Wednesday, April 17, 2013

There is an issue developing with the way we treat people who read what some may call subversive material.

When I was a lad I read everything I could about homemade firearms with a view to building something which went bang!  You remember, a penny bunger down a lump of pipe with a ball bearing thrown in on top – point it at the fence and wait - only to suffer the ignominy of a hiding from Dad when a large hole appeared.  Or, reading up on how to make a boat only to launch an old door off Black Rock beach and float to glory.  Half a mile out and it dawned on our collective pea brain that we were heading into the shipping lane faster than we could paddle back to shore. Rescued by a fisherman and another hiding.  How about reading up on making a bow and arrow only to have my best ‘friend’ shoot me in the face – quivering arrow embedded in my cheek and, you guessed it, another hiding. This is normal boy’s stuff, adventure and projectiles. 
There were a plethora of books available for boys to ponder over and discuss what would be considered by today’s moral police to be subversive and indeed even anarchistic as well as deeming those evil tomes for corrupting the minds of boys leading them into the paths of terrorism and world domination!
Can you imagine what one of moral turpitude could write about my antics as a boy?  “Terrorist plot foiled by fisherman when youths caught in shipping lane on homemade boat waiting to sink American container.  These same despots have previously been caught developing home made weapons of mass destruction designed to inflict maximum damage. They have also been caught with terrorist instruction manuals. They should be immediately jailed for the rest of their horrible and unchristian lives!”
 Sounds like a big call for a couple of 10 year olds somewhat lacking in a sense of self preservation and an overinflated sense of adventure with no allergies or colds or disease or, brains.
The exampled news article from the moral high ground person was created from the very dark side of their own thoughts and desire to sell news papers turning a couple if idiot 10 year olds into perpetrators from the ‘axis of evil’.
I have read part of David Hicks book yet I don’t think I will be developing any desire to go and follow some passion in another country through and by just reading his book.  I can remember reading books by Dennis Wheatley as a kid on the occult and being fascinated but I don’t think I will be buying a pointy hat any time soon.  At our school we had a church service every morning – 2400 sessions of attempted indoctrination - yet I have no desire to pursue a role as a religious do-gooder. 
I have read the bible dozens of times and indeed have a couple of those inculcating tomes floating around the house somewhere.  Does this mean I am a religious extremist with views taken from a collection of part phrases?  Not bloody likely.
As I am scrawling this I am looking around at our library.  Right there in front of me is another mine of information allowing me to research possible malfeasant targets.  This incendiary publication is innocently called the ‘The White Pages’.  I can slobber over this whilst wearing my pointy hat and thinking of my antics as a “despot youth reading unchristian terrorist instruction manuals such as Popular mechanics”.
Then there is the internet.  That terrorist inspired publication, The White Pages’ is on-line!  God help us all.
This week a person was arrested for reading ‘subversive’ material and accused of a crime because someone somewhere deemed the material subversive and of Al Qaeda origin.  Every bloke should therefore be arrested who had read the White Pages, Popular Mechanics, The Bible, any thriller novel or has seen any ‘action’ movie over the last 50 years.
Mao Tse Tung tried to remove Chinese culture by removing books. Stalin and Hitler did the same. These delightful despots believed that if you removed people’s ability to seek information then you gain control.  The sad thing is that they nearly pulled it off and worse, their idea of censorship is still alive and well in today’s challenged dictatorships.
It has been proven time and time again that people will seek information and then disseminate what they think is right and what is wrong.
There will always be people who read into a sentence just what they want to hear and make judgements based on no fact.  Take the fictitious article written about my attempts to sail to glory as a 10 year old - nothing to do with reality.  It’s not the act but the reporting which creates angst.
It’s not what people read, it’s how they interpret it. What’s more, if too many books have been burnt then the total picture is not available and people will make decisions on limited and possibly spurious texts.  Not good.
I was lucky because as part of my 2400 church services we discussed all religions on equal terms with an overriding agenda not to judge.  Obviously, as a Presbyterian school, the preference was to guide us into the true light of that belief, but not at the expense of intellectual understanding.
The same cannot be said for other doctrines which attempt to blind and demand adherence to what is a very small section of life.
Therefore, the issue is not what they read but what they DON’T read.  Balance in everything is good whereas dictated opinion is bad.  Take ‘Reds under the beds’ and ‘George Orwell’s1984’ as examples.
I personally don’t think it an issue that someone reads a subversive document.  Every Christian, Muslim, Mormon, Christian Scientist or orthodox Jew could also be accused of subverting another’s chosen true way if all we had to judge on was the specific written word of each doctrine.
Every one of those believers who decry other’s beliefs should also be arrested and jailed as was the person downloading alleged Al Qaeda subversive material.
Perhaps not a good thought as this act alone is heading towards Hitler’s idea of a free world.
I personally have been threatening to read the Koran.  It’s about time and like Popular Mechanics, The Bible and the White Pages, it’s an obvious terrorist book designed to subvert the masses into a proletarian uprising.
Can you imagine how the same writer who wrote the fictitious article on me as a floating kid could perceive this wanton act.
“Brainless dropkick youth previously guilty of terrorist plots grows up to continue his life of subversion and anarchy by downloading and indeed even reading the other side’s religious text!  His intentions are obviously Armageddon generated from the axis of evil.  God Help us all”
Yep, if that drivel is what we believe and those beliefs guide our actions then truly, ‘God Help us all’.
Jon Langevad