I recently wrote a political post comparing Trump, Brext and Islamic Terrorism which received some praise but also a lot of criticism. In fairness most of the criticism was respectful and well argued. Some reasonable points were made and scored. However, I still hold to the views I expressed and I think most of my critics are missing the point or are perhaps blind to the points I was attempting to make. Now that Trump has actually been elected which unquestioningly heralds some kind of new era in politics, I want to explain my views in a bit more detail and perhaps argue the points I was originally trying to make from a better perspective. I should add that I am doing this entirely for my own benefit in order to understand and express what I think is going on in the world. I welcome discussion but I don’t really give a fuck if other people disagree with my views.
I have three headings in mind. My Satanic perspective, the indisputable similarities between Brexit and Trump, and finally what it all means and implies.
My Satanic Perspective.
Some people who have landed here after following the political tags may be surprised to find themselves reading a blog which is primarily about Satanism. Do please stay a while and make yourself at home; you may be a bit surprised. And don’t worry, this is not the hotel California, you can leave immediately if you feel uncomfortable!
It has been said that I am a very left wing Satanist and some find it surprising that the views associated with the left can be compatable with Satanic principles at all. In fact there are quite a lot of us left wing Satanists in existence. To over-simplify (because this is not intended to be the main theme of this post) I believe in strong and supportive communities and societies which are very liberal in terms of equal rights for women, men, minorities of all sorts and all parts of the LGBT community because that actually improves the quality of my life and the opportunities I have to live as fully and freely as I want. I am a libertarian but interestingly this position is often seen as rather right wing in America whereas in Europe it is more often associated with the left. I am however not left wing in all things. I am very strong on personal responsibility which can be seen as a right wing concept. I am definitely to the right on matters of crime and punishment, I believe in taking vengeance where necessary and while I think guns should be more strictly controlled (particularly in America) my family and I are all now gun owners and we believe that until society has changed significantly we should have the right to own, carry and use weapons when necessary for personal protection. So yes, I am left wing, but not in all ways.
No two people will ever have exactly the same political views but my family and I are broadly in line with those who are internationalists rather than nationalists. We support parties and policies which promote acceptance of difference, which promote tolerance and to some degree multi-culturalism (although we disagree with the views of many if not all organised religions). We believe in cooperation rather than conflict wherever possible and we think that Europe and the EU for all its many faults and failings is a good example of how different nations working together can maintain their peace and security without loosing their regional and national identities.. Logically therefore we are antagonistic towards people, parties and policies which oppose the things I have just listed.
The indisputable similarities between Brexit and Trump.
There are many things about the Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union and Donald Trump’s campaign to become president that can be disputed. I want to concentrate however on the things which are really not in dispute because of their implications for what happens next in societies which have changed and are deeply divided.
Both the Brexit and Trump campaigns succeeded in identifying a section of society who felt alienated and dispossessed by society as a whole and by the political elite in particular. In both cases this section of society was mainly comprised of an older, poorer and less well educated demographic; people who had not fared well under any political party for a long time.
In order to communicate with the less well educated and politically dispossessed classes, both Brexit and Trump campaigners threw the normal complicated and highly intellectualised language of politics and diplomacy out of the window in favour of very simplified and direct messages. Hanging innuendos were replaced by in your face insults and accusations.
Both campaigns decided to avoid any type of complexity. No problem was caused by lots of complicated factors, instead the focus of the blame was laid on particular individuals and groups of people. EVERYTHING that was bad in the UK was the fault of Europe pure and simple. Everything that was bad in America was the fault of The Clinton Dynasty, the black, immigrant, possibly not American, Obama and Mexicans.
Both Brexit and Trump were supported by elements of the press and media who recognised the demographic which had been identified as being the bulk of their own readership and viewers. Canny newspaper mogals recognised an opportunity to make money by stoking the flames.
To simplify the perceived problem even further the ultimate solution that was put forward by each campaign was simple and stark… Vote Leave and all your problems will be solved. Vote Trump and all your problems will be solved. No other way of voting will get what you need.
Other factors in both of these campaigns that are hard to dispute are that bare faced lies were spoken as truths, fears about immigration were highlighted, and xenophobia was exploited. Trump and the Brexit leaders were not typical politicians but media celebrities, regarded as outsiders and critics of “the system”. Trump in particular and some of the Brexit leaders were the antithesis of political correctness, making comments about race, immigration, gender (women especially) and sexuality which the middle classes and the so called political elite had ruled out of bounds decades ago. They deeply offended and frightened many people but those were people who were never likely to vote for them in the first place.
Finally within hours of claiming victory both campaigns did spectacular U-turns on some of their key policies. The Brexit campaign had promised to divert money from the EU (£350 million) to shore up the health service. Literally within hours they said this was not the case and that their advertisements claiming this had been misinterpreted. Donald Trump spent much of his campaign slating “Obama Care” and he stated repeatedly that he would repeal it completely. One of his first policy statements since becoming President Elect, is that he will in fact keep significant parts of Obama Care in tact.
It is therefore my contention that Trump and the Brexiteers successfully fooled that section of the electorate they had identified as being vulnerable to manipulation.
One more thing that cannot be disputed even if you disagree with everything else I have said is that the results of the EU referendum and the American Presidential election have left Britain and America bitterly and perhaps terminally divided. In both cases the final vote resulted in a virtual 50/50 split with one side claiming victory by a tiny margin. What is different between these results and the results of any comparable votes in Britain or America is that there is absolutely no room for compromise. For myself I can say that I voted to Remain in the EU and I think that leaving the EU will utterly destroy Britain and do significant harm to millions of people. I will NEVER change my opinion on this or compromise one millimetre. I am already a member of several groups and communities that are determined to stop Brexit happening. I do not and will never accept the result. However, I do understand that people on the other side of the argument feel equally as passionate as me. In America there are people who love Trump and there are people who hate and detest him and everything he stands for. There is no compromise between these two views. There are already significant protests about the Trump victory and #NotMyPresident is already viral.
In all election results in Britain and America in recent history there has been a respect for democracy itself which has pressured both the politicians and the voters to come together after an election, find some common ground and make the best of things until the next election. This time however that respect for the democratic process, that acceptance of the result, is missing completely. There can be no coming together of the two sides. This maybe because the election campaigns were carried out at such a base and debased level. But whatever the reason, the fact that thinkers and policy makers need to consider very soberly is that in both Britain and America half the population do not and will never lie down and accept the result. It is perhaps the biggest challenge and danger that our democracies have ever faced.
In conclusion I am aware that some of the people who voted for Brexit or for Trump don’t fit into the demographic I have described above (or don’t think they do). For them I would like to offer a little analogy which begins with the principle that the Brexit and Trump campaigns were both entirely correct in identifying a section of society who felt there was something rotten in society…
Imagine you have a pain in your leg which gets worse and worse. Eventually you go to a doctor. The doctor looks grim and diagnoses cancer. You are told the only solution is amputation. You take his advice and your leg is amputated…
Some months later you begin to get pain in your other leg. Reluctantly you go to the doctor, but this time you see a different doctor. This one tells you the pain in your leg is nothing more than a muscle cramp and that probably was the cause of the pain in your amputated leg as well. Moreover he tells you that even if you had had cancer in your other leg, amputation was not the only option…
Brexit and Trump diagnosed a problem in society and told people there was only one cure. Was their diagnosis correct? Are you sure? And was the cure they offered the only sensible option?
Your leg and your life deserve a second opinion.
The war on intelligence and critical thinking has begun.
As I write this there seems to be a 50/50 chance that America will elect a bigoted, sexist, misogynistic, stupid liar as President of the most powerful nation on Earth. I am talking about Trump of course but I am well aware that the other alternative for American voters, Hilary Clinton, is also a poor candidate. In truth Americans seem to be facing a choice between the lesser of two inadequate choices. How did this happen in a powerful nation that regards itself as a bastion of freedom and democracy?
While Hilary Clinton is undoubtedly a bottom of the barrel candidate, it is clear that she is by far the only reasonable option for American voters. But reason seems to have little to do with anything these days…
But this is not actually a post about American politics in particular or politics in general; it is a post about the danger our world has sleep-walked into and the urgent need to bring the satanic mind-set and critical thinking to bare on the issues we face today. The sheep are sleep-walking into oblivion and the rest of us could easily get sucked in with them if we are not careful.
What has become clear to me is that there is actually not much difference between fanatical Brexiteers in Britain, fanatical Trump supporters in America, and fanatical terrorists in the Middle East and around the world. They all despise intelligence. They all despise free and critical thinking. They all adopt the policy of scape-goating and blaming “the others”. They all tend toward bigotry, sexism and racism. They mostly identify with the hard right of whatever religion is convenient to them. They generally hate gays, bisexuals and any form of alternative lifestyle. They are strongly anti-science, anti-expert and anti-education. And they all use sensationalism and the most extreme popularist media to hook the masses. As a result our clearly fragile legal systems and democracies are rapidly descending into instruments of mob rule. And controlling the masses are madmen.
As Satanists we can perhaps understand the greed and self interest that drive the madmen at the apex of these mobs, but we must also recognise that they are indeed mad and that their self interests are or will be in direct conflict with our own. Many sheep are being herded to the edge of a cliff. Some Satanists might argue it is best to let the sheep perish; their ignorance and foolishness is their problem, not ours.
But I think we need to be realistic and realise that to a very large degree our fates are bound up with those of the masses. We will not be immune to the effects of a global recession. We will not be magically preserved if bombs go off or wars happen.
We are not as visible as some minorities on the mobs list of undesirables but the reality is that our core beliefs, our passion for individuality and free thinking are the antithesis of what the new puppet masters want and need for themselves.
We are talking about people who openly say “The country is fed up with experts.” We are talking about people who advocate building physical walls between nations and who feel comfortable making disparaging sweeping statements against whole groups of people. We are talking about people who rape and murder. We are talking about monsters who target teenage girls for assassination because they advocate education. We are talking about people who encourage people to believe in the most ludicrous fundamentalist myths of creation rather than trust science. We are talking about people who think science and atheism are dirty words.
And as has been mentioned in what is left of the free press, we are living in an age where lies outweigh facts and truth most of the time.
Yes. The war on intelligence and critical thinking has already started.
We must have an intelligent response. We didn’t start this war, but we must not lose it.