Education Scotland The Church in Scotland

The De-Enlightenment of Scotland – Thoughts on a Brilliant Article

Rod Liddle is always an entertaining writer – and at times, a brilliant one.  I love reading his stuff because it makes me smile, causes me to question, stimulates and challenges in equal measure.  By no means do I agree with everything he says, or all his choice of language.  But it is a rare event when I am not thankful for his writing and thinking ability.  He is one of the reasons I subscribe to the Spectator.

His latest article in The Spectator is stunning.  Entitled ‘The age of de-enlightenment’ it is a superb and surprising analysis of what is wrong in Scotland.  On a weekend when the current First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has been accused of lying to parliament, by the former First Minister, Alex Salmond – it is a reminder of how deep down the rabbit hole Scottish society has gone.   (For those of you who are unable to access it through the link I have put the full text below).   His main points are: (my comments are in brackets).

  1. The Woke Cancel Culture is leading Scotland out of Enlightenment into a new age of Darkness.  “The Year Zero lunatics are busy ripping the pages out, possessed by an absolutist monomania that renders them inchoate with rage when they discover that people living 200 or 300 years ago somehow possessed opinions which differ from their own.”  (Ian Blackford’s chilling remarks that only those who share ‘Scotland’s values’ are welcome – give us a hint of where this is going.   You will not be tolerated if you don’t buy into the new ‘tolerance’ – even Adam Smith, David Hume and Thomas Carlyle are going to be ‘cancelled’).
  2. Scotland was for a time (130 years) the most brilliant nation on earth.As Voltaire put it: ‘We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation.’ Ideas and inventions which transformed the world and led, in the end, to Britain becoming the most prosperous country in the world.”  
  3. Scotland’s brilliance was as a result of its education system resulting in the highest literacy rate in the world.   (This, along with the destruction of the family, is the biggest failure of the SNP – when one in five Scots is functionally illiterate we have moved far away from being the ‘land of the people of the Book’ and Knox’s maxim of ‘where you have a church, there you have a school’.)
  4. This literacy was as a direct consequence of Protestantism – “And the reason for the commitment to literacy, for ensuring every child had the chance of an education, was Protestantism. As soon as Martin Luther insisted that it was the right and duty of every worshipper to have a personal relationship with God and to be able to read the Bible, literacy flourished.”  (the church and education went together….it is shameful that they have now been divorced).
  5. Protestantism brought other great advantages to Scotland – “Aside from literacy, Protestantism engendered other beneficial concepts, now almost universally derided. Self-denial, diligence, hard work, obedience, quiescence in the face of authority and, more crucial even than these, patience.”  (It is interesting that Liddle points out that the most successful countries are those where Protestantism – I would prefer the phrase ‘evangelical Christianity’- took hold.
  6. The rejection of literacy (and education) is leading to a de-enlightenment – “Literacy may well go the same way, given that the same imbeciles who want Thomas Carlyle and David Hume brought down to size also worry that a bias towards literacy and learning discriminates against thick students who have no intention of reading anything. The de-enlightenment, then, occasioned by misplaced white guilt and a stunted, incurious intellect.”

This article is an astonishing article.  Because here we have an atheist (as far as I know) doing what the church leadership should be doing.  It is to our eternal shame that our prophets (with few honourable exceptions) are now more likely to be non-believers who see what is going on – rather than church leaders who either do not see what is going on, or are too ‘feart’ (afraid) to speak truth to power!

I don’t agree with everything in the article – He talks about literacy as being a ‘gift from this rather dour and joyless branch of Christianity’.  Whilst I recognise the caricature of Scottish Calvinism – it is a false caricature.  Yes, of course, like all caricatures, there is an element of truth in it – indeed a significant element.  However I suspect I have known more joy in one hour of Christian fellowship in Scotland, than Rod has known in his whole life – he will forgive me saying this but he does come across as somewhat miserable!  To know the joy of the Lord  is to ‘dance on the brig of Dee’ with Rabbi Duncan!  Solid joys and lasting treasures none but Zions children know.

I pray that Rod will one day come to know that joy – and use his considerable talents not only to deconstruct – but also to build up!

(this article is a review of one of his books…)

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

(This is the text of Liddle’s article).

Depictions of Thomas Carlyle and David Hume in the Scottish Portrait Gallery will be altered to make it clear they were horrible racist bastards, apparently. All of the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers are under review, including Adam Smith, who thought that people living beyond Europe were largely savage.

I am not sure how they will alter the bust of Carlyle — perhaps chisel a swastika on his forehead? Carlyle was certainly rightish on many issues: you don’t get Friedrich Nietzsche in your fan club if you’re woke. But when I started reading the chap, back in the late 1970s, it was for the witty and sharp Sartor Resartus that I loved him, and his essays on heroes and hero worship. ‘All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.’

Perhaps, Tom, old chum — but not for long now. The Year Zero lunatics are busy ripping the pages out, possessed by an absolutist monomania that renders them inchoate with rage when they discover that people living 200 or 300 years ago somehow possessed opinions which differ from their own. James Watt had a few interests in slave plant-ations, so let us expunge the steam engine and thus the Industrial Revolution from history. This cancelling of history is, aside from being an expression of almost exquisite stupidity, a religiously inspired pogrom more damaging than anything we have done since the looting of the monasteries. Every figure from our past, every achievement, seen through one profoundly warped lens.

In the USA right now they’re getting Homer kicked off the curriculum and pulling Upton Sinclair and Nathaniel Hawthorne from the libraries. One might have hoped that Scotland, with its fierce and perhaps overweening national pride, would have been more protective of its astonishing history. In those 130 years from Frances Hutcheson in the 1720s to Thomas Carlyle in the 1850s, Scotland was the most brilliant country on Earth: a greater array of philosophers, writers, engineers, geologists and mathematicians per capita than any country, even Germany, and an intellectual domination of Europe. As Voltaire put it: ‘We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation.’ Ideas and inventions which transformed the world and led, in the end, to Britain becoming the most prosperous country in the world. Yes, of course, some of our wealth devolved from our comparatively brief, industrialised — and soon to end — involvement in the slave trade. But much more is down to Scottish — and later English — exceptionalism.

The cancelling of history is more damaging than anything we’ve done since the looting of the monasteries
Are they the same today, the Scots? You look at the SNP’s Ian Blackford, with his brow perpetually furrowed in consternation and his tiny mouth puckered like a woebegone anus, and wonder. Scotland’s brilliance, its Enlightenment, was occasioned by literacy rates which were better than anywhere on God’s Earth. That is why those great thinkers suddenly sprung forth with such fecundity from a population which in 1700 numbered only a million or so.

And the reason for the commitment to literacy, for ensuring every child had the chance of an education, was Protestantism. As soon as Martin Luther insisted that it was the right and duty of every worshipper to have a personal relationship with God and to be able to read the Bible, literacy flourished. Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia (during a time when the literacy rate in Roman Catholic Belgium actually reduced) — wherever Protestantism took hold, literacy very quickly followed and then, a generation later, untold affluence. In Scotland the first local school tax in the world was introduced in 1633 and strengthened in 1646. Protestantism may go some way to explaining why the outcomes for British children of an African heritage vary so wildly — why those who come from countries which, through Protestant missions, evolved a respect for education, such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, fare better in school than those in countries that were spared such ministrations, such as Somalia or the DRC. It certainly explains the differing success of the American colonies: Canada and the USA in the north, settled by Protestants, and now the most prosperous countries in the world — and that area below Brownsville, Texas, which was not settled by Protestants, the many lands of banditry, banana republics, dictators and hyper-inflation.

Aside from literacy, Protestantism engendered other beneficial concepts, now almost universally derided. Self-denial, diligence, hard work, obedience, quiescence in the face of authority and, more crucial even than these, patience. Abide a while, your reward will come later: a central tenet of Protestantism. Sociologists have devised a map (based upon worldwide employees of IBM) which charts the national proclivity for ‘patience’. At the top come the countries where Protestantism took hold. They are also, without exception, the world’s most successful countries. The most patient country in the world, according to this survey? Sweden.

You just hope we might be able to cling on to literacy, as a gift from this rather dour and joyless branch of Christianity. As I’ve mentioned, most of its other injunctions have been rejected as utterly de trop, which is our loss. Literacy may well go the same way, given that the same imbeciles who want Thomas Carlyle and David Hume brought down to size also worry that a bias towards literacy and learning discriminates against thick students who have no intention of reading anything. The de-enlightenment, then, occasioned by misplaced white guilt and a stunted, incurious intellect.

Selfish Whining Monkeys – Part 2

 

 

22 comments

  1. These prophets who are “honourable exceptions” may be rare but do exist and might not be church leaders David. It is a brave person that steps into that calling knowing the history of stoning of prophets and an prophet being without honour among his own people.

    I remember being delighted with a claim you made on one occasion that comedians are prophets, finding that affirming to my own thinking. But then on reflection, I now conclude that comedians can just as easily be false prophets. there is appropriate and inappropriate use of humour as this excellent and courageous TED talk given by Karen Dunbar shows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv_C-qO5gkg

    She talks rightly of the best form of defence not being attack but compassion.

    And as you rightly identify there is a need for truth to be spoken to power by courageous people prophetically. At the same time, truth expressed without compassion, without love can be damaging, just as lies and disrespect are destructive.

  2. It is nice that you are now supporting the Islamophobic Rod Liddle who argued that Muslims should not be allowed to vote in the UK. Not surprising from David ‘Islam is the Elephant in the Room’ Robertson whose comments were rightly condemned by other religious leaders in Scotland. Haven’t you learnt from what happened to the US Capitol last week?

    1. What an interesting and bizarre conflation of untruths and half baked lies! Rod does not argue that Muslims should not be allowed to vote in the UK….and yes Islam is often the elephant in the room (remember to provide context)….and what happened in the US capitol has no more to do with any of that, than the Antifa riots had. Try to engage with the points that are made…try to think….and please stop emoting your hatred and prejudiced bigotry.

    2. Does what is said in another article cancel the essential truth of this one? is the writer saying that Carlyle, Hume etc are being properly respected by the peculiar nationalist cult that has overtaken it? Those who have no answer to an argument these days always point elsewhere to express their objection to what seem incapable of dealing with. After which they come to an absurd conclusion as the writer does in bring in the Capitol riots last week. You need to have some humility and read more widely Mr Reynolds.

    3. David Reynolds,

      That’s interesting that wiht what you claim about Rod Liddle being Islamophobic. To express that so confidently, you must surely have evidence to back that up that you can easily provide. Please offer a link to something he has written to support your claim.

      I wonder what you would perceive about the belief about the sin of shirk in Islam. This is the belief that anyone who worships something that is not God is committing a terrible and possibly the worst sin. As worshipping Jesus falls into this category in Muslim belief (as Muslims don’t believe Jesus to be God) would you regard that as a phobia about Christianity? And if not why not?

  3. It is ironic that Protestantism led to the Enlightenment, to secularism, to analysis of the Bible which revealed contradictions, the rejection of miracles, the rise of medicine, biology, evolution, human rights, women’s rights. Now we seem to be going backwards and the Enlightenment is going back to Protestantism and then religious fundamentalism and religious superstitions.

    1. I think the grain of truth in the view that Protestantism led to the Enlightenment is that Protestantism when it departs from its Biblical roots easily lapses into rationalism just as pietism when it goes bad lurches into sentimentality. But neither is inevitable.

  4. Thank you David for drawing our attention to this brilliant article.
    I read in an interview with Rod Liddle that he grew up in the Church of England, rejected the faith in early adulthood as he embraced Marxism, only to return to the Anglican Church later. He certainly has many flaws (don’t we all) but he does profess a Christian faith or at least a belief in God and respect for a Christian world view.

  5. I think the comments about Rod Liddle’s article in this blog are fair enough. I don’t agree with everything RL writes but he is an entertaining writer and often exaggerates to make a point, which is why I don’t agree about the comment that he is Islamophobic. I think RL may have chosen the wrong word in ‘Protestantism’ – I’d prefer if he’d used the term ‘religious reformers’ or something similar. There is no doubt he has a serious point about the current Scottish government’s damaging policies on education.

  6. The question raised above, around where Christians leaders should take their firmest stand, is topical and relevant. Some Bishops and believers in the Republic of Ireland were upset by a satirical sketch of under thirty seconds on the national RTE channel. The New Year’s Eve piece was accused of being blasphemous, because it mockingly questioned the Virgin Birth. If we have an open society, where we are free to evangelise, should we maybe just accept the prospect of counter attacks or mockery? The Church in the West sometimes attacks TV shows like this, yet is more reticent and cagey, on publicly and vocally challenging the abortion industry. Which is more blasphemous or immoral, abortion or thirty second TV show clips that upset bishops?

  7. Rod Liddle is clearly onto something. Indeed, it is something I myself have written about in a book whose title is, I hope, self-explanatory. I arrived some time ago at similar conclusions after an analysis of the Scottish government’s attempt to abolish the separation of powers, which is the foundation of the rule of law. It has already politicised the civil service and the police, and is waiting for its opportunity (in my view) to do the same to the judges. Then all freedom will be over. Nationalism will bring us the opposite of the freedom that some people hope for. Rather we face an Orwellian future:
    My book is called “THE JUSTICE FACTORY: Can the Rule of Law Survive in 21st Century Scotland?” (Ian Mitchell, 2020) It is not a party-political screed. It has been endorsed by both ends of the political spectrum here: Ian (“Stone of Destiny”) Hamilton QC, the renegade nationalist, and Adam Tomkins, who is both an MSP (Tory) and Professor of Constitutional Law in the University of Glasgow. The Foreword is written by Lord Hope of Craighead, ex-Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court and Alan Page, Professor of Public Law at Dundee, who is the author “Constitutional Law of Scotland”, the main reference work, has written an Introduction to Part II. Details of the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1981993401?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860

  8. Actually I saw photos of Antifa members in the crowd at the White House, which doesn’t surprise me, as it was an opportunity to get Trump supporters blamed – a favourite tactic of anarchists in any demonstration which might otherwise have been peaceful. I am not taking sides here, just commenting on what I saw.

  9. Interesting piece. By the way, along with the rise in literacy rates, one of the other things that contributed to the economic advance of these Protestant countries was the alteration of the church calendar, especially the removal of so many days on which people were not allowed to work (which was quite significant in medieval church). With more work days, there was more productivity, and a rise in the standard of living.

  10. Interesting is this.
    Having only a few hours ago finished Tom Holland’s book, Dominion, in which he deduces the Enlightenment springs from the soil of Christianity and traces wokeness to Christian roots, some aspects of Christian thinking can be seen in seeking to denounce and topple monuments, real and philosophical and sinfulness in those who have been lauded, idolised, even with feet of clay, with a zeal so often attributed to religion and a secularism that can not separate from its Christian roots.
    What is absent is the thoroughly Christian context, that is the doctrine of humanity, fallen nature, and the doctrine of God in Christ, lifted up bearing my sin, my guilt, my shame, displayed on cross, to redeem; to be removed, to be taken down and with him, the record of our sin, our guilt and shame.

    With all our self righteous finger pointing, none of us measures up, publically nor privately.

    Only in Christ and in his active obedience, credited to us, can we be righteous before God, and be draped in royal spotless robes of righteousness.

  11. I agree with your latest Tweet (and the linked Spiked article) in ptinciple, Pastor:


    David Robertson Retweeted
    spiked @spikedonline

    The crusade against dissenting views is out of control. Big Tech is now even trying to crush Parler. These oligarchs and their cheering woke mobs want to eradicate all “incorrect” ideas. We must fight harder than ever for free speech, says Brendan O’Neillhttps://www.spiked-online.com/2021/01/09/the-woke-purge/ …”

    We live in truly frightening times (and the Dempcrats aren’t even formally in power yet). Also, Big Tech has apparently donated heavily to the Biden campaign’s inauguration.

    However when I see idiotic comments lile tjis on Breitbart, where a bunch of Trump supporters are, apparently on all seriousness, suggesting the British navy should torpedo “communist” fishing boats, I have to wonder about the childish nature of the Yanks and whether they need to be censored to protect them.from themselves:

    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2021/01/10/report-britain-cannot-stop-eu-supertrawlers-ravaging-british-waters/#disqus_thread

    The Left and Right should BOTH be censored without partialiy if they go down this route though.Ofcourse, that is not likely to happen and between this and being forced into a certain Leftist groupthink in the corporate workplace (or face the consequences) we are a lot closer to a new Stalinism than most realise, I fear. 🙁

    God bless you and your work, Pastor. Stay safe from COVID and stay strong against the hecklers.

  12. “Self-denial, diligence, hard work, obedience, quiescence in the face of authority and, more crucial even than these, patience.”

    1500 years of faithful Greek, Coptic and Catholic monastics got there rather ahead of Luther. But I’m sure they will forgive you both – even though your author crucially left out “prayer”.

  13. Liddle should write asking about institutional racism .

    That is to say , why , when every UK institution is now in thrall to the Synthetic Left , does IR still exist?

    Institutional racism is a shell game created to disguise the fact that there are so few cases of individual White racist behaviour in UK .

  14. Come on, Alistair,
    You said:

    Institutional racism is a shell game created to disguise the fact that there are so few cases of individual White racist behaviour in UK

    This is a shockingly wrong but unsurprising opinion; if indeed it is your opinion and not your idea of satirical comment. The lie is put to it every time someone finds it necessary to begin a sentence with, “I’m not a racist but …” or when someone complains about anti-social behaviour and automatically justifies their complaint by adding gratuitous descriptive details of the perpetrator.
    There is enough ignorance around without adding fuel to the fire. Of course everything that gets labelled as racism is not (necessarily) racism but denial of the endemic (and institutional) nature of the brute is not going to advance societal reconciliation.
    Moreover, denial of institutional racism doesn’t help when policy makers within a labelled institution over-react, as happened in Rochdale.
    Yours,
    John/.

  15. There is racism in UK , of course and it is overwhelmingly anti – White racism.

    Whenever I hear the nonsense term ‘White Privilege’ , I immediately alter it to ” White Aptitude” or “White Competence”.

    Native Brits in their own ancestral homelands are being harangued by Leftist Third Worlders whose Institutional supporters , far from championing perfectly legitimate indigenous Ethnic/Genetic Interests , forbid mention of them while actively promoting the EGI of immigrants and their descendants.

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