Arrg kxrrt!

Blog : Posts tagged with 'authoritarianism'

*

He is human, she is human

In which we don’t see the difference between genders


Yesterday’s Guardian featured a long piece, trailed on the front page, about transsexuality, and how some people have, apparently, been pushed into having sex change operations against their will. A bad, bad thing, of course – people should never be pushed or persuaded into any sort of serious medical treatment.

There’s a good reason to be a bit wary about the article, though. It’s written by feminist activist Julie Bindel, who has a long history of writing anti-transsexuality articles for the Guardian. I assume from this interview that she follows Sheila Jeffreys’ position that gender reassignment is merely a type of cosmetic surgery, and therefore automatically an Evil Thing; and she has a rather nasty authoritarian streak. She knows what is best for all of us, and anyone who thinks otherwise has been diverted from the true path by the male-driven establishment. Or something along those lines, at any rate.

It’s interesting that it comes just the day before the inauguration of Britain’s first transsexual mayor, Jenny Bailey of Cambridge. My paranoid side wondered at first if Bindel had known that was coming when she wrote her article; I doubt it, to be honest. The only downside to Bailey’s position, though, is the fact that it’s a news story at all. In an ideal world, there’s no reason for “Transsexual does X”, or Homosexual does Y” to be a news story at all, in the same way that “Woman does A” and “Minority Person does B” are disappearing from the news. Maybe one day, people really will all be treated just as people – well, I can hope, can’t I?

No comments yet. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , , , , ,

*

Permissive Society

In which the government wants to ban things


I know it’s only a few days since we last had a “the government are taking away your rights!” post on here, but I’m afraid it’s time for another one.* This time it’s not just about politics, though, it’s about sex too.

Over the past few months, the Home Office has been running a consultation exercise on what it calls “extreme pornography”, with the intention of trying to ban it. They were pushed into it by a single-issue campaign group called The Jane Longhurst Trust, who mistakenly believe that criminalising violent sexual images will make people less violent.

It would be nice if this were true, but it’s very clear that when you’re dealing with sexual fantasies and gratification, pushing things under the carpet doesn’t help. For years homosexuality, for example, was barely represented in the mainstream media, but that didn’t stop people being gay. Banning images of violent fantasies won’t prevent people having those fantasies and wanting to act them out. If the Jane Longhurst Trust’s members actually want to do some good, they would have to go out and educate the people with the violent fantasies, instead of pretending that if you can’t see the pictures, they don’t exist. Out of sight, out of mind, just doesn’t work.

Anyway, many many people have written in to the Home Office trying to point this out; and the summary of the results is due to be published. Whether they will be promoting it very heavily probably depends on whether or not they’re minded to go ahead with the proposed law very strongly, or if it will be quietly allowed to run out of parliamentary time. Whatever the government’s publicity machine does, there’s one group of people who will be publicising it heavily: the group set up to campaign against the new law. They’re called the Backlash, and if you want to learn more about what the government is trying to propose, and why it is a bad idea, they have written about it in far more depth than I have room to here. If you want the freedom to do what you like in the bedroom,** go and support them.

* Why? Because I promised someone I’d write about it.

** subject to what your partner tells you to do, of course

3 comments so far. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

*

Identity

In which we look at ID Card plans


Some good political news on the way for once: whilst The Guardian is reporting that the goverment ID card scheme is behind schedule with no firm dates set, according to The Register, the scheme is definitely out the window. This is based on a cunning analysis of the various proposals so far, which demonstrates that they can’t possibly be completed by the next election, never mind 2008 as the government has promised.

It’s hopeful news, but it doesn’t mean boneheaded, stupid government decisions won’t keep going on. For one thing, the government is palming a lot of the ID Card preparatory work off onto the Passports Agency, because its position is that the Passports Agency can do pretty much anything the government likes relating to passports, without Parliament or anybody else being able to object. The ID card scheme is getting more and more bad press as time goes on. A cynic might even wonder if some government factions are encouraging anti-card publicity, to make themselves look even better when they claim responsibility for eventually abandoning the scheme. It’s no good abandoning the concept of the little plastic card, though, if the nasty database part of the scheme is still lurking in the bowels of the Passport Agency.

No comments yet. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , ,

*

Authoritarianism

In which power goes to people’s heads


I said yesterday that politics hasn’t been interesting me lately. It’s not so much that I’m feeling a lack of interest, but I’m trying to block out just how authoritarian this government is becoming. As was shown by yesterday’s prime-ministerial speech on Justice: “Justice should mean summary justice” was one of its messages. The other was: “I want to lock up anyone I don’t like, but those nasty judges won’t let me.”

The one thing I fear, more than anything, from all of the politicians in power or likely to get into power, is that they all have a love of power more than anything else. They are addicted to legislation, swingeing, unenforcable legislation, to try to pacify whichever newspaper editor has been loudest recently. They let themselves be pushed into draconian laws by whatever cause will sell papers, purely because they think it will help them stay in their beloved offices. They have a grand, noble cause: the grand, noble cause of self-interest.

Anyway, I’m off on holiday now. I’m going to sit back, relax, and try to stay away from the latest news updates; and blog about random passers-by in the street.

No comments yet. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

*

Democracy

In which we despise the authoritarian instinct


I’ve said it before, I’m sure, but I generally dislike pretty much all politicians. Some, though, I dislike more than others.

I particularly dislike it when people tell me that draconian and illiberal laws are necessary For Your Own Good. When people tell me that removing my right to freedom from arbitrary detention is really part of preserving my right to a greater, more nebulous freedom, which always remains mysteriously vague.

But what really disgusts me, is when people use innocent deaths, horrific deaths, deaths that deeply affected you and me, to push for ever-greater authoritarianism. No amount of detention without trial would have prevented the July attacks.

That’s just a few reasons why I smiled when I heard today’s news.

(and, incidentally, anyone who does think that we do need 90-day detention without trial “because of the victims” should read what Rachel from North London has to say about it)

4 comments so far. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , ,

*

Search this site

*

Contact

E: feedback [at] symbolicforest [dot] com

IM: Ask me if you'd like to know

*

Post Categories

Artistic (118)
Dear Diary (349)
Feeling Meh (48)
Geekery (109)
In With The Old (34)
Linkery (37)
Media Addict (164)
Meta (79)
Photobloggery (94)
Political (113)
Polling (7)
Sub category (19)
The Family (31)
The Office (70)
Unbelievable (53)