'The Ugly Brutishness of Modern Britain'
The land of Shakespeare and Chaucer whose culture and values gave rise to the "Anglosphere" -- the world's most successful nations -- is being taken over by slobs. So says social critic Theodore Dalrymple in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed about how "incivility and bad behavior" have become pervasive in Britain. It's gotten so bad, he writes, that up to 50 percent of the population is thinking about immigrating abroad "to escape the other 50 percent of the population."
Dalrymple, the pen name of retired British psychiatrist Anthony Daniels, recounts a recent experience at a bus stop when he asked an obese teenager to pick up some food he'd thrown at a friend but that instead almost hit him.
"Shut the f--- up!" the enraged youth snarled.
What has caused this collapse of civility in Britain, which was, within living memory, a civil country? In my view, it is a demotic version of egalitarianism, allied with multiculturalism.
Even middle-class people now behave in an increasingly uncouth and rough fashion in Britain because they think that by doing so they are expressing their solidarity with the lower reaches of their society. Imitation, they think, is the highest form of sympathy. This, of course, is an implicit insult to many of the poor, for poverty and unmannerliness are by no means the same thing.
Multiculturalism is damaging because it denies that, when it comes to culture, there is a better and a worse, a higher and a lower -- only difference.
Hence any conduct -- lying scantily clad in a pool of vomit, for example -- is part of a culture, and since all cultures, ex hypothesi, are of equal worth, no one has the moral right to criticize, much less forbid, any kind of behavior. And if I have to accept your culture, you have to accept mine. If you don't like -- tough.
Dalrymple does not address another quality-of-life problem related to multiculturalism - an immigration wave from the Middle East, especially Pakistan, that over the years has created the medieval phenomena of "honor killings" and demand for Sharia law. Parts of Britain are now a veritable state within a state: what's known as "Londonistan."
Nor does he identify a problem that, according to other social critics, explains why the louts are taking over. It's Britain's welfare state, according to writers like Max Hastings. This, Hastings says, is what produced a generation of amoral and opportunistic youths who went on a looting and arson spree in major British cities in August, 2011. Writing in the London Daily Mail, Hastings observed:
The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They do not have what most of us would call 'lives': they simply exist.
Nobody has ever dared suggest to them that they need feel any allegiance to anything, least of all Britain or their community. Not only do they know nothing of Britain's past, they care nothing for its present.
Britain's tragic decline and its causes - welfare state, multiculturalism, or both - should be taken as an object lesson for what may be in store for America given the trends and political forces that are on the loose in the country today.