Category Archives: debate

Tolerance means shutting people up

Debate will wither away

Intellectual freedom, writes Dalrymple, is

in retreat in liberal democracies, curtailed not so much by tyrannical governments as by the action of the class of person who one might have supposed was most attached to it, the intelligentsia. In institutions such as universities, freedom of opinion (if the reports I read are true; I do not frequent them myself, not even by disinvitation) has receded because diversity means uniformity.

The kind of arguments used by students and others to justify the attack on free speech in universities is

of the form that the Soviet Union employed in casting doubt on the reality and sincerity of the Western world’s commitment to rights. What use was it to have the right to free speech if the media were owned by the capitalist class, and there was no assured right to housing, healthcare, education and so on, which the bourgeoisie appropriated to itself? The freedom of expression in such circumstances was formal rather than real. There could be genuine freedom only after social equality had been brought about. Until then, freedom of expression was a snare and a delusion, a covert way of maintaining the hegemony of the privileged.

Although, says Dalrymple,

this argument was bogus (otherwise it could hardly even have been made in the West), and was merely a tool or instrument in the struggle, it entered the soul of the West. Now, nearly thirty years after the demise of the Soviet Union, one often hears that it is right to stifle free speech to redress the balance of power between traditionally privileged and unprivileged groups.

Dalrymple points to an article he has just read in the Guardian newspaper inveighing against public debate, not only because it is often trivial in content and trivialising in format, but because it offers advantages to ‘posh boys’ and is ‘structurally biased in favour of conservative bromides’. The existence of debate

is evidence that it is at best pointless and at worst harmful, insofar as it reinforces hierarchies of power. Once the proper radical reforms have been undertaken, there will be no need for it because everything will be so perfect. Debate will, like the State, wither away.

Slashing corporate tax is perfectly rational

One cannot say, writes Dalrymple,

that the past few months in Western civilisation have provided a model of reasoned debate worthy of imitation. We have reached the stage—the nadir—at which, if Donald Trump were to issue a decree to the effect that two and two made four, his opponents would shriek that they didn’t, they made five.

Of course Trump, says Dalrymple, is not

exactly blameless. When it comes to argumentation, he is no Socrates.

However, Trump’s proposal to cut tax on corporate profits to 15% from 35% is, Dalrymple notes,

perfectly rational. 15% of a lot is more than 100% of nothing.

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Europe is asking for a fascist reaction

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 08.14.51The price the West pays for stifling debate

Nationalism, writes Dalrymple,

is fraught with dangers, of course, but so is the blind refusal to recognise that attachment to one’s culture, traditions, and history is a creative, normal, and healthy part of human experience. A democracy that stifles debate on such vital and difficult matters by means of speech codes, explicit or implicit, is asking for a genuinely fascist reaction.

He points out that in France the genie of unease about the North African influx cannot be returned to its bottle. For the sake of democracy,

vigorous, civilised debate must replace the law of silence that political correctness has imposed.

France, Dalrymple reminds us, has

a large, undigested, and growing immigrant population from North Africa that congregates—unwanted by the bulk of the population—in huge and soulless modern housing projects that surround French cities, as if besieging them. There are now Muslim ghettoes in France so crime-ridden that the police will not enter, except in armoured convoys.

The Front national addresses

widespread anxieties that ‘respectable’ politicians have preferred to ignore for fear of appearing illiberal and unenlightened.

The party dares say on the subject of mass immigration

what many Frenchmen think and feel. A problem as essential to France’s future as how 5m North African Muslims are to be integrated successfully into French society has been left unexamined, obscured behind a cloud of wishful thinking and politically correct platitudes.

Dalrymple explains that the ‘respectable’ politicians,

by espousing the banalities of multiculturalism, left those with a desire to conserve something of traditional French identity with nowhere to go but Le Pen. By declaring that realities as obvious as the high immigrant crime rate and the resulting fear that many Frenchmen feel cannot be mentioned by the polite and sophisticated, they have ceded all public discussion of such evident facts to the impolite and the outré. The élites were the architects of the Front national‘s triumph.

This is happening not only to the French. For example, the Danes

have seen that, in the name of diversity, everywhere is becoming the same. There are large parts of Copenhagen in which it is impossible now for a stranger to guess what country he is in. The Danes fear to become foreigners in their own land.