George MacDonald Fraser, the ruin of Britain, and the possibility of true resistance to liberalism
The British historical novelist George MacDonald Fraser died January 2. On January 5 the Daily Mail published what it calls his “last testament,” entitled “How Britain destroyed itself.” Below is an excerpt from the article, followed by my thoughts about what is good in Fraser’s vision, what is lacking in it, and what real opposition to the forces that have destroyed Britain would entail.
My generation has seen the decay of ordinary morality, standards of decency, sportsmanship, politeness, respect for the law, family values, politics and education and religion, the very character of the British.Fraser seems to be what you might call a conservative of the heart. He loves Britain, he believes in the traditional ways and liberties of its people, and he anguishes over their loss. It is eloquent and moving. What seems to be missing in the article is any sense of how and why this destruction of Britain came about, and how it could have been stopped and reversed. In the first part of the article (not quoted here), Fraser goes on at length about political correctness, which for him is the main villain in the downfall of Britain. While he gives many examples of political correctness, he does not define it. Nor does he say what the good opposite of the bad political correctness would be.
The point I am getting at, which I’ve often made before, is that attacking political correctness goes nowhere. It adds up to a catalogue of complaints. Yes, PC makes patriotism an embarrassment; yes, PC suppresses and criminalizes conservative speech; yes, PC suppresses negative truths about the behavior of minority groups; yes, PC takes away the legitimate rights of association and expression even as it gives vastly expanded rights to the libertine, the jihadist, and the thug. The problem with focusing on PC is that PC is not just a collection of annoying attitudes and rules and “double standards.” PC isn’t some weird thing that popped into existence for no reason. PC is the manifestation of an entire world view. PC exists because people believe in the world view that gave birth to it. Therefore we can’t successfully resist political correctness unless we attack and discredit that world view.
That world view is liberalism, the belief in equality and non-discrimination as the ruling principles of society. Liberalism attacks all the larger wholes—natural, social, and spiritual—that structure man’s existence, because those larger wholes create differences and distinctions which violate the rule of equality and non-discrimination. Liberalism attacks God, truth, religion, objective morality, standards of excellence, social traditions, the family, parental authority, sex differences, nation, ethnicity, and race. It aims at a world of liberated, equal human selves, with no God above them and no country or culture around them, free to interact on a basis of total freedom and equality with all other human selves on earth. To achieve this universal freedom and equality, the ability of actual peoples to define and govern themselves must be eliminated. Democratic and constitutional self-government must be replaced by the regime of the global elite, a regime that is beyond criticism and democratic accountability because it represents and embodies the very principle of liberal goodness: the equality of all.
That’s the liberal vision. Political correctness is one of the weapons by which this vision is imposed, it is not the vision itself. To complain about political correctness, when the problem is really liberalism, is like complaining about “enemies of freedom,” when the problem is really Islam. If we are to have any hope of defeating political correctness, we must understand the liberalism that begets it. Once we understand the positive vision that drives liberals, once we understand what liberalism has taken away and why it must take it away in order to realize the liberal vision, then we are in a position to start opposing liberalism.
Opposing liberalism means rediscovering, re-articulating, and restoring those elements of true human order that liberalism has delegitimized and suppressed. There is no simple way of summarizing these elements of true order. Each civilization consists of a unique ordering of mankind for the purpose of realizing the good life in a way that is appropriate for the people of that civilization. Lest I be misunderstood, I am not speaking of some Nazi-like tribalism but of the traditional moral order of a society under God.
There is much more to be said, but for the moment these are the basics with which we can begin:
Sage McLaughlin writes:
Your summary of the problem of liberalism in today’s post on George Fraser is as eloquent and concise an explication of the issues as I have ever seen. It is simply excellent, illuminating. I’ve sent it to friends and family, and recommended they carry a copy of it for handy reference. I congratulate and thank you.LA replies (May 5, 2008)
A belated thanks to Sage. What he says about the desirability of having simple concise summaries of traditionalist positions is something that must be worked on.Vivek G. writes (May 5, 2008):
LA wrote in the initial entry: “There are universal principles of order of human existence.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 14, 2008 11:31 PM | Send