I have been taken to task by readers here for over-generalising in my last post in which I referred to;
...the depths of ignorance, prejudice and hate-addled envy that now characterise most of the British people...
I would love to agree with my critics but the only places I encounter any other kind of Brit are this blog and others like it. Envy-free Brits who applaud commercial success and desire more of it (for anyone other than themselves) do appear to be in a tiny - or at least uninfluential - minority. In newspapers, on television and radio and even most blogs my countrymen seem obsessed with having the state "do something" about this, that and the other; the "something" usually being to punish anyone who has more wealth than them. And their views are expressed so intemperately that it seems quite reasonable to me to infer that they are driven by hate.
I had the misfortune to hear some "talk radio" during a recent cab ride. Vox populi seemed so far from vox dei as to make me fear it had become vox diaboli. Everyone has an opinion about issues (such as lawful tax structuring) that they could not even adequately define. This does not prevent them from campaigning against it by harassing hapless employees of companies they have decided, with a confidence entirely untrammelled by knowledge or understanding, to condemn. Is that not ignorance? Is that not hatred?
Perhaps talk radio is unrepresentative? I suspect that it may be evidence only of the damage caused by educationalists who, under the banner of "self esteem" have drilled into the masses that all viewpoints, however barmy, are of equal value. Part of what I find most irritating about the England I have returned to after twenty years away is not that more people are stupid, but that they are now so confidently stupid. They don't even have enough intelligence to know that they are thick. They might not know what global warming or tax avoidance means, but by God they will have their say. Maybe, optimistically, my impressions are mistaken. Perhaps it's just that the ignorant are now more confident than others about expressing their views?
This might all be harmlessly amusing were the consequences not so serious. Even a Chancellor of the Exchequer who probably privately believes in a free society and free market is obliged to feed the envy-trolls from lack of electoral fortitude. Even his, supposedly, free-enterprise supporting party rabbits on about the moral degeneracy of those who lawfully structure their affairs so as to minimise the state's depredations. Clearly the Tory Party shares my dim view of the average Brit's capabilities. What else can it mean when it prefers to pander to stupid views rather than to persuade people they are wrong?
Gentle readers, I want to believe well of my fellow-men. I really do. But where - except among yourselves - can I find the evidence to support that belief?