Thursday, May 25, 2006

Two in a row

From Chris Dillow. The first is on Aaronovitch's progressives vs reactionaries piece saying the same sort of thing I was trying to - the key difference being his actually makes sense:
"Aaro's belief that 'progressive' is a clear and obvious good thing suggests the legacy of historical determinism runs deep. And to old Tankies, morality consisted in being on the right side of history."
Yep, there's plenty of ex-Marxists around but fewer there be that manage to ditch the determinist streak altogether, perhaps motivated by the fear the zeitgeist will leave them behind? Martin Jacques is another one of these who immediately springs to mind. What I wonder is why do there seem to be so many of them working in journalism?

The second has to do with managerialism and its distinction from technocracy. Clearly, since the latter is usually taken to denote some level of competence, New Labour belongs firmly in the managerialist camp. Chris argues the disposition of managerialists to manipulate images and symbols explains their fixation with spin and presentation. This, in turn, explains one of the features of this government's conduct that is so infuriating; their preference for passing new laws rather than enforcing the existing ones:
"New Labour uses laws not to change reality, as a technocrat would, but as symbols, to show who's in charge."
Managerialism is described as a 'faith', which is surely right. What I wonder, though, is why the faithful seemingly haven't had more secular dark nights of the soul before now? Why is it managerialists don't learn from history? It would, presumably, be in their rational self-interest to do so since they could avoid the present vote-losing shambles in the Home Office. The answer to this is either a) they know properly technocratic decision-making doesn't win enough votes or b) the failure to consider this is part and parcel of managerialism being a faith. Either way, it's fairly depressing.

No comments:

Blog Archive