Subject to Change

Recently, I discovered that British Gas, a company that supplies gas to British people, was not a hotbed of holocaust revisionism.

In the suppressive temperature of minus six, the kind of weather dullards mete vengefully upon the civilized, my boiler last week joined the rest of Great Britain. It stopped working.

I impaled my brain upon the customary one-hour-and-seven-minute phone call to British Gas. Every 30 seconds, an automated voice assured: Your call is important to us.

British Gas has traded the lovely Ludwig van (much too excellent for these advanced times) for a two-chord earwig we once glorified as polyphonic ringtones. Whilst captive to the receiver, British Gas snatches the opportunity to douse you, an innocent and increasingly frozen bystander, in the warm soup of its right-on philosophy.

“British Gas is an inclusive company,” it purrs. “We believe all people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or background, should be treated with dignity and respect.”

This divination, reader, was news to me. You see, I signed up to British Gas not for warm radiators and gas-lit stoves, but for the surreptitious fascism of a company with British in the name.

I assumed British Gas was firmly jackboots, shaved heads, and lumpy knuckles. On hold, I expected not a polyphonic ringtone but the greatest hits of Skrewdriver, with jaunty anthems such as “Keep Britain White” and “It’s All Because of The Jews.”

To my incomprehension, British Gas does not believe that Auschwitz was a holiday camp, nor, per Kanye West, that Hitler had his good points.

The horror. The horror.

Once you notice this culture of obviousness, this modern theater in which the captive audience is force-fed a diet of entirely humdrum beliefs shared by absolutely everyone save a few whack jobs, you cannot unsee it.

A coffee shop I recently and regrettably frequented offered not only espresso and cortado and obscenely priced cheesecake but a syrupy treatise of that coffee shop’s founding beliefs. You’d think a coffee shop’s founding beliefs would be: “Buy coffee. Sell coffee.” No. This coffee shop was against all forms of discrimination.

Relentless is this modern culture of making the most obvious, universal statements and painting them as revolutionary.

When I decide I’d like gas piped into my home, or coffee piped into my stomach, my motivations hover around the middle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Will this gas warm my home? Will this coffee induce a mild, somewhat enjoyable panic attack?

To reveal, as British Gas did, that one thinks all people should be treated with dignity and with respect is like revealing one doesn’t shit on a bus seat in full view of other passengers; that one is anti-shitting-in-public.

Much of the modern world is that episode of “Seinfeld” in which Kramer joins an AIDS march but refuses to wear the ribbon proclaiming his opposition to AIDS.

In our culture of exhibitionism, silence is suspect.

For shame, our media drains its time covering Andrew Tate bickering with Greta Thunberg.

A pair of recent studies discovered that much of our current schizophrenia is the work of a tiny slice of the population, with wholly exotic political views, who dominate the national conversation. You’d think this would be big news.

In both Britain and America, the Progressive Activist tribe—young, urban, woke, censorious, angry—comprise between 8 percent and 13 percent of the public. You wouldn’t think so if you spent any time looking at a screen. This tribe—the whitest, richest, most educated—is five times more likely to share their political opinions on social media. What is a piddling minority offline, is a supermajority online.

Progressive Activists dominate social media, the news media, and the rest of our culture.

Such activists take their politics very seriously. Nearly three-quarters list politics as a hobby, twice the average. They’re three times as likely (69 percent to 24 percent) to say they’re “ashamed” to be an American.

Strikingly, just over a quarter of Progressive Activists agree that “political correctness is a problem in our country”—miles behind even the next-wokeist tribe, the Established Liberals, on 68 percent. Nearly three-quarters of the public agree.

From immigration to political correctness, to cancel culture, to almost everything else, the Progressive Activists are far from the mainstream.

By dominating online, the views of a tiny minority disfigure the media, our institutions, and everything else. British Gas, the coffee shop, and just about everything else has fallen victim to this Potemkin village of piety.

Between just 8 and 13 percent of the population strangle the national conversation.

To put these figures into context, 8 percent of British people believe Paul McCartney died in 1966, and was replaced by a lookalike. The same percentage of Americans think Elvis is alive.

In America, 4 percent believe shape-shifting lizards control mankind. In Great Britain, some 17 percent believe in the Loch Ness monster.

Imagine, for a moment, that those who believe in the Loch Ness monster enjoyed an influence as inflated as that of the Woke.

On Twitter, half of the people would have #NessieisReal in their bios. On Sky News, two dunderheads from either team would argue extensively and pointlessly over the existence of the Loch Ness monster. One side would claim the use of “monster” was discriminatory and would agitate for legislation enshrining such “divisive” language as hate speech.

Indeed, entire industries would spring through the floorboards, with pseudish academics penning impenetrable tomes on the colonial thinking which obscured the “truth” of Nessie.

One team would deny claims that Nessie eats people and then claim that Nessie eating people is accountability and a good thing, actually

Harry and Meghan would pledge to impact compassion-based solutions, both online and offline, in the fight against systemic anti-Nessie-ism.

Nobody would know what any of this means. Everyone would pretend to know what all of it means.

Of course, this is the age of constant, dizzying progress. But doth we, to borrow a phrase, protest too much? In the real world, nobody I know needs to assure everyone else that they, too, think people should be treated with dignity and respect. Most people I know find this culture of celebrating melanin density and genitalia—The First X to do Y! —to be a touch bizarre.

After all, is our progress so pronounced that gas companies and coffee shops must herald the constantly good and progressive news?

My idea of progress, reader, doesn’t so much concern itself with the melanin content of someone’s skin or the genitalia between their legs. Strangely enough, my idea of progress is neglected by those who sing of nothing but progress.

I am yet to hear British Gas mention that wages in this country haven’t budged since the 1970s, or that the average home now costs 12 times the average salary.

I’m yet to read a coffee menu that mentions how, in the 1970s, an American worker could raise a middle-class family on one wage. I’m yet to read that other countries magick this utopia without murdering millions of citizens and gulagging the rest.

Strange, isn’t it, that the only progress worth celebrating is the cosmetic kind. The kind which doesn’t cost a thing?

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at Oxford Sour. Subscribe to Christopher Gage’s Substack here.

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About Christopher Gage

Christopher Gage is a British political journalist and a founding member of the Gentlemen of the Swig. Subscribe to his Substack, "Oxford Sour."

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