P. Hitchens: if you think race matters, you’ve not a civilized human being
Writing in the Mail, Peter Hitchens points out that the British National Party’s constitution limits membership to whites. The BNP constitution says specifically that the BNP “represents the collective National, Environmental, Political, Racial, Folkish, Social, Cultural, Religious and Economic interests of the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Norse folk communities of Britain and those we regard as closely related and ethnically assimilated or assimilable aboriginal members of the European race also resident in Britain.”
I don’t think the BNP’s current smooth PR alters the fact that we are here dealing with something outside the rules of reason. That’s why I’m perfectly happy to use, and see the use of, mocking epithets about the BNP and about Holocaust deniers. Mockery is generally believed to be the best way of responding to delusional cults, and those who specifically reject reason and truth in their discourse cannot really be treated as if they are civilised participants in the national debate. You might as well try to play cricket, adhering strictly to its laws, with someone who uses a hand-grenade instead of a cricket ball. [Emphases added.]So BNP limits membership to whites. Therefore BNP members are “outside the rules of reason,” they are a “delusional cult,” they are people who “specifically reject reason and truth in their discourse” and who “cannot really be treated as if they are civilised participants in the national debate,” and therefore instead of debating or talking civilly with them, one just treats them with mocking contempt.
What’s wrong with that? Well, one thing that’s wrong with it is that until the mid 20th century, all Englishmen saw Britain as a society that was exclusively British and European, racially speaking. Therefore all Englishmen prior to the mid 20th century were “outside the rules of reason,” they were a “delusional cult,” they were people “who rejected reason and truth in their discourse,” and unworthy of being regarded as civilized human beings, and should only be spoken of with mocking contempt. Like all egalitarian and anti-discriminatory beliefs, Hitchens’s anti-racialism condemns the entire past and thus cuts us off from our own history and culture.
The deeper problem with Hitchens’s position is that, like it or not, race is one of the constitutive components of our humanness. If the English were all replaced by Chinese, they wouldn’t be the English any more. If the Scots were replaced by Indians, they wouldn’t be the Scots any more. We are not disembodied entities. We are physical beings, and our physicality is part of what we are. Therefore our racial characteristics and racial identity are also a part of what we are. A “conservatism” that rejects with scorn and contempt these commonsensical realities of human nature and human culture, and that seeks to banish from civilized company anyone who acknowledges them, is not conservatism but a type of liberalism—and an extreme type of liberalism at that.
Comments added December 12
Does that mean, according to Mr. Hitchens, that the Congressional Black Caucus and other organizations where membership is exclusive to African Americans are “outside the rules of reason”? Or, using Hitchens “rules for abuse,” are they to be insulted by implying they cannot defend themselves.James M. writes:
Peter Hitchens is, I’m afraid, another Melanie Phillips: very sound on some things, disastrously wrong on others. Both in fact come from leftist backgrounds—Hitchens was Trotskyist and Phillips worked for the Guardian. What may be stopping their journey to genuine conservatism is their ethnicity: you are rare among those with Jewish ancestry in daring to say race matters and that the West will cease to be the West if it ceases to be white. Even the British Liberal party of 1907 would have accepted that. Nor would it, like our Conservative party today, have embraced “gay rights” and feminism. The BNP represents the tradition that created Britain and has sustained it till now, which is why it is reviled by those intent on destroying that tradition and bringing in communism by the back door.LA replies:
On further discussion James M. and I established that P. Hitchens’s mother was of partly Jewish ancestry and that Hitchens himself was raised Anglican and did not know until his thirties that he has some Jewish background. So I don’t think he can be called a person of Jewish ancestry. He’s not Jewish in any meaningful way.Jeff In England writes:
You may have to revise your article about the BNP fielding only white candidates … though it is still debatable as the guy is Greek Armenian in part …LA replies:
But the BNP Constitution itself doesn’t say “whites-only.” It says that Europeans who are assimilated to British culture can be members.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 10, 2007 08:35 PM | Send