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Inbred insecurity is the epitaph of the individual

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We have evolved into a society, by default or design, that is very fearful. The ideals of socialism seem to have disappeared to the point where the word itself has been devalued.

Many people feel trapped by the need to maintain a job that they hate. Their fear is maintained by companies who exploit people's insecurity to the point where absurdly long hours are expected. Time off and holidays are reduced to being statutory requirements only.

I have written before about the absurdity and rudeness of how young doctors, solicitors and accountants are treated, but the real problem is that these abused young people then rise to the top of the pile and pass on the same brutish behaviour to their juniors. This brutishness (some call it laddishness) is often rewarded with high salaries, resulting in them becoming role models for the poor. Sadly, those people who make a real contribution to society are often poor. I refer to scientists, writers, artists and thinkers; or, in other words, those that maintain a sense of individuality, who are often thought to be a threat to the stability of society.

Disobedience is a fine value for the individual. The major advances in history have tended to come from rebellion, and a healthy disrespect for the 'correct way'of doing things. We can measure the failure of our culture by the rise in 'political correctness' during the past 20 years. The system has become self-policing, as we now have a class of people who do nothing else but check the behaviour of others.This is often done in the name of fairness and equality, but in reality it reduces life to a flat tedium of respectability which sucks the spirit dry.

In spite of all this, we still have material poverty as well as a reduction in the quality of the soul.The fact that we still require systems for dealing with those that fall below the poverty line, or, as is often the case, fall out of the safety net and onto the streets, is evidence that this new form of perverted socialism is not working.

Charity is now a part of government policy.

There is an extraordinary number of bodies whose responsibility is to raise money and distribute it, in often pathetic quantities, to the needy. Our compassion for those worse off than ourselves is an emotion that has been harnessed by government, removing problems of its own making from its responsibility.

Charity is demeaning and dangerous. Those that accept it are simply condoning a system that is rotten at the core.

I fully understand the temptation to accept help if you are desperate, but much better are those that refuse it. They display an individuality and a spirit that is otherwise lacking in society. Through charity, we prolong a life of misery for many to appease the guilt of the wealthy. To make matters worse, some of the money awarded to charity is raised through gambling, in the form of the Lottery, which takes money off the very people who often subsequently accept handouts.

In art, the Arts Council is a charity, whose presence tends to work against the individuality of the artistic community, by subjecting applications for grants to such lengthy scrutiny that the people I would like to see benefit do not bother.They struggle on regardless. While some of our more interesting buildings have been built with funds from charity, this in itself seems to alleviate companies and civil servants from commissioning high-quality architecture.

They rarely achieve anything more than mere 'building'. There is no art in them, as indeed no art in our social condition. Our charities should die.

Fear must be replaced by individuality.

WA, from the breakfast table, Corfu

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