Over the past few days I've posted a few pieces about reason vs emotions and why academic achievement should be celebrated rather than reviled. The majority of responses have been positive, which is heartening: not because I need people to agree with me, for I do not, but because I am glad that there are so many like-minded others out there who can see that which is rotting Britain's core; to be alone entirely in one's beliefs is to render one helpless. On the other hand, one unrelenting critic has steered the course of the debate into the murky waters of personal invective and has condemned me for sentiments I have not voiced and in which I do not believe. And this seems to be what passes for normality in Britain these days: people's feelings are too precious to be meddled with, or they are assaulted deliberately by those wholly and utterly unrelated to them in any way, who will then go on to ascribe beliefs and opinions to them that simply don't exist.
The atrocious lapse in etiquette notwithstanding, what does it say about our culture that we presume to 'know' another without having met them? And to pass judgment upon them forthwith? Is such an approach to human relationships the result of socialist class-levelling, in which because people are similar in some aspects they are deemed the same in all aspects? Or is it something deeper: that our world has become so formidably style-over-content behaviourally-deterministic one-size-fits-all that many do not (or cannot) perceive any inherent differences between their fellow men and women and feel equipped to judge them on an Everyman (or, indeed to condemn them on an 'Other') basis?
We hear a lot of tripe these days about how we can curb binge drinking through ever more draconian state measures. Rather than looking at the causes of it, the government feels that it can deal with the effects. But perhaps the reason that both these phenomena has spiralled out of control is that the world has become too big, too militaristic, too frightening and our politicians too distant. In the absence of community and self-determination, people either seek to escape their misery at the lack of any hope for a meaningful future by annihilating themselves through alcohol. What else do they have to look forward to? Too, in the absence of theological ritual, the Friday night piss-up has become an event invested almost with sanctity; something in which the many can participate with the same intent. Knife crime and gang culture is also being 'targeted' by various state bodies. If they stopped to realise for one moment that many young people are entirely alienated from society through a spiralling culture of suspicion, breakdown in communication, authority, family relationships and the knowledge that whatever they say simply won't matter to the government, they would realise that gangs are in basic anthropological terms like families. A hierarchy is established through struggle; each member finds his or her allotted place following a process of initiation.
And perhaps those shunning that dirty old 'real' world in favour of the internet are working off those selfsame evolutionary impulses in forging a new society in which dominance is attained by those who shout the loudest and longest, since physical combat is impossible. One thing in both worlds remains unchanged, however: falsely ascribing ideas and beliefs to others in order to castigate them is universally unacceptable. A lie is a lie is a lie.