Liberals’ self-serving illusion that it’s the bad, multicultural left, and not liberalism itself, that has unleashed Britain’s thugocracy

A reader in England sends a short column by Damian Thompson in The Telegraph entitled, “This is what happens when multiculturalists turn a blind eye to gang culture,” along with this comment:

That these events are the result of modern liberalism/modern secularism is emerging as truth for many people. Whether progressive oriented people will take this on board remains to be seen.

LA replies:

Here is Thompson’s criticism of the gangs:

The roots of these appalling events are many and tangled, but for the moment let’s just focus on one: the way Britain’s educational establishment has cringed helplessly in the face of a gang culture that rejects every tenet of liberal society. It’s violent, it’s sexist, it’s homophobic and it’s racist.

For Thompson, it’s not enough that the gangs are violent and lawless and primitive. Oh, no—they’re also “sexist,” “homophobic,” and “racist.” The problem with the gangs is not that they’re barbaric, but that they’re un-liberal. Thompson blames multicultural educators for producing these thugs. In reality, it’s the kneejerk liberalism espoused by Thompson himself—that liberalism which systematically seeks to eliminate “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia” and all other forms of discrimination from the face of the earth—that has turned the British into a nation of feckless cowards (for how can people be brave if they must be non-discriminatory toward everything?) and let slip the dogs of chaos.

- end of initial entry -

Howard Sutherland writes:

In your post about Damian Thompson’s comment on where to put the blame for the race riots in London and elsewhere in England, I think perhaps you’re not entirely fair to Thompson. Thompson’s reputation among British journalists is that of a foaming-mouthed right-winger (a “blood-crazed ferret,” to be precise). He is certainly quite conservative in matters of Christianity and music, and has been a relentless critic of Labour and other leftish politicians—including wet Tories—and governments, multiculturalism, uncontrolled immigration and the chaos all have inflicted on no-longer-Great Britain.

Thompson writes that the alien gang sub-culture that British governments have allowed to establish itself in British cities “rejects every tenet of liberal society. It’s violent, it’s sexist, it’s homophobic and it’s racist.” I don’t read that as saying all four of those horrors are Thompson’s own obsessions. His point is the rank hypocrisy of a liberal elite that presumably abhors all four, yet tolerates—even encourages—the alien thug milieu now expressing itself in these riots.

As Thompson writes, concluding his comment: “[W]e should and must blame those schools and education authorities that have made extra space for gang culture in children’s lives because they believe it is an authentic expression of Afro-Caribbean and Asian identity. We are seeing a lot of black faces on our screens tonight; it’s a shame that the spotlight can’t also fall on those white multiculturalists who made this outrage possible.” Hard to argue with that, and it doesn’t read like liberal hand-wringing.

LA replies:

I see no evidence for your interpretation that Thompson’s target in that sentence is the hypocrisy of the liberal elite. I think his target in that sentence is just what it seems to be: the violence, sexism, homophobia, and racism of the thug culture.

So-called conservatives who think that the worst thing a person can be is racist, homophobic, and sexist, are living within the liberal ethos. The core of the liberal ethos is the rule of non-discrimination and tolerance. It’s the rule of non-discrimination and tolerance that has filled British cities with unassimilable aliens; delegitimized and criminalized normative moral judgments; led Britain to go very easy on criminals; and made it impossible for Britain to defend itself as a society.

Conservatives and moderate liberals who subscribe to the rule of non-discrimination are not, as they vainly imagine, the opponents of multiculturalism; they are its butlers, its facilitators. Multiculturalism is simply the next logical step that follows from liberal tolerance and non-discrimination. The rule of non-discrimination says that the entire historical society is guilty of discrimination and thus lacking moral legitimacy. Once the society has been delegitimized and downgraded by liberalism, multiculturalism comes along and says that the society’s majority culture is no better or more important than the cultures of ethnic minorities, that the society consists of a collection of equal cultures, and that the majority culture must therefore open itself to and accommodate the minority cultures.

So long as so called conservatives fail to understand this reality, they will remain conservatives in name and liberals in fact.

LA continues:

Thompson unqualifiedly condemns “homophobia.” Presumably, then, he opposes all forms of discrimination against homosexuals. Presumably, then, he supports or tacitly accepts Britain’s Equality Law and Sexual Orientation Regulations, which prohibit all discrimination against homosexuals in the provision of goods and services in Great Britain. It is this same law that, e.g., forced Catholic charities to abandon adoption services, because under the law they were required to adopt to homosexual couples.

That law, most of us would agree, is as radical—as undermining of social and moral order—as could be. But it has NOTHING to do with the conservatives’ bogeyman of multiculturalism. It is pure liberalism—the rule of non-discrimination. So long as conservatives and “moderate” liberals support the rule of non-discrimination, they themselves are the radicals they claim to oppose.

(Note: When I call multiculturalism a “bogeyman,” I don’t mean that multiculturalism is not very bad; I mean that the conservatives project all evil onto it, ignoring and denying their own liberalism that has led to it.)

Howard Sutherland writes:

Thank you for posting this. I still think you are misjudging Thompson, but then I don’t know the man. I don’t think one can say with confidence that Thompson unqualifiedly condemns “homophobia.” And Thompson has written about Britain’s Equality Law and its likely effects in the Telegraph. You won’t find much support or acceptance of it there. (And, by the way, note the picture of the earringed, homosexual subcontinental, “Lord Alli,” whom Gordon Brown thought fit to have the Queen elevate, if that’s still the right word, to the debased peerage of the dis-United Kingdom. That, truly, is a picture worth a thousand words about what a degraded society our mother country has become.)

English Catholic writes

I don’t know Damian Thompson, but I move in traditionalist English Catholic circles and I know a lot of people who do know him. I read his blog regularly, and also the Catholic Herald (he was Editor-in-Chief and is still a director), which is the only reasonably conservative widely-available Catholic periodical in the UK.

From my knowledge of his reputation amongst very conservative Catholics, his views in print and the general stance of the Herald during his editorial tenure, Thompson deserves his reputation as a fairly conservative Catholic writer. In particular, Thompson does not in the least condemn homophobia—he mocks those who claim they are subject to it, and is firmly and unapologetically on the side of the Catholics who oppose the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

I must agree with Howard Sutherland that you are misreading Thompson’s blog post. Thompson is not in that passage condemning or supporting any of the particular values on that list; he is underlining the fact that liberals and multiculturalists are utterly hypocritical in their excusing of values that they supposedly abhor, just because the ‘cultures’ in question are black/ethnic minority ones.

LA replies:

I also don’t know anything about Thompson. But Thompson is not the issue, and Thompson’s “true,” inner beliefs about “homophobia” or anything else are not the issue here. The issue is that a person who condemns people for their “homophobia” is a person who is speaking liberal language. The message he is sending is that there is a thing called “homophobia” and that it is very bad and that it shouldn’t exist. If Thompson doesn’t want to be criticized for taking liberal positions, he shouldn’t take liberal positions.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 10, 2011 10:47 AM | Send

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