Seems to me there’s a difference between experience and wisdom – experience let’s you make the same mistake over and over on its own, whereas wisdom doesn’t.
If your humble blogger has anything, it’s experience or the sum of experiences, same as anyone my age, though not the same experiences. This is the preamble to saying that I’ve experience of what could be called Them at first hand at two points in my life and yet was never accepted, nor should I want that.
Occasionally in these blogposts, we get close to who they are, what they’re like. For a start, it’s dog-eat-dog and hierarchical- you need the pedigree and/or connections and you need to value belonging or else go the other way and reject everything and become the urban guerilla, swear-blogger or whatever.
So I think you’ll cut me some slack, even if you’re a detractor, that I am capable of being an honorary party to and observer of things Themish, mainly in teenage and early 20s, before going overseas again.
The sense of place and position is far more than I ever had or aspired to and a quick tale of this. WN1 and I were invited to a function [it was her friends] where those of Them were briefly gathered – some daughter’s 21st or whatever, can’t recall, not unlike a Pippa party and it was catered. In retrospect, can’t imagine how I came to ask the Director of Finance of a metropolitan hospital and wife if they’d like to attend with us, can’t imagine now how I wouldn’t have been offending the done thing, might have been WN1 who’d asked if I knew anyone to ask – she was from another part of the country – but I remember very well being taken aside two days later and the couple had changed their mind. The “level” of this party was above their league, apparently. They’d feel interlopers, people “above themselves”.
Meant nothing to me but if you were aspiring members of the movers and shakers of the town, you were keenly aware of precisely where you were and every incremental gain, every bone thrown you was eagerly accepted and chewed over at home. Couldn’t help thinking this was a fool’s game and even though this attitude has kept me on the outer with everyone I’ve met – never more than an honorary member, that’s preferable to being enslaved, for that’s what they are – enslaved to their own aspirations and place on the rung, as they perceive it.
Though there are organizations, there’s no actual “Club” I saw, though there were clubs per se and again, I’ve been invited to functions in a few of those as a guest. One club I was in myself but let it lapse when overseas. It was more a case of having business dealings or local government or someone in a hospital or department – like any connections between anyone, these things were just there. My father was a Mason, my stepfather in Rotary and various other things.
You would meet those who were disquietening and you’d know not why – they’d nod and shake hands and someone would then tell me over to one side whom I’d been chatting to. WN1 was occasionally highly impressed and I didn’t even know what was impressing her. Again, meant nothing to someone not right into it.
One character in lit it does remind me of is Lumsden of Strathdrummond – I’ve met a few of these skiing and they were beasts, no better than the great unwashed they don’t even give a second thought to and their table manners are appalling – then again, why should they worry, who or what in history has ever given them pause or cramped their plans for the day? Seems to me that the etiquette we clung to as the done thing was nothing more than upper bourgeoisie and these Lumsdens were not that.
That’s why, when reading of the real life characters before writing the Belgian post, Solvay and Lippens were familiar and thus the excesses reported by the abused children did not raise my eyebrows. Again, who or what in history has ever given them pause or cramped their plans for the day?
Into this comes something I was never privy to and that is Svali’s account of Them and she has it more highly organized, with branches of learning and part of that the spiritual, which means the atrocities. Yet things she wrote rang a bell and the types were certainly present at those functions – vicious muvvers who hardly ever smiled or whose smiles were forced and turned on or off. Best shoes.
I saw a young gf of mine go this way, too impressed, taken places by people “up there” without telling me, appearing in label clothing soon after. What a monumental waste of time women’s fashion is, though granted some fabrics cost and the cut is immaculate – my suits were tailored at that time and don’t laugh but I was known for my bowies and hank in the top pocket. And I’d choose the fabric from the cloth place – the tailor took me along and explained them. Made the error of going mainly double-breasted in those days.
That life for someone not on the treadmill is nice but if on the treadmill, there is always this preoccupation with not making a faux pas, everything onward and upward and that was a bore too. The reason my place in any of these social circles always withered on the vine after the second invite was partly the hybrid accent, partly the direct and piercing look and partly no back-story, no ability to be one of them and partly that I didn’t care for any of it. The number of people who’ve looked me up is beyond count and when they find nothing, it’s not that there’s all that much to hide, it’s that there really is nothing. Whether it’s Them or the EDL, they’re suspicious that I don’t fit the pattern.
In Britain, as everyone here knows, they need your backstory, otherwise you’re just a bit too suss to take on, they’re wary. Once you’re vouched for though and speak the jargon, everything’s OK to a point. I wish I could tell you how many times someone’s been desperate to make a call on what the hell I’m about and feels the need to email me with it. Even Americans get up to that. It’s always disparaging and reveals their own preoccupation with place and position. The number of people who write to tell me I’m a nobody, they’ve decided, is instructional about them.
This is the world of Them referred to in these posts. So it’s never Cameron, it’s the people he knows and his parents knew, it’s the network as it is for anyone, even Rab C Nesbitt of Govan. Clegg went the European way. It’s all thrall and there’s always someone above you and what’s more, each one of these cares more than what could be deemed normal about it all. Then again, they’ll never want, whereas I’m destitute for now. Who cares? Methinks one has to love money more.
The question inevitably arises, with Them and wannabees who’ll never be one of Them, about what you’re prepared to do to maintain it. Once on the ladder, you don’t want to fall off and the only way is up or stagnation. What are you prepared to do? There are those who are keenly interested in what you’re prepared to do, how far you’ll suspend ordinary decencies to get what you want, what is dangled before your eyes.
And those with a low threshold of decency are the ones they want. There’s always a place for suchlike. These are the henchmen and lackeys of Them. A useful way to comprehend it is the old boy network in the psychiatric community, which extends worldwide. So Selwyn Leeks might have been in NZ but he had connections with Ewen Cameron – and thus it’s also industry based, this Themism. An excerpt from the strange and vilified Colin Ross, circa 2000:
So these contracts … McGill, NIH, NIMH, National Philosophical Society … everything and everybody gets in on the act a little. These were the major players in North American psychiatry and psychology, who were receiving this kind of funding: The Office of Naval Research, the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology … all kinds of different agencies and groups. MKSEARCH was the one that MKULTRA was rolled into. New Jersey Neuropsychiatric, Vacaville State Prison.
… UW means unwitting because this money was usually put through a funding front. Most of the people you haven’t heard of – like James Hamilton, Harold Abramson, Carl Pfeiffer. Some of these people might sound a little familiar … Louis Jolyon West at UCLA, Ewen Cameron who was at McGill, he’s been written about a lot, and yes – even Carl Rogers, of Rogerian psychotherapy fame. These people were at University of Oklahoma. Four of the MKULTRA sub-projects were on children and all of the investigators for those were UW unwitting.
Dr. Ewen Cameron, who conducted CIA funded experiments on his psychiatric patients at the Allen Memorial Psychiatric Institute in Montreal, was the target of two lawsuits against the CIA and the Canadian government by his psychiatric patients, who had been unwittingly involved in his experiments, which involved electroshock, sensory deprivation, psychic driving, and drugs, reportedly in an effort to wipe out a person.
Martin Orne had top secret clearance status. Maitland Baldwin did stuff on monkey brains … Harold Wolff was at Cornell. Raymond Prince I have corresponded with. He was unwitting, R. Gordon Watson – I was a little bit unhappy to see him on the list, but relieved to see he was unwitting, John Mulholland is actually a magician. There’s somebody you have probably heard of. His name is B.F. Skinner. You get the gist … there were a lot of different sub-projects, a lot of different investigators all over mainstream academia.
The only reason to mention any of that is the interconnections, industry or field-based. If it’s finance, then they’re the ones you hobnob with. By and large, that’s all it is but it’s always predicated on money – one must always have sufficient rolling in or in a safe place because the thought of being without – something which never phased me – fills people with dread. These psychiatric people got into the nasty stuff. If you asked them how and why, it was that some august colleague drew them into it and there they were, doing these things.
They were “included”, they were flattered, they were “in”.
And once you’re doing these, they have a hook into you and you remain on that hook until eventually eaten. That’s only melodramatic for those not involved – and that is the majority – but for those drawn in, there’s nothing melodramatic in what I write here. What made Selwyn Leeks do as he did to human beings? Where was the point where any sort of compassion was replaced by distaste for the human organism which is nothing but a set of cells and synapses to be dissected and observed?
Soul? Pah! Nothing but a bit of chemistry.
That is the central, the main, the overriding characteristic of Them – the sociopathy, the indifference to the suffering of others in the interests of the project, the experiment, the ancient and honourable bestiality, the ennui. Some aspire to that, sad souls.
Taken to a macro level, that is the indifference and detestation of humanity, deep down, which characterizes Themist ideologies, co-opting buzzwords such as hope, tolerance, no child in poverty, equality and all the rest of it. Not so much deeply cynical but plucked from the air by someone below who hopes for Brownie points. Yeah, why not – let’s call it that.
It’s empty, cold, bored, calm from indifference, it has no stake in people as people. These people, Them, have sold their souls without even realizing it. And it’s not just the Lippenses, it’s every Common Purpose graduate who thinks he’s at the cutting edge – he’s a pawn in a bigger game which is sugar-coated for him. Then elements of doubt creep in he’ll never admit to and that’s where cognitive dissonance begins.
It’s not the genuine number of Them, as it’s not a single Club but a vague collection of people bound by misplaced aspiration – it’s not the overall number of Them which is the sole issue – it’s all the wannabees, the hangers-on to the coattails, those who are impressed by this whole scene – they’re the real problem. I’ve always got on with the workers, the ones on the floor, plus the managers but have always had trouble with middle-management, the up-and-comers, the aspiring, those who care about these things. You see so many of these in HR and a huge number are women of middling age, sorry to say.
What can be done about Them? Might as well ask what can be done about human aspiration, about class, about rungs and who’s where on them. Those genuinely up there – and as I wrote, I’ve brushed up against them a couple of times through things I was doing at the time – they go along with this global thingy and possibly don’t even know why they are – everyone else in their class appears to be into it, a sort of set of articles of faith, just as everyone was vaguely Christian in decades gone by.
So you get McNamara and others speaking at a CFR or Chatham forum and you come out with these things, to the quiet approval of those seated somewhere in the audience. It almost gives itself its own locomotion – people tend to go along with something established, rather than come out with something entirely new.
None of which leaves you or me better off this Tuesday morning before we go to work or not. I have two meetings today. But it does go someway to understanding why they’re such a problem, Them. It’s not Them, it’s the hangers-on who make it all possible – that which we are now inexorably being drawn into.
EU Serf, all those years ago, called it the new serfdom. The Spectator called it society turned on its head and the servants dictating to the masters – us. Quite liked that – us as the masters. Marx was taken with it too … and Ed Miliband.