Google+ A Tangled Rope: 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Cost Of Crime

This unfortunate comment by the Home Secretary about being too afraid to walk the streets of London at night resonates with something that struck me just after Christmas, when I read this.

Both items make me wonder why should the law-abiding have to pay the cost of crime, all the time.

We – it seems – have to be constantly ‘upgrading our security’: burglar alarms, window locks, security lighting and so forth on our homes; car alarms, immobilizers, removable – or theft-proof - satnav and car stereos in our cars. Then, if we do dare to walk the streets (unlike our glorious politicians), we are told to hide our valuables, do not use mobile phones and keep to the well-lit and busy streets. As well, as the article above implies, as even going as far as hiding the empty boxes our precious new stuff came in.

Of course, it is true when people counter this by saying something like ‘but crime has always been with us’ and ‘it was worse, not any better, in the past’. This may indeed be true, but the point is that we are supposed to be moving on, getting better. Society should be moving forward, not back.

The saddest part of this is the growing acceptance of the fact that society, if not growing worse, is not really improving for the majority of us. Yes, we are getting materially wealthier, but it seems we are spending increasing amounts of our money, time and effort on protecting ourselves, and what we have. Consequently, we live in a state of anxiety that one day we could have it taken from us by an increasingly bold, aggressive and uncompromising criminality that appears to have taken over the world outside our doors.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

God Knows

I suppose I am an atheist. I say ‘suppose’ because I don’t really think of myself as an atheist. I just regard myself as… well… ordinary. Up until quite recently I always assumed that people of well, let’s say the post-WWII generations would quite naturally be non-believers in any and all the religions. So it used to come as quite a surprise to me to come across young god-botherers. That is until I came across the (mainly Americans) I met on this new-fangled internet thing, especially it seems in more recent years.

Of course, there are exceptions.

It often seems as though Dawkins et al, keep going on about the absurdity of the existence of a God, which to my mind is quite right but somewhat beside the point. Religions have somehow managed to appropriate ethics and morality, so that when ordinary people think of religion, they think of something that is in a vague and generally undefined way ‘good’: good as in morally on the right side, good as in generally good for people, and a ‘good’ thing to be. That is why they tend to see religion in a person as a ’good thing’ and have suspicions about atheism.

Our (atheists – for want of a better word) time would, I think, be therefore better spent pointing out that religion and morality, religion and ethics are not ‘the same thing’ at all. Not only that, blindly following the religious strictures can often turn out to be one of, if not the, more immoral choices available. Of course, there are some good moral points in religions ‘thou shalt not kill’ is a fine and splendid example, of course. However, to blindly follow the writings of some desert dwelling tribes from thousands of years ago (actually even longer as we know the ‘modern’ religions are just adaptations of previous forms.*) is not just silly, but dangerous as times, knowledge and understanding all change, and morality must take on board these changes or become irrelevant.

*In fact, it is interesting to speculate whether the religions we have would have stayed so frozen in form if they too had belonged to a far more pre-literate age. In other words, has having them ‘written in stone’ in the holy books prevented them from adapting to changes in morality and society?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Girls! Girls! Girls!

As a way of getting back into the groove, here is my comment on a Grauniad Cif piece from just before Christmas: A tide of bland imagery tells girls that sexy is everything

My comment on the above:

Well, my gast is somewhat flabbered. An article on CiF I can agree with... whatever next? Perhaps it is Christmas after all.

However, unfortunately for smug Guardianistas, you can't completely blame this consumerist commodification of the self (for both males and females) entirely on the usual right-wing, free-market demons. For trendy-left anti-elitism is also - at least, partially - responsible for a dominant - but stagnant and stultifying - shallow popular culture which puts image way, way, above substance to the point where anything of substance is completely lost.
Of course, the (former) broadsheets themselves (both of the nominal right and the left) are complicit in this too. For they are constantly telling the mothers of these kids that they 'must have' this handbag, that exact pair of shoes, those particular knickers if they want to be a real woman, rather than suggesting to them it would be far better for them to grab a handful of, say, Wollanscroft, Greer and de Beauvoir.

Comment Ends.