From top: Hillary Clinton supporters at ther Javits Centre, New York City on Tuesday night: Dan Boyle
Time to bury our misplaced faith in truth – and opinion polls.
Dan Boyle writes:
I could get angry but what would be the point. A world, not mine, exists on an entirely different set of values.
Anger is its soundtrack. It presents itself as the anger of the dispossessed. It has attracted many who are without and many who are left behind, but it is really the anger of entitlement.
The long neglected seek the unlikeliest of heroes. They don’t require logic or consistency. If it isn’t what has been there before, by extension it has to be better.
Characteristics that should be viewed as positives, such the value of experience, are deemed to be negative, if the individual is seen as an embedded part of the system. Paradoxically a maverick can be celebrated for not being experienced or competent or just by being downright gauche.
Too many years ago the BBC ran a entertainingly amusing sketch programme called Not The Nine O’Clock News. One of my favourite sketches had a social worker affecting empathy. He was talking to an interviewer saying “I know these kids. I’ve lived with them for ten years. I understand their problems. Through this I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing that can work is to cut off their goolies.”
Gooly cutting should be an activity we lily-livered liberals could consider taking up. Decades of seeking to understand and trying to empathise with those plights we sought to identify with, only ended up with our patronising them. This is one of those factors that has brought about the world of Trump and of Brexit.
We are now living in an in your face time. To thrive requires an in your face attitude. Ours is not to reason why, ours is to shout loudly and incoherently.
Anger is an energy. Not necessarily a positive energy. It’s enough that it exists. To direct it would be to spoil its effect.
If discourse now consists of irate ramblings, the content of such ramblings need not underpinned by anything as inconvenient as facts. Time was when facts were facts. Now facts are anything you want them to be. As Homer Simpson has memorably said “You can prove anything with statistics. 62% of people know that.”
If anything is to be is to welcomed in these uncertain times let it be that we don’t need to be protected from surprise. The art of opinion polling tells us things we need not know. It leads us astray.
As we bury the effects of a past that seems to have served us badly – an unfortunate attachment to absolute truth; a far too romantic expectation that debate should be civil; or that somewhat silly belief that progress is achieved through consistent behaviour – if we also include in that burial a misplaced faith in opinion polling, then our regret need not be total.
A Brave New World awaits. We have always loved Big Brother.