Wednesday 22 January 2014

Why I want you to question everything - even me.

As Another Angry Voice has become more popular over the years, I've been accused of being all kinds of things. If the accusations my various critics have thrown at me are compiled together and accepted at face value then I must be some kind of preposterously confused schizophrenic. A Tory supporting communist; a Zionist Anti-Semite; a totalitarian libertarian; a misogynistic feminist; a religious atheist, an anti-American western imperialist; and a statist anarchist!

If the aggregated complaints of my critics are to be believed, I must be some kind of Internet troll-lord, spewing reams of mutually contradictory attention seeking click-bait. I hope that those of you who are familiar with my work recognise that I'm nothing of the sort and that I strive to make my work mutually consistent, to conduct coherent analysis and to back up my views with reliable evidence 
(the green links on this blog).

I'm never really that bothered when people resort to calling me a "Nazi" in lieu of actually critiquing any of the points I've made or questioning my evidence. Once the individual has resorted to slinging totally unsubstantiated accusations, and the wielding of political words (with actual definitions) as nothing more than blunt insults, I feel there is no point in debating the issue further on the grounds that the poor individual is clearly incapable of developing anything remotely resembling a coherent argument.

On some rare occasions I do allow myself to be riled into responding to my most incoherent critics. One such example was a bloke that accused me of being a "tiny-minded" person with "a blog that feeds into the ethos of not challenging authority"!

The attack on my intelligence is like water off a duck's back. I know I'm an expert on a few things and reasonably clued up about a lot of other subjects too. If I had been over-sensitive enough to allow insults like that to get to me, there's absolutely no way I could have continued with Another Angry Voice for so long. The thing that really riled me was the accusation that my blog feeds into "the ethos of not challenging authority".

I thought that one of the clearest and most consistent themes in my work is my belief that authority must be challenged. Nearly everything I've ever written challenges the reader to question authority, be it the authoritarianism of the crony capitalist state, the appeals to authority of the neoclassical economic orthodoxy, the deceptive propaganda presented by the mainstream media, the claimed moral authority of various religious groups or the pseudo-rationalist authority of the ranty anti-theist brigade too.

I challenge you to question it all.

In fact I encourage you to challenge me too.

Instead of passively taking what I say on authority simply because you might agree with some of the stuff I've said previously - I challenge you to find something I've written that you disagree with. Try to find a flaw in my reasoning, try to find some counter-evidence to undermine one of my assertions. You need to remember that I'm just a bloke with a blog, not an authority on all matters, so there's absolutely no way you should be agreeing with everything I say.

The main message I'd like people to take from my work it is that I want them to challenge authority. Go on a public protest, sign some petitions, donate to worthy causes, boycott tax-dodgers and unethical businesses, get involved in politics, write to your MP, share your political views, search out heterodox ideas and probably most importantly of all, educate yourself to see through the misleading narratives and outright lies that the political establishment and their professional propagandists in the mainstream media desperately want you to believe.

If there's one message people should be able to discern in my work it is that I want the reader to challenge authority, and it saddens me that some people are too blinded by ideological tribalism to even recognise that.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

Footnote: As can be seen in the brilliant bit of graffiti I used in the article header image, the appeal to "question everything" is actually a logical paradox because the very first thing you should be questioning is whether everything needs to be questioned. Here are some more paradoxes if you like that kind of thing.

The Great Neoliberal Lie



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