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Indeed so, whither society?

Summary:
The Guardian asks us to ponder the nature of society:According to the Reagan-Thatcher worldview, there is no such thing as society. There are only families, who look after one another, and individuals, who participate in markets. The idea that government is the solution to people’s problems rests on a mistaken belief in the existence of society. This mistaken belief….On the same day The Guardian praises a certain part of society:The group was originally focused on providing necessities during the early months of the pandemic, such as help with shopping, collecting prescriptions or providing reliable Covid information. Its remit has since expanded – members now share food and festivals, pool DIY tools, brainstorm measures to tackle unscrupulous landlords and speeding cars, and tend to a

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The Guardian asks us to ponder the nature of society:

According to the Reagan-Thatcher worldview, there is no such thing as society. There are only families, who look after one another, and individuals, who participate in markets. The idea that government is the solution to people’s problems rests on a mistaken belief in the existence of society. This mistaken belief….

On the same day The Guardian praises a certain part of society:

The group was originally focused on providing necessities during the early months of the pandemic, such as help with shopping, collecting prescriptions or providing reliable Covid information. Its remit has since expanded – members now share food and festivals, pool DIY tools, brainstorm measures to tackle unscrupulous landlords and speeding cars, and tend to a community garden. When I met some of the group recently, one member, Helene, 50, told me: “It’s a gazillion unplanned micro-miracles that happen when neighbours talk to each other.”

There’s a certain echo of Burke’s little platoons there. The Guardian also gives us earlier that famed Margaret Thatcher quote but in full, not as it is normally truncated:

"They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours."

Or, to quote another Tory PM, of course there’s such a thing as society it’s just not the government.

As we’ve been known to point out the British state has difficulty in handing out free money - lucky we’ve got each other to rely upon then, no? You know, society?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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