Today, ladies and gentlemen, I want to talk a little about patriotism.
In this modern day and age, for some strange reason, patriotism has become a very important issue indeed. We are, after all, supposedly engaged in a war of values against a merciless and cunning, yet at the same time, dogmatic and stupid enemy, who will stop at nothing to impose their values on everyone else. Whether I'm referring to the modern day rulers of the countries we inhabit, or the Jihadists I leave as an exercise for the reader to answer.
In such a situation, a war of values is very important. Unless you wish to live in a democracy or something. In recent years, it has been interesting to note the threat used against dissenters is “either you share our values or else...”. Now, I was under the impression that within a democracy, the point is you can have whatever values you want, even if they run contrary to democracy itself, but apparently I was wrong. I still believe however, that a democracy asserted via threats and blackmail only ends up undermining itself and becoming, instead of a democracy, another form of autocratic rule, even if it keeps the functions of free elections and rule of law.
Now, keeping this in mind, it puts the New Labour project under Commissar-uh, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, of promoting a 'British identity' into a very suspect light. I would say in fact it was symptomatic of their desire for control over the population, and their awful belief that the purpose of the citizen is to serve the state, not the other way around. By taking it upon themselves to enforce a view of 'Britishness', top-down as it were, instead of letting such a feeling organically occur, from the bottom up and with the consent of the individuals involved, they are trying to recreate the identity of the nation.
This ridiculousness has become almost painful to watch within the last week in particular, with two particular suggestions from the Krem-uh, Downing Street. The first is that our soldiers and troops are being told to wear their uniforms in public, so we, the cowed and weak masses, can gratefully fawn over the torturers and killer-uh, Our Brave Lads, who went off to fight the Islamic Horde and in no way were complicit in any crimes that our press frequently accuse the USA of.
Secondly, we have the foolishness of the “oath of allegiance”. It has been suggested by the very politically connected and influential Lord Goldsmith that all school leavers have to swear an oath of loyalty to the Queen and monarchy. Ignoring for the moment that somehow aping the United States of America will make people here more British....really? I think this tells us everything we know about the party who “have no objections to people getting filthy rich”. Swearing allegiance to the Queen reinforces the fact there is a social hierarchy in this country and you, the serf, the subject, are at the bottom of it. Again, we are back at the idea of the subject serving the country, and that this state of affairs can only be maintained by blackmail and sabotage.
One of the greatest things about the UK that I, as a long term outsider, have noticed, is the way the British in general reject overt displays of nationalism and mock those who partake in them. Putting aside football matches, at least. Saluting the Union Jack, singing the praises of the stratified social system, serving the state religion...none of these things have anything to do with the current British character, and Eris forbid they ever do. What is British is irreverence to authority figures, eccentricity on a level only other nations could dream to reach, disgustingly unhealthy food and football riots.
Nonsense like making people swear allegiance to a sponging foreigner who practises waving her hand all day, and her idiotic brood, are laughable and will likely only promote more hostility to the monarchy (which I cannot really complain about), but there is also something rather sinister in this sudden prominence of debates on “Britishness” and emphasis on pathetic nationalism. It comes at a time where more and more those who do not “fit in” are being told to conform or leave, regardless of if they were born here or not, and often based on their skin colour and religion. It comes at a time where military-linked think tanks are bemoaning a lack of a firm national character to act as a mirror image to the Jihadists. It comes at a time where attacking “multiculturalism” and pluralism in general is very much in vogue.
I'm reminded that the system often creates its own enemies. The more tightly you define something, by definition the more exclusive it becomes. And when that tight definition of identity pushes out the Muslims, the Jews, the secularists, the republicans, the white working class...well, you're manufacturing the perfect recipe for civil unrest and disturbance. Normally, this wouldn't disturb me, because I like and thrive among that sort of confusion and chaos...but I have to wonder, whose purposes does such chaos serve? I am many things, but I refuse to be a useful tool for someone else's designs.
There seem to be two contradictory forces at work within British society right now, the dynamic of which is a cancer eating away at the heart of the country. The first is obvious, and that is unitary centralization. One State, under One Tightly Defined Concept (to be named later), Forever and Ever, Praise Tony. The other is more sinister, the exclusiveness, the drive to division and separation. Beware the Other. The Other takes many forms...he is the Muslim who seeks to establish a Caliphate on the burnt shores of this pleasant and green land...he is the Working Class Man who looks to his own self interest instead of seeing the self-evident wisdom of his masters in Whitehall...she is the antiwar protester supposedly spitting on the troops...they are the insane proponents of 'foreign' ideas like human rights and justice. There are plenty members of the Other's to completely Balkanize society, which is exactly what will happen if the state tries to hard to enforce its current course of centralization.
And I cant help but think this plays into the hands of the elite of society. “Leave the fanatical sub-human Muslims and puerile working classes and the antiwar idiots and everyone else to fight it out among themselves, while we can exist in our own little British versions of Green Zones.” I may be wrong, but its a hypothesis I am willing to put out there. It may not even be a conscious drive by our own political and economic movers and shakers, but a far deeper, symptomatic drive buried within our own brand of late-stage disaster 'capitalism'. I don't know, and I freely admit it.
All I know is this: imposition of order = escalation of disorder. The drive for purity, be it of thought, action, political system or identity always, sooner or later, involves the “elimination” of dirt. But what happens when the dirt organizes itself and attacks the cleaning implements?