Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, April 15, 2019
Conservatives betraying their own because of a liberal hit piece is nothing new. Yet both English and American conservatives recently capitulated, not just to biased coverage, but to dishonest journalism.
The first case was Congressman Steve King in January. His words were twisted by the New York Times when he complained that terms like “white nationalist” were increasingly attributed to conservatives. The Times made it sound as though Congressman King was outraged that the terms “white nationalists” and “white supremacists” were considered offensive. This is absurd. However, Congressman King failed to record the interview, so he can’t prove he was misquoted. Still, rather than believing their colleague, every House Republican joined the Democrats to condemn Congressman King and strip him of committee assignments. Republicans were even bragging about it last week.
Now, the British Conservative party joins the GOP in shame. Philosopher Roger Scruton was recently interviewed by the New Statesman’s George Eaton. Mr. Eaton said Mr. Scruton made “outrageous” remarks, which Mr. Eaton duly promoted on Twitter.
The Conservative Party then fired Mr. Scruton from a housing commission because of “unacceptable comments.” Mr. Eaton posted a picture of himself drinking champagne with the caption: “The feeling when you get right-wing racist and homophobe Roger Scruton sacked as a Tory government minister.”
Mr. Eaton later deleted the picture and apologized for a “serious error of judgment.” “It was not my words that caused Scruton’s sacking but his own intemperate comments,” he said. Yet he’s sorry only because he let the mask slip. He’s glad Mr. Scruton was fired.
What were those comments? Mr. Scruton said that “anybody who doesn’t think that there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts.” Mr. Eaton said that referring to a “Soros empire” is an “anti-Semitic trope.” Yet the New Statesman itself called George Soros the “uncrowned king” of Eastern Europe in a 2003 article, noting that he can “topple foreign governments that are bad for business.”
Mr. Eaton said disapprovingly that Mr. Scruton called “Islamophobia” a “propaganda word” designed to shut down debate. Mr. Eaton’s lack of argument or rebuttal shows Mr. Scruton is correct.
Mr. Eaton was also angry that Mr. Scruton used the word “tribes” to refer to Muslim migrants. He says even Mr. Scruton won’t defend it. Mr. Scruton doesn’t need to. Considering Muslim consanguinity, settlement patterns, and insular community organization, it’s an appropriate word. “Tribe” is also commonly used to refer to different groups in a multiethnic society.
But the real scandal is that Mr. Eaton misrepresented Mr. Scruton’s comments on China. According to a tweet by Mr. Eaton, Mr. Scruton said, “Each person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing.”
This is what Mr. Scruton said:
They’re [the Chinese Communist Party] creating robots out of their own people by so constraining what can be done. Each person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing.
Mr. Scruton was defending the individuality of the Chinese, not denying it.
In the full interview, Mr. Eaton edited this quote, removing the words “by so constraining what can be done,” supposedly for “reasons of space.” He claimed deleting those words did not change the meaning. Not true. They emphasize Mr. Scruton’s condemnation of the Chinese government’s social engineering.
What the Communist Party does in China, many journalists do in the West. They restrict freedom of speech, just as Mr. Eaton did. They do not want to analyze or explain their subjects, but to deplatform them.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Scruton says it’s a “mistake to address young leftists as though they were responsible human beings.” Yet leftists aren’t the problem. Conservatives, through their weakness, let journalists get away with dishonesty and malice. Young leftists may be irresponsible—but cowardly conservatives are worse.