The Charlotte Gore Blog

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A Very British Sickness

January 3rd, 2011 at 4:00 am

*tap tap tap* is this thing on?

I haven’t thought much about politics recently. Instead I’ve been focused on work, and for that I don’t apologise. Running a blog is a luxury for the time rich, and running a political blog with such a profoundly dull Government in charge is something of a tedious bore.

Some, of course, think differently. They protest to embarrass or intimidate the Government – those Lib Dems have to be a weak link, right? – into ramping up taxes to keep the public sector in the manner to which they’ve grown accustomed, to continue redistributing jobs from the private sector to the public sector and turn Britain into the giant Day Care Centre for adult babies that seems to be the only future it really has.

Still, despite the silence I have been thinking about my own libertarianism and wondering whether my utter contempt for even the concept of a ‘class’ has blinded me to certain realities. I despise and loathe the British class system, and consider the only reasonable response to be to ignore it, to wilfully refuse to acknowledge the damn thing exists. But, what if the lefties have a point? What if a country’s very culture is a primary economic factor? Opposition to Libertarianism comes from those who look at this country with very different eyes to my own and see disaster in trusting people to look after their own self interest, see ruin in looking to the private sector and see nothing but evil at the mere mention of the ‘profit motive’. What is it they see that I don’t?

Few libertarians are interested in class. We think of people as individuals, not members of collectives whether that be race, gender or class, so we rarely think or talk about it. Why should we? As far as I’m concerned the issue of someone’s class is a matter of extreme triviality, as tedious and irrelevant to anything worth thinking about as the colour of someone’s eyes or their shoe size. “I am working class!” says you. “So?” says I.

But for all the pointlessness of the class system, I do live in a society that has a list of people it calls the “Upper Class”, which you are born or marry into and this particular class seems to hold a certain glamour and fascination. I can’t claim to be an authority on the reality of life for the aristocracy, nor do I much care. Perhaps I am not middle class enough, or perhaps it’s simply that the only people I regard as my “betters” are those with greater skills, knowledge and achievements.

I don’t measure people by the amount of land or property they own, or who their friends might be and what parties they are invited to, or where they were educated or how much money they have.

This exposes me, I suspect, of having a rather “working class” mindset, to value what one can accomplish with one’s hands and mind. And, perhaps, deep down, this is the true British sickness, the source of our malaise.

See, as a society, utter morons that we are, have placed work at the very bottom of our social hierarchy, and not working at the top. To succeed in British society is to be able to not work and we wonder why people are perfectly satisfied to live on handouts. Deep down, they’re living the British dream: To do absolutely nothing at all.

You can see, I’m sure, how this sort of thinking, profoundly and deeply ingrained into the British psyche, dooms us all? In the world of business, the person who turns up once every month and watches cash rolling in has a higher prestige and social status than the person who actually runs the organisation’s operations, as if the operations are a vulgarity. Superior still is the person who gives to another a pile of cash and delegates to them the task of turning that money into more money. In popular culture our most popular folk heroes are those who’ve managed to make of career of absolute, cretinous uselessness, famous for being famous, a new democratised, bastardised and perverted echo of Britain’s aristocracy.

We have it all backwards. We’ve got it all wrong. We seem to admire those who do the least for the most, not those who do the most* and then we’re surprised when this country doesn’t seem capable of producing a Honda, or an Apple Computers, or a Google. To produce such a company requires more than a desire to make money. It requires a desire to work, to produce something new and wonderful for its own sake.

As long as we regard work as vulgar, as something to be escaped, as nothing more than a tiresome drain on our valuable time then, frankly, Day Care Centre Britain is our future.

* … and those who think we should be looking to up those who do the most for the least are a whole other problem for another day…

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