ARE WE DOOMED?

In the British sit com Dad’s Army Private Fraser, the gloomy Scottish undertaker, has a catch phrase, ‘We’re doomed’.

Fraser

‘We’re doomed I tell ye. We’re all doomed’

It is easy to despair and think that we are doomed and that progressives have taken over the Western world.

Our media is painfully politically correct and relentlessly pushes a progressive agenda. If politicians utter a word out of line they are quickly brought to heel by a braying Twitter mob. When students demand safe spaces and trigger warnings and university authorities hasten to appease them it’s apparent our universities have become havens of progressivism.

Does this mean that progressivism has won the day? Not necessarily. If you succeed in shutting down public debate it could mean that you have won. It could also mean that you are well on the way to losing.

The remarkable thing about today’s public debate is that one side wants to stamp it out and enforce conformity of expression. Contrary views are met with cries of ‘No platform’. Even progressive warriors like Germaine Greer and Peter Tachell can fall afoul of the mob. The Index Librorum Probibitorum of the Roman Catholic Church was never half as effective as Twitter.

noplatform

Last year, knowing that an invited speaker might criticise the concept of a ‘rape culture’ some students at Brown University demanded a safe space in which to shelter. This was to give students who might find comments ‘triggering’ a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with biscuits, colouring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as carers trained to deal with trauma.

One student who left the sanctuary and popped into the lecture hall to see what was going on had to retreat to the safe space. ‘I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,’ she said. Thus we find that a student at a prestigious university was traumatised by hearing contrary views.

This is not the behaviour of an all conquering ideology. It is a sign of an ideology which sees the need to cocoon itself in a bunker of ideological conformity.

WORLD_SHINY

Producing people unable to engage in thoughtcrime may be the aim of progressivism. The result, however, will be a generation unable to engage in thought at all. Entrenched progressive dogma protected by Play-Doh and frolicking puppies is approaching breaking point.

Universities should exist not just so students can absorb facts or their lecturer’s opinions. A vital part of educational development is sharpening the student’s  thought processes in the cut and thrust of debate, and broadening their vision. If people never have to engage with contrary ideas they will never learn to see the world through the eyes of others, and will be intellectually and socially stunted.

What happens when progressives emerge from their safe spaces and encounter reality where frolicking puppies can be in short supply? What will be their reaction when they have to meet contrary opinions? To change the world you have to learn how to engage the world. If you are unable to engage the world you live in an ineffectual intellectual ghetto.

Having abandoned the culture, traditions and moral norms of Western society progressives have nothing with which to replace them but contentless buzz words like, ‘social justice’, ‘cultural diversity’, ‘flexibility’ and ‘critical thinking’. Their very goals are self-defeating. The goal of multi-culturalism has morphed into a relentless drive to fillet Western cultural inheritance. The commitment to diversity results in a de-cultured standardless homogenisation.

The seeming triumph of progressives actually spells their defeat. The progressive elites in universities and the media are producing a generation of intellectual infants. These students think of themselves as radical progressives, the cutting edge of goodness in a corrupt society. In truth they are the willing foot soldiers of an elitist repression of thought.

If you can’t say it pretty soon you can’t think it. In Britain street preachers have been arrested for quoting the Bible on homosexuality. In France Brigitte Bardot, now an animal rights activist, was fined 30,000 euros for saying Islamic ritual slaughter was barbaric. In the USA 59% of college campuses restrict free speech. The silencing of legitimate expression is aimed at the enforced conformity of the unwilling.

Orwell

The new orthodoxy seems on the surface to be all-conquering. Historically monolithic thought systems which shun reality have a habit of collapsing so completely that onlookers are astonished. The Scottish reformation was a remarkably peaceful event in a blood-soaked century. This was not because the Reformers were all powerful but because the seemingly impregnable established church collapsed when pushed. The totalitarian Soviet Union with its demand for total ideological conformity seemed impregnable, right up until it shattered.

Elites are by their nature isolated and open to self-delusion. Attempting to impose dogma doesn’t get people to agree, it only succeeds in getting everyone to mouth the acceptable slogans. This is no guarantee that everyone either understands or accepts them. Shutting down public debate may ensure that you win in the short term, but behind it all is the realisation that you have already lost.

Those who value the traditions and standards of Christian based Western culture need not despair. Progressivism is a façade, another empty shell ready to crack open.

 

 

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About Campbell

Now retired but once upon a time a parish minister in Glasgow, before that the South West and initially the Black Isle. Been a prison chaplain and lecturer. Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.
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6 Responses to ARE WE DOOMED?

  1. MrMadWriter says:

    Honestly some unis should be renamed Daycares

  2. grrod says:

    As always, Campbell, another insightful piece into the madness of modern life. However, this time I don’t think I’m going to share the optimism of your final paragraph. It’s difficult to look at Scotland today and look on with any kind of optimism as the country continues to slip its Christian (and importantly Reformed) moorings and descend into a one party state where difference of opinion is at best ignored but at worst shouted down in an increasingly hysterical bout of self-righteousness. The latter being an attribute which looks particularly unattractive on a Scotsman or woman.

    I think of how prescient Solzhenitsyn’s warning to the West was in a speech delivered over, a then, fully British BBC in 1976:

    “And yet we contemplate the West from what will be your future, or we look back seventy years to see our past suddenly repeating itself today. And what we see is always the same as it was then; adults deferring to the opinion of their children; the younger generation carried away by shallow, worthless ideas; professors scared of being unfashionable; journalists refusing to take responsibility for words they squander so easily; universal sympathy for revolutionary extremists; people with serious objections unwilling or unable to voice them; the majority passively obsessed by a feeling of doom; feeble government; societies whose defensive reactions have become paralysed; spiritual confusion leading to political upheaval. What will happen as a result of all this lies ahead of us. But the time is near, and from bitter memory we can easily predict what these events will be.”

    It was always a thing of bitter regret for Solzhenitsyn that the West’s liberal elite and intelligentsia stood back and even ignored the horrors of the Soviet system with its gulags and repression. He thought that only when the West had gone through this nightmare would it fully understand the preciousness of freedom and freedom based on the spiritual knowledge and gift of God. My fear is that the West is about to embark on its own long nightmare of repression and fear. Current developments in Scotland only confirm this and leave me with no solace whatsoever in the common sense of our current crop of politicians and decision makers.

    Gordon

    • Campbell says:

      Thanks Gordon, your comments are always well thought out and presented.
      I agree with your comments on Scotland. The situation here is further along than the rest of the UK. A one party state, especially a party which sees the state as the great engine of social change, is something which is worrying.
      Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 speech at Harvard where he blasted Western godlessness and materialism is one of the most thorough inditements of secularism. And in the 40 years since its become even worse, and shall continue to do so.
      The worse it gets, the more outlandish, not to say deranged, progressives become in their demands for cultural destruction, the more evident it will become to the rest of us where all this leads.
      I am no unalloyed optimist but I do believe that the day will come when people will have had enough. In the meantime it’s up to people like yourself to keep on speaking out, even if you are opposed and disregarded.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Talking of rape culture, along at Purdue University it seems that as long as you support abortion in the name of feminism, you can offer to rape a few pro-lifers without any disciplinary action being taken against you.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/purdue-university-we-wont-fire-staff-member-who-said-hed-rape-pro-lifers

    New Wave Feminists’ usual robust critique of said nonsense can be found here: http://newwavefeminists.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/this-just-in-threatening-rape-totally.html#comment-form

    The sooner the wheels fall off this rotten wagon the better.

    (Apologies if you don’t allow links)

    • Campbell says:

      Thanks for this Jennifer.
      The sheer pervasiveness of these attitudes is frightening, but should encourage us to resist the totalitarian impulses of progressivism. The further they get from reality in their attempts to create a brave new world the more evident their unhinged views become and the more opening there are for sanity to get its foot in the door..

  4. You have brilliantly exposed this to the light, Campbell! Bravo!

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