Normally, when I watch the tide of events in America I lament quietly, keeping my feelings to myself. On the few occasions when I do comment I am politely (or rather less than politely) told I don’t know what I’m talking about, and to ‘butt out’.
I feel entitled to comment this time because what is happening to the west of the ditch is stirring the same pot in the UK, and although mine is a very small voice if we are many we make a chorus of conscience, so maybe we will be heard.
It should be no surprise, really. Americans with their enthusiasm and verve for all things new have embraced and shaped media communications without, perhaps, giving thought to what the consequences would be if media exceeded law at the hub of power. They – we – failed to police it; in fact, we espoused it enthusiastically: I did so myself, lauding the freedom it gave us, denying the inevitable; that people with greed for power would quickly shape it and twist it to suit their ambitions.
And of course that is exactly what has happened.
The gift of the internet is its appeal to the young, It is the province of the young – it gives them expression, it keeps their secrets from their elders, it allows them to write their own language. We all know that to be young is to be an idealist; a crusader, a white knight at the Round Table of truth. Once I was just so, an avid existentialist, disciple of Sartre and convinced civilised life was spawned on Earth by gods who descended in Erich Von Daniken’s spaceships.
I was correct in all my beliefs. I was right! Oh, how right I was! I would argue down anyone who dared suggest otherwise and whenever I was in danger of losing to reason I would walk away, denouncing my challenger as old, or deluded, or irrelevant.
There’s nothing wrong with that: learning is a lifelong experience that no formal education can suppress, and if it tries so to do, things can go tragically awry. The fresh young mind is eager to be fed; fresh young muscles are fuelled with immense energy, and when they get together, an unsinkable belief.
Which is why they are so easy to manipulate.
Which is why those unscrupulous power-hungry elder minds, those paedophile rapists of virtue who largely comprise the political or activist class, can succeed in inciting riot, in subverting values and banishing good sense to serve their own purposes. Being young, I would not have recognised that; how can I expect the young of today to be any more discerning?
I huddle the politicians and activists together beneath this same banner because they share the same greed, if for different reasons. Both have made a study of ‘motivating’ (stirring up) large bodies of people, or opinions, or the media influences that form them. Both rely for their usually quite comfortable incomes upon the perpetuation of dispute. Resolution is not within their remit, revolution is, to differing degrees, the aim of both.
We should not be surprised, then. Not surprised that these people, with this miraculous new tool for their box, have no notion when to stop – where to draw the line – how to to exercise restraint. And so they set about their programme of destruction with their own clear idea of what should ensue; and no idea what the actual consequences must be.
CERTAIN FUNCTIONS OF THE STATE MUST BE KEPT SACRED.
Who will keep order in the streets, control drug violence and protect the innocent if the police are defunded?
What mechanism will stop genocide if religious or ethnic groups become the focus of the mob?
How can Democracy work if the will of the majority can be so easily overturned by intimidation and public unrest?
If a nation denies its history, how can it remain a nation?
Behind the challenge of these simple questions lies the greatest evil embedded in the evolution of our species: whether you choose to entitle it Tribalism, Puritanism or Fascism, the rule of the mob always begins with a none-too-serious premise, almost a bit of fun, and it develops into a monster.
Of course black lives matter, but so do white lives. Of course the great figures upon whom our history was built were not without flaws, but neither were the African tribes who went on raids to generate prisoners for sale into slavery. Churchill and FDR were probably not paragons of virtue, but without them we would all certainly be non-Arian Untouchables in a society controlled by the Third Reich.
Democracy, and therefore freedom, depends upon the validity of the public vote being placed above suspicion. That, I am certain, is the true target of the activist movement in the United States. An equally superficially unconnected agenda is extant in the UK, where the fingers of the international corporations are to be discovered stirring the lumpy jam of Brexit. Money never accepts defeat, never respects opinion.
In the form of BLM, just as once from American Irish investment in the IRA, we have imported violence to our shores. We were a little bit racist, yes, but we were working things out in our own way, and ‘endemic’ racism is not a fair criticism of society here. A pity, then, that so much is being destroyed by the self-interest of a few. They have much to answer for.
One siren voice: