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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Harmony and the Right to Choose

The twentieth century saw more change than any other time in history.  Until the second half of the 20th Century we lived and died with little chance of fate intervening to save or prolong what was for many of us, a largely wretched life. With the exception of the privileged middle and upper classes life was a struggle. It was miserable, short and unpredictable, made bearable by superstition and punctuated by exhilarating distractions such as violence and war, which was perhaps, a welcome change from living a life racked by disease and starvation.  So in the 20th century we experienced the best and the worst of human behaviour.  Mobile death squads and fixed factories of mass extermination juxtaposed unprecedented opportunities to eliminate human misery by curing disease and eradicating poverty (and hence hunger).  The dystopian nightmare future was our recent past.

So what is wrong with our present time?

It starts with the assumption that we know what we want and of even greater importance that we know what others want.  And before we endow others with our munificence we make the assumption that their fear can be conquered even when it is based on an illiberal and reactionary abhorrence of everything to which we adhere, but more about this later.

I did not think these thoughts as I travelled on the London Underground last week. But it did occur to me that the person who pushed in front of me was a symptom of the disharmony that has failed global man (I use the term loosely to encompass both sexes).  She needed to go to work. I waited patiently for the commuters to alight from the carriage. I was dressed casually, not like an office worker. So her superior purpose took precedence over mine.  With this she justified her need to push in front of us and onto the train before anyone else had managed to detrain!

In a multicultural society we celebrate each others cultural eccentricities so our personal peculiarities are often inextricably linked to, and the reason for, cultural misunderstandings.  Too often though, it is the extremists that impose their world view on the rest of us. Unfortunately, our perception is time and again, formed by happenstance, rumour and of course, deliberate disinformation.  If a picture tells a thousand words then even if challenged, the lie is a more effective weapon than the truth. A poignant photo of a Jewish refugee child (see link) was stolen by the Palestinian propaganda industry and rebranded. What an inspired, cynical misuse of history.  The victim’s past becomes the means by which her memory and then she, is obliterated.

Propaganda can both offend and also be an effective means of recruitment. One such example occurs in the UK every year on Armistice Day (also known as Remembrance Day). It is commemorated as a time to remember the dead of war.  Poppies, as such, are an international symbol of that remembrance.  Muslim extremists burn poppies to protest the West’s oppression of Muslims.  For many people, the act of burning poppies, along with anti-Infidel (Crusader) signage taints all Muslims even though it should not.  But while all Muslims and all those on the political Left are not rabid cultural bullies their overwhelming silence (or any excuses that they make) for an act so egregious that it offends almost everyone, can only be interpreted as tacit agreement by the mainstream for the fringe.

And the bully will defend an act of extremism and demand that we support them in demonstration of our fealty to the ideals they profess even when they contradict everything we believe in.  It is the new intellectual terrorism so adroitly practiced by the McCarthyist practitioners of the Red-green-brown alliance.

It was never the intent of multiculturalism as a national policy that it be predicated on equal but separate development.  Distinct identities, interwoven but based on shared responsibilities would tolerate dissent but maintain national unity based on founding principles.   It is the rejection of both founding principles and a common attachment to history that has brought multiculturalism into disrepute.

We arrived at this failure of association because we permitted the bully to control the dialogue, to manipulate the storyline and in a world of unprecedented opportunity we lost the path to the future by assuming that if we allowed poisoned flowers to blossom they would eventually lose their potency.  They haven’t, instead their toxic malevolence has spread across the globe.

The reason I bring this up is that we have permitted too many loopholes in the law, too many opportunities for the hustler to profit (and not just from the weak and the stupid), and too many unscrupulous and benighted policies to be enacted in the subjective name of fairness, progress and better government.  In spite of an insupportable burden of ever-increasing regulation the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been witness, for far too long, to an era of laissez faire doctrine governing society.

Non-interference, especially in individual conduct, has elevated the individual above the group, to the status of a potentate.  It isn’t simply the well-dressed office worker pushing to get onto the uncrowded train.  It is the way we are constantly being told what to do and what not to do; what to think and what to believe in.  Our aggression is encouraged and channelled, for the sole satisfaction of the id, for the benefit of the ‘I’.  The person who refuses to wait, or who permits their children to sit while adults stand are all concerned with the ‘me’ to the exclusion of ‘us’.  First and foremost, their lives revolve around what society owes them.  At a time in history when we should all be able to celebrate our freedom from fear, hunger, violence and poverty we are instead contemptuous of our fellow man as if we remain in competition with them for our very survival.  In our relentless drive to compete – whether for money or for souls, society has lost sight of our humanity, and part of that humanity is our purpose.

In Iraq, in the decade since the invasion, the US alone has spent almost one trillion dollars in propping up this homicidal and racist entity; and on civilian projects alone, since 2001, one hundred and twenty billion dollars has been spent in Afghanistan.  If other countries desire to replicate our way of life then they will eventually accede to doing so, without our interference. The best example I can cite is the story of China. By area, China is the third largest country in the world with the largest population. It has a recorded history that is as old as any nation. It has absorbed many influences – always choosing only that which it considered complementary to its own civilisation.   Nations that are not conquered, even some that are, eventually pick and choose what suites them best.

There are many people in the world who fear our permissive, Western society of free association and perceived lack of restraint.  The Osama bin-Laden’s of this world grew up immersed in immense material wealth. Because of this they were able to reject and use the power their wealth gave them to attack what they feared. And what they fear is what they see every day, on their TV screens, as they walk along the street and in their newspapers.  There is nothing that we can say (or do) that will convince them of our intrinsic value as human beings. We can only defeat them if we marginalise them and if we respond to their incoherent morality by highlighting their ethical contradictions, at every opportunity, publicly. 

When we attempt to govern the ungovernable by throwing money at them we earn not respect for our ways but contempt. To protect our societies from the fall-out of failed nations such as Somalia and Afghanistan and nearly failed nations such as Pakistan, we should boycott them, ban all international interaction with them and those that support them should also be excluded. It is not a form of colonial enterprise to let a nation go its own way if it wants our resources but not our material or spiritual ‘contamination.’  It is not isolationist to want to protect ones’ society from corrupt influences because the very word ‘corrupt’ is subjective and all of human history has been formed by the subjective decisions of individuals within groups that make up societies.   It is our choices that define not just us but our respective civilisations.

It is the rejection of the right to choose that will destroy us.

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