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The dictatorship of relativism is heading for Britain

The Guardian says that traditional English identity is disappearing. What will replace it?

By on Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Union Flag unfurled. Soon Britons won't be able to agree on anything (Photo: PA)

The Union Flag unfurled. Soon Britons won't be able to agree on anything (Photo: PA)

The results of the recent UK census make dismal reading for all Christians in this country. Not only has the number of people identifying themselves as Christian markedly declined over the last 10 years, so has the number of people getting married. Christianity is probably not on the point of extinction in this country – but if it were, this is what its terminal decline would look like. So there is no reason at all to be cheerful. The decline in marriage is particularly worrying: what would a country where marriage ceased to exist look like?

The Guardian, predictably, sounds cheerful about this increase in diversity, given, partly, one suspects, because “diversity” is, in our contemporary Newspeak, synonymous with all that is good and true. But its editorial has this to say:

Since the EU has become for the Tory party the symbol of everything that is wrong and strange about the world, it can be said that the census results, too, will increase hostility to it in the party. That is not just because some papers will predictably run on the increasing numbers of “foreigners” and “foreign-born” which the census reveals. The changing country that the census reveals is also a problem for conservatives in that it marks the disappearance of any kind of traditional English identity to which these foreigners could be assimilated.

Never mind the problems the conservatives may face, just look at that last sentence again. “The disappearance of any kind of traditional English identity” is surely not just a problem for conservatives, but for the rest of us as well.

The Guardian seems to think that we can get on without our traditional identity, and that its loss is not to be mourned. Well, perhaps there were aspects of the traditional identity that were not good, but the fact remains that a culture must have some sort of identity, something that unites us all. If we do not have shared and unspoken assumptions held in common, then this will mean endless arguments about practically everything, without some common standard to which we can all appeal to end the arguments.

The Americans have arguments, but they all end, if they continue long enough, at least in theory, in the Supreme Court, for all Americans love and revere their constitution. Here in Britain, a lack of a shared identity and shared assumptions is already apparent. That is why we are arguing over the nature of marriage and indeed sexuality per se; what was once a matter for agreement is now polarised. On one side stand those who believe marriage is as old as humanity and not to be interfered with; others think that “equality” (which is ill-defined) trumps all. But it goes further than this. We have a Conservative Prime Minister who thinks that conservatism means supporting gay marriage; and other conservatives who think the exact opposite. One thing is certain: the word conservative has now become meaningless, insofar as it can mean two opposite things at the same time.

So we need a national identity, if only to give us a sense of belonging and to save us all from this constant bickering. The Christain identity served us well. What will replace it? Something must, because we cannot continue like this, and nature abhors a vacuum. Unlike some, I do not think Islamification is on the cards; but something malign may well be round the corner, indeed, already here, and that is the dictatorship of relativism that Benedict XVI so presciently foresaw back in 2005. As he said then:

“We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognise anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”

This dictatorship of relativism will be nothing like the diversity so beloved of the Guardian. Indeed, such diversity is largely illusory. The only solution to this coming dictatorship is, of course, a return to faith and the realisation that we are not sovereign, God is. It is his world, not ours. But that seems a long way off. In the meantime, may God have mercy on us all, particularly those of us who get on the wrong side of the new dictators.

  • teigitur

    I agree.

  • Jon Brownridge

     “the reality of Adam and Eve”…

    Surely that is not something that needs to be discussed. The Adam and Eve story is pure mythology with clear implications for human behaviour.

  • Jon Brownridge

     I can’t think of anyone LESS like a dictator than Obama. His problem is that he tries to please everyone instead of taking a firm stand on what he considers important. That’s the opposite of being a dictator.

  • parepidemos

    I am not attempting to debate with paulpriest. Nor is it a case of agreeing or disagreeing with his theological, moral or liturgical opinions.

    The crux of the matter is about behaving as a follower of Christ when in discussion with someone. Paulpriest himself admits to being rude, insulting and calous amongst other things, all of which are patently unChrist-like; reasoned debate with such a person is not possible – and that is my point.

  • parepidemos

    How can we know what God intended in terms of who stays at home and who is the breadwinner? There are numerous societies, particularly in Africa, where it is the women who do most of the labour-intensive work in the fields and around the village as the men traditionally did the hunting. (But then, African societies almost uniformly have a very exended notion of family, so that needs to be taken into account)  So, I think that it is a societal reality rather than one intended by God.

    I am certainly in favour of someone being at home for the children, if this is at all possible. Sadly, in our ‘western’ society that is not financially feasible for many families; I only wish that it were.

  • parepidemos

    I concur.

  • Alan

    So, would you prefer to live in a country where everybody was the same?  Where we were all expected to conform to the majority? 

  • teigitur

    BTW how does the resident a-theist celebrate the feast of the Nativity?

  • Tom47

    True. And we really should stop referring to evsrything we disapprove of on the liberal to left spectrum as ‘marxism’.

  • Benedict Carter

    It’s been here since the “Reformation”. 

    The link between Authority and Truth was then broken; the rest is history.

  • NewMeena

    The modern Conservative party understands well that there is no future for the Conservative party of the recent past.

    The modern party know that the party of the past is now unelectable.

  • NewMeena

    “The link between Authority and Truth was then [from 1517] broken”

    Not totally. It was alive in the days of the Soviet Union and Germany in the 1930s-40s, and although sometimes on life-support, is still hobbling about in communist China.

    The “truth”, though, differs.

    Opinion and strongly held beliefs are just opinion and strongly held beliefs. NOT truth.

  • NewMeena

    Your resident atheist has not yet answered.
    But we celebrate Christmas in the same way that almost everyone else does these days. The inhabitants of these islands celebrated a festival during the “bleak mid-winter” before the Romans came and before Jesus was born.

    I used to like the Sally Army and their brass band playing carols, but seldom see them these days at Christmas.

  • NewMeena

    I don’t think that these matters are connected in any way with the wish (by government) to change the size of the population, or the rate of population change.

    It is unjustified to give married couples a tax advantage as marriage simply reflects one choice of life-style – and one which is probably dying-out.  It would be more logical to give very short and very tall people, or people with very large feet… etc, a tax advantage because they might need clothes or shoes to be made for them, rather than being able to buy “off the peg”.

  • Nana

    The dictatorship of relativism ‘heading for Britain’.  I thought it was already here – and has been so for quite a long time.  I have been reading Isaiah Berlin’s essay ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ and he ends it with these sentences: “‘To realise the relative validity of one’s convictions’, said an admirable writer of our time (Schumpeter), ‘and yet stand for them unflinchingly is what distinguishes a civilised man from a barbarian.’  To demand more than this is perhaps a deep and incurable metaphysical need; but to allow such a need to determine one’s practice is a symptom of an equally deep, and more dangerous, moral and political immaturity.”  I note from my book that this was first published in 1958.

    I now find Ernest Gellner (Plough, Sword and Book 1988) has written: “Our convenience, or blind nature, are the only two authorities which can validate our cognitive claims………This theory reflects a culture which no longer accepts its own concepts as ordained from on high but which chooses its own and endows them with only a conditional authority……Our convenience, and not any transcendent imperative, is our master.”

    So much for those two, the second of whom provides a worrying, disturbing and highly detailed analysis – at a philosophical and sociological level – of how such things have come to be in modernity.  What is the ethic of modernity?  If my reading of Gellner and Lessnoff is correct then the ethic of cognition pertaining to modernity is one where there is an a priori exclusion of anything pertaining to some other world when it comes to understanding what is going on in this one.  Understandably their adversaries do the opposite and consciously make an a priori inclusion of things pertaining to some other world in order to understand what is going on in this one – such adversaries cannot live or function or have an identity without such an inclusion for it constitutes their raison d’etre.  Such epistemological variance!

    Look at those areas where the teachings of the Catholic Church do not gel with the laws of the land.  Artificial birth control available; divorce available; abortion available; homosexuality decriminalised – even more, same sex unions in law with now marriage to be expected; once devoutly Catholic countries, Spain and Portugal have already succumbed (en passant I wonder how the Spanish and Portuguese legal systems are received by the church – does the Church in those countries advocate that catholics should have nought to do with the state-side of marriage?).  The road to Fatima and the Milky Way have been bye-passed by four lane, high-speed motorways, along which race the godless juggernauts of modernity.  Olivier Roy in Holy Ignorance highlights the irreconcilable paradigms that characterise modernity vis a vis traditional religious persuasions: feminism and the matter of homosexuality have brought to the fore fissures and chasms that will not be bridged. 

    Any wonder that there is, by the church, the understandable withdrawal from a now ‘pagan’ culture.  We find ourselves in a here and now, where a once favoured understanding of the human condition and its reflection in the laws of the land can no longer be taken for granted.  Such a particular and peculiar understanding jostles along, just one amongst many, many others, all particular, all peculiar -  a multitude of conflicting interest groups and their cultures. 

    I am still wondering who is the barbarian and who is the civilised person.

  • Nesbyth

    No I don’t think it was made the law of the land….it was something that amused Nero and others during this period of decadence in the Roman Empire.

    I’m alarmed by the UN’s sexual rights movement using the Yogakarta principles, which I looked up.
    If sexual rights trump free speech (they are beginning to in UK) and religion (they’re trying hard to achieve this too) and parental objections (watch out for more kidnapping of children by social workers) then we all have a dismal future ahead of us which will be determined by the trumpeting of sexual activities.

  • savvy

    There is attempt to write new values, not based on law or ethics, but on some emotional concept of hurt. 

    Most of the population is not going to accept these things. There is therefore an attempt to seek forced acceptance by enshrining it in law, with all disagreement being seen as hate or bigotry. It’s bullying and intimidation.

  • Nesbyth

    Indeed it is. You are right. It’s the Orwellian  “thought police” really.

  • Stephen Smythe-Jones

    I think while Britons were preoccupied with which FC was at the top of the EPL, and which Royal would stumble next in public, something happened almost behind our backs. Relativism arrived along with political correctness and the embrace of hatred of all isms, i.e., homophobism, sexism, racism, etc. The only phobia or bigotry which has not gone out of style in Britain and in point of fact has increased with the support of the media, politicians, academia, and society at large is….of course…anti Catholic Christian bigotry.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    HIGHLIGHTING PRIESTHOOD at the cost of APOSTLESHIP itself is the root cause of all relativism through man-made Philosophies, Theologies and “CHURCHES”, where-by GOD’S WORD is rendered sterile and useless.

    Among Pagan religions also we find priesthood but not APOSTLESHIP.

    PROMOTE APOSTLESHIP and relativism and all other isms and evils will come to an end.

    ONLY APOSTLES OF CHRIST (after the original 12 came many others into this category: the 72 disciples whom Jesus the Lord himself send out two by two to proclaim his WORD, THE LORD promoted these thereby to Apostleship; St.Paul, Mary Magdalene (Mary Magdalene, in the words of Pope J.P.II,  “Apostle to the Apostles” are all examples of later Apostles); CAN PROCLAIM THE WORD OF CHRIST and HIS KINGDOM and thus bring CHRIST THE LORD’S SALVATION to the people world over;and this MERE PRIESTS cannot do. Mere priests  mostly ritualise everything and what they do end up as “rituals of the dead” like the “Dead burying their own dead” in THE LORD’S own words.

    AND WHAT ABOUT THE YOUNG MAN who wanted to bury his own father and then come and follow THE LORD and to  whom THE LORD said, “as for you, come and proclaim “THE KINGDOM OF GOD”? This young man also was called to APOSTLESHIP, if then WHAT ABOUT US who make ourselves fit for CHRIST THE LORD?

    BY REMAINING ENTRENCHED IN MAN-MADE SET UP ( CHURCHES, traditions, observances, rules, regulations, laws, commandments, philosophies, theologies, rituals,dogmas and dramas) and TRAPS we become our own greatest enemis and the enemies of CHRIST THE LORD at the same time..

    “BY THEIR FRUITS” when we judge ourselves where we land up?