Review of “Cultural Revolution, Culture War” by Sean Gabb « Foseti


The book is a blueprint for a reactionary takeover of the British government (thanks to Kalim Kassam – I think – for the recommendation).

Gabb suffers from no illusions, as he makes clear early on: "The truth is that we have lost every argument at any level that matters. On all issues during the past quarter century or more, we have failed to set an agenda to preserve—let alone to re-establish—ourselves as the free citizens of an independent country. We have lost."

I have very little to quibble with in this book. Gabb sees clearly identifies the problems that modern reactionaries face. Our opponents control government (which has become more and more immune to change) our education system and most of our culture. They are importing a new people to further cement their power.

After discussing the problem, Gabb discusses what a reactionary movement would do in power. Here’s a summary in his own words:

I suggest, therefore, that within days of coming into power, we ought to shut down large parts of the public sector. . . .

The chief purpose is to destroy the present ruling class. Moving as fast as we can, we must abolish as much as we can of its institutional means of action and support. . . .

Our education policy would need to be more complex. On the one hand, we should cut off all state funding to the universities. We might allow some separate transitional support for a few science departments. But we should be careful not to allow another penny of support for any Economics or Law or Sociology or Government and Politics department, or for any course with the words “media”, “gender”, or “ethnicity” in its name. . . .

On the other hand, we would have to keep the schools open—not because their teaching is needed, but because of their childminding function. Most people would neither notice nor care about losing things like the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy, but they would object to having to find somewhere else to put their little ones during the day. Therefore, the schools would stay open. . . .

Following from this, I suggest that our government of reaction should stop gathering and publishing official information. We should want no more censuses, or balance of payments statistics, or epidemiological surveys—no more government reports or future projections. . . .

I would like to see the abolition of both income tax and value added tax and their replacement with property taxes. These are simple to assess and collect, and cannot be used to justify the sort of financial inquisition that we now have. . . .

And so I will make it clear that when I talk about a free market, I do not mean a legal framework within which giant corporations are able to squeeze their suppliers, shut down their small competitors and socialise their workers into human sheep. I have already said I would not defend the landed interest. I would very strongly favour an attack on the structures of corporate capitalism. . . .

The Company Acts allow them to incorporate so that their directors and shareholders can evade their natural responsibilities in contract and tort. They are, for this reason, privileged in law. The alleged justification is that, without such limiting of liability, ordinary people would not invest money in organisations that provide us with necessary or useful products. The institution is, however, undesirable. . . .

Above all, we should work towards the abolition of limited liability. . . .

I would suggest abolishing all new criminal offences created since around 1960. . . .

As a libertarian, I would go further and repeal all the laws against sale and possession of recreational drugs, and all the laws against the right to keep and use weapons for defence. . . .

On the other hand, the Monarchy has been co-opted by the present ruling class as a front organisation. Its function now is to persuade the unreflective that there have been no fundamental changes. The reign of our present Queen has been, so far as I can tell, one long and uncomplaining surrender to the forces of revolution. . . .

Wherever possible, ancient forms should be preserved in their outward appearance and adapted to modern uses. After all, one of the main reasons why the Great Revolution failed in France was the wanton abandoning of symbols that restrained the will of men to unbridled power. . . .

But turning to foreign policy in general, we should work towards isolationism. The war in Iraq is now generally accepted to have been a disaster. But so is the war in Afghanistan. So was the war with Serbia. The Cold War and the two world wars served no valuable national interest. We should withdraw from NATO and every other military alliance. We need armed forces sufficient to defend our own territory. We should not pretend that it is either our duty or our ability to join in policing the world.

He then gets a bit wishy-washy on immigration. He considers this proposal to be radical, and it is, but I’m not sure it’s radical enough to dislodge the present ruling class. He cites two examples of direct frontal attacks working to destroy a ruling class: Henry VIII destroying the "Roman Church in England" and the events of 1641. Unfortunately that was probably the last time that any attacks worked. Progressivism is undefeated since then.

His plan for taking over government is much less inspiring:

My answer in the short term is that we must assist in the destruction of the Conservative Party. While it remains in being as a potential vehicle of government, every initiative from our movement will be taken over and neutralised. . . .

The present ruling class came to power not all at once, but by a silent capture, over several decades, of the main cultural and administrative institutions. We may not by the same means be able to dislodge it from this power. But we can bring forward the moment when the ruling class will eventually run out of commitment, and begins to transform itself into an increasingly timid ancien régime. Remember, these people are at war not just with us, but with reality itself. That war must always be lost in the end. . . .

The book is an interesting read, but I’m not sure a revolution by democratic means is possible.

Review of “Cultural Revolution, Culture War” by Sean Gabb « Foseti

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5 responses to “Review of “Cultural Revolution, Culture War” by Sean Gabb « Foseti

  1. A very good plug, and I think also very fair. I also am of the opinion that a democratic revolution is now no longer possible. Too much ability to deploy patent force, subtle coercion, threats of identity-removal, asset-seizure, non-personing and removal of one’s children into “night and fog” (Nacht und Nebel) can now be profferred to recusants and dissidents.

    This is indeed a very important book, probably the most crucial thing Sean has ever written. There is probably no way peaceful way forwards now, in the lifetimes of most of us or our children or theirs or even theirs, to the sort of society we nearly had 100 years ago. I look, I think, to the 2200s or the 2300s, barring either natural or GreeNazi-initiated-disasters, to liberation.

  2. “I also am of the opinion that a democratic revolution is now no longer possible. Too much ability to deploy patent force, subtle coercion, threats of identity-removal, asset-seizure, non-personing and removal of one’s children into “night and fog” (Nacht und Nebel) can now be profferred to recusants and dissidents.”

    And the most subtle of all… we are about to be sold the ‘pup’ of AV! Not that it makes too much difference which lot are nominally in charge, AV will make it more difficult to remove whoever happens to be the current incumbent. Look how NuLab so nearly hung on to power last year despite losing so clearly.

    Italy is often cited as a ‘basket case’ because they’ve had so many ‘governments’ since WW2, but in fact, although the governments supposedly change, with ministers playing musical chairs with the offices of state available, the personalities tend to remain the same. At least with FPTP the personalities are swapped – although as I’ve already said, it’s quite hard to tell the difference!

    Finally, the way that votes are redistributed makes it unlikely that most people will understand the result of an election or how it was arrived at. FPTP may not be perfect, but at least it’s easy to understand, and therefore far harder for politcians to rig or “explain” the result.

    Sorry, this is a bit off-topic (more a reply to David’s point). I have read “Cultural Revolution, Culture War” and liked it a lot – sadly not much chance of the remedies discussed being applied, imho.

  3. I’m coming round to your view of AV. If it were as good as we are told, would it be seriously on offer?

  4. C H Ingoldby

    AV seems to be just another complication of the democratic process. Any complication inevitably means a dilution of the expression of the peoples will and thus the entrenching of the Statist class.

    When they offer direct votes, on issues choosen by the people, then i will be interested.

    In the meantime, this quote from the book seems to me to be most pertinent, ‘a silent capture, over several decades, of the main cultural and administrative institutions.’ How about imitating that successful action?

  5. “Finally, the way that votes are redistributed makes it unlikely that most people will understand the result of an election or how it was arrived at. FPTP may not be perfect, but at least it’s easy to understand, and therefore far harder for politcians to rig or “explain” the result.”

    As if to confirm that point, I received my Electoral Commission pamphlet explaining the choices in the forthcoming referendum.

    It takes 1 diagram, and approximately 3/4 of a page to explain FPTP.

    It takes 3 diagrams, and 2 3/4 pages to explain AV.

    ‘Nuff said.