Friday, 5 December 2014

Heresy on the BBC

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I never watch television or listen to the radio and so I miss a lot. So thinking, I switched on the BBC World Service this morning for a few minutes.

Apparently today's the first anniversary of Mandela's death and a reprise by the BBC of the mourning for him - rather like the mourning for the death of the Great Leader in North Korea. Will this become an annual festival? There followed a long conversation with someone else criticising the American police for killing black men, then another with an Australian, who didn't sound very bright, complaining about the plight of political refugees given asylum in Australia (they have to leave Australia after three years). And so it goes on. I wonder why our rulers are so obsessed by race.

Future historians will explain it, but by the time historians explain things it's too late too change them.

Put simply, the history of the First World since 1945 is a meditation on the murder of the Jews by the Germans - but I am never satisfied with monocausal explanations for very important phenomena. And the obsession with discrimination and racism is the most important historical phenomenon not since the end of Communism but since the 1960s. It has had huge consequences, some good, many of them very bad, such as restrictions on freedom, a large expansion of the powers of the state and a general sense that Western civilisation is oppressive. Perhaps it a morphing of the never-ending desire to remake society along Utopian lines that gave us many bad things, from Cromwell's puritan dictatorship to the French Revolution and the student unrest of 1968. I refer to the left-wing unrest that took place in 1968 in Paris and the West, which made a very strong contrast to the Prague Spring of that year and Czech hopes for freedom from Utopianism.

It is the American nervous breakdown about race, itself largely a reaction to the racism of the Nazis, that is mostly responsible for the obsession I am talking about. Communist ideas were one stream that contributed to the Civil Rights movement and to the anti-racist movement. The ideas of the Marxist Frankfurt School were particularly influential in the 1960s and remain so now. 

Racial discrimination is an ugly thing. There is nothing wrong and everything right with opposing racism but the West's current huge obsession with discrimination, racial, sexual, on the grounds of 'sexual orientation' and the rest, is clearly a religious phenomenon. Perhaps we should look at the history of the Albigenisan heresy to try to understand our age.

Heresies are truths got out of proportion and  anti-discrimination and anti-nationalism are in this sense heresies. Marxism has been called a Christian heresy but, though there is some truth in this, it is in the final analysis false. The Albigenisan heresy was not a heresy at all but a completely different religion from Christianity and so was Marxism and the racial theories of the Nazis. 

I wrote more about Christianity and anti-racism here.


11 comments:

  1. Sancta simplicitas!

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  2. Regarding the police's killing of unarmed black men, are you saying that the outrage is not warranted? The fact that the state has been killing its citizens with impunity is worrying. If you believe that the "politically correct" circles of mainstream official thinking are placing excessive emphasis on race and identity, I would say that the conservative circles in the press and propaganda outlets are no less guilty. If the victims had been white, would you have agreed that the police were using excessive force?

    -J

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    1. I simply sought to point out the intense importance the BBC and the opinion formers accord to race. America is a very distant country and I do not have the time or inclination to follow stories of killings by the police there but they do seem very trigger-happy indeed. Though if you ask me it does no good to mix the issue of unjust killings with the issue of race unless the two are linked - and the police kill almost twice as many white people in the USA. By the way this white woman was shot dead by the police and her death ignored. http://filmingcops.com/woman-shot-in-the-head-executed-by-cop-because-she-might-be-smoking-marijuana/

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    2. It does us no good at all to turn these injustices into a crude form of identity politics, and it is obvious that the official Right has engaged in a nasty form of this. Some of these injustices are indeed linked to race, but the problem extends beyond race, and it is linked to the expanding power of the state to control and to kill. I am glad we agree.

      J

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    3. Paul, so you do follow stories of killings of the police in the US.

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    4. It accidentally swam into my ken. Follow is too strenous a word.

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  3. The almost unrelieved media hyperbole and sycophancy that always surrounded Mandela were on the face of it incongruous from journalists who always claim to be independent-thinking, taboo-busting, blah blah. He was not a bad man, but he was no saint, and there things that could and should have been said about the ANC and some of his closest political associates. Even he must have been puzzled and embarrassed by the depth of the slavishness

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  4. There is an 'obsession' with anti-discrimination because it's a huge wrong and even evil. It's as simple as that. Future historians won't have a lot of work to do on this issue because it's very straightforward: western countries enslaved and mass murdered people because of the colour of their skin.

    Here's a wonderful prayer that is used in a Catholic school in England where I did voluntary work for a week:

    'When we stereotype people because of the colour of their skin
    All: God, forgive us
    When we dismiss someone's voice just because we do not understand their accent
    All: God, forgive us
    When we judge others because they are not like us
    All: God, forgive us
    When we fail to learn more about other cultures
    All: God, forgive us
    When we do no speak up for our brothers and sisters who are subject to racism
    All; God, forgive us'

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    1. Of course it all depends what you mean by discrimination. The word I used was obsession - as opposed to rational dislike of racism. People who are obsessed with opposing discrimination often oppose the Catholic Church's teaching that wives should obey husbands - see Pope Pius XI's Encyclical Casti Connubii - or about the sin of Sodom. Of course the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council is also much more influenced by the spirit of the age than previously. On the other hand, Christianity is certainly not compatible with injustice to or exploitation of women. Pope Pius XII was writing about the injustice of paying women less for the same work as men back in 1945.

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  5. Good article but the Americans have been obsessed about race since before the Civil War only, of course, giving blacks the vote in the sixties; contrast with e.g. the UK where there has never been a race bar.

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  6. The current anti-racist zeitgeist cannot be blamed on Germans since it was already well underway even before Hitler came to power. The Frankfurt School was already operating during that time and their views popularised in Weimar Germany which was the forerunner of todays cultural Marxist states. Immigration and racial equality also serves many the interests of big business who benefit from gutting the white working and middle classes and importing non-white labor and shipping jobs overseas. They have tried to get away with this since at least the 19th Century starting with the railroad magnates who imported Oriental Labor. The same situation in South Africa. Few people remember now that Apartheid was instituted as a resistance to monopoly-capitalism, and to protect basic livelihoods from those such as the Oppenheimer mining magnates who saw Black labor as the means of forcing down white wages and living conditions. The slogan of the South African communist party at the time was "workers of the world unite for a White South Africa". The first thing the ANC did was to privatise all of the state owned industries built by the Afrikaaners so they were obviously no more than useful idiots. If anti-racism was bad for big business it would never have been taken seriously outside Marxist Jewish intellectual circles.

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