The Retreat of Reason: Media attack on political correctness

By Anthony Browne / Various | Thu 5 January 2006

2006 has begun with the continuation of the national debate reignited by BBC Radio 4 on political correctness being used as an excuse for failure by African communities.

Following the release of a publication from the right wing organisation Civitas which claims ‘political correctness is stifling freedom of speech’, A national debate in the media on political correctness has led to widespread accusation of African people inventing ‘racism’ to mask our own culpability for the socio-economic inequality facing us in Britain, throughout the Diaspora and on the Continent of Africa herself.

Anthony Browne, author of the Civitas pamphlet ‘The retreat of reason’ argues that political correctness classifies certain groups of people as victims in need of protection from criticism and allows no dissent to be expressed. He claims that this is poisoning the wells of debate in modern Britain.

Political Correctness is described by the oppressive majority as a negative “ideology that classifies certain groups… as victims in need of protection from criticism, which makes believers feel no dissent should be tolerated”.

Political correctness is described by the oppressed minority as a positive ideology which seeks to ensure that an oppressive majority does not collectively abuse and unjustly capitalise on their political dominance to do harm or exploit others in any way.

Anthony Browne asserts that today there is both a 'politically correct truth' and a 'factually correct truth' so to open this review we will first give examples of how political correctness is typically used by both the oppressed and oppressor.

Example of a politically correct truth
1) Child rapists prefer to be referred to as paedophiles because British society has slowly cultivated a parallel explanation for the crime which sometimes suggest the child rapist is indeed the victim. In some cases the defence actually suggests the rapists actions are the manifestations of a mental disorder triggered by a similar traumatic experience in the rapists own childhood.

2) Paying consumers of child abuse images prefer for the images to be referred to as ‘child porn’. This distinction implies that the images are of willing children in sexually explicit poses. European consumers (typically male) argue that paying and viewing this material is victimless because any alleged crime has already been committed. Many cite ‘research’ as justification for their repeat accessing of such material.

Example of a factually correct truth
1) The parents of a child who has been raped by an adult european male may not want their childs' oppressor to be referred to as a paedophile (lover of children) and prefer the more honest title of child rapist. The same parents may sensibly campaign for all european males roaming around primary schools to be banned or monitored by CCTV after making an informed decision using the statistical information available to profile child rapists. Taking factually correct truth to the next extreme the parent would be within their rights to suggest that the police should be given extra powers to stop and routinely question any european male loitering in the vicinity of a children’s playground during school hours.

2) Paying consumers of child abuse images should be treated as criminals. The children are below the age of consent and the consumers by virtue of paying for the service are guilty of creating the demand that keeps this growth european industry going.

So who is Anthony Browne?
Anthony Browne is a right wing commentator who believes that “The most overt racism, sexism and homophobia in Britain is now among the weakest groups, in ethnic minority communities, because their views are rarely challenged, as challenging them equates to oppressing them". He is also the author of an article that reads;

“[O]rganised criminal gangs of Third World immigrants… are taking over the drug industry in British cities and occasionally indulging in murderous open gang warfare…. The government admitted that Third World immigration was bringing in such high levels of the lethal liver disease hepatitis B that it was considering vaccinating every child in the country to protect them…. Third World immigration is doubling the rates of HIV, tripling the rates of tuberculosis and increasing twentyfold the rates of hepatitis.”

The central thrust of this simmering anti-Political correctness(PC) debate capitalised on by Browne is that honesty (sic) and “post-colonial white guilt” has given way to distorted facts and has produced a climate of ineffective rhetoric motivated by a desire not to harm minority communities. Or at least this is his official stance. When challenged he also states that African communities are less politically correct than europeans and unfairly protected by liberals.

He ignores the recent flurry of Radio 4 programmes where the n word has been used to excess and cites the example of Guardian newspaper writers as being more likely to excuse homophobic content in African music. This is despite the Guardians recent publication of an anti-African article by Max Hastings entitled ‘This is the country of Drake and Pepys, not Shaka Zulu’ which asserts that only europeans have a prized culture or history worthy of teaching in British schools and of course the national exposure given to the pseudo academic David Goodhart whose infamous article claimed all Britons without european heritage are ‘stranger citizens’.

Browne believes that all of Africa’s problems are down to bad governance and that europeans are naturally intellectually superior to Africans. He chooses not to come out and openly say the last bit because contrary to his rhetoric he himself chooses when it’s in his best interests to be politically correct. The solution to the problem of political correctness according to him is for western democracies to reaffirm their sense of identity and become "more hard-headed about the real benefits [cultural imperialism] and drawbacks [immigration and political correctness] of Western civilisation".

Problem minorities
Brownes theme of ‘we get away with more than the wider community’ was recently exposed by presenter Sonia Deol on the Asian Network. Deol challenged his empty claims that ‘the problem [of making excuses for negative social issues] are worse amongst ethnic minorities’ during a recent interview with him on the topic. Nonetheless he continued to state that because the wider community in Britain had long ‘risked harming people by being too kind’ there was now a need to ‘be more honest about uncomfortable realities’.

However what is interesting about his arguments is that almost every example of ‘bad’ political correctness he used was based around the issue of ethnicity or immigration. He claimed that the growing spread of HIV in Britain is due solely to immigration from Africa and not in any way related to Britain’s massive annual increase in sexually transmitted diseases or perhaps the increase of casual unprotected anal sex also exacerbated by the steady liberalisation of attitudes and laws pertaining to the cultural normalisation of same gender sexual activity. Given his tone it was surprising he didn’t chose to state that only a cultural attack on inter-ethnic relationships involving African people and europeans would curb Britain’s HIV problem.

Media Agenda: What does it means to be….
In tandem with the political correctness debate the national media’s has been incessantly repeating the questions ‘what does it means to be English’ and ‘what does it means to be British’. This obsessive search for a national identity encompassing a multi-ethnic dynamic has now dominated the public arena for several months. Unsurprisingly many culturally disinherited African Britons have been sought out in an attempt to promote mono-culturalism. All have been given unprecented media coverage to endorse the ‘diversity’ element of the debate. Sadly and as if an attempt to prove their assimilated British credentials many have wilfully denounced their African identity. Subsequently most have been officially recognised by the state as a reward.

A typical example is the Ugandan born archbishop John Sentamu who no longer sees himself as an African but instead claims to be a ‘black’ British mongrel of English and African pedigree. Interestingly enough he attacks multiculturalism in the same breath as he uses his African heritage as cause celebre.

So why did all the national papers and media organisations give Brownes story so much prominence? The publication of a pamphlet is not normally a national story. Why were there no self defining African British commentators invited to challenge his anti-African assertions? Perhaps it’s because this was exactly the type of debate the media needs to attack the cultures of minority communities with a new sense of moral impunity. Perhaps they are bitter after being caught out as hypocrites following a disingenuous year long campaign of pretending to care about Africa and her children. Perhaps and equally likely they are also simply frightened by the threat of terrorism from the British enemy within. The ideological bullying of those percieved as voiceless and defenceless is how the British media has always collectively sought to attack the 'other'.

Assimilation not integration
During the African French uprising in 2005 British commentators across the country gloated and stated that the British model of integration was far better than that of the French which used assimilation. For a few weeks debate focused on how the African and Arab communities in France were being marginalised and how in Britain we were a tolerant, equal opportunity, multicultural society.

But it was a lie.

They all knew it, a decision was made to invoke a sudden media silence and as the debate raged on in France, Britain decided it was unwise for the ‘black’ British community to get any ideas from their 'French' counterparts across the pond. Recognising the growing insurgence of pride in African identity the media backed by government did everything in its power to disconnect African Britons from their roots and cultural heritage.

Talk of the ongoing crisis facing African Americans following hurricane Katrina also dried up and news stories became focused on the odd ‘black’ Americans. Intellectually diminished or culturally disinherited African and Asian media personalities were given permission and unencumbered access to national media networks from which to attack African identity and promote mono-culturalism.

The root of all evil
But the public starting point of this debate started last year when Trevor Philips the chair of the Commission for Racial Equality gave a green light to all and sundry to attack the African British and other minority communities. His act of publicly suggesting death to multiculturalism, the aggressive assertion of ‘Britishness’, the relaxing of attitudes towards 'colour coding' minority ethic communities, warnings of the growth in ‘ghettos’, and the partial segregation for African British students in schools gave Britain’s racists a field day. It was the ultimate betrayal of those he was charged with the duty to defend. The effects were immediate.

Whilst in Africa taking photos for the much lauded ‘make poverty history (sic)’ campaign, Chancellor Gordon Brown stated that the British must stop apologising for Britain’s leading involvement in the enslavement and colonisation of millions of African people. The 'alpha liberal' Bob Geldof joined in with the incessant chant from historical revisionists that sought to blame African 'immorality' for its own enslavement, colonisation and resource plundering.

In December the media got an ‘I told you so’ coup when the American actor Morgan Freeman stated in an interview that racism would only go away when we all stopped talking about it. The political decision to discourage all talk of African (British) identity and maintain the cultural and ideological cul-de-sac which is ‘black’ (British) reappeared.

Political Agenda: Stealth attack on minority communities
Finally, on 25 December 2005 the Conservatives decided to unveil their new xmas gift to the wider British public. They revealed to the national media that they were considering using MP Philip Davies as their designated ‘political correctness eradicator’ in a strategy borrowed direct from their right wing counterparts in New Zealand. Davies is reported to have stated “There will come a point, and I think we're very near that point now, where the silent majority, the bulk of decent people say I've had enough of this and we're going to start rolling back the tide and I want to play my part in rolling back that tide”.

Yet none of the media talked about how the ‘silent majority’ phrase introduced by the former leader Michael Howard was the stealth code for ‘european’. It was firmly injected into British political vernacular when Howard delivered it through a series of speeches about immigration and crime. In one such speech Howard said;

Conservatives will stand up for the silent, law abiding majority who play by the rules and pay their dues. We will put their rights first. Like them, I have had enough of the culture of political correctness - which is designed to blur the distinction between right and wrong. And like them, I have had enough of excuses for poor behaviour and crime. If we are to tackle crime, we must begin to challenge these attitudes head on.

In isolation his quote appears seemingly laudable but he then continued;

“Political correctness and paperwork are undermining our police.…. The Macpherson report recommended that the police keep a record of every stop they make - and that anyone stopped by the police should be able to see a record of that paperwork… Conservatives would not implement this recommendation…. And Conservatives will support the police when it comes to stop and search. Increased stop and search is part of the solution to rising crime…. Effective policing depends on stop and search. In response to the 9/11 disaster David Blunkett rightly gave the police new stop and search powers to deal with terrorism. At the time he described them as "reasonable and proportionate". Not surprisingly the police used those new powers [against minority communities]. But no sooner had they done so than the government instigated an inquiry into their use [and widely reported abuse].”

So to gain a full understanding of why the anti-political correctness feeling has gained much currency it is important to recognise that this debate was not spawned from a political vacuum.

The Tories are desperate to capitalise on its faux-rejuvenation having found a new and less obviously reprobate leader. An opportunistic Labour are obsessed with trying to lose its officious image. Both are using anti-political correctness sentiment as the populist scapegoat from which to safely court the public on the xenophobic issues surrounding immigration, assimilation and anti-African ideology. In their desperation to regain political power the Tory party court public and not moral validation. By seeking to denounce the sensible measures implemented to tackle ethnicity based discrimination after the publication of the Macpherson report they remind us why they will forever be known as the nasty party.

Demonising the loud, unlawful, ‘ethnic’ minority
It is also essential that we do not neglect to note the cumulative effect of the UK’s illicit imperial adventures in Iraq resulting in London being bombed, the closeness to home of the African – Asian clashes in Birmingham last October immediately followed by the uprising of the disaffected African French youth. With the faux-euphoria of the Make Poverty History campaign fully exposed to the world as being staged these series of events appears to have frightened most ignorant europeans back into full and open xenophobe mode whilst building growing resentment and hostility across the UK.

Freedom of speech without political correctness is only wrong in the mind of racists.

External Links
Vdare: Britain is losing Britain

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