Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Conservatives versus Libertarians

There are no miracles in Castle City.

Short of a miracle there's no innocent explanation for this one because crutches do not float - let alone walk - on water.

I walk to work along a canal tow-path to the public building wherein I blindly do the bidding of the Department of Hurt and Awful Nuisance. The stretch I walk along is built up on one side with council housing and housing association flats and terraces. The other side has wide verges, hedges, drifts of wild flowers in season and trees – of which the hawthorns are clotted-cream cascades in May.

The path is also a minefield of beer cans, dogs’ breakfasts and, if it isn’t raining or hailing in spring summer and autumn, the sleeping, dancing, slumping or growling figures of our local *voluntary homeless when they have been booted out from the shelter where they eat their meals.

Occasionally a Gore-Texed but bell-free Guardianista will whip past me on the tow-path whose new tarmac allows cyclists to mix with pedestrians: smug and sure in the knowledge that being hit at thirty miles an hour and flipped into the icy waters and mucky bed of the canal has a lower carbon footprint and is therefore more appealing for the involuntary swimmer than being grumbled past by a slow-moving estate car or children-packed school run four-by-four.

On Monday morning, though, the path was deserted but for previously-enjoyed Pedigree Chum, the odd supermarket bag full of random trash thrown onto the glassy swirls of clear water, and the local ducks and drakes walking on the canal’s hidden ice; hidden by light early morning rain that covered and mirror-finished much of its surface. They squawked and honked and ignored me, like little feathered Jesuses…

Which was a pity, because lying on that invisible ice, as if floating on meniscus-free pond water, was a pair of brand new crutches. Shining grey-white and burnished they were – whether from being milled from stainless–steel or merely textured aluminium I don’t know, but they were absolutely immaculate: factory fresh looking from their unworn rubber ferrules to the smoothly-padded hand-grips and under-arm slings.

No Pirates of the Caribbean shiver-me-timber constructions these. They were high-tech: upholstered, moulded or turned on lathes and bent for strength and springiness. They were the under-arm type with two flattened F-curves facing each other: symphonies in gleaming space-age metal and cool-looking composites for the trim.

The ten-year-old boy in me (still always present under the long sighted middle-aged man who has grown up around him) saw light-sabres, laser rifles, and anti-gravity broomsticks taunting us both, across the pathogen-rich canal water.

Two expensive miracles of science and engineering discarded, wasted on the ice, awaiting noon’s thaw or some boat to sink them into the muck forever.

I thought of the medical engineer’s knowledge and dedication that had gone into their design. I thought about the factory workers’ training and skill that had converted them from raw materials and fittings into useable tools. I thought about some unknown businessman's’ ambition and greed that had led to their commissioning in the first place and their eventual sale.

And there was no good way that could have ended where they did.

If bought for oneself, then what pension money or compensation payments had been squandered when these marvellous devices (as far above the clumsy wooden things that children were pictured using in the charity advertisements of my childhood as IPods are above portable transistor radios) were thrown away?

Had they been slung onto the ice in frustration at them being no better at relieving pain and instability than their predecessors? Had they been stolen from some Housing Association flat by opportunist thieves or off-estate vandals looking to impress their girlfriends as they raided the other poor people at the other poor side of town? Had a recent widow cast them there; mourning the husband who they never had enough time to help?

I hoped in a way it was some aged drunk or recovering road spill biker who had found that cheap vodka gave him a steadier gait, however briefly, than these little miracles of technology had.

And if they were gifts from charities’ hard-begged appeal funds or extracted from us taxpayers who finance the NHS at gunpoint – who gave any thought to their efforts and the next financial efforts which the unnamed donors would require to replace rather than merely to deodorize them?

Clearly, no-one concerned gave a hoot about adding more grot and annoyance and ugly idiocy to our city , thought one particular pompous curtain-twitching Daily Mail reader limping past, why-oh-whying and wanting to be Luke Skywalker with part of one of those o-so-cool shiny tech things…

I left the most sinister possibilities alone; and I’m trying to do it now.

Short of a miracle there's no innocent explanation for this one because crutches do not float - let alone walk - on water…and the ducks and drakes do live pretty much on bread alone in Castle City.

Some explanation; some clarity about this kind of problem here was cast in 2006 by Freeborn John, whom I recommend you read anyway, but I came across this article by happy accident the very evening that those crutches must have been settling into the mud and Stella cans of the canal.

Read his article here. That’s a libertarian explanation – or at least a very good libertarian sketch of the problem.

It concludes, not-defining poverty:

What makes the difference? One thing is for sure: it isn't money. All these people were on much the same incomes, the devoted Irish mother and the one who would kick her daughter's cunt in if she was slow to come upstairs, the cab controller and the people who shat in the stairwell of his block of flats.

Here’s another, conservative one, by the great doctor Theodore Dalrymple himself; near its end, talking of dictatored-to death Tanzania:

Yet nothing I saw—neither the poverty nor the overt oppression—ever had the same devastating effect on the human personality as the undiscriminating welfare state. I never saw the loss of dignity, the self-centeredness, the spiritual and emotional vacuity, or the sheer ignorance of how to live, that I see daily in England.

They aren’t too far apart in where they think poverty lies – in the hearts and – if such a thing exists – the souls of twisted, badly nurtured (‘dragged up’ as my mother used to say) poor-minded people. The evil poor, as the policeman who blogs as Nightjack calls them, and also the sad and hopeless, unimaginative poor who’ve had ‘modern’ and ‘relevant’ education for three of their generations, since the early Sixties.

These writers are always worth a read for all freedom-loving Righties, in case we ever lose our nerve and wonder if state welfarism in the form of subsistence benefits and child-related benefits and softer sentences for crimes and easier exams or not are as bad as our prejudices tell us they are.

Take it from Doctor Dalrymple, Nightjack, and Freeborn John, if not from one petty pen-pusher with the wind-direction nickname: it’s worse than we can ever imagine…

Oh, and remember who the enemy really is. It’s not the chavs; stopped and re-educated though they must one day be. It’s not even (though the Lord only knows they’re useless enough) the spineless Righties who wimp out for fear of being called ‘Scrooges.’ We can deal with them – they are lead easily. Even American uber-Lefties tried it and succeeded.

It’s the poly Pollies and omni directional carers who reduced a nation famed for its politeness to the drunken, puking, drugged-up-and-dogging scourge of the tourist Mediterranean, and those who liberated working-class women – at first called ‘housewives’ from their respectable confinement (and drudgery, than Hoover and Hotpoint some of it ended!), and who made so many fast-breeding, hag-faced Welfare pack bitches out of them.

To put it another way; squabble though we do, if this country’s freedom is to mean anything and its prosperity is to be allowed to rise and grow us out of Labour’s debt-pit then we - conservatives and libertarians together - have to take on the cultural Left with all the power and energy we’ve got because no-one else really wants to.

Or…with enemies like these - Doctor Dalrymple, Nightjack, and Freeborn John - who needs friends?


*I write ‘voluntary homeless’ because Castle City and its satellite settlements have oodles of rented accommodation; Industrial Revolution mill- and factory-workers’ cottages and swathes of former tourist accommodation. There’s no shortage of landlords willing to house chronic alcoholics and the contentedly crazy in our fair city – especially now that mysterious buckets of money (which can’t be our taxes, can it?) have allowed its universities to spray cash at building companies to put campus accommodation up for the undergraduate hordes. There’s no shortage of housing benefit either, for those who won’t violate the minimal codes of conduct required in privately-rented flop-houses.

No comments:


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner