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Sunday, February 20, 2011

SOCIETY – WHERE DID IT ALL GO SO TERRIBLY WRONG?

Seems to me that the recent riots and revolts in Greece, Tunisia, Cairo, Bahrain and Libya are not about democracy, nor about religion, and – in a way – they are not even about politics.
Seems to me that they’re about human rights.
A revolt against the corruption of bankers and governments, each working hand-in-glove to milk ‘the system’ for all they can; a revolt against a ruling party, managing a country by tyrannical dictate, enforcing ‘laws’ with threats of violence and incarceration; public protests against politicians robbing the taxpayer through fraudulent expense claims…they are all saying the same thing.
We – the people – gave you the power to serve us, not to serve yourselves;
We – the people - gave you the authority to manage our finances, to design and enforce laws that protect the majority against the criminal minority;
We - the people – entrusted you with the education of our children, with the responsibility of assisting us as parents and guardians of the next generation to ensure that the next generation was literate, compassionate, well-educated, responsible, productive, all the qualities that are required to make a society work.
And what have you done?
You have lied, deceived, misled, sought personal gain above the well-being of the communities you serve.
You have failed to design and enforce laws that serve the majority.
You have permitted the education system to be corrupted by psychologists and psychiatrists, who – serving their own personal and financial goals – have invented such conditions as ‘attention deficit disorder’ and ‘attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’ as an explanation as to why ‘certain children’ can’t be taught, and to justify administering life-threatening drugs that destroy their mental and emotional well-being before their lives have even really begun.
Last week I wrote a four-page letter to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education. I asked some specific and pointed questions:
Why are children no longer taught to read?
Why are we closing libraries, one after the other, when a local library is one of the very few places where real reading is encouraged?
Why are we asking ourselves for the reasoning behind closing the libraries when it is plainly obvious – people are not reading any more, and why are they not reading? Because we are not teaching them to read in school. It doesn’t seem so difficult to understand, does it?
How can we go back to the teaching itineraries of past decades? How can we do that? That should not be so hard.
My son, now fourteen, had to write an essay about the book, ‘Kestrel for a Knave’, by Barry Hines. A great book. A book I read in school and thoroughly enjoyed. He wrote the essay. It was a perfectly good essay. I asked him how much he enjoyed the book. ‘Oh,’ he replied. ‘we didn’t have to read the book. We just watched the film in English class…’
Just before Christmas I gave a series of lessons about Text Transposition (taking prose, for example, and turning it into a play or film script) at a local Sixth Form College. I attended three classes, thirty-five English Literature AS-Level students in each class. Not one of them had heard of Truman Capote. Nor had they heard of Faulkner, Hemingway or Steinbeck. A number of them had heard of Tolkien ‘from The Lord of the Rings ‘ films, but none of them were aware that those films were based on a book. Of the one hundred and fifteen students I spoke to that day, seventeen and eighteen years old, all of them approaching their AS Level exams, only nineteen had ever read a complete book in their lives. Nineteen.
I had read nineteen complete books before I was ten years old.
Their English Literature Module consisted of two assignments: Read Chapter One of ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ by Thomas Hardy. Secondly, read Chapter One of ‘The Color Purple’ by Alice Walker. Why read only one chapter? Very simple answer to that! Because the examination requirement was the same in each case: ‘Describe, in your own words, how this novel begins.’ That was what they would be asked come examination time.
When I did O-Level at sixteen years of age back in 1981, we studied the following works: ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale’ from ‘The Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffrey Chaucer; ‘The Merchant of Venice’ by Shakespeare’; ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding, and ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. We read both novels three or four times. We discussed them in class. We did watch the films, but the films were a ‘reward’ for working so hard, and we only saw the films after we had thoroughly studied the books. After the films we discussed how the films didn’t even come close to conveying the power of the books.
As far as Chaucer was concerned, we dissected Chaucer. We studied the language. We recognised the origins of modern language, as well as the Old English, Greek and Latin sources beyond that. We really learned about the evolution of our own mother tongue, because it was considered important.
And Shakespeare? After Chaucer, well Shakespeare was a breeze! We read that play; we each took characters and enacted the play in class; we read it again; we studied revision notes; we made our own revision notes. We discussed the issues of racism, bigotry and greed. Then we watched the BBC adaptation with Warren Mitchell as Shylock. Towards the end of term, as a class award for doing so well in the mock exams, the teacher took us to Stratford and we saw the RSC production of ‘The Merchant of Venice’. We enjoyed it so much that we made a deal with the teacher. If we did well at exam time, would he take us back to Stratford to see ‘Twelfth Night’? He agreed. We worked extra hard. We went back to Stratford and we did see ‘Twelfth Night’.
In our classes no-one was ‘dyslexic’. No-one had ‘attention deficit disorder’. I was at a school for ‘orphans and wayward children’ established by a trust fund. Everyone ‘came from a troubled background’, some of them from the worst backgrounds you can imagine, and yet none of them employed this as an excuse to be impolite, rude, discourteous, unproductive or violent. No-one was caught with a knife. Teachers were not assaulted.
The reality is that society has fallen to pieces.
It is a cliché to speak of values, but values have disappeared.
I was in the supermarket the other day, and yet again – standing at the till – I was assaulted by the same explosion of banal and mindless ’headlines’ across the newspapers and magazines. There seems to be rash of pointlessly idiotic periodicals that cater…to whom? So-and-so has been cheated on by her husband; such-and-such a person had a nosejob that went wrong; look who’s put on three pounds in weight since we photographed them last week… Basically the Katie Price/Jordan phenomena of ‘the celebrity lifestyle’. In a survey conducted last year it was discovered that over seventy percent of surveyed children, aged between five and twelve, when asked what they intended to be when they grew up, replied ‘a celebrity’. When asked what they wished to be celebrated for, they didn’t understand the question.
Katie Price is a role model for our children? Wasn’t she a sex-worker just a short while ago?
Is it only me? Am I the only one who does not care in the slightest for the mindless banalities of ‘celebrity personal problems’? Does it really matter that Kerry Katona is in rehab again? How does that affect my life? How does knowing this improve the quality of my existence, or the well-being and security of my family? If I fail to know that some footballer has been seen in a nightclub with some other footballer’s girlfriend, am I not going to be able to perform so well at my job? Is my salary going to be docked when I am questioned about these important issues?
Probably not.
Sadly, the ‘Chat’, ‘Closer’, ‘Heat’, 'Big Brother’ society is here to stay. I trust it will not stay long. I work as hard as I can to remain optimistic, but it is hard work!
I believe that if people were really taught to read in school, if they had a love of literature and learning instilled in them at an early age – as we did – then this kind of mindless dross would just be left aside, or would never have appeared in the first place. I think that’s right.
Which goes back to the first point I was making. This situation with education is merely a symptom of a sick society. It has been said that the downfall of every great civilization has been preceded by a rise in sex and violence as forms of entertainment. Now, I am no prude! Just read my books. I can write sex and violence as well as anyone. But sex and violence as the only form of mass audio-visual entertainment? I think we’re already there.
People are not crazy. People are not naturally anti-social and dangerous. Bigotry, intolerance and racism are not inherent in the human make-up. Humanity is inherent in the human make-up.
Propaganda and lack of education create racism, intolerance, religious and political discrimination. These are created conditions. They are manufactured and promoted conditions. And who are they manufactured and promoted by? Well, it’s simple. By those who possess a vested interest in creating conflict between races and cultures. The politicians, the bankers, the arms dealers, the drug cartels, and – in reality – some aspects of the psychiatric and medical professions. Why those last two? Because they make money if you are sick. Because they make money if you are ‘mentally unwell’. Seems to make sense that with all the knowledge, experience, skill, technical ability and finance we possess as a race of peoples that we could invest said resources in developing real understanding and real cures for the things that ail us.
If we just took all the money that our ‘governments’ spend on figuring out ways to kill one another, and we spent it instead on figuring out ways to help one another…
What do you think would happen?
Do you think we might resolve problems of education, crime, war, famine, disease, cancer?
Maybe?
I know that Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead was a hippy, I know he was at the forefront of the Californian drug culture, but he said an interesting thing: ‘If we had any nerve at all, if we had any real balls as a society, or whatever you need, whatever quality you need, real character, we would make an effort to really address the wrongs in this society, righteously.’
I have always believed that the human race possesses everything it needs to solve all of its own problems – disease, war, famine, illiteracy, insanity, corruption, drug abuse and criminality.
So why do we not do this?
Very simple, very obvious. Because there’s no money in it.
There is no money in peace. There is no money in well and happy people. There is no money in honest, law-abiding citizens.
But this is what we want, I hear you say. This is what we want! We want peace, health, well-being, an absence of war and criminality and insanity!
Which begs the question: Who does not want these things?
Again, the answer is simple: criminals, drug dealers, arms manufacturers and the like, and back of them are the corrupt politicians, their hands buried deep in the pockets of the taxpayer, possessing controlling interests in the media, the psychiatric drug companies, the medical research organisations, the weapons developers and distributors.
If I was a politician, or a government official standing behind the ‘puppet-politician’, then how would I ensure that my income sources did not dry up? I would use whatever media channels I could to convince people that people are fundamentally crazy, that there are criminals everywhere, that behind every corner and on the edge of every schoolyard is a paedophile waiting to snatch your child away; I would use those same media channels to decry and denounce my political opponents, using whatever propaganda – colour, creed, religious persuasion and personal interests – to make people see that we are all different, and that if people are different then they cannot be trusted. I would use this as a means of generating hostility and tension between denominations, between religions, between races and political groups. I would make it clear that people are not getting on, that conflict is always inevitable, and by these means I would promote an air of constant tension where people would feel that they could not freely speak. Hence I could justify expenditure on an ineffective police force, on arms, on pointless medical research for invented diseases (Bird flu, anyone? Swine flu, perhaps? Where did all that money go? Who had controlling shares in the failing medical research companies that were saved from bankruptcy by the government-assigned contracts for the ‘cure’ for those diseases?).
I would then distract the public’s attention away from the real issues facing society by lowering education standards so people cannot read, and thus cannot find out for themselves; I would employ ‘authorities’ to ‘research’ mental conditions that ‘prevent’ people from learning, thus giving myself a good ‘explanation’ as to why schools were failing; I would stifle any teacher’s purpose to really teach by overwhelming them with an impractical and ineffective curriculum that consistently demonstrated the futile purposelessness of teaching at all levels; I would tie up the Police and law authorities with such bureaucracy they just cannot effectively do their jobs; I would flood the public with mindless and meaningless ‘entertainment’ that appeals to the lowest common denominator of intellects, thereby undermining free thought, power of choice, self-determinism, rationality and reasoning power. I would, effectively, make the masses believes that the ‘masses’ were stupid, when they are in fact not stupid at all. This, realistically, further promotes division between ‘classes’ of people.
I seem to think that this has been accomplished already, wouldn’t you say?
But enough is enough.
I am hoping that the ever-rising tide of revolution that we have seen in Greece, Tunisia, Cairo, Bahrain and now Libya will finally deliver the message to our politicians: We will not be lied to any more. We give you your power to serve us, not yourselves. Do the things that you said you would do when we voted for you. Enough is enough.
And now we have to address another issue, an issue that is close to my heart. The field of mental health and the care of those who have yet to find respite from crippling mental and emotional burdens. Why are we addressing this? Because here, I feel, is a fundamental aspect of what we are facing as a race of people. Why? Because if we fail to understand ourselves, we fail to understand one another. If we fail to understand one another, then we will never understand how a society could effectively survive. Over the years I have pursued a personal mission to try and understand as much as I can about the human condition. Philosophy, religion, psychology, psychoanalysis, every area of mental and spiritual address that I could access. I have come to some conclusions, and I raise these as specifically personal conclusions, not as any statement of fact. They are my opinion, and by stating these opinions, I do not wish to undermine or offend anyone. However, being the person that I am, I am going to communicate them. Put it down to the fact that I am a reader, a free-thinker, and – as we have been so often told – readers and free-thinkers are always troublemakers!
It as been reported, by eminent and credible experts in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, medicine, nutrition and physiology that all 'brain chemical imbalances' are generated by physiological, nutritional, vitamin/mineral-deficient and medical reasons, all of which had a remedy that did NOT include the use or prescription of toxic life-destroying psychiatric drugs.
Psychiatry electric shocks thousands of people every year in this country, including children under four years of age. They use Ritalin, Prozac and other phenomenally toxic and suicide-precipitating drugs to subjugate people into mindless anonymity and ineffectiveness. I know this will go against the grain, but nothing makes me angrier and more upset than to hear of the terrible, terrible crimes that are perpetrated against perfectly innocent people by the barbaric industry of psychiatry. I cannot condone or acknowledge terms applied by the psychiatric profession. It violates every ounce of my personal integrity. I can accept that there are mental conditions - depression, mood swings etc. - but these have their root cause in physiological and medical conditions. Always and without fail. To give someone life-threatening brain damage by the application of horrendously toxic drugs in the name of 'treatment' is anathema to me, and upsets me greatly.
I do not get depressed. I do not get 'exhausted'. I do not run out of patience with people. I never agree to do something I don't want to do. I allocate so many hours per day for writing, and regardless of how I feel I do that work. That is why I am eighteen months ahead of schedule. I do not get 'stressed', I do not 'need a holiday', I do not have accidents nor get ill. I do not get colds, even when I associate with people who have colds and flu. My son does not get sick. He does not have accidents. He is fourteen and has never had a cold, never had an accident, never been to see a doctor, never needed A&E. We had him on a proper low-carb, high-protein diet as a baby from six weeks old, and he is strong and fit and well. He eats three good meals a day. He sleeps well. He gets plenty of exercise. He is a teenager but he is neither rude nor arrogant nor ill-behaved nor unruly. He is not 'being a teenager' in the accepted sense of the word. Why am I like this? Why is my son like this? Because we are ‘lucky’? No, not at all. Because we understand nutrition, diet, sleep, why people don’t eat, why they don’t sleep, the cause of allergies and asthma and a thousand and one other things that – when untreated – can bring about nutritional and glandular deficiencies that create the appearance of ‘mental disorders’. A very brief case of hypoglycaemia can cause all the indications of psychosis. Oh, we have a psychotic! Let’s call the Police. The Police don’t know what to do. They turn such ‘rowdy people’ over to ‘the authorities’ because these people are having a ‘nervous breakdown’. Unbelievable! How about some proper food, some rest, some quiet, some space away from troublesome family members of ‘friends who know best’? How about a simple remedy? No, not at all. Such simple remedies don’t make any money for anyone. Let’s drug them. How about that? Let’s convince the world that there are ‘mental disorders’, and then we can go on lining our pockets with government money…
I am sorry, but I hear terms like 'bipolar' and 'depressed' and 'SAD' and all the other invented conditions like 'Expressive Language Disorder', 'Caffeine Disorder', 'Maths Disorder', 'Written Language Disorder' from the Psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and it just makes my blood boil. They are criminals, murderers; they are barbaric. These are the people that run IG Farben and Roche and GlaxoSmithKline. These are the people who developed LSD for the Nazis to dump in the UK water supply. These are the people who developed Zyclon B for the concentration camps, and built the gas chambers as well, and they are still operating as 'beneficial drug companies'. There is the American Psychiatric Association, founded by Benjamin Rush, the profile of whom is still on their seal. And Rush? What did he come up with? A mental condition called ‘negritude’. What’s that? It’s being black. What’s the remedy? Beating someone until they are white. You know the remedy is working because the person is becoming ‘whiter’ in colour. True. Absolutely true!
Unbelievable!
I apologise again, but I am saddened beyond belief when I hear of someone else who has been duped into thinking that they have a 'mental disorder’ and that is the explanation for the difficulties they run into in life. There is a handling for all these conditions and NONE of them involve ECT, drugs or incarceration. They are not ‘psychiatric’ conditions. They are invented and manufactured conditions. Psychiatry – even by its own definition – is not a science.
And these are the ‘authorities’ who have now insidiously inveigled their way into our school system, who have labelled our children, made everyone think that there are ‘different types of children’, and it is a lie.
Children can be taught to read. Reading is good. Reading is important. Reading is vital. People who cannot read are denied any education at all, not just in school, but in life. Well-read and literate people are more tolerant, accepting, compassionate, patient, well-balanced, honest, productive, caring. They have less preconceptions and prejudices. Obama said this again and again. He employed it as one of the mainstays of his Presidential campaign. Literacy promotes success. Illiteracy promotes criminality and ineffectiveness. They are proven statistics. They are unavoidable truths.
So who doesn’t want our kids to learn? Who doesn’t want them to read? Who doesn’t want them to find out the truth for themselves?
It isn’t the parents. It sure as hell isn’t the teachers.
I wonder... Could it be the drug dealers – legal and illegal? Could it be the arms dealers? Could it be those who want people at each others’ throats? Could it be people who possess some kind of vested interest in keeping people subdued, stupid, unaware? Could there, in fact, be money to be made from governing a country where people don’t ask questions any more? Where democracy is outlawed? Where a tyrannical ruling party governs through fear and deception? Surely not! Surely people aren’t that corrupt and dishonest?
Seems to me that what is happening in the Middle East is a warning to all governments.
How did Abraham Lincoln say it: ‘You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time’.
We do not need a revolution, merely an evolution.
Enough with war, with religious intolerance, with racism and bigotry and hatred. These are not real conditions. They are not part of the human condition. They are false, fabricated conditions, and they must be recognised for what they are and ended.
That is all I have to say for now.

45 comments:

Michael Malone said...

Amen, brother. I share your views and your concerns. Keep putting them out there.

R J Ellory said...

I will, Michael, until the CIA kill me...

Michael Malone said...

Hey, don't joke. You've given them enough reasons.

Sue H said...

Well done for expressing all these points so eloquently! Alas, the issue of library closures is also (in my experience!) down to the people who run these establishments being more concerned with ladder-climbing than promoting the love of reading, both for pleasure and education! There were just too many straws breaking this (moi) camel's back as I was repeatedly told I was getting ideas above my station ( ie. I was only a mere library assistant and NOT a librarian so what did I know?) so I took early retirement and I'm afraid those that control ( I use that word advisedly!) libraries to carry on their own brand of lunacy - but I continue to despair.
Maybe it will all end like the closing scenes of "Fahrenheit 451" where the people who loved literature 'became' the books they were no longer at liberty to read. Perhaps I'd better start memorising text now.....

MissVelda said...

Hello,

I've just read your long and angry post and can't help telling you how much I agree. France, our old country, suffers similar pains and the "politically correct" attitude is more and more influent here too. Thank you for these words, thank you for your awesome books. By the way, I've written about two of them in my blog (http://leblogdupolar.canalblog.com), and started reading the third directly in English, for a more direct connection ! Mind you : I think your French translator is very good indeed... One last question : would you agree to a translation of your message being posted on my blog ? I'm sure many of your readers would be happy to share.
Catherine / Velda
leblogdupolar.canalblog.com

Molly Bennett said...

I couldn't agree more with the main thrust of your argument, particularly its focus on libraries and reading. However, I'd be interested to know whether you share my concern at what seem to me to be the left's rather knee-jerk negative reactions to Gove's efforts to bring academic subjects back to the fore?

Some of the rhetoric being used has struck me as being dangerously close to writing off the children of the poor by perceiving them, purely as a result of background and family income, as being somehow automatically incapable of handling academic subjects in a rigorous fashion.

I consider myself to be on the left and indeed write a daily comic political blog from this perspective, but I am very wary about opposition statements that appear to treat kids from poorer backgrounds as if they somehow can't handle being given improved teaching in those subjects already being taught in private schools to their better-off peers, as well as by the implicit suggestion that there is a class-related heirarchy of subjects.

I also know from the experience of my own kids that you are absolutely right about the minimal reading required to produce essays on literature these days, and I can't help but worry about the reading habits of staff teaching English, let alone those of their students. Reading books, at least whilst public libraries exist, remains one of the only forms of escapism and pleasure that is free and available to all, and I very much welcome your decision to join the debate.

R J Ellory said...

Sue...somewhere along the line we seemed to forget that libraries were for reading. As far as I understand it, the Labour government attempted to encourage people back into libraries by turning them into 'community centres'. They spent billions on putting computers in there, establishing CD and DVD rental resources, all in some misguided belief that if people were in libraries they would then borrow books. Ha! What nonsense! They racked up the cost of running the libraries phenonmenally, only to find out that people were now using libraries for the internet, to type up their CVs, to rent CDs and DVDs, and not to borrow books! Why were they not borrowing books? Because they weren't literate! Now those escalated costs are reflected in budget cuts and libraries are being closed 'to save money', and we can thank Tony Blair and his cronies for destroying yet another part of our culture. Let teachers teach. Let doctors and nurses practice medicine. Let librarians and bookstore owners work towards getting the nation reading again. re-establish the Net Book Agreement so that small, independent bookstores can survive, but - most of all - get kids reading right from the start!

R J Ellory said...

Miss Velda...first may I say that it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance! I am a passionate Francophile, and have found the reception in France more enthusiastic and encouraging than pretty much anywhere else in the world! Yes, of course you can translate my article, and you can post it anywhere you like. If you want to contact me directly for further info for your blog, then e-mail me on roger@rjellory.com
Thank you for your support. It means a great deal to me.

R J Ellory said...

Molly...
I was orphaned at seven, raised by a grandmother (grandfather drowned before I was born), and came from a background where - because I was illegitimate - there was no government financial support for my grandmother to raise me. She brought my brother and I up on one person's pension. Fortunately, I was sent to a 'school for wayward and orphaned children' founded by the Barings-Young banking family, and at this school they had a great library. I don't think I could have come from a poorer background. However, I had teachers who were permitted to teach, who were interested in helping the kids in their care, and I got a good education. As has always been said, a democratic election is always the choice of the lesser of two weevils. I think whatever the left says the right will contradict, and whatever the right says the left will contradict. This is politics. I tend not to listen to politicians any more. I think the people who should be running the country are too smart and honest to want the job.

R J Ellory said...

Michael...and I will continue to give them reasons. As has been said, if you're not living close to the edge, you're taking up too much room!

Julie D said...

RJ, so eloquently put. Your rage is palpable, and I share it. While history was being made on the streets of Egypt, CNN chose instead to share the latest on Lindsay Lohan's jewel heist, and Charlie Sheen's latest ho-down. High schoolers can't find Florida on the map, and they don't know the difference between there, they're and their. 'Then' and 'than' stump them as well. Re: libraries, here in the US private companies are taking over some of them, taking the 'public' aspect out all together, which means that censorship is all but assured. A week ago a boy on my son's baseball team told the coach to f-off. He got a three-day suspension and he's back on the team.

I could go on and on but I'd be repeating what you've said so well already. Thanks for this. You got my blood boiling now.

Best,
J

R J Ellory said...

Julie...shame is that it will take a lot longer for us to mobilise into action in the western world, simply because we have so much more to 'lose'. The middle classes have been hammered into a state of terror about losing their houses, their jobs, their bank accounts, their 'security'. There is no security. There never has been. Real security is knowledge, self-certainty, power of choice, freedom of speech, self-confidence, competence, an ability to get things done. That is real security. Control of a populace is accomplished through fear, and we have become a fearful people - fearful of upsetting others, fearful of saying the 'wrong thing', fearful of expressing our viewpoints, fearful of appearing to be different, fearful of what others might think of us. It is a tragic situation. My own son cannot be disciplined for not doing his homework as it would be 'a violation of his human rights'! Unbelievable! Change is needed, change is overdue, change is inevitable!

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Roger, I wouldn't disagree with practically anything in your breathtaking rant.

But at least here in the US, I'm pretty confident that the abysmal quality of education is due to politicians and policymakers not acknowledging that education used to be what it was because brilliant women who could and should have been doctors and lawyers and everything else under the sun could ONLY work as grade school teachers.

When in the 70s those women finally broke the barriers into higher-paid professions, the schools never compensated for that incredible loss.

As for social revolution ever happening again in the US... your post is making me wonder when exactly it was I gave up hope. I am strangely ashamed... not necessarily in a bad way. So thanks.

R J Ellory said...

Alexandra...nothing is ever without hope. In societies such as Bahrain, Libya and Egypt we are seeing the common man saying 'No, enough is enough! For this, for our freedom, for the right to choose, we are prepared to lay down our lives'. This is inspirational beyond belief. I think there are a great number of politicians, both in the east and the west, who are now fidgeting awkwardly in their chairs. As Lincoln said, 'You cannot fool all of the people all of the time.'

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

It's different, though, for nations who have lived 30 or 40 years under the same oppressive leader, and who get to a breaking point of feeling they have nothing left to lose. As you say - in the West we have far too much to lose.

Our leaders may be fidgeting, but it's the people who have to get off their asses. Me included, of course...

nigel p bird said...

I wouldn't know where to start in response to this post. My head's spinning and I think my hands are applauding. This is a piece worth spreading. I'm going to pass the link to my colleagues go give some food for thought and, maybe, a new line in inspiration.
Thanks.

Sue H said...

Roger - I agree with you about teaching children to read. I was working in schools when the 'Literacy Hour' was introduced and the general concensus amongst the teaching staff was that it was yet another hoop to jump through! If anything was ever designed to put kids off reading, then this piece of sheer lunacy was it! Having 'done to death' one book during a whole week, both children and staff were sick of the sight of it! Any 'joy' had evaporated swiftly!

R J Ellory said...

Alexandra...I think that applies to all of us!

R J Ellory said...

Nigel...appreciated! It is just the rantings of a frustrated man, seeing corruption and calumny everywhere, firm in the belief that Man is basically good, dismayed at the deception and Machiavellian underhandedness of governments and political leaders, desperate to see things change, and wondering how a unified voice of dissent and disagreement could be mobilised and heard when people have become so inured to the situation, so unaware of the truth, so apathetic about the possibility of change. But, every time I post something in this vein, I am gratified to see how much agreement there is, so thank you.

R J Ellory said...

Sue...as I have said, and will say until I am blue in the face, teaching is one of the noblest, most selfless, and most important professions in any society, but unfortunately we are led by fools who consider that allowing teachers to do what they know best is not permissible. I say let teachers teach. Let them fulfill their vocation. Anything else is just further governmental insanity.

C. N. Nevets said...

The sticking point for me is that I can never decide how many of the RB's actually believe they're being noble and how many are honestly self-aware of that they're being RB's.

R J Ellory said...

Nevets...RBs?

C. N. Nevets said...

="right bastards"

R J Ellory said...

Nevets...I honestly believe that the vast majority of them know they're being greedy self-centred, crooked, corrupt bastards, and they are working from the basic philosophy of 'get as much as I can for msyelf while I have the chance and screw everyone else'. I believe that Man is basically good and honest, and when someone does something 'wrong' they actually are - more often than not - fully aware that they are doing it.

C. N. Nevets said...

Intellectually, I think you're probably right, but my powers of empathy have always fallen short of understanding that kind of intentional greed.

R J Ellory said...

Nevets...and I have always considered myself an optimist and a trusting individual, and thus it is hard to confront the fact that some people are just total bastards, but - unfortunately - they are!

C. N. Nevets said...

One of the cases I was working on, the maniac who had brutally killed two people, included his own daughter, said to the police, "Hey, they made me angry. I shoot people when I'm angry."

So, yeah...

I think one of my personal reasons for writing what I do is wrestling with that fact.

R J Ellory said...

Nevets...and the 'they' he was referring to was...?

C. N. Nevets said...

In this particular instance of his wrath, it was his daughter and her boyfriend who were interfering with his stealing a lawn tractor, as I recall.

R J Ellory said...

Nevets...now I understand! A man is not a man without a lawn tractor, and who are these people - this daughter and her useless boyfriend? What gives them the right to interfere with something so vital to a man's basic purpose as a lawn tractor? How dare they? I think, in this case, as I am sure was much the case when he was prevented from stealing his neighbor's sofo to put on his own yard, that his rage was entirely justified. What say you, nevets?

C. N. Nevets said...

Exactly so. He was simply asserting both his private property rights (after all, if you convert someone else's private property to your own private property, the rights certainly transfer with it) and his basic right to establish himself as a masculine figure in the community.

It's the struggle for freedom, really.

R J Ellory said...

An age-old struggle, yes. And this whole issue of 'possession is nine tenths of the law', well that does apply, and it is most certainly true, especially when you relieve someone else of their possessions. I think it's even covered in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

C. N. Nevets said...

Even the Buddha taught us moderation in all things. That includes restraint in preventing other people from stealing lawnmowers.`

R J Ellory said...

And I am sure our redneck lunatic, intent as he was on relieving someone of their lawnmower, was well versed in the original Sanscrit texts and written works of Guattama Sakyamuni and Guattama Siddartha. I am sure he had long-since attained a permanent state of Nirvana. And if arrested, well ties could not bind him, jails could not hold him, he would simply pass effortlessly through the bars of his cell and go on his way, to once again teach others to be free of the burden of material possession, mostly by reliving them of it...

R J Ellory said...

'...mostly by relieving them of it.' is what I meant to say.

C. N. Nevets said...

His is a difficult, lonely mission, but it's a noble one.

paul said...

r.j.
i read your blog feeling like i was driving fast down a country lane at night.. breathless and intensely focused....i admire your books immensely and the blog was as good as anything you have written. keep it up. we need this...paul simmonds/tmtch

R J Ellory said...

Thank you, Paul. I am really grateful for your support and encouragement. It means a great deal. I trust all is well with you.
Roger.

Ali Karim said...

Very Good Wiffle, indeed.

So many people need a good Biffing to knock out the Kipple that lies between their increasing entropy!

Well said

R J Ellory said...

Top man, Karim! Last night I was at my son's school. I was there for a presentation about 'revision skills' for his GCSEs. I was given a list of 'revision tips', only two pages long, and through it were over fifty grammar and syntax errors. This was issued by the government-paid (i.e. taxpayer-funded) educational authority. I pointed this out to my son's teacher, commenting on the incorrect use of a semi-colon. What did she say to me? 'I don't really understand those myself. We weren't taught about those at school...' I am reaching a point of inconsolable despair about the 'legacy of literacy' that we are leaving for future generations. Fifty years from now I think there will be only seven people left in the UK who can still read properly, and they will all be in their eighties...

Soo said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I've read and re-read this several times and want everyone I know to read it too...
Perfect timing too - my brother-in-law teaches and asked us to watch the latest offering from Channel 4 - "Jamie's Dream School". Heaven help us...

I've only recently discovered you as an author and have read 3 of your books so far - wonderful! Ghostheart is next...

R J Ellory said...

Soo,
Huge thanks for your encouragement and support. That really means the world to me. You know, the thing that I keep realising as I survey the problems we face as a society, is that the vast majority of problems are made that much more complex by those who possess a vested interest or ulterior motive. The problems themselves are actually relatively simple (far simpler than putting men on the moon, for example), and I have always firmly believed that we - as a race of peoples - possess all the intelligence, resources, technology, time and ability to solve our own difficulties. We are just managed by a minority who do not want them solved. Food for thought...
Great to hear from you, and I really hope you continue to enjoy the books.

ordinaryjo said...

Hi..thanks for your books and your journal...never stop being a light...take care. ciao . joel

ordinaryjo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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