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The Tribe: The Liberal-Left and the System of Diversity (Societas) 2nd Edition, Kindle Edition
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|Length: 293 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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About the Author
Ben Cobley writes a blog called A Free Left Blog. He is a journalist by trade and a former Labour Party activist.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B07FCNKR59
- Publisher : Imprint Academic; 2 edition (20 January 2021)
- Language : English
- File size : 1434 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 293 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 413,189 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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It is a system that subsumes, even erases individuals within collective identities that are given either favoured or disfavoured status. Of course identity politics emerged from a concern to overcome injustices against certain minorities but it has morphed into something more insidious. We are used to railing against the idiocies and invasions of political correctness, but what Cobley adds is a genuine insight into the structure of what is in essence a system of political and ideological control.
Genuinely helpful is his description of 'outsourcing'. This applies to the political power that is given from the overseers of the system to representatives ("community leaders" amongst others) of favoured groups. It also applies to the co-opting of non political organisations to the task of enforcing the ideology. If anything, I found this part the most depressing. One of the foundations of our liberty is the freedom we have to form associations, to organise ourselves in various activities, to form contracts, to employ or to be employed, to express our ideas and beliefs, and all without the interference of the state. This is what we call civil society. What Cobley has exposed is the way these various ways of associating have been subverted from their primary purposes and turned to the imposition of a political agenda. Thus we have 'diversity officers' (or should we call them political commissars?). Anyone in employment should already be aware of the risks of saying something to which somebody, somewhere who will take exception. The purpose of any organisation today, whether it was originally preserving ancient buildings, saving sailors, educating the young, or even commerce, is now the implementation of the system of diversity.
Does Cobley suggest how we may defeat this hydra headed monster? He recognises that as individuals we can do little other than protest. Any serious challenge has to be organisational. This is where the rest of us need to pick up. In a book of this length he has done a remarkable job of describing the nature of the threat. His analysis makes it quite clear that the power of central government is limited. Of course, it could be much worse under a leftist government under the current Labour leadership committed as it is, and having become an integral part of 'the system'. But it is clear that those of us that see the problem need to be more focussed and more organised than ever before.
Do I have any nits to pick? The spelling of higher plane as higher plain! And I think he gets Hegel wrong, but that's because he relies on Popper (Open Society & It's Enemies) who used compilations of Hegel's work. However, if you read 'interpreters of Hegel' rather than Hegel himself at least you'll keep me happy.
BUT READ THIS BOOK. It is one of the most important this year, and I'm struggling to think of one that would beat it to the top spot.
That this book was not more widely reviewed is surely because much of the more intellectual news media are embarrassed by what it says about them, while popular newspapers may think it too intellectual for their readers. However, this book is very readable, clear and not too long.
Have you ever wondered:
-Why feminists stridently protest that even mild pornography could encourage sexual violence against women (“Objectification!”) yet say little about the serious, direct violence of cutting off little girls’ clitoris’s (‘Female Genital Mutation’) for the purpose of sexual control, as practiced in some families of African or Asian origin?
-How black people get away with making stereotyped comments about white people that, if it was the other way round, would cause a career-destroying storm of denunciations for racism?
-Why gay rights activists demand that Christian and secular people be driven out of their jobs for even one mildly homophobic remark, yet scarcely protest when Muslim preachers advocate death for homosexuals?
-Why heterosexual white men of liberal-left opinions go along with these double standards?
Others have written about the self-contradictions of ‘political correctness’, but I have never read such a clear explanation that ties it all together.
The author argues that “Diversity” makes most sense as a “System of Power", to which people may conform from conviction, career self-interest or desire to be part of a group that thinks itself more enlightened than everyone else (the liberal/left ‘Tribe’ of the title).
Belonging to a group means nothing unless others are outside it. It means nothing to be black unless there is also white and 'vice versa'. Emphasising the identity of one such group tends to make other groups more conscious of their own identity and so tends to divide society.
For the liberal ‘Tribe’, outsiders to define themselves against include stereotypes of less educated, older, white British and especially English men, who are assumed to be racist and to have voted for Brexit.
The ‘System of Diversity’ favours certain groups such as blacks, gays, Muslims, and feminists who are presumed to be disadvantaged.
However, white men of liberal/left opinions can be part of the System of Diversity too through becoming one of those who in the author’s term ‘administrate’ the system. These include journalists and editors in the liberal/left media deciding what stories to report, people in local and central government deciding how to spend public money and those who press the values of ‘diversity’ in charities, arts organisations, universities, the BBC, the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Parties and even in large private companies and among David Cameron / Carey Symonds type Conservatives.
If the ‘System of Diversity’ existed purely to help the disadvantaged then individuals and groups should drop into and out of favoured group status all the time as their circumstances change. However, the ‘System of Diversity’ allows no such discretion for fairness in individual cases. The groups presumed to be disadvantaged and hence to be favoured by policy makers were largely fixed decades ago. When such groups achieve the things for which they originally campaigned, they do not stop campaigning but find new demands. [If there were still racially segregated buses in Alabama to protest about, American race relations activists would probably not need to think up issues like ‘cultural appropriation’.]
A key test (or ‘Shibboleth’ for readers of the Old Testament) for membership of the liberal/left ‘Tribe’ is one's opinion about immigration. This complex issue, on which there could be a range of views, is reduced to a simplistic 'good' or 'bad'. To the 'Tribe', the one acceptable position is that immigration is always good and only to mention its benefits. To want immigration controls, or to mention any downsides of immigration, is to be outside ‘the Tribe’, one of the ‘bad’, racist people, like UKIP voters.
The ‘System of Diversity’ could not have come into being without immigration. This provides many of its favoured ethnic and religious minorities, who tend to vote for Parties associated with it. It lets the political left, bored and disappointed with the native British Working Class, who were once their main favoured group and support base, to partly replace them with a coalition of minorities and middle class and elite white liberals sympathetic to those minorities.
Many of the System’s favoured groups are allowed considerable autonomy through ‘community leaders’ who are assumed to speak for their groups, like the old British Empire practice of ‘indirect rule’ through native Chiefs.
This helps the system to endure despite its sometimes apparent hypocrisy. Feminists can concentrate on 'safe' issues, like increasing the number of women company directors, that mean most for upper middle class and professional women. They rarely risk undermining the system by criticising other favoured groups e.g. by making too much fuss about “honour killings” of unchaste daughters among some non-white ethnic groups.
The privileges of Black and Asian ‘community leaders’, such as being consulted about local government grants and policing of their areas, depend on having distinct 'communities' for which to speak. It is therefore in their interest to discourage their communities from fully integrating into the rest of society and to promote common grievances.
As examples of how the System works, compare the reactions to the following.
In 2017 Labour Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Sarah Champion wrote, re the large scale rape grooming gang scandal in her own Rotherham constituency and elsewhere, that Britain has a problem with Pakistani men raping white girls. She did not suggest that most Pakistani men behave like this or that only Pakistani men behave like this, just that, at least in the form of grooming gangs, Pakistani men are disproportionately likely to be involved. The many further cases that have now come to light in many British towns show that she was right in all respects except that strictly she should have said 'Muslim men' rather than just 'Pakistani', or at least mentioned Somalis and Bangladeshis too. Yet for stating this truth Ms Champion was forced out of her Shadow Minister job within days and has maintained a surely enforced silence on the question ever since. A Muslim woman Labour councillor in Manchester brave enough to say Ms Champion had a point was swiftly dropped as a Labour candidate and councillor.
On the other hand, during the 2016 EU Referendum campaign, Labour's pro-Remain Shadow Europe Minister Ms Pat Glass told Labour supporters in Wolverhampton:
"Go and speak to your mother, your grandmother. Don't speak to your grandfather, we know the problem are older white men."
this was genuinely prejudiced, causing even hard-left Labour Shadow minister John McDonnell, who was present, to protest that he was an older white man. Yet Ms Glass got away with it, unlike Ms Champion, because in the ‘System of Diversity’ Pakistani Muslims are a favoured group who must be protected from criticism, while older white men are not.
Nor, evidently, are white Working Class British girls who were the main victims of the sexual grooming gangs one of the System of Diversity's favoured groups these days either. Protecting them from violence and sexual exploitation by making them and their families aware of the genuine danger from 'grooming gangs' was less important than avoiding even the slightest appearance of being 'racist' or 'Islamophobic'.
For the moment the ‘System of Diversity’s hold within the Labour party and far beyond seems unshakeable. The System has many individual critics, but the author believes that to change it requires organised opposition, of which there is little sign at time of writing.
As the author says, even if the System minimises conflict between them now, there will surely be trouble at some point down the line between Muslims on the one hand and feminists and gay rights activists on the other. However, the longer, supported by the liberal-left, mass immigration from Muslim countries continues, the stronger Muslims will be in that eventual confrontation.
Almost any book will have faults.
The author keeps using the ugly modern verb “administrate” when “administer” is older, shorter and sounds better.
In places I would have liked more practical examples of the problems the author describes in theory. (If you can put aside any preconceptions about their authors, Ann-Marie Waters' book 'Beyond Terror' and Tommy Robinson's 'Enemy of the State' both give many striking examples of how Ben Cobley's 'System of Diversity' operates at a practical level, or Danny Lockwood's 'The Islamic Republic of Dewsbury')
However, these are small criticisms of an important and valuable book. It will help any intelligent, intellectually honest reader to understand a crucial part of what is and has for years been going on in our society.
The author takes some of his concepts from philosophers like Martin Heidegger, but uses philosophical concepts so gently the reader hardly notices, and keeps his arguments down to Earth and easy to follow. I can only hope enough intelligent and intellectually honest people read them in time to make a difference.
knowing they can tell those groups what to think as they hand decided that these groups should have the values that the establishment have and they can blank out those groups views if they find out those groups ding really think that