What allowed progressive education to go from being a primarily a method and philosophy of teaching to a potent political ideology was mass immigration. Originally the progressive view of immigrants was that they must be assimilated into English society. When it became clear by the mid-seventies that assimilation was not going to work, progressive educationalists rapidly switched to the doctrine which became multiculturalism. By the early eighties assimilation was a dirty word in educational circles. The educationalists were followed by the politicians.
Multiculturalism was embraced as a mainstream political ideal in the late 1970s because politicians did not know what to do about mass coloured immigration and its consequences. Both Labour and the Conservatives initially promoted the French solution to immigration – make them black and brown Britons. But by the end of the seventies integration was deemed by our political elite to be a failure at best and oppression at worst. Multiculturalism was its successor. Once it became the new official doctrine, the many eager Anglophobic and internationalist hands in English education and the mass media were free to give reign to their natural instincts.
The idea behind multiculturalism is that it squares the immigration circle of unassimilable immigrants and a resentful native mass by saying everyone may live in their own cultural bubble. In practice, this required the suppression of British interests and the silencing of British dissidents on one side and the promotion of minority cultures and the privileging of the immigrant minorities on the other.
English history and culture ceased to be taught in schools in any meaningful way. Where it was part of the curriculum, it was the subject of ever increasing denigration. Politicians of all parties gradually became more and more reluctant to speak out for the interests of the native Briton. Laws were passed – most notably the Race Relations Act of 1976 and the Public Order Act of 1986 – potentially making it an offence to tell the unvarnished truth about race and immigration or make any telling criticism of any minority ethnic group.
As the new elite doctrine of multiculturalism became established, it became necessary not only for the elite themselves to espouse it but anyone who worked for the elite. Any public servant, any member of the media, any senior businessman, an professional person, was brought within the net. This produced the situation we have today whereby no honest speaking about any subject within the pc ambit is allowed in public without the person being shouted down and in all probability becoming either a non-person or forced to make a public “confession” reminiscent of those during the Cultural Revolution.
Most importantly, multiculturalism allowed the progressives to portray Englishness as just one competing culture amongst many, all of which were equally “valid”. This had two primary implications: other cultures should be given equal consideration within the curriculum and any promotion of one culture over another was illegitimate. In fact, these implications were never followed through. Practicality meant that the multiplicity of cultures in England could not all have equal billing, while the promotion English culture was deemed to be “oppressive” both because they are the dominant “ethnic” group in England and because of their “evil” imperial, slave-trading past. The educationalists’ cut the Gordian knot by treating the inclusion of items of any culture other than English within the school curriculum as a “good”, while insisting that references to England and her people should always be derogatory and guilt inducing.
The better part of a quarter of century of this policy has resulted in English education system being successfully subverted. English cultural content has been marvellously diluted and denigration of the English is routine bar one thing: the liberal bigot invariably lauds the toleration of the English towards immigrants, a claim at odds both with historical reality and the liberal’s general claim that England is a peculiarly wicked and undeserving place.
English education has officially become not a way of enlarging the mind and opening up intellectual doors, but merely a means to produce “good” politically correct citizens and workers equipped for the modern jobs market. The last Labour Government has decreed that pupils are no longer to be pupils but “learners”. The desired ends for these “learners” are “Be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution; and achieve economic well being.” (Daily Telegraph 19 2 2005). This is a programme couched in language remarkably similar to those of totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
The Blair Government introduced citizenship lessons in schools – I will leave readers to guess what makes a good citizen in the Blairite mind – and played with the idea of introducing a citizenship ceremony for all 18-year-olds. The present coalition shows no sign of radically altering matters because they are always trying to do two mutually exclusive things at the same time: get rid of some of the more outlandish examples of political correctnmess whilst appearing to be very politically correct. The consequence is little movement as the one impulse tends to cancel out the other.
The conscious hatred of England
That progressive educational ideas should so readily be adapted to the political doctrine of multiculturalism is unsurprising for the English Left’s habit of denigration has a long history. Here is Friedrich Hayek’s writing in the 1940s:
The Left intelligentsia…have so long worshipped foreign gods that they seem to have become almost incapable of seeing any good in the characteristic English institutions and traditions. That the moral values on which most of them pride themselves are largely the products of the institutions they are out to destroy, these socialists cannot, of course, admit. And this attitude is unfortunately not confined to avowed socialists. Though one must hope that it is not true of the less vocal but more numerous cultivated Englishman, if one were to judge by the ideas which find expression in current political discussion and propaganda the Englishman who not only “the language speak that Shakespeare spake”, but also “the faith and morals hold that Milton held” seems to have almost vanished. [The Road to Serfdom]
Victimhood – minorities become sacred cows
Two of the practical effects of multiculturalism were the creation of a grievance culture within the various ethnic minorities and a belief that English laws and customs may be ignored with impunity, a belief perhaps best exemplified by the growing attack on free expression, primarily but by no means exclusively by Muslims.
Barbara Amiel writing about the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone’s embroilment in a row over alleged anti-semitic remarks (“Welcome, Ken, to the gulag you helped create”) describes the present position of minorities beautifully. “People with minority status perform the same function in a society of inclusiveness as India’s sacred cows or the sacred deer in Nara, Japan. They can bite you in the midriff but you can’t hit them on the nose. If they lie in front of a bus, the vehicle must wait until they get up and go away before driving on…” Just so. Minorities have to a large extent become a law unto themselves – but only with the active connivance of the British elite.
With the growth of a culture of victimhood, the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish were able to climb on the “victim bandwagon” and to largely withstand the deracination of their children – or at least to promote a sense of tribal unity. The English, being always represented as the villain of the piece, were not only deracinated, but unable to defend themselves because the whole of public life was dominated and controlled by those responsible for the deracination.
Along with multiculturalism came feminism and gay rights which reinforced the message that no group had priority and all ways of life were equally valid. Over a quarter a century or so, these three ideologies solidified into the totalitarian creed of that is political correctness.
The pc creed is literally totalitarian because it (1) allows only one legitimate view on any subject it covers, (2) it can be infiltrated into virtually any area of human activity and (3) because it is an elite ideology, the elite use their power through the control of the media and public life to punish and exclude anyone who denies the “truth” by being non-PC. This was immensely useful in deracinating English children because it both discouraged them from voicing any contrary views and prevented those adults who opposed the ideology from having a public voice.
Occasionally political correctness provides some tart amusement for the non-pc majority. Like all religions, sacred or profane, it devours its own, and its most assiduous ideologues find themselves cast in the role of the heretic. The case of Ken Livingstone cited above is a particularly amusing example because of his incessant portrayal of himself as the most pc of men.
Political correctness has become firmly institutionalised throughout all our public organisations, both through law and the self-policing fear which any totalitarian system creates. In schools and universities throughout the country there is only one acceptable line on not only on the unholy pc Trinity of racial and ethnic difference, gay rights and sexual equality , but also on a raft of other measures which have been grafted on such as an uncritical belief in man-made global warming, green beliefs generally, the health and safety mania and, most amazing of all, the worship of the market as an inevitable and necessary part of globalism. English children are no longer being educated but propagandised.