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I confess to a certain Schadenfreude about the treatment of “racism”
in Britain. For a generation and more I have, as an American resident
here, watched and listened to the liberal left write and speak with
nauseating smugness about American McCarthyism and witch hunts. They
have also taken a great (and sanctimonious) liking to the Arthur Miller
play, “The Crucible,” about witch hunting in 17th century Salem (but
really in 1940s and 50s America). They prefer not to dwell on their own
17th century horror story of Matthew Hopkins, the “Witchfinder General”
who rode about the country discovering and burning “witches” among
rather more innocent people than were ever hanged at Salem.

Now, the British have their very own torch-waver: John Grieve, a
prominent police officer who published a somewhat emetic nostra culpa
about racism in the Daily Telegraph. Grieve has gone even further than
McCarthy did in America; his appalling 17th century style “confession”
effectively branded not just Grieve’s colleagues in the police, not just
rabid right-wingers, but the whole British nation (excepting, of course,
its “ethnic” citizens) as unreconstructed racists. The 20th century
version of Matthew Hopkins, the Chairman of Britain’s equivalent of the
Spanish Inquisition (The Commission for Racial Equality) has echoed this
accusation and called for more vigorous persecution of these heretics
(er — racists).

In fact, what Britain’s neo-McCarthy so abjectly (and
self-righteously) denounced as racism is, for the most part, a misnomer.
Racism, properly speaking, is a theory of invidious racial distinctions
based largely on the ideas of the 19th century French aristocrat Arthur
de Gobineau. His Essay on “The Inequality of Human Races” became
something of a bible for 19th century Europeans whose pro tem
technological leadership in the world misled them into a pernicious form
of pseudo-science, “proving” the delusion of biological superiority.

An earlier version of the same delusion was (and still is) harbored
by the Chinese, who supposed that their “Middle Kingdom” — i.e., the
center of the world — was inhabited by the highest form of human life,
namely themselves. I mention this because there is a sort of popular
counter-delusion, popularized here by ethnic activists and the more
fatuous among your bien-pensant, that “racism” is unique to our
“white” western civilization. As we see in Asia and Africa, this is far
from true. What is really unique to the West and its Judeo-Christian
culture is a categorical opposition to “racism.”

The traumatic aberration of the Holocaust gave anti-racism a
tremendous emotional charge which has, now and again — as in the cases
of Britain’s MacPherson enquiry (a public dissection of how the police
had failed to arrest and indict the racist murderers of a young black
man, Stephen Lawrence) and Mr. Grieve, spilled over into persecutory and
/ or confessional hysteria. This, paradoxically, has allowed ethnic
racist demagogues to exploit that moralistic panic for political gain.
Part — probably a major part — of this exploitation involves a misuse
of the pseudo-scientific term “racism” to stigmatize what is really
xenophobia. Communities like Dover, which have shown resentment at a
huge influx of asylum-seekers, are stigmatized as “racist” — as are
politicians (especially Tory) who have pointed out, correctly, that a
number of these refugees are fakes, seeking to bypass Britain’s
immigration controls. Confusion is further confounded in the “majority”
community by a thin overlay of rhetoric inherited from genuine racism.
Among the anxious and the disaffected, this is used to foster defensive
hopes of biological grandeur and / or an image of threatening strangers.
Thus, the vicious on either side play into each other’s hands.

It is not generally admitted — though obvious to any outside
observer — that the current British tradition of “tolerance” acts out
the word in its proper sense. Britain is not a multicultural society.
Its core culture for more than a thousand years has been and still is
the Judeo-Christian tradition of the West. What you have in this
country is now a multi-ethnic society which contains — and on the whole
tolerates — enclaves of those who are perceived within that
thousand-year-old culture as a species of outsiders. This means
putting-up with those whose traditions, habits, ancestry, and especially
skin color do not match those of the historically indigenous population.
It is important to stress: putting-up with these things, includes
cultural traits — above all, Islamic — that remain distasteful and
threatening to many on these islands. Tolerance does not mean loving or
regarding such “strangers” or “newcomers” or those who are “different”
as the same or even similar to those who are doing the tolerating. The
practical meaning of all of this is that beneath all the lofty (and
often sanctimonious) rhetoric about human rights, equality and the rest
of it, a complex tangle of social tensions still exists in the real
world; some of these tensions — as we see from time to time in ugly
incidents like the Stephen Lawrence murder — are very dangerous.

Human nature being what it is, these tensions are not relieved but
exacerbated by policies and laws which have appeared to value the
sensibilities and sometimes the cultures of ethnic minorities above the
thousand-year-old-culture and traditions of the British Isles. Nor does
it help when cultural and ethnic pride among minorities are publicly
admired and encouraged while the same emotions among the majority
population are sneered at as dirty, ugly, racist and wholly despicable.

Things become still worse when a breast-beating policeman like Mr.
Grieve appears to endorse a demand that minority groups take over the
“power base” of the majority population. This provokes outrage exactly
as did a “racism” which not so long ago scorned and sneered at or simply
ignored the feelings and values of minorities.

An egregious example of this inversion can be found in the language
and astoundingly illiberal recommendations of the report on Stephen
Lawrence’s death, which bids fair not only to impose Orwellian measures
on the British, but to bring a horrifying arbitrariness into indictment
and law enforcement. The public (and police) perception of that special
favor and arbitrary power for ethnic minorities will further sour an
already tense situation.

By now, it is probably impossible to untangle the confusion between
racism and xenophobia. This is doubly unfortunate since, to some
degree, xenophobia is almost certainly instinctual behavior. In fact,
it does have survival value and not simply in a primitive setting;
there are places all over the world today, most spectacularly in
southern Europe and Africa, where your life may depend on the ability to
recognize and resist an ethnic or cultural “stranger.”

That is why it will never be “eliminated” or “crushed” or “wiped-out”
or “banned” from any human society, let alone the population of this
small island. When inflamed — however inadvertently — by
well-intended but stupid policies and the sort of confessional double
standards mentioned above, the consequent sense of increased threat is
not merely upsetting. It will continue for the foreseeable future to be
socially disruptive and occasionally fatal.

The British have barely begun to encourage the sort of vicious ethnic
careerist who feeds and flourishes on the poisonous tensions I have just
described. But the current double standard over “racism” (bad for the
majority, de facto overlooked for everyone else) bids fair to give this
malicious species of activist maximum scope and privilege for the very
worst they can achieve. More than that, creating a “crime” for which
denial is prima facie proof of guilt — exactly as set-out in the famous
Malleus Maleficarum (a medieval handbook for the entrapment of
“witches”) — presents a serious threat to Britain as a free society.
Cf.: The McPherson Report’s incredible demand to punish “racism” when
it is “proved” to occur in the privacy of one’s own home or exists by
virtue of subjective perception by highly interested parties. One
already sees this in force in the curious quasi-witch hunt against the
police over the suicides of two black men in Britain’s Midlands;
because of their color, their families asserted– without proof of any
kind — that the men had not killed themselves but had been murdered by
racists and then set-up to look like suicides. The police were accused,
quite arbitrarily, of bungling this case as the Lawrence murder had been
bungled. In the northwester town of Stockport, a Council employee –
whose language offended the politically correct among his colleagues –
was set-up so that a woman police constable could overhear him
discussing a newspaper article with a friend. In this private
conversation, the woman officer was able to confirm that the man had
spoken the word “Paki” in a private conversation. For this offense, he
was criminally charged under Britain’s Race Relations Act and then
sacked.

Perhaps tragically, the British have not yet learned that “racism” is
not a concrete object or, in itself, an action which can be manipulated
by the blunt instrument of legislation. It lurks inside the head –
inaccessible, untouchable, as insubstantial as fear or anger. It is the
wrong target for social engineering and law. They have quite forgotten
that in a genuinely free society, these forces should be directed at
overt behavior, not at beliefs or attitudes. The PC authorities in
Britain have totally abandoned Voltaire’s attitude of “I disagree with
what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The
gibbering irrationality which has overtaken the country in the wake of
the abominably mishandled Stephen Lawrence murder is demanding the
punishment of anyone who dares even to give suspicion of a “racist”
opinion or attitude. The new frothing witch-hunters are demanding,
loudly, that such an outcast be treated as a sort of heretic in 17th
century style. God help the British if this campaign continues for much
longer.

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