Wednesday 1 June 2011

Repentance must precede reform


Those who look for hope in mainstream politics: listen-out for repentance before you believe-in reform.

Unless preceded by a wholesale confession or error, a wholesale repudiation of previous policies - nothing will happen, it won't make any difference, it is all a deception (us-deception for sure, self-deception very possibly).


Politics is simple - one thing or another thing.

If they have been doing one thing and it leads to trouble, they must reject it and do another thing.

But they must reject it.


Otherwise it is (in effect if not intention) just a trick to enable them to keep doing 99 percent of what they want, while making a big fuss over the 1 percent concession - until the concession is a tiny island of common sense in an ocean of political correctness, when it will (obviously) be swamped.


The only major UK political change I have experienced which went against the tide of Leftism, was the reversal (albeit short-lived) of decades-long economic decline by Margaret Thatcher's government. All the other stuff from the Conservative was either moderate Leftism or empty wind.

But the economic reversal was done in the teeth of resistance (including mine); it was done after repenting and repudiating the whole idea of socialist economic central planning; and the new principle was re-stated over and over.


That is what is required, that is what we would need to see if destruction is to be reversed before catastrophe.

The ruling elite must repent loudly and clearly and repeatedly; must humbly acknowledge that they have been wrong all along; must reject their self-justifying narrative of equality and progress; must explicitly apply a wholly different aim and discourse...

The ruling elite must be, in effect, born again.


Naturally this seems utterly implausible - that such a collection of preening, prancing popinjays would actually humble themselves en masse in face of ordinary common sense and traditional values: to proclaim they had been utterly mistaken about secularism, leftism, modernity...

I see no sign of it.


Pride has them in its grip. They will not give-up their narrative.

It seems they would sink into despair and destruction rather than admit they were wrong.


(You see it all the time, disillusioned ex-radicals wallowing in despair, blotting-out their sorrows as best they may. Self-punishing. But utterly useless - completely wrong. They still hold fast to their deluded dreams. Their despair is that the dreams turned out false or nightmarish - they do not reject the dreams as an ideal. There is no repentance, no humility - they remain proud of their younger selves, their youthful idealism, their lifestyle... They regard themselves as martyrs to hedonism.)


Yet despair is no answer to pride: despair is also a sin.

The despair of the elites will lead only to self-hatred, submission or hedonic escape.

The proper escape from the consequences of pride is not despair but humility.


Repentance... that must precede all else. It is necessary: the inescapable first step towards anything better.



dearieme said...

Sir Keith Joseph - he went through that sort of rebirth, didn't he?

If a chap of his nervous disposition can do it, why can't robuster souls? Or are virtually all politicians so lacking in manly self-confidence that they can never admit to error?

Bruce Charlton said...

In a nutshell - yes!

MS-C is a commodity in very short supply nowadays - never abundant, it is by now rarer than the teeth of hens.