Society is Broken

With experience as a prison doctor and psychiatrist, Theodore Dalrymple decries the impact of the welfare state and a culture of dependence in society.

A phrase such as ‘a broken society’ should not be made to bear more meaning than it has. Societies do not break; they continue to exist even after catastrophe — albeit in an often unpleasant way.

When we talk of a broken society we seem to imply, at least if we take the term too literally, that there was ever a whole society that was not broken or fractured: that is to say, a society whose every member felt completely at harmony with it. This is utopianism projected on to the past. Such a society has never existed, of course.