Giles Auty: Review of The New Philistines by Sihrab Ahmari

Although I

no longer live permanently in
Britain, I have been fascinated to learn about the apparent stir caused there recently by this worthy and unusual little book.

The feelings of google_ad_height = 90; indignation and outrage which underwrite google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; it are understandable. Yet even the fiercest cultural arguments seldom seem to stir much in the way of violent google_ad_width = 970; emotions in Britain. By custom we

generally prefer to ignore such supposedly ‘irrelevant’ matters as our src="//"> culture more or less completely – or sweep them as swiftly as possible under the carpet.

As a relatively recent newcomer to Britain, Mr. Ahmari’s lack of experience of such ingrained attitudes not only insulates him

but possibly encourages him to believe

that sentiments such as his really

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do deserve to be heard. To a large extent I agree with him.
Yet if the history of our world in the past 100 years teaches us anything it must
surely be that google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; deeply flawed ideas and notions prevail all too often and sometimes for much
too long even in ostensibly democratic Western societies. Thus somewhere – if only on the campus of a Western university – some group or other will surely be planning to celebrate the centenary of the October Revolution in Russia during the latter part of this year.

Indeed, it is the kind of New Left, postmodernist brainwashing which has taken place largely unresisted for decades now in Western academic institutions which is the true cause of almost everything to which Mr. Ahmari so rightly objects.

But was such brainwashing something our Western populations either requested or desired? The answer to that is a resounding no. Instead the almost total destruction of the

teaching of the arts and humanities in Britain and other Western countries in recent times was, in fact,
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a direct consequence of the largely unresisted ‘Long March’ which began its sweep through the soft underbelly of Western life and culture nearly half a century ago now.

Who then were the prime movers and founding fathers of the so-called ‘Long March Through The Institutions’? All were scions of the Extreme Left of course – think

cannot help wondering whether such a familiar adjective as ‘timeless’ has any intelligible meaning at all for her? Yet it is precisely because the famous playwright’s human insights were and are so utterly ageless – as well as beautifully and tellingly

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expressed –

for him to credit imagine his shock google_ad_height = 90; on entering the portals of a few of the heavily subsidised public outlets for visual art such as the ICA and google_ad_width = 970; South London Gallery. These and even stranger venues were formerly //--> on my own regular visiting rounds.  Indeed at a massive international women’s convention held in the early 1980s at the ICA I once provided unintentional evidence of the
ardent feminist – who I had //--> greeted with such enthusiasm.


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Mr. /* xin2 */ Ahmari, as to me, there appears no good reason why a nation with a noted historic culture should by now seem so intent on destroying it. What unimaginable perversity of mind could possibly be responsible for such an action?

Fortunately for Mr. Ahmari – and every other inhabitant of Britain – a relatively brief and entirely credible answer does exist now to this question. This gem was luckily provided for me recently, in the course of a letter, by the editor