This article considers how a policy of ‘exceptionalism’ determines the rules in the UK whilst in the EU all discrimination is eradicated. As if any more evidence were needed to discredit big government…
Daily, one is informed of the plights of the poorest in society or else the benefits of the wealthy in the UK, but it seems these extremes determine the situations for the great many caught in-between these absolutes. If their taxes are not bailing out those who bankrupted the economy, then they are spent on the welfare budget. Policy is geared towards attacking/furnishing the rich or the poor rather than suiting the needs of the great many who lie between the two.
The policy of ‘exceptionalism’, as it might be termed, can be seen in schools, where professional and caring teachers are unable to have any physical contact with pupils to either reprimand or comfort them, for fear that in very exceptional cases those hell bent on abuse are somehow going to prosper. Indeed, in schools, children who do not even speak English are placed into the classroom, which means that the teacher has to develop an entirely new curriculum for such students to the detriment of the others in that class.
In other walks of life, it is seen in appeasing and accommodating minority views into policy so that no one is left ‘offended’; it is seen in the absurd efforts to police the world to protect the UK from terrorism, a threat which politicians are incapable of neutralising yet it is held over the populace in order to substitute the clear and present danger: that the main parties are hopelessly useless and out of their depth.
Discrimination, using its common definition, is readily applied by emotive governments and the ill-educated (not that a distinction between these two groups is being implied). This is the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favour of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. Yet this meaning lacks the finesse of its alternative definitions, which suggest discrimination is the power of making fine distinctions or judgement, serving to differentiate. In much the same way as recent governments have smeared those speaking against open door immigration, so too they have toxified the word ‘discriminate’ to ensure that the former more loaded meaning takes precedence over the latter.
The inability to exhibit this latter discrimination, between good or bad behaviour, between vested or national interests, between party politics and serving the public, between ideology and realism is well evidenced by this government and many of those preceding it.
This is not helped by the fact that current members of parliamentary parties, particularly those on the front benches, are semi-illiterate and pitifully inexperienced. But more particularly, it is that the gap between government and the people that is ever widening, to the extent that from a distance, politicians only see the exceptions in the mass culture they have created. So whether it is the extremist, the criminal, the rich, the poor, or the minority, they are more easy to distinguish among the amorphous, featureless society perpetuated by their poor governance.
Thus, exceptions determine the rules in the UK precisely because government after government is not just is afeared of looking bad for upsetting some people, but because they lack intuition or intelligence of any kind.
The EU, however, is more sinister in its approach. It does not ‘fail’ to show discrimination, it knowingly refuses to countenance the idea altogether. It treats all nation states, their people, industries, cultures, politics and economics as one and the same. They are doing their utmost to eradicate difference. Who is determining this course? The exceptions, naturally! It is an arrangement created, fostered and executed of, for and by politicians and bureaucrats. It puts one in mind of Dwight MacDonald’s theory of ‘mass culture’:
Mass Culture is a dynamic, revolutionary force, breaking down the old barriers of class, tradition, taste, and dissolving all cultural distinctions. It mixes and scrambles everything together, producing what might be called homogenized culture […]. It thus destroys all values, since value judgments imply discrimination. Mass Culture is very, very democratic: it absolutely refuses to discriminate against, or between, anything or anybody. All is grist to its mill, and all comes out finely ground indeed. 
That politicians at home cannot exercise discriminate judgement anymore than those in the EU will not exercise such judgement perfectly illustrates the vacuum left by big government. Until the power of government is ceded to local level in the UK, or else until the EU disintegrates, leaving nations to determine their priorities, the virtues of prosperity and freedom are merely tales of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
© thepanopticonblog, 2012
- 1. Dwight MacDonald. ‘A Theory of Mass Culture.’ Mass Culture: The Popular Arts in America. ed.Bernard Rosenberg & David Manning White. New York: The Free Press; London: Collier-Macmillan Ltd. No Date. <http://www.udel.edu/History/suisman/367_F05/Assignments/Macdonald.pdf>