In defence of the family and raising children.

It’s an interesting feature of my existence that lots of people around me don’t want children. I didn’t used to want to either, until my world view changed. I used to look at humanity through a deeply negative lens. I saw us, as a species, as something akin to a virus destroying the planet in our greed and gluttony. I saw at the root of this a problem with overpopulation. I assumed that population levels would never stabilise, but would keep growing exponentially until resources were so thinly available that inequality between rich and poor would be at disastrous levels. Who would want to bring a child into that world. Who would want to bring a child into this world currently, with its instability and violence?

Essentially my dismal outlook on child raising was based on negative assumptions about the current and future state of the human race. It was all predicated on scenarios that I won’t live to test the truth of. My outlook on our current state of affairs failed to take history into perspective and to recognise that humans in far worse conditions than I have ever and will ever experience, strove against the odds to pull humanity from the gutter into what is now a breezy life in comparison. I couldn’t wait to point out all the negativity, and assumed future negativity, about life and use it as a justification not to bring a child into the world, but I never stopped to look at the good in life. To see a beautiful mountain, eat a delicious meal, laugh with a lifelong friend for hours at things no one else finds funny, to feel affection for another human being, to hear a piece of magisterial music, to know that no matter what happens in your life your mother and father unconditionally love you.

When I stopped to consider that last point, that made me realise that the greatest part of my life has been my family and their support and if it is possible to create unconditional love through the bonds of the family, then bringing a child into the world into a stable family is potentially the best thing I could ever do. There’s something inherently nihilistic and destructive about some arguments against raising a child and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that at a time when all western ideals and the structure of education, law, family and nation are under siege in the mainstream of political discourse that we are starting to see more antipathy towards the very idea of passing on your genetic material and a breakdown in western families.

There is something extreme about seeing a global problem such as over-population, or environmental issues and not trying to address these problems in a constructive manner or even critique whether they are the concrete problems people believe them to be, instead opting straight away for a destructive personal stance that could have far reaching effects on your own personal happiness. It seems a lot to stake on a presumption.

Advertisements

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.