"It seems to cheapen our discourse, to turn people off politics, to make those involved stupider and less able to think and to turn our politics further and further into a mob driven chaos. Its always worth remembering that what we are attempting to do is to break a cycle that the ancient Greeks perceived whereby democracy turned through the accusatory abuse of mobs into a tyranny. It is necessary in my view for us to stop this way of discussing politics."Managing a relatively low-readership blog, Gracchi can probably get away with this kind of statement without becoming a magnet for every living fuckwit. However, Martin Kettle has been saying something similar in recent months on CiF. I know that this would normally come under the 'kicking the village idiot' heading (something I'm less and less averse to doing as I get older) but - to illustrate this point, here is a (non-exhaustive) sample of the comments under one such post: from a couple of months ago (plenty more where that one came from as well):
WeeperWhat does all of this prove? Well, apart from illustrating Gracchi's point further (as though it needs it!), it also shows that Nick Cohen is, fundamentally, right to get worked up about the ravings of the lumpenintelligencia in as far as it stretches beyond the traditional boundaries of the SWP / CPGB / suparannuated WRPers.
"Blair has turned out to be a serial liar and criminal who, if it were a just world, would be in The Hague facing charges of multiple crimes against humanity and war crimes. At home he would be facing any number of enquiries, and impeachment if MPs had any regard for principles and not just getting re-elected."
"Are you angling for some kind of honour in Blair's retirement list, or what? One can only guess what your ill-conceived motives are."
"Blair and his suits at BAE are the corrupters and you Martin Kettle would like the rest of us to be the corrupted. Well we're not going to accept the role. You join them in their imorality by spinning for them but don't try to salve your conscience by involving the rest of us."
"It is also worth remembering that Bliar and his government (and their apologists) stand accused not only of dishonesty, but of hypocrisy. This government swaggered into office claiming to be against such compromises, inconsistent behaviour and morally questionable decisions, and determined to uproot them. Instead they have made themselves comfortable with these trappings of power. Is everybody you know a hypocrite as well?"
"Everyday I feel this country moves closer to being a Bananna Repubic."
"If I were Editor I wouldn't just have spiked this poison, I'd have sacked Kettle on the spot for presenting it. I've asked this before - who is paying him, apart from the Guardian?"
"..you may think political prostitution is fine - there are many of us out here who don't... when will you be getting a job as a nulabour spin merchant...?"
"I've got this one from Mr Kettle filed under Blair-apologist's smokescreen, and as far as blaming myself for all this goes, count me out."
"you couldn't find a better example of the corruption of the media by nulab than this brown-nosing article by you Kettle. The reason Kettle thinks the rest of us lead such compromised lives is because he obviously hangs out too much with other criminals - the newlabbers who have obviously got his number - and because, as is clear from his articles, he has absolutely no principles or integrity."
"I hope to God that if you have children your wife has some sense of Right and Wrong and the courage to live by that knowledge."
"Mr Kettle, you are a sycophantic creep. The only thing that makes me more depressed than the twats we allow to rule over us is the spineless idiots queueing up to court their favour."
"Now, I don't want to appear paranoid or anything, but the way Kettle writes stikes me as something someone might write to order, rather than something that emanates from one's natural personal being. On the other hand, he could, of course, be an obnoxious authoritarian bourgeois asshole who thinks blaming a corrupt society is a way of shifting the focus away from a discredited authoritan government and state of which he approves, and which is only interesed in paying lip-service to the democratic process. One can only wonder.
Hitler blamed the German people for Germany's downfall. It was their failure. His people let him down.
It seems Kettle, in his defence of Blair, and also, by definition, Blair's poodle and saviour Lord Goldsmith, makes one wonder what his game is. What he's saying is remarkably similar to Hitler blaming his people for things going wrong."
The winner,though, is.....
"You speak for yourself Kettle. You can be as 'black' as the pots running our country but that is no excuse. It's a reason to remove you as well from any corrupting influence over the populace.
I mean, what the hell do we vote for? Surely a primary consideration is the honesty of the politician? If it wasn't why do they pretend to be honest? They'd be better off saying "i'm the slimiest, most deceitful, unscrupulous sleazebag but will use these talents for pursuance of national interest". Oh but that is too honest.
Personally i would not vote for anyone who i thought might be less honest than myself. Sadly this includes the entire parliament. I would suggest everyone considers that before deciding whether to participate in this 'democracy'.
Democracy does not work."
And the runner up is......
"Morality is a conception that has been contrived mostly by religious and cultural elites out of pure intellectual vanity. Unfortunately, human nature does not come prepackaged with an ethical foundation to natural reason. Whatever morality exists is whatever a culture can inculcate to its members. And that relativity and limitation is at the heart of every problem facing the modern world.
It is worth remembering that even the freedoms governed by our principle of law comes with the threat of reprisal if one strays outside the conduct it defines. That humanity has evolved and mastered a rudimentary form of morality suggests it might even be possible to grow in that direction? But any existing moral authority is well past its sell by date. Which may explain why so little progress is being made both within western democracies and in the rest of the world."
(Cross-posted at the Trots. Comments enabled there, not here).