In an extended interview with The Sun, Melanie Phillips explains the reason why she left The Guardian newspapers and abandoned leftism more generally.
In looking at the rise of leftism in Western culture, she began by explaining that for many, in the aftermath of the Second World War, there was a sense the conflict was the direct result of reason, and ideas such as West and nationhood, meaning that these concept became “toxic and tainted”.
“There was a kind of cultural demoralisation that set in in the West, and as a result it became very vulnerable to people that wanted to change Western society completely.”
In Western nations, in the years that followed, the intelligentsia became very open to the idea of overturning the basic tenets of Western civilisation and the Western idea of the nation-state.
“You had this great onslaught which took place, progressively, over the decades, on the bedrock values of the West, transmitted through, for example, the traditional family, which became seen as the sort of epicentre of oppression… the onslaught on capitalism as a profoundly destabilising and unfair doctrine… and the onslaught on education. Education is the transmission of a culture down through the generations, and I remember sitting through debates in the eighties and nineties in Britain, in which the received wisdom in the higher reaches of the education system was that you could not transmit the culture anymore …”
Biblical morality went out, and in came manmade morality, which was basically ideology – the power of the idea – and these ideologies were basically designed to produce a kind of perfect world. They would get rid of prejudice from the human heart; they would prevent war from ever happening again; they would prevent Nazism from ever again stalking the corridors of free societies. They would produce a brotherhood of man.
And consequently, they couldn’t brook any opposition, because they were all designed to better humanity, in their own lights. … anyone who said that there was anything wrong … was someone by definition who did not want to better humanity. So they weren’t just wrong, they were evil.
So, if someone came along and said, “I don’t think it is right that ‘the West invented slavery’. In fact, everyone had slavery at one time. And, in fact, Britain and America were the pioneers in getting rid of slavery.” This is historical fact, but it goes against the ideology that white people are intrinsically bad. And consequently, those facts could not be admitted as facts, and anyone who said them was by definition evil…”
Watch the full interview with Melanie Phillips, one of Britain’s leading public intellectuals below: