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Free us from this Brave New World

Comment 9th July 2010

 

Make the Big Society the Number One objective of the Coalition Government

Can we have a restoration of individual responsibility, civic awareness and a government led programme to get society at large educated, aware and willing to engage as near to as possible en masse?

So lets get rid of thousands of CCTV cameras and all the other Big Brother measures people on this site are raising and try to return to the 1950 and 1960s, if not in terms of wealth in terms of values. It is up to us but the Government can make a huge difference and must.

Excuse me if this seems pedantic and rambling. It is not but the point I wish to make needs to be preached to the unconverted, many of whom will have been born into our mindless broken society, As a result, they may take it as normal and satisfactory and anything but broken. I need to explain why they are wrong.

The credit crunch showed the world that the idea of world trade creating wealth is simplistic and dangerous. They forgot to add that it also created world vulnerabilities when things go wrong. They also forgot to mention that the markets are not self-regulating and that, even where we have them, regulators are not infallible or incorruptible, and so we also need to regulate the regulators. As you may know, Fred the Shred was about to become one of them. Is that alone not enough to make the point?

It is nice to be miserable in comfort but money is not everything. Having purpose in life and sufficient education to see the need and benefits ought to be regarded as a human right. Added to that, that education needs to explain that putting others concerns high on one’s own agenda is of benefit to them but also to oneself.

A lot follows from this and properly educated people will realise that you cannot achieve happiness directly, only as a by-product of other activities and with some concern for others. There is nothing new in this, Aristotle argued it thoroughly and convincingly about 2000 years ago. Rousseau and many others argued that a sense of civic duty was a moral imperative.

What is not new in the misinformation age is that the fundamentals have not changed much in 2000 years either, except that we have science and technology to raise our thresholds of the minimum acceptable requirements for a satisfactory standard of living. This has occurred to such a level that mindless acquisition of the material is the prerequisite, not the learning and insights into how to appreciate and enjoy the simple pleasures.

For lack of an understanding of this, most of us willingly join the ever widening spiral to the English equivalent of the American Dream only to find that progress means more money, more stress, and more unhappiness. You expect your employer to tear you to shreds when it comes time for your performance review because it suits him to accentuate the negative then. You expect frequent if not universal lies and cheating from companies you deal with as a consumer. You expect advertisements to hide the truth and drive you mad on TV with all their mindless stupidity and false claims because all they are interested in is a fast buck. And so it goes on whichever way you turn.

Things are getting worse not better but if you were born not that long ago you will know little or nothing of what it was like in Britain before. We did not have immigration at such a high level that in Birmingham English is set to become a minority language. We had much less in all regards but we appreciated what we had and enjoyed it with a sense of calm, well-being and dignity.

We even had hobbies and engaged in creative activities rather than relying upon our X-box or TV to while away our leisure hours. All has seriously declined. Now being dishonest is not a major concern to many, only being caught out and then finding suitably remorseful words to feign a real apology. Murder someone over a discarded chocolate rapper and get a few years. Embezzle £billions and the sentence probably is heavier.

No this is not the rant of a religious fundamentalist, it is the rant of an atheist who values spiritual values and who thinks this planet is heading for premature destruction well before the sun burns up in about 3.5 billion years, at least where the inhuman species is concerned.

 

 

Why does this matter?

 

We need to govern ourselves in both senses of that expression.

We think we are happy when actually that is not true.

We are going backwards and it hurts.

Money is not everything.

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