Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Bit Of Orwell

We contemplate that Britain has a culture that it wishes to preserve, and this has something to do with why the Brexit vote went as it did.  Americans generally applaud British culture, or at least, applaud that they want to keep their culture. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, all the British seem to like having some immigrants around.  What has happened recently is that there has been a sharp uptick in the number of immigrants, enough that a majority of people have said "too many." Yet I don't hear anyone but the very few saying "no immigrants."

What is this culture they hope to preserve?  Paul McCartney made affectionate fun of it in "Penny Lane," but what might we list that is something of a continuity in British culture that does not sound ridiculously trivial or is not immediately recognisable as something that happens in other countries as well?

George Orwell wrote "England, Your England" in the early 1940's. It is a good example of the importance of reading primary sources.  I am familiar what other English writers of the 20th C have said, Chesterton especially, yet this carries surprises.  One can immediately tell that American culture is historically related to it, but we have built something quite different with the same legos.

Just for humor, I resurrect this Field Guide to the 15 Real Nations of Britain that I passed along a decade ago. Plus, now that I've mentioned it, I have to play the song.


james said...

You can't pin down details about your wife that aren't shared by other women as well, but that doesn't mean she isn't utterly unique--even without taking shared history into account.

Checklists and equations aren't the only form of knowledge.

james said...

Found it.
"A man does not want his national home destroyed or even changed, because he can not even remember all the good things that go with it; just as he does not want his house burnt down because he can hardly count all the things he would miss. Therefore he fights for what sounds like a hazy abstraction, but is really a house. "

Texan99 said...

We know change will always happen, but if it happens too fast under circumstances where we feel a sudden loss of control, especially if control seems to have landed in the hands of distant people we don't trust, there can be a dramatic revulsion. I think the sense of arrogant, vaguely hostile unaccountable leadership in Brussels has as much to do with the present mood as the threat of a flood of uncontrolled immigration.