Doctor Who, Ethics, And The British Fee Protests

At this point I’m pretty certain that a lot of people are shaking their heads. What do the three things above had to do with each other? Lots actually. Let’s look at them.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who is a major part of popular culture in the United Kingdom, part of a shared experience that two generations of children have grown up with. “Everyone remembers hiding behind the sofa,” said journalist Sinclair McKay, about the scary parts of the show. But they couldn’t stop watching.

Doctor Who is considered to be the most successful Science Fiction series ever produced, with a total of 769 episodes being produced to date. Each episode is a battle against the forces of evil, that the Doctor wins, after a hard, usually non-violent fight.

Doctor Who defends the downtrodden. He helps the poor. He fights against injustice. Is it any wonder that kids love the show? Kids know all about injustice. It’s called adult supervision. They’ve all experienced problems with adults who wouldn’t listen, adults who weren’t fair, adults, well, adults who were absolute monsters. Doctor Who is their hero, because he protects the helpless, people like themselves.

Doctor Who has inspired countless children – children that have become politicians, writers, scientists, lawyers, every profession that you could imagine. The good example that The Doctor sets, has it can be argued, had a worldwide impact. Doctor Who is the most successful export product that the British Broadcasting Corporation has ever produced.

Eleven actors had had the role. Talk to a Brit – ask them ‘Who is your Doctor?’ They might answer Tom Baker. Or Peter Davison. Younger fans might mention David Tennant. But everyone has one specific actor, who was the Doctor of their childhood.

Many Canadians also have a Doctor. Mine is Tom Baker. I loved the Tom Baker years. The CBC, TVO, CBC again, and now Space have carried Doctor Who into Canada, just as other channels have into the United States, Australia, and many other countries.

Doctor Who is one of those shared cultural experiences that has had an impact far beyond what it’s creators envisioned.

Ethics

To quote Wikipedia:

Ethics, also known as moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice, etc.

Parents and society teach ethical behavior to children, in the home, and in Sunday School at church (for Christians and the equivalents for other faiths), in school, in organizations like Scouting and Guiding, and for that matter from other children.

Children often show a well defined sense of ethics at very young ages. One of the major concepts in childhood play is fairness. How often have you heard a child say, ‘That’s not fair’. Fairness is heavily engrained in childhood play.

This isn’t to say that children don’t misbehave – they do. But even at an early age they know that they are misbehaving. Yes, children’s brains aren’t as developed as adult brains, and as a result they don’t think things through as well, which is why we have young offender laws.

Fairness is a major part of ethics to children.

Another major part of ethics is truth. Yes, kids lie. But they reserve a lot of scorn for liars. They hate it when adults lie to them.

They often disagree with adults on the details of ethical behavior (see the sexual revolution of the Sixties). But ethical behavior is important to them.

The Student Anti-Fees Protests

Think. You have two generations of young people who grew up watching Doctor Who. Many of whom took part in Scouting, Guiding, Sunday School, and other things designed to teach them ethics.

And the the government does something that seems totally unfair to them. It changes the rules without warning, meaning that many of those who are currently enrolled in post-secondary educational programs, won’t be able to finish, because they can’t afford to.

For years and years their parents, and the government itself, has tried to teach them ethics. And it’s worked. A lot of these kids are very ethical. And they expect ethical actions from politicians. After all, government wants them to obey the laws, and act in an ethical manner.

So when they see government acting in what appears to them an unethical manner, what do you expect them to do?

They protest.

And when the police act in what appear to them an unethical manner, they get even more upset. Even the Police Watchdog has called a video of Police actions ‘appalling.’

You teach them ethics, and then expect them to ignore it when you treat them in what they consider an unethical manner?

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have just given the next election to Labour. The kids won’t forget.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Wednesday December 22, 2010

PS: British member of Anonymous became members because they believed in the message that Doctor Who delivered. Think about it.

 

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