Wednesday, March 22, 2006
We all know that Gordon Brown does not wish us well. Lawyers too are generally agreed to be a bad thing as are traffic wardens and anybody who works in the passport office in London. None of these people can stand to see us relaxing, having fun or idly wandering along the street humming Van Morrison songs to ourselves. All of them hate these things for the same reason - they are possessed of an embittered, inner conviction that their private world view has not been fully accepted by the population as a whole. This is hardly surprising because their private world view tends to be a deluded hyper-rationality akin to that of Lenin, though usually without the topping of evil. A recent superb book - The Philosophy Steamer by Lesley Chamberlain - tells the story of how Lenin evicted a group of intellectuals from Russia in 1922. He could not have them shot because they were famous enough to be known in the West. They were a disparate bunch but they shared one quality utterly alien to the imagination of Lenin: uncertainty. This rendered them incapable of mass slaughter. I have a weird and ominous feeling that there is now too much certainty in my world, as manifested by Brown etc. In fact, my friend John Gray suggests that the last bastion of uncertainty in the world is now the Church. Is he right?
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 4:07 pm