After James Brokenshire announced that the head of the Government’s new Commission on “Beauty in the built environment” would be Roger Scruton, the pushback began. Here was an unrepentant bigot whose record went back decades, right back to the early 1980s when he founded the Salisbury Review, a small-circulation and allegedly Conservative publication which advocated what was then described as “repatriation”, a concept by which Enoch Powell set such store in his infamous “Rivers of blood” speech.
As Zelo Street has already told, Scruton was defended by pointing out that he was allegedly an “Eminent writer and philosopher”. Also, “He is an author of over 40 books”. And “He engages in contemporary political and cultural debates from the standpoint of a conservative thinker and is well known as a powerful polemicist”. He no doubt ranks as high as any in Rome. But this did not stop the protests, despite the media adulation.
So it was time for someone out there on the right to make one great futile gesture, and there is no-one better in that field than the loathsome Toby Young, who knows all about departing a Government sinecure in disgrace. Tobes lamented “Depressing to see the social media cops trawl through everything Roger Scruton’s ever written in the hope of finding things to be offended by. As Freddie de Boer said, ‘That’s what liberalism is now – the search for baddies doing bad things, like little offense archaeologists.’”
Searching for baddies doing bad things? Offence archaeologists? Has Tobes never studied the modus operandi of his pals at the Guido Fawkes blog? Or a host of other like minded people out there on the right? Whatever. Do go on. Ah yes, “These commissars of political correctness aren’t fit to tie his boots”. A word in your shell-like, Tobes.
If we’re meant to be musing on the wrongs done to an allegedly great thinker, it does the discussion no favours by descending to cheap characterisation and abuse. So what’s with “Commissars” and “Political correctness”? Scruton has a track record of bigotry. Calling him out for it is not “politically correct”. It’s a statement of the bleeding obvious.
Nor does comparative wrongdoing contribute positively to the discussion, so sneering “Is this the same man who has called for Sir Roger Scruton to be sacked because of ‘offensive’ things he’s said in the past? Surely not!” at Aaron Bastani won’t cut it. Nor will citing Spiked in your defence. Nor will use of the over-dramatic “hounding”.
But wait, Tobes has something else to offer in Scruton’s defence. An article titled “Sir Roger Scruton Is a Friend to Muslims and Jews”. You see? Some of his best friends are Jewish! His good name is saved! But in what publication does that article appear? The National Review. Tobes, we need another quiet word about this one.
The National Review was founded by William F Buckley Jr. During the 1968 Democratic Convention, when Gore Vidal appeared in support of Eugene McCarthy’s bid for the party’s nomination, he would inevitably be asked “Mr Vidal, where is your friend Mr Buckley?” The two had been involved in a number of exchanges live on TV.
And the reply would be the same: Vidal would feign surprise and then smile “Oh, Buckley. He’s over at the Wallace headquarters stitching hoods”. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Vidal's clashes with Buckley were wonderful, largely because Buckley (a fanatical CIA agent) always came off worse whether face-to-face or in print.
Mind you, it wasn't too difficult to needle Buckley. Typically, on one occasion in his ranting righty TV propaganda bullshit Firing Line he even threatened Noam Chomsky(!) with violence.
Ranting righties are easy to wind up because they are so pig-headed stupid. Which is why everybody should rip the piss out of them as often as possible.
Personally I’d rather listen to someone like Roger Scruton than anyone on the Labour front bench for example.
Or anyone in Parliament even. They’re dull and boring, and he says many interesting things. I still remember a TV programme he did decades ago about fox hunting and the English countryside. It really made me think a bit and look at things from a different angle.
He might well be “reactionary” by today’s standards - but so what? Is public life to be purged of all dissenters and eccentrics?
As usual “the contrarians” at Spiked magazine had an interesting view on things.
Quote from Spiked:
“If Twitter offendotrons manage to get Maybot and Co to sack Sir Roger Scruton from his new job advising Building Better, Building Beautiful on housing policy, you can safely stick a fork in British civil society. It’s done.
Years ago, he argued that ‘once identified as right-wing you are beyond the pale of argument; your views are irrelevant, your character discredited, your presence in the world a mistake. You are not an opponent to be argued with, but a disease to be shunned.’ At the time it was hyperbole. Now it seems what Freddie deBoer calls ‘offence archaeologists’ – people determined to ‘sniff out baddies doing bad things’ by going through everything a person has ever said or written – are determined to make it true.”
Roger Scruton has replied to criticisms of his appointment.
"If people actually read my comments regarding the interplay between George Soros and Hungary they will realise they are not in any way anti-Semitic, indeed quite the opposite.
“Only two years ago I supported George Soros by making representations to Prime Minister Orban’s regime to keep open the Central European University so that intellectual freedom could continue to flourish in Hungary."
On the contrary, listening to Scruton's voice and his right wing propaganda is akin to listening to a fingernail on a blackboard. An appalling fellow.
I'm all for keeping him in place. He's a constant reminder of how easily German academia went over to the Nazis and how members of the same area of the British Establishment wanted to compromise with Hitler.
Scruton is a disgusting self-pitying individual with disgusting opinions. It's as well to keep him in view to see just how much more morally corrupt this country could become.
One look at that embittered face is almost all you need to know about him and his type.
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