March 18, 2013 by jmw
The contemporary abundance of products with this slogan is a perfect example of consumer ideology masked in psychological / quasi-spiritual promises. Originally used as British propaganda during WWII, this little slogan is the perfect guardian for status quo ideology. “Keep calm” – avoid conflict, don’t get upset – “and carry on” – keep things the same, don’t change.
No wonder G.K. Chesterton wrote that “free thought is the best of all safeguards against freedom. Managed in a modern style, the emancipation of a slave’s mind is the best way of preventing the emancipation of the slave. Teach him to worry about whether he wants to be free, and he will not free himself.” (Orthodoxy, 114)
It’s like Kant said: “Think as much you like, and as freely as you like, just obey!”
Or, keep calm and carry on.