By : Éibhear
Maintaining a state of denial is very consoling, a person in such a state creates an attitude or mind-set which allows him/her to refuse to acknowledge a particular truth. Any truth, from very personal to broader societal, may require denial as a coping mechanism. Initially, denial is helpful because it delays dealing with an awkward reality, but reliance on it will only generate further challenges.
However, if the situation involves societal issues, it can have disastrous ramifications for society as a whole. While some may choose a state of denial as a conscious choice, others may be unconscious of the process and be unaware that they are being guided and encouraged to deny what their own senses may witness. Subliminal information from politicians, media or peers may colour their view.
Denial is recognised by the avoidance of facts that require the observer to question a system he/she may want to believe in, or, by minimising the consequences of the reality that if there is an injustice then it’s of no consequence.
Being in a state of denial can be seen in comments where someone is obviously injured and comments are refusing to acknowledge the injury and claim false blood, or, justify the injury by commenting that the person should not have been there and it’s their own fault. Comments that passively accepts wrong doing is encouraging it and this only perpetrates it and is guilty of cooperating with it.
However, being in a state of denial is counterproductive, because, what the observer is denying today only encourages the power in charge that enough people will turn away so that the power is all-powerful. Society is a very fine balance and if it tips in favour of power then the citizen must bend lower and lower.
I’m writing this in relation to comments on Face Book in particular where violence perpetrated on peaceful protesters grows more disturbing the worse the violence on them becomes.
We have witnessed violence in the form of men flinging women from one side of the street to the other, three burly men throw a woman head first into a street bollard, men bursting a glass door down onto women. This is men’s behaviour involving physical force resulting in injury to women. A state of denial will excuse these men. This violence was not done in the privacy of a home but in broad daylight and in public. Is it acceptable because these men wear a badge? Is it acceptable because these women were protesters?
A person who publicly demonstrates opposition to something is a protester. A peaceful protester demonstrates in a way that does not involve violence, such as street-marching, sit down, gatherings outside relevant offices, gathering to slow down or prevent the imposition of the object of the protest.
Once the premise, that Gardaí have to sometimes be brutal, is accepted in society, then its evil is overlooked as an acceptable “necessary evil”. It can be overlooked even if the recipient is a peaceful protester. A toxic idea like this only grows and grows. Finally lies, irrationality and immorality are the norm. The act of protesting becomes criminalised. Society is silenced. Citizens are degraded.
Legitimacy is given to state brutality and justifies the use of extreme force on you, even if you are just protesting “Shell to Sea” or “Irish Water”. This leads to a lack of ethical and moral standards, and, in fact creates no truth only circumstances.
Shockingly, this brutality is then re-enforced by actions like An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, giving thumbs up to Gardaí flinging women like rag dolls across the road, as Caesar used the same digit in the coliseum. Is it an ethical contradiction to maintain that a man’s superior strength should not be used against a woman, except, if the man has a badge?
Individuals may lack the coping skills to handle the stress of protesting against a government. After-all, the person may have voted for the government and reveres it. So, the person now has a dilemma, to question or not to question, or maybe, avoid conflict altogether by denying there is any question at all. The chain is well and truly forged.
So, are these comments totally insensitive or are the commentators just turning a blind eye, shutting off any empathy? Blinkers may allow a person see what he/she want to see but the “denial” is a selfish approach to society. When members of society go into a state of denial to protect themselves from uncomfortable realities, they are portraying indifference to abuse of power and the suffering of fellow citizens. But, it must be remembered, if you allow someone else’s rights to be removed so easily, then, tomorrow your rights can just as easily be removed, in fact more easily removed because the protester is now removed with your indifference.
Couple the citizen in denial with a power that is willing to enforce its wishes at any cost, and, violence against those citizens who do not conform is now accepted. The “slippery slope” of abuses of power is ready. The laws that once protected the citizen and therefore were respected, now become a tool of financial greed as well as power greed. But it was respected so it is easier to deny that this could happen than to actively challenge it. Laws are being created to take away our rights and to punish us.
Each person has the right to defend his/her person, his/her liberty, and his/her property, it is an instinctive reaction, and laws were organised to protect that right. But laws are being perverted and police powers are being perverted to suit greed. If I have a right to protect my property then the law protects that right, however, if someone with the power can pervert the law so as my right is taken away and contrary law is created to permit my right to be dissolved, then each member of society needs to stand together. For perversion to succeed, a sizeable proportion of society must remain silent and some must oddly support.
As society is a balance, like it or not, it is our duty to check the balance from time to time. We hand over power to our representatives to act in our best interest. However, increasingly government is abdicating responsibility for the provision of essential services over to commercial interests. This in itself is not in the best interests of society. A progressive tax system best provides for essential services, leaving it to business will restrict it to those who are fortunate enough to be able to pay for it. A caring society provides for all its citizens, a greedy society looks after just Jack.
“Inalienable rights to life, liberty and property” are becoming “alien rights to life, liberty and property”, that is, only others can enjoy your rights to life, liberty and property. We have might makes right.