Joergen Oerstroem Moeller on How to Save Democracies. Old Socialist scoffs!

Headline:Democracies Are Fighting for Their Lives

Sub-headline: Can they save themselves?

The Headline writers of National Interest cultivate hysteria with their headline and sub-headline.

Like Mr. Fukuyama before him,  Mr. Moeller frames his polemic with a paraphrase from a philosopher , in this case Spinoza. The reader might just wonder at what a 17th Century thinker might offer in the way of the critique of democracy, well before the time of the Age of Democratic Revolutions chronicled by R.R. Palmer? 

Spinoza’s Prediction

The Jewish-Dutch philosopher Spinoza (1632–1677) predicted that democracy would be guided by and taken over by demagogues jettisoning reason and logic. Freedom for individuals in whatever way it was seen when Spinoza lived would be there, but the mediocrity of rulers would lead to chaos. The elite would rebel against such a system. The people would be confronted with the choice between freedom and chaos versus order and tyranny. Spinoza predicted that people would choose order and tyranny. Men are by nature unequal and equality among unequals is an absurdity. Therefore, a system which Spinoza labels aristocracy or monarchy with the ablest individuals in charge would inevitably prevail.

Mr. Moeller then begins his essay with the a BBC sponsored survey of ‘voting patterns’ in the Brexit vote:

It is thought-provoking that the BBC in February 2017 published a localized breakdown of voting patterns determining the outcome of the British referendum to leave the European Union of June 23, 2016 (the Brexit referendum). It says that “a statistical analysis of the data obtained for over a thousand individual local government wards confirms how the strength of the local Leave vote was strongly associated with lower educational qualifications. Wards, where the population had fewer qualifications, tended to have a higher Leave vote. If the proportion of the local electorate with a degree or similar qualification was one percentage point lower, then on average the leave vote was higher by nearly one percentage point.” History will tell whether the decision to leave was good or bad for Britain, but as the data reveals it was decided by the less educated while the higher educated would have liked Britain to stay. Moreover, those earning most of the money to keep Britain going including welfare payments are found among the higher educated.

The bad actors in Mr. Moeller‘s Brexit Melodrama are the ‘less educated’ , indeed a self-appointed  Platonic Guardian, the sine qua non of the Neo-Conservative form of authoritarianism, is the author of this polemic!

The reader might just begin here with the news that Media’s Elite is dominated by the children of the affluent, not say the privileged:

Headline: Media elite: 51% of UK journalists went to private school, more than in 1980s – study

Britain’s media industry now has a greater proportion of privately-educated journalists than two decades ago, a new study reveals.

Up to 51 percent of journalists in UK newsrooms attended private schools throughout their education, compared to 49 percent in 1986.

The study, published by the Social Mobility Commission, reveals the extent to which people from privileged backgrounds are given preferential treatment in recruitment.

The findings could also explain why some journalists seem to be so out of touch with the struggles of working-class people affected by government policies such as austerity and mass migration.

The findings come after Director General of the BBC Lord Hall of Birkenhead admitted that the television sector is too often a source of social exclusion, as it tends to only hire the “well-connected and well-off” from the south of England.

Speaking at a creative skills conference in March, Lord Hall said: “The truth is, broadcasting in particular remains a relationship-based, ‘who you know’ industry.”

“Of course this marginalizes those who don’t have connections… and it favors the well-connected and well-off from the southeast of England,” he asserted, according to the Times.

Medicine, however, beat the media industry for growth in the number of privately-schooled people it employs, standing at 61 percent.

By contrast, the proportion of such individuals in CEO roles is now at 34 percent, down from 70 percent in 1987.

Just over half of solicitors were found to have been educated in private schools, down from 68 in 1988.

But the judicial sector was by far the most elitist of all, with 74 percent of judges having attended private schools.

The commission carrying out the research said that for years policies have failed to narrow the social gap between “haves and have nots.”

“The old agenda has not delivered enough social progress,” the commission’s report says.

Add to this the revelation that the BBC funded an attack on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn :

Headline:UK to investigate state-funded attack on Corbyn

Sub-headline: UK Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan has authorized a probe into allegations that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was targeted in a propaganda attack funded by the government.

According to a report by the Sunday Mail, leaked documents show that the Scottish-based Institute for Statecraft, which had received hundreds of thousands of pounds in Foreign Office money to fight online “Russian propaganda,” also promoted tweets calling the Labour leader a “useful idiot” for Moscow.

Speaking on BBC, Duncan said he ordered the investigation immediately after learning about the allegations over the weekend.

“I don’t know the facts but if there is any kind of organization for which we are paying which is involved in domestic politics in that way, I would totally condemn it, and I have already over the weekend asked for a report to be on my desk by 10 o’clock this morning to say if there is any such activity,” he said Monday.

The minister said he wanted Statecraft to stop its anti-Labour attacks. “Not only must it stop, I want to know why on earth it happened in the first place.”

In late November, Parliament asked Duncan about Foreign Office’s funding of the Institute for Statecraft’s Integrity Initiative.

The FM’s response revealed that the “charitable” organization had received £296,500 in the 2017-18 financial year and was expected to rise to £1,961,000 this year.

The so-called Integrity Initiative is supposed to counter disinformation on social media by hiring “clusters” of journalists and online activists across Europe.

However, the Institute for Statecraft’s official Twitter account repeatedly retweeted anti-Corbyn posts.

One of the tweets called Corbyn a useful idiot and stated: “His open visceral anti-westernism helped the Kremlin cause, as surely as if he had been secretly peddling Westminster tittle-tattle for money.”

Similar messages targeted other top members of Labour such as Seumas Milne, Corbyn’s top aide. A message retweeted by the Institute for Statecraft had links to a newspaper report that said: “Milne is not a spy – that would be beneath him. But what he has done, wittingly or unwittingly, is work with the Kremlin agenda.”

What can the reader think, after the revelations that the elite dominated media, and its most prominent member the BBC, has engaged in a campaign of defamation of Mr. Corbyn. It has been reported in the press, not dominated by the graduates of Elite Schools,  that the amount spent on this ‘campaign’ was 20 million pounds! The revelations of these two reports does have  the tendency to not just undermine Mr. Moeller‘s argument but to place in the category of misplaced institutional faith !

Mr. Moeller continues his polemic with six major problems:

1. How representative is democracy?

2. Those who are supported by the system versus those generating wealth.

3. The size of welfare benefits is growing.

4. Politics has become a profession.

5. Social networking.

6. Politicians are out of tune with the people, especially over immigration.

Questions 1 and 4 are related: Walter Lippmann was the great advocate for the role of the Technocrat in the role of decision making, as a check against ‘too much democracy’. The professionalization of politicians is just a function of that ‘faith’: in the ability of those Technocrats to steer the policy and laws of a country. The Rise of the Think Tank is also a function of the institutionalization of the ‘Expert’ , that now just don’t advocate, but write the laws that the politicians argue over and pass, in a betrayal of the very notion of governance and the role of the legislator, the writing of laws!

Questions 2 and 3 are about first the idea that societies are stratified into two participants in the ‘Market Economy’ that has replaced ‘Civic Life’ as the measure of what defines them: The Producers and The Drones, the product of the mind of the greed ridden pamphleteer Ayn Rand. The size of the Welfare State has steadily declined, since the rise of Thatcher/Reagan, and their sub rosa allies New Labour and the New Democrats, until the present! But one belief of Conservatives and Neo-Liberals share is an article of faith that the poor are prima facae undeserving! The utter failure of the Free Market Mythology is erased from causality of the 2008 Economic Depression, and the failure of one of its cornerstones The Self-Correcting Market to as yet to manifest itself!

Number 5 concerns ‘Social Networking’ as a threat to the political system to ‘set the agenda for political action’. A threat to the very professional politicians and their Technocratic allies that Mr. M sees as part of the ‘larger problem of failing, declining legitimacy‘ Decline and decay the twin obsessions of the Neo-Conservative!

Question 5 concerns ‘immigration’, though Mr. M. does not place it its historical context! In the Western hemisphere the Refugees are fleeing the regimes put in place by the American hegemon that have been catastrophic! ‘A Nation of Immigrants’ suffers from convenient amnesia. And Game Show Host Trump seeks to make ‘Fortress America’ a reality on its southern border.

In the Eastern Hemisphere the Refugees are fleeing  America’s Wars of Empire, called The War on Terror. The dreaded ‘Populists’ have simply been opportunistic!  America has left Europe on its own, to deal with a problem it has created: another erasure of responsibility!

The  final question: What happens now? leaves little doubt as to Mr. M.’s loyalty to the very central dogma of Neo-Conservatism, that the Lower Orders i.e. ‘ the less educated majority’ must submit to the political will  dictated to them by an ‘Enlightened’, not to speak of and self-appointed, Platonic Guardians. Note that ‘Social Networks’ are an equal threat to the hegemony of Guardians. How will these two putative majorities be tamed?

Liberal, representative democracy is mired in a clash between the less educated majority of people, and those with higher education. Social networks have sharpened this confrontation by offering the majority something they didn’t have before: access to the media with the possibility of setting the agenda.

Old Socialist













About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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