31 January 2011 (Monday) - Stupid People

I am often amazed by the general public’s ability to take stark nonsense as incontrovertible fact. Take for example the anti-government Facebook group “ConDem-nation”. A recent post there sounds eminently reasonable: “A 1% Tax on all Banking Profits would clear the national Debt Immediately without a single tax on the public having to be raised”. On reading that I found myself fired with righteous indignation. Why should those fat-cat bankers be allowed to get away with it? And then I actually gave the matter some thought and two minutes on-line research.
With a national debt currently of the order of one thousand billion pounds (according to the Internet), the implication is that last year banks in the UK made a profit of over one hundred thousand billion pounds. However the “real” fact is that they didn’t make anything like this amount. HSBC’s profit was just under two billion pounds. Even taxing one hundred percent of their profit wouldn’t come close to what is needed. In fact it would only raise less than 0.002% of the required amount of money. And HSBC are one of the more profitable banks.

Another so-called “fact” about government policy is given by the informal blog of the Trade Union Congress. Apparently the government believes that as it cuts back on a lot of social programs, then the voluntary sector will step in. But apparently “the evidence is mounting that state provision is the enabler of voluntary action, not a barrier.
Again, anyone reading that paragraph would also be fired with righteous indignation. And from my experience that statement may well be true for crackpot minority lefty so-called charities.
But for proper volunteering… take for example the local scout hut roof. When I was involved with the local scouts (for thirteen years) we needed money to repair the leaking roof. But we got nothing for that knacked roof through official channels. However it was intimated if we were more politically correct then money would be forthcoming. How does one make a scout group more politically correct? It’s open to absolutely anyone who wants to join. Perhaps we didn’t have the correct quota of African-American disabled lesbian non-male children? But whatever the reason, the funding of a scout group is utterly independent of government policy. With zero support currently being given, how can the government’s policy do any harm?
Or take the “shortage” of volunteers in hospitals. As vital services are cut back, economies can be made in all sorts of areas. Because those who run hospitals know that every hospital has a League of Fiends who will step into the breach. Go into any hospital in the country – where once you would see nurses and secretarial types in outpatient clinics, nowadays it will be an unpaid volunteer.

Clearly the Internet is full of gibberish, but twits still post this stuff on-line, and other twits without the powers of rational thought lap it up. And these twits are allowed to vote, and to be on juries, and to have children….

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