Politics, Philosophy and Mashed Potatoes

On a philosophical point, I have issues with left-right spectrums because they are one-dimensional.  They can be seen to represent either a purely economic scale (state planning v free enterprise) or a measure of individual freedom. Of course the far left and the far right are equally totalitarian, with only Camp Anarchy (not to be mistaken with Camp GTMO) inbetween, as the spectrum bends into a rainbow shape and then a circle.  Moving to two-dimensions with an ‘x’ axis that measures economic intervention (central planning on the left, free market on the right) and a ‘y’ axis that measures personal liberty (totalitarianism at the top, naked policemen running around smoking pot at the bottom), I am slap bang in the middle, three quarters of the way down.  A position I share with Gandhi apparently. Perhaps not a surprise as my humour has been observed to be as dry as his flip flops (more on flip flops later).  All of the current mainstream parties presently sit in the upper right quadrant which does go some way to explaining my feelings of isolation.

I found studying political philosophy at university very unsettling. One week I would be studying Hegel and the dialectic of materialism and nodding my head in agreement.  The following week Hobbes’ Leviathan would get my vote.  Edmund Burke made sense, as did Rousseau, equally so.  Utilitarians and Levellers seemed appealing.  Curling up with a naked fresher, reading from Camus’ L’Etranger with a Gitanes on the go even more so.  I have at times prostituted myself to each of the three main parties and on a glorious weekend in May 1997 while the rest of the country celebrated a Blair victory, a Eurovision win and a Bank Holiday during which the sun shone I had new found wealth.  I had seconded the Referendum Party candidate in the Hertford and Stortford constituency, much to the horror of my employers, who on being met by my name in the polling booth, gave me a pay rise, making my post politically restricted and supposedly ending any illusions of greatness.

I like to think that my politics haven’t flip-flopped (call-back to Gandhi noted) but that the mainstream parties have taken various changing orbits around me.  “I haven’t changed, the parties have”, of course not Mr Hutchinson and your money is safe in the bank (yes as safe as Mr Papadopoulos’ of Cyprus is).  It was while dining in a Paris restaurant that I had my Eureka moment.  I am not sure about French cuisine, they play about with their food far  too much for my liking and if you ask for vegetables they treat you like one.  I like a shank of lamb, a rich gravy, mashed potatoes and peas.  I like chicken, roast potatoes, carrots and cabbage.  I like egg and chips (beans or peas optional).  I like shepherd’s pie.  “What do you want for your tea?” my mother used to ask.  I’d ponder, lamb, chicken, egg ‘n chips, shepherd’s pie.  All good, all different, all with something to offer.  And that is how it was with politics but you know what? I realised I like bloody potatoes, potatoes were the constant in every dish.  In fact give me a baked potato on its own and I’m happy.  Yes potatoes, baked, roasted, chipped or mashed.  A bit like people, I like them in all of their varieties too.  And that is when it struck me.  It is the part of each of those political philosophies which deals with the individual which appeals to me.  The parts that deal with the hopes, the dreams, the aspirations, the needs, the wants of the individual and the rights and responsibilities that they bear in return.  Yes the individual is at the heart of my thinking.  Not the state, not even the community.  In fact I would go so far as to say that what is good for the individual is not necessarily good for the state and that what is good for the state is rarely good for the individual.

A Potatoes2012-06-25 21.34.19

Each of us has our own unique journey.  Each of us faces our own unique challenges.  We cannot walk a step, let alone a mile in another’s shoes.  Striver or shirker, pacifist or militarist, libertarian or socialist, straight or gay, atheist or convert, commentator or psychiatrist, each story a different individual, a different journey.  Workers, soldiers, drones, queens, whether we’re talking about ants, bees or humans we each have a role to play. Mine as criticalfriend, as agent provocateur.  Yes politicians and economists may be the subject of my scrutiny and the butt of my jokes but if he or she is just a man or woman whose intentions are good, then as the song says, “Please Lord don’t let him be misunderstood”.  And continuing our musical references, “Hats off to Larry” whichever party he leads for I have never had the responsibility of power fall upon my shoulders and never had those difficult choices to make.

AAAAAThe problem for me is that both socialism and capitalism are forms of collectivism. I am an individualist who travels light (not to be confused with an internationalist who has a lot of the baggage of the left) and a member of the new precariat, though often mistaken for a member of the elite, who finds himself much happier in the presence of a punk rocker than a banker. Bohemian Anarchist?  Well maybe. I value friends, family and community but I am not a fan of the nation state. I tolerate it as it has the potential to protect against corporatism and globalisation with its steady march to neo-serfdom and a new world order but that’s about it.  I go along with the monarchy, I don’t loathe it, I don’t cheer it. I’m certainly not apathetic to it though, for I realise that I’d no longer be able to take the moral high ground and lampoon America, as the prospect of a President Blair, a President Boris or President Branson makes me blush.  It certainly wouldn’t be a beauty contest.  There is a reason why politics is 18 rated.

After a recent presentation on post-war American foreign policy I was asked if I was anti-America.  In short, no but let me shed more light by defining my own version of GAP analysis.  I always think of a country as a stool (no pun intended) with three legs: Its Government; Its Aesthetic; and Its People.

So when I am asked, “Do you not like America?” I am happy to point to the GAP:

  • Its aesthetic, its landscape and its contribution to culture, I admire;
  • Its people, I respect
  • Its Government, I suspect

The same holds true of my own country and any other. We come into the world alone and we leave it alone. It is the voyage of self-discovery that gives our lives meaning as we slay dragons and tilt at windmills.  I’m just not a fan of my slaying and tilting being caught on CCTV.  Left and right, will someone please tell our politicians that George Orwell’s 1984 is a novel, not a user manual.

All rights reserved © 2015 Andrew Hutchinson

Bonfire of Vanity – Or how to burn all of your bridges in one blog post

Is it a statement of oxymoronic proportions to say that while I’m not a conspiracy theorist, conspiracy is everywhere?  Any intelligent person, I should pre-qualify this statement by saying that the only troubling thing about common sense is that it’s not very common, knows that agendas are commonplace, be they personal, professional or corporate.  This only problem is the fact that we need to remind ourselves of it.

If, and for many people thist is a big if, you are interested in taking responsibility for at the very least seeking out the elusive truth I would recommend taking the time to visit the websites listed below, caveated as appropriate.  By all means continue to patronise the mainstream media outlets too, for without our daily dose of reality television, antiques shows and property renovation programmes Jack would indeed be a dull boy.  Public opinion does count (an article will follow reporting on how with only five percent of a population engaged in non-violent protest governments can be destabilised) but it would be refreshing to think that it extended beyond Prince George’s favourite toy or the fate of Manchester United and included reminding governments that George Orwell’s 1984 was a novel and not a user manual.

Cryptome

http://Cryptome.org

This is the daddy of all leaked, secret and or ‘embarrassing to Authority’ archives

Deep Politics Forum

http://DeepPoliticsForum.com

A deep politics discussion group with a large archive of related documents and video

MediaLens

http://MediaLens.org

A site dedicated to exposing the propagandist nature of the mainstream media

SourceWatch

http://SourceWatch.org

A US based wiki-encyclopaedia of people, organizations, and issues shaping the public agenda.

SpinProfiles

http://SpinProfiles.org

A UK based wiki project that seeks to expose the reality behind ‘official narrative’ spin

Wikileaks

http://WikiLeaks.org

A site to protect and assist whistle-blowers sharing  sensitive material.

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org

Lots of information on almost any topic, but fatally flawed in certain areas.

Wikipedia is good at what it does but if we’re honest its editorial policies give it a blind spot around matters of deep politics meaning that the information retrieved is likely superficial and fragmented at best and more often than not a smokescreen. To quote a friend:

“Wikipedia’s adherence to the official narrative as promulgated by the ‘reliable sources’ of the commercially-controlled media effectively mean that, to use an astrological metaphor – the sun must always be represented as revolving around the earth.”

The reporting of the “Gunpowder Plot” of 1605 is a good example of how ‘undisputed facts’ can be presented with little reference to more likely interpretations of the episode, giving birth to the “official narrative”. Popular perceptions are drawn from the “official narrative” of the establishment caught off-guard by wicked Popish conspirators set on blowing up parliament, saved in the nick of time by a sequence of events more suited to a Boy’s Own storyline. If this all sounds familiar it’s because you’ve probably read it in Wikipedia, where accusations of ‘state conspiracy’ are relegated to a single paragraph and agent-provocateuring doesn’t get a look in.  Then again I am biased, I have an agenda for as part of my stand-up comedy routine I ask whether Guy Fawkes was the last man to enter parliament with the right idea?

Problems arise when the official narrative becomes the consensus narrative. Richard Heinberg refers to The Consensus Trance which is instinctively understood by the ambitious and in Britain at least, remains absolutely central to success in business, public affairs, academia and the mainstream media, trumping all other considerations, including intelligence and ability. Why?

Because, proportionate to one’s approach and proximity to the thresholds of REAL power, to EFFECTIVELY question it is to threaten and therefore become toxic to the Arbiters of your advancement, whose rank position and place depend upon it.

Of course you’re pretty handicapped to start with if you run around telling everyone that you are a critical friend from day one. Who is the laugh on though when it turns out that the narrative is a lie? It is as honest as the statement on a twenty pound note which states that the Bank of England promises to pay the bearer on demand the sum of twenty pounds. There isn’t any real money anymore, no gold standard, just fiat, just digits on a screen, so twenty pounds of what exactly? To put it another way, as said by a source known to yours truly:

“It is all a clever ego-stroking Orwellian illusion designed, developed and molded by self-perpetuating Power Elites to serve purposes far and away removed from those of fond and credulous popular belief.”

How my own adherence to the consensus narrative came to be shaken shall remain private for now but over the last twenty years I have at various times worked with Government ministers, had considerable experience of local government and involvement with the intelligence community and more than one police force.  I only lack experience with the judiciary but avoiding cross-dressers has been the way it’s been, pure coincidence I assure you.

blue-pill-red-pillSo we got to the Red Pill/Blue Pill moment and the shattering of some cherished and long-held beliefs, neigh illusions. Where we are now is where we are. Understandably my public sector client list has diminished and I can confidently predict its exstinction. So we are left with me satirising and dabbling in stand-up comedy through my alter-ego Bobby Nitro. To be honest life in polite orthodox company can be difficult when your contributions to discussions on politics, philosophy and world affairs in general are likely to be considered, in varying degree, unwelcome, threatening, scary, treasonable or simply mad. It doesn’t help when I suggest that I’ve never ‘unknowingly’ offended anyone.

Some of the other consequences of taking the Red Pill are, in no particular order:

  1. Deep and abiding distrust of ‘The State’, its apologists, its spokesmen and its enforcers.
  2. A clear understanding that the central operating principle of the state is deception, compounded by obsessive secrecy and a fear of the general population.
  3. A realisation that ALL political parties are pissing into the same pot, differentiated only by the force of the flow and the shade of the urine. There is a lot of heat but little light as they all seek perpetual ‘growth’ on a finite planet.
  4. Recognition that the war on terror is the waging of war on an abstraction which lines a lot of pockets.
  5. Sleeping like a baby, for power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and I have none whatsoever, other than that to make genuine, relaxed, honest, open-minded, sceptical, illusion-less enquiry.

In the 1999 film The Matrix, set in a dystopian future, Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne explains to Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, what the Matrix is and Neo realises the truth, that he is just a small part and one of the Matrix’s “slaves”.  Morpheus then tells Neo that he can become free, and explains the choice:

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth – nothing more.”

To be continued…. Maybe…. ;)

All rights reserved © 2014 Andrew Hutchinson