Theo Hobson

Liberalism is good, beautiful and true

Liberalism is good, beautiful and true
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Most of the media responses to Griffin have been a bit complacent. He was exposed as a dodgy idiot, the vast majority say. I thought he came across pretty well, considering the wrongness of his views. I was uncomfortably reminded that the message of an extreme reactionary is always surprisingly seductive, tempting. The essential appeal is the promise that life can be radically simpler. This strikes a chord in the vast majority of us. We are burdened by complexity, anxiety, a sense that the contemporary world is alienating, chaotic. A vision of our culture being purged of its cultural complexity and working more effectively and more simply is, alas, beguiling. There's something in our dodgy DNA that responds to the dark logic.

We should be more honest about the attractivness of this ideological evil. And we must get better at celebrating the alternative vision of liberal pluralism that we are pursuing. Yes, liberalism is difficult, but it is good, beautiful and true. We must admit that we have been complacent about this, we have forgotten that liberal idealism needs nurturing. Perhaps our constitutional backwardness hinders the articulation of a positive common vision.