Tag Archives: Americans

Pontifications along a road less travelled. How much self-destructive hatred do we need?

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Oh the joy of facebook. Before social media we could cling pathetically to the belief that people were by and large, reasonable, sensible, and decent. Admittedly we clung to it like a drowning man clings to a spar after a shipwreck, but still it was not an entirely impossible belief.

 

Then I saw somebody, an American, had posted this on their wall. It’s from one of the US political sites.

 

If Robert Mueller finds overwhelming and indisputable evidence that Trump conspired with Putin to rig the 2016 election, Trump’s presidency is not authorised under the United States constitution.

The only response to an unconstitutional presidency is to annul it. This would repell all of the unconstitutional president’s appointments and executive actions, and would eliminate the official record of the presidency.

 

And below it everybody had piled in. They were all hollering and cheering and throwing their hats in the air.

So I read all this and thought, ‘Well, it’s not my circus, they’re not my monkeys, but perhaps a little bit of reality here?’

So I merely pointed out that this meant, ‘any payments made by the government, for example to employees, would also be illegal and would have to be handed back. And grants paid out by government for any reason, disaster aid or whatever, would be illegal and would have to be handed back.’

 

I didn’t think it would be a popular stance. But frankly I didn’t expect it to be totally ignored. The hollering and throwing hats into the air continued. There was a bit of a dispute over whether this meant that Hilary was automatically president but the fact that their joy would come at the cost of personally bankrupting innumerable numbers of their fellow citizens was a total irrelevance.

 

At that point I realised that this was our salvation. Their total irrelevance. We see it everywhere, small groups and coteries who hold the masses in contempt and would sacrifice them all to ensure their own perquisites and social advantages are maintained. Gradually as time goes on, they become more inward looking, their numbers shrink as reasonable people start to shun them, and they become more extreme. Finally they disappear as age carries them off or they fall victim to satire and fizzle out in embarrassment.

 

Democracy works because we talk to each other, assume that, actually, the other person might just be right, and it they aren’t there’ll be a correction at the next election.

 

 

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What do I know anyway, ask an expert

As a reviewer commented, “A collection of anecdotes and observations about farming in England in the 21st century. Written by an actual farmer, this book is based on real experience and touches on a variety of subjects in a witty and engaging style. Cats, cattle, bureaucrats, workers, and the working dog all make an appearance, as do reminiscences about the old days and speculation on a possible future. This book is both entertaining and informative, a perfect diversion for the busy reader.”

‘Self-identification’ crisis.

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Once upon a time I could say, in all honesty, “You wouldn’t believe the loonies you find out there.” Now, thanks to Facebook, you have no problem in believing me because you’ve ‘met’ them as well.

Because I was travelling for a couple of days I wasn’t anywhere near any internet access so had time to think rather than merely reacting, emoting, or simply making snide comments. This got me thinking about the people I come across on Facebook. Because I’m a writer I get asked to be friends by other writers. I suspect that this is because we’re sad and insecure people who feel that other writers are selling far more books than we are. So if we get to be friends with them on Facebook, our posts will appear on their feeds and their millions of friends will see them and we might just possibly sell some books by riding on their coat tails.

Now the writers themselves aren’t so bad to be honest. But their friends? Sheesh.

Over the past year or so I’ve sort of got involved peripherally in Facebook discussions with people who, frankly, I hope I never actually get to meet. Whether it’s American ‘atheists’ (who frankly have no grasp of history, culture or philosophy) ‘liberals’ (who most definitely aren’t liberal) or militant members of the ‘sisterhood’, they manage to make even the most bigoted follower of Ignatius of Loyola seem broadminded and open to argument. Now I mention these groups, mainly because they’re the ones who seem to infest the pages of my writer friends. There are doubtless other groups who I would find equally irritating but fortunately I don’t bump into them.

Anyway unless I’m particularly bored, or one of them says something particularly stupid, I tend to ignore them now; mainly because they don’t understand the concept of debate. When you combine this with a dogmatic fundamentalist attitude which insists that anybody who doesn’t agree with them is some sort of subhuman fit only for one-way transport to a ‘re-education camp’ somewhere, life is too short to waste on them. Indeed I’ve come across one chap who sticks in mind because he could only argue in ‘memes’. The concept of putting his own thoughts into his own, even partially original, words had escaped him.

I finally realised that I was the one at fault. You see, I naively assumed that they intended discussion. But there can be no discussion because they cannot see that there’s anything to discuss. Indeed their purpose isn’t discussion, it’s virtue signalling. They’re not trying to convert you, because if you’re not already a believer, then you’re too stupid to be worth the effort.

The audience they’re performing to is, in effect, those who share the same beliefs. Thanks to the mysteries of Facebook you are in a similar position to the anthropologist who’s inadvertently wandered in to some private tribal willy-waving contest.

The American ‘atheist’, the ‘liberal’ or the member of the ‘sisterhood’ isn’t interested in reaching out to people to change their minds through debate. They’ve already written those people off. They’re merely trying to impress fellow members of their tribe with their moral superiority, greater ideological purity or whatever.

 

The only thing you can do when you come across this is mutter, ‘Oh Bless’ and tiptoe away again.

 

The problem for society comes when you have people trapped in this sort of mindset who are faced by a serious and potentially divisive political issue. They don’t respond to people on the other side of the divide with debate. They don’t attempt to understand their fellow citizens. They merely label them as too stupid to be allowed to vote and step up the old ‘virtue signalling’ to impress their fellows and to bolster their own sense of self-identity.

Unfortunately for our virtue signalling friends, until they work out a way of disenfranchising their opponents, all that does is hack off other members of the electorate.

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Anyway, you’ve probably got more time for reading, so how about a good book?

As the reviewer said, “Runaway Poet, Flat Boat Sailor, Master Gunner, Flower Arranging Judge, Adventurer and Escort of a beautiful young Lady, are only a few of the skills exhibited by Tallis Steelyard in this extraordinary story.
In my opinion, the world and characters from Jim Webster’s mind would make a wonderful TV series, starting with this one.”