Thursday, 26 April 2012

Thought of the Day (aka rant): Have been thinking about the statement "Proud to be British".  

The definition of Pride - A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

The definition of Luck - Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions.

Where i was born is completely down to luck.  We could argue the nature/nurture split till the cows come home so lets say for arguments sake that who i am is 50%  determined by my genetics and that the rest is due to my environment.  My genetics, and therefore key components of what makes me me, would be the same regardless of if i was born in Istanbul or Paraguay.  The rest is down to luck based upon where i was born and the society around me when i grew up.  My being British is not the achievement of myself or anyone else, it was luck, which makes me far luckier than those born in totalitarian political nations which do not enjoy the same rights and privileges that i do, but doesn't make me proud, i had nothing to do with it and neither did anyone else.  We're born into a veil of ignorance. 

It seems that 'British Pride' is mostly raised in connecting to sporting events.  If someone can throw a ball faster than someone else and they happen to be British should i be proud of that?  If 50% of what makes them the best thrower is genetics then they would have that no matter where they were born.  The rest is luck.  I can hear people shouting "Yes, but they trained for years", that's hard work yeah but it's also luck too.  If they hadn't been born in a Country that invests in sport they wouldn't have had the opportunity to learn.  A woman born in Afganistan could have more potential to run the 100 metres faster than a woman born in England, the fact that she'll never be able to fulfill this potential and beat the English woman is down to the bad luck of where she was born.  Maybe it's just me, if i had my way everyone who takes part would get gold ribbons and win.  I don't like that fine line between pride and arrogance that says someone is better than someone else.  Some people are luckier than others and who am i to pass judgement based upon luck.

I like Britain, i like that we have an NHS, that we don't use capital punishment, that we have freedom of speech, freedom of choice, that even though watching PMQs is like watching a bunch of gorillas we have PMQs, we can watch PMQs and we can dissent without the fear of persecution.   It's not a bad place to live, to be a citizen of, and i don't think there's a whole load of places that have it any better.  I'm not proud to be British though, I'm lucky to be British.

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