How to beat division.

Division ultimately stems from the categorising of people into opposing groups. Whether you do it on class, racial, religious, national or gendered lines. Once you start saying that a particular group are oppressing you, you remove all individual identity from within that group and craft them into a fictional faceless mass. It then becomes us (the oppressed) vs them (the oppressors). The truth is likely to be more complicated, because the political and social environment in nations with giant populations are often complex.

The outlook of the victim assumes that oppressor groups, often of the victims own subjective specification, either consciously or sub-consciously work together to subtly alter the political environment to their benefit. There are a few issues with this. The first is that if you categorise all people into groups with a common aim, you destroy the role of individuality and the possibility for individual divergence within the group. Europe culturally has been quite individualistic as an acknowledged broad generalisation and so the notion of groups based on shared physical characteristics or aims is tenuous anyway.

The role of the individual is important because, if one makes a sweeping statement such as, “all whites are intrinsically racist”, or “all Muslims are terrorists” you will inevitably anger and alienate those people within the group, that you have defined, that the statement doesn’t apply to. This is because they are an individual with their own thought processes and value systems not anchored to an abstract group. The affect is for all of those people within that grouping, that then feel aggrieved because you have pointed the finger at them wrongly, to pull together into a group as a show of solidarity and because there is safety in consensus and numbers. What you in fact do by making generalisations based on groups is create groups, that otherwise didn’t exist, of resentful people bound together through their shared tribal resentment. You in essence manufacture division.

Enough people do this and you get opposing groups characterised by race, gender etc who believe they are under siege from outwards attackers. This is how we are in a country now where extremism and division is so prevalent politically and socially. The thing that motivates extremists is the idea that what they are doing is protective of “their” community, not outward hatred.

The second issue is the validity of the claims themselves. If you point the finger at a group and say they are oppressing us, you will be hard pressed to prove it, because of immeasurable, untold number of variations in action within that group, by individuals that affect society.  What you then essentially end up doing is not being able to pin point where the oppression actually comes from and so you find yourself in a scenario where the enemy is a shadowy spectre that haunts society but can’t quite be pinned down. This is what I find the argument of systemic racism to be built upon. It appears to be taken as a given that whites as a group hinder other groups from making their way up the ladder and it’s all a shadowy process built into the system.

Show me which organisations are the ones that are racist, which individuals within those organisations that are propagating racism. Pin point the problem, find evidence to back it up and then we can do something about it. Making generalisations about groups based on an assumption doesn’t get us anywhere, other than to further false political narratives that alienate and divide the wider community.

To beat division within our society we have to stop seeing everything through the lens of the group and analyse the individual as much as possible. We need to make sure we don’t make sweeping, baseless generalisations that cannot be backed up by hard evidence and we need to stop searching for markers of division that separate us, instead find common themes that unite individuals within the nation. The alternative is a country that pulls itself apart into tribal, divided communities and then probably violence.

The need for British patriotism

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the global Islamic terrorism phenomenon, but specifically in its European forms. We know that the problem is homegrown. Young, angry, Muslim men and women are growing up in Britain, going through the British education system, living their lives amongst other Britons and still not identifying as British. Part of the reason they are able to blow children up with nail bombs is because they see Britons and probably white Britons in particular not as part of their own community, but part of an out group that seeks to oppress them.

How is it that you can grow up and spend in many cases twenty years within a nation and feel no affiliation to that country, its values or its people? The answer in part lies at the door of multiculturalism and the diminished role of patriotism within society. Because we have crafted a society into which millions of people from diverse cultures have flooded, we now no longer as a country have a definitive set of values that pull us together into a community with a direction.  The UK, especially its cities are now just mass sprawls of all of the world’s nationalities pushed into a blender and expected to not only co-exist, but to thrive. This has its benefits, the diversity it brings is enriching. However, it also brings with it issues.

Britain has essentially no identity, without a national identity what will bring millions of different people from all around the world living in the same space together? This problem has arisen from a skewed portrayal of history, one that seeks to paint Europe as having no historical upside, only pure death and destruction. It usually goes something like this… 400 years of pillaging the rest of the world, all of it’s cultural, artistic, philosophical, economic and technological advances stolen from the cradle of other civilisations and built on the backs of minorities. Because we have allowed such clearly politically and ethnically motivated views of history to become mainstream, we have simultaneously allowed the belief that Britain has no worth to become a perpetual idea amongst this country’s youth. To identify as British and to be proud to be a citizen of a nation that allows great freedoms and equality to its present inhabitants is met with disdain.

And so when migrants flood into this country with values and cultures widely different from that of the Britons that have lived here for thousands of years, we collectively pat ourselves on our backs for our tolerance and do everything we can not to let any dissenting voices urge caution. The general result has been a fractured society, in which communities from around the world come to live in Britain in segregated hubs. This is how terrorists grow up in this country with no affiliation to Britain. They live in their own secluded, non-diverse communities, seeing themselves as not part of a wider group of people, but part of a frustrated, minority clan fighting against the oppression and tyranny of the majority community.

How will this country look in the future if this is the norm that is set to continue? The birth rate amongst the British populace has been consistently lower than necessary in recent times to ensure that our numbers aren’t dwindling and so migrants are brought into the country in order to prop up the economy. If these migrants go on never to have any understanding or respect for Britain’s history, traditions and values, when they eventually come to replace us, which they will unless current trends reverse, what will become of the ideas and values that have become pillars of Britain and Europe? Values that are a rarity on the global scale. Is that what we have collectively, subconsciously decided? That this country needs a rebirth without the baggage of its imperial past and the best way to do that is throw everything out and start again?

I think if this country is to avert the risks that come with segregated communities living in friction, it needs to find its national identity. The country needs to start teaching in schools that it is ok for the nations’ youth to be proud of Britain’s achievements. That migrants who are looking to put roots down in this country, have children and be part of the nations future are British and what it means to be so. Teach the bad, but teach the bad objectively and teach the good along side it. Use the great figures of our past to inspire future generations, concentrate not on notions of race, but on notions of British values as homogeneous values for its multi-racial people. Find the common values that our youth can get behind to be part of a single community instead of a maelstrom of alienated, pocketed groups.

I’m not suggesting we tell incoming migrants to forsake their own cultures and heritage and somehow adopt Britain’s, I’m merely suggesting that having a strong patriotic sense in this country and an agreed upon set of values for all inhabitants might aid in pulling together people from diverse cultures around a common theme and implementing this through the education system would go a long way to aiding this. But that would need to start with telling history properly and for the anti-patriot elements of society to lose their current footing atop the pile of popular discourse.

My questions for the anti nuke/anti NATO crowd.

What would a world without NATO or nuclear weapons look like? What I mean by this scenario is that all of the worlds nuclear weapons are disposed of and we somehow obtain non nuclear parity. What would would be the the state of play in terms of power and politics? Knowing what we know about human nature, is it not highly possible that in this scenario, those countries with homogeneous peoples’ led by nationalistic strongmen wouldn’t look upon the nations of Europe, culturally non-homogeneous, lukewarmly patriotic countries dominated in popular feeling by the anti violence, anti war left and see a massive opportunity to expand their territory at the expense of nations who likely would not have the stomach, or the togetherness to rise to the fight? No matter how justified that action was.

I believe that would be the case. The only way a continent as liberal and fractious through self inflicted policy as Europe is able to exist in the global arena is by maintaining its current position at the top of the global political pile. One of the ways it can do this is use its comparative wealth to ensure it’s military capabilities are supreme enough, when banded together in a defensive coalition, to dissuade would be aggressors of the merits of attacking. The other way is to have the ultimate deterrent, in the form of nuclear weapons. So my final question given this point is, do you really expect me to vote for a man who wants to dismantle our nuclear capacity and would rather see us out of NATO with our defensive budget slashed to boot? I want to raise a family one day, who can have the pleasure of experiencing a liberal, tolerant society and in order for those societies to exist they need to be defended first and foremost. That defence should not be taken for granted.

The nature of politics

Forgive me in advance as I am about to take politics, a hugely complex beast, and reduce it down to what I see is at its core. All politics is, is different groups of people vying for supremacy within society. Human societies form naturally into hierarchies based on power. With the existing elite at the top, usually making up a tiny fraction of society. I think a pyramid is always a useful shape for visual purposes when it comes to thinking about societal structure. The base being the largest portion and what the community rests on. 

What I see when I look at the political spectrum is a struggle for power. The conservatives try to preserve the existing hierarchy and the progressives try to alter it. Each side tries to employ thought processes to justify the reasoning behind why its side of the spectrum should take precedence over the other on a variety of issues and society ebbs and flows based on this tug of war. 

Usually progressives consist of people who want huge scale change, but are satisfied to wage the long war and fight for steady, incremental reforms within the system. Over the long run, these people have been successful in fundamentally changing societies. People like Robert Owen spring to mind, a factory owner turned socialist, who helped campaign for the 8 hour working day. Owen is probably not the best example, given that he tried the radical idea of setting up a town in America called new harmony based on Utopian, socialist ideas, which ended in failure. But nonetheless he springs first to mind as a man that aided the bottom of society by working for change from within the system.

Every now and again you get a group of people who see attempts at working within the system for change as futile, because it serves only to play into the hands of the existing elites. They favour smashing the system entirely, usually in the form of some sort of revolution, either peaceful or violent and re-designing it anew in their own image. In my experience, this comes from a section of the community who feel powerless and weak and grab for extremes to improve their societal situation. Sadly, when this smashing of the system is achieved, what tends to happen is there isn’t an effective plan to replace the existing hierarchy and so chaos ensues. The power vacuum and lack of order, creates the right circumstance for a strong figure to emerge, a dictator.

What then happens is power is taken away from the higher ups to be given to someone equally, or more tyrannical. 

All the work the progressives made in the existing system, the hundreds of years of steady gnawing at the power structure is washed away with regime change. The new leaders flex their muscles and clamp down on the lower downs they once claimed to represent and civil liberties are destroyed. The premise of the Utopian system of equality is a clever carrot to dangle in front of the working class if you’re a psychotic, power hungry, authoritarian. 

When it comes to the conservatives, they will try to preserve aspects of policy that benefit them, often at the expense of other societal groups. This is just the nature of the world, when something benefits one individual or a group, it often impacts another. The conservatives also serve the function of trying to maintain societal structure under the onslaught of the progressive juggernaut and the incessant struggle for change. Sometimes some people will emerge who feel that too much change has happened within a society, or that those changes have led the country down the wrong path. This can breed the tendency to want to employ authoritarian means to clamp down on the progressives to maintain and reinforce societal structure or reverse it.

When taken to its extremes you can have similar instances of repression as the group of people that want to smash the system. 

It’s important in my view to find the right balance in society. To conserve the good aspects, the achievements we have made that in part help people to be able to coexist in some sort of system that can then act as a leap-board for us to pursue the arts, the sciences etc. It is equally important that the progressives continue to push the conservatives and ensure that the freedoms they have won over time are protected and built upon. But the balance is inevitably delicate in a tug of war and at times this can lead to imbalance. We are in such a period of imbalance in my opinion and it is only lending support to the types that want to forsake all order and structure and pull down the system in their anger. 

It would be folly to let that happen in a country, so storied, so proud as Britain. 

The self immolation of the West.

Whenever someone makes a bold, sweeping statement it often pays to be sceptical. I recently saw an influential figure label the UK Labour party as a party of imperialism from the time of Attlee through to Blair. I couldn’t help but think to myself, how wonderfully simplistic. When you take 70 years of political history and reduce it down to such a forthright and provocative statement, I think it is your deep responsibility to be able to comprehensively support such an opinion with evidence. I’m not saying that this evidence doesn’t exist or that you could not make a convincing argument at the very least to support that statement, however no proof or further explanation of that declaration was given by the writer. It was just left there as if it should be taken as a given.

And I know full well in the heat of the moment and because of political bias I am well capable of doing this myself, I hope that I have not done it too frequently in my own political writings. I’m merely by writing this seeking to encourage cynicism of such sweeping claims and get to the bottom of a rationale and logic that appears to appeal to many in the West and yet doesn’t hold much water when it’s held up to the thorough light of inspection.

And that is the rationale of self hatred and the depiction of the West as a great evil with no redeeming features. The argument goes that because of Britain and the Wests’ unsavoury history of exploitation through empire, our civilisation now deserves to be put to ruin. We have developed a collective guilt for the actions of many individuals across huge expanses of time. It follows on that we cannot stand up for the interests of Western civilisation on a local or global scale, because people born in the aftermath of empire in western lands, need to have their livelihoods, culture and homelands sullied in order to repay the perpetual, subjective debt that hangs over us.

I would hope that the issues with this line of thinking would be self evident and yet I see it quite often. I’ve pondered on the motivations behind an incessant demonising of Britain and especially America and yes, undoubtedly there have been foreign policy decisions that have had horrendous impacts on the lives of thousands, probably millions of people. There have also been positive ones. (US repulsion of invading Iraqi forces from Kuwait in Operation Desert Shield in the early 1990s.) The positive ones, or the time when military intervention goes correctly, often get left by the wayside when intervention is considered.

What motivations could you possibly have for only focusing on the negative of liberal, capitalist countries? Well you could be a Marxist/socialist/communist. America is symbolically the nation of free enterprise, individualism and free speech. All things despised by those that would like to see the state emboldened and a move towards a collective orientation in government and culture realised. What better way than to push your political goals than demonising beyond reason the countries that embody the systems that you wish to see replaced? If you spin everything America does as this giant, crooked evil, destroying the defenceless, impoverished peoples of the world it makes for quite a compelling narrative doesn’t it? It only needs to contain a shade of the truth in order to be passable to those not interested in scrutiny, only in confirming their own biases.

Who else? Religious people who see Western values that embody freedom as anathema? People who want their religion to be imposed on the rest of the planet and believe that any other set of beliefs or lifestyles are decadent and corrupt, will obviously not find anything within Western civilisation worth conserving, worth protecting. There are potentially hundreds of reasons you could have that don’t exactly lend support for your credentials as an objective analyst of foreign policy.

Whatever the reasons it is clear that the game is rigged. Don’t intervene and you are left open to accusations that you stood by and did nothing when a dictator or a political group rampaged through a country raping and killing political dissidents. Intervene and it goes wrong and you are a typical imperialist, seeking to keep a small country down to maintain your own power and secure resources. Intervene and it goes right, and it is forgotten by your political opponents because it does not suit the narrative that they have constructed and carefully perpetuated until it has seeped into the education sector and become a widespread, mainstream belief.

I’ve always been somewhat perplexed that the idea of the nation seems to be anathema to some of those that hate the US and Britain. The line of thought is that the nation is a divisive tool, constructed to divide the homogeneous peoples of the world. But then when a small number of individuals presiding over a country, individuals that the collective had no direct control over, vote to bomb a country in the middle east, suddenly the idea of the nation state and its people becomes relevant to those that had previously sought to undermine national identity. The argument goes from, the concept of a nation is abhorrent, to Britain and its people are responsible for the decisions of its politicians. It’s almost as though concepts and tribal groupings are relevant as long as they suit the agenda of the speaker.

If the West and it’s long, unique history are to survive as anything recognisable going into the future, the region needs to pick up the water can and douse the flames that are destroying it’s skin, before they get to the vital organs. Because let’s face it, if the West loses its identity as a result of destructive, self hatred. Freedoms that the targets of this piece take for granted will very much be on the line.

Immigration

So at present it is a conventional principle amongst the general populace that open borders, unfettered immigration is the moral choice. Anyone who even hints that Britain and it’s working class would be better served with controlled borders is shouted down as the wannabe heir to the Third Reich. It has become the emotional rather than the rational position to believe that all immigration is positive to Britain, there are no downsides and anyone who disagrees is a sub human racist who deserves to be ostracised from society in order to maintain its purity. Sounds drama filled and ridiculous doesn’t it? And yet that’s how it is for many on this topic.

When did tolerance become only tolerance for a particular viewpoint? When did free speech become anathema to the ‘good side’. If I was to turn around to you and say that open borders benefit big companies at the expense of the working class what would you say? If I said that an open border policy floods a wealthy country with a multitude of workers giving big business a wealth of choice to pick from for a particular role, thereby driving down wages, because there is a huge pool of choice, what would you say? 

It is simple supply and demand economics. If there are only a few people who have the skills to perform a particular job, then companies will compete for their skills by offering more money for the role they fulfil. If there are huge amounts of people who can perform that role because the market is saturated with labour, wages will decline, because power shifts to the company. They can choose from a huge pool of people who are the very elite at their role and everybody else falls by the wayside. 

The middle classes who are secure in their jobs, earning more than enough for subsistence, keep sneering at the working classes who complain that the jobs market is so saturated that they cannot compete effectively for jobs that provide a stepping stone to a better future. The argument becomes, that if you cannot compete with foreign labour, it is your own fault and you should have worked harder in the past. This argument comes from the left wing of politics. The left wing who are supposed to be the beacon for working class people. 

Let’s knock the morality out of the pro immigration camp. If you accept that uncontrolled immigration benefits UK companies by providing them with the best talent possible, you simultaneously admit that the UK deprives another country of that talent at a benefit to the UK. Your argument becomes that of a patriot. If a doctor from Ghana moves to the UK for a better standard of living, he/she deprives Ghana of the services he/she could provide that would benefit Ghana and aid the development of that country to enable parity with Britain so that its’ citizens wouldn’t need to move abroad for a better life.

How myopic is it to suggest that because the UK currently offers a better standard of living than most other nations, that we should open the borders and accept unlimited amounts of people, until it gets to the point where Britain is bulging at the seams and on the brink of impoverishment, destroying that nation, whilst providing a detrimental effect to poorer nations who need the skill force to develop? 

You are literally advocating the impoverishment of both the wealthy nations and poorer ones based on an emotional instinct and one that derives from a misreading of current misgivings over the migration situation. All because anyone who disagrees with you is a racist based on the left-wing indoctrination that you received from your biased education.

 

Victimhood

Leading on from my last post. Something that I find underpins the mentality of many on the left end of the political spectrum at present is perceived/actual victim hood. What do I mean? it has become propitious to be able to demonstrate that you are oppressed in the political arena. To signify effectively that you are a victim has the effect of shutting down your opposition, stigmatising them and giving you a wide berth to demand reparations for your cause.

Whether you have a case or not can be unimportant, what matters is not the truth, only that you can manipulate popular opinion to kowtow to you. The simple question I ask is who isn’t a victim? I could make the case to you that I grew up in a town that used to hold a thriving mill industry in its heyday. It has since fallen to disrepair over the changing tides of commerce. As a result my hometown is on the less wealthy end of the spectrum in comparison to the most affluent in Britain and this has resulted in a sub-standard education comparatively. Consequently, my prospects are diminished. Had I happened to have been born in say Islington in London I would likely have received a better, more challenging education.

Of course, this entire mentality serves to take away from the accountability of the individual. In that scenario, I have taken no responsibility for how I can act to better my circumstances, I’ve simply pointed to an inequality in the system, blamed my problems on that and then allowed it to feed into the idea that the system is against me and I cannot rise above my station. It’s a vicious, myopic cycle. How true is my scenario? I received a good education, that I squandered by playing video games, had I spent just a third of the time reading rather than playing games I would likely have gone to a top UK university and would now be in the position to offer a skill set to society that is in limited supply. What happens when someone else can point to greater victimhood? I’m sure there would be people in India who point to my scenario and take the view that my own town became enriched through the colonial exploitation of India by the British and they are in fact the victims, I am merely a beneficiary of their ancestor’s sorrow.

My question to those that are allegedly oppressed in the west is the following… The West in general is more affluent than most regions of the world, it is imperfect and yet more balanced than probably any place in the world and you want us to believe that Western society specifically keeps you down and that you honestly have not had the tools, the freedom to be able to excel if you so much as had the will or put in the effort to do so?

There are people born with severe disabilities who rise above their awful circumstances and make a life that stands out ahead of many people more fortunate. They presumably realised that wallowing in self-pity and telling yourself that life is stacked against you leads nowhere other than to misery and a lack of fulfilment. Tell me if you went away now from this moment and made sure that every day you spent just 3 hours engaging in an activity that you know could benefit you, help you to grow or develop your career. That if you did that every day for a year, you wouldn’t reap the rewards further down the line? How much of your circumstances are really unchangeable? How much of it is down to external factors? What can you do to help yourself rise above it?

So much about life is mentality and victimhood is the safe one. It allows you to choose to put in no effort to better yourself because you can point the finger of blame on society.

In politics, we see people that are the top 1 percent, who are studying in top American Universities, who are decrying their perceived oppression on University campuses in the form of a lack of safe spaces away from differing opinions. If you can demonstrate that you are a victim, you gain power by being able to exert manipulation over policy makers to make up for the injustice. This results in free speech being curtailed and an atmosphere upon which different ideas are restricted. The result is you are worse off intellectually, because your mind isn’t forced to stand its’ arguments up to scrutiny. In its political variant faux victimhood represents a unique challenge for the intellectual future of western universities and in my opinion signals a civilisation in decline.

The anti capitalists

What is at the root of the anti-capitalist mindset? If we reduce complex arguments down to their basic origin what do we get? I was at one stage, when I was a young buck with what I thought was an anti-authoritarian attitude, a raging communist. Hard to believe isn’t it? Not uncommon though, I know Peter and Christopher Hitchens early on in their lives were very left wing and gradually made the move rightwards. Not to attempt to put myself in the same ball park as those two intellectually, that wasn’t the intention.

What is it though that underpins the communist mindset. Speaking for myself, I think it was looking at the world, seeing the gigantic inequality between the wealthiest and the poorest and rejecting it. It came, out of a desire to do good. I blamed the capitalist system, decided that the only way to solve it was to take from the wealthy and spread the wealth and to do so I required the state to step in on the individual and forcibly re-adjust wealth. Additionally, I think it came from a victim mentality mixed in with jealousy. I would see wealthy people who I deemed not to be worthy of the wealth, who had either inherited it or had no discernible skills greater than my own and I’d ask why that wasn’t me.

When I lay it all out there like this, it speaks for itself in terms of its moral and theoretical shortcomings. I wanted to rip the system apart, I was anti-authoritarian, until you consider that my solution in the aftermath was to rebuild the system in my own image. To do that it would require totalitarianism. This is point one of my issue with the anti-capitalists, you are dictators in waiting, with no regard or respect for the individuality of different people, or the value of plurality of opinion. Communism degrades individual value, it places the collective in the ascendancy, because in order to achieve a utopian future we all must be the same. There is no room for anyone who thinks or acts differently.

This is the worst part of the communist mindset for me, the utopian ideal and what it seeks. To build a utopia in which everyone lives equally and happily, it follows on that the requirement is the re-adjustment of humanity. Hatred, that emotion that makes us human, is undesirable and needs to be overcome. Any speech relating to hatred is then banned. It is a mindset that derives from negativity. When communists look at humanity they see a problem that needs to be fixed so that everyone can coexist in happiness. The end goal is to remove all negatives, negatives as judged solely by the enforcers, and create hordes of people that think, feel and act the same. Communism is anti-diversity and anti-humanity.

When it comes to everybody as equal, the average office worker like me and Lionel Messi are equal, because we are both human and therefore entitled to be on an equal footing. Except Lionel Messi has skill as a footballer rivalled by one other person in the world in a sea of 7 billion. At the game of football, he is superior to me, to you and to the overwhelming majority of people that inhabit the world. He has a skill that separates him from the rest of humanity and so he is rewarded through wealth, because he is able to offer that skill to the highest bidder. In all walks of life there are people who are better or worse than we are at any given task. No individual is ever the same and yet we have an ideology that seeks to confine, to box all individuality and coerce it to serve the group. The effect of this is to remove the motive which drives individuals to better themselves and produce something of value. If I was to sit and labour for hours and hours on a piece of land to create wheat and then the state decided to requisition all my surplus wheat to give to workers in the city at no benefit to me, what would motivate me to produce anything more than what is enough for myself and my family? Hence starvation and famine in the Soviet Union.

When you sit and ponder on what competition means in life, however big or small, it pervades humanity and it wasn’t imposed on us by some spectral elite class of people pulling the masses by a string. It is intrinsic.

Politics and infallibility.

The earth is constantly hurtling through space and time, never in the same position twice as it moves through the universe, in my basic understanding of science, from a Brian Cox documentary about space. This could be wrong. A new piece of information may be discovered in years to come that says differently. Science and truth are often works in progress. I heard Jordan Peterson say recently that it is better not to look at our perception of the truth as an absolute and look at it as a tool with which we try to understand the world as best we can in the here and now.

This coincides with the idea of infallibility in politics, espoused by many across the political spectrum. Currently, based on all the information I have assimilated into my brain and evaluated I would say my political compass lies somewhere slightly right of centre and significantly on the side of liberty as opposed to authoritarianism. I acknowledge that there are probably billions of scenarios and pieces of information that I haven’t come across that could either render my arguments redundant or strengthen them, but based on my understanding of the world and the current economic and political climate, freer market economics and the strengthening of individual liberties over state power, appeals to me more than opposing arguments.

Therefore, I welcome free speech and debate. There are people who have led entirely different lives to me, who look at information in different ways or hold knowledge on topics that I have yet to come across. By debating and swapping ideas and arguments people can test their beliefs and see if they stand up to scrutiny. What I see a lot of however, is partisan tribalism. Which is understandable, I know in the past I have often had trouble when I have held passionately to a belief and been challenged strongly. It would make me angry and I would struggle with coming to terms with the idea that my experiences and knowledge might not be a representation of the wider truth.

This tribalism tends to manifest itself along party lines and we see people who assess some information, make up their mind on what feels right to them politically and then plant their feet in the sand and stay there until their dying day. I personally, if we have an interest in honesty and progress, don’t see that this is helpful if the wider goal of society is the truth and in politics, if the wider goal is the improvement of the situations of as many people as possible at the smallest cost. Which I acknowledge it probably isn’t for a fair few politicians.

Returning to my original scenario of the earth and its movements. If the Earth is never in the same place twice, the earth is never the same twice. It is in a perpetual state of change, much like the societies we have built on earth. There is not a single civilisation on the planet that has remained the same. People are born, die, progress and regress. Individuals make an infinite number of choices that on a collective level influences how a society transforms. Civilisations grow and die, based on an almost incomprehensible, multitude of converging individual action on top of environmental and other factors I haven’t considered or thought of.

Then along comes politics and economics and a resolute, unflinching mindset. Economic opinion usually fractures along two lines, those that favour freedom of the markets and those that favour state regulation or outright control. There are of course many people who favour a mixture of the two, but there are also those that are adamant that in all political situations, heightened government regulation or investment in the economy at a state level will always be the correct path. The opposite is also present, there are people who believe in all situations there should be total freedom of choice for individuals in the market place. The questions I pose are as follows: How, given that every waking day brings a unique societal challenge to the door of the government, can anyone claim to have absolutist answers to the economic and political problems that we face? How can anyone who has experienced a tiny fraction of all the experiences of the collective species make the claim to informed decision making? How is someone like Richard Dawkins so sure that something as complex as Brexit can be reduced to the simple statement that the remain side are correct and everyone who voted differently is ill informed. Considering that he cannot predict millions of events and actions on an individual level that will organically contribute to whether Brexit is a success or a failure?

Surely the only way forward is to be flexible as a politician and act upon all the information available about a situation at the current time to decide policy, rather than hold resolutely to ideology and try and enforce that ideology onto circumstances. And surely the way forward is not to be so resolute in your thinking that you cannot ask yourself if there is a possibility you may not be infallible.dawkins_2142765b

Thoughts on the NHS march

20170304_133225

So today I attended my first ever political protest. Oddly enough it was in aid of a topic that I admit I am woefully uneducated on. The national health service in the UK. You might think that admission to be somewhat odd, given that the NHS is probably only behind immigration, in the list of things that the British public are most passionate about in the political arena. For whatever reason, healthcare has always fallen by the wayside when it comes to my reading and research. I don’t want to give off the impression that I am so in the dark that I don’t have a broad understanding of the system in place in the UK as compared to somewhere such as the US. It’s just always been one of those topics that I have wanted to delve deeper into and never have.

Nonetheless a friend of mine deeply passionate about the state of our healthcare system, which many consider to be under incredible strain, invited me along and so I joined him. Given recent protests around the globe of a left-wing persuasion, I admit to being slightly apprehensive about the atmosphere and the political motivations of those attending. I had images of the Trump protests in which, what we think were anarchists, rampaged around putting bins through Starbucks’ windows. Perhaps in reflection to consider that a possibility was a bit knee jerk. The entire event was conducted in an orderly, peaceful fashion. There were evidently some very passionate people present, entirely focused on the issue at hand. My impression was of health care workers from around the country frustrated and embittered by the cuts to their departments, wanting to utilise their right to peaceful protest to voice their concerns.

Of course, there were groups present who seemed to be hogging onto the issue to showcase their wider political points. Groups bearing communist flags, but they were in a minority. Some of the speeches dished out on stage at the initial meeting point of Tavistock Square, did try to mould different political issues together, but none of it was done in an aggressive manner. The groups that protested did so, in my experience, peacefully. That is a healthy thing for our democracy. It is a reminder that the people have at their disposal, methods that they can employ to push issues into the forefront and make the politicians of Westminster take notice. In a time when the gap between politicians and people is seemingly quite wide, it is necessary for the people to give reminders to the nations’ decision makers who it is that allows them their power.

Finally, today was a reminder for me of the old quote credited to Pericles.

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”

In Britain there exists an aura of apathy with some individuals when it comes to the topic of politics. Given the times we are living in, which are seeing momentous changes around the globe, I think it is of the greatest necessity for the governed to take an active interest in politics to protect the freedoms and rights we have. Rights that were hard fought for in the face of tyranny.  I loathe the idea of our freedoms being slowly and insidiously eroded by authoritarian political parties whilst the people are too apathetic to give a damn, because before we know it, it will be too late.