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I question the AIDS establishment. Join me!

Posts Tagged ‘civil liberties’

Nuts and bolts

Monday, March 10th, 2008

“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.”
Bill Beattie

As Armando Iannucci so eloquently states in The Observer the Sunday before last, this is about “the stupidest, cack-brained, sherbert-headed nonsense more likely to do more damage to children than a pile of witches”.

Notwithstanding the slur on indigenous healing traditions of all stripes, which we’ll let pass for the moment, he goes on to say

It’s a bizarre new initiative from the Department for Education and Skills called the Early Years Foundation Stage and, like most devastatingly life-worsening initiatives, it’s been unwrapping itself slowly and unannounced, with few headlines, no votes and under the guise of safe-sounding phrases that make it appear designed for the greater good.

The EYFS is a series of targets anyone in the care of children as young as three has to aim for. They cover aspects of child education as diverse as emotional development and language skills and one would think the ambition behind them was a good one – to make sure that there’s a solid, standardised starting point for all children’s education. Except that because the targets are mandatory, it means someone other than the teachers or the school or the child-minder is telling you what to do with each child. Which is fine if the person setting the targets is sensible and a disaster if he or she is not.

Given that the targets at the moment include the obligation to make sure each three-year-old ‘understands that s/he can expect others to treat her or his needs, views, cultures and beliefs with respect’ and that the child ‘interacts with others, negotiating plans and taking turns in conversation’ (all things which it’s probably taken me more than 40 years to perfect) and given also that any child-minder actually has to fill in a form assessing this, one suspects that the target-setter might live in an ideal rather than a real world.

So let me get this straight. The good people in the Department for Children Schools and Families (sic), the DFES that was, are so concerned that their own needs, views, cultures and beliefs are respected they intend to make itcompulsory that our children have them rammed down their throats before they’ve even reached an age where they’re capable of understanding the concepts. Good one!

If we hadn’t come to expect this depressing lack of joined-up thinking from government, this would be so utterly crass as to defy belief, and takes “do as I say, not as I do” to new heights of insanity. Children, before they reach adulthood (by which time the education system has knocked all such sensible notions out of them), are programmed to learn by example. They do this unfailingly, no matter what you tell them.

So if our children are increasingly disrespectful and intolerant of each other, it’s plain there’s only one way they could possibly have learned this. Mandatory drilling of 3 year-olds will simply make the problem worse, not better.

As one respondent to the Observer article wrote

DCFS has an educational philosophy called EYFS, which requires every child in England to journey to London between Birth and 5 years. The EYFS requires each child to be assessed at 5 years to see how far s/he falls short of London. There are also detailed markers along the way, which can alert their Carers to a possible future failure to reach London by 5 years old. DCFS maintain that EYFS is flexible (you can go to London by any means of transport you like) and play-based (your play can be used to keep children on track for London), and not a curriculum (though any destination other than London is not possible) Any carer who has a different educational philosophy, such as one which sees it in a child’s best interest to spend the period from Birth to 5 years old in the countryside by the sea and go to London when they are 6/7 years old, arriving with inner self-confidence and emotional well-being, is acting illegally and Ofsted has the power to close their school/nursery/playgroup/private home. No parent has the right to choose a different journey or timescale from that prescribed by the DCFS for their child, except by keeping them at home from birth to 6/7 years old as there will be no providers allowed to cater to them. No other country in Europe has such a compulsory journey, nor such an assessment and testing regime to enforce it. Those countries which are free to arrive in London as late as 6/7 years old, are the most happy and secure in UNICEF’s 2007 study of 50+ countries.

The UK’s children scored as the least happy of all. I wonder why?

There is a petition for UK residents to sign here asking the government to reduce the compulsory status of the requirements to professional guidelines.

OpenDemocracy maintains a page cataloguing our loss of rights and civil liberties since 1997 here.

“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.”
H L Mencken

1984 in 2007

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

I was just in the process of thinking about another entry on the loss of our civil liberties when Jenni Russell in the Guardian did it for me. Her piece in today’s paper, Even if you’ve nothing to hide, there’s plenty to fear should be required reading for every British citizen.

Correction: every global citizen.

1984 in 2006

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Big Brother

“It is becoming ever more obvious that it is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.”
C G Jung, ‘The Undiscovered Self’

What a seriously depressing past 24 hours! Having taken a long and deliberate break from it, I made the mistake of paying some attention to the daily news. There should be a government health warning attached to it. Perhaps we could even get vaccinated against it?

First we have the leaders of both main political parties in the UK falling over each other to instigate the repeal of what little human rights legislation we have left. Apparently this is all in the interests of protecting us from “terrorists”. That excuse is wearing dreadfully thin these days. The simple fact is there would be no “terrorists” if our government weren’t meddling in business it’s no business trying to make business out of in the first place. So who are the real terrorists? The governments who blithely march into other countries as if they had the god-given right to do so on the basis of a lie, or the people of those countries who quite rightly object to being invaded for no good reason?

Then we have a piece in the Daily Telegraph – for those that don’t know it, a paper with rather right wing viewpoints and not one I usually find much sympathy with – by Social Affairs correspondent Sarah Womack on “the biggest state intrusion in history into the role of parents”. We are told that, subsequent to the provisions of the 2004 Children’s Act, the government is to maintain a database on the nation’s 11-12 million children, monitoring everything from their educational performance against state targets to whether or not they’re eating their five portions of fruit and veg a day, and that transgressions on more than 2 counts will automatically spark an investigation. (Quite how they propose to action this is anyone’s guess, given the startling incompetence habitually displayed by state bureaucracy at all levels of organisation, but it’s the thought that counts.)

I’m not sure where it came from, but all of a sudden John McEnroe’s voice sounded loud and clear in my head (I guess it must be about Wimbledon time again?). “You cannot be serious!” At least the leader in the same paper had the sense to highlight the sheer insanity of giving more power to state intervention in children’s lives when it was the failure of every single existing state intervention that was largely responsible for the incident that supposedly sparked off this entire initiative!

And lastly – things always seem to come in threes – there are 30 members of the medical profession attempting to cajole the population into greater uptake of the MMR vaccination, claiming there are no proven associations with autism and that the risk of not having the vaccine is far greater than having it. If these people are to be taken seriously, it really is little short of a miracle how the human race has managed to survive for so long against the onslaught of so many dangerous diseases without the benefit of modern pharmaceutical interventions. The reason we have is that we possess immune systems which, like muscles, need to be exercised if they’re to build up any strength. Childhood diseases were traditionally (and still are in many cultures) regarded as an essential part of the maturation of a healthy immune system. In some parts of India, measles is regarded as a visitation from a goddess for the developmental leap that children frequently take after a bout. And yes, there are casualities, but there will always be casualties. Sickness and death is an inescapable part of life, and survival of the fittest is nature’s way of ensuring the health of all species.

Ultimately, it all seems to be about a need to feel in control. It’s apparently acceptable for there to be casualties from vaccination, because it’s being done under human control, ostensibly for the benefit of all (leaving aside the pharmaceutical industry agenda for the moment). But it’s not acceptable to leave it up to nature to do the same thing for the same reasons, because it’s not under human control. Western society’s distrust of what created us, what we’re part of and what we’re evolving within is almost incomprehensible from any objective standpoint. Personally, I’ll take my chances with nature any time. Not least because in trying to reduce the relatively few casualties of relatively minor childhood diseases by supplanting the role of the immune system rather than supporting it, it would appear that what is being sacrificed is the immune system’s long-term strength and integrity. Is it any accident that the rise in immune-deficiency conditions and syndromes is almost an entirely post-vaccination phenomenon, and that the more pharmaceutical interventions a person is subject to, the weaker their immune system becomes?

We have naturally evolved to be cooperative but predominantly self-supporting organisms, and the ability to exist as such might be considered a partial definition of health, not least in the freedom it gives us to pursue our own paths, our own genius in life, whether that be a solitary path or one dedicated to working with others. The more dependence we place on external agencies – pharmaceuticals, bureaucracies or governments, for instance – the less ablility we have to be self-supporting, the more subject we become to the vagaries and agendas of those external agencies on which we depend, and the less freedom we have as individuals. It seems somewhat illogical that we should so willingly give up our freedoms just because some external agency claims it’s “on our side”, and continue to do so even when its actions frequently contradict its claims, while another which dosn’t make such claims we will fight tooth and claw. Giving up freedom is, after all, giving up freedom, whoever it’s given to.

Of course we need to cooperate as a species to survive and build our societies. But the willing cooperation of free individuals (government by the people for the people) is a long long way from the situation that presently obtains pretty much anywhere. It’s what we hold as our ideal. It’s what we think we’re fighting for. But it’s not what we’ve got. Isn’t it time we woke up and noticed the difference? And realised that the main repositories of power in our societies are on an express train headed in precisely the opposite direction? Western society is firmly in the grip of the oldest mafiosi trick in the book; a protection racket of global proportions.

Terrifying glorification

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

Wanted: for glorifying terrorism

“It is becoming ever more obvious that it is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.”
C G Jung, ‘The Undiscovered Self’

I feel a rant coming on …

The two houses of the British parliament are playing ping-pong with the government’s Terrorism Bill over a clause attempting to outlaw the glorification of terrorism. Whether or not it succeeds in becoming law, we’re told that a new offence to prevent indirect encouragement of terrorism is planned regardless.

This seems supremely ironic in view of the fact that the most prominent and obvious candidate to be immediately arrested and prosecuted under this legislation the moment it hits the statute books is the very man who’s so energetically promoting it. After all, what’s the invasion of a foreign nation on the basis of a lie but indirect – well OK, pretty direct as it happens – encouragement of terrorism? What is legislation which attempts to suppress the symptoms while blatantly ignoring the cause but indirect encouragement of terrorism?

The entire justification for this whole house of cards hinges on a critical event in September 2001 for which there are an extraordinary number of anomalies, illogicalities, and unanswered questions in the official version of events. Where there is a marked reluctance to address questions about the way those steel-framed buildings came down (a steel-framed building never yet having been destroyed by fire), and including a third building that wasn’t even hit by anything, in a manner so far unique to buildings collapsed by controlled demolition; about the pools of molten steel at the bases of their supporting columns still red hot weeks later; about the seismic record that shows massive shocks in the bedrock immediately before the buildings fell; about the obscene haste with which all material evidence was cleared from the site and immediately exported for reprocessing. These are questions which might well be asked in the context of the phrase on page 51 of the September 2000 PNAC report Rebuilding America’s Defences which has become the policy blueprint for the Bush administration and which states “The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” … which itself needs to be seen in the light of evidence suggesting the Roosevelt government’s complicity in the original event.

Surely it must be clear that the only effective protection from terrorism is ethical and moral government which arises from a heart-felt conviction that human rights are inviolate and the fundamental and primary motivation of every action of government? As ever there seems to be this exclusive focus on ultimates, how things appear on the surface, ignoring underlying causes and motivation. Ultimates you can spin whatever way you want. Any and all rationalisations can be made to sound plausible, but most of them need a large degree of untwisting to arrive at a true reflection of the underlying state.

Totalitarian regimes are all too easy to see for what they are when you’re looking at them from the outside. Far less easy to spot when they’re setting up shop on your own doorstep masquerading as “democracy”. Little by little, all under the guise of “protecting” the citizenry of this country, we are allowing our rights and liberties to be systematically shredded every bit as thoroughly as the Bush administration are savaging the US Bill of Rights. It seems that the ones glorifying terror are the ones in suits and ties sitting in our legislatures. The ones on the streets waving placards are no more than a token and largely impotent reaction to it.

Our rights and liberties are what generations of men and women on both sides of the Atlantic have fought and died to protect. How ironic that we should allow ourselves to be so thoroughly spooked by our own governments that we happily give them up, and create lame justifications to excuse turning a blind eye to the unanswered questions about the events of 9/11 and to the human rights abuses taking place in Guatánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

And to think I used to wonder at how the German people let Hitler get away with what he did. Now it seems all too dreadfully clear.

As Henry Porter wrote recently in The Observer:

“We have failed to grasp that when we do not protest and demand an end to atrocities committed in our name, something trips in the deep-brain cynicism of the governing psyche, which takes heart from the passivity it finds and devises more ways to control and enforce its will. It is no coincidence that the abuse of rights on foreign fields has led now to the suspension of rights at home; no accident that our plausible Prime Minister spits out the words ‘civil liberties’ as he bristles with the high purpose of his protective mission.”

“In the Garden of gentle sanity may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.”
Chogyam Trungpa

Thanks to the current insanity revolving around homeopathy in this country, in both media and blogosphere, it's become necessary to insult your intelligence by explicitly drawing your attention to the obvious fact that any views or advice in this weblog/website are, unless stated otherwise, the opinions of the author alone and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you choose to take anything from here that might be construed as advice, you do so entirely under your own recognisance and responsibility.

smeddum.net - Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard