People Like Us

There was one of those serendipitous juxtapositions of news as I drove home tonight. First was the discovery of a skull that seems to show that there was a ‘different’ type of human around for at least some of the time that our forebears were grunting and wielding the jaw bone of an ass.

This wee soul lived on Flores island until at least 12,000 years ago and has been nicknamed the Hobbit by her discoverers. (Who said archaeologist don’t have an eye for a headline?)

The media reaction has been one of awe-struck wonder. To think there could be other types of human and not just us. It’s somehow life-affirming that we are such a hoopy species that other sorts of us could have co-existed, although the Hobbits’ survival may be down to the fact that it didn’t co-exist with ours and existed peacefully and undisturbed in the Indonesian forests.

Also the wonder that evolution is not the relentless, singular progress that had been imagined — from monkey, to ape, to Neanderthal, to our truly sentient selves. Nope, evolution is more like a tree with bits branching off in all directions while mankind’s determined trunk went onward and upwards towards the sun.

(Doesn’t Richard Dawkins say something similar? Evolutionary plateaux and all that?)

But the gist was that it was wonderful that humans could be different, even different branches of the same species.

Then the next item — Jose Manuel Barroso (who he?) says that the entire EU band of commissioners must be reconsidered because Italian Catholic Rocco Buttiglione admits that his faith tells him that he cannot accept homosexuals and that a woman’s role is to stay at home and bear children.

Not views I share, but then there are lots of views I don’t share with people in power. That doesn’t mean I’m right and they’re wrong, or the reverse — it just means that we’re different.

And that is my point: on a day when we wondered at the diversity of humankind, yea unto the existence of cousin species, our present-day obsession is not to value diversity of opinion.

Rather it is to impose a commonality of thought, belief and value-system because because the chattering classes want to be ruled by ‘people like us.’ In effect, the new ruling-class.

At the end of posts like this, you’re supposed to come to some sort of conclusion, and I have — that the above juxtaposed news items were mutually exclusive and the radio should have imploded!

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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