A warning from Albert Einstein who predicted Brexit
By Robert Woodward – TruePublica Editor: Born in Ulm, Albert Einstein was a German citizen from birth, but renounced it at the age of 17, moved to Switzerland and then finally to the United States in December 1932, where he worked at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.
After World War II ended, and the Nazis were removed from power, Einstein refused to associate with Germany or accept several honours bestowed upon him by Germany, as he could not forgive the Germans for the Holocaust, where six million of his fellow Jews were killed.
Although Albert Einstein was widely known during his lifetime for his work with the theory of relativity and physics in general, he was also an important peace and political activist, a believer in a very limited form of world government and a socialist. His political opinions were of public interest through the middle of the 20th century due to his fame and involvement in political, humanitarian and academic projects around the world. He was often called upon to give judgments and opinions on matters often unrelated to theoretical physics or mathematics. Einstein’s visible position in society allowed him to speak and write frankly, even provocatively, at a time when many people were silenced due to the political environments of the day.
Of democracy, Einstein wrote in 1949:
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“Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.“
This is exactly what we have witnessed in recent years. Corporatism and globalisation facilitated by neoliberal capitalism has indeed concentrated wealth, but more importantly power, into the hands of the few.
A global clique of oligarchs has emerged through the rise of technology who are now highjacking outdated but the well-principled ideals of democracy, which the populace seem to have no powers at all to curb. A technology-based informational war is being conducted, and by its very nature, the normal structures that allow for change such as democratic elections are, for now, seriously weakened. Social media is leading the charge, while the source of traditional mainstream media is corrupted by not just their billionaire owners, but the corporations that advertise and finance them. The consequence in Britain is that we now have Boris Johnson who rode in on a populist’s ideology that has already proven that it seeks the control of the legislature (which makes laws for the state), the judiciary (that provides justice without discrimination) and the media (which informs, communicates and empowers society) whilst handing new powers to itself – a corrupted political executive (the governing body).
Boris Johnson has visibly and publicly announced that the four estates of democracy are to be ‘reformed’ in order to concentrate executive power.
Whilst Albert Einstein has seemingly predicted Brexit, in reality, all he did was to look into the past to see the future. There is a predictable cycle of power swings and they are very often dangerous. Britain is already on this perilous and ugly path – economically, constitutionally and politically. If this trajectory continues, it will not be too long into the future where social control measures are taken by an authoritarian government using technology, surveillance and policing systems to wield overbearing and often heavy-handed tactics in its bid to contain oppositional or dissenting voices.
One does not have to look far to see these things happening already. Terrorism police now list innocent and well-meaning environmental activists as ‘persons of interest’ to be monitored. Some are just teenagers. Their organisations are put on ‘watch lists.’ For instance, counter-terror police listed Extinction Rebellion and HS2 protestors alongside Neo-Nazis and Jihadists groups. Political groups are spied on as if members of a group of hostile foreign state extremists. Some are infiltrated by the state with serious personal consequences for individuals. Government agencies are using laws designed to catch dangerous criminals to spy on parents with children in certain school catchment areas. People defending their local communities from being fracked, poisoned and blighted are arrested, locked up (the first peaceful non-violent protestors to be given prison sentences since 1932) and branded as a danger to society and the defenders of civil liberties and human rights are surveillance targets of the state, mocked and often humiliated by an army of state-sponsored bots and trolls.
This is the trajectory of the British state today. It has even made many life-long politicians (many who were fired for not supporting Brexit) and diplomats question the viability of the nation-state. “Failed states used to be largely the preserve of the developing world, where the institutions of democracy do not have deep roots. But given the extent to which the Brexit campaign has undermined Britain’s institutions through lies, it is reasonable to worry that the country will soon come to resemble a tinpot dictatorship.” These are not the words of a Guardian journalist in a weekend opinion piece but from the former chairman of the Conservative party, a Secretary of State and life peer, Chris Patten. Einstein was not wrong.
And Patten is not alone:
- The Hansard Society, whose first subscribers in 1944 were Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee says that the UK is about to be ‘gripped by authoritarianism.’
- Phillip Hammond, the former British Chancellor has called Boris Johnson’s power base a ‘parliamentary dictatorship‘
- The Independent has branded Boris Johnson’s administration a quasi-dictatorship.
- Foreign Policy concludes that Boris Johnson’s divide and rule policy will usher in a new period of ‘authoritarian implementation’.
- Germany’s DW newspaper sees Boris Johnson’s administration acting like a ‘military dictatorship‘
- Spain’s Alcano Institute concludes Britain is heading towards ‘failed state‘ status.
- Sky News reported that even Boris Johnson himself has had to deny constructing an ‘authoritarian regime.‘
- The Financial Times says Johnson “has some very authoritarian tendencies” and that he should not be described as a ‘one-nation’ politician.
- The Washington Examiner compares “Boris Johnson with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”
Einstein was not wrong.