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Inglorious conservatives

Surrendering the culture wars

18 June 2022

9:00 AM

18 June 2022

9:00 AM

Conservatives have all but given up on taking a stand in the culture wars, adopting instead a position of ‘there’s nothing to see here’ and leaving the field to those who would strip Western culture of its greatest achievements. When conservatives do mount a response it’s laissez-faire to the point of paralysis, so nuanced that it’s indiscernible to most of us, evoking a deer-in-headlights scenario, when some token defender of anything more than five minutes old is torn to shreds by the other side.

Perhaps indifference is the simplest, but puzzling explanation for this. Issuing mild rebukes following the latest attack on all we hold near and dear is hardly a strategy. Articulating a position and actually defending it, is – along with supporting those who stick their heads above the parapet and challenge woke madness. It just doesn’t seem to be in the conservative arsenal to mount any robust defence of Western culture.

Politicians are nowhere to be seen in the culture wars, any whiff of controversy and they’re stuttering wrecks, assuring anyone who’ll listen that they knew all along that Dr Seuss was a closet racist, homophobe, sexist, etc., with no place in public libraries. No matter that J.K. Rowling introduced a whole new generation (and reacquainted quite a few of the older one as well) to the joy of reading, what you really need to know about her is that she thinks biological women are women, and is therefore a heretic. If you wanted proof that wokery is a religious movement just look at the treatment of Rowling and the fanaticism of her accusers.

The scientific organisations which should be supporting, well science, have run up the white flag in the culture wars. The Enlightenment never happened and scientific rigour is an evil remnant of the West’s domination of everything – although even the woke are grateful for modern dental and medical practices, which derive from that scientific rigour. Our standard of living has improved immeasurably, with a lifespan that has increased from the mid-thirties a couple of centuries ago to the mid-eighties today, courtesy of the efforts of Western scientists. Presumably even the fiercest critic of the West has used penicillin at some time.

Women are not even entitled to an accurate definition of what a woman is, penises are optional but chromosomes of the XX variety are not even in for consideration. Truth, as they say, is always the first casualty of war. That the scientific establishment, particularly medical associations have largely bought into the culture wars, on the anti-scientific side, would make Galileo turn in his grave. His particular kind of courage is nowhere to be seen today, his supposed heirs in the scientific community having embraced the new flat-earthers, or more accurately, that the sun does whatever he said it didn’t. It’s left to an author, Rowling, to display a backbone and continue his legacy of stating scientific fact. A new hierarchy has been instituted in the public square with the defenders of Western science consigned to the bottom of the heap, ridiculed and exiled to an intellectual Siberia, while the politicians and the mainstream media say nothing.

There are exceptions to this. Douglas Murray and the late Roger Scruton, along with commentators in the print and electronic media and academia have pointed out the absurdity of the woke position, and denounced its nihilism – but they are lamentably few. Politicians, who have a megaphone when it comes to getting issues out into the public sphere, will only take a position when the latest focus group points to an electoral advantage in doing so. Those on the conservative side, the natural defenders of our culture, are virtually mute. Most educators don’t even try to defend Western culture, preferring instead to virtue-signal and promote the deletion of writers such as Jane Austen from the syllabus.

The culture wars are a war of retreat, of disengagement on the conservative side, and ultimately of surrender. Woke absurdism has silenced those who are supposed to be defenders of Western culture, a culture that has taken thousands of years to develop and has enriched millions of lives. If their children’s heritage is destroyed by the pressure of the latest tweet, so be it.

All cultures have contributed to the richness of human experience, but only one is singled out for destruction, and its natural defenders are acquiescent in the process.

Perhaps the best example of the ultimate aim of the culture wars is the slogan of the Great Reset, ‘You will own nothing and you will be happy’ – you will certainly not own your culture.

It sounds like some resurrected thought bubble from Pol Pot, and we know how that worked out. It’s interesting that it’s couched in the second person, and not the first: ‘You will own nothing…’.  There’s a clue as to who will be doing the heavy lifting in the great utopian future. No heating, no cooling, no reliable source of protein (diabetics take note), no private property, no anything acquired by individual effort, no nothing really – quel bonheur – what a sell to anyone wanting to be a serf. Who knew there was such nostalgia for the Middle Ages? When the slogan is reframed in the first person, ‘I will own nothing…’, it might warrant analysis, but that would invite ridicule.

The culture wars are one in which Western culture is the only defendant.

There are commentators trying to expose its white-anting and the dangers inherent in advocating its destruction, but it seems to be beneath the dignity of those most charged with its defence to do so. It’s ironic that they are those who have benefitted most from its democratic foundations. Appeasement is a discredited strategy in any field, but it’s the preferred strategy of the elites in Western society – they’ve capitulated to woke ideology and the wholesale destruction of a magnificent heritage. What was it Churchill said about who the crocodile eats last? Or more to the point, Lenin’s description of useful idiots, who have taken over so many Western institutions.

There’s a price to be paid for all of this and I fear the ones who will pay the biggest price are the young. We are stewards of our culture in every generation, not its cullers.

Our grandchildren will ask who were Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Darwin, Newton, Dickens, Faraday, Fleming, Harvey, Galileo, Stephen Hawking, Ian Frazer, Pasteur, Macfarlane Burnet, Marconi, Charlie Chaplin, Victor Hugo, Nat King Cole and all the rest in the pantheon of those who’ve enriched our lives in so many fields. We owe them a debt and we owe them vigilance. The culture wars are not just about culture, they’re about survival.

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