The Mendaciousness of Tony Blair
If there is anyone I hold in lower regard than George W. Bush (and possibly even lower than Canada’s current Prime Minister Stephen Harper), it is former “New Labour” Party leader and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. On occasion, I allow myself some latitude to indulge in repugnance and disdain for the “celebrated” (and it’s not as if my posts are entirely free of that mood of disdain).
So it is with a feeling somewhat akin to nausea that I read in today’s Guardian the completely indigestible views of Mr. “Born-Again” Tony Blair on the links between violence and religion (“Extremist religion is at root of 21st-century wars, says Tony Blair“).
I don’t pick on Tony Blair from any personal animus towards him. Like Hitler, in his personal life he’s probably kind to small animals and children and willingly helps the infirm to cross the street. What I object to in Blair is a trait that has become all-too general and typifying. It’s almost a specification for the reproduction and social selection (and election) of a certain decadent type of human being — the “Late Modern” type of human being.
That trait is the craftiness of a definition, the completely shameless and quite dishonest capacity to define anti-social things like violence, conflict, terrorism, greed, theft, cupidity, narcissism — the vicious more generally — in such a way that it becomes cunningly self-exonerating. Of course, that issue of self-exoneration links into the issue of “the Righteous Mind” that I referred to earlier and which, in my opinion, is something that requires urgent psychiatric attention and perhaps a schedule of medication.
Mr. Blair’s perversion of politics and the meaning of “truth” he is now about to extend to “faith” via his “Faith Foundation”. All the very worst things about such “religiosity” and “faith” Mr. Blair now embraces as meaning and essence, whereas it was Blair’s very nihilism that drove him to seek self-redemption in the sanctuary of “religious faith” in the first place. Of that, I’m quite certain.
But, as William Blake put it, “bray a fool in a morter with wheat, yet shall not his folly be beaten out of him”. The exact same dishonesty, the exact same narcissism, the exact same lack of sense for the truthful affects his views on faith and religion as earlier they did his politics and ideology. “Social engineering” for Blair and his type is simply a matter of re-defining what is most base and vulgar in human conduct in such a way that it becomes self-exonerating — self-redeeming — so that one comes to seem purely angelic by comparison, and in such a false and mendacious way that one’s own character and conduct is not impugned and tainted also by the definition.
“Violence” and terror are defined in such a way as to leave one free of the taint of complicity in that violence and terror. “Extremism” defined in such a way as to divert attention from one’s own unbalanced (and that means demented) hyper-partisanship and lop-sidedness. “Theft” (as the Snowden case reveals) is re-defined in such a way as to deflect attention from the real theft of private life by the mass surveillance State and digital kleptocrats.
As in public figures, so too amongst certain members of that amorphous being called “the public”. One feels morally justified, righteous even, if one compares oneself to a Hitler or a Stalin and comes out smelling like a rose in one’s own nostrils. Aiming for a lowest common denominator of a “moral life” — a bare minimum of sociability, civilisation and conviviality — is considered high aspiration and the measure of human excellence.
The appeal of the “lowest common denominator” become confused with excellence — Blair, Bush, Harper, etc all seem to epitomise that for me. What do they have in common? They have one thing in common, to be sure; something that makes Blair’s views on violence and religion somewhat ironic given his own role in the Iraq War — a sudden attraction themselves for something they call “religion”.
It is just cowardice not to face up to the more uncomfortable truths about oneself. And it’s just the cunning of cowardice that is the motive for these kinds of self-exonerating views, definitions, and ideologies. It is also the worst form of mental slavishness.