A Slice of Britain

8 02 2010

A Slice of Life in Britain in early 2010

The following are quotes that have appeared in the first week of February 2010 in Britain. They reinforce that which has been said in these pages many times over the last couple of years: this is a nation that has lost its ethical rudder.

a) The struggle over the basis for ethics

Hugo Rifkind, The Times Feb 5th

“Annoyingly, though, and as my philosophy degree taught me in week one, it’s only Cherie’s lot that make conceptual sense. There’s no such thing as abstract morality. It doesn’t even make any sense. If God isn’t the ultimate answer, what is?  This is precisely why secularists are always even more annoying that religious people.. It’s because they’re insincere. Sooner or later, I always think, secularists are going to have to bite the bullet, ditch “morality” and “fairness” and all that Goddish guff, and start talking about convenience. Crimes are wrong, because they are inconvenient. Value systems are good, because they make life nicer. Murder is a hassle. It’ll never be stirring stuff, but at least it’s honest.

COMMENT: This quote was in response to Cherie Booth giving a six month suspended sentence to a man because he was a devout Muslim. The reference to “Cherie’s lot” is a reference to faith communities, I believe. What is interesting about it, is the rare recognition by a non-believer, that without God there is no base upon which to establish “morals” and “fairness”. In a world of pure chance such things have no place, and we are left to utilitarianism to establish values – but of course they can never be fixed for there is no way of genuinely measuring ‘convenience’.

b) The struggle for ethical (good) behaviour

The Times  Feb 1st Hero’s  apparent Adultery

Fabio Capello may wait until next month before deciding on whether to strip John Terry of the England captaincy, in the wake of allegations of an affair with the partner of one of his former team-mates.

COMMENT: Of course before the week was out John Terry was demoted as England’s football captain. The debate raged in the media and among fans whether behaviour off the field should affect his position on it. Whereas the argument for him being a role model is strong, it is interesting to note that over the years MPs have expressly denied such a link for their own lives. Hypocrisy reigns in Parliament obviously!

The Times  Feb 1st Child Abuse

Almost four children a week died or suffered a serious injury at home last year through neglect or abuse despite tougher child protection rules after the death of Baby P. The figures, a 23 per cent rise on 2008, suggest that social workers are still failing to spot some of the most serious cases of child abuse, despite taking far more children into care.

COMMENT: Britain seems utterly incapable to establishing a foundation for good family behaviour in the minds of its citizens and thus violence continues to bring nightmares to social workers. Although it did not reach the headlines this week, there are echoes from the past reverberating in my mind that wonders how long we will, as a society, ignore the very common practice of children being allowed to watch ‘18’ rated videos or regularly play ‘18’ rated video games which, I would suggest, can be just another form of child abuse.

The Times    Feb 4th MP’s & Bankers

Headline: MPs braced for criminal charges over expenses

This is all well and good, but where are the bankers that need to put in the dock pending a life sentence? The total sum involved here is one twenty thousandth of the figure lost by the British banking industry (through whatever incompetent and corrupt actions we have yet to discover).

Accompanying letter writer

COMMENT: The ensuing debate over MPs and their expenses was, at the end of the week, exacerbated by the news that several of them were going to claim “Parliamentary Privilege” to avoid being charged for what the media has portrayed (assuming they are accurate) as criminal fraud. It was a blog writer who added the comment to include the ‘guilt’ of bankers who seem to have got away with behaviour that has scandalised most of the population. Self-serving reigns OK!

The Times  Feb 2nd Controlling Employment Rights

“The Vatican condemned Britain’s proposed equality law yesterday, complaining that legislation to give homosexual equal rights “violates natural law”.”

The Times  Feb 3rd Back down

Harriet Harman has backed away from a confrontation with religious leaders over who they can employ, making clear that she will not force contentious amendments to the Equality Bill through Parliament.

COMMENT: Some modern atheists pillory the Inquisition saying it was seeking to force people to believe according to the party line. The modern Labour Party seeks to do the same thing. From reports in the media, the police force appear, in places, to be in fear of political correctness with resulting heavy handedness. Requiring the whole population to believe according to the party (or pressure group) line speaks more of Orwell’s 1984 than anything else.

c) The anxiety of a rudderless younger generation

Song: The Fear by Lily Allen

Chorus
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
‘Cuz I’m being taken over by The Fear

COMMENT: A quick glimpse at modern culture reveals a younger confused generation. This confusion is seen in many forms in modern society.

d) The struggle for meaning

Book: The Age of Absurdity

Why modern life makes it hard to be happy

by Michael Foley – just published

“modern life.. a world that demands conspicuous consumption, high octane relationships and perpetual youth … tormented by dissatisfaction and anxiety, fearful that everyone is having a better time than we are.”

“who has not felt entitled to more and aggrieved when more is not forthcoming?”

Concludes with a chapter headed, “The happiness of absurdity” and referring to Sisyphus who in Greek mythology,  was a king cursed to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity. You cannot escape eternal drudgery is the message – the best you can do it defy it or simply accept it!

COMMENT: This recently published book highlights quite well the mess and confusion of our modern Western society. It is a scathing denunciation of modern liberal Britain.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

These were all quotes from one paper in one week in Britain at the beginning of 2010, plus two illustrations from modern culture. As someone has commented, they are quite depressing. They do however reveal a little of the state of the nation and its confusion over ethical standards or, should we say, they reveal the absence of ethical standards in this largely godless society. When will we wake up?

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