Kenneth Minogue’s The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life seems to be the conservative book most of us will be reading during the upcoming holidays.
Online reviews are currently scarce, but Anthony Baird did a decent job on Amazon.
Kenneth Minogue has brilliantly deconstructed the way that modern democracies have assumed for themselves the moral judgements that individuals once decided for themselves. Take obesity. Getting fat is surely one of the ultimate personal decisions, but no, it is apparently a `health’ issue now, and is properly the concern of the whole of society. This is because the populace has surrendered to the State the obligation to take care of the nation’s health, and since obesity is a major factor in the expense that the health provider must pay, the state now requires us all to be slim. Successfully elected politicians praise the electorate for their good sense in electing them to office, and then privately despair at the non “politically correct” views held by those same voters on the matters of multiculturalism, capital punishment or sex.
With the State taking over more and more of the obligations that private citizens used to consider were their own concern, (and levying high rates of tax to fund them), then this leaves those same citizens free to spend the rest of their incomes on personal pleasures, secure in the knowledge that their education, health and pensions are taken care of. While all this sounds like some Utopia, it is actually more of a “Brave New World”.
The folks at Maggie Farm and I tend very frequently to think alike. I was amused to find the New Junkie had slightly preceded me today in noticing the same book.