Being English: The Original Sin

The leftists believe in Original Sin. To be born white to people of this mindset is a sin. To be born white and English and a male is a heinous sin which requires a lifetime of penance.

I don’t know what came over me, what possessed me to do it. What was I thinking? It was bad enough to choose to be male, I suppose somebody has got to do that, although the comrades in the labs are working on it. But to choose to be English, not just British, but English shows a flagrant disregard for the sensitivities of the blacks the Muslims and the Irish which is just hateful. How did I ever come to make such a terrible choice?

To compound the sins of that choice I went on to become heterosexual. But here I’d like to say a few words in my defence. I didn’t just take to the heterosexual role out of spite or bloody-mindedness. I gave bisexuality a fair go. I really did. I tried very hard to drink enough to make a pass at a friend I had in college, we got very very drunk, but somehow it still wasn’t quite enough. I didn’t fancy him and he didn’t fancy me either, but we were willing to give it a go as a political act, I think, but I didn’t manage to pull it off. Actually, we didn’t even get as far as pulling either of them out let alone pulling one off. But I want to state clearly for the record here that I am not heterosexual through choice, I just can’t get over the way I’m made. While there’s nothing about homosexuality I find offensive and the activities involved look like good fun for those who like that sort of thing, sodomy is right up my alley, but I just don’t find men sexually attractive. The sex part I have no philosophical or practical difficulty with, it’s the kissing and cuddling a man part I just can’t get past.

Not only did I come to terms with my heterosexuality I went on to break the ultimate taboo. I got married and had children, and it gets worse, the woman I married was the mother of my children, but and here’s the worst bit of all, the children were conceived after my marriage and took my name, as did my, if you pardon the obscenity, wife. What was I thinking of? Didn’t I know about the struggle?

Yeah. But it never was my struggle, comrade.

It has taken me a long time to figure it out but now I can say I am finally free of it. I have given up any notions of being anything to do with the left or the politically correct, or arseholes as the rest of us know them as. I am no longer looking for political progress, there is no utopia I can envisage just around the corner, I’m just trying to stop politically motivated idiots from ruining the world I want my children to enjoy living in. Politics can never be about the perfect state of man because of our irredeemably imperfect nature. But I am not by nature a conservative, I am not pessimistic or backward looking or suspicious of all and any change, I am a radical liberal, I just have the good luck to live in a world in which my radical ideas are accepted as if they were somehow rather unremarkable and almost normal. A hundred years ago I would be called an extreme radical for my views on the rights of women, animals and foreigners, my toleration of open relationships and homosexual couples and especially my views on God. They are radical views and I am not going to let some idiots dismiss me as if I am wanting to take the world backward to a former time. We are living in times when radical and liberal views are commonplace, the ideas put forward by men such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, some in works they would not want publishing in their lifetimes, are now quite mainstream. This is something which makes me feel good. These are my views, once radical, always liberal, in the true sense of the word before American leftists stole and besmirched it, never conservative, no matter where the centre of gravity of politics shifts to. To me conservatives live in the past and try to turn things around so we can go back to a future which is just a past but with bigger televisions, they are often afraid of the future and see the long term future as something dark and sinister. I see the past as flawed, the future is exciting, but there are always risks, and usually these take the form of misguided utopian idiots who want to change human nature so it fits their plan. Socialists and leftists are like psycho-girlfriends from hell: they tell you they love you, but want to change you to make you better, because they love you so much, you have to change to fit their ideals, even if it hurts, and it always hurts. Because they love you so much.

That’s not the way I see the world. People are the way they are, and our governments and political structures should adapt to our nature and not try to make human nature fit a political theory. The job of a government is to sit on the levers of power, thereby ensuring they don’t fall into any worse hands, but unlike the extreme libertarian right I don’t think that the optimum amount of state activity is none at all. There are things which can be done better by a monopoly, and only a state can do monopoly with any hint of fairness because only a state can represent the interests of consumers and outsiders as well as producers. How much activity, and which activity, can be safely and efficiently done by the state is not a question that can ever get a single once and for all answer, I’m not going to write it in a book and I don’t expect to see the answer in a book either. You never let go of the steering wheel, no matter how confident you are of your direction of travel. Fortunately, democracy allows for this process admirably.

People may mock and scoff and say I am right wing, but that is a meaningless concept. What is right wing? Monarchism? Fascism? National Socialism? Anarcho-capitalism? Reactionary rule by the military? Rule on the basis of race? The term has no meaning. I don’t agree with the plans, the theories, the dreams or the methods of the left, that is the only sense in which I am on the right, the extent to which I am not on the left. Was Colonel Gaddafi a left winger or a right winger? Or Hitler? I don’t think anybody wants to say he was on their side! Right wing means whatever the people using it want it to mean and often they just want it to mean wrong, and whatever they see as a position which challenges their agenda. I will stand up for what is right and oppose what’s left.

I will not try to make myself feel bad or apologetic about my nationality or my colour. I don’t believe in original sin. I have nothing to say sorry for. I did not run any empire, found any colony or trade any slaves. I was born in 1963, and I didn’t have any choice in the matter at all. I am what I am and what I am is not ashamed. Neither am I stupidly proud of something I have not achieved. The idea that the English are a pure race of uniquely free and freedom loving people is bollocks. So too is the idea that the English are a mongrel race full of cross-bred vigour, made up of a patchwork quilt of identities, tribes and nations. We are neither especially pure nor especially mixed up. Nothing about our national character depends on either national purity or diversity. Neither of those features is a benefit and we didn’t become great through either racial purity or multicultural or multiracial diversity. We are what we are. Just a bunch of people with a common language and some common culture. It is the language and culture which is great, but we are the people, not the culture.

The notion that the English have always been free and had superior justice to the rest of the world is simply not true. Slavery was common in Britain before the Romans came and in Saxon times too. We don’t have a history which is perfect. There is no central thread running through our history. Over time we have become better, developing the rule of law, establishing rights through law, then establishing the rule by parliament, then bringing democracy to parliament. It was a long process. It involved some big struggles, hundreds of thousands of men and a king had to give up their life to achieve it. No, that’s wrong, giving up your life achieves nothing. Hundreds of thousands of men were killed during the struggle. Struggle, or in Arabic, jihad, achieves nothing, neither does giving up your life. Only victory matters. You’re only a martyr if your lot survive and eventually win, otherwise, you’re just a casualty of war. It is hardly surprising that countries which try to achieve in decades what England has taken centuries to achieve fail in the effort. Does this mean I am proud of England? You bet it does. But I didn’t choose to be English, or fight to be English. There was no choice. There was no me before I existed. The idea that I won the great lottery of life by being born English is nonsense. There was no me and there was no lottery. The only way I could exist was as the child of my parents at that time and in that place. Anything else would be somebody else. I came into existence as me, there was no way I could exist as a poor Indian girl born in 1985, because that would be somebody else. No good is ever done by such silly imaginings. We are what we could be, we could never have been anything else.

I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that to take pride in a nation requires one to pay the price of the nation’s guilt or to be forever apologizing or trying to make amends. That’s not the way it works. If I said I really like a particular rock star and his music do I have to apologize when he gets arrested for having sex with under-age girls? No. It is perfectly possible and reasonable to associate with the good and not the bad, especially when dealing with something outside yourself, but even in your own behaviour, it is reasonable to say that you are proud of your degree and your children but ashamed of that time you were arrested. Actually in my case I’m proud of getting arrested too, somebody needed to make that very English protest, turning up in a black cab, getting chained to the railings under the shadow of Big Ben, arrested, processed and bailed in time to be treated for tea at a west end gentleman’s club. What a jolly wheeze it was. It achieved sweet FA of course, the electoral system is just the same now as it was back then, but we expected that. Sometimes a situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part. And we were just the guys to do it.

It is reasonable to be proud of being English while not being ashamed and feeling guilty for the bad things that were done by Englishmen. Do you disagree? If you were a homosexual man would you feel pride that the greatest single contribution to the war effort came from a homosexual man? Probably you would. But would you also take the blame for the Cambridge spies, homosexual Englishmen who sold out so many of our national secrets to the Soviet Union? Probably not. Why can’t everybody do the same? I think it is a perfectly normal human behaviour to take pride in heritage and ancestry without wallowing in the downside. Shame and guilt are emotions which we use to help deter us from making bad decisions. When we control them they serve us well.

I know that if I use violence to get to the front of a queue that I will feel disgusted with myself, I know that I will feel as bad as if I had eaten a bowl of rancid week-old cat food and been punched in the stomach. The knowledge that that is how I am wired enables me to make wise choices. I know I will punish myself and I will feel as bad or worse than if I had been physically punished. The avoidance of guilt and shame works on the simpler and faster parts of my brain. In addition, the slower but more powerful parts of my brain can produce logical reasons for not doing bad things. But many circumstances occur so rapidly that our moral choices are in effect made by lizard-like parts of our brainstem. It works so well that when faced with a catastrophe happening really quickly we can still make the right choice. A classic example of this happened while I was coming down the stairs. My cat is now so deaf she didn’t hear me coming until my foot was on her and my foot registered the sensations of fur, softness and possibly even warmth. I have no idea how quickly I reacted but I didn’t crush her to death, I took the risk of myself falling down the stairs rather than do it. That is the power of guilt and shame. Even the oldest part of my brain, the only part that had a chance to react fast enough, knew that crushing the cat would trigger an inevitable guilt attack which would have devasted me. Of course, the cat wasn’t quite so deaf that she could avoid hearing the shout of “Cooking fat!” (or something rather similar) as I struggled to regain my balance seven feet up a flight of stairs. I understand that many drivers of road trains in Australia have similar problems with aborigines sleeping on the road. Literally. People can really do without that kind of a shock to the system.

Guilt and shame work rather like the Doomsday device in Doctor Strangelove. We know that if certain events happen we ourselves will trigger a response which will damage us. To be effective, the process must be automatic and must not be able to be cancelled. We know that if we do something stupid so our child dies we know that we will be utterly devastated, our lives will be so miserable they would be barely worth living. We also know that the same thing will be true if we lose our spouse, possibly not quite as intense, then the same will also be true of actions which lead to the death of friends, neighbours, strangers, foreigners, animals and so on down through objects of less and less sentimental value until we come to floors other people have mopped, random bits of vegetation, crisp sheets of pure white paper, bubbles and vague shapes in the mist on a window. Some of our values are shared and some differ quite markedly. When people value animals above people or people below inanimate objects we call such people names such as psychopaths or ecologists.

I have utter contempt for people who can manipulate the finer sensibilities of other people for their own selfish ends. People who can recreate tragedies in order to manipulate the feelings of other people are monsters. The people who create museums and make films specifically in order to play on the gult of other people (a group they don’t associate themselves with) in order to advance the interests of their own people at the expense of those whose finer feelings they consciously manipulate – words are not adequate to express my contempt for such people. But such people often get nominated for Oscars it seems.

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