Thank you, Your Grace!
It’s always nice when someone of such eminent ecclesiastical authority confirms from on high something which many of us long suspected: that the Establishment really just does not have a ‘tinker’s’ clue – and that that’s why we were so right to vote for Trump and Brexit.
If Welby had wanted to play a clever game, what he would have done in his speech to the General Synod is keep resolutely schtum about his position on contentious political matters.
Sure, many of us could have predicted where his politics probably lay: he is, after all, an Old Etonian and a former corporatist stooge (yes, oil industry – but most of them swing left, I’m afraid), evidently gifted with the emollience and the career-safe views which are the only way a churchman can climb up the greasy poll of the Church of England these days.
So yes, we could have guessed he was probably a pro-Remain man and an anti-Donald Trump man, as pretty much every Establishment type is. But up until the moment at the General Synod when he called us all out as fascists, we couldn’t be absolutely sure…
How good does it feel to know that the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks I’m a fascist and that the people who voted for Donald Trump are fascists and that the ones who are going to vote for Geert Wilders are fascists?
It feels absolutely brilliant, actually, because what it does is help put these most extraordinary times we’re living through in their proper context.
Think about it: even a reasonably educated 15-year-old with the most rudimentary historical knowledge knows that fascism was about Il Duce, Blackshirts stomping the streets of thirties Italy, about poison gas dropped on Abyssinian villagers, about ethnic cleansing in Libya, about the terrifying enlargement of the State, about rapid militarisation, about aggressive nationalism, about the sacrifice of young men in pointless wars Italy was ill-equipped to win…
So clearly, the “f” word could scarcely be further off-beam to describe the movements which led to Brexit and the Donald Trump. These weren’t endorsements of the kind of arbitrary authority and abuse of state power we saw in the 1930s but rather very explicit rejections of them.
If you really want to use the word “fascistic” in a modern context, you could more aptly apply it to, say, the remoteness and democratic unaccountability of the European Commission, to the corruption and profligacy of the D.C. Establishment, to the businesses ruined and the lives broken by overregulation and Big Government meddling which have led to mass unemployment and poverty in what were once thriving first world nation states, to the ordinary citizens all over Europe being told by their governments, “Here is some cultural enrichment for you from some new friends from the Middle East – and if you don’t like it, tough, because that’s the future we’ve decided to impose on you”…
The fact that an intelligent, well-educated, God-fearing man like the Archbishop of Canterbury cannot see the good in Trump and Brexit and the fundamental evil in the systems they have overthrown speaks more eloquently than a thousand clever articles by people like me as to why the revolutions we experienced in 2016 and the ones we’re going to go on experiencing in 2017 are so very, very necessary.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is a decent, well-meaning man with a very lofty position in the global hierarchy: but then, so are large numbers of many of the other Establishment types who fought so hard for Remain and so hard against Donald Trump.
What they all have in common is that they’re trapped in a bubble, they’ve held on to the reins of power for far too long, and their hegemony is now quite properly being overthrown by a demos who’ve had frankly quite enough of this shit.
Justin Welby, you are part of the problem, not the solution. Thank you, your Grace, for reminding us just how deeply the rottenness in our culture is entrenched – and just how much work lies ahead of us before it is excised.