Is our brand of democracy worth fighting for? Can married women enjoy sex with their husbands? And does my dog provide more energy than a government-funded wind farm, asks Alessandro Tomé
SPRING HAS SPRUNG, and with it has the Jasmine Revolution and other less romantic-sounding uprisings across the Middle East and Northern Africa. Although the West has tried to herd them all into the same corral of yearning for Western democracies, they have been driven by substantially disparate desires.
Real revolutions on the whole have historically been driven by hunger first and foremost. The vast majority just want food on their plates and will back anyone who gives it. People rise for feeding their families, not normally because they awake to a democratic yearning. This in turn will usually require taking the food (or money for it) away from the ruling class. But mostly this has been about settling old scores, inter-tribal rivalries, hatred and religious discourses, and being willing to kill and die over it. On the whole, these are internal issues typical of an evolving, diverse, socio-economic grouping, as with the Western democracies for hundreds of years — and still now.
Of course, this is an over-simplification, but if there were no oil in the region they would be left to their own devices — just as has been done in Zimbabwe and other African genocidal inter-tribal wars and rebellions, Burma and many a country where we don’t seem to think they deserve democracy yet (or spending our money and soldiers’ lives).
The message is clear: if you don’t have something the West wants or needs, it’s not going to be that interested in your democratic yearning, or stopping social injustice and human-rights abuses where you are. It’ll make a bit of noise about it occasionally, yes, but no more than that. It’ll stretch to economic sanctions only as long as they don’t really affect their way of life. Military intervention is only for when they know they’ve got you beat because you didn’t buy enough of the weapons they tried to sell you last week. If you have nukes, however, all bets are off; you can do what you want.
As you may have gathered, I do not believe in the supposed desire our leaders have to export our form of government to these regions for their own good, nor do I think they are ingenuous enough to give these uprisings more than a minute chance at a democracy. As these rumblings were getting closer and closer to Western shores I wondered what it is that should inspire them, what example of freedom we give other than superficial impression of wealth? For all our claims to success, are we such a shining example?
We have taken our freedom — the same freedom all these people and countries are nominally fighting for, the freedom that so many people have died for here — and made ourselves prisoners of it. We have turned it all on its head. We have freedom of speech, but you can never speak your mind or risk offending someone, somewhere, somehow. You may have offended a cow by blaming it for climate change; it has feelings, after all. I am offended by girl bands and am continually trying to get them arrested whenever I see them on TV, but probably I will have offended the policeperson to whom I made the complaint.
Freedom of choice? You can’t choose anything any more in ‘our’ democracy. They tell us what to eat, how it has to be made, how much of it we can eat, why, where, when. You can barely choose where you work, who with, how long and for how much. Who you talk to and how. It’s a miracle you can still choose who you go to bed with, let alone marry. Soon you won’t be allowed to marry as it will offend those who don’t believe in marriage. You won’t be able to believe in anything as a matter of fact, for ‘believing’ is likely to be offensive to doubters of everything.
Sound familiar? Equality? If you are in a majority of anything, you are in the wrong on principle. It is practically law that if your view is part of the majority view on any subject you must be offending, abusing or discriminating against all others, known or unknown, thereby making you subject to corrective action or alternatively prison. Minorities rule here, too.
Freedom of religion or belief? Let’s not even go there, except to say that Dudeism is the latest accredited minority belief system that you must make sure not to offend inadvertently or discriminate against. Justice? Where the criminal gets a vote and the thief compensation and the victim is arrested for having branded him such?
I could go on, but I think I hear someone at the door expressing offence at my actually having written this piece. So is it really this they are all fighting for out there? Are we really the paragon of freedom? Are we really living up to the high standards we have enticed them to shed their blood for? Or are we just abusing their freedom of choice by telling them how they should govern themselves? Is it just another double-faced exhibition of our supposed righteousness? Will we leave them at the altar because the oil cheque didn’t clear? And what ravaged state will they be in once NewsCorp moves on to another story and all we will have left them with is a hatred of us? But at least they can express that hatred on Twitter or Facebook now.
Screwing with our Minds
My Angel Wife has been mentioning that although she personally hasn’t read more than the headlines, a few recent articles in the press have been debating yet again the subject of matrimonial sex, or rather lack thereof. She said, again from what she gathered from the headlines, that it appears that there are women currently keen on revealing all their shortcomings and hang-ups on the subject.
These new and exciting revelations are meant to give the readers an inside track on the fact that the regularity of marital sex dramatically drops off after a couple has children. Wow, scoop there. And that most women, at least as those who write these insightful pieces conclude, feel that on most occasions the sex is a form of chore or duty that they must perform as part of the ‘deal’, rather than a reason for enjoyment.
The exception, we learn, is approximately once a month, when said women accept that they might actually be looking forward to some form of sexual arousal, as long as it’s exactly when and how they plan it. So the average then drops below once a month in real terms. Again, no news there, I thought. Bar rarities like Angel Wife, who’s still hot for it after twenty years, I thought it was a generally accepted fact that marriage and children were libido-killers.
The problem, perhaps for women at least, is that their husband proceeds to look elsewhere for his pleasure, which when found out leaves said wife in such level of distress that she can only be cured by 50 per cent of his wealth. I wonder if the women from those articles were still married, and if that was a function of their husband’s limited wealth?
Winds of Change
With nuclear power having been set back 40 years in the minds of most people after the tragedy in Japan, the oil-hungry West is left in an increasingly precarious energy quandary. Unless it is able through the pernicious subterfuge of bringing ‘democracy’ to Arab autocracies to fully secure oil supplies, it is now dependent on a South American socialist dictator, Russian KGB agents, Nigerian chiefs and what will be left of Arabian centralised governments for its supplies.
Unless of course the US decides to stop protecting the moose and drill in Alaska, and the West as a whole stops wasting so much money on wind energy that creates less power than most of my dog’s farts even on a windy days and focuses spending on real alternative energy research and development instead. Food for thought as I fly on my BMI plane direct to Marrakech for a little sun and warmth.
Illustration by Jeremy Leasor