Yesterday brought the death of the blogger Anna Raccoon. It was not unexpected. She’d been suffering from cancer for some time.
I mentioned her here a few days ago after Dick Puddlecote had reported she was being forbidden even from vaping in the hospice in which she was now confined. Apparently she just went ahead and did it anyway. And now she has completely escaped these nasty, bullying, controlling people forever.
It’s one reason why I’ve become disenchanted with the NHS. Because it’s state-funded rather than private, it means that NHS patients aren’t customers, and they can’t take their custom elsewhere when they’re mistreated, so abuses like the maltreatment of smokers (and now vapers) pass unchecked. What’s to stop them next banning flowers, chocolates, books written by men with names beginning with the letter O, and anything else they don’t like? Answer: nothing.
Two things that I noticed Anna Raccoon got involved with, were firstly the online appeal for £10,000 to free pub landlord Nick Hogan after he permitted smoking in his pub. They raised the money inside about a week or two.
The other thing she got involved with was the strange case of Jimmy Savile, a celebrity DJ, who within months of his death was being denounced as a serial paedophile, and his reputation left in tatters. At the height of the witch hunt, Savile was accused of preying on young girls in an orphanage in the 1960s. But Anna Raccoon had been one of those young girls, and she declared that he had never been there, because she would have known if he had. Despite that intervention, Savile’s reputation now lies in ruins, along with a number of other DJs, who also got caught up in the ugly widening witch hunt.
I hope somebody will write her obituary. She seems to have lived a remarkable life.
The other thing yesterday was a comment from Joe L:
OT: A Missouri state senator, Maria Chappelle-Nadal called for the assassination of President Trump on her Facebook page today. She posted, “I hope Trump is assassinated!”
Even after being called on to resign by a number of her fellow Democrats, she has refused, issuing this statement (emphasis mine):
“There is no way in hell that I’m resigning,” she said. “There are legislators who have cheated on their wives, they have smoked in the Legislature, in the state Capitol. If they have not been asked to resign for those acts, which I do believe that cheating on your wife or your spouse is immoral, I am not resigning for a mistake that I made and that I’m owning up to.”
That’s right, she admits that calling for the assassination of the POTUS was immoral … and then compares it to cheating on one’s wife or smoking in the state Capitol building.
How do these people judge whether something is immoral or not? I increasingly think that they have no morality at all. Or that – as I was suggesting a couple of days ago – their Political Correctness was the consensus opinion that had emerged from a coalition of separate subcultures. It was the average of what everyone – or everyone who counted – thought. And perhaps not even the mathematical average, but the weighted average with greater weight given to the loudest voices.
This might go some way towards explaining why things like transgender bathrooms and gay marriage (way off the radar a few years ago) suddenly emerge as new dogmas of Political Correctness, rapidly adopted by weathervane politicians like Barack Obama and David Cameron.
It might also explain why they rather oddly declare things to be either “acceptable” or “unacceptable” rather than “right” or “wrong”. For the Politically Correct position on any matter is something that is negotiated between the competing factions in the coalitions of subcultural movements, and it is what is found acceptable to all of them, or to most of them – much in the same way that a group of friends will negotiate among themselves whether to eat at an Italian restaurant or a Chinese restaurant or an Indian restaurant, with the final decision being what is acceptable to all of them.
Perhaps it also points to how Political Correctness will die: it will become increasingly chaotic and contradictory, precisely because there is no logic to it, no underlying moral rationality. For what everybody thinks one day is quite likely to be what nobody thinks the next day.
Idle Theory proposes a simple moral rationality: what is good is what increases people’s idle or free time, and what is evil is what decreases it. Or what is good is what makes life easier for people, and what is evil is what makes it harder. The value of anything is measured by the idle time that it produces, or that it consumes. Useful labour-saving tools – e.g. knives, roads, mathematical equations – produce idle time. Luxuries and amusements – e.g. chess games, movies, love affairs – consume it. One of the merits of Idle Theory is that idle time can be measured (with clocks) in ways that abstractions like “utility” or “satisfaction” or “happiness” cannot. And it seems to me that we currently are in as dire need of an ethical rationality as we once were in need of a physical rationality to explain the seemingly-chaotic world around us. In the meantime we must be subjected to the ethical chaos exemplified by the likes of Maria Chappelle-Nadal. For her confusion is also ours.
Also a hat tip to RdM for yesterday drawing my attention to The Socialist Phenomenon by Igor Shafarevich, written in 1980, and with a foreword by Alexander Sozhenitsyn. Shafarevich was a mathematician, and he had undertaken a survey of socialist thinking down the ages, from Plato through Thomas More to Karl Marx, and he had concluded :
It seems to us quite legitimate to conclude that socialism does exist as a unified historical phenomenon. Its basic principles:
Abolition of private property.
Abolition of the family.
Abolition of religion.
Equality, abolition of hierarchies in society.
I spent much of yesterday reading it, and I’ll probably continue reading it today. I couldn’t help thinking that what is going on today is another attempted socialist revolution in which private property is being abolished (pubs are private properties, but banning smoking in them effectively brings them into state ownership), the family is being abolished (children being state-educated, or taken into state care, and homosexuality encouraged), religion is being abolished (Christianity in particular, and being replaced by Islam). What’s novel about the latest revolution is that it’s being conducted top down by the political elites, rather than bottom up as in prior revolutions like the French or Russian revolutions. Everything – including nation states – is being torn up, under the seeming supposition that it can all be re-assembled together in whatever manner the new socialist revolutionaries want. This is wishful thinking. They will simply end up destroying everything. And, if Maria Chappelle-Nadal exemplifies the quality of their thinking, they have no clear ideas anyway of what they might want to do. And it’s most likely not going to be Donald Trump who’s going to wind up being assassinated: it’s going to be her.