on the amputation of infected members of society, part II, day 19

They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.

– Margaret Thatcher in an interview in Women’s Own, 1987

The nonexistence of society concludes in the self-isolation of individuals, men and women, and families.

The role of government is to look after those who look after themselves first.

The role of the neighbour is to wait until they have.

No government can do anything except through those who know that their role is to look after themselves first.

Those who look after themselves first and after they have looked after themselves look after their neighbours are a community and communities comprise individuals, men and women, and families.

Some individuals cast their problems on society. Perhaps they are neighbours who are tired of waiting, who are disaffected, who are lonely, or weak, or old. But they are probably just moaners, loafers, bludgers, whiners, do-nothings; lazy, incompetent or naive and selfish in thinking they are owed anything by anyone: entitled, spoilt, ones who have it too easy.

Perhaps people who cast their problems on society believe it is to blame. Perhaps they believe that it is responsible for how they are or how they feel, for how good or bad they feel, or how well or badly they’re getting on. Or perhaps they think there is a whole lot of higher-ups who are, and they blame these and throw their lack of taking responsibility for themselves and how they feel, for themselves and how they’re getting on, at them.

As if it is the responsibility of the higher-ups, as if they are the grown-ups and society is full of children, as if the government were not just people like them, as if the government and the managers and bosses and service-providers, and nurses and policemen, politicians and army were not just people like them, trying to take care of their families, neighbours and look after themselves, and do their jobs and earn a living, a decent one, as if we weren’t all in the same boat, all trying to survive and see that our kids do OK and that our old people don’t die before their time has come.

We ought not to think badly of the ones who feel bad or who do badly. In fact we can understand it: society has failed them, but not society insofar as government is responsible for it–or they just have chemical imbalances and bad genes.

We can accept them casting problems that are their own at others, at society or blaming the government, because we know that society insofar as government is responsible for it does not exist.

Some of them, throwing their toys out of the cot, or at the nearest figure of authority in reach, and often it is the one who offers to help who cops it, are from poor families. Others are genetically predisposed to having feelings which overwhelm them, feelings of inadequacy, not the actual inadequacy, feelings of not-belonging, while not actually not belonging, that they have to get rid of, cathect, get out of their systems somehow, anyhow. You get artists in this group. But just as much you get the ones who don’t recognise how caring our communities really are. They let themselves down by not reaching out. They are no help to themselves. Those who end up poisoning themselves with drugs and alcohol least.

We just have to be there for them. We don’t have to listen when we are lumped in with the ones, teachers, parents, care-givers and case-managers who did not.

Poverty is like a disease. But one much easier to contain than COVID 19.

Although the same technologies are practically engaged in its containment. Including education.

Including “contact tracing.”

You don’t have to get at its causes to know who is infected.

But the infected must be cut off.

The process of social amputation begins with government cutting society off. It concludes with individuals, men and women and families, cutting themselves off from it:

Society never existed but as a source of disaffection, disease and of the problems it caused that were rightly or wrongly cast at it.