Some years ago, in Atlantic City, I spoke to a group of insurance people. After the event, we huddled in the bar before making our way to the gaming tables and the bankruptcy that inevitably follows. In fact, I won a bundle, which served Atlantic City right for being such an unspeakable dump.
At the bar, a fellow asked me how I would vote if I were an American. I explained that I’d be an Independent. He was surprised; most journalists, he felt, are biased one way or the other. I explained that I was biased both ways, which wasn’t an explanation at all. I’ll try to explain it to you now.
As old age approached and then arrived, I finally formulated my world view and was able to summarise it down into nine words. Karl Marx wrote millions of words, although they can all be summarised in nine words: life is unfair; it shouldn’t be; everything must change.
My philosophy is much simpler and considerably less rigid or painful than old Karl’s. I also happen to believe that my view would be more popular than his, because it will strike a chord with more people. Here it is.
Do whatever you like, just don’t do it here.
The first part is the liberal sentiment that would make me a Democrat, were I an American. I really don’t care what anyone does, provided it doesn’t hurt anyone else. This part of the philosophy covers religion, sexual behaviour, political attitudes … everything. I may (and probably do) disagree entirely with what you think, but I don’t mind you thinking it. In truth, I don’t actually care.
You’re a Scientologist? Groovy. You have no idea what Scientology is? Equally groovy. You’re gay or straight, or both simultaneously? Wonderful. You like animals, or hate them? Super. Now buzz off.
And there we introduce the more Republican side of things, because on this I am utterly unmoveable. By all means worship the goddess NIgella or vacuum cleaners (the Jehoover’s Witnesses) or believe that aliens visited Earth yesterday and appointed you our leader. I don’t care, just go away. Don’t knock on my door, selling brushes or religion. Don’t try to convert me, at parties, to your belief that pigeons aren’t vermin. In fact, don’t invite me to parties, social or political.
You’d be amazed at how many people try to dissuade me from holding this view. Anti-social, they say. Elitist, they accuse. Shut up, I explain.
So there. Now you know. I’m not trying to sell you this view. I don’t care what you think (see part one of the philosophy). If you had any brains, you’d espouse this philosophy, but if you do, please espouse it elsewhere. This is an all-encompassing outlook, suitable for any occasion or location.
I’ll repeat it, in case your eyes don’t work upwards: Do whatever you like, just don’t do it here. That’s all you need to get you through this life or the next.
(My East Borneo Diary will resume next week.)