The Sick Man of Europe

There is an assumption that official leadership, although potentially malevolent, is probably intelligent; from this premise, conspiratorial thinking grows wings and takes flight. But no assumption is less justified. Leadership is constituted by the people who excel at playing the specific games which produce the leadership class, but this ability only correlates to excellence in a functional political and social system.

In a dysfunctional system, with misaligned incentive structures, the corrupt, mendacious and incompetent will rise. Much of our current political predicament can be explained by this fact. Across the world, at every institutional level, men of genuine intelligence and real integrity are sidelined; sycophants and people-users are promoted in their place, who promote others like themselves. Over time, the general level of institutional intelligence and character declines, until finally nobody with any influence has any competence whatsoever except in larceny and self-deception.

Nowhere is this now more glaring than in Britain. It is never a good situation when a nation becomes entangled with the psychological pathologies of a single leader, but it is now clear this is what has happened in the United Kingdom, where a fundamentally dishonest, irresponsible man has assumed control over an increasingly dysfunctional and sociopathic country.

Britain has not really been healthy for some time. Already with the disturbing opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, it was clear that something had gone deeply wrong. Emphasizing a ghoulish paean to the NHS and a clumsy multiculturalism, the most revealing moment arrived with the use of Rowan Atkinson’s character Mr. Bean to interrupt footage of the classic movie Chariots of Fire, whose traditional values of self-sacrifice and virtue now seem embarrassing to an irony-poisoned British public conditioned into gimcrack cynicism, and pathos-drenched apologetic masculinity.

Eight years later, Alexander ‘Boris’ Johnson, the Mayor of London in 2012, at the time pictured suspended helplessly on a malfunctioning zip-wire, is Prime Minister, and the light-hearted, jolly character who charmed the British public on his way to a historic majority against the dour Jeremy Corbyn has been replaced by an ashen-faced prison warden presiding over a government of destruction.

In retrospect, the darkness and self-hatred lurking behind Johnson’s clown mask should always have been obvious from the broken marriages, disappointed mistresses and abandoned children he has left trailing in his wake. “I have always suspected that Stanley — a pseudo-intellectual, a wanderer and a bore — is the key to his son,” writes Tanya Gold in her review of a new biography of Johnson, “and Bower confirms it: Stanley repeatedly beat his wife Charlotte, an artist, and she spent time in a mental hospital, blaming herself. The children were cast to the four winds: to the English public school system, where hurts are buried and myths self-made.”

Johnson is a “a media invention… willed ironically into life and funny, until it wasn’t.” He is not a politician but a personality, and the essence of his personality is sickness. Driven by “a desire to seek, and to punish, the mother; the mother the child believes abandoned him,” that is, driven by a hunger to fuck his mother, and to kill his father, Johnson systematically seduces and betrays. “Those who call Johnson a lover misunderstand him. He is a seeker: for him the wanting is better than the having.”

Now the father of a newborn child after an affair with an ambitious thirty-year-old Tory Party assistant destroyed his twenty-five-year marriage, Johnson now is acting out his complexes on a larger scale. “For Johnson, the premiership is a woman, or at least it resembles a woman.” Thus it must be punished. Surrounded by acolytes “who, despite his desire to promote only inadequates, sense a vessel to exploit,” what the country is now witnessing is a nervous breakdown in slow motion.

Johnson’s tragedy was getting what he wanted. Consider: a man who has never taken responsibility for anything or anyone is now responsible for sixty million people. Not Boris the Clown, but the grim, unsmiling man who appeared on television on the morning of the day after the Brexit referendum was a forewarning of the mirthlessly despotic Prime Minister with a huge Parliamentary majority whom we are now trapped. For his whole life, Johnson was repeatedly forgiven for his multiple betrayals, a form of acting out intended to produce forgiveness, and now he occupies the highest office in the land. There is no one higher to forgive him, now except for God. But in times of crisis, a weak ruler is the one thing God does not forgive, and until Johnson resigns, or is removed, God going to destroy this country. 

Johnson today looks like a man who has passed directly from childhood to the second child of senility without passing through adulthood first. Appearing now before the public, he babbles platitudes and slogans, forgets the details, and the purpose of the rules he is imposing, and plays dress-up on days-out, but the mirth is gone. How might one imagine Johnson’s cabinet, but the final days in Hitler’s bunker, only with Johnson less a raving psycho, and more a broken and pathetic man, prayed upon by parasites auditioning for future sinecures from international pharmaceuticals companies, and Jesus knows who else.

Johnson did not bring the plague as such. It was here already, latent, in the officiousness, incompetence, and seediness and cowardice of so much of modern British society and its institutions: the emptiness and joylessness, this lack of centre, this fear of death, and therefore life, this urge to punish others, this desire for control and for imaginary revenge, and this sadomasochistic streak, which runs like a red thread through eighty years of British culture. What Johnson brought, however, like Adolf Hitler, in the singular attack surface of his flaws, was the original, oriental virus, hence the unusually devastating aspect of this virtual pandemic, its insanity and cataclysmic force.

The facts must be repeated until they are entered into the record of a parliamentary inquiry, and prosecutions are prepared as necessary. Johnson’s policies have killed more people than the virus, and are killing them today, in suicides, untreated cancers, cancelled operations, unemployment and despair. SARS-2 is no more dangerous than strong influenza. The average age of death in the UK is 82. There is no scientific evidence supporting lockdown policies. There is no evidence supporting the idea there are any benefits from wearing masks, and some evidence to suggest it may be harmful.

So why are these policies continuing to be implemented, not only in Great Britain but all across Europe, as well as elsewhere in the world? Why did Europe decide, as one, to commit collective suicide in August 1914? Because the same faulty decision-making structure, produced by hollow institutions, today further distorted by the dissonant epistemology of cult psychology reiterated on social media, existed everywhere.

Two weeks ago, in a rebuke to Johnson’s government, a group of Tory Peers remarked that if lockdown was an experimental medical trial it would have been abandoned for the side effects. The experiment it most resembles is in fact the Milgram Shock Experiment, where a test subject is invited to push buttons to electrocute another random individual on the basis that a credentialed scientist will take responsibility. Johnson is the test subject, the credentialed scientists are SAGE and the screaming victim is humanity. How long will it scream?

Instinctively attuned to Johnson’s weakness, and their moment in the spotlight, SAGE and their political enablers, men with huge conflicts of interest, and stunted personalities themselves, now revel in fantasies of power, to kill this country so they can tell themselves, and tell each other they are saving it, as they profit from the situation. In the meantime, a totalitarian society is materializing before our eyes and until we recognize the danger we are facing our position will continue to degenerate.

What is happening is not a culture war, or cancel culture, or revolutionary Marxism, but the reality of a parallel structure of power that has come to dominate every institution only to destroy it from the inside out: a spiritual power, not a political power, a parasitic power and also, on some level, an absence of power. Totalitarian systems are not established by a masterplan but a chain of events, with each step more degrading and sadistic than the last. There is nobody in charge: only “individuals who have reached their positions through surrender of self calling in experts to tell them what buttons to push.”

Photo by Alex Motoc on Unsplash.

Daniel Miller is a writer and Surrealist. In 2017 he protested against the Antifa outside the London gallery LD50. He’s the author of Dracula Rules the World and Mark Zuckerberg is His Son.


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