Seeing the trees but not the wood, by Joe Priestley

[Joe Priestley writes on the mainstream media and the lack of understanding about problems within society.]

By Joe Priestley, 1st June 2005

I don’t know which establishment newspapers are the most popular amongst readers of the BNP’s website, but it would be interesting to find out. My guess is that the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday will figure strongly, and that columnists Peter Hitchens and Melanie Phillips are the ones whose opinions people feel most closely match their own.

The Mail and MoS are strong on many of the issues that British nationalists care about; immigration and asylum, crime and social disorder, and the assault on our way of life, and in many cases they speak with as forthright a voice as the BNP.

Of course other newspapers and their columnists also express ideas that wouldn’t be that out of place in a BNP publication. But the Mail and MoS have a more consistent tendency towards the BNP’s position relative to that of the other national newspapers, and this comes out both in the subject matter of their news and in the comment of their editorials and columnists.

Yet in spite of this leaning, the attitude of the Mail and MoS to the BNP mirrors that of its ideological opposites in society, from the Guardian newspaper to ivory tower academics; that is that the BNP is a racist, evil, Nazi organisation.

While this is only to be expected from the liberal establishment, of which the Guardian and ivory tower academics are fully paid up members, it seems paradoxical that the likes of Hitchens and Phillips should condemn the BNP for expressing opinions that are very similar to their own. What is it about the BNP that makes even these so-called ‘right wingers’ treat it like a pariah?

No logical conclusion

The answer to this conundrum can be found, as you’d expect, in the pages of the Mail and MoS and particularly in those written by Hitchens and Phillips. Whenever these columnists address any of the issues facing society today they do so from a similar standpoint and both fail to follow their line of argument through to its logical conclusion. They put one in mind of a captain who explains that his ship is sinking because it is filling up with water.

We could pick any issue out of the hat, NHS, immigration and asylum, education, anything, and the process would be the same: The Mail and MoS, and Phillips and Hitchens put the problem at the door of the liberal establishment and they criticise its proposals for a solution as ‘more of the same’, but then they take refuge in their own bluster and instead of looking for cause they concentrate on symptom.

In fact the issue is merely the field of play. What this essay is concerned with is the process of play, and my choice of the issue of declining public behaviour as a means of examining this process was made only because the issue is topical. It could just as easily have been any of the many problems that British society faces and which provide the material for the writing of Phillips and Hitchens, and which prompt the whining of the liberal establishment.

No solutions

The worry about declining public standards of behaviour has surfaced in conjunction with the growing concern about ‘feral street gangs’ (so labelled by Manchester’s Chief of Police) whose anti social behaviour is making life unbearable for whole communities. Gangs of teenagers, often ethnic minorities but not exclusively so, with their facial features hidden by hat and hood, are assaulting and robbing people for sport and behaving in a manner that puts one in mind of the film The Clockwork Orange.

Of course the old ‘experts’ are still navel gazing and proposing solutions the like of which were the cause of the very problems that they now seek to solve.

Professor Richard Sennett of the LSE is just such an ‘expert’. A leading ‘left wing thinker’ (an oxymoron, surely) whose recent book Respect and the Formation of Character in an Age of Inequality is a favourite read of the liberal establishment. Predictably his answer to the rising tide of street crime is to give us more of the same. He argues that punishment as a means of correcting anti social behaviour is counterproductive and his advice to the liberati is that we should focus on creating mutual respect. Ah yes, the wonders of diversity yet again.

Others too are pondering this problem of social behaviour, or rather social misbehaviour. Writers Lynne Truss and Simon Fanshawe are putting finishing touches to books that attempt to deal with the problem of the decline of manners.

Truss looks at the role of shame as an inhibitor of bad behaviour, and argues that the more shameless we become the worse our behaviour. And she is correct in as far as she goes, but the fundamental question is what has led to this increase in shamelessness?

Fanshawe takes a shot at the answer and hits the corner flag. He thinks that the problem is people’s reluctance to stand up to transgressors for fear they might turn nasty, and that this lies at the heart of our failure to maintain what he terms our ‘social glue’. Doubtless many are reluctant to get involved because of the threat of violence, but that’s a minor aspect of the problem. Much more significant is the establishment’s negative attitude towards those who do decide to ‘have a go’.

Neither writer identifies the problem; instead they focus on what are in effect symptoms. Social behaviour is a function of society and feral street gangs are a product of society; the issue can only be solved at society level, the rest is mere tinkering.
Tom Bentley director of Demos, the independent think tank and public policy research institute, offers his own tinkering solution. His argument is that people ought to accept responsibility freely and without compulsion, which is ok as far as it goes. But the establishment doesn’t trust people with the responsibility Bentley wants them to exercise. The issue isn’t the people’s unwillingness to take responsibility; it’s the establishment’s unwillingness to give it them!

It’s understandable perhaps that the liberal/left should fall victim to this shallowness of thought, but at least they’re consistent; they believe in the equality of man idea and this is articulated in their thinking, as the above illustrates. The problem that the so called ‘right’ have, such as the Mail and MoS and their columnists, is that whilst they too express a commitment to the equality of man idea, their thinking suggests the opposite.

Lethal fiction

The Mail and MOS have featured the yob issue prominently. A week or so ago there were front page headlines and op-ed pieces by Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchens.

According to Melanie Phillips the problem is that, “…far from taking the necessary steps to hold the line against social collapse, Mr Blair’s government has repeatedly weakened it and undermined it.” She says the problem is that “…politically correct Whitehall” refuses to face up to the “…need to restore individual duty and responsibility.”

She blames the government for promoting the “lethal fiction” that all types of family are of equal value. But of course the Tories and LibDems promote the same kind of lethal fiction. So pointing the finger at the government misses the point, so to speak. The issue isn’t the government and the family; the issue is the philosophy that justifies the liberal establishment’s undermining of the family.

Phillips goes close when she says that discipline has “collapsed through the malign influence of politics and culture,” but being the tease that she is, she falls short of addressing the fundamentals. What ‘politics’ and ‘culture’ is she talking about? Presumably she’s talking about the politics of political correctness and the culture of multiculturalism, but she can’t properly investigate those issues from the ‘right wing’ perspective without calling into question the equality of man idea which is the cornerstone of political correctness and multiculturalism. And curiously that idea is as crucial to the thinking of the likes of Phillips and Hitchens on the so-called right as it is to liberal-left.

Phillips says, “The biggest reason for the rise in crime is the relentless growth of a lethal sub culture of fatherless children and disorderly homes… The truth is that the family is the crucible of social order. Break the family and you break social order.” Yes, and…? What exactly is it that prevents Phillips from taking the next step and asking who wants to “…break social order” and why, and what are their tools.

Peter Hitchens usually cuts closer to the bone than Melanie Phillips, but even so he never quite gets there. He blames the government for the problem, “I am not sure how (Blair) can say (he wants to revive respect) when he has helped to create a country where respect has been abolished,” but at least he is as contemptuous of the Tories as he is of Labour and the LibDems. He says that, “The liberal left have been on a long march through this country destroying old fashioned authority. They believe deference and respect are wrong and bad and repressive” Well not quite! They believe deference and respect for tradition are bad, but they make sure to demand both for themselves.

Hitchens is quite right to claim that the undermining of authority has been “deliberate” and although he investigates its purpose, that is the replacement of the old order with the new, like Phillips he ignores its justification, which is the equality of man idea and which paradoxically he too is committed to.

Hierarchical structures

The ‘old order’ was hierarchical and so naturally the family came under attack since it too is hierarchical and as such is the stuff of a hierarchical society. But the new order is also hierarchical, what has changed is the people who sit at its apex; a liberal-left internationalist establishment has replaced a conservative one. The attack on the family and on our traditional ways is not per se an attack on hierarchy and on the traditional way of doing things; it is merely a technique for replacing one establishment with another.

The fundamental issue in this is the equality of man idea, and all the problems that we face in society today are a direct consequence of the adherence to it. It is this that underpins the establishment’s philosophy and justifies immigration and asylum, trendy education methods, lack of discipline, weakness in the face of crime, the employment of cultural aliens in the NHS – the list is endless.

But the establishment has created a rod for its own back, as was inevitable since the basis for all its actions, the equality of man, is nonsense. Men are not equal. They are patently not the same. Neither are the cultures or races of man equal, we can see it for ourselves, they are different. And to treat all men as if they were the same irrespective of their antecedents is obviously a recipe for disaster, as we are now seeing.

And our problems will continue until this very matter is addressed. The issues that the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday and Hitchens and Phillips feign to dissect have as their common denominator the equality of man idea. Strange isn’t it that such bright sparks should miss something that is so glaringly obvious? Little wonder they can’t get to the bottom of any issue – what’s the matter, don’t they like what they see?

Clearly many liberals are fools in that they have fooled themselves into believing in the equality of man. But in a sense at least they are honest fools in that they are committed to putting their ideas into practice. Yet even though Hitchens and Phillips are closer to the truth than those on the liberal-left, they are the more contemptible; they’re not fools, they’re cynics and hypocrites.

Their stance on many of the issues approaches that of the nationalist, yet both columnists and the newspapers they represent are committed to the equality of man — the very idea that is the cause of the problems that they focus their attention on. This explains why they’re better on issues such as morality, education, law and order and establishment’ corruption, than they are on issues such as asylum and immigration: They can tackle the former without reference to race whereas with the latter they can’t, and it is on matters race where their inconsistencies are most exposed.

Whilst believing in the alleged benefits of ‘controlled’ immigration, Phillips and Hitchens also believe that immigrants have a responsibility to become British. But if that’s the case, what is the purpose of immigration? For when immigrants become British surely they become that who’s shortcomings necessitated immigration in the first place! According to their argument immigration should have no effect; so why have it at all?

And because they believe that given the will anyone can become British, by implication they must also believe in the equality of man. Does it not strike them as contradictory that as believers in the equality of man idea they should expect other men to adopt British behaviours and thinking and abandon their own? Liberals call that chauvinism, we nationalists call it incoherence.

It is truly ironic that the likes of Hitchens and Phillips who set their stalls out as champions in the fight against all that is bad in our society are fundamentally no different to the egalitarians whose equality mania has led to our problems. Rising crime, falling standards, the growth of alien and antagonistic cultures within our own, and a crisis in our own confidence and identity are the stuff of Hitchens’ and Phillips’ fury, yet they are also the stuff of the same egalitarianism to which the two columnists subscribe; that is the equality of man idea.

Can they really not see the wood for the trees, or is it that they don’t want to?

Hitchens and Phillips are fundamentally opposed to the BNP because we fundamentally oppose them and in doing so we highlight their inconsistencies. Unlike them we will have no truck with the dangerous and wishful thinking notion of the equality of man, nor will we pay lip-service to it. For us equality is merely a theoretical concept and in nature nothing is equal to anything else.

Originally published on the website of the British National Party.