Tag Archives: hope

Culture Counts

Benjamin Nielsen is a conservative student at the Department of War Studies. His academic interests include diplomacy, the history of European international relations, comparative European politics, and Western philosophy.

 

churchill.jpegWhen the United Kingdom, in June, decided to leave the European Union, most of my teachers and fellow students reacted with a mixture of bewilderment and anger. “How can more than 17 million people find the European Union so repulsive?”

When the American people, last Tuesday, elected Donald John Trump as the next president of the United States, the anger and bewilderment among teachers and fellow students returned with even greater force. “What makes more than 59 million Americans vote for this racist, sexist, homophobic person?” (Apart from the prospect of getting to see more of his incredibly beautiful and elegant wife, obviously).

Baffled and visibly disgusted by the outcomes of the EU referendum and the US election, students and teachers are now searching for explanations as to how all this could happen. But where should we start? In the unreadable, empty and fatuous writings of Foucault? In the pseudo-scientific scholarship of Saïd? Do we start with a bit of Gramscian nonsence? Or just the blatant drivel of Deleuze? Surely, these neo-marxist turtlenecks would tell us that it’s all about the bourgeosie versus the suppressed workers. Not surprisingly, some ‘intellectuals’ have already framed the election of Trump in terms of class politics.[1]

The only problem with this explanation is that neither Brexit nor the election of Trump have much to do with economic circumstances or inequality. As Professor of Politics at Birkbeck, Erik Kaufmann, clearly illustrates the far most important issue for both Brexiteers and Trump voters was/is immigration. In order words, Trump-voters and Brexiteers are primarily people who first and foremost prioritize cultural continuity and reject fundamental socio-ethnic change. The real explanation for Brexit and the election of Trump is thus to be found in the realm of culture.

How do we respond to this “anti-immigrant movement of exclusion” which now includes if not the majority then a very significant and ever increasing part of the Western population? Well, being a student in this day and age, I’ve come to learn some of the most typical solutions:

1: We could arrange a ‘Tolerance and Anti-racist protest march” in Shoreditch during which we will shout abuse at people who don’t have the same opinion as us.

2: We could try and make #fuckPatriotism trending on social media.

3: We could write another angry facebook-rant about neoliberalism. Or Bush. Or Blair. Or Israel.

4: We could all gather in an organic coffee shop in Soho and write a blog on hetero-normativity, stereotypes and structural sexism while we eat gluten-free avocado wraps and listen to 84 hours of non-stop Tracy Chapman.

5: We could arrange a panel “discussion” – of course only with participants we agree with.

Are any of the 5 solutions above useful? Of course not. But maybe they can give you an idea of why the liberal-left is about to become even more disliked than Piers Morgan.

The only real solution is for all – including the most unworldly parts of academia – to accept and acknowledge that culture counts. In every nation-state, there will come a point where the uncontrolled influx of immigrants and the continuous breakdown of traditional norms and values will begin to threaten the very foundation of the nation – the shared cultural identity and heritage among its citizens. And the first people to feel this threat are the ordinary men and women who live normal lives. This is not an extreme nationalist theory – it’s a moderate conservative observation. Until the established political parties in the Western world begin to value, protect and acknowledge their nations’ cultural basis, more and more people will see no other option than voting for otherwise extreme and unappealing persons like Trump and Le Pen.

[1] See e.g. http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fall-of-the-unions-paved-the-way-for-donald-trump-1478886094 or https://twitter.com/JohnBew/status/796296245849497600

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I Wonder

By Sarah Isal, a second year student of War Studies and Philosophy at King’s College London. Sarah is currently studying abroad in Paris at Sciences Po University.

 

Allons ! Enfants de la Patrie !
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L’étendard sanglant est levé !
L’étendard sanglant est levé !

I wonder. I wonder a lot since Friday evening. Immediately after witnessing the absolute horror, I have adopted a warrior-like attitude: my head straight up, fearless eye contact, my fist ready to knock down any “playing with fire backfires” kind of comments. And the sound of the grandiose Marseillaise fuels my eagerness to live, the candles in the wind lightened on the sound of Imagine give me hope, and the colourful roses deposed by generations of survivors and survivors to come trigger in me the compulsive need to say and shout “I love you”!  


​Yet, I cannot pretend that everything is fine and that everything is going to be alright. I am terrified, and the warrior attitude vanishes the moment I see tears on a mourning face.

 


So I wonder.

 

How can we possibly win a war against shadows of death eaters, whose ideology finds its roots in the mere annihilation of civilisation? How can we respond to so-called God fighters, whose lethal weapon is their own conception of truth?

 

I’ve started thinking that perhaps the frenetic and tremendous aim to cherish and protect one’s life was not transcendental in the blurred light of these dark murders.


So once again I wonder.


How can we possibly promote universal values when our world is polarised between both fanatic secularists and the communitarian religious that have failed in creating a worldwide vivre-ensemble?

 

Indeed, the former tries hard to mask diversity when the latter simply rejects it. Wandering in the sublime streets of Paris crowded with undefeated individuals sitting outdoors was my revelation. An irrational probably epiphanic revelation, yet it was so damn inspiring. The funny part, I tell you, is that I didn’t find the answers to my questions, but something extremely more precious. What people will never take away from me are my feelings. I am alive because I love, I am alive because I fear for my future and the future of my loved ones, I am alive because I laugh, because I cry, I am alive because I am angry. Feelings have no boundaries, no religions. I feel so I am. Those who seek to kill us have lost their ability to feel, but we shall not lose it ourselves.

 

And today, I feel the fundamental need to ensure immortality of the values that do transcend us: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Eventually, my feelings go to the families and friends of the victims, that have left us too soon, but that shall not be forgotten and gone in vain.


Rest in peace Angels, because peace will come at last.

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