In The Daily Telegraph Philip Johnston argues that the state now performs so many tasks for us that it will be difficult to cope without it:
'Viewers watching BBC News 24 at around 4pm on Monday were given an occasional glimpse inside the chamber of the House of Commons, as the broadcaster waited to go live for a statement on the Great Media Scandal.
The parliamentary proceedings ahead of the main event were evidently considered far too boring to merit coverage. There was Oliver Letwin, on a rare public outing, telling MPs about the Government’s plans to reform public services.
As soon as he had finished, it was over to the Commons to watch Jeremy Hunt getting pilloried for the way he had handled the Murdoch bid for BSkyB.
This was much more fun. But while the phone hacking affair was clearly the story of the moment, what Mr Letwin had to say was of far greater consequence. More than that, it was about the same thing: power – who possesses it, who dispenses it and how it can be abused to the detriment of all and sundry.
The Open Public Services White Paper is potentially one of the most important documents produced by any recent government, because it presages a fundamental shift in power, from the state to the people.'
In The Times Oliver Kamm reveals the sinister side of 9/11 conspiracy theorist Richard Gage:
'David Aaronovitch, Times columnist and debunker of conspiracy theories, went to a lecture by a prominent 9/11 Truth campaigner last night. The Truther is Richard Gage, an architect. I'm sure that David will write elsewhere about what he heard. In this post, I merely want to set down some information that I gave him about the connections of the 9/11 Truth movement and Holocaust denial. Both of these theories have similar standards of evidence and reasoing: they alight on purported "anomalies" in order to seek to deny established and demonstrable historical fact. But there is also an institutional overlap between the two movements, and I consider it worth pointing out.
Gage is among the most prominent and plausible Truthers. On his own account (in an interview with Kim Hill of Radio New Zealand, 21 November 2009), he is a "Reagan Republican" who was stirred to 9/11 activity on hearing David Ray Griffin, the theologian, argue the evidence in a radio interview in 2006. Gage now travels the world to give his two-hour lecture arguing that the destruction of the Twin Towers can have been accomplished only by controlled demolition. He denies having any wider theory of who was responsible for the conspiracy.
Note, however, Gage's appearance on 30 March this year on a radio programme called "Truth Jihad Radio". Its host is one Kevin Barrett. Barrett is a prominent 9/11 Truther who formerly taught Islamic studies at the University of Wisconsin. In an email exchange in 2005, Barrett wrote: "As a rational person who is not a specialist in the subject of WWII, but who has studied the history of Zionist Big Lies vis-a-vis Palestine, I cannot possibly dismiss the arguments of people like Green, Irving, and even Zundel. And even if the 6-million-deliberately-murdered-for-purely-ethnic-reasons figure is correct--which it very well may be; I have grown agnostic on that after studying the Big Lies of Zionism-- I would still have to characterize the Holocaust as it is taught in the US as a hideously destructive myth."
In his own introduction to the schedule for his 30 March radio programme, Barrett introduced Gage's fellow guest Kaukab Siddique this way: "Dr. Siddique has had the courage to express opinions that, while demonized by the Zionist-dominated US media, are almost certainly those of a majority of people in the world -- and, in broad outline, the views of every Muslim intellectual with whom I have discussed these issues during the nearly twenty years since I came to Islam. Specifically, Dr. Siddique wants to end the Zionist occupation of Palestine, and doubts at least some of the details of the received narrative of the Nazi holocaust.'
Writing in The Brussels Journal Thomas F. Bertonneau gives his thoughts on Nicolas Berdyaev And Modern Anti-Modernism:
'A paradox of modernity is that, from its beginnings in Eighteenth Century rationalism, it has been accompanied by a veritable polyphony of dissent. The advocates of rationalism – and of progress – have inveterately denounced this heterogeneous arousal of dissident judgment under the sweeping term reaction; but that term, reaction or reactionism, applies much more appropriately to the Enlightenment itself than it does to the critique of the Enlightenment, or to the critique of the Enlightenment’s swift self-transfiguration into Revolution.
Already in the early Nineteenth Century various strands of Romanticism partook in the gathering critique of rallying progress. The development of a poet like William Wordsworth from a youthful admirer of the Jacobins to a Tory, whose ballad-like poems celebrate tradition against the encroachments of method, offers a case in point; and Wordsworth’s French contemporary Alfred de Vigny despised the Revolution as a recrudescence of primitive violence springing from hatred of all dignity and form. Deeply rooted custom is not necessarily arbitrary. On the contrary, tradition implies wisdom beyond the reductively rational for which method, political or technical, is a paltry and counterproductive substitute. Community likewise differs from and comes prior to the state, which in comparison to the community is abstract and even alienating. While it is true that there was a decidedly leftwing Romanticism – Percy Shelley in England and the “Junges Deutschland” poets in the German principalities – largely the movement was, in its context, traditionalist, sometimes stridently so.
The same could be said for the mid-Nineteenth Century developments of Romanticism. Charles Baudelaire was not a liberal and neither was his Danish contemporary Søren Kierkegaard. Friedrich Nietzsche early associated the modern world with superficiality and mediocrity; later, modernity appeared to him as active nihilism.'