A new group of Tory MPs is rapidly emerging in the battle for that party’s soul. They’re the youngish fogies and they’ve written to the Spectator, the party house journal, whinging about decadent Britain. They argue that Muslims who dislike some British lifestyles may be right. Matthew Turner takes the cheap (but fair) shot of pointing out that the Spectator is no bastion of conservative morals, but it goes deeper than that.
Britain is far from being a decadent place with its morals in decline, but neither are its people naturally conservative (with a small c) as Conservatives have always claimed. We are naturally liberal and tolerant of others’ lifestyles, just so long as they don’t impact on us too much. That attitude is very unreligious. After all, religion is all about morals that often preclude a great many lifestyles and religions often impose a duty to proselytise.
The radicals’ primary failing, be they Christian, Muslim or whatever, is that they follow the logic of their faith through. Religious moderates behave in a way that suggests they don’t really believe all that stuff. They appear happy to stand by as people condemn themselves to eternal damnation by following the wrong path. Faith is in crisis because few really believe and those that do are regarded as lunatics. That scares conservatives whose values are based in Christianity and so are just like those of radical Muslims.
Yet the amount of freedom people enjoy may be measured by the variety of lifestyles from which they may choose. The decline of faith increases our lifestyle choices and should be celebrated. With just one life to live, hedonism is the way we should go and, side effects aside, I’m delighted to see Britain leading the way.