The Third Way!

You know how every so often I’ll say that any political ideology putting itself forward as a brave new path beyond the stale opposition of left and right is always going to be either boring old liberalism or else a new variant on fascism? And you know how everyone always gets really really pissed off about that and thinks I’m giving short shrift to the innovative new ideas of communitarianism and subsidiarity, etc., etc.?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Phillip Blond’s proposal to build the Big Society by means of military academies! Thank you, Mr. Blond, for proving my point for me!

10 thoughts on “The Third Way!

  1. I’m guessing that it was news of Labour’s adoption of this policy that spurred on the creation of this post, but if you hadn’t heard the encroaching militarisation of Britain’s education system is something heartily embraced and endorsed by both the government and the opposition.

    ‘A spokesman for the Department for Education said it was “already working to bring ethos and talents from Armed Forces into our education system to help raise standards”.’

  2. I laughed out loud at ResPublica’s claim that these “green papers” are about “exciting ideas.” “Exciting ideas?” “Exciting,” how? Certainly not in the sense of being anything new. This “idea” is just the tired old “boot camp” meme that got trotted out here in the US under Bush I, promoted by Rupert Murdoch’s right wing media empire, and continued by Clinton, who really knew how to dog whistle while retaining his credentials as a “Democrat.” Despite the fact that the program’s final evaluation report, released in 2000, grudgingly acknowledged that the data indicated these programs had no impact on recidivism and actually negative impact on relevant skills (coping skills) (, it took another ten years to dismantle these programs because they remained popular with politicians. The juvenile boot camp in Harris County Texas, where most of the black male adolescents were sent (while most of the white ones got residential mental health treatment), didn’t even begin to be dismantled until last year. I was working in adolescent mental health at the time, and I can tell you these programs were unmitigated disasters if you assume their purpose is their stated purpose, but were successful in a limited sense: they generated continual cannon fodder for US imperial exploits, and they generated “units” to fill Texas’s lucrative prison industrial complex.

    The notion, nowhere backed by empirical evidence, that what youth who are poor and lax in the degree of respect they harbor toward the system devised by their masters for keeping them poor really need is more “discipline” remains popular. All forms of “tough love” reasoning harbor this notion. This reasoning is popular, I think, because of the sadistic pleasure it gives to its adherents and the quasi-sacred cover (e.g., military) it gives them so that they don’t have to stare that sadistic pleasure in the face. I’ll leave it to others to make the rather obvious connections to “good Christian theology.”

  3. (Maybe I’m eventually going to need to rescind my exception for liberalism, as neoliberalism increasingly becomes fascism.)

    I was gonna say, since when is that an either-or?

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