Five Things that have changed Britain utterly

Five Things that have changed Britain utterly

Several Sundays ago, two sweet-looking, middle-aged women appeared at our front door in quick succession.

The first handed me a colourful brochure promising an end to all suffering and, so long as we stuck by the tenets of her faith, eternal joy.

A few minutes later, a second, wearing a red rosette, handed me leaflets promising an end to child poverty, inequality, the gender gap and racial division.

Soon after, the failure of the end of the world to materialise – as predicted by an obscure Christian group in the United States – led to much self-applause on this side of the Atlantic.

Yet, for all their supposed atheist superiority, many Britons have merely replaced the Christian God with a new idol – the state. The callers at our front door made for a good analogy for that transfer of faith.

1. Statism

The last half-century has seen British society transformed like never before. But perhaps the most striking is the state’s takeover of the role of the church, so that the state does not just run services, but also provides moral leadership, salvation and happiness.

Priests are thin on the ground, but social and youth workers are in abundance. Church schools are frowned upon for indoctrinating pupils, yet the state’s core principles of equality and diversity, not to mention “sex and human relationships”, are enforced on every child. The various equality and anti-discrimination laws passed since the 1950s have grown from tackling blatant, open racial discrimination to making a window of men’s souls. Those who refuse to accept the new articles of faith – equality in particular – can be excluded from public service; thrown out of communion, as it were.

The state has replaced the church in other areas, too. In the days when the Church supported art, artists gave glory to God in their work. Where the state now takes that role, television, radio, theatre and cinema praise the wonders of the state. No wonder that so many actors and artists are firm believers.

The charitable sector has become, just as it was once a branch of the church, a branch of the state. Some 25,000 British charities now receive more than three-quarters of their income from the state, and big charities rely on enormous payments. Some of the state-funded “charities” are thinly-veiled pressure groups, whose representatives often appear on state radio as disinterested parties lobbying against “cuts”.

In May this year, a Birmingham tribunal even gave a man permission to sue the BBC for wrongful dismissal on the grounds of “religious or belief discrimination”, his “belief” being that “public service broadcasting has the higher purpose of promoting cultural interchange and social cohesion”.

Afterwards, the BBC’s lawyer declared that belief in the NHS could also be classified as a protected religious belief. Nigel Lawson’s remark – that the NHS was “the closest thing the English have to a religion” – was more accurate than even he might have forecast. Earlier this year, health unions even called for a “National Vigil” to save the NHS.

Statism now has all the symbols, narratives, sacred traditions, ethics, moral laws and a set of enemies it must drive out.

Statism is essentially destructive towards all non-state institutions, for they promote the sins of inequality and discrimination – discrimination in the family between men and women, in the Church between believers and non-believers, in grammar schools between the bright and dull.

Both the Church of England and the Catholic Church now want to remove the time-consuming hurdles that their schools place before all parents – church attendance and parish activity – because they are as unduly unfair to the time-poor disadvantaged, especially lone-parent families.

This doctrine of “disparate impact” – which holds that something should not affect one demographic over another – is pure statism. And pure nonsense, because nothing – literally nothing – affects all social classes, races, nationalities or sexes at the same rate.

To counter this unfairness, the state responds by disincentivising sociable behaviour, as it did with the social housing system, where a first-come, first-served system was replaced by one based on need, therefore incentivising neediness and pathological behaviour.

2. Fatherlessness

Statist attempts to alter the natural, imperfect dynamic of sexual relationships and family life, by trying to remove the poverty that was the sad lot of fatherless families, were disastrous.

Within a generation, a quarter of children were growing up without fathers, and increasing numbers were badly socialised. And well-meaning conservatives who pointed out this cause and effect process have been shouted down by various state-funded charities.

For the state, the family has proved to be a foreign war, a quagmire in which the end result is mission creep and failure. There is no exit strategy because the immediate (and even middle-term) legacy of statism is to undermine the alternative social support networks that state clients once relied on, such as marriage.

Instead, the state goes deeper. Bad parenting goes hand in hand with bad feeding, and Britain’s unique social pathologies are reflected in its place at the top of Europe’s obesity league. So the state took to instructing parents on food, and eventually general early intervention became, in the words of one Labour backbench MP, “a cross-party issue”. One Liberal Democrat think-tank has even suggested state support to help parents read to their child and talk without the television on. One wonders how the working classes managed to put their clothes on before the statists arrived.

For those at the extreme end of social collapse, state intervention is even more profound. In 2009, the Children’s Secretary set out a £400 million plan to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV supervision in their own homes. It would “ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals”. After the 2011 riots, David Cameron announced that the Government would “adopt” 120,000 troubled families.

And state-sponsored fatherlessness proved especially toxic when mixed with the biggest change of all.

3. Mass immigration

If one’s grandparents from 1961 were to travel forward into their homeland of today, the first thing they would comment upon would be the people around them not being English. And the first thing you’d say to them is “Shh! You can’t say that!”

Then you’d explain to your ancestors that race is to us what sex was to them, the central social taboo, too indecent to talk about it in polite company.

And yet the scale of change would strike them as being quite fantastic. Before the Second World War, well over 90 per cent of England’s DNA could be traced back to the country’s unification under King Athelstan over a thousand years previously; almost 70 per cent had been on the island well before Stonehenge was started in 3000BC.

In 2011, the descendants of post-war immigrants comprised almost a third of UK births, meaning that Britain’s basic genetic make-up had changed more in one lifetime than in over 6,000 years.

The great taboo reflects deep-seated anxieties, inner-city troubles being one of them. West Indian immigrants in the 1950s came from islands with high levels of fatherlessness, although tempered by Christianity and economic necessity. They arrived in a country in which Christianity was in collapse and the state was the ultimate “baby father”. Today, almost half of black British children grow up without a dad.

London, introduced to muggings in the early 1970s (before the 1950s, England had roughly 350 street robberies a year, less than what a typical London borough will now experience in a month), now has “postcode killings”, “respect murders” and even punishment gang rapes. An Englishman of 1961 would be aware of gangs in England, but the London gangs of 2011 would be culturally unrecognisable.

So too would the accent. After the 2011 riots, historian David Starkey commented that “a substantial section of the chavs that you wrote about have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion.” He spoke of a Jamaican patois “that has intruded in England”, which is why “so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country”.

Starkey was widely condemned, with a petition demanding his banishment from the BBC, and a hundred academics writing a letter saying his views “disgrace the academic world”. But he was right. Jafaican has become London’s accent, driving out Cockney, which could be traced back to the age of Thomas Becket.

More controversially still, he quoted Enoch Powell, who had become the hate figure of the multicultural orthodoxy. Yet Powell’s 1968 predictions that immigration will succeed in reproducing ‘in England’s green and pleasant land… the haunting tragedy of the United States’ would not seem at all controversial to our ancestors of 1961.

4. Multiculturalism

The 2011 riots were not an inevitable result of immigration. It took multiculturalism, which was both a practical way of dealing with immigrant populations and a means of promoting a largely unpopular change, to do that.

It began with the 1975 Bullock Report into Education, A Language for Life, set up to deal with variant averages in educational achievement, which had to be explained by systematic racism. It recommended, among other things, that teachers understand Creole dialect and have “a positive and sympathetic attitude towards it”.

Six years later, practical multiculturalism as state policy expanded after what Lambeth Council now calls “the Brixton Uprising” of 1981. Local governments were encouraged to reach out to minorities, forming fundamentally undemocratic relationships with self-appointed community leaders, closely resembling the millet system of Ottoman Turkey.

Multiculturalism was also a means for statists to undermine the institutions of the nation, especially its religion; often against the wishes of immigrants themselves, who, like Russian Jews in the 1890s, longed for their children to become English gentlemen and saw no reason why that should conflict with their faith.

As James Bennett wrote in The New Criterion, “Postmodernists deliberately embraced mass immigration without assimilation – specifically suppressing assimilation, in fact – in order to break down adherence to a common culture and to subvert prevailing family systems. A population without a common language, common assumptions, or indeed any means of generating a genuine polity is easier to manipulate and turn into the common clay from which a new transnational order can be moulded.”

But it also relied on the cultural relativism pioneered by Franz Boas, the early 20th century anthropologist who wrote on a trip to see the Inuit, “As a thinking person, for me the most important result of this trip lies in the strengthening of my point of view that the idea of a ‘cultured’ person is merely relative.”

No system of beliefs was superior to any other, and no culture superior to another. The result was gang violence in London, honour killings and cousin marriages in Bradford and Birmingham.

But at the centre of this doctrine was a fundamental lie. No self-proclaimed cultural relativist believed that their beliefs – the centre-Left, pro-equality, pro-human rights secular ideals of “thinking people” that had been framed by no less a body than the United Nations – were anything less than perfect, eternal and empirically right.

5. Political Correctness

None of these changes would have been possible were it not for the ideas formulated by such intellectuals as Antonio Gramsci, which are generally known as Cultural Marxism. Gramsci believed that revolution could only come once revolutionaries had imposed cultural hegemony through a society’s institutions. And language is the most important institution of all.

To our ears, pre-war terminology often seems blunt to the point of offensive. The medical profession spoke of lunatics and morons, imbeciles and idiots. Policy-makers wrote of broken homes and juvenile delinquents, rather than lone parents and at-risk children.

On a superficial level, our society appears gentler and, as others have pointed out, political correctness succeeded partly because of a desire to spread kindness. Making the only gay, woman or black man in an institution feel more welcome doesn’t make one Stalin.

We all remember the comically absurd examples, such as “follically challenged” or “baa baa woolly lamb”. Fewer smiles are raised by the justice system’s use of “clients” to describe criminals, not to mention “vulnerable” to describe young people who are vulnerable only to their own criminal impulses.

Euphemism comes to be most heavily applied where an officially sanctioned idea is unpopular, which is why “diverse” and “vibrant” have become so common with estate agents; and “fairness” and “justice” are now synonyms for “redistribution”.

Many euphemisms themselves change in time, so that “global south” has replaced “the developing world”; while “ethnic minorities” was changed to “black and minority ethnic”, for some inexplicable reason that only the people at the Guardian Style Guide understand.

Yet euphemisms, spread by the font of all modern idiocy, American academia, are dangerous, for the real purpose of political correctness is to make opposing views literally unsayable. By forcing upon the English language novelties, with new implications and subtleties, the cultural Marxists force English speakers to accept their worldview or expose themselves as heretics.

And, as the language has changed, so the political culture has become increasingly intolerant of “offensive” views, from the hounding of Ray Honeyford to the trial of Geert Wilders, not to mention hoteliers and elderly couples harassed and tried for expressing unpopular opinions about Islam or homosexuality

Thanks to an almost religious set of values now established across the West, with racism, sexism and discrimination among the new seven deadly sins, certain political views are no longer just wrong but immoral.

And because these same secular sins are inherent in human interaction and life, and are therefore inherent to any institution outside the state, any activity outside of the benevolent state is only liable to produce sin. The time has come for a new reformation against this all-controlling faith.

This article was published at The Notting Hill Editions

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