Some Good Things to bring back from Britain’s Past

Britain has gained some good things through “progress”, but it has also lost many good things through “progress”.

…The average Briton could possibly be more intelligent than ever before, yet also less wise…

…The average Briton could be economically wealthier than ever before, yet emotionally & socially more deprived…

…The average Briton in work probably has more leisure options than ever before, yet with so little free time to enjoy them…

I could keep on with this track for hours, but I expect that you have got the point by now. Essentially that so called human “progress” tends to offer advantages whilst also taking away or destroying many existing good things…

Not everything was good about Britain’s past. The evils of abusive industrial Capitalism (e.g. factory children and chimney boys) were not good, occasional bouts of racism were nasty (although it was a far more innocent type of racism than exists today), sporadic inter communal bigotry (e.g. Barnaby Rudge style Protestants vs. Catholics troubles etc) were horrible. Indeed there were all sorts of problems just as there are today – some of these problems were far worse than most of our current ones.

Sensible traditionalists, reactionaries and other valuers of the good things of the past however, in the main, are quite happy with the good things of the present (not least the technological benefits) – as for all those modern things that are dysfunctional in the present – these are the things which they would like to replace with older, superior, tried and tested things – good things from the past.

People with old fashioned, intuitive, common-sensical, clever-wise, spiritual, traditional, Romanticist leanings may have a very different way of looking at the world from…  

People with modern, superficial, theoretical, functionally intelligent, scientismic, progressive, Utilitarianist leanings…  

Yet both, when judging fairly, will admit that various good things did come out of the “European Enlightenment” – especially in term of humanitarianism and a growth in scientific endeavours. In general though – the first group only, is able to see the various bad things that were spawned in this same period an the good things which were lost as a result of it – the second group are blind to this reality because their way of being and their way of thinking, were largely born in this intellectual movement. – and this second group is large and growing – not least because the British education system (top to tail)  has been largely taken over by the promoters of this modernistic ideology.

Along with other things, from the Enlightenment was born Jacobinism and Progressivism which sought to wipe away existing social views and realities and replace them with new one that appealed to the egos of the “reformers” (and seek to still). These people have not stopped in their quest to create a world largely stripped of traditionalism, but we need not go all that far back in history to find an era in which so much of the old and so much of the real still survived.

Some random things from the past (or associated with the past) that I believe that we could do with a revival of…

  • 1. Family Values…
  • 2. Social Cohesion…
  • 3. A Sense of Community…
  • 4. Conscientiousness and a Sense of Shame…
  • 5. Honesty and Trustworthiness
  • 6. Day to Day Respect for Parents and Elders…
  • 7. National Respect for the Monarchy…
  • 8. A broad Sense of Fair Play…
  • 9. A Sense that Rights are linked to Duties…
  • 10. Traditional Moral Values…
  • 11. Capital Punishment for Clear Cut Murder…
  • 12. Corporal Punishment as an Alternative to Prison…
  • 13. Milk Delivered to the Door…
  • 14. Trustworthy Strangers…
  • 15. Children Being Able to Run Free in Play…
  • 16. Peace and Tranquility in Towns… the motorcar is the culprit.
  • 17. Civilized Victorian and Edwardian Manners…
  • 18. Male Chivalry…
  • 19. General Respect for Public Figures…
  • 20. Common Respect and Awe of God (and at least manners from atheists)…
  • 21. General Social Deference…
  • 22. The Sense of community Duty of the “Elites”…
  • 23. General Public Order…
  • 24. The (trustworthy & dutiful) Real Royal Mail…
  • 25. Policemen who acted as Protectors (not as after the fact responders)…
  • 26. Full Employment and Jobs for Life…
  • 27. Real Youth Apprenticeships for those Entering Crafts, Industries and Trades…
  • 28. The 9-5 Working Day and a Sacrosanct 2 Day Weekend…
  • 29. National Annual Holidays at Meaningful Shared Times…
  • 30. British Economic Protectionism…
  • 31. A Functional Commonwealth with Close Economic and Political ties and easy Movement…
  • 32. Seaside and Country Holidays Rather than Planet-Destroying Jet Holidays…
  • 33. A Real and Mainly Hereditary House of Lords (those who inherit power make a good balance to those who seek it)…
  • 34. Traditional Methods of Education…
  • 35. Small Family Businesses as Opposed to Big Fat Corporations…
  • 36. National Food “Self Sufficiency”…
  • 37. Mass Gardening of Allotments…
  • 38. Common Land and the Rights of the Commoners…
  • 39. Small Farms and Smallholdings as Opposed to Mega Farms…
  • 40. People Happily Chatting with Complete Strangers…
  • 41. Shops and Post Offices in Even the Smallest Villages…
  • 42. Coin Operated Telephone Boxes Where the May be Needed…
  • 43. Darkness or at least Dimness at Night (as opposed to giant EU approved floodlights)…
  • 44. Times of Mass Rest (times where there is peace an quiet)…
  • 45. The Ability of Trades Unions to Operate Effectively (but not to cause chaos)

Being a Reactionary Progressive or a Progressive Reactionary…

When the modern Labour Party talks about being progressive I agree with many of their points, and I do not deny that many good things can come out of what they are talking about when they say “progress”.

Personally I suspect that my sympathies lie with the reddest of Old Labour utilities nationalizers, social housing builders and welfare state supports and the bluest of Blue Labour people with their ability to encompass a more traditional Britishness and many things the majority of New Labourists would have scoffed at as reactionary or out dated within Labour’s broad church.

Yet at the same time in many ways I often find myself in near complete agreement with the statements of so called High Tories on a good number of subjects….

Beyond that, when reactionaries talk about the good things of tradition I agree with many of their points and indeed it is the reactionary attitude and traditionalism that sit most easily in my soul. When reactionaries talk about reaction, the cathedral and other such subjects I often find myself in complete agreement with them (although in sometimes in strong disagreement on some issues)…

are these contradictions?

Am I very confused? weird, wise, sensible, silly or just plain old bonkers?

Yes and no to all of these questions I think.

Some “progress” is actual progress – things getting better, but much is not real progress at all. These good things of progress are just good things, whilst the good things that are worth preserving from the past (of reviving) are good things too. To like them is not being reactionary for the sake of being reactionary – it is just preferring the good of the old to the bad of the new. Likewise a similar set of thoughts can equally be said of ideas associated with the “Left” and the “Right”…

Ultimately there is no real paradox in all this, just a lack of a tribalist and dogmatic approach to politics.. and you possibly could just call someone who likes the good of the old and the new, from Left and Right (without prejudice to when or where it came from) a “Good Stuffian”. If this was the case I would like to think of myself as a “Good Stuffian”. Of course your good stuff and my good stuff may not totally coincide, but each to his own.

2 thoughts on “Some Good Things to bring back from Britain’s Past

  1. We’re adaptable and tend to pursue whatever eases our lives, seems to me. And that accounts for most “progress.” But we don’t change our nature much and that seems to account for the everlasting condition of some of our less approved characteristics. Perhaps for instance, distrust of unknowns and perceptible differences that leads to what we now call “discrimination” is a human characteristic because it has survival value for the species? We seem to alter the targets to which we apply it, but the pattern is not expunged. Biology usually has reasons for such persistent traits , right?

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