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But Belfield, Churchill was a White Supremacist!

A few days ago right-wing internet radio host and Youtuber Alex Belfield put up a video expressing his outrage yet again at those evil lefties and their attacks on great British heroes. The lefties in question were the awesome Ash Sarkar, Michael Walker and co. of Novara Media, and the great British hero was Winston Churchill. Sarkar and Walker had dared to call Winnie a White supremacist and chuckle about it! How terrible! And so Belfield put up his video attacking them for daring to scoff at the great man.

The problem was, he did nothing to refute their accusation. He played a clip of Sarkar and Walker calling Churchill a White supremacist and laughing, but didn’t actually provide any facts to prove Churchill wasn’t a racist. All he did was attack Sarkar and her comrades for saying he was. And I don’t think he could have argued that Churchill wasn’t a White supremacist. In the clip he used, Sarkar states that Churchill was a White supremacist by his own admission. And I find that entirely credible. Churchill is now a great, molten god thanks his inspiring leadership during the Second World War. So much so, that he is supposed to stand for everything good and right and be absolutely above criticism. Or at least, he is to members of the Tory faithful. But such attitudes obscure just how controversial Churchill was in his own day, and the real racism in British society. Churchill is still hated by proud, working class Welshmen and women today for sending the troops in to shoot striking miners in one of the pit villages. He was responsible for the debacle of Gallipolli during the Second World War, a bloodbath that in my opinion has tainted the relationship between us and the Ozzies. It shows Johnson’s complete lack of any real historical sympathy for the victims of his blundering that in his biography of the great man, he gives it a ten for being both a colossal mistake and for showing ‘the Churchill factor’, whatever that is. Churchill was so bloodthirsty and keen to use the army to suppress the general strike, that Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin was determined to keep him away from it as far as possible. Irish nationalists also hate him for sending the Black and Tans in to crush the Irish revolution. Churchill spent many years in the political wilderness. What saved him was his tour of Africa in the 1920s. At the same time, his opposition to Nazi Germany wasn’t based on any hatred of their racism and suppression of democracy. The historian Martin Pugh in his history of British Fascism between the two World Wars states as an authoritarian himself, Churchill liked the Spanish dictator General Franco. He considered Mussolini to be a ‘perfect swine’, possibly because the Duce declared that his Blackshirts were the equivalent of the British Black and Tans. But nevertheless, Churchill still went on a visit of Fascist Italy. Churchill’s real reason for opposing Nazism was because he was afraid that Germany would be a threat to British interests in the North Sea.

I got the impression that Churchill was without question an imperialist, which means that he believed unquestionably that White Brits were superior and had every right to their empire and dominion over the darker races. Imperialism was so much a part of official British culture, that I think it’s forgotten just how powerful a force it was and how deeply embedded it was. Empire Day was a national holiday, the British empire was lauded in books like Our Empire Story, and one of the strips in the Dandy or the Beano was ‘The Colony Nigs’. Some British scientists also shared the biological racism that served to legitimate discrimination against non-Whites. As late as 1961 wannabe dictator Oswald Mosley cited articles and papers by British scientists claiming that Blacks were less intelligent than Whites in his book Mosley – Right or Wrong.

If Churchill had only believed that non-Whites were inferior, but otherwise treated them with the benign paternalism that Britain was supposed to show towards its subject races, then his White supremacist views wouldn’t have been too bad. It would have been patronising, but no harm would have been done. But his racism was partly responsible for creating the Bengal famine, which carried off 3-6 million Indians. Churchill had ordered their grain to be sequestered as a reserve food supply for the troops in Europe. This left the Bengalis unable to feed themselves. Many of Churchill’s senior military staff pleaded him to release the food, but he refused, stating that the Indians were a filthy race and that it was all their fault for ‘pullulating’ – in other words, breeding and having too many children. It’s an atrocity that could be compared to the horrific murder of the Jews by the Nazis, and some of Churchill’s generals certainly did so. It’s a monstrous stain on Churchill’s character, but very few Brits are probably aware of it.

Does that mean that it’s acceptable to deface Churchill’s statue, as one irate young man did during the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted earlier this year? The lad scrawled ‘was a racist’ on it, an act which raised right-wing hackles. It was ostensibly to protect his and statues like it that prompted mobs of White Brits to stage their own counterdemonstrations. No, I don’t believe it is, even though it’s true. It is thanks to Churchill’s leadership that western Europe at least remained free from Nazi domination or that of Stalinist Communism. Spike Milligan in one volume of his war memoirs states that if Britain hadn’t entered the War, the Iron Curtain would have stopped at his home town of Bexhill. Churchill, monster though he was in so very many ways, deserves respect and credit for that.

But that doesn’t mean that he should be above criticism either. There’s another video put up by Belfield in which he complaints about a planned re-vamp of Have I Got News For You. Apparently the Beeb is going to replace long time contestants Ian Hislop and Paul Merton as part of their diversity campaign. This involves sacking middle-aged White men in favour of more women and BAME presenters and performers. In his video, Belfield complains about how this change will deprive British television of the pair’s comedic talents. Which is true, but I wonder how he feels about Hislop’s magazine’s attitude to his great hero. Private Eye when it started up was deeply critical of Churchill, running cartoons and articles lampooning him as ‘the greatest dying Englishman’ and criticising him for betraying just about every cause he ever embraced. The Eye and its founders were never radical lefties. They were all public schoolboys, but nevertheless the magazine was regarded with intense suspicion and distaste by many. When it first began many newsagents refused to stock it. One of my co-workers at the Empire and Commonwealth Museum in the ’90s and first years of this century shared that dislike. Seeing me reading it over lunch one day, he asked me if I really read it. I dare say that it was the magazine’s willingness to poke fun and attack respected figures like Churchill that provoked some of that intense dislike. But nevertheless, Britain remains a free country – just! – because we are able to criticise our leaders and point out that they aren’t flawless idols we have to revere and obey, like some monstrous dictator. And that includes the right to criticise and spoof Winston Churchill.

Belfield constantly sneers at the younger generation as ‘leftie snowflakes’, but he’s the one with the delicate sensibilities here. I’m not denying Churchill deserves respect for his stern resistance to Nazism, but he was a racist whose supremacist views caused death and suffering to millions of Indians. Getting annoyed with Sarkar and the rest for calling him a racist and White supremacist won’t change that.

Belfield had therefore do what he’s always telling left-wing millennials to do, and show a bit of backbone and get over it.

Book on Fascism in Black American Literature Between the Two World Wars

Mark Christian Thompson, Black Fascisms: African American Literature & Culture between the Wars (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press 2007).

This is one of the other books I’ve been reading during the last few days. It’s a fascinating examination of a little known episode of Black American literary history when, in the 1930s and early 1940s, a number of Black American authors and activists took over elements from European Fascism to form their own version of the totalitarian creed. The blurb reads

In this provocative new book, Mark Christian Thompson addresses the startling fact that many African American intellectuals in the 1930s sympathized with fascism, seeing in its ideology a means of envisioning new modes of African American political resistance. Thompson surveys the work and thought of several authors and asserts that their sometimes positive reaction to generic European fascism, and its transformation into black fascism, is crucial to any understanding of Depression-era African American literary culture.

Taking on a subject generally ignored or denied in African American cultural and literary studies, BLACK FASCISMS seeks not only to question the prominence of the Left in the political thought of a generation of writers to change how we view African American literature in general.

Following the introduction, it has the following chapters:

  1. Black Literary Fascism
  2. The Myth of Marcus Garvey: Black Fascism and Nationalism
  3. George S. Schuyler and the God of Love: Black Fascism and Mythic Violence
  4. “In Turban and Gorgeous Robe”: Claude McKay, Black Fascism, and Labor
  5. His Rod of Power: Zora Neale Hurston, Black Fascism and Culture
  6. Richard Wright’s Jealous Rebels: Black Fascism and Philosophy

Conclusion: Historical Black Fascism, Black Arts, and Beyond

For some, this is no doubt shocking and uncomfortable reading. Thompson states that his book will be controversial, because it seems to challenge the dominance and achievements of Marxism in Black American politics and culture of the period. He does not seek to deny this, but to argue that there was a significant turn away from Communism towards Fascism at the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance, and that this was no mere blip in the career of the figures discussed, as some historians and critics have claimed. It’s also remarkable, in that as victims of racism it seems to run counter to reason that Black Americans would embrace a viciously racist ideology associated with White supremacy. But by the early 1940s some Black youngsters had become so alienated from their country, that they were singing songs about how they thought they’d move to Germany because they’d be better off there. The likelihood is that these kids probably didn’t understand what Nazi Germany was really like. The Black intellectuals, who turned to Fascism, didn’t support its specific European versions. They didn’t want to become Nazis or supporters of Mussolini’s Fascists. But they took elements of generic Fascism and adapted it as a vehicle for their own nationalist aspirations and desire for pan-African racial uplift.

Defining Features of Black Fascism

Thompson considers that the main elements in this turn were a dissatisfaction with Communist multiculturalism, the expectation that Ethiopia would produce a strong, modernising leader to redeem Blacks across the world, admiration for newly independent Haiti, and anti-Semitism. Black Fascists rejected Communism, because they were afraid that its emphasis on racial collaboration and the class war would lead to Blacks’ own aspirations and needs being neglected and Blacks used instead to improve conditions for White liberals. The Communist party in turn attempted to harness Black nationalism for the general class struggle, by defining Black Americans as working class. But this also created an anti-White racism that characterised all Whites as members of the exploiting classes. Which strikes me as not at all unlike Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory. The expectations of Black leadership from Ethiopia came from Psalm 68 in the Bible, which states that, after Egypt, Ethiopia will raise its hands to God. Ethiopia was the one African nation not conquered by the Europeans in the 19th century, which seemed to many Black Americans that the country was destined to lead the Black people. Coupled with this was the hope that Black Americans would return to Africa to take up positions of leadership and power in the continent, and free her from the European colonial oppressors. At the same time, the American army had just withdrawn from its occupation of Haiti. Many Black Americans admired this Caribbean nation because of the way it had thrown off French rule in the late 18th century to become a free, Black republic. At the same time, its new president, Stenio Vincent, sweeping autocratic powers dissolving the lower house and allowing him to appoint a sizable proportion of its senate. It was not a democracy in the American sense, as Zora Neale Hurston recognised, but an elected monarchy. Anti-Semitism and a hatred of Italians and Greeks among working class Blacks in Harlem was also part of the turn towards Fascism. The Black soapbox Caesar, Sufi Abdul Hamid, wished to create a separate trade union exclusively for Blacks. He was one of the leaders of a boycott against the White-owned department stores, which refused to employ Black clerks. He succeeded in getting this reversed, but his inflammatory anti-Semitic rhetoric – many of the stores were Jewish owned – resulted in the 1937 Harlem race riot.

Marcus Garvey and the Invasion of Ethiopia

Chapter one is a general discussion of Black American fascist aesthetics. The first of the writers and activists to be examined is Marcus Garvey, the founder and leader of the United Negro Improvement Association. This was a mass organisation, whose hierarchy was based on that of the army, with Garvey giving his followers various military ranks. Militantly nationalistic, the organisation also campaigned for a return to Africa, and Garvey was also impressed with the Italian Fascist corporatist state. Rejecting Communism, he instead supported private property. Blacks should work to acquire wealth, that they should then use to build the new Black state. However, private wealth should also be limited. Only the state should be able to hold investments over $5 or $6 million.

Of the figures discussed in the book, Garvey is the most overtly Fascist. Indeed, in a 1937 interview he claimed that Hitler and Mussolini based their movements on his. He was no fan of Mussolini, however, after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, which also caused him to become a bitter critic of its former emperor, Hailie Selassie. Selassie had scarpered to London following the invasion, which bitterly disappointed Garvey. He had also expected the Ethiopian emperor to modernise the country, turning it into a modern, Fascist, corporate state, which would embark on its own destiny of imperial conquest. Selassie had not done this. Garvey also sneered at him because of the Biblical lineage of the Ethiopian monarchy. This claimed descent from Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Thus, Garvey attacked him because he was, by virtue of this descent from the great Israelite king, Jewish. This was in contrast to Simon of Cyrene, who was Black, and Jesus, who was mostly Black.

Schuyler’s Pulp Fiction Supervillain Black Liberator

George S. Schuyler was a Black American writer and journalist, described by the book as somewhat like H.L. Mencken. He had started off as a vague socialist, believing that Africans were innately Communistic, and pan-African. Well, he was until he visited Liberia, which left him bitterly disillusioned to the extent that he wished the US army would invade so that America could take over and improve the country. This changed again with the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. Schuyler, like many other Black Americans, was outraged and wanted to raise an army of Black American volunteers, who would go and fight for the African nation. Seeking advice from the American foreign department, he was told that was impossible as America wished to preserve its neutrality. Schuyler thus turned to literature to express his anger and desire for revenge, writing the pulp story Black Empire. This tells the story of Dr. Belsidus, a Black American genius, who takes over Africa with his organisation, the Black Internationale, turning it into a military superpower through able to repel the Italians and then embark on the genocidal conquest of Europe through advance Black super science. Black scientists create death rays, hydroponic farms, fax machines and hypno-robots. Hypno-robots? Yes. Belsidus creates a new religion and deity, the God of Love, whose mission is to inculcate Black Africans with belief in their noble descent from the Babylonians and Egyptians and their future greatness. The hypno-robot is a giant, 50-foot tall figure of a naked Black man representing the God of Love, which has the power to move, raising its arms and nodding its head. Its eyes light up to hypnotise the congregation, so that they will become mentally receptive to Belsidus racial doctrines. Aiding Belsidus are a series of White women, his lovers, whom he casually murders if they fail him in bed or in their tasks of bringing down European rule. Belsidus comes across as Yaphet Kotto’s villain in the Bond film, Live and Let Die, but even nastier. He’s a genocide who ruthlessly kills White men, women and children. The story’s a nasty revenge fantasy, written by Schuyler to compensate for the Italian invasion. Schuyler himself didn’t stay a Fascist, but instead became a noted Black Conservative intellectual.

McKay, Sufi Abdul Hamid and Black Labour

Claude McKay was another Black American who had started out as a Communist, but then moved away from it, converting to Roman Catholicism. In the 1930s and ’40s McKay was also concerned with building a Black labour movement for which he also adopted aspects of Fascism. He was also an admirer of Sufi Abdul Hamid, an eccentric individual who styled himself Bishop Amiru Al-Minin Sufi Abdul Hamid, an Egyptian, but whose real identity may have been Eugene Brown of Philadelphia. Hamid had founded his own cult, the Universal Temple of Tranquillity. In 1932 he led a jobs boycott in Chicago and in 1934 led a similar boycott against Blumstein’s department store in Harlem. He was not popular with the other Black intellectuals, who regarded him as a charlatan and racketeer. Before his death in the late 1930s he was trying to promote himself as a cult leader in an attempt to challenge Father Divine. Called the Black Hitler because of his virulently anti-Semitic speeches, Hamid was partly responsible for the 1937 race riot, for which he was unsuccessfully prosecuted by the Jewish Minute Men. He appears as ‘Omar’ in McKay’s unfinished novel, Harlem Glory. This is partly an examination of the divided psychology of Black America. ‘Omar’ represents its Fascist side, while Father Divine, who appears as ‘Glory Savior’, and his cult, the ‘Glory Soulers’, represent religion and Communism.

Hurston, Moses and Haiti

Zora Neale Hurston is included because of her novel about Moses leading the Exodus, Moses, Man of the Mountain, in which both the greatest of the Hebrew prophets and his adversary, Pharaoh, have the nationalistic, genocidal qualities of modern Fascist dictators. Hurston also linked Moses to Haiti’s founder, Toussaint L’Ouverture. L’Ouverture’s power was represented by the Voodoo god, Damballah, who was also Moses’ rod of power. Damballah’s a snake god, while one of the miracles Moses performed was changing his staff into a snake. This novel is strongly influenced by Hurston’s admiration for Haiti and its authoritarian leader.

Cross Damon, Fascist Murderer or Existentialist Anti-Hero

Wright was another Communist intellectual, who then went to France to hang out with Sartre. He then wrote his own existentialist novel, The Outsider, about a former postal worker, Cross Damon. After losing his job, and suffering problems from the women in his life, Damon becomes a murderer, committing a series of killings across America. The novel was widely criticised at the time for not saying anything about the condition of Black America. Thompson argues that this is untrue. The book does examine their plight, as Damon personifies the Fascist tendency within Black America through his ruthless pursuit of the power over life and death. His murder of two twins, one a Communist, the other a Fascist, shows that to Wright these political creeds were essentially the same, and that Damon is also similar to them through their murder.

The Black Arts Movement and Neo-Fascism

The Black Arts movement was a post-War phenomenon, in which Black intellectuals and artists attempted to create a distinctly Black artistic culture, in contrast and opposition to that of White America. This chapter argues that historic fascism ended with the Second World War, and that its post-War successor, neo-Fascism, is markedly different. Fascism itself is also broader than Nazism, with which it has been identified, and which has itself been reduced to murderous anti-Semitism. It is a distortion, therefore, to describe the Nation of Islam as Fascist and genocidal simply because they held a joint rally with the American Nazi party, for which the party’s Fuhrer, Lincoln Rockwell, donated $20 to them. The chapter nevertheless states that the Black Arts movement constitutes an extreme form of Black nationalism, and ends with a call for it to be examined as a form of neo-Fascism.

Belsidus’ Statue and Fascist Homosexuality

Thompson’s a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, so the book is less a work of political science as literary criticism. Thus it frequently refers to the works of such literary theorists as Georges Bataille, Foucault, Althusser and Guy Debord. I found some of the book’s arguments extremely convoluted, particularly in the chapter on Wright and The Outsider. There are times when he seems to be arguing for the Fascist nature of Cross Damon, from that character’s difference to or opposition to Fascism. He also follows the German writer, Ludwig Theweleit, in considering that their is a homosexual component to the Fascists’ adoration of their leaders. This causes the book to contain some bizarre passages about the significance of the penis in some of the pieces discussed. For example, he writes of the Belsidus’ 50 foot statue of a naked Black man

The statue is what Siegried Krakauer calls the “mass ornament”: a ritual object that is “an end in itself”. But even after the “ritual meaning” of such objects is discarded, “they remain the plastic formation of the erotic life which gave rise to them and determined their traits”. (146). The mass ornament is emptied of its ritual content and plenitude and re-cathected with an erotics of power that seeks to control the masses’ libidinal urges by converting them into an iconic religious outpouring. This is why Schuyler’s mass ornament is depicted as “a huge statue of a nude Negro standing with legs apart, gazing sardonically downward with arms crossed. It was all of 50 feet high and every part of the body was clearly depicted” (58). The bearer of the sardonic gaze cannot be mistaken. “Sardonic” is, after all, one of Schuyler’s favorite adjectives for the good Doctor and his notorious gaze. Also inescapable in this mammoth fifty-foot statue of a male Negro is an anatomical accuracy that surpasses the bounds of decency. If one wondered whether Dr. Belsidus’s movement followed the fascist phallocentric logic of male ego-reintegration Theweleit theorizes, the appearance of the fifty foot “God of Love” in all his anatomical glory removes all doubt. (pp. 90-1).

Black Fascism and other Forms of Dictatorship

The book acknowledges that none of the authors and activists discussed founded Fascist parties or movement, and he regards them as individual figures rather than the leaders of mass Fascist organisations. Garvey, with his militaristic nationalism and claims to have inspired the European Fascist dictators is the closest figure to European Fascism. So too is Sufi Abdul Hamid with his emphasis on labour, Black separatism and anti-Semitism. Hamid’s similar to the Nazis in another way: they also hated the department stores as an example of ‘Jewish capital’. Schuyler’s Black Empire is a revenge fantasy, whose hero – or anti-hero – would certainly qualify as a Fascist, even though Belsidus himself doesn’t appear to his followers to make speeches from the balcony. He just leaves that to his naked 50-foot robot. But this doesn’t make Schuyler himself a Fascist or mean that he is calling for a similar Fascist movement. It is questionable, however, whether Hurston’s Moses or Pharaoh are really fascist either. Political scientists have debated the difference between Fascism and other forms of authoritarianism and aggressive, intolerant nationalism. Noel O’Sullivan in his book, Fascism, argues that it possesses distinct features that distinguish it from the militant, dictatorial regimes of some of the nations in Africa and the Developing World. Stenios Vincent was highly authoritarian, but it’s questionable whether his regime can be considered Fascist. This also raises the question of how far Hurston’s Moses and Pharaoh are Fascists, although they certainly act in a way which could be described as fascistic. I find the argument about Wright’s The Outsider rather less convincing. It may be that Cross Damon partakes of part of the psychology of Fascist and Communist dictators through his murders, but it seems to me to be a straightforward piece of existentialist literature rather than an examination of Black American Fascism. It reminds me of Albert Camus’ novel of the same name, about a Frenchman in Algeria who murders an Arab out of boredom. Wright’s outsider is another murderer, but is a Black American rather than French.

Conclusion

I don’t know how far the Black Arts movement could be described as neo-Fascist, but historians of post-War British Fascism have noted the radical revisions of doctrine the BNP went through under its generalissimo, Nick Griffin. But Critical Race Theory does seem very similar to the Communist party’s simplification of race relations in America to Black workers versus White exploiters. My guess is that an examination of the Black Arts movement would uncover clear parallels and influences from European neo-Fascism, as would Black Lives Matter today.

Craig Kelly Appoints Himself Australia’s Minister For Science PM Does Not Dispute The Claim

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 13/01/2021 - 7:00am in

The Member for Hughes Craig Kelly has taken to the Facebook to announce that he has appointed himself Australia’s Minister for Science. In the week since posting the announcement Australia’s PM, Scotty from marketing has not disputed the claim.

”The Liberal party is a broad church with many people with many different opinions,” said a Liberal party Insider. ”If Craig wants to be the Minister for Science then who are we to get in his way.”

”Besides, he’s very popular online you know.”

When asked whether this now meant that members of the Government could seemingly appoint themselves to whatever portfolio they wished, the Insider said: ”Within reason sure. I mean George Christensen is the Minister for Manilla and Craig’s got Science.”

”We do draw the line however, I mean Dutton did call shotgun on being PM after Malcolm was knifed but were not stupid.”

”I mean could you imagine going to an election with Dutton in charge, the Australian people will swallow a lot of crap but not crap with crushed up glass in it.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy some methylated spirits and leeches, Craig Kelly said it works a treat for gout.”

When asked if

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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Trailer for HBO Series on Heaven’s Gate Suicide Cult

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 13/01/2021 - 5:26am in

The ’90s were a decade marred by the mass deaths of cult members. There was the Order of the Solar Temple, the horrific immolation of the Branch Davidians in their conflict with the FBI and Heaven’s Gate. HBO Max started screening a documentary series about the latter on December 3rd last year. I found this trailer for it on YouTube. Although it’s just over 2 minutes long, it shows the cult’s main beliefs and the background to the tragedy.

The cult was led by a man and woman, here identified as ‘Do’ and ‘Ti’. They died wearing badges announcing that they were an ‘away team’, and believed that after they left their bodies, they would ascend to become aliens of a superior species and take their seats in a spacecraft in or following a visiting comment. Several of the men had been castrated. Their bodies were discovered covered in purple sheets.

The blurb for the series on its YouTube page gives a bit more information. It says

“Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults” is a thorough examination of the infamous UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and loved ones. What started in 1975 with the disappearance of 20 people from a small town in Oregon ended in 1997 with the largest suicide on US soil and changed the face of modern new age religion forever. This four-part docuseries uses never-before-seen footage and first-person accounts to explore the infamous UFO cult that shocked the nation with their out-of-this-world beliefs.

“Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults” is a Max Original produced by CNN and Campfire. Directed and executive produced by Clay Tweel (“Gleason”), the docuseries is also executive produced by Campfire CEO Ross Dinerstein (“The Innocent Man”) and Shannon Riggs, with Chris Bannon, Eric Spiegelman, Peter Clowney and Erik Diehn executive producing for the digital media company Stitcher (“Heaven’s Gate” podcast, “Sold in America” podcast).

Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults | Official Trailer | HBO Max – YouTube

The Fortean Times did a piece about the cult. As the TV series’ blurb says, the two cult leaders had been knocking around the UFO world for years. I can’t remember their real names, except that they had a couple of nicknames. Apart from ‘Do’ and ‘Ti’, they were also called ‘Him’ and ‘Her’. I think their message had started off claiming that they end was nigh, but that the Space Brothers were coming to help us. It’s a message shared by several UFO religions and Contactees. In the 1950s a Chicago psychic had claimed she had received similar messages telepathically from alien telling her that the world was going to end, but she was to assemble as many followers as she could. These would then be saved by the aliens, who would take them aboard their spacecraft. The psychic and her followers duly assembled on the date of the predicted arrival of the aliens, but the world didn’t end and the aliens didn’t show up. The group had, however, been joined by a group of sociologists from Chicago University, who were studying them. They were particularly interested in how the cult’s members continued to believe in its central message even after it had failed to come true. One of the sociologist’s published a book about it, entitled, When Prophecy Fails, which I think is now a classic of academic studies on UFOs and their believers. The psychic’s group differed from Heaven’s Gate in that none of them, I believe, committed suicide.

The aliens in which Heaven’s Gate believed were bald and asexual, and look very much like one of the stereotypes of UFO aliens taken from SF ‘B’ movies. The bald heads and large craniums show that the aliens are super-intelligent. It ultimately comes from a 19th century evolutionary theory, which held that as humanity evolved, the brain would expand at the expense of the body, and the sensual aspects of humanity would similarly wither. As a result, humans would become smaller, with larger heads and brains. The ultimate endpoint of this evolution are H.G. Wells’ Martians from The War of the Worlds. Astronomers at the time believed that Mars was an older world than Earth, and so Wells’ Martians are similarly far more advanced in their evolution than terrestrial humanity. They consist of large heads with tentacles. As their brains have expanded, their digestive systems have atrophied so that they feed by injecting themselves with blood.

It’s because their supposed aliens were asexual that some of the men in the group had travelled to Mexico to be castrated. It’s also been suggested that it may also have been because the group’s male leader was gay. If he was, and the group’s rejection of gender and sexuality stemmed from his failure to come to terms with his sexuality, then it’s a powerful argument for the acceptance of homosexuality. It’s far better for a gay person to be comfortable with their sexuality than to feel such shame and confusion that they mutilate themselves. This aspect of the Heaven’s Gate ideology also seems to me to be similar to the reason for some families referring their children for treatment as transgender. Opponents of the contemporary transgender movement have claimed that the majority of children referred to clinics like the Tavistock Clinic come from extremely homophobic backgrounds. They’ve argued that they’re seen as transgender by their parents, who have convinced the children of this, because it’s the only way the parents can cope with the child’s sexuality. They can’t accept that their son or daughter is gay, and prefer to believe that they have instead been born in the wrong body. Gay critics of the trans movement and their allies thus see the transitioning of such vulnerable children as a form of gay conversion therapy. That’s certainly how Iran views it. Homosexuality is illegal there, carrying the death penalty. However, gender reassignment surgery is paid for by the state. I got the impression that Iranians gays were offered the choice between death and having a sex change.

The cult’s description of themselves as an ‘Away Team’ was taken from the Star Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space 9 then on television. The ‘Away Team’ were what had been called in the Original Series the ‘landing party’ – the group that would beam down from the Enterprise to explore that episode’s planet. One of the cult’s members and victims was the brother of actress Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura in the Original Series and subsequent films.

Their belief that the world was about to be visited by an alien spaceship was the unfortunate consequence of a misidentification of a known star by a pair of German amateur astronomers. They had been out looking for a comet that was due to come close to Earth. They found it, but with it was an object they couldn’t find on their star maps. They therefore went on the web to inquire what it might be, and the myth developed that it was some kind of alien spacecraft many times bigger than Earth, which was following said comet. Of course, it was no such thing. It was a star that didn’t appear on the maps the pair were using because it was too dim to be visible to the naked eye. It was, however, bright enough for them to see it using binoculars. The Cult’s leaders took the appearance of this supposed alien spacecraft to be the spaceship they had long expected to take them all to a higher plane with tragic consequences. Although the world was shocked by this disaster and the cult’s apparently weird beliefs, folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand pointed out that their idea of being taken to heaven in a ship actually came from a strand of American Christianity. There have been a number of hymns written describing Christian believers going to heaven in just such a vessel.

The trailer for the series also says that the cult’s members were intelligent and came from good families. I don’t doubt this. I’ve heard that members of new religious movements are often of above average intelligence. Perhaps it’s because such people are more intellectually curious and less satisfied with conventional religion. However, it also seems, at least according to the Fortean Times article, that many of the cult’s members also had problems functioning independently. They apparently were always contacting somebody to help them solve ordinary, every day problems like how to peel an apple correctly. I wonder if they suffered from a psychological or neurological condition like autism, which left them unable to cope with ordinary life and so vulnerable to being dominated by a charismatic personality with a message that appeared to solve all their problems.

The series looks like a fascinating insight into one of the decade’s apocalyptic, extreme religions with its roots in the UFO milieu. However, the series will be over by now, and if it was on HBO Max, it’s doubtful that very many people will have seen it. But perhaps it’ll be repeated sometime on one of the more popular TV channels. And I hope that events and the landscape of religious and paranormal belief have changed in the meantime, so that there will never be another tragedy like it.

The 1920s’ View of the Future

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 11/01/2021 - 3:44am in

I found this fascinating video on the ‘1920s Channel’ on YouTube. It’s about the decades view of the future, taken from the pulp magazine, Science and Invention, founded and edited by Hugo Gernsbach. Gernsbach is one of the major figures in 20th century SF. An immigrant to America from Luxembourg, he was passionately enthusiastic about science and technology and founded the first the first SF pulp magazines. He also wrote an SF novel, Ralph 124C41 + A Romance of the Year 2660, and coined the term ‘scientifiction’ to describe the new genre. This was shortened and altered by his successors and rivals to become the modern term.

The channel’s main man says he’s interested in 1920s futurism because it falls between the ‘Steam Punk’ predictions of the Victorians and the ‘Atom Punk’ of the 1950s and 1960s, although it also has some elements of the ‘Diesel Punk’ of the 1940s. He states that the 1920s and the 1950s were similar decades, in that both followed major wars but were periods of optimism. Most of the illustrations were by Frank R. Paul, Gernsbach’s artist, who is now justly respected as one of the foremost pioneers of SF art. Among the inventions and developments the magazine predicted are massive, skyscraper cities now a staple of SF in such classic films as Metropolis and Blade Runner. But the magazine also predicted underground cities, as well as improved scientific instruments like astronomical telescopes, devices for signalling Mars, bizarre machines for taking care of one’s health, like the ‘sun shower’ and health meter. There are new entertainment media, like television and a cinema with four screens, as well as new musical instruments like the Theremin. This last creates sound through the alteration of a magnetic field by the player’s hands. It’s one of the many instruments played by the hugely talented Bill Bailey. The magazine also looked at the vehicles of the future. These included moving walkways, cars and railways. Cars wouldn’t be confined to the road, but would fly, and the magazine also showed the new aircraft of the future. Humanity would master anti-gravity and fly beyond Earth into space. At the same time, new ships and flying boats would cross the oceans, while people would venture underneath the seas in diving suits that somewhat resemble the metallic suits created to withstand the crushing pressures of the ocean depths. And the magazine also predicted that SF staple, the robot. One of these was to be a ‘police automaton’, like Robocop.

The illustrations are taken from worldradiohistory.com, where they’re available for free, and the video is accompanied by some of the music of the period, so be warned!

Futurism Of The 1920s – YouTube

It’s interesting watching the video to see how much of modern SF was formed in the decade, and to compare its predictions with reality. Most of these predictions haven’t actually become reality. Flying cars are still waiting to happen, we don’t have zeppelin aircraft carriers and skyscraper cities haven’t quite become the dominant urban form. Nor do we have truly intelligent machines and robots. On the other hand, I think the ideas and devices Gernsbach and Paul discussed and portrayed in the magazine still have the power to inspire, and think that they would make a great source of ideas for future, aspiring SF writers.

History Debunked Calls for More Black Blood and Organ Donors to Show Black Lives Really Matter

This is another, really short video from History Debunked. It’s creator, Simon Webb, is an author, and has published several history books. He’s very definitely a man of the right, and many of his videos tackle and refute some of the myths and false history being promoted as part of the Black history movement. In this video he expresses his incredulity at the rioting and destruction of statues that broke out earlier this year with the eruption of the Black Lives Matter movement. He finds it difficult to understand how defacing a statue of Winston Churchill or setting fire to the Union flag shows that Black lives matter. Black deaths at the hands of the cops are widely publicised, but they probably occur at the rate of less than one a year. There hasn’t been one for over a year now, and they may well only happen once every 2 to 3 years.

A far greater killer of Black lives is Sickle Cell Anaemia. This can result in episodes, known as Sickle Cell crises, that can produce blindness, disability and death. They can be treated with transfusions. There are differences in the blood of different races, so that Black people are better treated with blood from other Black people, Whites with White blood. But there is a terrible, pressing shortage of Black blood and organ donors. The NHS in London and Birmingham is currently seeking 5,000 Black blood donors so that they can treat the Black victims of this disease. Whites are twice as likely to donate blood and the organs of dead relatives as Blacks, which means, for example, that Blacks on average wait twice as long as Whites on dialysis for a kidney transplant. He therefore feels that the people, who protest against a statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University, instead of demonstrating against injustices that may have occurred centuries ago, should donate blood in order to show that they really believe Black Lives Matter.

Saving black lives; a way forward for the Black Lives Matter Movement – YouTube

This is obviously a controversial view of BLM. The demonstrations and riots against the statues occurred because the historic western slave trade is seen as being inextricably linked to the terrible, underprivileged conditions of many western Blacks. Institutional racism in the police has been a particularly obvious cause of anger and resentment amongst the Black community. It could be said that it doesn’t matter how low the actual numbers of Black people killed by the cops are, it’s still too many. In fact, it’s questionable how disproportionate the number of Blacks killed by the cops compared to Whites actually is. Sargon of Gasbag, the Sage of Swindon, went through the official statistics in one of his videos and concluded that Whites were in far more danger of being killed by the police than Blacks. This certainly runs counter to the allegations made by BLM. Sargon is, however, extremely right-wing. Too right-wing for UKIP, as when he joined, more socially liberal members left. I don’t agree with Sargon’s views about Trump, capitalism or how British political theory begins and ends with John Locke, but he did present a very good case on this issue.

And it is true that Sickle Cell Anaemia is killing Black people. Black people are more prone to it thanks to an adaptation in their blood cells which makes them far less palatable to mosquitoes, and hence vulnerable to the malaria they carry, than Whites. And it is true that there is a terrible shortage of Black blood and organ donors. Various Black ‘slebs have appeared on The One Show to urge Black people to consider donating blood.

Years ago I read in the book Black Pioneers of Science and Invention, that the use of blood plasma to save lives in blood transfusions was the invention of a Black American doctor, who successfully used it on Brit injured in the Blitz. It would undoubtedly be great if more Black people followed in his footsteps by donating their blood to save other Black lives.

Historical analogies for the covid-mania

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/01/2021 - 1:22am in

“men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses more slowly, and one by one.” MacKay, 1841.

 5 Old Characters We Miss (& 5 That Should Probably Be Phased Out)Right now, London and much of Europe are in peak covid-mania, entering another two months of lockdowns on top of the ineffectual lockdowns of 2020. Whilst not credibly leading to any reduced number of covid-deaths, the UK government’s action have so far cost over five million happy years of life just by reducing the quality of life some 10% for a population of 70 million for nearly a year. The roughly one billion pounds of extra borrowing needed per day to buy off dissent and hide the forced collapse of productivity will down the line cost about 1 million happy years of life per month of lockdowns via reduced future government services. Even if they would save 0.2% of the population via the most vulnerable (which they clearly don’t), the lockdowns destroy the equivalent of that ‘promised gain’ in terms of happy years of life every single week of lockdowns. This frankly insane state of play was summed up well by a conservative politician who openly said in parliament (the only place that cant be censored) that “This is a situation of state capture. Government is completely enthralled by a lobby pushing the failed policy of lockdown. Despite the arrival of vaccines, the lobby has signalled that social control won’t end, some restrictions will remain & measures may be reimposed next winter”

To date, the UK government has abandoned its duty to educate children by closing schools, abandoned its duty towards public health by neglecting non-covid health problems, abandoned its duty to ensure the population maintains its livelihood by preventing ‘non-essential workers’ from doing their job, and has demoted the majority of the population to virus risk vectors. Births are now expected to plummet and future deaths of non-covid health problems are assured to be much higher in the coming years. The choice to destroy health, joy, life, and liberty on this massive scale fits the dictionary definition of insanity, ie irrational self-harm. The main thing that obscures the insanity of the situation is that the vast majority of the population has gone along with it, abandoning their own responsibility towards their children, their family, their own futures, and their country. The situation in the UK is repeated in much of sub-Scandinavian Europe and in most states of the US.

The weirdness of the situation is reflected in the contradictions of the policies. The UK covid death cult urges the population to come to a social standstill to prevent infections, but millions of ‘essential workers’ are running around the country as normal. ‘Inessential’ market activities are supposedly shut down, but viewing and selling houses is strongly encouraged with tax-breaks and travel-exemptions, which is because the groups in charge own property and are looking after themselves. Gathering and hugging are depicted as lethal when the general population does it, whilst the police and health workers huddle together. Those who run almost no risk are prevented from gathering in groups (children) whilst those who run the most risks are packed together with many others who are sick in nursing homes and hospitals. State propaganda is seen and heard everywhere, from posters on the street to commercials on radio, whilst censorship of dissenting voices is widespread. After their failed predictions cost them nothing, some medical advisers are already advocating that even if everyone is vaccinated the whole country should lock down next winter anyway, bemoaned only by the odd brave member of parliament. Much of the novel 1984 is thus now reality.

Let us go over several possible historical analogies one can think of for the current situation to try and expand our ideas on what might happen next. I want to discuss the analogies with the Dreyfus affair, the US Prohibition and the Vietnam war, medieval feudal Catholicism, medieval feudal Christian Orthodoxy, and the communist/Nazi crowds of central Europe in the 1920s-1940s.

               The analogy with the Dreyfus affair of 1895-1906.

I have made the argument before, but I should repeat that the intellectual battle of the Covistance against the insanity of covid-mania is most reminiscent of that of the Dreyfusards who needed 10 years to acquit an obviously innocent man who had become the scapegoat of an incompetent state institution (the army), a mistake that was backed up by the vast majority of the French politicians and population. The intensity with which the Dreyfusards were hounded by public opinion, and the gradual recognition in elite circles that they were actually right, feels very similar to the current public ‘debates’ about covid. The composition of the Covistance and its inability to get anywhere fast are also very similar to the experiences of the Dreyfusards.

The main lesson from that period was how easy it is for state institutions to ignore truth and keep going with nonsense for years, no matter how obvious the case to any outsider. It thus tells one the current situation might easily last years and that state institutions do not by themselves see the light but have to be forced into it. Another lesson is that to win the battle one needs money, prestige, and its own outlets. The Covistance has the last two, but not much of the first.

The analogy breaks down when we consider the nature of the victim: now it is whole populations that are suffering, not a single outsider like Dreyfus sent to a far-away island. Also, the suffering now is largely self-inflicted rather than other-inflicted, so in terms of the crowd characteristics of the situation, the Dreyfus affair is a very poor fit for the current predicament.

 

               The analogy with the US Prohibition 1920-1930

In terms of the widespread popularity of an obvious act of self-harm that quickly became ignored by the elites and yet took years to become widely opposed, the US prohibition period fits today well. In that period, the production and sale of alcohol were banned throughout the US. Then too, lots of minor scientists were falling over themselves to ‘prove’ how harmful alcohol was and ‘thus’ that Prohibition was the thing to do. Then too, there was a whole population movement that saw the Prohibition as a moral thing, keen to signal how much they were all in favour of it. Then too, the restrictions were unworkable and against human nature, so the elites quickly found ways around them via lots of illegal venues, as they have today during lockdowns (private jets are doing brisk business! Lockdowns are for the masses).

In terms of the general delusion inflicted upon and maintained by the population, the Prohibition fits the covid-mania. Yet, the damage of current policies is much worse and the mania is not confined to one country, as the Prohibition was, but has enveloped half the world. More self-destructive and dispersed movements fall apart quicker. Relevantly, the Prohibition lost mass support after about 5 years, taking a few more years for its regulations to be repealed in law. We should expect covid-mania to last less long than that.

 

               The analogy with the US experience of the Vietnam war

In terms of the bunker mentality of the advisers to politicians, the disinformation by the government, the gullibility of the population, the irrelevance of the collateral damage, and the vitriol against those talking about the victims, the Vietnam war experience seems very apt for today. Also, like the Vietnam war, covid-mania comes with a promise of ‘victory’ after which all is supposedly well.

Another important similarity is that the state then, as now, cannot suppress information and force unity because different countries and states go their own way, meaning that state propaganda and media controls simply cannot be fully effective. There are leaks in the control system and the nagging realisation that other places are making better choices.

The main difference is that the victims are now not millions of poor ‘others’ living far away, but that there are so many victims nearby: the children, the vulnerable, the poor, the alone, etc. So one would expect the unravelling of the state propaganda to be much quicker than it was in the Vietnam war era. Also, the essential falsehood of the promise of a total victory is more obvious this time because we are talking about an endemic disease that mutates and has already dispatched many of those most vulnerable to it. Vaccines don’t change that reality.

 

               The analogy with feudal medieval Catholicism

In terms of crowd madness, covid-mania does not look like the centuries of stable medieval Catholicism at all. And yet, some of the basic patterns to emerge the last 10 months are highly reminiscent of feudal medieval Catholicism.

For one, in feudal medieval Catholicism, the basic message of the church was that the population was innately sinful and should submit to the representatives of the church for salvation. Whilst they subjugated the masses with stories of how they should atone for their original sin, the church was in a pragmatic alliance with local rulers, taxing the vast majority of the population (the peasants) who were kept dumb and without agency. Propaganda and signs of subjugation were normal fare then, as they are now.

This basic philosophy of sinfulness and subjugation to the ideology and earthly power of the day is very much the package that has won out the last 10 months: people are now treated as viral vectors who should follow the prescripts of their betters and whose most basic social urges are depicted as sinful. Relevantly, the economic reality of today is more feudal than in previous decades, something that has gotten much worse due to the covid policies: our economies have become much more unequal the last 30 years and work-life has become much more top-down, with fewer and fewer workers having significant autonomy. Being bossed around and told to comply with lots of ideological regulations is now a normal way of life for many employees in big organisations, just like medieval feudal society in which the vast majority lived in stagnant villages whilst a small elite of barons and clergy bossed them around and encouraged them to debase and flagellate.

It has been normal for many in the last few years to be told they are sinners who have to repent, such as for instigating the patriarchy or profiting from slavery. What has happened the last 10 months is that the basic notion of innate sinfulness has found a big new story in that we are all viral vectors and that our breath, our body, and our proximity are a danger to others, as others are to us. Our breaths and our social proclivities are our new identified innate sins for which we are now asked to be ashamed and atone.

Big differences are that the information levers available to the church and local rulers were more absolute in the middle ages, and that the church was more organised than today’s wannabe new ideologues. The power reality is also different: now state bureaucracies are the biggest fish in the pond, not churches or ideologues. Also, the alternative ways to live are much more visible and skilled people can move round more easily now than then, at least in Europe and the US (and migration streams towards more liberal areas is increasing rapidly!).

What this means is that the current situation is not as sustainable as medieval feudal Catholicism was. The idea that we will see the strong growth of a new Catholic church in the form of a united ideological organisation (such as an expanded WHO) seems highly unlikely.

The main take-away from the analogy is that the pattern we have seen the last 10 months of elites belittling the population and making them feel insignificant sinners, is an almost perfect carbon copy of the story peddled in feudal societies by the Catholic church. Some sin-story is likely to remain.

 

               The analogy with feudal Christian Orthodoxy

Whilst the Catholic church was unified and in many ways in competition with local rulers, the Orthodox churches looked more like the medical ideologues we see today. Like Catholicism, they also pushed the sin story, also invited bullies and snitches to enforce their will on the rest, and also inflicted massive propaganda. But, unlike the Catholic church, Orthodox churches are more innately local (there are more than a dozen ones) and tied to particular earthly powers: Orthodox clergy are employed by local rulers and thus do their bidding, whilst the Catholic church is an independent international organisation. This means Orthodox churches respect that power resides in local rulers much more than the Catholic church.

So what we have seen emerge the last 12 months resembles feudal Christian Orthodoxy more than Catholicism: a growth of lots of local religious organisations complete with rituals, sinfulness, propaganda, sacred formulas, and self-flagellations. This also suggest a natural path for the covid-institutions: to form national ideological organisations that assemble a story of the innate sinfulness of the population and the necessity of a new priesthood to save them from themselves. This indeed seems the trajectory we are following at the moment.

Yet, the analogy is not perfect and hence it is not clear we should expect this path to be followed for long. Importantly, unlike Christian Orthodoxy, the covid-orthodoxy is innately inefficient and self-destructive in that it is a death-cult. Taken to its logical conclusion, covid-mania would banish all normal social interaction to the point that our societies cease having children or much of an economy. The ideology is thus purely weakening the societies in which it has nestled, not strengthening them. In contrast, there were positive things about Christian Orthodoxy. It advocated having children and extended families, as well as work and glorious achievements. In contrast, covid-mania is purely destructive, a path that simply cannot be followed to its logical conclusion without imploding way before it reaches its natural goal.

Another major issue is that today’s international economy cannot be constrained in the way the economies of feudal Orthodox countries were: workers cannot be imprisoned and kept ignorant to that extent as they can move to other states, at least within Europe and the US. Mobility undermined stagnant places before: lots of the population of Eastern Europe ran away to the more optimistic and growing places in the 18th to 20th centuries, like the Americas or Western Europe. Optimism and growth attract talent, whilst miserly self-destruction does not. So whilst one can see lots of changes the last 10 months that are very reminiscent of the imposition of a new Orthodox faith structure, it is just not sustainable. The rapid impoverishment and puritan kill-joy attitudes that comes with covid-mania makes it unsustainable.

 

               The Nazi/communist crowds of the 1920s-1940s

Part of the covid-mania is highly reminiscent of the stories about the Nazis and communists of the 1930s till 1940s. The similarities include the extent of the propaganda, the intolerance, the idea that the national body had elements in it that need to be excised, the power lust of the hangers-on, the war imagery, the meekness of the population, the virtue signalling, the abuse of social science to justify political decisions, the idea of wonder weapons, the widespread snitching on non-compliant neighbours, and the notion of a total war requiring all to put in an effort.

What fits poorly though is that covid-mania is basically only destructive and not constructive. Nazism and communism did not merely entail a story of enemies that needed to be destroyed, but also contained visions of how the populations could live happily and gloriously. They thus allowed whole populations to join in productively to build the promised land. So they lead to a huge outpouring of new art, new economic projects, and new celebrations. They spawned youth organisations and reading clubs, mass rallies and exhibitions. That creativity and enthousiasm made them so dangerous to others. In contrast, covid-mania is a far less energetic and less creative affair, with the population treated as meek lambs needing protection, essentially downgrading the population to not being quite human anymore.

Indeed, the most unique element of covid-mania is how it infantilises the majority of the population and robs them of any role: their work is unimportant, their procreation is unimportant, their health is unimportant (unless its covid), and their social needs are unimportant. Within covid-mania, the majority is reduced to being voters who might get covid. Those are the only two attributes that are still prominent during covid-mania: as potential victims of one particular disease and as voters who need to be kept on board.

History does not provide us with a period in which whole populations were so diminished, so reduced to almost nothing. At least, I cannot think of any period in which we humans inflicted upon ourselves what is being done now in much of Europe and the US. Even in Christian orthodoxy and during the Prohibition, the whole system still wanted the majority to be productive and enjoy family life: the production and procreation of the population still mattered. Right now, neither production nor procreation is deemed even remotely important by the covid-maniacs, an almost unique situation in human history; the kind of situation that applied to conquered populations minutes before they were slaughtered.

What also fits poorly with the crowds of the Nazi/communist period is that the covid cult has no obvious set of future enemies to morph into something more energetic: covid-mania naturally runs out of fuel if all the vulnerable have died or if vaccines lead to less infections. It can try to re-assemble with new infectious diseases or new variants (and you can see many attempts in that direction), but its inherently a weak ploy that can easily unravel. The communists and the Nazis had much more obvious enemies to find, namely those humans not yet ‘with the program’.

Institutionally, covid-mania is also much less secure than the Nazi ideologues or the communists were because the adoption of covid-mania has not required the removal of the old regime: the old regime could just temporarily adopt covid-mania, making it much easier to be shed again than if the new ideology had swept its most ardent fanatics into the seats of power. That makes covid-mania more like the Prohibition: a set of beliefs and prescripts any politician can clothe themselves with, but nothing more fundamental from a political point of view than a few rituals and policies that simply happen to have the unfortunate side-effect of enormous damage to the population.

So I don’t think that we should take seriously the idea that the covid-mania can last as long as the Nazis and the communists did. The attraction of covid-mania is much less, its political footing is much weaker, there are fewer growth opportunities, and the losses are too obvious.

 

               What the analogies tell us.

Different aspects of covid-mania fit different examples from history of crowd behaviour or run-away ideologies.

The bunker-mentality of the advisers and governments during covid-mania is most reminiscent of the Vietnam war era. The moralising, abuse of science, and general popularity of a self-destructive ideology is most reminiscent of the Prohibition. The covid-story by the elites of how the general population is innately poorly behaved and every form of joy is a risk, is most reminiscent of the original sin story of the medieval Catholic church. The formation of new medical ideological groups around the politicians and the state bureaucracy is most reminiscent of the Christian Orthodox churches. The struggles and difficulties of the intellectual opposition to the covid-mania is most reminiscent of the labours of the Dreyfusards. The basic philosophy of an enemy-within (the virus) that needs to be destroyed by a massive collective effort is most reminiscent of the Nazi and communist crowds.

None of these analogies is perfect, but they do suggest a few lessons for what to expect. One lesson is that the natural course of the mania is measured in years, not decades: the pressures to unravel are stronger now than the pressures during the Prohibition and the Vietnam war, which unravelled in terms of popular support after about 5 years, another 5 years to unwind completely. I currently personally expect most of the unravelling of covid-mania to happen in 2021, though that does not mean the end of madness, only the end of the covid-madness. The pressures built up by covid-mania may manifest themselves in new crowd phenomena.

A second lesson I take from these analogies is that there is unlikely to be a reckoning for those who have damaged their own societies so hugely, just as there was no reckoning for the Vietnam war, the Prohibition, Communism, etc.. Only if a new crowd forms that sees the covid-maniacs as the enemy will there be a reckoning, which is the dark scenario I have talked about in a previous post but still see as unlikely. Hence, (un)fortunately, the covid-maniacs will likely get away with what they have done: in none of the historical analogies above did the population want there to be a reckoning because they had gone along with it all and preferred to just not see the damage they had been party to. Reckonings are done by rival groups, not groups that change their minds.

A third lesson is that the basic pattern of an elite pushing a sin-story upon the general population, in the vein of the original sin-story of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, is likely to remain relevant because our societies are again that unequal. Until optimistic nationalism re-asserts itself and the populations hence resume being truly relevant again, we should expect to see some feudal sin-ideology dominant in the years to come in many Western countries. Maybe a new enlightenment drive emerges as a counter-force to that.

A fourth lesson is the realisation of what is unique about covid-mania: an ideology that almost completely dehumanises the majority of the population. Unlike any time in history I can think of, even the productivity and pro-creation of the population have become irrelevant. Western populations have thus been stripped, with their own consent, of human dignity and joy, reduced to voters and virus vectors. This unique feature is also why we don’t even need to talk about the analogy with the second world war when populations pulled together and emerged more united and with empowered populations: in the second world war the populations were needed to win and actively build up the war machinery, whilst populations today are officially branded the problem by the covid-maniacs and are told to keep out of the way. The populations are thus not being empowered and involved in the covid-wars, exactly the contrary, though many fail to see how irrelevant they have become.

A big existential question going forward is then whether the current Western elites have any real use for the ‘inessential’ parts of their populations and what they will do when they discover their own answers to that question.

Boston Dynamics’ Dancing Robots

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 10:53pm in

The American robotics company Boston Dynamics posted this video on YouTube a few days to wish everyone a happy New Year. It shows some of their various robots dancing to Gordon Berry and the Contours’ ‘Do You Love Me’. The robots include the bipedal, anthropomorphic Atlas robot, as well as a four-legged machine and one with two legs ending in wheels. The machines do an uncannily good display of human dancing. Some of the commenters on the video naturally felt that if robots can do all this, it won’t be long before they take over. Others suggest that the machines haven’t done any of it. It’s been done by human actors using green screen. I think this is probably right, following the video of a combat robot in action. This also looked unnervingly real, until the producers put up a video showing how they had made it. And it was all done by a human actor, whose image was replaced by that of a robot using CGI. If the dancing robots are similarly the product of computer graphics, then at one level it’s a disappointment and at another a profound relief that just yet they don’t quite have those abilities.

But regardless of how it was produced, it is hugely entertaining! Please watch and enjoy!

Do You Love Me? – YouTube

Radio 4 on the Lunar Eclipse at Christ’s Crucifixion

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 10:34pm in

Radio 4 yesterday morning had a piece about eclipses, with the host, who sounded like Melvin Bragg, talking to a group of astronomers, one of whom was a lady solar astronomer. They talked about how exciting eclipses were, how they were inspired in childhood to study them, and how important eclipses were in astronomy. They mostly talked about solar eclipses and how they were originally believed to be a supernatural being eating the Sun. The earliest records of solar eclipses were kept by the ancient Chinese, who believed they were omens from the gods. The Babylonians, however, began to realise that they occurred regularly, and passed this knowledge on to the Greeks. Aristotle realised that the Earth must be circular from watching the Earth’s shadow fall across the Moon during lunar eclipses. The Earth’s shadow was circular, therefore, he reasooned, the Earth itself must also be circular. The astronomers also made the extremely important point that you should never look directly at the Sun. If you were looking at it, you should use special lenses to protect your eyes. Alternatively, you could poke holes through a piece of card to act as a pinhole camera, which would project the Sun’s image.

But what I found really interesting was what they said about eclipses possibly being responsible for the darkness that fell at noon when Christ was crucified. One of the astronomers said that it has been suggested that this darkness was caused by a solar eclipse. However, solar eclipses occur regularly, and there would have been no such eclipse at the time Christ is believed to have been crucified. However, there was an eclipse of the Moon on Friday, 6th April, 33 AD. Which sounds very much like the date of Our Lord’s passion. The astronomers and the host described this as ‘spooky’. It is. If you’re a Christian, it does make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It seems to corroborate somewhat the description of the events of Christ’s death in the Gospels, but it must be said that an eclipse of the Moon wouldn’t cause the darkness earlier in the day. Nevertheless, it does suggest a connection.

History Debunked Refutes the Myth that James I was Black

More from the whackier end of racial politics. History Debunked has put up a number of videos refuting various assertions and myths promoted as Black history. One of his videos attacked the claim, seen in the Netflix interracial historical romance, Bridgerton, that Queen Caroline was Black. This has arisen from the fact that one of her ancestors was a 13th Spanish Moorish prince. But that was five hundred years before her birth, and so any biological trace of her non-White ancestry would have disappeared way back in her lineage. Apart from which, the Spanish Moors were Berbers and Arabs from North Africa. They were darker than Europeans – the term ‘blue-blooded’ for the aristocracy comes from the Christian Spanish nobility. Under their idea of limpieza de sangre, ‘blood purity’, the racial ideology that distinguished them from the Moors, their skin was supposed to be so pale that you could see the veins in the wrist. But the Moors were nevertheless lighter-skinned than the darker peoples south of the Sahara, in what the Arabs called Bilad as-Sudan and the Berbers Akal Nguiwen, ‘The Land of the Blacks’. Which I think shows that the Arabs and Berbers, dark as they were compared to Europeans, very clearly didn’t think of themselves as Black.

In this video Simon Webb debunks a similar myth, that James I of England/ VI of Scotland, was Black. This ahistorical idea apparently began with the Black Hebrew Israelites, a Black Jewish sect who believe that one of the lost tribes of Israel went to sub-Saharan Africa. Webb mentions that a group of them settled in Israel in the Negev. He uses this to try to refute the demand that Israel should open its borders by stating that Israel had taken in people of a number of different racial groups. They are now, for example, taking in people from India. It’s true that Israel has taken in refugees from Africa, but many of the groups they’ve accepted were Jews. In the 1970s they mounted a rescue operation to transport the Falashas, the Black Jews of Ethiopia, away from their oppression in that country to safety in Israel. My guess is that the Indians they’re accepting are also Jewish. There’s an indigenous Jewish community in India, the Bene Israel, and it sounds like some of them may be migrating. There is, however, considerable racism amongst White Israelis. Abby Martin covered this in some of her reports for The Empire Files on TeleSur, in which she interviewed Black Israelis about the abuse, including physical assault, they’d experience. Gentile African refugees, although present, are resented by many Israelis as ‘infiltrators’, the term they also use for Palestinians trying to return to the ancestral lands from which they were evicted during the Nakba, the term they use for foundation of Israel and their massacre and ethnic cleansing in 1947.

But back to the Black Hebrew Israelites and James I. The Black Hebrew Israelites believe that the Spanish Moors were Black, and that they went from Spain to colonise Ireland and Scotland. Which must be news to most Scots and Irish. Mary, Queen of Scots was mixed race, but Lord Darnley, James’ father, was fully Black and so was James. The English, however, were determined to erase any trace of this Black ancestry, and so embarked on a deliberately policy of intermarrying with the Black Scots and Irish in order to make them White, at the same time destroying all the contrary evidence that they were Black. Although this myth began with the Black Hebrew Israelites it has spread out from them into the wider Black community. To support his description of this bizarre myth, Webb on the YouTube page for the video has link to an article in the Zimbabwean newspaper, The Patriot, which proudly promotes this claim.

Was King James I of England black? – YouTube

The belief that the Spanish Moors were Black has formed the basis for an anti-White racist view of history. A few years ago the American left-wing magazine, Counterpunch, carried on its online edition a piece by a Black historian, Garikai Chengu. This claimed that the Moors were ‘obviously Black’, and their colonisation of Spain brought science and reason to a Europe then gripped by ignorance and superstition. There’s some basis for this in that the revival of science in the West began when Christian scholars acquired Arab and Islamic scientific texts from places such as Islamic Spain and Sicily after that was conquered by the Normans. However, it’s grotesquely exaggerated and is really just a piece of racial supremacist propaganda, albeit one by Blacks rather than Whites. I think it’s fair to see such Afrocentric views of history as a form of Fascism, including this myth that the Irish and Scots were also really Black. Some historians have no trouble describing certain Black political movements as forms of Fascism. One recent book by an academic historian not only includes the classic Fascist movements of German Nazism, Italian Fascism and various other White, European far right movements, but also Marcus Garvey’s Negro Improvement Association and the Nation of Islam, as well as Narendra Modi’s BJP in India. The inclusion of Marcus Garvey and his organisation may well offend many Black activists. Garvey is one of the pioneers of Black liberation. A month or so ago there was a Black celebrity writing in the pages of the Radio Times recommending that children should be taught about him in school. I really know very little about Garvey, but the claim that he was Fascistic rings true. When I was working as a volunteer in the Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol one of the jobs I was given was unpacking some of boxes of material given to the Museum by private individuals and institutions. One of these included a document by Garvey’s organisation. I didn’t do more than glance at it, but it appeared to be describing some kind of military parade or armed wing. This included women’s units and mechanised and mounted forces of various kinds. I don’t know if Garvey and his followers were ever able to set up such a paramilitary force or whether it was all a fantasy. But one of the features of Fascism is its militarism. The Nazis and Italian Fascists, not to mention the various other Fascist movements, all started out as paramilitary organisations complete with uniforms and arms.

Alongside the entirely reasonable demands for social and economic improvement and renewed action to combat White racism, the Black Lives Matter movement has also brought out and articulated strains of overt anti-White racism. One example of this was the attempt by Sasha Johnson, of the Oxford branch of the organisation, to set up her own paramilitary Black army in Brixton to protect Blacks from the cops, and her tweet that the White man wouldn’t be Blacks’ equal, but their slave. Which got her banned from the social media platform. I think there is a real need to start studying and publishing material specifically on Black racism and Fascism. At the moment, there appears to be very little, if any, books specifically published on it. If you search for ‘Black racism’ on Google, what comes up is articles and books on the attacks on affirmative action programmes by right-wing Whites. Way back in the ’90s and early parts of this century there was a book published on Black anti-White violence in America. This might be White Girl Bleed A Lot, which is a similar book. However, I’m not sure how academically respectable the latter is, as I think its author may have joined the extreme right. I can see many people on the left resisting any attempt to categorise and study various Black Fascist movements from the belief that, as Blacks have been oppressed in the West, and are still disadvantaged, it is unfair to characterise such movement as they arose in response to White racism and persecution.

But this does not change the nature of these movements and the racism and racist history they promote. Whatever their connections to the broader Black liberation movement, they’re still racist and Fascist themselves, and should be viewed as such. Fascism everywhere needs to be fought, regarded of race.

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