Saturday, 3 September 2011

Save your Faith for Someone Special

This bunny has been deeply suspicious of authority figures since his teens, be they parents, teachers, the workplace beak or nanny and her multitude of arms, eyes and ears. Hey, the sense that those in positions of power cannot be trusted even extended to the leadership of something that called itself the Uk Libertarian Party (more on that sect of drones in the coming days).

There's a common denominator in all this, and it's me - so maybe I'm the one with the problem? This bunny is not particularly interested in the thoughts of individuals whose predictable take on events is to mutter, "well yes, life's a bitch, but that's the way it is". Imagine if people of this ilk had held the levers of power throughout the course of history - we'd still have slavery, apartheid, absolute monarchies and brutal oppression throughout what is now (sometimes) the civilised world. Representative democracy would never have got off the ground and anyone who had not married by their 21st birthday would be seen as some sort of social pariah. I just thank the man upstairs that some of history's supermen (and women) took it upon themselves not to "accept things the way they are". By definition, few of us are cut out to lead a revolution, but sufficient numbers of people appropriately pissed off to pursue change is usually the catalyst for such great individuals to emerge and the requisite shift to take place.

What I suppose I'm pursuing an answer to, and perhaps the comments section is as good a place to start as any, is this:- my experience of the world is that power by its very definition both attracts the most unsuitable for it and brings out the worst in them - does yours concur with that?. The caveat here is that I have of course been lucky on a few occasions to find teachers who were supportive and offered encouragement, along with a solitary line manager in the occupational minefield who I still refer to, albeit playfully, as God - hopefully the man upstairs sees the funny side of that.

What did all of these shining lights amid a valley of darkness have in common? I can probably point to two standout characteristics in particular - 1) these individuals never actively sought power over the lives of others - as a result, they tended to wear whatever sword of damocles that was available to them rather lightly and 2) all appeared to acknowledge that their positions brought not just influence and authority, but responsibility and an understanding that they could change the lives of those under their wing for the better or worse. I've managed people (albeit in a brief pre-redundancy wind-down phase) before and will probably do so again in the future, so would just hope that my style might be somewhat influenced by those I saw as an overwhelmingly positive thing.

That such individuals are in a minority also means that there is a wealth of negative experience to fall back on - the parasites and vampires who took their 'authority' far too seriously, deciding to impose it in ways that benefited only themselves (naturally, such instances serve as a constant reminder of precisely what not to do). As a starter for ten, I've had my workshy father, without a trace of humour or irony, refer to me as 'his pension', along with a few megalomaniacs in the occupational sphere who, by bringing their egos into work, were intent on turning this bunny into some sort of disciple - of course refusal to comply resulted in anything from professional stagnation to choreographed 'days of disaster'. That's not a call to get the violin out, so put it down - after all, I dropped more than my share of clangers in the same timeframe. It's just worth illustrating that everything I talk about and believe in is based on events that took place in a genuine personal narrative.

However, this begs the question, is my experience typical or an exception - then again, is this bunny simply pronouncing that anyone not in possession of demonstrable liberal instincts is, by definition, some sort of authoritarian bastard? Maybe it's the humility that comes with age as you realise precisely how little you know, but the thought that I've simply seen everything through an ideological lens and neglected the practical issues that come with controlling unruly kids, or meeting a sales target, has been a new arrival on my train of thought since starting this blog. Then I remember that it's the bad parents who end up repeatedly smacking their children, pisspoor teachers that lose control of classrooms and appear on radio phone-ins appealing to nanny for back-up and truly dreadful managers who rapidly lose the respect of their underlings - rule by fear invariably becomes the default option in all of these cases.

What I can say with utter certainty is that Statism, like instinctive Liberalism, goes stratospheres beyond politics and is a full-on way of life. Statists lie, they promise you things they cannot deliver. A statist will demand greater powers over the lives of others to cover their own shortcomings then ask those individuals to 'take responsibility' and clean up the mess left by choices made by nanny on their behalf.

One of my dearest wishes is that there would be fewer people in Britain who chose a life of idleness, then joined in the predictable "immigrants have stolen my job" bullshit that sometimes serves as an anthem for working class alienation. Pass a few pubs round lunchtime on giro day and you'll see the point I'm making regarding the reality. However, that doesn't mean that this bunny fails to understand precisely why the best part of a million people consciously embark upon such an existence. Not only is it a damn sight easier than working for a living, it actually represents a more even relationship between state and individual than most of us have - in their cases, zero freedom but nil by way of responsibility to go with it. Sometimes I ponder:- who are the fools, really?

Instinctive Liberals naturally believe that these concepts are mutually inclusive, whereas Statists tend to manipulate and make the rules up as they go along. A greater good or sacred cow serves as a useful means by which to steal yet more of your money, or interfere in behaviour that does no harm to others. Perhaps the biggest reason why I remain immensely fond of the old regional LPUK crowd is precisely because their instincts and approaches to life in general resonate with mine (they are also, to a man, brilliant people). As long as you're not infringing upon the liberties of someone else, then do what the hell you like, and though I may not necessarily advocate your course of action for myself, well it's none of my business really is it? After all, you own your life, but then everybody else owns theirs.

Thanks to Pagar for that last line, which could only ever have passed the lips of an individual with liberal instincts. Perhaps the biggest single distinction is that Statism by its very nature demands, in fact compels a mammoth leap of faith in nanny as the devine provider, she who cares for the poor, dispossessed, sick and lame. Institutions are of course made up solely of individuals who are as inherently flawed as you or I. Add to this the fact that the power to infringe upon the economic and personal liberty of others is bound to a) attract precisely the wrong type of people and/or b) bring out the worst in some of the right ones and it makes no rational sense to worship and invest vast quantities of blind faith in such an entity - to illustrate the point, how many fellow humans would you trust with your worldly possessions and the capacity to decide your future? Not many, but this is what Statists require of you, something akin to signing a blank cheque while wearing cuffs and a blindfold.

Of course, in this case, the individual does not really have a choice, since at the very least a large percentage of the money they earn is stolen from them on the threat of imprisonment to pay for nanny's 'devine deeds'. I believe in God, which I know some of our readers and contributors see as irrational in itself - this bunny would of course defend to the death their right to express such an opinion. What I would add though, is that this was entirely a personal decision, perhaps influenced by others at some point but not forced or coerced in any way. In the national church of Statism, where faith is taken from the individual at gunpoint, no such free will exists, perhaps disproving the tongue-in-cheek theory that "the difference between a religion and a cult is that a religion is big and a cult is small".

Statism is big, corporate religion - and just like all the other crazed sects that sieze your possessions, while reducing you to nothing but the humble slave of another human being (freedom day continues its apparently irreversible slide - 30th May this year), it has been proved to be something of a poisonous dud. Were nanny an individual herself, most of us would be constantly looking over our shoulder, making sure she wasn't waiting by the cashpoint to carry out a quick mugging. In short, you can't trust her and so the only sensible course of action is to restrict the extent to which she can take your money and your life. It is not you or I, but nanny who needs clear boundaries, no-go areas and a quick trip back to her little box. The faith of others is something that you earn and I can think of very few causes less worthy of it.

Take care, and don't let the bastards grind you down.

6 comments:

  1. "my experience of the world is that power by its very definition both attracts the most unsuitable for it and brings out the worst in them - does yours concur with that?." Really good piece there Daz. And I concur with you, many positions of power do attract the very last people that should get them; in every walk of life unfortunately. I used to hate the school prefects when I was a kid; those sensible, serious, important types who were lesser figures of authority behind the more serious headmasters and so on. It seemed to attract, not always, people who otherwise no one would pay attention to. Perhaps we might call them 'jumped up'. At the same time though, we do need leaders and people who lead and take responsibility for their own actions, not heaping them on someone else when they, to put it politely, mess up.

    We see this quite clearly in the 'Credit Crunch'; the people who were making all the money were happy to live high on the hog, but when they messed up, were happy to shift the blame on to the rest of us not making pots of money; we see the ramifications of this daily and on the news all the time. By all means lead, but have the balls to take the blame if you mess up; and sadly, the elites, whether political, economic or in whatever sphere they are to be found, WILL NOT take responsibility! That's why we are partially in the mess we are in.

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  2. TC - that's a brilliant observation you make about school prefects.

    I actually refused to take part at first despite being an A/B student who could probably have been a senior had I wanted to. I didn't like the way that it effectively served as a mechanism by which authority figures could display who they did and did not like.

    The lad who got to be head boy was a nice fella, but by stratospheres from being one of the most talented. Yet another triumph of obedience over ability my friend!!

    For shame, I eventually backed down to my parents, who saw this kind of thing as important. Hours of playing football flushed down the toilet for no good reason. No excuses mate - I was weak.

    This is why sycophancy is always rewarded in any big organisation, be it a school, a company, whatever. It sustains the existing system, while keeping 'troublemakers' out. Once you've got it, the threat to take a 'privilege' off you is also a useful means of control, just as the ability to ruin someone's career or sling them in jail might be.

    That's why I'd like a society where it was possible for more of us to work for ourselves as opposed to constantly relying on the mood swings of somebody else - hopefully I'm making sense and the pieces are starting to fall into place.

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  3. Daz,
    There is absolutely nothing stopping you from working for yourself. You don't have to wait for society to change. Perhaps you are too cosy working for "The Man" what are you some kind of secret statist!!

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  4. "Yet another triumph of obedience over ability my friend!!" Our whole society, perhaps until the 1960's, could be summed up in that sentence Daz. If we want a dynamic society that works for the majority of people in that society, we need to get more egalitarian in nature; I hope I'm making some sense?! The idea that somehow someone who is privileged and simply because of that privilege is somehow more clever, wiser, more hardworking, and so on and so on ad nauseum, has been proved to be hollow; generally the most successful business people, and generally the most successful people in any sphere of human activity, have started at the bottom and worked their way up. The posh, the rich and the elites despise this, and so we continually have someone somewhere justifying the best positions going to people, who often can't handle the position they've been gifted.

    When the country is run like a private gentleman's club, is it any wonder the state we're in?

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  5. Hi TC - total sense - worry not...

    I'm not sure it's about being egilitarian. Meritocracy is more important here - we only get the best out of the whole of society by breaking down entrenched privelege and smashing a few glass ceilings. The danger of being too egalitarian is the sort of 'prizes for all' culture that PC types are so fond of.

    Social mobility has to be a two-way street and should be about possibility and opportunity as opposed to outcome. It's another of those issues where we have two wrong solutions in the mainstream - in this case, protected elites on one and cuddly socialism on the other.

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  6. I get you there Daz; society, like our individuals lives, has often a need to be fine-tuned. Meritocracy is important, very important. The PC culture, the worst element of it, is really often only paying lip-service to equality, when the reality is often the opposite; there is so much unfairness in UK culture; how do we challenge this without losing our perspective? In short, what would be the best first step to enabling some economic justice?

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