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Good riddance 2004

Winamop finds itself forced by the year 2004 into the dangerous practice of sober meditation, without jokes, frippery or tasteless extravagance. Thus:

1. Each problem in government proves more difficult to solve than expected. The definition of a real problem is a problem for which there can be no contrived solution. Such a problem must be left to fade, modify, move elsewhere, or unravel.

2. If a particular problem is in this category we shouldn't blame politicians for their failure to solve it.

3. What we are entitled to blame politicians for is the pretence that they are solving a problem when they are only meddling in such a way as to make the awkward more intractable. Or for leading us into a situation without thinking through the possible consequences : as, for example, entering a pre-emptive war in Iraq based upon a prospectus which they knew to be false, and which most neutral observers could see would, if implemented, make matters worse. Or introducing policies which contradict one another. Or taking a series of steps which damage our rights, liberties and established legal assumptions with the excuse that this will inhibit terrorists. It won't. Or subordinating our interests entirely to those of another State - in this case, the U.S.A. Indictment of the present Government could continue indefinitely . But it won't. We need a cup of tea. The Conservative opposition would, of course, prove no better in any respect.

4. Let us, as an experiment, note carefully - if we can obtain information which would enable us to do so - whether "pledges" given by various governments and public bodies to help reconstruction after the Earthquake are in fact fulfilled. The pledges made to Afghanistan have not been, and the situation in Iraq gets worse by the day.

5. Let's also watch carefully the way in which Government and Civil Service implement the new Freedom of Information Act. Our guess is that they are already working out methods of avoiding the provision of any information they find it inconvenient to reveal. This can easily be done by stating that to reveal it would be 'against the public interest.'

6. The reactions of religious establishments to the Earthquake have been interesting. Some apologists seemed embarrassed at the inadequacy of their arguments. Some were merely dogmatic. 'Faith1 does nothing to answer the questions posed by reason. If there were indeed a God who influences events and intervenes in history, then in the light of events such as the Earthquake, that God must seem unjust, malevolent, or indifferent.

To inform us, alternatively, that misfortune in this life is the result of faults committed in a previous life is not only unlikely in itself, but in the face of 170,000 deaths in a single disaster, involving people of all races, creeds and histories, we are surely entitled to ask: 'What former lives? Can you produce evidence confirming this theory for all 170,000 individuals?. A lot of those women and children looked pretty innocent to us.'

7. Common sense, such as it is, tells us that Earthquakes behave as earthquakes, according to natural laws, and do not choose their victims. This makes no comment whatsoever on the existence or character of a Creator who does not intervene, who may or may not be absent on other business, non-existent, or completely beyond our understanding and imagination. What is above or behind or beyond nature, despite all the discoveries of science, remains a fundamental mystery. The further discoveries go the more mysterious the universe becomes. We should rejoice in this mystery. If we knew everything there is to know then experiment, exploration and creativity would cease, and freedom become illusion. If freedom does not exist then life is meaningless. Something fundamental is hidden. To be dogmatic about its nature is unwise.

8. It may be that the universe is purposive and we have the task of furthering that purpose, which without our efforts could not be achieved, but we can't know this, so let's recognise the authentic difference between truth and falsehood, between goodness and wickedness, and attempt to act accordingly. Winamop might have theories about all these matters, but theories are no use without proof, so here we are, earthquakes are earthquakes, people are people capable of great generosity and life is strange, terrible, interesting, dangerous and wonderful.

If as governments or individuals we make a pledge we should honour that pledge, and act by mutual aid to maintain civilised life. And that's enough to be going on with.

9. Have you noticed, by the way, that women run the world? They don't rule it, they run it. Those who rule it are corrupted by their power to do so. That's why we have to keep such a beady eye on them. We can't control earthquakes but people in every country can do their best to prevent the manipulators and would- be dictators from getting total control over the integrity of ordinary human beings.

A fruitful and creative 2005 to everyone who has had the patience to read all this.



© Winamop. January 2005

Read old page 94s here.


© Winamop 2004