Libertarian extremism in Tory government: Oliver Dowden at Heritage Foundation

Chair of Conservative Party Oliver Dowden travelled to USA this week (February 14th 2022) to speak at an event hosted by Heritage Foundation (HF).

(Update: Dowden resigned as Chair on June 24th 2022 after two by-election losses for the Tories.)
(Update: Dowden was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in April 2023.)

HF is a key libertarian think-tank and dark money conduit.  Its funding comes from the worst exploiters, much if it channelled via Koch subsidiaries.  HF supports, financially and via propaganda, extremist perspectives including attacks on the right to abortion, on gay rights and on teaching of uncensored history.  Its focus at present is development of bills throughout the USA, presented by Republican Party politicians, that intend to remove the right to vote for millions of Americans with particular emphasis on voter suppression for people of colour.

HF is part of Shanker Singham’s Competitiveness and Enterprise Cities Project that “has created an end-to-end package of products that take an Enterprise City [or Charter city] from concept and feasibility through to regulatory framework creation (starting with a blank slate), asset management and city operations.” – Baker Street Herald.  Charter cities are states within states where democratic accountability is eschewed and replaced by corporate fascism and exploitation.

Dowden chose to deliver his speech at HF because he wanted to perform for his host.  Like an excited toddler showing his parent a turd he’d just dropped, he wanted to show the extremists at HF that the Tories are on board with both the extremism and the messaging.

Oliver Dowden at Heritage Foundation

In his speech Dowden spoke about “social justice warriors” who “claim to be woke” and said “a pernicious new ideology is sweeping our societies.”

He meant anyone or any organisation or any political party or group that exposes and discusses Tory intent, Tory corruption and Tory criminality or that challenges libertarian rhetoric and philosophy.

He meant informed, organised and focussed people who oppose the actions of the Tory government, like-minded governments and their associates (think-tanks, media, etc.) and who dissect conservative propaganda, reveal real consequences of conservative policy and describe how the public are fleeced by conservatives for the benefit of the wealthiest.

He meant people who fight against racism, against bigotry and prejudice, against lies, corruption and exploitation, against economic warfare, against climate destruction and against destruction of democracy.

He meant effective political opposition against conservatism and libertarianism. 

With next to no opposition in parliament or media, Tory government looked elsewhere to strangle opposition.  It declared a culture war that has two compatible aims – 1) censor information, and 2) enable libertarian platforming – and has many battlegrounds including schools, universities, museums and other heritage sites, and BBC and Channel 4.

Dowden claimed “universities have, of course, for decades been prey to left-wing excesses” and said “our Conservative government in the United Kingdom is legislating to protect free speech on campus.  We will stop the sinister phenomenon of academics or students who offend left wing orthodoxies being censored or harassed.”  A translation of his drivel is the government, via its Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) bill (HEFS), will impose far-right indoctrination at universities while stopping them from promoting policies that include anti-racism and other perspectives that could be described as “woke.”

As pre-action ahead of the imposition of HEFS, Toby Young’s extremist libertarian lobby group Free Speech Union is harassing universities with fraudulent misrepresentation of law as an attempt to stop them from pursuing policies that fight against racism.  In his letters to universities Young referenced HEFS as part of his threats.

Dowden congratulated himself on his attacks on the independence of heritage sites when he was Culture Secretary.  In that role he created Heritage Advisory Board whose purpose is to ensure that museums and heritage sites do not provide full historical accuracy, specifically anything related to racism.

As Culture Secretary I challenged those cultural institutions funded by ordinary taxpayers but which promoted politicised agendas.”

He referred to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi’s direct interference in teaching.  This week Zahawi published “guidance” for teachers when discussing political issues.  His “guidance” was contradictory and absurd, and absolutely unnecessary but it’s purpose was as propaganda in Tories’ culture war.  Dowden backed up his colleague’s inventions and concocted assertions.

Zahawi: “No school should be encouraging young people to pin their colours to a particular political mastParents and carers need to be able to trust schools to be totally impartial.  They need to be confident that their children can learn about political issues and begin to form their own independent opinions, without being influenced by the personal views of those teaching them.”

Dowden: “We have made it clear to schools that it is illegal to teach the concept of ‘white privilege’ as though it were undisputed fact.

The latter, playing to his audience of extremists at HF, was more ridiculous with his lies and more obvious with his bigotry then Zahawi, who was speaking to the British public via the media, but intent of both was the same.

Dowden’s warnings about hordes of “social justice warriors,” radical teachers in schools, “left-wing excesses” at universities and “politicised agendas” in museums was presented to HF in the context of defence of the “West.”

The enemies of the West are finding fresh confidence in their eternal battle against liberty.”

Capitalism needs enemies to distract the public.  To enhance the depiction of enemies it needs a spurious cohesion that can be described as under threat.  Thus, conservatives are wedded to the concept of the “West.”  

They define the “West” in terms of misleading abstractions like “liberty,” “freedom” and “democracy” and present that definition as a contrast to political philosophies elsewhere.  However, conservatives’ real concern is wealth enhancement for corporate exploiters.  In particular, systems of government that don’t work exclusively for the benefit of a wealthy elite are cast as enemies of the “West’s values.”

To the HF Dowden was keen to parade his adherence to the philosophy and to the spiel of occidental onanism.  He made sure to stress the Tory government’s commitment to a view of the world that positions the “West” against the rest.

He didn’t hide the fact that the “West” versus others is really corporate exploitation versus alternative systems.  

The idea that Beijing’s partial embrace of free markets would automatically lead to greater social and personal political freedoms has proved to be breathtakingly naive.”

Dowden knows that China’s successful development of relationships with countries around the world is a threat to corporate hegemony.

He was keen to imply that the whole world is potentially an enemy of his “West.”

The world watches the relationship between America and its allies.  Not only must we stand together, we must be seen to stand together.”

He preached a sermon that is commonplace in the rectal episodes of screaming far-right proclaimers like Nigel Farage, Melanie Phillips, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and Douglas Murray, or in the literature of extreme think-tanks Institute of Economic Affairs, Centre For Policy Studies and particularly Henry Jackson Society: The “West” besieged by uncivilised mobs, and he equated his alleged support for “freedom” and “liberty” with support for unrestricted free-racketeering.

The task of conservatives is to remake the case for the West, to proclaim our beliefs in the wonderful creativity of the human spirit, in the rights of property and the rule of law and in the extraordinary fruitfulness of enterprise and trade.”

Dowden showed, as his colleagues do daily, that the Tory government is hellbent on the most grotesque anti-human libertarian policies and that it will seek to cancel all opposition.

Full transcript of Dowden speech to Heritage Foundation: Dowden speech

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Libertarian extremism in Tory government: Oliver Dowden at Heritage Foundation

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