Monday, 13 January 2014
Keep it simple, stupid!
Be nice, they say, be kind. I don’t doubt that those who have “Save our NHS” and “Fight the cuts” in their Twitter bio, usually accompanied by a string of hashtags trumpeting those causes and rendering said bio meaningless and all but unreadable actually believe… er, something. Twitter abounds with these noble folk, fighting the cause of ‘social justice’ from their council flats and old folks’ bungalows. Some of them, no doubt, are actual activists getting out and about to help in their local community. The majority, however, are simple keepers of the absurd and contradictory faiths of various forms of leftism.
But the simple facts of life are these: However you do it – inheritance, investment, business owner or employee: tinker, tailor, soldier, baker, rich man, poor man, welfare-taker – you need to make a living. If you are poorly educated (blame who you like) and have grown up with a hatred of any kind of authority and have never been pushed, or mentored, to rely on yourself and if you are so inclined, there is a living to be made on the Old King Cole. The dole was never intended as a choice – it was a stop-gap measure, a genuine handout – to keep you alive between jobs. Because (and this is a basic human truth) nobody owes you a living. There are in fact no such things as ‘natural’ human rights. In nature, he who survives, wins.
Keep. It. Simple. That’s the key to success; all the best ideas have resulted from repeating simple formulae that work. The most complex systems are amalgamations of essentially simple, if numerous, principles. The biggest buildings are just pretty piles of bricks. To the socialists you’re just a brick; everybody is. Even the Prime Minister is just an enormous brick. So, to the ‘caring’ left we’re all better as bricks in a wall; as part of the great big human machine.
But somewhere, through a succession of administrations struggling to look effective, it became expedient to hide from sight those making no contribution to holding up the wall and set them adrift on a raft of welfare payments designed to conceal the truth and present a positive spin to the world… and to the dwindling turnout of voters. Some bricks are less equal than others. Of course, any metaphor runs out of steam at some point and I reckon we’ve reached it with the bricks, but you get my point. When we had the means to do it, it was simply cheaper to keep you doped up and docile, courtesy of the state, than to pay the ruinous cost of training you and containing you and creating work you were capable of. But now, after several generations, it is uncertain whether some of you will ever be capable of making your own living. What’s to be done?
Well the simple truth is that no politician, whatever their colour, wants anybody to suffer or die. In fact every politician would be delighted if everybody could be happy and rich. That is an absolute given. Anybody who believes otherwise should take a long, hard look at themselves, because they have fallen for a line of unhelpful propaganda. Both ‘sides’ want health and prosperity for all; they only differ in how to achieve it.
On the so-called right the belief is that everybody has the responsibility to make their own living, by any legal means and if we do so there should be enough left over to prop up the halt and lame when they need it. On the so-called left... well where do we start? Flying in the face of all evidence is the equality agenda, with its outright fictions about the parity of ‘worth’ of individuals. Then we have the potentially contradictory notion of diversity, making us all equally differentiated from everybody else, while maintaining the lie of equality. Then we have the absurd notion of a complex system of taxing you, giving you some back through tax credits and then giving you certain benefits and subsidies whether you need them or not.
On the right the exercise of choice seems fair – you can choose to use the schools, hospitals, housing, etc. that you wish and if you can afford to pay for it you can have the best. To the left, however, such privilege is seen as ugly and elitist and downright unfair, so everybody must use the services provided by the state. If, as they maintain, there is plenty of wealth to go around, these provisions would be the equal of anything the private sector has to offer, but as the news daily reveals the sacred NHS appears to be killing with its over-supply of caring kindness. And state schools have been under-educating for generations.
Today’s biggest news item is the ‘national crisis’ of obesity. It's an enormous problem, apparently. To the right it is a simple case of personal responsibility and a balance between eating and exercising. To the left, obesity is a modern-day ill, caused by a complex and impossibly intertwined set of influences for which costly science alone can provide an answer. The state must spend ever dwindling funds to deal with the issues of body image, life chances and the damage to self-esteem with consequent cost to the nation of these valuable human resources. Odd though, how when very little food was available the entire nation was slim. (Maybe we should get rid of those evil food banks?)
The good life?
It seems to me that whatever you think of left or right it is entirely up to you to make your own living with what wits you have. While you are wondering whether to opt for the simplicity of self-reliance or the complexity of the nanny state you might, by way of research, want to watch Benefits Street tonight and ask yourself if that’s what you really want.