My Country, right or wrong?
by Ibrahim Turner
Extract from an article about Tony Blair by Alan Hart, “A Manifestation of Evil or Just Plain Madness?” published on Information Clearing House.
“Just occasionally terrestrial television comes up with a documentary that provides real and (to my way of thinking) terrifying insight into the mindset of leaders. One such documentary, actually a series of three, The Blair Years, has just ended on BBC Television.
The third and last programme, which like all three was constructed on an in-depth conversation between the former prime minister and Sunday Times columnist David (am I really a Zionist?) Aaronovitch was titled Blair In Power.
Throughout the programme, as in power, Blair insisted that he did what he did because he truly and totally believed it was “the right thing to do.” That, said Sir Ming Campbell, the former Liberal Democratic Party leader, was “a very frustrating phrase”. Why? “Because if I say to you (David Aaronovitch) that it’s ‘the right thing to do,’ there’s no forensic skill you can exercise that can disturb that. It’s a phrase of last resort, impervious to argument.”
In discourse analysis it’s known as the false dilemma. You can’t argue with somebody, particularly a leader, who insists that he was doing what was right because, implicitly, you invite yourself to be seen as arguing for what is morally wrong. And that’s why conviction politicians are so successful and can get away with murder. Literally. (It’s analogous to the assertion that “God promised us the land.” The only sane response to that, if ones dares, is “You’re mad.”)
After a line of commentary that said, “He had become a divisive and unpopular prime minister,” Blair said: “The very moment when I was becoming less popular and less publicly acceptable was when I felt a greater confidence.” Translated that could only mean, “The more people told me I was wrong, the more believed I was right.” (When I discussed this with a former senior BBC producer and friend, he said: “I’m different from Blair. When people tell me I’m deep in sh*t, I look down and see how I can get out of it!”)”
According to philosophers, gurus and other enlightened people, when a man feels that he is right, he is never more wrong.
How is that possible?
When you feel you are right, you have no doubts about it. You can initiate wars and atrocities without conscience. Doubts about a course of action only ‘get in the way’ of your ambition; your ‘rightness’.
A man with doubts necessarily looks at the results or consequences of this or that action. Someone who feels that they are ‘right’ does not even entertain the possibility of doubt.
Going further down the road of the consequences of the actions, which lead to bad results, only reinforces the ’rightness’ of the conviction. The ‘conviction’ comes under attack from inconvenient facts.
The personality under attack defends itself vigorously, going on the attack against perceived threats. The personality paints itself into a corner from which there is no escape, therefore it reinforces this conviction of ‘rightness’, refuses to acknowledge all and everything, which does not conform to the picture and the feeling of ‘faultlessness’.
This is a dangerous position to be in, for the person’s understanding of himself, and also for the rest of us, should he or she be in a position to make decisions that effect many peoples, countries and even the environment.