This page could be called the ambush of ‘reasonable’ as much as ‘The Ambush of Reason’, as I hope I can explain.
During the 1980’s I became aware that the right wing students and young people had what appeared to be, on the surface, a thoughtful and liberal minded response to the common potential excess of left wing ambition, (that of over spending, with money the politicians do not have to earn, on various causes). The expression used was along the lines, “I have no objection to organisations such as ‘The Radical Defence League for Lesbian Whales against Racism’ as long as nobodyis asking me to pay for it”. Obviously the organisation they referred to was invented simply to illustrate the point that they were not out to crackdown on lesbians as long as they were not being political with tax payer’s money.
This attitude is still noticeable. I recently, (Spring 2011), saw an interview on British television where arguments against cuts, by the British Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government, to the arts were being defended by a right winger from some think tank or other, while man from a theatrical organisation that had lost its source of government funding tried to explain the consequences of the cuts. The problem is that this philosophy of right wing politics implies that even in a golden age of vast wealth they would still not fund arts organisation which could not survive in the solely commercial world of making money from ticket sales, programme advertisers, sponsors and perhaps television rights. This is one way in which the right wing politician tries to appeal to the base ignorance of the lower working class or lower demographics. The problem it creates is that those of more reasonable compassion and intelligence, who would like something more stimulating on television on television to help the ‘masses’ become educated, find there are no areas where their arts are left to learn and flourish. The part of the teachings of Jesus Christ this may be seen as being rooted in is where he sees a tree with no fruit and says to it, “wither and grow no more”. In effect the right wing will claim their God, (in the manner of the recent Pope John Paul, seeing all communism as evil), provides them with the ammunition in that if no profit for the theatrical company emerges from their efforts, then their company should wither. The point really however, should be that people learn from experience, eg actresses and painters. Their work at the fringe of commercial arts is, in my opinion, frequently entertaining and worthwhile, but not appealing to the masses because they are not educated enough to appreciate the efforts. This also of course encourages the right wing to cut funds to education in order to keep the masses, as in Orwell’s novel, “1984”, addicted to lotteries, while the wealthy are addicted to increasing their wealth through continuous exploitation or human, animal and material resources. When I was young, before ‘enlightenment’ in 1977, I used to love plays on television. When cuts to the arts studies came about in the 1980’s I stood against them as student, despite not being an art student, because I cold see that it would lead to television channels with nothing but mindless shows. To some extent that has come about already with much television give over to game shows.
A bigger problem for those not wise to this is that rather like the persecutions of old, if you do not object on principle they will sooner or later come for the things you have more need of. The following quote attributed to Pastor Niemöller explains about Germany in the 1930s:
First they came for the communists and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
One way to counter this attitude is to adopt the stance Michael Moore took in one of his films where he began asking US politicians, enthusiastic for the war in Iraq, if they would like to sign up their sons for the military. (While I accept the need for defence, (see the page Defence), I never supported the war in Iraq. My view was and remains that the notion that Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were fellow conspirators, one a tyrant from the liberal wing of Islam allowing women some degree of liberty and the other an inciter of religious terrorism and tolerant of the suppression of women, (carrying on the philosophy inherited from Judaism’s myth of the creation of Adam and Eve ), was and is ridiculous. A US serviceman appeared on a filmed report during the Iraq war and said “I would be happy to stay out here for another six months tour of duty if George Bush will sit alongside me”. This is a key to opposing right wing greed about tax, in that one should merely ask these people if they think the same about the military, eg. “Do you believe one has the right to object to paying for the military by saying, I have no objection to people getting involved in an attack on Iraq, as long as they are not asking me to pay for it”. By this method we can see why Quakers would be happy to pay taxes if the money did not go toward funding the military.
This ambition of the right wing has consequences for the future if the direst predictions of James Martin, (page above this one) come about. The very rich will not be bothered if only 500 million emerge into a new golden age for mankind sometime after a disastrous bottleneck in time of the 16 mega- problems James Martin believes we face, because feel they can safely predict that most of the survivors after the bottleneck in 2050, given ignorant masses addicted to trite programmes and lotteries and uncaring toward the natural environment, will be the rich with some attendant security guards. The right wing could be said to be becoming, deliberately or unconsciously, not unlike Stromborg, James Bond’s opponent in the film, ”The Spy who Loved Me”, although of course they will claim unconsciously if they are ever pulled up and forced to face questions about their deliberate behaviour. Are they happy to watch the destruction of civilisation and most of mankind to establish their new order.
Whether that prediction comes about or whether the opposite, that the 8.5 billion facing imminent death rise up against the rich who tricked them into that threatening situation, is difficult to say. The easier way is for us all to get involved in “Green” politics NOW and look after our planet by declaring wilderness areas on land an in the sea, ensuring biodiversity is retained halting the extinction process, reducing carbon emissions until we are sure any potential crisis due to them has passed and demanding the UN and all governments engage in programmes of population growth prevention.
So be careful of being in conversation with right wing think tank activists. They will ambush your reason and your reasonableness by taking the stance of unreasonableness. The ultimate sanction against the selfish right wing would be to walk by untroubled as someone shot them in the street because none of the 8.5 billion potential victims was willing to pay for a legal system and policemen to defend them. We could end up with such a Hobson’s choice.