Outsourcing to the Nursemaid

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

I see President Obama went down to Wall Street yesterday and said, "Make sure this never happens again" on the anniversary of the global financial "crisis". And Wall Street yawned and said, "Whatever."

Like when you tell your kids to clean up their rooms, and your kids know that last time they made a big mess they came home afterwards and you'd cleaned it up for them.

Several weeks ago a 33 year old woman bashed an 89 year old man to death in a suburban Melbourne street. She has been remanded at this stage so we can't say what it was that caused someone to do such a horrible thing. Who knows? They were apparently unknown to each other.

There was some placard waving going on in that suburb several days ago. Ashburton is a respectable, well off suburb with an ageing population. Those people waved their placards in protest that their local police station is only manned part-time. They were angry, they were fearful at the increases in violence on our streets. They said that if the police station had been manned, something like this would not have happened.

I do not understand how this would be so. Even if Ashburton police station had 50 cops in it all day every day, what do they wish? For police to be patrolling quiet suburban streets where the occasional lone walker takes their dog for a walk?

The same quiet suburban streets where I'm sure all of those people go inside and lock themselves away behind their security screens, fearful, dependent upon the police force to maintain law and order.

Divide and conquer, I think it's called.

I wonder if modern-day scapegoating is called outsourcing. We outsource everything - our public transport system, our safety requirements, our personal authority, our kids, our ability to discern and assess situations for ourselves, our worship, our entertainment. In return we hope that none of it is our responsibility. In a sense it's not - after all, we didn't personally make it like this, did we? All this talk of the system that I go on with, but no one individually has set it up this way. It's just a conglomeration of thing laid upon thing. But maybe in another sense the system is simply the greatest reflection of what we do not wish to be responsible for. We can complain about it and beat our breast about it and then do nothing. In outsourcing everything we get used to sucking on the giant teat that will grant us the peace and safety we crave so that we can go about our business. Or so we hope.

Shit happens, I guess, in a messy world. But Wall Street gets its cleaned up by the government. Suburban streets must get theirs cleaned up also by a regimented police force trawling our suburbs just in case. Outsource. Outsource. Outsource. Then we can fool ourselves that none of this is our responsibility, none of this is our reflection. It's not my problem.

Like Kent said Ellul said: "all power gravitates towards totalitarianism. People are so willing to give up freedom and liberties in hopes of being given security in return. Truth is, security as people wish for can't ever be achieved...so all that has happened is you've lost your liberty."

I heard a story on the radio the other day about someone visiting hell, which was a table full of people and food. Each person had a spoon that was very long, so that they were unable to feed themselves. Then this person visited heaven, which was exactly the same scene except that the people were feeding each other.

In the end, that's all there is. Each other. Holding ourselves. Holding our own and holding each other. Holding God. Hold our own and holding our enemies. No outsourcing


  1. Whoa. Interesting in light of the best argument I have heard for allowing the US to take over healthcare. It was something like this: we trust the police to protect us, we trust the schools to educate our children, we trust the water and electric to be there when we need them. These are all government run. Why would we not trust them with healthcare?

    But I digress. I think especially Christians want to blame someone when bad things happen, because if there is no one to blame, we have to face that God did nothing. But who says it's God's fault if his hands and feet did nothing?

  2. Erin - I agree with that argument you stated. I guess it's just a matter of degree, or a matter of trust. The government has to run them because - well, isn't that partly what a government is there for? It makes sense to centralise these things. But whether we therefore trust the government with them is perhaps another story again.

    Ahhh, yeah, interesting point you make :) I think too that Christians are TAUGHT to blame someone else because Christianity doesn't teach us to own our own shit, and that it's okay we have our own shit, and that it is SAFE to own our own shit because all that shit has been taken care of in some way that enables us to relax and trust God and not fear.

    That's a lot of shit, isn't it. We seem to generate a lot of shit, us humans.

    Maybe what you say here is the ULTIMATE outsourcing. Not enough to put all our crap onto the Scapegoat, we want to then blame God when he doesn't come and spoonfeed us cos we're too scared to love each other.


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