Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.

Tag: Morality

Modernity as Moral Arbiter

Here’s a comment piece by a hero of mine from the Left, Owen Jones, who indeed celebrates the loss of the case in the Supreme Court by the Bulls today, who lost their final appeal to say that based on their religious grounds, they had a right to turn away a gay couple from their privately owned guesthouse. I’m not sure of what to make of this – though readers will know I’m a regular critic (albeit an unsophisticated one) of ‘Modernity’ or ‘Progress’ or those other Humanistic metanarratives, I do feel very uncomfortable at the precedent that this case will set.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/martyrs-guesthouse-owners-who-turned-away-gay-couple-on-religious-grounds-are-nothing-of-the-kind-8967077.html

Elsewhere, the BBC reported:

“Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said: “Sexual orientation is a core component of a person’s identity which requires fulfilment through relationships with others of the same orientation.”

Indeed, this may well be true; my question is, on what grounds, and what evidence, can you stake this ontological claim? What in any Modernist discourse actually tells you that the above is the case?

Couldn’t there equally be some postmodern critique to say that these notions of monogamous sexual relationships are merely part of a scheme of oppressive grand narratives? Why then stick to the rather Judaeo-Christian notion of a monogamous relationship, so much in vogue in the Middle Ages,  for which he shows such disdain? Surely we’ve moved past that age of bleak ignorance.

I’m not sure about this ruling, and for once I happen to strongly disagree with Mr Jones; and disgusting and odious as I find him, I think David Starkey has a reasonable solution; I am intrigued as to why the notion of an objection to what is perceived ‘morality’ on say, sexual acts, is somehow conflated with the notion of ‘homophobia’ – what has happened to the state of moral discourse and argumentation?

If indeed one is making a legal case (whether or not the subtext might reek of something more sinister), the arguments should be taken for what they are; I see no point in a judge already coming to a case with a narrative already framed.

I cannot see why, within reason, religious discourse cannot frame one of multiple narratives through which ‘modern’ liberal society can operate. I don’t see why the narrative of ‘modernism’ or ‘Progress’ ought to be favoured over any other; to say that one objects to pre-marital intercourse has nothing to do with the Middle Ages – morality shouldn’t change merely because the times have, and if it does, you ought to be very, very worried if there has been a very small body of thought put into it. Shouting ‘Equality’ is fine – but the term in and of itself is empty.

Religion has been cheapened immensely – what on earth has Southern Cafe owners got to do with this, or the book of Leviticus? Were there moral, cultural, economic (or a combination)  reasons then given? Having taken a course or two on South African history, I fail to see what ‘moral’ arguments were made to sustain those decades of apartheid… it seems to me historical forces were perhaps more important in what resulted in that very bleak period of South African history from which she has not recovered.

Would Jones be happier if they made an economic or utilitarian argument in favour of their view?

Perhaps some solid Marxist argument that the modes of production to keep this liberal edifice, in which his moral framework operates, are better served by stable family model predicated upon a man and a woman whose reproductive capacity is functional and uninhibited? Is that what we’ve come to? What hubris!

Or is he perhaps failing to see that his model of morality, predicated upon some notion of ‘autonomy’ of the self (again, what reason he has to suppose this is beyond me), is fine so long as it does not interfere with the productive capacity of the state; i.e. crudely, do what the heck you want – just keep going to work and paying your taxes and buying things.

An ardent socialist activist with a capitalist framework for ethics? At least he’s not the first. Why he’s buying into a crude economic narrative strikes of something pathologically rotten at the core of some social activists. And it breaks my heart – seeing as I happen to be of the ‘Left.’

Why, suddenly, is religion somehow one of the vestiges of an age of Ignorance – that same tyranny in which the dominant narrative that he found distasteful then is now being re-implemented, only in this case it is his own narrative that has exerted its proverbial agency.

I for one find myself within a moral universe, and though it’s not always apparent what the right thing is to do – though we have a tremendous amount of collective memory and wisdom, traditions and Scriptures that speak to this understanding – I don’t see what privileged access Mr Jones has, considering (in all fairness), that his vision of a moral and liberal world is erected upon very shaky foundations; he would do well to not rest on his laurels for too long.

I wonder what he would say if Mr Jones was informed that those in the Middle Ages found themselves in the same moral universe in which he now exists – would he have to bankrupt himself of any notion of ‘morality’ simply because those in times gone past also attested to its existence?

Jones is committing what MacIntyre (I believe) warned us of – he’s merely speaking a different language to the Bulls; I wonder if by speaking past them and not taking the time to consider the immense body of collected wisdom and thought put into their beliefs, he is indeed oppressing them by suggesting that his narrative ought to displace theirs.

“They deserve life, because we all deserve life.” – The Virtue of the Vicious

Here is my rant for this morning… long awaited I’m sure. My condition is a little treacherous  – I had this massive surge of adrenaline and so my ears are ringing furiously, my vision is blurred and the lights seem to be getting brighter all around me, though I’m sitting in near-darkness!

But that makes it a great time to vent over the last two days. I am a Muslim. I am British. I despise these salafist jihadists with every fibre of my being. Yet I will not be subject to simplistic discourses about Muslims being the enemy.

What an incredible distortion of history.

This man has utter contempt for fact.

Funnily, in two days, he has clearly seen no ‘condemnation’ coming from the community (though Mehdi Hasan seems to have been published in every possible outlet, and the now the near-legendary MCB statement is ubiquitous)… one must wonder why on earth this man seeks to absolve himself from any moral agency in terms of what his government is responsible for. Please remember this, if nothing else… our enemies…well they have families too, you know. You kill one…you devastate an entire family also.

One wonders…what about the things that he, dear Tommy Robinson, is responsible for? He speaks of the “Sunni v Shia” fury raging in Iraq…does he not realise that there was not one suicide attack in Iraq prior to his glorious troops’ invasion (yes, they were coerced…that is the nature of the military…they go where they’re sent…and yes, Saddam was a tyrant)… or the so-called ‘liberation’ of the Muslims in Bosnia only came long after Western complicity in massacres… the fact that Syrians are crying out for Western troops comes, to large degree, because of his own country’s warmongering in the region at-large, and the support of fanatic jihadists receiving material from his noble country’s government…driving the war into immeasurable depths.

The thing that I will agree with him about is our rampant support for kingdoms such as Saudi Arabia, which has promoted fanatical Takfiri and Jihadi culture/theology…and my suspicions are that most of these atrocities are carried out by people that adopt such world views. Whether they’re blowing themselves up in Iraq or in Afghanistan, or whether they’re promoting Jihad in Syria whilst ignoring the plights of their brethren in Gaza, Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar… Funny that…where’s their Jihad in Israel? Anjem Choudary was recently asked… the fact that he couldn’t answer coherently is very telling about the nature of these mercenaries and barbarians. For that is what they are. A bunch of paid lunatics…sold to the highest bidder. Only we forget that we actually own them, often. Until they go their own way and then we need to fight them again to remove the weapons from their hands, the ones that we gave them in the first place. As was said…you create the monster…and then act surprised when he behaves like one! Have a memory longer than twelve seconds, people!

But I will not be taught morality by a man who believes a government mercilessly sent troops to liberate people from a dictator, when In fact a war was started on false premises that was never supposed to overthrow him in the first place (the former was merely an excuse to justify our further adventurism, quite frankly), and not when his own government provided the aforementioned dictator the wherewithal to construct chemical weaponry to massacre his own population…when his glorious government was part of a system that led to the death of a million Iraqi children in the ’90s.

Do I support the troops? I can’t say I’m a fan of avid or avowed nationalism, or a military culture that glorifies potential death. As it stands, until there is a shift in our political culture, that “Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious” applies desperately to those that govern us. And we are fools for letting them dominate our discourse.

I don’t glorify death and I don’t like the culture of death. Because then the human body becomes an expendable biological commodity to fight someone else’s war. For me, the preservation of life is a sacred duty. But I support honour. I support the fact that the men and women entering the armed forces are convinced that they are doing so for noble causes, and their families sacrifice much when they are active.

I support them because I believe that to a a large degree, they are pawns being moved about a chessboard by an oligarchy that could not care less whether they lived or they died. They deserve life, because we all deserve life. I do not support their unnecessary deaths, including the one we saw a couple of days ago.

To say I value the life of a British soldier does not go far enough…because my moral responsibility rests on the fact that I am complicit in allowing a soldier to fight an unrighteous, morally bankrupt and illegitimate war, invariably resulting in someone else’s death… because his death could be avoided, because he deserves a chance at life, just like that of the soldier. The only thing is, the soldier goes in prepared to die…what of the innocent children being mercilessly killed by drones operated somewhere in Nevada…and now Waddington…?

What of the civilians blown-up to pieces by multiple-tonne bombs that we fire at densely populated cities…what about the infrastructural damage we committed when we broke up the entire Iraqi medical enterprise because we were afraid of Ba’athists taking over them… what about the thousands of doctors that have had to flee that country invariably causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis….

What about the hundred-thousand people in Pakistan who will now not get Polio vaccinations because the UN has had to withdraw their agents responsible for it, because American irresponsibility in capturing OBL…

I’m not saying a beheading in London was justified… don’t get me wrong. But do you find it shocking when people complain about the deaths caused by the West in the Islamic world? Maybe you fear a religious affinity – we here seem to take exception to deaths on our own soil…when “one of our own” is killed here…yet why do we not so actively condemn the deaths that we are involved in thousands of miles away… we become surprised because of the fact that these “nutters” seem to sympathise with those people so far away… maybe if we practised that sort of charity we wouldn’t need them to do it.

Because in a state of need, I’d rather have your sympathy than that of those “nutters”, for they are no friends of mine.

But don’t trade your morality so that they can fill that moral vacuum.

Yes…as the equally nuttish fellow above says…the war “is with Islam” he declares proudly – we “need to name the enemy” and so forth. So because of my metaphysical beliefs, I’m somehow an enemy of the state? Incredible.

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