Downsizing

We are not visionaries. By “we” I include all those living, born of woman/women, but exclude “extraterrestrials” such as the Angels, and the dead who have perhaps gone to Heaven. I can’t deny that some of these may be visionaries, but when the claim to more than natural eyesight is made, especially by scruffy characters, all of my powers of scepticism are excited. For I insist, scepticism is not a “visionary” property; it necessarily excludes visionary apprehension. I am not sceptical of the Angels, for I have not been in a position to examine them. But men I know, from being one.

Those who have visions — such as, arguably, the beloved Kit Smart (1722–71) — suffer visions of a different sort from the “normal” men and women of industry and politics, and are sometimes privileged to receive the attention of such eleemosynary institutions, as St Luke’s Asylum in Kit’s case. Indeed, his most “visionary” work, the Jubilate Deo, was written almost entirely in there. I recommend it for its hebraic poetical thrum, and secretly sane passing insights, but note that he never presented himself as a candidate for public office.

Adolf Hitler should have been confined, however, once he began broadcasting his visions. This would have been better for him, and for the German-speaking peoples, everywhere. But he was perhaps a too-extreme example. The mental ward, today, calls out for those who have visions of “global warming,” and other alarming prospects, as well as extensions of the welfare state. They have in common with Herr Hitler the belief that we should do something, and a kampf, or militant programme. Nein¬†should be our “particular” response.

By contrast, there is no vision in downsizing. The politician, who wields a toy buzz-saw while on campaign, may be colourful, but does not need locking up. To accuse those who categorically oppose gleaming statist ambitions, of nursing statist ambitions, is unreasonable. For downsizing is the opposite of upsizing, and requires no visionary enthusiasm.