Skip to comments.The Quivering Upper Lip -- The British character: from self-restraint to self-indulgence
Posted on 11/30/2008 6:16:36 PM PST by SirJohnBarleycorn
When my mother arrived in England as a refugee from Nazi Germany, shortly before the outbreak of World War II, she found the people admirable, though not without the defects that corresponded to their virtues. By the time she died, two-thirds of a century later, she found them rude, dishonest, and charmless. They did not seem to her, moreover, to have any virtues to compensate for their unpleasant qualities. I occasionally asked her to think of some, but she couldnt; and neither, frankly, could I.
What, exactly, were the qualities that my mother had so admired? Above all, there was the peoples manner. The British seemed to her self-contained, self-controlled, law-abiding yet tolerant of others no matter how eccentric, and with a deeply ironic view of life that encouraged them to laugh at themselves and to appreciate their own unimportance in the scheme of things.
Gradually, but overwhelmingly, the culture and character of British restraint have changed into the exact opposite. Extravagance of gesture, vehemence of expression, vainglorious boastfulness, self-exposure, and absence of inhibition are what we tend to admire nowand the old modesty is scorned. It is as if the population became convinced of Blakes fatuous dictum that it is better to strangle a baby in the cradle than to let a desire remain unacted upon.
Lack of self-control is just as character-forming as self-control: but it forms a different, and much worse and shallower, character. Further, once self-control becomes neither second nature nor a desired goal, but rather a vice to avoid at all costs, there is no plumbing the depths to which people will sink.
(Excerpt) Read more at city-journal.org ...
The era of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster is sadly past.
Not to mention ‘political correctness’
Wal-Mart shoppers a few days ago...
Well, I was under the impression that they always served cold food and warm beer over there, so I agree it has more to do with moving to a post-Christian culture than the lowering a tax.
Sounds like their collective national character has been spiraling down, too.
Well it is militant secularism, anti-Christian plus pathological political correctness made worse by open borders etc.
I do not think a society in Europe has been more fervent in destroying their culture and destroying their civilization. I think the Dutch and the Swedes are moving in the direction as well.
The French have not changed that much culturally but their open borders and islamo-invasion are a major issue.
Amazingly, American liberals seem to regard what the British Left has accomplished there as something of a model. The National Health Service is a disaster, but may be on its way here. Joe Biden, as we know, believes he is really Neil Kinnock.
I picked this cherry from an excellent read. It explains why conservatives have such a good sense of humor and liberals are so unhappy. Thanks for posting.
Thank you for sharing this very interesting article.
As for your comments about Britain’s transition to a secular society, I would agree. I just was thinking that God allows for freedom of actions. However, when that freedom is abused, and debauchery is the result, He will intervene to stop that behavior. I believe that He is using the darkness of Islam to destroy the secular societies that have forgotten the name of Christ.
Start with the welfare state — and end with the welfare state. Everything flows from there. Political correctness, victimhood, dependence, sloth. All of that and more is subsidized and encouraged by the welfare state so that it can perpetuate itself
Sounds like Brit-trashing to me, just like we hear everyday about how awful Americans are. The message is: Western culture sucks!
We must all look to models from non-Western culture to not suck.
I can tell you the decline of British culture is real, not imagined. The problem is that contemporary British culture has moved away from traditional Western culture and in the direction of, and beyond, Euro-trash.
>but never mentions the overriding change from a predominantly Christian to a post-Christian culture, perhaps reflecting a personal blind spot in the author.
Indeed. Interesting also to note the rises and falls of powers that as a nation embrace or reject Christ.
It's happening to us, as well, of course. It will be interesting and instructive to see in what shape the Obamas will leave our culture. Eight years of Clintonism was plenty hard on our society, and while it may appear that we will be seeing eight more years of the same, I am betting that the Obamas will manage to introduce some major wrinkles all their own. We shall see. I am trying to figure out how to shelter myself from as much of our brave new Obamenvironment as I possibly can.
I have been reading him as well. Don't think he is a psychologist but rather the British equivalent of a family practitioner. The Brits probably still call it general practice. I have never seen any reference to his being a psychologist as well as a physician.
That was then.
Now, the cops yell and actually attack you if you are, for example, marching peacefully to protest the recently enacted ban on hunting to hounds. However if you're screaming for the death and dismemberment of infidels etc, the police do nothing but watch.
The decline has been steady but accelerated significantly in the last ten or fifteen years.
My semi-mistake. I said psychologist MD which is wrong. A psychistrist is an MD. They can perscribe drugs while a psychologist cannot. His writing is A1.
See BRUTAL BRITAIN http://www.brutalbritain.org.uk/
Daniels/Dalrymple bump. Thanks for posting.
Dog-eared for Monday reading.
Thanks for the ping.
IIRC, he's admitted to being either an agnostic or atheist.
English doctor, writer and social commentator, Theodore Dalrymple (pseudonym of Anthony Daniels), has practised medicine among the very poor and oppressed in several continents and, more recently, at a public hospital and prison in England.
they had a state religion, but came to find religious enthusiasm bad form. . .
. . .but given the litany of evils here; could have given it 'greater mention'.
Certainly is a preview and warning; (if not too late already, 'here'). Never cease to be amazed at the level of degradation that much of our culture continues to descend to. Albeit; we are not 'England' - yet, anyway. And there are many fine young people - as I am sure there still are in England(?)
Does show the effects of Liberalism. Also thrown in here are the early 'inflluences' of 'Jerry Springer' TV and many 'ad nauseum' shows; now we have 'reality shows'. Seems 'trash' is King in tv land. . .for too much of the time and it does rise to the top; and we will pay a price for it.
And of course, Nature does abhor a vacuum. . .and so where Religion becomes scarce; nihilism, if only a big zero; fills the 'o's here.
I agree with the author. Britain is dead. It will never return.
Actor Ray Winstone: I mean, dont get me wrong, he says. This is not something you want to do. Every time I get on a plane the thing I love is that moment when the captain announces were flying over England.
‘You open the shutters on your little window and you look down at all those miles of green fields and think: This is it. This is England. This is the greatest, most beautiful country in the world.
He shakes his head and sighs. But its just not great any more, is it? He pauses.
Lets be honest. This country isnt going to the dogs. Its gone to the dogs. Were a mess. And do I really want to live in this mess any more? I feel bad saying it, but Im just not sure.
That’s one of my longtime favorite quotations, as well.
I imagine most Freepers know of Theodore Dalrymple (AKA Dr. Anthony Daniels) and his work-for anyone who doesn’t-he is always excellent-his books and articles are terrific—if his byline is on anything-read it. This article is from City Journal-he’s a regular there, which is almost 100% worthwhile to read, every month and, IMHO, should be bookmarked by anyone interested in modern society, politics, etc.
Hmmm, it’s a shame, isn’t it?
As the post above yours stated: Nature does abhor a vacuum. . .and so where Religion becomes scarce, nihilism...fills.
Well, thats London for you.
We have the same love for London you lot do for NY or LA...lol