Let's agree to disagree on modern myths 2

May 1, 2008

In his amusing article, Simon Blackburn says that "nostalgia for the days before some change or other is usually fake and always embarrassing, like folk dancing or trying to preserve the Irish language".

He goes on to describe "the myth of the public service ethos", by which he means "the idea that sometimes people will do something because it is the right thing to do, not because it affords them any advantage". He claims that "this was once true, but constant repetition by politicians and economists that it is a myth has successfully made it one".

While I do not doubt the authenticity of this little bit of nostalgia for the days before this particular change, in the context of Blackburn's previous claim it is perhaps embarrassing.

Maybe a good ceilidh would help him get over the loss of the good old days.

Carrie Jenkins, University of Nottingham.

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