Little platoons
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To love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections.

Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797), was one of the first writers to realise the importance of the spontaneous social groupings that people create for themselves as bulwarks defending civil society against despots and revolutionaries.  For more on Edmund Burke click here

Social scientists increasingly recognise that Burke's little platoons are more than a defence against revolution, they are the glue that holds society together and makes it tolerable.  However pessimists fear that they are breaking down.  They worry that the market, the nuclear family, increasing self-centredness, or whatever, are all destroying  civil society.   

iGreens are more optimistic.  We believe that the modern welfare state, which takes on the jobs that would have fallen to the little platoons, is the biggest danger to civil society.   Unfortunately for the recipients of state welfare it does the jobs less well.   It replaces private and charitable institutions with politically correct social workers, an education system that can't or won't teach the three R's, and a crumbling monolithic NHS run largely for the convenience of its own staff.  

However this very failure creates new roles for the little platoons, dealing with the failures of, and resisting the paternalism of the nanny state.  Whether encouraging home schooling and phonetic reading methods, resisting abortion, defending adoption and encouraging traditional sexual mores, or just looking in on your neighbour, there's lots to do, and someone's doing it.  Let's hear it for the Little Platoons.  

 

Home ] Up ] abundant life centre ] Abundant Life Centre ] The (in)voluntary sector ] prison fellowship ] The Starfish project ]

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Last modified: September 20, 2006