Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Pulling up the ladder

There is much to be said for the idea that pulling up the social ladder lies at the core of all political movements and systems. This is why socialism is so middle class, why covert stifling of social mobility seems so important to both socialism and the many flavours of left wing politics.

Entangled with this is the selective control of information. In other words there is also a fundamental difference between those who value comprehensive explanations and those who for social and political reasons prefer partial explanations. Partial explanations are easier to understand and promote, easier to mould into ladder-pulling slogans.

There is a vastly important type of partial explanation which offers a sense of moral strength while pulling up the social ladder. In these cases the whole ladder-pulling game is viewed from a standpoint of moral strength, Everything is done for the common good, especially for those at the bottom of the social pile.

But of course the moral standpoint is spurious because what is created is dependency and dependency is all that is left once the ladder has been pulled up.


Michael said...

"Entangled with this is the selective control of information."

Sums up the BBC perfectly!

Sam Vega said...

Interesting article I read yesterday which exemplifies "pulling up the ladder":

Transferable thinking skills have been highlighted as essential in progressive education. It emphasises raw ability as against the cultural capital of posh rich kids who know more stuff, and so gives everyone a level playing field. It turns out that it doesn't actually do that at all. Without knowledge, those "thinking skills" are less useful.

And this gem from Bill Vallicella, the Maverick Philosopher blogger:

"Liberals who have amounted to something in life through advanced study, hard work, deferral of gratification, self-control, accepting responsibility for their actions and the rest of the old-fashioned virtues are often strangely hesitant to preach these conservative virtues to those most in need of them. These liberals live Right and garner the benefits, but think Left. They do not make excuses for themselves, but they do for others. And what has worked for them they do not think will work for others. Their attitude is curiously condescending. If we conservatives used 'racist' as loosely and irresponsibly as they do, we might even tag their attitude 'racist.'

It is not enough to practice what you preach; you must also preach what you practice."

Sobers said...

"This is why socialism is so middle class, why covert stifling of social mobility seems so important to both socialism and the many flavours of left wing politics."

Its noticeable that socialism went from being a working class dominated political movement, whereby those in power were from the working classes (the MPs who were ex miners, dockers, railwaymen etc) to being a middle class dominated political movement, nominally with the same aims, but in practice destroying all the ladders for the working classes to move up in society, and becoming a a way of keeping the masses down, so that they could not compete with the middle classes for jobs, resources etc.

The latest stunt being the 'all must go to university' Blairite drive, which sounds wonderful - all the best jobs tend to be held by graduates, so lets make more people go to uni, so more people have a chance of getting the best jobs. The practical effect being to create a far more split at age 18 that is far more socially divisive than the 11 plus - you either go to uni, and thus have a small chance of getting one of the better graduate jobs, or you don't which cuts you off from that level of employment for life. And even those who do go to uni struggle afterwards, as the number of 'good jobs' is largely the same as it was, but there's double or more the number of graduates out there. So as there's too many graduates chasing too few graduate job, the choice tends to be done via more old school methods - pick the candidate who has social connections, as the degree doesn't mean much any more. Hence how you see the 'Red Prince' phenomenon in the Labour party whereby the children of politicians end up following in their parents footsteps, using family connections to get on.

Thus you have created a system that actively encourages nepotism and old school tie behaviour, because the educational value of a degree has been devalued, and relegates 50% of the population to being employment Morlocks - destined only to do the grunt jobs, the minimum wage cannon fodder. You couldn't devise a system better designed to favour the middle classes if you tried.

A K Haart said...

Scrobs - yes and it's about time the BBC was sorted.

Sam - interesting link and quote. I'm sure there is a partly unconscious deliberate aspect to it but it would be interesting to look ahead and see where the internet takes us. Maybe not as far as it could but where does a hunger for knowledge come from? Some people do seem to have it.

Sobers - well put. I saw a fair amount of nepotism in the public sector which tends to be strongly socialist. It surprised me when I first encountered it, but apart from a few quiet moans it was generally accepted as a fact of life.