Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wards of the state

A few quotes from French philosopher, Pascal Bruckner's interview in signandsight. Just to show that someone in France is saying more or less what everyone this side of the water is.

In the wise words of Raymond Aaron: it's easier to instigate a revolution in France than to implement a reform.

The state as a paternalistic protagonist, hated and condemned by its supposedly incapacitated citizens, who at the same time expect the world from it.

Yes, but society is weak and equally nationalised. I'll go even further; even the individual who expects everything from the state and who invests all authority in the state is mentally nationalised. I think that the Left carries a greater responsibility here, because it – unlike the traditional Right – originally demanded emancipation, worker's assistance, education etc. Unfortunately, it didn't (and doesn't) invest enough faith in the energy of the individual, so its pathetic Utopia still consists of making "the masses" into happy, well provided-for wards of the state. Even leaving aside the Stalinist history of the Communist Party which still today has only been faint-heartedly worked-through, the Socialists and even some Greens still underestimate the potential of the individual. Instead of giving people reasons to oppose their fate – to borrow from Camus – and bolstering their sense of solidarity, their powers of resistance are being weakened, and they're being turned into egotistical, atomised dole-takers from a bankrupt state.

[Emphasis in original]

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