Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Cultural congruence and shared values

At a time when it's becoming apparent that both government and opposition are flailing around like headless chickens, both mired in sleaze, both disliked and mistrusted by the public, ordinary people will look more and more to themselves. Heffer makes the point well in the Telegraph this morning, and you'll see the reassuring message under a King's crown in the column thingy on the right. And the symbol above the crown, above the Sovereign and above her people, that appears everywhere from the cipher on a post-box to the badge on a policeman's helmet is the Christian cross.

The networking that's going on furiously and the small social and personal ties being re-discovered are part of the expansion of social capital that happens when the political class loses all direction. Experts have suggested that greater diversity in society will inhibit the formation of social capital, but I don't think this necessarily the case. Social capital is about all those informal horizontal bonds that bind us when mutual assistance is necessary. I've said many times before that our identity is about cultural congruence and shared values, and not skin colour, caste or creed. I'm confident that we're sensible enough to realise that all the peas in the pod don't have to be a uniform green for them to form a cohesive whole.

But what of those elements living in this country with no interest in cultural congruence and less in espousing shared values? Well, I don't think they'll inhibit the formation of social capital. I rather think they'll become the exception that qualifies the norm. And that they will be tangibly excluded, and even the public targets of disfavour and opprobrium. Public patience with those 'not with us' will run out. The 'them' and 'us' process will help strengthen our social capital at their expense. This isn't by some malignant and intolerant design, but by the inherent tribalism that lurks in the DNA of each of us.

The days of our tolerating militant Jihadists are coming to an end. Those uncertain of where their loyalties lie might do best to look at relocation options. And paradoxically, the weaker and more impotent that government and opposition are about the crisis in general, the greater and stronger the drive to make up for it ourselves.

4 comments:

Chrysippus said...

Ah....cultural congruence?

Seen the Indie today?:-

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/exclusive-army-is-fighting-british-jihadists-in-afghanistan-1631347.html

Sue said...

I think you're correct that this "wartime spirit" may regain it's momentum in some places but I doubt it will happen in multicultural communities.

This "tribal" re-cohesion is as much about reaffirming "our sense of history, our roots, we as a people" as much anything else.

Newmania said...

Yes I wonder if a country does not actually benefit from an enemy. The one to be cast out so to speak.
That was a very good bit of Hefferlump and I am not usually a great fan. I think Mr.Cameron could venture a little more bravery perhaps
Sad news today of course

Empedocles said...

A very interesting post. I think you might find this article interesting: "Why Diversity Destroys Social Capital."
http://apoxonbothyourhouses.blogspot.com/2009/02/why-diversity-destroys-social-capital.html