leg-iron (leg_iron) wrote,

Day of the Righteous. 5. Discord.

I don’t believe there is, or will ever be, a global conspiracy of Righteousness. They can’t do it. When they aren’t powerful, they work together in groups. Even then, the groups don’t get along, not with other groups nor even within a group. When they gain power, then the format is one Righteous to many drones. Always. They cannot work together because every one of them wants to call the shots. They can’t conspire, other than on a small scale and on a specific issue.


All the Righteous want the same thing. Control, complete and absolute. However, they all want to be the One in Control. As soon as they get a whiff of real power they are climbing over each other to take control of it. It applies at every level.


Look at what’s happening now. Righteous groups are all calling out for funding for their pet projects, all in competition, none in accord with any other. Cooperation is not what they do. Compromise is anathema. There’s no global Righteous conspiracy and never will be.


That’s not to say that a clever few couldn’t manipulate the Righteous for their own ends. They aren’t, on the whole, very bright. They are shallow and narrow-minded, obsessive and self-absorbed and very easy to manipulate, given the right words. I don’t claim it’s happening. I merely point out that it could.


In that soup kitchen there was one true Righteous. Most of the volunteer workers were just that. Volunteers who did what they did out of the goodness of their hearts. They expected nothing but a smile and a thank-you in return. Some were sub-Righteous drones, in the thrall of the Righteous woman who ran things and all ready to stab the backs of their colleagues on her whim.


It happened while I was a regular there. There were seven who sat at a table, always together. The Righteous sneered at them and told me to avoid them. I asked why.


‘They work’, she said. ‘They have jobs and they still come here for free food. It’s just wrong.’


Well, it would have been if it were true, I thought. I had seen two of those men sleeping rough. They were homeless so if they had work, I wanted to know what and where and whether I could get some too.


The attitude of this Righteous woman fitted with that of the ones I had met at university. Those men, if they did indeed have jobs, were bettering themselves without Righteous involvement. So they were capitalist lackeys, or whatever the current equivalent might have been. Outside, out of sight of the soup kitchen, I spoke to one of them. I asked if he knew of any jobs going.


‘Who wants to know?’


‘I do.’ I was new on the streets, remember.


He looked me up and down, mostly down, and asked what use I thought I’d be. It stung, I won’t deny it. The Righteous victimhood spiel was still in my head at that time. I said I had education, could write and add up, even if I couldn’t lift or carry much.


He thought for a minute. ‘I’ll ask around. Would you be worried if it’s not completely kosher?’


‘I’m not Jewish,’ I said. He laughed. I laughed. Three days later I had a job. Best not go into detail. It paid little but it was income. The work wasn’t deeply illegal, not drugs or anything like that, but it was, as the Gorgon says, off-balance-sheet stuff. I knew it was a good idea to hang around with an accountant at university. It seems that stuff’s okay these days, even the government is doing it. The difference was that the guy I worked for wasn’t doing it with your tax money.


Next time I visited the soup kitchen, there was a familiar face missing. One of the volunteers, one of the friendliest, was gone. I asked the Righteous if she was off sick.


‘No. She’s gone for good. We don’t need her sort here’.


That took me by surprise. That volunteer had worked hard and always had a smile for everyone. It turned out she had been too friendly with those working men and that was a non-Righteous thing to do. She had supported their efforts to work themselves back into real life, to escape the trap they were in, and she had been disposed of by claims of favouritism. Some of the other volunteers looked triumphant, some looked cowed.


I said nothing. I had more to learn from this Righteous before I was done.

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