Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I never thought that this would happen

The Longrider discusses the Hitler image that No2ID have come up with.
We, the aware; the refusniks; have been discussing it ad nauseum for the past five years, but for the general public it’s been little more than a tiny radar blip on the evening news. For us, it’s anxiously watching the outcome of a crucial vote; for them, it’s what’s happening on East Enders or Corrie. They don’t know and they don’t care. They are blissfully unaware of those freedoms they have already lost, because they didn’t exercise them in the first place.

These people will sincerely believe that identity cards will do something about terrorism, or illegal immigration – all because they haven’t expended any energy thinking it through. So, all power to NO2ID for raising awareness. I’m just not convinced that the imagery is the right one to use.

The constant assault on my faith in the principle of libertarianism is the stupity and ignorance of the majority of the people amongst whom we are forced to live. This is why anyone who says, "I don't do politics" earns my unalloyed contempt and opprobrium.

Alright, fine, you don't do politics but your refusal to engage affects my life. And it affects yours too: that you are too pig-ignorant and apathetic to acknowledge this is simply another reason why people make me fucking despair.
or those who are not aware of the curtailment of liberty that has already happened and lack the imagination or historical knowledge to realise the implications, this will smack of scaremongering, with the resultant dismissal of the message as mere histrionics from a small, insignificant pressure group. Tell ’em how much it’s going to hit them in the wallet, and I guarantee that you’ll have their undivided attention. That, I’m afraid, is the sum of it.

This is, of course, entirely true.

That Daily Mail article linked to above has engendered a new experience in me though.
Labour's Lord Janner, a leading Jewish parliamentarian, said the advert was "monstrous".

He said: "Hitler was a mass murderer and to make any comparison between him and Tony Blair is stupid and unacceptable."

Yes, that's right: I've never actually looked forward to a statement by the Stop The War loonies before...


Mr Eugenides said...

I am, in general, very wary of people who compare others to Hitler. At university, when I used to debate, this argument was the mark of a charlatan, and to compare someone to Hitler was generally to lose the argument.

And yet, and yet. The point about ID cards and the Nazis, though a stretch, is an apposite one; it is about freedom, liberal democracy, and the kind of society we want to live in. As I've said elsewhere in the past, we throw around terms like "fascist" far too easily, but if you cannot discuss a scheme of compulsory identification cards without reference to fascism, what comparison can you make? What is the point in studying history if you cannot then refer to it?

Devil's Kitchen said...

Yeah, and there is another point here: fascism was made possible by the collusion and -- in many cases, and no matter how much they may have denied it, willing participation -- of the ordinary people in the Nazi project. The same applies to the general British population over ID Cards, the Abolition of Parliament Bill, etc. It is not enough to say that you were ignorant: to do so is to abdicate all responsibility for your life and make yourself less than human and certainly less than deserving of liberty.


Tim Newman said...

This is why anyone who says, "I don't do politics" earns my unalloyed contempt and opprobrium.

I see your point, but there is a group I hold in contempt even more than this.

It is those who profess to hold no interest in politics but don't refrain from sounding off on politcal matters. This usually manifests itself in somebody coming out with a politcally-charged comment, being challenged, and then not being willing to debate the point they attempted to make.

Oh, how many times have I witnessed this! Someone announcing at a dinner party that "Israel isn't interested in peace", and when I ask them to explain what they thought Ehud Barak was trying to do at Camp David if not making peace, they profess they have no idea what Camp David was, no idea who Ehud Barak is, and in fact know fuckall about the subject beyond what they heard from some rentagob on BBC. Which is bad enough, but what drives me insane when I press home the point about Camp David, everybody starts telling me not to start discussing politics at a party! Well, excuse fucking me! Who brought politics into the discussion by announcing a deeply flawed political view? Not me!

It's like walking over to your neighbour who has bought himself a new Beamer and announcing that BMW are shite, then telling him you didn't want a discussion on cars when he asks you to explain yourself. Sadly, this seems to be the level on which most politics is discussed in the UK at present. And I fucking hate it. Compared to this lot, I'd rather people announced they didn't care about politics at all, shut the fuck up, and went back to watching Eastenders.

Anonymous said...

I notice, following the discussion on Samizdata, that Guy Herbert feels that the campaign is failing on two counts - one; it is preaching to the converted and two; worryingly; the satire flew over the heads of the target audience.


The Remittance Man said...

Yes, people who are unwilling to engage in politics are idiots; but, while they are partly to blame, I'd also like to point the finger at the establishment as well.

How many English people under 40 could tell you about the significance of Magna Carta? The Peasants' Revolt? The Glorious Revolution? The Civil War? de Montfort's rebellion? Or any of the other momentous events in English history that secured our rights and privileges? Maybe one in a thousand. If we're lucky.

Thanks to the left's assault on history teaching the vast bulk of the population are simply unaware of the things that shaped our nation and gave us what we have today. And in that condition they are simply unable to put up any sort of fight against any illiberal measure proposed by the state.

It probably explains why "fascist" and "hitler" insults are so common - it's the only bit of British history that seems to be taught anymore.

Anonymous said...

You are, of course, absolutely correct. I wish it wasn't so.

As well as a lack of understanding of the political climate today, discussion of history finds that I am alone in even knowing of these events, let alone understanding their significance.

But, then, I'm a bit geeky when it comes to history and politics.

Anonymous said...

Labour's Lord Janner... said the advert was "monstrous".

He said: "Hitler was a mass murderer and to make any comparison between him and Tony Blair is stupid and unacceptable."

But Tony Blair is a mass murderer! I didn't watch his speech yesterday as that would have involved buying a new TV today, but from what I hear on the blogosphere it was truly a rally from a fuhrer.

Mr Eugenides said...

Remittance Man,

I'd be fascinated to discover, in particular, what percentage of students at De Montfort "University" could tell you who he was...

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