Friday, 16 May 2014

To think certain thoughts

Culture is, among other things, a negative force – a something which prevents persons, living in certain places and at certain times, from being able to think certain thoughts or adopt certain styles of expression.
Aldous Huxley - Variations on a Philosopher

If Huxley was right, then we would expect a multicultural society to pile restrictions one on top of the other such that ordinary people have more constraints on their behaviour than was the case with their original culture.

We lose certain terms to multicultural trends, such as un-British or un-Christian. There are no replacements and their continuing loss well illustrates how we have acquired an inability to think certain thoughts.

More significant still is that many people do not want to think certain thoughts. They see as a decidedly retrograde ability. Something to be deplored in lesser people. Something to be castigated, made illegal and punished with shrill severity.

If we accept multicultural trends, then we simply adopt new restrictions as the new social norms and get on with our lives. To a large extent this is inevitable for most of us, partly because life has to go on and partly because it is in our interests to accept what we cannot effectively oppose.

Yet multiculturalism has introduced political policing into the UK. A few decades ago, overt racism and xenophobia were controlled socially. To be racist or xenophobic came to be seen as old fashioned, unsophisticated and a little dim. Hence the Alf Garnett and Rupert Rigsby TV characters.

Social control is still apparent today, but now we have much harsher and more overt control via political policing. The remit is wider and legal sanction increasingly pervasive and severe. Ostensibly, political policing protects minorities and promotes social cohesion, but is more commonly invoked by a priggish and widely deployed right to be offended.

So multicultural trends, at least here in the UK, have become a useful tool of soft totalitarianism. A handy political stick for restricting and directing cultural norms in a way which even seems moral to the politically correct.

Not only that, but there are numerous willing informers in our midst, including children. Police informers who do not even see themselves as such because Huxley was right.

They are unable to think certain thoughts.


Sackerson said...

It means that even children can now be accused and condemned for what they say; and even have a permanent written record to blight their future.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

A nice thoughtful article, AKH.

A K Haart said...

Sackers - so I understand, yet children need to explore language before they are entirely accountable for how they use it.

Witterings - many thanks.