Summer Fundraiser 2015, Day Five
Here we are at the fifth day of the fundraiser, and this has been an eventful week so far. Yesterday I took care of the resource problem posed by our car — I spent most of the afternoon at the repair place, but the problem is fixed, and it didn’t break the bank, thank the Lord.
Then last night I got a nasty case of the trots (or, as they say in Bradford, “Mohammed’s Revenge”). That put me out of action for a while, but I woke up this morning feeling normal again, ready to get back in the traces.
For those who just arrived: this is the one week of the summer quarter when we grab our readers by the ankles, turn them upside down, and shake them until the change drops out of their pockets.
Contrary to what HOPE not hate, Imran Hussain, and the Grauniad might think, this blog is not funded by the Israeli government, or right-wing billionaires, or conservative think tanks. The wherewithal to keep it going — and to keep the electricity on and food in the fridge here at Schloss Bodissey — arrives in the form of modest donations from individual readers. So if you appreciate what we do here — and what Vlad does, because we give him a cut — please look for the tip cup on the sidebar of the main page and make it clink.
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The theme of the current bleg is “Resources”, and this week’s whimsy of circumstance has provide ample food for thought on the topic. Not just the car, and the phone, and the internet connection, but the attempt by the Red-Green alliance of the British establishment to bring legal force to bear against us.
It made me think about the Soviet Union during the days of Stalin’s rule. As is now well-known, accurate information was generally hard to come by for the leadership of the U.S.S.R. The system they designed and built did not encourage or reward the propagation of accurate information. Quite the contrary, in fact: it encouraged the propagation of falsehoods, provided that they supported the Narrative. And the Narrative, of course, was dictated at any given moment by the Central Committee of the Politburo.
When Comrade Stalin requested, say, the latest statistics for iron ore production, it was not at all in the interests of the Commissar for Mineral Resources or his subordinates to provide figures that showed their output was well under the target set by the Five-Year Plan. They all knew that to do so would put them on the next train to the gulag, or get them dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night and shot. Thus there were enormous incentives at every level of the system for them to fudge production statistics and tell the Leader what he wished to hear. And if the managers of the tank factories were unable to acquire enough ore to meet their own quotas — why, that was their problem. Let them fudge their own statistics!
Such is the nature of totalitarian rule. Pursuit and dissemination of accurate information is not encouraged. The truth is not highly regarded. What matters is not what is true, but what reinforces the Narrative.
“But, Baron,” you say, “what does that have to do with Britain or America in 2015? We don’t live under totalitarian rule.”
Ah, well — that’s the interesting part. The oligarchs who rule us under a veneer of democratic choice have gone one better that Stalin: they have devised a system to keep their citizens under tight control without jackboots or neck-shots or slave labor camps. Control is exercised primarily through financial means. The system generates a level of wealth upon which ordinary people become dependent, so that its withdrawal is to be avoided by any means. The dreaded IRS and Inland Revenue, rather than the KGB and the Stasi, act as the enforcement arm of the system. Even when the authorities resort to legal action against dissidents, the purpose of the procedure is not to obtain a conviction — although that is always to be welcomed — but to impoverish the target. Just ask Geert Wilders how much his two acquittals cost him.