From top: Donald Trump and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage; Dan Boyle
While irrationality throughout the Globe may present itself in different forms, its consequences are universal.
Dan Boyle writes:
Some years ago when the scale of economic collapse was becoming apparent, John Gormley (as leader of The Greens), made a statement that appealed for a greater sense of fair play from the electorate.
In making the statement he was outlining his own sense of frustration. What he said then was that he was aware of the growing sense of anger, that much of the anger was justified, but in how some of it was being applied was ‘irrational’.
The shorthand version of this was presented as “the voters are irrational”. This wasn’t exactly the nuance he was trying to get across. He was though wrong to say it. When making a negative observation the connotation will always be developed. However he wasn’t wrong in what he said.
Since his making that comment the practice of irrationality has moved beyond our shores, and has become very much part of the international experience.
We live in a dark age. Argument and debate have been deemed superfluous. Facts don’t need to be proven. When cited their existence is intrinsic. The right to be right is instinctive. It is others who are wrong. Always wrong. Wrong about everything.
While irrationality throughout the Globe may present itself in different forms, its consequences are universal. It seeks to bring about the easy answer, the obvious target, the convenient Messiah.
It can be found in an obsession with issues, which in more normal times, would barely be given such consideration. It exists by shying away from any sense of collective responsibility. It creates the pretence that there is equivalence amid many shades of grey. It mythologises the perceived Outsider as being the ultimate in purity.
It is convenience thought for those of us who would prefer not to have to think. We now deal with the wider World through the comfort of self contained boxes of absoluteness. The need or requirement to change only applies to others. Those of us fixed in opinion live with the delusion that we no longer need to challenge ourselves, much less be challenged by others.
Future historians are to be pitied in trying to understand this context. In our time logic has become a luxury; tolerance is seen as a mark of weakness, and acceptance is portrayed as being the actions of a fool.
Not that we can be without hope. History, our story, is a cycle where bleakness sometimes holds sway. As someone who sips from a half full glass, I am seeing some signs that the glass might be replenished.
To achieve that we need an intellectual equivalent of the three hundred Spartans holding thousands at bay at Thermopylae. A vanguard that protects free and open thinking. There is a battle ahead to bring back the light.
This battle between the thoughtful and the unthinking may linger longer and may yet take us into darker recesses, but it has to be fought. It has to be won. There can be no thinking about this.