Hello Internet. Is there anyone out there?
There’s a very good chance that the answer to that question is “no.” Why does the internet need another blogger? The simple answer is that it doesn’t. However, I have started this blog mostly so I can develop my thoughts and ideas about current events, world politics and anything else that takes my fancy. If anyone wants to join me in a discussion, feel free.
There are three main reasons for starting a blog at this time. The first is my concern about the general coarsening of debate in the second decade of the twenty-first century. Too many people are too convinced that they know all the answers. Too many issues are black-and-white, good-versus-evil. If you don’t agree with me you are not just wrong or mistaken, you are evil and you deserve to be punished for your errors. Opponents are “phobes” and suffer from “isms” or, if you prefer, they are “snowflakes” or “traitors.” This blog will be firmly in the grey. Like Manuel, I know nothing. Or was that Socrates?
My second concern is the seeming triumph of emotion over fact. If I really feel something to be true then it must be true and no amount of your pesky facts will change the way I feel. This is closely linked to the ongoing rise of identity politics; my opinions are part of who I am and by disagreeing with those opinions you are attacking me on a personal level. No, sorry, but that just wont do. I will try to be unemotional and factual in my opinions and I will change my mind if I am shown to be wrong. No doubt I will fail in this.
My third and biggest concern and the one that finally caused me to begin this blog is the return and seemingly unstoppable advance of aggressive, authoritarian religion. Growing up in the 1970s/80s, religion was a minor feature of life in the UK. We sang the odd hymn at school and I remember a kid whose parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses who had to leave assembly during the prayer. My father made us go to Mass on a Sunday morning but since he didn’t really believe in the basic tenets of Christianity, the other 167 hours of the week were a god-free zone. There was a Rev. Green character in Cluedo and a bumbling Church of England vicar (usually played by Derek Nimmo) was a stock television character. And that’s about it. These days though? Aggressive, scary, far right religionists demand RESPECT for their beliefs. Well, they wont find it here.
Signing off for now. Check out this clip from The Simpsons which sums up everything I dislike about modern politics and the media.