Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Double Standards

I have just read an article on Al Jazeera and it is nice to see the leaders of the three main political parties in Britain are all still capable of towing the same line in bull-shit.

David Cameron said "We will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain's streets.  Scenes of people attacking police officers and fire crews, this is criminality, pure and simple, this has to be confronted and defeated."

Nick Clegg said "It was needless, opportunistic theft and violence, nothing more, nothing less.  It is completely unacceptable."

Ed Miliband tweeted "Shocked by scenes in parts of London and Birmingham. We need strong police response to restore calm and for communities to work together."


The tragedy, it seems, is that people who happily take on board the authoritarian paradigm are inherently incapable of realising what I am talking about.  The fact that I suggest these remarks are bull-shit is erroneously interpreted by them as meaning I am in agreement with what they see as "the enemy".

How can I explain this?  Most people seem not to like algebra.  It is a consequence of bad teaching in school.  But let me try a bit of literal algebra.  Think of an archetypal bad guy.  In this case a 'hoodie' who opportunistically loots and sets fire to buildings.  An unpleasant individual who is unkind, rude, violent and doesn't give a damn about other people.  Not a nice sort.  Okay.  So have you got that little model sorted in your head.  Let us call it BadGuy.  So a lot of the population have this little definition in their heads.  On their televisions they see people (let's call them hoodies) acting in a way which fits this 'model', this algebraic representation of a 'thing'.  They quite erroneously think the person on their television screen is a BadGuy.  They don't really understand that the BadGuy is in their head, they think it is 'out there'.  It is a kind of Freudian projection.  There is no doubt that the hoodie is acting 'like' the BadGuy but there is a difference.

Now let's think of the political leaders (and all sorts of other people in positions of power and influence) and consider where they are coming from.  Take a simple situation with man A and man B (more algebra).  Man A gives an apple to man B who looks hungry.  So man A is a "GoodGuy".  Man B snatches the apple, utters some obscenities and hits man A.  He quite clearly fits the BadGuy description.  The politicians use this algebraic model to define the world and they call the hoodies BadGuys and the rest of the law abiding innocent citizens going about their legitimate business GoodGuys.  It seems to make sense to get rid of the BadGuys.  Then all that is left is us GoodGuys.  Simples!  But there is a glaring contradiction.  The politicians are not GoodGuys.  Take a look at the rules in the country.  Take a look at the game of musical chairs being played with people's jobs and their ability to simply survive in this culture.  Look at the unjust laws governing the little people's finances and the big boys' finances.  Look at the behaviour of the banks.  Look at the disgusting and irresponsible behaviour of the oil companies.  Look at the lies perpetrated by the pharmaceutical industry.  When the industrial scale rip off including credit card scams, consumerism, consumption etc starts to creak at the edges what is the authorities' response?  Squeeze even harder.  Take money from the support mechanism in society to bail out the otherwise bankrupt bankers.  The authorities' behaviour is not that of the GoodGuy.  But the morality, the simple algebraic equation, is brought to bear on the detail of the situation.  It is too easy to see the 'hoodie' as equal to or equivalent to the BadGuy.  Out comes the moralising and the apparently legitimate judgement that the BadGuys must be stopped.  (Out comes the rod of righteous retribution! - See the light entertainment below.)  When I object to this stance a common mistake is to think I am agreeing that the BadGuys behaviour is good.  No - BadGuy behaviour is decidedly undesirable.  My problem is that it is the authorities' BadGuy behaviour that is both unacceptable and has given rise to the hoodies' behaviour which looks very like a BadGuy.

Free Speech for Hamsters
(or 'the Rod of Righteous Retribution')

In simple terms the problem starts with the rules in the country.  The problem is that the people at the top are acting like cruel psychopaths.  (N.B. I said 'cruel' psychopaths - there is nothing wrong with being a psychopath per se.)  It is not an 'excuse' for the behaviour of the looters but it is an observation that you would expect something like this to happen if you continue to abuse the population.

So the leaders' comments are bull-shit because they are continuing the deception by suggesting that the solution to the problem is to be more forceful, judgemental and punitive against the 'consequences' of the rich and powerful's abusive behaviour.  There is a moral judgement being applied by one set of people against another set.  This morality is applied to the hoodies by a group of people who are not applying it to themselves.  Simply put you can abuse and cheat other people until they lash out and then claim that they are acting immorally.  Double Standards!

Here's the BIG QUESTION.  If there is something wrong with the hoodies' behaviour can anyone out there tell me WHAT is wrong with it?  Because, in a Socratic kind of way, in answering that question, you might just encounter that the problem with abusive behaviour is precisely that it degrades the whole situation.  The problem with abusive treatment of other people is that it causes aberrant behaviour and the problem with aberrant behaviour is that it is uncomfortable and not conducive to sustainable life.  What people imagine is wrong with the hoodies' behaviour is that it will destroy our culture and our reasonable comfort.  YES!  That is what is wrong with abusive behaviour.  The hoodies are the evidence of the abusive behaviour of the politicians, the bankers, the rich and powerful and indeed the priests, vicars, imams, rabbis, teachers, doctors, judges and the list cascades throughout the culture.  If you abuse people they act erroneously otherwise there would be no meaning in the idea of abuse.  If abuse had no consequence what would it be called abuse for?

So the politicians need to say "Yes, this is unacceptable and we must do something about it."  but what they must do about it is to start to dismantle the self-contradictory, deceptive and immoral state of the country.  People in positions of power MUST act reasonably and fairly toward the community.  It is no good occasionally having an 'expenses' scandal, or a 'phone hacking' scandal, or an 'abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib' scandal and sending a few scapegoats to jail.  This is allowing the bad behaviour to continue so long as you don't get caught.  The whole culture of acceptable abuse MUST STOP.  There was never any excuse to bail out the bankers.  There is no excuse for the amazingly self destructive 'austerity measures' imposed on the poor.  This is perverse, self contradictory behaviour and it must STOP.

But the politicians will continue to 'blame' the hoodies for their own corrupt behaviour and the frightened population will continue to bleat in agreement with the punitive actions against them.  And the churches and the synagogues and the mosques will all see an increase in attendance and there will be more mutterings of prayers to some fictional benign oppressor.  But the abuse will continue until Allah, in his infinite wisdom, will bring about the destruction of the abusive culture.  And lest my little humour here is misinterpreted by some fascist Muslims he'll get you too (and the Christians and the Jews).

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