Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 13:47 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 13:47 | SYDNEY

Did 'resilience' just jump the shark?


Sam Roggeveen


2 March 2009 16:40

I've said before that I'm indebted to the bloggers at Global Dashboard for teaching me much of what I know about 'resilience', which I believe should play a large part in Australia's domestic counter-terrorism strategy.

Part of what has attracted me to the concept of resilience is its emphasis on harnessing volunteerism and community action so that Australia can bounce back quickly against an attack (or against any other kind of natural or man-made disaster). I thought this was a refreshing change from the Howard era's  'leave it to us' response, which saw the public as, at best, an intelligence source.

So I was a little alarmed to read that one Global Dashboard contributor, Jules Evans, has advocated the reintroduction (in Britain) of national service as a means to improve resilience against threats like climate change.

This strikes me as completely contrary to the spirit of 'resilience-ism' (sorry; ugly, I know), which emphasises local knowledge rather than a top-down approach — giving communities the tools to help themselves rather than waiting for government to do it for them. It also raises my libertarian hackles (again): there are few better ways to empower the state at the expense of the individual than to have it conscript its youth.

As I've noted before, resilience, if taken to an extreme, could be in danger of straying into survivalism. Is authoritarianism another extreme manifestation of resilience?

NB: For those wondering about my headline, read on.