Eventually, our decline becomes difficult to wilfully ignore. On a personal level, the inability to fit into a favourite pair of trousers is a harsh and obvious indicator of change.
At a national level, articles such as this are a sign we’ve lost our confidence and have done a deal with those who wish us harm.
There is an undercurrent of racism about the negative coverage of Qatar during the World Cup, the first to be held in a Muslim nation.
Western sensitivities around banning alcohol, homosexuality and demands around worker’s rights have a ring of moral colonialism.
Does it? Sensitivities?
That second sentence smuggles the concepts of killing migrant workers through negligence and jailing gays in the conversation under the cover of our differences over alcohol. Moral colonialism indeed.
Dr Tanveer Ahmed goes on to equate dressing as a crusader with wearing Nazi uniforms.
Can you name another culture in the world that would invite immigrants to their country and then provide column inches for such self-loathing in their national newspaper?
Would China allow it? Nigeria? Qatar? Argentina? Singapore? I don’t think so.
Here’s another article to consider, bemoaning the decline of New Zealand, particularly in the quality of its education. The statistics comparing it to Singapore are damning. Even if the Kiwis woke up to the problem today, it’s a multi-generational effort to reverse the decline.
In the UK, we talk of a managed decline since the days of empire, a melancholy acceptance of a slow fall down the world rankings since the war.
It’s worse than that though, as the title of this article infers; “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly”, is how a Hemingway character describes his process to bankruptcy. Perhaps we are in the suddenly stage of our cultural decline.
Britain has been here before, of course. A thousand years ago, we had this pathetic notion of paying off the Vikings to leave us alone, the Danegeld.
But, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, “…once you have paid him the Danegeld, You never get rid of the Dane.“
We’ve lost our cultural self-confidence and now our guilt over the past is preventing us from progressing in the future.
Those who would do us harm have noticed this and, like Dr Tanveer Ahmed, they are keen to exploit our insecurities.
Also, as Douglas Murray points out in The War on the West, many of those who would do us harm are us. We’re doing it to ourselves.
Cultural relativism doesn’t stand up to historic or logical scrutiny.
For example, murdering wives on their husband’s funeral pyre is not just an aspect of culture, it’s immoral. Fortunately, those nasty colonial British were culturally insensitive enough to ban it. It’s not clear whether Dr Tanveer Ahmed thinks this was an intervention too far.
Slavery has been the default condition in every human culture forever. The first time in history it was banned was 1833.
When did Dr Tanveer Ahmed’s culture ban slavery? Well, if he identifies with the Islamic world, not until the 20th century. Perhaps he would prefer to identify with the country of his birth, Bangladesh. If so, maybe he could visit some clothing factories there and let us know his findings.
My Christian faith is not particularly strong, but I’m very grateful for the benefits accrued to me by those who came before us with that strength of faith. Perhaps I am a cultural Christian.
The Victorians had a concept of “muscular Christianity” underpinning much of their global endeavours. We could cynically suggest it was convenient to have a justification of morality to explain why they imposed Common Law on the colonies, but Indian widows benefit from it today, nonetheless.
We’ve since replaced our faith with atheism and lost our confidence in the superiority of our culture along the way.
How do we reverse this cultural decline? are we too late?
Perhaps we could make stronger counter arguments to the cultural relativists. Maybe it’s time for us to seek our own reparations; the abolition of the global slave trade cost Britain dearly.
We not only had to pay compensation to the slave owners but the Royal Navy acted as the oceanic police for a century to close down the trade, both in the Atlantic and the Indian oceans.
There are people alive today in Britain who lost family members at sea in battles with slavers and the entire British economy had a brake on progress during that time, relative to those nations that were late in banning the trade.
If a politician could show their working to calculate a figure, they’d get my vote if they vowed to send some invoices to other countries. Let’s get that dialogue started, rather than taking domestic lectures from Bangladeshis on the negative impact of colonialism.