The heart of Britain
0 comment Wednesday, August 13, 2014 |
Social acid has burnt the heart of Britain
by John O'Sullivan, The Daily Telegraph
...In 1955, the anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer described this tranquillity in his book Exploring English Character: "When we think of our faults, we put first, and by a long way, any lapse from our standards of non-aggression, bad temper, nagging, swearing and the like. Public life is more gentle than that reported for any society of comparable size and industrial complexity."
O'Sullivan's article begins with mention of the Rhys Jones murder, in which a young boy was killed by a drive-by shooter. He describes the various factors, the 'social acids' which have corroded the once-tranquil British society and turned it into a multicultural, atomized, violent society.
The first such acid was the cultural liberalism generally associated with the 1960s: the attempt to free people from irksome traditional moral customs and the laws that reflected them.
Anthony Jay has recently described how the "media liberalism" of the BBC - an institution founded in part to promote social virtues and British institutions - increasingly undermined them all: from military valour to the monarchy.
Combined with a welfare state that picked up the tab, however, cultural liberalism promoted social irresponsibility - more voluntary workless, more divorces, children with fewer opportunities because they live in homes without two parents, a growing underclass, a society that is cruder, more disordered, less gentle.
Less neighbourly, too, because of the second social acid: the ethnic and religious diversity introduced by mass immigration.
You may be surprised to learn that "diversity", which is usually discussed as an undeniable social good, has any drawbacks. But Robert Puttnam, an American social scientist, has established from a major survey (and to his own distress) that ethnic diversity makes people less trustful of each other.''
O'Sullivan mentions that immigration and 'diversity' need not be a corrosive to society provided there is a strong national identity and an impetus to assimilate immigrants. He notes, rather optimistically, in my opinion, that America possesses both these things, and this has insulated America from the worst effects of multiculturalism. He notes that the British government, by contrast, promoted the atomization of British society:
Instead government promoted the third acid: a "multiculturalism" that encourages minorities to retain their culture and identity. Thus, our rulers set out, eager and well-intentioned, to maximise the differences and therefore the tensions inherent in diversity.
The result is a fractured, distrustful and disorderly society. And because a diverse society lacks agreed values and standards, governments regulate the behaviour of all, including the law-abiding, to maintain social peace.
Thus, we have far more officials supervising us than in the 1950s, but they are anti-smoking social workers and ethnic diversity officers rather than park wardens.
The police have become little more than the paramilitary wing of The Guardian, sniffing out "racist" or "Islamophobic" attitudes rather than investigating serious crimes that have some "cultural" excuse. Society gradually becomes more governed and less self-governing.''
O'Sullivan notes that the Victorians managed to reclaim Britain from the rather degraded country it had become by the mid-19th century, and he calls for leaders 'in the Victorian mold' to help rescue Britain from its current distress.
Like O'Sullivan, I wish Britain's restoration, and it would be a Godsend for that country to again have the kind of stern, principled leaders who dominated in the Victorian era. However, hoping that the Victorian social reclamation project is repeatable now is rather a forlorn hope. What impelled the Victorian reform movement was, at least in part, a Christian revival, and the growth of 'muscular Christianity'.
Another factor which facilitated the reform of British society was the fact of its homogeneity, and a strong national identity.
None of these factors obtain in the UK now; on the contrary, few in Britain are active Christian believers. It's said that more people attend mosques in Britain nowadays than attend church; considering that most indigenous British people are unchurched, this seems plausible. And nowadays, with a Babelized population hailing from the four corners of the globe, and with the mutual distrust and outright hostility inherent in a mismatched population, there is not likely to be much to act as a social and cultural bond among the disparate peoples who inhabit the UK now.
Britain's leadership seems pathetically lacking now, and this is also a factor which militates against the healing of the nation. The two major parties, Labour and the Tories, seem as useless and corrupted as our two parties, and like our two major parties, both represent the same failed policies which have put the UK in this predicament. Both support mass immigration, multiculturalism, the oppressive European Union, and the eradication of the historic British identity -- whether they explicitly say so or not.
Just reading recent headlines, such as the spectacle of 'Red Ken' Livingstone, the mayor of London, crying and grovelling for forgiveness over slavery, and the new statue of Nelson Mandela (!) in London illustrates the sad state of leadership in the UK.
However, lest anybody think I am gloating about the state of the UK, I am not; I don't think we in America are in much better shape. We have leaders who are scarcely better, if at all, than those in the UK. And we, too, are being multiculturalized without the consent of the governed. And it positively infuriates me to hear many of the loudmouth neocon Americans gloating about the fate of European countries, including the UK. As someone else once said, if we disown our own British parentage, we are making ourselves bastard children -- but we are still children of Britain nonetheless, culturally if not genetically. And it's unseemly to gloat over the decline and the troubles of our own mother.
I would like to see Britain recover her identity and her pride and strength; it is sad to see such a great country, once the world's greatest empire, in such dire straits. I think it will take some sort of spiritual revitalization, a rejuvenation of the character of that country, in order for the needed change to come about. And I doubt whether such a revitalization can happen in any divided and fragmented country. National character is something that each group develops in their own territory; it cannot be created or sustained in a checkerboard country where everybody is different from the neighbor next door.
In the comments section following the article is this comment by 'Guessedworker':
Good article. But you can't just rebuild "a united democratic nation that governs itself with decency". In England that was the beautiful outcome of centuries of organic social expression of a single ethny. Putnam, whom you rightly mention, John, was only telling us what we already know: social pathologies attend the destruction of ethnic homogeneity.
There is one other important factor here, however, which you overlooked. All peoples that have been invaded and lose their living space also lose their cultural hegemony. The has huge implications for the social health of the natives, most visible in the chronic moral collapses that occurred with American Indians and Australian Aborigines in the 19th Century. Our society is not immune from this slippery slope.
There is a possibility of reprieve, but it is literally revolutionary - too hard for most Englishmen to imagine yet. We are not sufficiently aware. But we will be. Great peoples do not simply die without so much as a whimper.
Posted by Guessedworker on August 26, 2007 8:44 AM
I very much agree with those words, and they are apposite for us in America too.

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