Why we’ll need spiked more than ever in 2012

Next year, spiked will pursue an Olympian struggle against political groupthink - but to do that, we need the help of people like you.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Politics

It isn’t only the world-class athletes descending on London who will face an Olympian challenge in 2012. So will those of us who consider ourselves men and women of the Enlightenment. If the events of the tail-end of 2011 are anything to go by, then libertarians, humanists and democrats – in a nutshell: people of a spiked persuasion – will face some serious hurdles and high jumps of our own in the coming year. Which is why we need your help to ensure that spiked survives and thrives in 2012.

As I believe young people like to say these days: this shit’s about to get real. We are entering an era in which democracy and liberty, two of the great gains of mankind’s modern struggle for a good and full life, are being dismantled and sold off as scrap – and no one seems particularly perturbed.

In Britain, the political classes (including those from the so-called civil-liberties division) are currently cheering an inquiry into press ethics that could seriously denigrate press freedom, a principle that pressmen, poets and the public fought hard to establish over four long centuries. Are we really going to shrug in a new era of press policing just because Hugh Grant is hopping mad?

In Europe, democratically elected governments are being swept aside on the say-so of the oligarchy in Brussels. They are being replaced by ‘experts’ and technocrats, who are lauded by the EU elite precisely because they are bereft of political ideas and, more importantly, of any connection with hoi polloi. And how do the media representatives of the tradition of liberalism respond? With headlines like: ‘In defence of technocrats.’

Across the Western world, there’s a serious economic crisis. Yet all we’re offered, by both rulers and radicals, is a super-moralistic explanation, where we’re told we live in an ‘Age of Greed’ in which money-mad bankers have brought society to its knees. And note how speedily this snootiness about decadent behaviour can be aimed at the masses as much as at the red-braces brigade: with spectacular ease, the radicals who have been railing against greedy bankers for the past two months switched their fury to greedy consumers on Buy Nothing Day on Friday.

As if these assaults on freedom, democracy and aspiration weren’t bad enough, in the background there’s the continual drone of eco-miserabilism. A couple of years ago, the cultural elite laughed at Hollywood for making an OTT disaster movie based on the Mayan prediction that the world would end in 2012 – yet as the real 2012 approaches, loads of people still take seriously environmentalist predictions of a manmade, oil-smudged, very hot End of Days.

spiked doesn’t believe 2012 will bring about the End of Days’ – but we might see the end of politics. We need enlightened, electrified debate more than ever, yet across the political [sic] spectrum everyone is eschewing politics in favour of technocracy. From the new tyrannical cliques running cash-strapped European countries to the radicals camped out in London and New York, it’s de rigueur to ditch politics in favour of practicalism. When the new dictator of Italy, Mario Monti, said the good thing about his unelected government is that ‘the absence of political personalities removes any ground for disagreement’, he echoed the Occupy movement, with its preference for process over politics and for phoney consensus over hot debate.

In short, at a time when political debate should be pressing and widespread, it’s being muted, submerged beneath a tsunami of technocracy and moralism and elite consensus masquerading as expertise. In the midst of such groupthink, a publication like spiked, a publication prepared to kick against the pricks and Be Awkward, is needed more than ever. In 2012, we plan to up the ante in our war of words against illiberalism and misanthropy and low horizons, and in defence of liberty and democracy and enlightenment.

But to do that, we need your help. To face the Olympian endeavours of the year ahead, we need the support of our loyal readers and supporters, you, the people who likewise resist the pressure to conform and to kowtow before today’s properly decadent elite of shallow technocrats, snobs and illiberal liberals. Join our campaign to loosen the grip of groupthink and help spiked survive into 2012 – make a donation to our war chest TODAY.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked. Visit his personal website here.


To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Politics


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