Blimey, Paul Mason’s trying it on, inn’e?

During the era of perestroika, under Gorbachev, many people experienced a sudden “break in consciousness”, as realisation dawned that the fall was imminent. But until then most people behaved, spoke and even thought as if the Soviet system was permanent. And despite their cynicism about its brutality, they went on parades, participated in meetings and performed the rituals demanded by the state.

Since Trump’s victory in November 2016, it has become possible to believe a similar collapse will happen in the west, to globalisation and liberal values.

The parallels are obvious. We too have lived for 30 years under an economic system that proclaimed its own permanence. Globalisation was an unstoppable natural process; free-market economics simply the natural state of things.

Yes, yes, an economic system which managed no increase at all in total factor productivity in its 70 years of existence is just the same, exactly so, as an economic system which in 30 years has produced the greatest reduction in human poverty in the history of our species.

No, seriously, it’s exactly the same.

36 thoughts on “Blimey, Paul Mason’s trying it on, inn’e?”

  1. Tim you make an important distinction between the two on the economic front, perhaps Mason being more of a Political animal is making the point about political consent and support.

    I myself am feeling that too, as much as I am a business liberal I pretty much hate my own class and want to see a bonfire of their institutions, parties and finances at the moment. Rather rethink and re-argue all the base political points than carry on. A retaking of the political above the tired apolitical management that has left an unsatisfying mark on our society and wider culture.

    It is the first time in my life I have seen the establishment actually under threat and showing signs they can be toppled. Mason is echoing something here.

  2. Since Trump’s victory in November 2016, it has become possible to believe a similar collapse will happen in the west, to globalisation and liberal values.

    Lol. Fucking madness.

  3. @Rob Harris
    “Tim you make an important distinction between the two on the economic front, perhaps Mason being more of a Political animal is making the point about political consent and support.”
    I agree, although of course Mason wants more of things that people don’t like – unlimited immigration etc.

  4. The love of his life died 25 years ago. He still thinks of her every day.

    How natural to compare and contrast today with his beloved Soviet Union. Even if he has to make it up.

  5. From the article:

    “Since I’ve been here, almost everyone who has chosen to come and hear me is involved in either contemporary arts or philosophy. The journalists who want to interview me – a public critic of Putin’s policy in Syria and Ukraine – mainly write for cultural magazines. These, if not exactly the new rock’n’roll, are the safest intellectual spaces in which critical thought can take place.”

    No, it’s not because arts coverage is a ‘safe space’, it’s because people who know economics think you are wrong, and people who know politics think you are an apologist for a form of government that murders it’s peoples on an industrial scale.

  6. Rob Harries,

    “It is the first time in my life I have seen the establishment actually under threat and showing signs they can be toppled. Mason is echoing something here.”

    The problem is that Mason doesn’t understand what the “toppling” means. People like him think that there’s an army of Marxists out there wanting to replace neoliberalism with Marxism. And that’s not the complaint. It’s somewhat the reverse of that – it’s about the non-market stuff that government is still doing: the BBC getting paid under threat of violence, bailing out the banks, foreign aid. It’s why I’m glad we’re rid of Cameron because he never grasped this, but I think May does to some extent.

  7. Gamecock

    That is one of the most accurate comments ever. Quite why the man has never been subject to investigation by the security services is quite beyond my comprehension.

  8. I have been to Kazan – the capital of Tatarstan – which is a great city. The Tatars are an interesting lot too and I imagine most wouldn’t give the time of day to this post-CCCP loon.

    His bulbous nose seems to be inflating alarmingly too. Soon he’ll be unable to see beyond it if it keeps going at its current rate

  9. “Quite why the man has never been subject to investigation by the security services is quite beyond my comprehension.”

    What makes you think he hasn’t been?

  10. There has been a significant recent uptick in the genre of scare stories from left-wing journos and academics saying “democracy itself is failing and about to collapse” – and it’s notably shifted away from “capitalism is failing and about to collapse”.

    The driver for this is that the voters will insist on by and large rejecting the religious tenets of socialism (“I know it’s always failed before and led to oppression, misery and death but we need to try it again – and HARDER this time”) and placing their faith in “the other lot”, those fascists that we don’t talk about in Hampstead.

    For a little while the left is in retreat, all across the Western world, and it’s a glorious thing to see. The buggers will come back though, all they need is a decent crisis to hang the blame on.

  11. Problem is that people like Mason see “neoliberal globallism” or whatever as some shadowy conspiracy perpetrated by lizard people or whatnot.

    Hence why to him it seems natural that one conspiracy could be “toppled” and replaced with…. an actual conspiracy like Marxism.

    He really, really cannot get his head round the idea that the broad lines of the current system are simply what comes into being when people are free to interact economically. Unlike various forms of Marxism, which have to be imposed by force.

    Funny who those who wish that the economy was run as *their* conspiracy are convinced that it already *is* run as a conspiracy…

  12. John Square

    “No, it’s not because arts coverage is a ‘safe space’”

    “Arts” with a capital A is basically just a little irrelevant club, like people who go to furry conventions, or are into Warhammer. I mean, nice if you’re into furrydom or Warhammer, but neither have much bearing outside of the group.

    No-one with any real talent works in “Art”. They go and work for Pixar or Studio Ghibli, or they make adverts for Guinness. You can pretty much see the dividing line when Claude Renoir’s son didnt go into painting, but into filmmaking. Around the same time, you had Michael Powell making beautiful films like Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes. You get past WW2 and what great paintings are there? “Art” either goes meta like Warhol, or up its own arse.

    These galleries and installations just shouldn’t really exist. They even have people producing art films and showing them in galleries. Why not just stick it on YouTube (which is the new artistic frontier).

  13. The Inimitable Steve

    Since I’ve been here, almost everyone who has chosen to come and hear me is involved in either contemporary arts or philosophy.

    Presumably the hairdressers, jingle writers and telephone sanitisers were too busy.

    In the face of this, why do Russian artists, philosophers and journalists persist in their belief in change?

    The Soros/EU/CIA cheques keep cashing.

    But there’s one big difference. The dissidents of the late Soviet era fought for democracy and human rights under the general concept of “the west”. For us, if xenophobic populism triumphs, there will be no “west” to aspire to: if liberal, democratic societies begin to go the way of Orbán’s Hungary, there will be no external power to help us.

    Paul Mason’s vision of “the West” is a mosque on every street corner and an autistic EU Directive to regulate everything you’re allowed to do.

    Our last great hope will be ourselves. And there are enough of us to stop this second great collapse towards oligarchy and nationalism. We are networked, aware, educated and – for now – psychologically resilient.

    All those psychologically resilient people who shat themselves and donned safety pins after the European referendum and US elections didn’t go their way are going to save “the west” and its timeless values of unlimited immigration and dildos in primary schools. Don’t laugh.

    Imagine a flying column of peevish Guardianistas throwing down their fairtrade soy lattes and mounting their Prius war chariots. Vroom vroom! Bet you’re scared now, bigots.

  14. dearieme

    There’s records of him having been arraigned and tried for treason as a Soviet or PRC agent? Slightly odd that even the Guardian, let alone Channel 4 would consider him for employment having that kind of background?

  15. The inimitable Steve

    ‘Imagine a flying column of peevish Guardianistas throwing down their fairtrade soy lattes and mounting their Prius war chariots. Vroom vroom! Bet you’re scared now, bigots’.

    That is in fairness quite a terrifying vision to I imagine most people on here – whether ISIS Mark 2 or another Islamic caliphate will find it scary is another matter of course….

  16. TIS: “Since I’ve been here, almost everyone who has chosen to come and hear me is involved in either contemporary arts or philosophy.

    Presumably the hairdressers, jingle writers and telephone sanitisers were too busy.”

    Steve once again showing why he’s inimitable…

  17. Hasn’t the West’s ‘economic system’ been going for over 200 years…. since the Industrial Revolution?

  18. The Other Bloke in Italy

    Van_P

    I don’t know how it is now, but long ago there was a file on every Leftie. Arraignments were unnecessary, but the files were employed to keep the actively seditious out of the Civil Service. The Groan, not so much.

    Dearieme will know this from his academic days. I had a spell at university and one of my tutors was actively recruiting students into the Far Left, while another was keeping MI5 informed about who fell for it.

  19. Since Trump’s victory in November 2016, it has become possible to believe a similar collapse will happen in the west, to globalisation and liberal values.

    Yeah, whatever.

    When are these guys going to stop pulling on their penises?

  20. In unrelated news, an Italian glamour model is offering to suck off No voters in their recent referendum. My kind of politics.

    Madonna thought of it first, but I’ve been unable to confirm that anyone took her up on it.

    After all, nobody can be sure where that mouth has been.

  21. I have been to Kazan – the capital of Tatarstan – which is a great city.

    Me too. I saw a Turkish electrician fall from the ceiling of the new Mega Mall, which my friend was building on behalf of Ikea. Most amusing, mainly thanks to the Turk not being hurt.

  22. There’s records of him having been arraigned and tried for treason as a Soviet or PRC agent? Slightly odd that even the Guardian, let alone Channel 4 would consider him for employment having that kind of background?

    I’d have thought such a background would have made him a shoo-in.

  23. “The safest intellectual spaces in which critical thought can take place.”

    I presume he means Critical Theory here.

  24. The KGB used to be quite particular about whom they hired as agents. It’s been reported that they rejected Tony Benn as being too erratic, too untrustworthy, and too stupid.

  25. The other bloke in Italy

    I have no doubt they were keeping tabs on him but my surprise is once they have exposed such a person, why are they not arresting him and arraigning him on treason charges – surely they have an obligation to protect the country from enemies both foreign and domestic and he surely qualifies as just such an enemy.

    Tim Newman

    When you put it like that……..

    Dearieme

    Agreed – I think Jez Corbyn was rejected as an agent for the same reason – too unreliable, esoteric….. The characterisation of Benn spot on. Foot on the other hand had a lengthy careeer as an ‘Agent of influence’

  26. It isnt the serious philosophers who listen to this cretin. Serious philosophers are very clever and occasionally wander into other social sciences and crush the denizens with their intellect.

  27. Tim – in your comparison of the two systems you seem somehow to have forgotten about the 100million murders – a minor issue I appreciate…

  28. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Mason was 29 when the Wall came down and 31 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. Does anyone think he was not utterly heartbroken during this period?

  29. Serious philosophers are very clever and occasionally wander into other social sciences and crush the denizens with their intellect.

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. Thanks!

  30. You all should stand back and look at the world. Schools teaching homosexuality, universities teaching white privilege.
    The general population getting fatter and fatter. And more self indulgent.
    If you don’t as a group all collapse – you ought to.

  31. Tim – are you correcting for debt?

    Because my grandparents lived frugal lives, but my dad drove a Ferrari.

    For a while.

    Now he lives under a bridge drinking meths.

  32. -Van_Patten

    “I have no doubt they were keeping tabs on him but my surprise is once they have exposed such a person, why are they not arresting him and arraigning him on treason charges – surely they have an obligation to protect the country from enemies both foreign and domestic and he surely qualifies as just such an enemy.”

    Ecksitis is infectious. Purge it!

  33. So Much For Subtlety

    ken – “Serious philosophers are very clever and occasionally wander into other social sciences and crush the denizens with their intellect.”

    Don’t know many serious philosophers then do you? I would recommend Colin McGinn’s Moral Literacy, or how to do the right thing. A more boring wisp of platitudinous hot air you are unlikely to find.

    He actually gets paid for that. So do the people who write the advice columns in Women’s Magazines but at least they provide some intellectual depth.

  34. Presumably the hairdressers, jingle writers and telephone sanitisers were too busy.”

    You see this is one of the fundamental problems. You get people who come from the same privileged backgrounds, went to the same public schools, yet one turns out alright (like Tim W.) for example, yet the other turns out a complete leftist moron.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that its the Golgafrincham DNA kicking in rather than the Earth Monkey DNA. Hence you get idiots like Paul Mason on the telly when he should clearly be keeping those telephones nice and hygienic.

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