vendredi 18 juillet 2008

Get some in

A ridiculous and badly argued article by Deborah Orr in The Independent. Concerned by all the knife crime and gang violence (which 'progreesives can't refute and which governments have done their best, apparently) and convinced that 'throwing money at the problem' hasn't helped she turns on the marginalised themselves. See, she's read a book from the IPPR by Julia Margo that argues the lower order just aren't developing "good character" these days. So the solution is to enforce good character bt wait! These lower order types you know, are either pushed out of the way of good character forming places and groups and more greviously are suspicious of the state's attempts to make them better.

There is a lot of theoretical work that could be done on the reasons for the 'lower order's' (justified) suspicion of state meddling in their lives, but Orr, incredibly, uses it as a reason for introducing national service.

When a country threatens to become 'ungovernable' (ie levels of inequality create crime waves, wage demands, strikes...some people actually start to stand up for themselves), the upper classes have to reinject a bit of 'discipline discourse' into what passes for intellectual debate within liberal to middle class. In the current crisis, the repressed and the excluded can no longer be ignored as they were when economic times were good. Commentators, the secular priests of our time, are instructed (by order or by instinct who knows) to toughen up and help brace the well to do for the measures that will be taken against the hordes gathering at the gates. Even if their extreme ideas and stupidness (like national service, I mean can anyone really see that being reintroduced??) don't make it to actual policy, it changes the tone, lowers expectations and helps poison public discourse that little bit more.

But even so, it is a sign of a hack decaying into right wing mould when you start spouting up about national service. Bring back national service! Next breath bring back caning in schools and capital punishment Ian Botham. Why stop there? Bring back witch burning, the stocks and the black death while you're at it. The by line was "Don't dismiss the idea of national service - at least it could give them pride." The 'at least' is as meely mouthed as it gets but it's the 'them' that says it all. I only read this particular day's Indy because a firend got it free on her plane. Who the fck buys it these days?