Will Hutton\’s mea culpa

There is no longer any discrimination in our embrace of cultural liberalism; it stretches into every nook and cranny of our lives – from the financial markets to sex – and sometimes with consequences none of us like. It was Howard Davies, when he ran the Financial Services Authority, who compared financiers to consenting adults; the inference was that he had no more business inquiring into their private business affairs than he would into what went on in their bedrooms. His liberalism has been proved wrong. The story of the past six decades is in many ways the story of how we threw off our shackles only to discover that we do need some constraints, even in the City. And in the bedroom? Our extreme liberal stance has seen us deluged under a tidal wave of pornography. The debate in the years ahead will not be about how to continue with our baby boomer liberalism, but over how and where we need restraint around some shared principles and rules.

He\’s talking about the baby boomers of course: his whole new book is about the smashing of the old, creation of the new, by them using himself as subject number 1.

Was it Herodotus who was the first to say, as he reached sensecence, that society had gone to the dogs?

Ho hum, still, at least we know that one writer in each generation can get a best seller out of this trope.

2 thoughts on “Will Hutton\’s mea culpa”

  1. “… sometimes with consequences none of us like.”

    This is the revealing bit. Hutton does not even understand what liberalism is. Thinking that things you like and approve of should continue isn’t liberal – everyone thinks that, from autocrats to theocrats. Liberalism is thinking things you dislike should continue if they only involve consenting adults and do no direct harm to anyone else.

    Hutton was never a liberal, and nor were the 60s generation he represents. They just liked different things to their forebears and their forebears were liberal enough to let them carry on.

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