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In a way this is admirable

The Guardian‘s Matthew d’Ancona is at least honest about his opinion of Brexit voters:

“Let’s be honest about what’s really driving Brexit: bigotry”.

62 comments to In a way this is admirable

  • pete

    What about the EU’s bigotry then?

    It is a protectionist bloc of mainly white countries which erects immigration controls and trade barriers against everyone in the mainly non-white 94% of the world’s people who do not live in it.

  • Aetius

    Let’s be honest about what’s driving Remainia: snobbery and ‘virtue’ signalling.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Let’s be honest, Mr d’Ancona, about what’s really driving the Continuity Remain campaign: bigotry. That same disdain for the ordinary people, particularly those of England, that led Gordon Brown to diss Gillian Duffy, that led the woman who prefers not to be called ‘Lady Nugee’ to post a sneering tweet about working-class housing draped in the England flag, and many other such slights. Frankly, such uncouth people shouldn’t even have the vote, should they? They should just get on with cutting your hair, servicing your car, unblocking your drains and delivering your Traidcraft parcels, and leave the great decisions to their betters.

    George Orwell identified them well:

    “They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality.”

    The quote has dated a little – today their cookery comes from Yotam Ottolenghi and their opinions from Brussels, but the rest is as true as ever.

    Aldous Huxley also nailed the ‘Continent-Superior / English-Inferior’ bias of the privileged class in his debut novel ‘Crome Yellow’ in a wonderfully acidic passage where one young lady tries to assert her higher-cultured status over a fellow house-guest:

    “What are you reading?” She looked at the book. “Rather second-rate, isn’t it?” The tone in which Mary pronounced the word “second-rate” implied an almost infinite denigration. She was accustomed in London to associate only with first-rate people who liked first-rate things, and she knew that there were very, very few first-rate things in the world, and that those were mostly French.

    “Well, I’m afraid I like it,” said Anne. There was nothing more to be said. The silence that followed was a rather uncomfortable one.”

    The same attitudes still persist, and some might argue have done so ever since our ruling class first imposed itself by force on the people of England back in 1066.

  • bobby b

    People – forever – have generally desired to associate with other people who are similar to themselves. Call it tribalism, nationalism, racism – call it a human failing or just a human characteristic – whatever value judgment you choose to infuse into your labeling, it’s the natural state of things.

    It’s clear that some people support Brexit out of liberty concerns, and economic concerns. It’s just as clear that many people support Brexit because they see that “their country” is disappearing, and turning into something else.

    There’s no moral failing inherent in this perception. There’s no moral failing in wishing to remain a unified country. There’s no moral failing in wishing to associate with people like yourself.

    But there’s plenty of Remainer profit to be found in creating the perception that such desires are base and low and evil. One way to help the Remainers is to implicitly agree with that perception, and try to argue that, no, the vote didn’t go for Brexit partially because people wanted to close the borders. Of course it did, and it looks foolish to argue differently.

    You’d do yourselves a favor by accepting that, and attacking the underlying perception (that nationalism/tribalism is evil) instead.

  • Laird

    So preferring that your country not be entirely overrun by people who neither share nor have any respect for your language, culture, legal system, and traditions is “bigotry”? Many would disagree. And the EU (let alone the rumpEU) is not “the largest single market in the world”; the US economy alone is much larger, and you will have ready access to it once freed from the EU’s chains.

    So, yes, by all means let’s be honest: What’s really driving unrepentant Remainers such as d’Ancona is stupidity.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Yet another voice from the sidelines opines that Zerren and bobby both nail it.

    Laird, as usual, makes good strong points.

    Besides, Laird, stupidity?? Oh, shirley knott!

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    The thing is, the quote is true. The vast majority of Brexit voters voted for Brexit because they hate foreigners and don’t want them immigrating to the UK.

    This isn’t the only kind of Brexit voter, of course. There are a minority (such as some members of this parish) who are not simply xenophobes voting to keep immigrants out. However, the claim that most Brexit voters were indeed xenophobes is transparently true.

    I’m sure I’ll be yelled at for saying this. I don’t care. It remains true even if you don’t like it.

  • Andrew

    However, the claim that most Brexit voters were indeed xenophobes is transparently true.

    The claim that most Brexit voters were indeed mentally ill is transparently true?

    Nice.

    I stopped calling myself a libertarian after the election when I saw just how many of my fellow libertarians were happy to join with the establishment in their holier-than-thou, righteous condemnation of leave voters.

  • Sam Duncan

    As I’ve been saying all over the place, the reason we’re in this mess with the Draft Withdrawal Agreement is that the Remainers in charge of the negotiations believe this nonsense.

    And if it were true, Perry, their condescending marketing strategy – “Look: you’ll get your nice blue passports back – you like those, don’t you? – and we can be really nasty to all those awful foreigners. It’s the Best Deal For Britain!” – would have worked, instead of blowing up in their faces as it has.

  • Flubber

    Perry, all you’re doing is demonstrating that in reality you’re a bit of a wanker.

    Brexit is about sovereignty. Look at whats going on now. May’s battling to get her bullshit plan through the commons and people are lobbying, arguing to stop it. Democracy (albeit in a twisted form) in action.

    Compare that, to say the EU’s Internet Directive 13. This is being debated by a small group of unaccountable people away from any sort of transparency. The only people with influence are lobbyists with deep pockets.

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/10/eu-internet-censorship-will-censor-whole-worlds-internet

    If this passes, and we’re still in the EU — massive internet censorship looms.

    If this passes, We’ll be told by or politicians, its an EU matter, we can’t do anything.

    I voted for Brexit to stop this kind of technocrat dictatorship.

    So Perry, stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  • Roué le Jour

    I used to like foreigners until the government ordered me to like certain foreigners and share my stuff with them, and now I don’t like those foreigners. I still retain a fondness for foreigners the government hasn’t ordered me to like.

  • Eric

    Any sentence that starts with “Let’s be honest” will go on to impugn the motives of people who have legitimate disagreements with the writer.

  • David Bishop

    Perry M, don’t be a clot.

    As others have pointed out, there are perfectly legitimate reasons for wishing to leave the EU – or remain for that matter. And my estimation is that there are a good number more bigots on the remain side than the other.

    I’m English and voted to leave. If that makes me a racist bigot, you’d best tell my wife, who’s Malaysian and voted to leave – oh, and my daughter-in-law (Indian) – oh, and my son-in-law (Iranian). As someone upthread said, put that in your pipe and smoke it. (Are we ‘allowed’ to say that these days?)

  • Mr Ecks

    Pde H’s “play nice” crap prevents me from saying–on here– what I really think about you and your snob-boy opinions Meths-ger. I will be out until the afternoon but why don’t you step over to Tim Worstall’s later on and repeat your crappy opinions there. He has no rules about commenters not saying what they think. Though it might just turn into a feeding frenzy. Because fatuous and likely well-off libertarians who love “I’m alright Jack but kiss imported arse for the rest of you” as their central credo are not popular over there either.

  • The idea that it’s bigotry not to wish to be subject to the rule of EUrocrats is simply a projection of Mr d’Ancona’s true feeling that it’s bigotry not to wish to be subject to the rule of him and his fellow Guardianistas.

    To paraphrase Sir Humphrey: The Eurocrats are the people that actually rule this country. The New European is read by people who think this arrangement will help them rule this country.

    (They also read the Grauniad.)

  • bobby b

    There are a lot of disgusted replies to Mr. Metzger’s comment that consist of “well, MY leave vote certainly wasn’t the product of bigotry!”

    I don’t think these are responsive to what Mr. Metzger said.

  • Flubber

    “I don’t think these are responsive to what Mr. Metzger said.”

    We speak for ourselves, unlike Metzger and his legendary powers of telepathy.

  • llamas

    @ Perry Metzger – WADR, I think you are wrong when you say

    ‘The vast majority of Brexit voters voted for Brexit because they hate foreigners and don’t want them immigrating to the UK.’

    I just got home from 2 weeks in the UK, and Brexit was discussed far-more often than I had any liking for. See my prior plaintive questions on the matter.

    But the one thing I did not sense from anybody who spoke to me in favour of Brexit was that they ‘hate foreigners.’ Many of these people expressed serious misgivings about the nature and quantity of immigration, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean that they ‘hate foreigners’ – far from it. Many of these people referred to issues with unchecked immigration in other parts of Europe, and yes, in the US as well, and said that they wanted to avoid similar issues inside the UK. I heard lots of support for ideas about merit-based immigration and the ending of chain immigration based purely on family connections.

    What I did hear from those who spoke to me in favour of ‘Remain’ was, in a sense, far-more xenophobic – in many cases, an almost-pathological contempt of, and fear of, the indigene white working-class who (as they imagine) formed the core of support for Brexit. I heard absolutely-no support for, or even understanding of, their concerns – all of the support for ‘Remain’ seemed to be expressed in terms of either pure economic self-interest (the Welsh sheep farmer calling other Britons ‘stupid’ for voting to eliminate the EU subsidies which provide him a comfortable living) or some sort of vague Kumbaya-singing visualize-whirled-peas dream of community harmony.

    That’s my recent experience. I look forward to seeing your evidence for your assertions.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Nullius in Verba

    From the dictionary:

    Bigot: a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.

    So if Perry is someone holding different opinions…

    “The claim that most Brexit voters were indeed mentally ill is transparently true? Nice.”

    Xenophobia isn’t a mental illness. It’s normal. Just like protectionism is. Just like authoritarianism is. Just like territorial tribalism is. Most people in this country are protectionist about their own culture, jobs, and trades. That’s why all the major parties voted in year after year are all protectionist too, and the UK Libertarian Party got about 0.3% of the vote in the four constituencies it bothered to stand for.

    The British people are not libertarians. Most of them have never even heard of it. A lot of them will hate it if they do hear about it. People are fine with the ideas of liberty and freedom, up until the point where you insist that also means the freedom of other people they don’t like to do things they want to ban them from doing, even though it doesn’t violate the Harm Principle.

    People are wired to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’, and how they can win the war against ‘them’. The EU did, too. The problem with it for a lot of people was not that it did so, but it picked the wrong ‘us’/’them’ divide. It banned things they didn’t want banning, but refused to ban the things they wanted banned. The EU was desperately trying to redefine ‘us’ to be Europe, but a lot of British want ‘us’ to be Britain. It was about sovereignty, but it was not about freedom.

    Perry’s comment is not so much a criticism, as an observation on the problem that still stands before us. Just because 52% voted for Brexit, do not delude yourself into thinking that liberal/libertarian sentiment is now the majority.

  • Jon

    Perry M,

    As a Brexit voter (whose issues with the EU are practical (it doesn’t work very well) and sovereignty- based), I worried a lot (and had my face merrily rubbed in) how awful my fellow travellers were by lots of my fellow londoners. I was unfriended on facebook, told i was a racist, a fascist, or at least an apologist for those who are. It wasn’t a pleasant time.

    At the time, i was doing quite a lot of business in the north of england whilst living in London. I travelled on trains, buses and in taxis. I talked to a lot of people (admittedly not a statistically significant sample of the UK population, but a reasonable social cross section nonetheless). Only one leave voter I spoke with mentioned immigration (my electrician in London). Everyone else was just fed up of being told what to do by people they couldn’t sack.

    Even if it’s true that lots of Brexit voters voted the way they did to stop immigration (I have seen no reliable evidence to support this beyond the assertion of remainers and Perry) this doesn’t seem to me to be axiomatically xenophobic. The UK is about the most relaxed country in the world about immigration generally, but the benefits of the immigration we’ve had in the last 40 years have almost exclusively accrued to the middle and upper classes, whilst holding down the salaries of the already lower paid. Why should the lower paid be denied the opportunity to increase their welfare through politics, when everyone else feels perfectly comfortable doing so (not least the Brussels technocracy!)?

  • John B

    @ Perry, etc

    ‘The vast majority of Brexit voters voted for Brexit because they hate foreigners and don’t want them immigrating to the UK.’

    And you know this how?

  • John B

    “Let’s be honest about what’s really driving Brexit: bigotry”.

    From the Lefty handbook, always accuse the opposition of being what you are, then attack them for it before they can attack you.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    D’Ancona is projecting.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “but the benefits of the immigration we’ve had in the last 40 years have almost exclusively accrued to the middle and upper classes, whilst holding down the salaries of the already lower paid”

    Holding down their salaries *is* a major benefit of immigration, even for those at the bottom. The idea that it’s not is protectionist thinking.

    People draw the boundary around themselves in different places. Some people draw it round their own industry/trade (like ‘the farmers’). Some draw it around their union, opposing the influx of non-union workers. Some around their political group, or their religion. Some around their nationality, or their skin colour. It’s all the same reasoning.

    Very few people are ‘xenophobic’ in an Alf Garnett / Ku Klux Klan sort of way any more. The lessons of the past have been learnt. The cultural tides have almost erased those attitudes. But people are still protectionist at heart, and nationality is still a convenient place to draw the line, without necessarily being nasty about the people on the other side of it.

    It was easy for Remainers to portray that mild-mannered line-drawing as far worse than it was: as a return to the racism and nationalism of the past. I agree it wasn’t. But people were still drawing the line there. Immigration was a constantly raised issue.

    Etymologically, ‘Xenophobia’ means ‘fear of the outsider’. It doesn’t *have* to refer to nationality. You could consider it another word for protectionism generally.

  • staghounds

    Forty years of being hectored about racism, bigotry, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and all that is enough.

    The terms have just lost their meaning for me, and people who use them get the yapping dog treatment.

  • Andrew

    Xenophobia isn’t a mental illness. It’s normal.

    In-group preference is normal.

    But the word xenophobia is specifically used to label it a mental illness. It’s an attack word designed to smear, de-legitimize, and shut down debate.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “But the word xenophobia is specifically used to label it a mental illness.”

    I’ve never seen it used or defined that way, until now. If you choose to interpet it that way, that’s your problem.

    I’ve seen it used to describe an irrational fear or dislike, but irrationality does not constitute mental illness. Everyone holds irrational beliefs – nobody sticks to strict deductive logic.

    “It’s an attack word designed to smear, de-legitimize, and shut down debate.”

    It’s a word used to identify a particular set of opinions – like “authoritarian” or “libertarian”, or “socialist”. In circles where those groups are “out”, then getting associated with that group can be considered an “attack”, and if it’s not true of you then it might be a smear. But the word itself does not de-legitimize or shut down debate. That only happens where society does not hold to freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, and xenophobic opinions happen to be among those “out-group” opinions outlawed.

    Similarly, in circles where socialism is held in contempt, to be called “a socialist” is frequently used as an attack word, and may also be a smear. But it only deligitimizes and shuts down debate if you’re among authoritarians who have banned even the expression of socialist opinion; who revile it and any who speak of it. Same with “neo-liberal” or “running-dog Capitalist” or any other political term on which society is divided. They’re ‘dog-whistle’ terms – they have a straightforward objective meaning as a member of a particular opinion group, and they have an extreme emotive meaning depending on whether the group in question is admired or reviled.

    You can object to it if it doesn’t apply to you (if, for example, you’re pro-immigration and open borders) as some here appear to be doing, or you can support/defend it if you think concern about immigration is justified and that the media vilification of nationalists is wrong. But if you yourself see it as an insult, then that puts you in the group trying to outlaw that opinion. It’s like jumping up and down and screaming because somebody called you a “free market capitalist” in a forum where that’s considered an insult. The problem is not the word; it’s that people have that attitude to it.

  • Mary Contrary

    If what d’Ancona (and Perry M) believe were true, then Mrs May’s appalling “deal” would have been widely welcomed. After all, it was built on the same proposition.

    About the only thing the Leave campaign promised that her deal delivers is the prospect of running an independent immigration policy.

    The fact is that most Leavers (and, to be fair, a decent number of those who voted Remain) regard the May proposal with abject horror, a complete sell-out of the primary demand to “take back control of our borders, our money and our laws”.

    What do I mean by “most” leavers? Well, at a minimum the 2/3 of Leavers who now say they’d back “No Deal”, despite the blood-curdling claims from all The People Who Know. And also the 5% of Leavers who say they’d prefer to stay in the EU than take May’s deal. Plus some unknowable number of Leavers who still tell pollsters they’d accept May’s deal, but do so with a heavy and conflicted heart, not joy at the supposed wonders of shutting immigration down.

    On the basis of this evidence, I claim that d’Ancona (and Perry M) are utterly wrong.

  • If what d’Ancona (and Perry M) believe were true, then Mrs May’s appalling “deal” would have been widely welcomed. … the only thing the Leave campaign promised that her deal delivers is the prospect of running an independent immigration policy. (Mary Contrary, December 3, 2018 at 4:50 pm)

    That is spot on. The ridiculous May actually believed what her SW1 friends (and d’Ancona) told her – that the Brexit vote was about bigotry, so she could safely betray all its official goals (and her own promises) provided she delivered that one thing. As always, things are not turning out as she, in her arrogant ignorance, expected. (May it continue to be so – and May not continue to be PM!)

    (Rereading the thread, I see that Sam Duncan made the same point earlier.)

  • Clovis Sangrail

    I don’t know any xenophobes and I know a lot of leave voters. I also know a lot of people who have some affection for British culture* and would wish that a much higher proportion of the nation’s 9.25m immigrants showed a greater appreciation for it.
    What a coincidence!

    I must have missed all the xenophobes. Which is a shame. Because Perry makes them sound quite interesting, or at least edgy.

    *Yes, it is a thing and you can subscribe to it in much the same way as you can join a club. If you don’t subscribe but immigrate anyway then you run the risk of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “*Yes, it is a thing and you can subscribe to it in much the same way as you can join a club.”

    And it includes freedom of belief, right?

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @Nullius And it includes freedom of belief, right?
    Please could you define your terms?
    Specifically, belief in what?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It is telling, in fact, that the issue that Mrs May really appears to be jazzed up about is ending free movement. She is an ardent regulator and meddler, with a deeply unattractive liking for bossy solutions, although as is often the case, this is joined by an abject failure to learn from their inevitable failings.

    Throughout her political career, I haven’t discerned the slightest hint of any genuine liberal instincts or views, whether it be about speech, property rights, the role of the state, trade, foreign policy – nada. Zip. And given that her political hero is that parternalist Tory/imperialist monstrosity, Joseph Chamberlain, that makes sense.

    Her desire to keep the UK close to the cloying embrace of Brussels is driven by a like of its rules, its harmonisations and all the rest. Whereas with many Leavers I know, the one thing about staying in the EU they often like the most is free movement, and they just wish they could have that without the shit sandwich of the Brussels regulatory apparatus.

    To come back to D’Ancona, he is a classic Cameroon centrist type, a man with his head firmly placed up his own fundament. A chum of folk such as George Osborne and their ghastly, bully-boy approach to public affairs.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Please could you define your terms? Specifically, belief in what?”

    Belief in anything.

    It’s like asking the same question of ‘free speech’: “Freedom to say what, specifically?” If you can even ask that question, you’re not talking about free speech.

  • Andrew

    I’ve never seen it used or defined that way, until now. If you choose to interpet it that way, that’s your problem.

    A phobia is a mental illness.

    It’s a word used to identify a particular set of opinions

    Absolutely. And I’ve got a bridge for sale.

    But if you yourself see it as an insult, then that puts you in the group trying to outlaw that opinion.

    Utter nonsense.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    Belief in anything.
    Um, well not necessarily. If you believe in certain things then you won’t be a member of the club (although the club will tolerate your belief, unless you act upon it).

  • bobby b

    The Oxford Dictionary says that xenophobia is “dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.”

    Wikipedia says that “Xenophobia is a political term and not a recognized medical phobia.”

    In my metropolitan area, there are several very large groupings of North Africa immigrants – consisting of over 100,000 of them. I think their culture sucks, plus it is overtly hostile to white people, of which I am one. I would not choose to live amongst them.

    I don’t think that makes me racist, or bigoted. But I do think it makes me a xenophobe.

    “Xenophobe” can be read in several ways. One way – which I think is inaccurate – implies a moral failing. Another way reads it in a morally neutral manner – we can dislike living near people from certain other countries and cultures for very rational and justifiable reasons.

    Current PC culture finds racism in anything non-PC. As part of the expansion of PC culture, the meaning of words change – “xenophobia” becomes synonymous with “racism.” It’s not a synonym. As a matter of fact, the Oxford dictionary lists “nationalism” as a synonym of “xenophobia.” This is correct – but watch while “nationalism” also becomes a dirty word.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “A phobia is a mental illness.”

    It can be, if the fear is severe enough to be debilitating.

    It’s also a commonly used construction for a dislike of something, used for rhetorical or humorous effect. For example “technophobe”, “commitment phobe”, “soap-phobe”. In much the same way that being a “technophile” or “bibliophile” are not sexual perversions…

  • diogenese2

    Nullis in Verba: Xenophobia

    “I’ve seen it used to describe an irrational fear or dislike, but irrationality does not constitute mental illness. Everyone holds irrational beliefs – nobody sticks to strict deductive logic.”

    Strict deductive logic; The prime diagnostic character of the fanatic. Every psychopath I have known, and every historical example, has demonstrated this quality.
    The problem is always – if your prime assumptions are wrong, or even inaccurate, you are into the abyss.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Um, well not necessarily. If you believe in certain things then you won’t be a member of the club”

    I didn’t intend to suggest otherwise. I assumed that I was being asked to define what I meant by “freedom of belief”, not “British culture”.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @Nullius I assumed that I was being asked to define what I meant by “freedom of belief”, not “British culture”.
    Yes, OK. It sounded very much like you were attemtping to define (in part) British culture when you said “Freedom of belief, right?”.

    So, I’m not sure then.
    I am trying to pin down British culture (a bit) and I don’t think it’s as intellectual and thought-based as you are presupposing. It’s much more about how you behave in the presence of others (I think). So “Believe any damn stupid thing you like but behave properly and don’t talk about it if it’s too rude, exclusive or intolerant” might get closer to the truth. Live and let live. That sort of thing. Don’t overthink it and for God’s sake don’t be a damned continental intellectual.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Yes, OK. It sounded very much like you were attemtping to define (in part) British culture when you said “Freedom of belief, right?”.”

    I said: “And it includes freedom of belief, right?”

    What I’m trying to get at is that one of the virtues of British culture that makes it so admirable is that it believes in freedom of belief, that everybody should be allowed to believe what they want. That includes non-British cultures. That includes multiple viewpoints even within British culture. That means that membership of the club has to be voluntary, not compulsory. That means that we integrate culturally by persuading immigrants of the benefits of our culture and allowing them the time to choose it freely. And that the freedom to choose includes the freedom not to choose it – both for us and for them.

    Our right to be xenophobic and dislike bits of foreign cultures is the same as their right to be xenophobic and dislike bits of our British culture. Our right not to have to change cultures/beliefs is the same as theirs. We have no requirement that everyone must believe a certain way to be allowed to live in this country. We do require that we all tolerate one another, and that rule too applies to both us and them.

    Personally, I consider that to be an important part of British culture; one of it’s greatest jewels, in fact, and much of the reason for its success. But I’m not sure if everyone else does, which is why I put the question mark at the end. Do the British actually still believe that? Or do they believe only in ‘freedom for *our* beliefs’?

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @Nullius in Verba
    I think you may be right-I stress “may”. The problem is that the culture will fail if enough people don’t buy in voluntarily to enough of it.
    In this context, tolerance is largely a negative virtue and I think it’s only one part (you don’t claim otherwise, I know).

    I remeber that tolerance amongst the young was always quite limited-you got the rough bits ground off quite hard.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The problem is that the culture will fail if enough people don’t buy in voluntarily to enough of it.”

    Yes. That’s always a problem with freedom. If you give people the freedom to choose, what if they choose wrongly? If you allow free trade and competition from other manufacturers with inferior products, for example, what if the customers choose those other products? Maybe even dangerous products? Maybe it would be safer all round just to take the choice away?

    Freedom includes the freedom to make mistakes, and the responsibility to choose to preserve it. You have to trust people to know their own best interests. There’s undoubtedly some risk in it – but the incredible advantages if it pays off are well worth it!

  • Paul Marks

    Let us be honest – the “Guardian” is written by totalitarian scumbags, for totalitarian scumbags.

    The BBC is much the same – the BBC that Mrs May supports.

  • Julie near Chicago

    As I see it:

    1. Neither -phobic (-phobe, -phobia) nor -philic (-phile, philia_ has inherently anything to do with sex, sexuality, or “gender.” The former suffix refers to an irrational or abnormally heightened fear of the thing to which it is appended refers, e.g. “claustrophobia,” “agoraphobia,” “acrophobia,” etc. The latter suffix refers to “love of” (Wikipedia says “friendly love [of] or friendship [toward]”) the thing to which it is appended refers; e.g. one might be a bibliophile, or an Anglophile — and then also one might be a lover of wisdom (a “sopho”-phile or philosopher). The “love” meant generally has nothing to do with sex (“pædophile” if used as literally constructed would mean “one who loves children,” (“love” not in a euphemistic sense) but it was invented to mean, roughly, “one who is sexually attracted to children”).

    2. But in today’s rather abominable political culture, certain words referring to irrational and abnormally strong fears are used as mere smear words to derogate their referents: they are terms of abuse. The two famous examples are “homophobe” (which again, if used literally, would mean “heightened or abnormal fear of sameness”) and “xenophobe,” heightened or abnormal fear of “the foreign or strange.” “Islamophobe” was invented (as far as I can see) as another smear-word analogously with “homophobe.”

    Make no mistake: The suffixes -phobe, etc., are used by the leftish/librul/proggies in order to imply, without quite saying so, that their referents are “sick,” disordered, mentally, and are therefore not to be accorded respect. They’ve been made smear-words.

    The upshot is that in people’s own minds, the literal meaning and the popular or cultural understanding of such words become somewhat conflated, so that one can use them in the cultural meaning, as words of denigration, while defending their use on the grounds of their literal interpretation.

    In sum:

    As pertaining to the present discussion, “xenophobe” is generally used as a smear-word in the same way as “homophobe,” “islamophobe,” and “REEE-tard!” are.

  • Frans Caleeuw

    When I, as a foreigner look at Theresa May, I have always the impression that she is an English variant of Angela Merkel. Similarly she is “an ardent regulator and meddler, with a deeply unattractive liking for bossy solutions, although as is often the case, this is joined by an abject failure to learn from their inevitable failings”. One would say kindred spirits. Without “the slightest hint of any genuine liberal instincts or views, whether it be about speech, property rights, the role of the state, trade, foreign policy”. Both seem to be at the end of their political career and that may be a blessing after all.

  • fcal

    When I, as a foreigner look at Theresa May, I have always the impression that she is an English variant of Angela Merkel. Similarly she is “an ardent regulator and meddler, with a deeply unattractive liking for bossy solutions, although as is often the case, this is joined by an abject failure to learn from their inevitable failings”. One would say kindred spirits. Without “the slightest hint of any genuine liberal instincts or views, whether it be about speech, property rights, the role of the state, trade, foreign policy”. Both seem to be at the end of their political career and that may be a blessing after all.

  • Mr Ecks

    May hasn’t the slightest interest in stopping migration anyway. She is a brazen liar who is talking shite she thinks folk want to hear.

    At the Home Office she was supposed to let 30,000 migrants a year in. She let 10 times that many in as “legals” and double that amount including 300,000 illegals.

    Whatever cockrot she says about migration it will continue unchecked as long as she is in.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Make no mistake: The suffixes -phobe, etc., are used by the leftish/librul/proggies in order to imply, without quite saying so, that their referents are “sick,” disordered, mentally, and are therefore not to be accorded respect. They’ve been made smear-words.”

    And of course the same is true of words/phrases like “capitalist”, “right-winger”, “far right”, “neo-liberal”, “free market”, “Thatcherite”, “Republican”, “Trump supporter”, “white male conservative”, “privileged”, etc.

    Words often have different meanings in political discourse, and depending on where you stand. What do the words “liberal” and “progressive” actually mean, for example? The way you changed their spelling above, I guess you was trying to indicate that you meant them in their modern political senses? Are these people actually liberal? Or progressive? Don’t you ever wonder about words that have changed their meanings?

    ‘Xenophobe’ means someone who doesn’t like the foreign, like ‘technophobe’ means someone who doesn’t get on with technology. It’s just a description. All the extra overtones are part of their political mindset. Do you remember Orwell talking about ‘newspeak’? That if you control the vocabulary, you control the thoughts people can have? Changing the definition of words to carry certain political attitudes as part of their meaning is a way of smuggling those attitudes into your mind. You can’t think of the words “fat cat” in political polemic without thinking of their attitude to the rich, without in some way sharing it. It’s a clever trick, but you don’t have to go along with it.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @Nullius Yes. That’s always a problem with freedom.
    OK I think you lost me. We aren’t speaking from the same premises. I would refer to the freedom of association which is being trampled upon, while you are, I think, referring to the freedom(s) of those who immigrate. We do not live in The Diamond Age and none of us are free. These freedoms conflict harshly.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Yes, NiV, by “librul” I mean folks who claim to be or who are widely called “liberals” (politically), whereas in fact they are il-liberal in their political beliefs and agendas. It’s far easier to make up the mocking word “librul” and use that, than to explain this fact every time I use the word “liberal,” which nowadays in the U.S. and, I think, increasingly in Britain as well, no longer means what it used to mean: not hidebound in thinking and not unduly ready to disparage, nor to judge as “immoral,” others solely because they have different beliefs or understandings — or interests — from one’s own.

    And yes, Orwell understood very well the effectiveness of propaganda formed by manipulating language.

    One also understands the difficulty in maintaining clarity of thought as words’ meanings change, or are changed.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    Particularly given the Samizdata sidebar, this article on culture might be of some relevance.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Hm. I see what she’s saying, but I’m not sure it’s soup yet.

    To quote some famous dead guy who is definitely not Orwell,

    “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

    Mrs. Postrel seems to be complaining that “the libertarians and classical liberals” are engaged in trying to change culture (via economic theory and, I guess, political theory and action) rather than in trying to interpret (understand) its evolution.

    Thanks for the link, Clovis.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Clovis and NiV,

    I would point out that all freedoms come with restraints imposed by nature (reality).

    In particular the strict libertarian meaning of freedom is that one is free to exercise self-determination, that is, that he is by right free to try to do whatever he wants, and to do as he pleases with his property, as long as he honors the same freedoms for all others, usual caveat.

    The caveat is the restraint inherent in the libertarian principle of freedom, whether it’s the freedom to set the rules regarding your own property (and U.S. land is the real property held either severally as “private” property or in the joint ownership of “public lands,” which are the property of the polity as a group), or the freedom to act as you please. In other words, no one may legitimately aggress against you unless you have aggressed against him, or credibly threatened to do so.

    This involves no illegitimate constrain of the freedom of outlanders who wish to immigrate, or even merely to visit or to become guest workers.

    Similarly, “freedom of association” means X’s freedom to associate with whomever he wants, provided that the other party or parties also wish to associate with X. Its restraint on others is that they refrain from associating themselves with X by means of force or fraud. (Trespass may or may not include such illegitimate forcing of X to accept or allow their associating with him.)

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @Julie
    You’re welcome.

    I do understand the fully libertarian position (I think).
    My point in referring to The Diamond Age is that we ain’t there. Isn’t that Postrel’s point (one of her points…) too?
    We aren’t free in the libertarian sense so what do you prioritise, whose freedoms get the first go? We don’t have the defenses that a libertarian society would provide.

    Culture and society are real and we mess with them at our peril (doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, just that we should be very careful).
    Chesterton’s fence springs to mind.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Clovis, I’m not so sure there really is a “fully libertarian position,” or if there is that it’s fully practicable. :>(( And in any case, I didn’t mean to imply you don’t know or understand the basic NIOF principle of libertarianism. Quite the reverse.

    I was trying to get at the difference between the way you understand it and what seemed to worry NiV. It seems to take awhile to realize that those in favor of, say, free movement must accept that X’s freedom does necessarily include a restraint on Y’s behavior, because both X and Y are ciphers for Everyman and thus interchangeable, just as in mathematical systems X and Y are used to denote any elements (objects or propositions) in the domain. As for example, “Proposition X implies (or does not imply) Proposition Y, for any propositions X and Y.”

    It took me awhile to get past that one myself, although that was a long time ago and in another century….

    .

    As to the rest, yes, I agree. And actually, I stop short of being a hard-core libertarian myself, among other things because there are cases where the issue of where my nose begins (and therefore restrains the permissible length of your libertarian fist’s swing) is not always bright-line definable. Also because I can’t imagine a society in which everybody (literally everybody) subscribes to the same basic principle, or principles, of what is and is not permissible. Many people seem to be resistant to even relatively modest libertarian outlooks. Although I do think it’s surprising how many libertarians or, at least, strong conservatives started out as Marxists or other leftists … they seem to be bothered when the observed facts are discordant with a theory.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @Julie
    Thanks for interposing/interpreting and sorry for misinterpreting (again).

    Great though this forum is, it’s quite easy to miss tone, nuance and the unspoken.

  • Mr Ed

    Mr d’Ancona’s point is not actually political, it is more fundamental: a cultural point. It is, perhaps, the voice of the middle-class ‘bureaucraçoisie’, the sort of people who work in education, the media, civil service, local government, quangos, charities and the higher echelons of larger corporations. Their genesis is what Orwell described as those middle-to-upper class English people who would rather be known to have stolen from the Church poor box than to have stood for the national anthem. They have a visceral loathing of their country, of any patriotism or pride in country, a reflexive genuflection to the ‘other’, be it in recent years the EU with its ‘pan-Europeanism’ and bureaucratic dirigisme, in years past for many it was Moscow (or at least, they would pretend not to notice what Moscow was up to). This is their mindset and culture.

    Life with the EU is fine for them, there is no shortage of amenable work (or funding) for those who need it, and they get:
    A bit of cultural cringing to France or Tuscany, with nice holidays.
    Good value childcare from East European nannies, whose class is not evident, they are just nannies. Same for cleaners.
    Virtue-signalling.

    And being apart from and above the dreaded ‘common people’ with their uneducated, reactionary habits.

    Perhaps they know that the bulk of the system that supports them in a freer society would come crashing down as their income and status sources wither, and they would have to compete with others more savvy than them in a genuine market and do something useful and tested, again and again, they shudder at the thought.

    And they can afford (for now) to flee London when the casual criminal violence gets too evident.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Clovis, that’s quite gracious. And I thank you too, sir. By me you are in fact one of the Ones here. 😀

  • Clovis Sangrail

    @Julie.
    Too kind, ma’am!
    Also, likewise.

  • Julie near Chicago

    😀

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