Taming the Beast (3)

The Road Ahead

Banksy

Banksy

It must start with a clear head, and a very honest appraisal of the task ahead.  Those who wish to fight for human progress must recognise that every cause cannot be fought in the first instance. As stated previously, the number of charities is an indication of the scale of the task. Therefore the starting point is the first rung.

Banksy

Banksy

To make demands which prove unrealistic is to give the opposition a propaganda boost. Ordinary people are often treated like muck but they do think and have a greater understanding than many give them credit for. They too will recognise what is achievable and what is fanciable. It will be a hard lesson for many on the ‘left’ to learn, such is their commitment to their cause.

Finding a unity of purpose and an agenda that can bridge the meandering streams of thought will prove incredibly difficult. Without a unity of purpose all causes will flounder. It can be agreed that each group can continue to support their cause but their first allegiance must be to the general good.

To this end a ten (10) point plan, should be drawn up and promoted by all. My personal agenda would include:

  • No business to be allowed to give financial support to any political party.
  • Politicians should have one job. None outside their political duties.
  • No lobbying!
  • A Clean Air Act.

I think these suggestions would be fine and resonate with the wider public under a campaign banner of greater democracy. Of course I could be wrong.

Democracy might not be everyone’s idea of a platform for achieving human progress. However, there is no alternative and democracy is more powerful than many think. There is little point in hankering after a mystic goal that will not take the people with you. Work with the people. Don’t demand they follow you!

In compiling an agenda there will be much argument. I can almost hear the furious ruckus as individuals and groups clamber over one another for a seat at the top table. The noise is over ridden by the screech of others demanding their key points be included in the plan.

‘Top table’ it creates a problem. It really needs people who are self-assured and with nothing to prove. If one has a separate agenda then the mind is out of focus.

Above the melee, a blunderbuss of laughter is heard from the 1%. They are unafraid of such a throng as this; the tartar army.thRMW0GF2G

Getting agreement may seem like an impossible task. Nonetheless, where there is intellect there is hope. The challenge is not to see the cause as a belief system but rather as a means to an end. Above all it should embrace the peoples will not that of any organisation.

The possibility exists that the compromisers will endeavour to include a plank of everyone’s policy stance. This is the weak link and will prove to be the death knell of any attempt at unity and progress.

Handy Hints

On reading Charles Handy, The Empty Raincoat I was heartened by his change in outlook. He talks about his American business school in the 1960s where in every room the blazon charge, “maximize the medium-term earnings per share”. (p135)  That was the focus that every tutor instilled in their students. Many years later his outlook was adapted to a greater understanding and purpose:

“My business school in America was wrong, I am now convinced. The principal purpose of a company is not to make profit, full stop. It is to make profit in order to do things and make things, and to do so ever better and more abundantly”. (p136)

This is not just a change of heart by Handy but a clear shift in understanding. It is recognition that the world is more than a selfish consumer or a buccaneer entrepreneur. Such a change in stance should act as precursor for the left in politics. Never examining a belief or cause is to diminish your understanding and thereby the view of the future. It holds all other views in contempt. The greater good is the one area that permits all of us to attain personal development.

The world cannot grow until men learn how to.

Nationalism: A Child’s Philosophy?

nationalism_cartoon[1]“Nationalism is an infantile disease…It is the measles of mankind”. Einstein

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism

 

Measles: find out the latest at: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Measles/treatment.aspx

Was Einstein’s view blurred by the atrocities of the Nazis on the Jews and others? He lived in a period of great barbarity that utilized nationalism to forward its cause. Hitler’s ally Mussolini did likewise. Several leaders past and present have played a similar game. Is it just a tool used by leaders to mobilize their people to march, not knowing to where or what?

Some will say it’s the love of their country. But they don’t love a country and, there are people in the country they don’t know and others they don’t like. The neighbour for one! It’s pride but where does the pride emanate from? Is it natural or instilled? The answer is obviously instilled and that means we have been manipulated into a belief that we may not have otherwise endorsed.

“Contrary to popular and even scholarly belief, nationalism does not have any deep roots in the human psyche”. Ernest Gellner

www.newlearningonline.com/literacies/chapter-1/gellner-on-the-logic-of-nationalism

Nationalism for many writers was akin to the slogan ‘workers of the world unite’, long before Marx coined the phrase. It was driven by the desire to free the masses from their servitude. The breaking down of feudalism and the growing knowledge that there was life beyond the village prompted the growth of nationalism.

There seems to be a consensus, a ‘modernist’ view that the emphasis was based on the rights of the individual and, “the human community as above all national divisions”. www.britannica.com/topic/nationalism

Exemplified by the French nationalism as expressed through, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, that such expression was a proclamation for all people not one distinct group. Hence Britannica.com can state, “Nationalism is a modern movement”.

Change was the spring as society moved from the ‘mechanical solidarity’ to the ‘organic solidarity’ as Emile Durkheim has expressed it. It was a move away from a feudal society to a capitalist system of production. In its early gabardine it looked to the wider community and not an ethnic one.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism

Philosopher, A.C. Grayling describes nations as ‘artificial constructs’, “their boundaries drawn in the blood of past wars”. Note the powerful point made in britannica.com “The nation state was non-existent during the greater part of history”. 

Furthermore Grayling reminds us that, “…there is no country on earth which is not home to more than one different but usually coexisting culture”.

It is obvious that Grayling has no love of nationalism as he says it’s ‘inherently divisive’, ‘potentially oppressive’, and allows manipulation and thus control of the masses.

This view gains support elsewhere, “…but the very nature of nationalism requires that boundaries are drawn”. www.legacy.fordham.edu

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Max Weber the eminent sociologist points out that ‘powerful charismatic’ leaders used nationalism to establish their power. Wikipedia.org. This movement of nationalism has brought us an understanding of the term that we all recognise from 20century history books and the kind that Grayling wants to berate.

Another great writer and thinker, George Orwell lambasts

Lead on!

Lead on!

the whole concept of nationalism. He states that those involved are “…power-hungry tempered by self-deception”. Wikipedia.org

His vociferous attack suggests that nationalism is akin to classifying people like insects. That it becomes an obsession that folks will defend even if proven wrong. Blind adherence?

Similar to the other great writers he denounces it as a ‘desire for power’. Moreover, Orwell retains some bile for Celtic nationalism which he portrays as having a ‘strong tinge of racialism’. www.orwell.ru

The problem with nationalism in our everyday understanding of its meaning is the mix of jingoism and propaganda. In the build up to war we are fed a daily diet of jingoism and propaganda as the media become xenophobic.

However, true nationalism can be found side-by-side with propaganda. In the work of the poet Rupert Brooke:

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever England.

Contrast that with the later work of Hugh MacDiarmid:

Auld Moses took

A dry stick and

Instantly it

Floo’ered in his hand. (Flowered)

Pu’ Scotland up,

And wha can say

It winna bud

And blossom tae.

From: A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle. (Is there a clue in the title?)

These works give credibility to nationalism as they come from seemingly intellectual sources. Therefore nationalism does not differentiate on the bases of mental ability. It’s political!

The world cannot grow until men learn how to!