Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Write and Wrong

Seems to me that on a day where 80,000+ people petition to have a boxer banned from a BBC sports personality vote and 200,000 sigh another petition (probably many of the same people who voted over the Fury thing!) to ban Donald Trump from coming to this country because he's a wally (albeit a rich wally of course) that the words of St Augustine of (not 'the') Hippo spring to mind:

Now just because we don't agree with someone is not reason to ban them or vilify them or act against them; what democracy does is permit people to hold views, even when the person (or the views) are foolish or differ from the views you hold.

We are seeing more and more of this childish attitude where, having heard something we don't like, we stick our fingers in our ears to deny their words being heard. Being grown-ups we now engage in all these stupid polls and petitions because we have the mistaken mindset that sheer numbers of people wanting the same thing makes whatever view is being held, right - and of course that's a wrong mindset.

I encounter many people on a daily basis, many of whom have lifestyles, viewpoints and attitudes that are just plain out of whack with anything rational, positive or good (and I'm not just looking at the Bible here - I'm talking about good old-fashioned logic here).

Some of these will tell me how something is right, because they want to think that or because it's something they do, and yet the same people will pull down the attitudes or lifestyles of others and tell me how they should not be allowed to exist! 

You can find a whole raft of opinion on a whole spectrum of behaviours, attitudes, mindsets and the like. The problem is that if I am willing to take Tyson Fury to task for his apparently mysognistic views. I have to say 'apparently' because I have met a woman who told me that he'd got it right and that he'd described the world she wanted with her man! Hey ho, there's always one - and that's the point -  and what of the misandrists who seem to exist in such numbers these day, how will you deal with them? The answer has to be 'open-handedly'.

Even if there is but one person who holds a view that you don't agree with: They still have the right to hold that view! This is what freedom of speech and democracy are all about. We might not agree with a person but the fact that they can hold their view and speak about it should they so wish is something to be cherished and protected.

I meet many who want proportional representation to be the model for the politics in the UK. I tell them that this is fine, but that they must be willing, if that is to be the means by which we elect our parliament, to have coalition government and to have MPs from the National Front, UKIP and other oft' vilified groups. Their response to this is usually, "Oh no, they'd have to be banned!' This is not democracy but another facet of the fascism we are seeing from all political parties and all social groupings too!

And this is the problem - we don't want tolerance, we want what we want at the cost of free speech, democracy and equal rights. I am happy for someone to be an atheist and respect their right to be such and yet many atheists demand their right to be such and want to see people of faith wiped of the board - apparently their opinion outweighs the opinion of a believer; mind you one side might use the Bible whilst the other likes to be as subjective as some Christians I meet by referring to their own intellect and logic (so that's them on the losing side then I guess!).

My right to choose how I might live in terms of relationship or sexuality appears, or so it seems, greater than someone's right to not have that as their chosen lifestyle. The problem is that when this occurs one side is 'whatever'phobic' whilst the other side is merely 'right' and that, of course isn't right.  If I choose not to drink coffee (and I don't drink coffee) then I am not engaging in 'coffee phobia', neither am I making a comment or criticism about coffee-drinkers, I am just saying that this is not something I have chosen. Why doesn't this apply across the board and why can't we engage in conversation over issues rather than resort to fingers in ears, demanding our way and creating yet another ridiculous petition?

I can't imaging that the government will waste its time debating this facile petition - all it requires is for us to largely ignore the bloke (but the press won't because it sells papers and air time) and to listen to those rational voices around us instead. He's not going to be the next President of the US (although they said that about Reagan I recall) but if he did get that job, there's no doubt he would be most welcome here as part of cementing the 'special' relationship (well, he appears to be a case for 'special needs' education so perhaps he's halfway there!).

Why don't you stop signing petitions and demanding people be silenced and vilified and try to use some reason? You might find you like it and things get better :-)

I'll leave you with a sound bit of thinking:



JonG said...

I've certainly been feeling uncomfortable about the Tyson Fury witch-hunt, unpleasant as he may seem to be.

But I cannot help feeling that you are giving Trump a lot of unwarranted slack. I suppose it comes down to the often vague dividing line between free speech and shouting "Fire!" in a crowded building, or incitement. I certainly think that he is getting precariously close, to say the least, and I am rather pleased that currently over 350000 Brits are sending Trump a message that if he wants to play the rabble rouser, they may actually be some negative consequences. I am sure he would claim that he doesn't care in the slightest, but in fact he seems to like to think it is only his US political opponents who don't like him and I suspect that he will be more hurt that he would ever admit in public.

Anyway, if we are talking about free speech, why shouldn't those of us who regard Trump as both obnoxious and dangerous be allowed to make our own views clear? How else can we express our views in any "visible" manner?

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

I don't think I'm cutting Trump Slack, merely saying that what people like him feed on is fuelled by the publicity that petitions and campaigns against him bring.

I am always happy to see people respond to wrong (would that they did) but what I am seeing is rabble-rousing and wrong attitudes being fuelled in the people and this field the wallies like trump.

Measured, proportionate and balanced - that's all I'm seeking, Free speech is great but many signing up and vilifying are not engaging in free speech but sheep speech (ooh, I like that).

Thanks as ever for your comments, always a challenge and a joy.

Happy Advent,


Vic Van Den Bergh said...

liking predictive text ' Field' should be fuels" - Grrrr :-)