Vox Populi, Vox D.E.I.: Division, Derision, and the Death of Free Speech
Cultural Notes No. 58
ISSN 0267-677X (print)
ISSN 2042-2539 (online)
An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance, Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London, W1J 6HL.
© 2012: Libertarian Alliance; Prunella Jordaine.
Prunella Jordaine works in the private sector in the London area
FOR LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY!
What We Have Lost
“Happy is he,” said the Roman poet Virgil, “who knows the causes of things.”1 Let’s put him to the test. Here’s a thing: the steady and accelerating loss of free speech in Britain. Speak your mind on certain topics and at best you’ll face social opprobrium and questioning by the police. At worst, you’ll lose your job and end up in jail. Our supposed liberal democracy more and more resembles a communist dictatorship in which citizens self-censor for fear of the state – and of other citizens, who will eagerly report speech-criminals on sites like Twitter. Why has this happened? Well, what are the certain topics that send people to jail? Race is one. Homosexuality is another. Religion is a third. In every case, the justification for a repressive law is simple: the benevolent paternal state says it wants to protect a minority. And the minority in question is happy to be protected. Muslims have marched to demand the banning of a book called The Satanic Verses; they have never marched to demand the repeal of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2006. And they never will.
The same is true of other minorities and other laws. And modern Britain certainly has lots of minorities. The more enriched and vibrant our society has become, the more free speech has declined. Is this a coincidence? I don’t think it is. I think mass immigration has been the single biggest driver of the authoritarian state. Open borders have meant closed mouths. And I don’t think the process has been inadvertent. Look at New Labour, under the experimental ethicist Tony Blair. The most authoritarian government in modern British history was also the most enthusiastic – and underhanded – promoter of mass immigration.2 It was following a policy of what the Romans called Divide Et Impera – “Divide and Rule”. The increasing presence of ethnic minorities gives the excuse for repressive laws; and the repressive laws silence opposition to the increasing presence of ethnic minorities. Once the race-hate laws are in place, they justify the creation of further laws to protect further minorities. Britain was once governed by the principle Vox Populi, Vox Dei – “the Voice of the People is the Voice of God”. Now the Vox Populi, the voice of the majority, is subordinated to the Vox D.E.I., the voice of “Divide Et Impera”, the voice of the authoritarian, minority-importing, minority-promoting state.
Blasphemy and Blood-Money
England still has an official state religion, the Church of England, which was protected by a blasphemy law until 2008. It’s instructive to examine what writers were able to say about Christianity in pre-vibrant-enrichment days. In 1782, Edward Gibbon published The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which subtly and cleverly mocked Christianity and its founding figures. Despite its heterodoxy, the book swiftly became part of the literary canon. In 1866, the poet Swinburne was declaring that:
“Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean;
The world has grown grey with thy breath;
We have drunken of things Lethean,
And fed on the fullness of death…”3
The first line is a reference to the alleged dying words of the Emperor Julian (331-363), a.k.a. Julian the Apostate, who tried to restore paganism to Rome and, according to Christian historians, died in despair at his failure. In a Christian nation, Swinburne could decry the effects of Christianity and champion a pagan emperor without fear of prosecution or physical assault. He was, it is true, threatened with castration by an anonymous correspondent angered by the sensuality of his verse, but that was never official Anglican policy.4 A few decades later, Lytton Strachey was mocking Christianity in Eminent Victorians (1918):
For some time it had been obvious to every impartial onlooker that Newman was slipping down an inclined plane at the bottom of which lay one thing, and one thing only – the Roman Catholic Church. What was surprising was the length of time which he was taking to reach the inevitable destination. Years passed before he came to realise that his grandiose edifice of a Church Universal would crumble to pieces if one of its foundation stones was to be an amatory intrigue of Henry VIII. But, at last he began to see that terrible monarch glowering at him wherever he turned his eyes. First he tried to exorcise the spectre with the rolling periods of the Caroline divines; but it only strutted the more truculently. Then in despair he plunged into the writings of the early Fathers, and sought to discover some way out of his difficulties in the complicated labyrinth of ecclesiastical history. After months spent in the study of the Monophysite heresy, the alarming conclusion began to force itself upon him that the Church of England was perhaps in schism. Eventually he read an article by a Roman Catholic on St. Augustine and the Donatists, which seemed to put the matter beyond doubt. St. Augustine, in the fifth century, had pointed out that the Donatists were heretics because the Bishop of Rome had said so. The argument was crushing; it rang in Newman’s ears for days and nights; and, though he continued to linger on in agony for six years more, he never could discover any reply to it.5
Strachey was not threatened with prosecution for that or many other passages of mockery: on the contrary, the book was a best-seller and made his literary reputation. Newman himself, when he ended his spiritual agony by converting to Roman Catholicism, had been free for the rest of his life to criticize the Church of England and urge others to abandon it too. He received warm tributes from his many Anglican friends and admirers when he died in 1890. Evelyn Waugh, another Anglican convert to Catholicism, derided the Church of England in his novel A Handful of Dust (1934). In the depths of winter an elderly vicar, who once served in India as an army chaplain, addresses his rural flock:
“How difficult it is for us,” he began, blandly surveying his congregation, who coughed into their mufflers and chafed their chilblains under their woollen gloves, “to realize that it is indeed Christmas. Instead of the glowing log fire and windows tight-shuttered against the drifting snow, we have only the harsh glare of an alien sun. Instead of the placid ox and ass of Bethlehem, we have for companions the ravening tiger and the exotic camel, the furtive jackal and the ponderous elephant…”6
The Church of England was not taken seriously and did not take itself seriously. The blasphemy law was firmly in place, but the Church increasingly neglected its power to suppress or harass writers who attacked or offended it.
Come to Christ: the Kirkup Affair
When a magazine called Gay News was found guilty of blasphemy in 1977, the prosecution was private, brought by the morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse (1910-2001) of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association. She had been offended by James Kirkup’s poem “The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name”, which describes a centurion having sex with Jesus’ corpse after the crucifixion. In 2012, I am offended by the poem too. It is a very bad poem, like something written by a gay necrophiliac MacGonagall:
“I was alone with him.
For the last time
I kissed his mouth. My tongue
found his, bitter with death.
I licked his wound –
the blood was harsh
For the last time
I laid my lips around the tip
of that great cock, the instrument
of our salvation, our eternal joy.
The shaft, still throbbed, anointed
with death’s final ejaculation.
I knew he’d had it off with other men –
with Herod’s guards, with Pontius Pilate,
With John the Baptist, with Paul of Tarsus
with foxy Judas, a great kisser, with
the rest of the Twelve, together and apart.
He loved all men, body, soul and spirit – even me.
So now I took off my uniform, and, naked,
lay together with him in his desolation,
caressing every shadow of his cooling flesh,
hugging him and trying to warm him back to life.
Slowly the fire in his thighs went out,
while I grew hotter with unearthly love.
It was the only way I knew to speak our love’s proud name,
to tell him of my long devotion, my desire, my dread –
something we had never talked about. My spear, wet with blood,
his dear, broken body all open wounds,
and in each wound his side, his back,
his mouth – I came and came and came…”
Kirkup himself was not prosecuted, but the editor of Gay News, Denis Lemon, received a £500 fine and a suspended nine-month sentence.7 I can find no report of deaths or injuries inflicted by Christians (or aestheticians) enraged by the poem. Compare, now, another offensive writer and another offended religion:
When the news got around Jahilia that the whores of The Curtain had each assumed the identity of one of Mahound’s wives, the clandestine excitement of the city’s males was intense… So, in the Prophet’s absence, the men of Jahilia flocked to The Curtain, which experienced a three hundred per cent increase in business. For obvious reasons it was not politic to form a queue in the street, and so on many days a line of men curled around the innermost courtyard of the brothel, rotating about its centrally positioned Fountain of Love much as pilgrims rotated for other reasons around the ancient Black Stone… The fifteen-year-old whore “Ayesha” was the most popular with the paying public, just as her namesake was with Mahound… And there was a “Zainab bint Jahsh”, and a “Juwairiyah”, named after the bride captured on a military expedition, and a “Rehana the Jew”, a “Safia” and a “Maimunah”, and, most erotic of all the whores, who knew tricks she refused to teach to competitive “Ayesha”: the glamorous Egyptian, “Mary the Copt”. Strangest of all was the whore who had taken the name of “Zainab bint Khuzaimah”, knowing that this wife of Mahound had recently died. The necrophilia of her lovers, who forbade her to make any movements, was one of the more unsavoury aspects of the new regime at The Curtain. But business was business, and this, too, was a need that the courtesans fulfilled.
That is an extract from chapter six of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988). I think that Rushdie, like Kirkup, is a bad and pretentious writer, but I can’t fault his attention to detail. His derision of Islam is scrupulously minute, right down to the second syllable of “Mahound” – dogs are regarded as unclean animals by Muslims.8 Anyone ignorant of what followed the publication of The Satanic Verses will find many sources online.9 There is still a substantial bounty on Rushdie’s head; his editors and translators have been murdered or badly wounded; and no publisher in the Western world would now dare issue a similar book. No newspaper in Britain, for example, dared reproduce the satirical cartoons of Muhammad published in Denmark in 2005. Non-Muslim nations censor themselves out of fear of their Muslim minorities. I don’t disagree with this fear, but I do disagree with the mass immigration that created it. That mass immigration continues from Muslim nations like Pakistan, where lawyers shower murderers in rose-petals and challenge the release of mentally handicapped children from prison:
A lawyer representing the man who accused a Pakistani Christian girl of blasphemy has said that if she is not convicted, Muslims could “take the law into their own hands”. Rao Abdur Raheem cited the example of Mumtaz Qadri, the man who last year shot dead a [Christian] politician who had called for reform of the much-abused blasphemy law… The girl, Rimsha Masih, from Mehrabadi, Islamabad, whose family says she is 11, was arrested this month and charged with desecrating the Qur’an after a neighbour, Malik Hammad, claimed that he saw her with burnt pages of the holy text in a bag she was carrying. Her family had hoped that she would be granted bail on Thursday after a medical report this week found that she was a minor – thus eligible for bail – and had learning difficulties. But those hopes were dashed when Raheem challenged the report and the hearing was postponed… Later, sitting in his office beneath a large poster of Qadri, Raheem told the Guardian: “If the court is not allowed to do its work, because the state is helping the accused, then the public has no other option except to take the law into their own hands.”
Last year, many lawyers rallied around Qadri, who killed Punjab governor Salman Taseer, showering him with rose petals when he appeared in court. Raheem said he had taken on the case for free because he was convinced that Masih should be punished. “This girl is guilty. If the state overrides the court, then God will get a person to do the job,” he said. However, it seems unclear why the accuser suspected Masih and how he saw inside the bag that she was apparently carrying. It is also unclear whether any burnt pages were actually from the Qur’an… Blasphemy allegations are often made on the flimsiest of evidence but enraged mobs pressure the police into registering cases. In court, the alleged act of blasphemy cannot even be repeated, as that would be an act of blasphemy in itself, so verdicts are reached in the absence of the main piece of evidence. Earlier this year, a mentally disturbed Muslim man in Bahawalpur, a city in the middle of the country, was accused of blasphemy and arrested. After a crowd of up to 2,000 stormed the police station and dragged him out, he was beaten and burned alive.
In 2009, a mob attacked an area where Christians lived in Gojra, a town in Punjab province, burning at least eight people to death. The fate of the Christians at Gojra hangs heavily over Masih’s own community. They fled en masse after Rimsha Masih was taken away by police from her home. Now, two weeks on, many of the Christians have trickled back, but they remain terrified.10
To repeat: “Verdicts are reached in the absence of the main piece of evidence.” But anyone who thinks “Kafkaesque” should reflect that, in the U.K., it could conceivably be illegal to say that Islam is bad for free speech. Truth, after all, is no defence under the array of repressive laws deployed by the state in the never-ending battle against hate.
Mill’s Liberty and Liberal Modernity
The state broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation, has been central to this authoritarian project. Like its in-house paper, The Guardian, the BBC is “liberal” in an Orwellian sense that inverts the classic liberalism of John Stuart Mill:
We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. First: the opinion which it is attempted to suppress by authority may possibly be true. Those who desire to suppress it, of course deny its truth; but they are not infallible. They have no authority to decide the question for all mankind, and exclude every other person from the means of judging. To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility. Its condemnation may be allowed to rest on this common argument, not the worse for being common…11
The BBC does not agree with Mill. It was behind the two trials in 2006 of Nick Griffin, leader of the anti-immigration British National Party, for incitement to racial hatred. Griffin had been secretly recorded in a private meeting making derogatory comments about Islam and its followers.12 There were no resignations or protests by BBC employees over this politically motivated espionage, which might seem better suited to a police state. If any employees did have doubts, they decided that silence was safer than speech. During the first trial, The Guardian disapprovingly noted that ‘Mr Griffin, of Llanerfyl, Powys, also forecast Islamist terrorist bombings by “asylum seekers or second generation Pakistanis”.’13 The forecast proved uncannily accurate. When Griffin was acquitted in that trial, he was put on trial again and again acquitted. If he had been successfully convicted and jailed, it seems certain that the BBC would have gone into loud and prolonged orgasm, as it did after the jailing of two white men in 2012 for the racist murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Mill’s principles on free speech are entirely rejected by the liberal BBC. Instead, it follows the principles helpfully set out by its chief political reporter, Andrew Marr, in 1999:
And the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain ‘natural’ beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off. The police are first in line to be burdened further, but a new Race Relations Act will impose the will of the state on millions of other lives too.14
That is one of the most sinister things I have ever read in a British newspaper, but it perfectly expresses the principles of modern liberals and the BBC: “Obey the will of the state!” And the will of the state continues to triumph on mass immigration and hate-speech laws. The BBC, funded by a compulsory tax on working-class whites, has consistently dismissed, derided, and demonized their entirely legitimate concerns about immigration. It has also demonized working-class whites themselves. Although the BBC attempted to have Nick Griffin jailed for incitement to racial hatred, it continually incites racial hatred of its own. Or so I would suggest. What effect does it have on ethnic minorities to be continually reminded of the murder of the black Stephen Lawrence by a gang of working-class whites in 1993? It was a very rare and unusual event: whites do not often murder non-whites. The BBC and Guardian would have to wait twelve years before a similar case came their way in Liverpool, where a young black male was murdered by racist whites in 2005.15 But certain other murders, similarly racist, sometimes involving worse and more sadistic violence, have not been turned into martyr-cults. Anyone who understands the semiotics of the liberal media will not need to be told what features render these other murders uninteresting to the BBC and Guardian.16
Saints and Sinners
Martyr-cult is, by the way, a good description of the iconography and ideology surrounding Stephen Lawrence’s murder. Anyone familiar with European history should be able to see clear parallels with one or another of the child-martyrs supposedly murdered by Satanic, anti-Christian Jews in the Middle Ages. The death of a holy innocent was used to demonize and scapegoat an out-group and buttress the power of a religion. One huge difference, of course, is that the death of Stephen Lawrence was not fabricated or blamed on entirely innocent individuals. The sociology and psychology at work are otherwise suggestively similar. The Catholic church benefited from the martyr-cults then, demonizing the out-group of Jews; anti-racists and the “race relations industry” benefit from the martyr-cult now, demonizing the out-group of working-class whites.
At the centre of the cult is Stephen Lawrence’s mother Doreen, who was honoured with the elephant-dung-incorporating No Woman No Cry (1998) by the award-winning Anglo-Nigerian artist Chris Ofili. She was one of those carrying the Olympic flag in the 2012 London Olympics; earlier in the year she appeared on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs to discuss her musical tastes and reflect on her status as Britain’s leading victim of racism. She has suffered a painful loss, but she is not a particularly intelligent or insightful woman and other British mothers have lost children to racist murder. There was never any popular demand for her to take this prominent and continuing role in public life, but I suggest that the state finds her useful as a symbol of white evil and black victimhood. She is, I suggest, an examplar of the “Numinous Negro”, a black who sets an example of higher morality and spirituality to whites.17 Doreen Lawrence, who was born in Jamaica, is a kind of ethno-ethical evangelist to the white British, come to show us the error of our violent and bigoted ways and to oversee reform of the “institutionally racist” Metropolitan Police.
This ethical evangelism is never set in its full context by state propagandists like the BBC Doreen Lawrence’s homeland Jamaica is far more bigoted, violent and corrupt than the United Kingdom. There are more murders not merely in Jamaica as a whole, with a population of about three million, but in the capital Kingston alone. The murder rate in Jamaica is approximately forty-three times higher than in the U.K. and many murders in this country are committed by Jamaican immigrants or their descendants.18 According to The Guardian:
[Jamaica] has the distinction of being regarded as one of the most violently homophobic countries in the world. In a recent survey 82% of Jamaican people said they were prejudiced against gay people. Vigilante attacks against gay men are common – at least 35 people have been murdered because of their sexuality since 1997. Last year , two men were hacked to death because they were gay. The latest victim was a 16-year-old youth chopped to death in his home by early morning invaders because of his “questionable relations” with another man.
Former prime minister Bruce Golding set a tone of impunity for those prepared to use violence against gay people in Jamaica: during a BBC Hardtalk interview in 2008 he said that he would not allow gay people to be a part of his cabinet. According to the law, consensual sex between two men in Jamaica will get you 10 years of imprisonment and hard labour. Any “act of gross indecency” – kissing for instance – will get you two years.19
Will Jamaica spend huge sums of money pursuing the hate-criminals who hack gays to death? Will it endlessly flagellate its politicians and police for their “institutional homophobia”? I suggest it won’t. The Jamaican police do not merely ignore hate-crime: they commit it for themselves:
Police raided the only gay bar on the touristy Hip Strip in Montego Bay, Jamaica, last month, according to queer organisation J-FLAG. Around 20 officers kicked in doors, shouted anti-gay slurs, beat and pistol-whipped patrons and made everyone leave, J-FLAG said. As the customers fled, patrons of nearby straight clubs pelted them with bottles and rocks, J-FLAG said. Ten of the raid’s victims sought medical treatment for injuries sustained in the attack, according to J-FLAG. There was a similar raid in early February at a gay club in Kingston, the capital. Officials have provided no explanation for either incident.
On 25 February, Jamaican gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson received an e-mailed death threat after his letter to the editor about the raids was published in a local newspaper. The signed e-mail said: “listen battyman we in jamaica wont endorse r accept you faggots no matter what the fuck u guys try 2 say r do…..get that through ur thick skulls!!!!!!!!!!!! we have different culture n upbringing fr north americans or whomever else…..you should consider moving sumwhere there……in the meantime shut the fuck up r you will fucking die!!!!!!!!” Tomlinson reported the e-mail to police and an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He requested that the threat be publicized “just in case anything happens to me.”20
Across the Atlantic from this state-sanctioned homophobia and violence, official figures in the U.K. reveal that more recorded hate-crime is committed against whites by minorities than vice versa.21 If all groups were committing hate-crime at equal rates, this would not be the case. Jamaica’s hate-police and the greater hate-propensity of minorities in Britain are ignored by the state in its promotion of the martyr-cult of Stephen Lawrence. Nearly two decades of news-reports about, enquiries into, and trials arising from the Lawrence murder have had clear and not necessarily positive effects. They have created resentment and paranoia among ethnic minorities, and guilt and indignation among whites. The indignation is felt by those who, like Andrew Marr, do not identify with the white working-class. No wonder, then, that the hate-speech laws are so heartily supported both by ethnic minorities and by many whites, sometimes as members of allegedly oppressed and persecuted minorities themselves. For decades, the British state and the BBC have used their huge prestige and authority to send a clear message about “hate” and its consequences. The result is that we see not merely acceptance of repressive laws but positive enthusiasm for them.
Brought to Brooker: Bashing the Bashers
The only regret felt by many liberals about the loss of free speech is that it hasn’t gone far enough. I found it another sinister experience to read the response of readers to a column by Charlie Brooker in The Guardian in 2009. Brooker was not pleased by comments made by the journalist Jan Moir about the premature death of Stephen Gately, a gay member of the Irish band Boyzone:
The funeral of Stephen Gately has not yet taken place. The man hasn’t been buried yet. Nevertheless, Jan Moir of the Daily Mail has already managed to dance on his grave. For money. It has been 20 minutes since I’ve read her now-notorious column, and I’m still struggling to absorb the sheer scope of its hateful idiocy. It’s like gazing through a horrid little window into an awesome universe of pure blockheaded spite. Spiralling galaxies of ignorance roll majestically against a backdrop of what looks like dark prejudice, dotted hither and thither with winking stars of snide innuendo.22
Brooker ended his self-righteous, self-congratulatory column with a virtual call-to-arms:
Jan’s paper, the Daily Mail, absolutely adores it when people flock to Ofcom to complain about something offensive, especially when it’s something they’ve only learned about second-hand via an inflammatory article in a newspaper. So it would undoubtedly be delighted if, having read this, you paid a visit to the Press Complaints Commission website (www.pcc.org.uk) to lodge a complaint about Moir’s article on the basis that it breaches sections 1, 5 and 12 of its code of practice.
Brooker’s readers weren’t happy with Moir exercising her freedom of speech either. They wanted her to lose her job and her newspaper to lose lots of money. They also wanted to congratulate Brooker on his role as self-appointed chief of thought-police:
RichardLittleJohnson, 16 October 2009 5:01PM: Well said Charlie. The best way to hurt the Daily Heil is to complain to their advertisers – I would dearly love to see a loss of ad revenue for that spiteful fascist rag.
BellaM, 16 October 2009 5:03PM: She should resign, and whoever decided her piece of trash article was fit to run should’ve been fired.
MediaMouse, 16 October 2009 5:05PM: Brilliant. Totally brilliant. That’s all.
LeeHerring, 16 October 2009 5:08PM: I like the fact that the PCC have set up a special link for people coming to the site to complain about this vile piece. I dislike the fact the PCC is a powerless in-house talking shop and that this storm will do little more than raise the profile of this horrid newspaper and this pathetic journalist.
Libbyrapple, 16 October 2009 5:11PM: Bravo Brooker!
But here and there among the wanna-be censors were the actually censored:
Rerab, 16 October 2009 5:12PM: This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.
Like the liberal BBC, the liberal Guardian does not believe in free speech. And like the BBC’s target Nick Griffin, who accurately forecast the 7/7 bombings in London, Brooker’s target Jan Moir accurately forecast the death of Amy Winehouse. I don’t know what the censored comments to Brooker’s article said, but I can produce an example of what the Guardian shields its readers from. In 2007, there was a controversy about comments by the American geneticist James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of D.N.A. He expressed doubts about the intellectual capacities of black Africans. The British geneticist Steven Rose used a Guardian article to attack Watson and his ‘long-exploded racist claim that “Africans” are inherently less intelligent than “us”’. Someone commented on the article like this:
“Long-exploded” in your Marxoid-Boasian dreams, Rose. You are a dinosaur from Stephen Jay Gould’s corner of Jurassic Park. The existence of average differences in IQ between mankind’s major races which are substantial and predictable; the fact that IQ measures something real and important; the robustness of the methods used to assay these scores; their persistence, their incorrigibility by human post-natal interventions and social engineering; and their tremendous impact on the collective outcomes for these groups … all are so well established that it is hardly a matter of serious dispute among consenting psychometricians in private any more.
Now it’s just a matter of breaking gently to ordinary people the news that the real deal is what their common sense told them all along. The bromides the PC experts kept stuffing down their throats from c. 1950 were nothing more. Race is back, and it’s bigger than ever. Just rejoice at that news! Most will shrug their shoulders and say “we knew all along – like dog breeds, isn’t it?” A few gormless liberals will have nerve storms: the Nazis are coming, we must go on lying!
But it’s too late. Now medical genetics are further confirming racial variation in the genotypes of sub-species, including their brains, and enormous policy implications are opening up – which researchers not hag-ridden by Rose’s egalitarian mysticism will certainly not ignore, even if his kind keep the lid on honest debate for a few years longer in the West, censoring and sacking. We will merely lag behind China, Japan, Russia and India: where science is unshackled by soppiness, and where the very idea of race as “only skin deep” or a “social construct,” of IQ as “culturally biased” and all the other squid ink squirted by Steven, Jacqueline and their dwindling tribe of lefty Luddites is laughed to scorn every day. Darwin wouldn’t be surprised at the change in the wind that at last has arrived. He might, however, be horrified at how those who profess to teach in his name have suppressed the most important aspect of his theory, in the service of a Platonic falsehood.23
The comment was soon deleted, but had been reproduced elsewhere on the internet. The Guardian does not want its readers to see intelligent, informed arguments against liberal dogma on the non-existence of race. It doesn’t want to win the debate: it wants to prevent the debate ever happening. The Watson affair is an example of how those who oppose free speech use more than just the law to suppress ideas they dislike. Free speech hasn’t been lost simply because people are scared of going to jail. They are also scared to express opinions that are not illegal, because of the reaction that will follow. When James Watson made his comments about the relative intelligence of blacks and non-blacks, there was no suggestion that he should be arrested and put on trial for them when he visited the U.K. to promote his autobiography. But it was successfully suggested that his appearances here be cancelled. And in America, home of the First Amendment, it was successfully suggested that he lose his job as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an important research institute on Long Island. If an elderly Nobel Laureate is treated like that, it’s no surprise that less important people decide to keep quiet for self-protection – or that the totalitarians are emboldened in their demands for even less free speech and even more laws. Censorship seems to make hungry where most it satisfies.24
Mass Immigration and Ideo-Machismo
Many libertarians, of course, deny any necessary connection between mass immigration and the loss of free speech. They argue that the state’s policies on multi-culturalism and hate-speech are bad, but mass immigration itself is doubleplusgood. Change the policies and all will be well. Or so they say. Meanwhile, the policies remain unchanged and the mass immigration continues with their full support. In fact, pro-immigration libertarians suffer from the same ideological disease as the anti-free-speech state. The disease was described by the American libertarian Murray Rothbard like this:
The egalitarian revolt against biological reality, as significant as it is, is only a subset of a deeper revolt: against the ontological structure of reality itself, against the “very organization of nature”; against the universe as such. At the heart of the egalitarian left is the pathological belief that there is no structure of reality; that all the world is a tabula rasa that can be changed at any moment in any desired direction by the mere exercise of human will – in short, that reality can be instantly transformed by the mere wish or whim of human beings.25
In other words, many libertarians believe that the problem is not the reality of mass immigration, not the reality of large and growing minorities with alien traditions and cultures. No, it’s our wishes and whims that have been wrong: we haven’t followed the right policies. If we do, racial and cultural reality will miraculously alter in the right direction. But after decades of “mistaken” state policies that have supported by minorities, what do pro-immigration libertarians suppose will happen if those policies are reversed? Where do they suppose the will to reverse the policies is going to come from? And how quickly, if at all, do they suppose a reversal will achieve the desired effects? Libertarian support for mass immigration is so clearly self-defeating that one wonders what is really at work. It is very easy to see that immigration has harmed free speech, impossible to see how immigration could ever have strengthened free speech. How can immigration from a country like Pakistan or Jamaica be good for free speech or any other libertarian cause? But perhaps support for open borders helps libertarians assert their ideological virility: the madder the idea, the greater the machismo of its proponents. In America, the First Amendment has masked the pernicious effects of immigration, but is itself coming under attack on behalf of immigrants and other minorities.26
In Britain, which has no First Amendment guaranteeing legal protection for free speech, mass immigration has destroyed our historic freedoms fairly easily and fairly quickly. It provided the excuse for hate-speech laws and the hate-speech laws helped silence opposition to further mass immigration. Other hate-speech laws protecting other minorities have inevitably followed. Vox D.E.I. trumps Vox Populi. The state and its minority clients win; the majority and their historic freedoms lose. And will continue to lose, because our slide into the totalitarian abyss is by no means complete. There is a joke about Europe that runs like this:
European Heaven is where the English are the police, the French are the cooks, the Swiss are the bankers, the Italians are the lovers, and the Germans are the engineers.
European Hell is where the English are the cooks, the French are the engineers, the Swiss are the lovers, the Italians are the bankers, and the Germans are the police.
If Britain had experienced mass immigration by the French since the 1960s, our cuisine would now be better and our engineering possibly worse.27 Mass immigration by other European groups would have had other positive and negative effects. Instead, Britain has had decades of immigration from the Third World. Free speech does not flourish in the Third World and no longer flourishes in Britain. This is cause and state-assisted effect. Anyone who doubts that immigration has been bad for free speech should consider this. Unlike free speech, certain things do flourish in the Third World. They are now flourishing in Britain too. If I listed and analysed them, I might open myself and the Libertarian Alliance to a prosecution for incitement to racial hatred. Accordingly, my lips are sealed.
(1) “Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas…” Georgics (29 BC), 490. The literal translation is “Happy the one who was able to know the causes of things”.
(2) For Labour’s secret policy of massively increasing immigration, see for example ‘That NuLabour “mistake” over mass immigration wasn’t a mistake non-shock’, Robert Henderson, 30th October, 2011, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://tinyurl.com/8wfstc9;
‘ Labour wanted mass immigration to make UK more multicultural, says former adviser’, Tom Whitehead, Daily Telegraph, 23rd October, 2009, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://tinyurl.com/2uzb8gj.
(3) Lines from “Hymn to Proserpina”, in Poems and Ballads (1866).
(4) In a letter to Sir Richard Burton in January 1867, Swinburne said: ‘One anonymous letter, from Dublin threatened me, if I did not suppress my book within six weeks from that date, with castration. The writer, “when I least expected, would waylay me, slip my head in a bag, and remove the obnoxious organs; he had seen his gamekeeper do it with cats.”’ See ‘The letters of Algernon Charles Swinburne’, n/k, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://tinyurl.com/99rbryh.
(5) Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey’, n/k, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2447.
(6) ‘English Gothic’, ch. IV.
(7) ‘Whitehouse v Lemon’, Wikipedia, 4th July 2012, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitehouse_v_Lemon.
(8) “Mahound” is a medieval Christian name for Muhammad, but was undoubtedly chosen by Rushdie in part because of its canine resonance.
(9) See, for example, ‘The Satanic Verses Controversy’, Wikipedia, 19th September 2012, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Verses_controversy.
(10) Saeed Shah, ‘Pakistan blasphemy case: ‘Muslims could take law into their own hands’’, Guardian, 30th August 2012, retrieved 22th September 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/30/pakistan-blasphemy-case-muslims-law/.
(11) John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, ‘Chapter II: Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion’,1869, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://www.bartleby.com/130/.
(12) BBC News, ‘Going undercover in the BNP’, 15th July 2004, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3896213.stm.
(13) Martin Wainwright , ‘BNP leader’s slurs on Lawrence’, The Guardian, Thursday 19 January 2006, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2006/jan/19/uk.race/.
(14) Andrew Marr, ‘Poor? Stupid? Racist? Then don’t listen to a pampered white liberal like me’, Guardian, 28th February 1999, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/1999/feb/28/lawrence.ukcrime4.
(15) ‘Murder of Anthony Walker’, Wikipedia, 12th September 2012, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Anthony_Walker.
(16) Sean Gabb, ‘Britain Must Weep for Stephen Lawrence – or Else! But Not For Richard Everitt (Who?)’, VDare, 9th January 2012, retrieved 26th January 2012, http://www.vdare.com/articles/britain-must-weep-for-stephen-lawrence-or-else-but-not-for-richard-everitt-who.
(17) Richard Brookhiser, ‘The Numinous Negro’, National Review, 20th August 2001, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/220766/numinous-negro/flashback.
(18) ‘List of countries by intentional homicide rate’, Wikipedia, 18th September 2012, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate.
(19) Maurice Tomlinson, ‘Violent prejudice against Jamaica’s gay people must stop’, Guardian, 2012, retrieved 22th September 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/27/violent-prejudice-jamaica-gay-people.
(20) Rex Wockner, ‘Jamaican gay bar raided by police’, Pink Paper, 1st March 2011, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://news.pinkpaper.com/NewsStory.aspx?id=4921.
(21) See the BBC Home Affairs editor Mark Easton attempt to spin away this unwelcome news in ‘Racism and race crime redefined’, BBC News, 8th November 2006, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6128466.stm.
(22) Charlie Brooker, ‘Why there was nothing ‘human’ about Jan Moir’s column on the death of Stephen Gately’, 16th October 2009, Guardian, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/16/stephen-gately-jan-moir.
(23) Steven Rose, ‘The wrong diagnosis: The scientist James Watson ought to get his targets more clearly in his sights before firing off more of his characteristic bile’, Guardian, 17th October, 2007, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/oct/17/thewrongdiagnosis/.
(24) An adaptation of these lines from Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra (1623), act II, scene 2:
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies…
(25) Murray N. Rothbard, ‘Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature’, 1973, retrieved 22nd September 2012, http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard31.html.
(26) For more on the First Amendment and those who would like it reformed, see Paul Gottfried, ‘A Jewish Conservative Wonders: Is Free Speech Really A Jewish Tradition?’, VDare, 21st July 2012, retrieved 26th September 2012, http://www.vdare.com/articles/a-jewish-conservative-wonders-is-free-speech-really-a-jewish-tradition.
(27) A comparison between the French and British rail-networks suggests that the possibility is not great.