Single truth permitted

It is a mark of a totalitarian state that only one truth is permitted. Dissenting opinions and honest argument is not permitted. It is also of course a sign of a weak mind that you cannot accept other people have honestly held opinions which differ from your own. The liberal-progressives who only allow a single-truth on a range of topics of the day (usually connected with sex and gender) are not yet the sole party of government. Though in the US at least it is clear that the Democrats will stop at absolutely nothing to ensure that they are the only party of government. For example; their attempts to remove Trump by legal mechanisms, prosecutorial methods, paying ex British spies for dirt to be dug-up and published in a ‘dossier’ (or made up: much of it was by the admission of the author), fixing elections (postal voting), accusations of “Red under the Beds” and all the rest of it.

This post will contain examples from the media of single-truth thinking. Mostly these will be from the US pages of the Guardian where such thinking abounds. If this kind of thinking becomes embedded as the official policy of the state we should be worried. That would herald a totalitarian state.

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The case of Derek Chauvin and 22.5 years

This whole episode is outside of my usual remit. It is a criminal case in the US. However, is it a telling and symbolic case which shows up a number of features of contemporary society -the same in the US as in the UK.

Firstly; why has this particular case garnered such a massive level of media attention? In fact the US police kill hundreds of people every year – and I have no doubt that in many cases this is a case of ‘excessive force’. The reason is the existence of the video of George Floyd being killed. The video is pretty unambiguous. There is no opportunity to point to, for example, a reasonable suspicion that he might have been about to draw a weapon. Mr Floyd was handcuffed and on the ground surrounded by police officers. There is an organised lobby group (nothing wrong with that of course) with an agenda to raise the question of black people being unfairly abused/targeted by the police – the video suited their purposes very well. If we simply had the facts of the case and no video then this case would not have achieved maybe 1% of the coverage it got. The medium is the message.

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Authoritarianism, Failure and Veniality – the story of Covid in the UK

Two quotes from Boris Johnson today on the question of whether people should be travelling to “Amber list” countries:

If people do go to an ‘amber list’ country, they absolutely have to for some pressing family or urgent business reasons. If they go to an ‘amber’ list country, bear in mind they will have to self-isolate. You will have to take tests, do a passenger locator form, but you will also have to self-isolate for 10 days when you get back. That period of quarantine will be enforced with fines of up to £10,000. [1]

and

We are trying to move away from endlessly legislating for everything, and to rely on guidance, asking people to do the right thing [2]

Well. On the one hand a nasty threat about massive fines (well beyond the reach of most people) and on the other hand “we are trying to move away from endlessly legislating for everything“.

I wish the second one were true. But it is the first, endless, repressive, authoritarian legislation which has characterised this government’s response. It is almost as if they don’t trust the people. Why would that be? Not because they are themselves inherently untrustworthy by any chance?

And while they frighten holidaymakers and people visiting sick relatives with unpayable life-destroying fines they scoop up the profits from PPE contracts. Here [3] for example is the ‘Health’ (rather ‘death’) minister explaining away how he passed on a contact from a political contact to the civil servants commissioning PPE. It would be slightly more plausible if his friend had relevant experience. However his friend’s experience appears to be primarily in finance and he had simply partnered up with a dog food manufacturer. (The key point was probably a contact in China). But the question the media appear not to have asked the Minister for Health to explain is – if it was all so above board why did your chum go via you in the first place – why did he not just use the government website where people could register their willingness to supply directly? [3]

Meanwhile – a world beating death toll – tens of thousands of which were preventable by the simplest of measures – such as protecting old folks homes.

Notes

  1. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/18/now-minister-says-can-visit-friends-family-amber-countries-despite/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/19/ministers-accused-of-sowing-confusion-over-england-travel-advice
  3. https://goodlawproject.org/update/failure-to-publish/ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/matt-hancock-ppe-brooks-newmark-b1848323.html