Hating the Truth

Dalrymple has an excellent essay on hate speech laws in the Summer, 2011 edition of The Salisbury Review that amounts to a strong defense of America’s first Constitutional amendment:
…hatred is by far the most powerful and durable of political emotions. One’s feelings for one’s political enemies are warm and lively, while those for one’s political friends are cool and torpid. It is obvious that the rich and the foreigner are in general hated much more than the poor and the fellow countryman are loved; while hatred of oppression is much stronger than love of freedom, especially when it is other people’s freedom. To hate injustice is easy, to love justice, or even to know what it is, is difficult. Hatred, in short, makes politics, and much else besides, go round; and while Freud spoke of the narcissism of small differences, he might just as well have spoken of the hatred caused by small differences.
Nor is hatred exhaustible. On the contrary, it is indefinitely expandable. It often increases with its own expression, becoming more virulent with every word uttered; it is not a fixed quantity like fluid in a bottle. It is very easy, as most people must surely know, to work oneself up into a fury of indignation and insensate rage merely by dwelling on some slight or humiliation. Above all, hatred is fun: it gives a meaning to life to those who otherwise lack one.
The idea therefore that hate speech can be banned, is of course, is [sic] a sign of impatience with the intractability of the human condition. It wants to legislate people into kindness, decency and fellow-feeling. It appeals to the sort of people who forget (or never knew) that supposed solutions to human problems frequently throw up further problems that are greater than that which the solution is designed to solve. For its protagonists, it has the advantage of creating a bureaucracy of virtue with pension arrangements to match.
There follows a step-by-logical-step analysis of the difficulty of defining oppression and of delineating hate speech from legitimate commentary, and the question of the effect of one’s words vs. one’s intent. His conclusion:

The American approach is best (of course, American universities, with their speech codes, are trying to subvert it). We have laws against incitement to riot and other crimes, and laws against insulting behaviour. That should be enough.

All Salisbury Review content is behind a paywall, with no links to individual pieces. $16 buys you a one-year online-only subscription, and an individual online issue is $3.

10 thoughts on “Hating the Truth

  1. Damo

    Has anyone signed up to the Salisbuty
    review? If you had could you tell me what is it like and would you recommend it?

    Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Clinton

    Damo, I would definitely recommend it. It is extremely literate, heavily focused on art and book reviews. Dalrymple has two pieces in the latest issue (going to post the other one soon), and they are some of his best work lately, which tells me something about the publication.

    Here is the table of contents for the Summer, 2011 issue:

    Articles

    4 A Day out in Luton
    Jane Kelly

    6 Horses on the M1
    Brian Ridley

    7 America and Britain’s Child Protection Systems
    Stephen Baskerille

    10 The Bright Side of the Right
    Nigel Jones

    12 Nuclear Panic
    Christie Davies

    14 Ulster Unravels?
    Charles Bennett

    Arts & Books

    39 Ian Bradley
    on Religious Victorians

    40 Celia Haddon
    on Animal Cruelty

    41 Anthony Daniels
    on Kenneth Minogue

    43 David Conway
    on Immortality

    44 Bernadeta Tendyra
    on Poland in India

    46 Penelope Tremayne
    on the Levant

    47 Richard Packer
    on Feminist Failures

    48 Merrie Cave
    on Roy Kerridge

    50 A W Purdue
    on Gavin Stamp

    51 Christopher Arkell
    on Spiritual Collapse

    52 Television: Myles Harris
    on Al Jazeera

    54 Jonathan Paquette
    on Classical Realism

    56 Nigel Jarrett
    on Neville Cardus

    57 In Short

    Columns

    32 Conservative Classic — 43
    A Field Guide to the English Country Parson

    34 Reputations — 33
    Charles Morgan

    36 Roy Kerridge

    37 Eternal Life
    Peter Mullen

    18 A Plateful of Platitudes
    Parveen Chhibber

    19 The Cosmic Reaper
    Caroline Martin

    21 Hating the Truth
    Theodore Dalrymple

    23 Politically correct Shakespeare
    Ralph Berry

    25 Woe unto thee O Land
    Margaret Brown

    28 Death Knell for Egyptian Antiquities
    Jonathan Tokeley

    38 Letters

    Reply
  3. Jay C

    Dalrymple has written an essay eloquently praising Honeyford as “The Man Who Predicted The Race Riots.” He says that a grammar school system would allow highly intelligent children from all races and ethnic groupings to start making friends with each other at 11, thus imparting mutual respect among the future elite of the country. Honeyford wanted the children of strict Muslim families to have equal opportunities to education, so was in fact an anti-racist. He knew it was a criminal offence for their parents to forcibly keep them at home from the age of 11-12, often working long hours to supplement the family income, to prevent them being Westernised and thus “depraved” or “soiled”. He tried to protect children from this injustice by reporting their absence from school but leftist council chiefs preferred not to interfere in their “culture”.

    It’s in “Our Culture, What’s Left Of It.”

    Reply
  4. mike

    Thank you for the link to that Ray Honeyford piece. The TD essay defending him, by the way, is available here:

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/12_2_oh_to_be.html

    The situation is not quite identical here in Australia but there are many similarities. The children of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese migrants, whose culture is indelibly stamped with the virtues of a traditional education, work hard and thrive in the New South Wales selective system where I teach; their parents are only too aware of the benefits of a real education (as are the kids, to varying degrees). The children of Middle Eastern migrants (not necessarily Muslim, by the way, there are plenty of Maronite Christians among them as well) languish in the godforsaken comprehensive schools in Sydney’s west and will clamour racism at the drop of a hat, while the Chinese and Korean kids at my school only ever do so as a self-deprecating joke.

    Reply
  5. Steve
    Thanks for the interesting comment, Mike. For many years, I thought Asian culture was stifling and overly conformist, but as the years go by and I see the increasing atomization of the West, I can see the benefits of the Asian way of life. Not that it is completely untouched by Western influence, I’m sure — especially in Australia.
    I have just returned from a two-week business trip to Sydney. I stayed in the CBD but worked in west Sydney (North Strathfield). I don’t remember seeing many middle Easterners out there, but I did have a great  Vietnamese lunch at an apparently thriving Asian community there (Flemington).
    Reply
  6. mike

    Hope you enjoyed your time here!

    I live not far from North Strathfield…it’s become quite gentrified recently. There’s quite a large migrant presence in the wider Strathfield area, mainly Koreans and Chinese. And they, for me, represent a shining example of successful integration here. As a rule (obviously there will be a few exceptions) they work hard (much harder than we Anglo Aussies, truth be told), obey the law, and are very keen for their kids to succeed rather than to get stuck in a ghetto. Their kids, who I’m in contact with every day, are clearly only too happy to be considered Australians. And they maintain the important and valuable aspects of their own culture, but have no desire to flaunt them or use them as a stick to beat others over the head with.

    The Lebanese and Sudanese communities have been a little less successful (and the failure is partly that of the existing Australian community, of course), but they and we have still managed pretty well on the whole.

    Incidentally, I’m not saying this out of national chauvinism, but merely to suggest that integration (within the education system and elsewhere) can still work with some give and take on both sides. Unfortunately it seems in Europe at the moment that all the give is expected to come from the existing population of the country in question.

    Reply
  7. Jaxon

    “The idea therefore that hate speech can be banned, is of course, is [sic] a sign of impatience with the intractability of the human condition. It wants to legislate people into kindness, decency and fellow-feeling.”

    Tell me about it!! Bastards… bastards! bastards! bastards!!

    Reply

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