It is now 2004 and may I take this opportunity of wishing all Samizdata readers a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
As for me, I have resolved that I will be in the same bad mood this year that I was in last year. It makes perfect sense. My enemies don’t change their ways, so why should I change mine?
It is time to stand up for the “nanny state” – for Jowell and Hodge and, in other areas, Patricia Hewitt and Harriet Harman. And also, in general, for the state’s right and duty to involve itself in questions of diet, health, family budgets and good parenting.
So it turns out that all the leftie carping about ‘big food’ in 2003 wasn’t a joke after all. They really mean it. I predict, before the end of 2004, a ‘burger tax’.
The crucial point which critics of the nanny state fail to mention is that individuals and families don’t stand alone. None of us lives in a neutral social space, unharassed, and free to make wise long-term choices. Whatever the philosophical ideal, in the real world we are bombarded by corporate messages cajoling us and our children to consume and borrow. We are inhabitants of the more, now, spend-it, eat-it society, which – let us not forget – boosts the profits of the multinationals.
We are also inhabitants of ban it, tax it, regulate it society which – let us not forget – boosts the profits of the political classes.
Health-hectoring is now being added to enviromentalism and ‘anti-racism’ as a legitimating ideology of the ruling class. Another self-sustaining justification for their power, wealth and status. Nothing new about that of course, only now they are prepared to put the whole process on public display before nailing it into place.