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A Few Rants

A regular reader of ‘Random Rants’ has complained that
the title of my occasional column is misleading, on the grounds that I seldom
actually rant.  He makes a fair
point.  I am not by nature given to
ranting, which is why my views on society’s peccadilloes are more often
expressed in the form of wry observations than furious ejaculations. 

That does not mean I am impervious to anger.  I am far from the fatally diffident Camus
character in ‘The Outsider’.  But I will admit
to a preference, as a soft-tissue rule, for ironic reflection over outraged
protest. 

Does this reflect an absence of commitment to any
cause?  Or, worse, could it be the
resigned cynicism that comes with advancing age?   I have
no idea. 

The passing years do contribute to diminished
earnestness.  I am less inclined to
believe, as I did in my ardently rebellious youth, that a radical left-wing
political agenda, such as might be espoused by the Labour Party, would bring
about a fairer society.  But I do still espouse,
as a matter of common sense, many of the causes for which I would once have
marched with Vanessa Redgrave et al to rallies in Trafalgar Square, and which still
dominate political discourse in Britain. 

Like defence spending, for example, including what we
used proudly to call Britain’s
independent nuclear deterrent.  Britain no
longer needs The Bomb, or a huge standing army to protect the country from
Communism, or one of the world’s biggest navies to guard the routes to
Empire.  The Afghanistan war may be, and I hope
will be, this country’s last imperial adventure.  It is misguided and, as a result,
unwinnable.  Britain still spends an
inexplicably disproportionate amount of its budget on defence – some £37
billion, I believe.  Why?  Because politicians are loath to discard it
for fear of being accused of forfeiting Britain’s ‘standing’ in the world. 

My views on the (supposedly) pressing social issues of
the day are equally pungent.  I believe that
immigration has largely been a force for economic good for Britain. I am
not indignant about abortion, which I consider entirely a matter for personal
choice.  I abhor all religions as intellectually
fatuous, tyrannical and potentially dangerous – Islam perhaps especially.  I loathe most of the popular media technologies
as subversive, an affront to the intelligence and palpably addictive.  I believe in free speech, in the literal
sense, which incorporates the legal right to insult.  (The morality of insult is a broader subject.)

Among my minor, topical pet hates are littering,
football, celebrity worship, most pop music, the Daily Mail and the decline of
language.              

There, that ought to be enough to be going along
with.

 

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