THIS is the first in our series dedicated to the memory and works of the conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton following his death last week. We are targeting the Conservative government with a series of lessons drawn from his writing.
Lesson number one: Stop repudiating your country, its past and your heritage. Stop being an oikophobe.
This article, by The Conservative Woman, was first published on January 2, 2018.
In his new book, Where We Are: The State of Britain Now, Sir Roger Scruton coins the term ‘oikophobia’.
He uses it to describe the attitude of a person who repudiates home – that is, people’s need for home and for their inherited way of life. It denotes contempt or disdain for the common man and our national culture. It is to be found in the universities and the channels of elite communication ‘and has been a force in politics out of all proportion to its place in the ordinary citizen’s heart’.
It is this attitude which leads elites to designate natural concerns and life experiences as xenophobic or racist.
Scruton explains: ‘A quantity of educated derision has been directed towards historical loyalties by our intellectual elites, who regularly dismiss ordinary forms of patriotic sentiment as racism, imperialism or xenophobia.’
He continues: ‘Oikophobia is a stage through which the adolescent mind all but inevitably passes. But it is also a stage in which we can become arrested.’
Orwell noticed the attitude in the English intellectuals of his day and it is a dominant theme of French intellectual life to be found in all the ‘post 1968 nonsense’ that Scruton takes down in Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left.
Oikophobes are frequently, but not always, those whom David Goodhart defines as ‘Anywheres’ against the ‘Somewheres’.
Crucially, Scruton notes, ‘the European Union, with its commitment to freedom of movement and its hostility to the “nationalist” sentiments of ordinary people, is likewise an “anywhere” project, which confers benefits on the mobile and costs on the settled communities that must make room for them’.
So it makes sense that Oikophobe-of-the-week Andrew Adonis would denounce Brexit as ‘a dangerous populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump’. Adonis is hostile to the nationalist sentiments of ordinary people, and implies that having such nationalistic loyalties is ‘dangerous’.
Scruton again: ‘Oikophobes define their goals and ideals against some cherished form of membership – against the family, the nation, indeed against anything that makes a claim, however justified, on their loyalty. They promote transnational institutions over national governments . . .’
This is why Lord Heseltine, Tory grandee and former deputy prime minister, could suggest that a Labour government, even one led by hardened socialist Jeremy Corbyn, would be preferable to Brexit. Not even membership and loyalty to the Conservative party can stand in the way of his preferred transnational institutions.
Though, says Scruton, ‘In their own eyes oikophobes are defenders of enlightened universalism against local chauvinism.’
As such, ‘oikophobia seeks a fulcrum outside the inherited society, by which the foundations of that society may be overturned – hence the flirtation with Soviet communism among the intellectuals of Orwell’s day, and the radical Islamism of second-generation Muslim immigrants today.’
Finally, Scruton suggests, ‘what is needed, not in Britain only but throughout the Western democracies, is a serious attempt to achieve the kind of extended patriotism that will include as many as possible of those who are tempted in this way by the path of non-belonging.’
We should be in no doubt that 2018 will see the oikophobes continue their relentless and ferocious attack on Brexit and other cherished freedoms. The European Union is Utopia for oikophobes, and if they can overturn Brexit it will finally put all those ‘racists’ who voted for it in their place.
Here on TCW fear not, for starting with Andrew Adonis we’ll be calling out the oikophobes, every anti-democratic one of them.