Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

New authoritarian state power with good intentions

Officious: Rise of the Busybody State
Forfatter: Josie Appleton
Forlag: Zero Books (USA)
Regulations, devices and control – a new type of state power is increasingly interfering with daily life.  


In the book officious, which has the subtitle The Rise of the Busybody State, author Josie Appleton puts forth an idea that in our time we are facing a whole new state formation. She calls the phenomenon the Busybody State. She states that this is not a totalitarian or federal state formation, but a phenomenon, or a major noe which comes creeping. It comes to mind, like from the bottom through solid layers of English fog, we can imagine. This store is moving. Neither the big money malfunction nor the surveillance system of what was in the GDR is on the way. The new state formation looks out on us like a huge squid with countless arms. No one escapes its attention and control. But attention has no political color or political agenda. The control state cannot be sorted into a form where financial gain or exchange is one of the objectives. We therefore come up with a classic Marxist form that there is an alliance between state power and capital power to control the individuals.

Civil society in liquidation. However, there is no reason to breathe out. The book is written to raise awareness. After reading the book just over a hundred pages long, there is also quite a good reason to be scared. What is happening? It is worth noting here that the many examples are primarily from England and Australia, and to some extent from the United States. Nevertheless, we can recognize some of what is mentioned, from our country. The author envisions a relatively idyllic near past, where relationships that had to do with ethics and morality largely belonged to civil society or private life. However, the tendency in British society, the author believes, is that civil society is winding down. This leaves a void, and then others have to move in. The Busybody State is about to take over. What we used to know as civil society, a society consisting of sports teams, charities and scouting groups, as well as political and idealistic groups, and not least religious sects, congregations and prayer houses, is on the decline. People are now residents of a large society where these institutions are no longer the glue in society that they used to be.
By "before," Appleton means the England she knew until 1990. Civil society provided for the maintenance of an ethical culture that had roots in the Christian Middle Ages. These meeting places where people used to go man of houses to be, is now largely empty. Man is increasingly parked in front of the media industry's flat screens. Here we are discussing some of the essence of what the author has in mind. Nietzsche's sermon on the fall of religion was first and foremost an elite phenomenon in the second half of the 1800th century. Now that we have moved a hundred years further in time, a lot has happened. Secularization has reached the majority. A spinal cord reflex in state development has therefore been triggered, Josie Appleton believes. Public bodies now intervene in the ethics and morals and violations of daily life. The state is approaching and taking a stronger hold on the world we live in.

Boken officious can be seen as an attempt to make visible in a kind of sociological study what is said literally in "Lookup in an Obos block", or in the novel Epp.

Regulations. The author cites a series of examples from English reality. Some of them are hard to believe, others are very recognizable from our own society. In order to be able to do sports or charitable work involving contact with children, you have to have a certificate of morality from the police. She cites examples of smoking laws in England – this is recognizable. Also more absurd examples are cited. In Appleton's homeland, it has become common practice to print fines for not mowing lawns. The state intervenes in areas that were previously innocent and open. Guitar playing on busy shopping streets now requires the approval and certification of official authority. Demonstrations or activities performed by organizations require registration and certification. Guard companies are assigned tasks that were previously given by the police. Contracts are used by the authorities towards residents related to conditions that previously belonged to private life. Is it this reality we can see for ourselves here at home very soon, or are we already in love with this social spirit? Perhaps the author has used the most striking fictional literary tool from the time of the monarchy, which we find in use at Jonathan Swift or at Holberg: the exaggeration or hyperbole, used as an explanatory magnifying glass.

We are also left with some questions that the author does not ask in his book: How does this social phenomenon relate to the global political reality that surrounds us? What about the fear of terror, the fear of mass immigration, the fear of the market's "unbound Prometheus"? How such conditions affect the emergence of the Busybody State, discussed by the author to a small extent.

Soft City. Axel Jensen and Georg Johannesen came up with prophetic descriptions of this social phenomenon as early as the 1950s. The analyzes they used have their visual expression in the art of Pushwagner. The great commercial breakthrough of the painter took place in the early 2000s. In other words, people recognize themselves in the vision Soft City even today. The book officious can be seen as an attempt to make visible in a kind of sociological study what is said literally in "Lookup in an Obos block", or in the novel Epp.

You may also like