"Let there be no compulsion in religion." Surely, the religion consists of nothing but compulsion: believers are compelled to conform to thousands of rules and non-believers are compelled to become believers. Where exactly is the lack of compulsion?
The Malisites locally are increasingly numerous and increasingly asserting themselves. More of the women cover their faces and more of the men grow their ugly beards. A walk through the town is an act of stoicism. I feel a strange sort of exile; I don't seem to belong here anymore; my world is being being removed around me. The familiarity of homeliness is disappearing; I can't relate to most of those people I encounter on the street. Fortunately my fellow passengers on the train are still english in some meaningful sense; we are like the workers coming into the city to do the jobs that pay the taxes that keep the society from going completely broke in too short a time. We are though a dwindling proportion of the population. What will society look like when Malisites are 60,70, or 80 percent?
There are small things that seem to point to a more widespread malaise: on the train there are many passengers (generally pretty young) with their feet on the seats. The "train managers" often don't challenge them; nor do the passengers - we feel it's almost a certainty that we'll be sworn at or even assaulted so why bother taking the flak? Those with their feet on the seats are undoubtedly pretty foul-mouthed.
I cancelled an appointment at the vet. He was very appreciative that I had phoned to inform them. This made me think of the number of appointments that are made and not kept; and not only not kept but not properly cancelled. Another symptom of a society where all manner of standards are being eroded. Just like the feet on the seats, many of us are too exhausted to make a stand.