Monday, 18 June 2018

The identity politics racket Part 4 – the dark skin people problem

The most strident element in the identity politics racket has always been the impossible fight against ‘racism’. Liberals are certainly right when they say that an individual can do nothing about the skin colour into which they were born. Thus it must clearly be unacceptable that people should be insulted and abused because of the colour of their skin, or face racial discrimination in the provision of public services. But it does not follow that the issue of race should be excluded from political debate, or that those who identify problems on the subject should be subject to vitriolic condemnation.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr urged that people should ‘not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character’. This admonition is fine in theory, but may encounter problems in practice. The main barrier is that people of different races are likely also to belong to separate cultures and religions, or speak different languages, so creating hurdles to communication. In addition, like it or not, most people instinctively tend to identify with others of the same racial group, thereby forming their own sense of community. So the fight against ‘racism’ is one that is unlikely to ever be achieved, as it appears to be against human nature, and this factor needs to be recognised if the problems associated with race are to be properly addressed.

It should be remembered that any racial problems created in this country have been caused, not by ordinary British people, but by past Conservative and Labour governments who permitted, and sometimes encouraged, the influx of large numbers of people of different races, despite warnings about the many problems this policy would likely bring. So lectures from politicians on the casual ‘racism’ of some working class white people should be treated with the contempt they deserve, since they as a class, not the public, created the problem in the first place. The blame for this situation should not be placed on immigrants either, since they were motivated by a desire to improve their standard of living and life prospects.

Those white liberals who are the most vocal in their condemnation of ‘racism’ are rarely inspired by a genuine interest in the welfare of black people. Their motivation instead is mostly a desire to parade their moral superiority, to indulge in a cheap and facile public demonstration of what has come to be known as virtue signalling. As a consequence, such posturing has for decades had a most pernicious effect, as the accusation of ‘racism’ has struck fear into the whole political class, including Conservatives.

The end result is that politicians have failed to tackle, or even address, the continuing chain migration that has allowed whole swathes of British cities such as London. Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester, Bradford and others, to become subject to the slow motion ethnic cleansing of their indigenous white British residents, replaced in turn by people of Asian, African or West Indian descent, whose main loyalty for many of them, is to their own communities and not to British society as a whole.

The effects of this damaging change have been highlighted in government reports and TV programmes about parallel communities leading separate lives within the same towns. Ethnic concentrations and white flight reflect the impact such divisions have made on the British nation. Although a minority of people of ethnic background do their best to assimilate into British society, a significant number make no attempt whatsoever, content to remain in their ethnic, cultural and religious ghettoes.

Given their wilful blindness you might expect that it would be politicians who would be condemned for allowing this situation to occur. But instead all the opprobrium has been directed at the ‘racists’ who have drawn attention to this open ended attack on the cohesion of British society. The current focus on identity politics by liberals, obsessing about the victimhood of black people, is only making matters worse, as well as alienating the white majority who, in their hearts and in their private conversations, do not share the outlook or priorities of the vocal anti-racists.

The problem may well be intractable but the most likely means of addressing it is by encouraging assimilation, and eschewing any preferential treatment or special pleading made on behalf of minorities. Surprisingly, the wisest response to the issue of ethnic immigration came from former Labour deputy leader Roy Hattersley who advised that 'without integration [having no] limitation is inexcusable; without limitation integration is impossible'.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Peter Hitchens Abolition of Britain Part 6 – Culture

Peter Hitchens book The Abolition Of Britain was one of the first to challenge the gradual takeover of British institutions by the politically correct class. Their modus operandi has been to introduce small changes incrementally, ostensibly to either protect our own personal best interests or to further the welfare of the wider community, but in reality achieving ever greater control of citizens’ lives with the further objective of policing the parameters of permissible political discourse. One change for the worst that Hitchens identifies is the degradation of traditional cultural values.

According to Hitchens a major factor in our cultural decline has been the influence of television. He accuses it of ‘helping to spread false ideas about society, through propagandist drama’ which has lead to ‘a national conformism among the young, in taste, humour, morals and politics’. As a consequence ‘the feverish, unsettling changes’ it has brought about have weakened people’s attachment to their ‘traditions and institutions, liberties and independence’ that has resulted in a ‘slow motion coup d’etat’.

Hitchens acknowledges that the British cultural revolution has so far been free of direct violence to people. Instead he argues that violence has been done ‘to institutions, to traditions, ways of doing things and to language’. In so doing ‘we have abolished the very customs, manners, methods, standards and laws’ which have restrained us from the ‘sort of barbaric behaviour that less happy lands suffer’. He believes that ‘the cultural battle, ignored by most politicians, is often more decisive and important than the noisier clash of parties’.

Hitchens draws attention to the long legacy of cultural conservatism which only began to break down in the 1960s. As a consequence this allowed ‘progressive’ cultural iconoclasts to reconstruct society ‘so that the most abject conformism appears to be rebellious and safely undisciplined’. This dissemblance allowed genuine individualism to be branded as ‘merely eccentric, barmy or contemptible’ resulting in a ‘soap-watching admass conformist society, happy to deride free thought and suppress heresy’.

Hitchens specifically addresses the devaluation of language ‘stripped of its literary references where almost nobody has heard of Cranmer or Tyndale, and Shakespeare is considered too rich a mixture for our young’. Similarly architecture ‘once full of messages of authority and faith, is now lumpish and unhistorical’ reflecting the worship of ‘money, power, technology, even of ugliness itself’. He eulogises a past when Britain was a ‘multinational state, though not a multicultural one’ in which people ‘understood authority and respected it without grovelling to it, for it was also a society of individualists’. In contrast he laments the present time which ‘in a generation, all this has been demolished, concreted over, reformed out of existence’.

He rightly denounces the supposedly Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher as a ‘false dawn’ since neither she nor her party were ‘interested in morals or culture’, believing instead in ‘the cleansing power of the market’. As a result she unwittingly ‘helped to destroy many of the things Conservatism once stood for’ and was ‘unable to reverse a single part of the cultural revolution’. In power the Tories could come up with nothing better than ‘the brute force of the market’, a materialistic outlook that ignored ‘patriotism, morality, tradition and beauty, elevating the businessman to the role of bishop’.

Fortunately, some of Hitchens fears have not come to pass. He predicted that ‘unfair referendums in which the BBC is not required to show balance’ would be held to ‘rush the country into the Euro and into proportional representation’. As it turned out the New Labour government was never able to commit to joining the Euro, and the referendum to introduce a PR system was lost as the British people voted overwhelmingly to retain the first past the post system. He speculated on whether the British people ‘any longer possess the will or the identity’ to resist Britain’s immersion in a European superstate, or whether they will ‘sink, exhausted and grateful, into the mushy embrace of the new Europe’. Reassuringly, the British public decided to leave the European Union altogether, so this threat has at least been lifted for the foreseeable future.

Peter Hitchens analysis of the cultural decline of Britain is broadly correct. The mainstream media has become debased and degenerate, continually pandering to the baser elements in society. The BBC, once synonymous with high minded cultural values, has been transformed into a mouthpiece for multicultural, politically correct, conformist group-think. Barbarous architecture is widespread, repulsive genres of ‘music’ such as rap, hip-hop and trance are promoted uncritically, and sensationalised, celebrity obsessed, gutter journalism has become the norm. Although Peter Hitchens is for the most part right on many issues, one subject he largely ignored was the impact of large scale third world immigration, with its consequential undermining of traditional British cultural values, social cohesion and sense of shared community.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Peter Hitchens Abolition of Britain Part 5 – Permissiveness

Peter Hitchens is one of the foremost critics of the British politically correct establishment, noted for its reflex group think orthodoxies and addiction to virtue signalling. Twenty years ago he wrote The Abolition of Britain, one of the first books to challenge this creeping authoritarianism. One trend he deplored was the rise in sexual permissiveness that occurred from the 1960s onwards.

Thus he condemns ‘the top shelves of newsagents that now sag with explicit pornography’, ‘mainstream newspapers which cheerfully display half clothed women’ and ‘bare breasts that are now so common on television’. He does not confine himself to his distaste for male titillation but also attacks ‘magazines for well-off, educated, professional women packed with blatant articles about subjects that were once judged to be so intimate that few would have dared mention them even to a doctor’.

He asserts that ‘millions of people probably shudder inwardly when they catch sight’ of this kind of material but they know that ‘it is not respectable to make a fuss’. He exposes the double standard whereby the feminist MP Clare Short condemnation of Page Three is endorsed by the ‘fashionable world’, whilst the equally forceful protests of the conservative Christian Mary Whitehouse are ‘ignored as embarrassing, suburban and repressed’.

Hitchens cites the impact of the Lady Chatterley trial in 1961, widely recognised as having kick started the permissive society, and the Oz schoolkids issue trial a decade later, seen by many as the high watermark of let it all hang out freewheeling bohemian sexual liberation, before feminism took hold. Also being prosecuted at this time was the Little Red Schoolbook, described by Hitchens as a ‘manual of sexual licence for the young’. However, in the view of the publisher the issue at stake was ‘not sex education for young people, but the ability of any people to question authority’. According to Hitchens much of the advice being offered in the book ‘would be issued at government expense to schoolchildren less than twenty years afterwards’.

Hitchens quotes the aims of supporters of publications such as the above as being to abolish ‘undercover puritanism, the more relaxed people were in sex, the healthier the community would be’ and to criticize ‘the lack of dissemination of sexual education’. He concluded that these trials were ‘the last futile skirmish in a lost war’ against pornography and authority in general. As a consequence ‘television, radio and the cinema realized that the restraints were off’ leading to ‘nakedness, explicit portrayals of sex, liberal use of swear words, homosexuality and prostitution’ tentatively at first but ‘quickly becoming so commonplace that they ceased to count as news’.

Hitchens points out that the growth in material which he clearly considers objectionable was facilitated by the passing of the Obscene Publications Act, which included a provision of ‘literary merit’ a phrase he considers to be ‘utterly subjective’. This was exploited ‘to justify the breaking of old taboos’ in which the ‘arbiters of the new morality believed that one’s sexual life did not need to be regulated either by law or conscience’. He observed that ‘the fiercest resistance to this change ‘came from the lower middle class and the respectable working class’ who believed ‘most passionately in order, hierarchy and morality, because they live closer to the edge of chaos’.

Hitchens makes some valid points as the vast majority of pornography is degrading in nature, both to performer and viewer. Promiscuous sexual activity can be a physically risky activity because of the spread of contagious diseases, as well as being spiritually and mentally demeaning by setting a low value on physical intimacy. But at no time in the modern era have there been laws against fornication and adultery. Instead, until the 1960s, there were strong social and religious taboos against such behaviour, although often breached by mostly the higher and lower classes in society.

Virtually all pornography is now on line, and thus is mostly invisible except to those (mainly males) who actively seek it out. Also, the amount of casual exposed flesh of young attractive females has largely been curbed in most of the mainstream media outlets as a result of feminist pressure. The real issue at stake here, which Hitchens does not properly address, is the extent to which the state should intervene in the sexual behaviour of its citizens. He rightly condemns the growing authoritarianism of the left in personal matters, but seems content for the state to prohibit those activities which he personally finds objectionable. Not for the first time this leads him open to charges of hypocrisy and double standards.

Normal sexual attraction towards good looking members of the opposite sex should never be stigmatised. It must surely be possible to allow for a more wholesome interest to be fostered that avoids the debasement of pornography on the one hand, and the kind of prudery endorsed by Peter Hitchens, or the puritanism and repression sought by feminists. At the present time those on the extremes appear to be monopolising the debate at the expense of the vast majority with a normal healthy sexual interest.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Peter Hitchens Abolition of Britain Part 4 – Marriage

Nearly twenty years ago Peter Hitchens wrote his book The Abolition of Britain, a well timed riposte to the politically correct takeover of British institutions that had incrementally occurred during the previous quarter century or so. One issue he raised of much concern was the undermining of marriage through ever easier divorce, with the consequential huge increase in broken families resulting in serious damage to the upbringing of children.

Peter Hitchens describes the family as ‘the greatest fortress of human liberty, proof against all earthly powers’ than can ‘defy the will of authority, the might of wealth, and is the most effective means of passing lore, culture, manners and traditions through the generations’. He claims that leftists, with their addiction to state control and indoctrination, have always mistrusted the family since they ‘cannot control what goes on there, what ideas are taught, and what loyalties are fostered.’ Hitchens continues ‘full family independence would leave people free to cling to individual ideas of conscience’ adding that ‘the freer a society is, the more it leaves the family alone’.

Within traditional society ‘the family for all its faults, was one of the main pillars of the older British culture, including the idea than an Englishman’s home is his castle’. Hitchens deprecates the trend during recent decades which has resulted in ‘the least individualistic generation in known history’ through which ‘the growing child is much more easily influenced by his own age group, themselves under pressure from TV programmes, advertisers and fashion.’

Hitchens notes that ‘English marriage law was one of the oldest and most inflexible in the Christian world’. He then goes on to describe the measures that were gradually and incrementally introduced to make divorce easier, which are outlined in more detail in this previous post It should be remembered that the early divorce reforms in the 19th century were openly discriminatory towards women. However, in more recent times the outcome of divorce law changes has impacted mainly on men.

So according to Hitchens we now have a situation where a husband could be ‘ordered from his own home without any suggestion that he had behaved violently towards his wife’. Courts increasingly failed to enforce husbands’ rights to visit their children, whilst the Child Support Agency was created with powers to compel a husband to provide maintenance to his wife. These recent innovations sent a clear signal that the state ‘was on the side of the wife, whether she was in the right or in the wrong’. As a result the overwhelming majority of petitions for divorce are now made by wives. This strong anti male bias remains the same today except that the state can now forcibly evict men from their homes much more easily by means of a Domestic Violence Protection Notice.

Hitchens cites the traditional view of the Church of England, still promoted as recently as the 1950s that ‘nothing but lifelong monogamous marriage can adequately establish home life; provide for the birth, nurture and training of a family of children over a period of years’. Opponents of weakening the divorce laws warned that ‘the abolition of blame would lead to divorce by consent’. So instead of being a public promise to society, wedding vows now became ‘a private contract that could be broken at will’. Hitchens noted the ‘revolution in views of chastity and constancy’ that had taken place in society since the 1960s, one consequence of which was to undermine the foundations of marriage.

As a result of these changes in sexual morality, and the relaxation of divorce laws, the British public ‘stopped disapproving of divorce in public’. This contrasts with the rumpus in the mid 1950s, generated by the affair between Princess Margaret and the divorced Captain Townsend, in which she was pressurised to carry out her ‘royal duty as upholder of traditional morality’ by deciding not to marry, despite being very much in love with him. Hitchens noted that within little more than a decade it became ‘bad manners’ to insist on what had formerly been the ‘cultural consensus in favour of lifelong marriage’, now replaced by a ‘new morality in which any assembly of children was reclassified as a family unit’.

Hitchens is right in identifying the impact and disruption that easy divorce can have on children and a stable family life. But he never explains why a married couple should be expected to stay together in a relationship that has clearly ended, once their children have reached adulthood. Easy divorce, which has now become firmly rooted, places the feelings of married couples, but mostly wives, above the interests and upbringing of children. Because of the unacceptable level of broken homes it is essential that divorce should once again be made difficult, so long a there are still children under the age of eighteen to consider. Once the children have reached an age to look after themselves, the state should no longer have any interest in whether a couple stay together in a marriage, and they should be free to divorce or separate without undue hindrance.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Peter Hitchens Abolition of Britain part 3 – Education

One of the first journalistic challenges to the creeping politically correct takeover of the British mainstream media was The Abolition of Britain written by Peter Hitchens, published nearly twenty years ago. An area of particular concern to him was the direction that education was taking. He attacked the ‘cultural revolutionaries’ who sought to transform the education system so as to ‘eradicate privilege and elitism, to spread the gospel of the new society in which everyone is equal’.

This fixation with educational equality was fine for the children of other parents, but when it threatened to ‘eradicate their own privilege by turning their children into mannerless, uncultured ignoramuses’ the egalitarians suddenly became less enthusiastic. They were faced with the choice of either ‘a state school in an expensive area of town, which selects through wealth, so paying their fees through their mortgage’, or to pay fees directly to an independent public school, which would be contrary to their principles.

Hitchens depicts the outlook of the British public schools system as based upon ‘tradition and deference, quite unapologetic about privilege, willing to sustain elites, foster their growth and encourage competition in work and sport’. He regarded them as deeply conservative institutions, necessarily so since ‘unless there is agreement about what is to be taught, who is to teach it and how it is to be measured, there can be no education’.

Hitchens described grammar schools as providing an ‘ethos, timetable and shape modelled on 19th century public schools, organised in houses, patrolled by prefects, housed in crenellated , vaguely baronial or churchy buildings’. As a consequence of this conservative outlook they came under attack by the left as obstacles to equality through the preservation of tradition, authority and higher culture. According to Hitchens the left were pleased to see the ‘dragooning of pupils into great education factories in modern glass cubes’ resulting in an end to ‘religious worship, hymn singing, honours boards, blazers, prize days and prefects’.

In mounting an attack upon grammar schools the progressives were not concerned about education but rather a means to further pursue their obsessions about ‘class and hierarchy, authority, permanence, deference and change’. Put simply, their purpose was social engineering. Leftist educational propaganda of the time called for ‘a more closely knit society’ in which ‘conditions in all different schools must be broadly based’ that would prevent any child from entering upon a secondary school career ‘with the stigma of failure’. The Tory party of the time robustly challenged these assumptions by declaring that comprehensives would lead to ‘free mediocrity for all in a mass factory of so-called education’. This would result in ‘the clever child’s progress being held up by the gropings of the sub educated’.

Hitchens considers that ‘proper education is a fundamentally conservative activity, based on the assumption that a body of knowledge exists, is in the hands of the adult and educated, and can be passed on in measurable ways, by disciplined learning reinforced with authority’. He regarded the continued existence of public schools to have ‘frustrated the ultimate levelling purpose of the comprehensive system, and provided an inconvenient outside measure by which comprehensive failure can be judged’. Whilst Hitchens is no doubt correct that public schools deliver results and that many comprehensives are sink schools, he overlooks the fact that the former can select their pupils, whereas the latter have no control over admissions which will include many children with low educational motivation.

Hitchens singled out the 1967 Plowden report for castigation, accusing it of ‘encouraging the spread of discovery learning, and a bonfire of old fashioned desks and blackboards’. The result of these ‘progressive’ innovations was that many children could no longer read, write or count and that ‘standards of behaviour, of self-control, of ability to respond to authority, or concentration on any task, have sunk’. He condemned the move away from whole class teaching to the ‘new child centred world of discovery’ in which desks were arranged in groups rather than in rows facing the teacher. This new informal design ‘was hostile to the old, hierarchical methods which handed down knowledge from on high, often in the form of rules and truths learned by heart’.

He also condemned the Plowden recommendation to abolish corporal punishment, despite having the overwhelming support of teachers, and agreement by a considerable majority of parents to its continued use. Hitchens is right in justifying corporal punishment on the grounds that ‘ a rebuking smack, slap or blow from a ruler on the hand, are all symbols of authority’ which ‘define the limit of a child’s behaviour, and make it plain that the child is subject to the adult'.

Hitchens is right to stress the importance of public schools to the national education system by preserving educational standards and academic rigour. However, because of the financial barrier only about 7% of pupils are able to attend them. Grammar schools were an effective substitute freely accessible to all pupils who passed the 11 plus entrance exam. In pursuit of the leftist agenda of egalitarianism most have now been abolished although a few survive in Tory controlled areas. Hitchens fails to mention the main advantage of grammar schools in that they facilitate social mobility. They allow bright pupils to escape from the anti learning background of most of their peers and to provide them with an ethos and environment that is conducive to the fostering of academic learning.

Hitchens ignores completely the fate of children who fail to make it into grammar schools, nor does he address the perception of many that secondary moderns were widely seen as second rate institutions. Clearly not all children are receptive to the largely academic education which grammar schools were intended to deliver. To meet their needs technical schools should be established in which academic, vocational and practical skills can be taught, underpinned by a sound grounding in literacy and numeracy.

Hitchens is right to dismiss the child centred approach of the Plowden report which is detrimental to a structured system of learning, and to adult guidance and supervision that is vital to children in their early years. He is courageous in his support for a measured return of corporal punishment, necessary to maintain discipline and to establish boundaries of acceptable behaviour. However, there should be no return to the free for all which allowed a minority of sadistic teachers to brutalise their pupils.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Peter Hitchens Abolition of Britain Part 2 – Homosexuality

It is nearly twenty years since Peter Hitchens wrote The Abolition of Britain, one of the first books to challenge the near mainstream media hegemony exercised by our politically correct elite who, by stealth, were gradually tightening their grip on policing and controlling the parameters of permissible political discourse on many subjects. This post deals with Hitchens’ views on homosexuality in which he, in contrast to virtually all other commentators, raised the issue of the health dangers arising from homosexual activity.

He opens the chapter on this subject under the title ‘Health Warning’ with the claim that ‘buggery and smoking can both kill you, by exposing you to diseases you would not otherwise get’, each of which are actions of choice. He drew attention to the manner in which the dangers were treated in a contrasting manner. Whilst smokers are always blamed for their illnesses, homosexuals are never chastised for becoming HIV positive or contracting other sexual transmitted diseases. He ridiculed the Government’s warnings of the time aimed at combating the increase in Aids, which spread disinformation that the whole population was equally at risk, when in reality it was specific groups, most notably homosexuals, who faced the greatest danger.

He noted the differing approach between Aids victims, whose cause is promoted by the wearing of red ribbons, whilst smokers who contracted lung cancer and other diseases receive scant public sympathy. Smokers are never advised to practice ‘safer smoking’ but are warned instead to give up the habit completely. In contrast, any doctor suggesting that homosexuals should abstain from their sexual practices would be condemned for being judgemental against a minority group and could face disciplinary action. As Hitchens states ‘there is not even a hint of disapproval of anal sex in official propaganda about Aids’, which instead urges the practice of ‘safer sex’, involving the use of condoms. According to Hitchens the reason why this inconsistency goes unchallenged is due to it being ‘a key part of the cultural revolution, the propagation of a new morality’. He believed ‘this deliberate avoidance of truth was meant to avoid offending or scapegoating homosexuals’.

The logic behind this according to Hitchens is that ‘homosexuality, as an activity, could not be attacked in a society which had accepted heterosexual liberation’. In support of this belief he claimed that ‘the pill had turned heterosexual intercourse into recreation rather than procreation’ as it removed the fear of pregnancy, thus making women more willing to agree to sexual activity. Thus there was now no difference between ‘sterile heterosexual sex and sterile homosexual sex’ and so nobody could logically continue to object to homosexuality, without serious hypocrisy. In reaching this conclusion Hitchens overlooks the fact that heterosexual sex is biologically normal even when contraception is used, unlike homosexual sex which must always remain unnatural. So his accusations of hypocrisy are wide of the mark, since it is more likely that the distaste felt by many towards homosexual activity is what determines the double standard, since recreational heterosexual activity does not arouse the same repulsion.

Hitchens believed that the decriminalisation of homosexual acts was motivated by a ‘wave of tolerance and compassion, intended to lift an awful burden from individuals who were seen as sad victims of a needlessly harsh morality’. MPs could no longer see the justification for a law which frequently led to blackmail, and which could ruin the careers and lives of men amid shame and embarrassment. However Hitchens is sympathetic to the opponents of change who ‘saw quite clearly what was really at issue – legalization would lead to social acceptance’, which in time is what ultimately happened. He reminds us that the general view among educated people then ‘was similar to the hostility people now feel towards child molesters, It was an embarrassing, even disgusting, perversion not spoken of if possible’.

After the passage of more than thirty years he lamented that ‘many of the arguments against legalization have become quite simply unspeakable, because legal acceptance has led first to tolerance and then to respectability’. In fact it has now become worse than Hitchens then feared as we are now urged by liberal ‘progressives’ to celebrate homosexuality as an activity that is somehow intrinsically virtuous.

He outlined how the effect of this change in attitude became cumulative as the significant increase in the number of openly homosexual people made it ‘seem bad manners to criticize the homosexual lifestyle’. As a consequence social disapproval shifted from homosexuals themselves to those who openly disapprove of their actions. Hitchens drew attention to the then relatively recent invented word ‘homophobia’, intended to stigmatise ‘the feeling of those who do not accept homosexuality as the equal of heterosexuality’. He accurately identified its purpose as being ‘to produce guilt, impute personal failings, even some sort of mental disorder’ against those who might challenge this agenda, describing it as ‘one of the most unpleasant techniques of the new conformism’.

Hitchens ended this chapter by attacking moves to remove the prohibition preventing schools from teaching that ‘homosexuality is a lifestyle choice equal to and comparable with heterosexual marriage’, and also condemned proposals for the introduction of ‘some sort’ of homosexual marriage, which he described as a contradiction in terms. He concluded by noting that equality between homosexuality and heterosexuality, which had been denied as an objective by 1960s reformers, had now become a matter which we are all expected to unquestionably accept.

Peter Hitchens analysis is broadly correct. He is right to stress the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle, although he focuses on the impact of anal sex rather than the bigger problem of rampant promiscuity. This contrasts with the mainstream sanitised version of homosexuality promoted by LGBT History Month, Pride marches etc. The absurdity of so called homosexual marriage, and the malign indoctrination in schools of the supposed normality of homosexuality, are both treated with the contempt they deserve. He sits on the fence on the issue of decriminalisation of homosexual activities, recognising the blackmail threat and personal ruin caused by this private activity. But he also identifies the normalisation and acceptance which lifting the legal prohibition has introduced, and the authoritarian measures that have been adopted to silence opposition to the homosexual normalisation agenda. Unfortunately, although opposed to authoritarianism when practiced by liberals, his apparent willingness to condone authoritarian interference by the state in a private sexual activity of which he disapproves leaves him open to charges of hypocrisy and double standards.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Peter Hitchen’s The Abolition of Britain

It is nearly twenty years since the publication of Peter Hitchen’s The Abolition of Britain. This was one of the first books that provided a political and sociological perspective to challenge the prevailing establishment elite’s agenda of political correctness. It was published at a time when the internet was in its infancy, before broadband, when users were subject to slow and expensive dial-up charges. Thus the liberal elite still retained a tight grip on media expression, where most mainstream right wing or conservative writers appeared more interested in promoting the virtues of free-market global capitalism, than challenging the leftist cultural and social orthodoxies that had grown incrementally since the 1960s.

Peter Hitchens, unlike most nationally recognised media pundits, thinks for himself and makes no concessions to group-think or political correctness. Although his blog posts can be verbose and rambling, his newspaper articles and books are much better focussed. He has an uncanny ability for puncturing the pretensions, hypocrisies and idiocies of self styled ‘progressives’. Behind a somewhat pompous exterior and manner he can demonstrate a dry sense of humour and sometimes even flashes of wit. He has however a number of hobby-horses to which his commitment and enthusiasm can sometimes be at the expense of more rigorous and objective analysis. So it is worth taking a critical examination of The Abolition of Britain to assess whether its findings remain relevant to current day political issues.

Hitchens was motivated to write his book by discovering ‘that a whole system of thought and belief was fast becoming unthinkable and unsayable’, owing to ‘the widespread belief that failure to conform with today’s orthodoxy is a moral failing’. Thus ‘any opposition and dissent cannot be simply reasoned, but must result from a flaw in character. He noted ‘the modern Left’s scorn for freedom … which instinctively reaches for an authoritarian solution to every problem’. Hitchens was among the first to voice publicly what many others were thinking privately, but lacked a platform to do so. With the growth of the internet the public has today been provided with a powerful outlet to voice their true beliefs and concerns, unmediated by the dictates of a self styled ‘progressive’ elite.

The book opens with a catalogue of changes that had occurred in Britain between the funerals of Winston Churchill in 1965 and Princess Diana in 1997. In response to accusations that he is living in the past Hitchens has claimed that there has never been a golden age in Britain to which he wants to return. Nevertheless, he appears most comfortable with the traditional conservative society of the 1950s, before such subversive influences as TV satirists, comprehensive schools and easy divorce had begun to make their mark. Thus he contrasts the dignity, grandeur and restraint of Churchill’s funeral as marking the last expression of the old order, with the outpouring of grief and emotionalism that occurred after the death of Diana. In this he is not being entirely fair since Churchill was a very old man whose death had long been expected, whereas Diana was in the prime of life whose early death was almost unimaginable and thus a great shock to millions of people.

Hitchens lambasts the tendency of liberals to either ignore or rewrite history in conformity with their own obsessions. Thus colonialism, religion, patriarchy, patriotism and mono-culturalism are dismissed as outdated and out of keeping with the multi-cultural, multi-racial, internationalist and gender neutral society which the politically correct class has sought to impose on the rest of us. Hitchens is having none of this virtue signalling subversion. Future posts will examine some of the ideas from his book in more detail.