We played ourselves into rock history. Ka-koo-ka-choo.
Now that's done with, here is the scariest fucking thing I've ever read.
There's nobody here but us chickens.
We played ourselves into rock history. Ka-koo-ka-choo.
the band lives, after a lengthy cryogenic period and if you're in the London area, you might want to check us out. Oh, you just might.
Just read a good, solid article by Julian Baggini in the online Guardian, on freedom and the role of government (here). I think he gets to the heart of how a social democratic viewpoint maintains its liberalism precisely by allowing the state to act rather than attempting to erode its influence. A tiny selection (it's not very long, so go read the rest)
To maximise our freedom, therefore, we should be interested in creating a society in which we have the maximum power to make choices for ourselves. That may require us to limit the extent to which influences that are corrosive to freedom are allowed to operate.I like Baggini - he contributes to B&W and there is a very nice article on their front page by him, on the fissure between postmodern thinkers and other intellectuals, where he sidesteps the cheap route of playing up the differences and grasps at their commonality - a fundamental shared notion of rationality (he argues this may be a thin one, but it is shared in this form by both these groups) that pits them against fundamentalists and other fanatics. His Guardian piece made me go back to a site I've relegated from 'regular read' to 'rarely bother with' - and confirm my preference shift. For if there were ever a peddler of the 'intrusive state' thesis, Spiked is it.
Of course, governments can go too far. Mill was right that no actions that harm only ourselves should be illegal. But there is a difference between regulation and banning outright. That is why there is no mixed message in calling for a lift on absolute prohibitions on illegal drugs, while at the same time legislating to encourage responsible drinking and coming down hard on those whose intoxication risks harm to others. Nor is the proposed increase in the number and size of casinos necessarily a bad thing, if it is matched by much stricter regulation of gambling, as promised.
in danger of handing the state that very right....busy-body coppers laying down the law (link)and here, where they do their bit to finesse the issue
Though government intervention is more coercive and intrusive than in the past, it is mediated through a range of 'caring' professionals and its authoritarian character is obscured. Nanny is a straw person, the counsellor is the personification of the therapeutic state.(link)And what's all this? On reading this scolding article about the Tory party giving in to PC, it seems like even tolerance is a bridge too far:
Meanwhile, the Tory Party has bent over backwards to show respect to those diverse lifestyles that are deemed acceptable today. The party staged a gay and lesbian summit for young people on 28 March 2003 that discussed issues such as tackling homophobic bullying and promoting health.... [Michael Howard] gave his support to 'sensible measures to combat race, disability and sex discrimination', which were apparently not 'political correctness' but 'plain common sense, decency, humanity' ....This reinforces today's censorious climate.'deemed acceptable'? combatting discrimination "apparently not" (with sarcasm clearly on) PC? Dear or dear. My search has convinced me that they have jumped the shark into a pool of genuine unpleasantness.
The most striking contrast between today's therapeutic state and the nanny state of the past is the absence of popular opposition. On the contrary, opinion polls reveal substantial majorities in favour of measures currently under discussion, such as bans on smoking in public places and restrictions on advertising of 'junk food'. Where is the campaign to uphold the rights of smokers in pubs and restaurants? Have we seen demonstrations demanding the right to eat junk food or indulge in binge drinking?One must wonder where the issue is - we live in a society where people agree that the government is right to exercise its powers to protect us from the actions of others, including regulation of unwelcome behaviour. End of story, surely? Perhaps not - perhaps there is a layer of 'false consciousness' occluding the poor proletariat, that only Mick Hulme and his noble band can see through. Given that their position on the state is largely predicated on the notion that people know what is good for them and should be left alone, even this flimsy defence is self-defeating.
the scientific establishment, always politically naive, appears unwittingly to have permitted its interests to be represented to the public by the members of a bizarre and cultish political network.I don't know that science (as a human body) is always naive, but it could use better, more positive PR, and must have found it reassuring to discover organisations of hardline technophiliacs saying "it's alright Jack, I've got your back". But to me, this is the worst possible outcome, simply deepening fault lines between the factions and trying to isolate science as compatible only with an atomistic, individualistic world view. It's akin to what Pinker is achieving with The Blank Slate - to push opposition onto a fork, where either they accept 'the scientific case' for womens inequality or are forced to reject the scientific worldview entirely. One way or another, trying to shrink the ranks and perceived weight of the rational, systematic left. It's as smart as it is shitty, and they need to be sorted out.