Warning: Brain is freewheeling on this one. Anything can happen.
I confess. I forgot the clocks changed and found it was an hour later than I'd anticipated last night, so abandoned posting. I'd been watching more of those DVDs I found in the garage. Watching '1984' was a mistake. Towards the end, the viewscreens announce a glorious victory for the forces of Oceania on the African front. Looking at the newspapers immediately afterwards was a little disturbing.
A lot happened yesterday. It was Census Eve and it was also Earth Hour day. I forgot about that too. Well, the clocks went forward, I lost an hour, so Earth Hour must have been the hour I lost. That's okay, I didn't need that one anyway.
Then there were protests in London at which Moribund Minor exhorted his drones to higher and higher levels of lunacy whereby they protest about the 'cuts that are not cuts' that would have happened whoever was in government. The newspapers scream 'Anarchists!' but protesters demanding more government intervention are not anarchists. Quite the opposite, in fact.
It's interesting how people have been made to fear anarchists, even though the word describes someone who is against all forms of government and who wants a world in which everyone makes their own decisions, with no interference from the State at all. It is not logically possible to fear anarchy because it means 'do whatever you want'. That includes setting up a local council/government if you want, as long as you don't impose it on people who don't want it. Belgium functions with no government. So might Somalia if it wasn't for all the statists trying to impose their own version of dictatorship by violence. Africa, as a continent, functioned perfectly well for thousands of years with no government and no national boundaries of any kind. So did everywhere else.
I am not a full anarchist. I see the logic in centrally funded police, ambulance, fire, military etc. Locally funding those things could mean that if you're a stranger in town and haven't paid in locally, you're not covered if you get mugged, fall over or spontaneously combust. So I suppose I'm some kind of minarchist, I haven't worked out a definition yet and might never bother.
I see no role for government outside those areas. None. I do not see the logic in letting government dictate who a pub, club or cafe can allow on the premises, nor any sense at all in dictating who can buy cigarettes, beer or pies. I would abolish the minimum age for all these things and make it the parents' responsibility.
So if your eight-year-old comes home plastered, you do something about it. Do not cry 'Something must be done' and expect Nanny to step in. While I agree something should be done, I would say it's the parents' responsibility to do it. If the child gets drunk and attacks old ladies, as a parent, that's your responsibility. You sort the little bugger out or you take the penalty. If on the other hand, the child likes a beer now and then and never causes any trouble at all, why should anyone intervene? An occasional beer will neither kill a child nor turn it into a raging alcoholic. It might even turn them into a responsible drinker who can hold their sauce without going berserk.
Age of majority, when the child becomes an adult? Pick one and stick to it. Currently people are adult enough to get married, have sex and children at 16, adult enough to join the military a few months later, but not adult enough to drive until 17 and still not adult enough to decide whether they'd like a drink or a smoke until 18. The really weird one is where you can marry and have sex at 16 but can't watch a sex film, including the instructional ones, until you're 18. There was a case a while back where an instructional video on checking for cancer of the danglies was forbidden from 15-year-old eyes, even though those eyes are just a few feet above the very danglies the video claims are at risk. So check your bag of lumps for lumps, lads, but we aren't going to tell you how until it's too late. Hint: If your count is greater than two, that's not right.
One age, not this ridiculous phasing-in of adulthood. Because of the uncertainty, because of the blurred edges of responsibility, more and more people never make the transition at all.
Make it clear. Pick an age, say 16, and on that 16th birthday you are an adult, and a child no more. If you've been a total little waster for the past 16 years, your parents no longer take the rap when you smash up a phone box, steal from shops, beat up pensioners, desecrate churches or paint Cherie Blair's face around a postbox slot (actually, I don't think that last one should be a crime because I, for one, would find it excruciatingly funny).
From the parents' point of view, if they have been cursed with an uncontrollable hellspawn for 16 years, then on its 16th birthday they can give it suitcases and a one-way ticket to a faraway place. They are no longer responsible for this horrible little goblin. Seeing that happen to a few older gang members might focus the younger minds somewhat. I would anticipate the incidence of such events being high at first but then declining very rapidly indeed.
At the point where you become an adult you can smoke or not smoke as you choose. You can eat pies or salads as you choose. You can drink or not drink as you choose. If you get into trouble, your parents are no longer responsible for your actions. You would know this for certain because it would be clear and simple. There would be no period of 'he was drunk but he's still a child, really'. The child/adult definition would be absolutely clear.
Another thing that would be clear is that while the choices are now yours, the responsibilty for those choices is also yours. If you decide to drink until your liver looks like a colander that's been used for shotgun practice, you are responsible for that. Nobody else. If you turn into a wobbly version of the Hulk when plastered and smash things, you are responsible. Not the brewery, nor the pub. No 'Oh, but I had a hard life, innit?' excuses. So did I for a time, as a result of my own bad choices. I stayed mostly sober and got out of there. I could have descended into the bottom of a bottle of cheap sherry, as many did, and been found frozen to a park bench by my own solidified urine. Choices work both ways.
Many people don't want choices. They don't want responsibility. They want the government to take the choices and responsibility away from them and tell them how to live their lives, every minute of every day. We only have one life each and it astounds me how many are happy to let someone else live it for them. How many turn up at the Pearly Gates and, when asked to account for their lives, respond with 'I was only obeying orders'? But then living in thrall to a supposed superior is, in itself, a form of choice. If they are happy with their choice to give their lives up to slavery, why would I want to change them?
I don't. Let them live how they choose, even if that means they forfeit all further options. Why would I care at all?
I care because in giving up their choices to the monster we call government, they make that monster powerful enough to impose its will on those of us who don't want to give up our lives, our choices, our responsibilities and our thoughts to the monster. Conform or be declared insane, when conformity is clearly insanity.
Is it sane to hand over your only chance at life to someone else, to spend your only existence in this world as a drone, doing exactly as you are told, cutting the lawn every Saturday, washing the car every Sunday, accepting a bollocking for being five minutes late for work while accepting that it's 'normal' to work through your lunch break and then take more work home for no extra pay? Is it sane to accept that, as a condition of employment, your employer can dictate what you do in your personal life? Is it sane to strive for no more than to be exactly the same as everyone else and to enforce that sameness on the rest of your hive, on pain of expulsion or death? It's normal if you're an ant or a bee.
One go at life is all I'll get so is it really asking too much that I be allowed to live it as I choose, with no harm or even inconvenience to anyone else? So I don't listen to the health advice that changes daily. Who is harmed? Nobody. Oddly enough, not even me. Yet if I gain weight I will be a 'drain on the NHS' even though my medical file must be thin enough to slip under a door despite years of smoking and fine malts and salt and pork scratchings and all the rest. I don't use the NHS. Maybe I will one day, but by then I'll have paid in enough to have solid gold contacts on the defibrillator and catheters fashioned from the rarest sea-cucumbers encrusted with diamonds (ouch! Maybe skip the diamonds) and I still won't cost more than I've paid in. So forget the guilt trip. At the end I plan to recoup as much as possible of all that money I've been forced to hand over to the State and I will not suffer even a twinge of regret.
As for organ donations, forget it. When I've finished with this body, it will be displayed to medical students in the 'How the hell did he live that long?' section of their museum. I am not nurturing spare parts for others. Nor do I want spare parts installed. Sure, there'll be cries of 'Yeah, you would, if it was that or death'. No I would not.
If I had a heart transplant I would be on immunosuppressive drugs and under close medical supervision. No smoking. No drinking. No pies and no pork scratchings. A life of hell and for what? A few extra years until the Lucasparts heart gives up. I'd rather die earlier and happy in the knowledge that I had a good time right to the end. It is absurd to spend your life fearing death. It is going to happen. There is no way to stop it. It might be quick or it might be slow but it is going to happen. Forget about it. Enjoy the time you have because there is no telling when it will end.
Unless, of course, you allow your dronemasters to decide you're old, unproductive and costing the NHS money, and that it's time you were euthanased and maybe broken up for spares. Never happen? Look around you. It's already begun.
Make your choice.
Well, I still have the census form in pristine condition here. I won't fill it in today. Not because I don't have time but because I can't be bothered with it today. Maybe tomorrow. Or the next day.
Or maybe I'll wait until they send someone to 'help'. That could be entertaining.
Merry Census, everyone.
Oooo, I found my copy of 'Simon Says'. A gorefest awaits. I especially like the flying pickaxes in this one.