Today’s third-hand dealers in ideas are mostly mid-tier staff in organisations. One of the big stories of the twentieth century, Williamson notes, was the replacement of self-employment with corporate and government employment. Interest in freedom and autonomy declined as the independent proprietor was replaced by the salaried employee. The game then changed. It was no longer about the autonomous exercise of judgment. What mattered instead was applying pressure on the handful of real decision-makers. The latest phase of this story is internal and external lobbying of departments, companies and universities to adopt PC slogans and policies. Much of this pressure is applied by obscure persons who work in the nether regions of publishing outfits, bureaucracies and interest groups. These people are opinionated but clueless. They are the products of the mass post-industrial university. They are also nervous. For the white-collar and professional work that they qualified for is being automated. This group is riddled with status anxiety. It is angst central.
(I am 99.99 percent sure this Peter Murphy is not the one who sings “The Line Between the Devil’s Teeth” and all those other great songs.)