Herewith gleaned from Peter hitchens’ column in The Mail on Sunday, 11 January. He really does sum it all up rationally and straightforwardly.
Once again we are ruled by a Dictatorship of Grief. Ever since the death of Princess Diana, we have been subject to these periodic spasms when everyone is supposed to think and say the same thing, or else.
We were told on Friday that ‘politicians from all sides’ had lined up to attack Ukip’s Nigel Farage for supposedly ‘exploiting’ the Paris massacre.
Mr Farage had (quite reasonably) pointed out that the presence of Islamist fanatics in our midst might have something to do with, a) uncontrolled mass migration from the Muslim world, and b) decades of multicultural refusal to integrate them into our laws and customs.
Rather than disputing this with facts and logic (admittedly this would be hard), the three ‘mainstream’ parties joined in screeching condemnation.
The Prime Minister, whose government was busy exploiting the tragedy to shore up the (already vast) snooping powers of the State, said it was not the day to make political arguments.
Why ever not? What could be more political than discussing how to defend ourselves against this sort of crime? If it is not political, then why is he talking about it at all, instead of leaving the matter to the Archbishop of Canterbury?
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, a hungry headline-seeker and reliable sucker for any scheme to diminish freedom that her civil servants drop on her desk, said Mr Farage was ‘irresponsible’.
Why? Was he any less irresponsible than the chief of that sinister organisation MI5, who seized his chance to make our flesh creep with scare stories, and simultaneously apologise in advance for not actually being able to protect us?
Dame Tessa Jowell squeaked that the Ukip leader’s remarks were ‘sickening’. Why? Ed Miliband, whose very job as Leader of the Opposition depends on the belief that disagreement is a good thing in a free country, moaned that Mr Farage was ‘seeking to divide us’.
The Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg said Mr Farage was ‘making political points’ on the ‘back of bloody murders’.
Well, who wasn’t? A sanctimonious unanimity descended on politics and the media. ‘Je suis Charlie,’ everyone said. It was an issue of liberty, we all said. They can’t silence us, stop us drawing cartoons, etc etc etc.
Great mountains of adjectives piled up on every corner, much like those hills of flowers and teddy bears we like to place at the scenes of tragedies.
You can feel the presence of the snarling conformist mob, waiting for some dissenter on whom they can fall, kicking and biting. So-called social media, in fact an intolerant and largely brainless electronic mob, has made this much worse since the sad death of the Princess.
We should stand up to them. It is especially strange that this conformism claims to speak in the name of freedom, when in fact it doesn’t much like freedom at all.
I suggest that we actually think about this. Of course, we all deplore the murder and grieve for the dead and the bereaved. I don’t need David Cameron or Tessa Jowell to tell me that, thanks.
But for the rest, there’s quite a lot of posing going on. Very few newspapers, magazines or TV stations have published or ever will publish the cartoons of Mohammed that Charlie Hebdo printed.
Let us be frank. One major reason for this is fear. We know that Muslims take this very seriously, and that some of them take it very seriously indeed.
Let us agree it was brave to publish these images. That’s easy for me. I know I wouldn’t do it, and I readily acknowledge that I am a coward.
But it also required compulsory bravery on the part of others, especially the police officers, some of them Muslim, laudably and selflessly guarding people they may not have liked or approved of. Not to mention all the others caught in the crossfire.
As for freedom, here’s an interesting thing. The French Leftist newspaper Liberation reported on September 12, 1996, that three stalwarts of Charlie Hebdo (including Stephane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier) had campaigned in their magazine to collect more than 170,000 signatures for a petition calling for a ban on the French National Front party. They did this in the name of the ‘Rights of Man’.And what was the purpose of this bravery? What cause, anywhere in the world, was advanced by it? Surely the point of bravery is that it is self-sacrificial for a purpose, to save others? Who was saved by this?
You, like me, may dislike the National Front greatly. But lovers of liberty simply do not seek to ban parties they do not like.
This is a double paradox. The French National Front exists mainly because a perfectly reasonable concern about mass immigration was sneeringly dismissed by the mainstream French parties. Something similar is happening in Germany, where large demonstrations against ‘the Islamisation of the West’ in many cities have been scornfully attacked by that country’s elite.
If reasonable calls for restrictions on immigration had been heeded when they were first made, right across Europe, would we now be in the mess we are in? If it is officially regarded as irresponsible, or ‘exploitation’, or ‘sickening’, or ‘divisive’ to say this, then we do not live in freedom, and those who claim to speak in its name are not telling the truth.