My ‘the-world-has-gone-mad’ mantra is so repetitive that you may think it’s some kind of idée fixe – that, regardless of the world’s mental state, I’m the mad one.
If that thought has crossed your mind, I suggest you scan various comments made immediately before and after the RAF raids on Syria… sorry, I mean ISIS strongholds.
Pope Francis got the ball rolling by stating that Christians and Muslims “… are all God’s children, we all have the same Father… we need to live peacefully alongside one another, develop friendships.” Stoutly spoken and absolutely true.
The Pontiff then owned up to the lamentable fact that Catholics have their share of fundamentalists too. “Fundamentalism is a sickness that is in all religions,” said His Holiness. “We Catholics have some – and not some, many – who believe they possess the absolute truth…”
One would think that belief in possessing the absolute truth is inherent to faith in Christ, but other than that the statement is irrefutable. There are indeed many Catholic fundamentalists about and, I’m man enough to admit this, some of them are my close friends.
These chaps do all the fundamentalist things. They despise Vatican II, attend Latin mass every Sunday at least, go to confession once a week, pray several times a day, fast at Lent, eat fish on Fridays. One or two have even taken the vow of chastity.
There are, however, some fundamentalist things my friends don’t do, and I haven’t heard of others like them indulging in such things either.
They neither kill nor hate those who have the misfortune not to be a fundamentalist Catholic. They don’t stone adulterers. They don’t throw homosexuals off tall buildings. They don’t castrate, rape and abuse women. They don’t behead infidels on camera. They don’t blow up public transportation. They don’t mow people down by indiscriminately firing automatic weapons at crowds. They don’t fly planes into tall buildings.
Since Muslim fundamentalists do such things on an ever-increasing scale, and have been wreaking non-stop mayhem for 1,400 years, then perhaps the Pontiff’s feel-good message – and I hope I won’t be smitten by lightning for saying this – is pretty much meaningless, at best.
To reconnect with reality, His Holiness should look up the speeches made on a similar occasion in 1096 by Urban II and St Bernard. So don’t call me mad.
Not to be outdone, our illustrious PM Dave opined that Islam is “a peaceful religion hijacked by fundamentalists”. Now please re-read my above comment about the 1,400 years, which, unlike Dave’s logorrhoea, is based on factual evidence, and decide which of us is mad.
Islam seems to have a pronounced propensity to be hijacked by mass murderers, which isn’t surprising considering that, rather than being a crucified martyr, its founder used to behead hundreds of people with his own hand.
Since Dave seems to have drunk his way through university, allow me to explain something for his benefit. Namely that mass violence is always galvanised by an inner core of fundamentalists, a fact as universal as it is irrelevant.
Most Muslims don’t do the things I mentioned above. Neither did most Russians murder millions of other Russians. Neither did most Germans kill millions of Jews. Neither did most Japanese commit unspeakable atrocities. In each case the initiative came from a cadre of truly evil men – yet in each case there was something about the ambient populace that made them acquiesce.
And acquiesce they did, actively or passively, propagating evil into a global menace. That’s why the Allies bombed Germany flat, producing a huge amount of collateral damage before the term was even invented. That’s why A-bombs were dropped on Japanese cities. That’s why Nato was prepared to do the same to Russian cities.
So who’s mad, Dave or me? Who’s guilty of maniacal divorce from reality and every piece of historical and current evidence? Don’t answer that.
Then there’s Tim Montgomerie of The Times, currying favour with his American neocon friends. The neocons combine Trotskyist temperament with American jingoism and adolescent minds, which means they regard any bombing campaign as ipso facto splendid, provided it’s America that does the bombing.
They also like Britain to join in the fun, if only to remind their erstwhile metropolis who’s boss now.
“That is why,” complains Mr Montgomerie, “the rise of nativist voices in British politics, such as Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage and Nicola Sturgeon — an unholy trinity of withdrawalists — has unsettled America’s foreign policy establishment.”
I’m sure Mr Farage will be overjoyed to find himself lumped together with the other two. In any case, considering that Corbyn and Sturgeon want to transfer their country’s sovereignty to Brussels, I’m not sure how they rate the adjective ‘nativist’.
“Fortunately,” continues Mr Montgomerie, “there are signs that America may be getting over the exhaustion and loss of self-belief caused by the Iraq war.”
I’d be tempted to add that the Iraq war was in its turn caused by exactly the same neocon urges as those Mr Montgomerie is hailing in such a sycophantic manner. It’s largely because of the neocons’ maniacal and ill-founded self-belief that we got into this mess to begin with.
This is yet another example of any touch with reality hopelessly lost, and it’s not to be found anywhere one looks. So I’ll say it a thousand times if I’ve said it once: the world has gone mad. It’s the only sane thing to say.