Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Cynicism

Whenever people refer to George Orwell’s 1984 they are generally making reference to Orwell’s depiction of a surveillance-based, police state. Big Brother and all that.

A much more neglected theme of the novel is the suggestion that the supposedly opposing regimes in Orwell’s world are ideologically indistinguishable and not really enemies. They are engaged in a perpetual, unwinnable war whose only purpose use up human labour and the fruits of human labour so that each superstate's economy cannot support a decent standard of living for every citizen.

According to 1984, it is perfectly possible that the entire world is controlled by a single entity.

Orwell was a pretty smart cookie.

And if you buy into Orwell’s implication that our world works like that, one of your conclusions will be that all major political parties, all the supposed differences between them, all the supposed political debate that they engage in, is bullshit, staged to bamboozle the masses and keep them out of the loop.

Hmmm

And, surprisingly or not, when you start to scratch at the issues of our times and the parameters imposed on their debate it’s quite easy to reach the conclusion that the bulk of us are having their collective chain yanked.

I saw this poster in the Carphone Warehouse yesterday

I must confess to having a big problem with the coverage of the AIDS issue…

I live in area with the highest incidence of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe and the UK in general is suffering from record rates of sexually transmitted diseases, so it would be reasonable to conclude condom use is not all that it should be.

So why isn’t the country swimming in AIDS?

Our case numbers are up, sure enough, as certain pressure groups like to remind us, but only if you include recent migrants who arrived with AIDS.

If you read around a little you discover that there is some serious dispute about the very nature of HIV/ AIDS and its transmission mechanism. And if you start to consider possible reasons why debate may have been stifled you start coming up with some pretty unsavoury answers concerning the AIDS lobby and the drugs companies.

So, Stef looks at the poster from the Carphone Warehouse and thinks it sucks arse because

  • he instinctively reacts to the unholy alliance of multinational corporations, consumerism and worthy causes and the mindset of people who could conceive of and buy into crap like that
  • he is genuinely worried that the entire approach to the treatment of AIDS may be a colossal con

But then, of course, a less cynical person could come along and say ‘Well, it’s better than nothing. What are you doing to change the world?

Well, actually, if something like St Bono’s ‘Red’ campaign is merely offering a band aid to patch up white middle class western guilt about the third world, provide a veneer of social conscience to large companies and use its funds to enrich drugs companies then it is worse than nothing. Much worse

Ditto for Live 8

In case it’s escaped anyone’s attention much of the additional debt reflief that was promised is linked to ‘economic reforms’ in the recipient countries. The kind of economic reforms that kill labour rights and turn over local utilities, infrastructure and natural resources to those lovely, caring multinationals.

And, yes, I did laugh when I discovered that the Make Poverty History bracelets were made in a sweatshop that failed to meet even China’s skimpy workers’ rights legislation.

I laughed because it exposed the Lie and all the ‘Well, it’s better nothing’s in the world couldn’t hide that

The climate change lobby?

Currently engaged in drumming into the people that they, not companies, are to blame and that the only solutions to the problem lie in implementation of ‘global’ solutions i.e. global government.

Yes, very accountable. Power to the people and all that.

And, of course, we're going to have to pay those big companies a lot more for a lot less in future. Ever-larger corporate profits are a proven cure for global warming don't you know.

And, curiously, no mention whatsover that climate change is inevitable whatever we do.

The adoption of the Euro by the UK?

A little less global than my previous examples but I just adored the way the two opposing points of view was phrased in terms of ‘cool, young inclusive’ people wanting the Euro and ‘reactionary old farts’ not wanting the Euro.

Of course, the fact that implementation of the Euro would make movement of capital much easier, further enabling companies to hold workers over a barrel with the threat of closing their workplaces down, barely figured in the ‘debate’.

And so on, and so on

Not only is the debate over key issues phrased in terms that frustrate objective consideration, opinions relating to key issues are also conveniently packaged into mutually exclusive ‘Right Wing’ and ‘Left Wing’ mindsets.

So, if you’re Left Wing in this country you read the Guardian newspaper. You read the Guardian rather than anything else because you don’t want to be exposed to anything that challenges your worldview. And you rely on the Guardian and its supposedly Left Wing opinion-forming journalists on their six figure salaries to tell you what your position is on the issues of the day. You rely on them because you are either too busy to think for yourself or you simply cannot be arsed.

The same applies to Right-thinking people; though Right Wingers have little more choice as they can select from a number of newspapers ranging from conservative with a small ‘c’ to the downright demented.

And there we have it; the entire spectrum of human personalities essentially packaged into one of two or three opposing teams all participating in a rigged game.

You’ve got maybe 1% of people running our world and they do a pretty respectable job of splitting the other 99% into two or three parts and setting them at each other’s throats, fighting over crumbs.

It’s so elegant a solution it’s almost beautiful.

Orwell would have fucking loved it

10 comments:

Daniel said...

I didn't know about the Make Poverty History bands being made in sweatshops. Absolutely pathetic and so ironic it isn't funny.

de said...

Stef, You are the blog runneth over.

Anonymous said...

This posted

"Why don't you approach the Russian embassy and ask them if they would be prepared to fund and host a full public inquiry on behalf of the victims of the bombing?

The UK gov would most probably want to reconsider whether or not they should hold one."

here http://bridgetdunnes.blogspot.com/

Do you think anything will come of it or should we throw the 7/7 truth movement into the cynicism bin?

Stef said...

Re. cynicism bins and 7/7

Well, that was an inspired comment about the Russian embassy wasn't it?

I despair sometimes...

Wolfie said...

Good linkage going on there...

Your posts just get better all the time and I can tell you that as a fellow cynic.

After the Asian Tsunami my wife was determined to make a donation in spite of my lengthy rant about corrupt governments and greedy international banks. Months later when reports started to surface about most of the money still sloshing about in American bank accounts, rotten food deliveries, corruption etc she was so shocked that she swore that she would always listen to me and do what I told her from now on.

I must get around to writing a thank you letter to the Indonesian embassy some time...

Anonymous said...

So, someone posts on Bridget Dun's blog the suggestion of approaching the Russian embassy and asking them if they would be prepared to fund a public inquiry on behalf of the victims of the bombing.

What's wrong with that?

Stef said...

re. the comment on Bridget's blog

My take is that this is some mutated version of the classic taxi driver's riposte

'If you don't like here why don't you fuck off to Moscow you commie bastard'

Obviously, things have moved on a little and a 21st cabbie would now say

'If you don't like it here why don't you fuck off to Tehran'

Of course, the comment may have an entirely different intended meaning. If so it's whooshed right over my particular head. I think Bridget may be equally bemused

Stef said...

and if the Russian suggestion was serious I'd suggest that a positive uptake would be highly unlikely. Given that the Russians have plenty of their own poorly investigated suspicious explosions that initiated their own War on Terror long before 7/7 or even 9/11

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/448993.stm

Anonymous said...

"the classic taxi driver's riposte"

My taxi driver told me that - in theory - competing independent sovereign states are good for the citizens (subjects) of these states (in some circumstances) 'cos the states will always try and out do each other. For instance, by undermining the efforts of one another's security services etc.

Point taken wrt the Russian bombings but don't forget that the UK harbours Berezovsky. I doubt this goes down very well in either Moscow or Beslan. (Note that the Interpol arrest warrant has recently been re-issued and duly ignored by which ever Home Secratary - ah, the spook - is sitting at the moment).

The corollary of my taxi driver's argument is that 'competing indepent sovereign states' are just a fiction.

Stef said...

Berezovsky ... hmmm, now there's a very nice man.

It was awfully considerate of the UK government to grant asylum to a man wanted in Russia for murder

Very considerate...