Friday, March 20, 2009

Victorians versus progressives

Actually, talking about Darwin and the Victorians reminded me of something else I was going to say. I’m sure many of you will have noticed that I have a great deal of admiration for the Victorians and their approach to life, morality and Britain.

I guess progressives would assume that I crave some sort of return to Dickensian times – with the accompanying poverty, squalor and hardship of those times. I don’t – but it’s also true to say that the Dickensian era was during the early part of Victoria’s reign and I, like most, point to the transformation of Britain from those early Dickensian times to the incredibly advanced nation of 60 years later as an indication of just how successful Victorian Britain was.

My basic point is this. I don’t crave the idea of going back to candles, horse drawn Hansom cabs and piles of manure in our streets (do you realise that the car was considered an environmental saviour in its early years?). I don’t crave the substandard heath care, shortened life expectancy and prolific child mortality. I don’t crave the dreadful working conditions, child labour and dangerous working practices of those early Victorian mills and factories.

What I crave is the Victorian idea of marrying technological progress to social conservatism and Christian morality to improve society. The fact is that Britain as a nation and as a people advanced further, faster and more certainly during those years than we did before or since.

The reason for this is simple. Victorian Britain was far from perfect – but guided by conservative beliefs, Christian morality and a strong belief in the British nation the Victorians got more things right than they got wrong while the progressives – guided by their Marxist doctrine, moral equivalence and belief in internationalism get more things wrong than right.

I don't want to live in Victorian times, but I do want to live in a Britain guided by Victorian principles much more than progressive ones.

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