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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

We dare not be honest if we cannot speak privately.

– Matthew Parris

15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • The OP quote has a point. However if we had more of a free speech culture in public, the need to speak in private would be a bit less.

    Matthew Parris: I feel that, in some ways, this was a conflict between good forces in society and bad forces. I feel that the bad forces on 23 June won a very significant victory.

    Matt Ridley: Matthew, you’re not saying that 17 million people are, deep down, racists?

    Matthew Parris: Yes. (Quoted in the Spectator, December 2016)

    The man who called everyone who voted for Brexit a racist isn’t the man to advise on either public or private speech.

  • Itellyounothing

    And may the Guardian have mercy on his soul, cause Leavers surely won’t.

  • The Pedant-General

    ” I feel that, in some ways, this was a conflict between good forces in society and bad forces.”

    I agree. The difference is that I think the EU project as a whole constitutes a bad force in society. That I can be considered a racist for holding such a view leads me to think that Matthew Parris (who used to be on the side of the angels in many ways) may also be erring towards being a bad force himself.

  • rapscallion

    Matt Ridley: Matthew, you’re not saying that 17 million people are, deep down, racists?

    Matthew Parris: Yes.

    What about all the non-white people who voted for Brexit then Parris? Are they racists too?
    Did 17.4 million of us all of sudden become racists overnight?
    Does that mean that all those who voted Remain are pure and virtuous, devoid of any character flaws whatsoever – even Alibhai Brown who really is racist?

    Parris is an utter arse.

  • Dr Evil

    So it is racist to vote to leave the European Union? Most people in the UK are still white Europeans. Most people within the EU are white Europeans. So how can I a white European male be racist in voting leave? Parris simply defies logic by his stance.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Dr Evil: “Most people within the EU are white Europeans.”

    Which raises an interesting question: Is today’s concept of ‘racism’ as “white” people lording it over “black” people merely a construct of the Authoritarians — a stick they have given us to beat ourselves with, while they sit back and laugh?

    The history of Europe is the history of “white” people subjugating and killing other “white” people. Over the centuries, there seems to have been very little race solidarity among European “whites”. Just think of the historic contempt of the “white” English for the “white” Irish, or (even within the group of “whites” called English) of “white” Londoners for “white” provincials, to say nothing of the abuse that the “white” English upper classes heaped on their “white” peons.

    And it goes without saying that the history of Africa is “black” people killing or enslaving other “black” people. The same can be said of the history of Chinese people or Japanese people. How can there be racism when nowhere in the world has there ever been meaningful race solidarity?

    Perhaps we should not play the Authoritarians game on “racism”?

  • Gavin Longmuir (September 23, 2019 at 2:57 pm), it could reasonably be argued that regional and class conflicts in the UK were mild compared with the solidarity they showed in foreign wars – mostly against white Europeans but in the Empire too. IIRC there are no occasions when Tippoo Sahib and suchlike even tried to set English commoners against English lords, or English against Scots or whatever, though sultans and rajahs did play off French against British and suchlike. Kipling, fantasising about “Stalky, with a sufficiency of Sikhs, let loose on the south side of Europe” does speak to the willingness of imperial powers to like their non-white subjects better than their white enemies, but within the nation I would not say “race solidarity” was absent – and suspect that it could be put more strongly without being wrong.

  • David Norman

    It seems an odd comment for Paris to make given that although I disagree with him more often than not, in his own public writing he seems to me unusually honest. In writing about Brexit in his Spectator pieces he has implied that people who voted to leave for reasons of sovereignty and democracy are tainted by racism because they must have known that many voted to leave for racist reasons. This is such an unpleasant and misconceived position that I almost wish he had been less honest. Would he refuse to vote for something he believed in because some people might vote the same way for disreputable reasons? Err . . . No!

  • Itellyounothing

    No human cultures show race solidarity for long, but can manage it temporarily when unified by outside threats.

    White Christian Europe fought with varying degrees of unity against the various parts of the Ottoman Empire which was unified to varying degrees.

    China got invaded repeatedly without ever really fighting off the invader.

    Human cultures seem to be inherently open to new blood to some degree. The friction seems to arise when it’s too much new blood too quickly.

    The Forces of European Empires were all largely thrown out of the nations they invaded with varying degrees of bloodshed. The reverse is certainly imaginable if not necessarily certain.

    We have been a species of tribes for a very long time. There will always be outsiders, allies, enemies etc……

    Until we are invaded by aliens or something.

    Racism is certainly being used as a stick to create victims and justify intrusions by certain forces with government power.

    I have to ask, what possible yardstick do we have for a genuinely un-racist culture / nation?

    Racism seems focussed on white folk now, but the idiots pretending at least some black people don’t hate both other “black” people, white people, Asians etc…. are gonna be sorely disappointed.

  • Stonyground

    Not exactly OT as this concerns academic freedom rather than free speech generally, but I think that the Peter Ridd case should be more widely known about. I will be contributing to his legal fund in due course.


  • Runcie Balspune

    I’ve always found the racism angle troubling in that the rules of EU give (mainly rich white) europeans employment and residency privilege over (mainly poor non-white) non-europeans, you’d have thought, on a practical level, a “less racist” person would not be in favour of EU rules. Its less of what the EU actually does than the association with people like Nigel Farage who want border controls and are considered racist, despite the consideration that such border control would be fairer.

  • Pat

    From which I deduce that Mathew Parris’s public statements are routinely dishonest.
    Nice to have confirmation.

  • Pat

    @ David Norman.
    If we are to eschew voting for Brexit because a few who did so were racist, then we should also eschew dogs, children, nature, cars and a host of other things normally thought good because Hitler liked them.

  • Ben David

    Academic Book on Free Speech is Pre-Banned by (UK-based) Publisher:


  • Lee Moore

    It’s THE James Flynn, not any old James Flynn. Wow !

    Anyway it proves Jordan Peterson right. They can enact a vague platitudinous law, and dismiss people who object “But do you realise this could happen ?” with a laugh and a cheery “Grow up, that’s never going to happen.”

    And then rely on it to be applied with a lawyerly “Safety First” eye, when that’s how they prefer to apply it.

    Softly softly catchee monkey.