a reply to: olddognewtricks
I think the worst thing about concepts like "The American Dream" or as we know it in other locations around the world, the concept that growing up
into adulthood is a process which contains for every person, the opportunity to get forward and make progress, is that they really are not honestly
developed concepts, especially in the modern day.
I have a son. He is twelve years old. In what will no doubt feel like no time at all, he is going to be growing up and entering the world of work,
and at some stage, he is going to ask me about how to get forward in life, and I am going to have to be honest with him. At present, all I am going to
be able to say to him, is something approximately like this:
"Son... You want to know how to get your life moving forward. You have spent years and years getting educated, getting your little certificates to
prove you can repeat someone elses lies, misunderstandings and poor interpretations of the truth, and its all been leading up to this moment, this
moment that your teachers, and the capitalists who own the media will tell you, is the moment where you, as a young man, start to take control of your
circumstances. But you are my son, and the least I can do is level with you.
Its all been a lie. The education you have had was designed to prepare you for a lifestyle which does not exist. It was meant to prepare you to enter
the world of work, get you started on a path which would see you become an earner, a working man, a man who can, by sheer application of effort,
dedication, commitment, and work ethic, achieve any height of success he puts his mind to. I hate to be the bearer of bad news son, but that is not
the world we are living in today. In today's world, you can work like a machine in any field, and still fail to make enough to eat, leave alone pay
bills, rent, rates, and other sundry costs of living. In the world we live in today, your determination, skills, intelligence, and work ethic do not
get you a pass to a life which will please you to live, or even one that you can tolerate all that easily.
Its hard, mostly horrible, and the odds are good that whatever effort you put in, will seem like it has been wasted some, or most of the time. You
should not feel bad about that, because most of the time, that is precisely what it will be. A waste. Son, I have been working hard since I was a
young man, and I live with my mother. I have been working a skilled job for over a decade, and I have a car that someone gave me out the back which I
have not been able to afford to drive. Hell, I cannot even afford to take the damned test to get my license at the moment, leave alone the insurance,
the tax, getting the thing road ready, putting fuel in it. What I am trying to get you to understand here, is that effort and dedication only get you
anywhere if the society around you values them. If it does not, then these things will not get you fed, they will not get you shelter, they will not
produce results that you have been led to expect by the instruction you received at school, or the people who provided it.
Son, people in this country are being forced to use foodbanks, rather than go to the store, not because they are cheap people, or lazy, or any other
negative modifier, but simply because hard work does not pay well enough to live on, or even exist on. Hard working people are being underpaid for
their time and effort, meaning they are having to resort to charity, just to do what ought to be the simplest thing in the world for a working person,
feeding their children and themselves. Son, when I was a lad of your age, it was common for the poor to be held up as an example to everyone else, of
what happens when you do not work hard enough at school, when you do not do well enough in your exams, when you do not work hard enough at your job.
But that was a lie, Son. That was a lie they told us, to make us compliant with their demands upon us kids, us young people, so that we would meekly
seek whatever scraps we could earn by the sweat of our brow and the carrying capacity of our bodies, rather than turning upon the hands that starve
us, seeing the situation for what it is, and taking up activism to oppose it.
I am not saying that you should not work, because you should. Its not healthy to have nothing to damned well do, after all. The human mind needs
tasks to complete in order to maintain basic functions and stave off problems like depression and boredom. The body needs tasks to complete, because
otherwise it inflates and becomes inefficient, making movement difficult and causing health concerns which might see it drop dead well before its sell
by date. But you need to accept, right now, that your success or lack thereof, in this period in history, will not be a damned thing to do with your
work ethic. It will be about whether or not you are prepared to backstab, cheat, lie, scheme, and hustle your way to success. Here is a picture of the
fifty richest people in the country. This one sells arms to terrorists. This one is part of the reason our health service is collapsing. This one
steals conflict minerals from embattled countries. This one runs a private military firm full of mercenaries and hired murderers of various types, who
are often used when official military units simply cannot be for political reasons, and they do the shadiest crap ever done by mortal hands, for a
price. The list goes on and on, shady characters, making money from shady practices, practices which exploit loopholes in local and international law,
result in negative and often lethal consequences for innocent people, and who will never face a single moments justice for their crimes against
humanity, until perhaps they go to be judged at the end of their time on Earth.
This was not the world I wanted you to grow up in. I have put in inhuman efforts to make a stable base of capital to work from, I have sacrificed god
alone knows how many man hours of physical effort, mental gymnastics, bled freely and often, damaged myself without a second thought, for my whole
adult life, to try and make things work, and I am not a stupid man, or an unintelligent one. Yet I have no stable base to offer you. I cannot manage
my own affairs with the funds I have available, even after all this work. I do not know what the hell you are going to do, or how the hell you are
going to be able to afford to function your existence, but I know this. If you look back on your life at some stage in the future, having worked your
arse off, but having failed to make progress, just take it from me, the chances are that you will not be responsible for the fact that you have
nothing to show for it.
I hope that knowing this from the start, rather than wasting time believing a lie, will help you get your head around the situation, make some sense
of it all, if you can. I should be able to tell you that I envy you, being right at the start of the journey, with it all to play for. But I do not,
and I should be able to, and I am so, so damned sorry that between myself and my fellow Britons, I could not carve a better future out for you, or for
the country as a whole. I do not know where to go from here myself, so all I can say to you is, well...
Welcome to the jungle, kid."