Thursday, February 04, 2010

Freedom My Hairy A***

This is not a free country. Not in any meaningful sense. You are free to walk down some streets without getting shot or raped, and in theory the police can't enter your home and drag you away to be tortured and imprisoned without reasonable cause. But you can't say what you honestly think about something, in most cases, without having the financial interests that run the country falling on you from a great height. Look at the number of people who have been sacked or disciplined by their employer for grumbling about their job on Facebook or MySpace. Look at the number of unofficial gagging orders put down in workplaces across the country when an employee has fallen foul of the bosses, and left. It's made clear to everyone who still works there that if they say anything about the problems their colleague has had, they will be sacked. And then it happens, though frequently another pretext is found for removing them; and it doesn't matter how ridiculous the pretext is, of course, because since the Thatcher revolution employees have no rights anyway.

I have even seen a manager warn employees still on her books not to attend a party given in the honour of a man who left after a run-in with her. Some went anyway, of course, and some of those irreducibly independent people are still in the job, but for how long that will be I don't know. She nurses a grudge like a suckling baby.

These are the Gradgrinds identified by Dickens in one of his books, the dour, unimaginative, middle-level folk who accumulate wealth and position by standing on the heads of those who in more communitarian times might have been their brothers and sisters. For those above the Gradgrinds it's just about the money. Issues of justice, morality and liberty are pure sentimentality. Your freedom, as far as they're concerned, is having a job. Being able to afford food so your children don't starve. Being able to heat your house for three hours a day during the worst of the winter snowfall. That's what you get and you should be grateful for it.

They need more freedom and luxury to motivate them to create the wealth you are given the merest portion of because they are a higher order of being than you. Dionysian, actually, and you'd better believe it.

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