the Culture of Mockery

One of the things that has fatally weakened western civilisation has been the Culture of Mockery. This has been particularly the case in Britain.

Take a look at British popular culture over the past half century. It’s nothing but a sustained campaign of mockery of traditional Britain. Back in the 60s we thought this was being done by the counter-culture – by bold avant-garde nonconformists attacking the Establishment. But it wasn’t. It was the Establishment doing the mocking. Tearing down everything that ordinary Britons cared about.

The British people still haven’t figured out that it’s their own Establishment that hates them. The political, cultural, financial, bureaucratic Establishment. The hilariously misnamed Conservative Party. Even the Church of England, which has nothing but contempt for actual Christianity. Even the Monarchy, which has stood by and cheerfully watched while the country was trashed, occasionally rewarding the worst traitors with a knighthood or a peerage.

It’s not the global left that has destroyed Britain – it’s the British Establishment.

Never underestimate the absolute loathing that people like Theresa May have for everything Britain once stood for.

Of course the Culture of Mockery has undermined all western societies, but it has assumed a particularly virulent form in Britain. The British elite has waged a continuous and all too successful war on Britishness.

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stability and order vs dynamism and progress

There are many different axes which can be used to describe political positions. There’s free market vs central planning, libertarian vs authoritarian, globalist vs nationalist. The one that doesn’t get considered so much, but which seems to me to be the most important of all, is that I would call the stability/dynamism axis.

This is more than just a political alignment. Where a person falls on this axis has much to do with both personal psychology and cultural traditions.

Some cultures have always seen stability and order as being the most important objectives  of government. China for most of its history is an obvious example, Ancient Egypt being another. Other cultures have seen stability as a weakness. They have valued change, dynamism, expansion, growth and what they like to call progress.

Western society since the Reformation has been a spectacular example of a culture that has chosen dynamism at the expense of stability. Whether this is actually an inherent feature of western culture is debatable. Western Europe during the Middle Ages certainly seemed to put a fairly high value on stability.

Obviously some individuals are also psychologically more inclined to favour either stability or dynamism.

Overall though western culture has become so focused on the supposed advantages of progress that it is difficult to find any mainstream political party in any western country that genuinely stands for stability and order. Self-described conservative parties are in reality, almost without exception, liberal parties that fetishise growth and progress. One of the few institutions that truly stood on the side of stability was the Catholic Church. Since Vatican II even the Catholic Church has tended more and more to favour the liberal concept of progress. Christianity in general has become, if anything, a destabilising force in the West.

The fact that those countries that were formerly part of the communist bloc are now more socially conservative and less inclined to make a fetish of progress seems puzzling at first. The usual explanation offered is that the citizens of those nations were so horrified by their experience of communism that they reacted by becoming ardent conservatives. That’s probably partly true. It is however worth considering a curious fact about communism in practice. Once a communist revolution succeeds the revolutionaries themselves tend to become very suspicious of change. They start to focus on preserving the revolution. They start to put a very high value on stability and order.

It is of course difficult to reconcile stability and order with democracy. Democracies quickly become obsessed by the idea of change for the sake of change. Democratic governments want to to be seen as doing something and doing something invariably means changing things, and changing things invariably undermines stability and order.

I have to say that I’m basically a stability and order kind of guy. Society is a fragile thing. If you try to change society the odds are very high that you will end up changing it for the worse. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are. Not only are changes more likely to be harmful than beneficial, they also tend to make society even more fragile, so the next time you try to change things the risks will be even greater.

Since I favour stability and order it’s not surprising that the one political ideology that really terrifies me is liberal democracy. It’s probably also not surprising that I take a jaundiced view of free markets. Liberal democracy combined with free markets seems to me to be a guaranteed recipe for long term chaos. My inclination is to support any political ideology that stands for stability and order. I guess I’m just a natural reactionary.

rebuilding European demographics

Let’s assume that eventually the anti-immigration argument succeeds and the flood of immigrants into the West is stopped. OK, it seems very unlikely but let’s just assume it anyway. What is the next step?

Western countries like Britain, France, the United States and Sweden are already in a mess. Clearly it’s not going to be enough merely to stop immigration. Those countries need to be restored to functionality and even more importantly they need to be restored to the status of civilised nations. For one thing that means the apparatus of totalitarianism that has been slowly built up over the past half century needs to be dismantled. I am assuming that what we in the anti-immigration camp want is for these nations to be restored to something like the state they were in in the 1950s before the process of de-civilisation got seriously underway.

So what would need to be done? There are many who would like to see the demographic balances of the 50s restored. It’s certainly an attractive idea but could it really be done? Bismarck famously said that politics is the art of the possible, and I’m not entirely sure that  a restoration of 1950s demographics falls within the range of the possible. Existing nationalist parties have had little success even though their policies are very much more moderate than this.

It seems to me that there are four options.

1 Mass deportations to forcible restore 1950s demographics.

2 Selective deportations to achieve a more favourable demographic balance.

3 Assimilation of existing immigrants.

4 Segregation.

Option 1 is almost certainly impossible and could in any case only be carried out by a government with such sweeping powers that it would have the potential to be more totalitarian than our current system.

Option 2 appeals to a lot of people who think our problems could be solved by expelling all members of a certain religion. The Spanish did this fairly successfully after the Reconquista in the late 15th century but they needed the Inquisition to make it work. A modern attempt would need something very similar to the Inquisition.

Enforcing deportations (or immigration bans) on religious lines is not simple. How exactly do you decide if someone actually belongs to the religion in question? Do you deport everyone who was born a Muslim? Or only practising Muslims? How do you define practising? If someone claims that they have abandoned their religion or converted to a different religion can you believe them? The Spanish (no doubt wisely) were not inclined to take people’s word for it that they had sincerely converted to Catholicism. It was the Inquisition’s job to make sure.

The Spanish Inquisition in fact was not particularly brutal or even particularly oppressive. Much of its evil reputation is due to the anti-Catholicism that dominated English intellectual life for so many centuries (Henry Kamen’s excellent book on the subject which I reviewed here is worth a read). But nonetheless it was certainly intrusive and I cannot imagine that a modern version is ever likely to be politically acceptable or even desirable.

http://anotherpoliticallyincorrectblog.blogspot.com.au/2015/12/the-spanish-inquisition-historical.html

We also need to ask ourselves if deporting people for their religious beliefs is a wise precedent to establish. It could just as easily be turned against adherents of other religions, especially Christianity. It’s worth remembering that our political establishment hates Christianity a lot more than it hates Islam. They’d be overjoyed to have the opportunity to ban Christian immigrants and to deport existing Christians.

On the whole any kind of large-scale deportation, whether selective or not, seems to me to be impractical and to involve very real potential dangers.

That brings us to Option 3, assimilation. This might be an unpopular thing to say but this is actually my least favoured option. For various reasons.

Firstly, it doesn’t work particularly well and it works least well with the very people who are most likely to be a social problem.

Secondly, you have to have a viable host culture for the immigrants to assimilate to. We no longer have that. Assimilation means embracing the core values of a culture and what are the core values of our civilisation? Mindless consumerism, greed, celebrity worship,  homosexual marriage, abortion on demand, promiscuity, pornography, transgender bathroom rights and feminism. Why would anyone want to assimilate to a death cult like modern western civilisation? Why would we want to encourage anyone to do so? Do we really need more crazy blue-haired feminist harpies?

Thirdly, I just don’t like the idea of assimilation. It means cutting oneself off from one’s history and cultural traditions. It means betraying one’s loyalties. Essentially it means becoming a rootless cosmopolitan and do we really need any more rootless cosmopolitans? It means you end up with a society with no actual culture (just a veneer of trash pop culture), no shared traditions, no shared history. You end up with a society that will be more and more inclined to embrace the very forces that have led us to ruin – liberal democracy, consumerism and capitalism. You end up with a society more likely to welcome totalitarianism and more likely to worship the state since they have nothing else of substance in which to believe. The descent into degeneracy will continue unchecked.

Option 4 is the one likely to provoke howls of outrage but some kind of segregation might well be the best solution for everyone. Something like the millet system in the Ottoman Empire, whereby different faiths can essentially live under their own laws and preserve their own cultures. This might seem like a very unattractive solution but it might be the best hope for preserving at least a remnant of European civilisation.

propping up feminism

A commenter on a recent post at Oz Conservative made what seems to me to be a very good point.

“If the laws promoting feminism were to be simply repealed, it would disappear of its own accord in no more than a decade.”

I think that’s almost certainly true. Feminism is an ideology that is so deluded and wrong-headed that it can only be propped up by active and aggressive government action.

Governments can pressure universities to achieve “equality” in science faculties. We then end up with a huge number of scientifically incompetent women occupying places in academia and, more worryingly, in industry and government. But this cannot change the fact that women’s contribution to science and technology has been practically nil. And continues to be practically nil. Women are just not good at science. Most women “scientists” are in fact administrators and other parasites. They’re not real scientists doing important cutting-edge work.

Governments can pressure corporations to appoint female CEOs. This usually has disastrous consequences for the corporations in question because women make poor CEOs. The biggest corporations don’t care. They’re too big to fail and it’s actually an advantage to them if their smaller competitors are weakened by being forced to put women into senior management positions.

Women can be pushed into political careers. They are rarely successful. They usually end up being incompetent but vicious control freaks like Theresa May, Hillary Clinton, Julia Gillard, Angela Merkel, etc etc etc. The women who want to go into politics do so because they love the idea of telling other people what to do but governing a country requires other skills that they conspicuously lack.

Governments can force the police and other emergency services to employ women in roles for which they are clearly not suited. The usual result is that innocent people die because the women are not up to the job.

Governments can force the military to put women in combat roles but when the shooting starts the women will almost all suddenly discover they’re pregnant and they won’t have to fight. Women don’t want to be soldiers; they want to play at being soldiers.

Governments can appoint more and more women to the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy will just become even more inefficient as the women hold endless meetings to discuss the importance of holding meetings.

Governments can encourage women to try to live like men and to conduct their personal lives lie men. The result is crazy miserable women.

Feminism can only survive as long as it is enforced as official government policy.

This might be acceptable if it actually made women happier. But it doesn’t. Pressuring women into taking on roles for which they are biologically and emotionally unsuited just makes women angry, miserable and crazy.

Of course most of the liberal agenda could never survive in the real world without government coercion to make us all pretend that it works. Feminism is merely the most spectacular example.

facts are so 20th century

I’ve been kind of amused lately by the child-like faith of HBD-ers that they are about to be triumphantly vindicated. This seems to me to indicate a depth of delusionalism that I’d never previously suspected.

Now I don’t actually have any strong views on the subject of HBD. Perhaps at this point I should explain that HBD is human bio-diversity and is essentially the idea that human evolution has never stopped and that racial differences (particularly in respect of IQ) are real. I suspect that intelligence is much more complicated than IQ fetishists will allow and that trying to separate the effects of genetics, upbringing and culture on human behaviour will prove to be next door to impossible. So I’m sceptical of HBD, quite apart from the fact that it’s politically suicidal to entertain such a belief. I also don’t subscribe to the view that HBD is a necessary argument against immigration (in fact I think it’s the argument least likely to succeed).

That’s not my point however. My point is that a lot of HBD-ers at the moment are very excited because they think that within the next few years scientific evidence will come to light that will convince everyone that HBD is correct. Now it frankly amazes me that anyone in the year 2018 could seriously believe that scientific evidence matters. Scientific evidence used to matter, back in the bad old days. Thankfully in our current enlightened age we know that facts were often sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic. We’re much better off without them. We know that dogma always trumps facts. If the facts disagree with the dogma then the facts must be changed.

In other words, no amount of scientific evidence is going to make even the smallest difference. We’re dealing today with a world in which it is accepted that there are no biological differences between men and women. We’re dealing with a world in which it is accepted that there are fifty-seven different genders and a man can become a woman merely by wearing a frock. These are not fringe beliefs. They are official dogma.

If scientific evidence is found that supports HBD does anyone really think that the ideological thugs who enforce official dogma are going to suddenly abandon their politically correct beliefs and embrace blatant thoughtcrime? In fact their response will be to tighten the screws, to enforce official dogma more rigorously and to crack down on anyone who dares to dissent. These are people who read 1984 for fun and inspiration. These are people who enjoy being ideological bullies. They enjoy destroying the lives of those who disagree with them. They are not open to persuasion by mere facts.

film review: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Speaking of naval fiction and screen adaptations of naval fiction, like so many youthful fans of this genre I eventually ran out of Hornblower novels to read and moved on to other writers. Writers like Patrick O’Brian. I think most people would concede that C.S. Forester and O’Brian are the two giants of this genre. My admiration for O’Brian’s novels has caused me to avoid seeing the 2003 movie adaptation  of his work, on the assumption that a 21st century movie version would almost certainly be riddled with political correctness and would almost certainly miss the subtleties of the novels.

Now that I’ve finally seen Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World I have to confess that my fears were not really justified. It’s actually pretty good.

The problem with historical fiction, and historical movies, is that they almost always say more about the era in which they are produced than about the era in which they are set. This problem has always existed but has become steadily worse. Contemporary historical fiction and movies are populated entirely by 21st century characters wearing period costume. The beliefs, values, attitudes, opinions and prejudices of the characters reflect today’s world and appear so hopelessly anachronistic in historical films that such books and films become merely absurd. It is very difficult to avoid this trap.

Watching Master and Commander it’s obvious that screenwriters John Collee and Peter Weir have at least tried to avoid this pitfall. The characters do to a certain extent reflect the very different outlook and the very different values of the early 19th century. Captain Jack Aubrey is motivated by a sense of duty that would seem absurd in a character in a modern movie but it feels reasonably right for the period. His views are roughly what you expect from a British frigate captain in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars.

He is even allowed to give a little speech on the subject, and (even more surprisingly) on the subject of patriotism. Most surprising of all is that he is permitted to deliver the speech in a refreshingly non-ironic manner.

The great temptation would have been to make his friend naturalist/physician friend  Stephen Maturin into a proto-SJW. Mercifully this does not happen. Jack and Stephen disagree strongly on countless subjects but both men remain fairly plausible as men of their time. Stephen might be a religious sceptic but he deplores the egalitarianism of the French Revolution. He believes in social hierarchies.  Stephen likes to give the impression that he sees the Navy mostly as a way to pursue his interest in natural history but when push comes to shove and the survival of the ship is at stake he is more than willing to grab pistol and cutlass and indulge (with considerable enthusiasm) in hand-to-hand fighting.

This is certainly a magnificent looking film. It’s grungy enough to be convincing without overdoing it. The action scenes are great. As far as entertainment is concerned it scores very highly.

The biggest plus is Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey. I’ve never had much time for Crowe as an actor but he’s superb here. Most crucially he plays Aubrey as a genuine hero. He’s not an anti-hero. He’s not a flawed and tortured hero. He’s the real deal.

There’s also a welcome lack of political correctness. It’s not that the film is politically incorrect – it simply ignores the existence of PC and gets on with the story. Of course you have to remember that it was made fifteen years ago and you probably wouldn’t get away with such a film today.

All in all Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is much much better than I’d expected.

It’s also interesting to compare it to the roughly contemporary Hornblower TV series.

Hornblower, and an age without heroes

We live in an age without heroes. We may be the first age to dispense with heroes. We have celebrities instead.

Even fictional heroes these days are more like celebrities than real heroes. Or they’re flawed heroes, with the emphasis on the flaws. Or they’re anti-heroes. They aren’t heroes in the sense that heroes used to be understood. They don’t behave in a truly heroic way. They don’t stand for heroic virtues – self-sacrifice, courage, honour, selflessness, duty.

We live at a time when Hollywood celebrities are congratulated for their courage for expressing exactly the same political views that everyone else in Hollywood expresses.

Perhaps this is all part of the gradual loss of hope, and loss of confidence, that western civilisation has experienced over the course of the past century.

I can still (dimly) remember a time when we had heroes although they were already starting to go out of fashion with our intellectual elites. I can still remember when real heroes were celebrated, and fictional heroes provided inspiration.

One of the great fictional heroes, and perhaps the last great British fictional hero, was Horatio Hornblower. C.S. Forester chronicled Hornblower’s entire career, from humble midshipman to famous admiral, a career that spanned the whole of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Hornblower was introduced to the world in 1937 and featured in a dozen novels over the following thirty years.

Forester did not write mere Boys’ Own Adventures. He was a writer who understood that the world is a complex place and that it contains evil as well as good and that heroism is not always straightforward. Nonetheless Hornblower was a true hero. He was by no means perfect but whenever it counted he proved that he had the right stuff.

I devoured all of the Hornblower novels when I was young and still believed in heroes. I have very fond memories of them. Which is why I’ve been very reluctant to watch the British Hornblower TV series which was made between 1998 and 2003. By the late 90s British television was already riddled with political correctness and I had grave doubts as to whether they would have been capable of doing justice to Hornblower.

I’ve finally weakened and tonight I watched the first of the Hornblower TV movies, The Even Chance (later retitled The Duel).

Were my forebodings correct? Well, partially. For my tastes it tries a bit too hard to be dark and edgy, especially in the first half. A bit too much emphasis on the horribleness of everything, a bit too bleak and a bit too much gore. And definitely too much of what our American cousins like to call profanity.

Things do pick up as the movie progresses and it does start to become rather more heroic. Hornblower makes some blunders and doesn’t always handle things well but he is a 17-year-old midshipman and a hero is someone who is able to overcome his own weaknesses and learn from his own mistakes and he certainly does that.

On the whole it was not as good as I’d hoped, but nowhere near as bad as I’d feared. When it comes to the television of the past twenty years that’s about as much as one can hope for.

And it has inspired me to revisit the Hornblower novels, and to try to track down the 1951 American film Captain Horatio Hornblower (which I remember as being quite good).