Sunday, 1 June 2008


In Africa they starve their children,
In China they dump them,
In Brazil they shoot them,
In the UK they stab them...

The full extent of Britain’s violent crime epidemic, to date claiming the lives of some 40 teenagers - including that of Sophie Lancaster, kicked to death by a pack of feral, pubescent mutants - was brought home again, when a 15-year-old schoolgirl from south London described how no fewer than seven of her friends and relatives had been murdered in the past two years.

Meanwhile, of course, we have the collective contagion of an entire country with a virus that causes its children to treat each other like feral strays; or, to put it differently, the freeing and revitalisation of precisely those atavistic instincts whose control and humanisation has been the work of some ten millennia of domestication.

Insofar as we are the product of a system of thought control so constraining that our personal compliance appears to proceed, not from our own free choice, but from this very era of “freedom” with its inflationary consequences, the question of guilt is of course beside the point. But one is justifiably apprehensive about the subversive psychological effects of years of relentless and unceasing agitation for the freedom of a permissive moral idealism as a recognizable social creed: The unflustered, cynical imagination, the nihilistic pleasure in freedom for its own sake, and the violence that has become an end in itself. As a matter of fact if freedom of any kind is anything to go by, society has a regrettable tendency to deceive itself about what is a personal indulgence and what a collective aberration.

What is indeed bizarre about it is that between constraining and being constrained it has caught men in the grip of an invisible rage and entangled them in some decidedly psychotic forces, unimpeded by any law. Forces which, almost like something alien, something not human, makes men strive compulsively and determinedly towards paranoid and deadly self-destruction. Nor are we perhaps sufficiently alert to the fact that the conventional sociology of crime is unlikely to settle the ambiguities surrounding what has meanwhile developed into the gravest forensic crisis the world has experienced, combining, as it does, martial with homicidal impulses and taking the whole subject out of the strictly criminological frame of reference by placing it into a psychologically different category, making it ominous, alien and universal: a most unpropitious preliminary for a homicidal process of “contraceptive” Malthusian attrition.

And so the pressure builds. History's biggest bloodbath is in the making!

For the ultimate cause of the conditions under which violence seems inevitable is demographic congestion. Everything takes place under a form of stress. Great rents in normality are appearing everywhere. And while there may never have been a bleaker rendition of the orderly governance of murder than that witnessed by the first half of the twentieth century, probably at no time in the history of man have so many alien communities been so bent on plans of mutual annihilation, mass deportations, civil repression and ethnic cleansings as in the opening years of the twenty-first. Indeed, it is altogether impossible to assess what this century might still be capable of in its moral, psychotic and ecological derangement. Its history has yet to be written...



Jonathan said...

Surely it is not only that people must live packed up together like sardines that there is violence. If it were, there would be far more violence than there is in places like India and certain Islamic countries, where indeed they are.

It seems to me that demographics would not be a problem regarding human harmony if we learnt, metaphorically and literally speaking, not to hate the smell and proximity of each other. Easier said than done, I grant, and a spiritual issue at heart -though relating also crucially to our socio-ecomomic arrangements.

As for all the people stabbing each other, what about all the people who aren't! Why isnt that news? Why isn't it news to learn of all the bombs not exploding, of all the slaughters not happening everyday in most of the world, of all the friendly and peaceful interactions swarming over the earth? It is only our obsession with news of violence and lust to be reassured that the plights of some others are worse than our own, and our fear of being 'bored', that renders such facts invisible.

Ultimately there lies lingering the childish, demanding assumption that everything SHOULD be perfect and that we have a right to be pissed off and ungrateful if they aren't. Where does this assumption come from?

Things only get worse if one focusses on how bad things are, though its ones newsworthiness may increase.

Selena Dreamy said...

“Surely it is not only that people must live packed up together like sardines that there is violence. If it were, there would be far more violence than there is in places like India and certain Islamic countries, where indeed they are.

It is true, Jonathan, there are just 83 people per square mile in America, compared with 835 in Japan, and the feeling here is that there is room for growth. But if Britain is the fourth leading economy on Earth it is also the most densely populated country in Europe. Cultures are complex, and the causes of tension are hard to prove. But while the Japanese are pretty acquiescent about population density, the European more generally requires space, mental, emotional and physical, in which to prosper.

Nor surprisingly therefore, Britain suffers the second-worst road rage in the world after South Africa. 38% of men are unhappy at work; no fewer than 27% of managers in the construction industry have sought medical help for stress, anxiety or depression; the country’s leading anger counsellor says the women he sees are “incredibly angry,” even more so than the men. And with the prison population the highest, per capita, in Europe, there is genuine concern about maintaining law and order in the country without using further legislative coercion.

“if we learnt, metaphorically and literally speaking, not to hate...

“if” is certainly the operative word here. if the hound hadn’t stopped for a crap, he would have caught the hare....if etc.

“what about all the people who aren't! Why isnt that news?

...are you suggesting we should report on all the people who didn’t win the lottery last week - 26,8m in fact - rather than those who claimed the jackpot? I think not, somehow.

“Things only get worse if one focuses on how bad things are..”

No question about it - If the media stopped reporting knife-crimes, the incidence-rate would drop dramatically!

Thank you Jonathan, for taking the time to read this post.


Anonymous said...

Crikey - you are in amiserable fucking mood aren't you? I wonder if you and The Daily Mailhave gotten everything a wenie bit out of proportion myself. Have a think about the lifes of 'teenagers' in say 1890s London... The maelstrom of deaths, rapes, underage prostitution, alcoholism, homelessness, robbery, political extremism, illiteracy etc etc etc all amongst a population whose births let alone lives were never even recorded. My Grandma on my fathers side was an unrecorded birth... she never officially existed.

Selena Dreamy said...

...which kind of makes you a mongrel, doesn't it Mutley?

...and anyway, where've you been, I've been missing you. But you're right of course, in the 18th century, the causes of delinquency were quite different from what they are today.