Well done Ritchie, well done

The FT has a review by Giles Wilkes of Yanis Varoufakis’ new book, The Global Minotaur, this morning. It is headed:

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Giles Wilkes would be wise to recall the advice of George Bernard Shaw:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

Varoufakis may irritate for a reason.

Entirely failing to note two things.

1) Headlines and subheads are not written by the writer but by the subeditor.

2) It’s a reference to something from the Guardian:

Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, was reported in The Guardian as saying: “If you take out the most irritating man in the room then you might get a more reasonable response from Germany and France.”

Sigh…..

37 thoughts on “Well done Ritchie, well done”

  1. By the time I had worked out who is quoting who and who that person is quoting plus another quote of your own and a comment I lost interest. Especially without a link to go to. Would help if you had a better formatting scheme.

  2. I figure Hitler was pretty unreasonable and had a go at adapting the world to himself.

    So does that count as progress?

    Or is Shaw’s line just meaningless drivel written to justify the fact that he was unreasonable and seized upon by other unreasonable people to justify themselves?

  3. A third thing: “unreasonable” and “irritating” are not even close to being synonyms.

    Andrew,

    > I figure Hitler was pretty unreasonable and had a go at adapting the world to himself. So does that count as progress?

    That’s the thing about progress: people always assume it means “in the direction I like”. But it needn’t. Hitler made lots of progress. Only a fool could deny that.

  4. Squander Two

    Hitler busts the progress narrative. That’s why they go to great lengths to discredit him or make sure that the collectivist aspects of his program are almost never mentioned. Try calling Murphy a fascist (which he is) and he will go into a rage even more apoplectic rage.I’m surprised he had enough intelligence to google the Shaw quote. What an absolute cretin….

  5. S2>

    Only a fool, or a semantically inclined pendant. Progressing means moving forwards, not just moving – vector, not scalar. Hitler made regress, not progress.

  6. “Dave

    S2>

    Only a fool, or a semantically inclined pendant. Progressing means moving forwards…”

    Hitler believed that removing Jewish influence from Germany was moving forwards. as far as he was concerned he was making progress

    I disagree. So do you.

    But that just makes S2’s point.

  7. @V_P

    “I’m surprised he had enough intelligence to google the Shaw quote.”

    I’m surprised he didn’t claim that he used that line first.

  8. He’s used that line regularly. Usually when someone has told him he’s not welcome at a conference/meeting because he’s an irritating twat.

  9. Dave,

    > Progressing means moving forwards, not just moving – vector, not scalar. Hitler made regress, not progress.

    Nonsense. No-one had ever managed to kill Jews on such a scale before. Hitler made unprecedented progress on that front. He was also one of the leading pioneers of the use of modern media for propaganda, and invented the holiday camp.

  10. VP,

    > Hitler busts the progress narrative. That’s why they go to great lengths to discredit him or make sure that the collectivist aspects of his program are almost never mentioned.

    Yes, which puzzles me. Firstly because they don’t do the same with the Soviets for some reason, but more importantly because the genocide is enough. You don’t need to disagree with him about anything else. It’s like obsessing over how Myra Hindley voted.

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    I don’t remember the left quoting Shaw when it came to Maggie’s dealings with the EU.

  12. If ‘progress’ is always moving forward, why is it considered Progressive to believe in de-industrialising the West on environmentalist grounds? Or that a monolithic state health provider is the best solution? Or that the best method of food production is small, inefficient local farmers with no international trade in food?

    All of these are considered ‘progress’ by a great many people, lots of whom are in positions of huge influence. All are clearly regressive.

  13. Andrew>

    Do you really think it’s purely a matter of subjective opinion?

    S2>

    Seriously? You’re going to Fisk us, and say that you don’t deny the Holocaust, you just regret that it was stopped?

  14. Squander

    The man was also a pioneer in Tobacco control and Organic farming and animal welfare…..

  15. Timmy

    Surprised you haven’t picked up on the later post ‘Small business needs a big, confident state’ as yet – more gems than the entire repository of De Beers contained within – I have had to be taken to A&E due to the ferocity with which I span out of my chair reading it……..

  16. Well – at least we seem to have increased his paranoia on the comments – no former Communist criminals in there thus far in the last three days – has anyone else noticed the prolific ‘Sylvia Dobson’ – not aan approver of mass murder like Dickie, Reed, Wilcox, or Horrocks but given the writing style it surely HAS to be a troll.

  17. Squander Two

    You are absolutely right – progress very much in eye of beholder. People crowing over gay marriage out to remember ISIS haven’t even made the concession that they will offer at least partial recognition of it by throwing the couple off the tall building or stoning them simultaneously!

  18. Now knowing a huge amount about Shaw (other than his support for the Soviet Union and his enthusiasm for eugenics) I looked at the Wikipedia page on him.

    It says he opposed vaccination against smallpox, calling it witchcraft.

    Is there any reason why this guy is still quoted approvingly?

  19. @VP

    ‘Small business needs a big, confident state’ – yep, read the title and just knew he was bending, screwing and twisting logic to fit his narrative.

    Meanwhile, here is Richard Murphy, the accountant and small businessman, loving the big state:

    http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/news/1774453/hector-penalty-crossfire
    http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/news/1757787/new-returns-alarm
    http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/news/1748052/self-assessment-raises-evasion-risk

  20. “Dave

    Andrew>

    Do you really think it’s purely a matter of subjective opinion?”

    Unless you, Dave, are the sole arbiter of what is GOOD progress and BAD regress then quite obviously it is a subjective opinion.

    If you decide to define any movement towards a goal as progress if you like it and regress if you don’t like it then you have for sure designed your own fail-safe definitions and can announce to the world what does and doesn’t qualify as progress.

    I, personally, don’t think my opinion is worth more than others and so won’t be making such pronouncements. Was Hitler making progress towards his goals? Yes. Were his goals such that the world was a worse place because of them. I would say they were.

  21. Dave,

    > Seriously? You’re going to Fisk us, and say that you don’t deny the Holocaust, you just regret that it was stopped?

    I honestly have no fucking idea what you’re talking about. I mean, it’s clear that you’re so mind-bendingly dense that you’re going to insist that “progress” can only be a synonym of “improvement, in a nice way that Dave approves of”, but even then I can’t see how you get from that to accusing me of wanting to kill all the Jews (including my own family).

    I would appreciate it if you withdraw your libel.

  22. Dave

    Have the authorities in Guernsey forced another name change on you – or are you posting from the Norfolk countryside under a pseudonym?

    If you spoke to an ISIS media centre they would argue their rule was progress – progress towards an idealised state as promised in the Quran and through prophecy. If you can’t recognise that progress is a subjective term I’m surprised you’re able to operate the PC (your libel on Squander would seem to reinforce this perception of your intelligence) and can only presume the password was unlocked at whatever public access internet terminal you are typing from.

  23. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Lots of progress has been made because of Hitler:
    The motorway, jet engines, rockets to the moon, microwve ovens…

    What has Stalin ever helped with, eh ?

  24. VP,

    I don’t think I fully agree that progress is subjective, though aspects of it are. To my mind, progress involves some sort of advance, getting better at doing something. The move from barter to money was progress, so moving back from money to the old barter system would be regressive. However, if barter has been made more practical and efficient thanks to new technological advances, then moving from money to the new barter system could be progressive.

    I think of it as a journey from London to another city. You can argue about what other city you want to get to, and change your mind multiple times, yet still be progressing on your journey. You can split up with other people so they head to New York while you head to Ulan Batar, and you can both believe that you’re the ones really progressing. Which city is the preferred destination is subjective, but it is still possible to head back to London, which is objectively and definitionally regressive.

  25. Squander

    I take your point on board – I mean the rejoinder (and I appreciate this is pedantry to agree) to that would be from the ISIS perspective (to use a current example) their state is getting better at adhering to the tenets of Islam and fulfilling divine progress – advancing to a nirvana like state. But I agree the general definition is less subjective (most would probably consider ISIS’ definition demented)

    Interestingly this makes Murphy’s claim to be the source of progress even more deranged than it at first appears……

  26. Seems to me the break is between the “worthiness” of the goal (subjective) and whether any progress has been made toward that goal (preferably measured objectively).

  27. Well, Shaw’s quote sort of justifies in his own mind his desire to kill all the stupid people…

  28. It can be interesting to look back at “progressive” groups in the past, and what notion of “progress” they represented. There was a time when British progressives believed in and campaigned for women’s rights (and change in that direction has occurred and is now regarded as genuine progress, on the whole) as well as eugenics (which is now regarded as a bad thing, on the whole). The picture of a progressive future that those campaigners had, is very different both from the future that actually transpired, and the idealised future that a modern progressive would hold. A historical progressive who could see what 2015 looks like might conclude we had progressed on women’s right, but with the extra healthcare and specialist services and rights we provide to disabled people, we have regressed on the “eugenics” front.

  29. They just call themselves ‘progressive’ because it sounds good and right on and what not. Ask them ‘to what are you progressing?’ and they’re stumped. ‘it’s just good innit?’

    In reality it’s a mindless term used by mindless twats.

  30. Myburning ears

    I am reminded of the late, great Peter Simple who wisely advised people to ‘cling on to their old prejudices’ lest they have another set of ‘no prejudices’ imposed on them, and who also invented a device for measuring prejudice – ‘The prejudometer’ – a measurement of prejudice ‘the prejudon’ and I think the Lawrence scale (after Stephen Lawrence) to measure it. Little did he realise some people would not recognise the skit as satirical but would take it as a blueprint!

    Dongguan John

    The word needs to be excised from the English language or at the very least redefined as ‘throwing out centuries old traditions because I don’t like them personally and rationalising this based on intellectual diarrhoea and my own prejudices.’

    It is absolutely, a term beloved of the mindlessly idiotic (Ritchie, Owen Jones, Toynbee, Milne, Monbiot, Arnald) and anyone describing themselves as it ought to be viewed with extreme scepticism and hostility….

  31. Does anyone know what Dave Trueman is referring to on his PAYE/Insolvency/Charity back and forth with Richie in “Who were the Auditors?”. I’ve somehow missed this one.

  32. “Progress”-suggest it’s the Hegelian idea that crept in thru’ Marx-recall that “Scientific Socialism” proposes movement to the higher state of communism as a matter of scientific certainty, thus enabling socialists to call themselves “progressive” even whilst stealing and murdering.
    The proposition is entirely metaphysical but very useful for the seekers of power-von Mises states that the claimed ineluctable nature of “progress” is the single most important factor in the success of Marxist socialism.

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