Thursday, August 13, 2015
Your Bed, Sir
Okay, I'll field this one, if nobody else fancies it.
The following doesn't all hold good for James himself but a lot of it really does, and it'll do fine to illustrate the broad range of Oh-No-Why-Does-The-Left-Say-(x) type pundits throughout the land.
So, why is nobody asking questions about Jeremy Corbyn's worrying connections?
1) Because you can only shout about large lupine predators so many times before people just automatically assume that there is no wolf.
Many people, myself included, have spent years repeating variations on the following points:
If your reaction to every war or military occupation and so forth is to completely ignore the mounting bodycount and to instead focus on
- Poring over the internet in the hope of tracking down photos of anti-war protesters waving swastikas and the like, because you just know that they're all secret Nazis, and
- Snuffling out whatever seven-degrees-of-separation horseshit you can root out to denounce any and every medium-profile public figure who has the temerity to say that they don't much like wars or military occupations...
...then sooner or later, people are going to assume that you are a hack and that your opinion isn't worth listening to, even when you're right.
This is problematic, because there are occasions when people really should pay attention to you, if you're making an important point. These occasions might include, say, if it turns out that a popular political figure has previously defended one of the country's more obvious wacky racists.
If you've previously expended most of your credibility by using really shitty and smeary arguments to e.g. defend or distract from a whole string of insanely violent and ridiculous wars however, lots of people are not going to be inclined to listen to you, no matter how important your objection is.
- Similarly, if you've spent many long years barracking respected NGOs for minor offences and non-crimes - especially if you restrict the barracking to organisations that tend to publicly disapprove of your pet causes - then lots of people are, once again, going to ignore you, even if you eventually hit a target or two.
2) If your mainstream, centrist politics include acceptance or endorsement of any of the following:
- Supporting far nastier policies on asylum and immigration, because it plays well with nastier sections of the electorate;
- Arming Middle Eastern human rights abusers to the damn teeth;
- Being photographed planting sloppy kisses on, say, Colonel Gaddafi or Hosni Mubarak, or the King of Saudi Arabia's corpse;
- Talking out of both sides of your mouth when e.g. the Egyptian military starts shooting protestors and executing its political opponents;
- Bombing, invading and occasionally occupying other countries for no sane reason, or
- Detaining people without trial in black jails and torturing the piss out of them...
...Amid a very wide variety of similar forms of bullshitty excuse-making for bad behaviour that you'd never let your opponents away with, lots of people are quite likely to dismiss any reasonable points that you make now. Because you have beshitted your own reputation, see?
Now, saying all this, we should remember that it really is a problem in left wing politics, if something like Jeremy Corbyn's comments on nutty racist propagandists doesn't seem to ring any alarm bells.
That said, it's worth noting that part of the reason why nobody can hear alarm bells ringing now is that quite a lot of less-than-entirely-honest people have spent the last fifteen years or so ringing bells like a crowd of coked-up campanologists on a three-day blowout.
Why, it's almost like actions have consequences, or something.
And to repeat myself, repeating myself - none of what I'm saying here should be news. Lots of us have spent quite a lot of time issuing long and boring warnings along these lines, to precisely no effect.
Well. Your bed, sir - you have made it, and now all of us have to lie in it, for good or ill.