Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Tom Paine despairs

A characteristically brilliant, if melancholy post from Tom Paine:
When I lived in Russia and China I kept quiet about local politics out of courtesy to my hosts. I seem to have fallen into the same approach here under the sheer weight of apathy. The neglect of their civil rights by the British - who only ever seem to get excited when demanding others' freedoms be repressed - is an insult to the brave peoples I once lived among.

I miss the hope of the Labour days. Not the hope that they would ever cease (they won't) to be freedom-hating miserablists, but the hope that one day change might come. The only change provided by the current government is in the tone of Polly Toynbee's screeching.
He elaborates in the comments:
Once you start dealing with rational men and women on the basis that they are acting under the influence of their "lizard brain" (however interesting that might be to help understand themselves in therapy) you are in trouble. All laws should assume us all to be rational actors (unless actually proved insane).

Statists love to think of us as automota acted upon by the forces of history or psychology; the hapless products of our background, environment or society. Both disciplines are important means of analysis and understanding of human actions, but should neither be instruments of control nor excuses for wrongdoing.

Accept the view that we are not rational, independent actors in relation to the rest of society and you open the door for the all-wise and all-knowing state to answer all your (imagined) problems. Of course, the human actors who make up that state have neither lizard brains, nor social/historical determinants. They are the perfectly rational beings they deny we can be. Funny that, eh?
In reply to MickC, he writes:
It's not ennui on my part. It's despair. When I thought we had the wrong politicians, I could hope to change them. What hope is there if (after years of indoctrination) we finally have the wrong voters?
What hope indeed?

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