Refusing to register with the BBC to leave a comment, I will vent my frustrations here (although I doubt the BBC care about a backlink from this blog!).
It is common in the real world, and the mainstream media’s representation of it, to succumb to the false authority fallacy. The BBC has another “news” item which does this in a dramatic manner. Seriously, today has convinced me that 24 hour news will be the end of the world.
In a piece titled “Longer detention ‘may save lives’” the BBC begin with:
As the debate rages over the length of time terror suspects can be detained without charge, three people whose lives were changed forever in 2005 by the 7 July London bombings explain why they are backing an extension.
Now, what is “newsworthy” about this completely eludes me, but even the most cursory reading shows the problem with attributing authority falsely. The three people the BBC have dragged out are victims of a terrible terrorist attack, they are not experts on the law or social policy. They have no greater insight to the event, or its repercussions than anyone else. The BBC may as well have dragged three random people off the street and asked them for all the weight the opinions should carry.
And here lies the problem. The opinions of the victims carries more weight because we, as a society, are now used to the false authority. We listen to ageing pop stars when they talk about global economics, we listen to Christian clergy when they talk about housing and so on. We have been force fed the false authority to such a degree it is almost assumed. Modern victims seem to feel they have a right to tell people how to sort problems out based solely on the experience which made them a victim. It is madness. It is scary madness because this drives public policy. Very scary madness.
As I have made this into a post rather than a comment, I feel I should highlight some of the bits I have big issues with. As an example, when talking about the proposals to increase the time an innocent person (well, I suppose they are guilty of looking Islamic in a western nation) can be detained without charge to 56 days, they have this to say:
“If it’s going to help prevent another 7/7, then I have to support it.” [ROB WEBB – BROTHER OF VICTIM, LAURA]
“We believed 90 days was right so I would certainly be in favour of 56 days,” [JUNE TAYLOR – MOTHER OF VICTIM, CARRIE]
He wants the law changed to allow terror suspects to be held for as long as is necessary, so long as detention is dealt with responsibly and is under judicial review. [MICHAEL HENNING – BOMB SURVIVOR]
Great comments, really. They show why laws should not be written by people who are traumatised by loss.
Rob Webb hits the nail on the head, “if” is the critical part of it though. The changes to the law would not have prevented the 7 July bombings. They would not have prevented the recent London and Glasgow attempts.
Worryingly, they are quite likely to further alienate the segment of the population in which the terrorists move and recruit. This will, in the words of the Treason laws, have the effect of providing support and succour to the enemy. Is that really what these people want?
All three say largely the same things about how detaining people for up to 90 days is OK as it may save lives – with references to the tabloid favourite about the courts putting the suspects human rights before those of innocent people. This is complete tosh. It really is nonsense. The rights of the suspect are the exact same as the rights of the innocent person. If you take away the rights of the suspect (remembering they are innocent at this time, over three quarters of terrorism suspects have been released without charge…), you are taking them away from everyone. White or black. Christian or Muslim (or atheist).
Rob Webb also states (and this is another tabloid ranting point):
“In the balance of fairness, I would rather be completely unfair to them, than for a completely innocent person to be murdered on the public transport network.”
(In this context I think “them” means terrorist suspects rather than Asians in general)
This really does show why victims are not experts. I wonder what peoples reactions would be if the people who were most in danger from this new legislation were not a minority group? Would Mr Webb be happy to do 56 days in detention (Interment by another name) and then released without charge? That is effectively what this legislation calls for — just because at the moment “we” don’t feel that it will target us does not make that the case.
[tags]Comment Week, BBC, False Authority, Law, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, Human Rights, Fallacy, Society, Culture, Logic, Reason, Sane, Traumatic, Loss, Revenge, Minorities, Islam, Christianity, UK[/tags]