IN recent years we have been subjected to any number of absurd announcements from long-established institutions. Some stray far from the remits of their founding principles. Although sold to us as a natural evolution – because one must move with the times – frequently the causes they espouse are passing fads seeking acceptance. Our once-esteemed pillars of society have been hijacked to help promote ideas, trends and insanities that do not emerge naturally from ordinary people or the institutions they create and support.
Those who believe Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is a lone gunman bent on the destruction of the Church of England will be depressed to learn he represents a deeper, more expansive group embracing ideas at odds with their ostensible mission. The Sunday Express recently outlined the fate of a Church ordinand who regularly appears on GB News, Calvin Robinson. Seeking ordination to the clergy, Robinson is a journalist who espouses broadly conservative views in keeping with his faith. Like many Anglicans he is pro-family, uncomfortable with gay marriage and has spoken out against the endless chatter on the need to ‘decolonise’ Britain.
Senior clergy spoke of his conservative views as incompatible with the Church and its progressive sensibilities. Robinson correctly retorted that his beliefs were more in keeping with the congregations the Church ostensibly served, to no avail. He lost his planned curacy in the Diocese of London and his ordination may not proceed.
The incident highlights a common phenomenon, the way in which our traditional institutions have been skilfully hollowed out to provide the appearance of endorsement of ideas that do not emerge naturally.
We have witnessed this in numerous ways: the Royal Society abandoning scientific methodology to promote the ‘settled science’ of climate change; great universities limiting free inquiry and free speech; supposedly impartial news outlets publishing a government-approved narrative. All these entities present themselves in their original form as established champions entitled to an elevated place in society, while promoting an agenda increasingly at odds with the audiences they claim to represent.
The Church of England is just one of many institutions commandeered by a determined minority keen to exploit its legitimacy while they destroy its very foundations. Even the Catholic Church is now moving in this direction.
The most visible example of this trend is the usurpation of the main political parties. It is easy to see the Labour Party’s long decline from party of the working man to advocates of diversity and inclusion. But the Conservative Party now endorse net zero, wokery and notions of limiting speech they view as harmful, policies designed to appease irrational mobs who would cheerfully destroy them. This, we are told, is modernity and any discomfort you feel is a sign of your moral backwardness.
Yet these are not natural developments no matter how much we are told the world is changing. Most of us reject the obsessions of the political class and their fellow travellers, and few headline initiatives have emerged from the concerns of ordinary people. Welby’s obsession with decolonising the Church is a typical example. It makes little sense and angers traditionalists. Why continue down such a path of destruction? Surely this is a dead end, even a career ending move?
But for those afflicted with a need to signal their superior understanding of how things really work, what better way than using an established religion to promote your ideas? It provides a useful background hum that remains unexamined, and subtly encourages the notion that the world has changed. After all, if the clergy have reconsidered their white privilege, so must we.
This Trojan horse mechanism is widespread. By using the automatic credibility conveyed by a major religious organisation or a once respected pillar such as the Royal Society, some hope to usher in grand ideas minus the hassle of arguing their case in a public forum. When seemingly unrelated institutions chime in it helps reinforce the idea the subject is settled. No further debate is needed.
However, those sure of their convictions rarely resort to such skulduggery. Those with good ideas invite scrutiny, confident their evidence stacks up. The Achilles’ heel of woke ideas is their need for these kinds of deep-cover operations with their focus on endorsement rather than examination of underlying facts, often for good reason. Many of the ideas presented are inventions designed to satisfy an urge to demonstrate one’s moral superiority under the guise of tackling some notional inequality. They rarely withstand more than casual inspection. No one presents much evidence for the existence of widespread transphobia or explains why we should vandalise our heritage because of the opinions of a few cultural extremists.
Only the fearful behave like this. The confident rarely demand our unquestioning devotion. The endless woke announcements we are subjected to are largely for effect. Much of the outrage is a performance. These obsessions are only a kind of presentational wrapper to disguise the underlying urge for control and power, itself often a sign of insecurity.
What are we to make of this? Not much. Many institutions have been hijacked by a self-absorbed group whose goal in life is to seek endorsement from their peers whatever the cost. Their tone-deaf pronouncements – we must decolonise, reduce our standard of living and atone for our myriad sins – make them look crazy to the rest of us. Left to their own devices they expose themselves as crackpots and destroy the very foundations of their undeserved prominence. Examples are abundant: universities losing credibility, legacy media shedding audiences and of course, the Church of England becoming a laughing stock. Perhaps the woke clergy were doing Calvin Robinson a favour.