I've been doing some thinking about citizens vs. the state lately which, in my mind, dovetails neatly with the issues Dan is raising.
Something I have an increasingly hard time with is this:
- By what right does the state keep secrets, any secrets, from the people from whom it derives a mandate to exist?
I find it impossible to sit here an be another happy citizen when the state acts without consideration for my feelings or interests beyond what it thinks will persuade me to it's agenda. And don't tell me to vote for someone else because the politicians aren't the problem.
I feel that politics today is a symptom and not a cause of my unhappiness. As a child growing up under Thatcher I grew to hate the Tories and their me! me! value system. When I got the chance I voted New Labour and rousted them from office. Am I happy now?
The government I elected (twice) is now eager to:
- ignore peoples voice on Identity cards [I know they didn't in the end, but they had to be forced]
- support two wars I still do not support (you know Iraq and that other one)
- support the expansion of secret state powers
- limit freedom of information
and so on. But they didn't seem to eager before they got into office. Are they just two-faced, chicken-hearted, backstabbers? Or is something else going on?
I think the problem is that, in Britain and the US, the revolving door between corporate business & the beauracracy has delivered something new. Politics is the show, like the waving of the stage magicians hands, the dirty business is going on out back.
This is why voter turnouts diminish year on year: Changing the politician doesn't change the policy. Collectively we are suffering the principle of learned helplessness.
I want to do something about all this, but I don't know what. [Curiouser and curiouser!]