Occasionally, I'll come across something that makes me feel like perhaps we might be OK after all, in spite of all the reasons I find to rant about how crappy we can be toward each other.
Yesterday, I came across just such a thing, a video on Twitter. It was a short film of singer Lily Allen visiting 'The Jungle', a refugee camp in Calais, France, where there are over a thousand unaccompanied and disenfranchised children and young people living in squalour.
Made a film about the situation in Calais https://t.co/5hBEf6T1CX— lily allen (@lilyallen) October 12, 2016
So, there's a beautiful logical fallacy in there, and you all know how I react to those:@lilyallen, did u ever make a film or shed a tear for the 1400 English girls pack-raped by Muslims in #Rotherham? 😥 pic.twitter.com/iIqjwJyKbT— Truth Groupie (@YouthFemininity) October 12, 2016
This comes up all too often, and the issue with it is so clear that it boggles the mind that people can be so blind to it. There's absolutely no connection between the two, and the idea that drawing attention to one thing that you feel strongly about means that you don't care about other things is asinine. One might as well argue that, because oncologists focus on cancer, they don't care about tuberculosis. This is such an egregious failure of thought that it makes me despair at the intellectual turpitude of our species.
But wait, it gets worse. I'm not going to detail all the flak that Lily took for making this film, but I want to detail a few highlights.
Next up was a user @0KINDALUST0, whose account seems to have since been deleted. This user passed some comment to the effect that these children should be sent home to Syria, where they had homes, and going on to suggest that this wasn't the UK's problem, but was the purview of the EU. Others had already addressed the former assertion with photographs showing the state of the alleged homes in Syria, which had been mostly reduced to piles of rubble. I went after the latter suggestion:
Then I came across a tweet by failed politician and professional bigot David Vance:
Lovely bit of ad hominem, and entirely content-free.
Finally, this wonderful bit of tripe from possibly the most toxic and despicable person in popular British culture:
Setting aside the deep irony of being called a cretin by this moron, the assertion seems to be deeply counterfactual, as attested by the people of Britain being among the most giving anywhere. I could cite any of a vast number of examples in which 'this great country' - made considerably less great by this anencephalic turd's presence in it - pulled together to aid those in need. Band Aid, Live Aid, Children in Need, charitable giving in the aftermath of natural disasters such as the 2004 tsunami, two earthquakes in Haiti, aid workers risking and giving their lives all over the world, etc.Do not apologise for this country Allen, you cretin. This great country prefers to look after its own. Get over it. https://t.co/hpy1atrsOf— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) October 12, 2016
Here's the thing: As I said to the user formerly known as 0KINDALUST0, it's easy to sit in your armchair and criticise people for their efforts in trying to reduce the suffering of others. Far, far easier than actually getting off your privileged arse and doing something useful. Lily, in bringing the plight of children and young people in a dangerous situation to light, and using her public profile as a force for good, is doing something genuinely helpful that impacts the world for the better, and makes it a better place for all of us.
This isn't a responsibility we can simply paint pink and erect an SEP field around, it's something that we, as entities having empathy, and as members of a social species whose survival and well-being is predicated on working together, are ALL responsible for.
The idea that we can, for whatever reason, denigrate the efforts of another to make the world a better place for our species by attempting to help vulnerable children and young people in a dangerous situation, especially by appealing to such fallacies as appeal to motive, poisoning the well, false equivalence, etc, tells me that our moral progress still has a long, long way to go.
When people want to assert that Lily has no place apologising on behalf of the nation that had a hand in engineering this situation, I say only that they also have no place speaking on my behalf. Lily is speaking for enough of us, those that actually have some basic human decency and empathy for the plight of children, that your toxic interjections are not only unsought, but unwelcome.
Working for the improvement of our society and the world at large is something that should be encouraged. If you can't do that, and only have asinine interjections that display your fuckwitted, neanderthal natures, then Lily and I have a message for you: