Saturday, January 29, 2011

Poverty and Pain

Welcome to the new feudalism.

Poverty and pain: much of the twentieth century was spent trying to eradicate these evils; now ideological right-wingers are helping them make a big comeback.

No hip, knee, or hernia operations for the poor and the middle classes. This will mean far higher costs in the long run, because once people lose their mobility their health deteriorates rapidly and their need for medical care skyrockets. Where will they go? How will they live? Next thing you know, work houses will be brought back. This is the age of an unrepentant Scrooge: anyone unable to function as a cog in the machine that keeps a few people rich and maintains the uniformed armies of control will be considered, in Dickens' terms, 'surplus population'.

Given the government's refusal to control inflation, or to regulate commodities brokers who are driving up the cost of food and clothing; given the slashing of benefit programs that have meant the difference for many people between minimal comfort and going homeless on the streets, we can look forward to a Dickensian world with lashings of George Orwell. London will look like Mumbai with its swarms of beggars, some of them deliberately maimed children.

As we sink into the new feudalism, we can wave at India and China as they pass us on their way up. I suppose one of the most pressing questions for the government will be to decide which language to teach so that we can communicate with the new masters: Hindi, Mandarin or Arabic.

Cities will become hell-holes. There will be no escape, as the forests will have been sold off to commercial interests. There will be no place to walk and no place worth walking in. A 150 year lease is just about the right amount of time to destroy an environment so that trees will never grow again. Just look at all those areas of Scotland that were once forested. The natural world where we learn to be human and recover our souls will be off limits. And have you ever heard the screeching din or seen the slash and earth-gouging of a logging operation? Try having chain saws, tree extractors and tractor-trailers at the bottom of your garden.

Next thing you know we will have to buy the air we breathe.

Why is no one in this government asking, What is a human being?


Anonymous Hanna said...

I first started noticing this about 20 years ago when I was 11 or 12. It took me 10 years to verbalize what I saw, and another few years to accept that the fact that I saw this did not mean there was something wrong with me.

This is terrifying to me and I have absolutely no idea what to do. All I know is that alone I can do nothing. Most people either don't see or don't care, or else embrace this mentality as something good.

We don't see people as human beings but rather as objects with price tags. For sale if we meet the criteria or tossed away with no remorse if we don't because we're worthless anyway. Both options equally horrifying because we *are* human beings, much as we like to pretend otherwise.

7:16 pm, March 02, 2011  

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