Guest post by Gordon Willis: Why shouldn’t they learn to be reasonable?

Originally a comment by Gordon Willis on A right for all children, as mentioned in Islam.

It’s the problem with ideologists, whether they’re religious or secular, and it’s the same problem with rigid moralists, because they too are ideologists. They really believe that everyone has to be identical, that there is only one correct pattern for a human being, and everyone is required conform to it, by god, social realism or proper principles. Diversity is sin: that is, the existence of sin is proved by the fact that not everyone is the same, and some are so different as to be frighteningly incomprehensible to the simplistic mind.

Of course, they talk blissfully about individuality as a marvellous gift of god or a wonderful fact of nature, but when outside their fuzzy imaginations they really don’t like the actuality, oh, not at all! It is then that they talk disapprovingly about mere facts of nature, like the moralists they ultimately are. They point to wicked things done by others, and are unable to see that their own acts are also wicked, because what is condemned as badness in them by others is true adherence to sacred or politically correct or moral precepts in their own minds. And when I say “wicked”, I really do mean it, for all wickedness is at root the belief that I am absolutely justified or that what I want takes precedence over any consideration of others, or simply that others (women)* do not really matter. I am convinced that wickedness is about such things: it is simply me rather than you, my (conception of) god rather than you or yours, my ownership or security rather than yours. It is ultimately selfishness, even when it appears as political or religious expediency.

Morally stupid, narrow, bigoted, arrogant, self-preferential and cowardly, all in one miserable bunch of powerful and power-seeking fools. And they are all men! It’s all a man’s imposition of his will upon the rest of the world, and especially upon women, who most of all have to be kept in their places (otherwise hell would break loose, wouldn’t it?) After all, we know what happened in the Garden of Eden, don’t we? Man is shamefully tempted by vile Woman who listens to dirt-eating talking snakes instead of doing what she is told by the gardener whose enjoyment of the cool of the day is totally ruined for ever and ever and becomes eternally most cross.

Perhaps imposing the fear of hell has been too successful: even the moralists secretly believe it — they just don’t know they do (there are countless very fiery demonic Wedges which have fine but exceedingly sharp ends). Perhaps it is time to consider the conservative mind as a real cause of compassionate concern. These people need to be helped. They must certainly be stopped from trying to run everything, seeing as their incompetence is killing everyone else. But they can’t help themselves — it’s how they are, or how they were brought up (or it’s how we all are, beyond a certain point which is closer to some than to others). I don’t want them to lose their rights and be sectioned, but why are they allowed to go on destroying our lives? Why shouldn’t they learn to be reasonable? How many hangings from cranes, stonings, suicide bombers, kamikaze pilots, concentration camps and lampshades do we need?

* or women, Jews, muslims, christians, women, slaves, women, children, the working class; or competitors, women, heretics, other men, philosophers, scientists, women…



  1. Wylann says

    Great post.

    How many hangings from cranes, stonings, suicide bombers, kamikaze pilots, concentration camps and lampshades do we need?

    Like art, they don’t have an answer, but they know it when they see it….

  2. Gordon Willis says

    Thanks, Ophelia. I’m sure I shall instantly become insufferable, but I’ll try to remain calm, honest.

  3. Gordon Willis says

    Like art, they don’t have an answer, but they know it when they see it….

    Ah, and in their hearts, or their bowels, or their sordid little souls, and they certainly have answers.

    For example: “it’s not us, it’s the other lot”, or “we’re pure, and so should you be” or “we really strive to be pure, and you ought to, too” or “better to burn now for a few hours than in hell for eternity”, or “you people need to be made to, for your own good”, or “you have to conform, it’s the only way (we do, but of course we don’t talk about it)”, or “if Y can do it, why not X?” or “you are completely evil, and must be destroyed”, or “believe me, this is nothing compared to what you’re in for”.

    It’s an endless list, actually, of self-justification and desire for power and influence.

    And let us not forget the unconscious assumption of privilege: “wot sexism? we only call men cunts. we never insult women like that, oh no, that’s totally wierd”. Or, “Well really, we never use words like that at all, don’t you know, but obviously women do have to serve their natural functions, for the good of us all. After all, what would become of us if we can’t — well — well, procreate? (and we’re far too refined or pure to want, well, sex, as they call it, I believe).”

    Or there’s “We really did a stirling job in Africa, educating the natives and bringing them the benefits of civilisation. Of course, we had to sell a few to the Americans, or the Dutch, or the Belgian chocolate companies, or.. and, oh well all right, we had a few on our estates in Jamaica, and some other places I suppose, but, you know, look at what we’ve achieved: wasn’t the sacrifce worth it?”. Or “Yes, shame that we needed to have children in the mines, obviously, but look at the broader picture…”

    And then there’s the Jewish Question…

    Oh, and the Atheists.

    Ah yes, now women

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *