Monday, December 31, 2007

Achtung! Boiling frogs must jump out of the moron pot

Moron Monday
We are truly morons if we let this creeping police state continue in Western countries, where we have enjoyed so much hard-won freedom for so long.

I live in a village in the country. On Christmas Eve I was invited by a woman friend of mine for a Christmas drink at one of the hotels in my district. It is a country pub where for more than three decades I have on occasions had a quiet drink in moderation. I remember many years ago, when I had been away from the town for about five years, when I walked up to the bar, the barmaid knew what I wanted to drink. That's the sort of pub it was. A nice family hotel where I have never seen anyone rude, disorderly, nor in need of ejection.

On Christmas Eve as I was about to enter the hotel by its veranda entrace, a uniformed security guard, one of three on the doors, stopped me and demanded that I show my "ID". I asked him what he meant by ID. He insisted that he see my driver's licence.

Now, I accept that these days it might be reasonable to ask young people to prove that they are over 18. I wish that it hadn't come to that, but I can see the point. However, as I told the guard, I am 54 years of age, a grandfather of five (one teenager), and I was visiting my local 'watering hole' where I have been a welcome patron since 1975.

It made no difference to this hired goon, so I laughed and walked in, regardless. He didn't grab me physically, but it was reasonable to think that such an assault might occur. I saw the 'boy in blue' stop and similarly challenge other people, young and old, including a man about ten years my senior. The younger people, even those in their thirties, seemed disconcerted and frozen. We oldies just laughed and walked in. Like Aussies.

Like some Nazi concentration camp, this old, timber country pub that once was so welcoming now has posters plastered everywhere with instructions and prohibitions. One sticker even says that patrons must not behave in a disorderly fashion. Surely this is a given. This is well established. People should behave themselves. Those who don't know that this is a given probably can't read anyway, and they can be removed. As the stickers and posters should be removed. Achtung!

They say that if you spend one day in London, on average you will be filmed on closed-circuit television, or photographed by security cameras, 300 times. We have let it come to this, even in country villages, and I believe we must stand up to it wherever possible, beginning yesterday. See how some people are resisting.

In Coffs Harbour, the bigger town near where I live, there are a hospital and a university, each on about 50 acres of green fields. In each place, it is forbidden to smoke in the outdoors. At the university, if someone lights up a cigarette anywhere on the green fields, a man in a grey uniform will run up and demand that the smoker stop. He has the authority to eject anyone from the university. What is the problem? Are they afraid that their gum trees will catch lung cancer? Of course not. Some jumped-up bureaucrat with a power pathology and a tin badge has created a new by-law and is stroking himself or herself over it. Achtung! Power orgasm!

In August, an Australian passenger on a flight in the USA used the benign Australian expression, "fair dinkum", which means "true". She was met at the airport by three uniformed police officers who demanded an explanation. Achtung!

When I did my Christmas posting a fortnight ago, I mailed several Christmas cards, each containing a small gift the size of a fridge magnet. The post office worker did as she was required by the new uber-masters of her department. (Actually, it used to be a department, but now it has been semi-privatized and is now more like a business, in which the mail takes much longer and the post offices have become like gift boutiques.) Achtung! She made me fill out four separate declarations that I was not sending any explosives, etc, and she demanded that she inspect my driver's licence. As always, I quipped that her time was being wasted by politicians who, for the purpose of retaining their power over us, want us to believe that we are under threat. As always happens, the worker acknowledged my point, but in silence. It seems that we all know it, but think we can't stop it. Of course we can. People can stop anything that is foisted on them by other people. They are our equals, not our masters. But it takes courage, sacrifice and persistence. We have no choice but to resist at every point along the way, if we don't want our decendants to live in the police state which, inch by inch, is becoming our lot.

The great danger is that, like the boiling frog, we don't see this creeping malaise. I feel especially sorry for the younger people, who think that all this new authoritarianism is the way it's always been. Achtung young people: It is not. This is new.

The hotel publican to whom I complained in writing on Christmas Day rang me on the 26th. He tried three times to apologize with something like, "I'm sorry you're the sort of person who would be worried by this". I refused to accept such a fake apology. When he finally gave me a "sorry" without strings or patronizing, I accepted it and I will not name his hotel in the media or elsewhere. He told me that, at the age of 30, he is used to showing his ID everywhere, and it doesn't bother him. I told him that I have never been asked to show it at any place of hospitality in Australia, nor in two police states I have visited (Libya and Pakistan), and that it does bother me, as it should bother him. I was saddened not only by his attitude to me, but his sense of compliance with this new form of power tripping that is becoming rife in Western societies -- the so-called free world.

Naturally, the reason for this new madness is that people with an authoritarian cancer of the mind -- many of them having pushed their way to positions of authority, as authoritarians tend to do -- have been allowed to have their pathological way with the rest of us. We must put them in their place if we are not to become victims of even worse fascists, who are just bullies -- and morons.

More on Monday.

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