While thumbing through the new issue of the American Conservative (Feb. 2010), I came across a rant by Peter Hitchens, an emotional denunciation of the British National Party. While I’ve enjoyed Hitchens’ criticism of the war in Iraq, I was taken back by this recent piece.
Although criticism of any political party is warranted – I have complaints about the BNP – what strikes one when reading Hitchens’ piece is its vituperative tone. It’s the sort of politically correct diatribe one would expect from a Cultural Marxist, like Christopher Hitchens. But from Peter?
Hitchens, Peter that is, devotes much ink to claiming that the BNP is anti-semetic, and accusing its leaders of “Holocaust denial.” Revealing that he himself is of Jewish ancestry, he rattles off words like “Judeophobic,” “jackboot-loving,” “brutes,” and “fascists.” While Hitchens acknowledges that the BNP has a legitimate platform (e.g. opposing the war in Iraq and mass Third World immigration), he quickly tarnishes the party with the brush of anti-semetism. While reading his harangue, I was struck by its similarity to David Frum’s infamous “Unpatriotic Conservatives“:
“Having quickly decided that the War on Terror was a Jewish war, the paleos equally swiftly concluded that they wanted no part of it. It’s odd: 9/11 actually vindicated some of the things that the paleos had been arguing, particularly about immigration and national cohesion.”
If anyone digs enough, he’s bound to find dirt. But Hitchens obsession with anti-Jewish elements within the BNP is telling. The party’s primary animus is Third World immigration and Muslims, not Jews. In fact, as the Jewish writers Ilana Mercer and Paul Gottfried have noted, the BNP has actually given some support to Israel (albeit limited).
Throughout the rest of the article, Hitchens claims the BNP is:
- “sordid and disreputable”
- “based upon racial bigotry”
- “bigoted, ugly, disreputable”
- “Nazis and Fascists”
[It becomes redundant after a while, but you get the picture.]
It’s interesting that a self-styled conservative like Hitchens is so eager to throw around the accusation of “racism.” As Sam Francis has noted, the term racism, popularized by Cultural Marxists, is a tool to weaken the West. It’s unfortunate that Hitchens is aiding in this enterprise.
It’s also noteworthy that Hitchens’ diatribe reads not unlike neoconservative Jonah Goldberg’s childish hit-pieces on the BNP (calling them “British fascists”) or any of the sophomoric pieces by anti-Western neocon Ramesh Ponnuru.
Although acknowledging that the UK does have a problem with Third World immigration, it registers as a minor concern in Hitchens’ essay. He seems to be most concerned what the left in the UK thinks about the BNP, upset that the BNP may fit a leftist’s caricature of the right. Twice he mentions that the BNP opens up conservatives to attack from the left. Frankly, it’s troubling he should care what the left thinks at all. Does he want to save the UK or appease the left?
While reasoned debate about political parties is welcome, I fail to see what productivity can result when self-styled conservatives pursue an all-enemies-to-my-right approach, and adopt the language of the left accusing patriotic Englishmen of “racism”. According to conservative Englishmen I know, the reason the BNP has gained such popularity is because it’s the only party in the UK that deals seriously with the threat of Third World immigration, and, at the end of the day, what could be more conservative than actually wanting to conserve the traditional demographics of the UK?
Addendum: There is also the Jewish member of the BNP elected to the Epping Forest district council, Patricia Richardson, who spoke at the Preserving Western Civilization conference, alongside Peter Brimelow, Roger D. McGrath, Serge Trifkovic, et al. Conveniently, Hitchens fails to mention her.