Sunday, 22 February 2015

Disarming fanatics, one platitude at a time

The Flying Rodent does some good polemic and, more often than not, the guy has a good point to make. But, as you'd expect, I'm not totally on board with his takedown of this article:
I'll say this for Cameron and Obama - they at least have the savvy to spot that a militia full of murderers that attracts members by claiming to represent real Islam would probably be delighted if the US and UK to declared that yes, IS is properly Islamic and shit.
I guess that this must be the sort of "savvy" pioneered by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the brainchild of that guy whose visionary interfaith talkathon has demonstrably brought so much peace and understanding to the contemporary Middle East. Sarcasm aside, I haven't noticed any peace dividend being paid out in return for politicians' investment of thousands of reflexive platitudes about respect for great religions and the reprehensible impiety of those whose supposed religious devotion manifests itself an a distressingly antisocial manner.

It's almost as if the politicians' intended audience was actually intelligent enough to realise that they might just be saying these sort of things because it's diplomatic to say them, rather than because they actually believe* any of the stuff that happens to come out of their mouths. I suspect that for your average, non-violent Muslim in the street, this sort of rhetoric is about as compelling as the " hard-working families" blather pols trot out when they want the rest of us to believe they respect us.

And the idea of Islamic State leaders and sympathisers being swayed by non-Muslim politicians parroting the obligatory "great religion" sound-bite is about as likely as Tory politicians being swayed by the Church of England's 'moral vision' thing, when True Believers in the Free Market (peace be upon it) already know that it is only 'easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God', if the rich man in question lacks the foresight to deposit his wealth with HSBC's High-Net-Worth, Tax-Efficient Camel-Through-The-Eye-Of-A-Needle savings vehicle, including complimentary travel insurance and a free in-branch Toblerone.

Maybe, rather than prattling on about "fundamental and deep respect" for people's sincere devotion to religion/England flags/other stuff that they clearly couldn't give a monkey's about but feel it's politic to defer to, politicians should just stick to talking about the stuff they really care about. Like what they actually got into politics to improve and how, specifically, they propose to actually go about doing it. And shut up about whether or not certain actions or attitudes fall within or outside the ambit of a belief system they don't actually share.

Some may think that such facile insta-respect is "savvy", but there are better words. Like "insincere", "patronising", "manipulative" and "ineffective." Stick to what you know and substitute substitute silence for half-truths and platitudes about stuff you neither know nor care about and, who knows, you might even start to sound more like an honest broker whose word can be trusted than a flattering chancer saying what he or she thinks the audience wants to hear.

*Although the Reverend Blair himself added a further level of deception to the twaddle - he didn't just peddle such platitudes, but managed to convince himself they were true.