Dan Hodges suggests the following:
There’s only one thing worse then the US being the world’s policeman. And that’s the US not being the world’s policeman.
I’d take issue with the use of the monolithic singular (no state, however useful, is ever that monolithic – nor should be in a modern liberal democracy) and the exclusive gender – policeman (though my linguistic side understands why he’s felt obliged to use the idiomatic phrase this way). But more importantly, I’d take issue with stuff he’s written previously on quite separate subjects. This, for example:
Unfortunately, that’s just about all they came up with. Ed Miliband will say: “Clearly the next Labour government will face massive fiscal challenges, including having to cut spending.” But that’s just one of those tick-box phrases he likes to sneak into his tick-box speeches. He has this little throwaway line about cuts, but if anyone actually asks him what cuts he’s contemplating he refuses to answer. That’s because he doesn’t really mean it, and he secretly wants everyone to know he doesn’t really mean it.
Now, I don’t necessarily take issue with the ideas Hodges sardonically communicates – apart from anything else, he does sardonic very well. But when coupled with today’s tweet, I do object to the underlying assumption that 40,000 Iraqis on the point of being butchered can be policed and rescued – should be policed and rescued – by Big Government and the Big State when the very same Big State and Government must not – is unable to – continue its historically ameliorating business at home in the UK and US.
Especially when the plans of some of Hodges’ fellow travellers seem to include brutal cuts to the aforementioned public sector which will lead to a drop in headcount of forty percent:
The biggest cull of public sector jobs for at least 50 years will see vulnerable parts of the state endure reductions in headcount of up to 40%, Britain’s leading tax and spending thinktank said today.
A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that the reductions planned as part of the coalition’s deficit reduction programme would hit the poorest parts of Britain hardest, and warned they would prove “challenging” for those parts of government bearing the brunt of austerity.
So let’s try and be a little bit more coherent, shall we? If Big Government and the Big State are still cool enough ideas to save the developing world from encroaching dictatorship and the cruelty of the backward (though I suspect the motives behind such strategies have more to do with a Western self-interest of wanting to keep political contamination well at bay in distant dirty countries, quite a la Ebola, than a truly pure perception of right and wrong), let us also accept that we in the West – ordinary people who live in Europe, North America, the Antipodes etc – have the very same right to be treated, by our own Big States and Governments, in the humanitarian way those currently suffering in Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Israel also merit and clearly deserve.