Archbishop Rowan Williams is right to raise larger questions about our economic predicament. The political elites of both New Labour and the Conservatives offer no economic analysis of the crisis and no political leadership. Their goal is to return the economy to business as usual. But the status quo has vanished and there is no turning back to the neoliberal model of the past.So, what does he suggest in its place?
Well, you might call it ‘New Socialism’:
The policies we develop to tackle the crisis will shape our society for generations to come. We need to create a new kind of economy and we need a set of principles to guide us because this recession is also a moral crisis.This is the progressives making their move, finally, and seeking to shape the sort of society they wish mankind to conform to (while no doubt staying aloof from the process themselves, as befits the rulers of society).
And they are as wrong, and for the same reasons, as the multiculti crowd that is still in power:
How shall we live together and build just institutions that create a sense of belonging? We can find an answer in the ideas of socialism. Not the old socialism of command economy and centralist state. We can create a new socialism that recognises cultural difference and whose civic state is democratised and decentralised.If you ‘recognise cultural differences’ you enshrine separate identities, and create the climate for pressure groups to argue for ‘recognition’ under the system for them.
You’ll have what we’ve got now - but with added socialism! That’s never going to be any kind of answer.
The central value of the new socialism is equality, the belief that each individual is irreplaceable and of equal worth. People today no longer accept that morality should be imposed on them by the state or by so-called social superiors. But we are not witnessing a decline of morality. People are making their own ethics to live by.But they aren’t going to be ‘of equal worth’ if you ‘recognise cultural differences’ are they…?
And what we are witnessing is exactly a decline of morality. If there’s no clear agreed standard of ways to behave that ‘society’ as a whole signs up to, then, indeed, what you have is people ‘making their own ethics’.
How’s it working out so far, Jon? Is it bringing you votes in Barking and Dagenham?
The neoliberal right in both the Conservative and Labour parties treat individuals as if they are atomised units of economic calculation. Governance is either by market or by a micro-managed culture of targets and performance. But individuals cannot be reduced to this kind of one-dimensional existence. We are essentially dependent upon one another throughout the course of our lives. Society is made in our relationships.Really? It sounds a lot like your idea of ‘society’ was made in a sociology department…
When David Cameron gave his speech about hugging a hoodie he was scorned, but he was right. Without love people lose their self-esteem. They lose the capacity to be true to themselves.The problem we currently have is NOT people with low self esteem, though. It’s people with far too much, totally unwarranted, self-esteem! It’s the Baby Boomer generation grown up, and demanding ever more attention and political power to continue their hedonistic lifestyles.
And passing that attitude on to their children. Hence we have the Darrens of the previous post, believing the world owes them a living because ‘government money’ falls out of the sky.
But there is the kindness of solidarity with others, the generosity that comes with mutual sympathy. To live well and to live together requires give and take. Equality is the measure by which we judge who takes too much in the way of advantages and who not enough in terms of burdens. Equality is the ethical core of justice.Britain is indeed starting to judge ‘who takes too much in the way of advantages’, Jon. I don’t think you are going to care much for the conclusion they’ve reached, though….
We are in danger of becoming a society of strangers. We have to build a political community to develop a new kind of economy and determine the just distribution of resources. We need political leadership in which government and the people work together toward a good society. This requires a new socialism committed to the common good, to equality and to social justice.‘Social justice’. There ain’t any such animal, Jon.
And until you can ask the people to work towards a ‘good society’, they need to agree on a definition of same. And if you plan on ‘recognising cultural differences’, you’ve rather painted yourself into a corner there. Haven’t you?