Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Guilt, Identity and Blame


The strength of democracy is that no one ideology will ever triumph over the others. Its weakness is that they all retain that ambition

Britain seems to have gone insane, or at least (anti-)social media has. Politics dominates, but not rational political discussion. Legitimate news media has been swept aside by online propaganda rags describing themselves as 'news' sites and even newspapers with long histories sharing misleading headlines including the words 'may', 'might' and 'could' as if they meant certainty. When print newspaper revenues went down and online versions became essential, competition increased and news stand appeal was replaced by click-bait, which meant sensationalist, whether tabloid or broadsheet. Misleading memes proliferate. Meanwhile MPs shout at each other and life-long friends argue.

From where or what did this polarity of politics have its origin. There is a pile of candidates as reasons for our rather broken society and its loss of direction, including the influences of: behaviourism, moral and cultural relativism, political correctness & NuSpeak, identity politics (based on category rather than individual characteristics), dysfunctional economic models, an undermining of the family unit and the gradual dominance of secularism. There are plenty from which to choose and the all seem to have had a part to play. More specifically, the millennium with all its modernist expectations marked a turning point. Following year zero, fashion ceased to innovate, music ceased to progress, literature ceased to be worthy of the name and all art went pop as the imaginative mind and the means whereby it made its mark and its living fell away.

Much of our present state of disunity and polarisation is the result of Citizen Blair's reign of error. The modernism he introduced was foreign and he engendered in the British a theatrical emotionalism akin to hysteria. Modernism may appear positive as a way of improving society and making its actions smoother, but that is a dangerous myth. The delicate workings of the constitution, for example, are robust where each piece is in harmony with the rest, but it is also brittle for all its strength and the introduction of ill-fitting novelties can render it unfit for purpose. When that occurs, there are those who mistakenly claim that the 'reform' was not the problem and additional vandalism should be introduced as if it were a curative medical procedure. "More laws, less justice" as Cicero said. Modernism is outmoded where enduring systems and principles thrive. The same goes for ceremony which, appearing useless, are dispensed with just before social and political order seemingly unaccountably break down. Ritual and ceremony put the mind in touch with its duty and instil awe and respect for the institutions that keep society contained. Furthermore, duty, which presumed personal responsibility was replaced by accountability, which presumes an intent to deceive or avoid responsibility. The result, we have just seen in the 'supreme court' and parliament.

While not blaming Tony Blair for all the ills of the modern world, his tenure of government did mark a change in attitude generally that he embraced. This was a move away from an emphasis on the character of a person towards defining them by their emotions. So, emotion replaced character as what defined a person.

As a result of a redefining of what maketh man or woman, the psychology of persuasion gave way to the psychology of manipulation. Political imagination and belief in consensus were actively discouraged. Individualism gave way to collectivism and identification with and as categories. The use of relativism undermined a belief in truth, which was replaced by subjective truths, facts and more often than not, factoids. Higher emotions are not engaged, but the lower, base emotions of guilt, anger and blame rule our nation.

It is to guilt that we must now turn. Guilt being the easiest way to influence emotional thought.1. Not wishing to own the guilt of the world around one, blame is engaged to assuage one's self-hatred. As a consequence, that hatred is projected onto one's political enemies who are, thereby, transformed from those with a different perspective and attitude to achieving the commonweal, into 'selfish' 'evil' 'liars' or worse. The ludicrous use of these words would be perplexing were it not for the triple response of guilt, blame, anger that have replaced civilised behaviour.

Emotional response to information. Character was replaced by emotion. Individuality was undermined along with local and national identity, the family unit and belief in anything beyond the physical. The consumer is made to feel guilty for the sins of the state and corporations, such as plastics. Capitalism is not at fault, but ethical capitalism can be promoted. Emotional thought, though not always rational, is linear. That is its strength and its weakness. It believes it is right, but it cannot see around corners in the way that creative thinkers can.

Difference is a major indicator of the evolution of a society and its culture, but also presents a scary target for the herd to attack. There is no racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism or other specific prejudice as such, but there is intolerance and fear of difference. Dividing society into 'communities' along tribal lines merely exacerbates the problem. A stray bird, however common in the world at large, flying into any of these 'communities' will be mobbed as much as any potential threat to the herd. The integration and celebration of difference, of individuality and creativity unleashed, is the only true and viable road to civilisation. However, it is easier, by far, to divide society by grouping it into clusters of 'victimised' communities (apart from a group painted as historical 'oppressor' of course – corresponding to a collective Emanuel Goldstein hate figure), than unite it into a cohesive and coherent whole that communicates with itself and its constituent parts as a partnership rather than as participants in a war.

Remainers have created an image of Leavers that suits their world view, where they can feel superior to the caricature they have created irrespective of the truth. What is overlooked, by them, is that had their been a referendum on the terms of Maastricht, and/or of Lisbon, There would not have been an In/Out referendum in 2016 because we would have had the opportunity to influence the EU's direction of travel and put a stop to its federalist ambitions. However, we cannot go back and those whose intransigence resulted in where we are now, Major and Brown, continue to obstruct the natural inclination of this United Kingdom to assert its independence and sovereignty. Not as a rejection of the countries of Europe, but a recognition that a family of nations depends on free association, independence and mutual respect.

The individual is the basis of all rights and all responsibilities and to deny this is to deny all humanity and replace it with an abstract. The state is not a refuge in this context, but the enemy that would consume us all if given too much power. Moreover, corporations are not extensions of individuality and cannot claim the liberties associated with the individual, but should be regarded as micro-states, especially where in some cases their economies are larger than those of entire countries.

The modern citizen aspires to mediocrity with cultivated barbarism. Civilisation is a mere word, concerning which the modernists think they can ascribe any meaning they wish. Meaning is eradicated and replaced by moving signposts. A world in flux with no fixed moral or any other sort of compass. When a society abolishes truth from its vocabulary, it removes any sense of direction or intrinsic purpose from the lives of those of whom it is composed. Civilisation, therefore, is no longer subjective or objective, but lost over the horizon of words and meanings and lost to understanding.

It is essential that the human character is restored as a vital British interest, blameless, guiltless and conscious of its duty to our indomitable nation in all its diverse glory and the land on which we dwell.

Note: 1. See also what psychologist Dr Daniel Kahneman called fast and slow thinking. 

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
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The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
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