UK Liberty

The need for an enemy

Posted in politicians on liberty by ukliberty on June 1, 2008

Some good stuff from Simon Jenkins in the Times:

… Enemy starvation is a sign of weakness in a country. It suggests a loss of self-confidence, a collapse of political cohesion. To Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four enemies were necessary to a totalitarian state. When Tony Blair was in trouble he fell back on the same device, the politics of fear. “I feel passionately,” he said in 2004, “that we are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the new world in which we live.”

This doom-laden declaration contained all the messianic buzz phrases listed by the political theorist Ulrich Beck as “elixir to an ailing leader”: feeling, passion, mistaking nature, the new world and mortal danger. They summoned up a need for unity where democracy offered none and loyalty to the leader when it was disintegrating. …

The West has not curbed Al-Qaeda.

The movement has been honoured by Blair, the neocons and the military industrial complex as the global antithesis to the once-vaunted new world order. Never can so wretched an outfit have been awarded so vast a dignity. …

I have more faith in western democracy than the lily-livered neocons. I believe in the robustness of its institutions, its traditions and its liberal outlook. They beat the real threat of communist totalitarianism. Nothing on the present horizon is remotely comparable to that. I rather agree with the St Petersburg comrades. That some people need the emotional prop of a Great Satan does not make Satan any more real.


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