Tuesday, 13 March 2012
The Da-doo-dah Code
So, I had an interesting Twitter conversation last night with one of the few left-leaning coves who follow me. (I’m surprised I don’t have many more – oh well…) He is on a mission to convert me – gawd bless him – from my right-thinking view of the world and embrace his compassionate and bountiful vision of the left. He’s a genuinely nice guy; I’m sure he means well. But…
Among his arguments are that I am “just a tool of the rich”, a “cheerleader for the very people that are raping you” and “one of the cattle”. Well at least he agrees with me about the last one. People are very much like cattle – a few bulls, a lot of cud-chewing cows and plenty of short-lived juvenile bullocks. (That’s steers to my American readers – oh yes I have some… Okay, I have one.)
My guardian angel firmly believes that the right-wing elite operates some darkly cynical mechanik to keep the masses down - not educating them, deliberately creating a welfare-dependent underclass for the tax-payers to despise (although I’m not sure how that helps the cause of either side) and controlling the media to spread its poison.
But, you see, that’s far too complicated, just like religion. It requires an enormous effort of faith to maintain a belief in something that presents no actual evidence. Of course, maybe it’s me that’s wrong, but you’d have to convince me that my wielding of Occam’s razor has been wildly off-target.
Let’s take a couple of points.
Under-educating the masses – I see forty-plus years of removing the rigour of basic education, largely pushed through by the overwhelmingly left-wing teaching unions, leaving students incapable of learning effectively. Being cruel by trying to be kind and yet, despite all that, some still manage to get off their arses and succeed.
Welfare dependency –By removing the stigma of not paying your way in society, the left made it acceptable to sponge off others - and look how quickly the unemployable took to it. Something for nothing? Who wouldn’t want some of that?
Media manipulation – Rupert Murdoch doesn’t actually control the world. Leftists just think he does because The Guardian and countless other branches of the left-wing propaganda machine tell them so on a daily basis. And of course the most pervasive medium of them all – the BBC – is largely regarded by those on the right as a left-wing tool. It’s prurience, not politics, that sells ‘news’.
If the conspiracy theory of right-wing overlords manipulating and controlling on such a colossal scale were true it would require an effort of coercion only hitherto seen in closed, despotic countries or cults. But these days we have the Internet and nobody gets away with anything for long without some little put-out snot-nose blabbing to all the world about how unfair it all is. Boo-fucking-hoo.
Winners and losers, that’s what it all comes down to. Simple as. The winners want to hang on to what they’ve fought for. The losers want it for themselves. Anybody ascribing anything other than selfishness to human motives in general is deluding themselves that we transcend nature itself merely by being the great ape, Homo Sapiens.
Humans are resourceful and opportunistic and make a living however they can. If the state lets them scrounge, they will scrounge. If the NHS offers wider and wider treatments for more and more nebulous imagined ailments, people will develop those ailments. And if an opportunity arises to make billions out of the hard work of those who will work for subsistence wages, both sides still make a living, however uneven. I just do not see the hand of conspiracy in any of this; like I say, too complicated for mere humans.
So, it comes down to what you want to believe. Do you go for the possibility that hard work and thrift will reward you in the end and that anything is possible – the politics of hope? Or do you go for the low-hanging fruit of egalitarian, re-distributed wealth – the politics of envy?
The rhetoric on both sides is appealing at times and it’s the interplay between the two that broadly maintains the status quo. I could go on for days on this theme, but as far as the electorate’s position goes, I can think of no better simile than Indecisive Dave from The Fast Show: