Your author’s humble opinions
I have opinions on things, and, to get it all out of my system, thought it would be prudent to put some of them up here. You’ll disagree with some of these, and that’s alright — it comes with the territory.
These are, i should note, written from a specifically British perspective. If you’re wondering why hot-button U.S. topics like healthcare and abortion don’t show up here, that’ll be why — we had our fights decades ago. (I’ll also not be touching ““culture war”” topics with a barge pole, thanks.)
In no particular order except the one i’ve put them in:
- The free exchange of speech and ideas is vital for a functional society.
- To paraphrase Winston Churchill paraphrasing someone else, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.
- Capitalism is like the steam engine. Left without maintenance, it’ll grind to a halt, overheat, and do more harm than good — but anyone who thinks we’d be better off without it is deluded as to what life was like before its invention.
- It’s a free country, man! Private citizens have a right to identify as whatever the hell they bloody want, and, as long as it’s not hurting anyone, do whatever the hell they bloody want. Feel like you were a dog in a past life? Want to shout out your gender-fluid pride from the roof tops, or roam through the streets of Sunderland in the buff? I’m not going to stop you… well, except from going to Sunderland.
- Copyright is a fundamentally illiberal restriction on free speech. Every single work of art, once you get down to it, is a remix of or inspired by another. Since we do live in a capitalist society (see point №3), rather than outright abolition, i would begrudgingly accept a reduction of the length of copyright protection to thirty years or so, as opposed to the status quo of literally sixty years after the original creator is no longer alive to make money off of the product.
- People have a right to live and work wherever the hell they bloody want, too. The Argentinians have the right mindset — prove that someone’s willing to hire you, and they’ll let you in.
- Consumption and purchase of all — yes, all — psychoactive substances should be decriminalised. Note that i’ve deliberately excluded sale: while, sure, a cheeky bit of grass or acid isn’t going to kill someone, you should still probably get in trouble for hooking people on krokodil.
- Yes in my back yard! Building more houses would probably solve a good chunk of our societal problems and we should really just do it.
- The death penalty is murder and anyone who’s assisted in carrying it out should get a long stay in a cosy Norwegian prison.
- Tradition is important, even if it’s not a suicide pact. Sure, from a purely technocratic view, there’s little point in keeping the art of Northumbrian bagpiping alive. But… it’s just nice, isn’t it?
- The House of Lords is a vital, non-partisan check on things that might otherwise pass the Commons unnoticed. Any attempts to abolish or reform it should be looked at not as saving democracy but rather as a cynical consolidation of government power.
- It is utterly ridiculous that England still has a state religion… but i don’t mind the Lords Spiritual — in fact, they should be expanded to properly reflect the diversity of Britain’s faiths.
- Daylight savings time should be abolished. I would prefer permanent winter time to permanent summer time.
- The week starts on Monday. They call it the week-end for a reason.
- “The dress” is blue and gold, i tell you! You people are all insane!
- It’s pronounced /d͡ʒɪf/ (or, in Dutch, /χɪf/.)
- It’s not just in your head: buildings really have gotten uglier. Can we have ornament back, please? I’m not asking for the Sage to be covered in gargoyles or anything. Just a little decoration? Please?
- There is no such thing as “western culture”. To pretend that, say, German culture has any less in common with Russia than it does Spain is silly and ultimately politically motivated — not to mention the profound influences that India and the Islamic world have had on “western” arts and sciences.
- The Matrix Reloaded is much more enjoyable than the first film. It works on both ironic and unironic levels — Keanu Reeves fights a hundred PS2-looking Hugos Weaving; what more could you ask for? (This praise does not extend to the undercooked third and fourth installments.)
- England is as much of a Celtic nation as Scotland.
- Bodily autonomy extends to more than just abortion — freedom of form is a human right, extending naturally from freedom of speech. Piercings? Tattoos? Sex change? Sex change to a sex that doesn’t even exist? Elf ears? Going full Stalking Cat and becoming a furry IRL? It’s your body; do what you want with it.
- That goes for cognitive freedom too. I made my thoughts known on drugs above, but people should have control over how their own brain is run — there should be a “cure” for autism, and a “cure” for neurotypicality; a “cure” for homosexuality, and a “cure” for heterosexuality, and so on. (“Cure” here isn’t an ideal word, i’ll say — is getting a tattoo a cure for plain skin?)
- I would much rather march with someone who thinks “the fags and trannies should have equal rights” than someone who’s memorised the signifiers and shibboleths that make them a “progressive”, but uses them to promote a contorted, illiberal worldview. Some people out there have this very strange laser focus on linguistic and cultural minutiæ that really just do not matter in the grand scheme of things!
- Blockchain is a solution in search of a problem except they already found a problem and for some reason they’re still scrambling to figure out other use cases that aren’t just “paying for things you’d rather not want people to know you paid for”. Guys. It’s fine. You don’t have to sell the Mona Lisa off as an NFT. Just pay for drugs.
- Britain is, quite simply, the greatest country in the world, regardless of its chequered past (well, alright, maybe this particular chequerboard is 75% black squares) and how utterly it has been mismanaged in the modern day. The mother of all parliaments, and the original “free country, man!”, every democracy in the world today can trace its roots back to the speaker’s fluffy chair and ridiculous wig. We were the progenitors of the industrial revolution, the information revolution, and the world wide web, and when the Americans invented rock and roll, we were the ones who perfected it. (A full digression on British contributions to the arts and culture would take up the entire page, so let us stop before this gets really out of hand.)
And remember: this is just, like, my opinion, man.