Friday, September 17, 2010

Born Yesterday

"Most of us were born yesterday, to all intents and purposes. The lore of our tribe, the stories of our ancestors, the memories which our parents held in common, have simply ceased to be. Thirty of forty years ago, we might all have known the stories of Alfred and the cakes, of Canute and the waves, of Caractacus and Boadicea, Hereward the Wake and Thomas a Becket. The titles of the parables—the Sower, the Prodigal Son, the Talents—would have instantly conjured up a picture in the rich colours of a stained-glass window. Phrases such as 'all sorts and conditions of men' and 'when two or three are gathered together', 'the fatted calf' and 'he passed by on the other side' would have meant the same thing to everyone who heard them. Now these things are as meaningless to millions as the forgotten myths of Greece.
We drive past ancient churches, Victorian town halls, abandoned grammar schools and guano spattered statues, quite unaware of the forces that brought them into being, the struggles they commemorate or the sort of people who built them. " Peter Hitchens, The Abolition of Britain, p 44

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