Britain has not always had a politically correct liberal establishment. Until the mid 1960s a conservative (small c) British establishment presided over a fairly easy going, tolerant, stable and cohesive nation which enjoyed rising prosperity and full employment. It was a self confident society in which people looked forward to the future. For the most part people behaved in an adult and civilised way. Men were smartly but drably dressed. Women looked feminine and elegant if they had taste, but the majority who did not could sometimes look rather dowdy. Children, even of a young age, were free to roam the streets, and enjoy childhood to the full. Divorce and broken families were rare, there was almost no underclass, illegal drug use was largely unknown and crime was relatively low.
The best TV, theatre, cinema and literature was challenging whilst still entertaining. Popular music was at a creative peak with The Beatles leading the pack. As a country we were able to run our own affairs without outside interference and the main political parties generally reflected the priorities of the electorate on most issues. Although the old school tie still counted for something, social mobility was higher than today due to the influence of grammar schools and a university expansion programme which maintained standards of excellence. There was relatively little meddling and interference by the state in citizens private and personal affairs.
This society was however by no means perfect. It positively oozed complacency and self satisfaction. It was in thrall to socialist economics witnessed by the nationalised industries, corporatism, national planning high direct taxation and trade union power all of which were swept aside, sometimes brutally, by the Thatcher government in the 1980s. The architecture of the time was characterless and utilitarian at best and hideous at worst. The visual arts promoted by the arts establishment were, like now, pretentious rubbish. There was no regard paid to the consequences of large scale third world immigration, the impact of which was then beginning to be felt in several towns and cities. Environmental protection was lax and the conservation of historic buildings patchy.
The foundations of this conservative establishment suffered two major blows in the mid 1960s - the revelations arising from the Profumo affair weakened traditional morality on sex, and the election of Harold Wilson’s Labour government paved the way for the modern politically correct society.
The baby boomer generation was just reaching adulthood in the mid 1960s and there was rebellion in the air. Two things alienated them from the older generation and the conservative establishment, with a third on its way. Put simply, sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll began to enter the national conscience. On sex, traditional morality held sway which affirmed chastity before marriage and fidelity within it. An interest in sex for its own sake was considered depraved and its depiction in any form was denounced as smut. The prevailing ethos of the time created an oppressive climate that left many men feeling guilty about finding women physically attractive. The underlying message was that marriage had little to do with sexual relations but, in the euphemism of the time, was primarily a means for 'starting a family'. Homosexuality was not just illegal but almost unmentionable. As for pop music most of the older generation positively hated it and continually denounced it. They couldn’t stand the loud music, electric guitars, long hair, irreverence and lack of respect. Many seemed greatly perplexed that Mick Jagger sounded nothing like David Whitfield. With regard to drugs, this seemingly intractable problem would grow and grow with no sign of a solution.
The prudish attitude towards sex and the eagerness to condemn the pop music of the time destroyed the credibility of the conservative establishment in the eyes of a restless generation of young people. The ruling class and older people looked stuffy, out of touch and anti-fun. This image damaged their standing with the emerging generation that was beginning to seek out a more hedonistic lifestyle. The individual who embodied the old guard above all others was Mary Whitehouse. To the young, her self righteousness, excessive primness, hysteria over 'permissiveness' and strong religiosity, invited ridicule and constituted a constant reminder of what they were rebelling against. Their answer was to seek greater personal freedom through embracing the emerging, and increasingly fashionable, liberal mantras. To do so was seen to be cool, progressive and modern. Given the circumstances of the time and their youth and inexperience, the young baby boomers cannot be blamed for the out of control monster they were helping to create.
This is not the place to describe in detail how the fledgling permissive society of the 1960s gradually transmuted into the oppressive politically correct establishment of today. Suffice to say the modus operandi has been an incremental step by step ratchet approach. Starting with something that appears reasonable to the majority of fair minded people (eg decriminalisation of homosexuality, ensuring that people of all races have equal access to public services etc) further demands are made to rectify newly discovered injustices or inequalities. Meanwhile a bureaucracy is set up to monitor progress which discovers that still more action is needed, more restrictions and controls should be put in place and the bureaucracy expanded to cope with the extra responsibilities. And so it goes on, and the process is rarely ever reversed.
Let us take a look at some of subjects which this blog has tried to address. Firstly, the subject which provokes the most vocal self righteous indignation and faux anger from the PC brigade, that of race. This issue has only arisen because of the failure of all governments since the war to control immigration into Britain. Contrary to liberal propaganda, to express concern about immigration does not demonstrate a hatred of people of ethnic origin. Nor is it a criticism of such people wanting to come to this country to better themselves. Moreover, it is understandable that many may wish to retain the culture of their country of origin, and they should not be criticised for this. Unfortunately, as we have witnessed repeatedly, both at home and abroad, if an ever growing minority is racially, religiously and culturally different from the indigenous majority, conflicts of one kind or another will inevitably occur. Thus this self inflicted problem needs to be addressed at source as Enoch Powell so eloquently warned all those years ago.
Homophobia has now become the little brother to racism’s big brother in the liberal mindset. It can be defined as any criticism or observation, however mild or well reasoned, that the paranoid gay lobby finds objectionable. The Wilson government was quite right to allow the decriminalization of homosexual relations, since the state has no business in the bedroom activities of its adult citizens. But there can be no equality about something which is intrinsically unequal, since statistics show that 97% of people are attracted to the opposite sex and only 3% to their own. Homosexuals are a very small minority, who are entitled to be free of harassment from the authorities but nothing more, which was the original intention of the legislation. They should show the rest of us more courtesy by keeping their private life private and giving everybody a break from their fixation on their perceived victimhood. Liberals obsession on this matter is clearly extreme, but that never stops them from keeping the subject continually on the boil. A period of silence on this issue would be most welcome. There must be plenty of better causes available for well intentioned people anxious to parade their virtue.
Nationalism is another concept liberals have no time for. They appear to be under the delusion that if nations (or at least western countries) run their own affairs, it is just one step away from donning jack boots and carrying out aggression against other countries. It was to prevent war between European countries that the EU was primarily created. The objective of 'ever closer union' was embedded in the project from the very start, although mostly kept under wraps in the early years when it was promoted as no more than a 'common market', as this institution was known in this country for many years. All 'progressives' supported Britain’s membership of the EU as an unquestioned article of faith.
It should be as clear as daylight by now that the EU is a gigantic leviathan intent on destroying democracy, nation states and the power of ordinary people to have a say in the way they are governed and the laws they have to obey. Needless to say the three identikit main parties continued to support this totalitarian madness. Britain needs to withdraw from the European Union and the so called European Court of Human Rights to allow much needed reforms to be introduced and to set the people free.
The liberal elite are not above fabricating scares to achieve their ends. Two such which have a life of their own are the global warming hoax and the paedophile hysteria. The first is not a problem at all since temperatures have been relatively stable and CO2, although clearly rising, has had no discernable impact on global temperature and is in any case necessary for the maintenance of life. It is most certainly not a pollutant as many of the hoaxers are ludicrously claiming. A lie endlessly repeated never becomes the truth, which will eventually come out in the end. However, in the meantime many people fall for the deception, including some who should know better.
With regard to the hysteria over paedophile activity (fanned not just by the usual suspects but also the gutter press and fake charities) this is a relatively rare problem which has always existed and which previous generations kept in proportion. As a result of the hysteria, children’s freedom has been seriously circumscribed, a massive intrusive bureaucracy has been introduced which has had a severe impact on adult volunteering, men are looked at with suspicion whenever they come into contact with children, and thus are reluctant to become primary school teachers where they are much needed. Evidence suggests that paedophiles rarely use violence to achieve their ends. A better strategy would be to educate children on how to take personal responsibility for tackling approaches to them from this direction.
It is hoped to devote more time in the future to the educational system which still appears to be encountering problems despite all the reforms. Another issue to be tackled is illegal drug use where personal freedom and the interests of wider society come into conflict.
So how does today’s politically correct society compare with the more conservative time of the mid sixties? Although many people complain, from a utilitarian perspective its still functions quite well. Unlike many countries we have basic services such as electricity, gas and water delivered to our homes at a reasonable price for most people. We have an efficient (but overloaded) transport infrastructure and a health service that has raised life expectancy significantly. Retailing is highly efficient, but has resulted in many clone towns and market dominance by large supermarket chains. Despite the best efforts of feminists men no longer have hang ups about finding women physically attractive. Care of the environment is considerably higher on the political agenda and the conservation of historic buildings is much improved. Clothes and electrical equipment are a lot cheaper in real terms. There has been an amazing plethora of technological innovations such as laptops, ipods, smartphones, playstations, 3D TVs, computer games, MP3s etc which have clearly enriched the lives of ordinary people. Far more families can now afford cars, foreign holidays and enjoy a better quality and more varied diet. So there have clearly been benefits although some have denounced them as materialistic and acquisitive consumerism.
On the downside British society appears to have lost its soul. The mass media are obsessed with celebrity gossip; the TV channels are full of trashy soaps and reality shows often focussing on the most degenerate elements within society. Modern day TV drama is largely banal (although period drama can still be excellent) and TV comedy is often as unfunny as it is politically correct. Popular music is terminally bankrupt as few seem capable of writing songs with tunes anymore. Most people dress scruffily, men slightly worse than women in this respect. Depressing 'Mickey Mouse' architecture is springing up everywhere. Crime is much higher, most notably in areas of demographic change. Divorce, broken families and single parenthood is almost the norm, particularly amongst an underclass hooked on benefits, cheap booze and illegal drugs.
Many adults behave like adolescents well into middle age. Unemployment is high, and wages kept low, not helped by open ended immigration. Socially mobility has fallen. Government interminably lectures us on drinking, food and unhealthy lifestyles. Hardly a week goes by without the authorities finding something new to ban, condemn, or try to stop us from doing. Social workers can snatch children from families whilst hiding their actions from outside scrutiny. All the main political parties focus on managerialism whilst ignoring issues of increasing concern to the electorate. Society appears incapable of producing anything of beauty or lasting aesthetic appeal which was second nature to previous generations. These are the fruits of a politically correct society fixated on equality of outcome, the cult of the mediocre and a hatred of 'elitism'.
One exception to deteriorating standards is political commentary which is at an all time high, even in the controlled media. People also have access to the internet where they can express themselves freely and openly, such as on this blog. They can discover that they are not alone, but in good company, in their hostility to the political elite. The truth will out in the end and the new media can only hasten the day when the liberal lies machine finally comes unstuck.