The blind alleys of hate politics

Small minds concentrate on small issues. Conversely, preoccupation with small issues, fragments rather than the whole picture, is guaranteed to make smaller even a mind that otherwise has a potential for growth.

The situation becomes much worse when such small minds are animated by great passions, especially those springing from hate.

This is hard to condone but, in the case of our fascisoid populists, easy to understand. They see the cancerous cells multiplying in our society and justifiably fear the disease may be fatal.

Unable to diagnose it properly, which few people ever can, they react emotionally – by lashing out against the symptoms of the disease, while ignoring the underlying condition and not even pondering its aetiology.

The two symptoms that rile them most are the most visible ones: the EU destroying Britain’s constitution, and the insanely huge Muslim presence destroying most of everything else.

They have every right to feel beleaguered: the disease is metastasising rapidly and the symptoms are indeed excruciating. However, by the same token, people afflicted with brain cancer suffer from horrendous headaches. But that disease is treated systemically with chemotherapy, not symptomatically with aspirin.

Let’s look at the first symptom of malignancy: Britain first joining, and now only halfheartedly (if at all) trying to leave, the manifestly wicked EU. A good starting point would be to think which British PM of yore would have been prepared to sign the subversive piece of paper John Major signed in 1992.

Pitt? Canning? Gladstone? Disraeli? Or, closer to our own time, Churchill? The thought that any of them could have destroyed Britain’s entire political history with a flourish of a pen is preposterous.

So what has changed? Obviously, the whole political balance of arguably history’s most successful constitution, lovingly cultivated for many centuries, has been destroyed.

Here it’s useful to remember that politics is but one atom in the polyvalent molecule of a nation. Just like atoms in a chemical compound, a nation’s atoms exist in harmony with one another, attracted as they are to the common centre.

In any nation, this centre is metaphysical: metaphysics is the source from which everything else flows. Thus a similar metaphysical core will produce startling similarities between nations that otherwise seem to have little in common.

(Compare, for example, the aesthetics of Bolshevik Russia and Nazi Germany: their architecture, painting, livery, music are twins, even though the nations are very different.)

One doesn’t have to be a practising Christian (though it does help to understand the history of Christendom) to know that Christianity was the metaphysical core of Britain – actively for 1,000 years or so and then residually for a century or two.

That doesn’t mean that Britain ever was anything like a theocracy, nor even that the religious ague at the grassroots was particularly febrile. If it ever was, it hasn’t been for a couple of centuries at least.

But it does mean that the laws governing the movement of atoms within the national molecule were informed by Christian morality and thought. Therefore, they were informed by love, which within that ethos is the essence of God and also the medium of his communication with man.

Love of something dear can, and usually does, dialectically coexist with hatred of anything that threatens it. A consistent Christian won’t hate his enemy, but he will hate the menace the enemy represents – and resist it with all he can. But love is primary and hate is secondary, which is the same relationship as between good and evil.

The twentieth century removed Christianity, and therefore love, as the centre around which everything revolves. This happened not only in Britain, but throughout the world – which is why more people were killed in that century than in all the centuries of recorded history combined.

The atoms spun out of control, with each acquiring a life all its own – valences no longer existed, the links no longer held. Rather than proceeding under the protection of a philosophical and moral umbrella, people began to respond to life’s challenges in an arbitrary ad hoc manner, leaving themselves open to slings and arrows.

The resulting method of thought and deed could be rational or irrational – that didn’t matter because the results became unpredictable, or rather predictably bad.

The rational, or rather pseudo-rational, method consists in actuarial calculations of immediate fiscal benefits, with metaphysics not so much brushed aside as ignored. The likeliest result is a disaster even on the puny terms of such ratiocination.

Hence the EU isn’t to blame for the rape of Britain’s constitution – any more than a fox is to blame for slaughtering chickens. In the latter case, the blame lies with the farmer who didn’t secure the coop properly; in the former, with (as goes the title of the book to which I contributed) the nation that forgot God.

Hating the EU is an understandable and even commendable emotion – provided it springs from love for Britain’s political history and especially its metaphysical basis, not from jingoistic distaste for Johnny Foreigner.

The same goes for anti-Islamic animus, as represented by Trump’s favourite British political party and other fascisoid groups. That Islam – not just ‘Islamism’, ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ or ‘Muslim terrorism’ – is Christendom’s historical enemy is a matter of fact, not opinion.

That, contrary to what Mrs May likes to say, Islam is incompatible with the British ethos isn’t an opinion either, but simply a matter of empirical observation.

But Islam is what it is, what it has been for 1,400 years. The tragedy is that Britain is no longer what she used to be.

The same question as before: which British PM of yore would have allowed a massive influx of Muslim immigration to queer Britain’s demographic, social and cultural pitch so much as to render it unplayable? Yet all post-war governments have done so, culminating in Blair’s criminally cynical attempt to boost the Labour vote with a million potential (and thousands of actual) jihadists.

The only effective counterweight to Islamic expansion isn’t hatred of Islam, but love of Christendom, with everything it represents. Such love no longer exists to an extent that would make a difference – and hate has taken centre stage.

That unenviable animus exists across British society, intensifying in close proximity to large Muslim enclaves and immediately following yet another Muslim atrocity. Parties like Britain First are its political expression.

The rank and file there – and I’ve observed many at close quarters – are hazy on what it is they love but in no doubt whatsoever about what they hate. This is a hallmark of fascism, although I usually describe them as not fascist but fascisoid: en route but not there quite yet.

In purely practical terms, they damage the very causes they profess to hold dear. The congenitally moderate British character may feel sympathy for the very things that don’t deserve any – simply because of their opponents’ fanatical animadversions.

But what interests me here isn’t just the practical aspect of it all, but the intellectual blind alleys into which politics of hate steers its adherents.

I’ve addressed several conferences in which the danger of Muslim expansion was the main theme. It was difficult not to notice that anti-Islamism happily coexisted with anti-Semitism among many attendees. For example, during the latest gathering cursed by my presence, this comment came during the Q&A period: “Before we solve the Muslim problem, we must solve the Jewish problem.”

The gentleman didn’t specify what kind of solution he had in mind, but one suspects the final one would do nicely. This may be extreme, but anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian sentiments are practically universal in those circles.

One detects a dichotomy there. It’s reasonably clear what these chaps hate, but what is it they love?

Israel has much to criticise it for, as does any other state. But it’s indisputable, or should be, that Israel is the West’s salient in its 1,400-year confrontation with Islam.

Similarly obvious is that the same Middle Eastern forces that wish to destroy Israel are equally passionate about their desire to turn Britain into a caliphate. There’s no justification for taking the Palestinian side in that conflict, but there is an explanation: a stultifying worldview driven by hatred, not love. In this case, there are two conflicting hatreds, and the conflict seems unsolvable.

At least the Left, as represented by Corbyn et al, is consistent on this issue. They dislike Jews (and the West) and like Muslims (and the Third World) – ergo, they hate Israel and love the Hamas. There’s some inner logic there, disgusting though it is. There’s none among our fascisoid populists.

But hatred doesn’t think; it emotes. It also tropistically reaches out for others possessed by the same energumen.

If these chaps proceeded from love of things British, they’d love Britain’s political tradition of justice, individual liberties, equity, and power carefully balanced among pluralistic and hereditary institutions. And they’d reject – possibly despise – any foreign tyranny that’s an antithesis to all those lovely things.

Yet this lot are united in their practically universal admiration of Putin’s junta that rules by rigged elections and totalitarian propaganda, murders or imprisons political opponents and dissenting journalists, suppresses free press, ignores the law, indulges in criminal economic activities across the globe, commits aggression against its neighbours, confronts the West in every conflict, arms (and not just with Kalashnikovs either) the West’s deadly enemies, co-opts the church hierarchy into the secret police.

What’s the attraction? Our fascisoid types clearly see birds of a feather there: those who like them are driven by xenophobic hatred. The flock is flying high.

The growing presence of millions of Muslims in Britain represents a deadly existential threat, and not only or mainly because of their propensity to blow up public transport and drive vehicles through crowds of pedestrians.

The cause of resistance is therefore vital. However, while sympathising as I do with the cause, I resent this lot’s championship of it. As strident of emotion as they’re feeble of mind, they just may succeed in making PC subversion look respectable by comparison.

13 thoughts on “The blind alleys of hate politics”

  1. Beautifully written.

    I love the atomic metaphor which gives physical form, in the mind’s eye, to what Sir Roger Scruton terms the collective ‘we’ of nationhood – that which allows democratic politics to function – the idea that there is more that binds us (language, history, culture, independent institutions) than petty political differences divide.

    Sir Roger Scruton also describes the fundamental difference between conservatism and socialism, in all its forms, as a difference between love and hate. I understand this view entirely and yet have difficulty reconciling it with my own thoughts.

    I reserve a passionate hatred for all of the vainglorious, megalomaniac, and frankly evil, politicians who have destroyed the country that I loved, to the extent that I can no longer live there.

    1. I’m surprised that Roger thinks in Christian terms: when I knew him, he was an atheist. I think he, like so many other conservatives I know, isn’t a Christian but a Christianist, one who recognises the social utility of Christianity but is too clever to believe in its essence. That’s reserved for intellectual hoi-polloi, like me I suppose.

      1. Bit Meeow! if I dare say so Mr B – and thus beneath you!

        Let us welcome allies (even partial ones) wherever they may be found. Sir Roger is still a rare conservative voice in academia.

        I shall continue to read you weekly – and him monthly!

        1. Pas d’ennemis a gauche, said the French revolutionaries – and then guillotined everyone, left, right and centre. Seeking allies is the lot of politicians and rabble-rousers (tautology?), and I am – thank God – neither. My lot is seeking the truth, which is a lonely business. And I didn’t mean to be catty to Roger personally – it’s just that I’ve observed what I call ‘christianism’ or ‘religionism’ among too many conservative intellectuals, not just him. I’ve even published a book criticising Tolstoy (neither a conservative nor an intellectual, actually), who hated Christ but loved the Sermon on the Mount. Someone once said that, without the Resurrection, Christianity is socialism – there’s a grain of truth there. I think vulgarisation and utilitarianism present a greater menace to Christianity than honest atheism.

  2. I doubt many of the Britain First lot have read Chesterton’s Lepanto. I doubt they have read much of anything but I could be wrong. They aren’t Nazis yet, but it is a slippery slope indeed, especially for agnostics who don’t have the love of Christ to keep a lid on their worst urges.

  3. “If these chaps proceeded from love of things British, they’d love Britain’s political tradition of justice, individual liberties, equity, and power carefully balanced among pluralistic and hereditary institutions.”

    We [lefty] love all things British as long as the welfare state exists and the children in school get a pint of milk per day. Otherwise we despise all things British. YESSIR!

  4. Well done!~Your statements such as; “Christianity was the metaphysical core of Britain”,…”the laws governing the movement of atoms within the national molecule were informed by Christian morality and thought.”; provide a solid (and might I add eternal) framework.
    I can contrast this with a similar discussion I have heard by Ibn Warraq, David Aaaronovitch and Douglas Murray. They argued similar points, however, their discussion was a little in limbo as they were not able to lay the Christian foundation so as to be able to state why there is a concrete reason for a once Great Britain. People without the spiritual perspective are more prone to post-modern relativistic drifting with the changing times and drawing unsound conclusions regarding the cultural influx.

    1. That’s exactly my point – and thank you for your kind words. Alas, when Christianity goes, it takes with it not only morality and piety, but also capacity for sound thought, something impossible outside the framework of universally accepted discipline.

  5. Great article.

    We are indeed in a quandary – Britain First and Islam are both equally as unappealing as the other. I think we can thank the postmodern decimation of our institutions for this mess.

    Gramsci would be proud.

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