Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Just came back from the USA where I felt right at home. A country in which 'the state' seemed largely in the background, in stark contrast to the constant interventions that take place over here in the UK. There had just been a storm in Atlanta which was being cleared up. I don't exactly know who was doing it but it didn't appear to involve a huge intervention by the state and an invasion of traffic cones. They were doing just fine too.
Over here the state seems to be absolutely everywhere. I am not much of a political thinker, but there has to be a way to provide decent social security without all the mind-boggling red tape and nonsense. I just know that I'd love to have the freedom felt by many Americans with cars and a bit of money while having some of the social security enjoyed in Europe. Quite useful if you are well; very useful if you are sick. Put your hand up if you are sick of control.
The UK gov. seems to want it both ways: free-markets which they control. E.g. In post-compulsory education, anyone can bid for contracts but if you actually get one, the only way your gonna keep it is by conforming absolutely to their aims, objectives and targets. Not all that free, really. It was quite funny hearing one or two gentlemen from the South describing the centre-left governments in Europe as communist as, to be honest, they must seem so to some republicans.
I know that America is called 'the land of the free.' I am also aware of the crimes that have been recently committed in the name of spreading democracy. The irony is, there is a lot of freedom over there - it's just that it is not easily exported. I loved the fact that the Americans I met were not buried under X layers of irony and self-evasion. Many just seemed to call it as they saw it. Why not? Why can't I say have a nice day and mean it. The cynicism in this country (especially in my head) just really gets in the way of living.
I think it is worse in London as well. We are all sort crammed into this little space with everyone competing for a little bit of space on the pavement (I really want to say sidewalk). People are rushed, stressed and aggressive. We get overloaded with work and weighed down by time-fascism. And what's the point? A better man than me said: 'the only thing counts is faith expressing itself in love.' (Gal 5.6) If you can come up with anything better that let me know.