Peter North, 13/11/2012  


I mentioned that I may do a guest post this evening.  The old man asked me not to be too lurid, which I assume means not to be as needlessly provocative as I am on Facebook, so here goes. 

It goes without saying that this is a touchy subject, but every year I end up having an inflammatory debate on the subject of remembrance.

For much of the last two years, North Senior has detailed how a false narrative has dictated much of how we view our heritage, and that has brought about a heritage industry that thrives on the myths of World War Two.  In so much as there is a political dimension to this, there is also a cultural dimension. 

It seems that every year there is a new call for a new monument and more calls for more medals (or some other empty political gesture).  One year it's the Women of WW2, next Bomber Command, next up will be Transport Command, Coastal Command, the Horses of WW2, the Dogs of WW2, the Pets of WW2, the LGTB of WW2 and the Pets of the Wives of Coastal Command (1941-1943).

First it was poppies for car bumpers, now white poppies, and next year they will be all the colours under the sun. It all misses the point of the solemn dignity about Remembrance Day, marked by a single poppy and a single monument: The cenotaph.

Out of this overt and babyish display of sentimentality (Dianafication) we are losing that dignity, along with creating a whole remembrance industry that thrives upon it and cheapens it.

At one time, I imagine such sentiments would not have sounded out of place coming from a Church of England priest on a misty November Sunday morning.  But saying so on Facebook makes me the spawn of the devil.  (unless I really do have a self-serving persecution complex).  It has become a cultural sacred cow that such obscene self-indulgence must not be questioned.

Notably there have been two distinctive acts of protest this year:  The Kent man who posted a picture of a burning poppy on Facebook with accompanying inflammatory remarks, and a Bristol "man" who interrupted a remembrance event wearing devils horns, pink stripy stockings and a corset while riding a skateboard.  Everyone knows that to pull of such a stunt you need roller-blades, but while neither act could be said to have any great substance, and in fact amounts to little more than self-indulgent trolling (attention seeking), I feel such acts are necessary to gauge the health of our society.

"As he was bundled into a police car yesterday, officers had to forcefully remove several males who approached him and shouted obscenities and 'death's too good for you' reports the Mail.  The reaction is telling.

That the police immediately acted swiftly to safeguard both the "protester" and the dignity of the occasion is to their credit.  But on the flip side, we see a much more disturbing trend.  The individual posting a burning poppy, rather than breaching the peace, was merely expressing an (immature) opinion on-line.  The police then arrested the man and held him captive.

This sets a dangerous precedent whereby an individual can be disappeared for the day and held hostage in order to account for their opinions.  While this arrest has been widely condemned, this is not the first such instance, nor will it be the last.

If one were to read anything into it, I would be inclined to ignore the immediate conclusion that we are becoming an overtly politically correct police state.  Such a conclusion would be cheap, point-scoring politics.  What it does highlight is that the police are still completely intellectually ill-equipped for policing the internet and that there seems to be some confusion as to what the police are actually for.  That is a debate for another time.  What concerns me more deeply is the character of the nation on display .

Neither Muslim extremists nor Eco-fanatics scare me nearly as much as the British tendency toward curtain twitching paranoia and the insistence on the right not to be offended by anything.

You will never see anything uglier than the knee jerk reaction of the perpetually offended mob. From the reactions on display, it is clear that any pretence of superior civic and moral values we have, compared with the African mob who tore apart the Blackhawk helicopter pilot limb from limb in Mogadishu, is entirely a fiction.

The angry mob is the same the world over and it is only regular Tesco lorries and an impartial police force that keeps a lid on that very same savagery. Superior "Christian values"? Please don't make me laugh.

What we see here is human nature.  That some articles of faith are not to be trespassed upon and are sacred and beyond question.  Much like the idea that "they died for free speech" and the all time classic "without them, you'd all be speaking German".  The intellectual thuggery on the street is reflected in the academic resistance to new interpretations of the past, as Himself has detailed here since "The Many" was published.

We are a nation ensnared by a lie and we are losing ground to the mob every time the police arrest a person for making a Facebook or Twitter post that the mob is neither intelligent enough or mature enough to comprehend. If the police give in to that, then the one thing still left that's worth having; the right to free expression and protest, is lost forever. And soon after the bodies will be piled high.

Fascism, when it arrives will not be voted in. We will have sleepwalked into it. Tyranny will be ushered in by curtain-twitching moralists who want to police what they may find offensive. Thus every time you self-censor in fear of arrest, you are giving way to that fascism. That is how tyranny takes hold.  Tyranny needs no armies. It is self-policing.


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