From Simply Human
— Read on simplyhuman1com.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/being-black-is-a-pre-existing-condition/
In 1833, the British government pledged £20 million, 40% of the national budget, in order to reimburse slave owners for the abolition of slavery in Britain. This was funded through huge borrowing, the debts of which were finally paid off in 2015.
Europe is facing insidious soft-coercion from hostile foreign agents. The greatest irony being that this threat to national sovereignty is distilling through the politics of “globalised” nationalist movements.
A truly brilliant article, shining a light upon our darkest threats.
If you don’t know Prof Rodrik’s work, you’re welcome.
There’s no shortage of criticism of the 21st century’s globalised form of feudalism we know as neo-liberalism, but to take it down so cogently, authoritatively and with such a ceaseless grasp of the economic facts is music to the ears.
As I grapple with my ingrained support for free trade; Rodrik’s words are never too many.
I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.
I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.
I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.
I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.
I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.
I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.
I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.
Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.
- Louis MacNeice
It is the 21st of August and I am walking around Lund when I come across the political party stalls in the main square.
I couldn’t stop sizing up the boy behind the Swedish Democrats’ stall. They always look the same. They always look the same.
Greased back hair or topknot (in this case the former), average height, average-to-good looks, undoubtedly average brains, undoubtedly succeeding off the back of privilege.
Privilege combined with a desperate need to maintain it are the defining features of the Swedish Democrats. These are not the unreconstructed racists of my homeland – who look to ethnically exclusive patria because it promises to restore their honour, make them strong again, fulfill the empty promises of Great Britain. The Swedish Democrats do not have this excuse of wretchedness. They are not the downtrodden losers of globalisation and neoliberalism. They are not a “silent majority”.
The Swedish Democrat grew up in a middle-class Stockholm suburb and went to a school on the right side of the railway tracks. They are from the same neighbourhoods as the centre-right Moderates but, as children, they were more likely to have their heads flushed down a school toilet by Frederik Reinfeldt than to have been “one of the gang”. Their mother told them they were marvelous. Their father told them the progressive tax system was theft. They read Atlas Shrugged and couldn’t tell it was nonsense philosophy and terrible literature. They read Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris and convinced themselves they were being progressive and liberal in hating muslim men and speaking on behalf of muslim women they had never met.
However much they may foster his support, do not be fooled – the Swedish Democrat is not the struggling Charlie Bucket, anxious over his Grandpa’s pension. He is a cross between glutenous Augustus Gloop and spoiled brat Veruca Salt. He is driven less by the belief “there isn’t enough room” as by a sense of injustice that the feminists have told the pretty girls at school not to tolerate his gross, “laddish” behaviour; a sense of fear that beauty ideals are broadening beyond his preference; a sense of fear because he knows he’s not as fiercely entrepreneurial as the multilingual immigrant who grafted across desert and ocean to be here; a sense of fear.
The Swedish Democrats are not an example of populists speaking to huddled masses. They are not Trump, they are Paul Ryan. They are libertarian, social darwinists who exemplify how progress always feels like oppression to the privileged.
I pray Charlie can see what I see. He has much to be anxious about – change has been forced upon him by cosmopolitans who do not share his values or seem to comprehend his truth. But, though weakened by fools, he must not become prey to wolves.