Monday, March 31, 2008

The egg of truth

Comment on this work of staggering genius by Marko Attila Hoare really would be superfluous, but I bet that some of you will have a go.

Update 1/4/2008 @ 6:30 by Chardonnay Chap. The Encyclopedia of Decency has a guest post which is well worth a read. Also, perhaps Marko meant to post his theory today.


Blogger ejh said...

He appears to have stuck the courgette of sanity up the fundament of darkness.

3/31/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

I think it's going to form the centrepiece of a forthcoming position paper for the Henry Jackson Society entitled "You Can't Make An Omelette Without Breaking Serbs, Sorry, Eggs".

3/31/2008 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

I also note that Marko appears to be in posession of the hidden clauses in the Geneva Conventions (the ones which create the "duty to protect" and the mandate for "liberal (as opposed to humanitarian) intervention", and which overrule anything in there about veto powers of the Security Council, viz:

And their support for ‘international law’ never means abiding by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

these bits of the Genocide Convention stand in the same relationship to the founding documents of the UN as the Book of Mormon does to the Bible - that is to say, most people frankly don't believe they exist and were made up by a crank, but a small group of believers are not only convinced of their existence, but believe that they mandate some really quite strange behaviour.

3/31/2008 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous shake said...

am I the only one who doesn't understand a word of this? His 'definition' of fascism is a spectacular own goal. I'm completely baffled by the egg diagram as well. Why are the clearly Blairite Cameron Tories grouped with Bush Republicans?

Does this person get paid to write? I hope not.

3/31/2008 02:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Presumably Henry Kissinger will soon be writing a weekly column in the Guardian.


3/31/2008 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it like Torchwood on the telly ? "we are Separate from the Blairites, above the Kissinger Republicans, beyond the Guardianistas. We are the muscular liberals, a secret group combating alien menaces".

One(of the many) wierd self delusions involved (and really this is taking Marko's ellipse of wonder more seriously than it deserves): He wants to say the "guardianistas" are as bad as the traditional right wing, to try and make the case that left/right is meaningless. He even names the right wing sorts who are equivalent to the Guardianistas: Malcolm Rifkind & Henry Kissinger. Except Rifkind and Kissinger are actually on Marko's side: Rifkind runs a merceanry firm fighting the good fight in Iraq, and Kissinger is throughly behind the Iraq intervention.

3/31/2008 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or is it meant to show how Decency depends on circular arguments?

3/31/2008 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Attila is right then perhaps Bush would like to apply for the position of God, as he seems to have developed the power of omnipresence: As a pro-western friend of Muscular Liberalism; and as an anti-western crypto-fascist by being a member of the Religious Right.

3/31/2008 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

It doesn't work even on his own terms.

If left-right is so unimportant, why is it that the Cameron Tories, the Hurd/Rifkind Tories, and the Little-Englander Tories are all in the same party, and the others on the left aren't?

Then again he does seem to think people used to go to war over the nationalisation of public utilities - the only one I can think of that remotely fits that bill was Suez, and I suspect most of the ones at the top of the egg would have supported that.

3/31/2008 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Anglonoel said...

Where's the "Armchair Generals" and "Chickenhawks"? Or the "Clapped-Out Ex-Marxists"?

3/31/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

The triumph of the centrist political model has led to one section of the Left and one section of the Right breaking away from their respective comrades and joining up in opposition to this model: this ultimately takes the form of a Red-Brown coalition. Conversely, a second section of the Left and a second section of the Right have likewise broken away from the first sections and come together in support of extending this model globally. This, then, is the principal ideological division in global politics today: pro-Western vs anti-Western; globalist vs anti-globalist; the democratic centre vs the Red-Brown coalition.

I know who Brown is, but who is Red? Or are Browns Greens with dirty hands?

Come on, this has to be from a "write a parody of contemporary politics in an absurd pseudo-pedagogic style" competition. The New Statesman used to give book tokens for this sort of thing.

3/31/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Eggs,'s not some sort of Swift hommage?

3/31/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous gastro george said...

It's this just bit of a re-hash of the discredited psychologist Hans Eysenck's graph in "The Psychology of Politics, which tried to conflate hard-left and hard-right?

That was nonsense as well.

3/31/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

If you turn your screen onto its side it makes more sense. It's not an 'egg', it's a 'Decency halo', and the fascists are on the right and the Decents on thet left.

3/31/2008 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

He's also managed to put the "Clinton Democrats" in the same place as the "Democratic radical left". Which is just a great big hot meal of stupidity.

3/31/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

If you turn your screen onto its side it makes more sense. It's not an 'egg', it's a 'Decency halo', and the fascists are on the right and the Decents on thet left.

Well I thought it might be a planetary orbit, and if we studied it hard enough we might discern Marko's true location.

3/31/2008 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

Damn it, Marco's egg is upside-down. Death to the Blefuscans!

3/31/2008 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

"in iraq no one can hear you scream"

3/31/2008 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...or as Robin said on the BBC version of Robin Hood: 'My gang! This way!'

This is just a gussied-up version of Ole Nick's 'Greatest Intellectual Struggle...' verbiage, especially in the way it casually tosses aside arguments about economics and social justice (wasn't there a time when socialists used to talk about such things?) in favour of foreign policy fandangos (btw, do the Scoopies do any social policy?). Moreover, it places 'pro-Western' at the centre (the yolk?) of his idea: an unmoved mover which everything else is in relation to (aka 'I like to be in America/Everything's free in America...'). And I find it amusing that he has Muscular Liberals and Neocons finally cosying up to one another - but that may be telling us something we already knew.

PS: Who's to say the definition of 'the centre' cannot change?


3/31/2008 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

The trouble here is that we are confined to two dimensions. What we really need is a sort of "Origami tower of Decency", which you could print out, cut to shape and fold as instructed, in order to see how superficially highly dissimilar political tendencies all managed to simultaneously realise that Decency was a dog that wouldn't hunt.

Or perhaps a Decent Möbius strip, on which it would be literally impossible to place the "extreme left" anywhere where they didn't shade into the "extreme right".

3/31/2008 04:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Or is it meant to show how Decency depends on circular arguments?

Specifically, really stretched circular arguments.

3/31/2008 04:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who has got the contract for selling a new political party or movement in the last 50 years will have tried to show that it is the opposite of fascism. A movement that had as its main objective "making the trains run on time" would have gone to great lengths to show that it was the opposite of fascism. A movement that was in favour of pre-emptive military strikes on future enemies and locking people up without trial would have gone to even greater lengths to show that it was the opposite of fascism.

This looks like Marko's concept note for such a marketing camapign. However it needs a lot more work before begins to convince anyone except the converted.


3/31/2008 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Stephen said...

He's also managed to put the "Clinton Democrats" in the same place as the "Democratic radical left". Which is just a great big hot meal of stupidity.

They were two years late for Bosnia, remember. Never forget the key role of grudges in Decent discourse.

3/31/2008 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

The same post is on Harry's Place. God, after the opening hoots of derision, the comments are like Roger Irrelevant does acid. And did anyone make it through the article?

3/31/2008 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Teabag said...

Or perhaps a Decent Möbius strip...

But that would have the disadvantage that Marco wouldn't be able to place himself at the top of it.

3/31/2008 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Lobby Ludd said...

This is actually rather embarrassing.

I never much liked his writing or his politics, but his drift to the right seems to be accompanied by a shedding of any intellectual self-reflection.

It's as if he no longer cares about making an argument which can be engaged with. He just writes stuff his fellow decents can kind of agree with - a quick scan; hits the right buttons; hey presto another vital contribution to our mighty intellectual battery.

But then it's always for internal consumption - despite the grand claims, the decents are really only involved (if much at all) in their grand sounding 'societies' - they are not actually politically engaged. (That's what is sad about Marko, he once was.)

What can his Mum and Dad think?

3/31/2008 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Since John Cole has reached 10,000 posts, his co-blogger started a thread on his posts since 2002. Here he is on The Triumph of Stupid over Science. Bush Republicans and the religious right are different things? In Marko's dreams.

3/31/2008 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Assuming it's not an April Fools joke, it's at least confirmation that he sees no difference between the Decent Left and the neo-conservatives. Otherwise it'd be tuning-fork shaped, wouldn't it?, as presumably the Blairites are opposite the Cameron Conservatives, not on the same line, for a reason.

4/01/2008 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

I am curious as to where the rest of Western Europe might fit into this. Germany - usually decent over the Balkans, but less reliable on points further east? France - right and left - must be beyond the pale, the French are probably held responsible for post-modernism, anti-Americanism and all sorts. Italy - well who could be more solidly pro-Western than Berlusconi? Scandinavian countries are mythical kingdoms - one should pay no heed to travellers who claim they have been known to have had social democratic governments with policies to the left of new Labour

4/01/2008 12:31:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

I see Marko counts Respect as a key exemplar of a Red-Brown Coalition. Which is maybe a slightly unfortunate way to refer to a party full of Asians...

Can we have more examples of PowerPoint Decency please?

4/01/2008 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's an interesting guide to the mental map of Marko but is of little use as a guide to the real world. And I hope Marko has some good lawyers on call if he's going to start accusing people of being fascists.


4/01/2008 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Eek, I thought that was what he meant - what does the brown mean? Brownshirts?

4/01/2008 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

And I hope Marko has some good lawyers on call if he's going to start accusing people of being fascists.

I doubt it would be considered libellous however untrue it was.

4/01/2008 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Matthew - yes; 'red/brown' is the usual labelling for a Communist/Nationalist alliance in Russia. It's a big theme of Marko's - he's even got a tag for it.

Not strictly relevant, but I thought this might be amusing to some:

"There is a very good reason why the Euston Manifesto is not concerned with the ‘class struggle’ (in the Marxist sense of supporting the ‘working class’ against the ‘ruling class’) - it is an anti-fascist, anti-fundamentalist manifesto whose purpose is to reaffirm a commitment to liberal, democratic and progressive principles that the Left has increasingly tended to jettison. Were the ‘class struggle’ to be inserted into this manifesto, it would involve splitting the anti-fascist front for the sake of obsolete Marxist principles. It would mean jettisoning non-Communist anti-fascists in order to remain part of a ‘Left’ that includes fascists and their fellow travellers. Indeed, the AWL apparently responded to the wonderful split in the Respect coalition (the British manifestation of the Red-Brown alliance) between the SWP and the supporters of George Galloway, by coming down on the side of the SWP. The AWL’s Sean Matgamna wrote an open letter to the SWP’s Chris Harman last autumn, appealing for the SWP to return to its socialist principles by opposing Galloway

So long as support for the ‘working class’ against the ‘ruling class’ trumps support for Enlightenment values as values worthy of support in their own right, even a relatively honourable group of Trotskyists such as the AWL will not be immune to the temptation to ally with one Red-Brown faction against another, and against the ‘ruling class’, leaving more politically mainstream elements to do the serious work of resisting fascism and fundamentalism."

So there you go - you can have your class struggle or you can do the serious work of resisting fascism, but not both.

4/01/2008 05:57:00 PM  

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