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The Straw Man Of The Age

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Chapter Summary

One of the ways in which societies avoid the reality of dissidence and revolt is by encouraging imitations of rebellion. The licensed rebel is encouraged to huff and puff a great deal, both satisfying himself and annoying the less discerning defenders of the status quo. But the more intelligent conservatives know very well that the provision of straw men to be attacked is a useful device to divert attention from the more important social targets. The latest straw man in our society is the concept of 'the Establishment'. 'The Establishment' has had a curious history; it first appeared on as the malign force that tried to protect Mrs Maclean from the press. The word "Establishment" simply indicates the assumption of the attributes of a state church by certain powerful institutions and people; in general these may be supposed to be effectively beyond democratic control'.

Keywords:establishment; licensed rebel; Mrs Maclean; straw man

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