|Enough of the 100 Hours Already||Public Education and The Liberal Way of Conflict|
by Christopher Chantrill
January 21, 2007 at 1:52 pm
IN THIS AGE of situational ethics and values clarification how do you know when you cross the line?
(I am assuming that you are a member of a traditionally marginalized community. For conservatives, of course the answer is: Dont. Even Think About It.)
Suppose you are a celebrity performer on a reality TV show, for instance Britains Celebrity Big Brother House UK? Presumably a certain coarseness and edginess is expected. It does wonders for the ratings.
Last week South London celebrity Jade Goody found out that there is a limit to coarseness and edginess. She called Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty by the less than complimentary sobriquet Shilpa Poppadom and all hell broke loose. It was racism, you see, and any British TV viewer who had ever shed a tear for Princess Diana knew it.
I know what you are thinking.
If we submit the case of Jade Goody to the justice of the Court of Oppression we surely must judge her as a victim. Goodys father, a Jamaican, left home when she was two. He died of a heroin overdose. Goody was raised in a chaotic home by a lesbian mother, for whom she rolled cannabis cigarettes from the age of four. Then there was her deficient government education.
She thought Rio de Janeiro was a footballer, that Sherlock Holmes invented the toilet and that Pistachio was the genius behind the Mona Lisa.
As everyone knows, there are certain classes of people who cannot commit a racist act. Its been drummed into us in countless diversity seminars that black people, for example, cannot commit racism because of their history of oppression. Heres Jade Goody, with unimpeachable victim credentials, an underclass childhood and her father a deceased black heroin addict. How could she be a racist?
Shilpa Shetty, the alleged victim, seems by comparison to have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She went to private school and college in India and speaks ten languages. Shetty made her big screen debut in 1993 at the age of 18 in Baazigar, alongside Shahrukh Khan, a true Bollywood megastar.
Shahrukh Khan! You mean the star of the unforgettable Kuch Kuch Hota Hai? Talk about starting at the top!
Be warned, though: As a raunchy dresser by Indian standards at least Shetty is adored by millions of teenage Indian boys.
You can see what is going on. This is not a case of racism. It is lookism, plain and simple. A comparison of Goody and Shetty is unequivocal, as commentator Simon Heffer points out. Goody is a Bermondsey bigmouth while the gorgeous Shetty is vastly more articulate, experienced and thoughtful... successful, more talented, better brought-up and far better-looking. Need I say more?
Of course the British lefties just dont get it. Its not Big Brothers Fault, opines the lefty Observer.
The racial component of [Goodys] aggression was petty, no worse than is, regrettably, experienced by millions of black and Asian Britons every day... Jade Goody is no white supremacist... [Big Brother] does us a service in holding a mirror up to British society.
Oh please, Mr. Lefty! Young women like Jade Goody are the poster children of the welfare state, the consequence of people responding to the incentives carefully laid down by a century of your progressive politics. Their coarseness is designed in, a logical consequence of the moral hazard in a system that rewards pathological behavior with government benefits and subsidies.
Perhaps, though, Jade Goody really does deserve the criticism. For the truth is that she is not really a victim. Despite her chaotic childhood, Goody progressed from rolling cannabis cigarettes at four to become, at the age of 21, a dental nurse. And she has earned millions as a celebrity since her first reality TV appearance.
Everyone knows that if you are no longer a helpless victim you no longer get a pass for bad behavior. So thats why British TV viewers sensibly drew the line on her coarseness and voted her off the show as an offensive racist. And how come that a woman who thinks that Sherlock Holmes invented the toilet knows that poppadom is an ornament of Indian cuisine?
Now the Indian Tourist Board is cashing in on the incident. It took out ads late last week in the British newspapers inviting Ms. Goody to visit India.
Dear Jade Goody, read the ad, Once your current commitments are over may we invite you to experience the healing nature of India.
Whatever next? Will the market-leading poppadom processor hire Shilpa Shetty as their celebrity spokesperson?
Its all so confusing. Perhaps we conservatives just dont possess the intellect to understand the sophistication of progressive politics and the nuances of its rational ethics.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel