Review by Madsen Pirie
7th September 2007
My summer reading has included Cultural Revolution, Culture War by Sean Gabb. It is an updated and considerably extended outgrowth of an earlier work by the same author. Its subtitle “How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get it Back” tells the story. Sean Gabb’s case is that England has been taken over by a new ruling class, one that it totalitarian in its ambitions, in that it seeks to direct our thinking in every aspect of our culture. Not content with political power – indeed, its influence is more powerful and pervasive than that of government, it wants to mould our behaviour and even our thought to its own norms.
He cites numerous examples at the outset of cases in which the ordinary thought and activities of ordinary people have been criminalized and subject to police harassment – indeed, the daily papers are a fertile source of such material because it seems to happen almost daily. One by one the major cultural arenas have been occupied, ranging from the BBC to the arts, politics and literature. Dissent is not tolerated; it is criminalized or marginalized. The prevailing views (EU good, business bad, climate change entirely man-made) are pushed forth relentlessly.
What can be done? That’s the “How to get it back” part. Sean Gabb suggests that a major assault rather than a gradual re-occupation of the territory could work, but he is politic enough to suggest that the ground must be prepared by having libertarians seek allies where they can. They must make common cause, where such exists, with traditional conservatives. But this does not apply to the Conservative Party. This can no longer oppose the nostrums of the ruling class, he says, because it has co-opted itself to their ranks.
As you gather, this is stirring stuff. It is very well written and puts its case cogently. You should make it your holiday reading, and come back with renewed determination to change things.
© 2007 – 2017, seangabb.
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