The reason I like reading Agatha Christie is not so much for the mystery but for her world view, her philosophy. There’s an earthiness, a simplicity in her views, which resembles Christianity in some ways, shorn of its evangelism, buzzwords and theological dogma.
For example, in The Secret of Chimneys, the mysterious Anthony Cade [in reality a Crown Prince in hiding] opines:
Oh, since then I’ve travelled and seen the world. There’s damned little equality going about. Mind you, I still believe in democracy but you’ve got to force it on people with a strong hand – ram it down their throats. Men don’t want to be brothers – they may some day but they don’t now.
My belief in the brotherhood of man died the day I arrived in London last week, when I observed people standing in a Tube train resolutely refuse to move up and make room for those who entered.
You won’t turn people into angels by appealing to their better natures just yet awhile – but by judicious force, you can coerce them into behaving more or less decently to one another to go on with … evolution is a slow process.
He was speaking of Lord T’s base instincts and the natural tendencies of humans. All three of us would be in agreement on that but where we diverge is in how the matter can be resolved.
Lord T believes that technology will bring us to a state of near perfectability, with his nanobot helpers and lateral technological solutions to mankind’s greatest dilemmas and in this, he has no argument from me. I believe strongly that if only we could get technology out of the hands of politicians and allow it to develop freely to address perceived needs of now and the future, we could stop the earth’s untold resource wastage.
Anthony Cade thought the way to get people to behave decently was to coerce them, fine for children but in adults, this is dangerously near the socialist notion of infantilizing people and forcing them to conform to an unworkable, dystopian, Hegelian ideal, defined by the state, which has already been shown to lead to loss of incentive, a general malaise across the community and to behaviour, one to the other, many times worse than what it was before state interference. It leads to mediocracy as well.
In a socialist dystopia, with all moral constraint stripped away [religion is the opiate of the masses] and the only code being artificially enforced, government defined, ‘positive discrimination’ and ‘tolerance’, people are heading the same way as a child of three let loose in a room full of matches, matchboxes and sticks of dynamite.
Just look at Brown’s Britain today.
Christianity offers a model perhaps equally unworkable because it promotes and rewards the brotherhood of man and encourages self-sacrifice. As it is a ‘constraining philosophy’, curbing excesses and appealing to conscience - in its Calvinistic form demanding hard work and little joy - it is deeply unpopular with most people. Combined with the evangelical fervour and dogmatic jargon of its vocal devotees, along with the slumbering silence of the heads of its churches, it’s on a hiding to nothing with the ordinary sinner who’s been brought up in a far more hedonistic and acquisitive atmosphere, with its [ir]rationalist indoctrination from nursery school to university.
The Thou Shalt Not overtones just don’t gel with the current Do As Thou Wilt self-centred philosophy shared by the vast majority, lifted straight from Antony Vey’s Satanist Bible.
The other day, my friend spoke of each person only being interested in him/herself and therefore - all friendships, all relations, all decisions and all acts are merely variations on that theme. Even what one does for one’s family is an extension of what one does for oneself.
The usefulness of the Christian code of practice [its tenets not exclusive to that faith but codified by it into an understandable form] is acknowledged even by those not Christian in commitment but with a keen sense of history.
It is certainly one of the remaining stumbling blocks on the road to the pan-European socialist panacea Gordon Brown and his masters envisage, as well as the coming Obamatopia over there, hence the mandate to daub the sides of buses with anti-deist propaganda, the removal and locking away of crosses from chapels and other acts which would have been seen as an outrage by the general populace two generations ago.
Alas, this is the first generation, Gen X , now coming to power, who’ve been weaned off any form of elevated moral code … and its commandments are:
1. Thou shalt think only of thyself.
2. Thou shalt do only as thou wilt.
3. Thou shalt have no other gods before shopping.
4. The solution to debt is more debt.
5. Thou shalt drug thyself up and engage in indiscriminate rutting.
6. Thou shalt suppress any dissenting voice and refuse to read any articles from any opposing point of view, thereby displaying thy scholarship and tolerance of all points of view.
7. Thou shalt consign to oblivion any who would dare challenge the state-sanctioned [ir]rationalist, [in]humanist and [un]enlightened philosophy which currently fuels society.
The Judaeo-Christian ethic still exists among relics of a bygone era, such as myself, as JMB once referred to me, who believe in chivalry, tolerance, fair play, romance, men being men, women being ladies and all those other long forgotten principles we were taught to respect as school children. We might not be very good at implementing these things in practice but this dwindling band nevertheless believes them to be good.
More importantly than any of the above is the necessity to save man from descending to the bestial, to keep his eyes on higher things, on higher ideals than the next dose of soma and the next bonk. That’s what my stalker fails to appreciate – that a man’s thoughts might include his willy as one essential component of his life view but should not be exclusively focused on it to the exclusion of finer things, higher things. [Did I just write that??]
In 1976, one of the more rabid feminazis, Andrea Dworkin, said in a speech to a converted, all-woman audience:
Seduction is often difficult to distinguish from rape. In seduction, the rapist bothers to buy a bottle of wine.
Anyone fancy being her husband?
You can draw your own conclusions about a ‘human’ who is so bereft of romance in her own deeply fulfilling life that she can’t distinguish between the intoxicating chemistry between men and women on the one hand … and the cruel, indifferent bestiality of rape on the other.
Each day, in town, I see examples of bestialized Dworkinist people, particularly in their Chavian form [and do you notice the resemblance of a monk’s dress and a Chavian hood?]. It seems to me that, leaving aside all theological and philosophical niceties for the moment, we should all be trying, together, to resist the descent to the brute, bestial man and woman.
On the other hand, the friendliness of people in the area is a comfort and the way intelligent conversation suddenly springs up from nowhere, on a wide variety of topics, shows that the art of thoughtful social interaction is not dead and buried quite yet. A McDonalds girl and I even discussed philosophy a few days back, while the bacon and egg McMuffin, three hash browns and coffee were being prepared.
That, together with the leafy lanes, clipped hedges and lawns, the stone walls, railway embankments, early morning dew-laden woods and so on make life in England more than pleasant, if only the government would get off our back and let us get on with it.
In Fahrenheit 451, the little group of dissidents in the forest, at the end, reading and internalizing passages from proscribed literature, are what I’m referring to – keeping free thought alive. I’m also referring to the candlelit dinner and that bottle of wine.
Isn’t it interesting that another group, calling themselves rationalists of the Enlightenment, at the dawn of their third attempt at their new golden age in 2012, are going about it by trying to snuff out dissenting thought and any form of romance from life, all the spice, leaving us as non-sentient, compliant, dependent, separated, humourless pauper-drones?