A town in Australia was recently the scene of an unwelcome spectacle when some miscreant hoisted a Nazi Swastika flag from a tower.
One resident was ‘sickened and appalled’; another, ‘offended and disgusted’.
Now that got the old grey matter stirring. Ruffians pull these stunts in order to provoke a reaction, and that is exactly what prevailed. Emotions were stirred, and it was pulled down faster than a film mogul’s pants.
Job done, right? A swift round of applause for the hapless civil servant who no doubt welcomed the opportunity to shin up another greasy pole.
Well, not really. Yes, a symbol of hate was removed. After all, flying a flag does rather suggest that approval for a cause. Right-minded citizens wouldn’t want to touch a Nazi banner with a flagpole, so to speak.
So, all that was achieved was the removal of a token. An in due course – buoyed by the impact it doubtless had – somebody will put up another one. Or do something else to remind us all that the hate never went away. Another flag, some spray paint, who knows? But it will happen again.
Sadly, in terms of striking a blow for decency, everybody has failed to hit the barn door at 10 paces. Amidst all the emotion and offence, nobody grasped the nettle to get factual about why extreme right-wing politics and hatred are so dangerous. Talk about missing a golden opportunity and if that arises from complacence then it’s lamentably misplaced.
When extremism rears its ugly head, the only course of action is to initiate a debate and torpedo it with facts. There’s no more effective way to conquering it. The nutters are no longer able to hide behind their banners and symbols. I remember when Nick Griffin, chief BNP brownshirt, was given a panel seat on BBC’s Question Time. Many were up in arms about it, calling for a boycott of the show just for offering him a platform. He duly rocked up, and the panel proceeded to eviscerate him to the extent that even the minority ethnic audience members wanted it all to end.
Call it out and defeat it with logical rationale. That’s how democracy works.
Now, when you talk about hate incidents, there are, apart from the perpetrators, three other groups of folk in society:
- The targets of these incidents whose offence and vulnerability are palpable, and it’s right that they should express these feelings.
- Morons who unthinkingly follow any populist or narrow bullshit.
- The educated and switched-on, who absolutely know what is right and wrong.
It’s the responsibility of this latter group to take the lead and to make the counter-arguments that rejects hatred. That is the educational version of noblesse oblige.
If they do this effectively, they educate the morons (and hopefully the perpetrators), and all three groups coalesce into a majority that not only rejects hate but understands why. That debate and educational process then needs to continue ad infinitum as new people are ascending into the moron group. It’s how societies effectively combat extremism.
But all too easily, the educated and articulate focus on their (supposed) offence and fail to tackle the issues with sound argumentation and education.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the liberal elite. They mirror the display of emotion, ensuring that their ‘offence’ occupies centre stage, but these clowns are not offended at all. Beneath the facade of concern, this is all about them – a self-appointed, superior stratum who appropriate ‘suffering’ but of course never feel the real pain. In fact, extremism has to exist as a catalyst for their agenda and oxygen. Without it, they’d have nothing against which to rail as a comparator for their own self-righteous credentials.
So, with a deft hop, skip, and jump onto the virtue-signalling bandwagon. they keep it on a purely emotive track and bolstering their own holier-than-thou positions, they strangulate the opportunity to effect real change.
You see, in wallowing in their own offence, the fundamental issues never reach the debating chamber. The exploration of what hate is, an understanding of how it gains traction, and the achievement of a majority for its rejection should be our objectives. And it’s not just about political extremism. It encapsulates racism, homophobia, and all manner of hate.
Yet ironically, they use precisely the same mechanisms as the extremists. In many ways, they are as bad if not worse. It’s sickening opportunism. And it’s one reason why centrist politics – and extremism – have flourished in recent decades.
So, next time you hear ‘disgust’ or ‘offence’ from a member of the privileged majority, kindly tell them that the only words we need from them should form an alternative, substantial kind of riposte.
Nobody needs their crocodile tears.
In the meantime, the hate-mongers won’t mind. They’ll be getting a free run at reviving their hatred and are already pencilling in a date for the next flag-hoisting.unsplash-logoRajeevan MSN