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.”

From which Hitchens concludes:

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.]

My general rules for abuse are as follows. It is justified in the conditions set out above. It is justified against powerful people who can defend themselves. It should at least try to be witty and avoid expletives or lavatory wall language. Otherwise it is best avoided.

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

Anna writes:

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 …

BNP split after decision to field “ethnic” candidate in local polls

April 8, 2006

BNP split after decision to field “ethnic” candidate in local polls

By Will Pavia

THERE was turmoil among the rank and file of the British National Party yesterday after a Greek Armenian was selected as a BNP candidate for the local elections. The party, which is preparing for its biggest-ever electoral campaign, has chosen Sharif Abdel Gawad to fight Bowling and Bakerend ward in Bradford. It describes Mr Gawad as a “totally assimilated Greek Armenian” whose grandfather, an Armenian Christian, claimed asylum in Britain. But the posting of his name among the party’s list of candidates has caused uproar among members who believe that the party must field all-white representatives. Workers at the party’s headquarters spent yesterday fielding angry calls from members who refused to accept Mr Gawad’s candidacy on race grounds, “even when it was explained that he was not a Pakistani or a Muslim.” There were calls for the regional organiser responsible for Mr Gawad’s selection to resign, and anger at party bosses. In 2004 Nick Griffin, the BNP’s leader, tried to force through rule changes allowing non-whites to join the BNP. He backed down after widespread opposition. Last night a spokesman said that members who refused to accept Mr Gawad’s candidacy had no place in the party. But on white nationalist websites members were incredulous. “Is this some kind of wind up?” demanded one on the bulletin board Stormfront. Another wrote: “I’m going to have a tough time explaining this on people’s doorsteps when I’m canvassing.” Many were convinced that despite assurances, Mr Gawad was of Asian descent. One wrote: “I don’t give a stuff if he has ancestors that built the Taj Mahal, he ain’t British.” Although a few thought the selection a “smart move” to improve the party’s image, they were outnumbered by members threatening to resign. One read: “The BNP is the last bastion of hope for our people, they too have been let down if just anyone is allowed to join. Ethnics have every single opportunity afforded them, and now they even get to join the BNP. Just like immigration into this country, we were not consulted. When an ethnic wants to join, it should go to a membership vote. We’re the ones who do all the work, we should have a say.” Another read: “No one is listening, and the worst calls I’ve had today are demanding a leadership challenge.”

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.

I add that I have no connection with the BNP but I support many of their positions. There is no other organized body in Britain at the moment who stands up against the suicide of Britain. I don’t think its membership rules are morally wrong or should disqualify it from British politics. Since the subject on which the BNP is attacked by both Peter Hitchens and Jeff is its basic humanity and morality, which is more inhumane and immoral, the established policy of total non-discrimination which is rapidly destroying Britain, or the BNP’s policy of rational discrimination in favor of British descended people and those who are culturally similar, which would save Britain?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 10, 2007 08:35 PM | Send

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