Opinion

John Lloyd

Russell Brand’s socialist revolution

By John Lloyd
November 5, 2013

Russell Brand, the British comedian, used a guest editorship of the 100-plus-year-old leftist magazine New Statesman last month to call for a “total revolution of consciousness and our entire social, political and economic system.” Capitalism, and the ideology that sustains it — “100 percent corrupt” — must be overthrown. He also doesn’t think people should vote, as partaking in democracy would further the illusion that a rotten system could change. It was a call, albeit chaotically phrased, for a socialist revolution.

Born into the middle class, Brand’s childhood was disturbed: his photographer father left when he was six months old, his mother developed cancer when he was eight (but survived), he left home in his mid-teens and took to drugs. He later became a star, delighted in promiscuity, married the singer Katy Perry for a year and a half and grew modestly (by star standards) rich, with an estimated net worth of $15 million and a lovely new Hollywood millionaire bachelor’s pad.

None of this disqualifies him from speaking and writing seriously about politics, nor from calling for a socialist revolution. Marx was born into the upper-middle class, Lenin was a minor aristocrat by birth, Stalin studied to be a priest and Mao was the son of a wealthy farmer. Even Pol Pot came from a peasant family considered relatively wealthy by the standards of the times. All of these people called for, or launched, revolutions. No reason, then, to believe that a demand for a 21st century socialist revolution could not be launched from the Hollywood Hills, or from a BBC studio.

It’s interesting to speculate what such a revolution would look like. But Brand won’t play along: his article in the New Statesman and a subsequent Newsnight interview was long on florid rhetoric and denunciation, and wholly devoid of detail. Perhaps that’s best. Because let us not forget that the socialist revolutions of the 20th century were horrors, claiming more victims than Nazism — who were shot, starved, frozen and tortured to death.

Such revolutions, on past experience, are some of the world’s worst ideas. Its leaders launch them in the name of the suffering poor, using the reality of widespread misery to justify seizures of power — which brings much more misery. Brand followed that pattern: he went to Kenya on a Comic Relief trip and saw children foraging through a vast stinking trash dump for bottle tops, which have some value: later, at a Givenchy fashion show, he saw the skinny models and “could not wrench the phantom of these children from my mind.” The starving scavengers are the moral levers of his revolution.

Besides the crazy endorsement of the kind of revolution that has always descended into mass murder, his refusal to vote is a minor eccentricity. Yet the demand for a revolution, channelling the kind of violence, looting and murder seen in London and on other UK cities’ streets two years ago against “the source of (the rioters’) grievance” is much more delusional, much more seriously irresponsible towards the youth whom he admires for their refusal to take democracy seriously.

In his prolix, occasionally graceful rantings and writings, Brand touches on matters of great importance and danger. In developing societies, masses of people are dirt poor — literally, as Brand saw in the Kenyan dump, grubbing in muck for pennies, others breaking their back tilling dry soil, dying early. In wealthy societies, young men and women at the bottom of the social heap who drop out of school now cannot find jobs. Even those with a good education get stuck.

Men and women from lower-class backgrounds with talent — Brand is one of them — do get ahead, but there hasn’t been a general lifting of class barriers since the first two or three decades after the last world war. That happened in Europe and in the U.S. — where the generations born and living in the lower classes were formidably lucky. They ate much better, worked fewer hours in safer conditions, bathed more frequently (since they had bathrooms), had better healthcare and lived much longer than their predecessors.

They weren’t all grateful. A sizable cohort of the youthful boomers in the rich world was seduced by Marxism, and thought socialist revolution — “peaceful if we can, violent if we must” — was the next logical and necessary step. I was one, with fewer excuses than most: a severe childhood illness was cured by the (free) National Health Service, a university education paid for (in full) by the state. What was I thinking and doing? In any case, any socialist leaning was knocked out in my twenties, and sealed off by living and working in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union for a decade.

It may be knocked out of Brand. But it’s getting late: he’s 38, and still claims the mantle of a revolutionary socialist, who scorns all social democratic compromises and accommodations, since left-of-center politicians are, like all the rest, “frauds and liars.”

That last phrase reveals the real truth about Brand’s gasbagging. He deals in clichés, albeit dressed up in language that ranges from the baroque to the obscene. That politicians are self-serving liars is one of the largest tropes of both journalism and show business, a tired pseudo-radicalism balanced between ignorance and envy. Talented comedian though Brand is, offstage he tries on postures like a rich woman does dresses. This one, the revolutionary, might not last a flight back to Los Angeles.

Modern developed societies won’t have revolutions unless they break down in chaos, which is always a possibility. They have developed a complex structure of classes, incomes and property holdings. In most countries, the majority of people have a property stake they don’t want to lose, however modest it is. But at present, in the rich countries, we see wild excesses of wealth with deep (if relative) poverty, together with large (if diminishing) real poverty in the developing world.

The best that can be done is to warn of the adverse consequences of deepening poverty underlying wild riches, and to support those policies and forces that can reform a socially perilous and probably unsustainable situation. That takes time, and work, by activists, scholars, social groups, parties and the “frauds and liars” in council chambers and parliaments. Maybe Brand will mature, and join in before he’s 40.

PHOTO: Cast member Russell Brand arrives at the premiere of his movie “Arthur” in New York City April 5, 2011. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi 

Comments
20 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Nice people want run things who have not learned the nuts a bolts. The first two requirements of running an economy is to have run a large factory or mine or farm, and studied how to analyze economic data (formal education in measurement end of economics).

Mao pushed back yard blast furnaces that produced junk iron. Lenin presided over a great famine. Stalin did see from the Russo-Finish war and WWI that the Russian army needed change but all he did was replace generals with party officials instead of hiring foreign veteran proven officers to train train new officers replace old manuals and doctrines. He ended up being at receiving end the greatest killing of any of the WWII nations 30,000,000 to 45,000,000 million was last estimate I read out of about 200,000,000. Germany only lost 10,000,000. Most historians say one German soldier was worth 2.5 Russian solders (of cause there was 2.5 or more Russians not to mention Americans and British).

People who want revolution without practical goals and mangers just end up killing. Leaders that only know war and politics do not know how to run things if they win. It is fundamental to human nature reward motivates production more than punishment and killer revolutionaries only know punishment not building.

Posted by Samrch | Report as abusive
 

Very insightful and helpful thoughts Mr. Lloyd. I agree strongly with most of what you say, which for both of us is borne from direct personal experience in former communist countries. I wish more people could hear your voice…in the wilderness? Let’s hope and pray not.

Posted by sarkozyrocks | Report as abusive
 

“…young men and women at the bottom of the social heap who drop out of school now cannot find jobs…”. Well, duh?

You can’t fix STUPID. Inn real life you don’t get a trophy for just showing up.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

To compare a moderately successful comedian from popular media to historical leaders is, excuse the pun, laughable. Brand’s opinions are emotionally driven and hardly factual, but this blog post is even more unnecessary than Brand’s. There’s no need to affirm his foolishness.

If anyone honestly thinks Brand is a revolutionary character, stop enabling yourself for an excuse to bash on his ideals. You’re dressing up your article with connotations that are hardly even addressed within Brand’s article.

I’d also like to point out to the individual above, that people don’t drop out of school just because they’re stupid. If you know anything about higher level education, it costs money…which people at the bottom of the social heap cannot afford. Also, I have gotten many trophies for showing up. In fact, I graduated and have a job for just showing up.

I wish more people could develop their own opinions instead of riding on established coattails. Even if Brand is an idiot for not voting, not properly establishing authority and or assisting, at least he is conscientious of the economical disparity. Whether or not he’s doing anything about it aside from writing superfluous articles is beyond me.

Posted by Durrrin | Report as abusive
 

In “Demons” Dostoevsky helpfully distinguishes between the power-hungry socialist (Verkhovyensky) who believes that millions must live in slavery so that the worthy few may lead worthy lives, and the bored dilettante (Stavrogin) who can’t find anything else worthwhile to do. One suspects that Mr Brand belongs firmly in the latter camp – indeed, pranks like that with Andrew Sachs (known to your UK readers) are so similar to Nikolai Vsevolodovich’s that Mr Brand might almost have been playing a role.

Posted by Ian_Kemmish | Report as abusive
 

One lunacy of the right is their belief that we are all morons lead by celebrities. To say that Russel Brand is not a deep political philosopher is unnecessary. So what is your real purpose? You place only two choices in front of us and say they are the only ones available. We either accept the slavery that the wealthy and corporate controllers of the government have planned for us or it’s off to murderland with socialist stalin-like people. What a giant crock of bull. You’ll certainly get the right wing religious nut followers with this, because they believe in an all powerful being in the sky, so why wouldn’t they believe this? Of course, you already had them. However, you simply confirm for the rest of us that you are a weak and not too impressive manipulator. As the old people die, you will lose your job as a professional teller of the make believe. Oh yes, good luck running an economy with people who are just waiting around for the end times.

Posted by brotherkenny4 | Report as abusive
 

Russel Brand of the anti-everything pro-nothing party.

Anybody can point to problems with the world, it’s people with solutions we need.

Posted by Stu_ell | Report as abusive
 

As I was saying, over at The New Yorker, albeit under a different moniker, I promise I will tell you nothing you do not already know.

Democracy, like stupidity, is only a word. As such, it has nothing to do with experience. The Constitution, Congress, Will of The People … The only thing we ever seem to talk about is the words we use. We have no choice. We have no other means for ‘making sense’, than to tell ourselves, each other and anyone who will listen, stories. You know, ‘Once upon a time,’ a perfect muddle throughout and then …

“Is that all there is?”

I’m afraid so. Elaborate narratives, that we then endow with all sorts of evocative titles, like History, The Big Bang, the latest news, the speed of light squared, Declaration of Independence, My Wedding Day, Theory of Evolution, The Civil War, Climate Change and The Cow jumped over The Moon. But the sense we make, proudly claiming all the while that ‘it makes perfect sense’, has nothing whatever to do with “my” experience.

You may like to repeat after me, ‘my experience is my own’. But that will not help to alter the eventually inescapable realisation, if you’re lucky, after the best part of a lifetime of endless frustration, heated arguments, formal debates, talk shows, political rallies, television advertising and all manner of sundry evangelism, that no one, not your best friend and her dog, can get inside your head. “I” cannot see what “you” see.

I did not share your parents, cradle, school and career. I must believe my own eyes as you do yours, even though I know, as well as you do, as sure as I’m sitting here, tap-tapping all the way over here, that I am constantly and irreconcilably deceived. Even the best words, like data, have nothing to do with information. That always requires interpretation.

But information has nothing to do with knowledge. That depends on a lot of ‘a priori’ knowledge. And all that knowledge has precious little to do with understanding. That, in turn, requires an acute awareness of the present context, which changes every time the words pop up, not only in that particular sequence, but in each sentence, phrase, paragraph, thesis, letter, report, book, play and lyric. And our most ardent prayers and declarations of eternal devotion.

And, of course, understanding has absolutely nothing to do with wisdom. Now that, that takes a certain abject humility along with the recognition that the more knowledge we may believe to have accumulated the more we should begin to realise how little we can actually claim to know.

Finally, none of the above has anything whatever to do with ‘The Truth’. Truth is something that each individual, each generation, each family, community, religion, political party and bridge club makes up ‘on the go’.

But, make no mistake. Each truth that we discover, come across, devise, legislate, promulgate, disseminate and inculcate is absolutely essential to every human enterprise. It’s each generation’s own truth that enables us to discern what time it is, what to eat and what to wear, where to sit, to live, to work, when the bus is due and how much is too much. And, more importantly, all of what not to believe of all we read and hear.

The problem, then, with the fascinating, though I fear hopeless prospect of ever developing computer-based ‘artificial intelligence’, is that only the human brain has the intelligence, the intellectual capacity for saying and doing the most irrationally stupid things and making the most irrationally bizarre mistakes. It’s us and only us who have the wit to be incredibly stupid.

No doubt, one day soon a robot will be much safer than we are at driving our car or flying a plane. But do we really want a super-natural machine, capable of knitting a nice pair of woollen sox, with all our silly empathy, irrationality and stupidity, for a nanny? One that can explain, in one pot of tea, to a need-to-know five-year old what ‘a good idea’ is, and why?

Posted by Harderwijk | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Floyd,
Someone has already called you a manipulator. I would go further and call you an outright fraud. You are not just an apologist but you are one of those whom we call agents of influence that by “slight of speech” ,as in a Judo move, you pretend to trip, throw and finally ridicule someone, anyone really, who would dare speak the need for a complete redesign of our political and economical system. You are the epitome of the civil society described in Dante’s Inferno. You are a convinced self promoting (unconscious?) liar who aims to be anointed with your own brand (pun intended) of false gold, dollar-store-type bought and paid for self-promoted so-called age-earned wisdom. What a nincapoop you are.

It seems to me that we, society, is on the cusp of anther transcendental evolution of Homo Sapiens and all you can advice is to allow the fraudsters or all frauds in the social and political “leadership” the opportunity to make the system work by giving them time to make the “admittedly needed though minor” adjustments to the system itself. By all evidence you have not learned anything from seven thousand years of written history. Too bad really.

The fact remains that what distinguishes humans from all other species of the Animal Kingdom (of which I “dare” suggest we are NOT a part) is our capacity for creative thought that allows us to represent, if in imagination, a perfect state of being –some call it GOD in its various appellatives– and our desire to achieve THAT state by being continuously engaged in the process of self-perfection. Because of this primal premise, many have always understood that the evolution of political-economical systems brings all of us further by varying degrees to the end-all of all quests: Who are we? Where do we come from? Why? To what purpose (if there were one)?

The economic growth that the Capitalist system afforded the leading nations of the 20th Century also brought an exponential increase of educated individuals who continue to ponder with increasing urgency on the universal questions of being. In doing so, they realize that the value of EACH human being lies in HER potential to further our quest for TRUTH. They (we, really, all the “we” that Brand and many like him represent) adduce that it is by providing for the well being of each human being, especially the young –since old farts like yourself are a lost cause to the furtherance of humanity, with the fundamental necessities of a true human life: physical wellbeing as a solid base for present and future mental development. To achieve this end-goal, it is necessary to “overthrow” (“SUBSTITUTE”, “ EVOLVE”) the present system of production and sharing of goods and services –RATIONAL INTELLECT BEING ONE OF THE MOST ESSENTIAL “SERVICES” WE CAN PRODUCE. Capitalism as we know it today has become corrupted and completely “unfixable” by deep and pervasive corrosion at each and all levels of our structured social organization. Think of it as a wooden mansion infested to its core by termites. It may be still appear to be standing there only to be blown away by a soft breeze.

You, Mr. Lloyd will be safe. Don’t worry. Just like the greatest majority of Italian fascists at the end of the war became the brand new anti-fascists, literally from dusk to dawn, so will you, and those like you, traitors all to the human species, will be reborn and renamed as a life-long supporter of whatever new political-economic system will be brought about by the members of the new species HOMO CREATORIS.

Posted by gmontante | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Stu_ell, we need solutions, not raving revolutionaries. Always distrust someone who wants OTHERS to begin a revolution, since that generally entails not only wanton violence, but a predictably bad outcome for the general person.

That said, I am still shaking my head over the childish dichotomy offered by Mr. Lloyd, a man I respect. Clearly his exasperated tone and invocation of TINA (there is no alternative) grows directly from a failure of the imagination. I have more experience with communism than most, having extensive knowledge of the Ceaucescu dictatorship in Romania, a country that had exactly nothing to do with socialism, other than in name.

This is my problem with such over-simplification. I think the reason why Communist (not socialist at all) revolutions directly translates into violence and rigid social control is because these power hungry revolutionaries never had any interest in sharing out the needed goods of society. Lenin and Stalin (same really) were not socialists, but rather totalitarians! ( I cannot believe in a forum for educated people I have to spell it out) The first move of Lenin was to destroy the worker’s councils that made up the Soviet system upon the bolsheviki victory. What on earth does that have to do with socialism, of the type advocated by Emma Goldman?

No attempt has been made to form a society based on such egalitarian, anti-authoritarian ideals, so to assert that “socialism always …. results in horror” is a classic bait and switch of US/British propaganda, smearing socialism by association with the leader-worshipping, secret-police states of the past. In short, the problems with the societies of Pol Pot, Stalin, and Ceaucescu was NOT that they fairly distributed the goods of society, that they encouraged worker participation, and gave the needs and desires of the common man equal weight with those of the powerful…need I have said that? Yes, apparently that is too much for some people to contemplate.

Personally, I don’t even think redistribution would be necessary, the bogeyman of the capitalists’ agitprop, though that is only one opinion. Worker control of industry seems to work as intended in Germany, though there are many problems still with that system. Nobody has a problem with socialism as practiced in the West, be it the local fire department, or the Norwegian Statoil Corporation, run for the benefit of that nation.

I don’t make specific recommendations, because I think people need to work out what they want for themselves, and that we run into trouble when one person or group of people arrogates to themselves the responsibility for telling everyone else what to do. I recognize that these autocratic forms are efficient in times of crisis, and so have formed a number of horrible systems in recent memory. That does not mean that there is no other possible way to look at it. Recall that at the time of the Russian revolution Lenin was regarded by most socialists and left-marxists to be a right-wing deviation from the ideas of the time. It is high time we all remembered that fact, rather than wringing our hands that there can be no other way to organize a society, when we have clear examples in the nordic countries as we speak. Democracy need not be sidelined at all, as it isn’t in northern Europe. To be fair to Mr. Brand, to point out that voting is pointless when the two party system in the USA is controlled by two factions of the business party is hardly calling for the end of democracy. He states clearly that with something to vote for, it would be sensible, just that most people realize they are not able to vote for the changes they want anyway.

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive
 

gmontante,
For someone claiming to be a rational thinker, you spout a lot of nonsense, and angry nonsense at that… why do you feel the need to insult those who see the world differently? one example will suffice: when you say, “what distinguishes humans from all other species of the Animal Kingdom (of which I “dare” suggest we are NOT a part)”
you reveal yourself to be deluded and silly.

What separates us from other animals (of which we definitely are a part) is a few proteins resulting from our different genetic makeup.

I will leave it to others to decide who has the more rational position among the comments here…

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive
 

@gmontante, spot on. You hit it right on the nail. Mr. Lloyd is an establishment figure. And naturally he does not want to lose any of his comforts, so he is willing to distort reality and claim that things can be fixed if we only participate in this system.

Our system is broken and rigged to favor a very few.
Voting is the worst thing you can do……

Posted by KyleDexter | Report as abusive
 

@Harderwijk,

Your words here are as a rice cake to food. Much ado about nothing.

@gmontante,

Another juvenile thinking would-be anarchist thumping their bible. Please. Those “…individuals who continue to ponder with increasing urgency on the universal questions of being…” are but entranced by the lint in their navel.

Man is not “special” beyond his remarkable fascination with possible ways of killing ourselves in hindsight compensation for geographic or economic overpopulation. I fear our ceaseless quest for simple happiness may ultimately propel us each, in turn, to our village idiot.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@OneOfTheSheep!

Is that really you? How are you, my dear old pseudonym?
No, wait, my dear Oots, mind if I call you Pip? Primus inter pares. Not just One but First Among The Ovine Equals. OK? I didn’t even make that up. I’m not that …

Anyway, as you were saying. By the way, there’s really no need to address me in upper case, good heavens above, I mean, that’s just not me. Have you ever been, Pip? To Gelderland, I mean. Nice place to visit. Lots of dolphins, I believe. But I wouldn’t live there, if I were you, not for love and so forth.

In fact, just between you and all that, if I were you, quite frankly, I’d stay right where you are. Of course. But I’m not you, am I, so I don’t. Do you really eat rice cake? What’s it like? I’ve known a few people who actually swear by rice as a real food. Imagine. Can’t think how they survive. I mean, cake? Let them eat bread for God’s sake. Is what I say. Any way. No more ado about nothing. Did you make that up? Time to get serious.

Where was I? Ah, yes. So stupid are we in fact that, thinking ourselves at the top of the evolutionary pile, we generally associate stupidity with animals, like cows, turkeys, chickens and goats. We conveniently forget of course, because it suits our clever narrative, that not only these animals, but all species we know about, and a whole lot more we don’t, are obviously, by dint of having gotten this far in the overall evolutionary scheme of things, at the very tip of their genetic twig, the top of their game.

I say obviously, because all the animals we see, use, abuse, pesticize and/or eat, are survivors, successfully replicating and contributing to the gene pool, while their distant ancestors, stuck in their family tree, are no longer with us. Having failed the ‘natural selection’ test, they lie fossilised, ineradicably, incontrovertibly and unforgivably extinct. Beyond redemption, in fact.

All the others, however, with whom we share this space, having gotten this far, haven’t the brains to do anything stupid. Nevertheless, nothing daunting, whenever we see a dog or pig behave in a way that we would consider ‘most unwise’, we say animals are plain stupid.

We say all this and much more besides, because we have the words to create the most bizarre ‘reality’ we care to choose. We also say that ‘dumb’ animals (a word originally intended to indicate that, while they patently do ‘’make contact’ with their own kind, cannot speak like us) are ‘beyond reason’.

This is what is so remarkable about language. It affords us the facility to create really silly statements of paradoxical ‘fact’. “Dumb animals,” we keep hearing and mindlessly re-bleat ad nauseam, “cannot speak, are therefore beyond reason and obviously condemned to a life of abject misery, dumb servitude, utilitarian functionality and abysmal stupidity.”

Sigh. It was well said that it often behooves us to plead the Fifth on this one, evoking that consoling, mysterious eloquence of ‘the pregnant pause’, preferring to remain silent and be thought a fool, rather than remove all doubt by putting one’s foot in it.

Animals cannot be stupid, OK. They haven’t the brains for it. It takes real intellect to say, do and be the abysmally stupid butt of parody and satire.
So. If you really want to build a computer that can ‘think’, ‘contemplate’, ‘reason’ and ‘conclude’, just like any normal human being, you will need to go back to your own genesis, create an equally brilliant, similarly eclectic ‘being’, duly equipped with the selfsame legendary, durable and environmentally hostile capacity for unbelievably irrational stupidity.

Posted by Harderwijk | Report as abusive
 

Speaking of brains, Harderwijk, there is an adage that each animal has just enough brains to tan its own hide. Since the dawn of the leather fetish, or shortly thereafter, this concept has been literally applied to the hides of just about every variety of mammal, wild or domestic, and a passel of nonmammals to boot. It might be supposed that metaphorical usage naturally followed the literal sort, but maybe it was the literal that followed the metaphorical. Rather than beat our brains against the matter of which came first, however, let’s take a look at how both the literal and metaphorical aspects of this concept may tan our hides in the future.

Of late, the characteristics of scientific developments have fostered speculation that a “technological singularity” approaches in which artificial intelligence (AI) outperforms that which arises biologically. Let’s suppose that a technological singularity is indeed on the way. Let’s further suppose that when this most singular of bells tolls, in what might be called, “The Big Bong,” a fair portion of the biological intelligence then present becomes incorporated into the AI, which, embodied in more ways than we humans could likely shake a stick at, carries on indefinitely after. How might the notion that each animal has just enough brains to tan its own hide apply to the post-singularity AI?

Posted by MoBioph | Report as abusive
 

I should perhaps add that the Big Bong would be a singularly revolutionary event, and is thus not too off topic. Indeed, it seems that a big bong placed a brand upon the brain of Mr Brand, who says he would like to rustle us up yet another of humanity’s violent, counterproductive, ideologically based revolutions. Prior to any more such revolutions, I hope careful consideration is given to the fact that a number of countries now possess nuclear weapons and other modern hazards that were not present when they suffered revolutions in the past. We’re lucky to have survived the collapse of the USSR, and that was more evolution than revolution. Attempting a revolution in a modern, WMD-laden state would, I suspect, more likely give rise to a blatantly military regime than any sort of civilian rule. Syria might be considered a depressing, but thankfully somewhat small scale, test case of this sort. At least the Big Bong, by means of replacing Homo sapiens with something else, might render all humanity’s problems moot, and so evade any wars that humanity would otherwise fight. The something else that comes after might be no saint either, of course. And maybe that is how the notion that each animal has just enough brains to tan its own hide would apply to the post-singularity AI.

Posted by MoBioph | Report as abusive
 

The assertion that socialist revolution caused more deaths than would otherwise have occurred is unproven.

Would Tsarist Russia or Imperial China really have avoided famine and brutal repression? I would contend not. Nor do I think those elites would have conceded power without violent revolution.

While it may seem that the socialists were net contributors to violence, at the very least the extent of their guilt is somewhat exaggerated.

But the real problem with this whole piece is the notion that socialist idealism is the cause of revolution. It is not. There are always a cohort of committed leftist radicals in any society. People turn to them when the stench of corruption from the ruling elite is sufficiently nauseous.

It is all very well and good to say that socialists of a certain age displayed ingratitude for the freedoms of western society, I would argue that conservatives who climbed the social ladder then voted Thatcher or Reagan are the real ingrates. People coming from where they did have no chance now.

Furthermore, it seems to me that the freedoms of the West were offered to her people in a spirit of competition with the Soviet bloc. While we were more free than them, our leaders would win the cold war. The minute the Soviet Union fell, and there was no competing vision for society, the erosion of freedom began.

It continues still.

Posted by Urban_Guerilla | Report as abusive
 

Stu_ell, “It people with solutions we need.” We already know what the solutions are. Individual and Corporate Responsibility.

Do not shop at Wal-Mart, use as little Oil/Gas as possible, do not invest in the War mongering companies, decriminalize plants, stop privatization of the commons (the commons are health care, mining, military, public schools, banking, water and utilities – anything that uses tax dollars), stop farm crop subsidies for mono cropping – GMO growing multi-national corporations, stop subsidizing crop insurance (farmers pay for it yourself) stop SNAP assistance aid from being used on non-nutritious food like substances, domestic airlines pay for their own security, reduce air traffic as much as possible, protect the water, air and soil, stop fracking and more drilling, protect America from foreign investors, End trade agreements that enslave We The People to foreign will (trade agreements prevent fair trade and decriminalization of plants), prevent corps like Wal-Mart and Fast Food Corps from exploiting employees and the communities they live in, end subsidies to the toxic pig/cow/chicken/turkey animal farms, do not eat the fast food toxins, invest in alternative energy where you live, buy made in America or used products ONLY, consume a diet comprised of mainly organic fruits and vegetables, grow your own food or contribute to community gardens, do not eat products out of a can (glass only), insist on country of origin labeling and GMO labeling, do not purchase “cleaning products” Vinegar works great, do not purchase or use pesticides/herbicides, do not drink or use water from plastic containers, and support freedom of choice.

These items are a good place to start.

Posted by 2Borknot2B | Report as abusive
 

@Harderwijk,

“This is what is so remarkable about language. It affords us the facility to create really silly statements of paradoxical ‘fact’.” You have certainly proved that beyond any possible doubt.

There are things that can be done with language that should NOT be done. One is to use words as a shuttlecock kept endlessly in the air with no net, no game, and no purpose.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

Once again the comments outshine the article! Bravo! LMFAO!

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

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