Imagine what it would be like to watch an incompetent government screw up your life, and maybe get you killed as they do it. What would that look like?
Perhaps we’d watch them stagger through this COVID-19 crisis like Stone Trolls trying to escape the sun. Lumbering panicked from one broken promise to another.
How would you feel if the government lied, and lied again. Treating every citizen with the kind of contempt you might have for the gob of gum stuck to your shoe?
What kind of person would lead this chaos? He’d have to be someone unwilling to face and average person, look them in the eye, and speak from the heart?
The Stone Troll’s heart is a purely functional organ. Something so tough it can’t be scratched by emotions like shame or regret, compassion or humility.
If we had a government like that, we might look at their stage managed announcements and ask, why do they rattle past so quickly? Why do they go by unchallenged?
Would it be ruthless to think they’re hiding something? They must think we’re fools? Why else would they present failures as success, and expect us not to notice.
I might respond by calling them cowards, or point out their arrogance. I’m guessing their replies would let me know, they see us as weak, infantilising us for their own benefit.
Why would any government think of its citizens as children? Perhaps they want us to treat them as a parent, a strict and infallible patriarch, there to scold us, tell us what to do?
If that’s how it is, I want to know, has the tail always wagged the dog? And if the government’s wagging its citizens, we’re not living in a democracy, we’re living in a system of oligarchy. Where the many are ruled by the few.
A government like that might think we should take the virus on the chin, to “protect the economy!” If that’s their priority it might be reasonable, under the enormous pressure of a pandemic, to feel like their “democracy” might falter.
People might realise who the government is really serving. To protect itself a government might be forced to respond. Rationalise a system wide collapse, and offer to pay a companies staff, so they can implement a lockdown.
Win. Win. Protect the interests of the oligarchy while maintaining the illusion of democracy.
If that lockdown continued, how long before the mouthpieces for the few start agitating for a return to business?
Would the government relax the order to stay at home, knowing people will mix and contract and spread the virus? Is it wrong to think they’d put everyone at risk in this way?
But the Stone Trolls see us as feckless children too stupid to stand on our own two feet. If they thought something different, they’d maintain a lockdown until the danger had passed.
Which leaves one final question. What’s the point of government if all they do is service the needs of the few?