Facebook's memory feature reminded me this morning that, two years ago to the day, I posted the below. Eerily prescient indeed (as was the "egg-regious" overreach of authority the memory feature reminded me about last week...) - see last paragraph in particular...
From October 10th, 2019:
HATS, FLATS, AND COMPLETE AND UTTER TW@!S
I have experienced two incidents in the past month involving the above, which are both depressing and encouraging. Depressing, because they demonstrate the extraordinary overreach of our encroaching Orwellian environment, and encouraging, because we do still actually have power to resist, if we fight back.
The first instance involved my hat. I am very fond of hats, and wear them frequently. A few weeks ago, I was sporting a particularly fine example of headwear in my local Wetherspoon pub, enjoying a quiet Monday evening drink with my spouse. Suddenly, a member of Wetherspoon staff abruptly approached our table, and said to me, ''can you take your hat off, please.''
I was completely taken back, and said, ''I wasn't aware Wetherspoon had a dress code, and if it does, you should make hat-wearing patrons aware of it before they enter and spend money.''
''We don't have a dress code,’' he confirmed. ''It's just something we ask people to do. Take it off please.''
''No,'' I said. ''I am not removing any items of my clothing on your say-so, unless no hats is an official Wetherspoon policy, and you can prove to me that it is.''
''It isn't policy,'' He confirmed, getting rather agitated. ''But it's something we ask people to do so their faces are more visible on the CCTV.''
So, a complete stranger was dictating my clothing choices on the presupposition I might be a criminal.
''If it isn't policy, then I'm not taking it off,'' I informed him.
''Well, I'm not arguing with you,'' he huffed, deeply annoyed now, and stalked off.
If he wasn't arguing with me, and had no follow-up if I refused, then what was he doing in the first place? What he was doing was assuming I would reflexively obey perceived authority without challenging it, as most people have been trained to do.
However, as evidenced when I refused his demand, he couldn't enforce it, because his authority was fake and his demand illegitimate. Incidentally, there were five other people in the pub wearing a hat, but he approached me because he thought I looked an 'easy target' - he didn't approach any of the muscle-bound, multiply-tattooed men wearing hats - and so he expected easy, apologetic submission. He didn't get it, and when he didn't, he had no recourse.
I stayed in the pub, and so did my hat (and a very strongly-worded letter to the Wetherspoon bosses followed).
The second example involved my recent attempts to rent a flat. My husband has recently got a new job in another city, and we’ve decided to rent a small place there in the week to save on commuting. We found somewhere, paid the holding deposit, and received the forms to complete the tenancy agreement. The forms informed us they would be conducting credit checks on both of us. I have no credit rating as I've never taken any credit, so I informed the letting agents we would rather just pay the six months' rent upfront than risk failing a credit check.
''Ok,'' Said the agents. ''But we still need to conduct full background checks, including credit checks.''
Excuse the explicit acronym, but - WTF?
I looked through the forms, and not only were they conducting credit checks (completely irrelevant if paying upfront!), but they also wanted to know family details, including details of children over 18 not living in the property, National Insurance numbers, employment and income information, and even contact details for our accountants!
I wrote to the estate agents and told them that this was absurd. Given we were paying upfront, all this information was not just superfluous, but extremely intrusive. I was ready to have quite the fight on my hands, and potentially lose the property, but the estate agents wrote back immediately, saying they had spoken to the directors and changed the forms - all they needed now was basic information such as address and mobile number.
The new form they sent was reduced from six pages to one.
If I had not challenged this, I would have handed over all sorts of confidential personal information to complete strangers for no reason (or rather, for ominous reasons) - and, like the hat incident, most people would do it, because we have been so well-trained to be reflexively obedient to perceived authority and not challenge or question anything they tell us to do.
We must always stand our ground in the face of unreasonable behaviour from people who believe they have authority over us. In many cases, they only have the authority we allow them to have, and they are just using psychological trickery to manipulate us into compliance - the TV licence bullying comes to mind (they keep threatening to send people round to our house - I wish they would!), as, of course, does vaccine bullying. Don't fall for it - stand your ground. And hold onto your hats.