November 21, 2013

Hitchens on Ed West's "The Diversity Illusion"

Peter Hitchens blogs in the Mail on Sunday:
A Review of 'The Diversity Illusion' by Ed West 
... There’s also this very important point (p.158): 
‘The universalist idea of the nation being a collection of people with ‘similar value’ or interests is itself less liberal than the traditional nation state. Clubs made up of people sharing similar interests are voluntary associations where membership depend on like-minded views.

‘But most people do not choose their nations, any more than they choose their families, and where they do, as in the United States, the society has to exert strong pressure to integrate. England’s self-image as a land of eccentrics may be rather exaggerated, but not entirely so; that being English meant not having to conform along political, cultural and religious lines was a strength derived from its traditional homogeneity. The bond of the nation, irrational though it was, was strong enough to make people submit to the will of the common good without the need for authoritarianism.

‘Vastly diverse countries, in contrast, must force that submission on the people, whether through legislation, illiberal policing or other areas of greater state intervention’.

Or social pressures to conform.

For example, consider a well-loved age of eccentricity and rapid change in culture and fashion: Britain in the 1960s, the era of John Lennon, John Cleese, Carnaby Street, Mrs. Peel, Austin Powers, and so forth. By the logic of modern diversity worship, this entire era couldn't have happened since Britain wasn't terribly diverse. How could Paul McCartney learn to sing like Little Richard without massive immigration of Little Richard's relatives? (And of course once Little Richard's relatives show up in large numbers, then it wouldn't be fair of McCartney to steal Little Richard's style, would it?)

Yet, it happened.

Thus, I'm not terribly surprised when rich Sixties Survivors in Britain show the gumption to speak up against mass immigration, whether for economic or cultural reasons:

- Roger Daltrey of the Who's recent denunciation of the Labour Party for selling out his old mates' jobs.

John Cleese saying "London is no longer an English city. That's how it got the Olympics."

Hitchens goes on:
And of course, who better-placed to construct a ‘benevolent’ new authoritarianism than the new Left, whose belief in their own goodness authorises them to do things which they would fight if others did them?

The connection between open borders and authoritarianism is a fascinating one, which I had until recently seen as a simple practical connection. West explains why it is so much more than that, and why an increasingly diverse society is likely also to be a narrower and more repressive one.

... The book is often mordant,   (for instance , on p.149) ‘All the arguments for multiculturalism- that people feel safer, more comfortable among people of the same group, and that they need their own cultural identity – are arguments against immigration, since English people must also feel the same. If people categorised as “White Britons” are not afforded that indulgence because they are a majority, do they attain it when they become a minority?’.

It is unusual in understanding the nature of the modern left, as so very few conservatives even begin to do. Because it is written by a child of the modern anti-racist age who has no colonial guilt, and was rightly brought up to believe that racial prejudice was a grave wickedness, is far less coy about the subject that the various liberal epiphanies on the same topic.

Please read it. It will, at the very least, help you to think about this important subject.  

16 comments:

Gubbler of the Society of Reformed Chechenistics said...

"By the logic of modern diversity worship, this entire era couldn't have happened since Britain wasn't terribly diverse. How could Paul McCartney learn to sing like Little Richard without massive immigration of Little Richard's relatives?"

True enough. But Rock n Roll exploded on the scene in the US because it was racially diverse and had lots of blacks.
It didn't develop out of white Britain on its own.
So, no US rock, no UK rock. And no diverse US, no rock n roll. Rock music was the result of combination of white and black strands of music in America.

And even though the white north was proud of its 'anti-racist' stance, much of roots of Rock n Roll developed in the 'racist' South because of the diversity. Rock n Roll didn't arise from Swedes in Minnesota or Anglos in Maine. It developed out of the heat of the South where the white/black tensions were much greater.

Blues and Jazz also began in the 'racist' South.

Anonymous said...

Music, especially pop music, is addictive like a drug.

Junkies know that pushers are killing them but they still go to pushers for more drugs since it feels so good.

It may be Britons are so addicted to black music--as are white Americans--that they would rather die having eargasms to black music than survive as disciplined and sober white folks.

Lots of Britons think, 'before we listened to black music, we were repressed hoity toity fussybudgets. But the music freed us and now we are liberated, and we must thank blacks and honor and serve them as the superior race.'

Also, most Brits know of American reality through BBC and the like, the narrative of which is 'noble Negroes were long oppressed by racist white folks, but blacks, with their superior soulfulness via oratory and music, redeemed the souls of white Americans, and so, it'd be nice for white Britons to share in that too.'

It's a cartoon version of reality, but people rely on the BBC for news, and Britons get most of their news from Lib outlets.

It's like white folks need Negroes as moral arbiters.

There should be a black moral arbiter and white moral arbiter test. Remember the test that offered white dolls and black dolls to black kids?

The moral arbiter test would present white folks with a black moral arbiter and white moral arbiter, and both of them would say exactly the same thing.

But I'll bet many white folks will be more moved and persuaded(and feel less cynical) with the black guy than with the white guy.

For example, if a white guy talks about God and morality, many white people think, 'that pious jerk should just shove it.' But if a black guy speaks the same words, it's like a magic negro moment.

If a white guy says 'don't use drugs', it sounds like a joke. But if a black guy says it, it's something to think about. I mean Negroes know all about pain and suffering, right?

There's a scene in SID AND NANCY where the punk duo go to some clinic and some black guy warns them about drugs. It's the one time that Sid shows any sign of respect to anyone.



Anonymous said...

Some immigration is good.

A community has some degree of self ownership of their culture and environs. They have a say in the future of their community..

New blood is a good thing - the people who immigrate have vitality and hopes that invigorate the existing culture.

Clearly the problem is when the immigrants overload the capacity of the community to integrate them into their fold.

p.s. The golden mean works again - moderation is the goal.

Anonymous said...

Creative people and great writers/entertainers have been around in Britain for a long time, when it was 99.999% white. Now compare that to the creative output of a multi ethnic/religious entity such as the Ottoman empire or any other diverse state in history. Can liberals even come up with one that proves their diversity mantras correct ? because I cannot think of even one.

Anonymous said...

"Now compare that to the creative output of a multi ethnic/religious entity such as the Ottoman empire or any other diverse state in history."

Roman Empire was very diverse but produced lots of great stuff.
So was the Alexandrian Empire.

Paris was the cultural center of Europe because it was the haven for great artists from all over Europe: Spain, Germany, Russia, Italy, etc.

And of course, there's America in the 20th century.

That said, the secret of success is not diversity per se. Rather, it's the nature of the mix and the chemistry.

For there to be Jazz, the Afro had to mix with the Anglo.
For there to be Sambo, the Afro had to be mix with the Portu.

No matter how diverse a nation, without blacks there would be no Jazz or Samba.

Surely, a diverse nation made up of Jews, Anglos, Afros, Italians, and Germans are gonna be more interesting than a diverse nation made up of Moroccans, Nepalese, Burmese, Mexicans, and Hawaiians.

Also, the nature of the mix matters a lot. There were lots of blacks in the Arabian world, but they didn't make any world-shaking music. Muslim lords wouldn't have tolerated blacks getting too rowdy. But in the more liberal atmosphere of Anglo cities in both south and north, lots of Negroes created rowdy church music and all sorts of new sounds grounded on individual expression and freedom.

And some mixes are just more interesting. When Jews mix with Europeans, it creates more a spark than when Jews mix with Arabs.

Austro-Hungarian Empire produced lots of great artists and thinkers from various ethnic groups, though Germans, Czechs, and Jews really dominated. It was a diversity of talented folks.

But the Spanish didn't produce much spark in mixing with the rather dull natives of South America.

It's like if you mix some chemicals, something wild and crazy happens. But other chemicals just mix but don't do nuttin.

In music, the Afro mixture is crucial in the US. Intellectually, US is essentially mix of Anglo and Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Britain in the 50s and 60s was not racially diverse, but it was not quite ethnically homogenous. McCartney and Lennon were both at least half-Irish by descent.

Anonymous said...

Mass (non-Irish) immigration into the UK as a relatively new phenomenom, no more than 60 years old. In the long, long course of recored English history - which goes back to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of the AD 600s or so, this is just an eye-blink. A statistic that never ceases to amaze me is that more immigrants entered Britain in one year, (2010), than in the entire period of 1066 to 1945.

Not only was mass third world immigration a shock to an insular, conservative mildly xenophobic people who have a genetic continuity on the same land dating back around 10,000 years, but the sheer scale of it - particular due to New Labour - was little short of breath-taking.
Basically immigrant and immigrant descended numbers double every 15 years or so. There are already at least 10 million of them here - there were around 10,000 in 1950 -but it is absolutely INEVITABLE that they will comprise a majority of the UK population sometime around mid-century.

Successive UK governments - due to popular pressure have promised, promised and promised to 'control' immigration for the past 60 years, bu numbers always but always increase by that constant 15 year doubling rate despite the promises, despite the Powell speeches. UKIP are the latest and perhaps most effective backlas, threatening to overturn the old UK political order - but, truthfully, it's too late.

How can a proud nation suffer all this and not revolt? should be the operative question.

Chubby Ape said...

This is a key point that I've seen several smart people also make in the last year or so:

The connection between open borders and authoritarianism is a fascinating one, which I had until recently seen as a simple practical connection. West explains why it is so much more than that, and why an increasingly diverse society is likely also to be a narrower and more repressive one.

I think there are several reasons why this is true and why it's come to be:

1) Cops, schoolteachers, social workers and similar state functionaries benefit from having an increasing flow of exotic new people with problems. More problem people means bigger budgets for their department and more authority to interfere in the households of everyone.

2) If you unload a human Noah's Arc on your country, and give them citizenship, then the concept of the "reasonable man" can be thrown out the window. Our traditions of civil liberties are based on the concept of the reasonable man; make it so that your fellow Swedish, British, Canadian or Dutch citizen could be anything from a Somali jihadist to a Chinese human smuggler and the concept of the reasonable man can be thrown out the window without much protest.

3) It's a great way for the self-styled elites to divorce the rest of us. In their minds they can have their own tight social clique and then put the rest of us in a group of 7 billion "others". In today's world, to discriminate in favour of one's fellow countryman is just too déclassé for words. Our political class now feels free to proudly and happily cast off any obligations based on nationality, a shared history or any of that other Hitler-enabling stuff. From now on the rest of us will have to get in line behind the "new Canadians" or "new Frenchmen" to earn the love and attention of our elites. The fact that these vibrant newcomers require more tender loving care from the police and social workers must never be noticed, so everyone gets more interference in their lives just to be fair.



Farang said...

UKIP are the latest and perhaps most effective backlash, threatening to overturn the old UK political order - but, truthfully, it's too late.
People have been told for decades that if they vote out of the mainstream (that's to say, for non-immigrationist parties), they are extremists, idiots, bigots, racists, etc. Now everyone with half a brain realizes that it's really too late to save Britain / France / the Netherlands etc, that's why so many of us have decided to vote for UKIP in the UK, or for the Front National in France: when the ship is sinking, it doesn't matter to you anymore if the so-called elite despise you.

Anonymous said...

"That said, the secret of success is not diversity per se. Rather, it's the nature of the mix and the chemistry.

For there to be Jazz, the Afro had to mix with the Anglo.
For there to be Sambo, the Afro had to be mix with the Portu.

No matter how diverse a nation, without blacks there would be no Jazz or Samba."

I think we have different definitions of "success".

Anonymous said...

And even though the white north was proud of its 'anti-racist' stance, much of roots of Rock n Roll developed in the 'racist' South because of the diversity. Rock n Roll didn't arise from Swedes in Minnesota or Anglos in Maine. It developed out of the heat of the South where the white/black tensions were much greater.

True, but in the 1960's white California which only had 7 percent black and 10 percent Hispanic made it popular with the counterculture In fact the praise bands of modern evangelical churches had no black influence. It was white boys and girls from La/Orange County that play music at Calvary Chapel that changed evangelicals from using organs to guitars. There was a film called Lonnie Frisbee: A death of a Hippie preacher about this time period.

Anonymous said...

That's a very important point that Hitchens has highlighted.

A Proposition Nation is fundamentally ideological and politicized, with power conferred to those who can define the "propositions" according to their own interests and views. It's also a very exclusive concept--if you don't believe in Diversity (or whatever the proposition du jour may be) then you're presumably no longer part of the nation.

That America, in its period of ascendency in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, could have created a national identity out of people who had just been killing each other by the hundred thousand is due to a shared historical and racial background.

The core of the American nation then was white Anglo-Europeans who agreed to disagree ideologically as their country became a great power.

Americans didn't agree on what "propositions" fundamentally defined the nation then. They still don't, which means the ruling class gets to have its way and then say that the outcome of their agenda is quintessentially American.

Personally, I would like very much for us to transcend the ideological disputes that dominate our public debates, not by resolving them but by recognizing that the nation's identity does not depend on resolving them. It's less important that a state be red or blue than that it remain American.

Anonymous said...

‘Vastly diverse countries, in contrast, must force that submission on the people, whether through legislation, illiberal policing or other areas of greater state intervention’.

Naturally, because they're not actually countries. They're jurisdictions with rulers and interchangeable, atomized subjects.

bdoran said...

Ah. but if you wish for the diversity of the Roman Empire, you must have you see an actual EMPIRE, with that Imperator fellow, the legions, the sword, all the rest.

This is ancient.

hmm said...

I think Eric Clapton never "walked back" his pro-Enoch Powell stand back in the early 70s. In fact it's like an ongoing game, when a journo asks him, he refuses to apologize for it... And they keep asking.

Matt said...

Clearly there is a minimum level of commitment to the nation that everyone, more or less, needs to show to get everyone to trust everyone and get along.

In Sweden, it's simply being Swedish, not having come from elsewhere and thus belonging and knowing that this is your nation.

In the USA, this is saluting the flag and worshiping George Washington or Martin Luther King, and promising to "serve the Constitution" or what have you.

For me it's interesting how this links up to America's military industrial complex.

The conventional Leftist would have you believe that ethnic nationalism is the source of all conflict between nations.

But one way people bond is going through a struggle and taking on a shared enemy.

And people who have disparate cultural and ethnic origins are not very bonded.

So... that creates a situation where, all things being equal, the people who are bonded close together in the nation tend to be militaristic and the people who aren't militaristic, aren't.

And where people who aren't militaristic can be denounced.

The Aussies and New Zealanders have avoided this to a greater extent, but they're not actually that diverse in many ways, so can rely to a greater extent on their Anglo-Celtic heritage. Still, the Antipodeans do love their ANZAC and their sports (a continuation of war by other, thankfully toothless, means)...

(The settler society of Israel may echo this "violent proposition nation" thesis to some extent, simply because the various groups of Jews have such disparate origins, even though they're all Jews.)