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My reaction to Vladimir Vladimirovich’s pronouncements. (A post I failed to make at the right time.)

January 28, 2022

I keep denying that a fancy education isn’t necessary to penetrate the rising idiocies of the age and it isn’t. Anyone with enough nous to resist buying from a door to door mop salesman, believing a time-share ‘consultant’ or signing a hire-purchase agreement has the basic level of cynicism needed to see Farage, Trump et al for what they are.

But a good education allows one to be dissect them with more  precision.

I was improving my mind while doing a bit of simulated rowing at the gym yesterday and listening to a podcast from IN OUR TIME. (Did I do my rant about how jealous I get of Baron Bragg of of Wigton in the County of Cumbria? Man has the best gig on broadcast media, I swear.) This one was about the Mytilenean Debate, two days during the Peloponnesian War during which the Athenian Assembly decided first to slaughter every man in the rebel city of Mytilene and sell all the women and children into slavery and on the next day to just kill the oligarchic leaders who had actually made the decision.

He’s getting a bit political in his choice of subjects in his old age, is our Melvyn. (1) Not only was this the perfect counter to arguments about how ‘undemocratic’ it would be to vote again and change a national decision before it had been carried out but there was a moment when the panel described Cleon (who spoke for the ‘kill them all’ faction) told the citizens not to believe those who spoke for the other side because they were doubtless corrupt having been bought off by… well, whoever Athenians were regarding as behind all their troubles just then. You can see the same technique repeated endlessly on social media about Brexit: I am deeply fed up with the success of the ‘they’re all bent’ and ‘they’re politicians: of course they’re lying’ memes.

So when I heard that President Putin was telling the world that ‘liberalism’ was a dead dog, I flashed back not only to Kruschev claiming that Communism was bound to start out performing capitalism  by the end of the 60s, to a whole horde of Americans proclaiming the end of history and the triumph  of the free market but also to a book I loved in the 1970s Wilson and Shea’s ILLUMINATUS! trilogy. And to the bit where they compare a right wing American pressure group talking about “Sex Education: Communist Trojan Horse in Our Schools.”  with a similar group in Atlantis, Condemning “Numbers: Nothingarian Squid-Trap in Our Schools.”

Then came the line that stuck in my memory: “The same drivel eternally.”

It makes me sad to think that the crude techniques

(1) Melvyn’s next program was about DOGGERLAND the country that once lay where the North Sea sandbanks are now. If that’s not a way to talk about climate change I’ll eat my  hat.

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