In recent days we have seen the Alliance of Responsible Citizenship (ARC) holding their inaugural congress in London. It follows the International Democracy Union (IDU) recruiting disgraced former PMs to their advisory board, the controversial National Conservatives (NatCon) rally earlier in the year, and the ludicrous Conservative Party conference in October.
Much ado about nothing at all
Let’s face it, this lot are lousy at acronyms. ARC exists already, it stands for Antenatal Results and Choices and as for IDU, (not to be confused with an IUD) that’s medical shorthand for injecting drug users.
The ARC conference, which is suitably biblical sounding for many of its contributors, took place in Greenwich in south east London, home to Liz Truss, Kwasi Kwarteng and Lord David Frost, so what better location for a global gathering of the confused right?
They are a strange mish-mash of largely Anglo-Saxon anti-regulation hedge fund managers, think-tankers, podcasters and Christian fundamentalists. Usually very rich and hold a propensity for stoking societal divisions via culture wars, their stated mission is to reboot the west, by defining what its identity and social culture ‘must and should be’.
Straining to sound intellectual, a lot of language was employed to say nothing new, and sometimes absolutely nothing at all, but always with a tinge of loss, of victimhood and a sense of being under siege from the 21st century.
The west under threat: A panel discussion of the bitter and frightened
In one panel discussion, Dutch American think-tanker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, supposedly an atheist but who for the purposes of this conference, stated that Christianity is superior to Islam and as the western civilisation that she adopted is threatened by the Islamic civilisation that she left, we should fight to protect it. Apparently, “western civilization is a cut flower, and cut flowers die, but we have the remnants and their seeds. All we have to do … is … water them – and when they’re attacked, fight for them”.
Ali is currently conducting her personal fight for cut flowers in California working for a right-wing think-tank, the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.
History is ours
Ian Oswald Guinness (author and social critic) contributed with certainty that “facts and experiences are never neutral, they are always within a framework, and the most powerful framework is a story that is true, and paricularly if it’s history”.
This ignores the very ‘neutral’ fact that history has several versions depending on the eyes through which it is being viewed; there’s never one version that can be claimed as true. This was before Guinness started on about how ‘we’ won the war and wondering what Irving Berlin would make of cultural Marxism’s infestation of today’s society and, by the way everybody, again, the west is at stake.
John Anderson, an ex-deputy PM of Australia, spoke about the recent referendum to give the Indigenous Australian population a voice in matters concerning … Indigenous Australians. Anderson spat out the types of people supporting the motion, they were bizarrely “sports” people, they were “corporate” types, the “elites”. They were, and his voice took on a sinister emphasis at this point, “intelligent” people, the “expertocracy”. I’m not quite sure who’s left but anyway, the referendum, despite all this apparent deep state influence, failed, much to Anderson’s delight.
It’s clear that immigrants can’t come and destroy our culture, but we can go and destroy theirs.
Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, cheered everyone up by announcing that the social fabric is fraying all around us before claiming that children were going to school in nappies because their mothers were working not potty-training, and Louise Perry (journalist and ARC advisory board member) said that the sexual norms of the past were there for a reason, that traditions are experiments that worked, and children are the losers of the sexual revolution.
If there existed some merit to certain points, complex arguments were addressed in wordy yet reductive terms, leaving reams of historical reality unreferenced and, as everyone agreed with each other, there was much assertion and little debate.
The closing speech – doom, gloom and God above
To close the event, on Wednesday of this week, Jordan Peterson, psychologist, podcaster and co-founder of ARC, stood on the stage and preached for 30 minutes about how the identity we seek is to be found in the Christian faith and individual responsibility.
If you have mental health issues it’s probably your own fault, as you’re not living in a responsible way. His example being that “a mother is never any happier than her most miserable child”.
He made much of the fact that a good life is one in which your children are well disciplined, your family is happy, and your community has been well served by you. Reaching his arms to the sky he cries that if you fall so low as to question the value of your life, remember the acts of benevolence and sacrifice you have made in your life and choose to go on.
Hardly ground-breaking. In fact, it could have been the pitch for the 1946 Hollywood classic It’s a Wonderful Life.
The final minutes were inevitably a moan about the ‘youth’ who are self-obsessed and lost. We have to fight this fight for them.
In 2017, Professor John Protzko at the Universtity of California, Santa Barbara, studied a studied a dataset of 60 years’ worth of test scores for young people’s capacity for patience and their ability to delay gratification. The upshot is that today’s youth had better scores than those of Peterson’s generation.
This mantra is as old as time and most often felt strongly by people with an authoritarian bent.
Peterson ended by instructing his audience to “continue the struggle uphill towards the city of God” and “to tilt the world towards Heaven and away from Hell”.
New prophets for old ideas
That note of misery sums up the feeling left behind by studying videos of this event. It felt like being trapped in the dinner queue in an old people’s home. Nothing is as good as it used to be, life’s too easy these days, bloody immigrants coming over here with their funny ways and smelly food, no one goes to church anymore, no respect for our traditions etc etc.
Far from absorbing the lecture, it just made me want run and have a fag behind the bike sheds before spraying a bit of graffiti on them.
ARC and GB News
ARC literature states it was co-founded by sometime Peter Thiel-linked podcaster, Jordan Peterson, think-tanker Baroness Stroud and ex-deputy PM of Australia, John Anderson. Its formation was announced in June 2023, but in January of this year the limited company Prosperity UK (itself founded in 2016) changed its name to the Alliance of Responsible Citizenship Ltd. The nature of the business is stated as the rather Maoist sounding ‘cultural education’ and the officers are listed as Sir Paul Marshall, Alan McCormick, Richard Edward Douglas, Christopher Chandler and Mark Alan Stoleson.
These same people are all also among the named officers of All Perspectives Ltd which is the majority shareholder of GB News Ltd.
So, GB News and ARC have the same management. Amongst this management are millionaires, and billionaires, plunging money into loss-making ventures and high-profile events to speak in tongues to a deluded audience high on the dystopian lexicon of think-tank funded culture warriors – ‘metropolitan elites’, ‘cultural Marxists’, ‘poly-Marxists’, ‘woke mind virus’, ‘expertocracy’, meaningless words in themselves but when strung together they form the narrative of a society threatened by 21st century progress.
An oligarch in the making
That progress can be expanded to include our hard fought for rights – universal suffrage, minimum wage, rights in the workplace, a welfare state, free education, regulated financial sectors – once the narrative is established, it can be endless. And, as responsible citizens, we shouldn’t expect the state to help us out when we are ill, we should individually negotiate the right to holidays or weekends with our employers, and rough sleeping is our lifestyle choice as responsible citizens who utterly control our destinies, knowing our place, and revelling in our uphill struggle towards heaven.
In addition to his ownership of GB News, Sir Paul Marshall is among those hoping to purchase the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator.
If you control the narrative, you control the nation.