Friday 26 July 2019

Boris as Maoist: It's Been Misunderstood

Search on Boris / Maoist and there are plenty of results over several years.  You eventually discover it stems from a David Cameron aside, accusing Gove of being an adherent to the great Chinese variant of Leninism.  Somehow Boris has been swept up in the opprobrium (which is retailed by the Toynbees and Cohens of the Graun-world) and of course now he qualifies as Maoist-in-chief.

It's taken to signify a love of permanent revolution and creative destruction; and maybe that's what Cameron intended, as a colourful label for Gove.  But that's entirely the wrong way to understand Boris-as-Maoist.

Mao was a passable amateur philosopher.  As a Marxist he was in the materialist / naturalist tradition (recognisably Western, by the way) and he was clear that our conceptual, abstract thinking (which he calls 'the subjective') had better correspond with objective reality - a correspondence to be tested in the school of hard knocks - or we are in trouble: liable to bang our heads against brick walls, and (worse) to embrace political heresy.  

This eminently practical (not to say mundane) insistence notwithstanding, he also embraced what some have called 'revolutionary romanticism', a key feature of which is the idea that the subjective can become the objective.  In other words, a conceptual notion (maybe a 'vision') that is compelling enough, and embraced enthusiastically by the masses who then put their shoulders wholeheartedly to the wheel, can thereby alter the conditions of objective reality**. 

Further theorising need not detain us, because my point will be immediately obvious:  Boris pretty much holds the same view.  He's trying it out on us right now! - and in this regard I'd say it's entirely fair to label him a Maoist.

With what chances of success?  The Sino-precedents are mixed.  Beyond a doubt, some of Mao's strategic ventures fall into the category of near-miracles of material transformation being achieved by force of vision, will and large-scale commitment.  The defeat of Chiang Kai-Shek's tanks and aircraft with "rifles and millet" alone; the elimination of endemic starvation across the whole of China; the advance from poor peasant economy to hydrogen bomb-equipped superpower in a very few year spring to mind.  Unfortunately, he also essayed some crackpot notions with equal fervour and mass application, with catastrophic consequences for his own people - innocent deaths numbered in millions.

Perhaps we'd best not dwell on that ...  Go Chairman Boris!


**There are passages in Lenin which prefigure this: and of course Marx himself said that the point of history was not to understand the world, but to change it.


dearieme said...

Boris is presumably capable of pointing out that anything said by Mao or Marx or Lenin was prefigured by the Greeks. It's a pity that his education presumably doesn't equip him to point to earlier precedents among the Egyptians, Akkadians, and Hittites.

david morris said...

Philosophy & Boris are ill matched bed fellows.

Boris will accede to whatever course of action promotes & fructifies the cause of Boris, to the detriment of all other courses of action.

On the positive side, it brings ever nearer the happy prospect of Westminster lampposts & piano wire being put to appropriate use.

E-K said...

I wasn't properly educated so can't embellish my posts with flowery prose.

The migrant amnesty is not a good start. OK Boris. Have a snap general election with that prominent in your manifesto. The key issue that caused Brexit in the first place.

I was shocked to hear that illegal immigrants have been paying tax. Almost as shocked as when I heard you are allowed to drive with a certain amount of cannabis in your system.

Just shows what the Tories have been turning a blind eye to whilst smooth talking their voters.

This is how I would deal with both: even though they are out of control (deliberately - and I don't believe drug taking is as I know barely anyone who does it, it is not normal however much they tell us) you do not legalise either.

As and when a queue jumping illegal misbehaves you are left with the power to deport. They've misbehaved once before at least.

What Boris proposes strikes at the heart of national identity and will encourage other people to come and try their luck.

It also indicates to me that we have yet another liberal posing as a Tory in charge. I have a feeling we won't be leaving this year - or ever.

andrew said...

There was that old story about Maxwell and one of his senior execs.
Some long running argument over parking spaces that had turned into a number of thick files.
He got on a copter with an exec who started discussing the issue. Maxwell took the files and threw them out the window saying 'there! solved that for you'

This immigration issue (100k pa etc) has been an albatross around the pm's neck since Cameron.
Once we are out he will say 'we can now let in as many as we need'

He wants to throw out all that backlog - which otherwise would drip on for the next 10 years - and start cleanly.

Doing this throws all that paper out of the copter and so there will not be thousands of Home office people deporting old men and women who have every right to be here.

They can go an do something else equally useless.

On philosophy, I think Boris is living proof of the existence of philosophical zombies.

Well able to articulate a position and follow rules but actually lacks conscious experience, intentionality, or sentience.

andrew said...


I see the hand of DC in this.

You wanted a radically simpler, smaller and streamlined civil service fit for the 21st century? - got to start somewhere.

Raedwald said...

Brexit has rather usefully brought a similar matter to the fore here. Most folk know that unlike the UK, everyone here has to register their whereabouts with the authorities - the Meldezettel. There has also ALWAYS been a requirement that any EU national here for more than 90 days must be registered as a resident. It's a truly painless process taking only 10 minutes if you have the right documents. Now, it's emerged that about half the Brits here have never obtained official residence; you don't need to prove it for anything and you can work, drive, pay tax, have bank accounts and everything else without ever once having to produce your residence certificate.

Well now of course the foolish virgins who never got them are in a fix. They've been told that after Brexit they'll need to have them. As you can imagine, they've set up a loud whine blaming the Austrian authorities for not *making* them get their residence certificates earlier. It's al the fault of the government here for being too liberal, apparently.

An ex-Burgermaster explained to me some time ago why the way they do things suits them very well. If someone without the yellow form behaves, pays tax, is a good guest then they don't care. If a non-Austrian without the yellow form screws up, acts anti-socially, becomes a nuisance or commits crime then the Police can immediately, without recourse to the courts, deport them. It saves time and suits them perfectly. If they want to get rid of me, on the other hand, it will take a great deal of time, cost, bureaucracy, Human Rights to be overcome and is a major problem. So they don't wok too hard to make people register their residency.

Strikes me the UK could take the same example. If an irregular immigrant is contributing and willing to be a part, leave them be. If one is caught committing crime, wilfully dole bludging, scamming the NHS or generally acting anti-socially, then use immigration powers to deport.

Why not?

Anonymous said...

then use immigration powers to deport.

I deal with plenty of people that shouldn't be here - the NRPF. We don't deport them. We just make it difficult for them to stay in the hope they will get the hint. Very British

And when a NRPF runs out of cash or has nowhere to stay, groups and individuals will take them in out of our natural charity for others. Again very British.

Try deporting the NRPF and you'll find a lot of Brits becoming very un-British about it as that's the way we are wired.

The Austrians on the other hand have experience of moving the unwanted out of their country by the [rail] wagonload. Can't see us going that way.

I'd suggest that we will post-Brexit adopt a "pretend and extend" approach where those here or coming here are not "immigrants" but vital workers to fill in skills gaps.

We do fudge very well when it comes to sticky problems.

BlokeInBrum said...

But it's not a sticky problem. It's a question of whether we are a nation of laws or not. If the law is wrong, mobilise to change it. Otherwise they should be enforced.
The situation as it stands is that the law is only selectively applied depending on the whims of those in power.
I disagree that that is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Mao was the most evil man in history.

Boris isn't the Archangel Gabriel, but he isn't evil.

Don Cox

E-K said...

Andrew @ 12.50

The amnesty will not be accompanied by the points system that was demanded and denied, which caused Brexit.

This will be the last amnesty... until the next one.

E-K said...

Raedwald said what I was trying to say at 10.52.

Leave the illegals as illegals, deport them under immigration laws when they misbehave.

That they are paying tax means they have tacit approval to be here already. An amnesty without an accompanying points system and hardened border is simply Boris's way of keeping our borders open.

I distrust the man.