Saturday, 2 March 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg's anti-intellectual fans want him purged from politics because he's got a degree!

Anyone who has ever taken a look through the various Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson fan pages on Facebook will be familiar with the racism, bigotry, anti-Muslim hate, xenophobia, anti-immigrant abuse, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, lionisation of far-right ideologues like Tommy Robinson and the Britain First hate group, extremist rhetoric, threats of violence & civil war, and gleeful fantasies about the public execution of their political opponents [sources 1,2,3,4,5,6] ... but in this article I'm going to take a quick look at something that is somewhat less sinister because it's quite frankly hilarious.

Anti-intellectual purges of the political system are actually a rarity
on a page where abuse, bigotry, racism, threats, conspiracy theories,
and fantasies about the public execution of political opponents
are the norm.
Between all the abuse, bigotry and threats of violence that can be found in the Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters' Group on Facebook, there's an extraordinary thread in which numerous Rees-Mogg supporters fantasise about an  anti-intellectual purge of the political system where anyone with a university degree is thrown out of the House of Commons and barred from standing for election!

The obvious problem of course is that their own demagogue Jacob Ress-Mogg would be one of the victims of this anti-intellectual cull of MPs as a result of the undergraduate degree in history he obtained from Trinity College Oxford in 1991 (in the days before the neoliberal-fixated Westminster establishment club introduced staggeringly high tuition fees designed to enforce a lifetime 9% education tax on those with parents unable to stump up tens of thousands per child to cover the fees).

The absurdity of wishing their own hero out of parliament because he's fallen foul of their anti-intellectual standards is hilarious, but it's also illustrative of the way anti-intellectualism is spreading like wildfire on the political right.

Surely everyone remembers Michael Gove's extraordinary "we've had enough of experts" appeal to anti-intellectualism during the EU referendum debate, and how experts and academics were almost completely sidelined in favour of fact-averse rhetoric-spewing Tories on either side of the debate?

And there's a reason the political right love to tell people to trust their base emotional instincts rather than looking to the kind of facts, evidence, logic, and reason that people like experts and university professors tend to use.

The reason for this anti-intellectual propaganda is that facts, evidence, logic, reason, and observable reality tend to defy their far-right worldview.

The extreme-right need people to reject facts, evidence, reason, science, and logic because reality has a left-wing bias.

If people actually listened to the evidence then it would be obvious that quitting the largest free trade area on the planet with an unprecedented shambles of a Tory government running the show is bound to end up causing a socio-economic chaos.

If people actually listened to the evidence then endlessly giving away not-for-profit public services to private profiteers so they can rent them back to us at way above the original cost is a bloody awful idea.

If people actually listened to reason they'd pin the blame for declining living standards and collapsing public services on 9 years of ruinous Tory austerity dogma, wage repression, social security cuts, and deliberate under-investment in public services and infrastructure projects, and never buy the extreme-right snake oil explanation that immigrants, the EU, political correctness, and human rights are somehow to blame.

So in order to dissuade people from thinking along these lines the extreme-right have to continually spread mistrust of experts and academics.

They tell us "why believe the experts when you can believe your own gut instincts instead?"

And they tell us "don't trust academics because they're actually terrifying lefties spreading dangerous "cultural Marxism" in order to destroy white western civilisation".

The Nazis used exactly the exact same techniques to justify their ideological purges of academia and the business world, and in fact the whole "cultural Marxism" theory the extreme-right use to discredit expertise and academia these days is lifted straight from Nazi Germany where it was called Kulturbolschewismus and blamed squarely on the Jews.

So yeah, the absolute ignorance of anti-intellectual right-wingers calling for their own demagogue to be purged from politics because he's got a degree is hilarious, but the anti-intellectual ideology that underpins this absurd nonsense is actually quite concerning.

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