Following my last post on National Loyalty Cards, there have been a couple of news stories about National Loyalty.
John Dunford: School is 'the last moral force'(BBC News, March 9th 2008)
Lord Goldsmith has another idea: School-leavers should be encouraged to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen and country. Dr Dunford thinks this is "a half-baked idea". (BBC News, March 11th 2008).
Both men have some purpose or cluster of purposes in mind. Dunford talks about developing social skills such as eating a meal together. Goldsmith talks about developing a sense of belonging. Both see social institutions (schools, oaths) fulfilling these purposes.
The UK is not alone in these concerns. The Food Programme (BBC Radio 4) recently reported on the perceived social importance of lunchtime in French nurseries, where a four-course lunch is eaten at a leisurely pace every day. Is that civilization or decadence?