Monday, February 3, 2020

Postcard From Parliament Square

Pouring beer on the flag of the European Union is a thing somebody did. Photo credit to PA/Independent.

Not a postcard from me, but from Tom Peck for The Independent, observing how "on Friday 31 January, between the hours of 9pm and 11pm, Westminster’s Parliament Square played host to a static, knuckle dragging carnival of the irredeemably stupid."
I’ve listened back now to the sound on my dictaphone that records Britain’s moment of liberation and it goes exactly like this: “Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four! Three! Two! One! FREEDOM!!!! YEAAAASSSS!!!! F****** FREEDOM!!!! WE F****** DID IT!!! F****** FREEDOM!!! F****** DO ONE!! F****** DO ONE!!!!”
It seems as worthy a catch phrase of the moment as anything else. F****** do one! Who exactly? Absolutely everyone. It doesn’t matter. Just f****** do one. Put that, as they say, on the side of the bus....
We have become the first country to throw off the yoke of an oppressor whom nobody else considers themselves oppressed by. We have won our freedom from our own imagined nightmares. We have liberated ourselves from the terrors of the monster under the bed that was never there. We are the children that never grew up.
Today, The Independent is informing its readers that
Donald Trump is facing fresh ridicule after tweeting his congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs after they won Super Bowl LIV by saying they represented “the Great State of Kansas... so very well” when the team is, in fact, based in Missouri.
One of the most disturbing things for me about this Revolt of the Stupid is the way it calls into question everybody's commitment to democracy. The rebels, of course, have no interest in democracy; they're interested in owning the libs, permanently, and would rather not be asked to think about anything else. They gladly surrender their political power to an authority, preferably one as stupid as they are, who's willing to tell them all the lies they can listen to. But we, too, in our disgust that such people as Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are enabled to exercise that sort of democratically obtained power, are we really interested in democracy? Are we really not tempted to wish we could, at least, exclude the stupid from power? Are we really not secretly inclined to long for the rule of Plato's philosopher kings? Not, strictly speaking, undemocratic philosopher kings—I'd like underlings like me to be listened to—but more like a kind of weighting in the distribution of political power in which you get more if you know there are two Kansas Cities and only one has an NFL franchise, or grasp that the European Union isn't responsible for the presence in England of immigrants from the Caribbean and and South Asia.

I hope I'm not thinking that way. I hope I'm thinking the opposite way, that stupid people are in the minority and more effective democracy (bringing in the people who are smart enough to be too cynical to vote) would keep them out of power.

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