It is clear from David Cameron's Party Conference Speech, “Together in the National Interest” (see quotes below), that his vision of Britain as a BIG SOCIETY is, in fact, a rehash of Britain as a NATION, a PEOPLE unified by a sense of shared identity, purpose and destiny. It is a vision which “national leaders” in times of crisis (e.g. war) have always appealed to, since it is not just the cheapest, but also the most effective way of getting people to pull together, appealing as it does to our capacity, hard-wired into the human psyche by evolution, for tribal identity and loyalty.
The BIG, fundamental, FLAW in this vision of BIG SOCIETY, is that Britain is not a NATION, but a proprietary and mercenary STATE, the primary purpose of which (the reason for which it was created in the first place, back in the European Middle Ages by a self-interested coalition of aristocrats and clergy) is to facilitate society's self-exploitation (as a human ENVIRONMENT) to the advantage of those in power, wealth and privilege, which inevitably includes everyone in a position of any influence. Which is why challenging the status quo always meets with such massive and generally insurmountable resistance. And even when the status quo is radically changed, as in the British (so-called Glorious), American, French and Russian revolutions, a new status quo, with its own powerful and privileged elites, is quickly re-established.
In order to deal with this fundamental flaw, one first has to recognise and develop an understanding of it, which isn't as easy as it may sound, because it requires taking a human-evolutionary, i.e. Darwinian view of our own human nature and of the power structures (of state and economy) it has given rise to over the centuries, against which there are massive taboos in place: social, political, professional and personal/psychological. Just try suggesting it and see how long it takes before you are accused and silenced by accusations of “social darwinism” . . .
But don't be put off. If we are to deal with this problem, on which the fate of our civilisation (and with it our children and grandchildren) depends, we have no choice but to overcome these taboos and develop a Darwinian understanding of our situation.
We are, after all, animals, albeit very clever ones, a product of Darwinian evolution. Any other understanding of ourselves, our civilisation and the situation we find ourselves in is self-deception, which of course we have always been deeply immersed in. We are far less a “rational animal” than a “rationalising” (and self-deceiving) one.
David Cameron's vision of the BIG SOCIETY is a classic example of just how self-deceived we are. Not that I doubt his sincerity; he is as self-deceived, I'm sure, as he wants the rest of us to be, in respect to Britain being a PEOPLE and a NATION.
In the past it was a deception which could be maintained (to the advantage of society's privileged elites) more easily than it can now that the state, the established churches, the liberal left, and capital have all conspired to create the manifest absurdity of a “multi-ethnic nation”, which they attempt to disguise, from themselves as well as from the rest of us, by calling it “multi-cultural” rather than “multi-ethnic”.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ETHNIC drives from Greek ETHNOS, meaning a PEOPLE or a NATION. If multi-cultural/ethnic Britain is a nation, then it is also a multi-national nation, which is manifest nonsense.
A NATION, also according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a large aggregate of people so closely associated with each other by factors such as COMMON DESCENT, language, CULTURE, HISTORY, and occupation of the same territory as to be identified as a DISTINCT PEOPLE” [my capitals].
Does this describe multi-ethnic British society? Of course not, but speaking truth to power, i.e. to the STATE, is not easy, especially when we have all been brought up in the belief that it represents our NATION, and thus tend to identify with it, as well as being both materially and emotionally dependent on it.
The STATE is like a nasty and abusive step-parent, who disposed of our natural, loving, parents (the nation) before we had any memory of it, bringing us up to believe in itself as our natural loving parent (i.e. nation), in order to exploit us.
The British state is not a NATION, but a proprietary, mercenary and now multi-ethnic, i.e. multi-national STATE, the primary purpose of which is to facilitate society's self-exploitation to the advantage of those in power, wealth and privilege.
Wealth and poverty, along with big differences in privilege and disadvantage do not coexist within a NATION (which would be a natural extension of one's original TRIBE), but only within a STATE. Those who believe that the STATE, posing as our NATION, can create a fairer society (as especially those on the Christian and liberal left tend to do) are bound to be disillusioned – although, in the meantime, it provides them with a sense of moral self-righteousness, if not with the material advantages that go with their claim to the moral high ground (a prerequisite for getting a job with the liberal media, for example).
To the OED definition of NATION, I would add the condition that its members must not only be “identified [by others] as a distinct people”, but, far more importantly, must also mutually identify themselves as a distinct people. This, however, contradicts the universalistic ideology of inclusiveness and indifference to ethnic difference (i.e. “colourblindness”), which the established churches (Anglican and Catholic), now joined by self-proclaimed “progressives” and the liberal left, have elevated to a moral imperative (effectively seeing all humankind as a single tribe or nation, which is pious, self-righteous and self-serving nonsense, contrary to our more enlightened human and Darwinian nature).
Thus, we have the STATE (here the Prime Minister) appealing for national unity and solidarity, while at the same time denying - and where it stirs, suppressing as “racist” - the existence of any genuine sense of NATIONHOOD.
Following a very long tradition of the STATE imposing itself on its population as a phoney NATION, and contradicting what he himself says about “people power” as opposed to state power, David Cameron, said, “. . . today I want to tell you about the part we’ve all got to play, and the spirit that will take us through . . “ . I, in contrast, believe that it should be the PEOPLE – or rather, the PEOPLES, who need to organise ourselves, peacefully and grassroots-democratically, which now constitute the British STATE – who tell David Cameron, or whoever the Prime Minister and government are, about the parts we want to play and the spirit which will take us through.
I am well aware of what a profound, sensitive and potentially explosive issue this is, but for those who want to come to grips with the now existential problems of human existence (creating a just, humane and sustainable society), continuing with the self-deception of British (or other state) nationhood is not an option.
I do not want a knee-jerk reaction, of any kind, to what I am saying (especially from the extreme right or left, which tend to be thus inclined), but to initiate a civilised and rational (rather than rationalised) conversation. Developing and spreading a Darwinian understanding of our situation, which is a prerequisite of positive radical change, is going to take a little while, and is best not rushed.
Quotes from David Cameron's speech “Together in the National Interest”
This is the party of the national interest
We will always pursue British interests
The state of our nation . . .
. . citizenship isn't a transaction . . It's a relationship - you're part of something bigger than yourself . .
We need to change the way we think about ourselves, and our role in society. Your country needs you. And today I want to tell you about the part we've all got to play, and the spirit that will take us through . .
. . the spirit that we need, is the big society spirit . .
. . creating strong societies . . ensuring everyone feels that they belong.
From state power to people power. From unchecked individualism to national unity and purpose
From big government to the big society.
We can build a country defined . . by the values of mutual responsibility . . . A country defined not by what we consume but by what we contribute. A country, a society where we say: I am not alone. I will play my part.
. . . fairness means giving money to help the poorest in our society. People who are sick, who are vulnerable, the elderly . . That's the sign of a civilized society
. . the state has a clear role, to score a line between right and wrong; to punish those who step over it, and to do it in a way that gives confidence.
There is an incredible appetite out there for people to play their part. Our job is to help them, encourage them, break down the barriers that stop them.
Let's get going with National Citizen Service so more of our teenagers get some purpose in their lives.
When we say 'we are all in this together' that is not a cry for help, it's a call to arms. Society is not a spectator support.
This is your country. It's time to believe it. It's time to step up and own it.
So mine is not just a vision of a more powerful country. It is a vision of a more powerful people . . not small people but big citizens . . People that believe in themselves. A Britain that believes in itself.
At this time of great national challenge, two parties have come together to help make it happen
Your country needs you. So come on: let's pull together. Let's come together.