Government's threats to HE freedoms
The petition now has 230 signatures! Which is great, until you look at the 7000+ they got for the one on repealing the hunting ban, or even - as someone on our local home ed list pointed out - the one requiring the Prime Minister to stand on his head and juggle ice-cream on the grounds that, "If he's not going to resign, the least he can do is provide us with some entertainment." Trouble is, knowing Tony Blair, he probably could. And happily would. Bless.
Radio 4's Start the Week this morning included a great interview with the Observer's Henry Porter, billed as follows:
"Someone, somewhere, is watching you. Whether it’s CCTV, ID cards or the DNA database, increasingly our movements and biological make-up are being monitored. To some people, these are examples of technology coming to the aid of crime fighters. To the writer HENRY PORTER it is part of a deeply worrying trend that could already be out of our control and he explains why he thinks our freedom and privacy are under threat. Suspect Nation is on More4 tonight at 9.00pm."
He came across as being reasonable, relaxed and made his arguments in a compelling way that nobody could argue with. People like Henry Porter, Clare M, Neil TM and all the others just repeatedly, patiently making the arguments against total blanket surveillance gives us the best chance of waking up, working out what's happening and maybe trying to slow it all down or something.
But even then, not meaning to be too depressing ("own personal hell" still ringing in my ears LOL - dare I ever say anything that's not cheery or happy again? ;-) it IS happening. It WILL happen. I can't see how it can be stopped. The technology is there, it cannot be uninvented and it's just too tempting for states not to use it. The universal compulsory schooling laws have done such a good job at switching off most people's critical thinking faculties, family allegiances, territorial instincts and a range of other healthy natural attributes that I just can't see anyone stopping the steamroller process. The very thought of trying reminds me of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, especially this image, surely a scar by now on our race memory:
So what's to be done, when governments are hellbent on tyranny? I did an I Ching reading about it this morning and got 46: Sheng: Growth, with changing lines in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th places resulting in 30: Li: Fire. Don't be impulsive. Just remain unremittingly persevering, in a consciencious and consistent way. If we are sincere, we will find an affinity with people in power. At this time we can work together in the spirit of solidarity to achieve something, if we're modest. The concluding Fire hexagram is about shining brightly - unashamedly doing what we do - to illuminate the world.
So if the I Ching is right, which it always has been for me, then all is not lost and what we're currently doing will work.
We were chatting about it at our home ed meeting today, thinking about the practical problems government will face if it tries to impose a curriculum on us. Lucy made the point that we could all, if pushed, show already that we comply with the National Curriculum and my home ed reports to LEA have been set out in such a way, to demonstrate that we do tick all their boxes even though we learn naturally. So in reality all 'complying with a curriculum' would consist of for most of us, assuming it was similar or identical to the one currently used in UK state schools would be some extra paperwork.
The real difficulty would be if we had some kind of schedule or timetable imposed on us, or testing. All of which are the natural next steps after curriculum. But even then, unless they camped out in our living rooms or fitted us with surveillance cameras, how could they possibly enforce it? Chilling thought: rewind twenty or thirty years. I wonder if the CCTV debate and other losses to our privacy and liberty were debated in these terms - i.e. surely they couldn't/wouldn't actually do that? But look: they did.
We've slipped so far down the steep totalitarian slope it's hard to see how we can possibly stop the fall at this late stage.
Having said that, I had 'totalitarian' parents, in the sense that they wanted to oversee, monitor and control every single thing I did and I can tell you that even with unhindered 24/7 monitoring provision, the tyrant's goal is an impossible one. My parents demanded I be asleep by a certain time every night, but without the use of drugs or a cosh they couldn't force sleep to happen. (I became insomniac instead.) They shut me in my room, took out my lightbulb and removed all my books but I still stayed awake.
They were determined I would accomplish certain skills and manners but they were only partially successful, despite their best efforts. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.
What you can and will do, unfortunately, by trying to subsume a person's will, is bring about a reaction that might manifest itself (amongst other ways) in rebelliousness, apathy, disinterest or outright violence, depending on the person. But the thing about controlling other people is that it's a very difficult habit to break, once established.
No I don't think the lawmakers have our best interests at heart. Only the interests of preserving and inflating our national economy and preventing us from ever rebelling. But I keep coming back in my mind to the glimmer of hope that the officials we deal with are real people and can, in many cases, be dealt with as such.
Having said that, we're often up against the attitude expressed by Education Welfare Officers that 'some parents are not fit to home educate and these should therefore be weeded out and banned from doing so.' - with which I disagree. But it is a prevalent and deep-seated opinion throughout society and I think it's akin to the 'some people don't deserve to have children' sentiment I hear chunnered by people (most of whom don't seem to have any of their own.)
On a related note, Lyddie was accused of being a brat by a passing stranger in Asda today. It's just made me want to run away and find a self-sufficient haven. I have days when I just don't want to be amongst the world when it gets like that.
No, this is not further evidence of my "personal hell" - we had a lovely day apart from that, honest!
Dear me. Blogging, huh? Who'd bother with it? ^^