Standing Up for the House of Freedom

Standing Up for the House of Freedom, by Daryl McCann.

Mainstream reviews of Donald Trump’s recent Warsaw speech laid bare the modern Left’s modus operandi in attempting to criminalise any opinion that gainsays identity politics and political correctness. Conflating “the West” with “the white national right” is nothing less than perverse.

President Trump’s Warsaw speech, delivered on July 6 in Krasinski Square, scene of Poland’s 1944 uprising against Nazi occupation, was—depending on your political point of view—either a cry of freedom or duplicity of the greatest magnitude:

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilisation in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” …

Jamelle Bouie, writing for Slate magazine, was one of the many pundits on the Left who viewed President Trump’s vigorous defence of Western civilisation, the passage above especially, as an allusion “to ideas and ideologies with wide currency on the white nationalist right”. Similarly, Jonathan Capehart, in the Washington Post, detected “white-nationalist dog whistles” in an appeal to “preserve our civilisation”. Not to be outdone, Sarah Wildman, in Vox magazine, considered Donald Trump’s performance to be straight out of the so-called alt-right’s playbook: that is to say, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and so on. Peter Beinart, in the Atlantic, clarified the situation for anyone who might have thought Trump’s words about freedom and civilisation sounded like John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan defending the West in times past: “The West is a racial and religious term.”

Here, in a nutshell, is the modern-day Left’s modus operandi for criminalising any opinion that gainsays their identity politics and ideology of political correctness. Conflating “the West” with “the white national right” marginalises conservative or traditionalist thinking of every kind. It is also, we might note, perverse. Western civilisation, as Roger Scruton explained in The Uses of Pessimism, is not about race or any other form of tribalism but about individual self-determination. ..

The Western ethos … is neither racial nor religious per se but, ultimately, a project of individual autonomy and liberty. Our post-tribal sense of individual uniqueness, choice and conscience has its roots in long-standing Christian principles. Even the Age of Science, notwithstanding the New Atheists, was not a rebellion against Christian culture but, as writers such as David Bentley Hart have argued, a product of it.

Participation in a Western society is open to people of all races and all religions, with the caveat that they embrace a civilisational code that demands not submission but settlement — freedom, in other words. …

Theoretically, of course, people of any religious or ethnic background can — and do — assimilate into a society based on Western principles. We have to wake up to the reality, however, that this occurs despite the sectarianism encouraged by multiculturalism, which might be better described as poly-tribalism.

hat-tip Stephen Neil