Call me naïve, but the left’s coarse brutishness still shocks me. The only thing that shocks me more is the right’s suicidal cowardice.
Here’s a sample of the first. The topic is CPAC, last weekend’s gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference, in particular a panel where I participated. The panel was organized by ProEnglish.org, which, to quote from their mission statement,
…is the nation’s leading advocate of official English. We work through the courts and in the court of public opinion to defend English’s historic role as America’s common, unifying language, and to persuade lawmakers to adopt English as the official language at all levels of government.
The panel’s host was Robert Vandervoort, executive director of ProEnglish. Besides myself, the other panel members were Dr. Rosalie Porter, a veteran of the bilingualism wars and the author of this touching memoir; Peter Brimelow, immigration-restrictionist campaigner and author of Alien Nation; and Serge Trifkovic, foreign-affairs editor of Chronicles magazine and author of Sword of the Prophet. All four of us are immigrants, please note.
There was some commentary from the left about CPAC, including some that fixed its attention on our ProEnglish panel. One piece that particularly caught my eye was this one from Salon.com, which I had supposed to be a serious, respectable website. The writer is one Alex Pareene, not formerly known to me. I’ve asterisked out an offensive word.
The National Review‘s John Derbyshire, a stock ‘pervert Tory’ character from a Martin Amis novel sprung to life and given a sinecure at the National Review, is hosting a panel on ‘multiculturalism’ (boo hiss) featuring two of America’s most detestable sacks of ****: Peter Brimelow, founder of white supremacist site VDARE, and Robert Vandervoort, the director of some sort of ‘don’t make me press one for English’ nativist group and a white nationalist from way back.
Mr. Pareene starts right off with an error: I didn’t host the panel, I was a guest. Proceeding from sloppy journalism to personal vituperation, he then calls me a pervert, on what grounds I do not know. (I don’t, come to think of it, even know what a pervert is anymore in the age of NAMBLA, gay marriage, and Madonna in bondage gear on prime-time network TV. My dad, along with well-nigh every other person of his generation, would have said that Barney Frank is a pervert, but I’m guessing this is not Mr. Pareene’s point of view.)
Then a sneer at anyone daring to question the virtue of multiculturalism. (Why the scare quotes?)
Doubts about multiculturalism aren’t exactly off-the-charts extremist. Such doubts have been explicitly voiced in public by the Chancellor of Germany, the Prime Minister of Britain, and the President of France. Why does Mr. Pareene think this an unsuitable topic for CPAC? What happened to the left’s Europhilia? If it’s OK for these august—and in no case very conservative—European persons to doubt multiculturalism, why can’t Americans do so at a conservative gathering?
And then: “detestable sacks of ****”? Is this kind of language OK with Salon.com editors? Is that how their writers routinely refer to people with whom they disagree? How does this square with the left’s periodic calls for civility in public discourse?
I’m not even going to bother with “white supremacist,” “nativist,” and “white nationalist.” The man currently sitting in the White House sat contentedly for twenty years in the pews of a black-nationalist church listening to the sermons of a man who publicly and proudly declared himself a disciple of black-supremacist theologian James Cone—sample quotations here. The previous occupant of the White House sent his minions out to crawl on all fours in supplication to the mestizo supremacist Mexican nationalist group called National Council of La Raza (“The Race”). At this point in the USA’s evolution toward complete ethnic disaggregation, arguing about who is or is not “white nationalist” is less to the point than wondering why anyone thinks there’s anything wrong with such a position.
Pareene then goes on to find fault with our names. No kidding:
The Derbyshire, Brimelow, and Vandervoort (these names!) panel is called ‘The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the Pursuit of Diversity Is Weakening the American Identity,’ and the fact that these panelists are all well-compensated members in good standing of the conservative movement….
Pareene doesn’t make clear what objection he has to our names, which none of us can help. Too snooty-sounding, perhaps? Bob Vandervoort tells me he is middle-class “from a long line of not-very-prosperous-or-famous Midwestern farmers.” Peter Brimelow’s background is lower-middle-class, and mine is lower than that. (Nor am I any kind of outlier among the Derbyshires: The 1881 British census records the following as the most common occupations for people surnamed Derbyshire: “Scholar [i.e., a schoolchild], Cotton Weaver, Coal Miner, General Labourer, Dressmaker, Carter, Housekeeper, Labourer, Laundress, Iron Moulder, Domestic Servant, Errand Boy, Charwoman, Cotton Spinner, General Servant, Ag Lab [Agricultural Labourer], Housewife.”)
(I pass over “well-compensated” with a hollow laugh. “In good standing,” ditto.)
… instead of shrieking their ‘defense of Western Civilization’ nonsense…
I think Dr. Trifkovic may indeed have said something about the defense of Western Civilization, but it wasn’t the main topic. No other speaker on our panel mentioned it. Peter spoke about English-French bilingualism in Canada; Dr. Porter told us about the battles she’d waged against bilingualism; I made my stock appeal to racial harmony based on candor and realism, as preferable to endless racial rancor based on fear and denial.
Since Pareene raised the topic, what is nonsensical about defending Western Civilization? Does Pareene not think it needs defending? Or does he just think that whatever Serge Trifkovic had to say on the subject was wrongheaded?
And who was shrieking? I didn’t hear a single shriek. The whole event was a thoughtful discussion among serious-minded adults, including pertinent and intelligent questions from the audience. We had expected some shrieking from the “Occupy” rabble who had been threatening to disrupt CPAC, but they barely made a showing the entire weekend and were not in evidence at our panel discussion. The whole event was very…civilized.
I am guessing the panel will feature at least one “why is there no white history month” joke.
Having entered with a factual error, Pareene departs with a false prediction: I heard no such joke.
Conservatives need to pay attention to this kind of thing. The left is always striving to “control the discourse”—even to tell us conservatives what we may and may not talk about at our own gatherings. Sad to say, they have had much success at doing so, to the degree that important issues relevant to public policy—legal immigration, to name one—are considered to be improper subjects for public discussion.
(Rick Santorum made a passing reference to legal immigration a couple of weeks ago, but his handlers quickly warned him of the trouble he’d be in with The New York Times and Rachel Maddow if he persisted, so he dropped the subject at once.)
The left controls the discourse because of the right’s cowardice and stupidity. Santorum’s 30-second dalliance with legal immigration sufficiently illustrates the first. The second is so luxuriantly over-illustrated, one hardly knows where to begin. California was a solidly Republican state a mere thirty years ago but is now permanently Democratic thanks to great inflows of underclass Mexicans and great outflows of middle-class whites. Texas is next on the list for demographic replacement, with Florida close behind. That’s a total of 122 Electoral College votes right there. Could someone in the GOP please explain to me once again how not talking about immigration has been good for the party?
Stupid? The Republican Party’s EEG trace is flatter than Kansas.
It is to this party of cowardice and stupidity that the American conservative movement has yoked itself—a party very well populated with politicians all too ready to jump when a foul-mouthed leftist bully such as Alex Pareene cracks the whip.
Conservatives need to reclaim some of the discourse by standing up to these crude thugs. If it’s not venturing too far into Salon.com’s favored linguistic territory to say so, conservatism needs to grow a pair.
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