The Whig Theory of (Contemporary) History
We need to remind ourselves that, good nation that we certainly are, we can be slow as a forest sloth to change what needs changing. Mr Clegg’s travails should recall how incredibly recent some of our liberalisations are. We did not have full adult franchise till 1928. We decriminalised most homosexual acts only in 1967, and a year later we abolished theatre censorship (ie, some chap telling us what we could watch on stage). Four years earlier the last men were hanged in Britain; 20 years later we stopped corporal punishment (ie, sanctioned physical abuse of children) in schools. Four years ago — four years! — we abolished the crime of blasphemous libel. And though Sweden effectively outlawed it in 1966 and Albania and the Congo by 2010, we still allow children to be physically abused, or “reasonably chastised”, at home. Schade!
That’s German for shame.Tagged in: david aaronovitch, liberalism
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