Why society needs 'degenerate' changemakers…

Or why a healthy society thrives on dissent. And even, who will save us from the stupidity of endless, repetitive order? Fascinating thesis from that most excellent political dissenter John Lloyd, which he kicks off with a seminal quote from Nietzsche:

“The danger to those strong communities founded on homogeneous individuals who have character is growing stupidity, which follows all stability like a shadow. It is the individuals who have fewer ties and are much more uncertain and morally weaker upon whom spiritual progress depends in such communities; they are the men who make new and manifold experiments.”

Lloyd argues that every party/tradition, needs a leading dissenter to effect real change. He draws mostly from British parliamentary history, citing D’Israeli, Churchill and Ernest Bevan as prime examples of men who thought and acted across the currents of orthodoxy in their own traditions and in doing so effected substantial and lasting changes.

But his thesis is one that could be fed on and made relevant to the local scene in so many, many ways. Who’ll give us a starter for ten?

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3 thoughts on “Why society needs 'degenerate' changemakers…

  1. Mick,
    This is one for me 😉

    Must add a section of the 2nd paragraph though:

    “People who donÂ’t observe that morality are seen as degenerates, or “morally weaker” – which they are, judged by the morality of the system. But they are also – to repeat a phrase of Tony BlairÂ’s – the “change-makers”.

    Now bear in mind Matthew 5:20

    “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” KJV

    In this spirit, Jesus condemns the Pharisees, the respectable religious people of his day, for they perform the empty rituals of worship but do not live authentic lives of service to the kingdom of God. Jesus says he has come to bring the kingdom of God to Earth. But the respectable religious and civil leaders of his day do not care for the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed. They prefer to be seen as respectable, as upholders of the established social, economic and religious order.

    Evil presents itself as “respectability,” as the established way of doing things, as the accepted social morality of a society. Evil hides, they say, in everydayness, in business as usual, in what is given honors and the highest praise.

    Evil poses as its opposite.

    Now you don’t have to look at this from a religious viewpoint either. Many humanists down through the ages have arrived at this same conclusion.

    I would therefore agree with the thesis of John Lloyd; but take it further and say that the “outsiders” the so-called “degenerates” are not “morally weaker” at all, but in every sense morally stronger.

    It seems that most “degenerates” have only ever been able to influence from the side-lines, being writers, prophets, musicians.
    This is because the “immoral herd” of hypocrits run the system.
    The peace-makers of this world: Jesus, Gandhi always get killed.
    I’ve a feeling norn iron is full of these so-called degenerates, which the snobs like to mock and humiliate because they haven’t got jobs, are not “respectable”; but actually come from a deeper and better morality than they are being led by.
    So up the “moral degenerates” I say. And of course I’m not talking about thugs and arseholes.

  2. John Lloyd, late of the New Statesman, now at the Financial Times magazins?

    The same John Lloyd who recanted his membership of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the British and Irish Communist Organisation?

    The same John Lloyd that argued catholics in NI should be discriminated against because they were “disloyal”?



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