Archive for 9-11

Where Do I Start?

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2009 by AF

I’ve just watched Question Time on the UK’s BBC TV. I recommend anyone who doesn’t know the programme and has never seen it (probably because the BBC, since it makes money from and has financial agreements with foreign companies, can often prevent those without a British IP address from seeing various broadcasts), to try to view it.

If you’re like me, you should probably start off by covering your screen with some kind of protective netting, or you’re likely to damage it when you start throwing things. But the fact is that, even when you dismiss (sometimes unfairly) the sound-bite politics and the facile, the stupidly liberal and the downright partisan remarks, there’s still one heck of a lot of, on the face of it, good sense that’s talked by both the invited audience and the panel of so-called experts.

And yet… and yet…

Good hearted people suggest endlessly that we shouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq, or Afghanistan and the problem with youth is that the troublesome minority feels no connection with society and we should do more to help them relate and we should have more, or less legislation and so on and on. Of course I agree with all those sentiments – in theory. But, if I could make just one plea to them all it would be to, please just stop and look at reality!

I’m as certain as anyone that the conflicts I’ve just mentioned were in many ways not about what was claimed at the time. Probably there was self interest over oil involved, but do you want oil, most plastics and fuel to be instantly cut off or the price to shoot up by ten-fold overnight? Think about it! It would mean the end of our civilisation as we know it. It really would! In time we’d probably work around it, but hundreds of thousands, maybe millions would starve to death in the West before we got through and the Taliban would rule planet Earth by then, or the Chinese, or a coalition of the two, or something else equally awful.

However, leaving aside the motive of self interest – Saddam Hussein was and asshole! It’s just a simple fact. We didn’t do any of it right and we’ve screwed up endlessly since, but the fact still remains, the guy was a total bastard and, whatever they think at the moment, the vast majority of Iraqis are better off without him. Then there’s the Taliban – they have to be some of the worst, bigoted, dictatorial, evil shit on the planet, so whatever happens to them, us, or even the innocents (in the short term) – those people are just vermin and have to be eradicated. There is no decent alternative!

Ideally, one might say that these sorts of operations should be under the control of the UN, but that is just a toothless talking shop that will wring its hands whilst millions are exterminated in periods of “ethnic cleansing”, genocide, torture and enslavement by vile regimes. Someone has to be a world policeman! In the absence of anything better, I would prefer it to be the West, rather than some Taliban warlord!

Then there’s the “youth of today” question. Of course the vast majority of young people are pretty much decent, upright citizens and morally a lot better than some of the bankers, financiers and similarly awful people who have landed us in our current financial problems through nothing more than greed. But (in the UK in particular and probably also in the US, plus to a lesser extent across Europe) PC legislation and out of control welfare, together with bigotry, corrupt and inefficient policing and inadequate educational facilities have produced a sizeable minority of mostly young vandals who would destroy our societies and everything we have and care about – terrorising the elderly, the young, families and decent people everywhere, spreading violence, drugs, rape, mayhem, murder and every other crime in a totally indiscriminate rampage.

Such young people often start off by being out of control as young as six, seven, or eight and then grow into teenagers and young people who just don’t give a shit about anyone or anything else but themselves, their own sense of self importance and their whims of the moment. It a small but growing threat that, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you’ll be lucky not to wind up dead just because they think it’s funny, or you are not one of them, or you even are, but they don’t like you that day!

Make no mistake, WE created this problem with daft liberalism and silly PC legislation that was full of good intentions and almost no understanding of reality! But it’s much too late to try to put the clock back now. We can change the future, but we can’t put right the damage we already did, just by being nice to these people. I believe in the rights of every individual of a society at all ages. What I don’t believe is that there is such a thing as your human rights per se – to anything! It’s a nice idea, but totally impractical. You have the rights that the society you live in grants you and I agree there should be a degree of commonality about that in all societies (although there often isn’t). But, in my opinion, we all have a duty earn those rights by being decent members of that society.

It’s really very simple. It’s straightforward practicality and there’s nothing difficult or highly moral about it at all. If we don’t, any of us, contribute to and broadly support our society, then it will not be able to protect our rights within it, so we’re entitled to nothing. If we let it happen, those that will not join in and be involved with society could ultimately (quite easily) bring our whole civilisation crashing down – just like the Arab’s oil (or the withholding of it), or the Taliban’s evil lust for fundamentalist world domination by fear and indoctrination.

We should not let any of that happen! Doing nothing except wringing our hands at the unfairness of it all is NOT an option!

Well, I Resisted

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2009 by AF

I resisted the temptation for as long as I could, but the Sarah Palin thing turns up everywhere and it is a whole lot more important than a lot of people seem to think, so I caved in and wrote this.

I commented on a post on a political blog as follows:

Not that I’m advocating it, but with a dictatorship, what you see is more or less what you get.

With a democracy there is always danger. Some single thing happens and suddenly you can find yourself with a swing to extremism – be it to the left or to the right. If that occurs at something like election time, watch out!

Palin is all you say and, as many have commented here and elsewhere, she’s great media fodder and poking fun at her is almost a national sport at times. But she could be dangerous! The wrong event at the wrong moment and she and all her ilk would be swept to power. What would that mean for the world”

I think that judgment is more valid than a lot of people realise…

Sarah Palin seems to me to be a rallying point for a whole batch of the oft called “loony” right in the US – and that’s not good. When bigots and others with extremist views – does that make sense? Are all extremists not bigots by definition? But I digress – whilst extremists are a disparate bunch, they are often rather upsetting, but that’s life and they’re entitled to their opinions however unpalatable they may be to most of us, but they are little threat. Given a charismatic personality to follow, the nature of the beast changes (and she is charismatic, if somewhat brittle and given to faux pas on a grand scale – and she’s got tits too – rednecks go for tits). She is also very good at the sound bite thing as well.

Sarah Palin is the darling of a certain section of the American political right. Facts don’t get in her way. If it sounds good and will gain her more adulation, then she’ll say it. By definition, extremists don’t listen to reasoned argument. If a speech or even a phrase fits in with their prejudices, their ideology, then they’re not likely to let the inconvenience of mere facts spoil a good angle.

Like I said in my comment, it only takes the wrong event at the wrong moment and a big chunk of normally rational, considerate, decent people will swing towards something they would usually hate. Imagine if 9/11 had occurred a month before the US08 Presidential election – would Obama now be President, or would McCain and Palin be in the Whitehouse?

That scenario feels like George W on speed to me and fills me with horror. As I said, democracy is what we revere and believe in, but we should never take it for granted, because it can be very fragile and fraught with great danger!