REGENERATION WITHIN

    The collapse of mighty nations has been a subject of endless historical analysis to which the most profound intellects of the ages have been applied. Out of the vast subject matter that has been compiled one clear rule stands out: mere material disasters alone, such as economic depression, defeat in war, etc., are not enough. At the most they are effects rather than causes and can only do permanent damage when the product of deeper spiritual and psychological forces that have
eaten into national morale and deprived the community of all will to life. When a vigorous and creative people suddenly abdicates all power and loses its capacity to function, when at every crossroads it chooses with mechanical reliability the route that is sure to lead in the opposite direction to that required by its national interests, when it opts to become alienated from its natural friends and to make common cause with its natural enemies, when it pillories its prophets and honours its clowns, when after centuries of spectacular success it staggers from one to another humiliating failure — it is surely pertinent to ask: why does it do these things?

    When in 1940 the German Army ran through France to occupy Paris and force French surrender within the fantastic space of nine weeks, the world asked in astonishment: what has happened to the once great French nation?

    Historians are fairly unanimous about the answer. It was not lack of guns that caused the French defeat; it was utter and complete moral disintegration. For several decades authors, playwrights, poets, artists, and political philosophers had run rampant in French society who had undermined all patriotism, sneered at every pillar of national tradition and promoted in the name of 'progress' every imaginable cult of degeneracy. France had become synonymous in the mind of the world with loose morals, male foppishness, 'way-out' trends in art and fashion, indulgent habits and a national obsession with erotica. By the time war had arrived that nation was more than ripe for collapse. .

    Those who can recall this condition will immediately realise the frightening parallel in present day Britain.

    Our theatres and bookshops abound with products of filth and license, spreading contempt for every civilised institution upon which our nation has been built. Marriage, the family, social responsibility, personal restraint, respect for the law, thrift and work: all are derided in favour of the 'new morality' the message of which is: live for the moment! Live on impulse! Live for fun and kicks!

    As these influences have served to rot our moral fabric and create a complete vacuum in the way of spiritual belief, into this vacuum have stepped Communists, Anarchists and every other kind of fellow traveller of the Left. Like a relentless insect army they have infiltrated into every compartment of British life, spreading doctrines of subversion, denigrating old loyalties and values and paralysing every healthy expression of the British character.

    Their product is an increasing generation of aimless young men and women whose most symbolic activity is that of squatting down in public squares and proclaiming that their country is not worth fighting for. This generation wears its many badges ubiquitously and shamelessly: idleness and exhibitionism, drug addiction and dirt, weediness and effeminacy, hooliganism and nihilism. All these characteristics have come to the fore in Britain today and serve to present an appalling national image in the eyes of the world.

    Do the leaders of society deplore these trends? Do they try to use their influence to combat them? Quite the contrary, many seem to want to encourage them. As the crime rate reaches ever higher proportions, we are told that it is a sign of 'enlightenment* to make life increasingly more pleasant for the criminal. As the rate of illegitimacy soars, the answer is not to encourage human restraint but to legalise abortion. As productivity falls further behind the rest of the world, we not only tolerate anarchy in industry but are glad to subsidise a growing horde of workshy humanity which lives comfortably off our public welfare institutions up and down the land.

    Indeed, the worst feature of these trends is that they are being consciously promoted, sometimes out of perverted conviction, sometimes for plain commercial profit, by those very elements of society from whom the country has a right to expect the best example. Press and television, as well as the schools and universities, have become the breeding grounds of all those ideas that are systematically rotting the nation from within. These institutions, aided now by large sections of
the Clergy, do everything to foster and praise the most obscene tendencies in art, literature, ethics and human behaviour. We are in an age in which we can be sure that everything which is decadent in the national fabric will find its eager throng of sponsors in the highest as well as the lowest strata of the community.

    Characteristically, the promoters of this poison claim that it is in keeping with the principle of academic and cultural 'freedom' — the holy phrase by which liberals always seek to justify their onslaught on ordered society. In fact it is becoming increasingly apparent that real freedom is the very last thing of which the liberals approve. Once they have got their clutches on a particular medium through which the public can be influenced, they go all out to exclude any views or ideas
that they decide are a threat to their growing hegemony of the mind. As an example of this, why not devote the next few minutes you have to spare in trying to recall the last time a novel was accorded top ratings by the press and TV critics whose hero or heroine did not break at least three of the basic rules of civilised society. You would have to go back no little time. The sponsors of the 'new morality' are quite set on making theirs the only morality. The censorship they oppose is only the censorship of their own products. Once in control, they will be found rigidly censoring the products of others.

    This 'permissive society' and all its symptoms are generally associated with the political Left, and it is perfectly true that Fabian intellectuals have done more than most to rationalise permissiveness and the breakdown in the social order that is its consequence. But what of the political 'Right'? What of Conservatism? To say the least, Tories, either when in Government or in Opposition, have shown themselves pitifully apathetic towards the duty of opposing these corrupting tendencies in society. If Tory doctrines and policies be examined, it will be found that nowhere is there even the faintest recognition that Britain is in the throes of a crisis of morale and of social stability which is every bit as great as any political or economic crisis. Responsible national leadership would recognise this crisis and take firm measures to deal with it. Perhaps it is endemic in the psyche of modern Conservatism that it can only recognise a state of emergency in matters that can be judged in terms of pounds, shillings and pence.

    Conditions such as these surely point out the prior task facing the future leadership of Britain. Before all else, there must be a complete moral regeneration of the national life, beginning with government and penetrating downwards into every sphere of work and leisure. By 'moral regeneration' let us not mean a return to puritanism or to the absurd inhibitions that formed part of Victorian life but simply to the values of order, responsibility and restraint which are essential to the
survival of any social structure and ultimately of any nation.

    In such a task not only government but the great opinion media of press and television must play their part.

    The first necessity is a clear programme of legislation which will render liable to prosecution all persons or agencies responsible for the promotion of art, literature or entertainment by which public moral standards might be endangered. Quite clearly, the existing laws dealing with obscenity in these fields are inadequate and must be strengthened, as must the penalties for their infringement be made firmer.

    Such strengthening of the law should be quite enough to cause the closure of the multitude of bookshops, clubs, theatres and other establishments which make money out of the corruption of young minds and by catering for all that is lowest and most depraved in public taste.

    These young minds should indeed be our first concern. Why today are they so vulnerable to every kind of poison fed to them by the political propagandists and teachers of license? The answer is not a simple one. When a society becomes so far advanced along the road to demoralisation it becomes more and more difficult to sort out effect from cause. However, certain pointers do indicate lamentable weaknesses in our system of bringing up the young. We are today hypnotised by liberal attitudes which condemn all concepts of strong authority and worship the cult of permissiveness. We therefore lose sight of some of the most essential needs of the younger generation in its preparation for citizenship.

    A great furore rages at the present time in our educational world over methods of academic selection, but whilst it would not be right to understate the importance of such issues it seems astonishing that the academic side alone dominates the minds of our educational 'experts'. We hear very little about the training of body and character and the instillation of real values that have been a feature of the public school system but which in fact should permeate all education.

    In one element in particular we are lacking today and we pay dearly for it. There is almost no attempt to instil into youth the basic principles of patriotism. These are best developed, not by lengthy repetitions of slogans and paths or a merely mechanical singing of the national anthem every morning, but by a full and vivid teaching of British and Imperial history from the standpoint of national achievement; also by a comprehensive outline of the greatness of the British heritage both in this country and throughout the world and the duties that this imposes on those who accede to it. Better than just saying to youth: you must be loyal to Queen and Country, we should give youth
a full picture of what Queen and Country represent, and encourage loyalty and patriotism to spring from that picture by a spontaneous process. (It need hardly be said of course that British youth is not likely to be instilled with patriotic pride while living under politicians who seem out to humiliate Britain at every opportunity, and being taught by academics who prefer to give the marxist interpretation of British history as a saga of guilt and shame. New leaders, as well as new teachers, are an essential need before any reform in the trend of education can be expected.

    But if and when this elementary need was adopted — as it once was in Britain and as it still is in all strongly organised nations — our young men and women would grow to adulthood much more resistant to the left-wing virus which today is rife throughout the upper echelons of society.

    We should not forget that while we are bringing up our younger generations to look at the world from an internationalist, pacifistic point of view there are other nations that are imbuing their young with a strident and aggressive nationalism. In future issues of survival this will not work to our advantage.

    Aside from this, we need to promote in the young much more than we do at present the ideal of physical health and fitness. Healthy thoughts flow from a healthy being, and it is no coincidence that the large number of overpampered, physically effete half-men that we seem to be turning out nowadays are the most vulnerable to the many poisons that are seductively offered in the darker corners of the big city. Cultivate in a young man's mind the idea of sound physical health as a permanent obligation to himself, his country, his creator and, not least, the offspring that he is going to bring into the world; cultivate in him the joyful self-confidence of being a physically whole
person; and cultivate in him the physical capacity for hard work and great efforts of the will; cultivate these things, and add to them a strong sense of patriotism and the social consciousness that stems from it, and you will breed a type of far greater value to Britain than the now all too common species of walking greenhouse-flower.

    Apologists for this type of 'flower generation' insist that it is only, conforming to a passing fashion, presumably with reference to styles of hair and clothing. But this is missing the point. The public revulsion to the type which one senses amongst most normal people is primarily against the man, or lack of it, that is underneath the hair and inside - the clothes. True enough, Elizabethan man wore his hair long and his clothes decorative, but there the resemblance ends. Study the firm features and erect bearing of men of that period and compare them with the pallid, vacuus look and slouching deportment of these latter-day specimens, and the point may then be better understood. The fashions are a secondary product. What comes first is the personality itself.

    In a sound educational system this product would be a rarity. The object of our schools and universities should be to produce complete people. It is the single-minded emphasis on intellect for its own sake, and its resultant tendency to reduce all vital questions of existence down to a flat, uninspired pseudo-rationale, that atrophies the much more potent factors of instinct and will which move great and vigorous races and which ultimately determine history.

    As a final point, something should be said about the institution of national service. We had national service in Britain until a few years ago, when a Tory Government calculated that it would purchase votes by abolishing it. Most other powers still have it.

    Dangerous unpreparedness in two world wars should have convinced us of the necessity of a universal period of military service for young men purely from the standpoint of national defence and security. However, we are concerned here less with the strategic aspect than with the beneficial effect of such an institution on all men who pass through it. Beyond any doubt, the back-straightening influence of service life, with its emphasis on smartness and discipline and the
values of manhood, made men better fitted altogether, not only for the emergencies of war, but also for the everyday tasks of peace. The return of this institution, possibly combined with labour service in great public works, could be an incalculable boon to Britain, and its costs could be more than justified by the long term effects on the fitness and morale of the population.

    These three factors: patriotic education, sound health and service training, do not solve every moral and social problem with which we are beset, but they do breed a sturdier race, better equipped to cope with the challenges of life and better fortified against its harmful influences.

    These factors considered, what of the role of press, television and similar institutions? Today it is impossible to estimate the enormous influence that these media have on the whole range of popular attitudes. They are to an overwhelming extent the setters of fashion, the creators of taste, the moulders of thought and the models for behaviour. Their influence can be used, as at present, to undermine and rot the nation's moral fibre, or to strengthen and uplift it.

    Obviously, we want the latter.

    The opinion media, both in Britain and elsewhere in the world where they exercise much thb same influence, are of course passionately jealous of their privileges and rights. This was made clear by their outraged reaction to the statement by US Vice President Agnew that some of them were abusing their power. They immediately protested to the heavens about the dangers of their being 'gagged'. But in fact they were simply sidetracking the issue. They themselves are the most
accomplished exponents of the art of 'gagging* views that they do not favour and boycotting by silence politicians they dislike and fear. Most of the criticism of the opinion media today comes, not from people who want to 'gag' them, but only from those who want to see them fulfill their assumed role as truly democratic institutions for the really free expression of views and ideas and for the representation of the 'silent majority' as well as the vociferous intellectual minority. At the same time it is surely reasonable to ask that the opinion media recognise some kind of responsibility for the maintaining of decency and good morale among the population, particularly the impressionable younger population.

    With regard to the BBC in particular, it should be realised that this is a public corporation sustained by licence payers* money and as such has a firm duty to those licence-payers to carry out their wishes with regard to programmes where questions of public decency are involved as well as to see that a balance of political viewpoints is maintained.

    In the mass media we have in our hands an instrument which, if properly used, could serve to ennoble our whole national life. It is a criminal folly that we have allowed this instrument to be used for the very opposite purpose.

    Aside from the factors that have been examined, there is another institution that has had an appalling effect on Britain in the standards it, has set and the attitudes it has bred. This is our current form of welfare state and its scale of social benefits. Today this institution thwarts every effort to get Britain moving into the Twentieth Century.

    The governing slogan of our welfare state today is the classical bolshevik one: "To each according to his needs". In effect this means that every drone, sponger and drop-out can be kept comfortably at the expense of honest and industrious folk — providing that he can prove such 'needs' to his local welfare officer. The result is a growing army of the parasitic and the workshy, perfectly able-bodied but just not interested in any useful employment whatsoever so long as it is possible to draw a generous loafer's allowance from the State. To keep this army satisfied and well cared for we have to add hugely to our public expenditure, which in turn causes an endless rise in taxation. Typically, successive governments have placed the main burden of this rise on the higher income groups, which of course are less numerous and from whom therefore less votes can be lost. The outcome is that an ever greater number of our most capable and ambitious men leave us and go abroad with the same depressing tale: "There is no incentive to work hard and get on in this country anymore; the more you earn. the more they take away from you". The best are penalised for their efforts in order that the worst may be rewarded for their laziness. Is it any wonder that our national standards decline — so long as we punish ability and encourage lead-swinging?

    To remedy this condition we need a complete change in our welfare system and its scale of rewards and social benefits. Instead of the slogan? "To each according to his needs", our principle Should be: "To each according to his desserts". Let people get out of the nation precisely what they put into it. Let social security be commensurate with the useful effort that the worker contributes to the prosperity of the nation. Let those who work hard, study, train, save and develop their skills be amply rewarded and encouraged to improve themselves still more. Let those who prefer the life of slothful ease suffer for it by hardship, shortage and insecurity until they decide to mend their ways.

    This does not mean that social benefits should be withheld from those whose needs are due to ordinary misfortune or to economic factors outside their control; quite the contrary. But it does mean that we should exercise much more discrimination in sorting out the genuinely unfortunate from those who are simply out to use the welfare state as a substitute for honest toil.

    Basically, we need to depart radically from the leftist philosophy which holds that the nation owes everyone a living, and to develop a social welfare system which encourages to the utmost the principles of hard work, self-reliance and personal responsibility. By setting these principles in the forefront of our thinking we will lay the foundation stones of a prosperous and vigorous national community.

    Will Britain in the years to come grasp and apply these things in a determined effort to renew and revitalise herself within? Will this nation whose peerless record of achievement has enriched every corner of the globe and whose fighting spirit has proved unconquerable for so long challenge and overcome the most deadly foe of all—the sickness within herself? This is the dominating question of our times, and beside it the doctrinaire disputes of parliamentary parties fade into irrelevancy.

    Political policy means nothing if not the nourishment of those inner sinews of life and strength that sustain a nation through the cycles of infinite time, securing the existence of its unborn generations and passing on to them intact the accumulated heritage of all its former struggles and endeavours.

    The life sinews of British nationhood lie, as with all others, not in the ephemeral balances of commercial and diplomatic fortune, not in the day to day gains and losses over which current political factions raise steam, but in the moral fibre of Britons themselves, both individually and as a group, in their capacity to create and build, in their readiness to lead and serve, in their will to live as befits a great race.

    This inner moral health and strength is more fundamental to our future as a people than any other national issue of the moment. It is central to all politics and transcends all ideology.

    Its restoration and sustenance is the crucial task of our leadership now and at all times hence. In an age of challenges the magnitude of which mankind has never before known, let us be fit to stay out in front and win for ourselves a golden stake in the world that is to come.



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