Friday, July 20, 2007

"Europe is still living off its religious heritage"

Robert Putnam - the chap who believes that mass immigration is a good thing and whose research shows that "the higher the diversity in a neighbourhood, the lower the levels of trust, political participation and happiness between and within the ethnic groups", in the Grauniad.

"Diversity is a social construction that can be deconstructed and reconstructed - you can erase a line and draw a new line [to define identity] and we do it all the time," says Putnam, who adds that there has been much more response to his research in the UK than in the US.

"Some critics [in the UK] on the right say that's all hogwash. What gets the conservatives irritated is that I say the task is not to 'make them like us' but to create a new 'we' - a new, more encompassing identity. They say: 'Why should we? We don't want a new we, we like the old we.' But in the US, we don't have that problem because we have changed in the past," he says.

America IS a nation of immigrants. Britain has not been - the 'nation of immigrants' nonsense is a liberal myth used to justify mass immigration.

Up until 7/7 our new liberal rulers didn't care about integration. The USP of immigrants was precisely the fact that they 'weren't like us' i.e. the natives. What they actually were like was unimportant.

Now they've seen the writing on the wall in Tavistock Square.

So integration seems like a good idea after all.

The trouble is that the destruction of British culture was a prerequisite for mass immigration - a self-confident nation would either not have allowed it or would have ensured integration was a priority - which was what happened in America until very recently.

The continuing effort to reinvent a national identity should at least provide sour amusement for a few decades.

Back to Mr Putnam. The key driver for the British cultural revolution - and the Britain we see today - was the decline of Christianity.

He credits religion with a vital role in spurring on progressive change in the US over the past 150 years - contrary to popular European wisdom, religion has predominantly been a force for good in America and its current use by the political right is an aberration from its history, he argues.

"Religious revival has been an essential ingredient of every progressive movement: the abolition of slavery came out of the second great awakening; the progressive era of 1900-15 when the US first passed labour and environment legislation came out of the social gospel movement," says Putnam, who is a convert to Judaism.

Much of his book will be devoted to analysing how that progressive potential in religion was lured to the Republican right. It is easy to see how his interest in social capital and religion fit together, but he is quick to acknowledge that religion can also have detrimental consequences, and it is possible to have social capital that has no religious underpinning.

He strikes a warning on the secularisation of Europe, which he describes as the first large-scale effort to see whether secular progressive countries can reproduce themselves and successfully pass on the values on which they were built. "I believe they can," he says, "but the evidence is not yet in. Europe is still living off its religious heritage."

Christianity may be dying in Euruope, but Nature abhors a spiritual vacuum. I notice a continual drip of British Muslim converts. They may be misguided, but they are generally intelligent, well-meaning young men and women. The canaries in the coal mine ?

"I am a white, middle-class left-wing atheist, who embraced Islam, and I see it has having the solutions to all the social ills of British society (poverty, drug abuse, gambling addictions, robbery, individualism, depression and terrorism, amongst many others"

I'll pass on whether there are no poor people in Muslim countries - but for the rest, you could say much the same of the Christianity that was - before the churches turned into a branch of Social Services.

Maybe the Sixties cultural revolutionaries who are dying off, the George Melly's, won't see their new Utopia.

"And always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse.


Anonymous said...

The fact remains: why should we, just 'cose we can? Us Anglos like our anglo identity, and indians, africans, etc, etc. like their old identities - and even if they don't that's their business which need not concern us.

So, why do we need this new identity, again? Oh, yes, because we're getting immigrants by the boatload who are just too different to simply accept our identity. So, we need to create a new one which suits them. Much like when my homeless cousin Norman decides to squat on my lawn and demands I change my house rules to accomodate his wants. It would be personist to tell him to leave, of course.

Anonymous said...

On the left you have two types of people that have formed a devils pact.

The Liberal Left believe in expressions of atheism and alternative religion as a sign of liberalism, similarly they see immigration as a sign of a civilised liberal society. They don't consider that democracy is a process by which the concensus view is forced on the minority. They put individuals above society. Consequently the atomisation of society is a natural by-product of a process where opinion becomes ever more divergent. Ironically, the liberal left don't see things this way, because they believe that left to their own devices people would become Guardian readers and only fail to become Guardian readers becauser they are brainwashed by the Daily Mail. Hence counter-brainwashing by the BBC is acceptable.

The radical left have a far simpler agenda. They agree with Liberal Left politics because they have realised that it will surely lead to atomisation of society. This will lead to collapse of the current order which in turn will permit the establishment of an authoritarian new order.

Worringly the current government has established conditions suitable for a radical left take-over of the nation. They have contributed massively to social division and disorder. At the same time they have instituted laws to enable enactment of a state of emergency and long-term imprisonment of citizens without trial if they are alleged to have attacked the state. They have sent most of the Queen's armed forces abroad. The nation's increasing debt montain becomes a potential catalyst for civil disorder the longer it persists and the greater a threat to the stability of the economy it becomes.

Now may be a good time to start thinking about bolt holes in second countries. Don't say you haven't been warned.....

Anonymous said...

The indigenous Anglo-Celts are remarkably tolerant to all the incomers. The real present problems (and I have witnessed this with my own eyes) are with how the different minorities interact with each other.

It's not very encouraging: West Africans dislike the Caribbeans who hate the Somalis who aren't too keen on either the Bangladeshis or Pakistanis who both, despite the Islamic ummah, resent the Turks who detest the Poles and to quote that very witty, wonderful Tom Lehrer song 'National Brotherhood Week':

"Everybody hates the Jews."

Anonymous said...

In Matthew 19:16-19 Jesus is asked by a man what is necessary to lead a good life, the answer is six of the commandments:

* Don't murder
* Don't commit adultery
* Don't steal
* Don't lie
* Respect your parents
* Love your neighbour as yourself

Note that conspicuously absent are the other four that deal with religious ritual.

Now I'd challenge any liberal thinking person to find fault with the above "commandments", in fact I'd say they probably form the basis of most liberal attitudes.

Why condemn a society built on those "laws" ?

I'm not vouching for a return to puritan Christianity or such like, I believe in religious tolerance and freedom of thought, but why knock a religion that espouses the very same tenets of a "good" society ?

I'm sure you can find plenty fault with other religions, like those which delegate chopping off limbs or sexual inequality.

Anonymous said...

I am a white, middle-class left-wing atheist, who embraced Islam

70 odd years ago he'd have been hot for Communism or Fascism. Some weird people seem to feel the need to get all communal with the powerful.

Anonymous said...

There are at least two former Muslim's that have converted to Catholocism at my local church - so the movement is certainly not one way. Muslim's converting to Christianity don't make too much noise about it of course....

Many more Muslims drop out of religion altogether and it may be this which encourages those left behind to become more extreme.

Christianity has been of great benefit ot the US. Most US citizens (80%+?) are Christians. This means that whatever their background they have a shared value system. That is a great enabler of successful immigration. However, the US is mostly a segregated society where people of different races do not mix much at all. It seems quite likely that at some point in its history the US will actually break up into separate countries, especially once the whites realise that demographics will otherwise take power away from their group.

Christianity in the UK seems to be undergoing a mild revival. There seems to be many more younger people going to church. The missing generation were born just after WWII. As that generation pops their clogs I think we will see church attendance rise.

Anonymous said...

" quote that very witty, wonderful Tom Lehrer song 'National Brotherhood Week':

"Everybody hates the Jews.""

Mmmm, that's the one that ends:

Be nice to people who,
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear.
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!

Ross said...

In fairness to Putnam he did at least have the integrity to publish his devastating study into the impact of cultural diversity, even though he did have to tag on a cock and bull story that contradicts his own analysis.

Anonymous said...

The convert is certainly right about Islam having the solution to British society's problem with terrorism.

Once we've all converted there will be no need for it.

JohnM said...

Christianity in the UK seems to be undergoing a mild revival. There seems to be many more younger people going to church. The missing generation were born just after WWII. As that generation pops their clogs I think we will see church attendance rise.

I think you're seeing a rise in evangelical movements, but their growth is matched by the continuing decline of Anglicanism (particularly Methodism).

Last time I read about it Islam was the fastest growing religion in terms of converts. eg. here

Decline of Christianity here and here.

JohnM said...

Once we've all converted [to Islam] there will be no need for it [terrorism].

I don't suppose you noticed Sunnis versus Shia?

Anonymous said...

I don't suppose you noticed Sunnis v Shia.

Isn't that known as "civil war"?

Anonymous said...

Don't overestimate the coherence of the left's approach - deadly as their effect is. I should know I used to be one. I remember an old communist saying capitalism was doomed because an industry he used to work in had lost its high manning levels. What were they all going to do? -I think he thought they'd starve or something (1980s). He was that ignorant of economics. I distinctly remember thinking at the hight of my 1980s indoctrination the idealised result of communism was rather like free enterprise capitalism - free association (with 'no state') - I thought - isn't that what we have now? And I was really indoctrinated. The left eats away at the underpinning of society because it doesn't seriously yet think it will undermine anything they really care about - their own skins and freedoms. However with the population changes we are seeing the resulting political changes might give them a bit of as shock.

JohnM said...

Isn't that known as "civil war"?

Not necessarily.

France vs. England is not civil war and neither is Iraq vs. Iran. However, if you have in mind the roadside bombs set by Sunni's to blow up innocent Shia's (or possibly the converse), then I'll grant that form of terrorism is civil war.

JohnM said...


I read my link site: sufficiently to see the religion figures were in the approximate range I expected. I didn't look any further but I wish I had. The writer is a genuine Satanist with some "interesting" views.

For example: The second most important factor behind abolishing the slave trade (after economics) was the influence of Voodoo. Not sure how the Animists who participated in the African part of the trade, figure into this account but never mind, he at least recognises the classic Marxist explanation as being primary.

Anonymous said...

Islam is growing very quickly through converts--in the prisons!!!

Convicted criminals are the largest converts to Islam. Not a very hopeful situation for the religion of peace.

No, the high birthrate is what makes Islam grow. Many babies called Osama and Mohammed. This is the way.

Anonymous said...

"I am a white, middle-class left-wing atheist"

Or, in fewer words:

"I am a moral vacuum"

Anonymous said...

I mentioned Putnam's study a few months ago on another site. A regular commentator there, a liberal/leftie of the first water, dismissed it airily as being an American study and therefore of no relevence to us here.

Theres none so blind...

Anonymous said...

Re Putnam's comment They say: 'Why should we? We don't want a new we, we like the old we.' But in the US, we don't have that problem because we have changed in the past," he says.

Yeah, sure. That explains the stupendous public rage over the Senate's recent, latest attempt to accelerate Our Better's beloved ongoing Mexicanization project. Latin America, Anglo America, what's the difference? Since the United States is just a vast nothing, endlessly churned by endless streams of never-assimilating immigrants, with no coherent political or cultural tradition, whatever are all those dreadful nativists and xenophobes fretting about?

My ancestors didn't come to America to change it, they came to assimilate to and participate in the Anglo culture that had been established and secured by its Anglo founders. Their descendants expect the same of any newcomers.

Anonymous said...

No point in even dealing with fantasists like Putnam....the simple fact is Northern Europe was strong when Protestantism was strong.

Protestantism is the correlation - the notion of Self-Reliance and Personal Accountability to God rather than absolution from a prelate.

The Protestantism of Methodism is what made the Labour Party principled; and the Protestantism of Anglicanism is what made the Conservative Party national; and the Protestantism of Non-Conformist Congregationalism, Unitarianism, Baptism and Presbyterianism is what made the Liberal Party.

Conservatives were Anglicans and the rest had to find their way into the other two parties - just as the German Zentrum party was Catholic, and the SPD was Jewish and Protestant.

France pursued anti-Clericalism in a way which splintered party politics; Poland needed Catholicism as a surrogate nationalism when the nation had been partitioned