Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Evil Cannot Be Wished Away

Perhaps you have followed the story of the devil children who attacked and tortured two “pals” . It does not do to dwell on it for long and as a father I feel a sharp stab of horror at what has been done .We cannot help being reminded of the James Bulger , whose appalling end was used with chilling cynicism by Blair and Brown as a symbol of a sick society . In fact it was nothing of the kind .The instances of these sort of crimes varies little, they are random
Still ,it is with this background of political inference , apart from anything else , that I find Nicci Gerrard`s ‘feature ‘ , in the Telegraph today deeply worrying . ....
The passage to which I object especially concerns the cause of evil acts and the (non) existence of personal evil. In a rather long winded way she is saying ...”I blame society”. There is I admit , a subtle moral argument to be had, for which a blog is not the medium . The very fact of childhood diminishes personal responsibility renders the subject gloomily penumbrian . Allow me then to start the thinking, without assuming I think I have finished it....
. She says “But evil is too easy, too comforting. Children are products of their environments and monsters are not born but made.”
This is not true . In fact IQ is afar stronger predictor of outcomes than class (80% to 20% ). Neither is the ‘all nurture ‘, conception of humanity remotely evidenced by science or observation. She has made a vast assumption in these two lines . Children are not adults but neither are they blank pages .Such an 18th century notion has long been discarded without any need of a recourse to Christian metaphysics .
She goes on ...
"It is no surprise at all that the two boys in Edlington were in care. Such cases almost always happen on the fringes, the extreme edges of a society. Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the two 10-year-olds who led the two-year-old James Bulger down to the railway embankment by the hand, kicked him, then battered him to death with bricks and an iron bar, came from deprived families."
I have a simple, question .What proportion of people from deprived backgrounds go on to torture and kill. ? It is proportion so small as to be undetectable so how in god`s name can she claim that this has nothing to do with choice and yes “Evil”.
She has other troubling examples that do approach the dangerous edge of the question( Thus showing themselves to be poor examples )..."Mary Bell who strangled Martin Brown the day before her eleventh birthday, in May 1968, and then two months later, strangled the three-year-old Martin Howe to death (her mother was a prostitute and often absent; Mary was forced to engage in anal and oral sex with men from the age of five). '...Yes difficult ..... a child so treated might well not be held responsible for a malformed moral sense . Here the blame lies more with those who made her but from such an extreme example we cannot go onto conclude that the absence of the perfect home and a Plasma TV exempts you from being an I individual responsible for what you do.
It is ,overall an interesting article and she deals well with various conceptions of the child pre and post romantic .As long as her moral frame work is simplistic to the point of the banale , however, she cannot construct an argument
.She says "Evil is to easy..." I suspect for the Liberal , the truth is , it is too dificult as is personal reponsibility and therefore freedom to act at all.


Profundus Maximus said...

" In fact IQ is afar stronger predictor of outcomes than class (80% to 20% )."

Might I ask where the fuck that came from? Presumably you've read it somewhere, I'd like to see the citation if it's all the same to you.

Newmania said...

'Research done on those born in 1958 shows the largest factor determining someone’s class destination is IQ accounting for half the explained variance in class variance . The amount of work is the next largest factor . The combined effects of class privilege or disadvantage are 17 % of the explained variance ( This from Professor Emeritus Peter Saunders but the research is well known.)

I do not need research of this sort however to tell me that children are not blanks waiting for 'Society' to mould into economic units.

Anonymous said...

" In fact IQ is afar stronger predictor of outcomes than class (80% to 20% )."

IQ and cognitive skills are not static. They are results of both genes and enviroment!

How the brain come to develope is dependent on the first 2 years of life. Even the time in the mothers womb is a very critical stage for brain development. What the mother eats, how stressed she is, if she uses alcohol, drugs, smokes etc will have strong impact on how the brain developes.

Therefore your socio-economic status (class) most definitely havs an impact on who you are and the life you live.

Newmania said...

Therefore your socio-economic status (class) most definitely havs an impact on who you are and the life you live.
Yes but class is also not static , I can see there are problems with such findings but as a query to the prevailing socialist uidea that we are gnats with no power to change our lives it is convincing.

Anonymous said...

Nicci Gerard's article, like so much in the Telegraph these days, is almost totally content-free.

After wibbling on for a full page about what is wrong with "society", she draws no conclusions and makes no suggestions.

She does, however, point out - in passing and without comment - the truly appalling outcomes which result from children having been "in care".

Therein lies some sort of a clue as to the dimensions and scale of the problem. Essentially, we need to re-construct the traditional family, including parents (plural) who actually care and take responsibility for their own and their childrens' lives and behaviour.

How we get there, from here, is not something I'd care to speculate about.

Newmania said...

Essentially, we need to re-construct the traditional family,

Why whenn this is the one thing that continues to work very well ?

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