Cover Story (Thatch-22) – Issue 22

‘Mourning Has Broken Our Rationality’

Today is indeed a sad day.

One on which we exalt our human nature’s cruelty, callousness, niggardly egotism and manipulative sentimentality. Lest we forget, and, out of blind conformity, too many will, our other nature, the one that brings no infamy, no deferential acquiescence to what should be our shame. Instead, an aspect of our humanity that engenders authentic respect, real and universally accepted admiration and a sense of joy-worth in a majority of others, will be overlooked.

It is, most certainly, a day for sadness when we display such fawning celebration of ceremonious death, an underserving pedestal death: our inaction and action bring our collective soul into disrepute.

An appeal to misguided mourners: how can you unearth respect for a human being whose political teeth were honed to sharpness on the wilful act of denying milk to young schoolchildren on the premise that the money was to be used for building development that didn’t seem to materialise? (Take the misplaced grief from your Facadebook, now ain’t the time for your tears.)

So, rather than waste even a minute in reverential silence – one that speaks loudly of our paucity of freedom – paying homage to our darker morbidity of deference to wretched ideologues, think outside the finality of boxes – however inappropriately ostentatious and unfairly ornate – and envisage life and its absurd expression of being a better human, merely because we possess the capacity.

The cadaver inside this intransigent box was famous for interpreting a parable of human goodness as an innate capacity, and bestowing on it an impoverished materialistic and wholly sordid view of what makes us human. To say that we would not remember the great and uplifting story of the Good Samaritan if it wasn’t for money is gross and ugly of spirit and ideologically distasteful.

Do not in any way embrace the coffin of someone with little or no respect for other, instead show some respect for yourself, in and through other, embrace your children in a spirit and belief in a future that necessarily forgets days like today, to enable life rather than economically and ideologically veto its possibilities – for your children even if not for yourself.

Death should never bring anyone greatness in itself. Such renown is based on a perverse love of mourning and recognition of death that attributes dubious virtue on those whose lives have merited no such adulation. Some of the greatest dictators and human rights abusers have shown virtue which, given a different and rational appraisal of their qualities, has made it impossible to exalt them even in death. We have witnessed just such an occasion today: political expediency exhorted by egotism and disregard for others are no bases on which to mourn the passing of a person.

It is a person’s life that should establish respect, and a rational remembrance of their admirable qualities that imbue mourning with a proper recognition of living rather than a morbidity of death and dying. Today, too many of those who view life as materialistic and are admiring of self-serving arrogance as a positive characteristic, are affording death respect in its capacity to engender a sentimentality that contradicts an uncompassionate approach when referring to the lives of others their actions effect, and the political persecution of those whose lives gather no garlands of infamy.

One of the more famous quotes from this paragon of conservative virtue once said:

“…one of the great problems of our age is that we’re governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.”

This somewhat narrow-minded opinion fails to acknowledge that the human condition isn’t an either/or condition. Great human beings (of any class and value) are the ones who successfully embrace and live both the mind and heart simultaneously. Even the modern corporate axiom extolled as virtue, ‘emotional intelligence makes great leaders’ cannot describe the person who sees feelings as second-rate and unnecessary for great decision making. Even in this materialistic cliché, there is a balance between the two aspects quoted, albeit purely utilitarian and narrowly selective of characteristics that make successful and valuable human beings.

A person who makes the above statement associates feelings with an indecisive liberalism necessary for any healthy democracy. Liberalism has been attacked for its faint-heartedness in supporting or promoting ideologies that are tantamount to dictatorships in all but name. Liberalism has a very important element that should underpin any system of political and social organisation, namely the freedom from coercion, including the obvious economic coercion perpetrated by corporatism and any governments deliberately facilitating such ideology.

Economic coercion is too easily overlooked in analysis of political systems as if it wasn’t an issue at all. It seems because liberalism lacks a simplistic dictatorial approach that assumes the leader, or party is always right, it is dismissed as too indecisive by supporters of and the conceiver of Thatcherism.

This doctrine of selfishness promoted by someone apparently unaware of the essential dialectic of self-interest and other that should characterise any healthy and freedom loving democracy, explains an ability to run roughshod over narrow victories at the polls, and undermine the most dynamic points in British democratic history by an unabashed appeal to feelings through jingoistic propaganda. If, as the quote about feelings and thoughts and ideas indicates, the populace were motivated by thoughts and ideas, then such awful events as wars of political expediency should never take place.

Jingoism and Patriotism are unquestioning and function on a base appeal to irrational feelings that suspend thought and rational ideas of right, wrong and freedom of other than yourself to express the essential self as thinker with a clear passion and belief in liberty for one as individual that cannot logically recognise with lynch-mob mentality.

“The Russians are bent on world dominance, and they are rapidly acquiring the means to become the most powerful imperial nation the world has seen. The men in the Soviet Politburo do not have to worry about the ebb and flow of public opinion. They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns.”

Did she worry about the ebb and flow of public opinion when she emphasized her dictatorial tendencies in the statement, “The Lady’s not for turning.” Such conviction politics is more akin to dictatorship than democracy and such disregard for public opinion has even been extended into the so-called Labour Party when one infamous leader was quoted as saying, “I did what I thought was right,” despite clear evidence on the streets – and I dare say, in his own party – that a large number of people were against the now infamous war-policy. The very idea that she ever put ‘just about everything before guns’ is disingenuous, when at the time of having such a flimsy mandate to rule, she instigated a movement of ‘popular opinion’ based on an appeal to feelings and a recognition of the ‘state’ or country as an icon of virtue against the vilified other.

Another quote, “There is little hope for democracy if the hearts of men and women in democratic societies cannot be touched by a call to something greater than themselves,” contradicts an intolerance of feelings and promotion of thoughts and ideas, as her hopes for democracy that can be assembled into an irrational, emotionally motivated lynch-mob against selected other at the mere appeal to an abstract idea of nationhood or what became a cliché, ‘Britain plc’ does not account for the genuine freedom from such coercion that should underpin any liberated and sophisticated society. In such appeals to irrational, emotional thronging to the standard, there’s also deference to authority that should have no place in authentically free societies.

This appeal to a ‘higher authority’, which seriously undermines individual freedoms and any fairness of representation even in an illogical monarchic democratic system lends itself to the coercive so-called laissez-faire approach to government implied in such quotes as, “Instead, government should create the right framework of sound money, low taxes, light regulation and flexible markets (including labour markets) to allow prosperity and employment to grow.” This approach led only to less and less freedom for individuals to properly co-operate to have their voice heard in a political system that has made the workforce so flexible that it cannot fully realize its personal aspirations except through a deferential acquiescence to the call of something greater than themselves, namely virtual productivity, capital and corporatism. Low taxes have shrunk the public purse which destabilizes our connectedness to the democratic process, and leaves us, the working class, vulnerable to the avarice and condescension of the ruling classes, both socially and economically. It does indeed become a labour ‘market’ where our lives are assessed by those of the greater authority as if we were merely livestock or at best a base resource, rather than those individuals Thatcherism claimed to liberate through such light government. It is logically inconsistent to think that by creating the right framework by facilitating an uneven power relationship between labour and employer, a government should then remove the means by which individuals are free to oppose and dissent coercive and destructive power that seeks to reduce their liberties and extinguish human aspiration to be anything other than an efficient economic unit of production. To then award the customer the notional power that the democratic system fails to provide, is disingenuous as the higher authorities of corporatism and capital, with marketing and advertising, coerce the voice of the customer to want only what can be provided at least unit cost to the economic powers that have no need for and a growing intolerance of individual freedom of expression, especially in the coercive and dictatorial enclaves called workplaces. We, as service provider and customer become two sides of the corporate logo of  ‘His Master’s Voice’.

While it can be said, to too great an extent, that the prognostications of Thatcherism are still alive and kicking, the outcomes of those predictions of the great leader are less than accurate. Democracy is an ossified five-year performance of little intrinsic value, individual freedom is just about redundant as an idea that has merit, and even prosperity, for those the politics of Thatcherism is ideologically intended, is hardly evident in yet another generation of austerity measures that facilitates a massive economic divide between the rich and poor, and creates the situation where the rich get richer and less accountable to the democratic process. It seems that the logical progression from Thatcherism is Feudalism as it assumes a superiority of the ruling elites and devalues anything approaching individual freedoms of the lower classes. We need only to look back into recent history at the way governments have failed to recognise themselves and the monarchy as public servants and members of the civil service. Any legislation affecting the terms and conditions of civil servants should affect these two groups of the ruling elites; if they are not public servants then who is?

The body is laid to rest but the rancorous and vapid ideology of callous and unfair politics lives on, much to our collective shame. Today indeed was a sad day, and will repeat ad nauseam unless we forget days like these.

NB: All quotes can be easily accessed online, on many ‘quote’ sites, and within some political information sites too numerous to mention individually.