Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Scottish culture, at least the part of it that I have seen while living here, is conservative. I mean that not in the fake "conservative" that is paraded around the TVs across America. Scotland just does not change very quickly. For example, there are still vending machines in pubs for cigarettes. I had not seen one of those since I was very young. They are not in public places, like when I was young but they still do exist.

This exists in other senses as well, traditional music is still a strong force in Scottish society. The Scottish Opera nearly lost most of its funding because people in Scotland want culture money to go to traditional Scottish music. I know three pubs that I can go to in Edinburgh alone to hear traditional music any night of the week and the Queen's Hall often has traditional music concerts and then there is the Scottish Trad Music Awards.

All this conservatism contrasts with the faux piety that passes for conservatism in the US. What conservatives want in the US is to roll back the clock to some mythical time in the past when everything was perfect. Some want a "Leave It to Beaver" 1950's while others want to go back before the New Deal 1930's. On the other hand, Scottish conservatism tends to be of the "I will continue to live this way and you can live however you like" style of conservatism. Scottish conservatism knows that there will be changes and some of those changes will need to be endured rather than fought. I think, in a way, this is due to Scotland's long history and the long memory of the people here.

This may just be the circle that I tend to interact with on a daily basis. My department often works with people who are a part of the traditional Scotland and with their families. Anyway, these are just my impressions of the society as a whole. If you talk to any one individual, you will probably not get that impression. It is the entire make up of society and possibly being surrounded by all these old building that does it.

Update: I just noticed that the last line of the first paragraph made NO SENSE. Sorry.

posted by Chris  #6:28 PM | 0 comments |