Two thoughts on Farage, racism and culture

So on the day that the Church Times quotes me as saying that ‘there are stupid people in every party’ it is somewhat disappointing, if not completely surprising, that Farage demonstrates the truth of my comments with regard to UKIP.

What concerns me is that there is a substantive issue being obscured by the sturm-and-drang of arguments about racism, and that substantive issue is about cultural difference and whether it matters. So here are two thoughts to throw in to the conversation.

1. Racism is intellectually and morally bankrupt. There is only one race, the human race. Even if there are, when averaged out, some statistically significant differences across the allegedly different ‘races’ (as is currently being alleged by this book) it is unarguable that the different races can make babies together. There are therefore no hard divisions between the races, and those ‘statistically significant differences’ become meaningless when looked at in the context of the human race as a whole. What matters are the particular gifts, virtues and vices that a single human being may possess, not what they may or may not share by virtue of being a member of a hypothetical class called ‘race’. NB some of the most racist thinking in contemporary life is actually displayed by those who claim to be most opposed, through things like ‘affirmative action’, but that’s another story. In other words I tend to the view that any language that refers to ‘race’ in anything other than the sense of ‘human race’ is confusion and obfuscation, a mask for power politics on each side of the divide.

2. We need to have a full, open and honest conversation about culture. This is where, in my view, the dominant left-wing narrative in our society is failing us badly, and where UKIP, despite their very obvious flaws, are gaining traction because they are the only people willing to address this very important question. To bring this home, and to bring out the contradiction in the dominant politically-correct understanding, I would simply ask – do we wish to live in a society that has a progressive understanding of gender? In other words, one where girls are educated and expected to be able to pursue their own choices with regard to their working and romantic lives? And by ‘girls’ I mean ‘girls born in the United Kingdom’? If we believe that this is indeed a desirable outcome, if we believe that this is indeed the culture within which we wish to live, then that will inescapably lead to a conflict with those alternative cultures and practices which are currently becoming embedded within this nation.

Of course, the question about girls is only one aspect of the larger conversation about who we are as a society, and whether what we are as a society is worth defending or not. I believe that the traditional British virtues of fairness, tolerance and equality before the law are indeed worth defending – and, moreover, that they are under threat from a confused approach to both immigration and contemporary law-enforcement. My concern is that if we don’t have the conversation in a healthy fashion, the legitimate fears of those who see an indigenous and progressive culture under threat will end up taking a much more toxic form. We need to regain a proper measure of national pride, and not be ashamed to seek to defend those things which need to be defended.

4 thoughts on “Two thoughts on Farage, racism and culture

  1. The problem I have with UKIP is that on the face of it the ‘culture’ they are supposedly fighting for is not actually very inclusive towards me, nor is it very attractive in terms of virtue, nor does it seem much tested with regard to wealth creation, nor does it seem positively disposed towards a greener, more sustainable environment. That’s not to say I’m a fan of any of the other parties either, but I would actively be afraid of a UKIP government, both for me personally, and for the country as a whole.

    European political institutions on the other hand, undemocratic as they are, do seem to have had success as a bulwark against some of the nationalist tendencies within Europe which come from both right and left. And in the past I’ve had very personal reasons to be glad that the UK govt has been forced to submit to judgements by the ECHR for example.

    How do you square your enthusiasm for the radical inclusiveness of the Gospel with your support for UKIP who seem to represent one particular (and not very attractive to me, let alone supportive of me) bombastic & exclusive English culture?

    • What they represent (at least in my experience) is judging and victimising the Other. I’m very afraid that if this sort of behaviour is made acceptable again by a political party then there is always enough repressed anger against people-not-like-us in this country that it could make it severely miserable for those of us likely to be on the receiving end of discrimination, mockery and abuse. Maybe you see UKIP as a bulwark against something even worse? All I see is a vanguard trying to make casual racism, homophobia, transphobia and anti-environmentalism okay again. What does “getting better” mean for them? I fear it means getting better at concealing their toxicity until they have power. What is it that *you* fear, Sam, that makes the likes of Sarah Palin and Nigel Farage so attractive to you?

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