Throughout my life I have always had books written by Russian authors close at hand. Being half Slavic it is not surprising and there have even been times that I have laboriously read in the original – just short paragraphs but to get the real feel of the words as I remembered their meanings. One of my favourites is Gogol’s Dead Souls. The main character Chichikov buys Dead Souls i.e. names of serfs who have died and collects on loans he receives for these spirits before they are erased in the next census. Macabre, but he’s essentially a “wide-boy”.
I started to apply this way of thinking to the present day and was fascinated when I heard on the radio that the Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond appears to believe that the budget for Social Services, i.e. Welfare should have their funding cut rather than his Defence dept.. Now when you reflect on this thinking it would appear that Mr. Hammond is less exploitive and more pragmatic, read cold blooded, as he opts for two Dead souls with one bullet. The money goes to defence, defence today is actually offence so someone is killed with defence bullets and with less spent on welfare or social services another person or persons can or will die–elderly from the cold due to an inability to afford extra heat, or eat healthy food, mothers with children with husbands out of work due to company close down and with no expansion in work creation or entrepreneurship, returning veterans unable to obtain work for various reasons. The outstanding one being the vast change in communications and the unplanned for fallout from that. I am sure The Huffington Post will be commenting at some point.
In either situation it is a double win with a possibility of an extra for Mr Hammond in Defence. Gogol would have been impressed and in awe of such mathematical ingenuity. Clearly whoever has the greater kill must be the winner. No doubt Mr. Hammond will be accorded due accolades as are bestowed upon alphas and betas of his ilk. Chichikov, Gogol’s purchaser of Dead Souls would have expected major honors for advancing such a noble scheme legitimately.
One has only to look at the ongoing government’s applause for the head of the NHS’s skills, Sir David Nicholson. The applause appears to be his success with a growing genocide. Population control is working. Again a double header. Treat the elderly barbarically, they die, therefore they no longer require treatment which costs money and they no longer receive a pension which the government then harvests. A hundred and sixty years later or so and we have a truly refined version of Dead Souls.
Another longtime favourite is Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’. Briefly, the devil comes to town and provides a circus with magic. Olympics anyone? An expensive mask to hide the truth and it is treasonable in some countries if you don’t vociferously endorse the charade. In this story Bulgakov suggests that cowardice is the most grave of all vices. Is anyone watching the statistics for the dying and the hungry and homeless? The churches are understandably empty. Great places for good hot lunches and accommodation. Maybe Christianity doesn’t really exist because there wasn’t a Christ. Maybe we have imagined it all. Could someone reinvent him, but please, without any codicils and ensuing slaughters to justify these forms of population control. Gogol’s people had, at least in the book, “naturally” died.
Double plus bad, Winston.