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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