It is now painfully clear that the western world is divided into two warring camps, armed with the modern weapons of the culture wars – the internet and social media – that are defining our times.
On one side are the legions of the Left. These are no longer the mass organisations that comprised the Left in the twentieth century (trade unions and socialist parties drawing their support from the working class salted with a sprinkling of “progressive” middle-class intellectuals).
The explosive growth in prosperity of the masses following the Second World War disproved the predictions of Karl Marx that pauperisation of the working classes would be the downfall of capitalism and make way for a proletariat revolution. Instead, the workers themselves became the new bourgeoisie with a car in the garage, their own homes and annual holidays.
Deprived of their dreams of revolution by the brute facts of economic reality, the progressive intelligentsia revised Marxism and came up with a new theory: the “long march through the institutions”. Abandoning all faith in working-class revolution, they embarked on a revolution of the elites from above.
In Britain the long march is now approaching journey’s end
Inspired by the theories of Weimar Germany’s Frankfurt School and the Cultural Marxism of Italy’s Antonio Gramsci, they set about capturing the cultural citadels of capitalism: the schools and universities, the broadcast media and, finally, the machinery of state rule itself including the civil service, the judiciary, police, and government quangos. By these means over the past half century they have hollowed out the state from inside like woodworms burrowing through ancient beams in a beloved house.
In Britain at least the long march is now approaching journey’s end. As the battle over Brexit and the long months of Covid-19 have proved, the Left is now firmly entrenched in command of such formerly independent and impartial organs of state as the BBC, the higher ranks of the police, university councils, local government and the law. We see the pernicious results on our streets every day.
The mass demonstrations of the Left like Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter are unmolested, while ordinary citizens holding garden parties, protesting against lockdowns, or merely visiting their quarantined grandma are fined and vilified. The supposed guardians of our cultural and historical heritage either fold their arms and do nothing, or actively encourage the vandals to sack and pillage.
Freedom of speech has become a thing of the past
Freedom of speech has become a thing of the past in a world in which academics and actors can lose their jobs and careers if they speak or write out of turn to express views disliked by the Twitterati keyboard warriors. Not a week goes by without some fresh outrage against liberty and history to add to an ever-lengthening list. The continued police persecution of Darren Grimes and the decision by the bosses of Greenwich Naval Museum to “recontextualise” Britain’s greatest naval hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson, are but the latest idiocies.
Faced with this open assault on our values, how can the other side in the Great Culture War best defend the achievements of western civilisation and roll back the attack of our enemies and the foot soldiers of ignorance who follow them? Small ‘c‘ conservatives and the great majority of unpolitical ordinary people alike, are at a distinct disadvantage compared with the woke Left in this conflict as they generally have better things to do with their lives than dedicate themselves 24/7 to political mania.
So, the first necessity for all those opposed to the extremes of wokeism and the delusional lockdowns is to stir themselves from their slumber, take a leaf from the Left’s own book and organise their opposition into a coherent cause. They need radio and TV stations to broadcast their case; think tanks to develop their ideas; journals like The Critic to challenge the prevailing consensus; and foot soldiers on the ground to call phone-ins, write to local newspapers, and badger cowardly MPs and local councillors by email.
Our current political parties are all falling over themselves to worship at the altar of woke
To be fair, there are hopeful signs already that such things are beginning to happen. Plans are already afoot for new TV and radio stations to provide an alternative to the stranglehold of wokeism that holds both the BBC and our other broadcasters in thrall. Various think tanks are generating and debating notions of freedom and independence outside the closed circuits of suffocating left-liberal orthodoxy, and a small but growing band of courageous journalists are speaking out against the conformism of established opinion.
What is still missing, however, is an organised political opposition. With the major existing political parties mindlessly committed to the economic suicide of a new lockdown, and all falling over themselves to worship at the altar of woke, never has there been a more urgent need for a proper grassroots organisation to support freedom and halt our destructive path towards totalitarianism.
In the mid-2000s pressure from UKIP pushed a reluctant David Cameron to call the Brexit referendum. Today, UKIP has imploded; its successor the Brexit Party has gone into seemingly permanent hibernation; and the new kid on the block, Lawrence Fox’s Reclaim Party, has yet to do more than announce its birth.
Meanwhile, the so-called Conservative party, despite an 80-seat majority, has not performed a single conservative act or articulated any conservative policies: rather the reverse. Indeed, in Churchill’s words, this pathetic and purblind government is “Going on in strange paradox. Decided to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful only to be impotent”.
Nature abhors a vacuum. In the absence of a proper party to provide a focus and a forum for their discontent, the increasingly unhappy people of this country, incensed at seeing their values attacked, their beliefs mocked, their jobs destroyed, their heroes traduced, and their freedoms curtailed are unlikely to stay passive and silent forever.
Enjoying The Critic online? It's even better in print
Try three issues of Britain’s newest magazine for £5Subscribe