26 August 2008

Only a Coward is Totally Innocent

Innocence is vastly over-rated. Besides being virtually impossible to attain, who would want to be a member of the cowardly, mediocre innocent? We live by various overlapping systems of ethics. Our society is divided along the lines of different ethical systems. We are taught that innocence is good, so we want to be "innocent", but if we act in the real world--which we must--we necessarily break ethical rules of one system or another.

For example, to many ideologues it is impossible for a person of European extraction not to be a racist. The accused may protest the charge, asserting that they are not racists, that they have close friends among the minorities, work amicably alongside persons of colour, and may even be married to a non-European. It does not matter. They are racists by the very definition of some ethical system. And since in this society, persons guilty of "racism" cannot be members of polite company, the guilty must be driven out. That is merely one example of the assortment of "original sins" bestowed on large groups by the dominant ethical system in modern academia, media, and much of society at large (post-modern faux-multicultural monoculturalism).

Everyone who exists, acts, more or less. It is not possible that anyone is truly 'innocent.' That is just how oppressive police states like it, since "having something on everyone" is the best way of staying in control. It is also how political activists like it, because they do not have to actually prove someone's malfeasance to have that person fired, disgraced, or driven from public life.

The pretense of innocence is necessary if one is to make a life of loud and pompous judgments against others. And the best way of maintaining a pretense of innocence is not to act, overtly, other than performing acts of loud, clangorous judgment. Such loud ceremonial or demonstrative acts of judgment are best done in groups--as in protest marches, echo chambers, or political rallies. The strength of numbers in pronouncing judgment should never be underestimated by anyone susceptible to a lynching.

When susceptible to attack, a feeling of safety may be found within anonymity inside a group--as in a school of fish or a herd of grazing animals. An even stronger feeling of safety is anonymity within the group that is doing the attacking. A member of a lynch mob who stays back a bit from the front can be safe from the mob, yet still claim innocence.

Politicians exhibit this sort of "leading from behind" behaviour as often as possible. Particularly legislators, who are far less restricted in the claims they can make during campaigns, if their records are somewhat "undistinguished." A clear record of overt action can be somewhat inconvenient when conjuring up conveniently changeable images of oneself--depending upon the audience of the day.

When claiming the role of innocent judge of the guilty, it is best for one's prior actions to be few and mild, somewhat obscured, or conveniently deniable.

These innocent judges are not of any use to anyone whatsoever, but it is possible for them to acquire loud and powerful public voices, and to rise to positions of significant power in government, academia, media, and society. Particularly in a strongly divided political environment, the more chameleon-like a person can make himself, the better his prospects--up to a point.

What kind of society would grow such cowardly innocents to prominence? Dangerously brittle societies. Probably the society in which you live.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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