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The zealots threatening our civilisation can be beaten


THE contrast between a wonderful traditional Christmas with one’s family and the self-inflicted political maelstrom could not be sharper. It’s a tragedy. We should all have been sitting down to turkey thankful for the extraordinary peace and prosperity that our Western civilisation had brought, not cowed and on the retreat in every political, cultural and economic sphere.

No generation has been so fortunate, at so many levels, as this one. On almost all matrices, from an unprecedented general affluence to increasing longevity and (until lockdown) an ability to trot the globe in a way even Rockefeller could not, we enjoy the fruits of the accumulated knowledge, enterprise and hard work of our civilisation. 

More, only a few decades ago the West was triumphant. The Evil Empire of the Soviet Union had been vanquished, not by invasion, but because our ideas of democracy, free markets, light government and the rule of law were superior to coercion. Unable to compete, the USSR crumbled from within. So great was our victory that one or two misguided people even talked about ‘the end of history.’ No such luck. 

Has ever a civilisation that has been so manifestly successful and without material external threat so quickly risked its very existence? 

One might think this polemical and perhaps it is, but at so many levels what made our civilisation so successful is being undermined deliberately by political and academic elites and at breakneck speed. 

We now live under the false gods of extreme liberalism and Marxist revisionism that has gone mainstream. Absolutes are abolished and the rocks that build society of family, personal responsibility, community, rule of law, competition and economic freedom are being replaced with a deliberate attempt to expunge our history and values coupled with a zealous regulatory framework, an overweening state that professes to know all. We endure regular attacks on the very basis of our society, the family – and a surveillance society either via CCTV or NHS App which gnaws at our historic freedoms and crushes individualism and personal choice.

Worse, as one of the unforeseen impacts of the response to coronavirus it has become very apparent that governments – including our own – can frighten their people, and indeed have admitted to doing so to gain compliance. Who would have believed a British government would use Cameron’s invention of the Orwellian-sounding ‘Behavioural Science Unit’ to control its own people through the magnification of fear – and brag about it?

Regardless of one’s opinion of the lockdown restrictions, and thankfully there is marginally more sanity in England than Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Austria, to name  but a few, what is clear is that the State apparatus has been test run effectively to close down inconvenient debates. Since when did the media regulator Ofcom, as they proudly proclaim on the front page of their website, have the right to enforce the terms of political debate, thus crushing any alternative view from the questionable State narrative? 

What does this mean in the future for challenging other orthodoxies, for example Net Zero? Why do we need a state regulator of information in the first place? Who do they not trust?  

Increasingly this liberal democracy we live in coalesces around one view: the State view.  

There is almost no mainstream opposition to lockdown, extreme wokeism in the media and universities, or the proliferation of diversity league tables and so-called contextual offers (discrimination in any other language). 

Where is the debate on the undermining of the traditional family? What about a serious debate on a decade of money printing and zero interest rates by the central bank, or whether the dash to go green will result in massively higher electricity bills and possible supply disruption? 

In the blogosphere there is some pushback but amongst the permanent bureaucracy, academic, media and professional political class, almost no debate at all, despite the many millions who dissent from the State view. What is the point of this Parliament if controversial ideas are not challenged? 

What sort of democracy is it when a party that wins power on a programme that is broader than just ‘Get Brexit done’, including an explicit assumption of lower taxes, and is led by a Prime Minister who has written extensively as a climate sceptic and only briefly mentioned a green agenda on page 56 of his manifesto, on each and every issue does the polar opposite of what was promised, and with virtually no Parliamentary questioning? 

The West is in a terrible self-inflicted mess, tortured by a total lack of confidence and attacked from within by a tiny clique of self-loathing intellectuals who despise our culture and way of life. This group, who are deeply unrepresentative of opinion as a whole, are acting intentionally in a way that makes debate near impossible. 

Fear not, however. This might be their high-water mark, for I predict in 2022 things are going to get a lot tougher for them. Their current path is not sustainable. 

On almost every measure Government is out of control. A public sector that largely does not work, which we are told to clap, a monetary policy that prints £900billion and keeps interest rates at almost zero for over a decade now leading unsurprisingly to inflation, an energy policy that will not only cause the lights to flicker but is directly causing a cost of living crisis, a defence policy that hollows out the army to an unsustainable size, a tax system that is the most complex in the world with the highest taxes in 50 years, a legal system that allows protesters who deface statues or block roads to fear no consequences of public condemnation through the rule of law.  

This cannot continue. Either we are heading for a technocratic rock – where debate narrows around a tiny oscillator, but even then the buttons the bureaucracy has to press will get more and more extreme to keep a broken system almost functioning – or there will be a 1970s-style political fight-back. 

It might be a volatile and a challenging ride, but my money is on a fight-back. Our civilisation is stronger and more resilient than these self-loathing defeatists think. The West has gone through periods of collective insanity before, but so long as we hold our nerve sanity will eventually prevail. 

Family, freedom, choice, free enterprise always beats centralise, control and coerce. These zealots who profess to govern us are the ones in the last chance saloon.

This first appeared in Brexit Watch on January 8, 2021, and is republished by kind permission.

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Ewen Stewart
Ewen Stewart
Ewen Stewart is a City economist who runs the consultancy Walbrook Economics. He is director of the think tank Global Britain and his work is widely published in economics and political journals.

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