Shame on so much Pointless Shame

What is the matter with these people?

“I have white advantage. Educational advantage. Straight advantage. Male advantage… I’m not ashamed of those advantages; I’m ashamed of not knowing I had them,” Welby said.

Well, I’ve got all the same advantages. And I’m not in the least bit ashamed. Why should I be ashamed?

But I’ve got one big disadvantage. It used not to be a disadvantage.

I’m a smoker. And that one disadvantage outweighs all the advantages. I’ve been expelled from society. But I’m not ashamed of being a smoker either.

How about this for yet more shame:

Michael Gove declares UK has a ‘moral responsibility’ to lead global Green Industrial Revolution

“As we all know the Industrial Revolution relied – and still relies to a disproportionate extent – on the extraction and use of hydrocarbons,” Gove said. “And we have a moral responsibility on the first in, first out basis to ensure the country that pioneered the Industrial Revolution and played the biggest role in the change in our climate, [has] a responsibility to lead a Green Industrial Revolution.”

The Industrial Revolution has become something to be ashamed of. It filled the air with carbon dioxide. And carbon dioxide causes global warming. And we should be filled with shame.

But I see no cause for shame. I think global warming is a Very Good Thing, and if carbon dioxide is causing it then we need more carbon dioxide.

Why? Because the alternative to global warming is global cooling, and global cooling will bring a new ice age. We’re currently living in an interglacial period that’s lasted about 12,000 years, and during that time we humans have gone through a Bronze Age, an Iron Age, and constructed a high civilisation. And it’s really entirely thanks to the change in climate over the past 12,000 years. A new ice age, covering much of Canada and the USA and Europe and Russia, would be a absolute catastrophe. It would be far worse than any amount of global warming, including the melting of both Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets (which would take about 10,000 years to achieve).

We shouldn’t be ashamed of the Industrial Revolution: we should be proud of it. We should be proud of all those engines and chimneys belching soot and glorious carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Those people were our saviours. But for them we night already have entered a new ice age.

All the things we’re supposed to be ashamed of seem to me to be things that we should be proud of.

The British Empire was something to be proud of. For that empire exported the Industrial Revolution all over the world. It spread technological and scientific innovation everywhere, in a vast global trading empire.

Nor should we be ashamed of having colonies. America was once a colony of Britain (and France and Spain), and it was the beneficiary of this colonialisation. We did a better job of running the country than the backward local people did. We built cities and roads and ports. We raised the standard of living of everybody. And America has gone on to do even better since it became self-governing, building on its colonial heritage (America’s language is the English language, and most of its laws are English law).

Some Americans see America as an “exceptional” country. And in a great many ways it actually is an exceptional country. If nothing else, it’s a new country (along with all the other countries in the America). It’s only been a player on the world stage for less than 500 years, unlike countries like Britain which have been around for thousands of years. And it’s also exceptional by standing apart from the Asian-African supercontinent in which all previous human history was conducted. And it’s exceptional in other ways as well, for example for being a melting pot into which more or less every nation state in Europe has exported their peoples.

But shouldn’t Americans be ashamed of slavery? No. They shouldn’t be ashamed of that either. It’s not as if they invented it. Slavery has existed throughout the entirety of human history. And has always been accepted. For the good thing about slavery is that, by placing the burden of necessary work entirely upon one section of the population (the slaves) it frees up the remainder to innovate and invent and study and learn. But for slavery we would not have had Plato and Aristotle and Euclid and Archimedes and countless other innovators. Slavery made free time for them that they would otherwise have never had. In the short term it was highly inequitable, of course. But in the long term as innovation and invention raised living standards, the slaves were gradually freed, and equity restored.

It’s probably possible to take absolutely any supposedly shameful historical episode, and make it into something to be proud of.

For example, the Jewish Holocaust. One consequence of that was that the Jews at last regained the Jewish state that they lost under the emperor Titus nearly 2000 years before. And that is an extraordinary achievement.

All these things have a minus side to them. They all have something to be ashamed of. But they also always have a plus side. They all have something to be proud of.

Back to global warming. Yes, there’s a minus side to it. Sea levels might rise 70 metres or so over the next 10,000 years. But the plus side is much larger than the minus side. And the plus side is that it will prevent (or at least delay) an ice age which could come into being almost overnight.

About Frank Davis

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13 Responses to Shame on so much Pointless Shame

  1. beobrigitte says:

    But I’ve got one big disadvantage. It used not to be a disadvantage.

    I’m a smoker. And that one disadvantage outweighs all the advantages. I’ve been expelled from society. But I’m not ashamed of being a smoker either.
    Oh, currently I’ve got 2 disadvantages: I am a smoker. I am a German.
    Well, I also have 2 advantages: I’m white. I’m not Chinese.

    Michael Gove declares UK has a ‘moral responsibility’ to lead global Green Industrial Revolution
    It is Britain’s choice to decline this offer.

    The British Empire was something to be proud of. For that empire exported the Industrial Revolution all over the world. It spread technological and scientific innovation everywhere, in a vast global trading empire.
    It is Britain’s choice to revive the British Empire. Absolutely.

    Nor should we be ashamed of having colonies. America was once a colony of Britain (and France and Spain), and it was the beneficiary of this colonialisation. We did a better job of running the country than the backward local people did. We built cities and roads and ports. We raised the standard of living of everybody. And America has gone on to do even better since it became self-governing, building on its colonial heritage (America’s language is the English language, and most of its laws are English law).
    Absolutely.

    But shouldn’t Americans be ashamed of slavery? No. They shouldn’t be ashamed of that either. It’s not as if they invented it. Slavery has existed throughout the entirety of human history. And has always been accepted. For the good thing about slavery is that, by placing the burden of necessary work entirely upon one section of the population (the slaves) it frees up the remainder to innovate and invent and study and learn.
    Yes, in the long term slavery was abolished. To this day there are groups who still believe that there is a racial inequality in our society.

    For example, the Jewish Holocaust. One consequence of that was that the Jews at last regained the Jewish state that they lost under the emperor Titus nearly 2000 years before. And that is an extraordinary achievement.
    So, I am supposed to be proud of a greedy, power hungry leader putting about 6 million people to death and view it as an extraordinary achievement?
    Didn’t the UK only recently commemorate the day the Russians liberated Ausschwitz?
    *Conflicting messages here*

    All these things have a minus side to them. They all have something to be ashamed of. But they also always have a plus side. They all have something to be proud of.
    All things have a positive and a negative site – it depends on your viewing point angle that makes you decide which site is valid for you.

  2. Interesting points. Some people would want you chucked in the clink or hung from a lamp post for airing them. Unfortunately, such people are becoming a lot more powerful than they should be, these days
    I’ve always been quite surprised about the depth of feeling regarding slavery in America (and to a lesser extent, England). Every society with a functioning economy throughout history, has had slavery at the beginnings of that economy; it’s the stepping stone between only having enough time to produce what you need (if that) and producing enough left over to trade (to explain it in its simplest form).
    I’ve always thought that as America was the last western civilisation to utilise slavery, we shouldn’t be vilifying them for doing what everyone else did, while ignoring everyone else, but acknowledging them for being the ones who finally put and end to it.
    It’s probably because the descendants of American slaves can easily be identified as such, just by looking at them, but the descendants of slaves in Asia, Africa and Europe, not so much. It makes it easy to say, “Your ancestors did unspeakable things to mine. All my problems are your fault. Give me money”

    • Radical Rodent says:

      “It’s probably because the descendants of American slaves can easily be identified as such, just by looking at them…” And in one sentence, you dismiss the white slaves that were also shipped over (and sold for far less, as they were of lower value, and so were more disposable); I wonder…. does that make you racist… Just a thought.

      Also, do not forget the millions of Europeans that were shipped across the Mediterranean as a sop to the Barbary pirates over a few centuries – something that was eventually ended by the Americans, with the US Marines being created for that sole, initial purpose.

      • I dismissed nothing. A short comment doesn’t leave you free to include an entire history, so as non-black slaves in America are a very tiny minority, wasn’t worth mentioning.
        As for Europeans, I think I made that point

        • Dmitry says:

          One line of my ansestors were semi-slaves (you owned peasants in 16-19 centuries, could buy and sell them). Another line of my ancestors owned slaves together with land. So should I be ashamed, or proud, or what?

        • Neither, it’s history. One of my Grandfathers was in the group that liberated Bilsen, the other was a Nazi. We are not responsible for our ancestors

        • beobrigitte says:

          You are right. It is history. However, aren’t we supposed to take at least something away from history?

        • Yes, to learn from it, but not to be ashamed by the actions of other people, just because they are ancestors, whose actions we had no control over and in some cases, actions that were normal for the time

        • beobrigitte says:

          I totally agree.
          What I am currently observing is time now.

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    Sorry – gone a bit OT on this one, but it is sort of linked …..

    I think that this kind of lunacy is set to continue for some time to come, because, despite Brexit, we still have to “work through” the current generation of power-holders for whose hands, not having the very important job of a real MP to do for the last 50 or so years, the Devil has, as they say, made plenty of work.

    The majority of MPs currently in Parliament, genuinely see it as their task to indulge themselves in their own pet hobby-horses and bêtes noires and to actively align themselves with whatever the most fashionable Cause of the moment is. All those Victimhood Addicts (of which there are many) busily competing in the Victimhood Olympics to try and prove that “they” are the “most persecuted” of all the Victim Groups are given far greater credence by those currently in power than they rightly deserve and this is because MPs have had to make very few genuinely big, national decisions for so long that they’ve had the time to indulge these groups and have used the opportunity to display their right-on “wokeness” through the suggestion of daft, sledgehammer-style policies and look-at-how-concerned-I-am-type statements. In a properly functioning democracy, people in positions as close to the top of the tree as MPs simply shouldn’t have time for such fripperies, which rightly belong in the sphere of more local politics and policies.

    Mediocrity and small-mindedness has flourished amongst our ruling classes and, without the reality-check of making big decisions and then living with the results (for good or ill), up until now there’s been no way to see this. How can the public know that their MP is incapable of making wise, broad-ranging, sensible and reasonable decisions on matters of national importance when they’ve never been asked to make one? It’s a bit like asking how good a doctor is when they’ve never seen a sick person in their life! They might be brilliant, or they might be awful, but without the “proof of the pudding” there’s no way to know. Which means, of course, that the awful ones get to stay in their jobs and, worse still, sheer statistics will dictate that over time they will be joined by other, as-yet-unknown awful ones, too.

    And that’s what’s happened to our politics. Hence, we have a generation of Tory MPs proposing business-crushing CO2 targets, a generation of Labour MPs wittering on about community-crushing social control measures and MPs of all stripes allowing public servants at all levels to morph from administrators of vital nationwide services according to properly-thought-out, carefully scrutinised and fair public policy, into petty tyrants, pseudo-law makers and jumped-up social enforcement agencies, just so that the MPs themselves don’t have to bother with all that boring rule-making and can continue with their political “hobbies.” No members of any party have any semblance of the wisdom and statesmanship of their predecessors, none seem to have the remotest inclination to adhere to the basic principles upon which their parties were founded and none seem to have yet grasped the fact that being elected as an MP is not just an excuse to push their favourite issue further than they might have been able to, had their careers been purely dictated by their woefully inadequate actual abilities.

    I do think that Brexit will inevitably put an end to such superficiality in our politics purely because the Nanny EU will no longer be formulating all those scary, big, important decisions for us, so MPs won’t have any alternative but to take on that heavy (and, it has to be said, rather turgid and somewhat boring) mantle themselves. Which, of course, is one reason they were all so terrified of Brexit and fought so hard to overturn the mandate. Because, at heart, our MPs know they’re not up to the job – the real job – of being an MP. They know that their indulgent days of fashionable soundbites and meaningless virtue-signalling are coming to an end. Hence the plethora of silly idealistic policies emanating from both sides of the House of Commons in a last-ditch effort to get “their” favourite vision of the world as far down the road as possible before the harsh realities of the real job of an MP catches up with them and they’re ousted unceremoniously from their cushy positions and back to the obscurity where they all belong.

    The downside to this is that it’s likely to take a few years for the re-alignment between politicians and the public to take place – for the public to see (actually see, that is, not just suspect) how incompetent our current MPs are, and for a new generation of more able people to come to the public’s attention who can be elected instead. So there’ll probably be a few more dumb-ass policy suggestions to come as the end (for current MPs) draws ever-closer and the desperation levels rise accordingly. The positive side, however, is that there may not quite yet be a light at the end of the tunnel, but there is at least someone – we’ll call him Mr Brexit, for want of a better name, but some might prefer Mr Reality – standing at the other end with his hand poised and ready over the switch ….

  4. Lepercolonist says:

    Excellent writing, Frank.

  5. RdM says:

    Slavery has existed throughout the entirety of human history.
    And has always been accepted.

    Well, accepted, not by all, at all, but sadly acknowledged still to exist.

    For the good thing about slavery is that, by placing the burden of necessary work entirely upon one section of the population (the slaves) it frees up the remainder to innovate and invent and study and learn.

    Well there might be a concept of a “willing slave”, a master and student, relationships, but I think these days slavery whether for prostitution or work drudgery is designed to profit the slaver.

    Nothing noble inventive studied or learned about that. Must be plenty in the UK, EU.

    New Zealand’s first slavery trial to enter second week in the High Court in Napier
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12308758

    And if you can be bothered to enter Slavery in to the unsorted Stuff top right search box…
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/
    You’ll see earlier instances and discussions.

    One makes the cogent point that debt is slavery …

    ‘Debt is the slavery of the free’, Gisborne nuns tell Parliament.

    Regards!

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