Sunday, 7 August 2011

So just how close to the edge are we and what happens if we fall?

Honesty now, folks. I don't know any more than other people out there what the endgame of this current crisis will look like. But it seems to me that when we fall we want a pretty soft landing. Which begs a bigger question about that landing and how to build it.

The sound and fury out there features those pointing the accusatory finger at the "markets", at unspecified, nameless monsters prowling through the world's cities, nameless and faceless men in pinstripe suits who are sucking the marrow of society while laughing all the way to their private bank on some distant tropical isle. This dreadful world of capitalism, dark and frightening, driven by greed is what is destroying all our wonderful social innovations. The cuts are mandated by these plutocrats as the price for them not destroying us.

I wish I could live my life with such certainty, such clarity about the nature of my enemy. But I cannot do this for the enemy might not be an enemy but more as Sam Gamgee saw Aragorn - grim but fair. Indeed, the real danger may well be those champions of government, those enthusiasts for transactional taxes - such siren voices appeal but can government really save us from a disaster created - in great part - by the actions of that same government?

There are two sorts of end game - that which means greater freedom from the state and that which sees us further entangled in government's web of dependency. Forget all the convenient excuses for more rules, for new laws, for "co-ordinated international action" and for us to trust the wise idiots who dragged us into the problem to start with. It may seem sweet, a sugar-coating to the painful pill but it is false - we have to take the pain, and more pain still.

And don't give me that "it's all the bankers' fault and they should pay" argument. You and I allowed them - and their friends in government - to do these things. Because it meant we could buy houses, have shiny cars, foreign holidays and not bother with the basics since the state would provide. We stopped looking out for our neighbours - because government would do that. We stopped caring about the outcomes of politics because our lives were good, were comfortable.

We can have these good things again but it must be on our terms. We have to take a harder fall, maybe to break a few bones. We have to get away from our dependence on a passive-aggressive government and make the case for independence. Right now in the fine rooms of Europe a plan is being hatched - it will sound good, will offer a route out but the destination will be an unfree place.

Face the other way. Choose pain. Be free.


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