BY DAVID EYLES
Those of us conservatives, who sit on our park benches and watch and observe the political world go by – scurrying hither and thither, forming allegiances and breaking them up again in their enormous, squabbling rats’ nest – have noticed a strange alliance that has formed in recent years.
The Labour Party has almost completely abandoned its Jewish MPs – most have now left Parliament or even the party. Meanwhile, the BAME members, particularly those of Muslim persuasion, have gone from strength to strength. The advent of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has split the party away from a traditional Jewish vote – and the pro-Islam faction has taken over.
But why should this happen? Why the sudden shift in allegiance? What is going on? Why have the Left embraced Islam with such unconstrained enthusiasm? Is it merely that there are more Muslim votes than Jewish ones? Why does the Labour Party love Muslims, but not Jews? Is there a deep underlying reason?
In a recent exercise intended for something completely different, I started to compare Judaism and Christianity for their effects upon the individual – as an ordinary modern citizen who goes about his or her life on a daily basis. The similarities between the two religions seemed compelling. So I placed the value judgements into a table and looked at the two, side by side. Then curiosity got the better of me and I placed another column in the table for Islam. The differences were quite startling.
Another couple of days went by and then I placed three more columns into the table: Marxism, Cultural Marxism and Environmentalism. Although none of these are religions as such, it seemed to me that the adherents of these other systems of thought acted as if their political convictions were items of faith to be recited as if in prayer. One has only to watch the hysteria which has surrounded Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion, for example, to pick up a considerable waft of religious fervour:
Given the image above of eco-Druids, the inclusion of these secular systems of thought in the comparison seem perfectly reasonable.
The standpoint is that of a modern Twenty-First Century citizen of the European and Anglophone West. This hypothetical individual is an interested bystander, who does not follow any of the belief systems listed, and is not an expert in the theological or political details of each system. His or her evaluation is subjective and based upon what is commonly known about each system over the last one hundred years. But mostly the assessments are those of the modern situation as we find it today. Primarily, the assessment of each system is that of the impact of it upon the daily life of the citizen.
Table 1 – Assessments of belief systems using criteria which are of national and international in outlook.
Key: Y = Yes, N = No. Y/N is where both characteristics are sometimes seen. Neutral = No obvious expressed position.
The main difference in Table 1 is that of Judaism, which does not seek to proselytise in any way, or at any level. Whilst converts to Judaism may be found, they are not generally common. Conversion to Judaism does not make a convert Jewish per se, and does not automatically confer the right to live in Israel. Whilst the Jewish diaspora have spread all over the world, there is no Jewish movement to achieve world domination. One of the central tenets of Judaism is the ideal of the Promised Land, situated in the Eastern Mediterranean in what is now the state of Israel. This gives Judaism a nationalist, rather than internationalist outlook.
Christianity in various forms has sought to proselytise internationally and this is still happening at a very low level. However, the days of the Spanish and Portuguese conquest of South America (and conversion to Catholicism at the point of a sword) and the European wars of religion, mostly ended in the Eighteenth Century. Both Catholicism and Protestantism have mellowed in their approach in recent centuries, largely under the influence of the Enlightenment. As well as having an international outlook, Christian churches of various denominations tend to show sharply national characteristics. The Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church and so on. The Catholic Church, whilst centred upon Rome, has a very international outlook.
Islam has a clear internationalist purpose in spreading the word of God as they see it. The various forms of Marxism and Environmentalism do likewise. Indeed, Environmentalism demands that its agenda is taken up internationally, otherwise policies designed to “halt climate change”, for example, cannot work unless the whole planet works in the same direction. Thus, virtually all the work of NGOs and the IPCC concern internationalist approaches.
Table 2 – Assessments of belief systems which concern positive attributes of modern liberal democracies.
Key: Y = Yes, N = No. Y/N is where both characteristics are sometimes seen. Neutral = No obvious expressed position.
The attributes assessed in Table 2 are some of the main characteristics of society that people need to go about their daily lives in an unhindered fashion such as to maximise the benefits of their efforts for themselves and their families. These are the characteristics of an open, liberal democracy. All of these have contributed to the success (some would say ‘dominance’) of Western democracies in leading the way in technology, science, art and philosophy.
Perhaps the most important attribute is the first one dealing with agency and responsibility of the individual. Whilst Christianity and Judaism seem to allow the individual to flourish, Islam has a fatalistic viewpoint from which many events are viewed as the ‘will of Allah’. This is different from, but has the same effect as, the Marxist view which dictates that actions must be conducted on a collective basis. Everything in Marxism is predicated upon the collective will; the collective proletarian masses rising up as one, and seizing power from the capitalist. And so on.
Cultural Marxism has much the same effect, with everyone now having to make accommodation for the tiniest whims of a self identified victim group.
Environmentalism is much the same as orthodox Marxism in that the level of control over society as a whole that it aspires to is almost complete. And so it rejects the individual action and instead demands action from the compelled masses.
Table 3 – Assessments of belief systems which concern negative attributes of coercive government.
Key: Y = Yes, N = No. Y/N is where both characteristics are sometimes seen. Neutral = No obvious expressed position. Emerging = where this characteristic is not yet in place or fully functional, but is showing signs of becoming entrenched within the bureaucracy and intelligentsia.
In all three tables, the differences between the Judaeo-Christian pairing and the others are obvious. In Table 3 in particular, the differences are stark. The more so because these are about the negative characteristics of a state that have dogged Twentieth Century history with so much slaughter. The clean sweep of “Yes” for Islam in this table surprised me. But there is no doubt that when Middle Eastern countries are looked at with any degree of objectivity, it becomes clear that they are nearly all repressive in some way. The only Middle Eastern country that is genuinely democratic and serves all religious minorities to the best of its abilities, is Israel.
The pedant would argue that Christianity has had a bloody history of forcible conversion (e.g. the Spanish Inquisition and conquest of South America) and wars between factions, such as those between the Catholic south and the Protestant north of Europe. This is perfectly true, but as pointed out earlier, this militancy and zealotry have had little traction in the last couple of hundred years, largely because of the moderating influence of the Enlightenment. Christianity has softened it’s approach to knocking on one’s door for a chat (mostly Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons) rather than tying the unwilling convert onto a stake and setting light to the faggots beneath. Meanwhile, Islam still has very repressive attitudes to non-Muslims in most Islamic nations.
The history of orthodox Marxism has been one of bloody and wholesale slaughter. Numerically speaking, the majority of it has happened during my own lifetime in China and the Far East. Estimates for those who were shot or starved to death during Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution are between 45 million (conservative estimate) to 100 million. No-one is sure because the numbers were so huge. But there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind where orthodox Marxism leads us.
A puzzle is provided by cultural Marxism. I have suggested in Table 3 that whilst it does not yet have an authoritarian and ruling caste with absolute power, these structures appear to be emerging. For example, the enthusiasm of the UK police to spend time and resources upon people who are alleged to have expressed ‘Hate Crime’ is growing exponentially. The first rule of a repressive state is to make a list of all those who may prove to be inconvenient or prominent voices of dissent, and then use that list in other more sinister ways later on:
‘Instead of merely outlawing these parties, which would simply force them underground and make them even more difficult to control, it seems preferable to grant them some sort of semi-legal status. In this way, we can have them at hand, and whenever we need we can simply pluck out troublemakers, renegades, or the informers that we need….As far as these anti-Soviet parties are concerned, we must make use of the present war situation to blame crimes upon their members, such as “counter-revolutionary activities”, “high treason”, “illegal action behind the lines,” “spying for interventionist foreign powers etc'
That cynical, chilling quote is from a Cheka (Soviet secret police) internal memo dated 1st July 1919.
It has to be stressed that cultural Marxism does not appear to have gone down the route of the Soviet state just yet. Indeed, the very fissile nature of cultural Marxism in its most up-to-date identitarian form, is one of almost total disagreement between themselves. On the face of it, the possibility of the LGBT groupings getting it together with the third wave feminists, sufficient to overthrow our current society, is perhaps unlikely. Nevertheless, the cultural Marxists are very good at generating hysteria and hate against those who oppose their ideas. More dangerously, one or two fairly simple ideas exploited by an over-weaning state bureaucracy (such as we have at the moment) can lead to repression of freedom of speech – and therefore widespread damage to society and freedom. This seems to be happening already.
The final surprise (for me at any rate) was the way in which Environmentalism coincides with the repressive systems. The modus operandi of Environmentalism has been slightly different from cultural Marxism in that it has taken a slightly different route from their ‘long march through the institutions’. What seems to have happened is that in 1989, the orthodox Marxists, having had their ideology blown apart by the consequences of the fall of the Berlin Wall, turned into the Green Party. This was mostly in The Netherlands and Germany. And so their movement developed in parallel (but separate from) the postmodernists and the identitarian Left. The Environmentalists headed for the NGOs like Greenpeace, which they took over and turned into an extremely well funded organisation with a series of high-powered PR campaigns.
There have been international climate summits, governments have signed up, have ‘taken action’ and so on. The only countries which remain unmoved by the initiatives are those which are the biggest polluters – India and China. Africa and South America have also adopted a laid-back mañana approach. The whole thing is looking like a sophisticated way to achieve massive transfer of wealth from the capitalist West to the rest of the world.
Worst affected by the UK government proposals for ‘Zero Carbon’ will be the poor and the elderly. They will suffer from fuel poverty and hypothermia. Meanwhile draconian measures to restrict car use will have to be enforced; and this in turn will hamper many people in rural areas from getting to work. But so profound are the words and charisma of an intelligent but poorly educated teenage girl with health issues, that Michael Gove has listened carefully to the now nearly sainted Greta. As a consequence, the UK is about to embark upon a totalitarian path of Green impoverishment.
The overriding message of this exercise in comparative religions is that, out of the six that I have compared, four of them are very similar and share characteristics which threaten the hard-won liberal democracy and freedoms of the combination of the other two.
As I write, this morning’s news is that Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (and one of the most honest people in the Labour Party) has been suspended by the party for alleged ‘Islamophobia’. His principle crime is to be honest about the community mostly responsible for the wholesale grooming and rape of young white girls in the North of England. These communities have also been Labour strongholds and so it is almost inevitable that Mr Phillips will have upset a powerful part of the Labour Party.
Trevor Phillips’ warning is thus:
“Tyranny is often represented as the pounding of a fist on the door in the middle of the night. In fact, in my short time as chairman of the free speech charity Index on Censorship, I have learnt that many people living under authoritarian regimes first encounter it in the dry language of a bureaucrat’s warning: recant, repent, denounce your fellow deviants and you may save your livelihood. Your soul may, just, escape damnation.
When I glanced at the 11-page letter sent to me recently by the Labour Party, the phrase “administrative suspension” grabbed my attention. These words signal banishment from a community that I have inhabited for decades: friends, colleagues, even family may be compelled to shun me. Significantly, my indictment concerns matters of faith, doctrine and dissent. It is written, not in the language of a democratic, open political movement but in the cold-eyed, accusatory prose of the zealot. In essence, after more than 30 years of promoting the Labour cause, I am accused of heresy, and threatened with excommunication.”
If the reader is in any doubt about the implications of this, just look again at Table 3.
Karl Marx died in 1883. It took another 24 years before his ideas were put into practice in Russia in October 1917. There is nothing in Marx’s writing or speeches to recommend the pitiless slaughter of the millions that his ideas unleashed. Marx was simply the embodiment of an innocent intellectual seeking to better the lives of his fellow men and women. He tried, by summoning the power of reason and existing knowledge, to derive a theory of economic and social practice. 106 years after Marx’s death, Soviet Communism finally ground to a halt in a quagmire of economic, political and social failure.
And now, here in 2020, similar ideas are being re-worked in a variety of ways. The people responsible for these re-workings are mostly, just like Marx, highly-educated middle classes who have rarely had close contact with the realities of the productive economy or the market. They insist that their ideas are benign and for the greater good of us all.
The conservatives amongst us have a long battle ahead if we are to keep hold of our hard-won liberties.