Jonah Goldberg and the “Rivers of Blood”

I made an exception and read an article by Jonah Goldberg, who is writing at the moment from London. The piece focuses on Britain’s loss of patriotism under the influence of multiculturalism and immigration, and, amazingly, ends with an approving reference to Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, in which he warned that non-European immigration threatened British civilization. Goldberg, who in the past has mindlessly attacked immigration restrictionists as racists and white supremacists, actually writes, paraphrasing Powell’s warning: “And now the Thames, like the Tiber, is foaming with much blood.” Is Goldberg having second thoughts about the desirability of mass Third World immigration? That would certainly be a sign of a positive shift in so-called mainstream conservative thinking.

However, there are still grounds for suspecting that it’s a mistake to put the words “thinking,” “thoughts,” and “Goldberg” in the same sentence. In the same piece he speaks of

the now largely forgotten speech by the British scholar and—briefly—politician Enoch Powell, who, in 1968, recited the verse to suggest that Britain was heading down a path that could only lead to social division and multicultural chaos.

Powell was “briefly” a politician? I knew that couldn’t be true, as he had been a prominent figure for many years, so looked him up in Wikipedia. Powell was a member of Parliament from 1950 to 1987, occupying various government posts during that time, and from the early ’70s on was the most popular politician in Britain. Of course, factual errors of this nature pour from Goldberg’s keyboard as rain in April. Doubtless if his spectacular mistake of describing Powell as being “briefly” a politician were pointed out to him, he wouldn’t care. He wouldn’t think that he had any obligation to know the slightest thing about Enoch Powell, even though his article was centered on Powell’s famous speech.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 21, 2005 11:53 AM | Send

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