3 Apr
Most people use their blogs for opinionated political rants. I have thus far refrained. But sometimes you’ve just got to.
I discovered the other day that the Labour party intends to increase its glorious promotion of Tolerance by banning schoolteachers from telling children that something is Right or Wrong. Of course, one could see how terribly damaging to a young mind it could be to be stopped in its full creative flow by some old fuddy duddy intolerantly telling them that what they were doing was wrong. That child being stifled in the act of cutting off their classmate’s ear with a pair of scissors could end up emotionally damaged forever.
Okay, so they probably don’t mean it in terms of discipline in school. But what they are saying, intrinsically, is that we should do away with all this stifling old-fashioned nonsense about Morals. Instead of being taught at school how to disginguish between right and wrong, children are to be encouraged to "develop secure values and beliefs". As far as I can see, this is saying "we should be encouraging children to pursue what feels ‘right for them’, helping them to be ‘true to themselves’, not dictating to them what they can and can’t do." Who believes in an objective right and wrong nowadays anyway?
Well, I do.
And so does everyone, if they’re honest. If you didn’t you would have no problem with murderers, rapists, terrorists or torturers. If those things aren’t objectively "wrong", then why are you complaining about them? Perhaps that young killer had developed at school a "value" that whatever made him happy and felt "good for him" was all right, and was what he should pursue. He had a "belief" that what he did, since it made him happy, was Right, and that no-one had the right to intolerantly tell him he was doing wrong.
I just can’t understand how this can be a reponse to Blair’s apparent determination to do something about our rising teenage knifings and gun crime. The government is just papering over the cracks. More children are stabbing each other. Solution: frisk all children as they come into school. More gang shootings are taking place in London. Solution: make it harder for people to buy guns. More young teenagers are getting pregnant. Solution: give them free contraception. Oh come on! That is why I’m so annoyed about this right and wrong thing. Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that none of these measures even remotely tackles the problem. You can frisk a child when they come into school, but what’s to stop them taking a knife from the kitchen drawer at home and stabbing their little brother? Well, what is to stop them? What is it that stops the vast majority of ten year-olds from doing this? I know I’m simplifying the issue but a large part of it is that they know that to hurt someone in this way is terribly, terribly Wrong. Consciences are easily gagged and twisted. So when there are no parents to tell them this, no teachers who can tell them this, and just the TV and the peer pressure of other disturbed kids to bring them up, it’s not so surprising.
I’ve just been reading the start of Proverbs, and the introduction it gives is just the complete opposite of this notion that we shouldn’t tell children what to believe but leave it to themselves to work out that knifing people is bad…
"Proverbs… for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the YOUNG…. Listen, my son to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.." It has the air of "listen kids, people are going to try and tempt you to do all sorts of stupid things in this world, but here is what is right and wrong – be wise and stick to it like glue".
I could rant about this forever and express myself no more clearly. Better to pray than rant. Or both. But while I’m here I would also like to rant about:
Bus shelter seats designed so that in the middle of the night, when there are no buses running and nobody around, a homeless person cannot sleep on them without falling off. For the sake of the street looking "respectable" in the small hours, someone is deprived of the chance of avoiding getting piles or hypothermia by sleeping on the cold, hard pavement in the rain.
The sickly, meaningless desire for "tolerance" which peversely makes you "intolerant" of anyone saying anything that might be construed as "intolerant" of somebody else’s beliefs, even if that "intolerant" statement is a core aspect of their beliefs. Straight away you are as "intolerant" as they are. Which basically should leave politicians happy with people who are too apathetic to have any opinion about anything, but angry at people who say there’s no God (so everyone who believes otherwise is wrong – how intolerant), or people who believe that their God is the only God (so again, everyone who believes otherwise is wrong – how intolerant). People who are too apathetic to care are seen as wonderfully "tolerant" of everybody, except that underneath they are quite intolerant of anyone who does care about this whole discussion. Please give it up, Britain. In a totally post-modern society where no-one believes anything is true and therefore nothing matters, you would have complete apathetic, ignorant bliss. But if anybody at all believes in objective truth, that approach can just never work. And they do. If you ask around, most people do. And in objective right and wrong. And I pray those people cling on to their sanity.
… goes to make a cup of tea…
P.S. Please note this is a selective rant, and that really, perhaps even more than knowing right from wrong, children (and adults) need to know they are absolutely unconditionally loved. "Perfect love drives out fear", and fear is another huge motivator in probably everything bad that goes on in human society. But I’m out of ranting energy for now.

One Response to “R.A.N.T.”

  1. James Muscat 03/04/2007 at 10:23 pm #

    /me applaudsWell said, every last word.

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