Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Darkest London

A writer friend of mine who has been traveling abroad recently sent me the following letter from London, which he had not visited in over a decade. It seems that England has almost totally exhausted the cultural capital of Anglicanism. Here is the letter (my friend asks to remain anonymous):
I've been in London for almost a week now, and I think it just might have been the longest week of my life. If you want to know what the Camp of the Saints is going to be like when it hits Pennsylvania, come to London.

The tragedy of modern London is that if it did a Queen Isabella and expelled all its Muslims tomorrow, the situation would be no better. Peter Hitchens, the excellent Daily Mail columnist, has even argued that Muslims could be our short-term allies against the banksters and pornographers who control both major parties. He is not, of course, suggesting that any more permanent agreement should ever be made with them. He is merely paying credit where credit is due to the fact that Muslims actually believe their own stuff.

What are the two greatest horrors of London in 2009? I would say they are
slovenliness and credulity. The slovenliness has to be seen to be credited. Almost nothing works: showers, baths, light switches, most public telephones. E-mails and phone messages hardly ever generate a response. Allegedly competent businessmen will answer the phone by saying, not "Acme Enterprises, John Doe speaking", but "Hello". Even billionaires cannot afford a decent education for their children. (Homeschooling would be punished with the full ferocity of the law.) My hostess's son, who I believe graduated from some institution optimistically called a university, grunts - one can scarcely say "converses" - in a relentless mumbled prole-speak that, during my English childhood, was totally unknown outside the vilest Birmingham public housing projects.

Yet the slovenliness is as nothing compared with the credulity. To the spite of a Parisian concierge, the average Londoner (especially if elderly and female) adds a most un-concierge-like capacity for believing the most outrageous lies. If these lies involve blacks, Arabs, or Catholics - let alone black Arab Catholics - so much the better. Sancta simplicitas!

I'm no greenhorn. I've visited the slums of Los Angeles and Detroit. I've been in the Washington D.C. suburb which, during the 1990s' "crack wars", had the highest murder rate in all America. But London in 2009 is different. Those other places were jungles, with the robustness as well as the vices of jungle life. With London I perceive, instead, an atmosphere of an almost palpable evil.

I rack my brains to come up with any society in European history that could be comparable. East Germany was just as officious, just as moronic, and just as contemptuous of the sanctity of marriage, but (save to outright dissenters) less violent. The only parallel I can think of - and you might find this of interest - is ... the rise of the Cathars. From what little I know of the Cathars, I recognize the same subterranean sort of cultural and spiritual malice.

Here is an article about the new Britain. My friend is not alone in his impressions. Share


Christina said...

This is very sad. I have long admired English tradition in music or literature. Given that they are bent on self-destruction of their culture, it seems quite unlikely that England will ever produce a Chesterton or a Tolkien or a Vaughn Williams again.

National self-hatred also seems to be quite fashionable these days in the US as well...trickling right down from the very top, one could say. It's a fearful thing.

Julygirl said...

Sounds like the worst of times Dickens wrote of, sans Muslims, of course. These are the hazards and pitfalls of an open society, Not that I recommend one like N. Korea, but good old English common sense and logic needs to prevail along with a 'Hail Britianna' attitude.

Theodore Harvey said...

Hmm. I don't deny that there is much that is depressing about modern Britain, but I spent five weeks (including two in London) there this summer and somehow avoided having quite as negative an impression. The old England is under attack, but it still lives, especially in the countryside and smaller cathedral cities like Lichfield and Chichester.

Ino said...

Wow. I feel so ... evil. = Hmm. Well ok, maybe the break-down of our national religious beliefs may parallel a boom in all manner of 'bad' and 'evil' things, but it's a sacrifice we've willingly made. Or maybe we should blame my wonderful, loving parents, who thought it was a good idea to have me baptised to please my grandparents but always disencouraged me to study Christianity of my own will. Actually, that's the same story as a lot of people my age (twenties). As a nation, we've always been painted as baddies anyway - why is everyone surprised that our own society is massively corrupted?

I don't want to come across as rude - not my intention at all - but haven't the others who commented on this encouraged me to 'prevail ... with a 'Hail Britianna' attitude'?

April said...

There is certainly some truth in this view, but based on my experience I can't entirely agree. I have family in England (as well as a family connection) and have spent a lot of time there with great enjoyment, including almost a month just recently (in Kent and London). Some highlights were meeting my niece's (English) boyfriend, a polite, respectful and well-spoken young man, and attending a wonderful (and very well attended) Latin Mass at Farm Street church in Mayfair. However, I have been taken aback by the lack of morality in British society (not that it's very much better in my own country). I am also saddened that most people have disowned their Christian heritage (I think that is the real problem, rather than the Muslim community). As Christina said above, there's an element of cultural self-destruction in this. But given the basic goodness and sense of the people, I hope they will find their way again.

tubbs said...

Sounds like some sort of malaise has struck that Sceptr'ed Isle. As a Yank, that scares me... because it seems that the ills of British society inevitably hit the USA.

Anonymous said...

Um, I'm English, the product of an English university and I live in England now (in Bristol but I have lived in London in the past) and the England that your friend has seen is not one that I recognise. It's not perfect by any means, but it isn't as bad as they are trying to make out.

Also, they are wrong about homeschooling. It is not illegal at all. Plenty of people in the UK choose to homeschool, with the full support of their LEA.