Programming note: Assuming my plane touches down in time, I hope to be joining Pete Hegseth on this week's edition of Tucker Carlson's Final Exam. Hope you'll tune in, starting at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific.
~The real problem, in America, Britain, Canada, Oz, NZ, is not the left, who know what they want and are serious about getting it, but the pansy right. It's easy to mock AOC and Justin and Jacinta Ardern, but all they're doing is sailing full steam ahead for their desired utopia. The right, who profess to disdain the final destination, nevertheless follow along, albeit at a more desultory rate of knots.
We see this routinely in their urge to "distance" themselves: In Washington, as I mentioned the other day, House Republicans ostentatiously distanced themselves from their colleague Steve King, because in an ill-advised interview with The New York Times he appeared to endorse "white supremacist" concepts such as "western civilization". For some of us, it's hard to see the point of a conservatism that distances itself from western civilization.
The same fate has now befallen the most thoughtful and serious of living conservative philosophers, Roger Scruton. I have a modest acquaintance with Sir Roger, both personal (he's married to a friend of a friend) and professional: We once appeared in a debate moderated by none other than Margaret Thatcher. Mrs T obviously adored Roger and reckoned I was there just for the cheap laughs.
But that was then, and this is Theresa May's Tory Party. So Roger Scruton gave an interview to The New Statesman, which is left-wing but once employed him as its wine critic. But that was then, etc. At the new New Statesman he fell into the hands of one of those lefties whose goal in the interview is to talk to you for two hours and then pluck three partial quotes uttered twenty-five minutes apart that destroy your career and get you banished from public life. In this case, it was various Scrutonisms on China, Islam, Hungary and homosexuality, all of which are worth thinking about seriously.
But, as I say, that's the leftie hack's objective, and you can't blame him for achieving it. Douglas Murray, quite rightly, is more disgusted by the craven pile-on of so-called conservatives:
Within four hours of Eaton tweeting out his misquotations of Britain's most prominent living philosopher, the housing minister (James Brokenshire) announced that Scruton had been dismissed with immediate effect from his role as Chairman of the 'Building Better Building Beautiful Commission'. The sacking from this unpaid, advisory position came because of these 'unacceptable comments'.
What's the point of James Brokenshire? He is the so-called "Communities Secretary" and was formerly a most undistinguished Northern Ireland Secretary. But, more importantly, what's the point of the Conservative government in which he sits? Roger Scruton is a humane and decent person: He wrote a novel about the girls of Rotherham, which none of the more fashionable literary types could be bothered with. He thinks seriously about everything from "Islamophobia" to social dancing. If there is "no place for the likes of Scruton" in public life, then there is no place for conservatism either. Douglas Murray again:
Even today the chances are that when you show up at any institution which has a position in the gift of the government the person still in charge there will be someone who used to write press releases for Tony Blair some two decades ago. And in nine years what have the Conservatives managed? Nothing. Or almost nothing. They pat themselves on the back for their heroism in a single successful appointment, only then â€“ as Brokenshire showed today â€“ to reverse and retreat when a left-wing magazine pumps inaccurate quotes onto social media.
There are many reasons to feel contempt for the modern Conservative party. Personally I can see no reason, after the fiasco they have made of Brexit, to ever vote for them again.
Indeed. I wish Douglas were correct that in nine years the Tories have managed merely to accomplish nothing. On everything from Brexit to Scruton to their new Internet clampdown they are making things worse.
~I'm occasionally asked what I like to read on the web each day. The heyday of blogging is long gone, and so are most of the bloggers. But of a morning I like to swing by Blazing Cat Fur's pad. He was a critical part of my battle against the human rights commissars up north, to the point where Canada's Chief Censor started whining about it. As I wrote at the time:
The Dominion of Canada has been reduced to complaining that Blazing Cat Fur is out to get it.
Blazing Cat Fur is still out to get the Dominion of Canada, and doing a rather good job of it. He's having a fundraiser right now, and, if you're minded to chip in, it will be well worth it.
~Here's a good example of the kind of story BCF points me to, on the internal contradictions of the multiculti rainbow:
A prominent awards show for Indigenous music in Canada has been plunged into turmoil after a group of Inuit performers accused a Cree folk singer of cultural appropriation.
Several well-known Inuit singers have cut ties with the Indigenous Music awards (IMA), an annual show due to held in Winnipeg on 17 May, over the nomination of Connie LeGrande, who they accuse of improperly using Inuit throat singing.
This whole thing sticks in my throat - and who wants a Cree stuck in his craw? A Cree doing Inuit throat singing is the equivalent of a Virginia Democrat doing his blackface mammy routine at the DNC conference. Oh, wait, actually it's way worse than that:
"This is new ground â€“ this is not ground we've walked on before," said Kelly Fraser, an Inuk singer who has withdrawn from the award show in protest, along with throat singer Tanya Tagaq and the duo Piqsiq.
For the first time in decades I find myself minded to agree with Charles and Camilla:
~We have some special events planned as we head toward the third year of The Mark Steyn Club, including the second annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise, sailing from Vancouver to Alaska. (Those Steyn cruise cabins are selling spectacularly fast, and pricing is better the earlier you book. If your preferred stateroom is showing up online as unavailable, do call or email Cindy, our cruise manager, and she might be able to pull a few strings: If you're dialing from almost anywhere but Australia (ie, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America), it's 001 (770) 952-1959; if you're calling from North America, it's 1-800-707-1634. Or you can email your query here.)
Club members also enjoy special member pricing on over forty products at the Steyn store, including (for those with fond memories of my showstopping number on the Dennis Miller tour) our My Sharia Amour gift pack. So, if you've been thinking about signing up, you can find more details about the Club here - and, if you've a chum who'd enjoy our audio fiction, video poetry and much more, don't forget our special Gift Membership, which makes a healthier Easter gift than chocolate.
See you on the telly with Tucker tonight - and tomorrow morning back on the curvy couch with Steve, Ainsley and Brian at "Fox & Friends".