Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Election

So we have an election next month. Just another seemingly pointless exercise for many people - whoever you vote for, the Government still wins... And not one media pundit mentioning that it may well be an illegal election.

For me, the election is forcing me to consider the relationship between the individual and the State in crucial ways. It raises that most important and fundamental of questions - by what right does the State tell me what to do? By what right does it expect to demand my compliance?

If a man walks up to you, puts a gun to your head, and demands that you hop on one leg and bark like a dog, would you do it? Probably... But you would not permit that this act was based upon anything other than naked threats.

The relationship between the individual and the State is said to be slightly more sophisticated than that, even though the definition of a State is that it has the sole legitimate authority to use force in its territory.

There is said to be a mutuality, a 'social contract’, between people and government. We surrender some of our liberty to the State, which in return provides the conditions for society to thrive. The alternative is a Hobbesian "warre of all against all" and nobody would be happy or safe.

It does make sense. Except that no-one has ever asked me if I want to play. I happened to be born within these borders and found myself saddled with this particular State, I didn't choose it.

At the age of 18 I would, in the normal course of events, have had the ability to have my say and so endow this arrangement with legitimacy. Due to my unusual life, though, I have been denied that opportunity.

So, by what right does the State try to tell me what to do? What differentiates the Government from a mugger with a gun to my head? And why should I not resist? Why shouldn't I join the Guy Fawkes faction of politics?

When a representatives of the State parks himself in your doorway and locks you in a concrete box, it can force a clarity of the issues that the rest of life just doesn't offer.


  1. The clearest book I have ever read with regards to the nature of the state is VI Lenin's book called "state and revolution", written in October 1917. It is great reading, I recommend it. xx

  2. It is hypocritical of the State to refer to prisoners breaking the social contract, when the State breaches its contract with the Council of Europe to abide by the Convention and European Court of Human Rights decisions!

  3. Trouble is, they think they are above the law, and it is hard to convince them otherwise.