Category Archives: Society

Some thoughts on the London riots

By Mysterion

In response to the riots, a petition has been set up to remove benefits from those involved in the riots. At the time of writing, it has amassed 115,436 signatures. Some people have argued against this move, saying it will disillusion those people further from society. Whilst not necessarily advocating to removal of benefits myself, some seem to be under the impression that everyone is entitled to a place in society, which is something I don’t agree with. A place in society is earned by adhering to the unwritten social contract we have, i.e. respecting others and the laws of the land. It is this contract the keeps society functioning smoothly.

Some are under the impression that it is the job of the Police to keep the population in check, which is of course not the case. If everyone decided not to adhere to the law, the Police would be overwhelmed and could do nothing about it. Luckily, most people respect this social contract, but there those who choose to ignore it. These people should not necessarily gain the advantages that functioning members of society receive. When events of these nature occur, there is always the attempt to excuse the actions due to societal factors, as Nina Power in The Guardian has tried to do here. However, it is unfair to blame society as a whole for criminal elements that have always existed, and always will.

There is absolutely no justification for the actions and conduct of the rioters. People can go on all day about the reasons why this happened and the underlying causes, but simply put, these people have committed criminal acts. It is sheer criminality and it cannot be tolerated. There is ALWAYS a choice when it comes to such acts, the choice between doing what is right and what is wrong. If one were to come home and find their wife in bed with another man, and then they shot her, people might understand their reasoning behind it. But is it the right thing to do? Of course not.

Some quarters have pointed to the cuts as a catalyst for the riots, which is what Harriet Harman did on a shameful display on Newsnight where she tried to score political points from the events. This is absurd, and not even the New Statesman could agree with Harman. It is unlikely that a 13 year old stealing a widescreen TV is making a statement to the cuts to the EMA. If there is any underlying cause to all of this, it is a culture that has fostered this sense of entitlement from society for nothing, and a breakdown in the identification between right and wrong in people. A good way to establish the difference is to show the consequences of doing wrong. Punishing these rioters to the full extent of the law would be a good start.

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So why is it all right for women to be sexist about men?

By Mysterion

This week Sky Sport football presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys have lost their positions after being caught up in a sexism row. During an English Premier League game remarks were made about a female linesman (or linesperson, I guess), suggesting that she did not know the offside rule. They have since been sacked, which you may think is fair enough, except that these comments were made OFF AIR.

Aside from now being able to be punished for private comments, this incident also raises other issues. Giles Coren has written an excellent article on the hypocrisy of sexism.

Men are fair game for women. While sexism from men is the outstanding social crime of the modern world, women can say absolutely whatever they like about us.

For make no mistake: sexism is alive and well in this country and applauded in all quarters — as long as it is practised by women. And they are allowed to say the most terrible, terrible things.

How to be Civil

by Leveret

Via Diane Ellis we have George Washington’s ‘Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation’ – a long list compiled by the second Cincinnatus, by derived from the writings of French Jesuits, of how to behave towards others.

The full, modernised list after the jump.

Continue reading

Re: Is there some objectivity in music and art?

by Leveret

A few people have asked me what the below picture, featured in my post about the objective quality of art, was:

It’s My Bed, a conceptual ‘work’ by Tracey Emin. The content of My Bed is the artist’s unmade bed replete with sheets stained by bodily discharges and littered with used prophylactics, underwear stained by menstrual bleeding and empty booze bottles. Continue reading

American attempts to divine political lesson from the Ashes

by Leveret

See Cricket and Political Correctness in the AmSpec blog.

I’m not persuaded by the probative value of this little parable actually – it’s pretty weak and the connexion between the Ashes and the author’s thesis is pretty weak.

And, as one commenter pointed out, 10 of the 11 players in the 2005 England team went to state schools.

NEVERTHELESS this is worth reading because it is always so fascinating to see Americans try to explain cricket.

Why do we like music?

by Leveret

Our recent discussions about scientism and logical positivism remind me of something I have been thinking about for a long time. What is the empirical basis for admiring beauty? In recognizing the beauty of other humans, the answer is easy – the things that we look for (symmetry, good skin etc) are markers of good physical health and good genes.

What, however, is a comparable basis for our appreciation of music? Continue reading

The Arizona Massacre

by Leveret

Too many pixels have been devoted to deconstructing the fatal shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Probably the best take was George Will’s:

It would be merciful if, when tragedies such as Tucson’s occur, there were a moratorium on sociology. But respites from half-baked explanations, often serving political opportunism, are impossible because of a timeless human craving and a characteristic of many modern minds.

The craving is for banishing randomness and the inexplicable from human experience. Time was, the gods were useful. What is thunder? The gods are angry. Polytheism was explanatory. People postulated causations.

And still do. Hence: The Tucson shooter was (pick your verb) provoked, triggered, unhinged by today’s (pick your noun) rhetoric, vitriol, extremism, “climate of hate.”

(whole thing here)

It was as predictable as it was disappointing that, without a scintilla of evidence, the Fourth Estate would exploit the tragedy to attack their hated enemies such as Palin, Beck and all those vitriolic enough to disagree with liberalism.

An excellent take down of the media from a newly discovered, but excellent blog Verum Serum here. Disgusting.

Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per Dei misericordiam requiescant in pace.