long claimed the Scottish Government had sought independent legal advice confirming that an independent Scotland would obtain automatic EU entry, evading the possibility of having the Euro forced upon them and allowing Scotland to retain the Pound Sterling. After Salmond flushed twenty-thousand Pounds of taxpayer money in an attempt to fight an inquest by the Scottish Information Commission, we now know no such advice was ever sought.[1]

I suspect this will make little impact on the debate and/or referendum because the little talked about currency question is absurd on all levels.

Emotional regionalism aside, the true grit of Scottish independence rests on Scottish hatred for the Tories and an inane English propensity to elect Tories. I am very sympathetic towards this complaint. But Scotland experiences a high degree of devolved independence within the UK already. Despite Tory grumbling, prescriptions are free in Scotland, University costs less than a quarter than it does in England, and over the last decade approximately one-thousand more government Pounds have been allocated to each Scot per-year as compared to their Southern neighbours.[2]

It should also never be forgotten that much of Scotland’s current economic contribution to the UK tax fund comes from a dwindling North Sea oil supply.[3] Depending on how the territorial waters are delineated Scotland is either a slightly more than self-subsisting section of the UK, or an under-contributing leech.[4] Either way, that oil will be gone eventually. And the Scots should hold their tongues because they get more money spent per-person anyway. Plus, since when did we start dividing our countries by economic contribution per square kilometre? That sounds very Tory, and would lead all cities to immediately eject their surrounding ruralities in a spiteful move to stop anyone from getting more than they contribute. Of course, this might lead the inhabitants of major metropolitan centers to starve to death. But, no matter.

The true point is currency. If an independent Scotland retained the Pound Sterling as the lying Salmond has proclaimed as his goal, Scotland would still find itself tethered to the monetary policy of Westminster. A Westminster all the more likely to be Tory-controlled sans the several million Labour votes from Scotland. Sure, an independent Scotland would go from having partial control to having full control of its fiscal policy. But the lack of monetary control would both be a blatant violation of the concept of ‘sovereignty’, and would continue to partially place the Scottish at the behest of austere, anti-Keynesian, English bankers: mooting much of the anti-Tory rationale for the departure.

Salmond is a liar, but he is also a fool, or at the very least he thinks SNP voters are fools. His lies advocate for a future independence that undermines the one pragmatic reason to achieve independence.

But the foolishness runs even deeper. If you have Left-wing political leanings and fear the growing power of corporations and the rich, separatism is not the way forward. Governments are like Unions, or at least should be. They advocate for the poor in a Capitalist world otherwise dominated by the rich. The Tories may not feel this way, and this is a major problem, but frustration with Tory policy does not change the fact that a Government’s power to lobby for its population is proportional to the size of the market it speaks for when compared to the global market. This ‘market’ is the only leverage over multi-national corporations a government possesses. Unions that only represent a tiny fraction of an industry’s work force, essentially have no power. The same goes for small nations.

Scotland’s departure from the UK would remove it from the World’s sixth or seventh largest economy and place it somewhere around fortieth, with the likes of Nigeria, the Czech Republic and Pakistan. And like Nigeria, an independent Scotland’s GDP would be greatly and temporarily inflated by oil revenue. Countries that small cannot set policy, they simply drift with the winds determined by the global players. In addition to diminished international negotiating power all around, Scotland would no longer be represented in the G8, would lose representation in the UN Security Council and would have to renegotiate with NATO and the EU.

Fighting the power of the rich requires international efforts. Separatism is tantamount to hiding your head in the sand. It is pragmatically foolish from a Left-wing perspective, and the emotional regionalism behind any claim is poorly thought out and selfish. From an American perspective, to despair and think the British political system is inherently and irreparably rigged towards the Right-wing and the most powerful in society seems childish. Fix the power bloc you are a part of and don’t run from your problems. Existing British campaign finance restrictions make this more than a solvable issue.

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/10/10/snp-eu-legal-advice_n_4075966.html

[2] http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-who-loses-if-scotland-goes-it-alone/6524

[3] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-20/north-sea-output-may-slide-22-this-year-because-of-maintenance.html

[4] http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-who-loses-if-scotland-goes-it-alone/6524

Institutional Deterioration and Fear of the Possible:

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Concentrated power is only to be feared when in the hands of the deluded, selfish or insane. In the hands of the empathetic and competent it is the most effective means of organization. But herein is the problem. Even if our current leaders could be trusted, their undetermined successors cannot. The institutionalization of further indefinite power concentration provides precedent and recourse for future abuse.

This world has unfortunately arrived. There are no black helicopters descending upon houses at random, but incremental abuses provide evidence that these ambiguously restricted avenues of power are exploitable beyond their originally intended directives. As seen in Patriot Act architect Representative James Sensenbrenner Jr’s criticism of contemporary surveillance policy, the use of Section 215 to justify N.S.A. surveillance expansion qualifies, at least, as an overreach of the actions intended to be legalized by the original expansion of judicial authority.

But these infractions have occurred in less controversial ways. David Miranda’s detention in Heathrow airport under the auspices of Schedule 7 of the 2000 Terrorism Act is both a relatively minor yet worrying example of this. It is a minor infraction because it resulted in one individual being delayed nine hours. However, the British government was under no delusion that Miranda was a terrorist. The expressed justification for utilizing these anti-terror laws to facilitate this detention is that Miranda was ‘suspected of possessing highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism.’ The only means by which any information possessed by Miranda could end up in the hands of terrorists would be through the publications that would disseminate it to us all. If the public is informed, terrorists may also become informed.

The vindictive nature of this detention is further exposed by the fact that 97% of those detained under Schedule 7 have been released in under an hour. Yet an individual who is the partner of a man instrumental in disseminating highly embarrassing information about the UK and US governments, was put through the treatment only one of every two-thousand supposedly ‘actual’ terrorists are: he was held for the maximum time legally allowed. This detention appears to be, at least partially, motivated by vindictive spite, and completely out of line with the privileges intended to be legalized.

A similarly trivial example of power abuse comes from LOVEINT: the colloquial title given to the incredibly creepy misconduct of N.S.A. employees who use their access to the agencies enormous surveillance capabilities to spy on love interests. This is not an incredibly common violation, or itself reason enough to disband the N.S.A. programs. But is rather a perfect example of the human propensity to misuse power for selfish and unintended purposes.

No matter your view on Obama, Bush, Clinton or any other President, we must set up institutions that can weather any individual because none of us know who will be elected next. It could be a selfless moralist or a narcissistic psychopath. Our current system is a safer filtering mechanism than the random result of a multi-generational experiment in opulence and inbreeding. But it seems a poor gamble to assume the results of a process that often selects the individual who can best pander simultaneously to a radical base, rich cooperate donors and confused moderates, will always also produce leaders who are honest, principled and un-inclined to abuse power.

More and more we are striping our institutions of the restrictions that once bound them, putting ourselves at the mercy of individuals. Much of the infrastructure and precedent for the US government to act in a tyrannical and dictatorial fashion exists, the government just is not using it in a completely abusive manner. Since 2001 the Bush and Obama administrations have added to Executive Authority in the following ways, all of which are available to any successor.

  • Provided a precedent to kill citizens in secret without judicial or legislative review
  • Provided the power of indefinite detention without charge or trial
  • Created an ongoing warrantless surveillance program of millions accused of nothing
  • Normalized a situation in which the law itself is secret
  • Legalized a torture program that could be reinstated with an Executive Order [1]

These precedents all solely apply to people suspected of terrorism. Yet, as seen in the UK examples, anyone with access to the internet is a potential terrorist.

Even if you argue these powers have not yet been abused, the potential for future abuse is indisputable. What happened to Rome after they elected an Emperor? The third man to take the job was Caligula.

This is not an exercise in fear mongering about an imaginary Hitler. American Fascism, would it arise, would not be Nazism. But authoritarianism and abuse of power are things to be concerned about. We should not expect our leaders to always have the purest of intentions or motivations, and therefore should construct our systems accordingly. The importance of oversight, transparency and a balance of powers are disregarded at our peril. Just because the misuse of power has not reached the calamitous crescendo that was the twentieth-century, does not mean we should forgo concern.

We must learn from history, particularly because we are now faced with an enemy like no other. We are currently at war with terrorism, a conceptual-common-noun. Unlike generations past, we are not fighting a proper-noun, or even an actual thing. We might as well be fighting ‘fear’ or ‘happiness’. The ambiguous temporal and geographical confines created by the parameters of this conflict makes the wartime suspension of liberty all the more dangerous. We cannot win this war, but we can lose it. And the way we lose is by forgetting that fear of an external threat can create an internal monster. The allure of more effective and efficient organizational capability provided by concentrated power may seem irresistible in times of distress. But it is difficult if not impossible to channel that power solely at the foreign enemy, and its embrace simply eases the path to our own exploitation at the hands of the system we created to protect ourselves.

[1] http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/06/all-the-infrastructure-a-tyrant-would-need-courtesy-of-bush-and-obama/276635/

Sequestration, Right America and Economic Narratives:

Lindsay_German_monster
PART I:

The American political spectrum has shifted right. Example of this abound, but the phenomena can be relativity irrefutably conveyed with two. Despite his contemporary lionization, Ronald Reagan could not run as a contemporary Republican. During his term he raised taxes eleven times, including the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, the largest peacetime tax increase in American history, he supported amnesty for immigrants and was the head of a labour union: the Screen Actors Guild.[1] The second example is gleaned through a comparison of ex-Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s budget proposals and a quote from a less adulated, but still staunch conservative for his time, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower, in expressing his political views and assessment of the national sentiment in 1954, stated: ‘Should any political party attempt to abolish social security and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history… There is a tiny splinter group that believes you can do these things… Their number is negligible and they are stupid.’[2]

The irony of particularly Reagan’s incompatibility with the contemporary Republican party is the lasting legacy of his ‘Takers and Makers’ rhetoric on Republican economic narratives. The mainstream acceptance of this concept that used to huddle in the corners of Ayn Rand Members Only Clubs, is the sea-change that has taken America Right. But the question might be: was this sea-change caused on purpose, or by accident?

The debate surrounding Sequester 2013 (the most recent manufactured across-the-board spending-cut catastrophe designed to force our apparently inept government to do something, anything, to address the dying behemoth that is the US economy) is a perfect example to examine this point. Although Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s comment two days ago that John Boehner would lose his position as Speaker of The House if he were to compromise tax increases into a budget proposal to avoid the Sequester is not necessarily true, it highlights the tenuous relationship the status quo members of the GOP have with the hard-line Tea Party insurrection. It is also worth pointing out that the stalled and inept nature of our current government is arguably the contrived policy of the ideologically anti-government new Right. Through making the government inept they fulfill their own prophesy of inherent government ineptitude. The flaw in the ‘inherent’ part of that sentiment is a perspective to which I will return in Parts II and III. But the fundamental problem for moderate politicians is that political fundamentalists are more likely to vote, and in this world of declining voter participation, and Fox News rabble rousing (and general media bubble worlds), fundamentalists are both growing in number, but more so are coming to represent a greater proportion of the electorate. Although this assertion is not backed by any study I know of, this apathy would seem to be logically fueled by the growing ridiculousness of political culture, itself fueled by the growing influence of political fundamentalists.

PART II:

So… accident? I don’t know. But what seems clear is… problem. And this is where things become frustrating. Because for all the Right does wrong, what they plainly do well is present a clear, concise and consistent narrative. This being what I propose accidentally created enough fundamentalist ground support to exaggerate a slide towards polarization and apathy. But what is less speculative is the observation that the American Left is comparably inept at presenting a similarly coherent and persuasive economic narrative, and oddly so, because they have one.

This is what brings us back to the Sequester. The Right is clear, they want to replace Sequestration with budget cuts that do not touch the military, but further slashed social service to the point that a deficit neutral budget could be reached without any increase in revenue (i.e. taxes). It should be noted that the Right’s obsessive fixation on the deficit and debt (currently around 100% of GDP) seems unwarranted. For example, the UK’s national debt broke 250% of GDP during the beginning of the 19th century, US debt breached 120% of GDP in the 1940s, both were able to recover, Japanese debt is currently above 200% of GDP, and no one has ceased to lend to them. This is not the point of this article, but in sum, the debt is a problem, however worrying about the debt at the cost of everything else is foolish, especially in times of economic recession. If the economy shrinks, even if spending decreases, the debt will still grow in proportion to GDP. The Right, in some ways, acknowledges this fact in fretting over job losses caused by military spending cuts, because, in all reality, the military is one big Keynesian project. Fundamentally, the debt should be dealt with from a stable economic platform.

But this brings us back to the Sequester and economic narratives, because the Right touts austerity not only as the only path to economic stability, but also as morality. From a cynical, slightly conspiratorial perspective, this flawed ideological position would be considered the true motivation for the ginned-up deficit obsession. However, regardless of the validity of this speculation, this ideological position  is particularly relevant to understanding the Right’s desire to cut social spending. It prevents any ‘unjustified’ taxation upon the perceived sole ‘job creators’: the rich. While invoking economic justice upon the leaches of society who suckle at the teat of big government, who caused the deficit, and who, at the same time, sap social impetus for innovation by being allowed to live without making their own way in the capitalist market; i.e. the ‘Takers and Makers.’ In short: we cannot tax the rich, for otherwise they will not create jobs, and we cannot subsidize the lives of the poor, because, in the long run, it will only make them, and society, poorer.

A good narrative, and although the Democrats criticize this narratives resulting political policies as destructive , they very rarely attack its intellectual basis in the way that it deserves. It is flawed, and in my opinion, it is only as popular as it is because the alternative is not pronounced with nearly the same volume. First, where the debt comes from is more complicated than just domestic spending, a decade of war and the Bush tax cuts come to mind, although this is something I will return to in Part III, and it is a complicated topic. Although i find it somewhat compelling that US debt is higher as a percentage of GDP than the conglomerate of ‘evil’ ‘Socialist’ countries known as the European Union (102% compared to 83% c.2012).[3] More generally, the critique of this narrative comes in the form of two questions: how do rich people become rich, and why would a rich person hire anyone? The second question is particularly pertinent because companies actually have an impetus to hire as few people as possible in order to keep down overheads.

The answer, in short, is market demand. Rich people become rich, generally, because they, or the companies they invested in, are supplying goods or services that are desired by the market, and they hire people when market demand for their product increases to the point that more staff is required to adequately service the demand.

Where does market demand come from? Most of it comes from the middle class. They have enough money to purchase things, superfluous things and necessary things, and they make up large enough gross numbers that they can purchase a sufficient number of those things. By this I mean the 1% will never buy enough cars to fuel the auto-industry, because all of them are not car fetishists. And even if they were, what purchasing base would then fuel all the other industries? They both play roles. The capitalist class invests in companies, and the middle class buys the things that allow those companies to turn a profit, which then allows for more investment.

This is the narrative that supplies the intellectual basis for the Left, and it is the narrative that the Democrats bizarrely do not vehemently use to challenge the simplistic and flawed narrative repetitively screamed by the Right. We must protect the middle class, and prevent social stratification that destroys the purchasing base on which our market economy rests. This is the rationale behind providing base line educational and living standards, paid for by society, through taxes. It gives everyone the resources needed to compete in the job market, so they can then participate in perpetuating the consumption market, which then reciprocally fuels the job market. This does not mean there is not a valid debate about how welfare should be distributed, or conditions for its distribution (two position I might air on the more conservative and ‘incentivist’ side of) but it should be noted that this is a separate conversation to whether welfare should exist at all. Furthermore, this same economic narrative is also the rationale behind a Keynesian approach to recession, and against deficit obsession in times of recession. It is more important to fight unemployment to perpetuate the consumer base than cut spending that could be dealt with more responsibly following economic recovery.

Moreover, we all benefit from living in a society. My profits are your spending and vice-versa, and the whole process is made a lot easier, and more profitable, if we collectively decide to do things like build roads (etc.) as we incidentally did last century, the century that saw America reach unprecedented historical heights in human achievement. It is also nice if those roads are built to places, such as small towns, where the population size does not exactly make it profitable. Furthermore, because costs of subsistence is the same regardless of income, it is right to tax more those who make more, in order to obtain enough revenue to supply the services required to perpetuate the society. It is also important to prevent degrees of income inequality that go beyond manufacturing social incentives for innovation and hard-work, and breed resentment while increase poverty levels. Although it is true that wealth and capitalism are not zero sum games, they are not all win-win either.

This, unfortunately, is where things become more complicated, less certain, and excessively nuanced. Perhaps the reality of this complexity is why the Left has such a harder time expressing their narrative than the simplistic alternative expressed by the Right. Nevertheless, my frustration abounds at the lack of a coherent and consistent rebuttal to the Republican claim that the rich are the sole driving force behind the economy, because this delusion is very damaging to the national discourse, and is something preventing the more speculative conversation that follows. Because, in addition, the Right has dug the Left into a hole, and to complete their narrative to the point of unquestionably necessitating a different policy approach, two highly ingrained concepts must be challenged. The Left must state that Capitalism is broken and America is, and has always been, Socialist.

PART III

Socialism is a partially meaningless term, at least when compared to Capitalism and Communism. Both Capitalism and Communism have logical extremes to which they have never been taken, but theoretically could exist. Even though our use of these terms often ignores these logical extremes, they are important because the branding nature of terminology allows for the cessation of discourse without proper argument. Things are either labeled ‘Socialist’, ‘Communist’, or ‘Capitalist’ and are rejected or accepted outright. Yet the existence of never implemented logical extremes makes clear that nuance must be accepted.

Pure Communism would entail no government, no money, and no class: i.e. really naïve Anarchism. Pure Capitalism would entail no government, or at least no democratic government, because those are Socialist (they are publically owned). Pure Capitalism could seemingly function with some Corporatist/Plutocratic governmental form (although it is hard to understand how a free market could truly exist in such a nepotistic world) but the functionally of pure Capitalism would have to be either Tyrannical or Anarchical, and the en-vogue Libertarian form airs on the Anarchical side. Socialism is a meaningless term because it is only distinguished from Communism by the implicit acknowledgment that Socialism utilizes aspects of Capitalism, i.e. some private property and limited markets. Rather than describing a pure economic system it simply describes all levels of Capitalist/Communist hybrids, thus describing every society that has had markets and governments. The differences between such societies must be considered in terms of degrees rather than diametric opposition. Making Socialism a term so vague it is hardly a term worth using, much less chastising. But I can say with even more certainty that it is not a term to be declared un-American given the United States has had, since its inception, a democratic and publicly owned (i.e. Socialist)  government that facilitated the existence of its market economy. America has always been part Socialist.

This is the problem with the Libertarian (anarcho-capitalist) vision of the world that has come to dominate the world view and policy making of the new Right. It denies reality, and therefore makes an unstable platform for reality. It does this by not acknowledging the important role government (socialism) has in regulating capitalism, while pretending that its mantra (unregulated markets will self regulate and perpetuate perfection) is not Anarchism, and is the American way.

It is worth stating that Anarchism, when dealing with humans in their current evolutionary state, is flawed because it is crazy to think we will let power vacuums go unfilled, and that when approaching reality in an ad hoc manner, we will not fall into the tragedy of the commons. I suggest these two points because I am aware of countless incidences in history where this has occurred, yet none at any point in history where a local monopoly on force has not been seized when left available, and we fall into the tragedy of the commons even when approaching reality from a central planning position.

Nevertheless, even the disingenuous position of most ‘Libertarians’, which is actually just excessively diluted socialism in denial, because of its acknowledgment of a need for a socially owned government to supply military security and contract enforcement to ensure the proper functionality of the market, is flawed and damaging to society because it fails to recognize the other flaw of capitalism: its corrosive effect on the middle class. I don’t want to use his name, because I have no desire to defend Communism, but Marx told us this over one-hundred and fifty years ago. Marx was wrong about many things, but on this point he was right, un-fettered capitalism destroys the middle class, overproduction is a threat to capitalism, and thus, capitalism sows the seeds of its own destruction.

Hopefully I previously convinced you of the importance of the middle class to a functioning market system and the threat of overproduction, but on the other point, you should not simply take Marx on his word. However, this is a concept that is, at least speculatively, backed by statistics. It is most simply highlighted in the fact that US income inequality has grown significantly since the 1970s,[4] and while it is speculative to assert the adoption of Reagan-esque Trickle Down economic policy (tax rates for the top 1% have diminished by 25% and by 52% for the top 0.001%, over the same time period)[5] is the causation of this occurrence, given there are other correlating factors such as changes in technology and globalization, this notion is supported by the fact that income inequality has not grown to the same degree in other, more socialist, European countries with more progressive tax codes.[6]  Further, wealth redistribution and evening of social resources is the aspect of the three variables over which our national government has the most control. This relationship between taxation, public investment and economic growth has also been recently backed by a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which sights a correlation between higher economic growth and higher levels of personal income tax (37% disparity in growth rate) between different States in America.[7] The correlation between poverty, wealth disparity, tax levels, and market regulation is even more pronounced when looking at the mid-nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.[8] Again, increases in laissez-faire government policy were accompanied by technological and globalizing changes, but the move towards purer capitalism should be noted.

citation for graph [9]

Furthermore, there is an unmistakable logic to ‘trickle up’ in an economic model predicated on capital. Capital allows you to own the means of production, thus making capital the most valuable asset, allowing capital to breed more capital, leading to the conglomeration of capital. Statistically, this notion that capital breeds more capital can be seen in the the disproportional earnings (and growth rates of those earnings) between the median and the first percentile, but also in the disparity between the top 0.001% and 1%.[10] The process is then logically exaggerated on the other end through a poverty trap catching people only making subsistence earnings, who then have no excess capital to invest either in themselves (to increase their worth, and therefore probable salary) or in investments geared towards producing more capital, as done by the capitalist class. Therefore, if no intervention is made to disrupt the cycle, income inequality will logically grow disproportionately to the general increase in living standards experienced by society at large. One proposal for addressing this problem would be to provide personal investment (in the form of housing and education subsidies etc.) in the poor to increase their market value, paid for with taxation of the rich, and prevention of dynastic wealth through some degree of estate taxation. Thus preventing the capital conglomeration urge while growing the middle class through expanding the skill set of the under-classes, and preventing the destruction of the consumption base on which the entire system is predicated. Not to mention the whole other host of societal problems correlated with poverty and the general social dysfunction this unnecessarily causes. All being trends supported by correlatory evidence from historical experience.

I am not an economist and I do not assert to have the answers to the proper level and relationship between regulation, government ownership, and free-market enterprise. I am simply trying to make the case that government has a role in allowing a ‘free-as-possible market’ to exist. I am also making the case that the Libertarian notion of some primordial and perfectly free-marketplace is wrong and never existed. Markets need the stability created by a state to exist at all (because humans need the stability of a state to not predicate their lives on concepts of ‘might is right’) and regulation can help prevent monopolies and nepotism that naturally occur and actually cause less-free markets. Further, the Right’s vilification of the word Socialist, and the concept of taxation and social services, is either disingenuous or ill-thought-out. Social security, for example, despite being decried as a ‘Ponzi Scheme’ and an archetypal example of why government can do no good, should be heralded as an example of governmental triumph. In the 1950s, 35% of American seniors lived below the poverty line, today that number is 9%, and it is estimated that if Social Security were to be abandoned, that number would rise to 45% instantaneously.[11] Clearly the Libertarian-touted voluntary organizations did not fulfill the job sixty years ago, so there is no reason to expect they would succeed now. The Right never calls to privatize the Army, and it is obvious why not. It is too important. This, in my opinion, is the exact same reason the medical industry fails under privatized circumstances: when people need it, there is no consumer choice in participation, or even a choice in delaying participation, and therefore the accountability provided by market demand fails to function and the result is arbitrary price setting. The specifics of this argument are getting far beyond the scope of my point, but suffice it to say, if you think a national Army should exist, then it is disingenuous to blanket claim that the government should not directly oversee any area of the economy because it is incapable of effectively doing so. You have already admitted that it can do so, making a nuanced discussion of specifics required for intellectual honesty

It is imperative that we remember the middle class is the driving force behind the economy, and their protection should be the primary goal of any believer in market economics. How this should be done is open to further discussion, but if the Right cannot be made to even admit this, there is little hope is addressing our other economic dysfunctions.

[1] http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2012/06/15/Why-Ronald-Reagan-Would-Not-Lead-Todays-GOP.aspx#page1

[2] http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_eisenhower_quote.htm

[3] http://www.bis.org/publ/work300.pdf

[4] http://web.archive.org/web/20070208142023/http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/ie6.html

[5] http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/how-we-pay-taxes-11-charts/255954/

[6] http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?QueryId=26067&Lang=en

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/how-we-pay-taxes-11-charts/255954/

[7] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/state-income-tax_n_2784028.html

[8] http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/can-the-middle-class-be-saved/308600/

[9] http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=957

[10] http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/05/national/class/HYPER-FINAL.html?ei=5088&en=f1a744d1ce38c79e&ex=1275624000&pagewanted=print&_r=0

[11] http://www.facethefactsusa.org/facts/all-that-stands-between-many-seniors-and-poverty/

Newtown Truthers and their mainstream brethren: the NRA

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Newtown Truthers exist. This takes it to a new level. I don’t trust the government, and I think they are corrupt, and I think they lie to us. But it is not about this. This just distracts everyone from the real problems.

But to all those various Truthers, all I have to say is: I wish I lived in a world where I thought the government was that competent. Rather than the world where the head of the CIA is so un-savvy that he used his normal email to correspond with his mistress, where the General Services Administration (an independent oversight committee responsible for, in addition to other things, encouraging government efficiency and cost cutting) spent $800,000 of taxpayer money on a party for themselves in Las Vegas which included complementary yearbooks, or the world where the administration can’t distribute the correct information about the cause of the Benghazi attacks to its press secretary…. And those examples are an attempt to pick incompetent behavior of the kind one would think the government would not want to exhibit even if they were in the midst of a massive, all encompassing conspiracy to enslave the world, and completely ignoring the obvious stuff like the apparent desire of a third of the House to dismantle the government into nothing but an agency to make sure no one can get an abortion; or the fact we can’t go even a year anymore without almost shutting down the government because no one can compromise over cutting $30 billion or $60 billion until the last minute, resulting in our countries credit rating being downgraded unnecessarily; or that people, including those in high office, apparently think Obama’s a socialist when he’s actually to the right of Regan… which could all theoretically be brushed aside as a smoke screen to distract everyone from their nefarious plans to enslave us all.

So yeah, ok, the government is totally capable of perpetrating massive conspiracies to enslave the American public without a single lowly bureaucrat deciding a book deal, talk show time, and millions of dollars might be a better option than being complicit in the tyrannical takeover of the whole country. Clinton couldn’t even keep it under wraps that he was banging an intern. But sure, Alex Jones and David Ike know what they’re talking about, Lizard People rule the world… and neither of them are trolls motivated by all the money they are making. Moreover, if you overanalyse any point in time inconsistencies and oddities crop up, but that doesn’t necessary make the answer malevolent conspiracy. It’s like the guy with the umbrella in the JFK footage who was probably just symbolically mocking JFK for his father’s support of Neville Chamberlin.

But the thing I really don’t get about this latest Truther movement is why would anyone think the government had anything to do with this specifically at all? What are they trying to do? It doesn’t make any sense for a variety of reasons. One, this is not unprecedented. Mass shootings have been happening for years. They happened when Bush was president, when access to guns was being expanded. Moreover, this is not even close to 9/11, which I do not think was an inside job, but I get that point of view more, or at least the knee-jerk reaction to try and make sense of it in that way. I actually used to hold that opinion, I watched Zeitgeist and shit my pants for like a year until I decided to do the thing those kind of videos tell you to do as a rhetorical way of justifying their own existence, and ‘looked into everything, and questioned everything.’ And when I stuck my head outside the conspiracy echo-chamber, I decided that some of it was true, but most of it was contrarian bullshit. That’s actually what got me started on caring about current affairs…. but I digress.

The point is, this is not some crazy off the wall thing, nor is it going to result in the confiscation of all guns… that is not pragmatically possible, much less something the government is going to try and do. Even that uber-unprecedented (although it actually is not) New York law allows people to keep assault rifles they already own. And it’s not like the government couldn’t kill us all if they wanted to anyway. This is actually what makes the more mainstream FOX fear mongering about the Second Amendment almost as crazy as Newtown Truthers. The population doesn’t have tanks, or APCs, or large explosive projectiles, or surface to air anything, much less ballistic missiles. And even if they took away our assault rifles, we still have all the other kinds of guns, and we can go to HomeDepot and buy all the materials to make an IED, so it’s not like if they tried to put us all in slave labour camps the population wouldn’t possess the capability to make this country a hellscape no one would even want to hegemonically rule over. And if the goal is to kill us, they don’t need to take away our guns to do that. And if they actually confiscated all our guns, we could all just pull a Ghandi, sit down in the street and say ‘fuck it, kill us all and then you won’t have anyone to rule over.’ It’s not like that’s a lot more suicidal that running up against a tank with an m-16, and as the Palestinian situation shows, smalls arms can really only get you deadlock anyway. But that is all assuming they could get soldiers to attack civilians without some kind of ‘other’ mentality working in their favour. And actually, Ghandi style would probably be a much more effective way of stopping our government and American soldiers from doing some tyrannical purge of society for the same reason it worked so well against the British and would not have worked in Nazi Germany. Shooting at the Army when they come marching down your street to ‘remove’ you, is probably the most effective way to motivate those soldiers to ‘remove’ you.

But sure, it’s possible, anything’s possible. Jesus might come back tomorrow. Maybe everyone in the world is a figment of my own imagination… maybe if you go back far enough in time the whole Tolkien series plays out verbatim and the Assyrians just didn’t want to put any of it in their records because hobbits and elves freaked them the fuck out. I’m being a hyperbolic ass, and I guess in all honesty I’m down with post-modern question everything mentality. Dogma is bad, and people need to keep open minds, but if you don’t filter information, there is no way to decide anything, and you end up talking about a bunch of fake stuff while our incompetent leaders drive us off a cliff. This kind of conspiracy nonsense is the hipster version of ‘gay people are the biggest threat to civilization ever.’

So my question is why? Why would the government want to do this? Because I can think of a lot of reasons someone would make a conspiracy video, and a lot of reasons people would want to push nonsensical fear mongering about the current administration…. I can even think of a lot of indisputable examples of that kind of thing happening in the recent past. But I can’t think of any reason the government would have anything to do with killing a bunch of elementary school kids. The government doesn’t want your guns, no one in their right mind could think the Democrats wanted to waste a big chunk of Obama’s second term dicking around with the all-divisive issue of gun control only to pass the ineffectual and partial gun laws that will probably come out of this and will leave everyone upset. But the gun laws in this country are pathetic, and we should all be embarrassed that it is harder to buy Sudafed than an assault rifle. The normal Second Amendment enthusiasts aren’t much better than the Newtown Truthers because they are afraid of the same implausible doomsday scenario and are similarly romanticizing the defensive capability an AR-15 gives you against an ICBM. The only difference is they are not currently admitting they believe the government is actively trying to contrive that doomsday scenario, and because there are more of them, they are currently doing signification more damage to our nation’s political discourse. Although, none of that is to say problems with poverty and the mental health service are perhaps not equally, if not more important aspects of dealing with mass shootings and gun crime in general. Additionally, it is important to note that gun crime in general is down, although mass shootings have increased in prevalence.

Moreover, There are so many real things to be afraid of and upset about. To give a really specific example in addition to all the aforementioned incompetence, why isn’t there a video with 8million views about congressional gerrymandering? If the government hadn’t years ago delegated the power to re-draw congressional lines to ‘fit’ census data in the most idiotic way possible… we would not currently be dealing with a Republican House and political deadlock for the next two years. More people overall voted for Democratic congressmen than Republican, but nevertheless it’s still 200-233. So much for one person one vote. Not as sexy, but real and infuriating.

Why the UK does not have an Immigration Problem… much less a crisis:

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Do immigrants take our jobs? Common sense would say yes, but truly the answer is yes and no. There is more competition for employment, but not necessarily the same employment. Immigrants often fill voids in the economy that are not filled by the local population. This can lead to growth in economic sectors that would otherwise be made unviable in domestic or global markets through providing cheaper labour. This, itself, can lead to economic growth and increases in standards of living through depreciating the cost of desired commodities and services –making them more accessible– and increasing overall demand. These arguments themselves are so often cited by proponents of immigration they can seem clichéd. Further, they have failed to end the immigration debate: perhaps because of their counterintuitive nature. But if the wider trend is observed, two less mentioned but simpler points can be made.

The UK is not a self-subsisting country, but is one that is indelibly linked to the wider world. This is a fact that applies not only to the import of commodities such as food and energy, but also to people. The UK’s fertility rate is only 1.94, a number that is at least 0.2 points lower than is necessary to prevent a population decline when factors such as premature death and emigration are taken into account. Although there is no consensus regarding the effects a declining population will have on a national economy, it is not a prospect that should be disregarded lightly by a country engaged in social welfare policies for its senior citizens. Although Germany, Japan and Russia are often cited examples of nations experiencing economic growth while sustaining population declines, the long-term effects of such phenomena are unknown.  No country has experienced net population decline since the 1950s. This is a problem the world will perhaps inevitably face, but is not one any single nation seemingly should joyously embrace.

The UK’s contemporary net population growth rate is not unprecedented, or even abnormal. It is very much on par with growth occurring in the 1960s and early 1970s. It is up from the 1980s and early 1990s, but not substantially. This, ironically, is in part due to the higher fertility rates of recent immigrants, indicating that without them, this problem would be of even greater magnitude. This, itself, could be raised as another spectre of doom, perhaps it is, but potential failures of multiculturalism must be viewed as a separate issue entirely.

A simple and interesting perspective on the unemployment issue can also be gleaned from a wider vantage. If the doubling of unemployment that occurred during the six months subsequent to the 2008 financial crash is discounted, the UK’s unemployment rate has been flat-lining since the early 1990s. Unemployment levels did not rise following the EU directive in 2004 to allow free movement of labour within Europe, and following the spike in 2008, they have not continued to rise, despite the supposed horrific influx of ‘foreigners’ crossing the Channel. Nuance must be acknowledged because this does not mean there have been no changes in unemployment levels, but that there exists no discernible upward trend during this period.

Historically, unemployment rates have correlated with a lack of stable economic growth, and seem to have nothing to do with immigration influxes. The point is, immigrants are not the cause of unemployment, and to blame them is to miss the issue. We should be focusing on a way to restructure the UK’s economy so that it can weather the hit it will take when –or if– we implement drastically needed regulations on the financial services sector, to prevent another boom and bust bubble like the one that has caused our current high unemployment. Even if immigrants were kicked out to ethnocentrically provide jobs for fellow countrymen, this would only wrongly convince people the problem had been solved. Thus, leaving us exposed to another depression cycle, all the while punishing people who had nothing to do with the economic crisis we are currently experiencing.

To be concise, at the expense of vulgarity, we need to stop the conservative circle-jerking blame game and fess up to the financial services monster we have created ourselves.