Sunday, January 13, 2008

A couple of things

A couple of things I heard on BBC Radio Four last week have been buzzing around in my brain since.

On Start The Week Tony Blair was criticised for declaring his intention to support George Bush in the Iraq invasion too readily. It was compared to Neville Chamberlain making all too clear in advance the lengths he was prepared to go in thwarting Adolf Hitler's international ambitions.

But, I shouted at the radio, Blair was Bush's ally and not his enemy. And far from being the one who might have put a brake on Bush, it was Blair who was the driver of the policy that decisive action be taken against the threat Saddam posed to world peace and security.

Later that day, in Beyond Belief, the panel shared some thoughts about the meaning of life. Dr Susan Blackmore confessed that having come to the view that life is entirely pointless, she feels a sense of liberation. Ernest Rea, who presents the programme and comes across as a very liberal protestant churchman, said he would find that conclusion intolerably nihilistic.

Blackmore seemed to me to represent a particularly benign form of nihilism. She seemed to be saying, 'life is pointless, so let's invest it with as much joy, beauty, significance, value as we can while we are here and have the chance' - I certainly subscribe enthusiastically to that. Another kind of nihilism all too commonly found today, namely 'life is pointless and therefore let's completely destroy civilisation as we know it without any regard for the needs and feelings of others who may have their own reasons, valid or otherwise, for disagreeing with us - now that does leave me feeling a little edgy.

That's better. Now there's a whole lot less buzzing going on!

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