Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Politics of Genuine

Last time, we talked about the Hive Mind.  All very abstract – you might think.  A bit of intellectual fun.  This time we look at relevance of this to what is happening today – in particular, to the Politics of Genuine.

Authenticity is relative

For people  in my field – PR, advertising, “public diplomacy” – and similar institutionalized charlatanism -- the question is always: why do attempts to persuade the public fail as much as they succeed?  It is easy for us to sit back  and think "shit in -- shit out" and charge the clients big bucks. In fact, there is an answer -- and with the answer comes solutions.

PR Flow Chart

That answer has do with the unique aspects of  human “eusociality”-- mentioned in my previous post.   

On one level we are very much the same as that of ants and bees with their simple  primary imperatives – food, reproduction and group survival. On the other hand, we are much more complex. 

Every drone in our human hive has something different from say insect drones – identity -- rather than just roles.

All eusocial societies are greater than the sum total of their members.  But human societies represent a constantly adapting and  changing synthesis of  individual minds -- their identities, memories, imaginings and consciousnesses.  Since the mind each individual member within any human group also incorporates the collective mind of the primary group to which it belongs --at least in part--and that primary group incorporates -- also in part--the minds of the groups to which it belongs --human socities are the most complicated of reflexive social entities.

Yes, your society is you -- and your wife and kids -- and your extended family -- not to mention your friends, your workmates, and everybody in your clubs -- even your Facebook friends.   The chain of relationship goes all the way up to the Government, which somehow thinks that it rationalize and control all this through "public diplomacy".

It's one big mess!  And people like Simple.

Is it any wonder people say, "Fuck Politics" and vote for Somebody In Charge, Somebody To Sort the Mess -- the Bulldog, maybe?
The English Hitler?

In the UK, those who fought WWII war did so led by Winston Churchill.  The reasons for the war were ever so mind-boggling -- a lot more than an failed artist from Austria with a funny mustache.  The English peopled needed a simple narrative...and bulldog.  


Churchill was eccentric, jowly and smoked foul cigars.  He wore a bowler hat and drank a lot.  His wonderful speeches –which appealed to long standing memes – freedom, democracy, the essential decency of the British people -- and were marvellously simple.  He made it all so clear -- Us versus Them.

You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. 

Churchill  looked genuine.   So people could identify with him.  But really he was more an icon than a man.

After the war, the English dumped the old dog out on the street to fend for himself. 
Things Change

Now, Churchill was the same person before he took office..  And he was the same person after WWII.  What changed?

The public mind did.  War's over -- time to party! Conservative are not really good pub partiers.

Time to Party

It didn’t matter what the media  said --the Times or the BBC.  Churchill was yesterday’s breakfast -- digested and passing out of the body.  

Or to put it another way –old dogs poop.  And who wants poop at a part.     

Crap Matters
The public is definitely big and woolly -- but it wasn't going to blame itself for any poop found after the party inevitably ended.

Of course, “genuineness” or “character” is so often a matter of perception.  Churchill got off easy.  

Churchill, the man, was an unrepentant imperialist – if not a fascist and war criminal.  He was responsible for the deaths of millions -- not only the British terror bombings of civilians in World War II -- but for atrocities like the great Bengal Famine of 1943.  In the postwar period, he advocated the nuclear bombing of the USSR just to put the pesky socialists in their place. He was also a racist.

People didn't reject the Story --Churchill as Defender of Democracy, a narrative with more of what philosophers call     "Facticity" than truth, they just rejected his personal relevance.  

Churchill's Famine

Many politicians are sociopaths who understand that the public mind evolves along with society -- and they "play" the public, exploiting its need for both genuineness and relevance. 

Obama, for example, campaigned on “change you can believe in”.  The message was relevant. And Obama looked sincere.  Time quickly proved him to be one the most regressive presidents ever – just another conscience-less opportunist. But despite that he is loved by many.
So “Genuineness” -- in politics -- as in personal life is sadly, often fake.  But political sociopaths, like Obama, rarely get caught out.

Is This You?

Tony Blair  was an exception. He looked like the real thing  – until the facts of the Iraq War and his personal get-rich schemes blew up in his face. Nowadays he is almost universally despised, except by the Blairite orcs and trolls of Labour.   

Social consciousness evolves.

At the end of WWII, the British people wanted more rights, more freedom, more opportunity – which lead to Clement Atlee’s government – and eventually the abolition of the draft, national healthcare, privatization of the railways, and the improvement of public education.  This progress was in fact was a long standing trend: starting as early as  1918 to 1974, the Rich in the UK, became gradually poorer.  The UK was becoming more egalitarian -- and it flourished.
Reversing a Trend

In such an environment there was less room for Darwinian Predators like Tony Blair.

Then came a sea change in the public mind -- from  1974 to this day.  

In the 70’s you had a new generation of young people who had resources their parents never dreamed of --supported by a coherent youth culture, a mix of adolescent narcissism and idealism. It was the age of Personality, of the Individual.  The Sexual Revolution made possible the first true Fuck Generation – the first generation in which good, fun Sex was cultural goal, if not the greatest spectator sport of all time. 

Sex Is Just Two (or Three) People of Two or Three Sexes

Now sex is a very individual thing .

Wanna get laid?   Looking good helps.  Personality and Power help.  Getting laid is very much about competition and survival of the fittest.  It's the most basic human transaction.

Young people turned from that brief flirtation with communitarianism that was the Summer of Love – the Hippies and the Diggers and son – and went into investment banking, which buys expensive cars and cosmetic surgery. "Never trust anyone over 30",  the Baby Boomers said, but when they turned 30?  They needed some Fuck You Money.

Freedom = Fuck You

Alas, however,  the Fuck Generation -- the Baby Boomers -- quickly became Baby Makers and spawned the Fuck You Generation who beget the Fuck You Very Much Generation.  That eventually led to the today's  Just Plain Fucked Generation, with the Royally Fucked Generation on the horizon. .  

When Margaret Thatcher appeared with her neoliberal economics she appealed to the individual – and also to all the Seven Deadly Sins -- greed and envy and pride – oh, and sloth – doing less and less for more and more – all that stuff characteristic of those at the top of pile, the people that the young pretended to despise.  She was the Real Thing--a greengrocer's daughter who had overcome the Tory elite.  She was Fuck You incarnate.     

Fuck You = Money

Thatcher's message was persuasive because she believed her own bullshit. .  She had risen against all odds, after all.  Although it was helpful that Dennis had money.  "Why can't I do the same," people thought.  Answer: because odds are -- you can't.  Just as odds are you won't win the lottery.The Rich get richer in a Thatcherite world -- not you.  Unless you too marry a millionaire.
Maggy Had An Idea....

Maggie was followed eventually by "Tony", that classic sociopath and a narcissistic opportunist, with no real beliefs or values.  

Tony Got His Fuck You Money

Tony promised a lot.  And he accomplished a lot – for himself.   He got his Fuck You Money.  So -- fuck you.Very, very much!

The public suffered -- struggling with unemployment, social problems and austerity.    Yes, the Poor get poorer -- and middle class too.  

But public had invested in neoliberalism.  They still hoped they could win the lottery.

Naturally, they went for the REAL neoliberals – who were more open about their opportunism and elitism -- the Tories.   Cameron was clearly an asshole.  But he was more open about it than Blair.  

Sociopaths -- Always The Right Mood

People rejected Labour’s very unsexy “Red Ed” Miliband, who was forced by the Blairites in his party to sit on the fence--which no doubt accounted for his dreadful eating habits.  It's tough chewing with  a sharp picket up your ass.

Stepping down, however, freed “Red Ed” from the Neoliberal Labour "mind".   By losing the election, he won.

He had an opportunity  to change the way Labour elected its leaders –  democratizing the process so ordinary people could get involved – accessing the many tribes of Britain, rather than serving the few at the top – in other words, drawing on the power of the public, or at least a substantial part of it. 

Did he really know what was going to happen?  Or was it just an accident?  It doesn’t matter.  I would prefer to think he knew – maybe because I have messy eating habits too.

In any case, the result was the rise of Jeremy Corbyn -- a truly genuine politician. .  

The emergence of an outlier like Corbyn in these circumstances   tells us a lot about the tribal nature of that eusocial species known as the British. 

Corbyn was for years a backbencher and never served in Government. He's an individualist.

He is a man of principle – certainly NOT a neoliberal who does not really make speeches – preferring to  talk  to people.  This simple, commonsense man  wears comfortable clothes – no stiff collars for him, thank you – and rides a bicycle -- a minimalist, yes, but practical.   

He is also believes that the Labour Party must express the views of its members and – beyond that – of the public. I think it's called "democracy", a from of tribalism thought to have died out in the Paleolithic period.  Simply put Corbyn has the humility to accept that within the Man there are Many -- which makes him a clear and present danger to all we hold dear. .
He is the very antithesis of the negative caricature of an MP: he’s defined by his principles and beliefs, uninterested in personal self-advancement, and determined to use his platform to further the interests of people and causes that are otherwise ignored.
          -- Owen Jones

The Blairites who opposed Corbyn were confounded by their own elitism.  They  believed that Smart People from Oxbridge must decide policy for the public, and persuade them to accept it using “public diplomacy” – the media, who, of course, represent the same Oxbridge tribe.   But the vast coalition of groups that make up the public only accept this neo-feudalism when they see personal benefit here and now..Without a job or home -- there is little to hope for.   The primal imperative -- survival --drives change.

The Man Who Took Labour Over the Edge

Fortunately Labour was desperate -- it leaped..

 Surprise, surprise -- Corbyn make sense.

Don't have money?  Cut Trident -- it's useless anyway.  Withdraw from NATO -- it's obsolescent -- just sucking up cash.  Renegotiate with the EU -- it needs reform.  Invest in education and infrastructure.  Return to public ownership that which the public owns. Stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship.

The media hates commonsense. Earlier I mentioned "facticity' -- things that look like facts but actually aren't.  "Factitious" is almost the same was "fictitious".  

Factitious or Fictitious?

What is interesting about Corbyn is that no public figure in memory -- other than Vladimir Putin -- has been so viciously attacked by the media – even supposedly “liberal” media like the Guardian and the Independent.   

And yet these attacks – which involve a great deal of misinformation and disinformation -- have only solidified support for him, drawing attention to his history and his positions – which resonate with the public.  The public, it seems, have learned to distrust the media as much as government.

As I said, in the beginning, propaganda, PR, advertising -- crash as much as they fly.

Simply put:  the media can only influence the public when 
a.) the public sees no tangible, personal interest involved, as in, for example, GMO labeling or Middle Eastern politics or the Ukraine  b.) an essentially disinterested  public is mostly “on the fence”.

People Matter

In the UK, austerity matters.  People are beginning to hurt.  So, suddenly politics is personal.   And a significant part of the public – those being hurt by government policies – are off the fence.  You will see this consciousness spread.

Fences Are Not For Sitting

So Fuck You, media hacks. 

Oh…that includes me!

Congratulations Jeremy Corbyn. The biggest win for anyone in a Labour Leadership contest -- ever.

Jez Wins -- For Now

But now the fun starts.  If Corbyn does what Syriza did -- compromise -- he's screwed.  Last time, Labour lost Scotland.  Next time, if it goes all milquetoast, it will be decimated in England, replaced by an English version of the SNP perhaps.  Ultimately Corbyn ultimately is just a face -- but the face of the collective will -- and if he is undermined, forced out, or otherwise defeated, someone will pay. .

If Corbyn sticks to his principles, he might see some of his members defect to the Liberal Democrats.

Good riddance.

Nobody is indispensable.  Political personalities are commodities like i Phones. In today, out tomorrow.

Remember the 90s?

 What lasts is quality.

Those MPs who follow Corbyn get the benefits of power and position as Labour advances over time.  Neoliberalism has failed -- worldwide. It is the Ancien Regime and awaits the fate of the Bourbons.

French Downsizing Government

Once the collective mind has been made up -- it invents a new Public Self.  And in the UK, you have a new Self replacing one now 30 years old.   Never to trust anyone over 30 ?   The Old Public Self is now over 30.  The Baby Boomers and the generations that came after Wanted It All -- and mostly got nothing.  Their theme song below.

The Center has moved from Right ... commonsense

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