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A peculiar modern stereotype insists that the nation of Sweden is more deeply infected with masochism and political correctness than all the other nations of Europe. According to this caricature, Swedes are absurdly tolerant, pathetically naïve and feminised beyond repair, a fact that can explain the mass immigration of Muslims into the Kingdom in recent years.
Is it accurate? I don’t think so. While Sweden certainly has a more extreme feminist base than, say, Great Britain, there is no clear evidence that the country is populated by suicidal masochists. That portrait is an internet myth, more rooted in the age-old misperception of Sweden as a magical land of naked, blonde rationalists. Sweden is actually a very normal European country, with the same imbalance of naivety over realism as afflicts every major Western state.
And just in case that isn’t convincing, my contention has been supplied with fresh vigour this past week by the announcement that the Swedish government plans to deport 60,000 (sixty thousand) Muslim ‘asylum seekers’ – without compensation or right of appeal – in the coming months.
Needless to say, when I first heard of this, I was enraptured. It is perhaps the first piece of good news since the migrant crisis began. After this, my already elevated mood was further raised by the news that Denmark is also to carry out its own mass-deportations in the near future, albeit on a lesser numerical scale than its northern sibling. Hurrah and Huzzah! It might not be the whole job, but it’s a bloody good start.
The coming deportations are good news for many reasons besides the obvious pleasure of seeing invaders packed onto plane. One, not mentioned yet by the media, is that it will set a precedent of mass-deportation for the whole of Europe to take advantage of at a later point. Given that physical removal of problematic Muslim citizens is surely the only failsafe way of securing our societies against Islamist terrorism, this precedent could hardly be more timely.
Of course, removing 60,000 people from a Western nation (presumably to relocate them back in the third world) will be a long, occasionally chaotic process. There will be opposition, indignation, locking of arms, and waving of placards. Facebook campaigns will surely be launched to keep certain individuals within ‘their’ adopted communities. And so on. It is nevertheless imperative that the project is a success. If it fails, the whole idea of restoring Europe’s balance of cultural power will be lost, and the suggestion of it forever demonised.
That the countries embarking on this action are Scandinavian, and thus respected by liberals across the globe, makes the prospect of success greater than it otherwise would be. This is for the simple reason that international socialists have no better examples of its workability than the regimes of the Nordic peninsula. Will the likes of Michael Moore or Bernie Sanders really want to bad-mouth the left-wing success stories of Sweden and Denmark? If they did so, surely that would cast doubt on the viability of mass-immigration and political-social liberalism in general…?
Away from the liberal clique, I would guess that most Western observers wish this project the fairest of winds.
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The popular hip-hop artist B.O.B (I presume this is pronounced Bob) made headlines last week when he confidently proclaimed the earth to be a flat disk, and not – as we have been cynically led to suppose – a slightly oval sphere. Reactions to these statements ranged from the informed to the ridiculous. It has been pointed out, in a variety of ways, that B.O.B’s assertion is unsound; that the earth is in fact a sphere (or there abouts) and that the flat-disk theory is outdated and no longer taken seriously by the relevant scientific authorities.
You might think the easiest disproof of the flat disk theory is that the earth can be seen as round in photographs released by various space programs. The reason this isn’t accepted by B.O.B’s ilk is because NASA (in particular) is held to be a shadow agent of American malevolence (although what such a demonic force hopes to profit from this deceit remains unclear).
I have been aware of the renaissance in flat earth theory for quite a while now, so wasn’t as surprised by B.O.B’s comments as other seem to have been. Indeed, the flat earth boom is just another symptom of a general human malaise; one that if left unchecked threatens us all with a grim and untenable future.
The Idiocratic reality afflicting (primarily) Western countries is one of the great crises of the modern era. The social and political dominance of certain personality types, bolstered by their increasing organisation via the internet, is beginning to significantly degrade the focus of Western politics, dragging it back, relentlessly back to an era of conspiracy, moral panic and ignorance.
In a rap song (called ‘Flatline’) released just after his flat earth comments, B.O.B made positive noises about other fringe ideas, most notably in the following lyric:
“They nervous, but before you try to curve it/Do your research on David Irving/Stalin was way worse than Hitler/ That’s why the POTUS gotta wear a kippah/I’m a man before an artist/ Get a lawyer, look up Doctor Richard Sauder.”
David Irving I presume needs no introduction. The cretin is an iconic denier of the Holocaust and a large and respected presence on the international and Islamic far-right. Doctor Richard Sauder is probably less well known. Indeed I had to research the name myself (thereby grudgingly following B.O.B’s commands). As I now understand it, Mr Sauder alleges among other things that Western militaries have constructed massive underground and underwater bases, including marvellously infeasible facilities beneath the Atlantic and Pacific ocean floors. Why have they done this? It’s for the usual reason these imagined tyrannies operate behind closed doors – to control us, to keep us from discovering ‘the truth’…..
Internet conspiracy theories and their ballooning popularity must be placed in a greater context in order to be properly understood. Unlike the flat earth, the non-Holocaust, and the peaceful religion of Islam, idiocracy is a grim reality, and one that can only become more problematic as time goes on.
Most population increase is occurring among the less intelligent sections of the human species. Downward selection is now mass-producing gullible and unintelligent personalities, leaving the intelligent at risk of saturation. Why is this not considered a problem?
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I used to consider myself something of a neo-conservative (pejoratively abbreviated ‘neo-con’ by the left, often with an anti-Semitic edge to it). I was genuinely enlivened by the prospect of the West enforcing its moral and political standards on the rest of the world, believing for some time that the project was a simple yet complete fix for the problems of our time; most importantly, the problems of terrorism and Islamic anti-development.
Like many, I now know better. Neo-conservatism has failed, and failed badly, in practice. The use of the doctrine to liberate and improve the condition of Iraq has barely succeeded. While the country is now technically democratic, it remains crippled by religious tradition, unable and unwilling to develop beyond the limitations of that tradition. This should really have been predicted from the get-go. The fact that it wasn’t exposes the fundamental naivety at the heart of the neo-conservative experiment.
Put at its most basic, neo-conservatism pushes the idea that democracy has a positive value. Neo-cons (if there still are neo-cons) believe that democracies are less likely to go to war, less likely to collapse into chaos, tolerate corruption and extremism or shelter terrorists than are dictatorships and autocracies. On the surface this sounds reasonable enough. The Western democracies of today are certainly more averse to these evils than the third world; as are the remodelled nations of the far-east. Why wouldn’t the same be true for the rest of the world?
The answer in the case of the middle east is Islam. As political equations go, Islam plus democracy equals regression is one of the most reliable. The evidence for this can be found in modern ‘liberated’ Afghanistan – a country which has gone from a tribal theocracy controlled by the Taliban, to a democratic theocracy policed by the Taliban. One can also point to ‘liberated’ Iraq, which itself has gone from a secular Baathist dictatorship to a democratic Shia theocracy. Looked at from this vantage point, was either project worth thousands of free Western lives lost in the course their completion?
I was a fool to have ever thought so.
As well as Iraq and Afghanistan, neo-conservatism has also destroyed the nation of Libya, a country that previously had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world. Post-liberation, the country is a sharia-ridden desert, robbed of its infrastructure, foreign investment and political coherence. As to whether Syria falls to the neo-con wave remains to be decided. One can justifiably presume that if democracy does strike the country, it will swiftly go the same way as Iraq and Afghanistan have.
If neo-conservatism was – as its detractors have always maintained – merely an ideological cover for destroying the Muslim world, then it has been remarkably successful. But I don’t believe in that conspiracy. Neo-conservatism – I think – was simply an embarrassing misfire of the Western intellect. We will be living with the consequences for a very long time.
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The collapse of the price of oil over the past few months has sent shockwaves through an already vulnerable global economy, slowing the ascent of China, threatening the recovery of America, and causing stock markets from London to Shenzhen to wobble precariously on their foundations. But surely no part of the world is more affected by fluctuations in the oil market than the Muslim Middle East, specifically the nations of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates of the Persian Gulf.
If the downward trajectory in oil prices continues for just a few more years, the economies of these countries will be plunged into crisis, their social order, military upkeep and political power undermined and potentially destroyed. And there is something else to consider in all this. Seeing as oil and Islam have been locked in a very profitable alliance for the past 50 years, what will this decline mean for the civilizational balance of power? Can Islam’s political and military ascendance survive the shock of a post-oil era?
Optimists imagine that without oil, states like Saudi and the UAE would be without influence in the world. Since their economies are based entirely on energy revenues, they reason, such countries would – in the case of an oil collapse – be reduced to the diplomatic grade of Burkina Faso or Zimbabwe. This is not entirely accurate. While it is certainly true that without oil the nations of the gulf will see a massive decline in standards of living, this will not necessarily mean the end of their mischief-making in world affairs. Saudi Arabia, to take a prominent case, has invested much of its gargantuan wealth in blue-chip Western companies – companies which will continue to reap the Saudi state considerable profit for as long as they are trading. The Saudis have also purchased an astonishing array and quantity of modern weaponry, including – according to some – nuclear missiles from Pakistan. This military power will in the short term (or with nuclear weapons, in the very long term) guarantee the country a louder voice than it deserves.
As for Iran, Saudi’s arch-enemy, the outlook is rosier in some respects, and murkier in others. Since the revolution of 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has faced the boycott of its energy industry by much of the developed world. This has meant that Iran’s state finances have remained in poor shape, and also that they haven’t managed to buy up stocks in Western companies to the extent that Saudi has. On the other hand, this long period of boycott has forced Iranians to build an economy unreliant on the energy sector – a post-oil economy, if you will – and this will give the country a very important head start in the rush to regional economic diversification. The same is also true of Iraq, which has until very recently functioned without a petroleum economy.
Taken overall, the Islamic world will only face a sub-regional decline in diplomatic power from the collapse of oil. Outside of the oil-producing area itself, many Islamic countries have high economic growth rates even without energy reserves – these include the nations of Turkey, Egypt and Indonesia, all of which also possess considerable military strength to increase their bargaining power. Thus, the collapse of oil will sink Islamic power in the short-term, only for the power lost to be replenished later in different places. Given that these places will be less extreme than Saudi and Iran, the prospect for a general moderation of Islam is very real, if hardly as curative as liberal commentators would have us believe.
Here in the modern world, the end of oil politics is surely something to celebrate. A nasty and corrupt stench is about to be cleared from the air. The Islam-Oil alliance, even in so brief a period as it has existed, wrought real damage on the world at large. It is directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks in America, as well as for the crippling of Western economies in the 1970s. It has perverted American and British politics, enriched soulless monarchs and dictators, and radicalised much of the Islamic world against its will.
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If you’re a user of the social-networking site Facebook, you will be as familiar as I am with the ‘Murica’ meme. The prevalence of this meme is such that lately even celebrities, intellectuals and political figures are making use of its lazy appeal. In case you don’t use social networking, or haven’t otherwise had the pleasure of coming across the slur, the KnowYourMeme database explains it thus: “Murica or occasionally ‘Murika’ is a slang term for America which is used to denote extreme patriotism, coupled with aspects of a redneck or southern American stereotype.”
The cartoon above is a famous expression of this vulgar sentiment. It crudely depicts the mythical America of robotic flag-wavers, mountain dew-soaked knowledge haters, and obese gun-nuts. By the presence of the flag, the image also makes comedy of the country itself, together with everything it stands for, such as the notion of liberty and being grateful for the blessings of capitalism.
I’m getting rather sick of the meme myself. It isn’t fair, valid or reflective of anything beyond the ignorance of those who make use of it. Anti-Americanism of any kind can be refuted very easily by recounting basic realities. .
- Americans are stupid? The United States has been the homeland of 357 Nobel Prize winners. This can be compared to the UK (118 winners) and France (67 winners). If the issue of population size is raised, one can compare the figure against that of India (13 winners) and China (12 winners).
- Americans are lazy? In terms of economic productivity, the US dwarfs the rest of the industrialised world. The GDP per capita in the United States is USD$55, 904, while the GDP per capita in the European Union (its closest economic and political rival) is USD$36,392.
- Americans are unsophisticated? In the related fields of science and technology, America has led the world for more than half a century. The achievements of NASA form the standard to which all other space projects are compared. And just a few blocks away from there, the Texas Medical Centre leads the world in healthcare innovation, providing the most advanced cancer treatment and surgical expertise in the developed world.
One could go on. One could mention the awe-inspiring extent of the modern American Military, with its 15,000+ aircraft, 272+ ships, 40,000+ armoured vehicles and 1,000,000+ fighting personnel. One could recount the heroic acts achieved by said military, such as the routing of Hitlerite racialism, Soviet Communism, and Baathist Arabism, etc… The list of American virtues puts the rest of the world firmly in its shadow, making them seem pathetic, retrograde, undeveloped.
Given that this is so, why then does such low and unrefined anti-Americanism persist? Jealousy? Perhaps, but surely not that alone. My inclination is that a very old sentiment still flourishes in the hearts of all who dwell outside the Western Hemisphere: namely, the idea that the US is fundamentally synthetic, an artifice, an incoherent dustbin of old-world apostates; that it isn’t a real country at all, but a jumble of stolen elites from other lands – lands which can more rightly lay claim to the achievement of their despoiled expatriates. That’s what I think.
This misfiring of the imagination is persuasive enough that many great minds, from Nietzsche to Freud, have found truth in it. Even for these it wasn’t enough to note that America is as old and distinguished an experiment as modern France, Bismarckian Germany and post-Imperial Russia. Rather, such minds have insisted on believing that America arrived out of a clear blue sky sometime in the midst of the first world war, before which it was only a dreamy concept of green prairies and hopping Indians.
In modern times this prejudice is implied by the sarcastic emphasis (in anti-US humour) on specific products like spray-on cheese and the Big Mac Hamburger. These products are brought up because they are themselves chemically enhanced and artificial, much like the world conceives America itself to be. To anti-Americans, the USA is not merely the home of the Big Mac, the USA is a Big Mac. Just as the beef patties once belonged to real, natural cows, but are now so processed and altered as to be illegitimate and fake, so did America’s Germans, Frenchmen and Anglo-Saxons once belong to real, natural countries, but are now so processed as to be illegitimate and fake.
The reality, of course, is very different. German-Americans are not synthetic Germans. They are real Americans. German-American achievements are not German achievements. They are American achievements. America is a real country, as old and legitimate and unique as any other, and with a population that is as native and peculiar to its soil as the Chinese are to China.
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According to mainstream analysis, if Donald Trump is ultimately denied the Republican nomination for the 2016 general election, it will almost certainly be due to a late surge in support for the campaign of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. This seems accurate enough. Though at the time of writing Cruz lags over 10 points behind the billionaire favourite, he is significantly ahead of the over-hyped neoconservative Marco Rubio, who is himself significantly ahead of the swollen pool of has-beens languishing in single digits. Given how familiar this grid has become and how apparently immovable its order seems to be, commentators are justly relaxed in proclaiming a two-horse race; Cruz the evangelical vs. Trump the patriot; Faith vs. Fatherland; Social vs. Paleo conservatism.
My opinion on Cruz has flip-flopped anarchically for several months now. Back in the days before Trump dramatically belly-flopped into the competition, I confidently believed that Cruz was the best the GOP had to offer, that he was strong enough, un-PC enough and bold enough to strike back at the Islamic hordes with greater force than his competitors. Now I’m not so sure, and my doubts seem to be broadly sympathised with.
Take David Denby in the New Yorker Magazine who (in a piece entitled ‘Ted Cruz: The Mask of Sincerity’) composed the following scathing profile: “When Ted Cruz lies, he appears to be praying. His lips narrow, almost disappearing into his face, and his eyebrows shift abruptly, rising like a drawbridge on his forehead into matching acute angles…For months, I sensed vaguely that he reminded me of someone but I couldn’t place who it was. Revelation has arrived: Ted Cruz resembles the Bill Murray of a quarter-century ago, when he played fishy, mock-sincere fakers. No one looked more untrustworthy than Bill Murray. The difference between the two men is that the actor was a satirist.”
Others have chosen similar if more compact dismissals of the Texan Senator, calling him (among other things) a ‘slimeball’, a ‘scuzzball’, a ‘snake’ and a ‘liar’. In short, people don’t believe Cruz possesses any moral or political integrity. Neither frankly do I.
Though this should really have no relevance in politics, Mr Cruz’s physical appearance has played an oversized part in forming this negative reputation. His face seems naturally untrustworthy, resembling – depending on the situation – a used car salesman, a televangelist or a war-time skiv – three roles he plays with rehearsed skill and exaggerated passion. I agree with Cruz, but I’m not certain that he agrees with himself. And this is problematic, even in American politics.
Barack Obama, to make a provocative comparison, is an authentic advocate of the policies he has backed over the past 8 years. Whatever else may be said about him, he is a straight-talking gentleman with a tendency to think aloud. Cruz on the other hand seems to have two entirely distinct people concealed within his skin; one a cynical, coldly methodical politician who will do or say anything to win; and the other a devout, bible-believing servant of the Almighty, less concerned with power than with unborn babies and veteran soldiers.
Cruz doesn’t need to flip between these two personas. They work together immaculately. But are both of them Ted Cruz? It would be impolite to guess.
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The other day I came across an interesting (if thoroughly flawed) article in the the Huffington Post titled ‘Why Conservatives aren’t funny”. It sought to set out the familiar case that right-wing political concepts do not lend themselves to humour, or at any rate, that right-wing people themselves are not imbued with the gift of comedy to the extent that Left-wing people are.
“Why aren’t conservatives funny?…” Ellis Wiener asked “We’re compelled to ask this because, what with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and Real Time With Bill Maher spending most of their time making fun of “conservatives,” it seems like there’s a disproportionate amount of “liberal” humor on TV…”
A similar question was posed in The Atlantic (a largely neoconservative magazine). In an article entitled “Why There’s No Conservative Jon Stewart”, columnist Oliver Morrison wrote that “Liberal satirists are… having no trouble making light of liberal institutions and societies… Jon Stewart has had success poking fun at Obama’s policies…(and)…Alison Dagnes, a professor of political science at Shippensburg University, has found that the liberal Clinton was the butt of more jokes on late-night shows of the 1990s than either George W. Bush or Obama would later be…So if liberals are such vulnerable targets for humor, why do relatively few conservative comedians seem to be taking aim at them?”
While both articles go on to offer their own explanations for this disparity, neither fully convince me. I don’t believe, for example, that reactionary ideas are inherently more straight-faced (as one piece claims). For support of that disagreement look no further than Jeremy Clarkson or the fictional police officer Gene Hunt from the magnificent sci-fi drama series ‘Life on Mars’. Conservatives, that is to say traditionalists, that is to say the inflexible advocates of common sense, are notoriously amusing. Pointing out absurdity or naivety in others (which is a common occupation of necessity for right-wingers) makes the basis of some of the most conventional comic relationships; see Laurel and Hardy, the Honeymooners or The Day Today. Stephen Colbert’s eponymous alter-ago drew laughs for this very reason. People laugh at right-wing caricatures because more often than not they agree with them. They agree with them, but only feel comfortable doing so indirectly. That was the secret of Colbert’s success; the self-denial of a whole generation.
To make ‘liberal’ jokes work on the other hand requires extraneous charisma on the part of the joke-teller. Jon Stewart, whether one agrees with his positions and views or not, is a naturally charming and agreeable fellow. His political positions were often highly warped, but people of my generation and the one before it perceive in him a warm-hearted, intelligent and humane nature. He was – and still is – iconic of America’s reasonable coastal minority – those who view middle America with a coffee cupful of scorn and suspicion, aligning themselves more with the postmodern elites of Europe. People laugh at Stewart’s intelligence, the way he makes complicated things seem simple, counter-intuitive things seem intuitive. They do not laugh in recognition that what he is saying is true – that is, not in the way they laugh at Colbert, Clarkson or Hunt’s feigned personas.
By way of conclusion, liberal comics predominate because the majority of thinking people do not like to acknowledge certain basic realities. They would rather Fox News was making it all up, that terrorists aren’t really hiding behind lampposts or amassing in immigrant processing centres. Sartre had a term for this – mauvaise foi…
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The presence of Islam in 21st century Britain is no more natural or inevitable than the presence of Sikhism in Chile. It’s worth repeating this fact whenever possible or appropriate. This is because many fake liberals continue to push the argument that Islamophobes such as you or I are somehow unworldly, retrograde, or unrealistic for opposing Muslim settlement in the contemporary West.
Some commentators go even further, saying that far from being a new and foreign element in our society, Islam is a traditional part of Europe, citing irrelevant factors like the antique conurbations of Muslim Sicily, Malta or Andalucía. Islamic influence, they claim, can be found in Europe’s system of law, code of social ethics, philosophy, medicine, architecture and geography. Given that this is so, why shouldn’t Muslim Pakistanis, Turks or Arabs live in present-day Leeds or Stockholm? They are as responsible for the greatness of these places as the natives…right?
No. Not right at all. It is certainly true that Islam’s Andalusian Golden age imparted a great number of ideas to European elites, many of which are now claimed as entirely and originally European. However, such contributions were mostly limited to disciplines of what we would now call academia and in-any-case are dwarfed many times over by the influence of European ideas on Muslim civilisation. Do Europeans have the moral right to settle in Muslim countries on that basis? No, of course they don’t. And vice versa.
Leftists like to push the myth of European-Islamic co-development for one reason above all; they think it will normalise the presence of Islam in Europe and erase the memory of a Europe without Islam. For if the Muslim presence in Europe can be made to seem normal, traditional or ancient, objections to it will naturally seem irrational, unreasonable and unrealistic.
Another way the same effect can be achieved is via the media, and especially the screen media. Over Christmas, like most Britons, I found myself slouched in front of the television for extended periods of time. During that time I witnessed an astonishing barrage of British Islamic subject matter. There was the Citizen Khan Christmas special on BBC One (Note: CK is a woefully unfunny Muslim sitcom). There were the quiz shows with a disproportionate number of Muslim contestants, many of whom wore Hijabs or prayer caps. There was Eastenders – perhaps the most popular show in Britain today – with gripping plotlines involving characters called Shabnam, Kush, Tamwar, Masood, Fatima, Kamil and Ali. National (and even more so) local newsreaders and weathermen/girls were disproportionately Muslim. And so on. Over time, this normalises something abnormal; the slow bleed of east into west; the merging of two contraries into a single untenable consensus.
This is new. This is unnatural. And this is not something we should be tolerating.
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I’m too young to know what recently deceased singer-songwriter David Bowie’s real era was like. In his 1970s heyday I wasn’t even a concept, let alone an embryo, let alone a person. Despite this, I have always nurtured a quiet affection for his music, and especially his most famous album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. – a landmark in modern English music and the founding template for his uncountable creative successors.
The outpouring of grief which followed Bowie’s passing was entirely justified. Few names are so familiar to so many. His cultural achievements were real, great and ingenious. Bowie’s penchant for lyrical and stylistic innovation loosened the tie of a boringly, stuffily moralistic Britain, changing it forever. The generation he inspired, the much maligned baby-boomers (now bustling to receive their pensions) supplied the content of our current era, all its good and all its bad.
Unlike his contemporaries, Bowie avoided the trap of utopian Leftism. He was never a hippy, or a Communist. His flirtations with the ideas of Nietzsche, Mussolini and Hitler were too brief to mean anything. In essence, Bowie remained completely loyal to England, and to freedom, capitalism and the modern world. This alone places him leagues above the likes of Lennon and McCartney, at least in my view.
It’s sad to say, but England doesn’t produce many Bowies these days. Whether this is due to a general decline in national talent, or merely a symptom of political and economic distraction is uncertain. I personally believe musical sophistication is declining by popular consent. The most successful songs of today are marked by their infantilism. ‘Hit the Quan’, ‘All About That Bass’, ‘Crank Dat’: As tunes go, these are barely fit for public elevators. But they are popular. The public will get what it wants.
I find some commentators are overly harsh in judging the baby boomers. Peter Hitchens (the Daily Mail’s resident curmudgeon) regularly insults them, even while belonging to the same definition. People like Hitchens tend to blame the post-war generation for the liberalism and political correctness that now blights our lives and jeopardises our cultural integrity. Is that fair? Yes and no. While political correctness was certainly embraced by English youths in the 1960s, it wasn’t authored by them. Rather the blueprint of PC and all its associated phenomena derives from German and French academia, particularly from the Marxist radicals collected in memory as the ‘Frankfurt School’. The baby boomers, exhausted by division and fearful of war, were caught in a state of naivety.
I envy those who were alive in the 60s and 70s. Much progress has been made since then, but at the cost of much degeneration.