Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Patriotism, the love that dare not speak its name

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'Patriotism...is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity and increases his arrogance and conceit.' Emma Goldman. 
She was a Communist but I wonder how many British people nowadays who are not Communists (so excluding Jeremy Corbyn) also think patriotism a bad thing.

It shows you how the Communists have succeeded to a very large extent. Many, perhaps most, of their ideas have triumphed. Sexual equality; free love, including for homosexuals; contraception; abortion; internationalism; the end of colonialism; racial equality; confiscation of property from the rich; atheism; materialism; the general idea that tradition is oppressive. 

The fascists, by contrast, lost the battle of ideas comprehensively. 

More than that, the desire to be as different from the fascists and Nazis as possible has remade the world. Mass immigration is the most striking example of what I mean, but there are so many examples daily.

Dr Johnson's remark that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel gets repeated a lot and misunderstood a lot. It's not a one to one mapping of scoundrels and patriots. Johnson himself was the greatest of patriots, but knew scoundrels resort to patriotism because it appeals to people who aren't scoundrels.

I always loved my country intensely, but I am not one of 'Thatcher's children'. I am two or three years older and one of Callaghan's children. Our political ideas were formed in our mid-teens, when our country seemed to be a back number, a not very important place, resolutely in decline, a sort of Belgium. 


After that Margaret Thatcher, whom as a Callaghan's child I did not like, raised Britain's self-confidence a very long way. I recognised this before I moved to Romania, just as New Labour came to power and began its thirteen wasted years (an accurate application of Harold Wilson's phrase from 1964).

We had much more confidence in ourselves in the late 90s than in the late 70s, but the referendum result changed my idea of my country. It was a shock but my opinion of the British went up went up twenty-fold. 

As my friend Dominic Johnson indelicately said, on the morning of the result: 
So the old country still has balls.
Yes.

Many or most on the Remain side disagree, naturally. Which is fair enough. But a fair number on the left, in their snarling remarks about xenophobic, racist Leave voters, remind me of the way Orwell described left-wing snobs back in wartime, when patriotism was in fashion.

England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. 
Orwell would very certainly have voted Leave.

12 comments:

  1. Mr. Wood

    I think you've given the Communists a bad rap here, and lets be honest they don't need your help to get a bad rap.

    "It shows you how the Communists have succeeded to a very large extent. Many, perhaps most, of their ideas have triumphed. Sexual equality; free love, including for homosexuals; contraception; abortion; internationalism; the end of colonialism; racial equality; confiscation of property from the rich; atheism; materialism; the general idea that tradition is oppressive."

    But if we look at these separately many these aren't Communist ideas, they are Liberal ideas.

    Sexual equality - I don't remember Marx having much to say on the subject?

    Free Love - Lenin liked having mistresses but he didn't support free love. Feminists support this not Communists

    Homosexuality - Again I don't remember old Communists supporting this at all

    The rest I will grant you without much opposition.

    Mark Moncrieff
    Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future

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    1. They may be liberal ideas but were Communist ones too.

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  2. As my friend Dominic Johnson...
    This one?
    https://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/academic-faculty/dominic-johnson.html

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  3. In common with Dr Johnson I don't mind patriots, what I abhor is nationalist stealing their trappings and being disingenuous with them.

    Dante

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    1. What do you mean by nationalism? I am a conservative who thinks people should obey the authority placed over them by God, but I recognise that nationalism has good and bad aspects. In the past, it weakened empires like the Austrian and British empires but also had positive achievements. Nation building is a good thing. Nations are a good thing. Nowadays the danger is multiculturalism and nationalism is more of a force for good and unlikely to cause wars.

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  4. Communists have succeeded.. This is what the general opinion was in the East before 1989. As late as 1987 it was inconceivable that anything would change in Romania. Ideological fights had been won, pretty much everyone was an atheist, educated, logical, dialectic. And yet, it took only 10 years to have churches spring up everywhere. Today, only 'western educated and enlightened' young people buy into the cultural Marxist propaganda. They may be vocal, but not the majority.
    The hearts and minds of people are quite hard to control in reality, so it is futile to declare victory based on that.
    Even the legislative gains (see the gay marriage) may be lost in a blink: if there is enough pressure from the Muslim population a sharia like legal system may become the norm.
    It is all in flux, and I think the faster things change the more we have the feeling that they are set and there is no going back.
    About nationalism, I see it getting stronger everywhere except the West: China, India, Muslim countries.

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  5. It shows you how the Communists have succeeded to a very large extent. Many, perhaps most, of their ideas have triumphed. Sexual equality; free love, including for homosexuals; contraception; abortion; internationalism; the end of colonialism; racial equality; confiscation of property from the rich; atheism; materialism; the general idea that tradition is oppressive.

    Except that none of those ideas has any real connection to communism. Those are all liberal ideas. Old school communists would have approved of some of them whilst being appalled by others.

    But what about the core ideas of communism? I haven't noticed the dictatorship of the proletariat making much headway lately.

    In fact it is liberal capitalism that is everywhere triumphant. Communism has lost all the battles that really count.

    The capitalism hat has triumphed is not the bold individualist free enterprise capitalism that Americans used to get all misty-eyed about. It's a corrupt crony capitalism in bed with corrupt big government bureaucrats but it's still capitalism. It's a million miles away from the workers owning the means of production.

    Most of the ideas that you've listed above (free love, militant homosexuality, racial equality, etc) are merely window-dressing to hide the triumph of capitalism.

    The mistake you've made is to equate anti-traditionalism with communism and the Left. In fact capitalism is and always has been far more hostile to tradition.

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    1. "In fact capitalism is and always has been far more hostile to tradition."

      A small number of far sighted people on the Right recognised this at the beginning of the Cold War and consequently viewed the USSR as the lesser evil compared with the US:

      "In the aftermath of World War II many German war veterans, despite the devastating conflagration between Germany and the USSR, and the rampage of the Red Army across Germany with Allied contrivance, were vociferous opponents of any German alliance with the USA against the USSR. Major General Otto E Remer and the Socialist Reich Party were in the forefront of advocating a ‘neutralist’ line for Germany during the ‘Cold War’, while one of their political advisers, the American Spenglerian philosopher Francis Parker Yockey, saw Russian occupation as less culturally debilitating than the ‘spiritual syphilis’ of Hollywood and New York, and recommended the collaboration of European rightists and neo-Fascists with the USSR against the USA.[7] Others of the American Right, such as the Yockeyan and Spenglerian influenced newspaper Common Sense, saw the USSR from the time of Stalin as the primary power in confronting Marxism, and they regarded New York as the real ‘capitol’ of Marxism."

      https://www.counter-currents.com/2013/03/stalins-fight-against-international-communism/

      Looking at the direction of Europe and the world since 1990 nobody can deny that they were right. America today is even more of a menace to civilisation than Revolutionary France or Bolshevik Russia before Stalin's purges. Much more in fact due to its technology. The US State Department is now run by the heirs of Trotsky.

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    2. Looking at the direction of Europe and the world since 1990 nobody can deny that they were right. America today is even more of a menace to civilisation than Revolutionary France or Bolshevik Russia before Stalin's purges. Much more in fact due to its technology. The US State Department is now run by the heirs of Trotsky.

      Precisely. Liberalism allied with capitalism allied with globalism is the greatest threat we've ever faced and the United States is the primary source of the evil.

      And the greatest evil of all is American culture.

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    3. The funny misconceptions about 'isms'. What it is generally called crony capitalism is nothing but state sponsored monopolies. State sponsored monopolies are a form of socialism; 'elected' politicians are running economic activities via regulations/fiscal levers. The ultimate monopoly is communism where 'elected/or not' politicians are running everything. The remark above that Trotsky's heirs are running the State Department in US is very accurate, and not only the state department; education, entertainment, morals. Thank God they didn't get the farming sector... You can trace the infiltration of 'leftist' ideas by the degree of incompetence. The more infiltration, the more incompetence.

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  6. Well written and disturbingly accurate. Orwell spoke the truth when he described English Leftists as hating their nationality. I think all schoolchildren in the UK should be required to watch Branagh's Henry V. It would go a long way in instilling pride in their English ancestors.

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