Monday, July 30, 2007

I could be on to something, Watson...

Excuse my headline, but I've just been reading several Sherlock Holmes mysteries with English-Czech side by side translation. Yes, even lazy me wants to learn languages. These stories though I've been reading side by side with Anthony Giddens' latest potboiler, "Europe in a Global Age". Thrilling stuff.

Well, actually, less of the irony. Giddens's prose might have written by an android, but he has a cyborg-like kind of diligence in asserting his agenda which has affected you and I more than a bit since 1997. It is actually quite fascinating to see how closely the Left's project as manifest in our Government and in media like the BBC are to the musings of their maestro. According to Giddens (p99 EiaGA), "Welfare should be redefined in terms of personal autonomy and self-esteem". Note the replacement of the word "freedom" or "liberty"(a US concept these days) with "personal autonomy"- or freedom to choose (from a range of presumably defined options). Giddens goes on to say "self-esteem, or rather lack of it, has been shown to be involved with a range of social problems" and "a whole range of behaviour that centres around addiction, including eating disorders, alcoholism and even aspects of sexual violence, relates to self-esteem and a lack of a stable sense of self".

Well you know, what's new in that? The idea really that it's the state's responsibility to sort it out, to make you not just be good, but feel good, the mushiness of all that angst to be undergirded by the public purse (assisted by other "actors") for the "clients" of the social system. It's basically the kind of self-help psychobabble of the 80's brought to the aid of the statist extensivism of the Blair-Brown project. As ever, Giddens plays a socialist riff off Thatcherite radicalism.

Of course Giddens is very keen that non-state actors be involved... hey, what about the BBC? Couldn't they get involved? They could write articles warning about catching fatness, not feeling guilty about hating fatness; endless warnings to Mothers about their unborn children. They could create a whole section of fabulation and sensation and call it "Health"?

No, of course that wouldn't be possible without a stream of scientific papers and of course since scientists don't rely at all on the Government to fund them, it wouldn't be possible to engineer that, would it?

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