The Gilets Jaunes are unstoppable

One of the mysteries to me since Trump’s election has been the steadfast refusal of many intelligent people to contemplate the reasons why he won, why the gilets jaunes are rebelling in France, why the Brexit vote, why anything in the post world War 2 consensus might no longer be applicable, or might have to change. I see a failure of imagination comparable to that of the 1930s, when all well-educated Establishment opinion held that alarms about this Hitler fellow were just Winston Churchill’s bad judgment and war mongering.

The people pointing to the oncoming disaster are mistaken for the disaster itself. The perceptual failure is like the dog who thinks the finger you are using to point with is the thing referred to. You would think people with two university degrees would be smarter, but they are not. In fact the more educated they are, the more resistant to the idea that they might need to adapt their ideas.

I noticed on Facebook pages the first break in the ice-wall. This morning I saw the first reference in my circle of Facebook friends and correspondents to the work of Christophe Guilluy (pronounced Geewee with a hard ‘g’). The article occurred in Spiked, and is called “the gilets jaunes are unstoppable”.

Guilluy produced a study in 2014 called “La France Péripherique” (Peripheral France) that argued that the native French working class no longer lived in the large metropolitan centres of Paris, Toulouse and Lyon, as they had been driven out by real estate prices. They had been replaced by immigrant populations who would build and serve the metropolitan elites, who remain unaware of what is going on in the parts of France (or England) where they no one of their circles lives.

“Technically, our globalised economic model performs well. It produces a lot of wealth. But it doesn’t need the majority of the population to function. It has no real need for the manual workers, labourers and even small-business owners outside of the big cities. Paris creates enough wealth for the whole of France, and London does the same in Britain. But you cannot build a society around this. The gilets jaunes is a revolt of the working classes who live in these places.

They tend to be people in work, but who don’t earn very much, between 1000€ and 2000€ per month. Some of them are very poor if they are unemployed. Others were once middle-class. What they all have in common is that they live in areas where there is hardly any work left. They know that even if they have a job today, they could lose it tomorrow and they won’t find anything else.

spiked: What is the role of culture in the yellow-vest movement?

Guilluy: Not only does peripheral France fare badly in the modern economy, it is also culturally misunderstood by the elite. The yellow-vest movement is a truly 21st-century movement in that it is cultural as well as political. Cultural validation is extremely important in our era.

One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.

The Brexit vote had a lot to do with culture, too, I think. It was more than just the question of leaving the EU. Many voters wanted to remind the political class that they exist. That’s what French people are using the gilets jaunes for – to say we exist. We are seeing the same phenomenon in populist revolts across the world.

spiked: How have the working-classes come to be excluded?

Guilluy: All the growth and dynamism is in the major cities, but people cannot just move there. The cities are inaccessible, particularly thanks to mounting housing costs. The big cities today are like medieval citadels. It is like we are going back to the city-states of the Middle Ages. Funnily enough, Paris is going to start charging people for entry, just like the excise duties you used to have to pay to enter a town in the Middle Ages.

The cities themselves have become very unequal, too. The Parisian economy needs executives and qualified professionals. It also needs workers, predominantly immigrants, for the construction industry and catering et cetera. Business relies on this very specific demographic mix. The problem is that ‘the people’ outside of this still exist. In fact, ‘Peripheral France’ actually encompasses the majority of French people.

spiked: What role has the liberal metropolitan elite played in this?

Guilluy: We have a new bourgeoisie, but because they are very cool and progressive, it creates the impression that there is no class conflict anymore. It is really difficult to oppose the hipsters when they say they care about the poor and about minorities.

But actually, they are very much complicit in relegating the working classes to the sidelines. Not only do they benefit enormously from the globalised economy, but they have also produced a dominant cultural discourse which ostracises working-class people. Think of the ‘deplorables’ evoked by Hillary Clinton. There is a similar view of the working class in France and Britain. They are looked upon as if they are some kind of Amazonian tribe. The problem for the elites is that it is a very big tribe.

The middle-class reaction to the yellow vests has been telling. Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist but this is merely a way of defending their class interests. It is the only argument they can muster to defend their status, but it is not working anymore.

Now the elites are afraid. For the first time, there is a movement which cannot be controlled through the normal political mechanisms. The gilets jaunes didn’t emerge from the trade unions or the political parties. It cannot be stopped. There is no ‘off’ button. Either the intelligentsia will be forced to properly acknowledge the existence of these people, or they will have to opt for a kind of soft totalitarianism.

A lot has been made of the fact that the yellow vests’ demands vary a great deal. But above all, it’s a demand for democracy. Fundamentally, they are democrats – they want to be taken seriously and they want to be integrated into the economic order.

spiked: How can we begin to address these demands?

Guilluy: First of all, the bourgeoisie needs a cultural revolution, particularly in universities and in the media. They need to stop insulting the working class, to stop thinking of all the gilets jaunes as imbeciles.

Cultural respect is fundamental: there will be no economic or political integration until there is cultural integration. Then, of course, we need to think differently about the economy. That means dispensing with neoliberal dogma. We need to think beyond Paris, London and New York.

Christophe Guilluy was talking to Fraser Myers.

I shall watch with interest to see whether the kind of analysis offered by Guilluy will make greater headway among my acquaintances and friends because it comes detached from the kinds of associations that people like Steve Bannon bring with them.

And now for something completely inevitable

 

Theresa May, formerly the Prime Minister of England, has just lost by a huge margin, a vote in Parliament regarding the terms she negotiated with the EU over Brexit. These terms encompassed all the worst aspects of belonging to the EU without any of the benefits of a significant vote in the organization. May is now a zombie. She still occupies the office of Prime Minister but her career is effectively finished. Zombie-like, she will stagger on until someone puts the metaphorical bullet through her head, possibly by internal party revolt. She is enormously self over-rated, and in this she resembles a lot of women in power these days.

 

  1. Britain will leave the European Union, inevitably.
  2. Britain will make free trade agreements with all who want them with her, which includes the US, Canada and the English-speaking countries of the Commonwealth. Probably more will sign up with the UK.
  3.  The EU will last another ten to twenty years, though it will fracture into northern and southern economies, if not into more subgroups.

May is not the only political zombie. So is the EU, though the EU still thinks it is calling the shots.

Some changes take time to unfold. This is one of them.

It started to go bad a long time ago

Sometime ago the elites decided that we are all wrong, and that western civilization needs to be destroyed from inside. Heather MacDonald said this movement of decline and decadence began in the 1960s. She is the author of many good books, The Burden of Bad Ideas published in 2000, is among them.

This is what she sounded like in the year 2000, which is what she says in 2018. She has been right for a long time.

Sally Satel, MD, is worth listening to as well.

Check your aboriginal privilege at the door

I read today the article by Terry Glavin on why yet another attempt to build a pipeline is failing.  It is not a caricature. It is not a spoof. It is the real world outcome of policies launched by our Supreme Court years ago,  and in so far as the Court has consistently done its best to make Canada an ungovernable mess, it is succeeding.

The backers of the pipeline hired Indian groups to do the preparatory wood clearing and road building for $620 million. They obtained the permission of 20 band councils through whose territory the pipeline would pass. Was this enough? No!

“The thing is, it doesn’t much matter what those 20 band councils have to say for themselves. What matters is what the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their clans and their house groups say, and for several years they have been saying, fairly consistently, thanks, but no thanks, no pipeline, no damn way…

…In Wet’suwet’en country, the law is the ancient feast system, and the hereditary chiefs are bound to uphold the law. That’s not just some hippie anthropologist’s point of view, either. It’s the view of the Supreme Court of Canada, in its specific findings in the landmark 1997 Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en case, Delgamuukw versus the Queen. It was the hereditary chiefs who fought and won that court battle. In Wet’suwet’en country, Aboriginal rights and title are vested in the hereditary chiefs and their clans and their house groups.”

In the Supreme Court judgment summary of the Delgamukw case, we read as follows:

The appellants, all Gitksan or Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, both individually and on behalf of their “Houses”, claimed separate portions of 58,000 square kilometres in British Columbia.  For the purpose of the claim, this area was divided into 133 individual territories, claimed by the 71 Houses.  This represents all of the Wet’suwet’en people, and all but 12 of the Gitksan Houses.  Their claim was originally for “ownership” of the territory and “jurisdiction” over it.  (At this Court, this was transformed into, primarily, a claim for aboriginal title over the land in question.)

133 individual territories, claimed by 71 houses. For 1500 to 2000 people, as the Court said. See below.

I continue with the Delgamuukw case because more people should be aware of how profoundly the interest of the larger society of Canada were trammelled and thrown aside by the actions of the Supreme Court.

The issue concerned the treatment by the trial judge of oral histories of the Aboriginal claims, and it was held that he had not properly given them the weight the Supreme Court thought he ought to have done. So the upper court dismissed the judgment of the trial judge, and allowed the claim and a new trial.

The oral histories were used in an attempt to establish occupation and use of the disputed territory which is an essential requirement for aboriginal title.  The trial judge refused to admit or gave no independent weight to these oral histories and then concluded that the appellants had not demonstrated the requisite degree of occupation for “ownership”.  Had the oral histories been correctly assessed, the conclusions on these issues of fact might have been very different.

So are the claims of the Kings of Gondor to be descended from the Andurin of Atlantis to be judged by the oral history of one J.R.R.Tolkien? More close in time, and somewhat more realistic, are the claims of the Kings of Scotland to be the Kings of England to be adjudged by the oral traditions of hereditary clan chiefs of the Celtic Highlands faithful to the Stuart cause? As those clan chieftains recalled in 1975? Or were those claims not finally ended in fire and sword at Culloden?

If the Supreme Court of Canada were adjudicating the legitimacy of the House Windsor to be the legitimate rulers of the United Kingdom the claims would depend on some daft crofters in Skye and Uist who remembered their great grandmothers’ fairy tales of Bonnie Prince Charlie. No serious state should allow a court to determine its legitimacy.

These thoughts may seem absurd and overdrawn. Even I can at times when I can see the dilemma of the courts. They were thrust into the position of inventing law on the spot: to give substance to the term “aboriginal rights” as mentioned in section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act. In the legal treatment of aboriginal rights by our courts we see the action of judges trying to make sense of the claims of the original inhabitants against the claims of the larger society.

Being the good Liberals they were, the Supreme Court was extravagant in its definitions of “aboriginal title”.

Aboriginal title was specifically detached from those traditions specific to the continued maintenance of Indian economic or cultural existence.

Aboriginal title encompasses the right to exclusive use and occupation of the land held pursuant to that title for a variety of purposes, which need not be aspects of those aboriginal practices, customs and traditions which are integral to distinctive aboriginal cultures.  The protected uses must not be irreconcilable with the nature of the group’s attachment to that land.

Terry Glavin’s article on the latest blockades assigns some blame to Trudeau and Premier John Horgan of British Columbia. What did they mean when they said “that their consent should be required, as per the United Nations’ guidance, for industrial developments such as pipelines to proceed in areas subject to some degree of Aboriginal title.”

Let me give you the straight Canadian redneck version of events, and it is very simple, as you would expect. For the political Left, and I include the Supreme Court as a leading exponent of leftism, Indian title is a white-created tool to frustrate economic development. Aboriginals are mascot groups. Thomas Sowell described the use of mascot groups as the way in which liberals show their moral superiority. “See how concerned I am!” In Canada, “aboriginal title” is a tool of left-wing lawyers and courts who are committed to seeing resource extraction come to a halt, so that they simultaneously grow wealthy in court cases and frustrate the legitimate claims of Canadians to participate in the wealth of this country by elevating the claims of bands of one or three thousand over the claims of all the people.

The jurisdictional confusion,  the wrecking of the National Energy Board, the over-consultation, the refusal to throw down the gauntlet at the courts, or even to take them on in reasoned debate, as one ought, suits the interests of the anti-development portions of the Canadian Left.

In the Delgamuukw decision of 1997, the Supreme Court said “Wet’suwet’en consist of approximately 1,500 to 2,000 persons, who also predominantly live in the territory claimed.” Keep that number of people in mind when you read the following paragraph from Terry Glavin.

Whatever the region’s band councils have to say, the Coastal Gaslink pipeline route enters Wet’suwet’en territory at a place called Honeagh Bin, which is under the authority of the Thin House (Yexsowwiten) chief, whose people are members of the Big Frog (Gilseyhyu) clan. The pipeline route then traverses Small Frog (Laksilyu) property held by the House of Many Eyes (Ginehklaiyex), and on and on like this until it passes through the house territories of the Bear/Wolf clan (Gitumd’in), one of whose chiefs, Madeek (Jeff Brown) was a leader at the roadblock the RCMP dismantled on Monday. Eventually, the pipeline route reaches Talbiits Kwa, another Big Frog territory, which is where the Unist’ot’en have been controlling traffic on the forest service road for the past several years. The route then leaves Wet’suwet’en country at Lho Kwah, and enters the Haisla Nation territory. The Haisla are organized mainly into the Kitamaat First Nation, which generally supports the LNG Canada project.

We have reached an absurd point when such intra-tribal arcana is required to be considered when we try to make pipelines work. We are endowing villages of backwoodsmen the might, majesty, and power of states. If they were white, we would see the situation much more as Billy-Bob MacAuslan and his  clan of rednecks holding up the pipeline against the will of the Tysons down the valley who want it. I do not deny Billy-Bob his agency or his human rights, but they do not include his right to reduce our GNP because the moral equivalent of his teddy bear told him so, or because his ancient clan animosities require him to oppose whatever project the tribe of ancient enemies over the next mountain range favours, nor even when he believes a pipeline is not in his interest.

We invented statehood for a reason. One of the main ones was to bring an end to the power of local lords.  Canada should not be prevented from being a state because Billy-Bob Delgamuukw thinks he is heir to the Winged Serpent, the Holy Grail, the Revelations of the Spirit Bear, or the Second Attention. He is just a guy living in the woods. He has been consulted, and he doesn’t want a pipeline. Too bad. Buy him out (at a reasonable price) and build the thing.

 

 

 

 

James Damore encore

You have all heard of the firing of James Damore, who had the bravery to object to the prevailing ideology at Google, namely that the absence or scarcity of women in some engineering roles at Google was the result of bias and  unlawful discrimination, rather than self selection and natural differences between men and women.

The process inside of Google of having him isolated and punished, and further wrecking his chances after his firing, is described in this article in Gizmodo.

Our response after we fired him was equally disgraceful. We were supposed to have a Town Hall TGIF to answer employees’ questions about the controversy. However, after questions started coming in that we couldn’t reasonably answer, we had to cancel it. We shifted the blame onto “alt-right trolls” and have avoided talking about it openly since then.

To control the narrative, we planted stories with journalists and flexed Google’s muscles where necessary. In exchange for insider access and preferential treatment, all we ask for is their loyalty. For online media, Google’s ads pay their paycheck and our search brings their customers, so our influence shouldn’t be underestimated.

We dealt with his NLRB  -National Labor Relations Board – case in a similar way. People are ultimately lazy, so we found a sympathetic lawyer in the NLRB and wrote the internal NLRB memo for her. No one wanted to spend the effort to oppose it, despite it being laughably weak. Then, after Damore dropped his NLRB case and filed a class action lawsuit, we had the NLRB publicly release their memo. Our PR firms sent press releases saying “the NLRB ruled the firing legal”, which was, of course, manufactured bullshit.

All of our scheming was over the phone, in deleted emails, or through an external PR firm, so we can deny all of it. Now that we’ve forced him into arbitration, we’re close to screwing him over completely.

The posting’s authenticity is discussed in the conversations below the main posting in Gizmodo.

 

The Battle of the Books

 

As journalists these days are staking out their position on the Tree of Life, somewhere between amphibians and reptiles, I was reminded of one of the great works of Jonathan Swift, probably the most imaginative English writer in the last few hundred years.

In “The Battle of the Books” he recounts a war between the writers of the Ancient World and their modern critics, carried out as a phantasmagorical war of books that takes place in St James’s Library. The modern “critics”, of course, are full of contempt for traditional wisdom built up through the Ages, and so full of themselves, puffed up with their progressive modernisms.

[Immediately, that brings to mind the whole slew of modern journalists, pretending to report and analyze, but really venting their collective leftist spleen against President Trump, his family, their country and all normal, sane people.]

Momus, the patron of the Moderns, in conducting the battle,

… fearing the worst, and calling to mind an ancient prophecy which bore no very good face to his children the Moderns, bent his flight to the region of a malignant deity called Criticism. She dwelt on the top of a snowy mountain in Nova Zembla; there Momus found her extended in her den, upon the spoils of numberless volumes, half devoured. At her right hand sat Ignorance, her father and husband, blind with age; at her left, Pride, her mother, dressing her up in the scraps of paper herself had torn. There was Opinion, her sister, light of foot, hood-winked, and head-strong, yet giddy and perpetually turning. About her played her children, Noise and Impudence, Dulness and Vanity, Positiveness, Pedantry, and Ill-manners. The goddess herself had claws like a cat; her head, and ears, and voice resembled those of an ass; her teeth fallen out before, her eyes turned inward, as if she looked only upon herself; her diet was the overflowing of her own gall; her spleen was so large as to stand prominent, like a dug of the first rate; nor wanted excrescences in form of teats, at which a crew of ugly monsters were greedily sucking; and, what is wonderful to conceive, the bulk of spleen increased faster than the sucking could diminish it.

Momus then entreats the goddess Criticism to hasten to the British Isle, thereby

…having thus delivered himself, stayed not for an answer, but left the goddess to her own resentment. Up she rose in a rage, and, as it is the form on such occasions, began a soliloquy: “It is I” (said she) “who give wisdom to infants and idiots; by me children grow wiser than their parents, by me beaux become politicians, and schoolboys judges of philosophy; by me sophisters debate and conclude upon the depths of knowledge; and coffee-house wits, instinct by me, can correct an author’s style, and display his minutest errors, without understanding a syllable of his matter or his language; by me striplings spend their judgment, as they do their estate, before it comes into their hands. It is I who have deposed wit and knowledge from their empire over poetry, and advanced myself in their stead. And shall a few upstart Ancients dare to oppose me? But come, my aged parent, and you, my children dear, and thou, my beauteous sister; let us ascend my chariot, and haste to assist our devout Moderns, who are now sacrificing to us a hecatomb, as I perceive by that grateful smell which from thence reaches my nostrils.”

Ah!, to be blessed with Swift’s powers of invective…one can but dream.

Rebel Yell

You Are Being Policed

As Mark Steyn has said, “Everything in England is policed, except crime.”
For all you folks concerned about the expanding police presence in our society, watch this video [How the Police have become the Paramilitary Arm of Political Correctness]. Its origin is in the UK, but the same applies to all of us in the US, Canada, England, France, wherever. The police forces are increasingly becoming a political police force, enforcing thought control throughout the populace, and certainly not protecting the rights of free citizens. Most of the commentary in this video is from an ex-police officer in England, which should tell you how far the rot has gone.

It is also good advice to any citizen these days—Don’t Talk To The Police, under any circumstances. As Professor James Duane says [here], “It. Can. Not. Help. You.—There. Is. No. Way. It. Can. Help. You.”

Be Warned.

Rebel Yell

Bolsonaro—The Right Way to Go!

President-elect Bolsonaro hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and he’s pledged to allow all Brazilians without criminal records to own firearms; to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, and, to not sign the insane UN Migration Pact.

Wow, three home runs before the game starts. Will he out-Trump Trump?

No doubt come January 1st, many feminist knickers will be twisted into Gordian knots, screams of outrage will emanate from the hordes of thingies with dubious and unclassifiable libidos, and the MSM will beclown themselves with MAD magazine-type lies about the new Brazil.

We could use a guy like that in Canada.

Rebel Yell