At least he’s a Patriot…

‘At least I love this country. It’s the best in the world and I know that and I can say that. There’s nothing wrong with that, i’ll have you know!’. A while ago, when I was working in the convenience store that I used to work in, I served an elderly man with a red-face and gingery hair. From behind the till I could see the cars that the customers drove, and I remember seeing him tumble clumsily out of a very, very clean silver bentley. He stumbled drunkedly into the store, clasping at the sweet counter and picking up a Daily Mail. The free scratch cards seeped out as he trudged toward the counter. As I began scanning his items, he began talking at me (I say ‘at’, because there was little need for me to sign my consent for participation in the conversation with adequate noises of response. No no, he was making a point. I didn’t need to agree).

‘Problem with this country is all the immigrants. It’s the British who made Britain great.’ He said first, staring through me with the fervent pride of a soldier being gifted the Victoria Cross: ‘I remember a time when it was just us. Us and them. But they were over there, you see.’ Difficult as it was to follow the frames of reference here, I did so, labelling the man (tenuously, I admit) a narrow-minded xenophobe and remaining silent. I rarely react to this stigma, given that the vessels espousing such putrid bigotry are almost always intransigent and strubborn. Furthermore and rebuttal would have had me sacked. Eventually, however, his ramblings got too much.

‘I’m not saying that I’m a racist, boy-o, it’s just that this nation was a lot stronger 50 years ago, before they all came in.’ He stopped and glanced down at his Daily Mail in the plastic bag, as I had wrapped for him. ‘Well?’ He said, ‘What do you think? You’re a good English lad, aren’t you?’ I looked at him. He hadn’t looked at me having posed me this question, either because he hadn’t expected me to answer or because he was too drunk to remember that he had said it. I replied, ‘Yes, I do think. And that’s why I disagree with you.’ This took a while to register, but his face turned from red to crimson as he entered what appeared to be offensive mode: ‘What do you mean you disagree? You think that my England – the England that your grandfathers fought for – is better now that the people we were fighting are a part of it? Prfftch.’ The last word is onomatopoaeic; an attempt to correctly note the fart-like noise that he made in response to my disagreement with him. ‘I do not believe that my grandfathers fought for England. I believe that they fought for democracy and equality, and fought against Nazism, despotism and anti-semitism and racism. They didn’t fight against the Germans.’

This rattled him. He veered backwards before retrieving his balance and pusruing with what would (we both knew) be a lost cause: ‘It is offensive that you – a good English lad – should spit on your nationality. I find it offensive. You have offended me. I would like to see the manager.’ I rung the bell for the manager to come and assist. ‘I’m not an English lad. I happened to be born within boundaries that were drawn up millenia ago. That lottery shouldn’t make me have to like people from the same place and dislike people from outside it.’ He shuddered as if this point had torn straight through him, but it was obvious that it hadn’t. The manager appeared and having gone through the appropriate procedures, I refused to apologise to ‘the gentleman’ and was told that I would have to be sacked. I accepted the decision: ‘I like this country, mate,’ I said to him, ‘don’t get me wrong here. But I don’t value it over any other country simply because it is this country just like I don’t like anyone I meet automatically if they appear to me to be white and English. Not only is it illogical, but it’s also nationalistic.’ He reengaged the pride in his stance: ‘It is not Nationalism, dear lad. It’s patriotism. I am a patriot, and there’s nothing wrong with that.’ He then proceeded to vomit up the sentence at the start of this blog, before I was taken off of my shift.

I’ll never understand the logic in patriotism, as I didn’t at that time. Corrosive and divisive, it seems to me to be one of so many demons that need slaying in this world. I may be right, well, I am right – ethically, it is fatuous to claim that the lives of 50 people from one place are worth more than the lives of 50 people from another place simply because of where they happened to be born – but it seems that it will never be something on which everyone can agree. Silly stuff, really.

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The existence of God

I used to believe in God. ‘No doubt about it’, I remember saying to my friend at primary school (who agreed with me at the time on the subject) ‘if he wasn’t there, there’d be nothing left when we die’. True, true, there wouldn’t be. And there isn’t. It’s unfortunate – and will undoubtedly sound dogmatic – that I have at a reasonably young age concluded that there is no God. It means that I, like my other atheistic friends, have to face up to the prospect of death full-on; ‘no-holds barred’ as they would say in American Wrestling. It is, though, for this reason that I can learn to appreciate life for what it is: fleeting, temporary, but no less joyous as a result. Furthermore, atheism allows for an open-mindedness unknown to the religious, precisely because it does not pretend (or rather, is not deluded into believing itself to be – depending on just how cyncial one really is) to be a licence to allow entrance into heaven, and therefore hold an ultimatum over its would-be-followers. In other words, Atheism doesn’t hold the follower to ransom.

Christianity holds a variety of moral and social axioms which are deemed to be indisputable, presumably because they are ‘God-given’. Stealing is a sin, adultery is a no-no; homosexuality is a moral evil etc etc etc. Many of the maxims are good and noble: ‘do unto others’ and all that. Many, however, such as ‘thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is adomination’ are now thought of as ‘abomination’ themselves; archaic relics from a different historical context that linger like a bad smell in a damp room that not even Febreze can shift. What is important for this discussion, though, is the fact that the Christian moral code is one that is strictly enforced by the suggestion that deviance from it will result unquestionably in damnation.

This is no way of adjudicating moral truth. If anything, it appears as a totalitarian gesture of private oppression towards the masses, who are so deeply – and understandably – concerned about the prosect of death that they will kneel before any vehicle of supposed salvation that may cross their path, even if it forces them to hate homosexuals, never use a condom and give money to the parish on a regular basis. My suggestion here is that moral codes should not operate in this way. Whether one moral code allows access to heaven and another does not should not matter when considering ethics and morality, for these things should be unaccountable to all things other than their own logical value. A discussion on why it is wrong to depise homosexuality is another matter and a deep chasm of a tangent to head into, so I’ll leave that one for a while, but nonetheless we can surely agree that it is wrong to do so, yes? If we decide – as hopefully we have done – that it is wrong to discriminate against homosexuals this is not because we think that it will better our metaphysical situation, but rather because it is logically correct for us to decide so. This is how arguments should be conducted; not at metaphorical gunpoint as occurs with any religion that offers anything in favour of those who subscribe to it. 

 Atheism does not conduct itself in such a way. Therefore, proving that God does not exist (as an obvious prerequisite for atheism) is of paramount importance for it will allow for logical reasoning to progress. 

Activation post

A post simply meant to activate the links to all of the categories that I set up. Only this and nothing more.

The Nature of ‘Blog’

So then: here I am. I am a ‘blogger’. My ‘blog’ has been set up so that I can ‘blog’ about various subjects which interest or intrigue me enough to influence me to ‘blog’ about them. I have to say that I find this interesting, and, ironically, the very nature of the ‘blog’ shall be the first topic ever ‘blogged’ on my ‘blog’. That is to say that it is ironic in that the idea of a ‘blog’ is to write about things that one finds interesting enough to include in one’s ‘blog’, and that this phenomenon is interesting enough for me to ‘blog’ about it. Whilst it may sound confusing, it’s actually very funny and paradoxical.

It is intriguing because I am still racking my brains as to why I am sat here, cocooned in a darkened room whilst simultaneously writing about how I am sat here, cocooned in a darkened room. I could be doing other things, such as listening to my new ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ album or making and duly eating some of the soup that I am sure is downstairs in the food-closet, or the ‘lader’ as my mother insists on calling it; presumably because it saves time.  

I am satisfied with my conclusion that ‘Blogging’ is a wholly egotistical outing. I am to express – in as verbose a manner as possible – my thoughts and opinions on a whole host of categories of things and people are to read them and react with (the writer hopes) loud cries of agreement and praise. I will hence bolster my ego and further entrench my self-righteousness, which will be nice. That, it seems to me, is why we’re all doing it. This way we can assert ourselves as dogmatically and outrageously as possible and not face what could otherwise prove to be costly physical and emotional rebuttals. We’re safe here; we’re cocooned here. Long live the ‘blog’, and may it ‘blog’ for as long as it needs to, for this way freedom of speech is truthfully defended. Good old Internet. God (if he did indeed exist) would bless thee, probably in an e-mail.