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Rod Liddle – Selfish Whining Monkeys.. A Review – Part 1

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The subtitle of this book is how we ended up greedy, narcissistic and unhappy. It doesn’t sound cheerful reading! But it is absolutely brilliant. Liddle is a superb writer – humorous, observant, and biting. He does not write from a Christian perspective but there is much in here that I could resonate with.   One warning – one of the weak points about the book is the regular use of the ‘F word’….

if you don’t want to read the whole thing then I’ve identified 25 characteristics of our generation that he speaks about. I’m not saying that I agree with every single one of them, but it certainly makes for fascinating reading and provokes to thought.   Enjoy!

1) The Selfish Generation –

“I, and my generation, seen by contrast feckless and irresponsible, endlessly selfish, whining, avaricious, self-deluding, self obsessed, spoiled and corrupt and ill. We are the generation that spent the small but hard earned inheritance we got from our hard-working parents (mine went on that most irresponsible and selfish of all our new and expensive freedoms, divorce lawyers), and are now busy spending the money we should be leaving to our kids.” P.9

2) The Lost Generation –

“It is hard to argue against longer life expectancy, greater affluence, safer workplaces, the freedom to escape from a hopeless marriage, the rights of women to be treated equally, and so on. But a certain moral code has been lost along the way, which has contributed largely to our country becoming close to bankrupt, a nation of broken families clamouring about their entitlements siring ill educated and undisciplined kids unfamiliar with the concept of right and wrong, where there is an ever diminishing sense of community and belonging, a perpetual transience, if you fancy a cheap oxymoron.”p. 10

“peace has made us complacent, freedom has made us irresponsible, affluence has made us acquisitive, comfort has made us neglectful of others, and security has made us – oddly enough – tremblingly insecure.” Page 11

3) The Proud Generation

“This is what happens when we are freed from the requirement to be humble, to bow down, to accept that we are deeply flawed and are inclined – when liberated from the suspicion that someone powerful and vengeful and probably bad-tempered is watching everything we do – to behave rather badly, and with a consuming arrogance. We build things to praise ourselves, and then, having finally abolished God, we become a God to ourselves. We become gripped by intimations of our own brilliance.” Page 15.

“It is no coincidence that this rapid erosion of deference to an omnipotent, unseen other has occurred in tandem with the growth of institutionalised self obsession, self-pity and public emoting.” Page 18

4) The Heartless Generation

“It is undoubtedly true that as orthodox religious belief has retreated, so we have become more nakedly individualistic, more inclined to be immune to the needs and requirements of our fellow men. I suspect there is a correlation.” Page 20

5) The Greedy Generation

 “credit, as it exists in its ubiquity today, is a con trick perpetuated upon the poorest and the most vulnerable in society. It doles out an illusory wealth which has, over the decades, disguised the extent to which the incomes of the richest and the incomes of the poorest have become ever more polarised, the trickle down that never really happened and was never really expected to happen, if we are being honest. The poor get their shit stuff, for a while, until it is repossessed along with their oldest daughter, and maybe they forget that they are earning only 1/200 of the salary – excluding bonuses – of their chief executive, whereas 40 years ago they be on about one 20th as much as the boss.” Page 30.

6) The Impatient Generation

“This waiting is the thing my generation no longer does, is no longer cool with. It does not wait for anything. It does not see why it should. Life’s too short, isn’t it? Paradoxically, life was rather shorter back when people did way – still they waited.” Page 34.

7) The ‘Flexible’ Generation

“Flexible, then, as understood by Mr Starkey, is a synonym – a euphemism, if you like – for xxxx cheap. The reason British businesses employ Eastern European labour is that they can pay them 3/5 of xxx all and get away with it; it is nothing to do with a reluctance on the part of the British worker to shift his indolent fat arse and travel a few miles for a job. The Poles and Slovaks have very low overheads here, and a much lower cost of living back home. They don’t have families to support in this country, by and large, so they work for less. Have you noticed how minicab fares haven’t risen much recently, or sometimes gone down? You can probably work out why that is when you listen to the drivers accident.” – Page 42

8) The Homeless Generation

“And back at home moving, always moving; having an investment only in the baldest sense of the word, in the mortgage. Having no investment in the community you live in, and the people who live around you, because you’re always ready to move on again, to buy bigger and better, and thus trouser more almost wholly imaginary money. As a consequence, the poorest of us – an ever-growing proportion – are forced into private-sector lettings, because there are no council houses left.” Page 49.

‘’ we replaced the communal with the sopilistic, the acquisitive and the narcissistic.“. Page 51.

9) The Blameless Generation

“We are, as Richard Hoggart put it in The way We Live Now, riding a wave of relativism – ‘the obsessive avoidance of judgements of quality, or moral judgement ‘; there is no blame to be attached to anything anyone does; we should not judge, we should not blame. And so, of course, as a consequence, people come to expect not to be judged and not to be blamed. People who cannot work because they are ‘disabled ‘by, say, alcoholism or obesity, but who nonetheless have several children to support, do not remotely blame themselves for giving their kids an awful life – they blame you, and me, and society. And they will demand, as a right, a larger house, and therefore a larger bill for you and me to pay, because the notion that they should look out for themselves a little bit either has not occurred to them, or has occurred to them but appals them in its apparent callousness.” Page 59.

10) The Atomised Generation

“This moronic fugue, this howling – that I have been transgressed, or I am a victim, or I demand redress, or simply and exultantly LOOK! I AM! – is the conscious expression of a society which, underneath, is fractured into a million different parts and no longer has any sense of itself as a cohesive whole, and therefore with a concomitant moral responsibility to others. What we have instead is an infinitely atomised morass of acquisitiveness and complaint and insularity and braggadocio”. Page 64.

“In a sense, the free market, and this perpetual demand for choice, is another expression of our modern individual narcissism, and our insularity: we alone know best.” Page 183.

“The thesis is that choice has made us happier. This control we now have has given us better lifes. Has it?” Page 185.

11) The Generation of the Sixties and Eighties

“from the 60s we acquired the insistence upon self-expression and the overthrowing of a conservative social agenda in favour of one in which, after a fashion, anything went and was beyond all reproof. A reaction, of course, against the buttoned up, constrained and often absurd stoicism of the preceding generation. And as those free-living and endlessly expensive baby boomers get older and wealthier, so their individualistic demands drove them to the political right. From the 1980s we received the human right to be endlessly, pointlessly acquisitive, to look after our own interests and XXX the needs of the rest, to deny – a la the prime minister of the time – that such a thing as society even existed.. “Page 64.

12) The Divorced Generation

“beyond that, though it was a betrayal of my boys. Having made the decision to have children, I should have stuck with it. But I didn’t; my personal happiness seemed to count for more than anything else.” Page 75.

 “The loosening of the divorce laws, and the swift removal of stigma from those who have been divorced, came from the top down. It was designed to enable the more affluent in society to continue to pursue that most compulsive of post-1960 pastimes, serial monogamy.” Page 76.…

 Like so much socially liberal legislation presented to the electorate as a wonderful means of acquiring those most liberal of things, freedom and equality, divorce reform benefited only the well-off, by and large. It was legislation designed to enable the affluent to XXXX around with impunity, (no fault, remember!), And hang the rest. Hang the kids. Children from broken homes make up 80% of the population of Britain psychiatric units……. Whoever the 1971 divorce format was brought into ‘enable ‘, it was certainly not the children. It was not the children, and it was not the poor.” Page 77.

13) The Sexualised Generation

He talks about the 1970’s and Gary Glitter singing to 14 year old girls – ‘Do you wanna touch me?” What do you think he was referring to…?

Part 2 here

7 comments

  1. There may be hope for him.
    If I remember correctly, while at radio 4 he did a series on, belief, faith, with much vacillation but said he felt somehow drawn, with avery diluted affinity to the CoE.
    I too do not like the bad langauge. There is a harshness to it that makes me internally wince but it is the language of the day, of unbelievers, to be looked beyond , turn a deaf ear to in the hope of an opportunity to offer the transformative gospel. Having said that I’d change channels on the TV, or mute, or not watch in the first place, if forewarned. In my pre Christian it wouldn’t bother me. It does now.
    I occasionally read his articles in the Sunday Times (ST), which I invariably appreciate, as it challenges the spirit of the agein all its manefestations, and the language is greatly moderated. In fact I’m not sure how he gets them published as they go against the flow of much editorial ethos of the ST.

  2. By and large I agree with this:
    “This waiting is the thing my generation no longer does, is no longer cool with. It does not wait for anything.”
    Except for one thing. That is marriage and having children. The age at which people get married and the age at which they have their first child is much later than it used to be. Of course, for some, marriage is not a prerequisite of having children and they never get married. But travelling, having a career and a good time are now considered to be more immediate needs than getting married and having children.

  3. Hello Pr David

    Congratulations on your work with ScoMo and Anthony Albanese yesterday. It is wonderful that ScoMo seems sincere to you and not just all “image”. Thanks so much for your work that is already helping this country. You have covered a lot of cities in a short space of time – more than many Aussies would cover in a lifetime! I am looking forward to your impressions of Tasmania some time soon.

    This blog post on divorce, etc, reminded me of something that has been troubling me for a long time that I would like to share here. It relates to a person of my acquaintance, the minor Australian writer and blogger, Philippa Moore (now Philippa Schoon), whom I know through mutual friends. Philippa Moore who spent many years as an expatriate in London, before returning home last year.

    Philippa Moore presents a different problem from that which is discussed in this post: she married relatively young (for a member of Generation Y) but divorced within about five years. She discusses her divorce in this opinion piece she wrote for the Huffington Post:

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/getting-divorced-in-my-20s-made-me-a-better-person_b_9360484

    We can see from the piece’s title that she actually thinks her divorce was a beneficial experience in the long term. 🙁

    Some key quotes from her piece:

    “My expectations were very unrealistic (probably unfair, too) and I adopted a very passive role in my young marriage. Keeping my husband happy was my priority, even at the expense of my own needs. And it was 2002, not 1950.”

    “I felt I was a walking contradiction in many ways — heartbroken over my failed marriage and deeply ashamed of what I felt it said about me; yet excited about the freedom and possibilities that the end of my marriage opened up for me.”

    “… as time went on, I became proud of it — both of the fact I’d got out of a marriage that wasn’t working early (rather than sticking it out for another 20 years and then leaving), and of the person I became because of it.”

    ” I learned to love my own company and to meet my own emotional needs rather than seek external validation all the time…”

    “You write your own happy ending.”

    These quotes clearly show the fundamental flaws in Philippa Moore’s worldview: she rejects the idea of marriage being about staying together through good times and bad and instead sees it as part of a quest for happiness, she rejects the idea that the female should have a passive role in the relationship and the precept of male headship and she ultimately comes to believe the delusion that true happiness comes from within and that we determine it ourselves, rather than from the Most High Source of All Happiness.

    Philippa Moore’s views ultimately lead, sadly, to a kind of hedonism as can be seen in her blog posts.

    She and her second husband, Tom Schoon, are also “woke” to the point of self-parody, as can be seen from their frequent Tweets. They tick all the boxes: pro-gay, feminist, vegetarian, environmentalist, Leftist, Hawke-Keating-supporting economic rationalists (yet simultaneously anti-Thatcherist-I have no idea how they resolve that contradiction!), pro-Greta, anti-Trump, atheistic, Remainer, anti-Scottish/Welsh independence, #MeToo supporting, yoga-practicing, hypno-therapy indulging(!), Guardian reading, etc, etc, etc…

    https://mobile.twitter.com/tomschoon/with_replies

    https://mobile.twitter.com/philippa_moore/with_replies

    I am definitely not saying this to laugh at them or to be condescending, though, just merely to point out the spiritual blindness of our times that they exemplify. We must not judge and Philippa Moore did have a difficult childhood : her father was a local celebrity breakfast radio host on a commercial FM station, which would have put some degree of pressure on her. Worse, her mother – according to many people who know her – is a contradiction who overindulged her children yet could be a pushy/overbearing bully too. These factors led to Philippa having to battle bulimia for a while and other neurotic behaviours such as hoarding. 🙁 Her second husband, Tom, also suffers from a bad anxiety disorder. One of Philippa’s younger sisters, Liz, was also affected and ran off the rails badly, becoming pregnant outside of wedlock whilst also quite young. 🙁 Philippa also had an unhappy time attending a Roman Catholic school in her childhood, so she did not encounter true religion there.

    Continued….

  4. In summary, the reason I am writing this is to show attitudes that exemplify those of at least some of the young today and how the sad, dead-end path of self-indulgence and the selfish Epicurean/hedonistic attitudes and woke SJW activism that Philippa has gone down is ultimately a dead-end. It derply troubles me that this relatively intelligent, articulate young woman has become lost in so much selfishness even as she searches for happiness and understanding in life.

    I therefore want to encourage readers to pray this heartfelt prayer that Philippa Moore and her husband and sisters will turn to Christ and realise that true, selfless happiness is truly found only in Him and not in the pleasures of this world. May they leave behind shallow, materialistic pleasures and find a life of self-sacrifice to the Lord and to each other is the only true life of love. May God grant them wisdom and maturity and lead them to His salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord – via the one true religion through faith alone by His grace alone.
    In Jesus’ name,
    Amen.

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