Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Know how to withdraw


Know how to Withdraw. If it is a great lesson in life to know how to deny, it is a still greater to know how to deny oneself as regards both affairs and persons. There are extraneous occupations which eat away precious time. To be occupied in what does not concern you is worse than doing nothing. It is not enough for a careful man not to interfere with others, he must see that they do not interfere with him.

Baltasar Gracian - The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)

Modern life has become too complex, too demanding for the elite. In former times they imposed narrow limits on social mores via religion, narrow cultural norms, toil and harshly repressive laws. Now things are different. We have our big bellies, our bread and circuses, our vulgar satisfactions. It is time for the elite to move on and rid themselves of the tangled mess democracy has dumped in their laps.

An enduring trait of elite classes has always been their ability to withdraw from our world to enjoy theirs. To achieve this happy state of affairs they cannot afford to spend too much time catering to the demands of the lower orders. They need their social isolation and that requires a degree of government isolation. It is time to clamp down again. Democracy, if it exists, has to be shorn of its messy tangle of demands and unpredictable possibilities.

The EU is a power structure designed to isolate European elites from the chaotic demands and inevitable failures of democratic responsibility. They intend to escape from our routine world to enjoy a golden world of unrestricted lifestyles. For those with money and social connections this is a golden age and elite classes intend to enjoy it to the full.

If this means treating people as the cheapest possible unit of production, if it means trampling on cultures, getting rid of the middle classes and subverting democracies then so be it. If it means attracting petty tyrants and martinets to manage EU structures and feed the rest of us with bread and circuses then so be it.

A vote for Leave is unlikely to make much difference in the medium to long term. Our elite classes no longer have any taste for the grind and uncertainties of good government. One way or another they intend to put the whole unrewarding business in the hands of their stewards - as their ancestors did in the good old days. These days stewards are senior bureaucrats who actually enjoy drafting and enforcing impossibly complex laws and regulations. Stewards in love with a world where everything is either forbidden or compulsory.

Not that it is likely to work out that way.


Sackerson said...

I think so, too. Blairite: do well out of doing good. And if it doesn't work out well for others, at least it's worked out well for you. And you did mean well, didn't you?

wiggiatlarge said...

It will be interesting in the event of a leave vote to see if the vote firstly is honoured and if the government as it will be obliged to, actually go to work for the nation and not start immediately watering down objectives so that we end up with a quasi status quo, I have my doubts.

Demetrius said...

What is interesting is that the Land Agents and senior Stewards quite often turn out to be younger sons of younger sons etc. of upper classes and gentry etc. This is a little known aspect in that the assumption is that they all went into The Church, the military or the law. However some of those in the law moved into land management as a natural option. I have a report of a 1907 wedding of such a land agent. He married a younger daughter of an Earl and the guest list is remarkable.

A K Haart said...

Sackers - yes it's a way of doing political business which seems to have become almost universal.

Wiggia - I can't see it being honoured. The result isn't binding.

Demetrius - as I recall, a few nineteenth century novels depict land agents as potentially very useful people who could do well for themselves.