David Hamilton, Culture Wars: To Discipline the Devil's Regions - A review by Peter Ayling

by The Editor

This is a major attack on the degenerate cultural elites who are destroying our art and culture from within and is something traditionalists and Christians can stand alongside. The subtitle is from the Chinese Book of Change the I Ching and proclaims war on the Forces of Decadence. If any think that is exaggerated, consider the contents of this book.

This is a major attack on the degenerate cultural elites who are destroying our art and culture from within and is something traditionalists and Christians can stand alongside. The subtitle is from the Chinese Book of Change the I Ching and proclaims war on the Forces of Decadence. If any think that is exaggerated, consider the contents of this book.

For those who love of traditional Britain and are today forced to look on helplessly as they witness the rapid, deliberate and ruthless destruction of the art and culture of their nation and feel pushed out David Hamilton's Culture Wars will serve as an extraordinary moral support and encouragement. This is not a systematic work but discursive essays in a loose collection on art, architecture, drama, animals and the environment and English churches with the history, legends and stories attached. The author told me that tradition means re-linking with our common ancestors and our common roots.

The author records - in far greater detail than the Conservative journalist Peter Hitchens (who conducted a critique of modern Britain in The Abolition of Britain (1999)) did - the various art objects, buildings and theatrical plays that are ruining the landscape and minds of the inhabitants of post-war Britain. As Hamilton warns us, we suffer from a “syndrome of social, cultural, political and environmental pressures that are dissociating people from their communal identity, severing them from traditional civilizing structures that their ancestors could take for granted” (p,69).

It is, incidentally, interesting to note that, in Peter Hitchens' book (p.3), the author fights shy of investigating the social evil that he is describing and declares instead, rather naively, that “the overthrow of the past has not been planned – such things cannot be orchestrated though they can be skilfully guided – but has followed the coincidental disappearance of rival or alternative moral and cultural forces and structures. So many features of this country's life crumbled at once, that the new culture had to take the place of patriotism, faith, morality and literature.”

Hamilton, on the other hand, rightly begins the opening section of his book - on the degeneracy of the modern visual arts - with the revolution of the 60s which forced art to become vulgar “mass culture”, stopped the sacred fount of artistic creativity and substituted sterile shock techniques in its place. The examples Hamilton provides of the increasing use of pornography in modern art are especially disturbing since they reveal that these, often literally, excremental productions are in fact vigorously promoted by “art”-collectors. He also uses examples from ordinary art like the mural of Dickins' characters in the Peter Kavanagh, and the mural that John Lennon had a hand in in The Jacaranda, both in Liverpool, to show that art produces many affects not only shock. (p.8)

What I really like is his new definition of what art is for traditionalists and Conservatives as opposed to Progressives unfathomable abstract definitions. He explains the difference between technique, which produces form; and artistic talent or the knack which produces content or the meaning and is born into one and can not be taught. Then using a very enlightening explanation of how the two interact, the partnership of The Beatles and their producer George Martin, he shows how form brings out content and content leads to the appropriate form (pp.12 – 13).

I applaud how he demonstrates that contemporary anti-artists are spreading a far greater evil than just destroying art and culture. He exposes how paedophilia is promoted by contemporary anti-artists and gives copious examples. He cites the starving of a dog in an art gallery in Nicaragua and states that we are on the way back to human sacrifices as art. As evidence of how the anti-artists not only encourage paedophilia but encourage the murder of children, he quotes Jake Chapman saying that the boys who murdered Liverpool toddler James Bulger performed "a good social service".

In contemporary architecture he shows that it disjoints where it is built and pushes people out of their communities by its ugliness instead of drawing them in as traditional architecture does. He shows how the estates people are being forced into have a very detrimental affect and causes the people to lose fellow-feeling and rob, mug and burgle their neighbours. He also compares the state-sponsored degeneracy of the working-classes with what the Canadian government did to the native Innu. (p.39)

Destructive assaults on town and city landscapes (which he calls Urbiscapes), such as the London “Shard” designed by Renzo Piano, are extolled by art critics like Tim Abrahams (who edited the leading architecture and design magazine, Blueprint). Spiked Online refused to publish an alternative view from the author but said he could cut it down and send it as a letter! This anti-art is soundly sanctioned and funded by the national Arts Council with public monies from the government and the National Lottery as he notes.

Whereas pseudo-Traditionalists of the so-called “Right” distract their audience with tirades against social welfare and puff themselves up with vain appeals to nineteenth century Germanic doctrines of “inequality”, Hamilton concentrates on the source of the decay that has been imposed on Britain from the top, the unrelenting subversion of the Christian faith that was the original source of the great art of Britain from the Middle Ages until the early twentieth century. As he reminds us, “Traditional culture grows from religion” (p.81) and the real source of art is the “numinous” since it “is the basis of the yearning for beauty, awe, grandeur in public buildings” (p.67). He accuses the clergy of closing the church to the public in the titular essay and gives examples. No vague abstractions here! (p.80)

It is the loss of the religious world-view that is at the root of the present cultural morass - whether it be the substitution of pornography for art, ugly functionalism for architecture or “angry young men” and subversive Cultural Marxist drama from the 1960s - dramas of desperation for the essentially religious tragedies of the classical world as well as of the English Middle Ages and Renaissance (where they appeared as “morality plays” and Senecan “revenge tragedies”).

Indeed, instead of the proper artistic purpose of the spiritual elevation of man through works of art there has entered today, through the various academic channels employed by pseudo-art-theorists, a new diabolical purpose – that of the essential corruption of man. Hamilton takes care to highlight to the reader the essence of artistic creation, the importance of tradition in artistic activity and the religious springs of all art. He then gently exhorts his readers to adopt “traditional forms developed for the current time to express emotions and feelings like awe, reverence, the sacred, the holy, the transcendental – positive human feelings.” (p.94).
In more practical terms he also suggests the revival of the sixteenth century office of Lord Lieutenant to be appointed by the Crown and endowed with the task of protecting the local communities of Britain from the ideological and commercial aims of financial and political elites (p.46).

His piece on the environment is cheekily named after Edmund Burke's essay of a similar name: Another Vindication of Natural Society. He argues against GM Crops and for a natural way of growing our food and in an original section calls for greater legal protection from cruelty for domestic pets who, he rightly states, become part of our families.
The final essay on English churches gives information on the world of continuity and meaning they hold and the legends and our history they have.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jake_and_Dinos_Chapman
2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-561815/The-artist-whos-leaving-d...

Culture Wars: To Discipline the Devil's Regions by David Hamilton is available to purchase on Amazon.

Content on the Traditional Britain Blog and Journal does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Traditional Britain Group