Friday, December 16, 2011

Laffin' an' fiddlin' while Rome burns

             Ah the Tories, one's gotta love 'em! Funnier than a barrel of monkeys..

              When Canada was "awarded" the Colossal Fossil boody prize in the Durbin (post Kyoto protocol) talks, Conservatives MPs laughed and cheered.

                Behind the good ol' boy laugh up and self congratuations, there is a truth being revealed here which the Left, the Center and the Moderate Right ignore at their peril. In the psychology of reaction, facts, alternative views, the civil rights of scapegoats can all be dispensed with by collective ridicule (or outrage or denigration - it's called Group Think). Ridicule conveniently replaces intelligent reasoned response and debate which, of course, require intellectual effort. In addition, Ideology provides justifications and rationalizations for injustice (laziness, racial inferiority, "clashes of civilizations"..) and provides a norm to which "reality" must be forced, wily-nily to conform. Thus, ideologically speaking, for the Global Warming "sceptic", Global Warming simply CAN'T be happening. Therefore, scientists and academics - despite credentials and field experience - who claim it is happening, MUST be lying and planning to corner the market on carbon credit trading and rake in "trillions" (on a professor's salary??!! - no mention made, of course, of those fossil fuel companies, their executives and shareholders and what THEY stand to profit from continued use of fossil fuels "to the last drop"..)

                    More specifically, democracy requires free flows of information up and down the hierarchy of governance. Theoretically - not to mention practically! - the public needs proper information on the pros and cons of important issues so they can decide which of the various platforms proposed by political parties they choose to support. Unfortunately, the type of nervous, reactive, ideological arrogance exhibited by Tory members of the house of Commons is fundamentally incompatible with the transparency of information flows required by democracy to function.

                    1- Ideology blocks openess to alternative views. The ideologue's mind is "opaque" rather than "transparent" and permeable to conflicting facts and viewpoints.

                    2- Perhaps even more toxic to the free and open give and take of opinion which democracy requires is the fact that ideology encourages intellectual - and eventually moral - dishonesty: all those inconvenient FACTS - what to do about them.. In the long run, the notion of the "Public Good" vanishes, replaced by partisan fighting - and infighting - for status, position, favor, bakchich..

                   Here's a good example of what Ideology can do to "Democracy" in practice: a Canadian artist who had her funding cut, seemingly because she was too pro-Global Warming in her thinking..

                   While my appreciation of history may be hindered by my ignorance, we believe that reaction is a (nearly) sure sign that a society is failing in some fundamental ways: France before the Revolution of '89, Russia before WW I (and the Russian Revolution which, be it noted, turned out to be a debacle); Europe in the between wars, 1919 - 1939, and the rise of fascism, the contemporary rise of skinheads and U.S. militias.. What the nexus of the crisis will be, will vary, of course, from one concrete historical situation to another.

1 comment:

  1. A theoretical approach but worth the time of reading. A Chris Hedges analysis of the state of globalized capitalism: