Britain freezes. Snow is everywhere and temperatures have collectively plummeted across the nation. This is particularly worrisome for poorer people and older people, and especially for poor old people. But for every person speaking up about the conditions we’re being made to survive by governmental malfeasance and the never ending greed of the aggressively capitalist society we’re ever so proud of, there is another person lined up to extoll the virtues of their “living through” the same or worse. Here’s why I’m done with listening to that rhetoric.
Yesterday, a caller on LBC rang in to explain, frankly, that he was worried he would die in the cold. He didn’t have enough money or resources to stay warm and was on the verge of tears that he explained that he didn’t think he would make it through winter. LBC’s twitter account posed the clip of the man explaining his dire situation with Ben Kentish and was, with the predictability of blinking, met with tweets like this:
It’s almost become a fetish for people who somehow stumbled through their appalling childhoods to weaponise them against others. Why shouldn’t we all wake up to frost on our bedroom windows? Why can’t we all cope with an empty stomach for two days at a time? And why don’t we all restrict the only time we feel warmth is from our father’s palm as it slaps us across the face?
Apart from the no doubt shocking fact that a lot of us don’t want to wake up in freezing cold bedrooms left unheated because we can hear the whirring of the energy meter in the cupboard nearby, and other than silly little things like the factual observation that it’s a basic human right to live in comfort and safety, I have a confession.
One of the biggest reasons I don’t want another generation of people to grow up in these miserable conditions (apart, obviously, from the above) is simply that I refuse to foster a world where this ridiculous idolisation of your own victimhood is used as a stick to beat others with. I don’t want another generation of emotionally ruined people rewriting history to pretend they weren’t suffering and making do, to foist their nonsense on future children.
So you survived waking up to ice on your windows: do you want applause? And do you actually want a return to that for people? It’s so ironic, as it’s often statements like these made by people from behind double glazing in long paid off houses worth £100,000 more than they it was bought for- I bet you’d be unwilling to replace your loc-tite windows with plastic sheeting, so ask yourself why you’d foist that living on others if you’re unwilling to endure it yourself. Additionally, it’s always interesting to bring up the disproportionate rates of serious illness and infant mortality rates back in the “frost on yer windows” days to people.
Using your own suffering as a stick to beat people is ridiculous and is indicative of unhealed trauma. I don’t want people to freeze in their houses now any more than I wanted you to then. I want people to be warm now as much as I want you to get therapy for your trauma, a trauma that you’re desperate to foist on others.
When people bully others, it’s usually because their lives are miserable in some way- from a child tripping others in a playground to a cruel co-worker going home to their abusive spouse, misery begets misery and it’s all too clear to see that those who will espouse how they, through luck, survived adverse childhoods, seem to want others to suffer as they did. Nobody should suffer from fuel poverty, food poverty or ANY poverty these days, any more than anyone should have survived cruel winters through luck then.
Additionally, what’s the point of inventing technology to keep people thriving if we reserve it? Why invent double glazing and central heating, inventions that have saved untold numbers of human life, if we don’t use it or if we attach price tags that quite literally freeze people out? Humanity must adapt and progress to thrive, and refusing technology that ensures people do not fall ill, become disabled or die is a vile and massively normalised aspect of modern society, that allows a distorted society- one we’re currently living through.
The mass normalisation of living through adverse conditions, where “survival” is the end goal was made clear through the pandemic. So what if you spent 2 weeks sick with a virus, now your lung capacity is ruined, you get out of breath just sitting still and you have arrhythmia- you survived didn’t you? You should be grateful! Societal madness writ large.
Survival being a goal is a failure of any society that pushes it- every society should be encouraging you to achieve, and providing the framework for, thriving.
Anything less is humanity failing to reach its potential and in a country like the UK where this has been baked into legislation like austerity, it is state sponsored failure of its citizens.
There is an almost straight split of people who hold values about austerity being positive, “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” and those who actively wish to either have people “suffer” their way out of adverse situations or suffer through them as they did.
To those who push the lie that one must suffer to build character, ask yourself why you fail to relate to other humans, why you wish for them to push through negative situations they should not have to “just because you did” and wonder to yourself whether, perhaps, the sentence “and I turned out just fine” might be the biggest lie you ever told.