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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Roger Scruton asks "just what is this country, this Britain, that the Conservatives wish to conserve?"

Roger Scruton - the English and Conservative Philosopher

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/conservatism-tories-roger-scruton/

Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss—is a detailed analysis of the ways in which Britain has been failing, and the ways in which it could regain some, if not all, of its former stature. 

Scruton does not mention the devastation that feminism has wreaked on the British either. Perhaps none of them have noticed, or perhaps they do not quite dare to call for it to be slain just yet.

What is feminism?  It is the ridiculous notion that it is either moral or sustainable to allow women to do men's jobs badly while neglecting their own work.   Feminism also causes widespread illegitimacy and consequently national degeneracy.

http://thebattlefieldoflove.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/feminism-sluts-and-immigration.html explains how feminism, sluts and immigration are linked.


... we must begin from Plato’s famous distinction between philosophy, whose goal is truth, and rhetoric, whose goal is persuasion. In a media-dominated democracy truth counts for very little, while persuasion is everything. Looming over the battlefield of modern politics is the rhetoric of equality. It fights for any side that can capture it, defending traditional conservatism as equality of opportunity, and socialism as equality of outcome.

Philosophically speaking the idea that all human beings are equal is questionable. Equal in what respect, for what end, and in what perspective? Are criminals to be treated equally with law-abiding citizens, for instance? Nevertheless, from the rhetorical point of view, the very same idea of equality is the premise of every winning argument. Equality demands equal treatment for disadvantaged and advantaged children, and therefore exams that make no real distinctions between them. It demands equal treatment for nationals and for migrants, and therefore the abolition of effective border controls. It demands equal treatment for gay and straight people, and therefore gay marriage.

Looming slightly less prominently over the battlefield is the rhetoric of freedom. Philosophically speaking it is again highly questionable whether human beings are or ought to be free: free from whom, to do what? In the name of freedom men abandon their families; schools abandon discipline; universities abandon the old and tried curriculum in order to offer students a wider choice of degrees. Freedom means opportunity, and opportunity means that the canny, the determined and the strong rise to the top, enjoy those phenomenal city salaries, and join the new class of global fat cats. Dressed up in this way, individual freedom cries out for top-down control.

Yet freedom also opens the road to the rest of us; educational freedom creates opportunities for those at the bottom of society; economic freedom protects the volunteer and the entrepreneur against the smothering cloak of regulation; freedom of conscience protects us from the rule of priests and mullahs, while freedom of speech enables us to scorn bigots and bullies without fear of reprisal. Freedom, in this sense, is unquestionably a good thing—unless it is abused. And there’s the rub. What counts as abuse, who is to decide, and what should be the penalty? The philosophy here is deep and difficult but the rhetoric is easy. Matthew Arnold summarised the matter succinctly: “a very good horse to ride; but to ride somewhere.”

All this equality nonsense started with gender equality, ie feminism.  That was the thin end of the wedge, or the snowball that has now turned into an avalanche of totalitarian legislation and censorship.

The philosophy of conservatism, launched two centuries ago by Adam Smith, Edmund Burke and David Hume, and on the continent by GWF Hegel and Joseph de Maistre, is, in my view, difficult, intricate and true. Today’s winning political rhetoric, by contrast, is simple, persuasive, and false. The theory of knowledge and its social function that inspires Michael Gove cannot silence the loud cry of the teachers’ unions for equality whatever the cost. The subtle arguments for the market economy developed by the Austrian school will never extinguish the zero-sum fallacy, which says that if some are rich it is because others aren’t. Burke’s defence of common law justice, like Hegel’s defence of the family and the corporation, has little weight against the rhetoric of “compassion.” Even those on the right who believe that the long-term effect of this rhetoric is to make everyone dependent on the state, and the state dependent on borrowing from a purely imaginary future, will go on repeating it. For the ruling belief is that “in the long run we are all dead,” as Keynes famously put it—none of us will have to pay for current policies and meanwhile it is best to look caring and nice. The philosophy of conservatism has nothing to say in response to this. For it is not about appearing nice. It is about conserving the foundations of civil society. Whatever rhetoric you choose for promoting that cause, the other side is going to describe you as “nasty.” For rhetoric is about appearance, not truth.

It is impossible to defend Conservatism from youthful whynottery without your traditions and your religion.  Without parental authority no traditions will be passed on, and our traditions come from our fathers.  The mature have no energy to debate with the puppyish, insistent and energetic, and so ground is always conceded by the wise to the foolish.   It is religion and respect for our traditions that tell us to respect our elders, not the Cult of Youth in which we now find ourselves in, where to be old and ugly and male means to be accused of being a paedophile every time you say or do something that a malicious youth or woman might wish to punish you for.

The philosophy of conservatism, launched two centuries ago by Adam Smith, Edmund Burke and David Hume, and on the continent by GWF Hegel and Joseph de Maistre, is, in my view, difficult, intricate and true. Today’s winning political rhetoric, by contrast, is simple, persuasive, and false. The theory of knowledge and its social function that inspires Michael Gove cannot silence the loud cry of the teachers’ unions for equality whatever the cost. The subtle arguments for the market economy developed by the Austrian school will never extinguish the zero-sum fallacy, which says that if some are rich it is because others aren’t. Burke’s defence of common law justice, like Hegel’s defence of the family and the corporation, has little weight against the rhetoric of “compassion.” Even those on the right who believe that the long-term effect of this rhetoric is to make everyone dependent on the state, and the state dependent on borrowing from a purely imaginary future, will go on repeating it. For the ruling belief is that “in the long run we are all dead,” as Keynes famously put it—none of us will have to pay for current policies and meanwhile it is best to look caring and nice. The philosophy of conservatism has nothing to say in response to this. For it is not about appearing nice. It is about conserving the foundations of civil society. Whatever rhetoric you choose for promoting that cause, the other side is going to describe you as “nasty.” For rhetoric is about appearance, not truth.

What we do not want to conserve is the dysgenic welfare state, but Roger Scruton does not quite dare to say this.  If we do, then we are conserving a cancer, or an addiction, or a vice.   The welfare state is the second sacred cow the British worship.  That too must be slain in order to conserve what good that is left of the British.

This idea, of a territory that is home to a settled people and an accepted legal order, was expressed by Hegel in terms of the nation state, while de Maistre endowed it with mystical and religious foundations. Throughout the early years, as the British Tory party moved towards democracy, sometimes following the liberals and sometimes leading them, it remained wedded to a vision of inherited social order, and believed that it was the duty of the politician to conserve that order. Defining this order, describing its virtues, diagnosing its ills and proposing remedies—this was the stuff of politics. This approach is one reason for the astonishing success of the Conservative party over nearly two centuries. It has defined the customs and institutions that it is seeking to conserve in terms that a large proportion of electorate broadly agree with—it has been the party of monarchy, of the family, of the Church of England, of law and order, of the common law, of the armed forces and of all the little platoons which aspire to some share in the pomp and circumstance of old England. So understood England is not a “nation” exactly, in the way the emerging Germany of Hegel or the France of de Maistre were nations. It is a moral idea, and one to which the Tories have always appealed when asked to define what they are for, rather than what they are against.

Ah yes, the Church of England, which is now stuffed to its rafters with feminists, homosexuals and Commie Pinkos - the Church of England that is no longer fit for the purpose of maintaining the morals of the English.

The left has understood this, and therefore set out to deconstruct the idea of England, to show it to be a class-ridden and socially divisive sham—what Plato would call a “noble lie.” And it has leant heavily on the grievances of the Scots and the Welsh in pressing the point home. The Labour party has encouraged a school curriculum from which the “we” concept has been more or less excised, with pride in empire replaced by shame at our former belief in it. But perhaps no move that the party made during its recent 13 years of office has been more upsetting to the Tory interest than that of creating a Scottish parliament without removing the Scottish members from the parliament of Westminster. This move has finally marginalised the English idea, by giving to the Scottish electorate two votes, one to govern themselves, and another to control the English. Moreover it has given a reliable block vote to the Labour party in Westminster.

And so the English sold their family silver or at any rate traded Scotland and Wales for a few miserable votes for a few miserable terms of Labour government.   Would the English have done any of this if Britain had had a one-party state?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Why-not-have-a-one-party-state-if-it-makes-more-sense/353471931432677

Those are only some of the problems faced, now, by the Conservative party in its search for a defining philosophy. Demographic changes, highlighted by the recent census, further emphasise the difficulty in reformulating the philosophy of “us.” Far easier, you might think, to replace “us” with everyone, to dissolve the country and its culture in the abstract idea of human rights, and to march with Nick Clegg into a transnational future, leaving England on the dust-heap of history. That, in effect, is what the “modernisation wing” of the Tory party is hoping for—a new kind of conservatism which conserves nothing, changes everything, and is guided by the very same rhetoric of equality and human rights that shapes the left-liberal agenda. If that is where we are, then conservatism is dead. But I take heart, nevertheless, from the five MPs, note their understated and very English kind of patriotism, and am encouraged when I see that only two of their names could have occurred in Trollope or Dickens.

How about this then?  Let the Conservative Party conserve the long-term national interest and always direct its mind towards conserving the long-term national interest.

How is this done to be done?  Through the reintroduction of a national religion that is fit for purpose to replace and disestablish the Church of England that no longer is.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1285332/Follow-Islamic-way-save-world-Charles-urges-environmentalists.html

But first, the Conservative Party must state its aims, objectives and principles, which for some reason it will not.

http://thevoiceofreason-ann.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/my-open-letter-to-conservative-party.html

Conserving the long-term national interest
http://thevoiceofreason-ann.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/conserving-long-term-national-interest.html

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