We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Nice item on Kenneth Minogue

There have been extended periods, from the early 1960s onwards, when it has taken moral courage to stand up and be counted as a British conservative. Almost all of the institutions that enable public debate and engagement – universities, the BBC, the wider education establishment and the relevant parts of the Civil Service – have fallen under the control of the liberal Left. No matter what government was elected, a tough-minded and highly disciplined progressive elite has been in charge. This elite has been ruthless in imposing its doctrines and making sure that the relevant placemen were appointed to key positions. The fundamental assumption of this new ruling class is that government is benign. It does not like or understand freedom. It has extended its control far beyond the classical liberal functions of the state (which did not reach much beyond defence of the realm and maintenance of law and order).

Peter Oborne

Oborne can be wrong-headed at times on certain things – his veneration of the old BBC is something I just don’t agree with – but this is a nice tribute. I met Professor Minogue a few times but did not really know him all that well. He ranks alongside Roger Scruton and Professor Anthony Flew as one of those academics whom I have met that I regard very highly indeed. Alas, of that trio, only the fox-hunting Prof. Scruton is with us (and hopefully still around for a long time to come).

2 comments to Nice item on Kenneth Minogue

  • Paul Marks

    Yes I liked Kenneth Minogue and Antony Flew (and I like Roger Scruton), even when I do not agree with these people I always felt their heart was in the right place – that they wanted the same sort of outcome (the upholding of civil society) that I did and do.

    This is not the case with many academics – including some of those who call themselves libertarians or Classical Liberals. Many of them speak (and write) in the weird jargon that too many academics use – a language that is not meant to illuminate, but to obscure.

    For example, one can not even be sure (these days) that someone who calls themselves a “libertarian” or “Classical Liberal” will be against Social Justice (i.e. the doctrine or principle that income and wealth rightfully belong to the collective and that it is a matter of legal right, justice, that they be “distributed” according to some principle of “fairness”). Yes things have got that bad – they really have.

  • RRS

    Oborne asks:

    “One final question remains. Why is it that Michael Oakeshott and his followers are all but ignored, while Marxist apologists for Soviet communism and collectivism, such as the late Eric Hobsbawm, are celebrated and fawned over by our great public institutions?”

    Perhaps one should read Minogue’s work a bit more closely. Like Isaiah Berlin, he confirms that we (most of us in the West)continue to be burdened by the concepts of The Romantic Age; that what counts most is intentionality, the intentions and sincerity of the proponents of actions and movements, not the consequences, however inhumane. Taken together with the Romantic concept of emancipation, deliverance from responsibilities – their transfer to the collective (governments particularly), where other intentions go further awry as function are added to the “state” to replace those responsibilities, simply increasing the power of the “state.”