Reading the comment by Behind the Veil and remembering a similar thing from Wolfie quite some time back, along with Janet Tavakoli yesterday, it comes back every time to the growing revulsion, still in only a few quarters but surely increasing, against what I’d call paucity of the soul.
Relatively recently I think I may have been in earshot of such people or at least one in particular, sharing his worldview and financial knowledge not only with his immediate group, but the wider room too.
Causing both fascination and revulsion at the same time we could hear spewing forth on a range of financial & economic issues. There was one thing at the heart of each of his little financial ditties and that was how the prevailing attitude that it was about as far from capitalism as it was possible to get.
In each of the discussed deals, everything was skewed in such a way that they had to walk away with profit come hell or high water. The deal looked like it was going to be a loss due to bad decisions? Easy. Rock up to the government or whoever and introduce the poison pill that will publicly drop the loss on the tax payer.
It felt about as amoral a conversation as I think it was possible to get in financial terms. The thread running through it was “I need to get the money, its mine, it works because I say it work and you better pay me whether I make bad choices or not and I don’t care who gets screwed but it had better not be me”.
Not a single ounce of sensitivity, contrition or awareness that anything was going on outside their bubble. I somehow suspect he wasn’t alone and that this was normal fare in his circle.
The world reminds me of a scene in the movie Schindler’s List in which the bodies are being piled into a ongoing bonfire and one of the officers present turns yelling in an incoherent rage, overtaken by blood lust and drunk on the inhumanity to the point that he is no longer who he once was.
When all the shouting’s died down about these politics or these ones, it comes down to one thing – the state of the soul. There used to be a generation of people – my parents’ generation – who were not particularly religious, not particularly saintly and yet society had mores which were largely adhered to. Biblical references abounded and though many people did bad things, it still wasn’t part of the system.
You could say the decency was artificial but you’d expect on the whole that when you were with adults, you wouldn’t be paederasted, say, you’d not expect teachers supplying you with condoms or drugs being paid lip service to, you’d not read of a constant stream of mothers killing their own babies or of young men killing girlfriends or any of the other horrors we’re so inured against.
Tough footballers, genuine hard men who’d grown up in tough neighbourhoods still wore suits off-field and didn’t have tatts all over them – maybe on one arm. Women simply were not tattooed unless they were in the circus. Women did not screw around like today or act the cougar and call it “having everything”. Posh and Becks were not held up as national ideals. Hell, even Led Zeppelin looked halfway presentable and the Stones.
Sure it existed, largely hidden but it was a question of degree. I remember a survey when I was a kid of how many had had sex by Year 8 and it was maybe 10%, perhaps 40% had smoked and drunk but not in a binge way – it was more a street cred thing. It’s the percentages which have swamped us today, not so much what the activities are, though there are bestial things going down today you simply did not see in the mainstream forty years ago.
In Russia, there were many good families, many good people who wanted to learn and get on, who wanted to improve, friendly and kind but there was also this malaise which stemmed from the Soviet era, of stagnation, coercion, brutality, unthinking, corruption, concentric coercion, conformity, oneness in blandness – all the hallmarks of the socialist state and we are most certainly heading that way here. As one who lived in Russia, the signs appear over here one by one and stand out a mile.
You do not want such a society, however much the narrative promises a rosy future for all. It never arrives. All that happens is that a politburo takes over and oppresses. There is no narrative which will work – human nature is such that there will always be the oppressor and the victim.
In a society with the rule of law, not quotas, not a plethora of legislation, with a moral code they’ve grown up with – the J/C tradition for example – with no intention to take the next man down and enrich oneself at his expense, a society not based on rampant greed, then words such as diligence, integrity, honesty, fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, charitable actions rather than faux-charities with bureaucrats on obscene salaries, initiative, enterprise and productivity rather than speculative theft with other people’s money, hard work, living within one’s means – these permeate the society and everyone is touched by them.
Such words are still parrotted by hollow people today, people with poor souls and you can see that poverty of soul in their eyes, their demeanour, their peacock pride, their overall lack of decency one is meant to embrace, their essential lack of talent but high ideas about themselves.
You can say this transcends politics and is more important than politics but it is the deliberate political changes which have brought all this on in the first place, beginning with the suppression and marginalization of the J/C tradition. When a societal code stressing love thy neighbour, good Samaritan, all these things, largely disappear and kids know nothing of them, then the scene is set for a William Burroughs novel, an approaching Mad Max dystopia.
When a society turns its back on what made it great, tolerant and productive and the political narrative suppresses a nation’s history and tries to rewrite it to conform to a narrative – an essentially dishonest act – then the only way is not Essex but beyond Essex – it’s a dystopia, it’s the road to hell, as Chris Rea might have said.
And sorry but there IS a religious dimension to this. Some of the atrocities at domestic level, the ones we’re seeing everyday, are because someone lost it for that moment in time. Another way of describing it is temporary possession and the allegorical tale was Star Wars and Anakin Skywalker, in thrall to the Emperor Palpatine.
Christie had Poirot tell Jacqueline this in Death on the Nile:
Do not open your heart to evil, mademoiselle. For if you do, it will surely come in and make its home inside of you.
When we give way, we weaken ourselves that little bit and then more and then more and eventually we’re doings things we’d not have conceived of, we lose discernment, just like the proportion of German people in WW2 who succumbed to the temptation to become beasts in the interests of the narrative, just like the people described by Behind the Veil. You can see it, people – look at these people out there – you see them and hear of them every day.
Giving way. To hell with that. They’re trying to frighten us, have us run round in circles, place one imposition after another on us – next they’ll remove the straw from the bricks. But I’ve been around the blogs, I’ve seen ordinary people – which these days can be interpreted as “good”- and they want none of these things happening.
OoL is a libertarian blog, which is simply another way of saying to Them to leave us alone, to stop doing these things, including taking away our simple pleasures and we weakly accept it and moan. To hell with Them. I for one will not play ball with this ordure which is coming down and enveloping us. I think anyone who’s lived in different cultures would not come home and accept such things.
Not unlike Frodo and the Hobbits coming back to the Shire, shocked to see what had gone on.
In the end, people with paucity of soul will try to combine to do dirt on yours, they will want you to join them or take the consequences. Slowly, subtly and this is the real evil – they inexorably invite you to lose your humanity and become like the people described by Behind the Veil.
Call that religious talk, call that political talk – I don’t much care which it is. We just need to be on guard, deflect and stonewall Them, fail to cooperate, work to rule, be civilly disobedient.