Sunday, July 06, 2014

Take back your freedom, without it you have nothing

I realised something the other day, the major reason for my entire attitude to life is based on the freedom my parents gave me from day one. I was never told what to do in any way, just guided and advised, and was trusted to go out and come back whenever I wanted and never did worse than get lost when I didn't know where the bus went. The contrast when I spent a month away with my grandparents, the exact opposite, who watched me the whole time and interrogated me- have I washed my hands, combed my hair, been to the toilet, why do you want to eat that, why are you wearing that, told me (they actually phoned my bedroom every morning) when to get up, and I was so relieved after a month when my parents arrived on holiday and I had my freedom back.

The same thing applied when I worked in their shop. The manager had a daily schedule which kept us busy cleaning and stocktaking every spare moment for years. I assumed as it was so busy we needed to do this, until he went away for a couple of weeks, no schedule, and we got everything done on the list in half a day a week. What had been a really tough and demanding job turned into a relative holiday although exactly as much got done.

This taught me a lesson that people are best left to their own devices, with simple rules for work and school and otherwise trusted to know or learn themselves. We are not designed to be ruled by anyone, but helped and guided, our governments are our servants not our masters, and this has set my philosophy in life through direct experience at home and at work equally. You can either enjoy your life or it can be a chore, but it's the only one we've got so may as well be left to make the most of it with as few restrictions as possible. The difference is total between the two.

The same principle applies in every single aspect of life. Rules and limitations must be only if necessary rather than by default. This means you can do everything you want unless it isn't safe and only applies the minimum amount of force and restrictions required to do so, while if you look around you you will see this is far from the case, especially compared with the last ten years. Try driving in Britain, and perfectly safe roads used for a century with no problems have now had their speed limits reduced, often to 20mph, and covered with the enforced cancer of humps.The excuses given of increased safety etc are not even justified by reduced accidents and injuries, partly because the emergency services have an annual report (actually published a few years ago in the Hendon Times, much to my amazement) of how many people die or lose vital treatment as they are delayed by having to slow down for them both on the way to a call and with a patient in the ambulance, often with tubes or needles attached to them which would be displaced if they went over a hump at more than 10-20 mph whatever the speed limit.

Anyone wanting to extend their house in the last ten years will also find it a lot harder, with the building regulations now imposing combinations of EU and local impositions of added insulation (which often causes condensation and reduces ceiling height), fire doors and smoke alarms in every private house despite no others ever being there until the extension is added, and bans on new side windows even when they overlook the street with a hedge between them. What are the reasons for all these increasingly restrictive rules on what was till now a fairly safe and harmless set of activities (driving) and physical requirements (building) making it harder and harder to both get anywhere easily (remember public vehicles all have to use the same roads as well as everyone else) or choose what you want to do and pay for in your own house which does not affect anyone else besides the immediate neighbours? The reasons for my purposes are less important than the principles. Wherever you pay a greater price for an item or a service than you get in return you have been shafted. You do not spend twenty pounds to earn fifteen. The simple answer is it is based on power for its own sake, and politicians and businesses working together to provide work for each other and keep the businesses supplied with work to build road humps at £10,000 a go, and double the time required to convert a loft as so many more materials are now required. Cynical but true, as if you look back to the 60s or 70s when speed limits were generous, road humps were illegal, and new rooms had to be built so as not to overlook or block the light from neighbours and not fall down, rather than become a fortress ten times stronger than the rest of the house which was clearly fine as it was. Look at the MoT test for cars. When they brought in emission tests they were either passed or failed by all vehicles. Then, when under an EU plan to remove cars from cities, Boris Johnson brought in new requirements for vans and lorries which either cost thousands to convert or were impossible, despite every single one of them already passing the MoT test. That meant legally he had declared by implication the MoT test was inadequate, or his test was superfluous. You be the judge of that.

A normal road journey, as well as my initial example of a job which can be done better without a slave driver in charge, is a fairly easy to follow one to represent every single other area of life, where the welfare of others has to be considered, but especially in the case of drivers, their own welfare is reduced equally when having an accident as all parties suffer. We are all familiar with the uncontrollable traffic jams, so when the council narrow roads and remove lanes, they are creating more ways to ruin a journey by a fairly large amount. The humps are not suitable for road vehicles as the suspension and bodywork were not designed for a vertical drop more than occasionally, not many times a day. Councils have a fund for claims which costs each hundreds of thousands every year for broken exhausts and suspension which they rarely dispute as the damage from them is well known. Even small alterations, like fixing the traffic lights to stay red longer all add up as negative marks to spoil a journey. You get the general picture. How many drivers would have not missed a hazard without the humps to stop them, or worse still the barriers that make people have to overtake them and face oncoming traffic head on. While you're busy watching them and speed cameras your attention is diverted from children and animals running into the road, so they do the exact opposite of what they are supposed to.

So to sum up, whether bringing up or educating children, right through the workplace and public and private spaces, every journey is harder to gain exactly the same things with more rules than the bare minimum. It is the principle of libertarianism, which we all enjoy but few understand and many wish to impose the opposite on others while not wanting it themselves, (it's called hypocrisy, conscious or unconscious), where left wing intellectuals whinge about equality while paying accountants to reduce their tax bills, or send their own children to private schools as they abolished the free grammar schools which they would have gone to otherwise. People are generally not stupid and all aim for self preservation. So once a child knows why it's better not to stay up late before work the next day they will self police, as will drivers or anyone else going about their normal lives. Businesses need regulations to stop them cutting corners with shoddy goods and waste dumping etc, as they are dangerous and need regulating as a consequence, as their interests conflict (in their eyes, they don't really) with the customers. In fact any business who supplies what people want at a fair price will do better than the ones trying to cheat them.

But as citizens we are all working together, we are not essentially enemies however many cults and religions tell you otherwise, and apart from criminals and idiots who the law has no effect on anyway as it does not stop them breaking it, just punishes them if they are caught doing so, meaning everyone else will drive safely and look after themselves without an outside authority both forcing them to, or using measures ten times more than required to enforce it. Think of that next time you go on a trip somewhere and apply the comparison to everything else.

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