Apathy and the small world

I did a light hearted post a week or so ago about a tongue in cheek article about holiday things that should be banned. I thought at the time, that it wasn't such a good idea to openly suggest things that should be banned. No matter how satirical the article, there will always be people out there that sincerely do want your topic of discussion to be banned

Read any local newspaper and on a daily basis, there are articles about some interfering busybody who wants a thing or activity banned, or wants more legislation, because 'something must be done', or 'If it saves just one life'.

Unfortunately we now live in a society where these people very often get their own way.

One reason is the Government. They've clearly run out of serious issues to tackle. The Western world has moved beyond the need to defend it's particular piece of dirt from aggressors, has tackled most of the serious epidemic diseases, has eradicated poverty and no longer has children being sent up chimneys

So what are they good for? They need to constantly be 'Seen to be doing something'. They create problems for solutions, and to do this, they have the help of reason number two. The people

People are bored. People in the Western world no longer spend their lives in fields, cover from head to toe in shit and no longer send their kid up chimneys. People work a short average week for a mediocre wage packet and then get pissed at the weekend.

People need distractions. For some it's football, for others it's campaigning. People love the feeling of getting their pictures in the papers and getting a large number of other people to agree with their opinions

(People love to be agreed with. See Facebook 'likes' for further information)

So for the few of us who value our liberty and like to be left alone, we're fighting a constant battle against the bored (Righteous Zombies) who spend every waking moment trying to change our lives because they don't like the way we live them and have picked up a crusade to while away the boredom

The zombies demand the bans and the laws and most of the rest of the population turn a blind eye, either because they don't care (first they came for the smokers, but I don't smoke...), or because they actually agree with the wibble of the day

My experience leads me to believe that those who don't care and those who collude all come from the same camp. The masses tend to be deeply rooted in apathy. If and when those roots grow into something more, they grow into righteousness and interference.

This, I think, comes from a general laziness of thought and lack of understanding.
If you ask any person what their beliefs are on a particular subject, they will always give you an opinion. They will never say, I don't know, I've never thought about it. But the truth is, they have never thought about it.

When they offer an opinion they are just trotting something out that they have picked up from some shelf. Off the shelf opinions run through the very veins of society. Weather you vote Red, Blue or Yellow because your parents did, or weather you call yourself a Marxist or Muslim, you are expressing an opinion or belief that was created by someone else for your consumption and regurgitation.

It's the easy way for someone to express an opinion; to say something about themselves without going to the trouble of actually thinking about it. All these off the shelf opinions can easily be picked apart by someone who has given time to think seriously about the issue in question.

A good example is the "murder" debate.

What is your opinion on murder?
Its wrong and we shouldn't do it.
What, never?
No. All human life is sacred and should be protected
What if you could have murdered Hitler/Stalin when he was a teenager?
Erm...Erm

To have a real opinion / moral stance on a subject, it takes time and thought.

Empathy for your fellow human is another favourite of mine. People think they should feel sorry for those worse off than them. That's how appeals work. Thousands are starving in Africa. Please feel sorry for these people, and give generously.

I have thought long and hard about disasters in far reaching countries and you know what my conclusion is? I don't care. That's right. I don't care. I don't and never will know these people. They don't know me and they don't care about me. Countless people die horrible deaths every day all over the world. If you spoke as fast as possible, you would never even be able to list their first names in your whole lifetime. That's why I don't care. The only suffering and dying people you hear about are those that the media decides to tell us about. I will not be told by the media, what I should care about. I care about my family and friends.

Anyway, I digress. The media is another story.
People don't think about their opinions, they take them off the shelf. That's how an appeal for "something to be done about XXXX" can be so successful. The person who begins the appeal is offering a new off the shelf opinion to whoever would choose to take it.

And why would they choose to take it? What is in it for them?

Go to a pub at nine o'clock on a Saturday night and have a look around. What do you see. Someone singing on the Karaoke, some people clapping for them, etc. Its pretty much what you see is what you get. There is no depth to these people. You can easily judge them on a glance. None of them have any ambitions or any real achievable dreams. They probably dream of winning the lottery and know what they would spend the money on, but they have no real tangible dreams. They drift through their lives, never in control, never making any proper decisions. They leave school, do something at college, get a job or go on the dole, have a few kids and get pissed at weekend.
They care more for Jeremy Kyle and Big Brother than they do for real political and social issues that affect their lives.

They have no power. They have no power over their own lives and no influence over the lives of others. And that's what they are looking for. They are always chasing this illusory feeling of power. That's where they fall down. There are two types of personal power. The illusory type and the real type. Illusory power is very easy to get. Its usually created by someone else and handed to you if you want it. It gives you a feeling of comfort and safety. It doesn't require effort on your part but because it is only illusory it can't change your life.

If you are frightened of dying you may choose to become a Christian. This may remove your fear but you will still die and there will be no afterlife.
If you feel sad at the loss of a loved one you may campaign to stop whatever happened to them being repeated. It won't bring them back and your meddling will probably create more harm in the long run.
If you are poor, you may become a socialist. You will no longer feel guilt at your lack of success as you will have passed the blame onto the successful. Still, you will never be well off yourself.

Real power is very hard to get. This comes from within. You have to create it yourself as it cannot be created by others. It is not comfortable and is sometimes quite scary. However, once you get it, it can radically change your life for the better.
If you are scared of dying, you don't turn to religion, you strive to make the most of the short life that you have.
If you are sad at the loss of a loved one, you don't transfer your sadness to others by meddling, you face it head on and start to deal with it.
If you are poor, you take steps to improve your life. You work harder and spend less. You educate yourself.

This search for illusory power leads people to buy ever bigger tellys and sofas. To take out more and more credit. And to join pressure groups. That's where the biggest feeling of power lies. The power to control others. The power to ban things you don't agree with or that you don't like others doing. The power to make others believe you are a good person, selflessly acting for a good cause. Altruistically helping your fellow man.

Those of us who have seriously thought through our moral position and our beliefs would never consider joining a pressure group and calling for bans and restrictions.

We can see the bigger picture of our actions. We can see the problems that arise from forcing people to wear helmets on bikes, or to smoke outside, or to give up their guns etc etc ad infinitum.

The majority don't have a bigger picture, they have a little world.

So apathy breeds the righteous and interfering of our society, and there are many more of them than there are of us. It is so much easier to pick an off the shelf opinion. It so much easier to blame others for your own failings and to get your feeling of power by interfering in the lives of others rather than improving your own lot.

The libertarians among us have taken the necessary steps to pull ourselves out of this apathy, avoid the easy route and take real action to empower our lives.

That's the hard way. That's why so few do it. That's why the battle against state intrusion is being lost.

4 Comments:

Barman said...

Bucko said...

Barman said...

Bucko said...