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“That was 11 Group on the blower from Uxbridge, Perkins. The Jerries have given Manston a hell of a pasting and they’re on their way here. Are your chaps scrambled?”
“Triggered, sir, yes.”
“They know what to do?”
“Absolutely, sir. They are already in our designated safe space.”
“Look here, Perkins, I don’t want to sound horribly insensitive, but would it not be possible for your chaps to do something a bit more aggressive – like getting into their kites and having a go at the Jerries?”
“Out of the question, I’m afraid, sir. Any confrontation with people holding extremist views – which obviously includes Luftwaffe pilots – could have seriously detrimental effects on the mental well-being of persons in my squadron, two of whom are currently undergoing gender reassignment. Besides, active participation in aerial combat is forbidden under Health and Safety regulations and could be seen as an expression of xenophobia – as, indeed, could the racist term ‘Jerries’.”
“That’s all very well, Perkins, but surely the – er – enemy are going to find us a bit of a walkover? What happens if Hitler takes London?”
“That’s not a problem, sir. All universities in the London area have a no-platform policy regarding Hitler. Goebbels too.”
“Right, Perkins. I’m beginning to see why they call us The Few…”
We should probably be grateful that Britain faced its Finest Hour in an era predating Political Correctness. The public derision provoked by the recent claim, by 2,022 respondents to a survey aged 16-24, that calling youngsters “snowflakes” damages their mental health marked a new peak in the crisis of credibility of the so-called “millennial” generation, popularly known as Generation Snowflake.
There is a hugely important issue underlying the exchanges of reproaches and insults between generations. Any social historian will confirm that slang terminology is a significant factor in defining social attitudes. Language is not only the most evident anthropological distinguishing factor between human beings and animals, it is a key component of political and social power structures. The Marxists, who are a major element in the current linguistic war, have always attached enormous importance to control of language. George Orwell, who knew that enemy from personal observation, gave early warning of the totalitarian potential of language control.
If language is policed, then so is communication and, eventually, thought. If there is no vocabulary to express a dissident idea, the capability to dissent even mentally will atrophy. It is extraordinary that, more than half a century after Orwell warned us, Newspeak is now the dominant medium of communication throughout all public institutions and, most notably, in universities. Under the tyranny of numerically insignificant activists in student unions and other forums of influence, universities have been transformed from oases of informed controversy into re-education camps of PC monoculture. The old ideal of the studium generale has been destroyed.
It is in this context that the casually dismissive slang term “snowflake” assumes huge significance. It is significant because it is not one of the hundreds of ugly, thought-bending neologisms imposed by cultural Marxism, but a free-range, spontaneous response to the preciosity of a generation marinated in PC fatuity. By a delicious irony, it was coined by a writer of the Left, Chuck Palahniuk, in his novel “Fight Club”, in which a character says: “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.”
The term was appropriated by anti-PC commentators, then by the general public. There is a real sense in which “snowflake” is the most important word in the English language today, insofar as it encapsulates a revolution in social perceptions with no historical precedent. Consider the course of events. Historically, across cultures, the elderly were respected, sometimes revered, regarded as wise because they had most experience of life, had probably fought in wars and enjoyed a broader perspective from which to assess issues that presented themselves.
Of course, historically, there was also among the young an occasional strain of gentle mockery of greybeards, which did not negate the overall respect in which they held their elders. Then, in a post-War society becoming obsessively materialist, the new disposable income of young consumers was exploited by capitalism through a cult of “yoof”. An older generation, exhausted by war, gradually became separated culturally from youth, with its own music, clothes and interests.
Add to that the complementary decline of the family, the lapse of such previously axiomatic social rituals as a household sitting around the table together at mealtimes, and a socially destructive generational apartheid emerged that never received the scrutiny and condemnation it merited. It became fashionable for young people to deride their elders as “square”, “old farts”, “uncool”. Now, suddenly, the boot is on the other foot. It is the older generations that are laughing at the snowflakes, whose response is to whine that mockery endangers their mental health.
All of this sound and fury obscures the answers to important questions. Is the entire millennial generation composed of snowflakes, or is it just a noisy, university-based minority among them? Do the two generations immediately above millennials bear a heavy responsibility for this social implosion?
The likeliest answer to the first question is probably that only a small minority are totally effete snowflakes within the meaning of the act, but much of the majority is also to some degree infected with toxic and debilitating PC mythology. The answer to the second question is undoubtedly yes. It is those in the 25-50 age group who have been complicit in the debasing of all public institutions into forums of PC indoctrination, who have imbued their own children with an unjustified sense of entitlement and who even now are continuing on that disastrous course.
If today’s snowflakes have mental health issues, what will it be like when the five year-olds whom the Government is proposing to subject to compulsory sex education classes in which they will be encouraged to question their “gender” come of age? That is anti-scientific insanity, being imposed by a Conservative government. It is precisely those who have been most vehement against the teaching of “creationism” – whatever that abused term now means – who most aggressively promote the notion of sexual identity as a choice divorced from biology.
Is there a solution to the snowflake phenomenon? Yes, if the snowflakes’ contemporaries challenge them and insist on a return to sanity. The question is: have they the numbers and the motivation? In the same way that only mainstream women can effectively marginalize loony feminists, the people who need to melt the snowflakes with the blowlamp of reality are their peers.
It was the hysterical, self-regarding reaction of snowflakes to the result of the Brexit referendum that finally brought them into confrontation with British society. Disraeli said: “The youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity.” Is that, currently, a reassuring prospect? The historical progression from Generation Spitfire to Generation Snowflake does not suggest our nation is on a healthy trajectory. Is the putative silent majority among British youth going to stand up and assert the values it holds in common with the mainstream community?