Posted on January 14, 2005

Britain Has Been in Denial for too Long

Mark Steyn, Telegraph (London), Jan. 11

Personally, I thought the Queen’s Christmas message was rather old hat, or old crown. She’s been peddling the old let-us-celebrate-the-strength-of-our-diversity guff for a good 30 years in her Canadian speeches.

Of course, they’re written for her by her Canadian ministers, and one had hoped that she might be reading the multiculti boilerplate through at least partially clenched teeth. But the Christmas message is the one speech she writes without the advice of her governments, so one must assume she means it.

In which case, it seems an odd theme at a time when the internal contradictions of the multicultural society are ever more evident.

For example, last week the Guardian forced itself to consider the awkward fact that many young black males are “homophobic”. This would be a disadvantage if one were hoping to make a career in the modern Tory party, but, on the other hand, if one’s ambitions incline more to becoming a big-time gangsta rapper, it’s a goldmine. Don’t blame Jamaican men, though.

After all, who made them homophobic? The “vilification of Jamaican homophobia”, says Decca Aitkenhead, is just an attempt to distract from the real culprit: “It’s a failure to recognise 400 years of Jamaican history, starting with the sodomy of male slaves by their white owners as a means of humiliation.

“Slavery laid the foundations of homophobia,” writes Miss Aitkenhead. “For us to vilify Jamaicans for an attitude of which we were the architects is shameful. Jamaicans weren’t the architects of their ideas about homosexuality; we were.”

I should have known. It’s our fault: yours, mine, the great white Queen’s, for all her shameless attempts to climb aboard the diversity bandwagon.

If we hadn’t enslaved these fellows and taken them to the West Indies to be our playthings under the Caribbean moon, they’d have stayed in Africa and grown up as relaxed live-and-let-live types like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who’s accused Tony Blair of a plan to impose homosexuality throughout the Commonwealth; or Kenya’s Daniel arap Moi, who attacked the “gay scourge” sweeping Africa; or Zambia’s Frederick Chiluba, who has said gays do not have “a right to be abnormal”; or Namibia’s Sam Nujoma, who accused African homosexuals of being closet “Europeans” trying to destroy his country through the spread of “gayism”; or Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, who proposed the arrest of all homosexuals, though he subsequently moderated his position and called for a return to the good old days when “these few individuals were either ignored or speared and killed by their parents”.

But no doubt Decca Aitkenhead would respond that African homophobia is also the malign legacy of British colonialism. Who taught them to spear gays, eh?

By refusing to enslave them and take them to our Caribbean plantations and sodomise them every night, we left them with feelings of rejection and humiliation that laid the foundations of their homophobic architecture. The point to remember is, as the Guardian headline writer put it, cutting to the chase, “Their homophobia is our fault”.

And it always will be. It’s 40 years since Jamaican independence, but in 400 years, if there are any Englishmen left (which is demographically doubtful), Guardian columnists will still be sticking it to them for the psychological damage of colonialism.

How heartening to know that, at a time when so many quaint old British traditions are being abolished — foxhunting, free speech, national sovereignty — the traditional British Leftist colonial guilt complex is alive and well. Even with hardly any colonies.

When, say, Mahmoud Bakri of the Egyptian weekly al-Usbu, writes that the tsunamis were caused by Zionist nuclear testing, we roll our eyes.

But, in the mass derangement stakes, blaming everything on the Jews is, if anything, marginally less loopy than blaming everything on yourself. One thing you notice, for example, in the Indian Ocean is that the countries making up the core group co-ordinating relief efforts — America, Australia, India, Japan — are three-quarters British-derived.

The same can be said of the most effective second-tier nations involved, such as Singapore and Malaysia. A healthy culture should be able to weigh the pros and cons of the Britannic inheritance in a balanced way. But the wilful perverseness of Miss Aitkenhead’s argument suggests that, if anything, it’s the mother country that’s been psychologically damaged by imperialism.

As for the notion that even the randiest plantation owner could sodomise so many male slaves that he could inculcate an ingrained homophobia enduring for centuries, that’s a bit of a stretch even for advanced Western self-loathers.

Colin Powell, the son of Jamaicans, recalls it rather differently: “The British ended slavery in the Caribbean in 1833, well over a generation before America did. And after abolition, the lingering weight of servitude did not persist as long.

The British were mostly absentee landlords, and West Indians were mostly left on their own. After the British ended slavery, they told my ancestors that they were now British citizens with all the rights of any subject of the Crown. That was an exaggeration; still, the British did establish good schools and made attendance mandatory. They filled the lower ranks of the civil service with blacks. Consequently, West Indians had an opportunity to develop attitudes of independence, self-responsibility and self-worth.”

Can absentee landlords be absentee sodomites? I’ll leave that one for Guardian columnists. But, before her next intervention in this area, the Queen might like to ponder the motives underlying all the sappy diversity blather. The British have always been open to other cultures: that’s one reason they made much better imperialists than the French or the Belgians.

But “multiculturalism” is really a suicide cult conceived by the Western elites not to celebrate all cultures, but to deny their own. And that’s particularly unworthy of the British, whose language, culture and law have been the single greatest force for good in this world.

This isn’t merely a question for the history books, but the issue that underpins all the others facing the country today, not least the European Constitution: at a time when the benefits of the Britannic inheritance are more and more apparent everywhere else, how come Britain has no use for them?