PAUL AUSTIN MURPHY ON POLITICS

PAUL AUSTIN MURPHY ON POLITICS


The subjects covered in this blog include Slavoj Žižek, IQ tests, Chomsky, Tony Blair, Baudrillard, global warming, sociobiology, Islam, Islamism, Marx, Foucault, National/International Socialism, economics, the Frankfurt School, philosophy, anti-racism, etc... I've had articles published in The Conservative Online, American Thinker, Philosophy Now, Intellectual Conservative, Human Events, Faith Freedom, Brenner Brief (Broadside News), New English Review, etc... (Paul Austin Murphy's Philosophy can be found here


Monday, 17 September 2018

Jeremy Corbyn's Millenarian Year Zero






I believe that the tens of millions of razists and Nazis (whether in the Tory Party, UKip or the Lib-Dems) should be stopped from preaching their evil racism and intolerance. I believe that we should never tolerate the intolerant Naziracistfascistbigots! We should seek them out wherever they are. Whether they are the “blue Labour” or Blairites in the Jeremy Corbyn Party or wherever. I also believe that Zionists Jews are racist scum. They also have been and always will be. Zionist scum should be placed in the Gulag; along with all patriots and smearers of Saint Jeremy of Islington.

I am full of love and tolerance. However, we can't tolerate or love the tens of millions of people who don't believe exactly what we believe. It will lead to Nazism.

Jeremy Corbyn has promised us Year Zero. A time when everything will be nice. When Evil will end, no one will be unemployed, wars will cease, and non-niceness will be a thing of the past. Pray for this Total Victory of Justice against Evilitude. Embrace Saint Corbyn's every word and deed. Fight the evil hordes who besmirch the holy name of Saint Jeremy. Take control of the entire Mainstream Media and place it in the service of the Righteous and the Good. Amen.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Politics is War: From Facebook to Antifa





Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao ) once said that “politics is war without bloodshed”. Perhaps that's partly why he believed that it was perfectly okay that so many should die on the alter of peace, equality and socialism.

Politics, in all its manifestations, is indeed often war. Sure, it's war (as Chairman Mao put it) “without bloodshed”. But, of course, throughout history there's also been an infinity of actual political bloodshed...

That political hatred, aggression and violence can manifest itself in the House of Commons, at local council meetings, in pubs... virtually everywhere. Facebook, for example, is a perfect example. When it comes to “politics debate groups”, virtually every other comment contains abuse or aggression of some kind.

There are of course areas of mutual debate and respect within politics. However, they're often few and far between. Not only that: much restraint is only shown because it's demanded by the institution or event in which the political debate takes place. In other words, it often has little to do with most of the people involved.

So politics is often war. Sure, mainly verbal or abusive war; though, nonetheless, still war.

Facebook & Twitter

Facebook and Twitter were mentioned a moment ago.

Take how pathetic – monumentally pathetic! – some “critical” replies can be on Facebook and Twitter. If people are politically at odds with other Facebook users, then many of them will literally say anything to discount or contradict that person. They'll lie, misquote, intentionally misread, ignore the opening post, use ad hominems, check personal pages, report to Facebook, etc. “Anything goes” if such people politically disagree with someone. In other words, this is political war in the form of Facebook and Twitter. And all the mindlessness, aggression and tribalism of “real” politics can be seen on Facebook and Twitter too.

It can be said that the Internet has opened the gates of hell when it comes to uninformed, hate-filled and aggressive comments. Social media is also full of people with particular political causes to ram home at every available opportunity. Indeed many of them have never experienced well-argued alternative views - or alternative views of any kind. That's why they get so aggressive so quickly and also seem incapable of understanding alternative views - let alone be capable of arguing against them.

It must now be said that all this applies to those of all political persuasions. So it's not a case of singling out those with whom we politically disagree. The dumb and aggressive come from all political persuasions.

Biology: Violence for Peace

Human beings are (obviously) biological creatures. Our biology (or biochemistry/DNA) often causes very strong emotions and even aggression. Human biology is of course filtered through mind, culture and language. It's therefore also filtered through emotions, thoughts, words and deeds. Nonetheless, biology is still largely – though not entirely - in charge.

So this is of course largely a psychological and biological phenomenon. Adult human beings are easily motivated to be aggressive and violent. That's why we have a whole host of laws, customs and rules which mitigate this inherent hatred, violence and aggression. Yet the aggression is nearly always there; whether on the roads, in pubs, on Facebook/Twitter or wherever.

This incessant political war is tapping into various biological and psychological givens – at least in most cases. Indeed the psychological givens are themselves largely a result of the biological givens.

So it's ironic that many of those who preach “tolerance”, “solidarity”, “peace”, “diversity” and “respect” can be the most hate-filled, aggressive and violent of all. Of course such people rationalise their hatred, aggression and violence – to themselves and to others – by saying they are being aggressive and violent precisely because they're fighting against such things as “intolerance” and “bigotry”. Yet they themselves display hatred, intolerance, bigotry and aggression in their fight against hatred, intolerance, bigotry and aggression.
It's as if politics is giving such people a rationalisation for what the British-American anthropologist Ashley Montague (to be discussed later) calls “innate aggression”. (Montagu argued that such a thing doesn't exist in human beings.) Thus politics in these instances is a perfect rationalisation of aggression and violence. And that's why, for example, so many hormonal young men (roughly between the ages of 17 and 24) find Antifa and National Socialist (Nazi) groups so appealing. That is, they can be as hate-filled, violent and aggressive as they like and not feel in the least bit guilty about it. That's because their hatred, violence and aggression is carried out for politically-correct or righteous causes. Or, to quote Ashley Montagu again, these young men feel that they “can't be blamed” for their hatred, violence and aggression if they're fighting against what surely must be political evil.

In addition, Antifa is also tribal and these young men see themselves as warriors of some kind. To put this is everyday parlance: Antifa boys pretend to be tough (though, physically, they're often weak and cowardly). And no doubt many of them also believe that their warrior-like behaviour will be sexually attractive to females.

Ashley Montagu's Binary Oppositions

But let's not adopt a binary position on all this.

Saying that aggression and violence is often the norm in politics isn't the same as also saying that cooperation and even altruism don't exist. To be explicit: hatred, aggression and violence often exist alongside cooperation and even altruism. Indeed they sometimes do so when it comes to the same people or the same contexts.

Thus we have leftwing, right-wing and even centrist political tribes which cooperate with each other. However, they also display hatred, aggression and even violence to those outside the tribe. We also have family members who display altruism towards one another; though who don't often extend that altruism beyond the family. The same is true of political cults, religions, nations, geographical regions and the like.

So, again, this isn't to take the aggression-and-violence side of the aggression/violence versus cooperation/altruism opposition. It's simply to stress the realities of both; as well as the fact that both sides of the opposition often exist alongside one another.

This naïve binary opposition is displayed on the back-cover review of Man and Aggression (edited by Ashley Montague) It says that the authors featured in that book

note the proclivities of many kinds of mammals to live together amiably, even cooperatively, often developing settle status systems as controls of conflict”.

Of course these words were opposed to those writers who had stressed war, violence and aggression. But why not both? Indeed why can't cooperative and amiable mammals also be violent and aggressive? In fact many species of mammals do express all these traits (e.g., chimps, mongooses, hyenas, various birds, ants, etc.).

Ashley Montagu makes a similar logical mistake when he writes the following:

In a world in which hostility and aggression seem to be part of every man's nature, in which individual and group violence seem to constitute the incontrovertible evidence of the mark of Cain that every man carries within him, it is very gratifying to be told that this is indeed so; for those who are ready to grasp at such an explanation of human aggression it provides relief for that heavy burden of guilt most individuals carry about with them for being as they are. If one is born innately aggressive, then one cannot be blamed for being so.”

The logical mistake here is that just because people may be “born innately aggressive”, it doesn't follow from this that other people (or political/legal systems) should in any way accept all - or indeed any - expressions of that innate aggression. In theory at least, the expression of that innate aggression could be controlled by every individual every single day and yet still exist. Montague's claim is a little like claiming that because a man has a knife, then he simply must use that knife to kill rather than to peel carrots. In addition, since the beginning of man, expressions of that innate aggression have always been severely castigated and laws, rules and customs have always worked against its expression.

Thus, even if innate aggression is a fact, it doesn't at all follow from this that men (as Montague) “cannot be blamed” for the expression of that innate aggression. Indeed men are blamed for their violence and aggression - often by those who acknowledge the existence of innate aggression. And even the aggressors themselves often realised that they could have controlled their aggression and will do so in the future.

Montagu then commits his final binary opposition. In a world in which Montagu believed that far too many people held the view that human nature is nearly all about “instincts”, guess what he claimed: he claimed that human beings don't have any instincts at all! Montagu wrote:

Man is what he is because he has no instincts, because everything he is and has become he has learned, acquired from his culture.”

Like Rousseau, hippies and many contemporary leftwingers, Montagu believed in the Noble Savage... Or did he? Perhaps the Noble Savage idea was a myth which was used in order to bring about “progressive” social and political change. After all, Montagu himself was politically active throughout his life. For example, he wrote a text for UNESCO in which referred to “universal brotherhood” and natural “cooperation”.

Of course many people believe that noting the political beliefs and commitments of a scientist is virtually to indulge in an ad hominem. After all, an emphasis on instincts and violence/aggression can also be deemed to be an equally political position. (Indeed that was Montagu's own argument!) Yet it seems silly and precious not to mention these other aspects of Montagu's entire belief-system. After all, leftwing/Kuhnian philosophers of science themselves stress the political nature of “objective science” (I borrowed the scare quotes). It doesn't help either when we had such things as “anthropologists for peace” and the “Radical Science Movement” which explicitly stated the political nature of their own science. And, of course, if “man has no instincts” (or nature), then that is a perfect conclusion for leftwing politics. At least Bernard Shaw believed so when he wrote the following:

There is nothing that can be changed more completely than human nature when the job in hand is taken early enough.”

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So what we have here is a silly little political war between those who stress cooperation and altruism and those who stress violence and aggression. However, all along, love, cooperation and altruism have existed alongside hate, violence and aggression.

Thomas Hobbes was in many respects right on this too. On a trivial level, what he says about human nature seems to be true about Facebook, Twitter and so much else. In terms of violence, he tells us (in his Leviathan) that men use violence or aggression

for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue, either direct in their persons or by reflection in their kindred, their nation, their profession, or their name”.

Hobbes's vision is added to by the biologist, zoologist and ecologistE.O. Wilson. What Wilson says of groups generally can certainly be said of literally all political groups. He writes:

They are quick to imagine themselves victims of conspiracies by competing groups, and they are prone to dehumanise and murder their rivals during periods of severe conflict. They cement their own group loyalties by means of sacred symbols and ceremonies. Their mythologies are filled with epic victories over menacing enemies.”

As stressed in this piece, those who reject all this often do so aggressively and sometimes even violently. Thus proving the point. Yet many will also argue that these things are only applicable to historical tribes, not to their own political group.

And many contemporary psychologists too are right about both human nature and the reality of politics. The problem is that many political activists and theorists (as well as laypersons) don't want them to be right. And those who don't want them to be right will - ironically enough! - use hate, aggression and even violence to make sure that such voices and views aren't heard. Indeed the voices of “peace”, “equality” and “tolerance” are often the most war-like and intolerant of all. Perhaps an insufficient level of self-awareness is partly responsible for this. Either that, or a simple politically-motivated denial of the facts.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Antifa: Leftist Warriors or Hormonal Boys?



It's ironic thing that many of those who preach “tolerance”, “solidarity”, “peace”, “diversity” and “respect” can be the most hate-filled, aggressive and violent of all. Of course such people rationalise their hatred, aggression and violence – to themselves and to others – by saying that they're being aggressive and violent precisely because they're fighting against such things as “intolerance” and “bigotry”. Yet they themselves display hatred, intolerance, bigotry, aggression and violence in their fight against hatred, intolerance, bigotry, aggression and violence.

It's as if the politics is giving a rationalisation for what the British-American anthropologist Ashley Montague calls “innate aggression”. Thus politics is a perfect rationalisation for aggression and violence. That's why so many hormonal young men (usually between the ages of 17 and 24) find Antifa and National Socialist (Nazi) groups so appealing. That is, they can be very hate-filled, violent and aggressive and not feel in the least bit guilty about it. That's because their hatred, violence and aggression is carried out for politically-correct or righteous causes. Or, to quote Ashley Montagu again, these young men feel that they “can't be blamed” for their hatred, violence and aggression if they're fighting against political evil.

In addition, Antifa and Nazi groups (such as National Action) are also tribal: these young men see themselves as warriors of some kind. To put this is everyday parlance: Antifa and National Action boys are extremely macho and believe themselves to be tough (though, physically, they're often weak and cowardly). And no doubt many of them also believe that their warrior-like behaviour will be sexually attractive to females.

Antifa and Radical Leftists are also masters of dehumanisation. The latest one is term is “gammon”. Traditionally, there was, of course, “capitalists”, the “bourgeoisie”, “racists”, “fascists”, the “far Right”, “knuckle-draggers”, “Blairite vermin”, “Tory scum”, “white supremacists”, “xenophobes”, etc. (These terms encompass literally tens of millions of people!)

So the voices of “peace”, “equality” and “tolerance” are often the most war-like and intolerant of all. Perhaps a insufficient level of self-awareness is partly responsible for this. Either that, or a simple politically-motivated denial of the facts.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

The Media's Lazy Abuse of Tweets




What is it with much of the media nowadays? Are editors and journalists becoming lazy? I'm referring here to the the overuse of tweets in articles and news pieces. Indeed non-entities' tweets seem to feature in far too many pieces. And it's not just that tweets are featured – tweets often become the news! For example, according to the Guardian, one media outlet published a piece which contained 150 tweets!

Ironically, there has also been many pieces about the media's (yes, very self-referential!) obsession with Donald Trump's tweets. It seems that parts of the media only realised the negative aspects of Twitter when they sourly noted that Trump was taking full political advantage of it. Take the British newspaper, the Independent. It published an article which had the words 'Trump, the Twitter President' in the title. Yet in the very same edition there were pieces – all entirely unrelated - which featured tweets extensively......

Yes, it's really the media's own obsession with anyone's and everybody's tweets that's the problem. And this is tweets from a teenager politico in his bedroom to Oprah Winfrey posting from her mansion.

There's also the problem that many journalists themselves live their lives in Twitter World. They therefore see Twitter as being far more important than it actually is. Either that, or they see it as being an easy way of filling space in their pieces.

Using other people's tweets is also cheap. Media outlets can publish them without paying the tweeter. They can also exploit the convenience of getting tweeters to express their own controversial views without facing any consequences themselves.

As for the content of the tweets.

It's been said that within Western philosophy every position under the sun has been expressed. And if that's true of philosophy, then it's ever truer of Twitter World. Do we really care about what Twitter addicts and Twitter activists have to say about X or Y?

Of course not all published tweets are from nobodies. Sometimes politicians and celebrities tweet too. And these tweets feature even more in media outlets. Yet even in this case the politicians or “celebs” concerned might have been drunk when they tweeted. Perhaps they didn't think through what they were writing. Perhaps the tweets were off-the-cuff remarks. Perhaps they were commenting on something they knew next-to-nothing about.

In this respect, have you ever posted something on Twitter or Facebook without thinking too deeply about what it? Have you ever posted something when drunk and later regretted it? I suppose the argument here will be that politicians should be more careful with their tweets. Yet they're still human beings and therefore likely to make mistakes or post bullshit.

Imagine if all our private thoughts were posted on Facebook or Twitter. We'd be destroyed. The same goes for politicians of all persuasions. Twitter is almost like that. And then newspapers salivate when they publish those private thoughts. Yes, I'm talking about private thoughts which are then posted and published. But why should the media publish these mindless ejaculations for public consumption in the first place? Because they fill space? Because they titillate? Because they're a easy and cheap substitute for reasoned political debate?

I must confess, however, that I too have used screenshots of tweets in my pieces. (I've used them in this piece!) Though I've done so very rarely. And the tweets I used were only additions to the pieces. In parts of the media, on the other hand, the tweets (as already stated) become the news – quite literally!

Examples

One very bad offender is the British online tabloid, Metro. Many - or even most - of its pieces feature tweets. Many of these tweets are from nobodies and were probably written when drunk or stoned. Others are mindless and with zero political content. The tweeters, I suppose, are gaining their fifteen minutes of fame... thanks to Metro.

Metro's latest example (Friday the 13th of July, 2018) is a published a tweet from C4 News Factcheckabout the British MP, Michael Fabricant. Channel 4 (like a secret police interrogator) asked Fabricant this question:

... what is this flag on your mantelpiece?”

Then Metro tells us that Fabricant had a “apartheid-era South Africa [flag] on his mantelpiece”. Fabricant replied:

Also on the same mantelpiece is an old communist USSR flag. They are from some of the countries where I had work visits in the 1980s.”

Now this is very odd because it can clearly be seen that he's got what looks like a European Union flag there too. And, in response to this mindlessness, Fabricant informed Channel 4 that he collects flags. However, Metro, rather pompously, still “contacted the Tory party for comment”!

Another serial offender is the Huffington Post; though right-wing newspapers – such as the Daily Mail – seem to love tweets too.

Here's a tweet published by Huffington Post. It reads as follows:

Didn't expect to catch comrade Trump and his filthy motorcade by Camden Sainsbo's bus stop today. Here's a London welcome for an orange wasteman. #Fuck Trump #MAGA.”

As you can see, it offers its readers some profound political insights. And in the very same HuffPost piece there were four more tweets of equal penetrative wisdom.

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Parts of the media big up tweets as if they're of supreme political importance. They aren't. They're often simply the ramblings of Twitter addicts and Twitter activists. They're rarely reasoned responses to political affairs or current news – although, sure, they sometimes can be. In fact the media often chooses particular tweets precisely because they aren't reasoned or informative. In other words, the more titillating the tweets are, the more likely they'll be published.

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Thursday, 2 August 2018

Is Corbynism a Religion?



Marxism has always been associated with religion. Not surprisingly, a prophet like Karl Marx had no time for other prophets. Indeed Marx and Marxists denied that they were “utopians” and saw themselves as being anti-religion, even though they indulged in prophesy and promised a perfect society... 

The Radical Left has done the same ever since.

Of course religions in history haven't needed a single deity or even explicitly religious practices. Zen Buddhism shows us that.

The religious impulse in very strong. The desire and need for a perfect society has motivated countless individuals and sects throughout history. And now we have Corbynite Manicheanism and millenarianism. That religious zealotry partly explains the very intense and violent hatred Corbynites have for literally all political opponents. They see everyone from Tories to patriots as being (just to take three examples) “scum”, “gammon” or "Nazis". They're also highly pious and puritanical; just as much as Victorian sexual moralists or the Puritans of the 17th century. Even evolutionary psychologist recognise these givens of human psychology, and show that they display themselves again and against throughout history.

Monday, 23 July 2018

The Student Red Guards of British Universities





Remember when Jacob Rees-Mogg was stopped from speaking by students in February this year? Those students yelled “Tory fascist”, “fascist scum”, “sexist, “homophobe” and “Nazi” at an elected British politician. Now aren't those words highly original? Not really. You’d think that these students would have become a little self-conscious about using these left-wing cliches and soundbites. Though since the left-wing (or “radical”) politics of student life is effectively a middle-class rite of passage, and because all rites of passage must take the same form, then these actions are hardly surprising.

Most left-wing students dress the same; act the same; and, more importantly, think the same. They are extremely tribal. Hence the middle-class rite of passage they indulge in at universities.

The Radical Left isn’t concerned with debate. It’s concerned with obliterating alternative political views. It often does this with violence; or, sometimes, with the “no platform” policy which has often been in force in British universities. (It has only been applied to the “far Right” — never to the "far Left".) This policy was established by the National Union of Students in the early 1970s; under the strong influence of the International Marxist Group (IMG) and International Socialists (IS). It’s been used to ban a whole host of speakers, groups, and even academics. Some well-known recent cases (the lesser known cases are ignored) include feminist and writer Julie Bindel, Germane Greer and Peter Tatchell.

What happened to Jacob Rees-Mogg has happened countless times in our universities since the 1960s. It’s been happening since the Radical Left has been attempting to create (sometimes it’s been very successful) a “hegemony” in all these “Gramscian institutions”. All sorts of people have been the victim of such left-wing violence, intolerance, and political conformity: academics, MPs, politicians, political parties, political and social groups, individuals, etc.

One example of all this which always stuck in mind dates way back to 1978 and concerned the biologist, researcher and naturalist, E.O. Wilson (who, politically, is a liberal). His case also parallels the left-wing intolerance of Steven Pinker (he's also a liberal who’s donated money to the Democratic Party), the Canadian clinical psychologist and professor of psychology, Jordan Peterson, etc. today.

E.O. Wilson’s book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, was published in 1975. It rekindled the ancient nature-vs-nurture debate. Predictably, Wilson was accused of “racism”, “misogyny”, “fascism”, and even sympathy for eugenics.

Not surprisingly, this led to one incident in November 1978 in which E.O. Wilson was physically attacked (during one of his lectures) by members of the International Committee Against Racism, a front group for the Marxist Progressive Labor Party. Ironically, Wilson said:

I believe… I was the only scientist in modern times to be physically attacked for an idea.”

What Wilson said is false; as the example of scientists in the Soviet Union, for one, shows. In the 1960s, other American scientists and academics were also victims of left-wing violence and intolerance. (As can be seen in the ‘Political Scientists' chapter of Steven Pinker’s book, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature.) However, Wilson later said that he was very politically naïve at the time and had no idea that he’d be attacked by the virulent and intolerant Radical Left.

So, bearing all that in mind, I wonder if professors, academics and other left-wing supporters (whether passive or active) of all this believe that it’s a good thing that so many students are politically conformist, intolerant and violent?

Is it a good thing that being left-wing or a revolutionary socialist is a middle-class rite of passage for so many students between the ages of 18 and 25?

Is it a good thing that so many right-wing academics, groups and individuals have their talks and seminars banned and have also even been the victims of physical violence?

Do they think it’s a good thing that many university departments are effectively Gramscian institutions and that this has been the case going back to the 1960s - for some 60 or so years?

All this is nothing new. It has a history.

In the Germany of the 1930s, Hitler Youth and other young Nazis ruled the roost in German universities. Indeed all academics were Nazis; although some were only nominally so.

In the 1940s in the Soviet Union, all academics were Marxists/communists. And, again, young students often victimised political dissidents - even the ones who weren’t political dissidents.

Under Chairman Mao (in the 1960s) we had the young Red Guards who terrorised the university campuses and enforced their political will on all students and indeed even on professors, academics and their parents.

And today (in the UK) we have Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Momentum, Unite Against Fascism, Hope Not Hate, the Socialist Workers Party, etc. who, in their fight for tolerance, peace and open-mindedness, indulge in extreme intolerance, violence and closed-mindedness.

Yes, it all sounds terribly familiar. Yet to those deeply embedded in university environments (in which being left-wing — or at least being liberal left — is de rigueur), it will all seem so terribly normal and acceptable. Of course it will!

Friday, 13 July 2018

The EU & the Customs Union: Politics vs. Economics




The essence of the issues of both the Customs Union and, more broadly, the European Union itself can be summed up in a single sentence:

It's not all about economics. It's all about politics.

At the very least, it may not literally all be about economics. However, it's certainly true that many people believe - and many Remainers pretend to believe – that it's all about economics...

In terms of detail, the former Conservative Chancellor, Lord Lawson, captures this when he recently said that Lord Patten advanced a "political argument dressed up as a trade argument". Lawson was specifically responding to Lord Patten's "wrecking amendment" in the House of Lords. Lawson developed his it's-all-about-politics argument by stating the following:

"I can see there are political reasons for remaining in the EU, but I think the political reasons for leaving are much stronger. But what it is absolute nonsense to suggest is that there is an economic case for what is being proposed."

He added that the Custom Unions would leave the UK in a "quasi-colonial" status. Lawson said all this after some Conservatives (who'd joined with opposition parties) inflicted a defeat on the Government. This means that the issue will now have to return to the Commons. Needless to say, the Government doesn't have a majority in the Lords.

The problem with what's going on in the House of Lords is that many people may find themselves in a quandary. Personally, I've never been particular critical of the Lords in the past. So I can't suddenly claim to have a major problem with it simply because it's attempting to subvert Brexit. That's not to say that I didn't formerly have any problems with this institution. It's just that I never took a radical position against it.

This is similar to what happened with the Leave referendum itself. That is, if the result were inverted in every respect, then no Remainer would ever ask for a repeat referendum. Similarly, if the Lords had never subverted Brexit, then many Brexiteers would never have developed a big problem with this institution.

The issue of the Customs and the EU can of course be both economic and political in nature. However, depending on the audience and the context, economics or politics will often be stressed. To an audience full of Remainers, political factors and values will be stressed. In mixed audiences, Remainers will stress economics - the politics, projects and values of the EU will hardly be mentioned at all.

This difficulty of disentangling the economic from the political is best demonstrated when it comes to the EU's commitment to the “free movement of labour”. (This only applies to “labour” within the EU. It has nothing to do with the free movement of people outside the EU into the EU.)

Now is the EU's commitment to the free movement of labour an economic or a political commitment? Is it both? For businesses and many of those on the Right, the EU's Single Market (to be specific) was an economic commitment. For socialists and/or “progressives”, on the other hand, it's a political commitment. However, when the architects and creators of the Single Market spoke about their child, they tended to speak in entirely economic terms. For example, they talked about “increased competition”, “economies of scale”, the “allocation of resources” to the best places, “efficiency”, the “free movement of goods”, etc. And even with the “free movement of labour” (not “the free movement of people”), the emphasis was on competition. Despite saying that, here again there was still a political component. After all, the EU's Single Market is about integration; and (as stated) that can only be the result of political action and legislation.

The other thing that's worth stating is that it's the political climate that largely determines the economic realities anyway. So, in that sense, it's hard to split the two.

Put simply, the political and legal dreams of Remainers and the EU itself are driving all these references to economics, not the other way around. The political and legal agendas of the EU are fundamental and primary: almost everything else serves those goals. At least that's the case for most British Remainers and all pro-EU politicians.