Tony Blair: a comment by a cynic

Posted by Anti Citizen One on June 30th, 2007

I cannot hope to summarize 10 years of ruling a country in a few lines but I can make a few narrow observations.

Blair did many things. They were not wholly bad nor wholly good. It is a mistake to characterize him as a saint or a devil. A few policies I oppose on principle: introducing university student fees, war on Iraq and relationship with G W Bush, his movie towards to centre right of politics, introduction of ID cards but he did some good stuff too.

He seems to have an eye on how history will view his term as Prime Minister considering his recent farewell tour. Currently, this will include a pessimistic outlook for Iraq. This is not very favorable for this image to say the least!

I consider his acceptance of the role of international envoy to the Middle East an attempt to polish his record. An optimist might argue his can redeem himself for starting a war on faulty evidence but I say he had his chance as PM of the UK. If the Middle East can be calmed, with or without his help, he can claim his decisions regarding Iraq have been justified. If he disappeared to private life, he would have the albatross of Iraq forever around his neck.

Just to expand my point on the basis for the invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair might blame the UK security services for giving him incomplete information…. but it is also his job to ensure he has adequate information! It is his responsibility that he has the correct resources to make decisions to go to war. War on faulty grounds is his responsibility – no buck passing please. Additional mistakes after that just compounded the problem.

Anti Citizen One

Anger at Prince free CD giveaway

Posted by Anti Citizen One on June 30th, 2007

“The music industry has reacted angrily at a decision to give away the new album by US musician Prince with a tabloid newspaper.” BBC

Paul Quirk, co-chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association stated “It is yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music.”

This attitude of “nothing is worth doing if I’m not getting paid” is destructive. Not all interactions in culture are for profit (e.g. free museums). The music labels seems to think they have a right to be profitable. If an artist decides to use a different distribution channel (through a tabloid newspaper) that is their choice. And the artist is getting paid by the newspaper. What is the big deal?

Anti Citizen One

Censorship by Negative Selection?

Posted by Anti Citizen One on June 29th, 2007

Newscaster’s on-air Paris protest

“US newsreader Mika Brzezinski has attempted to burn her script live on television in protest at being made to lead her bulletin on Paris Hilton.” BBC

(The point of interest of this is the reason she burn the script. AC1)

Nietzsche and Tolkien 5: Thus Spake Gandalf

Posted by Anti Citizen One on June 28th, 2007

I will conclude my current series of Nietzsche and Tolkien with this post. It has been a mixed selection of agreements and strong contrasts. The role of God is the most striking disagreement.

One point that needs further work is the role of pity in the Lord of the Rings. The concept is central to both writers and I have a feeling they would starkly disagree about the concept.

Transvaluation of Values in Tolkien

I thought I would end with comments that were in agreement with a central Nietzsche goal – for the invidual to rely on their own moral compass and not rely on outside authority (e.g. God). It is stated by Elrond that the Valar (the Gods) will no longer directly help Middle Earth and they must deal with Sauron without further divine intervention (as happened in The Silmarillion).

[Elrond said] “And they who dwell beyond the Sea would not receive it: for good or ill it belongs to Middle-earth; it is for us who still dwell here to deal with it.” (Emphasis mine)

Interesting he mentioned good and ill/evil. 🙂

[Éomer said] “we desire only to be free, and to live as we have lived, keeping our own, and serving no foreign lord, good or evil.”

Here Éomer takes responsibility for leadership and refuses outside authority and assistance.

In the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is of course the final(?) divine emissary from the Valar (the Gods) to middle earth. But can we rely on divine help in future? One of the last things he says in the book chimes with good ol’ Nietzsche. Gandalf says “take responsibility for yourselves” and he considers that his companions are capable of making their own choices. His departure to allow his “followers” to grow is not unlike Zarathustra saying “I now go away alone, my disciples! You too now go away and be alone! Thus I want it.”

‘Well, we’ve got you with us,’ said Merry, ‘so things will soon be cleared up.’
‘I am with you at present,’ said Gandalf, ‘but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. Do you not yet understand? My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folk to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help. You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high; among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you.’

Thus Spake Gandalf

(and Anti Citizen One)

Past articles: 1 2 3 3.5 4

Germany imposes ban on Tom Cruise

Posted by Anti Citizen One on June 27th, 2007

“Germany has banned the makers of Tom Cruise’s new movie from filming at military sites in the country because the actor is a Scientologist.” BBC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6240312.stm

Doctors back ‘easier’ abortions

Posted by Anti Citizen One on June 27th, 2007

“Doctors have called for a relaxation of the rules to allow women quicker access to abortions in early pregnancy.

The British Medical Association conference backed a motion calling for abortions to be approved by just one doctor, rather than the current two.”

BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6242382.stm

England smoke ban to start 1 July

Posted by Anti Citizen One on June 26th, 2007

“Smoking in enclosed public places will be banned in England from 1 July next year [2007], the government has announced.” 1 December 2006, BBC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6196910.stm

(There are so many interplaying issues! Civil liberties, personal choice, personal responsibility, rights, law, politics, business, health, addiction, class, harm to others, tax and advertising…. Anti Citizen One)

Criminal nation [UK]: Two-thirds break law regularly

Posted by Anti Citizen One on June 25th, 2007

“Britain is a nation of petty criminals in which nearly two-thirds of people regularly break the law if they think they can get away with it, research shows.

And the middle classes are the most guilty, committing a range of offences that could land them with a criminal record against business, the Government and their employers. A study found that of those who admitted an offence, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) committed up to three, and 10 per cent owned up to nine or more offences.”

The Independent
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article2705315.ece

Nietzsche and Tolkien 4

Posted by Anti Citizen One on June 24th, 2007

Of Túrin Turambar

Túrin was a human tragic hero of The Silmarillion. Because his father defied the will of Melkor (the main villain), Melkor “intends to bring about the ruin of his enemy by the force of his own gigantic will.” (Introduction, The Children of Húrin). Túrin becomes aware of Melkor’s attention and strives to escape his fate. At one stage, Túrin even adopts the name Turambar – which means “master of doom”. This title is also claimed by Melkor – “the master of the fates of Arda”. They are locked in a duel of wills. This is addressed by Nietzsche in the concept of “amor fati”.

Amor fati is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate”. It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good. Wikipedia

This also reminds me of Ulmo (one of the powerful Valar): “in the armour of Fate”…”there is ever a rift, and in the walls of Doom a breach”… “So it shall be while I endure, a secret voice that gainsayeeth, and a light where darkness was decreed.” (Unfinished Tales)

This suggests Nietzsche is again at odds with Tolkien. Fate should be fought against or embraced depending on who you listen to.

Sauron, Sam and Will to Power

“[The Will to Power] is a psychological principle of human behavior that every being seeks to extend its sphere of action and influence: to consolidate itself.” Introducing Nietzsche, Laurence Gane.

“A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength — life itself is will to power” Beyond Good and Evil

You quoted an important passage which illustrates why Sauron’s concept of power is not the same as Will to Power.

“The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.” (Emphasis mine) LOTR

Sam still regards a garden of his own as his due. He realized that having slaves to do his gardening was not in his interests. But he would exercise his own gardening “power” using his hands alone.

“The sharp-eyed courage that tempts and attempts, that craves the frightful as the enemy, the worthy enemy, against whom one can test one’s strength?” (Birth of Tragedy)

Nietzsche says our “enemies” (i.e. challenges in our life) must be matched to our ability. There is no happiness in having a garden that is really tiny or one what is the size of Mordor. The worthy enemy is matched to Sam and his particular abilities – i.e. a “one small garden”.

To conclude why Sauron is misguided and Sam is correct, Nietzsche said:

“But I have found strength where one does not look for it: in simple, mild, and pleasant people, without the least desire to rule—and, conversely, the desire to rule has often appeared to me a sign of inward weakness: they fear their own slave soul and shroud it in a royal cloak (in the end, they still become the slaves of their followers, their fame, etc.)” Friedrich Nietzsche, Nachlass

Anti Citizen One

Shambo the Bull update

Posted by on June 23rd, 2007

Apparently Shambo the Bull (the at-risk from slaughter or TB) Hindu Temple Bull is alive and well, at least for now.

Following Welsh Assembly elections  a new agricultural minister is considering the appeal.

International Zoological Veterinarian David Taylor has investigated the bull and is sympathetic to the temples claims.  In particular he criticises the subjective nature of the Bovine TB skin tests that can give false-negative readings often caused by how much pressure the Vet is applying to the Calipers, a differential of less than a millimetre is enough to dramatically alter the readings. (So I am informed).

Furthermore the eminent vet has stated that he is not even convinced the Bull has bovine TB and that if it has it is certainly not untreatable, and describes the slaughter of an otherwise healthy bull as scandalous.  A video of an interview with David Taylor can be found here.