The Brexit Result from an English Orthodox Perspective
When the news came though on the Friday morning I was at London City Airport, right in the heart of the financial capital, on my way to a conference in Germany. Having long before accustomed myself to a win for Remain, I didn’t even pay attention to the newspaper stands as I hurried on my way to the terminal. It was only when I was standing in the queue at security that I heard a banker shout to his friend – “I’m waking up with the worst hangover of my life!” that it suddenly dawned on me – perhaps Brexit had won?! I looked up at the live news feeds on the monitors and sure enough it was plain – What will Brexit Mean for the UK? was on display. Could it be that after months of government propaganda and scare-mongering that the people had actually voted to leave?!
The point about Brexit is that it was only partly to do with the EU. Immediately the result came in the deep divisions in British society were laid bare. All the papering over and niceties at which the English excel were suddenly thrown aside and have not yet returned. Britain is divided, but what is it all about? The difference is a deep and fundamental one; the clash of world-views. The post-war world view of the London-centric elite and middle-class young people has been imposed on the population of the UK from the top down. This world-view now has complete hold over all academia in the West and can be broadly categorised as:
To meet any student these days at any Western university who does not at least broadly subscribe to this tiresome doctrine is a great rarity. The Canon for these folk is: Deleuze, Bourdieu, Zizek (an endless list) and their drum is LGBT. Their public enemy No 1 is Russia and Putin and their God is the BBC. To think “outside the box” they simply can’t because they drank down this rootless mush “with their mother’s milk”. The essays, theses and books which they produce in the thousands and possibly millions generally employ a liberal use of the gerund. As an amusing game I sometimes invent the works of these students to pass the time:
- Reinterpreting gender roles in Old Believer paradigms of anti-modernity
- Collapsing the Virgin: radicalizing the female in post-Christian ecumenism
- Improvising and impoverishing: dissenting as revolution today's Russian Church
They are also characterised by their gross ignorance of world history and culture (unless of course it is to do with the post-post something or other they are studying). These then are the people who, post-Brexit, were crying into their Prosecco and seen actually waving baguettes through the London streets in protest (!).
So – we know who these people are, and their parents and grandparents of course are no different. More interesting is who are the 17.5 million people who voted to Leave? For sure we can say that they are not “thinking in gerunds” and crying about migrants’ rights, but what else can we say? Well, they are a mix. The Remain camp leapt immediately into the old British safety zone of ultra-snobbism, characterising anyone who voted Leave as: moronic (“can they even write?” as I heard one person say), racist, uncultured (ie no knowledge of continental philosophy), backward (ie some of them don’t even support “gay rights” and, as I heard one person say with disgust “some are churchgoers”). One thing is for sure – they are all fed up to the teeth with the alien ‘culture’ that has been imposed upon them by their betters. The wounds are now open and they aren’t going to heal fast. For me, an Orthodox Christian, this can only be a good thing. We have for decades now lived in a culture which hates us. Not overtly in the sense that we are shoved into cattle trucks and dumped in camps, but there is a comparison, albeit a subtle one which has been made many times by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeev, a man who has experienced both the secular West the Soviet East:
Now the processes currently taking place in Europe are somewhat similar to those in the Soviet Union. Militant secularism becomes as dangerous for religion as militant atheism. Both aspire at casting religion out of the social and political spheres, driving it into a ghetto, reducing it to the realm of private devotion. Unwritten rules of ‘political correctness’ are also more and more often applied to religious institutions. In many cases this implies that believers can no longer express their convictions openly, since public expression of religious views may be regarded as an infringement of the rights of those who do not share them.
The modus operandi in the West is death by suffocation, not death by firing squad. So the glint of freedom which the Brexit vote has given us is truly a miracle, for the Brexit vote was as much a vote against political correctness as it was against the EU.
In the medium and long term I take a rather dim view. It won’t be long before the powers-that-be regroup and impose their grey and unipolar world on the herd, but let us enjoy this brief moment of uncertainty before the return of the Human Rights Brigade.