Monday, August 18, 2008

Five things that are linked....

.... but probably only in my head? All of them class-related.

Here Shuggy talks about the link between piety, environmentalism and sufferers from Posh People's Disease (PPD).

I had a post a while ago asking if modern liberal democracies (or more specifically, the vicarious British chattering classes) were demanding a more clerical type of representation.

I'm against this, for reasons that I don't think I've fully formed in my own head yet, but Shuggy is getting me nearer to the answer.

And then, reading a very good instructive post by FMoaK a few weeks ago about the class roots of Rugby League may get me even nearer.

I'm nearly finished reading a very very good book by Gary Imlach at the moment about his father - a professional footballer at the tail-end of the old feudal maximum wage / retain-and-transfer system.

So there is a Nottingham Forest link there as well. That should help.

And finally, the question of nepotism in the media and the arts. There should be a fantastically written call to arms on this subject somewhere - something that identifies this - alongside FMoaK's other obsession, the need for a wide provision of good adult education - as the cause that should unite all good people.

I've not written it yet, and it's probably arrogance on my part to believe that I will be able to.

But you know what I mean, don't you? Or do you?


cian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paulie said...

Surely this comment would be better placed under Shuggy's post? I see he's cross-posted it at DSTPFW:

It's funny, tho' that go on about examining 'something other than personalities' and then you spend a fair bit of this making unsubstantiated snipes at personalities (specifically Shuggy and Nick C).

And don't call Shuggy a twat in my comments box either, you twat.

Shuggy said...

Probably not helped by being based on a (even by his recent standards) stupid Nick Cohen article.

It isn't 'based' on Nick Cohen's article at all - I mentioned it only in passing - making practically all your remarks about him rather a waste of key-strokes. I was going to say more but I doubt it would get us anywhere because the last couple of sentences of your comment demonstrate that you've missed my meaning almost completely.

You say, "You know, there might be a real debate to be had - one which Shuggy would prefer to duck, by pretending that people who disagree with him are just post-religious hippies who don't actually think about things, but just, like, emote."

I'm not quite sure who you think I'm disagreeing with. This isn't, as you suggest earlier, much to do with 'stupid beliefs'. I'm not concerned about this so much as making what I still consider to be a salient sociological observation about people's behaviour. I've already made the point that it doesn't follow from this that they are wrong.

I have to say only someone who didn't bother to read my post would assume that this means I am in some way disputing environmental science or pouring scorn on the aims of the Green movement. As for all this stuff about agriculture - I didn't even mention it at all. In connection to this, I really don't understand why you have wasted your time accusing me of 'ducking' an issue - as if failing to discuss something on the terms you find appropriate can be equated to this. Just having a conversation - which isn't a zero-sum game. Normally I would say that there's plenty of space and time in which to discuss the points you raise - but on this occasion I feel disinclined to do so - on account of the fact that you've shown yourself to be something of a twat yourself.

cian said...

I've deleted it. Apologies. Don't post when pissed off.
Shuggy, you made a series of points that weren't based upon any data and are easily disproved. Is the leadership of the green movement dominated by posh people? Bits of it are, bits of it aren't. It is something that Brendan O'Neill has been trying to convince people of for a long time. On the whole the fluffier bits have posh people in them, as does the food porn end of things - yes that's interesting, yes it can be relevant, but no it doesn't tell you much about the environmental movement as a whole. Not everyone swoons over Zac Goldsmith - some people swoon over German Passive Houses. The hard campaigning, political and science end of things is not dominated by posh people.

The rest of the post is just lazy-overgeneralisation. Is environmentalism really a post-materialist want? So the poor fighting in the US, Poland, Africa, India, China, etc over the degredation of their environment and destruction of their resources have all their material needs taken care of? Perhaps what you mean is that caring about things that are outside your daily life is a post-materialist concern. Perhaps (though there's a range of sociological data that would suggest otherwise), but then that involves other things like charity, concern for the welfare of the poor and a range of other issues (including taxation for the general good). It is a problem, but its nothing particular to environmentalism about it.

As for this idea that environmentalism is somehow a religious impulse. Really? I know that Brendan O'Neill, the great white hope of the RCP/Spiked crowd has been pushing this idea for a while (along with all environmentalists are posh and don't care about the poor), but is it true of all of them? Would this not perhaps be a lazy generalisation - the kind of lazy generalisation that our host professes to despise in the media, though apparently overlooks in his friends. Could there perhaps be a range of reasons for why people hold environmental beliefs? Could there even be such a thing as a green left movement, or a section which is trying to make the point that our current way of life is economically unsustainable. That environmental beliefs and socialist beliefs can (and do) combine quite well. Well its always possible, but that would perhaps require rather more nuance.

Shuggy said...

Apologies. Don't post when pissed off.

That's ok - we've all done it. For me usually when I'm pissed off and pissed...

Anyway, to your points...

The rest of the post is just lazy-overgeneralisation.

I plead guilty to laziness and I was certainly generalising - whether overly so? Perhaps self assessment is pointless here. However, I'd give two reasons for this:

a) 'tis in the very nature of blogging - jus' having a conversation, not producing an academic paper. Perhaps I would have felt inclined to be more serious and produce some data were it not for the second, more important, point:

b) I really didn't think what I said about the sociological make-up of the green movement was that controversial. Those greens that could be considered 'household names' - Porritt, Monbiot, Goldsmith Jnr - are, surely, unequivocally posh? I suppose I could dig it out if you absolutely insist but surely you wouldn't disagree that the average Green voter is less likely to come from, say, Easterhouse or Gallowgate than the average Labour voter? This doesn't - as I already said - mean that they are wrong, which brings me to the point you make about Brendan O'Neill/RCP/LM/Spiked crew:

Guilt by association? I have to say - and I think this is, at least, something we could agree about - I recoil at the very mention of their names. My view is that these are post-Marxists who have jettisoned anything to do with socialism, social justice and equality but have retained the vulgar economism and historical determinism of their former faith - leaving them as basically Nietszcheans who worship power and adopt the language of the left to provide a cover for this whenever they find it convenient. This is why they loved the Serbs and are presently prostrating themselves before China - they admire their Will to Power. I'm unclear if you were associating me with them - but please don't. The ludicrous Brendan O'Neill, for example, said that people who object to plastic bags do not object to them as such but are uncomfortable with modernity. My own position is that while I'm a big fan of modernity - plastic bags should be taxed in order to reduce consumption. Perhaps trivial - but you get my point?

What else? This:

Could there perhaps be a range of reasons for why people hold environmental beliefs?

Absolutely - I don't doubt it. Can I refer you to the second paragraph of my post? I wouldn't expect anyone to be enough of an anorak to notice but I borrowed it and adapted it deliberately from Max Weber's Protestant Ethic thesis because it served to indicate how circumscribed his argument actually was. Most of his critics missed this. (I did my honours dissertation on this - v. boring.) Same here - although there obviously the similarity ends. The point I'd want to make though is this: did you recognise nothing in what I said? My email inbox/comments boxes/sitemeter would suggest that not a few people, the religious amongst them, did. This is not to dismiss the science or the aims of the green movement - merely a suggestion that it might be helpful if these were couched in a language that more people could identify with.

Unsure if you think this addresses any of the points you raise: not pissed off. Am a bit pissed though...