[The previous parts I – III can be found here, here and here.]

EIGHTH SECTION

(8.1) John Stuart Mill gives us a possible solution to the problem – some might say.

(8.1.1) Mill is often regarded as the Isaac Newton or Charles Darwin or Albert Einstein of liberal political philosophy. The following – from On Liberty, Part I – is taken as the guiding principle:

In the part that merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

(8.1.2) But the Mill-invokers conveniently overlook the contiguous passages:

The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection … The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others …

Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end. Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion. Until then, there is nothing for them but implicit obedience to an Akbar or a Charlemagne, if they are so fortunate as to find one.

(8.1.3) The Untouchables are fond of appealing to authority: argumentum ad verecundiam.

(8.1.3.1) We may here appeal to John Stuart Mill. According to him, we may use the methods of Charlemagne or Akbar in order to solve the problem of The Untouchables. There IS such a thing as society, and The Untouchables are a burden on it.

(8.1.3.2) LBC’s James O’Brien (the prime and worst example I know of) does not bestow explanation, or impart knowledge, or transfer information, or convey truths; he transmits propaganda. He deals in rhetoric. Being charitable, we might say that he performs poetry. Whatever he deals in, it certainly isn’t science; and it isn’t even philosophy (Guardian, Monday, 1st April, 2019).

(8.1.3.3) If O’Brien (or any of the rest of the gang of dwarfs) were to rouse a rabble in the old-fashioned way; and the swarm of Untouchables he incited by his old-fashioned soap-box rhetoric attacked a Richard Osborn-Brooks – That Richard Osborn-Brooks could, we now know, defend himself in the precedented way.

(8.1.3.4) O’Brien and his kind rouse the rabble, not from a soap-box, but from a Radio studio. His words are as much an assault as Henry Vincent’s actions were an assault on Richard Osborn-Brooks.

(8.2) James O’Brien and people like him are detrimental to society, and we are, according to John Stuart Mill – James O’Brien’s political and philosophical fons et origo – justified in interfering with their liberty of action; and in the same way as an Akbar or a Charlemagne may have interfered.

NINTH SECTION

(9.1) Enough talk? I am talking too much? That’s why I don’t act, because I am always talking? Or perhaps I talk too much just because I can’t act?

(9.1.1) Can it be too long until the some (who might say) decide they’ve been talking too much, and that they’ve been given permission to begin a fight-back? They’ve been given permission to make the first (or maybe second?) step?

(9.1.2) Perhaps this is what the columnists and the commentators mean when they talk of a disillusionment with politics or of a loss of trust in politicians? The guff just doesn’t work anymore. It just won’t wash. Nobody believes it anymore. They’ve been rumbled.

(9.1.3) Can it be too long until someone realises that the time of the keyboard warrior is passed; that a man holds the fate of the world in his two hands, and yet, simply because he is afraid, he just lets things drift? Or he sails too close to the wind on Twitter, and he’s content with that?

(9.2) In recent decades, Jim Prior’s doctrine has been followed in one direction. Can it be too long until others realise it’s time now to give James O’Brien and his lot some of their own medicine? To deny it would be a contradiction (It would probably be just too pretentious to invoke Kant’s Categorical Imperative here) – some might say.

(9.2.1) There is the constant insinuation by James O’Brien and his lot that the Manchester 22 asked for it; that they deserved it. There’s the insinuation that Lee Rigby asked for it; that he deserved it. And “Oh, but that was different” is the addendum to any questioning of the IRA.

(9.2.2) “But surely, James O’Brien and his lot are asking for it? Surely, they deserve the same response as Odysseus gave Thersites?” Would this statement satisfy the Aristotelian truism?

(9.2.3) “It doesn’t work here” and “We don’t do that sort of thing here” and “We don’t give in to that sort of thing here” was the flimflam after the Westminster Bridge attack – WHEN THEY HAD JUST BEEN PRAISING MARTIN MCGUINNESS TO THE HEAVENS.

(9.2.3.1) Evidently – THEY do that sort of thing.

(9.2.3.2) Evidently – It DOES work – against THEM.

(9.2.3.3) Evidently – THEY give in to it.

(9.3) But the guff just doesn’t work anymore. It just won’t wash. Nobody believes it anymore. They’ve been rumbled.

(9.4) If you stick your knob into a beehive – what do you expect?

(9.5) “It” works. Recalling Niemöller’s poem, and remembering that if you cut the dog’s head off its tail stops wagging, and recalling Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative – Can it be long until others decide they’ve been given permission to make “it” work in the service of the best rather than in the service of the worst?

(9.5.1) And it’ll be no good these worst whining about an attack on the “institutions we hold dear” – The guff just doesn’t work anymore. It just won’t wash. Nobody believes it anymore. They’ve been rumbled. Those institutions are an illusion, and always were an illusion – Not a “Noble” lie, but an ignoble and craven Hobbesian desire for order and security and quiet at all and any cost.

(9.6) Alexander the Great didn’t ask permission to cut the Gordian Knot – he just did it. He didn’t consult some Law Book or Declaration of Rights for permission to conquer the Persian Empire – he just did it.

(9.6.1) The Prior-Thatcher-Major corollary wouldn’t be for everyone – as practitioners at least. An RUC report of 1986 estimated just 300 or so members in IRA Active Service Units.

(9.6.2) I can’t play golf. I can’t play Bridge. I’d be no good as a pole-vaulter. And only a very, very, talented few could become champions. But for every champion golfer or champion Bridge player or champion pole-vaulter, there will be millions of supporters and enthusiasts.

(9.6.3) Dominic Grieve and Gina Miller and Kenneth Clarke and David Lammy and Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna and Tony Blair and the rest have done us a favour. We are now certain – it’s beyond all doubt – that Democracy is an illusion. It can only be an option if it exists. Now, we see that that option has dissolved into air. Niemöller. Kant. Dog. Head. Tail. Cryptic.

(9.6.3.1) Precedents have been set.

(9.6.3.2) Rubicons have been crossed.

(9.6.3.3) What was unthinkable a moment ago is now almost expected.

(9.7) As soon as we are shown something old in the new, we are calmed.

TENTH SECTION

But I am talking too much. That’s why I don’t act, because I am always talking. Or perhaps I talk too much just because I can’t act.

The Stagirite was right:

IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO KNOW WHAT WE OUGHT TO SAY;

WE MUST ALSO SAY IT AS WE OUGHT.

Aristotle, Rhetoric, 1403b.

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