Why Ken Loach is a stupid-head and ‘poverty’ is a myth

I have that thing where lots of people are angry with a headline rather than an actual article, about Ken Loach. Actually the article’s not really about Ken Loach, it’s about Christopher Lasch, but as I was writing it I noticed the director’s call for a revolt against the elites. What interests me is how unlikely and archaic this now seems, because across the western world working-class votes are going to the Right: Labour is now third among working-class… Read on

On Christopher Lasch and Steve Bannon

At Spectator Coffee House Last week, there was an interesting profile of another anti-establishment type, Steve Bannon, who is seen as one of the intellectuals behind the Trump regime. This passage, highlighted by Rod Dreher, shows what a revolutionary air there is about him. It brought to mind Christopher Lasch’s prophetic 1994 work The Revolt of the Elites, which I think is essential to understand what is happening now. Lasch, who died before his great work was published, saw… Read on

Airbnb’s odd criticism of Trump doesn’t add up

From the Spectator Coffee House We use Airbnb quite a bit, both as hosts and guests, and it is a fantastic business. On top of the extra cash it allows people to earn, it does bring some solid social benefits, perhaps the biggest of which is that, because of online reputations, it encourages people to behave in a very civil and considerate way. It also encourages trade, exchange and interaction with people from different parts of the world. This… Read on

The rise of the British spiritual empire

From the Spectator Coffee House The decline of Britishness directly goes hand-in-hand with its transformation into an ideology, complete with a set of values attached. Military empires are often followed by spiritual empires after the initial political entity collapses. The Assyrians, for example, still projected huge influence through what westerners called the ‘Nestorian Church’, spreading the faith (and Assyrian culture) as far as China. The fall of Rome was followed by the rise of Roman Catholicism, which preserved and projected… Read on

It’s easy to forget how unnatural it is to tolerate views we disagree with

From Spectator Coffee House Most of us have grown up in such comfortable, peaceful political cultures that we easily forget how unnatural it is to tolerate worldviews and opinions we strongly disagree with; in the English-speaking world it took hundreds of years to achieve this lucky situation, but in much of the planet it is still a mirage. It’s probably more fragile than we think because many people’s actual attachment to democratic liberal principles are pretty wafer-thin when it… Read on

Star Wars is the perfect analogy for the decline of America

From Spectator Coffee House Other great examples of Ottomanism include Hamilton and the Harry Potter series; Ottomanism is not unhappy with other non-progressive ideas, such as hierarchy or inequality. Women must be empowered but then individual women were often very powerful in the least liberal of societies, such as the Ottoman Empire. What defines Ottomanism is what it is against – ethnic nationalism. I can see the Star Wars series increasingly becoming an analogy for the decline of the… Read on

How the Catholic Church created democracy

From Spectator Coffee House The difference family structure makes can be seen in the contrast between southern and northern Italy, where the rate of historic cousin marriage correlates highly with the Mafia index, corruption levels and even how much people cheat at school tests. This is why Sonny Corleone berates his brother for joining the army, those signing up being ‘a bunch of saps because they risk their lives for strangers’. As he tells his sibling: ‘Your country ain’t… Read on

Germany is facing a ticking time bomb of rage

Spectator Coffee House In fact, Merkel’s policies have some pretty serious implications for Germany in the future. I’ve read many people arguing that it was actually a clever, shrewd policy to admit one million migrants because Germany has a low birth rate and needs more people. Yet the education levels and skill sets of most of the people who have entered in the past 18 months are, by German standards, extremely low; Germany has a fairly high-wage… Read on

‘British values’ are a load of old codswallop

At the Spectator Coffee House Sometimes a combination of news stories crop up that so perfectly sum up the spirit of the age, its absurdities and hypocrisies, that there ought to be a name for it. This week, for instance, I learned that the Home Office had barred three Iraqi and Syrian bishops from entering the country, the same department that quite merrily welcomes some of the most unpleasant hate preachers from the Islamic world. Elsewhere, there was also… Read on

Is democracy in danger?

At the Spectator Coffee House One of the reasons many people are sceptical about democracy is because they’re right to be. There is a fair amount of research suggesting that people power is not necessarily the best system of government. For example, one paper suggests that ‘hereditary monarchs with lots of legal power choose better policy than other systems do, including democracies, non-hereditary dictators, and weak hereditary monarchs, and this is reflected in higher growth.’ On top of this… Read on