Being an annoying busybody is apparently pretty lucrative these days:
'The ruling marked the end of an eight-year battle by a Finnish-born mother, Soile Lautsi. She took her cause to court after failing to get crucifixes removed from the school at which her two children were being taught at a town in north-east Italy...
The court disagreed. "The presence of the crucifix could easily be interpreted by pupils of all ages as a religious sign, and they would feel that they were being educated in a school environment bearing the stamp of a given religion," it ruled, ordering the Italian state to pay Lautsi €5,000 (£4,476) in damages.'
8 years?! An immigrant spends eight years trying to change the way of life in a country that has been generous enough to let her live there, and instead of telling her to get a life and go away, she is awarded with £4,476
I find this whole thing very bizarre. I am in favour of population movement within Europe, but think that the individual states have a right, if not an obligation, to be bullish about their values. Otherwise they will end up a multicultural mess like the USA, where small pressure groups can tilt the 300,000,000 inhabitants any way they want. Apparently the European Court of Human Rights thinks that Lautsi is more than an excruciating, self-pitying busybody and want to shower her with gold.
As a Brit, I feel pretty uncertain about the EU. I just don't know if our neo-liberal shower will destroy our values and civil liberties faster than Brussels will. The EU is a more optimistic idea than post-imperial Britain, but satan can create optimism as much as God can.
In my previous post I wrote about a busybody- sorry, human rights activist, who was paid handsomely for her 8 year struggle to change the popular laws of the country that was kind enough to give her residence. Johann Hari also seems to have found that modern Europe amply rewards self-serving hysterical secularists. And this article demonstrates just what level of journalism gets awarded in modern Britain.
Firstly, it is a classical example of how farcical the whole 'debate' about Darwinism v Intelligent Design is. Whilst I do not think that 'Intelligent design' is a credible theory, I don't think that many Darwinists actually realise what Darwinian evolution is. This article by militant atheist Hari conveys the impression that Darwinism is atheist Intelligent Design:
'Think about the hunter-gatherer tribes that we lived in a few minutes ago (in evolutionary terms). Those ancestors of ours who identified the most powerful or abundant people in their group, worked their way into their entourage, and imitated their ways were obviously more likely to survive. Seeking out celebs had an evolutionary advantage – so they passed this instinct on to us. The people who thought it was dumb to act this way dropped off the human family tree.'
Really? So there is the inheritance of acquired characteristics after all? Those who beat the drum loudest for Darwin don't seem to really get his ideas.
The article itself is far more interesting as an artefact than as a work. As is often the case, Hari tries using the English language to attack religion. As always, the English language gets the worst abuse:
'Our innate celebrity-instinct used to be directed in really dangerous ways – towards finding revering (?) warriors like Achilles, who killed so many people that Homer ran out of names; or towards fanatics like the Catholic saints who believed God was talking to her.'
'Her' is not a plural pronoun and 'finding revering'? It is sad, in a sense that our papers don't seem to employ writers with much grasp of the English language. Or ideas. Hari's argument is that celeb culture is fine because otherwise people would be totally religious and fanatical and stuff. It doesn't occur to him that the Iliad is a stunning work of poetry, and not a literal guide to what happened in Troy. Furthermore, in an age where one would probably die of tooth-decay or septic cuts, being chopped to pieces by some foreigner would probably be a pretty groovy way to go.
As an article it is painful to read.
Hari wrote previously about celeb culture, criticising people for attacking Jade Goody after she died. I did agree with him on that account, but thought it notable he didn't mention Michael Parkinson's contributions to the criticisms. Whilst I don't think Parky chose the best time to draw attention to Goody's shortcomings, he is himself from a working class background, and is a relic from a vanishing age when Britain's working class children could expect a proper education and become literate and articulate members of the media class. The strange paradox is that whilst there is an appalling dumbed-down celeb culture, due to the education system, working class children probably have less chance of becoming educated figures in the media establishment than they have ever had. Having said that, the British middle classes are as vulgar as anyone else, and as immersed in celeb culture as the people they love to hate.
Still, these two articles sound the death knell of the 'left'. I regard myself as centre left because I dislike neo-liberalism, believe that a society has a moral duty to care for the most vulnerable members and dislike statist right. However, the left is crumbling in standing up to the neo-liberal right (ironically enough, when neo-liberalism is weakest) and has come to support positive discrimination for big mouthed whiners.
So what will replace the left?