Saturday, June 10, 2006

The antisocial society

Ming Campbell tells us that "crime is a Liberal issue". Certainly, it is an issue Liberals must confront, even if Ming's recent speech on the subject did feel a little like another example of his saying what he feels he ought to say rather than being himself.

The question is whether the government's concentration on the recent concept of "antisocial behaviour" is making us feel more secure or less secure.

Stuart Waiton thinks it is the latter. He has an interesting essay on the Spiked! website arguing that it is making society more lonely and fragmented.

He writes:

Until recently, antisocial behaviour was understood as a problem to be resolved by people themselves. When children swore and dropped litter or neighbours were noisy, people were expected to take a socially responsible approach and act themselves to discuss and resolve such behaviour.

Today we are less inclined to act; indeed we are discouraged from doing so. The various antisocial behaviour laws and programmes being introduced tell us the authorities will do it for us. Now there is a whole range of community wardens, police initiatives and helplines that we can contact to ask for help in dealing with any problems we have with other people’s behaviour.

When we fail to take responsibility for these problems - which we know, in our hearts, that we should be doing something about - then we diminish our sense of ourselves. By not acting we both sense and reinforce our own diminished subjectivity.

1 comment:

cymrumark said...

Given Lib Dem support for people taking responsibility for their own actions can we look forward to Lib dems proposing tougher sentances for people receiving stolen goods?