June 29th 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY John Setka, for all his faults, is the perfect scapegoat

FIGHTING FUND NCC president Patrick J. Byrne outlines the goals for 2019

SPECIAL FEATURE Author Rod Dreher brings St Benedict to bear on our decline and fall

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS One million protest China's attack on Hong Kong's freedom

GENDER POLITICS Vatican issues document on gender ideology

POLITICS AND SOCIETY New secularist strategies to bury Christianity

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki, Part 4: Ancient Jewish view of the cosmos

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell's appeal: An account from the live streaming

BANKING FEATURE Greed works ... at least for a while and for a few

IDEOLOGY Feminist claims for equality, Part 2: What feminism should be

IDEOLOGY WARS Roger Scruton and the Tories: a sorry tale

MUSIC Melodic abundance: John, Paul, Duke and Antonio

CINEMA The End: Staging the apocalypse

BOOK REVIEW Scenes from Dante's Inferno

BOOK REVIEW Mrs Gould: she who drew the pictures

LETTERS

POETRY

NATIONAL AFFAIRS A Q&A to clarify issues in Cardinal Pell's appeal

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IDEOLOGY WARS
Roger Scruton and the Tories: a sorry tale


by Hal G.P. Colebatch

News Weekly, June 29, 2019

There is contemptible, there is mega-contemptible, and there is the British Conservative Party.

In saying this I am not referring, though I might, to the hopeless and undemocratic muddle over Brexit.

Nor am I referring to the craven refusal (lest France be offended!) to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

I am referring to the shocking and inexcusable treatment of Sir Roger Scruton, Britain’s leading conservative philosopher (which means, more or less, Britain’s only conservative philosopher).

Sir Roger Scruton

This sorry story begins with Sir Roger (who, admittedly, should have known better) agreeing to give an interview to The New Statesman. Scruton had said in the interview: “On Hungarian Jews: Anybody who doesn’t think that there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts.”

The interviewer, deputy editor George Eaton, then tweeted that Scruton’s remarks were “outrageous” and suggested that they were anti-Semitic. It was, in fact, utterly ludicrous to give them an anti-Semitic spin. Soros has done nothing to support Israel and he and the Israeli government are indeed at daggers drawn. To label criticism of Soros as anti-Semitism is simply a smear.

In the interview, Scruton didn’t mention that Soros was a Jew. Soros is in fact not religiously observant and is hostile to Israel and the Netanyahu government. Scruton merely referred to Soros’ political and financial activities in Hungary.

Eaton claimed Scruton’s views were anti-Semitic, when in fact they were the opposite. Anti-Semitism is now found in the Corbynite wing of Labor and has led to many Jews quitting the party.

Eaton presented this as an adverse comment about Hungarian Jews. That Soros is a powerful financier and as political player with fingers deep in East European, including especially Hungarian, politics, who has made a vast fortune manipulating currencies, is correct and a matter of factual record.

Yet Eaton falsely presented this as an adverse comment about Hungarian Jews.

In the interview, Eaton observed that Scruton was “heedless of the anti-Semitic portrayal of the philanthropist George Soros as a Jewish puppet-master”.

Melanie Phillips has said: “Soros has an antipathy to the Western nation-state. He aims to destroy national borders and promote mass migration, an agenda he has bankrolled to the tune of many millions of dollars under the aegis of his multinational Open Society organisation and which Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, not unreasonably regards as a threat to the integrity of Hungary itself.”

Anyone who thus criticises Soros, however, is smeared as an anti-Semite by those who weaponise anti-Semitism in order to silence criticism of Soros and demonise Orban.

Scruton also made comments about China that were taken out of context to suggest racism on his part. Actually they expressed concern at the lack of freedoms in China.

One expects distortion from the New Statesman, whose knee-jerk leftism can be taken for granted, as it can be taken for granted that Scruton is a major target for the left and one it wants to destroy. But do the Tories need to follow their lead?

Did the Conservatives step up to defend one of their most important cultural allies who had been traduced? Not exactly.

Rather, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire sacked Scruton from his position as chairman of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission over his “unacceptable” comments in this interview.

Eaton promptly posted a picture of himself swigging champagne to celeb­rate his achievement in having got “right-wing racist and homophobe Roger Scruton sacked as a Tory government adviser”.

After an outcry, he deleted the picture.

The only proper way to respond to such vicious behaviour would have been to support Scruton unequivocally. Brokenshire’s behaviour displays ignorance that can only be described as suicidal.

What is wrong with the Tories when they act as hit men for the left against one of their most valuable cultural allies?

When the Conservative Party shows such downright hostility to its own values and cultural supporters, how does it expect the electorate to behave?

As C.S. Lewis wrote: “We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”




























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