The White Feather

Presumption and Perception.

Created by an Irishman who had ascended
to the rank of Admiral in the Royal Navy,
the White Feather Movement began in 1914
when thirty women were tasked to make it their business
to approach any healthy young man not in uniform,

and hand him a single white feather.

The message was a simple one:

Any man who was given a feather,
was now considered to be a ‘coward’.

It was an utterly ignorant method
intended to compel any and all
“able-bodied men” to ‘join up’
– or face the ‘fact’ that he was a ‘coward’.

There were men in Britain, at the time,
whose presence ‘at home’
was deemed more important than being
either cannon fodder or gun-toting
political pawns overseas.

Clergymen, veterinarians, and farmers
were amongst those included in a list
of reserved occupations.

Others were men who, were they to be
placed in battle – or even in supplementary roles,
would be more of a detriment to their comrades
than help: those with poor eyesight,
physical infirmity, or congenital defects.

Some … were simply home on ‘leave’.

But to the women of the White Feather Movement,
none of these things mattered.

THEY saw something …

Developed an instant opinion
based upon presumption and wholesale ignorance:

And THAT was all that mattered.

The fact that THEY could possibly be wrong
– never once occurred.

Far easier to degrade people, apparently,
than to consider for a moment,
that they just … might … have a coherent reason
for living quietly, peaceably, and morally;

or for having deeply held, moral convictions
that are different from yours.

Many of the “cowards” in ages past
were those whose genuine moral conscience
moved them to avoid military service

because they did not wish to threaten, intimidate,
or butcher people in foreign lands –
often for no greater reason than serving the mere whim
of grasping politicians, and whatever foreign policy
was instituted to serve … their … political purpose.

More than a few such men were forced to ‘serve’
… and then jailed, shot, or hanged for “treason”
when they could not bring themselves to pull a trigger,
or gun down men, women and children
who had no weapons whatsoever.

They were regarded as cowards
by the great general population
who had neither interest nor moral integrity
to pause, and think, and consider.

Whatever fantasy-fiction was broadcast
in the ‘news’-paper, or on the wireless,
was ‘good enough’ for the mindless multitudes
who believed any and every word
put out by ‘spin doctors’.

[ On a purely personal note –

I would have thought it better (surely?)
to have a willing thug who will
empty his weapon into a human being
without the slightest bit of moral trepidation –

than a man who would actually think about
WHY he is doing what he is doing,
before deciding to snuff out a human life ? ]

The White Feather Movement, certainly,
felt no compunction about publicly degrading
any man – based purely on Ignorant Presumption.

Perception: Wilful Delusion

There is something about slaughtering people
( whether literally, or vicariously )
that appeals to those who are ruthless, vicious;
or hold that they above all others on the earth,
deserve to live as they wish.

And any fiction that reflects that capacity,
is embraced with unthinking enthusiasm.

Multitudes in the 21st century, venerate any brutality
inflicted on other nations
by the death cult known as The Military.

The adoration of violence has reached levels
that are disturbingly perverse.

Humanity in the 21st century has degraded
to such an extent
that the spewing of malice, ridicule, and profanity
is actually accepted as common speech.

ANY demonstration of manners renders one
( my brother and I have found from repeated
personal experience) an object of bewilderment
to what now passes for “men” …

… and a source of pleasant curiosity for women
who are – clearly – unfamiliar
with the experience of proper courtesy.

A tragedy indeed as the ever-dwindling remnant
of gentle people who remain on this earth,
deserve far better

than the brash selfishness
and obscenity-strewn verbiage
that they receive at the hands and mouths
of crude multitudes today.

Sympathetic regard for the feelings of others –
is a state of mind that is continually advocated
throughout this Internet site.

The cultivation of tender feelings,
( I have continually endeavoured to assert ) WILL
foster a regard – thoughtfulness – for the suffering
and anguish of others who genuinely are in distress.

Self-LESS-ness … rather than Self-ISH-ness.

Modesty and Respect for Others
are at the root of … Politeness.

Then again, these are three qualities
that are all but absent from the Internet,
and western society at large.

The once uniquely American trend of seeing ‘honour’
in anyone wearing a uniform –
is now commonplace throughout the United Nations
where invading and subjugating anyone
who will not give “us” what we want,

is deemed a matter of “pride”
by vicarious-living, tribal-minded masses
who glory in ferocity,
rather than considered thought
about moral right and wrong.

Those who see honour in killers who drop bombs
and machine-gun journalists
reveal a standard of morality that is obscene.

The one thing that I have learned from the Internet
is that the vast multitude of people exist
to gratify Self, Greed, and Lust.

I had learned early in life that IF ANY fashion, trend,
teaching, ‘teacher’, or personality
is POPULAR with the vast majority of people,

it, he, or she – should be treated with Extreme Caution.

The White Feather signified “cowardice”
in those who did not deserve it.

Perception makes heroes and villains

of those

who are neither.

It has been truly astounding to see the ease
and willingness with which people
will believe Anything that is presented to them
on television, cinema, and the Internet.

It has been deeply disturbing to realise
the readiness of people to debase someone
without so much as pausing to consider
that – THEY –
Just Might be the ones who are wrong.

Nor are such individuals troubled
about the cost to a man’s name or reputation
if they are.

Malevolent men and women
are so resentful and unable to bear
the moral efforts of others

that they cannot endure the existence
of anyone whose morality
exposes their self-centred depravity –

that they immediately seek to drag others
down to the gutter with themselves.

Others feel the need to ruin the work
of anyone who possesses the diligence, the skill;
and makes the effort
to do what they will not.

The women of The White Feather Movement
made it their business
to degrade and label people,
without the slightest pause to consider that they
– not their victims – might be the ones
who were the blight upon human society.

In the old biblical account, Christ is taunted
by the religionists of his day …
and it is recorded that he stooped down
and wrote in the sand.

It is an example Well Worth repeating
in daily life:

BEFORE speaking (or writing) – STOP,
and take time … to THINK.

It is merely a suggestion, of course, but –

When hearing of the perceived faults
– or proclaimed adulation – of any man or woman,

look at what They have done;
and what They have said …

And not what Others

have said about them.

P Livingstone

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