by Alan Bickley
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
Last summer, I went with my wife and daughter on holiday to Shropshire. While there, we spent an afternoon in Ironbridge. This has as good a claim as any to being the place where the Industrial Revolution began. It was close by here that, in 1710, Abraham Darby found how to smelt iron in a blast furnace powered by coke. It was here that, in 1779, his grandson caused the first bridge to be made from prefabricated parts of cast iron. A quarter of a millennium ago, the whole district was under a perpetual darkness of coal smoke, lit only by the flames of the ironworks. If the winds blew powerfully enough, a blackened landscape came in sight—a landscape shaped by deep gashes into the bowels of the Earth, from which any reasonable man could suppose we were tearing the means to lift us from the slime of our origins all the way to the stars.
When I was there in the July of 2021, the industry was long departed. The main colour was green. The buildings had been scrubbed an anaemic yellow. And the people—oh the people! Various ages, but all with the loud, braying voices of ownership; filling up the socially-distanced seats outside the coffee shop nearest the Bridge, and sipping with learned delicacy at their skinny Earl Grey lattes. Inside the shop, I had gained one or two disapproving looks when I specified that I wanted my coffee in paper cups with plastic lids. I ignored them. Instead, I stopped half-way across the Bridge, and stared back at them. Sour dislike turned at once to loathing. Where was that Virus? Why, after eighteen months of hysterical outpourings from the régime media, was every street in the Home Counties not filled with their shrivelled, mouldering corpses? Instead of that, the parasitic wing of the English bourgeoisie was out in force that day, triumphing in one of the many places from which it had helped beat back the future.
When I was a boy, I believed that the enemies of the England I wanted were the working classes. The children, I knew by experience, were brutish creatures, their bodies smelling of ingrained dirt and margarine, their parents continually on strike to my inconvenience and on the probable orders of the Kremlin. It was only when I went to university that I encountered the children of the non-entrepreneurial middle class, or of just the parasite class. These were the children of civil servants, or of managers in big formally private companies, or of those enrolled in the chartered—that is, the regulated, and therefore grossly overpriced—professions. I call these people parasites. By this I mean that they produced either nothing that anyone of sense would willingly pay money to have, or nothing that anyone would buy in an unrigged market at anything near the prices charged. I hated their children on sight. They mostly reciprocated.
If not quite so clear as they became, my reasons for hating them were much the same then as now. They were pretentious and not very bright. They were self-righteous and intolerant. They were credulous. They were less interested in the truth of any matter than in believing whatever the truly powerful said was true—and in imposing belief on everyone unable to escape them. Their ambitions for getting ahead in life involved using family connections, or the further connections made at school or university, to fit themselves into a scheme of parasitism their like had spent a century putting in place. Their victory as a class had come in the early twentieth century, when they were part of the coalition that finally displaced the old nobility. Their role in this coalition was partly as storage battery for the legitimising ideology of those above them, and partly as non-violent enforcers of that ideology. Their reward was to start fitting us out with a managerial state with jobs aplenty for themselves, and to benefit from a new set of foreign policies that made them feel good but got us into two world wars and loss of Empire. Between these wars, increasing numbers of them identified as socialists. They had no visible interest in raising up the working classes, but much in creating still more institutions of bureaucratic control. By 1950, they could think very well of themselves.
But there was a problem. A half century of this new order had weakened the entrepreneurial classes whose efforts paid the bills. Also, the parasites faced an increasingly organised and militant working class that wanted a bigger share of the loot—a working class that, if annoying, was at least partly involved in the creation of wealth. The result was the England of the 1960s and 70s in which I grew up. It was an age of withdrawal from greatness abroad and of growing internal conflict.
Margaret Thatcher got her majorities after 1979 by hinting at a return to the older England. What she delivered was a crushing defeat of the working class and a re-establishment of the parasite class as promoters of a new ideology. The economic order of things since then has been a few dozen non-industrial corporations and a pretty well unregulated financial services sector in the City of London. These first provide jobs for those in the parasite class who find direct employment by the State uncongenial. The second provides taxes to maintain a network of bloated state and semi-state bureaucracies of control. When I was at university, the parasite class was easily identified. Since the 1980s, it has transformed itself into a looser assembly of managers, of agents, of administrators, of consultants and advisers and trainers, and employees in fake charities, and hereditary media people, and of other deadweight burdens on the nation. The shape of modern England is most emphatically not a creation solely of the parasite class. It is not the only beneficiary. It is, in Orwellian terms, the Outer Party. Even so, this shape of modern England and the interests of the parasite class have as broad and obvious an alignment as the coasts of Africa and South America.
Look at the vast environmental fraud worked on us since the late 1970s. So long as God remains out of fashion, this is a substitute religion for the parasite class. The more absurd the scientific claims, the more fervently proclaimed they are by the usual whiney, self-righteous voices. Environmentalism has its rituals in elaborate and mostly empty recycling rules and the obsessive counting of carbon miles—rituals willingly taken on as a price of salvation, and grimly imposed on the mass of unbelievers. It has its costs, of course, in terms of higher utility and maintenance bills. But these are costs the parasite class is generally better able to absorb than the rest of us. And many of the wider costs are a net benefit to the parasite class. Keeping energy prices about the highest in the world, and producing a library of new regulations every year on all economic activity outside the service sector, keep British industry and farming small, and check the regrowth of a secure working class.
And the working class is what the parasites hate most of all. It is the workers whose competition for loot kept parasite numbers and incomes lower for a whole generation than they might have been. It is the workers who came close to pulling the system apart in the late 1970s. It is the workers who would do this again if ever let out of the straitjacket Margaret Thatcher made for them. I still keep a loose contact on Facebook with some of the trainee parasites I knew at university. They are now sleek and very content from a lifetime’s ingestion of our substance. One of them went into a rage last summer at the “oiks” who questioned the failed manipulation of a football match. Another tried arguing with me last night that “true” freedom of speech meant censoring proley Brexiteers and racists who would otherwise infect the simple with their ideological sickness.
Probably this explains the total support given to mass-immigration and all that is presently called “wokery.” Increasing the supply of labour at the bottom end of the market, where overall demand is inelastic, pushes working class incomes towards subsistence levels. So many benefits follow from this. At any one moment, distribution of the national income is a zero-sum game: less for one group means more for another—and the salaries for those middle management prodnoses need to come from somewhere. Another benefit is cheaper cleaners and skivvies and painters and decorators. Or there is the rise in accommodation costs and the costs of crime and inter-ethnic conflict—costs the parasite class can bear or can avoid by moving. As for the wokery, the parasites have no interest in national pride. Their religion is the environment and wokery itself. Renaming all the streets in London and pulling down all the statues have the main effect of making the instinctive national pride of the working class shameful and without force. It weakens the enemy. A little theatrical self-abasement is well worth that benefit.
Or look at the joke that is state education. This is deliberate policy, and has been since the 1960s, before when it was a localised aberration. Suppose a plainly meritocratic education of the kind you see in East Asia—there would be an upward current of clever working class boys, and a corresponding displacement of the less intelligent. This would never do for the parasites, who are not, I repeat, very bright on the whole, and whose children are no better. The answer is a systematically incompetent teaching of non-subjects, plus grade inflation. Those in the parasite class who have the money escape by sending their children to private schools. Those who cannot go private cluster in areas where catchment area rules exclude outsiders. They all make use of ruthless tutoring. They also make full use of what those children denied it scornfully call “silly time.” Pay some doctor to sign a diagnosis of autism, dyslexia, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, or some other rare or fabricated condition, and a child gets an extra quarter added to the length of an examination. The resulting grades for parasite children are then just a front for getting them ahead by inherited connections. The parasites like that. Unfitted for anything approaching open competition, they like to tell each other they are the winners in a meritocratic competition. They can even affect shame for the scale of the rewards given to their brilliance and hard work as individuals.
Ours is not the first great country broken by their sort. In the autumn, I will give a lecture in Bodrum on the similar ruin of the Byzantine Empire in the eleventh century. I will say how the death of Basil II in 1025 allowed a takeover by a coalition of bureaucrats and nobles. The latter set about dispossessing and enserfing the free peasantry, who had for centuries been the military class of the Empire. The former taxed everything that moved until it nearly stopped moving. The penalty was paid in 1071, when the Empire lost two thirds of its territory and faced a new Turkish capital just three days march from Constantinople. The answer was not internal reform, but a call for help on men from the West who were assumed to be pliable barbarians or well-disposed to their fellow-Christians. And so the Empire unravelled in a story that runs too close to our own for comfort.
Give me an electoral or a military coup, and I would destroy the parasite class in five years—the parasites and those they serve. I would repeal almost every law made since 1960. I would shut down every institution of State not obviously essential to external defence or internal peace. I would make incorporation impossible or a burden so horrifying that those presently enjoying it would scramble for the safer status of sole tradership or partnership. In short, I would make England a place where every economic agent was required to find a willing buyer for his product. I would laugh as the parasites jostled for unskilled jobs in the new factories. A return to greatness would follow from that as surely as lime scale is removed by vinegar.
But this will not happen. Why should it happen? Whatever may happen elsewhere in nature, there is no reason for a parasite at the human level to establish a stable relationship with its host. We suffer an infestation of bourgeois parasitism that has already turned us from one of the three great nations of history to a deindustrialised multicultural dump. We have had our equivalent of the Byzantine collapse at Manzikert, and our equivalent of the hollowing out achieved by the Crusades. We are still waiting our equivalent of the Fourth Crusade. In the meantime, those of us who can will make a living as teachers to the children of more vigorous nations who value us for what we were, or still have to realise what we have become.
Oh, where was that stupid Virus last summer?…