Perhaps it never existed? Perhaps I was just young and naive? But it does strike me that there has been a terrible deterioration of first principles across the political spectrum of late. Virtues such as integrity and honesty and altruism seem rare. Spin and lies and manipulation seem common. Perhaps it is the effect of a general moving away from our Judeo-Christian inspired values? Perhaps it is the triumph of relativistic belief over a philosophy based on any objective notion of truth?
I don’t know. But what I do know is that whatever powers our political landscape is not just flawed at present but so obviously broken. I have said it before and it is worth stating again; democracy is in a deep crisis. Something I link with a shift away from healthy capitalism and free markets, that which inspires growth and prosperity, to controlled markets via elite driven giant corporationalism. Which both Britain and the EU aspire to at present!
The debate over Europe has not been energising and it has not been much fun. Rather it places a cloud over our nation. So many lies, so many fanciful predictions, so few tangible facts and so much blatant manipulation. How are we meant to know what we vote for, let alone vote, when so few are prepared to admit gaps in knowledge or merit the other side with some respect? Instead of creating space for mature reflection our purile media fosters bitter divide at every turn.
The truth is that nobody, in or out, can predict the future. Not least when the West is in terminal decline and the world so very unstable. And the solution to these larger problems will not be found in economic forecasts or demonisation of those we disagree with. What is so manifestly needed- it strikes this man of faith- is a bigger consideration of who we actually are as a nation and where we want to go.
It is time to put surface politics to one side and consider our Judeo-Christian roots asking how they fit with the modern world view? Who were we, who are we at present and why? And what do we wish to become? What governing principles guide us? What, beyond mere acquisition of wealth, drives and sustains us? What is our anthropological outlook? What is our vision and understanding of self? What is our faith- that ancient belief which many still hold t0, however loosely, or that new secular elitism proscribed from above by the tiny but over powerful minority?
The reality is that no nation without faith has ever thrived in the history of the world. Man needs more than self to drive forward. He needs that which is worth sacrificing for. He needs that which is beyond the material to sustain him. He is a spiritual creature. He needs a guiding vision! And what is missing within the present debate are these deeper philosophical and theological considerations. Ever the foundation of all that follows.
However trendy the desire to foster neutrality to faith might be- it doesn’t succeed because that very desire is based on fallacy- for it stems from a system of belief itself. One imposed not chosen. The attempt to govern on economics alone is therefore hackneyed and failing. Founding principles matter and so the West declines because she has lost sight of what she is and what she stands for.
Hence the confusion. Who cares what makes money? The real question to confront is what will lead to the greatest human flourishing- but nobody is tackling this at present. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? The words of Guagin’s famous painting need to be before us….but alas they are not. And until they are- brexit or remain- we are in trouble.
We apply the sticking plaster and avoid the major surgery. We discuss what does not matter and do not confront the one issue which does. Britain’s people may believe in many different things- they always will- but what does Britain herself believe in? Until this is answered then we grope about in the dark. Faith matters.