As the Israelis and Palestinians traded missiles, a small convoy rolled through a London suburb; from a megaphone in the lead SUV a British-Pakistani accent—the Northern-Pakistani hybrid, thick as a creamy curry—called for blood and rape upon the Jews. Finchley, once Thatcher’s constituency, has been long-established as a centre for Britain’s Jews: it was a social media drive-by, arranged over some video app and recorded by onlookers on another. Electronic waves of revulsion spread through the British web: “I can’t believe it. It’s 2021.”
Everyone is in Britain now, every intertribal and sectarian conflict in the world can play out in a London street at any time. In Harringay, I watched the PKK, a Kurdish terror group, occupy an entire street for their annual march; the Turkish shopkeepers—their old ethnic enemies—eyed them with unease. As London’s Pakistani mayor puts it: “London is open.” Open to every whoremonger, drug gang, and ethnic terror group in the world. The corollary to “London is open” is Khan’s concession that terrorism is “part and parcel” of life in London. Tant pis.
“It’s 2021.” This phrase, sometimes mocked as “It’s Current Year”, was popular around 2016. Shocked progressives said: “Brexit. I can’t believe we’re going back to hatred and tribalism. It’s 2016.” Alternatively, on sexual issues, they declared: “If a child has severe gender dysphoria he/she needs treatment as early as possible. It’s 2016. Do better.” The phrase reveals an entire mindset: the mindset of progress. The assumption behind the statement is that each calendar year sees an improvement in science, technology, and morals: progress is axiomatic and assured. If a negative event happens, it should not, in fact, have happened; we live in “the future”, and the future is always better.
If you pause to consider your own life you will find this is not true. You have probably had years that were better or worse: there is no smooth progression where each year is better and better than the last. For a few people this is true; but, ultimately, they too will become decrepit and die: life is not one perfect asymptote up and up. There are people who experience outrageous fortune one year, lose it the next, and regain it in the third—others will experience a decade of horror, then moderate success. As with human life, so with societies: there is no indication that every year brings improvement in human affairs.
Technology and consumerism help foster the illusion: every year there are new breakthroughs and new gadgets; so it appears that every year there is improvement. Yet often these are cosmetic: major breakthroughs are rare, perhaps rarer now than ever; and even a luxury car uses many of the same parts as the most economical model. “It’s all in the marketing, isn’t it?” the mechanic says with a grin before he ducks under the bonnet. For ancient men life was circular: there was no progress, even if there was novelty. The naïve progressive is shocked to see tribal behaviour on British streets, calls for blood and rape; yet they are only shocked because they live in an illusion: the society around them has collapsed, gone backwards, and degenerated. The orderly Britain of the 19th century is gone; its people are gone, its laws are gone.
The progressive hops between soft islands—pubs with bare fashionable lightbulbs and cafes with gentle baristas, their hair in yogic buns—and keeps their headphones on and their eyes down when they enter the Tube. They move from soft light to soft light—acceptance and psychotherapy and anti-anxiety medications—while outside an African pisses on a car and a Pakistani hacks at a rabbi’s arm. “It’s not very English out there, is it?” I say to them and they scream and scream and say I am a monster; in their illusion every year is softer and kinder, when actually every year is more barbaric and cruel—though rebirth happens every day, if you have an eye for miracles.