03 October 2011

O tempora o mores

I have no desire to pick on Bryan Appleyard, with whom I agree more than I disagree (particularly once he's translated from the orginal English), but this rare post on his blog deserves some comment.

I'm always amused by the cry of "O tempora o mores" immediately followed by blaming conservatives. The idea that 2011 is, historically, a particularly difficult time to be living in England, or anywhere in the West is obvious nonsense. It's particularly odd in the course of a touching story of nobility in true hardship; a father who, with his son's blood fresh upon him, quells a riot. It also strikes me as odd that, for Appleyard, original sin now seems to be bankers lending money with insufficient collateral.

8 comments:

Susan's Husband said...

He goes off the rails when he hand waves the segue from "no social responsibility" to "amoral" with regard to corporations. That these are the same thing is a proglodyte invention designed precisely to achieve this result.

erp said...

We'll find out soon as that great patriot Van Jones pointed out, it's Autumn in America now and the vanguard of the re-elect Obama movement have hit Wall Street and moved over to the Brooklyn bridge. They'll no doubt follow the tried and true advice popularized by Horace Greeley and head west (and north and south).

Our law enforcement, like that in the UK, stand by and let the law breakers have their way, so they'll keep doing it. It's not as if they're hard at work earning their keep.

The high falutin' sociological claptrap in the article is fine for academic conferences and little else.

BTW - it's horrible that Jahan turned the body he was trying to save over and found his own son. Senseless violence and senseless loss.

Peter said...

Fasten your seatbelts, we're going to hear a lot more of this kind of stuff.

Note how deftly he moves from a micro to macro-narrative. This is the way the left argues and the rocky economic times ahead are going going to give them lots of fodder. The right owns the macro-narrative so far, because anyone with a brain knows that getting a grip on public finances and public debt is the only way out of the mess. But every cut in public expenditure and every speech against higher taxes is going to be met with a tear-jerking Steinbeck Okie tale, and I for one doubt we can meet with that challenge forever. No one ever accused us conservatives of being too maudlin. That England had food riots a century ago and now has Nike and iPod riots means nothing. The rich are getting richer and the poor and getting poorer and that is all ye know and all ye need to know.

I love this comment from the post:
The same thing has happened in America where working and middle class incomes have been falling for years and all the fruits of growth have gone into the hands of the rich. Gee, it seems like it was just yesterday that the urgent problems were suburban sprawl, the mass celebrity retail culture, obesity from junk food, too many SUVs and obscenely excessive middle class consumer consumption. Hey, it was just yesterday!

But there are silver linings. We won't have to hear too much more drivel about how we must return to consuming only local market produce and flushing every third time to save the planet. Plus Harry's been waiting a long time for this, and who amongst us would begrudge our pal Harry his long awaited day in the sun?

And David, please get with the programme. It's not bankers lending money that constitutes original sin. It's not even crooked bankers. It's greedy bankers lending money.

David said...

SH: Apparently before Thatcher was elected, there was no difference in England between for-profit and non-profit enterprises and businesses were run with the good of society foremost in the minds of managers.

Which, come to think of it, explains a good deal about pre-Thatcher England.

Hey Skipper said...

The same thing has happened in America where working and middle class incomes have been falling for years and all the fruits of growth have gone into the hands of the rich.

To say that, Appleyard is either ignorant or an idiot. Which is it?

Harry Eagar said...

'To say that, Appleyard is either ignorant or an idiot. Which is it?'

Not sure of your point? Are you saying incomes in the middle have not fallen?

erp said...

Skipper, why not both?

Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

I'm saying two things. First, incomes have not fallen.

Second, and far more importantly, if you relentlessly focus on income as a mere number, you completely miss out on a major part of economic reality.

Hint: now ain't what it used to be.

erp:

Good catch -- I posed a false dichotomy