Those who know Dalrymple’s inclinations might wonder why he would write a second piece in a few months on accusations of racism on the soccer field (er, that is, the football pitch). The intro to the essay, in City Journal, explains what’s at stake:
Whether racism or radical egalitarianism was responsible for more deaths in the twentieth century probably permits of no definitive answer. What is certain is that both acted as ideological justifications for mass murder carried out with unprecedented ruthlessness, efficiency, deliberation, and intellectual self-consciousness. As ideologies, however, racism and radical egalitarianism have had very different fates. Egalitarianism remains intellectually respectable, untainted by its bloody past and espoused by many decent people; racism is not tolerated even in its tiniest manifestations, and the term “decent racist” seems a contradiction in terms. It is perfectly acceptable today to utter slurs on the character of those born rich merely because they were born rich, but racial slurs are consigned to an infinitely worse moral category.Unfortunately, sensitivity to slurs can become hypersensitivity to them, which in its own way can be as pathological as the insensitivity of those who utter them. A man who disregards others’ feelings becomes brutish by habit; a man who focuses too closely on his own feelings falls in love with grievance and constantly seeks a cause for it, becoming fragile in a way that lacks good faith. This insincere, self-aggravating fragility tends to confer great power on authority—which gladly assumes the duty to protect the feelings of the fragile, for then it will have the locus standi for almost infinite meddling. Two recent incidents in English professional soccer, a sport not known for the delicacy of its players’ feelings, illustrate this point perfectly.