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16 March 2019


Robin Carmody

"Why don't these guys listen to Mozart or visit cathedrals to celebrate this western civilisation?"

This is the thing: most of what these people like would not have been considered part of "western civilisation" only a relatively short time ago. It would, itself, have been seen as an alien threat. Breivik called himself Andrew Berwick, like a thousand non-Anglosphere pop and rock musicians, and was drawn to England because he knew that droning on about "bloody foreigners" while living a life completely dominated by American media and mass culture, as he did, would not be seen as hypocritical here as it would in most of Europe.

I like some of that stuff as well, but I don't construct the clash-of-civilisations rhetoric (from either side).

Robin Carmody

Indeed, I would say that the obsessive anti-Muslim stance of modern "conservatism" has only come about *precisely because* Rightists have embraced elements of pop culture which they once would have regarded as beneath them. This is something that some Leftists who are both pro-Islam and pro-pop - arguably a contradiction in terms - cannot face.

Those few Rightists who maintain the traditional conservative view of pop culture - Peter Hitchens, Peter Oborne, Edward Leigh I think (or whoever it was who wrote the "Muslims are right about Britain" piece) - are Islamophile if anything. But they are so marginal now that Leftists have been trapped into supporting an ideology that really goes against their own, just as they were with Roman Catholicism at the time of my birth.

Robin Carmody

See also Libby Purves in the Times just after the 2005 London bombings: "Much of the society that Muslims long for looks uncannily like the Britain we threw away". It is just that Murdoch was as central in that throwing-away as any soixante-huitard academic ...

Robin Carmody

I might also add that, in 2000, George W. Bush's misleading "compassionate conservatism" image enabled him to win the majority of the American Muslim vote - they responded to his emphasis on small-c conservative social values. Obviously, this was the year before the political era began when it would become effectively impossible for the more Right-leaning of the largest parties to win the majority of the Muslim vote in pretty much any majority-white country, but it shows what *could* have been achieved had the modern Right taken a different path.

Robin Carmody

I know I keep saying the same thing, but it simply seems to me that the two "sides" in the West have taken the wrong side, or rather the one has taken the wrong side and trapped the other into doing the same for fear of how it might come over otherwise - the Right has taken an anti-Muslim stance when, if it were truly conservative rather than populist, market-led and pop-culture-driven, it would be Islamophile if anything, and as a consequence the Left has been trapped into supporting people who really stand for everything it says it doesn't.

But this is the central problem: those who drone on about "bloody foreigners coming over here telling us what to do" have a culture which, in Britain at least (NZ isn't quite the same thing because it is a created society), is every bit as foreign as the culture of Left-liberals, if not more so. Here in Dorset, the people who'd take the greatest pride about not living among Muslims have elevated "Hotel California" to the level of "Linden Lea", which latter they've never heard of. Those who *do* know what "Linden Lea" is are far less anti-Muslim (and more Remain-voting) for the most part.


The kind of Christian conservative culture that did know Linden Lea and rejected jazz as a foreign contamination would of course have rejected large scale Muslim immigration, as it rejected Jewish immigration.

However that kind of culture is very small, and as you say, it's more of a liberal thing, putting value into the past. Cf the Church of England's church protecting and general liberalism.

When the National Trust was being formed it was backed by that kind of old-fashioned Tory while the progressive wing embraced knocking down old buildings and putting up something in concrete.

It's like how the Daily Telegraph has stopped being the paper for socially conservative yet parish councillor nature loved retired colonel types and has become the paper of money-grubbing consumerist spivs.

Robin Carmody

I know that culture - or what little remains of it; its remnants, shall we say - doesn't really like living next door to Muslims, but its echoes and ghost today it can show a good deal of sympathy out of shared social conservatism, c.f. Peter Hitchens' response to the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham. A variant of this is David Lindsay's idea that what we call "the West", defined largely by pop culture, is in fact "the pseudo-West" and Russia is a dominant force in "the Biblical/Classical True West".

But these views are on the fringe of the fringe, and the dominant "foreigners out" lot in Dorset, and everywhere like it, will continue to think Roy Orbison and Gene Pitney came from Piddletrenthide ...

Robin Carmody

I think that culture would, as you say, be hardline anti-Islam had it somehow survived and remained a dominant majority culture. Its Islamophile leanings might partially come out of a determination to distinguish itself, to be different - but also I do think there is a genuine crossover in terms of devotion and way of life, certainly much more so than there is with the - in their own lives - overwhelmingly secular and morally relaxed white Corbynites.

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