For example, what on earth is a “conservative”
supposed to be? From Wikipedia we have this as a broad definition.
Conservatism as a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions. A person who follows the philosophies of conservatism is referred to as a traditionalist or conservative.
Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others, called reactionaries, oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were"
Fair enough, but almost all of us are deeply conservative in one way or another. Some who do not count themselves as conservative appear to have extremely conservative ideals. Their means may not be conservative but their ends most certainly are.
I'm thinking of that fake middle-class radicalism which aims to overturn certain social structures as a means to an end, the end being an unchanging micro-managed utopia where nothing changes ever again.
For instance, the belief that we must do something to avert catastrophic
climate change has to be the most pathologically conservative notion ever dredged
up from the murky depths of the human psyche. Even the climate must be managed and subject
to legal restraint. An obviously bonkers aspiration, yet I’m sure the whole crazy mess is seen as radical by its
Climate mitigation is radical, but only in a profoundly
conservative sense where the end result is UN-controlled energy policies across the entire
globe. I suppose one could call that radical in its means, but fanatically
conservative in its desired ends.
On the other hand, some of those who claim to be conservatives often seem intent on conserving their privileges at the expense of
the rest of us. I'm thinking of wealthy conservatives, so nothing new there.
Yet further down the social scale we find de facto conservatives filling the ranks of both the
traditional left and right. Political colours seem to make little difference. The means vary but the ends are profoundly conservative.
It's no surprise of course. Many of us have some degree of financial security in which we have invested or intend to invest a huge chunk of our working lives. Naturally we want to conserve what we already have, including our expectations.
So the controlling classes invent an endless stream of scare
stories to maintain a permanent sense of unease in the bowels of those of us
without the security of wealth.
They are happy for us to remain deeply and irredeemably conservative and for our radicalism to be even more conservative. The political brand we favour, the cross we make in the ballot box, none of that matters to them.
Modern political games are bankrolled by conservatism - ours.
As older science fiction readers will know, the Bureau of Sabotage
was a fictional government entity invented by science fiction writer Frank
Herbert. It came into being as a means of slowing down the pace of government lawmaking, allowing people time to reflect on what was being enacted.
In Herbert's fiction, sometime in the far future, government becomes terrifyingly efficient. Red tape no longer exists: laws are conceived of, passed, funded, and executed within hours, rather than months. The bureaucratic machinery becomes a juggernaut, rolling over human concerns and welfare with terrible speed, jerking the universe of sentients one way, then another, threatening to destroy everything in a fit of spastic reactions.
Founded by the mysterious "Five Ears" of unknown species, BuSab began as a terrorist organization whose sole purpose was to frustrate the workings of government in order to give sentients a chance to reflect upon changes and deal with them.
First a corps, then a bureau, BuSab gained legally recognized powers to interfere in the workings of any world, of any species, of any government or corporation, answerable only to themselves. Their motto is, "In Lieu of Red Tape."
Threatening to destroy everything in a fit of spastic reactions?
Maybe we need a new definition of class if we are to have a
proper class war. Political class rather than social class. Social class has become
outmoded and confusing, which may be deliberate but that’s another story.
So maybe we should keep things simple and begin with the
political upper class and the political lower class.
Upper class denotes the franchised, those who vote directly or
exercise direct influence on matters of policy, lawmaking, regulation etc.
Lower class denotes the disenfranchised, those who are allowed to vote at elections, but exercise no direct or even indirect influence
on matters of policy, lawmaking, regulation etc.
The two classes may as well include everyone. Highly artificial I
know, but these are inclusive times and anyway ideas are merely tools, not laws
of physics. So a doctor and an unemployed layabout may be in a different social
class, but politically they are both lower class.
The class war still feels real enough but has become bogged
down by the middle class mess we still tend to refer to as politics. The old
narratives have been kept on because the upper class finds them politically
useful, not because they are still relevant.
Who is lower class in this new political dichotomy, apart
from doctors and unemployed layabouts? Well I certainly am and so are you
because members of the upper class do not read blogs. Not mine anyhow.
Who is upper class? It’s a varied and diffuse mix from senior
EU and UN bureaucrats, senior celebrities, senior executives of global companies
and so on. Even Dave, Nick and Ed are upper class, although
they only just make it and that may change. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are lower class of course - and destined to remain so.
Names eh? Good ones are never around when you need them.