Tuesday 2 June 2009
Driveling in astonishment
At the washbasin I got confused: there were seven toothbrushes in the mug next to it. Knowing she was not sharing the house with anyone I still had to ask which one I could use (hers, I gathered, a kind of intimacy you can share as well.)
She laughed. "Don't worry, they are all mine. I do this just to confuse the inspectors of the benefit agency."
A few weeks later she had a job so she never really got in trouble for having too many toothbrushes. "They" might have asked whether any of her six regular lovers was willing to pay her way through life.
An encounter with the morality of the State. I never even bothered to worry about toothbrushes in my own house in the days I had to enjoy the pleasure of benefit myself. "They" did not have enough inspectors anyway - probably that has changed thanks to Labour's simulation-of-work-programmes.
The liberty the state takes to encroach itself on your private life, and especially the permanent state of insinuation this liberty engenders is taken for granted most of the time.
Grudgingly, sometimes, but it is a fact of life. The state is like any other parasite with the difference being that you cannot get rid of it by taking medicine or killing it. It is a moral, a religious and an aesthetic obligation - amongst others - to be rid of it, but, alas, the magic potion has not arrived yet.
They drivel about hard working families, tax payers' money, are always ready to insinuate and to cast stones, ever willing to count your toothbrushes - and hey! what a performance. From a distance, being at most quarter-English (have to ask about it) I watch with astonishment how lawmakers are exposed as petty thieves, hypocrites, liars, fraudsters - the popular sentiment turns out not to be just sentiment, but judgement, based on facts. The incredible pettiness of it all - we know we are robbed on a much larger scale by private finance initiatives, privatisations, Humanitarian War Efforts etcetera... And meanwhile those willing to have our toothbrushes counted are even claiming their tax consultants at the cost of taxpayers.
Never has the state, that modern human institution, developed in seventeenth century Europe, looked so illegitimate, especially in the country where it all started, England.
Unmissable John Pilger has some good words on the whole affair.
How to get rid of the state now and really start to live? Without throwing stones yet passing the judgement: your time has run out, goodbye...