Long live social progress!

The Totally Managed Universal Order has its problems. Perfect uniform central control of everything takes an infinite amount of time and effort, and is never carried out even tolerably well by those on the scene. Here is a field report from the new England, where a drunk on a train or child who bumps his head can now take up the better part of a day for everyone connected, because of the standards and process any mildly out-of-the-ordinary event now invokes. The natural outcome of the trend is infinite inefficiency made bearable only by limitless corruption and hypocrisy. The old Soviet Union may be dead, but it is still the future!

3 thoughts on “Long live social progress!”

  1. An important aspect of the
    An important aspect of the kind of regulations described in the article is an obsessive desire to eliminate the risk of death. In the post-religious world, there is no evil worse than physical death. Consequently this world is a very physically cowardly place. I think this also largely accounts for the enormous emphasis on avoiding casualties (on one’s own side) in contemporary wars waged by advanced countries, for example.

  2. (Contrast the traditional
    (Contrast the traditional English attitude, as I think expressed by Samuel Johnson, that it is worth having a few extra murders if suppressing them means establishing a professional police force, with the consequent threat to liberties.)

  3. ‘The Totally Managed
    ‘The Totally Managed Universal Order’ – hmmm – that’s a good phrase. Funny thing is, we used to laugh at the Yanks for this sort of thing. I went skiing in Jackson Hole in 1991 and had to fill in and sign an *infinite* number of forms to hire skis and bindings (saying, e,g., that I understand that ski bindings are not infallible and will not sue the ‘great state of Wyoming’ if they don’t work properly), and amazingly, even after that, it appeared that the skiing area had a fence all round it, so you couldn’t even go off-piste. But now it’s all coming over here. Luckily we are pretty good at the hypocrisy and getting better at the corruption that Jim Kalb recommends for getting round it.

    A new example from today: a friend called to say that he had cancelled his 5-year-old daughter’s birthday party. He had been told by the head teacher of his (state) school in London that if he gave a party he would have to invite all 60 pupils in both reception-year classes, in case anybody was upset not to have been invited. So no party. His flat isn’t big enough for 60 kids, most of whom aren’t close friends of his daughter, and he didn’t want to hire a hall. Personally, I would have said something starting with F to the head teacher, and I am surprised he didn’t.


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