Our ever changing moods?


Same as it ever was

Are people more selfish now than they were in the 1970s? It’s often said they are and its just as often said that Margaret Thatcher is responsible. That’s usually said by the people who hold Margaret Thatcher responsible for everything.

But the evidence doesn’t support it. Consider the trade union leaders of the 1970s who plunged the country into darkness and cold, who treated corpses and rubbish the same as they refused to bury either as they were paid to. Consider the representative of the Confederation of Health Service Employees who appeared on television from a picket line outside a hospital the winter before Thatcher was elected; “if it means lives lost, that is how it must be…we are fed up of being Cinderellas. This time we are going to the ball”

Can you imagine anything more selfish than that? Any attitude less concerned with the ‘general welfare’ and more fixated on the ‘personal interest’?

The truth is that men and women have always been able to see what is in their interest as being in everybody else’s interest as well. Indeed, as the Roman poet Virgil wrote in the first century BC “Every man makes a god of his own desire”


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