<del>England</del> Europe, the Land of Paranoia and Fear

I don’t want to offend anybody. I hate stereotypes so I’m talking from personal experiences, one of which has just triggered this post.

Why is it that anybody who acts in an official capacity of some sort in England becomes the most inflexible, fear-infused droid? “I wish I could help” they say when it’s clear they could if they tried, but “I don’t want to get into trouble”. Like, what trouble? I’ve heard this about things where the biggest trouble could be somebody maybe raising an eyebrow…

But paranoia and the resulting micro-management seems to underpin all parts of life. “Fire door, do not close” on almost every door, those blue/red/green plastic plates with all kinds of warnings everywhere, often 2-3 of them, with step-by-step small-print instructions in the pool, for example.

I visited at a college where I had used to study and I needed a place to crash for a few night. My Indian friend let me sleep in his room as a matter-of-fact kindness to an old friend. The only English guy on the floor had a little talk with me the following day (which I customarily ignored).

Random international student arrives for her final year at uni after traveling for almost 2 days. Receptionist goes like, your key is missing from your welcome pack, “you’ll have to find a hotel” followed by the mandatory “sorry, I can’t do anything, I don’t wanna get into trouble” of course. It’s past midnight and the uni campus is 20 miles from the first city with a hotel. She’s a returning student (final year, remember?) with a government scholarship—could she be less suspicious? But no, rules are rules, and who-knows-what-will-happen if the guy uses his own judgment.

One of my colleges reported me to the big boss for something he thought was suspicious about me – and this was a guy who knew me through a mutual friend from well before I started working there! What the actual f*ck…

Now, my immediate boss was Scottish. He was one of the chillest guys at the place (though the other one was English, so I did see great exceptions). Not much to generalize off of, but it does seem things may be different up North.

Cameras are everywhere and people love them. “It’s for our own good and, besides, I don’t have anything to hide… Do you?!” Wanna be private about anything at work? SUSPICIOUS! Your life belong to us, it seems the idea is. That was new for me because things aren’t like that where I am.

I’m seriously, honestly curious (as in, I’ve been thinking about this on and off for years) when this started and how. It must’ve happened over the past few decades because Britain wouldn’t have lived through WWII with the same attitude, full of fear and with a complete lack of individual judgment about situations. That bastard Churchill must be rolling in his grave—though he does deserve it, and some more (just check his role in mass-starvation in India). Anybody with an answer?

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I don’t have an answer for you sorry but I do know what your saying. I am self employed and sometimes work on building sites and some of the looks I get for doing my job are incredible. “You can’t do that” is a phrase I’m very used to. It seems to me that personal responsibility for ones own actions are a thing of the past. There always has to be somebody else to blame and if not just put another sign up. Common sense doesn’t seem to be all that common anymore :weary:

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Great post, filled with the true frustration this state of affairs brings about in any sane human. The trouble is, it’s hardly just England.

“You know nothing, John Snow.”
I’m from Scandinavia…
I would say the attitude you describe is more extreme here.

So am I! Please, please, tell me where you are! I want to move to a place where humans have more integrity than chickens.

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Saying I cringe whenever I hear anyone justifying surveilance with this platitude means understating it. It makes me wanna scream like a jungle man and headbang the nearest wall.

Like… One is so deep the paranoia manure they think they’re better off pretending it’s okay to be spied on at all times, because they assume questioning let alone protesting would make them suspect, and they hope to justify this cowardice by imposing it on you too.

I got nothing to hide, and that’s exactly why I refuse to be recorded all the time.

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Spot on.

I only have personal experience with England but it seems it’s more general than I thought. I changed the title accordingly :rofl:

I advise you against moving here (Eastern Europe) as things are heading in the same direction here as well. I’m considering moving to Southeast Asia, maybe the Philippines. Worse than Europe in many ways but people are still… alive? I prefer messy to overregulated any day.

Interesting, isn’t it? Anybody who has the guts to stand up against surveillance must be somebody who has nothing to hide, or else they would lay low. Funny how these “do you have something to hide” idiots can’t see the contradiction.

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I agree with all of you so much that simple “likes” don’t feel enough. Thank you @JoeSmithJr, @scottefc86 and @Fruico! I feel a bit less lonely now.

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Funnily enough I used to associate that attitude with the US when I lived there in the 80s and 90s. It seemed like no-one would do anything for fear of being sued. So a city couldn’t organise a festival without massive insurance cover in case someone fell over and hurt themselves, you cound’t get a drink without ID, cross the road when the walk sign was off, and then you had the famous case of someone suing Macdonalds after pouring hot coffee over themselves. It all just seemed so insane and restrictive. Sadly though it’s the same here (England) now. We still don’t have the same litigious culture as the US but make up for it with an insane obsession with health and safety protections.

And of course we’re world leaders in street surveillance (yay!), although despite the wall to wall coverage of cameras the police still invariably manage to ‘lose’ CCTV footage when one of their own is a suspect.

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A few random thoughts that came to mind…

The combination of laziness, idiocracy, or lack of self esteem, including a pop culture, and education system that promote those traits. Dominance hierarchy. The Colonel. Most people are trained from birth to behave the way you describe, that’s the only thing they know. Blame it on the peers or parents who were trained by their parents… etc. A generational drop in testosterone levels due to various modern factors is also a simple objective measure to consider. AI already took over a long time ago, people execute the program.