24 February 2011

Quotes of the day - Tims Black and Congdon

Faced with a chronic housing shortage, the state, regardless of stripe of government, seems incapable of doing anything about it. As it stands, housebuilding rates are set to dip to their lowest level since the 1920s. Yet, too cowed by adverse publicity, too weak to actually justify a major undertaking such as housebuilding or a new generation of nuclear power stations, the government is content to look as if it is doing something while achieving nothing. While the state is happy to preoccupy itself with our behaviour, nannying then, nudging now, it seems unable to provide its citizens with the things we might actually want.

Tim Black in Spiked.
An amazing feature of modern societies is that people believe what they read in the newspapers. As a result, consensus narratives become established from hurried guesswork about facts and instant opinion based on that guesswork. If people want to read newspapers and to believe the narratives they spew out, they are likely also to buy books that distil these narratives and reconfirm their views. The reconfirmed views then become the "conventional wisdoms" which motivate political dialogue and government action.
Tim Congdon in Standpoint

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