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Our Future: Fear, Malice, And Blandness

25 July 2019 @ 18:31

…It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak — ‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used — had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.

—George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

The case of what Philosopher Roger Scruton endured recently is well-worth knowing.  Anthony Daniels summarizes it very well at City Journal, offers his dead solid perfect analysis, and is, therefore worth quoting in full:

Two days after confidential cables by the British ambassador to Washington were published in the British press, in which he characterized the Trump administration as inept, divided, and chaotic, a left-wing weekly, the New Statesman, belatedly published an apology to Sir Roger Scruton for the willfully misleading — indeed, defamatory — version of an interview Scruton gave to its deputy editor, George Eaton. As a result of this truncated and mendacious version, Scruton was fired from his honorary appointment as chairman of a commission to try — not before time, it must be said—to improve the aesthetic standards of modern British housing. The minister who fired him was the same minister who had appointed him shortly before, James Brokenshire.

What unites these two episodes—the leaking of the confidential cables and the sacking of Sir Roger—is precisely the ineptitude, division, and chaos not of the Trump administration, but of the British, which is incomparably greater. To these qualities may be added spinelessness; indeed, spinelessness is at the root of the problem. It is hard to do the right thing, or even to do anything properly, when, at heart, you believe in nothing.

Few people were better qualified for the job than Roger Scruton. Indeed, to many Britons his appointment came as a surprise precisely because he was so well-qualified for it, such being the contempt with which the politico-administrative class is now held by the citizenry.

Unfortunately, his firing didn’t really come as a surprise, either. Brokenshire, who had so fulsomely praised Scruton on his appointment (which, incidentally, dismayed all the right people), went into full retreat, like a routed army, the moment the distorted interview appeared in public, and he dismissed Scruton not only without informing him, which was rude, but without informing himself, which was incompetent and cowardly.

Did Brokenshire apologize and reverse his decision once the extent of the distortion of what Scruton had said was revealed by Douglas Murray of the Spectator? Of course not, because that would have meant admitting that he was wrong — grossly so. Being a minister in Theresa May’s government is like love, never having to say you’re sorry. The thought of resigning because he had behaved so badly probably never entered his head.

Slowly, by degrees, as if under torture or cross-examination by a brilliant attorney, Brokenshire has finally apologized without reserve, though he still states only that it is a possibility, not a certainty, that Scruton will be reinstated. At every stage in this lamentable story, Brokenshire has acted as if all that counted was his own short-term political advantage.

What was he afraid of in the first place that led to his decision to dismiss Scruton? I think there can be only one answer: the left-leaning lumpenintelligentsia that is so quick to take to social media. Because, like May, Brokenshire appears to believe in nothing, he is not able to face down opponents with arguments, instead falling back into an immediate posture of surrender. These are the people who govern us, whether we deserve them or not.

That last paragraph could be used to describe nearly all of the members of the GOP Establishment.  These Useful Idiots of The Left are always ready to apologize ‘without reserve’ when the Media and Leftist officials and the Lumpenintelligentsia take offense at something or, more disturbingly, someone.

They are no better than their fictional comrades in Nineteen Eighty-Four — ‘little beetle-like men’.

From another column by Mr. Daniels, over at Taki Magazine:

Denunciation is, of course, a great pleasure. It combines the delights of self-righteousness with those of revenge, sadism, and the contemplation of the discomfort or worse of other people. It requires no courage and is within the capacity of all. In Nazi Germany and Occupied France people wrote denunciations of their neighbors and others by the millions, often for the sheer pleasure of doing so and usually in the hope that they would have serious consequences for the persons denounced….

The day cannot be far off, one imagines, when people will viscerally understand the danger to themselves of saying certain things on social media and will censor themselves automatically. If this continues long enough, certain things will not only become unsayable but unthinkable, for habit eventually is transformed into character. This is the whole point of political correctness: It aims at the most radical of dictatorships, that which requires the enforcement of no police because everyone is incapable of breaking the rules.

In other words, as we’re seeing now all over our Society, people are training themselves not to communicate their beliefs.  Eventually they will have trained themselves like Pavlovian Dogs to not even consider and entertain the kind of ideas that our would-be Masters disapprove of.  I call this The Triumph Of Leftist Thinking:

This is truly a struggle for the Hearts And Minds of a Great People. And, so far, the Left has been going from Victory to Victory as we — the opponents of Leftism — have constantly Retreated.

More from AD:

In the meantime, the appetite for public expressions of contrition is insatiable. It is not contrition itself that is wanted, but the humiliation inflicted upon those who are forced to express it. The enjoyment is in the spectacle of the squirming of the wrongdoer. This must be so, for it is intrinsically impossible to know whether publicly expressed contrition is genuine, at least where it is or might be productive of advantages for the allegedly contrite.  …Remorse and repentance are dishes best eaten in private.

The logic of the combination of social media and a taste for burning witches at the stake will reduce us to a strange state of malice and blandness. The ambitious will refrain from saying anything that could offend anyone; the blind will not lead the blind, but the bland will lead the bland. At the same time, any deviation from current orthodoxy will be punished with vengeful vituperation or worse. Moreover, the orthodoxy to be adhered to will change (just as the enemy changed during the two-minute hate sessions in Nineteen Eighty-Four) as a test of the obedience and loyalty of the population. One thing may be predicted with confidence: The politically correct will find new orthodoxies to enforce, new locutions to prescribe or proscribe, to keep decent society in a state of subliminal fear.

That Fear is daily increasing in intensity, as is our Blandness and Malice.

…For some reason Winston suddenly found himself thinking of Mrs. Parsons, with her wispy hair and the dust in the creases of her face. Within two years those children would be denouncing her to the Thought Police. Mrs. Parsons would be vaporized. Syme would be vaporized. Winston would be vaporized. …Parsons, on the other hand, would never be vaporized. The eyeless creature with the quacking voice would never be vaporized. The little beetle-like men who scuttle so nimbly through the labyrinthine corridors of Ministries they, too, would never be vaporized….

—George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four


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