Why we will win
… against the pathological left, anyway.
I have spent a few days discussing golf and football with a dozen or so folk at the Telegraph online. They were hardly committed sports fans, unless you count screaming “racist” at every slightly “incorrect” white man a sport. Perhaps they do.
They are certainly not very sporting themselves. They never answer questions. With the more capable anti-racists who gather at British Democracy Forum to plague BNP members I always felt that the wriggling was at least partly strategic. But now I think the lot of them are probably constitutionally incapable of answering anything. The answers just aren’t there.
The same feeling that the multiracialist ideology can’t answer the questions of the present-day runs through this article in the Guardian today:
Far right on rise in Europe, says report
Study by Demos thinktank reveals thousands of self-declared followers of hardline nationalist parties and groups
The far right is on the rise across Europe as a new generation of young, web-based supporters embrace hardline nationalist and anti-immigrant groups, a study has revealed ahead of a meeting of politicians and academics in Brussels to examine the phenomenon.
Research by the British thinktank Demos for the first time examines attitudes among supporters of the far right online. Using advertisements on Facebook group pages, they persuaded more than 10,000 followers of 14 parties and street organisations in 11 countries to fill in detailed questionnaires.
The study reveals a continent-wide spread of hardline nationalist sentiment among the young, mainly men. Deeply cynical about their own governments and the EU, their generalised fear about the future is focused on cultural identity, with immigration – particularly a perceived spread of Islamic influence – a concern. …
The rest of the article is worth a browse. The original Demos report, which is less lurid in tone than the article above, is here.
The Guardian piece mentions an “expert on the politics of racism in Europe” called Gavan Titley. He’s recently published a book with a Jewish anti-racist academic called Alana Lentin. It is titled The Crisis of Multiculturalism, and again there is the sense that the world is asking new questions and answers are just not there any more.
Not only the answers. The very utopianism which has sustained the radical left over the last half-century is corroding under the acid of Islam’s cultural intransigency. New facts left intellectualism cannot accept, and new antagonisms it cannot resolve are rising.
To demonstrate the left’s growing intellectual sclerosis before these, here is the sole review for Lentin and Titley’s book from its page at Amazon.
Incomprehensible – The authors may have something worthwhile to say but they’re not about to let you in on their secret
29 Sep 2011
I think I might agree with what the authors of this book have to say about multiculturalism. I even think that what they think might be a worthwhile subject for a book. But there’s no way of knowing one way or the other.
The authors do not seem to realise that a book, first and foremost, must be understood – that there is no point spouting some post-modernist jibberish if you actually have something to say. Unfortunately, even if the authors do have anything to say, I think the reader of a book like this is entitled to assume the worst.
If this is what passes for sociology these days (or academia, at least – there are a great many quotes from ‘the field’ which are equally incomprehensible) it’s a depressing state of affairs.
In the 1990s, Alan Sokal famously had a spoof essay published in the self-regarding, post-modernist literary journal Social Text. The editors inhabited a world which even they did not understand, where language had become utterly detached from meaning and in which reputation with one’s peers rested solely on conjuring up, through nonsensical combinations of clever-looking words, an imagined higher plane of understanding which did not actually exist. The reality is that if a sentence doesn’t appear to make sense, that is a bad thing, not a good thing.
So: here’s how this book begins:
“Few people – particularly those given to regarding actually existing practices of state multiculturalism as a form of liberal nationalism, or overdetermining culturalism, or micro-colonialism, or political containment – can have guessed at the depths of its transformative power”.
It’s a lot of long words, but at least you can tell what they’re getting at (even though it seems to me that the “it” in this sentence is never defined). Anyway, it’s only downhill from there.
This, from the 3rd page, is typical:
“If the humanitarian and civilizing discourses of the war on terror are undergirded by a depoliticizing extraction of conflict ‘from the dense lattice of geopolitical and political-economic considerations to be depicted as stark morality tales’, the conventional accounting of multicultural collapse rehearses stark new certainties”.
Ok, so maybe it’s me. I get the vague idea there might be a point behind this sentence but if I want a puzzle, I can do a crossword or something. I’d actually rather this book told me something about “the crises of multiculturalism”, which is why I bought it.
Every page is the same – it’s like some mysterious faith-based exercise in reading. Imagine what you want them to be saying and then, if you can imagine the words do say what you want them to be saying, then yes, take it that they are saying that.
Every fifth sentence or so is straightforward. Actually, now I’m looking for one… and I really can’t find one … anywhere!
“Integral to this neo-patriotism is the liberal discourse of inclusionary exclusion that has suffused European political cultures, providing malleable possibilities for the ongoing cultural labour of imagined communities”. That’s about as good as it gets – mainly because it’s one of the few sentences in the book that doesn’t include the word ‘polysemy’, but also because at least a phrase like ‘inclusionary exclusion’ is amusing.
Anyway, page 3 is, unfortunately, as far as I got. Thanks for the memories Lentin and Titley. And to think – I reckon I’m one of the sympathetic ones.
Do Amazon do returns for this kind of thing?
Indeed, can the entire canon of left intellectualism, which has shaped the social debate since Adorno and Marcuse washed up in America, be forgotten, its relevance over, its energy sapped, its function superceded by history, and a history of race at that?
Posted by Guessedworker