We Are the Radicals Now

tax rallyReprinted from Bogpaper.com

It is said that the modern political landscape was shaped by the baby boomers of the post-war era. In fact, the progressive philosophy they embody pre-dates them, but it is true that much of what passes for conventional wisdom was forged in the political crucible of the 1960s. Boomer radicals styled themselves as rebels against an oppressive and reactionary establishment – an intellectual guerrilla force, launching covert attacks on capitalism and convention. But for all their pretensions, they never had much of an agenda, beyond a childish determination to dodge the responsibilities of adulthood. Get a proper job? Work hard? Raise a family? What a buzz-kill. Better to plan for utopia and trust in your passion and book-smarts to see you through.

Boomers discovered the hard way that creating a post-modern society, liberated from the ego-denying burden of reality, is an expensive business. Turning on, tuning in and dropping out is just groovy if the rest of society gets on with the work you are too avant-garde to undertake; but once it becomes the stuff of social convention, ‘the rest of society’ becomes a dwindling force of demoralised cash cows, working to finance the bureaucratic machine that maintains boomer-sponsored entitlements. And when their beleaguered efforts are no longer enough, the money is borrowed against future earnings – a future that looks bleaker and more debt-laden by the minute.

That’s the bitter irony of the post-war era: the dreamers promised to release us from ‘the system’, with its rules and hierarchies, and ended up creating the most dogmatic and authoritarian political system in the history of Western civilisation. The hippy idealists have been replaced by men in grey suits – more dour power than flower power. They have been joined at the top by an axis of thinkers, writers, media luvvies, and that hallowed priesthood known as ‘the experts’, who have less regard for your opinions and less tolerance of your wishes than the conservative mafia they supposedly replaced. So much for progress.

For those the system serves, the fairytale has come true; but for those suckers charged with bankrolling it and suffering its deprivations, it feels more like a prison. And it was always destined thus. The boomers never intended to swap the pressures of responsibility for anarchy and medieval squalor. They wanted the freedom to do as they please, without being deprived of modernity’s comforts. As long as their sugar daddies were free to place conditions on their generosity, they would be bound by the responsibilities they were determined to throw off. So the state was employed to take that freedom away and bring about the municipal quagmire that envelops us today.

Despite their grimly statist ways, the utopians continue to pass themselves off as well-meaning hipsters, anti-establishment rebels and earthy pro-underdog types, united by a devotion to freedom and tolerance. This has to be the most successful PR exercise in history – no less astonishing than if Hitler had convinced the world he was an avid Judeophile. The people responsible for hate crimes, speech codes, the smoking ban, debilitating taxes, and a soul-sucking state bureaucracy would have us believe that they are chilled-out hepcats, who totally dig your scene. If you think what they think, do what they say, and accept the terms of their ‘generosity’, it might be possible to enjoy their simulacrum of freedom as though it’s the real thing. But wander too far from the coop and soon you’ll soon collide with the chicken wire.

The purveyors of the utopian vision would have us believe they are doing us a favour by facing down the monocled toffs, mega-bonus bankers and goose-stepping genocide enthusiasts who are out to get us. But while we are free to snub these right-wing bogeymen, they give us no such choice. They are tolerant of everything, save dissent. And anyway, they’re the puppet masters now. Their anti-establishment poses are meaningless, because they are the establishment. They are not sticking it to the man, because they are the man. It’s cognitive dissonance gone ape. They sit on the bridge of the progressive Death Star and lecture us on peace, humility and free love, seemingly oblivious to the absurd juxtaposition.

It is preposterous that these illiberal liberals should describe proper liberals (in the classical sense of the word) as agents of exploitation and oppression. Real liberals don’t demand a say in your opinions, your decisions, your choice of associates and how you reach accommodations with them, how much money you have or how you earned it. If we don’t like what you’ve done or what you have to offer, we’ll tell you so, and we’ll extend to you the same right. Judge and be judged, we say. After all, you can’t have it both ways: you’re either in favour of freedom or you’re not. You can’t claim to be a live-and-let-live kind of guy, then draw up a list of things that people can and can’t do. This isn’t to say that we don’t respect the rule of law – we do – but we believe that laws and the power of the state to create them should be limited. We respect your rights as an individual and we want you to live your life as you see fit – which is a radical idea, in this day and age.

So-called liberals of the so-called progressive variety are now the status quo. They’re the reactionaries, clinging to their outmoded economic theories, their debunked social models, their blinkered opinions, and their unaffordable entitlements. They’re the ones who have sown resentment, envy and division, and made ambition and advancement dirty words. They want you to live for everyone but yourself. If that is the life you choose, so be it; but to force that preference on others is not compassion, it’s tyranny.

Young people once looked forward to the day they would escape the family home and forge their own path through life. Holding down a job, managing their finances and taking responsibility for their actions were what defined them as adults. And a society of such people, working together, was the cornerstone of Western civilisation. But for the past few decades, the Left has sold us a different dream. They have promised to look after the boring admin of life, so we might set off on its great adventure, like Georgian gentlemen embarking on Grand Tours. Even if this vision had not soured to a living nightmare, it would have still been profoundly dehumanising. Coping with the vagaries of life is life. It’s how we express our individuality and become more mature, rounded human beings. By seeking to liberate us from life’s challenges, the Left has turned us into a nation of children, trapped in a shabby, impoverished society, the primary function of which is to subsidise its least productive members.

What is radical or exciting about any of this? What could be more conservative than the grey, Sovietised world of bloated bureaucracy and state dependency? Young people after something fresh and liberating shouldn’t look to the Left’s glowering commissars and prissy schoolmarms for inspiration. They should recognise them as the deadbeats who’ve been kicking the can in their direction for the past few decades, and whose obsession with equality has lowered their horizons and stunted their opportunities. A life defined and prescribed according to the nostrums of the Left is no life at all. It’s a travesty: a blood sacrifice to the gods of ego and equality. No one with an ounce of intelligence or integrity should want anything to do with it.

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4 Responses to “We Are the Radicals Now”

  1. Kauf Buch says:

    Though you need to get through the first two minutes or so of this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiIAjI7W96Q
    it conveys well the poisonous seduction currently going on.

  2. LHF says:

    Bourgeois values are the new transgressive.

  3. WalkingHorse says:

    Outstanding piece.

    The noxious hippies with bullhorns I endured while an undergraduate are in charge, and we are all the worse off for it. Part of me thinks we erred in suppressing the impulse to break the arms and legs of these grim little buffoons before they had the chance to do lasting harm. In retrospect, the penalties paid then would have been well worth it.

  4. Masterful! So many of the post war generation never grew up. They behave like children who know that their parents will always be there to bail them out of difficulties. Keynesianism fostered this upside down attitude by celebrating spending and demonizing savings. I went to public school in the fifties and sixties with many so-called radicals, who were not really radical..just spoiled and irresponsible. They have taken over public education and much of higher education. They are implacable enemies of freedom. I like Eric Hoffer's description of this group: "Those who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them."

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