Completely at odds with reality

Posted by | Chris | 22.2.11 | 1 Comment

So David Cameron thinks opposition to the arms trade is "completely at odds with reality". Which reality would that be David? A capitalist one I suppose?

I don't know if it was Cameron or the Guardian journalist who describes Gulf nations as though they were fluffy woodland creatures: "[it's] wrong to leave small Gulf countries to fend for themselves".

It's also darkly amusing to note that Cameron invokes Iraq's invasion of Kuwait to justify the arms trade. Who armed Iraq then?

His "staunch" three-point defence appears to amount to:
  1. People should be allowed to defend themselves (read "militarily supported dictators" for people).
  2. We're not as bad as other countries.
  3. We do some nice things as well as selling bullets to repressive regimes.
The incredible bravery, organisation and solidarity of people all across the gulf is enormously inspiring. The twisted, deceitful worming of a number of Western politicians is sickening. Protesters across the region have put the lie to the hypocrisy of the political "elite".


One Response to “Completely at odds with reality”

  1. peter
    18/3/11 05:23

    well said mate
    and its about time we had a political post to go along with all this avant garde speculation :P

    i think you've hit the nail on the head by identifying not only the hypocrisy of certain political decisions; but also the "letting be" and "nature will sort itself out" attitude that some people take towards incredibly dark complex situations, which cameron here has typified in those comments.

    the arms trade is similiar to global warming or the way multinational corporations scourge the 3rd world of resources for the likes of ourselves and everyone else at the top of the pyramid. these are complex systems and as such there is tendency to be against fighting them or trying to alter them because "they are reality" and "we should not mess with things that wont of".

    but complex systems are self-organising and one of the possible self-organised responses is apathy. and the fact that it is the most widespread is absurd. real knowledge shows that we can alter a complex system by placing sufficient force in the correct processes within the system at the right time and place. so with arms trade it would be putting the squeeze on large companies in a variety of ways. it is an incredibly large industry and so individuals enter the apathy response ("what could i do?"), but the truth of a self-organised network is that one little push can potentially lead to massive change - i.e. the evocatively named butterfly effect.

    it leaves me puzzled as to why the "letting be" attitude reigns. is it that most of us just dont care? or was schumpeter right, is it just too large and abstract from our daily lives? if the answer to these two questions is a double yes then that is all the more reason for active engagaement by involved parties like institutions, charities and, oh i dont know, supposed leaders of the free world, a la david "there's nothing i could do because i havent thought about it properly" cameron.
    (sorry i got a bit carried away there)

    tim morton has also written excellently against the "letting be" attitude (check out his article in collapse VI)

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