Monday, November 19, 2018

Two kinds of globaliser

Paul Embery is a British trade union official. He describes himself as a socialist. You are probably thinking right now that he is some sort of SJW globalist type.

But he isn't. He is part of a "Blue Labour" movement (of which I know very little) and his analysis of globalisation is excellent. He writes of the resistance movements to globalisation that,
they are, for the most part, defensive crusades against rapid cultural and demographic change, against the rapacious and disruptive power of global finance, and the weakening of democracy and sovereignty at the hands of remote and unaccountable institutions.

For 40 years, the nation state found itself caught in a pincer movement, assailed by two kinds of globaliser: on one flank, the economic globalisers in the form of the multinationals and speculators, the totems of neoliberal ideology, with their demands for access-all-areas and reductions in regulations, including controls over capital and labour; and, on the other, the political globalisers in the form of a cultural elite whose brand of cosmopolitan liberalism and internationalism became so dominant within our modern establishment.

The first stood to benefit in the form of greater global clout and increased profits; the second from the advance to their desired destination of a borderless world, in which we all exist alongside each other in a diverse and liberal utopia under the benevolent patronage of assorted wise technocrats. Both groups had little more than the bare minimum of loyalty to the nation.

This seems right to me. You have right liberals who are the "economic globalisers". They are more than happy to reshape individuals into interchangeable (fungible) units of production and consumption within a global marketplace (with the assumption that it is right for these individuals to seek their rational self-interest within the market).

Then you have the left liberals who are "humanist" in the sense of rejecting real, historic communities in favour of a single global one, and who wish to govern this one permissible form of community via global institutions run by a class of benevolent experts. This belief in a class of bureaucratic experts running people's lives was expressed back in 1928 by the Fabian socialist Beatrice Webb who spoke of,
our common faith in a deliberately organised society – our belief in the application of science to human relations … the common people, served by an elite of unassuming experts

Paul Embery describes well the significance of national identity to most people and the hostility of those on the left toward it:
There was, however, a slight problem: the masses wouldn’t wear it. Their sense of attachment to nation was inviolable, born not from some sense of national or racial superiority, but simply passed down the generations through tradition, social mores, history, culture and language. Nationhood, for many, goes to the heart of what it means to feel a sense of place and belonging, to be part of something greater than oneself. Disrupt that with sudden and large-scale flows of population and money, while at the same time limiting the opportunity to do anything about it at the ballot box, and you’ll get blowback.

For globalisation means different things for different people. If you have power, wealth, and education and broad cultural horizons, you may ride its waves on to the golden sands. But what you won’t see is the little people whom those same waves have buffeted on to the rocks. For them, amid the tumult, the nation state represents a lifeboat.

Of course, for the modern Left, there is not mere indifference nor absence of loyalty to the nation state; there is a visceral hatred for it. Few understand how deeply this hatred runs. It is repelled by any demonstration of attachment to country, no matter how benign or understated. Such sentiments, especially if they relate to England, can, in their own minds, stem only from innate xenophobia or racism.

...In elevating the global over the local, and the cosmopolitan over the communitarian, the liberal and cultural elites stretched the democratic elastic beyond breaking point. They took the words of John Lennon’s Imagine and tried to apply them literally. But their promised land turned out, for millions, to be a desolate wilderness. In short, they forgot the politics of belonging, and they are now paying the price electorally throughout the West. Serves them right.

It's important not to skim over the observations made here by Paul Embery. If you were to try to answer the question "what is the nature of man and his purposes", then one part of the answer would be man's relational nature and that one part of who we are is derived from our membership of an ethny - a people with distinct forms of relatedness (biological, cultural, historic, linguistic and so on). An ethny is a "body of people" and we are a member of this body - we have an existence within it. To be cut away from this body of which we are a part is a radical type of alienation, with a loss of transcendence (of belonging to something larger than ourselves) and a loss of a deeper form of connectedness to a particular people, culture and place. One whole aspect of our existence is lost to us - and it is difficult not to link the maladies so prevalent in the West to this disordering of our lives.

A note to Melbourne readers. If you are sympathetic to the ideas of this website, please visit the site of the Melbourne Traditionalists. It's important that traditionalists don't remain isolated from each other; our group provides a great opportunity for traditionalists to meet up and connect. Details at the website.


  1. I'm actually rather shocked at how eloquently Embery manages to diagnose the problem in that first quote.

    Pincer movement is indeed an apt description.

    1. Yes, he has a good understanding of the way that the mainstream right and left end up working together to promote globalisation.

  2. Paul Embery is a British trade union official. He describes himself as a socialist.

    I've been of the view for quite some time that there is no hope of salvation coming from the Right. Rightwing populism has very little appeal. If there is hope for salvation it will have to come from dissidents on the Left. It will have to come from a revival of old-fashioned socialism. It will have to come from leftists who reject the social justice fraud as a betrayal of socialism.

    I don't think the prospects are good, but I think they're brighter than the prospects of salvation from the Right.

    1. No chance. The left liberals are in the driver's seat. They have no need to compromise.

      I agree it would be better If the change against Liberalism came from the left, but the reality is dissident voices are more likely to get play amongst those who keep losing all the time as opposed to those on an almost century long uninterrupted winning streak.

    2. but the reality is dissident voices are more likely to get play amongst those who keep losing all the time as opposed to those on an almost century long uninterrupted winning streak.

      But the key point to understand is the the Left has not been on a winning streak. The Left has lost every significant battle in the past 50 years. I"m speaking of the actual Left, the economic Left, the socialist Left. We've seen the trade union movement all but destroyed. We've seen capitalism triumphant. We've seen real wages steadily falling. We've seen working conditions worsening. We've seen job security disappear. We've seen rampant deregulation. We've seen public assets sold off.

      All that needs to happen is for enough people to figure out that what calls itself the Left these days (the Democrats, the Tories, academia, the BBC, social media, etc) is actually far right on economic issues. Then maybe, and OK it's a very very big maybe, but maybe a genuine Left can re-emerge.

    3. The Left cares about conformity and being on the 'right side of history' rather than anything classically Marxist.

  3. This guy has absolutely no chance. You're not allowed to be that correct and still be accepted as a leftist.

  4. I've always had a more Marxist view of Cosmopolitanism, i.e. Cosmopolitanism is an ideology that comes from economic relations, rather than being a separate 'thing'. Ideology (ruling ideas) always serve the ruling class and it is distributed through the media, academia, education (indoctrination), politicians and HR departments.

    Cosmopolitan Liberalism is perfectly suited to consumption and increasing overall, equal-opportunity participation in the consumption market. It encourages female consumption via Feminism. It rejoices when new, foreign participants enter the consumption and labour markets via immigration. Homosexuality is celebrated because gays have a lot of disposable income and are great consumers. All of this serves the financial interests of the elites. Equal-opportunity participation in the consumption market is the highest virtue.

    Humanism is a fake morality that comes with little or no personal cost and high conformity. It encourages feel-good sentiments, virtue-signalling, patronising attitudes to the those less well of, and a lack of personal responsibility. Humanism is full of resentment for personal impotencies and failures, hypocrisy/double standards, and blames easy targets for society's problems (e.g. RWNJs, Murdoch press) rather than taking a hard, uncomfortable, politically-incorrect look at the causes of problem. It sees dissidents who notice problems as the problem, not the problems themselves, as they break the happy denialist consensus and bring unpleasant feelings and implications. Dissidents and non-conformists are ignorant/bigoted/racist/unprogressive/deplorable. Importantly, Humanism encourages materialistic comparisons and envy, which supports consumption as a means of gaining social status. Humanists loves to virtue-signal about their choice of consumer products (fair trade, vegan, renewables, foreign dishes) to show how enlightened and progressive they are. It is a perfect social complement to economic globalism.

    Summary: economic globalism and social cosmopolitanism complement each other, with the former giving rise to the latter, and the latter supporting the former, rather than these being two separate things.