Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Brain Candy from London

“The myth of the chattering classes was the product of a Thatcherite populism that aimed to short-circuit traditional elites, speaking directly to "ordinary people" - the lower middle-class, suburban folk who were now seen as the key swing voters in elections. An enduring theme of political rhetoric since the 1980s has been this valuing of common sense over the airy-fairy ideas of metropolitan intellectuals. But as the historian Harold Perkin argues in The Rise of Professional Society, there has actually been a shift in power not in favour of "ordinary people", but away from the old professions and towards new economic elites. For Perkin, Thatcherism provided a pretext for the triumph of the private sector over the public sector professionals who had dominated British society since the war - the same liberal intelligentsia that Thatcher blamed for decades of national decline and mismanagement. The dismissal of the chatterers, and the accompanying celebration of the homely virtues of Middle England, obscured this more significant political struggle.
"The Shiraz-quaffing classes are now seen as culturally influential but politically irrelevant. In the changed political landscape of the post-Thatcher era, bad faith is a greater wrong than social injustice. Since everyone is presumed to be out for their own interests, any attempt to engage with issues outside one's immediate area of concern can be dismissed as radical-chic affectation. This anti-intellectual judgement has just enough basis in the historical realities of urban gentrification to hit home.”
—Joe Moran, lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University
Not all sticky cheap shots come from America.

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