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Marina Kim: Dangers of freedom

Kim MarinaMarina Kim is a Kazakhstan-born journalist now living and working in London. Her website is  Follow Marina on Twitter.

“People who read books will always be in charge of people who only watch TV,” I’ve always found this phrase very reassuring. Clever people will be in charge, and the order will prevail. Even if these “clever people” do not always take good decisions, it has always seemed they will nonetheless do a better job than the rest of us.

But the more I watch TV, the more worried I become what might happen when those who only watch TV become a majority, a majority who will vote into Number 10 people they deem as “clever”. The new British generation brought up on “Big Brother” and “The Only Way is Essex”. Or brought up abroad, sometimes with values very different from the western ones. What is “right” for them?

It is not only TV to blame. There are books - and there are books. There are books that exist for killing time, and are even more malicious than low grade TV. They give you this aura of an intellectual in your own eyes but it’s a waste. It’s like eating supper from your garbage bin. Hopefully, at some point you will throw up. There are books, and there are also papers, shaping the views of young and old alike. Remind me, what are the most popular newspapers in Britain? Need I say any more?

When that young mob that danced on Thatcher's grave is going to vote, who will they choose? They are politically active people if they found time to come out on to the streets for that sort of “death party” to demonstrate their hatred for someone they never knew. It was not only stupid. It was scary. Who will they support when they vote? What about looters and rioters of 2011? They were young, and yet not too young to write it off on their age. These are visible members of the future society, bold and daring, and active. Whether you like it or not, they are not prepared to be silent and, thus, might dominate the scene of the future.

How many more youngsters wouldn’t do anything like not because they think it is bad but because they simply don’t think anything. Too busy applying fake tan, or saving money for the implants, or too hangover to bother.  At some point they will grow up, and will vote because that is what grown-ups do. I am scared to think whom they will support.

Yes, there are diligent, lovely geeks out there, too. They read proper books, stick to traditional values but is their voice loud enough to outshout rioters? I bet it isn’t. And less so in the modern days where image is more important than the essence.

"Politics (what liberals forget): every time you increase freedom, you have to increase people's ability to choose wisely," says the great and good Alan De Botton. It is not just a pretty phrase. Freedom given to people who know no other values will not be appreciated, and may even be dangerous. 


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