Friday, 21 September 2007

Old Fashioned?

You are setting yourself up for a punchline if you ever say (aloud!) "I think I may have been born in the wrong century."

Some of you may remember John Tyndall being made the butt of jokes in Searchlies when he wrote to an Irish woman that he had one foot in the 19th Century and one foot in the 18th (not quoting verbatim obviously).

I can empathise to some degree though.

When we see the family crumble, when we see men turned into wage slaves or dole bums, when we see morality brushed aside as an inconvenience on the motorway to hedonism and/or big bucks, when we see whole communities brought to their knees through drugs and the crime endemic that drugs brings about; it does beg the question - why does it have to be this way?

That is not to say that I am ever misty eyed about the past, nor do I see our history through rose tinted specs (yeah... "shoulda gone to Specsavers!").

To take JT's analogy, the 18th Century was surely the time when most of our people were thrown off the land. The big businessmen made a lot money, the bankers ruled the world, Freemasonry was in the ascendancy.

The 19th Century was little better, in fact things got worse. Our people lived in single-room slum dwellings with no running water in cities like London, Manchester, Bristol etc. Men were worked like slaves (though "we" aren't allowed to demand reparations) in woefully poor conditions and to alleviate the slave-conditions, boredom, danger, monotony many turned to alcohol.

Those whose forefathers had farmed the land, who had formed the yeoman armies to defend the country, who had mixed work and leisure six days a week, who had drank alcohol in controlled quantities day in day out (akin to the French with their respect and love for wine today I guess) were turned into the worked-to-death, wage-slaves, slum-dwelling alcoholics of the 18th and 19th century cities.

There was an interesting programme on TV last night wherein the comedian Griff Rhys-Jones traced his family back to Merthyr Tydfil and Llanelli in South Wales. One of his forebears died in a drunken street brawl (in Llanelli) and another died in a pit explosion (in Merthyr).

When Rhys-Jones read a London newspaper's account of a visit to the pit his great grandad (?) died in he was horrified. The conditions, the health risks, the high mortality etc...

In a report (at the time) of the death of his ancestor the blame was put on the laziness of the workers. It was a lie. The men (he wasn't the sole death) died when underground gas ignited because they had to work by a naked flame.

As Rhys-Jones explained, the safety-lamp had been invented by then, but the men were made to buy them themselves... The mine owners (who built such fine, grandiose stately homes with their obscene profits) wouldn't even supply safety equipment to the men who worked, sorry... slaved, in those mines.

What a life!

Those were the days when if a man died he left a family behind with no means of support - again as the programme showed with the death of the man in Llanelli, whose family was then split up and sent off to become "inmates" at school-institutions (still, better than the horrors of the workhouse that many ended up in).

So there we have it.

I do wish we could revert to the days when the family was sacrosanct, when people felt an affinity to the land, when community was more than a pc "buzz word" and so on...

But to those who think the Victorian or similar times were somehow rosy (I guess we could label them reactionaries or some kind of conservatives) we need to be aware of the equally squalid nature of those times, although the people were affected in different ways.

The problem really is Capitalism. That is something that many nationalists have been loathe to understand or even recognise!

As an aside, I remember 20 years ago talking about this with a local treasurer for a "patriotic party" who then went off to complain that I was a "Communist."

In America, some circles of erstwhile "patriots" (albeit some are vaguely Neo-Cons) busy themselves denouncing people like Distributists, agrarians and similar as "Communists."

These kind of people have no understanding of history, politics and reality; many of them also seek to defend Capitalism as if it were somehow the patriotic, even the Christian option!

Let's recap:

Capitalism enclosed the land.

Capitalism forced our people into the slums, into the factories and down the mines.

Capitalism created the power of the banks and the tax system.

Capitalism has attacked the community and the family through policies designed to maximise profits - cheap foreign labour etc.

Capitalism has also tried to teach our people that morals don't matter, loyalty doesn't matter, nationhood doesn't matter: as long as the larder is full and a decent wage comes in - all else is secondary.

That is what Capitalism has done and what it is. It is not patriotic, it is not Christian, it is not moral.

Capitalism is all about profit, all about money. All else is secondary or an inconvenience.

What a shame the folk couldn't stay on the land. What a shame we couldn't retain that self-sufficiency, that minimal taxation.

What a shame that modern advances in medicine, for example, couldn't have been coupled with a retention of freedom, and of values that have all but disappeared.

Oh well...

As we are surrounded by immorality, by drugs and crime, by adulterers and profiteers, we should remember that our great grandfathers had it little better; but it shouldn't stop us (as brave souls did in their times) trying to right the wrongs, whilst exposing the Reds who offer paradise-on-earth but in reality offer the same slums, factories and wage-slavery (but all owned by the State fat boss instead of the Capitalist fat boss - as we've seen in Russia a few years ago, oft-times the very same men...)

Food for thought.

In 1851, a boy born in inner Liverpool had a life expectancy of only 26 years.
What is Distributism?


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