Monday, October 29, 2007

Blair, Anthony, the memoirs

One of the strange things about the world of human beings is our - it's formal name is hypocrisy, but that makes it sound like a rather unusual sin; it's our ability to argue righteously from principle as it suits us; and then to argue the absolute opposite, equally righteously, from different principle, when that one-eighty degree slew suits us in turn.
We all do it, or all of us who are complex enough to be normal. We listen to our nearest and dearest in tacit disbelief as they say exactly the opposite to one person that, under symmetrical but reversed circumstances, they have asserted to another. The only person we don't hear doing it is ourselves, or if we do, if we catch the slight grating of principle on contradictory principle, we are very apt with the lubricant of buts, of the circumstances being quite different - often by which circumstances we mean the personalities involved, or the degree of our self interest or, most importantly, the immediate focus of our emotions, feelings, our beliefs.
This translates into the political sphere. It allows Gordon Brown - it is only worth castigating politicians we have some hope for, however residual, however vain - to write fulsomely about Aung San Suu Kyi in his book on courage, while actively avoiding a single gesture towards the Burmese military dictatorship that might upset the true lords of New Labour, the North American Government, and "top businessmen". And it allows us all to believe opposing things that the simplest logic demonstrates to be mutually exclusive or contradictory.
So, Blair, Anthony, his memoirs. One of the central principles of crime and punishment, as expounded by Blair, Anthony, himself, forcefully and on numerous occasions, is that the criminal should not gain from his crimes; not even by writing books about them. The money instead should go to the victims or if, as in this case, many of the victims should be dead in their thousands and tens of thousands, the loot should go to the bereaved and the suffering, malnourished, maimed, humiliated and robbed who survive.
But of course in all justice, by all sense of what is right and proper, of what is owing to the virtuous and is the just deserts of the evil-doers, the proposal that a British Prime Minister is also a criminal is an obscene and preposterous suggestion. No leader on our side is ever guilty of their enormities. The worst one can say of them is that they did a thing in which they devoutly believed. More saint really than sinner.

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