Russell Taylor: A conspiracy of grey men

Nothing undermines an argument like someone accusing you of being a conspiracy nut. Once the tin foil hat has been put on your head, you’re in the company of Area 51 kooks, Princess Di desperados and the Unabomber – and who’s going to believe a member of that rum crowd over the cool-headed guy who claims to know a lunatic when he sees one? It’s argumentative quicksand: the harder you try to extricate yourself from it, the deeper you sink. Fail to agree that your opponent has no agenda and you look delusional. Admit that he’s agenda-free and you give him a clear run at his objective. It’s a no-win situation.

We fans of small government bear the brunt of these accusations, because we’re wary of sneaky power grabs and are prone to seeing them where they don’t exist. Lefties are more relaxed about statist goons extending their influence by fair means or foul, because they have nothing to fear from them. Power only feels oppressive if its ambitions differ from your own. Providing you share the vision of the progressive Daleks, you’re never going to feel the heat of their death ray.

Leftists might think of themselves as impeccably reasonable folk, but they subscribe to the biggest, most overarching conspiracy theory of them all: that Western civilisation is in thrall to an elite of rapacious, devil-take-the-hindmost bigots, and that freedom is a racket that allows them to keep us in our place. It’s a belief that’s revealed in the Left’s policies, opinions and even their language – talk of struggle, injustice and exploitation. George Monbiot, the Guardian’s house misanthrope, articulated the mindset when he wrote that “Deregulation is a transfer of power from the trodden to the treading. It is unsurprising that all conservative parties claim to hate big government. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Okay, so not all that came from George (well, not that George, anyway) but enough of it did to get his gist: that a cabal of wicked conservatives is out to stamp on the little guy. Not that George can count himself among the downtrodden, being a self-loathing scion of the same privileged class he has spent his life railing against. But I guess you don’t have to be a baby to cry, as someone once sang.

One of the more recent examples of this delusion is the Left’s reaction to global warming ‘deniers’, who are accused of facilitating a corporate plot to destroy the planet. Bogpaper’s own James Delingpole is continually described as a shill for Big Oil by hysterical greens; but you don’t have to be a high-profile critic of the environmental movement to provoke its wrath. Anyone who dares to question the end-is-nigh ‘consensus’ is liable to be branded an unwitting collaborator in the capitalist conspiracy.

In the words of Mad Men’s Don Draper, “There is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.” Business isn’t out to get you, because it’s easier and more profitable just to give you what you want. Besides, conspiracies require the ability to work beyond the reach of public accountability – a luxury that is hard to come by in the marketplace, where customers are free to walk away at any time. It’s true that corporations are dangerous when they cosy up to the state, but that’s not capitalism, it’s cronyism; and it’s the state that poses the threat in that relationship, not the business that curries favour with it. Government agencies and other unaccountable institutions provide the perfect hiding place for those with dark ambitions. They’re the ones we should be afraid of.

Until it was proved to be true, the idea that America’s Inland Revenue Service might be deliberately victimising conservatives would have been laughed off as right-wing paranoia. When the scandal broke, conservatives were understandably appalled, but apart from some desultory White House condemnations, the liberal establishment didn’t appear to see what the big deal was. If the shoe had been on the other foot, it would have been treated like Watergate 2: This Time It’s Personal. As it was, liberals were happy to brush it under the carpet, because they’re so convinced of their own righteousness that they don’t believe their backroom shenanigans constitute a conspiracy. To their mind, they’re disinterested truth-seekers undertaking common sense measures for the betterment of all, and working in secrecy is a safeguard against conservative meddling. When they’re caught red-handed, they reflect on their good intentions and conclude that they’ve done nothing wrong.

Evidence of home-grown socialist scheming can be found in our recent political history. Until 1995, Clause 4 of the Labour Party constitution made a commitment to nationalise the British economy. It was dropped when Tony Blair pointed out that most people were not chippy class warriors or frustrated intellectuals, and didn’t fancy the joyless resent-a-thon promised by Labour. Ditching the clause helped make the party electable again, but it is hard to believe that it coincided with Labour’s members and supporters having an authentic change of heart en masse. It’s far more likely that they retained an interest in collectivising the nation and went about pursuing that ambition whenever they were in a position to do so, albeit without advertising the fact. Clause 4 was a declared political strategy; the same agenda minus a statement of intent is a conspiracy by any other name.

Coming back to environmentalism, we find another example of socialist skulduggery. I consider it highly suspicious that leftists are uniformly of the opinion that global warming is an apocalyptic threat, requiring a radical expansion of government power to combat. If they were the nothing-to-see-here pragmatists they claim to be, one might expect a good number of them to be equivocal about the evidence or the recommended response. But, almost to a man, they are in favour of revving up the hysteria and ramping up the state control, which strongly suggests a policy that went looking for a cause. If lefties were being honest, they would admit that they prefer their approach because taxes and regulations are what turn them on. Instead, they feign innocence and tell us to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

So why are so many people willing to overlook leftist scheming? I suspect it’s because they retain a belief in the possibility of a benign state, and think that its most devoted guardians – the Left – wouldn’t possibly do anything to harm its or our interests. This is what happens when the state inserts its finger so far up a nation’s rectum that its people can’t get comfortable without it. It’s why American Republicans are right to oppose Obamacare: because it normalises and entrenches a redistributive culture that is virtually impossible to get rid of. The result isn’t a just society, it’s a Jenga society: the foundations are picked bare until everything comes crashing down.

One way or another, we need to shake off the notion that the people most passionate about the state and most willing to manage it are our friends. While you’re trying to get on with your life, they’re finding a thousand-and-one ways to stop you. Their thinkers are dreaming up theories, their experts are cooking up evidence and their planners are working out strategies – all with the purpose of obstructing the process that has no use for them and replacing it with one that puts them at the top of the pile. Their concern for you goes as deep as your potential to make them feel good about themselves and keep them in a job. They know that the true extent of their ambitions would disconcert most people, so they work as covertly as possible, convinced that what they do comes from the best intentions, and that posterity will thank them for their commitment to the cause.

Never mind the Bilderbergers, the Illuminati or the Koch Brothers; it’s the grey men of government and their liberal cheerleaders who pose the greatest threat to our freedom. As H.L. Mencken put it: “Governments, whatever their pretensions otherwise, try to preserve themselves by holding the individual down. Government itself, indeed, may be reasonably defined as a conspiracy against him. Its one permanent aim, whatever its form, is to hobble him sufficiently to maintain itself.”

10 comments on “Russell Taylor: A conspiracy of grey men

  1. Michael
    September 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    I’m glad you’ve mentioned Mencken. I’d never heard of him until I came across a piece about him on Zerohedge. Having since read his body of works, all I can say is that the clarity of that man’s thought is unmatched and oh so prescient. He took the red pill long before Matrix was ever produced.

    “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out … without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.”

    Link to the zerohedge article.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-hl-mencken-was-right

    • therealguyfaux
      September 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

      “Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called ‘altruists’.”— Henry Louis Mencken.

      Ayn Rand (all right, panto time–*BOO!*HISS!*) once described altruism (as contrasted with benevolence) as being a moral blank cheque without consideration (in the legal sense of that word) that you obviously can never be sure will have sufficient funds to be able to be cashed, and by writing it, you have left yourself open to charges for having uttered a dud cheque when the holder calls in the alleged debt– and when, as is most likely, you can’t pay it, you are made out to be a moral bankrupt unable to be rehabilitated without in effect becoming the indentured servant of the holder.

      In this formulation, it is the state which is the attorney charged with ultimately collecting the moral debts of all to all, an officially-sanctioned Big Brother Kray. And as with all solicitors, they don’t work cheap, and they take their fee as a percentage of the recovery (i.e., taxes and fines). They are entitled to the compensation, of course, only insofar as the person collected from received any value from the employer of the collecting agent or diminished any value to said employer (who, in the case of the State, may be the same entity as the agent).

      Essentially, it is the Hobbesian analysis that we’ve all got to agree to the State coming in and settling our grievances between ourselves (or anarchy reigns), for which service, though we may not like it, we must pay the protection racket money.

      Never it is proposed, however, that we may allowed to decide not to sign such a blank cheque, and may propose instead to conduct all our business cash on the nail. You’d think the State would enjoy the idea that we would still pay something to maintain a back-up system for when all else fails, and that, for the most part, they’d pick up a pay packet merely for sitting with their feet up on the desk. But you see, human nature being what it is, many folks would take one look at that and say, “That’s nice work– I want in, Jack!” and pretty soon, the State, to justify its existence, will hire these people and give them busy-work to do.

      Hence, the State attitude– “Self-reliance? Voluntary association? (*Ptoo*)– we spit on it!”

  2. Rocco
    September 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    This is good stuff, Russell. Promising stuff!
    The public are willing to overlook political scheming because they retain a belief in “the possibility of a benign state”!
    We need to shake off the belief that those “willing to manage [the state] for us are our friends”!
    The State, not business, poses the threat; government agencies are what we should be afraid of!
    Market forces (which the state is immune to) alone are enough to keep the ambitions of business in check!

    Russell, I do believe you are becoming a free market anarchist.

    • Russell Taylor
      September 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      Thanks for your faith in me, Rocco!

      • Rocco
        September 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

        😀
        Yeah, I went a bit heavy on the exclamation marks didn’t I? Its just that I’m so chuffed, mate.

        You see the logic though: The State is inevitably harmful to men; those who wish to run the State are our enemies; in the absence of the State, businesses, dependent upon men’s voluntary custom and subject to men’s effective scrutiny, pose little threat to men. Add to this the low quality and high prices inherent in any monopoly product, and we see that those services that the State currently provides (those that there is a demand for anyway) should be provided by private enterprise on the free market.
        Russell, I look forward to next weeks column “In praise of the private production of security”.

  3. Simon Roberts
    September 11, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    I spend a lot of time thinking about this and I’ve come to the conclusion that, like most mysteries in life, the answer is very simple.

    What we call altruism is just a form of power. It’s basic human nature to seek to impose one’s will on others.

    You can see it at work in Discovery Channel documentaries about any social animals. The imposition of will is a demonstration of social status. All animals which operate in a competitive environment have mechanisms to enable the most capable to pass on their genes. In a social group, the seniority in the hierarchy is what determines the likelihood of procreation. They have power. They have an evolutionary advantage. Their progeny will have inherited it.

    In modern society we have social conventions such as monogamy which stifle the physical manifestations of our human nature but they are still there – they just find other outlets. In supporting a cause (no matter how illogical) which seeks to impose itself, you are imposing your will by proxy. This is the modern manifestation of those dark, inherited instincts.

    Couple this with the fact that most people make decisions at an emotional level and then seek to justify them with logic afterwards, and you can see why so many people vote Labour even though the evidence of their own eyes should tell them not to.

  4. David
    September 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    One of the more recent examples of this delusion is the rights reaction to global warming ‘believers’, who are accused of a communist plot to destroy the planet. Greens are continually described as a shill for marxism by hysterical conservatives; but you don’t have to be a high-profile critic of the libetarian movement to provoke its wrath. Anyone who dares to question the ‘there is no problem’ denialism is liable to be branded an unwitting collaborator in the leftist conspiracy.

    Coming back to environmentalism, we find another example of rightist skulduggery. I consider it highly suspicious that libetarians are uniformly of the opinion that global warming is a sham threat, requiring no radical expansion of government power to combat. If they were the nothing-to-see-here pragmatists they claim to be, one might expect a good number of them to be equivocal about the evidence or the recommended response. But, almost to a man, they are in favour of knocking down the hysteria and ramping down state control, which strongly suggests a policy that went looking for a cause. If conservatives were being honest, they would admit that they prefer their approach because taxes and regulations are what turn them off. Instead, they feign conspiracy and tell us to pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

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  1. Bookmark recommendation: Bogpaper.com « Australian Climate Madness - October 1, 2013

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