Thursday, July 21, 2005

Observing Parallels

There are those who claim that by observing history one might get a clue as to what's in store in the future. Jonah Goldberg's article may give us a good view of what's around the corner.

the now largely forgotten speech by the British scholar and — briefly —
politician Enoch Powell, who, in 1968, recited the verse to suggest that Britain
was heading down a path that could only lead to social division and
multicultural chaos. Powell lamented the usual rogue's gallery of villains:
runaway immigration, secularism, feminism, et al. His worry was that the new
barbarians were tearing apart the institutions, values and norms that tend to
hold a nation together.

Sound familiar? We hear many of the same warnings here in the U.S. We are presently confronted with many of the same issues that faced the British thirty-five or forty years ago.

Now the future is here. Islamism is filling the yawning vacuum created by
multiculturalism. England is producing homegrown suicide bombers who are
supremely confident in a very non-British future for Britain. For years, the
police here have looked the other way as citizens have slaughtered their wives
and daughters in "honor killings." To clamp down would be "insensitive" to
cultural differences. They've looked the other way, as jihadi ideologues have
turned London into the Comintern of Muslim extremism. In other words, they
opened their minds so wide, their brains fell out. And now the Thames, like the
Tiber, is foaming with much blood.

Will we learn anything from the Brits? Is it already too late and the cow out of the barn? Or is there still time to restore the fabric of the United States?

Just a thought.


At 7:43 PM, Blogger TripleNeckSteel said...


Sorry I declined your invite the other night- I don't go to VRWC chat anymore- GT'll tel you why.


At 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Goldberg thinks that the 'rivers of blood' speech is forgotten, he's wrong, and ignorant beyond belief.
Jonah messed up big time. He allied himself with the 'Enoch was right' brigade, and the white-supremacist filth of the National Front.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Sir Loin of Beef said...

It is the way of things. History repeats itself because people are too slow to recognize trends. When they do, it is too late. So, by default, it is probably too late. All empires fail. All men die. And nothing lasts forever. We can either fight this certainty, or take comfort in it...

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Ol' BC said...

Well, anonymous, I didn't see it as quite that extreme. It seems that he was just pointing to the common issues. Britain's happened to be a few decades back, but the push for secularism, immigration issues, lack of respect for the country's flag, etc. seem eerily congruent to what the U.S. is seeing now. Nothing racist about it.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's because, like Jonah, you're not really aware of the history surrounding Powell's speech, and its role in creating the racial climate that now exists in the UK.

See, when Powell gave that speech -- on Hitler's birthday, no less -- it fuelled the nascent neo-Nazi movement in Britain. Powell may have distanced himself from them, but even now you'll find 'Enoch was right' used as a slogan by the white-supremacist National Front.

In the decades that followed, those who embraced Powell's words helped sour race relations. The British have never been big flag-wavers, and when the Union Flag became the preferred symbol of the neo-Nazis, many people shied away from it. Even now, the British flag is considered a skinhead banner.

That's why Goldberg's piece is wrong on so many levels. First of all, that speech is not 'mostly forgotten': it's taught in schools, and 'Enoch was right' remains a slogan among the white-supremacists.

There is a valid conservative critique of race relations in Britain, but it acknowledges the damage that Powell caused. In response to the white-supremacist movement, ethnic minorities looked inwards, seeking strength in numbers. And if Muslim communities have been treated with a light touch over the past decade or so, it's because they were subject to horrendous abuse in the years beforehand.

You'll find some background here. It's worth reading.

In a sense, Goldberg commits the same error as Powell: he thinks that his own words have no consequence. Powell was an enabler for racists; so is Jonah.

It's as if a British traveler in the southern US wrote a column saying 'well, I read George Wallace's mostly-forgotten speeches, and though I don't know much about the subject, he seems to have had a point'. Is that acceptable as opinion journalism?

I understand how readers of Goldberg may think he's making a valid comparison. He's not. That's what makes his piece so insidious, and that's why I'm so angered by it, because it will encourage similar ignorance among those readers.

The BNP -- a cleaned-up version of the National Front -- is a big enough stain on the British political map. And yes, it likes to wave the flag. Imagine if the KKK had embraced the Stars and Stripes as its symbol (instead of having the Confederate flag to draw upon), and British ambivalence towards the Union flag might make sense to you.


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