On Authoritarianism

This England is a prison -- a walking shadow; it is a unit for the correction of the errancies of the juvenile, a young offenders’ prison. Our young people are viewed by policy makers as briefly animated pieces of meat herded into the present and future abattoir of lives of indentured slavery.

They enter an education system that seeks chiefly to diminish cost and, secondarily, to identify elites who might prosper and graduate to being the next generation of protectors of the right to rule of their forebears. The money in the system has been siphoned elsewhere (upwards); huge budget cuts are currently swaggering, big balled and bowlegged through saloon bar gates to savage state education. University education has already been privatised, monetised, profitised and young people who are prepared to devote themselves to the acquisition of knowledge and the possibility of a better future must leap huge budgetary hurdles that will leave them £50,000 in debt before they graduate to their first low paid job. Here, the political party that dominates government acts in the role of loan shark or userer, making immoral loans that cannot ever be paid off, transforming our young people into unknowing bonded labour: their efforts to dig themselves out of the fiscal hole that has been dug for them by their elders and betters merely adds more to the loan ensuring their lifetime of servitude and serfdom.

Their first low paid job will not give them the ability to access housing. Human shelter is become the impossible fundamental; the siphoning of resources upwards has resulted in the profound moral distortion that having any place to live is now the fundamental need that society has organised itself to sculpt into the shape of an unaffordable luxury. Those who, through the arbitrary caprices of either luck or birth, find themselves above the dividing line - the property owners - extort from those who have found themselves arbitrarily below this line, all their chattels, leaving them with neither opportunity, nor choice, nor possessions, nor warmth, nor any future other than the prospect of fourteen hour days to finance the lifestyle a nineteen eighties student might spurn as too meagre. They must spend their time managing the minutae of their outgoings and avoiding the constructed pitfalls that the proliferation of government approved thieves spend every minute pondering in detail how they might make more ornate, more tricksy, more difficult to discern, more easy to fall into, more difficult to extract one’s self from.

There is a phrase beloved of con artists, and quoted by Nick Cave, “Shaking the spindlier tree”. Rather than extort resources from those who have plenty (the stouter tree) the consummate conman attempts to siphon resources from those who have few (the spindlier tree). It is the spindlier tree that gives up its meager fruit more easily. Almost all private interests operate at the very edge of criminality, the definition of which is moved with every piece of legislation so that more money can be extorted from blind citizens and the spindlier tree might be given another good shake to see if it has grown anything worth stealing.

If you extort money from those with no resources you transform them into debtors. You have given them nothing, and they are now in debt to the tune of a significant something for the nothing they have been provided with. This is the moral realm of the Machiavellian crack dealer who uses their client’s desperation to reduce them further into the dirt so they become the dirt: emaciated resources to squeeze more out of: blood from a stone: husks of youth. Our young people are a resource exploited so brutally by those older than them it is as if we are living in some Margaret Atwood sci fi dystopia.

We get the politicians we deserve and ours are so fluent in double speak one might imagine they even delude themselves that they are motivated by something other than the crudest mendacity. Our behest to our children - a dismantled welfare state, the inability for those at the bottom to graduate to living fruitful, independent, adult lives – is worth so little that the sensible ones might have dreamt of escape. An option that would have been available had not their parents and grandparents voted for Brexit and caved escape tunnel in over their heads. Our youths are trapped in a prison of our making.

And a wing of this country’s educators seem intent on laying a path out of slavery for children that is made up of little more than a diet of obedience to the very forces that shaped their future doom. A moralist authoritarianism is on the rise that speaks about what is wrong with state school provision: poor kids don’t do what they are told and don’t give enough respect. There is a logical end to such authoritarianism and, in our current political climate, I think it entirely sensible that such an end is raised; otherwise, we are left in the situation where the voices dominating debate are little more than educated thugs in fake versions of ermine masquerading as saviours by asserting that the correct path to salvation is to obey your betters and to cultivate “good moral habits”. For those at the bottom end of society, salvation is often to be found by running in the exact opposite direction. And on politeness, any idiot can say please and thank you; there are times when the correct moral response to a political situation is to withdraw this offer.


“An indentured servant or indentured labor is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed period of time. The employer is often permitted to assign the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage.”

Added Sun, 12 Mar 2017 21:20

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