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]

Samizdata quote of the day

“Food, we are told, is the new sex. It is certainly true that food has taken over from sex as the principal concern of what I call the “interfering classes” – the nannyish, middle-class busybodies who have appointed themselves guardians of the nation’s culinary morals, and who are currently obsessed with making the working class eat up its vegetables. We no longer have the prudish Mary Whitehouse complaining about sex and “bad language” on television; instead, we have armies of middle class amateur nutrionists and dieticians complaining about all the seductive advertisements for junk food, which are supposedly corrupting the nation’s youth. By which they mean working-class youth; everyone knows that it’s the Kevins and Traceys who are stuffing their faces with fatty and sugary snack foods, not the Jamies and Saskias.”

Watching the English, pages 306-307, by Kate Fox. A sharp passage from a perceptive book on the inhabitants of this odd, damp island in north-east Europe.

19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Ian B

    Also, it is a complete error to think they have given up on sexual authoritarianism. They have simply shifted the ground from a directly puritanical campaign approach to an abuse narrative, using a smokescreen of carefully chosen faux-liberalisms (e.g. gay rights) to deflect recognition of their puritanical intent.

    We talk of conservative religious pro-family etc types like Mary Whitehouse, and blame them, while quietly forgetting she marched arm in arm with radical feminists, and it is that feminist narrative that now dominates. They’re still using the white slavery panic of progressive era, for instance- any woman who crosses borders to sell sex is being “trafficked” as a sex slave and so on.

    The Enemy, Proggies, post gramscian socialists (POGS?) whatever, are a coalition who logroll themselves towards power. Sometimes one faction dominates, sometimes another, but they synergistically creep forwards. My point regarding “anglosocialism” is that the hegemonic values of the anglosphere have been, since the first progressive era, puritanical in character, and based on the authoritarian reform of public morals, and we see this in their attitudes to everything from sex to drink to smoking to food to the environment. For instance on the latter, anglo influence on greenism desires not a “garden of eden” but a harsh agrarian existence free of comforts, because of the erroneous anglo belief that Work Is Good For The Soul and suffering is holy.

    Needless to say, this is why they detest tasty food, and can only see sex in terms of various forms of abuse.

  • J-P, last time I checked the atlas we were north-west Europe.

  • last time I checked the atlas we were north-west Europe

    East is East
    West is West
    Two different colors on the map


  • I notice that over here all the food companies compete to claim how ‘green’ they are. I think there is a deep fear that ‘impure’ food and drink will sap out precious bodily fluids.

    I’d love to see someone try and sell ice cream or something like that based on the claim “We’re full of very tasty industrial chemicals. Enjoy !!!”

  • Brian

    We aren’t in either part of Europe. We are an island off the Coast of Europe.

  • Mark H

    As Ben Goldacre points out in his Bad Science, the term ‘Nutritionist’ is not protected, and anyone can call themselves one with impunity. Think “Dr” Gillian McKeith. Which makes it much easier to get in a position to start hectoring the Kevins and Traceys in the first place.

  • Mark H:

    Unfortunately, “Doctor” is “protected”, yet we still get a bunch of hectoring from them. Ditto “lawyer”.

  • Brian,
    We are a part of Europe. We are on the continental plate and all. That makes us Europe whether we like it or not. Of course the EU is a different matter. The conflation (perpetrated by the likes of the BBC) of Europe – geography and EU – politics gets my Billy Goat Gruff and rogers it roughly from behind. It enables “eurosceptics” like moi to be portrayed as demented Little Englanders who would rather amputate their own legs with a rusty spoon than eat a lasagna. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love Europe (in parts) but I despise the EU. There is no contradiction there.

    I’ll shock ya. I think it’s worse than that. The whole gay rights thing (now anyway) is a case of “look how liberal we are and what rights we grant to approved preverts”. Of course if you are not an approved prevert (as some in the BDSM scene have discovered) they’ll still throw the book at you. It is co-opting a freedom and then shouting from the roof-tops, “Aren’t we good because we facilitated this”. Last time I was at Manchester Gay Pride* the extent to which government and Righteous organs had penetrated events was remarkable. You’d think nobody had ever taken it up the tradesman’s enterence before Stonewall.

    *I was there pretty much by accident but it was a bit of a lark.

  • Kevin B

    This post over at Tim Blair’s Aussie Telegraph blog brings a few of the current meme’s together in one amusing episode.

    Junk food, global warming, the uselessness of the MSM and the power of the net to get the message out.

    (Oh, and Kate, ‘oo ya callin’ workin’ class!)

  • permanentexpat

    Food is the new Sex…?
    I think not, but it is an agreeable substitute…and fallback.
    At Mummy’s knee I was told: Pay great attention to good food & know how to prepare it because when your other pleasures are no longer attainable it will serve you exceeding well….yes, Mummy knows best.
    In the event, I am told I am an excellent cook…and I am!…but…
    I am not a Kevin but a Charles, which is even worse than Jamie I suppose…and confess a liking for so-called junk food which, in moderation like most things, does no harm whatsoever (bacon butties all round!)
    I am well over six feet but on visiting California, the home of junk food, I discovered I was a veritable shortarse…or could it just have been something in the water?

  • (1) Europe is not part of the UK…

    (2) It is to the __SOUTH-East__ of us…! That’s where it appears to be when you consult the “wise-iron”….

    (as others say….”Smiles!”)

  • Ian B

    The term Junk Food was invented and popularised by the radical american vegan-ascetic-temperance pressure group the Center For Science In The Public Interest. It is a term merely of disapproval of tasty popular food, and has no objective or useful definition.

  • hovis

    @Mark H: Interesting you bring up Ben Goldacre there the subject is people essentially unqualified in a field making nannying, hectoring and ill informed remarks. Now remind me what his specialty is .. oh psychiatry and how much training on nutrition do doctors get in the course of standard medical studies …

  • RayD

    My compliments to Ian B with whom I do not disagree in principle but I can’t help noticing his puritan hypothesis matches the Nazis more than New Labour, who, if memory serves, went after night clubs and brothels long before going for the Jews.

    My preferred view is Labour simply noticed the working class was shrinking while the state dependent class was growing and switched constituency. In my view, Gordon Brown is not crazy, he is simply doing everything he can for his supporters and to hell with everyone else. He is betting, quite reasonably, that they will remember Labour didn’t betray them and vote Labour again in 2014/5 after five years of painful Tory cuts.

    The aim of statism is to smash the hierarchical pyramid that has the family at the bottom and the King answerable only to God at the top, and replace it with a circle that has everyone connected only to the state. Anything which is bad for families is therefore good for the state. See family law that ejects fathers from their own lives, welfare benefits that encourage young women to have children and the promotion of homosexuality.

  • Ian B

    RayD, the Nazis has State Brothels. I think they were very worried about people screwing outside their race, but under the watchful eyes of state management, that was another matter.

    Anyway, my perspective isn’t pure “puritan” as such, what I mean is that the anglo-left are not, as is widely perceived, liberal. They are strict moralists who are attempting to (and succeeding in) redefining a strict moral code as regards e.g. families. Their specific views are not comparable in many ways to those of their spiritual ancestors, e.g. on homosexuality, but their methodology- the use of the state as a strict moralist force- is what matters in my hypothesis. In their world, morality in all things is moderated by and through the state. This is “moral socialism” and, I am arguing, characterises the socialism of the anglosphere.

    I think people have got it wrong about, for example, welfare benefits encouraging young women to have children. This is not their intention. They would desperately like to stop the underclass breeding indiscriminately. However, anglos believe powerfully in the concept of indoctrinal education; they believe they can effect a reduction in births through this education, and that is why they put such a heavy focus on sex education in schools, contraception and abortion- the latter being the cure when the miraculous method of education has failed on the ineducable.

    (The above para isn’t quite the full story. In their hearts, most anglos see the masses as divisible into two classes- the salvagable and the lost. A salvagable untermensch will absorb education, avoid pregnancy, go to university and become a five a day officer for the council. The unsalvagable, being little better than animals, they try to discourage from breeding by offering contraception and abortion).

    They offer the welfare benefits to young mothers out of a genuine belief that the child should not suffer for the failings of their parents, not out of a desire to encourage breeding. They hope that children living in less poverty due to said benefits are more likely to become good five a day officers than “useless breeders” like their parents- again reflecting the Victorian social reformist belief that a better environment provided by philanthropic charity will improve the moral condition of the poor.

  • Graham Asher

    Can we just lose the ‘damp island’ bit? Apart from being an abject piece of self-hating moroseness, it is a very old cliché (aired long ago in very similar terms by smug bien-pensants like Jonathan Miller) and reeks of snobbery.

    Kate Fox’s book had a couple of perceptive remarks in it, to my recollection, and that was all. The rest was predictable padding.

  • RayD

    Ian B, another thought provoking post. My understanding is that the Nazis closed brothels on coming to power to improve the character of the German people. Their treatment of defeated peoples several years later, I would argue, is nothing more than helping themselves to the spoils of war in a moral vacuum. The Germans were the master race, the untermensch were there to be disposed of as their masters saw fit.

    I have read your piece several times and I’m tending to the view that you are using the term puritan from an American perspective. For me, as an Englishman, the word conjures up self sufficiency, devotion to family and obedience to God. My understanding is that in US the word is more commonly used to describe an abhorrence of immorality. In that sense, then, I agree that the state is puritan, in that it is trying to eradicate the immorality of treating one citizen differently from another.

    I do not doubt for one moment that the extension of welfare to unmarried mothers was done with the best of intentions. However, the law of unintended consequences has struck here with a vengeance. Looking at how the system works now, one cannot help but notice the elegant symmetry with which the state encourages the production of disadvantaged children who in turn require substantial support from the state. It is a self sustaining system. Worse, in fact. It is reverse Darwinism.

    Previous great civilisations have left behind monuments that impress us even now. What is our monument to be? Acres of social housing? And our achievements? The vast number of unproductive citizens we were able to support?