I have no idea if the Sunday Telegraph ’s allegations against Phillip Blond are true. For all I know, it’s some disgruntled employee who’s behind the stories that Blond is a high-living rock star who likes to take hot women on vacation to Sharm El Sheikh, that he “asked a fellow academic to give a Ukrainian woman he was pursuing £300 in cash,” and best of all, that he dropped half a grand on a chair covered with images of “women in bikinis and high heels sitting astride motorbikes” ( thank you, Daily Mail ) — all while his think tank ResPublica was so strapped for cash that paychecks weren’t getting sent and the landlord was changing the locks on the office doors. But then, I’m the sort of person who believes televangelists who say they only rented that hotel room because the hooker wanted to have her Bible-study lessons somewhere quiet.
And Phillip Blond getting caught indulging a taste for jet-set-class luxuries is like a televangelist getting caught with a prostitute. Is there a Red Tory equivalent of the classic fallen preacher’s defense, “Of course I’m drawn to sin, otherwise I wouldn’t need Christ’s redemption”? Surely there must be. If Christian ministers are acutely sensitive to temptation, maybe Phillip Blond is acutely sensitive to the perils of having massive amounts of cash.
An anonymous source told the Mirror that “Phillip was like a small-time guitarist who suddenly became a national rock star. He became drunk on his own success. He couldn’t stop spending money.” Assuming that’s true, here’s what Blond should say now.
I’ve always said that too much money is morally corrupting. I’ve said that society shouldn’t reward hedonism. I’ve said that self-gratification killed old-fashioned mutualism. And boy, did I know what I was talking about.
What happened was, I spent decades as a mild-mannered theology professor and then got famous all of a sudden. You might not know this, but Radical Orthodoxy is zero help when you’re trying to chat up women. When fame and fortune came upon me rather unexpectedly, I found myself jolted out of the community where I had built myself a cozy nest, forced to hobnob with politicians and Davos-goers instead of my old friends in the academic middle class. I became deracinated, and when a man loses his community, it’s only a matter of time before he loses his moral grounding. You might say I’m a self-referential metaphor on two legs.
And that’s not the only trap I fell into after warning British society to walk around. I talk a lot about economic subsidiarity, which I have a number of reasons for preferring, one being that global decision makers don’t have access to local knowledge yet must behave as if they do. And what has two thumbs and operates under considerable pressure to pretend like he has sage answers to questions beyond his area of expertise? This pundit. Global industries also tend to alienate profit from good honest work—pushing numbers around on a spreadsheet instead of seeing the visible fruits of your two hands’ labor like a noble carpenter, that sort of thing. And now that I’m a professional purveyor of highly fashionable ideas to the intellectual-credibility-starved global elite, instead of someone who does real philosophical work, I definitely know what that’s like.
So I hereby disavow everything I ever said about social mobility being a good thing. To the fullest extent possible, property should be kept in the hands of the hereditary aristocracy, because they at least have been taught from birth how wealthy people should behave. No manor-born aristocrat ever bought a chair covered in naked women riding Harleys.
I agree with everything Fake Phillip Blond says here, with the possible exception of his assertion in the second graf that RadOx won’t help you pick up chicks.