Puritans in denial
Haven’t posted much because I’ve been reading at lot. Books. you know those papery, cardboardy things that used to be our main source of reference before hyperlinks and all the jolly whizzy interconnectedness of the dear old interweb.
To cut to the chase, I was ploughing through ‘Utopias of the classical world’ by John Ferguson when I came across this little homily;
“The Puritan through Life’s sweet garden goes,
To pluck the thorn and cast away the rose,
And hopes to please by this peculiar whim,
The God who fashioned it and gave it to him.”
I thought about this a while with a gentle smile playing about my lips, and suddenly had a minor epiphany. Connected two dots in life’s big puzzle, and it’s this; Puritans, bansturbators, the anti-fun brigade, the ‘do as I say’ faction, the anti-smokers, anti-drinkers, low-fat advocates, low-carbon, anti-war, ‘big oil will kill us’, paedophile fearing, privacy hating, prodnoses and busybodies all have one single thing in common. They’re all in some part of denial.
By this I mean as in Denial, the first stage of the Kubler-Ross model of the grieving process. Denial is where all their proposed utopian ‘solutions’ are embedded. Logic plays little part in their thinking processes. Well, at least not the “If you drive an economy over a cliff you’ll be sorry and so will I” kind of logic, or the “If we all live in a more primitive society we won’t be rich enough to clean up our environment”. kind of thinking.
The thing is, I think they simply don’t see the cliff or risk, because in their utopian mental model the cliff simply cannot exist. The thought processes they exhibit seem to have more to do with wishful thinking than full examination of a given issue.
Like with the Yanks latest Internet anti-piracy bill. Apparently if the bill as written is passed, then a single complaint from a dishonest source will be enough to shut down a web based business. YouTube, DailyMotion and all the other video sharing sites will cease to exist. Blogs hosted on blogger, like my old one, will go. Possibly even this one because it is openly critical of the forces of darkness currently promoting censorship.
Puritans who promote such prohibitionist measures are, I contend, in denial because they do not understand the lessons of History. All Puritanical regimes are relatively short lived. Even Ancient Rome allowed unrestricted free speech in the forum, and above all, paid attention. When the regime in power forgot that lesson it fell. Civil war erupted, and blood washed the streets. To censor, and not pay attention to dissenting voices forgets the maxim Better to Jaw-jaw than to war-war, as Winston Churchill once remarked back in 1954. Simply shutting people up because you do not agree with them denies their expression and emotional release. Without a release, said people will seek it elsewhere, often in a manner that the shutter up did not intend.
Fortunately, puritan regimes are always short lived because they deny others their safety valves. They deny that others, and themselves, are merely fallible humanity, who need to goof off once in a while. Without that goofing off to relax, be it sounding off on the Internet, having a smoke or a drink, an extra large pizza and fries, or the odd toke on a joint, we all get tense. Many people get angry, resentful, or violent if they are denied release from the workaday world once in a while. If sufficient people get angry and disenfranchised enough, regimes fall. Then we end up in a dark age again wondering what on Earth hit us.
Heavy sigh. Won’t learn, can’t teach ‘em, thicker than pigshit. Now ban me you stupid puritanical fuckers. Cnuts.