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Jeremy Corbyn’s Electile Dysfunction

2017 March 28
by Mandos

(POST BY MANDOS, just in case you didn’t notice)

I have a theory about why Jeremy Corbyn seems so unpopular in the UK, despite the fact that he represents a lot of policy positions that are in themselves popular. My theory is that, deep down, in their collective subconscious (if not their actual consciousness), the British public doesn’t think that Corbyn will send fighter jets to bomb people in foreign countries on under-substantiated suspicions.

Oh, to be sure, there are lots of other problems faced by Corbyn worth discussing, like an extremely disloyal caucus (although disloyalty is probably not the right word as it presumes that they had once been loyal, and they’d made it clear from the beginning how little they thought of him). But the antiwar thing is basically a deep psychological show-stopper in terms of the electability of leader in any medium-to-major military power.  People may not precisely articulate this discomfort with a leader who doesn’t seem like he’d attack small countries on a small suspicion when world politics suggests that said lethal use of military force is a diplomatic, strategic thing to do.

Now there are actually other things you can do to satisfy this urge. For example, Theresa May already proved her willingness to harm innocents with a pathologically, maniacally, cruel immigration policy, for which she was responsible. That policy has made her credible, governmental. You know that May will send fighter jets to foreign countries when the media requires it.

Now, you may ask, why is being bombing-credible, or at least cruelty-capable so important for the election of a leader? The reason why is that the leader is supposed to Protect Our Children. (I’m using “our” figuratively here, since I’m not British.) You’d do anything for your child, right? If you’re an upstanding, caring parent, that is.  So consider the very slim chance that someone in a foreign country may concoct a successful global takeover plot when you’re dead and your children are old people.  Surely avoidance of such demands a low threshold for long-distance war. After all, it’s either your children or theirs, right?

But Corbyn is perceived as a repudiation of Blair. And there’s nothing that defined Tony Blair more as a politician, nothing that placed him more in history than his willingness to go to war on thin evidence. Corbyn and his core support base are visibly angry at that. And that is, at a ground, atavistic level, killing Corbyn’s candidacy. (As I said, among other things.) Blair may be unpopular now, but most people are willing to issue negative judgements after the fact, having voted for the man before the fact. Blair already Protected Our Children, was believed to be credible on this front, and won elections.

You may protest: There are lots of other things that threaten people’s children, like lack of health care, unemployment, impending global enviropocalypse, and other very real but rather imperceptible problems like those. My experience of watching how the European refugee crisis unfolded, particularly in anglophone media and public opinion watching from outside, is that people perceive threats very differently, and react more viscerally to a low-probability threat from other individual humans than they do from higher-probability things like their own potential poverty or workplace safety and suchlike. An incident of lawlessness in Cologne, perpetrated by a tiny fraction of the refugees and not only them, overshadowed in Western media all of the other things that humans, including refugees, face. Because we have to Protect Our Children.

To be sure, lest someone object, a lot of this attitude descends and is transmitted by certain sorts of elite opinion-makers like newspaper columnists and so on. Yes, that is so. But they are working with a public that is highly primed for this visceral syllogism.

Does my theory about Corbyn’s unpopularity demand that this situation remain so forever? No: I don’t counsel despair. My theory is about explaining what has happened so far. People always have the possibility to choose otherwise. Maybe even in time for the next British elections. You never know.

40 Responses
  1. atcooper permalink
    March 28, 2017

    I begrudgingly agree with every damned point. Have there been many high profile doves? I can’t think of any since the Berlin Wall fell. Hawkishness has become a prerequisite. It’s all so deeply tied into the way of western life now.

  2. Tom permalink
    March 28, 2017

    When the world system inevitably crashes, Corbyn will get his chance, provided he lives. But he needs to more forcibly make his case and purge the disloyal caucus members from his party.

    More importantly, he has to learn how to message to the people in a way that they can viscerally understand and hire psychologists to help him build a message that can resonate with the voters.

  3. Mallam permalink
    March 28, 2017

    I don’t think it’s just the war issue, though. The fact is he’s just not a leader. He contradicts himself regularly, his coalition is always at his throat so there’s no unified message, and he just reeks of incompetence. The media is a given, but you can’t be such a loser without a way of fighting through it or against it. If your solution is to throw your hands up and name media for your failure, well, you’re useless.

    The worst part? The others running against him sucked. The coup plotters sucked. Miliband seemed like the perfect compromise, but he was similarly rejected. I have hope for the left in the US, I have none for UK.

  4. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    March 28, 2017

    An incident of lawlessness in Cologne, perpetrated by a tiny fraction of the refugees and not only them, overshadowed in Western media all of the other things that humans, including refugees, face.

    The racists make such a big stink over a few thousand gang rapes. Incidents happen! Try a little perspective, bigots.

  5. Bill Hicks permalink
    March 28, 2017

    I’m sorry, Ian, but while it is true that “people always have the possibility to choose otherwise,” you know they won’t, I know they won’t and I would gather than most people who read your blog know they won’t. If 16 straight years of post-9/11 proof is not enough to convince them, nothing ever will. Tribalism is the strongest impulse in human nature, and 99% of the political class is willing to exploit it to gain and maintain power. Nothing causes despair quite like false hope.

  6. Linda Merrill permalink
    March 28, 2017

    All excellent points. TY. But protect our children? He doesn’t. It is well documented that over the years Corbyn has done absolutely nothing to protect children from rampant child sex and torture rings and trafficking. Ample evidence for that fact. “Not a leader.” No. Of course, there are plenty of “non-upstanding” complicit parents, too. But he just lets it happen–like so many others do who are in positions where they really COULD help, and rescue the vulnerable.

  7. Ian Welsh permalink*
    March 28, 2017

    I didn’t write this post. People will choose something different at some point. They just won’t be baby boomers or Xers, who head the demographics of that choice.

    As for Corbyn, he’s a perfectly fine leader if you take the time to find out what he’s actually done. His contradiction ratio is quite a bit lower than most politicians, it’s just nonsense to pretend otherwise, or indicates you’ve bought into MSM framing.

    If he was willing to change his sports, elites and media would be a lot happier with him. Instead he’s “I’d NEVER use nukes”, etc…

    I consider Britons preference for May, who is worse in every way, in large part an indictment of Brits, not of Corbyn. He may have flaws, he’s a light year better than she is. If you prefer May, you’re just a very bad person.

  8. March 28, 2017

    For the third time (since it’s mentioned twice in the post…), this is me, Mandos, writing this.

  9. March 28, 2017

    As for the Protect Our Children thing:

    1. It is figurative, and not intended to refer to a particular policy or incident. Quite the opposite: my point is simply to refer to people’s psychological mis-estimation of risk.

    2. I will save the discussion of the aetiology of migration-driven racist moral panics for some other time. Again, my point was about the estimation of risks, and people’s personal risk remains mostly in other things.

  10. March 29, 2017

    I think you’ll find Corbyn’s electoral dysfunction has more to do with economic illiteracy than anything else. After all it was the British Parliament that prevented the West from attacking Syria – a decision that seems questionable in hindsight given the atrocities committed by the Assad regime and the consequent refugee crisis. However without a much better relationship with Russia real coordinated international action is impossible.

  11. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 29, 2017

    After all it was the British Parliament that prevented the West from attacking Syria – a decision that seems questionable in hindsight given the atrocities committed by the Assad regime and the consequent refugee crisis.

    I think it was a great decision. Stoking a Civil War in Syria is a War Crime and an Atrocity. The West has no credible leg to stand on when it comes to military intervention anywhere at this point. It’s used up all its credibility, as if it ever had any. Just a few short years ago, Assad and his wife were friends of The West — so much so, during Dubya’s tenure, America, and by virtue of that The West, Assad’s State Torture Apparatus was being used by The West for Renditions.

    We’re to pretend this never happened? What I’d really like to know and can’t yet figure is, what went wrong with The West’s relationship with Assad? Why was Syria a go-to Nation-State for Renditions one moment, and then the next moment Assad is out of favour and is “committing atrocities against his people?” I put that in quotes because that is the coveted and unwavering excuse for failing a Nation-State.

    The blood of all those dead & disabled Syrians and the Refugee Crisis is on the hands of all those, like you, who called, and are still calling, for escalation of a largely fabricated conflict very much in keeping with the destabilization campaign that was used to fracture the former Yugoslavia into a thousand unmanageable pieces resulting in what is effectively Narco-State Warlordism where Western Black Budget operations such as Human Trafficking and Drug Trafficking can take place out of sight and unchecked.

    Implications of the CIA Torture Report for Syria/A>

    For Syrians, the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s summary of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, commonly known as the “CIA Torture Report,” are not surprising. They have long known about the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program to their country, which resulted in the CIA sending several suspected terrorists to Syria, despite well-founded knowledge of the Assad regime’s widespread use of torture.

    A 2013 report by the Open Society Justice Initiative found Syria to be “one of the most common destinations for rendered suspects” with deplorable detention conditions and practices. Nine men – some of whom remain unaccounted for – were extraordinarily rendered to Syria through the program, including Maher Arar, a dual Canadian and Syrian citizen detained by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in New York City in 2002…………

    Loss of Moral Standing

    U.S. officials are justifiably critical of many Middle Eastern countries’ human rights records, including Syria’s. However, disclosure of CIA practices without consequence means that any U.S. efforts to support accountability for atrocities committed by Islamist forces or the Assad regime will fall flat, particularly because the Syrian regime now justifies its use of torture with the same counter-terrorism argument employed by the U.S. during the W. Bush administration.

    An updated correction to the following The Atlantic article — it WAS the only remaining copy but is no longer. It was a flattering expose of The Assads. The record, as is its wont, has been expunged. Gee, I wonder why?

    The Only Remaining Online Copy of Vogue’s Asma al-Assad Profile

    Asma al-Assad is glamorous, young, and very chic–the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies. Her style is not the couture-and-bling dazzle of Middle Eastern power but a deliberate lack of adornment. She’s a rare combination: a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind who dresses with cunning understatement. Paris Match calls her “the element of light in a country full of shadow zones.” She is the first lady of Syria.

    Syria is known as the safest country in the Middle East, possibly because, as the State Department’s Web site says, “the Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors.” It’s a secular country where women earn as much as men and the Muslim veil is forbidden in universities, a place without bombings, unrest, or kidnappings, but its shadow zones are deep and dark. Asma’s husband, Bashar al-Assad, was elected president in 2000, after the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, with a startling 97 percent of the vote. In Syria, power is hereditary. The country’s alliances are murky. How close are they to Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah? There are souvenir Hezbollah ashtrays in the souk, and you can spot the Hamas leadership racing through the bar of the Four Seasons. Its number-one enmity is clear: Israel. But that might not always be the case. The United States has just posted its first ambassador there since 2005, Robert Ford.

  12. Tom permalink
    March 29, 2017

    @ The Stephen Miller Band

    No one stoked the Syrian Civil War, Assad did all that himself, first by raping schoolboys over a joke at his expense, killing protesters, then bombing their funerals, then releasing criminals into the streets.

    Assad and Assad alone is to blame for Syria, and peace won’t return till he is overthrown and his supporters face justice. As it is, Assad has lost all legitimacy, and his Army practically ceased to exist last year and he only survives because Foreign Fighters make up the bulk of his forces. The FSA refuse to give up and time is on their side and thanks to Euphrates Shield, they have a safe zone that Assad can’t touch and can only grow stronger as Turkey merges various groups under one FSA Banner accountable to the SNC and trains Police to take over guarding cities so the FSA can focus on the Regime and its Allies.

    This war will be long, but it will be won by the FSA and Assad Overthrown.

  13. Spring Texan permalink
    March 29, 2017

    I think you are right. Corbyn gets trashed in some of the above comments from people who clearly are being suckered by the press’s ridiculous coverage of him (including the Guardian, who is as unfair to Corbyn as to Sanders).

    Corbyn has the guts to have not let himself be bullied and sabotaged into stepping down. He has a terrific track record. If he had any support from Labour MPs, a tremendous amount could be accomplished. (and I’m a fan of John McDonnell’s too) Just as Sanders has genuinely enthusiastic followers, Corbyn does too despite the press (I’m one!).

    I agree though that aside from the crazy press coverage, what mandos says is probably his greatest obstacle. Yes it’s a requirement to prove cruelty as when Bill Clinton made sure to execute death row folks before running in 1992. And not being a war enthusiast? NO GOOD.

    I hated the flip title and thought it was going to be another of those dreary (oh he’s not a leader and is so terribly unpopular despite being elected twice) screeds, but instead this is a frustrating but genuinely insightful piece. Sigh.

  14. Spring Texan permalink
    March 29, 2017

    It’s probably one thing Trump had going for him too . . . willingness to be cruel, advocate more torture and war crimes. Sigh.

  15. Mallam permalink
    March 29, 2017

    I’m not suckered into anything. I voted for Sanders in the primary in my state, just as I would have voted for Corbyn in round 1 and in round 2. But time to fess up: he’s failing, miserably. I want someone with his politics who isn’t so feckless. Sanders was popular — he still is, in fact he’s the most popular politician in the US. Corbyn is not. Whether you realize it or not, policies don’t mean shit if you have no power, and if your policies aren’t overcoming your shortcomings as a leader, then move out of the way for someone who will. I will repeat: the coup plotters were no better and have nothing to offer. But when Corbyn goes down in flames — and he will — you’re going to get it good and hard from those neoliberal pieces of shit far worse. Worse than Blair, who at least did some good anti-poverty programs.

  16. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 29, 2017

    No one stoked the Syrian Civil War, Assad did all that himself, first by raping schoolboys over a joke at his expense, killing protesters, then bombing their funerals, then releasing criminals into the streets.

    Without weapons and intelligence assistance and military support from The West, there would be no Syrian Civil War. The Assads have ruled with an Iron Fist FOREVER. This is nothing new to The West. What is new to The West is intervening in Syria after just a few short years prior to using Syria as a torture chamber for individuals abducted by Western Alphabet Agencies many times never to be seen or heard from again.

    If you dance with the devil, you are the devil’s. Apply that maxim to the dance partners Syria & America and tell me which one’s the devil and which one’s the devil’s?

    Putting the shoe on the other foot, there are more than a few who would like to see America experience its very own medicine, i.e. a Civil War. Imagine Russia stoking it by supplying weapons and intelligence support and military aid to the “Rebels.” Let’s say the “Rebels” consist mostly of Conservatives and The Alt Right. How would Americans feel about that? About Russia aiding and abetting what could be and would be labeled as homegrown Terrorism deep in the heart of the shining city on the hill?

    This is not an apology for Assad’s brutality, but his brand of brutality has been a staple long before the British created a Nation-State called Syria and The West has been just fine with it all these years. So, what’s changed — REALLY?

  17. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 29, 2017

    This war will be long, but it will be won by the FSA and Assad Overthrown.

    Sweet. Your ebullience and optimism amidst the carnage is endearing & encouraging. Let’s say you’re right. One implication may be, and most likely will be, more than a million dead Syrians before it’s all said and done and Syria will quite literally be eviscerated. Considering the implications of habitat destruction and unsustainable desert populations, it will never be rebuilt. It will be a ruins and transformed back into the sand from which it was erected. Your victory will be pyrrhic.

  18. Peter permalink
    March 29, 2017

    @Spring T

    I don’t think it’s fair to judge Trump because he doesn’t coddle people about uncomfortable subjects with PC Newspeak that tries to hide the results of our actions. R2P and liberal intervention are what the supposedly less cruel mass killers use and they think ‘it was worth it’.

    Taking what Trump has actually said about torture, not what the media has spun from his words, he doesn’t seem to be proposing anything like the Bush torture industry. He wants legal protections for interrogators who may need to use physical coercion in instances of immediate threat where it does work even though these times are very rare.

    What happened under Bush/Cheney was vengeance, punishment and pure cruelty for no other reason than the great US had been humiliated by 9/11 with intelligence gathering a thin cover for these abuses.

  19. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 29, 2017

    What two things did Iraq & Syria have in common prior to destabilization campaigns being waged on them by The West? That’s right, both had, and in the case of Syria it still barely has, Sectarian Governments where women enjoyed/enjoy much greater rights and freedom than Iraq’s & Syria’s neighbors, namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Dubai, Kuwait, Iran and Jordan. I see a pattern here, one that is contrary to what America purports to believe in and support.

    Look what America and The West have done in Afghanistan. America’s meddling & destabilization created fertile ground for the rise of the Taliban who treats its women worse than cattle. The Soviets at least leveled the playing field for women when they invaded & occupied Afghanistan, setting up schools for them and effectively deporting the wealthy slave masters who ran the businesses and didn’t share much of the profit if any.

    Afghanistan has quite literally been bombed back to the Stone Age. Hell, women were probably treated better in the Stone Age so I shouldn’t malign Stone Age humans.

    Look at the success!! Poppy Production is at all time record levels and women are treated as Beasts. Great job, America!! And you opposed Russia’s invasion & occupation why? So you could have THIS in Afghanistan? Really? Sick freaks. I don’t stand for that or with it.

    What is Afghanistan all about? I have read so many theories and they all seem equally plausible but one doesn’t stand out more than any other. For example, some have asserted it’s for the Precious Metals but that seems too simplistic and narrow of a reasoning. Either way, America never should have set foot on Afghanistan Soil, but instead it’s been there over a decade now and there are no signs it’s leaving any time soon.

  20. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 29, 2017

    Sorry, I meant to say what ONE thing did Iraq & Syria have in common, although they obviously have more in common than what I mentioned above.

  21. Peter permalink
    March 29, 2017


    You probably don’t realize the importance of your slip in using the term ‘sectarian’ in place of ‘secular’ to describe both these countries then and now. Iraq has swapped their controlling sects but Syria is still controlled by Assad’s minority Alawite sect.

    Trying to use western patriarchal metrics as apologia for sectarian despots is warped and smells of exceptionalism. Adopting liberal western degeneracy is not what most Muslims seem to desire when their women seek respect and power.

  22. James Wheeler permalink
    March 29, 2017

    Couldn’t disagree more! Most Brits are sick of these foreign wars.

    The problem with Corbyn is that he is perceived as soft on immigration and has a record of supporting IRA terrorism.

    Corbyn doesn’t understand that British people want a leader who puts the NATIONAL interest first not his internationalist obsessions.

    Until the Left places immigration control, the integration of migrants first they will carry on losing elections.

  23. Mallam permalink
    March 29, 2017

    You want immigration controls yet hospitals continue facing nurse shortages, particularly in areas most opposed to immigration. Good luck with that. I fear you’re right, and England will be far worse off because of it.

  24. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 29, 2017

    Adopting liberal western degeneracy is not what most Muslims seem to desire when their women seek respect and power.

    I can’t speak for most Muslims so, unlike you, I won’t. That wasn’t my point and I’m not providing apologia for Assad. I’m strictly speaking about the Western Liberalism perspective when discussing its rationale for destabilizing two Middle Eastern countries whose governments are/were secular and afford/afforded women greater rights and hence status than say Saudi Arabia, for example. By Western Liberal standards, why would The West want to destabilize these countries considering their secularism and positive view of women compared to Saudi Arabia and Iran? Aren’t they hallmarks of Western Liberalism — Secularism & Women’s Rights? I always thought they were, so I have to ask, why destroy that and leave Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Dubai and Jordan instead, when all of them are equally as brutal as Saddam Hussein was and Assad is?

    You’re correct about my sectarian slip up, I meant secular. Both countries are also, and obviously, largely sectarian as you mentioned. My mistake.

    So help me out in understanding your position, Peter. Do you believe The West has credible ground to stand on intervening in Iraq & Syria? Do you believe The West should continue the fight in Syria until the FSA prevails? Do you believe Assad should be ousted at all cost? Do you believe a non-secular government should replace Assad’s regime because it’s more representative of “most Muslim people?” Please share your thoughts & views, I’m genuinely interested in them — if you have any.

  25. realitychecker permalink
    March 29, 2017

    No American can ever make sense out of the Middle East, which is why we should never have gone there. They do complex and long-term, and we can’t manage either one, much less both.

  26. Peter permalink
    March 29, 2017


    You can’t escape the truth you exposed using sectarian to describe these regimes and secular is a western concept not applicable in the Muslim world. Both of these regimes have one religious sect dominating and oppressing another, to greater or lesser degrees.

    The other fact shared by the Assad’s and Saddam’s regimes was they were based on Stalinist ideology which may explain why the neocons were so rabid but patient about eliminating them. They wanted to stamp out that last bit of Commie influence in the ME.

    I don’t think the US has been very influential in the civil war part of this conflict. The dozen or so rebel groups we arm and aide, out of the about one hundred rebel groups, are not the prime movers and they seem to do as they please regardless of what we demand of them. The US had to go and bribe the Kurds with arms and then promise them the areas they captured from the IS would become part of Rojava It took this and probably more to enlist them as our proxy force to fight the IS.

    We are not fighting Assad’s forces or the many foreign Jihadists sent by Iran to kill rebelling Syrians. We are not fighting the IS directly only supplying air power and some arty to our Kurdish proxies who will do the dirty work.

  27. realitychecker permalink
    March 29, 2017

    Most Americans are still trying to come to terms with the annoyingly complicating fact that the Middle East contains BOTH Sunnis and Shiites, and not just one kind of ‘Arab’.

    “Whatever, man.”

    It’s hopeless. 🙁

  28. GlassHammer permalink
    March 29, 2017

    “The reason why is that the leader is supposed to Protect Our Children.”

    There is certainly a very real danger with that protective instinct of ours.

    If you heighten the protective instinct too much you get a person (or people) that is as cruel as they are caring. They will coddle and relentlessly protect what they are fixated on (their children, their money, their country) but they will viciously attack and destroy what they believes is a threat. The problem with inflamming passions (be it for patriotism or anything else) is that humans have an incredibly difficult time taming them after they are triggered. (We can stay worked up and agitated for long periods of time and it seriously compromises our reason.)

    This is why I prefer a leader who is not ruled by passions/instincts but has had enough experience using them to know the danger they pose.

  29. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 29, 2017


    You can’t escape the truth you exposed using sectarian to describe these regimes and secular is a western concept not applicable in the Muslim world. Both of these regimes have one religious sect dominating and oppressing another, to greater or lesser degrees.

    Why do you think I want to escape it? I agree with your statement, but it’s not my point. Once again, my point is what you mentioned about viewing the world and allegedly acting within it to shape & influence it via the perspective of Western Liberalism. Using that rubric, the destabilization of Syria into a Civil War and the Failing of Iraq make no sense. There must be another reason. What is it? Do you have an answer or a guess? In fact you do, and I like it. They represent the last Stalinist Hold-Outs from a bygone era and The West is playing the Long Game with a Long Memory. It fits. And when coupled with Yugoslavia and The West’s aiding & abetting of the Failing of it, well, it’s more grist for that Grist Mill.

    I don’t think the US has been very influential in the civil war part of this conflict. The dozen or so rebel groups we arm and aide, out of the about one hundred rebel groups, are not the prime movers and they seem to do as they please regardless of what we demand of them. The US had to go and bribe the Kurds with arms and then promise them the areas they captured from the IS would become part of Rojava It took this and probably more to enlist them as our proxy force to fight the IS.

    I agree with this for the most part. Syria was ripe to be cracked open just as Iraq was and Yugoslavia, and Western Intelligence is always right there with the Nutcrackers when the Zeitgeist presents. If Failing Syria is the goal, it doesn’t require an all out overt effort or presence. Just enough pressure here or there to the fissures that have developed over time.

    As a thought exercise, if America remained neutral and did nothing, what would be happening in Syria today? For certain, it wouldn’t be peace & tranquility, but I don’t believe it would be embroiled in a Civil War either. Why is America aiding & abetting goons? America doesn’t belong in Syria period, so it should get the hell out now.

    Never mind Syria though, the Big Question is who will be the target of Trump’s War. Every President must have their War. What will Trump’s War be? What will be the pretext? I can’t wait, can you? You know it’s coming, it’s just a matter of what, who and when.

  30. Steve C permalink
    March 29, 2017

    Labour Tory and Fleet Street elites are all the same bunch of Oxbridge poshes. They all will do whatever it take to keep Corbyn far from any levers of power. Unbreakable ricebowls and all that. The U.K. public seem even more gullible than the American. Of course when presented with an uninterrupted torrent of manufactured criticism 24/7 from every single media orifice, it’s hard for most people, who don’t pay close attention, to develop informed opinions.

  31. March 29, 2017

    I see two basic problems, keeping on Ian’s theme of the psychological structure of society:

    1. The Cult of the Tough Decision. For some reason, present-day culture is primed to take the idea of “no free lunches” far too seriously, so that nearly-free lunches are left in suspicion on the table. Win-win situations are treated with disdain, because we are primed to suspect that there is some catch in the win-win that we’ll inevitably regret more than what we gain from the win.

    The kind of willingness to be cruel that people demand from elected leaders before electing them is precisely that: the cruelty is a stand-in or representation of the capacity for making Tough Decisions. The problem is that many decisions aren’t that tough — we really have a lot of free lunches we’re leaving on the table, in favour of very expensive lunches that aren’t very good.

    2. The Cult of Parental Guilt. As GlassHammer points out, the parental guilt issue is a very dangerous part of human psychology. However, in the modern world, we have moralized parental responsibility to an unprecedented degree. Small errors or perceived lapses in an approach to upbringing subjects parents often to massive, sometimes very public opprobrium. This licenses any deed or political choice insofar as it has any perceptible marginal positive effects on the “safety” or wholesomeness of children’s upbringings. (Often it doesn’t have those ffects, but it’s perception that matters.)

  32. Peter permalink
    March 29, 2017


    Trump was handed a war in a box his first day in office and he had few choices to make about how to deal with the Islamic State. Most everything that was already planned was already set in motion with the battle for Raqqa to show if our Kurdish proxies can compete with hardened IS troops in that urban environment. The IS faces ten to one numerical odds and massive air bombardment but in East Mosul they still inflicted a 50% casualty rate on the Iraqi troops.

    If the IS can be dispersed from Raqqa by the Kurdish forces and it expands Rojava down the eastern Syrian frontier this could be a double victory for Trump. Dispersing the IS is the best they can hope for but installing a friendly populated land barrier to thwart the Shia Crescent expansion serves even larger goals.

    I don’t find ruminating on what could have happened in the past to be satisfying or useful, just the opposite, so the present is where I live while speculating on the future.

  33. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 30, 2017


    I don’t find ruminating on what could have happened in the past to be satisfying or useful, just the opposite, so the present is where I live while speculating on the future.

    I don’t find self-censorship particularly useful or satisfying. Thought experiments exercise the intellect and keep it sharp. In this case, it’s highly instructive to consider what could have and would have been so as to more effectively shape what can and will be. Trump has talked tough about Iran on many occasions. Those in the Shadow Government who believe in the doctrine of Perpetual War I’m sure have taken note. They understand Trump’s predilections and I have no doubt they are planning the next War and the pretext to it and it will be tailored to Trump’s flamboyant form of unfiltered insanity. So, who will Trump’s War be waged against?

    North Korea?
    The Falkland Islands?

    FYI, one other explanation for Failing Iraq & Syria & Libya, so far, could be the Yinon Plan. If so, I would expect Iran to be the next target and it will be the toughest one yet.

  34. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 30, 2017

    Mandos, if parents don’t raise their children someone or something else will. The example I gave in the last blog post about the children who had gone wrong, the fathers were absentee. Many of them were traveling salesmen and were gone all week and when they came home on the weekend they spent most of their time smoothing things over with the wife in order to make amends for their squeeze on the side during the week.

    The mothers quite literally gave up and/or didn’t care. The one family that lived catty-corner to us, the Menges’, the kids were out-of-control and spoiled. The father would make amends with the kids by buying them shit like motorcycles, but god forbid he parent them in any way.

    I remember the one closest in age to me asked me one day if I wanted to join him and his older brother & his older brother’s friends (they were in high school) in their bedroom for some playful wrestling and Grab Bag. I inquired as to what that meant, and he told me it effectively meant they were jerking each other off in their bedroom right across the hall from the mother’s bedroom where she would lay all day sipping her vodka hidden not-so-well underneath her pillow whilst watching her favorite Soaps.

    Anyone who knows anything about the formation of a child’s psyche knows that character is basically set in concrete during these formative years. These kids were forming as degenerates and it showed — in spades. Of course there should parental guilt and my experience in that neighborhood proves it, but I assure you, these parents felt no guilt whatsoever, but to me, they’re guilty as sin.

    FYI, two of these Menges’ boys went on to Washington D.C. and worked as Democratic Political Consultants. It’s why I will never consider myself a Democrat. If the Democrats are being consulted by degenerates like this who lack any form of decent character, I want nothing to do with them and I know the Republicans are no different.

    Since the parents in the neighborhood of my youth didn’t raise their children, someone or something else did, and that someone or something else was/were the older kids, the ones in high school and beyond. A number of those older kids were derelicts and they taught the younger ones how to abuse everything, the people and the system. Some of them had even spent time in prison.

    My wife and I have experienced this with our children. The Machine wants to raise them and it has incredible power and influence. Parenting amidst it is like a salmon swimming upstream against the current. It’s exasperating.

    We give our children a very long leash but we are constantly consulting them and there for them. We are vigilantly observing much as birds do when their young are learning to fly. You have to let them do it, and you have to be there when they inevitably screw it up and you have to be willing to let them go entirely at some point and fly free, but that time is not when they’re five or eight or twelve or fifteen years old.

  35. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 30, 2017

    And yes, there is such a thing as over-parenting, and that’s just as detrimental as little to no parenting. A great example of hyper-vigilant over-parenting is presented in the HBO Limited Series, Big Little Lies. These people will make you want to puke, but it’s an intriguing expose on the lifestyle of California’s ridiculously wealthy (Monterey — which is beautiful by the way and therefore usurped & owned by The Rich). This hyper-vigilant over-parenting is all about the parent’s insecurities, by the way. It has nothing to do with genuine concern for their children. These people are ridiculously wealthy because they are all about themselves, and their parenting is reflective of that basic fact.

    Big Little Lies

  36. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    March 30, 2017

    Sorry, this is an even better trailer — it perfectly captures the essence. Pay particular attention to the opening lines of it. So profoundly presaging and spot on. As Petey says, it’s the height of Western Liberalism degeneracy — the degeneracy Donald & Melania have lived by and for their entire lives and the degeneracy Putin and his family, especially his daughters, live by as well. The Ties That Bind.

    Big Little Lies

  37. Peter permalink
    March 30, 2017


    As I said above Trump has his war to fight and it is not a small conflict, it involves many countries in the MENA. Any conflict with China or Russia will continue to be economic and political because any real military conflict leads quickly to MAD. I hope Trump internalized the lesson that was taught by the Seal’s fiasco in Yemen. The direct use of US forces leads to US casualties which almost no one in the country will advocate.. The Skinnies in Yemen didn’t run from the mighty US military machines they ran at them and destroyed some.

    Iran is an expansionist sectarian power that will have to be dealt with but not even the Zionists are willing to actually use anything but rhetoric about war and a few rockets for Hezbollah to directly attack them. Trump has good reasons to reject the Iran Nuke deal, Obama’s plane full of cash made the US look like weak Eurotrash who are the only ones benefiting from the deal.

    Trump’s seems to be attempting to put out the fires in the ME to guarantee the flow of energy to world markets not to start new disrupting conflicts. This doesn’t fit with the snowflake desire for him to be just like the Red Queen and love warmongering and lying but they may never escape their denial.

    The Yinon Plan was never much beyond the Zionists wishing for disruption in the Arab states to ease the threat to Israel. That some of that disruption has happened doesn’t mean there was a plan being acted on. Using it to explain recent history seems simplistic and lazy but because many people are simplistic, lazy and anti-Zionists it is a popular reference.

  38. March 30, 2017

    I wasn’t talking about over-parenting or the level of attention required to raise a child well. I was talking about the cultural ambiance surrounding matters of parenthood and childhood. That is highly neurotic and has complex effects.

  39. different clue permalink
    March 30, 2017

    Damn! That little girl is good. Or at least she looks good to a karate ignoramus such as myself.

  40. bruce wilder permalink
    April 1, 2017

    I particularly appreciated this “refutation” of Mandos:
    Couldn’t disagree more! Most Brits are sick of these foreign wars. The problem with Corbyn is that he is perceived as soft on immigration and has a record of supporting IRA terrorism.

    If there is a perpetual war that defines English identity it has to be the conquest of Ireland. And, Corbyn’s capacity to appreciate an Irish point of view on English domination is used against him in ways that illustrate the thesis.


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