Soros, Scruton and the Hyperobject
Conspiracies are part of a long tradition of paranoia in American politics from Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, to chemtrails, corn circles and Area 51. Timothy Morton called conspiracy the perfect example of a hyperobject – a word that describes those features of our existence too vast to comprehend completely. This notion seeps into much of our everyday incomprehension and is fertile ground for the political madness we are seeing the USA succumb to. Jonathan Letham tells us:
“Conspiracy is a truly American motif, since ours is a nation conceived—rigged up from available parts—by a gang of slave-owning freedom fighters whispering in candlelit rooms, exchanging frantic drafts of improbable manifestos. The Masonic pyramid on the dollar bill is also a Ponzi-scheme emblem. It was Melville, in The Confidence-Man, who perfectly located that site where conspirator and con man converge—an image of the darkly veiled American huckster, making all our Manifest Destiny happen. The westward migration was a conspiracy along these Ponzi lines: keep selling the next sucker on the terrific arable land just down the track. Worse still is the conspiracy of genocide. We’re easily able to see this in Nazi trains to Nazi camps, less ready to accept it in smallpox blankets and “Urban Renewal,” those periodic and convulsive schemes to raze black middle-class cities like East Saint Louis, or slow-acting but effective “kill the poor” trickle-nowhere Republicanism.”
Conspiracy is at the heart of today’s American politics, slithering through Trump’s increasingly unhinged displays with more than a hint of anti-semitism. The nods and winks have to be coded and the key term is ‘Globalists’ and the key person is George Soros.
But unless we think that, once again, this is a territory inhabited solely by Stupid Americans, it’s not. There are people in (very) high-up places in this country who are more than happy to use the sly euphemisms and conspiracy smears to foster their own politics. Here’s four of them.
Frank Furedi – a keen defender of Hungary’s Viktor Orban – is here on Breitbart stating: “Soros does not believe in the legitimacy of borders nor in the authority of national electorates. Consequently, he feels entitled to influence and if possible direct the political destiny of societies all over the world.”
This is like meat and drink to the Bannon Boys. He claims: “Soros believes that if the people voted the wrong way, he is entitled to thwart decisions made by them.”
Where does this come from?
Way back in 2000 the Guardian’s Ed Vulliamy tried to make sense of the awfulness of Furedi’s Living Marxism’s apologism for genocide and Serb atrocities (‘Poison in the well of history’)
But how, and why were such appalling views supported under the veneer of “free speech”? he asks.
“One could argue about post-modern ennui and the paucity of values in a society obsessed by packaging. One could argue very cogently about the complete inability to understand fascism, about “victim-hatred” and the strong historical strand of British appeasement of Europe’s tyrants, from Franco and Hitler to Milosevic. There was also a mutated strand of anti-Semitism in a lot of this, the Muslims being, in their way, the Jews of Bosnia. But the most tangible answer lies, I think, in the way revisionism works in a bored society, whether you are David Irving or Living Marxism. For just as the Serbs were the tinpot Nazis of the Balkans, so Living Marxism is the tinpot Holocaust denier, appealing to the same cheap slogans.”
It’s a grimly accurate analysis.
But back to 2018 here’s Raheem Kassam – a sort of Poundland Furedi on the make – attempting to smear the investigative journalist Carol Cadwalladr (‘Kassam Says The Jews Fund Carole Cadwalladr’).
Kassam claims: “Her stream of endless falsehoods has earned her the nickname ‘Carole Codswallop’, though I now suspect that rather than being just a moron Remain running dog barking up the wrong trees, she is a useful idiot on behalf of… you guessed it… George Soros and his Open Society Foundations”.
“She advises that her friends and fans should give money to OpenDemocracy, a hard left group that has openly lied and smeared its political opponents, with much of the British establishment media taking their word at face value”.
In fact, as we know, openDemocracy has uncovered a great deal about the funnelling of cash from overseas behind Brexit, the DUP dark money and much more besides. So it’s ironic that it should be Aaaron Banks himself who pops up next qouting George Soros and conspiracy theory.
But Banks, Kassam and Furedi are low-life compared to Theresa May’s new housing advisor, Sir Roger Scruton.
Roger Scruton is famous for lecturing whilst wearing Enoch Powell’s riding boots, but he himself has stepped into rivers of mud as it turns out he has a rather nasty history and some very dark connections.
Scruton has said there was “no such crime” as date rape and claimed sexual harassment “just means sexual advances made by the unattractive”.
As Buzzfeed revealed: “A day after revealing that Conservative philosopher Roger Scruton said homosexuality was not normal and that Islamophobia was “invented”, BuzzFeed News has unearthed footage of a lecture he gave in the US in 2005 in which he said women who made date rape allegations were actually withdrawing consent in retrospect because “the whole thing went too quickly”.
So far so distasteful, but what has this got to do with anti-semitism I hear you ask?
Well the Hungarian Free Press gives us a quote from Sir Roger from 2014 :
“The Jewish minority that survived the Nazi occupation suffered further persecution under the communists, but nevertheless is active in making its presence known. Many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros Empire.” (Click for Sir Scruton’s article here – for English version please scroll down)
A year earlier in a Hungarian-language interview Sir Scruton talked about “the Soros instigated conspiracy against Hungary” and said that Soros opposed Orbán’s nationalism because he is Jewish. (Read Scruton interview in Hungarian.)
These unfortunate gaffs aren’t isolated. Sir Roger has a career history – a philosophy even – of racism.
As the Red Roar reminds us:
“In 2006 Scruton addressed members of the far-right Belgian party Vlaams Belang, praising them for being “willing to brave” charges of Islamophobia. It is the official policy of Vlaams Belang to repatriate all immigrants who they believe “reject, deny or combat our culture”, and one of the party’s leading politicians has said that women wearing the hijab have “effectively signed their contract for deportation”.
Scruton had been addressing Vlaams Belang at the invitation of his “old friend” far-right blogger Paul Beliën, who just weeks earlier had been widely criticised for a blog titled “Give us weapons!” that referred to Muslim refugees as “predators” who “learned during the annual feast of sacrifice how to kill warm-blooded herd animals”. Belgium’s Centre for Opposition to Racism would later force him to delete the article.”
“Scruton was also happy to address the Traditional Britain Group as a guest of honour not long after its racist views were exposed when it hosted Jacob Rees-Mogg at one of its dinners. As was widely reported at the time, the group has a policy of deporting millions “to their natural homelands”, while its leader has described Vanessa Feltz as a “fat Jewish slag” and claimed “it was Britain and France who made it a world war, not Hitler”.
Who’d have thought it – it turns out the British establishment is oozing with anti-semites.
Conspiracies theories have been used to baffle us from real power networks. They’ve been used in entertainment as disinformation and propaganda for our own very real covert operations – Spooks and James Bond anyone? But the hyperobject distracts from the real networks at play, as the new right gorges itself on the spectacle of Trump and eyes up the spoils from Brexit.
The Truth is out There. The real tragedy is not that dark forces are operating in secret, it’s that we allow them to operate in plain sight before us.