The process of democracy evolved to allow those with different ideas of what is moral and right to co-exist in a society.
The democratic process involves people freely expressing their opinions and then a vote being taken to decide which group of people should govern for a fixed period. Political debate revolves around two types of issue, the moral and the managerial. Each contending group attempts to create a moral platform from which they will govern.
It is worthwhile, before considering morality, to consider the nature of political debate and decision making.
If there is to be any meaningful debate in politics the debate must address the full context such as who are the interested parties and what do they believe? Having established the context then what are the moral points being made?
The debate about leaving the EU is fresh in everyone’s minds so can serve as a good example. The morality of the debate primarily revolved around whether UK self government was a moral purpose. This was the moral point given that even the worst economic predictions were for lowered growth, not for zero growth (ie: no-one would starve or even be hungrier than at present if the UK left the EU).
Trade with China has similar issues. Those who wish to limit trade with China believe it is an evil, threatening tyranny, that should not be strengthened, whilst those who favour trade believe that stopping China is unnecessary and certainly not worth a few pounds a year in costs. The debate is about the moral purpose of limiting tyranny.
The hidden debate on race is about whether social and even legal or employment pressure should be brought to bear on those who have views or language that differs from those of the anti-racist group. This debate is slightly different from that around free speech in general in that it focuses on one issue and declares speech related to it, such as the use of words like coloured or black in the “wrong” context, to be akin to a crime. The moral point here is that society should be able to tightly control speech in all settings.
In the debate on free speech those who support free speech believe that the whole of democratic government depends on it whereas those who oppose free speech believe that people saying “bad” things should be stopped. Here there seems to be two approaches to morality – the protection of people’s feelings versus the preservation of democracy but on closer inspection they are one. Democracy is about being heard. So if one side in a democracy can routinely silence the other side then the views of the other side cannot be heard and democracy is wounded or destroyed.
It can be seen from all of these examples that there is a common thread. On the one side there are those who support self determination and free expression in a democracy and on the other there are those who believe that this is less important than their own moral imperatives. In all cases the debate is actually about democracy.
That the major debates of our time are about democracy should worry us. In previous times most debates were about issues such as whether we should have a National Health Service, or whether industry should be nationalised or how the education system should be organised. Attacks on democracy itself were often considered causes for war.
Why is this happening? The source of the attacks on democracy is the mainstream media. The broadcasters pay lip service to the idea of free speech but then issue total bans across their organisations on anyone using certain words and expressions. They deliberately avoid the context of events. They only invite speakers from one side of the debate or use dissolute speakers for the side that they wish to suppress. They give enhanced coverage and publicity to any groups that believe in undermining the democratic process. The Fourth Estate, the mainstream media, and especially the broadcast media, are failing the process of democracy.
In the UK this is unforgivable because the BBC was established to be a bastion of the democratic process. Successive governments have ignored the pivotal role of the BBC in the health of British democracy by permitting the Charter to be watered down with every renewal.
We can see in the USA how years of partisan media coverage has polarised and enraged the population. Whether or not Trump was bad, evil etc., the relentless media campaign against his supporters was guaranteed to create deep and lasting social divisions and distrust of the mainstream media.
Who is behind this? Anyone desiring to mortally wound the West would identify the process of democracy as the prime target. Far left French intellectuals in the latter half of the twentieth century were crystal clear that the media had to be the main target to destroy the West and their ideas have widely subverted humanities faculties in universities. Multi-national corporations are keenly aware that borders give indigenous competitors an advantage and have had undermining the independence of national economies and workers as a priority for the past 50 years and now China is flexing its enormous economic muscle to subvert the West.
It is puzzling that our representatives cannot see what is happening. As representatives their role is to make the home life of the citizens as comfortable, free and rewarding as possible whilst providing an environment for the next generation to set up home. It is their role to protect us by preventing those opposed to the democratic process from destroying it so that they can impose their morality on the population.
What must be done? The BBC Charter should be changed so that it charges the BBC with covering the context of events (not suppressing news), not relying on anecdotal reporting and not avoiding causing offence to mollify pressure groups. The BBC should be charged with supporting the democratic process which includes defending free speech. It is not good enough that everyone in Channel 4 and the BBC support a viewpoint, the other view must be heard in a truly impartial fashion. The BBC and Channel 4 should not employ staff who have a history of membership of or close association with organisations that are opposed to democracy, even if that membership were at university. The BBC is the National Broadcaster supporting the UK, anti-democrats should work elsewhere.
Outside of the major broadcasters the ownership of the media should be carefully monitored and preferably British. The accounts of major media companies should be monitored for payments from foreign powers via corporate intermediaries.
Lastly the UK should encourage alternatives to Twitter and Facebook etc. as a priority. This will involve the implementation of a National Internet Firewall.
This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog: https://pol-check.blogspot.com/2021/01/morality-and-politics.html