10.02 15 Why Tolerance Should Give Way To Acceptance
Why acceptance rather than tolerance? Well tolerance is a term used in engineering and refers to the amount of pressure or strain a material can take before its yields and bends or breaks. It might have been a word that could be applied to any society which is strong morally like a steel girder, stressed only by modest weight, as we in the west once were. However with more and more pressure applied the weight gets too much and the consequences of too much tolerance becomes collapse. It is therefore not a word which works well in a world where we are no longer that steel girder and our tolerance is too often at breaking point as the pressure gets greater. The breaking point is the problem as is the build up of the pressure.
Acceptance fits better into our modern global scenario; for we accept many things and many faiths but we should not accept everything. We should not stand by silently like the steel girder being put under more and more weight until it fractures while injustice is all around us. We must be outspoken about what we are prepared to accept, and as importantly, what we don’t accept. There has to be a movement of people who across the globe say that they accept all faiths and none but they cannot accept injustice, cruelty or to be terrorized by anyone of whatever faith.
So why do we need to develop a concept of acceptance? It is because tolerance has failed to deliver stability. We acquiesce too much and burden ourselves with numerous untold problems due to our tradition of tolerance.
All faiths have at their heart the desire to preserve those who accept whatever faith. Mankind has always, out of necessity, sought to survive within different tribes or groups with their own single moral code and single moral purpose; all different but with one aim preservation: Tribes become kingdoms, kingdoms become nations and nations become empires. Eventually empires morally and economically over extended, decline, a process through which we are living now in the 21st century as the empire of the west seems likely to have entered its final century, the consequence of which is an unimaginable horror for those who believe in Choice and Consent.
Whether tribe or empire the purpose is the same; to deploy a unique morality to deliver us from contingency and fear and to create value to enable our survival. The challenge comes in who controls that value or as it is better but inaccurately known wealth. Who controls the value is a political issue but its creation relies on people adhering to a particular faith. This is why we have all faiths and none, because essentially faith speaks of human survival through the creation of value.We may not like the culture of others or the faiths from which those cultures evolve but we must accept their reality and view of the world and challenge them through peace and open dialogue if the faith is being used to harm others or is failing to recognize their rights. We must not tolerate harm, but accept the reasons why that harm might be legitimised and challenge bravely that which we don’t accept.
So why is this approach of acceptance so relevant now. Firstly lets assume the British and American empires are simply the empires of the western world; with the decline of empire there is a consequential loss of its moral purpose and a self-indulgent aimlessness sets in based on the past rather than the future; a reaction to which is to impotently impose the will of the empire on those it fears. And this sadly when there is neither the vision, the resources nor the necessity to do so. The resultant chaos exposes the weakness of the old empire and that weakness invigorates a new tribalism which thrives intent on replacing the old empires with its perceived lack of moral purpose with a new moral empire. Unfortunately, the old empire’s attempt to impose its values by force creates the chaos that leads to the very contingency and fear mankind has spent tens of thousands of years trying to escape. It thus forces those destroyed communities into having to accept a new simple moral purpose if only as a means of survival. This is understandable but not acceptable. Arguably the west has provided a fertile environment for ISIS by causing chaos in the middle east. Tribalism returns out of necessity.
In our inner cities in the west we have criminal gangs and fanatics who traffic, enslave and kill whilst the authorities are impotent to control or fully understand these groups or their behaviour. This is the re-establishing of the tribal mindset within our culture. These groups can thrive because they have a simple philosophy and simple moral purpose; to survive by preserving the leadership who in turn preserves the minions. But it is a survival where the individual, long considered to be of moral worth in the west, is accorded no value at all. This is the paradox of liberalism, horror and abuse of people exists because the ability and willingness to challenge it has been muted by a confused tolerance which lasts until the tolerance gives way and wars are waged and cultures destroyed.
At an international level the actions of the old empire in seeking to impose “democracy” or “freedom” on its adversaries unleashes tribal instincts which attach themselves to religion and reek havoc across huge swathes of the world taking advantage of the inability of the declining empire to maintain its grip or moral purpose .
To stop this madness people of all faiths and none, must understand the problem of too much tolerance; the pressure, fear and chaos it creates when it breaks down and counter its seduction with a new vision of acceptance or indeed non acceptance expressed confidently. With a belief in acceptance, non acceptance and peace we must show solidarity with all peoples and all faiths by promoting peace through acceptance and where tensions exist we must engage in healthy disagreement.
Politics like faith has to enter the 21 century, if that is, we want to see the rights of all individuals respected and preserved all over the world as lasting legacy of the influence of the west on world culture. In two hundred years there may be little of the Western empire left; but it is essential that its legacy of the rights of individuals to speak and be heard is preserved regardless of race gender, sexuality or faith and as humans in whatever groups we find ourselves we must never again be subject to the whim of the tribe mentality or the brutal overlord.
17.02.15 Faith and sensitivity
The recent criminal violence carried out in France against Charlie Hebdo, in Denmark yesterday (14/02/15) and Australia by people claiming to represent the Islamic faith, highlights serious issues on both sides of the troubled freedom of speech debate. In the West, we fail to see our own role in fuelling this violent criminality by challenging a faith that is understandable but ideologically much less able to view challenge in any terms other than as a threat to its existence. To any ideologically simple and unforgiving moral code, any threat is existential and requires a violent and uncompromising response. The reason for this is that faith was in the past and for some still is mankind’s response to the fear of being thrown back into chaos and contingency. If faith is threatened, therefore, for some people the response is going to be severe. This is not how it should be……but it is how it is.
In addition to the threat to the faithful presented by the direct challenge to the sensibilities of the Islamic faith such as cartoon depiction of the Prophet Mohammed; our lifestyle in the west is, in itself, a challenge.
We need to look at our own behaviour, the behaviour that challenges those of faith and some of no faith, for example our inability to manage within coherent family units without the collective misery of divorce or separation our reliance on single parenthood as a promoted family context within which to bring up children, our welfare system subsidising poor moral behaviour, consumption as a national preoccupation, celebrity culture and so on and so forth.
All this adds to the yawning gulf between the secular world and those of faith but particularly Islam. The West borrows and spends with little obvious moral purpose, other than maintain its pre-eminent global position; this is an unsustainable situation and the criminals who operate in the name of Islam know this. We need to look at both sides of the violence from and against Islamic groups and turn the war into a war of words. We cannot allow chaos to prevail as in chaos only unforgiving Islamism could survive with its brutality; something we have not yet come to recognise.
24.02.15 East and West -morality in a conflicted world
Over the last two weeks, we have explained our view that the lack of moral purpose in the West has contributed to the anxiety aroused in people of the Muslim and other faiths. This issue results in widespread fear and contributes to the rivalry among faiths and therefore their competing moral systems. Rivalry generally plays an enormous part in fuelling an unstable world and, in our opinion, a strong moral code based on peace will help overcome this rivalry, securing a stable world in which our children can safely grow up.
All moral codes are intended to preserve their different cultures from mankind’s past horror of contingency and the inability to create value to support and nourish people. Mix too many cultures together without a strong overarching “meta” value system (such as existed in the past with the Empires of Britain and the US stabilising Europe after the Second World war) and the existential anxiety will trigger violence to an extreme point. This is where we are now.
Our own intervention in the Middle East has only made the situation worse; by exposing the problem. Where there were once dictatorships holding down the violent impulses of different groups, we now have an understandable explosion of chaos in the Middle East: the imposition of “faith” based violence and aggression a symptom of this chaos. However, whilst the faith-based violence is the action of criminals, there is little chance of these fanatical groups imposing enough mature order on the areas conquered to allow their subjugated communities to create the value necessary to thrive and survive. They simply enact barbaric and pointless acts of murder reinforcing chaos thus recreating the fear and contingency mankind has been running away from for many millennia. To be progressive you need stability, to be properly regressive you need to create chaos, or have oil wealth necessary to subdue people and to police your repressive regime…
In certain sections of the media, there is an odd reaction to some these barbaric regressive banalities. There seems to be a conflicted position in which some people see the criminals in the Middle East as somehow both perpetrators of violence against innocent victims but also simultaneously victims themselves. Seeing oneself as a victim as do Islamic State is the response of a group that wants to gain control sucking in followers and resources. Being treated like a victim is the way the powerful gain control of us. To some extent our desire in the West to tolerate the despots of the Middle East (and later declare war on some of them) has led certain commentators to the view that, not only is the violence due to the West but the military machine of the West and mainly the US is to blame for the victimhood of a whole faith group in the region. Hating the US appears to offer justification for treating the criminals of the Middle East as though they are genuine victims. The West is not the cause of the violence but has, instead, provided by sheer incompetence the context: the chaos in which the criminals thrive.
Seeing victimhood as a virtue has for a long time been a problematic perspective offering little hope of betterment like the peasants of mediaeval Europe and the intergenerational unemployed in the UK today. It is a tool for control or controlling. For the survival of the real victims, the intervention of a greater force for good is required. For some commentators, the further intervention of the West sorting out the mess we have made in the Middle East is worse than allowing the greater force to come from the criminal militants themselves.
With no power going in to sort out the mess and I don’t mean the West, nothing will happen and the serious risk is that the criminal militants will not stop harming until someone comes along and stops them. This must happen the failure to act will simply enslave and degrade millions of innocents. Starting with Christians, gay people and other non-conformists.
If international socialism were still a viable option then I’m sure some would have supported that intervention, but it too would simply have done what the despots were doing for years: holding the lid down. The answer has to be to understand how the progress of the western world through the application of more and more skilful and technological means of production, has largely left the Middle East in a kind economic slow lane. In the West, we have developed our market-based capitalist system which has come to respect the right to trade and contract, move freely with goods and services so maximising personal choice. We accept that within this context, freedom of speech and faith are important parts of the deal. The only other issue one of personal concern is one’s own moral behaviour – helping to provide an environment within which one contracts one’s labour and manages one’s affairs so as to avoid depending on others and to contribute to the greater good. Contract, choice and consent are the economic outcomes from the maturing of the free market system giving rise to freedom of speech etc. They became pillars of our culture and benefit us all. Within this moral and economic context, we all created value and avoided contingency, uncertainty and fear whilst also giving rise to the demand for democracy. Sadly, in the late 21st century, many of us have lost the ability to function in a broadly moral way. Relationship issues, tax avoidance, greed, immodesty etc have taken hold. The cultural pillars described above worked because of our personal moral framework. They were designed to work in sympathy with society’s widest interests.
Therefore, to fully understand what has been going wrong in the Middle East and the West we must draw upon our knowledge of history, philosophy and psychology.
Essentially, the Middle Eastern societies that were, in the past, beacons of science, art and enlightenment, have slipped backwards as a result of their communities failure to become engines of their own progress through capitalism and the free market. The process of turning the trapped retainer into the contracted worker and expanding the number of opportunities that this would have provided, never really occurred and, indeed, with the discovery of oil, the need to do this – to achieve the economic value needed for supporting populations – became unnecessary. The oldest form of fascism too; man’s dominion over womankind has also in varying degrees held back progress, making families little autocracies rather than working partnerships. Thus, the situation we are all in now is that many countries in the Middle East were wealthy enough to become self-sufficient due to oil and open up opportunities for their people. However, they were unfortunately so politically unsophisticated to the extent that they fell prey to dictators who wanted complete control of oil value to create personal wealth Saddam; Gaddafi etc
Religion in this situation becomes the conduit through which revolution was being fought, and these revolutionaries were suppressed. The ensuing tussle, resentment and the demand for change (which the West muddle-headedly interpreted as a clamour for democracy) ultimately became the justification for war.
The West needs to accept that the “Western Democratic Model” is probably not going to get established in the Middle East anytime soon, the value base does not accept individual rights, but acceptance of others could be a good place to start to make progress. Perhaps for a decade or so a better model would be along the lines of a ‘scrutiny’ of the dictators to ensure that very basic human rights are observed, a kind of Magna Carta. The EU could easily take on this function to ensure that places like Syria, no less undemocratic in the immediate future though they might be, are upholding very basic human rights. The drift towards opening markets and trade could then stimulate other market type phenomena such as consumer choice, consent and contract. This could be the basis for social and personal arrangements becoming more liberal and the movement towards democracy might take hold.
We in the West also need to make significant changes to the way in which we lead our lives so as to avoid undermining our own culture. As I mentioned above, we have lost much of our moral purpose. In many cases, our personal conduct works against the interests of others and society at large. We could look for inspiration to other, more ‘faith-based’ moral codes. For example, we did at one time find in the Middle East an approach to life that was designed to coherently hold society together to avoid contingency and fear. Unfortunately, it has been corrupted by despots, oil and war. Fostering social order creates value and enables us to create wealth, meaning we can provide for ourselves and our families and safeguard our society and its rights.
If we choose not to do this we risk exacerbating our differences (particularly with Islam) and ushering in a long period of escalating violence. The likelihood of the Western powers and Western people doing this is not exactly likely due to the fact that we would have to reduce our consumption and behave in a more moral way, avoiding many of the lifestyle choices we have come to expect as normal at every social level. The issue for us has a lot to do with the relationship between Companies, the Government and the taxpayer. More of this, later.
03.03.15 The role of the faithful supporting those in need
A slight digression from the usual stuff about morality in a globalised world with something closer to home. It is a real sign of the quiet convergence of various faiths that they see the common purpose helping the poor and those in need here in the UK. There are food banks run on behalf of church charities as well as Muslim groups in Bradford and Sikh faith groups e.g. in London who offer support to others of all faiths and no faith. We have made the point in earlier postings that the west has lost its moral purpose, which undermines its economic and social purposes; this can be partly explained by the trend for expecting governments to take over the roles within communities that are the proper stuff of charities and the communities themselves; yes there is clearly a role for government, but groups who offer a model of clear help with moral expectations, as opposed to entitlements will provide a stronger basis for future progress for those who find themselves in need of help.
We all have to do what we can to add value to our lives and the lives of others by what we say and what we do. The opportunities granted to us by out liberal democracy should not be undermined by adopting an overly liberal approach to anything which essentially undermines everything. This happens because in the hands of a bureaucracy people fail to develop a sense of obligation to other human beings, lacking empathy and commitment to do more than wait for the next government payment to arrive. Faith groups and some secular charities seem to understand this approach better than governments and with their intersession, a sense of positive expectation can be fostered. Understanding the links between charitable relief, the role of the family ….so important to people of faith, and self-help will bring people of all faiths and no faith together and secure a more positive future for all who need assistance. In addition, the social and economic functions of society are enhanced by the role of faith and charity. People are helped to become more functional and socially and economically active. Even in the early days of faith and religion; the role of getting the dispossessed faithful back into alignment with the larger community fell to the religious groups through charity. Back then, however (as is the case in some parts of the world today) the faithless are not considered worthy of support and harsh and brutal punishment was administered. Today we have a more accepting approach which does not judge others because we don’t have to judge them. The poor are not a threat to our society.
To many, this idea of a charity supporting the poor will seem like abandoning the poor to the modern workhouse. We disagree. We do not advocate the end of the government’s role in welfare just the greater role for faith and charitable groups. There is no institution advocated here, no four walls, just a caring community that expects everyone to do whatever they are capable of doing to add to the common good. This avoids the poor becoming ghettoized, marginalized and thereafter despised and ignored. It brings them back into the community as visible contributing people. Anyone can add value, adding value is not the same as wealth, many activities create social if not economic value; tidying the community and fostering children add value, selling shares simply creates wealth.
14.03.15 What is faith for?
So far, we have attempted to explain our simple theory that all faiths and some beliefs that involve no religious faith have in the past played a crucial role in mankind’s development. Faith was the means by which we became functioning social units bounded by a common sense of purpose. The common purpose being to work to avoid what we call “contingency” but which perhaps is better understood as uncertainty and thereby to increase the chances of survival by productive activity. Productive activity creating the value which enabled our forebears to survive.
Who did what in the family was an important component of this process. The better we became at controlling our environment the more value we created and the better able we were to survive. Faith was the kingpin to this wonderful process. It has to be accepted that the rules applied to society by different faiths particularly if you head way back to the past were in too many ways discriminating, they met the needs of those societies they related to at that time. However, the value created by society was often taken by the powerful and denied to those who created it. We should not, however, judge these societies on our terms; we would not have had the progress we have had since we emerged from a state of living on our instincts into one based on consciousness, had we remained a fearful group of suspicious small tribe hunter-gatherers. Faith gave mankind coherence and ensured our survival.
Faith, therefore, was an essential component of our survival as a species…it is clearly Darwinian in its importance. However what relevance has faith now? To answer this, we need to look in more detail at what faith did for us in the past and ask are we better off without it or should we try and return to some of the basic truths contained within the faiths of our past.
It is important to clarify from the beginning that the way faith was used in the past to control people and enable our survival, had a historical context; so, for example, some current “faith” based societies have fetishized certain old faith-based practices. Stoning, flogging, and amputation may have been an absolute necessity in a world of fear, starvation, and uncertainty but today it is just a weird abuse of human life almost but not exactly turning human suffering and death into a spectator sport. We are not, therefore, going to even start to suggest that any faith should promote a return to that kind of thing. In fact, as the criminals of ISIS will discover it is not possible to avoid contingency crisis, fear, uncertainty, and anxiety when you are the cause of it. In situations like this people will not be able to create value and so eventual decline and slow extinction with follow on. Without oil, Saudi Arabia would have been extinct decades ago.
We have a good reason for saying that we no longer require draconian culture propped up by draconian faith. The reason being that we are no longer in fear of our old enemies contingency and uncertainty and therefore have developed the capacity to create value (or in the case of Saudi Arabia pump it out of the ground) without in reality having the fear that dissenters from faith will cause some kind of cataclysmic social catastrophe. The same thing does not apply to the criminals of ISIS. These throwbacks to a past age of fear and uncertainty have little if any chance of using their “faith” or criminal incompetence to create the kind of social and economic value which provides security for their children and the communities they control. They are quite simply not up to the job of building a modern nation. But as I will go on to suggest, neither are we in the west.
We in the west need to take a long hard look at our “culture” with its ludicrous idolatry of celebrity and pornography, our shallow obligations to one another causing mental illness on a grand scale and our requirement particularly in the UK to be paid for anything we do stripping it of all social value and rendering it merely wealth creating. The culture of welfare turning socialism into the new “opium of the people” is a new and emerging challenge and all this straddled by politicians who I honestly believe can’t see the cultural wood from the economic trees.
We are therefore in danger of inciting a cataclysmic clash of cultures; Faith groups but particularly Islam being fuelled by a legitimate and credible dislike of the self-destructive “culture” of the west; whilst the west blind to the obvious causes of Islam’s objections to our culture sees Islam as an existential threat. For the west, the debate becomes laughable, about Islam’s dislike of democracy and freedom. So this justifies regime change and more chaos. Hmm seems like Armageddon is almost unavoidable.
To bring all faiths together and create peace through acceptance we need to start to get a debate going in the west about the west. Understand Islam and all the stuff it does but contextualised it in terms of the role of all faith in all cultures. Then once we have started to sort ourselves out we can start to comment on the modern role of Islam in a world of IT, equality, contract, choice and democracy.
In our next post we comment on how in the west we have unwittingly recreated fear and uncertainty on a very personal level.
15.03.15 Sorting out a moral/social/ economic problem the western way!
We have commented that in the west we have issues to address and by making the simple assumption the world’s problems lie elsewhere (Russia the middle East, Africa) we are being dishonest with ourselves.
Our reaction is particularly hazardous if we fail to grasp what is really behind all faith communities’ concerns about western culture and some nonfaith groups too. Most particularly the problems we in the west must confront exist largely on a personal level rather than a political level, so it is easy to convince ourselves that everything is all right “in general”. Politicians, some established Church people and those with a stake in the status quo, can have no basis for considering anything is wrong.
Again, it is important to show understanding of their lack of concern, but be critical none-the-less. The reason they seem ambivalent whether police, politicians or civil servants is quite simple; social issues don’t really touch them or if they do the consequences for them can be mitigated by higher income and a higher social position. Or they are employed to try and tackle the problem, unaware that it is the flaws in our “liberal tolerant” society that cause the problems in the first place.
In the past faith helped mankind by bringing certainty to people’s worlds even if that certainty had cruel dimensions. Today in the west for our most vulnerable people there is little personal certainty and therefore little capacity to create value social or economic.
Take the issue of teenage sexual exploitation. Most commentators, politicians and the police have now concluded that the fault lies with the abusers not the abused. The line here is agencies failed to react to evidence of abuse due to cultural sensitivities (since when has crime been excused based on cultural sensitivities…? Oh yes quite often; Domestic Violence, animal cruelty, FGM and so on and so forth). The major issue, however, was that within this situation there has been a clash of cultures which sadly characterises the conflicts of culture we have tried to outline in earlier posts. We have males who culturally have come to expect high moral standards from females (the woman is the citadel of Islam).
The Islamic faith places women behaviour on a high pedestal but like all high pedestals it will be a hard landing if you fall off, and the girls at the centre of the abuse had fallen off and their hard landing was to become viewed as their worthlessness. Now, this situation was made worse by the fact that the males and agencies who should have been protective took a similar view to the abusers; the girls were out of control etc. Which I can accept is possibly true, but is no justification for the abuse they experienced; their lives should never have been seen as worthless.
So, we have a toxic moral mixture which in many respects reflects the wider conflicts between of western and other cultures as seen by many faith groups and this includes Islam. Like all generalisations, there is a degree of truth within it.
We are sexually preoccupied and ambivalent about it. We see many others lives as worthless rather than as a reflection of the grace of their God. We have a low tolerance for the spiritual needs of others and rely on the government to step in. This is seen in many areas of society, but particularly in our past muddled response to the crisis of abused children. The states response to child abuse; lessons in consent for children!
Lessons in consent should be unnecessary in a culture where people (adults) take the time to get to know each other properly and respect each other as individuals, rather than categorising each other based on looks or affluence as young people are now tending to do. Young people learn from the adults around them and develop toxic values which leave them open to abuse.
Young people should see their lives as more than their outward bodily appearance and should avoid obsessing about what they could to with the physical gifts of nature bestowed on them. They should avoid benefiting themselves rather than benefitting others. Children should not be made to feel it is necessary to give or refuse consent; this path like every other “western cultural solution” has the seeds of a major disaster ticking away in its DNA.
Consent for illegal behaviour should not be given by a child in a healthy culture, but if given by a child, encouraged by the system to exercise what should be an adult right, it will be on the basis a sad desire to be wanted; it’s a predatory charter. Once consent is given there is no “cooling off period”. Whoever dreamed up this idea for dealing with Child Sexual Exploitation should be subject to close scrutiny because as ideas go it is utterly appalling. But it reflects we suppose an utterly appalling society.
Girls need to be raised in loving homes within a family that loves them for who they are. The adult male should be (wherever possible) the actual biological father.
Both should take the time to exercise choice and consent before settling down to have children and cooperate as equals in their daughter’s upbringing; even if this includes a parent staying at home to do this. The family should be a place of values and a place of safety for all. The sick spectacle of pre-teen precociousness should be seen as creepy and unacceptable, stealing childhood.
Step-fatherhood should be an exception rather than a rule. Boys should mirror the father’s respect for the mother and should see girls as their equals, not as objects.
All faiths require modesty and modesty should be an expectation, particularly for children. The answer to sexual abuse is like many other things a matter of putting values back into society. Reverse the wholesale destruction of the primary family unit. The fact that too many stakeholders can’t bring themselves to say this, explains why when the system looks at the issue, the solutions are muddled and perverse. Preserve the status quo and achieve nothing more than more harm, abuse and unhappiness. Changing things for the betterment of children might just make life less exciting, more responsible and routine for adults but then you can’t go on blaming cultural sensitivity and the failure of expensive state agencies when children continue to copy adults, sexual behaviour and too many are abused.
The fact that in too many parts of the west adults put themselves first and pervert the environment for their children is the reason why faith communities see the west as weak and self-destructive. Raising stable families freed from the fear of emotional uncertainty who can be socially, if not economically productive, requires time and effort. In the absence of this time and effort from parents, the government has to pay for it…..and paying they are, or perhaps more accurately we all are!
22.03.15 Tunisian museum tragedy- The criminals Vs the West V1
The horror of the shootings at the museum in Tunisia only serves to highlight the impasse between the criminals who identify themselves as Muslim and the rest of the peoples of the world. The fear we have is that this is a war neither side can win; it’s a Mutually Assured Destruction but fought with bombs, bullets and brutality as opposed to the technologically out of reach Weapons of Mass Destruction. Although that could, of course, come later.
The statement by ISIS was chilling in its content as for the first time we heard a statement to the effect that all westerners are legitimate targets simply for being westerners; There is no attempt to distinguish one from any other; this is the criminals setting themselves against the world in all its beautiful and wonderful diversity. The west and the world must now be starting to recognise that here we have a culture of brutality and ignorance that will not respond to any kind of appeal to better nature, common sense or humanity. So how do we deal with it? As to deal with it, we must.
The first thing the west needs to do as we have said many times before is look at itself and the way its culture might adversely affect the planet and challenge the world’s morality. Western culture has many obvious flaws some of which we have referred to in previous posts so won’t re-rehearse them again here. What we have not explored to date is why the west has considerable social problems that often become economic in character. These problems create victims, financial winners and losers and spawn often deplorable lifestyles around which a fetishized obsession develops among many people of faith, and which becomes incendiary within the minds of criminals who adopt Islam as a cloak of legitimacy for their violence and brutality.
In the minds of many people of faith, the western world is adopting an illegitimate way of life, based on a concept of wealth which has for decades owed little to our ever-decreasing productive capacity. This is for us the essential weakness of western culture and the hair trigger for violence against us. We magic up from nowhere the wealth of such enormous size and complexity that it flows around the planet; not doing good but creating the context for lifestyles that are as unsustainable as the “Dust Bowl” Islamism favoured by ISIS.
The capacity to produce true value in the west is considerably smaller than the amount of wealth created on the back of that value. The wealth which has little real value flows around and unfortunately ends up all too often in the hands of either the corrupt or the criminal. For every Bill Gates, there are far too many racketeers and hucksters in every country in the world, inspiring fear, and frustration at one level and hatred and violence at the other.
The solution to this massive global problem is the west recognising that a lot of what is called wealth is nothing of the sort. It has no real value and the people who have it may not be particularly deserving of it but have just got lucky. This applies to businesspeople and perhaps more appropriately our celebrities and those who feed off the dreams of others, pop stars and the like.
The glitz and glamour funded by worthless debt-based wealth which is pumped into the system by frightened Governments who fear war and revolution if the money-go-round slows down. For the rest of us, the money-go-round is simply a form of enslavement trapping us into faithless and pointless lifestyles which offer little hope of happiness or salvation and which because it is debt based widens the difference between value and wealth even further.
Wealth without any value is simply an immoral hoarding of someone else’s debt. So for us the driver for our unsustainable western lifestyle is our ability to create money with no value and to thereby fund lifestyles of no value…….with all the attributes you would expect; abandoned elderly, divorce, adultery, illegitimacy and so on and so forth. These horrors will happen and in a tolerant western society for some time to come, we guess it is to be expected. That is why the Western governments are compelled to deploy wealth harvested from real production to tackle the problem but augment this with consumption based on indebtedness.
As lifestyles go we have come to practice the above all too casually, and on an almost industrial scale. So when Criminals identify themselves as Muslims and looks at the west they can see a lifestyle which is bogus, inhuman and essentially unsustainable paid for by money created in an Alice in Wonderland economy.
Such a view triggers the violent instinct that believes a dose of dust bowl Islamism will cure the west of its ills. The purity of a simple desert life with apostates being beheaded and adulterers stoned seems to be a way of solving the very crux of the west’s obvious problem, but that problem isn’t simply moral it’s economic too; that is too much money chasing too little morality.
We believe many people of faith will agree with the above, hence we suspect the number of converts to Christianity, Islam and other faiths may well increase. In addition, there may be a return to primitivism within some faiths. However what people of true faith will not be interested in doing is destroying the culture and character of their faith or the faith of others and replace it with, for example, a 7th-century dust bowl variety of faith, based on brutality and fear.
People with deep and enlightened faith will adopt a faith-based lifestyle for themselves which puts some much-needed morality back into lives blighted by too little social or productive activity. Our weight gain and poor health our idleness and self-obsession are easily identifiable symptoms of the problem
The ISIS criminals want to destroy western wealth which they fetishize as the cause of our problems. As we have said our wealth creation needs to be brought down to a level where it has a closer approximation to an actual value created (less froth more real value) and is less prone to drift into the wrong hands, but the west should not and does not deserve to be destroyed. The ISIS dust bowl has absolutely no productive capacity and as we have said previously it is the role of individuals, families, tribes, nations and empires to create value to sustain themselves. ISIS destroys not only wealth but value and by destroying value they will ultimately destroy themselves.
We think in our next blog post I’ll look at the humanity and freedom the west offers the world and explore this strange notion of value.
30.03.15 Tunisian museum tragedy- The criminals Vs the West V2
Value plays a key role in all societies and was particularly significant in the past. There was in the very early days of mankind’s existence social value generated by individuals observing their belief system, enabling them to produce economic value with minimal fear, harmoniously in most cases, to provide the food to support their families and community.
War was then, as now the destruction of value usually by one group against another but sometimes within the same group. Faith was closely linked to stability; therefore any behaviour outside of the “norm” which affected the ability to provide food to support the whole community required serious retribution. It made no sense to waste value on transgressors. Some faiths still support the practice of harsh punishment because the link to their past is still quite strong and the link to the perception of survival is raw.
As society moved forward technologically this social value became a bit less important as more complex social arrangements emerged; detached from the survival issue by technology albeit only plough and Oxen the link was weakened further between what people did and whether they contributed directly to the general survival of all or could lived on the value produced by others. By this time economic value could be stored in the form of money or other valuables rather than immediately consumed. It was at this point that politics emerged as a force, competing with faith not only to control people’s minds but control the value they created. This was the shift from pre-agricultural society to post agriculture; organisation, primitive technology, and investment began to emerge.
The value created was economic value on a greater scale. Once value could be created and stored rather than immediately consumed, “faith” became a means by which the ruling classes (Kings, Pharaohs etc) exercised control to ensure that people surrendered their share of the economic value they produced to the ruling class. Society was pretty much like this for millennia; with the west and their reformation most recently starting the process of gradually weakening the control of the kings, and via capitalism, and then in some places socialism, reallocating value to the “organisers of the means of production” or government respectively.
The ancient Egyptians had a society that took the value from the Nile and created a Kingdom which lasted five thousand years. The value was not sent back to the people who created it and many Biblical stories reflect this period of slavery; value creation, requisition, submission, and control. The stories capture the role of faith in tackling the issue of value requisition and how the societies involved, tackled the problem. For the Egyptian society to last five thousand years the faith of the people in the legitimacy of that society and their place in it must have been very strong.
Value is therefore whatever is created by an individual or society that allows them to survive. It can be stored and accumulated, gave rise to complex societies and its existence in a stored form is why politics was born. Value is the birth mother of politics, and faith its handmaiden.
Now there was a limit to how much you can accumulate and store value in hard coinage and bullion terms. We suspect the reason the Pharaoh’s survived as long as they did was because the value that the Nile created was sufficient to allow them to hoard a lot of value, and employ and feed workers and slaves and this coupled to people’s faith in the gods made the whole enterprise legitimate for all concerned. The Pharaoh’s were essentially the guarantors of stability and sustenance for all. They removed the fear and contingency that in mankind’s very early days, faith alone had done; by spending some of the surplice value on “projects” that employed and fed people.
The birth of politics had weakened faith as men and more recently women began to realise that the status quo could be challenged. The allocation of economic value away from those who actually created it was viewed as wrong. Faith, unfortunately, became popularised as “the opium of the people” by thinkers like Karl Marx; thus it became seen as a reactionary force, holding society back. Enterprise which is essentially the creation of economic value is of course a good thing, so there needs to be some premium paid to the person who organises the production process. But really should the economic and social system be so perverse a system that it creates today’s super rich. Those of faith could now do more to challenging the system.
This concept of the super rich in today’s society (people on par with the Kings of the past) brings me onto the next theme of this post. That is how, over thousands of years, from value being pretty much what humans picked off trees, pulled out of the ground or killed, it became sufficiently plentiful and storable for people with big sticks to hoard it, deny it to others and make themselves rich. What has happened since this time of the initial hoarding of value is that the kings have gone (although the oligarchs in Russia and the thugs of ISIS are an obvious throw backs to the men with big sticks. In the case of ISIS however there is no value to be created from new and future production. They are essentially parasites with no economic capacity, simply a perverted idea of social value they impose with brute force, dust bowl Islam as I call it).
The western world has created the conditions for the super rich to emerge. Since the early days of economics in Biblical times the world has created lots of cleaver ways of making a little value look like a lot of wealth, rather than creating more actual value. Creating real economic value is hard work;it involves combing land, labour and capital in proportions which make a profit. Making a little value look more impressive is relatively easy, once you have the financial smoke and mirrors set up.
In the west there is little promotion of social value (old fashioned faith type value for example or doing something for nothing) and a reliance on debt rather than the creation of economic value. This debt is brought into existence with some cleaver tricks of accounting, allowing money to be printed to stimulate “consumption”. By leaving our faith base we have become too entitled and moved our governments into a world of “Alice in Wonderland” economics to drive the economy. In such an economy a pea sized amount of value can be turned into a planet sized amount of wealth via debt. Of course the major problem is the poor pay for this and the and the rich acquire it; including Russell Brand…whoever he is. Wealth creation is where the fun starts as it involves Banks and Governments and bogey men of all descriptions.
So what we have now after a millennia and more of growth and development in our “Financial Services” is a total disconnection between value (which is something be it social or economic that has to be on a human scale and created by complex human activity as opposed to pressing button on a computer) and wealth which is no longer linked to value and which can be multiplied out of all recognition based on airy fairy concepts such as confidence or belief in the market. This is the real problem for those of faith who believe in things being both real and on a human scale and having social as well as economic dimensions. The problem for those of faith and the more enlightened of those with no faith is that we are simply peddling a broken economic model which taxes the poorer to create wealth for the richer and in doing so undermines our moral purpose; there is little in the way of real value supporting or underpinning the whole teetering edifice.
Our economic model malfunctions due to a number of modern phenomenon driven by our drift from faith and belief in the need for survival. Welfarism; paying people to be idle and simply exist for themselves or to farm babies on an often industrial scale to tap off wealth for themselves wealth created by taxpayers and government debt. It also works through the public sector; paying people to do jobs that should not be necessary if society functioned to create social and economic value. Well paid jobs bankrolled on the back of a debt economy that costs the poorest the most through taxes they have no choice but to pay.
Some public sector salaries in Great Britain are twice or three times what the British Prime Minister earns. How odd is that. Not odd at all if you consider that the upper reaches of the Public sector including Westminster politics has become the occupation of choice for many in the British upper classes. Well that or Acting! Finally with all this valueless wealth sloshing around, largely created for and on behalf of the Government “the rich” are able to tap it off by creating businesses which appeal to people’s baser drives for example sexual services and “want” based consumption. The whole thing is offensive to those of faith and some of no faith because it reflects a race to the moral bottom, creating debt for the Government and the poor, whilst rewarding the “rich” for whom their principle moral reaction to their good fortune is to pay as little tax on profits or earnings as possible
The upshot of this system is that the economy does what it is doing now…..it starts to fail. We have referred to how this failure manifests itself socially; divorce and illegitimacy on an industrial scale, domestic violence, obsessions around spending and consumption, a society of entitlement rather than social or economic duty. How far we have come technologically yet morally we are little better than our squabbling ancestors trying to make sense of a strange frightening and confusing world whilst allowing the overlords to take most of the wealth. The difference is; we started to sort it out once and now we are throwing the legacy away.
In a future blog post we hope to explore two key elements of the modern western world by looking at how the “relationship” industry and housing industry work in a morally unacceptable way. Both are a product of the poverty in social and economic value, and both reflect the flight from faith and Darwinian survival; both sowing the seeds of the unfortunate and unnecessary but relentless destruction of the west and its diverse culture based on choice, contract, and consent.
06.04.15 Tunisian museum tragedy- The criminals Vs the West V3
We seem to be unintentionally creating the conditions in the world where Christians are being killed simply for being Christians. Whilst blame should and will always remain with the criminals we must look at contexts to understand the situation with a little more sophistication. Christians are being butchered in some of the most barbaric ways imaginable as well as simply being mown down by gunfire. The perpetrators of this behaviour are a murderous class of criminals who identify themselves with Islam, but who fail to understand the difference between Christianity and the more widely known secular western culture.
I can well imagine the fanatics in the caves and compounds viewing western culture and hating every second of it whilst at the same time being strangely aroused by the freedoms, particularly sexual freedoms on offer in the west which true Christians feel are as absurd as many of other faiths and none. I have written about this in an earlier post. When barbarity stops being a reaction to possible extinction it becomes fetishised. The Saudi Arabian culture captures this most profoundly. People (many I am sure poor, mentally ill etc) experience their last, sad, pathetic moments of life as a spectator sport, at the Friday beheadings. Now this template of Islamic culture has a wide appeal and along with intolerance, sexual prejudice, and obsession for cultural purity is alluring for those who despise the west. In this scenario things like the west’s sexual freedom come to justify cruelty towards Christians on an unimaginable scale.
The sexual freedom the west has experienced for most of the last fifty years has unfortunately let to widespread and indifferent promiscuity with all the personal tragedy that this throws up. However whilst the response should be that you don’t kill people because you object to what is seen as their culture it becomes more compelling when the justification is a mix of cultural hatred and sexual excitement.
There are those in the west with a fetishized fascination with death; on the internet death is viewed as entertainment by the immature curious and perverted. Within fanatical groups the voyeur becomes the practitioner, where motivated by a desire for retribution arising from their own repressed sexual excitement the blood lust becomes fanatical indeed. ISIS and al Shabab are reacting with violence and cruelty because they hate arousal, particularly sexual arousal that western culture causes them. Dealing with the whole western moral swamp is the western world’s biggest challenge.
This brings me to the point about ISIS and al Shabab criminality and the abuse of Christianity. In my opinion Christians are being slaughtered because of the moral “sins” of the western world; yet no Christian would sanction the kind of behaviour which the Criminals of ISIS et al find so arousing. There is no place in Christianity for immodesty, pornography and greed. So when ISIS or al Shabab kill Christians they are killing people who have a certain view of how life should be lived which would be in harmony with their own if they were not simply criminals hell bent on blood lust and slaughter.
For all faith’s and those of no faiths to live in harmony the west to turn back to a more moral way of living not just Christian living, but any moral code which promotes moral behaviour. In world like this Criminal gangs of ISIS and Al Shabab would have no support within the ranks of their own professed faith, they would have to stop killing and grow up.
06.04.15 Britain- a Christian country? Some mistake surely
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron was not alone in suggesting this Easter that Great Britain is a Christian country. Whilst quite rightly endorsing, as we do, that we accept all faiths and those of no faith the idea Britain is Christian rather than secular liberal is one of the reasons why Christianity is despised by many who hold a strong faith be it Islamic or Buddhist or whatever faith or set of guiding moral principles including Darwinism. However not surprisingly traditional Christians too reject the outcomes arising from the destruction of faith-based morality and the promotion of the secular liberal moral sursum corda stripped of all moral content.
It would be more correct to point out that Britain was a Christian country but is no longer (just look at the declining attendance numbers at Church) however it has a Christian tradition which when coupled to economic freedom drove the British economy to a level of global power which has never been surpassed. If you take out the specifically “Christian” elements of Christ and the Gospels; what Christianity helped to create in Britain whilst constraining within moral boundaries, were the three elements upon which western culture and latterly the west’s freedoms evolved; namely consent, contract and choice. These are elements within the world’s DNA of which Britain can rightly be proud. Yet without the moderating influence of Christian morality these elements throw up horrors and perversity of a truly deplorable kind; family breakdown, pornography, abuse and exploitation, illegitimacy, idleness and greed. Without a moral framework contract, choice and consent create the seeds of the west’s slow destructive devolution and perversely make other “rule” as opposed to “conscience” based faiths seem more legitimate.
Just a thought at Easter.
08.04.15 What happens when rules replace morality?
If you look at what is happening in Britain and the rest of the western world something quite odd is going on. In earlier times we had to rely in strict rules and justification for our day to day behaviour. The reason as earlier posts have explained is the need to protect value…an essential component in any society which expects to survive. As we have matured, we became less reliant on “rules” imposed from outside of ourselves and accepted that some rules were just good in observance and seemed to come from within. This conferred legitimacy. This is morality coming from within us and not imposed from without us. The problem was that certain things like sexuality became subject to this moral code and were considered unacceptable; homosexuality for example. However, what has replaced morality is a set of rules that the state is required to enforce. This is expensive and lacks “buy in”. Are we really a society that respects all faiths and no faith groups or indeed people who choose a different lifestyle? Do we really support all who are none-the -less are value promoting and legitimate?
What has happened is that we have created a rule-based society-like we had in our distant past. The difference now is that these rule based modern societies or rather their governments are not protecting social and economic value by consuming a small proportion of that value to preserve the rest; they are creating debt based wealth to uphold their rules even though those rules are decent and well intentioned it costs a lot to uphold them. It was once said that history repeats itself; the first time as tragedy the second time as farce. That sort of explains where we are now re-establishing a rule-based society funded by borrowed money to preserve a society that creates no value. The rules may or may not be right but the cost of upholding them is unaffordable. They need to be come moral faith based rather than rule based to survive and preserve the west’s culture of contract choice and consent.
Unless people and particularly politicians understand these contradictions in how we rely on rules the values of the hard right or rule-based faiths start to look legitimate; hence Russia as the upholder of Christendom and ISIS et al the upholders of Islam. Wow – what a combination.
19.08.15 A message to the Jihadi “brides”
There has been much speculation about why you would have chosen to go to Syria and become the brides of the criminals fighting out there. It has been said that it was because the police didn’t stop you or somehow your education failed you. , I don’t want to go into any of that, no do I want to suggest you were “groomed” on the internet. No, I want to suggest to you that you went because you wanted to go; you saw, as I see, as a person of faith, that some activities are morally worthwhile. The view you have adopted will see the decadence of what you rather naively see as Christendom as an affront to Islam. If you agree with me so far you must accept that Western culture is, as I have said before, in its more deranged manifestations, an insult to Christianity and all other faiths too, not just Islam.
However, whilst the west parted company from Christianity decades ago the desire to slay the beast of Christendom continues. You I believe were drawn to what you will probably argue is this moral cause. However, a word of caution…you may be devout and Muslim but you are also western. Let me explain.
As a western woman you will have become used to being listened to and to use an irritating “right on phrase” having a voice. You expect this because you are educated and happy and alive. The opportunity to be like this comes from the western world’s belief that you have rights….not conferred by your husband or your religion but by your western culture. You have the right to choose; for example what to wear, who to marry, whether you want to have a sexual relationship………or whether you don’t, whether you want a job or children. In your new world this choice will be taken away. Your husband will decide all this for you and your “voice” will be drowned out in a hail of anger and violence. Your western culture affords you the right to consent, you may choose to marry but not consent to being beaten or being forced to wear a veil or have children or worse. In your new world the concept of consent does not really have any place. No one is consenting to anything. It is brute force and ignorance on an industrial scale. Finally, you can contract so that what you agree, you can expect, be it the mundane purchase of a washing machine or a service of any other sort for example health care. In your new world social contracts are a piece of decadent western nonsense so when something harmful happens, you will not be treated with kindness and get sensible recompense; you will be lucky if you are spared any time or humanity at all.
Finally, the criminals of ISIS will not like your views, views that you should expect to contract have choice and consent to things that affect you. These western values will in all probability be beaten out of you, so you become a Jihadi bride, uncontaminated and cleansed of western decadence and western rights.
But whilst I can see your strong faith as the motivation for joining Isis….. as I have suggested above frankly you are not what they want, you are too cleaver, sensible, sane and have the normal expectations of any western woman, that you live your life your way. The fact that in the west we abuse and debase our rights making short term stupid moral choices does not mean our rights are wrong, just that some of us are wrong, as you will no doubt be discovering from some ISIS controlled sand pit somewhere in Syria. Oh and the same applies to the boys as well.
26 April 15 The new seven deadly sins
Over the next seven weeks I am going to explore the concept of sin from the perspective of what I want to call the “new seven deadly sins”. The old “sins” remain problematic; gluttony, Ire, Greed etc but whereas in the past such behaviours would undoubtedly have caused harm to others in the longer term the harm is significantly less pronounced today and in many ways these old sins affect the perpetrator much more than the recipient. The new sins are in my view both more problematic and in the long term more harmful to the perpetrator, recipient and society at large, although as with everything faith related the real harm from modern moral decline does not in all cases impact immediately but slowly by stealth over time. I hope also that these new “sins” can form the basis for inter faith discussion as many of them both challenge and conform to faith based ideas of what is sinful, whilst placing these sins within the context of the twenty first century.
To start with I will simply list them in the order in which I consider their seriousness; staring with what I consider to be the most sinful of all behaviours. I will explore these sins in more details over the following weeks.
03.05.15 Deadly sin number 1: Cruelty
There is obvious cruelty such as that committed by ISIS et al however this as I have suggested previously more akin to serious and violent crime than a mere sinful act perpetrated on another individual or ones-self. So, what do I consider to be cruelty which falls short of a crime? That which does not include harming animals or being violent towards one another.
One of the problems people of genuine faith feel about the modern world is that there is too much emphasis on each of us getting our own way; having what we want; being stimulated for example by drink drugs or sex. Cruelty is what is carried out when someone realises, they may have made a mistake but not before they have allowed themselves to get into a situation that they subsequently discover they don’t like. The sort of cruelty I am referring to therefore is most often but not exclusively seen within families or other close nit groups. Cruelty has to have an element of viciousness or vindictiveness about it and the aim of the perpetrator is to cause hurt as a response to an error of judgement they may have made in getting into a situation they no longer value respect or like. Racism is cruelty; antisemitism is cruelty at the level of picking on some individual with hurtful words which fall short of being a crime; beyond that is clearly a crime. However thankfully aside from a small group of criminals; some self-identified as people of faith, this type of cruelty is comparatively rare.
The cruelty which I believe to be more common is the cruelty played out in homes all over the place. We rush into ill-considered relationships driven by our out of control sex drives urged on by a combination of the reproductive instinct and the stimulation of the drug and dream like effects of sexual activity itself. We don’t stop ourselves from this headlong rush to get “intimate” and indeed there are people who see little harm in widespread promiscuity. However the prevalence of promiscuity reflects two fundamental issues closely linked to cruelty; the extent to which people throw away something which should be special; their naked physical presence in the company of a partner whom they wish to love and cherish, and from whom they expect the same, and the lack of any really considered application of thought about whether the relationship has any long term value. By the time these decisions have been made there may be children and responsibility the boredom of a relationship with a partner with whom one has “intimacy” but whom one neither respects of loves. This is the environment within which cruelty breeds. It is manifest in a number of acts some easily understood such as adultery, all the way down to causing someone to worry (staying out later than agreed and not returning concerned calls), words of indifference “oh do what you want”, words of irritation “oh go away” to words designed to cause harm “you are stupid/ugly/useless”. These casual acts of cruelty harm the recipients emotionally and ultimately are a sign that someone has made a poor life choice but is unprepared to take responsibility for it. Cruelty causes depression and suicide drug and alcohol misuse. I think the proliferation of pornography is to meet the needs of men and women trapped into unsatisfactory relationships yet preoccupied with sex; and its use can be an act of cruelty itself. At the most extreme the toxic context of cruelty can provide the self-justification for domestic violence and child abuse particularly in “reconstituted households”. This is the reason that in the western world I consider cruelty to be the deadliest of the seven deadly sins. To avoid sinning we need to return to a way of life that requires us to consider our relationships carefully and avoid getting into situations where cruelty is the means of feeling better about ourselves in our self-inflicted dire situation. The West championed the three concepts of Consent, Choice and Contract as a means of protecting the individual, we need to observe them but use them wisely otherwise we will leave ourselves open to the claim that unfettered by “rules” we simply behave like animals.