The state and I

309712_web_R_K_B_by_RainerSturm_pixelio.deI like being a citizen. I have a high regard for the state, in which I live. I express my regard by fulfilling my duties, by paying the bill it sends me for its work on time and observing the laws it passes. I have a high regard for what it does, whether education, road building, security or health, to name only a few.

I much appreciate being able to live in orderly circumstances, to enjoy planning certainty and reliability. I am eternally grateful to live in a state without corruption and I know myself that that cannot be taken for granted. In the last few years a feeling has been creeping up on me that this regard is unilateral and that the state does not always treat me fairly.

Recently I have received from various authorities very many written enquiries. If one can answer them in a minute and they are of a general nature, I can live with them. But ever more frequently these enquiries are becoming very time consuming and very intimate. For example, the state wants to know my residence number. I don’t even know what my residence number is. The state has started numbering all its residences, but has never informed me of my number. Now an authority wants to know from me what number my residence has. But this number has been assigned to me by another authority. But I don’t know which authority this is. I would first have to find out which authority had that interesting task and then I might have to pay for this information.

My state very often demands fees for all the work it does for me. But it demands my work free of charge, although it should be able itself to find the number. Or the eight-page questionnaire with numerous questions, which I found in my letterbox at the beginning of January in connection with the census. I estimate the time required to complete it at about 2 hours. I work full-time, have children, parents, who need my support, the housekeeping, really a lot to do. I wonder whether the state has the right to claim my valuable and extremely rare free time without charge. If I don’t cooperate, it threatens me with a fine of 1,000 francs. Of appreciation no sign.

On top of that the questions are very intimate and almost peep under the bedsheets. Is this really any business of the state? Every relationship involves give and take. I am happy to pay my taxes and found it correct that the state receives so much money from me. But now I’m beginning to ask myself whether it would not be better if it received less and in return took on fewer tasks. I wouldn’t miss all the questions, which it sends me.

Image source: Rainer Sturm @

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