Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The desirability of conformity

Via Samizdata, here's Alex Singleton on the plight of student society.
This is not what student life should be like. Some social critics go on about The Permissive Society, but what we are really facing is The Priggish Society currently being created by busybody politicians and other authority figures.

Whereas students once had the time of their lives, they are now being forced to be strait-laced. The freedom to let their hair down, make mistakes and learn from them has been eroded. CCTV cameras are spying on their every move. University authorities clamp down on any signs of horseplay by scouring students' Facebook photos.

Going out for a night in a bar with close friends is now denounced as "binge drinking". Smoking an occasional joint means you are a "drug addict".

Indeed. But here's the kicker...
The danger is that by robbing students of the traditional university lifestyles, we will end up creating a workforce of boring people who simply obey and conform.

Have you seen this government—it isn't a "danger"? Oh no, this moronic, zombified, ill-educated conformity is a feature, not a bug.

As has been understood by totalitarian governments for a very long time, if you can turn the populace into mindless automatons who "simply obey and conform" then you have the perfect population.

Innovative thinkers are best silenced and swiftly removed from the rest of the citizens. Preferably to Siberia...


verity said...

Preferably to Siberia... ... or a free country.

Once all the clever people have gone - which they are doing in unseemly droves - who's going to create wealth to pay the taxes to pay the masters?

Look for an embargo on immigration - in the form of limits on the funds that can be removed from the country - soon.

By which I mean soon.

Sauve qui peu!

Rob said...

So, er, don't put your photo on Facebook, or better still ignore it completely.

anthonynorth said...

Phase One: nobble education so that it produces mediocrisy.

Phase Two: plenty of computer systems that are rigid. People learn not to question.

Phase Three: plenty of human rights laws so that you learn you can't do anything without infringing upon someone.

Phase Four: Create a fear within and without the State.

Phase Five: as a politician, make it subtly clear you're rubbish. Eventually, society becomes sanitised, and people no longer care.

Welcome to the world of dictators in jack-slippers!

Tim Almond said...

It's not just about the government. It's far more about the people who let it happen.

Most people do not subscribe to the Martin Niemöller view - that other people's freedoms should be stood up for out of enlightened self-interest. They narrowly look at something, consider that it may be slightly distasteful to them, and something they don't want to do, so why not ban it?

This has been the case since I can remember (the Conservative government introduced many pieces of socially illiberal legislation).

Over half the population supported the smoking ban, many of those supporting it being people who go into a pub about once a year, not considering the wishes of those who attend (nor the long term effect on them that pubs with once a year visitors can't survive).

Anonymous said...

My student politics days are behind me but I remember that shortly after Labour came to power in 1997 the rules on student union funding were changed, forcing them to become little more than welfare organisations. This and changes that made it much easier to suspend/expel students from university ripped the heart out of student politics. It always puzzled me why there were so little resistance to these changes.

ZT said...

"Whereas students once had the time of their lives, they are now being forced to be strait-laced." This might be true in the UK, but not in the USA. I live next door to four students, and to judge by the piles of beer cans and used condoms scattered around after the Friday and Saturday parties they ARE having the time of their lives.