Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Culture Wars

Just by saying that the present UK government has seen what encouraging (or at least not discouraging) 'Culture Wars' did for President Trump, I am engaging in one myself. In one sentence I have set half the world against me and the other half for me.

The conspiracy theorist in me (we all have a bit of one) is beginning to think that the divisiveness which seems to permeate every aspect of social life these days is not so much an unfortunate byproduct of cultural change as a covert piece of policy to force it.

When you think about it, the divisive nature of Culture Wars has shifted the polarity of acceptability from one end of the world to the other. It used to be simple to justifiably accuse one easily identifiable sector of society as tending toward fascistic thinking or behaviour, but when  left wing-hotbeds such as university student unions send death-threats to individuals whose only crime is to express the belief that having a sex change does not automatically give you the same rights and insights as a person who was born to be a woman, whether or not she is happy in her body. 

You may, as a white person, deeply empathise with black and brown people, but you have not arrived at the end of a long line of ancestors and  found yourself born into a culture that obliterated your family history 400 years ago and still regards you and your children as some sort of outsiders at the same time as accusing you of not wanting to fully integrate. They still have not yet even apologised for the Windrush scandal, let alone given out compensation. to anyone who they can still be traced in the country they were forcibly sent to. 

There is a woman who has written a book (don't know her name) which advocates a way of discussing this stuff without starting wars. From her brief description of it, I think she suggests asking yourself if you are really giving the evidence against your argument enough scrutiny, or if you are simply amassing bits of evidence which seems to support your way of thinking, whether it is of good quality or not.

She cited a good example: A man had written or expressed something which many people disagreed with and attacked him for. Instead of staying in the same place and saying 'I am right and you are wrong', he selected some of the stronger arguments against him and pointed out their various merits. He published the contra arguments and said that they were the best and strongest - but he still stood by what he originally said.

That is a good way of counteracting the divide and rule tactics which governments all over the world have employed simply to stay in power.


  1. Everywhere arounds us: infrastructure, institutions, processes, we still see the proceeds of colonialism. It generated millions of pounds in value for every single person in this country. Should we give it back? Other countries, China especially, are now taking it from us (and them) in a different way.

    1. It has all moved on to the extent that it would be ridiculous and ruinous for everyone if we were to try and make up 100% for the actions of our forebears. As far as China goes, it is stupidly complex. We have to deal with them no matter what the regime gets up to. I have bought so much Chinese stuff and stuff with components made in China that most of it would stop working if I sent it back in a huff. It all went tits up when China embraced capitalism without renouncing traditional rule of collective government.

  2. Interesting food for thought Tom. All my teaching life I rose through the ranks in Comprehensive School where the predominant colours were brown and blco - from the West Indies, from the Punjab - and then white pupils from a very working class area of the town. I don't remember any racial tension, things always seemed to jog along happily in the main. Have things bubbled up since then (I retired in 1984 or was I blind to it?

    1. It is very similar to Palestine before the creation of Israel. Jews, Arabs and Gentiles got along just fine with each other for the sake of a peaceful life.

  3. Sorry - in the second line the word should read black - gremlins got in.

  4. It will be like a new religion and one day all those who erase history and embrace the revolution of the divided will be rewarded like the Roman Empire and Christianity and it will spread for 1000s of years until another division comes and a new revolution.

    1. I think you may have to explain that a little further for people like me.

  5. Divide and conquer tactics have been around for a long time. At the end of the day, as individuals, we have a choice not to allow this. Follow the masses or hold your ground.

  6. I listened to that on the radio as well, think about the opposing argument. It definitely quietens your thoughts down but at the same time the battle gets bigger. "How dare you do that" is definitely my modus operandi though.

  7. Our capacity for rational, disinterested, analysis is very limited indeed. Politics is now effectively a mix if PR and lobbying - and the culture wars a sad reflection on both our lack of tolerance and our difficulty in facing down those with overly strident and partisan views.

    1. We can’t can’t hear for the shouting most of the time.

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