It is another Wednesday which means another long shift of banter has passed with my passionate comrade, Mitso. The topic of last night (or rather this morning) was cynicism and civic responsibility.
He, the cynic, outlined for me that the state is the lesser of all evil when getting people to do the right thing. I, the realist optimist, believe that people have the inherent ability to do the right thing when they are not being watched by Big Brother.
A perfect example of this occurred last night at the establishment where my comrade and I work. Shit was just not done. Chaos laid amidst the anarchy of drunks and half-smoked cigarette butts. It was a long night of cleaning, mopping, scrubbing, emptying, re-stocking and side-line gin&soda-ing, my little drop of poison.
To end the night, my comrade and I sat at the conference table to count money that we collected from patrons of the establishment. The green was tallied and locked away for the big boss to collect the next day. Cha-ching.
My dearest comrade is an impossible motor-mouth. He loves pushing buttons and the sound of his voice. Sometimes, my other comrades and I don't know where he gets his energy. Believe you me, it's not cocaine. Nevertheless, he could tell by my melancholic, pastry-puff face that I was not impressed with the way the evening had gone. Exhaustion had lowered itself as quickly as the gin had traveled up to my head. There were 6 of us to begin the night and only two left to clean and re-organize the place. Not only was this a long and tedious task, but there were additional, unforeseen obstacles (like umbrellas and empty cases just thrown exactly in front of where I needed to get to). It infuriated me: If one person does not do his/her job correctly, then no one can do his/her job correctly. Not only did I have pre-existing responsibilities to perform, I suddenly had the additional task of doing others' jobs properly. It was at this moment that the importance of civic responsibility dawned on me.
I mentioned this epiphany to my dear comrade, Mitso, and he so ever cleverly dropped the S-bomb. He described the Hobbesian state of nature and how, as a result, the people need a strong Leviathan to tell them how to act right.
Hm. Maybe my comrade had a point. Yes, pour me another gin&soda. Extra lime.
This five minute interlude allowed me to slap myself a couple of times in the face and gather my thoughts.
No, my dear Mitso, as he returned, It is because of the state that shit wasn't done. In our little microcosm of proto-capitalism, the state is our 'big boss'. He sits there, shows face, drinks a beer and converses with the staff. He's got charisma. He knows everyone's name. He forks over money to buy us products that we, in turn, sell to others. At the end of the day, he goes to his cushy home while his civilians make him a butt-load of money. Vacations come easy.
For these reasons, sometimes our comrades don't want to do everything perfectly and to the best of their abilities. Sometimes, they are so exhausted from being overrun with stress, hierarchical demands and the fact that they are constantly running, literally. If the state served its people as opposed to dictate to them, our human actions would alter. My fellow comrades would know that this place is their place. They would have a vested interest in the well-being of the establishment, its patrons and staff. Shit would get done.
The reason for this, my dear comrades, is: when power is equal, competition is removed. When competition is annihilated, people don't have to pretend to look good, they just do good. Imagine what a beautiful place we could have!
But, Briz. Life is cruel, nasty, brutish and short.
Only if you keep thinking like that.