What we believe makes a difference

(Courier article)

I would like you to imagine an ideology that encourages a population of believers to move to a far distant country. When there, the ideology tells the believers that they are to work towards changing that country in ways that reflect the ideology, to displace the original inhabitants of that country and, ultimately, to ensure that the patterns of life that had previously obtained in the country are eliminated.

Am I talking about Islam? No, I’m talking about an ideology, born in native East Anglian soil and mothered by Christianity, called Puritanism, which motivated the Pilgrim fathers to establish a ‘city on a hill’ in North America, and which became incorporated into the self-understanding of the United States and which led in a consistent and logical fashion to the genocide of the native american population and the almost universal abolition of the previous civilisations.

Of course, I might also be talking about ancient Israel. Consider this passage of instruction given to Moses, when he was told that Joshua would take the Israelites into the promised land: “the Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy the nations living there, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua will lead you across the river, just as the Lord promised. The Lord will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites. The Lord will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you” – the commands being, essentially, to eradicate all ‘foreigners’ from the land.

Such ideologies do not have to be religious. A quick glance at twentieth century history gives several examples of secular ideologies that were used to justify national expansion. My point is that ideologies have consequences, serious consequences. An ideology is simply the structure of values and beliefs which guide behaviour, and it has the longest lasting and widest ranging effect upon the nature of the world within which we live. If we are to continue enjoying the sort of common life that we have enjoyed in this nation for many centuries then we need to ensure that those ideologies which are hostile to that common life are brought out into the open and engaged with.

This is the background to the most important political issues of our time, which are tied in with questions of UKIP and EU, of immigration and Ofsted inspections. We need to have a better conversation. We need to talk explicitly about values, about what sort of society we want to live in. Now those who raise this point are normally belittled as closed minded and racist little Englanders, as opposed to the intellectually sophisticated metropolitan world citizens, our morally enlightened elite. This is a fatuous division, not least because it is actually the most progressive achievements in our society that are most at risk from unplanned changes. For example, equal rights for women and minorities are developments in our society which build upon deeply rooted principles in English common law. If you believe that a girl born in this country has the right to an education, to a career, to an independent romantic life and so on then that is a substantial claim, an ideological commitment. Such a commitment means, as a matter of simple necessity, that you are against those ideologies which would seek to remove them, ideologies which say that women are the property of the men of their family and that if the male authority is rejected, then the men are justified in carrying out ‘honour killings’ in order to enforce their will.

The challenge for our ruling class is that they are faced with a dilemma, for to be committed to one ideology rather than another is to say that multiculturalism is bankrupt. This is inescapable and inevitable. To my mind the central question is how much damage will the multicultural experiment be allowed to cause before our ruling class recognises the roots of our cultural malaise and commits to doing something about it. At least, I hope that is the central question. The longer the elite and their legions of useful idiot supporters continue to ignore and belittle such concerns, the more likely it is that the despair so many people feel about our political situation will turn toxic, and then we really will be in a cruel and unusual era.

Such a step will not be easy. For example, one of the most problematic elements of Islamist ideology is associated with the Wahhabi strand of Islamist teaching, which has grown over the last two hundred years or so, and which is based in, and backed by, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has financially supported the establishment of mosques which promulgate an ideologically extreme form of Islam which is, in no uncertain terms, hostile both to the more peaceable mainstream of Islamic thought and the long-established norms and mores of England. Can we expect, any time soon, any actions by our elite to take steps against this ideology, to stop the message that it broadcasts taking root? Well, watch for when we stop making money by selling armaments to Saudi Arabia, that will be the sign that our elite recognise that there are more important and enduring elements to ensuring the safety of the realm than worshipping at the idol of ‘increasing economic growth’. That is when we will know that they are serious in seeking to preserve British values in the British realm.

One last point. I do not believe that it is a trivial fact that the schools at the centre of the controversy over a ‘Trojan horse’ strategy in Birmingham were all ‘secular’ schools. The claim to secular neutrality is an insufficient grounding for preserving one way of life rather than another. If we are to preserve an English way of life then we need to strengthen and build upon all the elements of English culture. The rites and ceremonies of Englishness need to be resurrected and affirmed. That this ends up being an argument for an established Church of England is one possible conclusion. I shall write more about this another time.

5 thoughts on “What we believe makes a difference

  1. “elite and their legions of useful idiot supporters”

    You’re such a populist, Sam. ‘Elites’ could be any group with a sense of entitlement about being in charge, such as white men. To me this seems like a squabble between two lots of elites about who has the better claim to the throne. Nothing for the rest of us here.

    • It’s not about entitlement, it’s about who has authority over the uniforms with guns – and therefore about who gets defended and who gets thrown to the wolves. Please remember that my Courier articles are consciously populist!!

      • That’s entitlement as far as I’m concerned. Con/Lib/Lab/UKIP all saying ‘we should be in charge because that other lot are elites who only care about being in charge’. These populist attacks on elites are painfully hypocritical, and having an intention to be populist doesn’t make it okay, but rather encourages people in hostility. Not cool!

  2. Over at iBenedictines, Sr Catherine hits the nail on the head I think with this:-

    “As we saw in the recent European election results, many people have a problem with the concept of multi-culturalism, but I am not sure they necessarily have anything positive with which to replace it.”

    This is definitely my feeling, that yes there is a problem, but the solution offered by UKIP is no better, and potentially worse for those of us who might be considered outsiders by them.

    Sr Catherine’s whole blog post is excellent:- http://www.ibenedictines.org/2014/06/05/cultural-identity-and-the-anglo-saxon-missionst/

  3. Sam,

    I have the unusual pleasure of agreeing with you, when others commenting here think you’re a bit off.

    Since long before Maastricht, I’ve thought that economic co-operation was one thing, but economo-political integration was something else entirely, and not a good thing.

    Now, since I’m a Catholic, obviously I believe in the concept that one set of ideas can unify people across national, linguistic and cultural divides: the name Catholic means, in effect, “not belonging to one nation, but to everyone”. Christ didn’t say “Baptise only East Anglians”.

    Whereas Catholic thought leaves open local dominion, under the principle of subsidiarity, the modern notion of multi-culturalism/diversity/tolerance is imposed from above, as it were – or at least from Strassbourg – by people who think in lock step with each other. The result is that central planners get to tell the English what they must include in their beef, what the French can’t include in their cheese, and when and how the Greeks must balance their budget and run their government.

    Have you read Joseph Pearce’s book “Small is still beautiful”?

    English culture and customs do need to be protected — but not against the French or the Spanish or the Germans or even (gasp) the Americans. They need to be protected against enforcers of secularist multi-nationalism.

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