It's not often that I have cause to thank God that our youngest daughter cannot read. Today her school bag contained a leaflet, published by the local council entitled " Anti-Social Behaviour Explained"
The opening sentence proclaims that " anti-social behaviour is anything that makes a person feel annoyed............intimidated, scared or simply bullied."
I felt annoyed at the supermarket yesterday, when the till broke down and I had to move my shopping off the conveyor belt , replace it in my trolley, and then place it on the conveyor belt of another till.
I feel annoyed when I can't find a disabled parking space at the supermarket carpark, and many of the cars occupying those spaces have not displayed a blue badge.
I feel annoyed when the washing machine breaks down- with an average of five loads a day, it's a real problem.
I feel annoyed when our dog has nicked yet another sock/ toy.
I feel annoyed when I have just put out another line of washing, only for the heavens to open.
I feel very annoyed on reading a leaflet aimed at 7-11 year olds which informs children, and encourages them to believe, that the morality of behaviour is based on how they feel about it.
Further on I read " what bothers you might not necessarily bother someone else."
(no common principles which guide behaviour)
"Have you been in the middle of doing something and your sister, brother or friend has kept interrupting?"
(brothers, sisters and their childhood friends will squabble from time to time, always have done, far from being antisocial, it's part of growing up and it's for parents to encourage their children to resolve their disputes fairly, assisting the children to do so, if necessary.)
In fact the leaflet makes no reference to the work and responsibilities of parents, to raise their children to have a healthy respect for people, places and property.
Instead it appoints personal feelings as the sole arbitor of what constitutes moral behaviour.
The elevation of "feelings" over common sense, reason, conscience or natural law, does not bode well for our society.
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