Neo-Nirvana: Ideas and Idealism for a Post-Liberal Age | William Hayes
In light of recent ventures to radically ‘change’ the structure of our society and the assumptions that underpin it, I too have been revisiting my more creative ideas. I have come to affirm what I have largely always known; that it is impossible to envisage a country free of miscreants who can’t see the difference between permanent truths and facile fads, without reversing the full effect of the liberal orthodoxy that has dominated our society since the late 17th century.
This, sadly, would be beyond the grasp of many who shelter under the ‘Conservative’ brand. Such types cling to their classical liberalism with perverse pride and an ill-founded fear of any impairment of individual liberty. This mindset, in the context of utopia, extends to the notion that conservatism is inherently pragmatic and unideological, it is certainly arguable that to be conservative is a disposition not an ideology (coined by Oakeshott of course), however what that surely means is that all we do is bound to be driven by sentiment in pursuit of virtue, holding true to our instinctive disposition, not that we must use ‘pragmatism’ as a veil with which to mask wicked rationality and a Lockean obsession with feckless freedom.
In defining my vision of a utopia, or the closest thing to one possible, post ‘fall from grace’, it is first essential to establish the difference between two modes of perception or contrasting ways of seeing the pursuit of the ‘good life’. It is the battle between understanding that the root of fulfilment is through the attainment of uncomplicated contentment on the one hand, and the frustration and disappointment of the pursuit of unattainable reason on the other.
Although it may seem as though I’m being frightfully dogmatic (I’ll admit to a self-defined sense of certainty), I understand that many wrestle with these two arguments. Some, though they understand what is important and hold all the right sentiments, seriously struggle to detach themselves from the modern world; therefore, by their own forlorn sense of necessity, offer themselves up for enslavement to technocratic, materially efficient and entirely unwholesome processes, obliged then to defend, albeit half-heartedly, said actions by claiming that they know no other way.
The cruellest products of the lazy confusion between liberalism and virtue is the elevation of induvial interest above fraternal obligation and the simultaneous crass assumption that material satisfaction is alone bound to bring personal and societal fulfilment.
This sad scenario maniacally devised by Whigs – Dr. Johnson, after all, described the Devil as the first Whig – has been an ever-growing infection since the enlightenment (culturally) and the Glorious Revolution (structurally). So, we must look to society before the enlightenment and in certain spheres before the Reformation, to draw the necessary inspiration to discover the means to treat this disease.
So, lets imagine a world, in which liberalism and socialism had never existed; a fantastical world where roses never wilt, cream never sours and where the grass is never greener on the other side. So here is my fantasy, my dreamed (semi- satirical) utopia.
One of the most fundamental changes, in order to reach my view of ‘utopia’ is in our view of Government. Democracy is at its core more corruptible than monarchy. A hereditary monarchy, (which we are lucky enough to still have in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), is invested in its people through mutual respect and entrusted with our care through its accumulated generational wisdom. We should defer to entities greater than ourselves, as this both nourishes our humanity and nurtures our humility. This covenant, legitimised by a divine right to rule, is symbolic of the Davidic interpretation of monarchy and the understanding of the importance of the monarchs role in societies, through their and by extension their subjects, relationship with God. In essence, if we were to give more power back to the institution of monarchy, the sovereign would represent the interest of its subjects based on judgment, guided by God, without the pressure of the ‘next election’ to distort the ruler’s perspective, furthermore the ability to scrutinise parliament would encourage its members to focus on peoples priorities.
The modern Church of England’s preoccupation with relevance has cost it credibility without any gain in popularity. In my ideal world the Church would be encouraged to look towards the teachings of William Laud and the later Oxford Movement, as well as its pre-reformation Catholic roots, in order to return to the straight and narrow. In fact, a radical move towards the more Anglo-Catholic tradition should be an obligatory feature of the status of the established church. The only current leading light that might fit the bill for Archbishop of Canterbury is Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali.
With regard to aesthetics and infostructure, there would have to be a wide program of demolition along the way. All buildings deemed aesthetically inadequate would be raised to the ground, with such decisions decided by a representative and diverse panel consisting of me, several representatives from Scrutopia specialising in beauty, members of the Pugin Society along with other notable figures committed to the preservation and construction of beautiful places. This will be chaired by the Prince of Wales and ultimately all executive decisions shall fall to him, acting on the advice of the panel. In place of these demolished buildings there shall be a vast rejuvenation programme, to plan and reconstruct villages, towns and cities, drawing from different styles prevalent between the 10th century and the early 17th centuries in England – parts of York, Lincoln, Chester and Norwich, amongst other places could be used as case studies from which to draw inspiration. This planning revolution would also see an increase in the creation and protection of green spaces, along with vast amounts of rewilding and a halt on all urban expansion. A similar mode of thought shall be encouraged in regard to sartorial standards – possibly led by former boxer Chris Eubank.
In regard to technology, accessibility of information, media and entertainment – an extreme overhaul would be required, at risk of some initial unpopularity. Naturally, the internet would be abolished with immediate effect and its use only preserved for essential state research, most of which can be conducted manually anyway. Given that most thoughtful people now acknowledge the damage it has done this would not be as controversial as it may at first seem great restriction on the press, particularly broadcast media, so that they cease the spread of divisive, spiteful bile and lies. Local media, of a particular high quality, such as the Lincolnshire Free Press and the Spalding Guardian will be provided as style models from which the national papers will learn. Local newspapers and radio stations will be encouraged, though of course censored on ‘taste grounds’. Television will be available but will only be on from 6pm to midnight, with exceptions given for the broadcast of national sporting occasions, events of significance (coronations/state funerals etc) and the Queens/Kings speech at Christmas. The schedule would largely be filled with programmes of yesteryear, including comedies, period dramas and quiz shows of a certain quality. The news would be shown weekly, presented by Trevor McDonald, Jeremy Paxman and Andrew Neil. In search of past-time, rambling, painting, the crafting and learning of musical instruments and flying kites, shall be encouraged amongst other wholesome hobbies– the likes of which will include, sandcastle building, tree climbing, gardening, poetry reading (selected texts), brewing (selected drinks), make believe/fancy dress, hopscotch, etc.
The economy and education shall be reformed to a great extent. A progressive corporation tax shall be introduced to drive multi-nationals out of the country, whilst providing 100% relief for small and medium overtaxed British businesses. Tithes would be reintroduced to provide the Church with adequate funds and a low flat tax would be bought in to replace income tax and inheritance tax. Property tax would be scaled depending on the what the land is used for, supermarkets and large out of town businesses’ for example would be taxed heavily to subsidise the high street. Supply chains would be radically shortened, and all state procurement would be driven by support for local industry. Furthermore, huge grants would be offered to small businesses with a particular focus on cottage crafts and historic businesses. The number of individuals who attend University would be reduced, with apprenticeships presented as a more favourable option by schools in all but the most exceptional instances. I would wish to create a highly skilled economy, with state funded workshops in carpentry, blacksmithing, tanning, weaving, baking and butchery (plus numerous other skills) being offered in every locality in order to encourage children and young people to acquire a useful and joyous skill. You don’t need to spend time ploughing through the tedious mechanics of Smith, the disturbing meanderings of Rand, or the menace of Marx to work it out, because the secret to nirvana is deep in the soul of every Englishman. Never to be extinguished by Marxist modernisers, Whigs or bourgeois liberals of any kind, the spirit of Avalon burns bright.