Clarity in thinking 

“I do like clarity and exact thinking. And I do think that’s very important to mankind. Because when you allow yourself to think inexactly your prejudices, your bias, your self-interests, comes in ways you don’t notice and you do bad things without knowing you do them. Self-deception is very easy. So that I do think clear thinking is immensely important.” 

  • Bertrand Russell

There is actually a clip of Russell speaking these words which can be seen here.

What drives man?

All human activity is prompted by desire. There is a wholly fallacious theory advanced by some earnest moralists to the effect that it is possible to resist desire in the interests of duty and moral principle. I say this is fallacious, not because no man ever acts from a sense of duty, but because duty has no hold on him unless he desires to be dutiful. 

  • Bertrand Russell, as he accepted the Noble Prize in Literature (1950)

Manchester suicide bombing. Let’s talk honestly. 

Officials, ministers, celebrities and dignitaries have expressed their disgust at the nailbomb attack that has killed 22 and wounded more than 50 people, many still in hospital. They’ve all condemned it, and many have said something along the lines of “praying for the victims”, “a cowardly attack on innocent people”, or “we stand united.” 

Alright, so we’ve got the meaningless nonsense out of the way, now we can talk honestly. 

The 7/7 attack on Britain wasn’t bad enough for British politicians to significantly change their views. That is, to really crack down on groups that have at their aim both non-violent street preaching calling for Britain to become a totalitarian theocracy, as well as violent attacks both within their own communities as well as on the general populace. And on that day 52 people were killed and more than 784 injured. So there’s a pretty good chance that absolutely nothing will change after what happened at the Arena. 

The UK government doesn’t seem to have a strategy to end this violent ideological war. Mosques generally expel those who preach violence. But as long as they allow speakers to preach very harsh intolerance and sometimes hate towards certain Western norms and express Islam as something separate from the West creating an underlying current of Us versus Them, at a theological level, then the seeds for those eager to use violence and their justifications will have already been sown. 

The UK government should use its powers to crack down on these outlaw groups that mosques have expelled. With a new enemy to fight, the government should review its tactics thoroughly, learning from similar events both in recent and ancient history. Particularly looking at Islamic extremism abroad, for example in Egypt. These outlaws abuse freedom of speech to gain recruits for their aim of theocratic government. Violence is an acceptable means for them. 

Unfortunatly I don’t think that the UK government will tackle the issue because it is still plagued, as are all European nations, by the scars of the Second World War. They see a harsh crackdown on Islamic centres or groups that have been rejected by mosques as either an infringement on religious freedoms and human rights of Muslims or an action that could legitimise the claims of a small British undercurrent (think EDL) which they fear will lead to violence towards Muslims. 

I can only say that right now there is still a good chance to implement policies that solve the issues at hand. And most importantly, if explained well there will be support for it. 

What I fear most is that extremist groups will grow stronger, and that the soft and innefective measures that we have now will irritate Muslims who have nothing to do with these groups while the rest of society gets deeper suspicions and maybe hatred of Muslims because the government can’t stop violent attacks. The combination of which will inevitably breed more violence, worse than we are experiencing now.

Bad behaviour 

Do not reward bad behaviour. 

Sometimes it is difficult to recognise bad behaviour. It can be presented to you as a call for pity or empathy. It can be disguised.

You can tell good from bad behaviour partly by the intentions of the person claiming victimhood, are they virtuous? 

Or are they hypocritical? Would they offer you their empathy in a similar situation or are they only in it for themselves? Maybe they just want to get one up on you? Use your empathy against you.

In any case, when you encounter bad behaviour:

Ignore it.

If you can not ignore it then condemn it.