The Joseph Goebbels Award
Quite a few years ago I used to invent phony prizes in the old Stramentarius column for people I considered to be guilty of aesthetic, liturgical or other outrages. For instance, I recall my Genseric Award for Theoretical and Applied Vandalism—a golden power-hammer. This went to some PP or other in the West of Ireland who had wreckovated his church in a particularly hideous fashion. (Another suitable candidate would have been Bishop Éamonn Casey of Kerry for what he did to his beautiful Pugin cathedral in Killarney.)
I was quite pleased with some of these awards. But I must now yield the palm to Fr John Hunwicke of the Anglican Ordinariate (whom I frequently quote in this blog) who has invented the Joseph Goebbels Award for the use of Sophisticated Propaganda to Pollute the Common Culture. Fr Hunwicke explains:
Apparently, there are Primary Schools where a (private) programme called CHIPS is in use. Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools uses brilliant methods to get its message across.∗ It retells the story of Noah’s Ark in terms of fictional animals which are left behind because they are ‘different’. Eight and nine year old children are made to ‘create a wedding scene with two princes in the front getting married’. Six and seven year olds design a dress for a ‘Princess boy’. ‘What do we think in our school about gay people getting married (we say it’s OK!).’ The plight of a transgender six year old in Colorado is to be discussed in class.
The government has issued new standards requiring that even free schools ‘actively promote’ equality of sexual orientation as specified in the 2010 Equality Act. And schools will be expected to ‘challenge’ parents who disagree. How very much like the Russia of dear Marshal Stalin, our popular wartime ally! We can envisage a future in which both Jack and Jill will be encouraged to report their parents to the Commissar if they overhear them uttering Speech Crimes!
This is all absolutely superb. Just think how totally brilliant it is. You might have supposed that children would have to be of an age to know what Sex is before they were taught to welcome Sexual Perversion. But No!!! Even before they know about penises and vaginas and their inherent functional complementarity, you can start preparing the ground for indoctrination about the desirability of making other, much more creative, uses of those organs! Get Perversion into the infant mind even before it understands Normality! It’s like using well-constructed educational courses about the simple wholesome pleasures of Embezzlement on children who have not yet been taught about Money! That distinguished member of the Lowerarchy, Mr Undersecretary Screwtape, has lost nothing of his inventive and imaginative brilliance!
I think it is clearly necessary to create, at the heart of our British honours system, a suitable recognition for those whose contribution to corrupting public perceptions and, particularly, to indoctrinating the very young (through their imaginations) so as to embrace the normality of perversion, has been particularly noteworthy. The obvious choice here of a role-model is that towering figure, Joseph Goebbels. I know what you’re going to say: we can’t make role-model of someone who laboured with such success to convince the population of an entire nation that Jews were proper objects of hatred. I agree. And I know that Enthusiastic Hatred of Judaism and Enthusiastic Acceptance of Sexual Perversion are not in any way parallel evils (a very clear difference is that the latter, happily, does not embrace the taking of human life). But what both of these causes do have in common is the poisoning of the mass imagination, the use of sophisticated propaganda to pollute the common culture, and awareness of the need to begin this process as early as possible by planting Evil in the hearts of the very young. And in all this, Goebbels was a superb, a consummate practitioner. We shall not see his like again; but we should not, for that reason, ignore what our age can learn, not from his own particular abhorrent ideology, but from his general working methodology. After all, anti-Christian ideologies come and go, and good riddance to them once they’re gone, and Nazism is, most fortunately, not the dominant ideology of our age; but the existence of perverted anti-Christian ideologies, differing from generation to generation, but always needing to be promoted, is a given.
We could have an Order of Joseph Goebbels (OJG), in which there could be the rank of Member (MJG), Companion (CJG), Knight Commander (or Dame: KCJG or DCJG), and Knight (Dames too, of course) Grand Cross of Joseph Goebbels (GCJG). Knights and Dames Grand Cross could have a pink sash to wear and, on great occasions, a pink cloak. The Church of England could provide, perhaps in Southwark Cathedral where Dean Colin Slee† toiled so devotedly, a Chapel for the Order where the GCJGs could hang their banners and have their Plates on their Stalls. Processions of the GCJGs could be integrated into Pride Week, participation in which will very soon be compulsory for all Government Employees. A popular musician who has always promoted Orientation Equality could be rewarded for his life’s work by being made Sovereign of the Order. The Prelate of the Order, in these ecumenical days, should not be required to be an Anglican Bishop.
Yes, you’re quite right, today’s is an abrasive post, with its talk about ‘perversion’; not at all in my usual emollient style. It has always been my desire to avoid any slightest risk of hurt to friends who have a homosexual inclination. But I would never use the term ‘pervert’ to apply to chaste, celibate homosexuals, because in my view someone (of whatever orientation) who lives, despite the pressures of our culture, a chaste and celibate life, is a distinctly nobler person than comfortable happily married heterosexuals like me. And I even feel more sympathy for genitally active homosexuals than for heterosexual fornicators and adulterers, since the latter, unlike the former, have been given by Providence an Estate in which those that have not the gift of continence might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s Body.
So why the change of style? Since the murder of the Paris Blasphemers, we have been so lectured by the Camerons and Hollandes and Obamas about tolerance (tolerance even of the grossest sacrileges and insults), that it seems to me that a ‘rougher’ style cannot possibly be the object of any criticism. Frankness, free speech, that is, Parrhesia, even if it hurts, is officially ring-fenced. Isn’t it? And now dear Stephen Fry has led the way in demonstrating the excellence of unrestrained Frankness. Olé, or whatever the word is!
More than 20 years ago, in The Facilitators, Doris Manly made the same point as Fr Hunwicke . Here’s how she described the Irish Health Education Bureau programme for training teachers in Values Clarification : “As sophisticated an instrument of intellectual corruption as our age has produced”. For this she was taken to task by some not over-intelligent hack in—I think—the old Irish Press, who sneered at her for not appreciating how much worse Dr Goebbels’ activities had been. Doris pointed out patiently that the methods of the HEB Facilitators were just as sophisticated as those of Goebbels, but obviously not morally equivalent.
Doris maintained that a good many Facilitators were at work within Irish second-level schools:
The Facilitators in second-level schools are ‘facilitating’ our children. They seem bent upon altering the attitudes and values of the Irish people in a single generation, so that when the present school generation comes of age, the kind of laws and customs Facilitators favour will be acceptable to the majority.
It looks as if the Facilitators have succeeded in this aim only too well. Otherwise, in all seriousness, how could we have reached a situation where we are about to vote in a referendum to give legal recognition to sodomistic “marriage”?
In England, it’s not enough to corrupt just teenagers, as has happened in Ireland. In England, As we learn from Fr Hunwicke, you have to get Perversion into the infant mind even before it understands normality. Surely it won’t be many years before the same thing happens here. Who’s to stop it? The Catholic bishops? Don’t make me laugh.
∗ Information from the Autumn 2014 Bulletin of SPUC, Safe at School.
† Dean Colin Slee, an enthusiastic supporter of homosexual pseudogamy.