Monday, 10 June 2013

Read and shudder

" All serious Conservative thinkers grasp that only <blank> can embody all those ideals which bind us together, and which count for so much more than mere self-interest."

What was the blank?

Answer: it was "the state". I hope that sent a shiver down your spine. Does the 20th century have anything to tell us about the practical outworking of that belief?

Note: the writer wasn't saying that all serious Communists believe this, or that all serious Socialists believe this, which is what we'd expect to hear. (The latter might still be disputed, and I hope it would, but we'd be more likely to hear it).

Note: he doesn't say that the state has a role to play in representing the ideals that bind us together. He says that the state actually embodies those ideals, and that the state only embodies those ideals. Families? Church? Communities? Nope. The state. Hail Caesar!

Throughout the article, Conservative is capitalised, so I hope that the writer believes it's only the members of his political party think this, rather than those who'd be more broadly "conservative" (in terms of believing in the rule of law, and in the need to "conserve" the positive aspects of our cultural heritage, in which Biblical Christianity has been a dominant force). I fear, though, that he actually believes more than that, and it should make you shudder that we now have an intellectual climate in which serious writers actually believe that nobody serious could disagree with statements like that.

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