She’ll be right
Recently I had the displeasure of seeing a post on facebook which angered me more than might be reasonable.
It was a “meme” that I will not privilege by posting it here, one of those stupid things which people don’t think about as they rush to be a member of The Great Herd of Human Stupidity. This particular meme asked people to repost it if they thought a bullet was cheaper and more effective than a jail cell for “convicted child molesters”.
Clearly, the first aspect of this meme which is wrong is that it advocates murder, and I immediately posted a comment to the post that murder, whether by the state or by an individual, is no solution to any problem. This comment has, of course, been ignored, but that is not unexpected. The second aspect of this meme which disturbs me is that it advocates a moral fundamentalism.
Nietzsche was, I think, correct when he said that the death of God changes everything, that it sets us adrift on the “seas of becoming” where we are faced with no choice but to re-value our values. We can make it as complicated as we want, but it seems to me that Nietzsche’s fairly simple point was that without an absolute faith in God and in some universal moral standard, we are left wallowing. He knew (noticed) that this was no longer the case and took his own philosophic steps toward understanding and passing beyond the point that Western culture had reached. But the answer of the vast majority of human society has been to dive immediately, headlong, without thought or consideration, into a moral fundamentalism where fools like the person who posted that meme believe that there is some absolute moral standard that justifies any action against those who transgress.
I wonder if this 21 year old photographer (that is how I came to know her, via my exhibition opening a year or two ago) has ever stopped to consider that the majority of “child sex abuse” occurs within the family, and that she could easily be condemning her father or uncle or grandfather to death? Perhaps, if it came out that her father had engaged in sexual activity with a brother, she would be happy to kill him herself, but is this a type of society we want?
A long time ago, or at least it seems a long time ago, the late Ian Hinkfuss, one time reader in philosophy at University of Queensland, wrote a book, the original title of which was To hell with morality. (On publication it was given a much less interesting title, ah well.) The main premise was that we simply don’t need much morality, or much law, that the majority of moral problems could and should be worked out between the people who had a moral dispute. It was in many ways an idealistic work, but the core of it remains relatively true, especially when we consider the calcification of once living moral views into statutory “law”.
Laws, with which most societies are blessed with an over-abundance, are a vile fundamentalist construction which guarantee the destruction of fairness and justice, just as does (fundamentalist) religious belief.
Of course, even the secular usually possess beliefs, and for most of them the god is science and the unthinking fundamentalism promoted by popular psychology and psychologists—these truths also are moral, are stories told to ensure the compliance of the herd.
Ah, well, the truth is out there now, and that truth is that I find it impossible to seriously consider, let alone imagine, humanity as being as stupid, as vile as it is.
How can this foolish woman—or any other person—believe that murder is a sensible solution to a moral problem? Our moral problems are artificialities which change with time and the winds of chance. Would she have advocated the murder of homosexual men and women at some earlier time? Does she think that we should kill everyone who offends sexually in some way?
The great Australian saying once was she’ll be right, but I am afraid that this is no longer the case. I am afraid that fear is, and probably always has, the foundation of the stupidity of human thought and action. But the most frightening thing to me is the fear that my generation has generated about sex and sexuality, without ever thinking that it’s just the way we are.
In a paper I wrote some time ago, I proposed that feminism was an attempt to utilise history in the Nietzschean sense, that it , that it was/is an attempt to re-value human nature and behaviour. I thought, at the time, that it was a worthy project, but of course the feministas who have had the most profound effect are those who promulgate fear and hatred, especially of men, who have worked tirelessly to destroy rather than re-value and build, who have built on and advanced the myth of women as wonderful creatures so far above men that the thought of a female sexual or husband abuser has become unmentionable, even though we know (gosh, from crime statistics, of all places) that some women are just as nasty and stupid as some men.
Ok, that’s it.
I don’t feel as though I have expressed my outrage at that stupid meme anywhere near enough. I don’t think I’ve expressed my horror at the stupidity of moral fundamentalism enough.
But wait, there’s more: what about those Muslim people who continually talk about and reject the terrorism of fundamentalist Islam? No no no, we can’t admit that this happens, we can’t admit that they, just like us, are people who want to be left alone to live their lives, that they also want the terrorism to stop. If we admit this, then we have to start thinking about them as being just people, just like we are. Wouldn’t that be terrible? If we had to start accepting them, if we had to admit that …they are people after all, just like those “convicted child molesters”, rapists, thieves, and all those others who in some way offend us.
Yeah, ok, enough. But wait…
I had been told that memes like the one which started this existed. But I have been lucky, this is the first time I have ever seen one, the first time that one has been posted by a person whom I had thought to be relatively sensible.
I always have tended toward misanthropy, but truly, misanthropy is beginning to appear to be the most viable moral position, the one that I shall probably die believing and holding dear.
Nietzsche, bless him, was entirely too optimistic.