The London Daily Telegraph used to carry some fine reactionary writing. It was, for example, the home of satirist Michael Wharton, whose "Peter Simple" column was a marvelous feast of political incorrectness. From Mark Steyn's obituary tribute:
For the country’s burgeoning "race relations industry," Wharton invented the "prejudometer," which simply by being pointed at any person could calculate degrees of racism to the nearest prejudon, "the internationally recognized scientific unit of racial prejudice."
Well, that was then. Nowadays the Telegraph's opinion line is dull, neutered PC conformism with a light pro-business twist ? Conservatism, Inc., basically, though without the foreign-policy bombast, which Britain can no longer afford, except as a hitch-hiker in American APCs.
Refreshing, therefore, to see David Starkey's piece in today's Telegraph arguing, against all the assertions of Britain's great and good, that last year's riots, whose anniversary falls this week, were mostly racial in character:
The conclusion is inescapable and painful. Far from being merely opportunistic, the core of the rioters was formed of an already existing criminal class and that class is disproportionately black. This is the reality. But in our present society it is unbearable (in Eliot's formulation). And unsayable.
The Eliot there is of course T.S., with whose apothegm that "Humankind cannot bear very much reality" Starkey begins his piece.
In the matter of being able to bear much reality, Starkey, though a competitor, is no champion.
I never mentioned race at all, since, in its proper sense, of a group with fixed hereditary characteristics, I regard it, as all sensible people do, as eugenicist nonsense.
Let's hope, for the sake of his self-image as a sensible person, David Starkey did not watch the Olympic Men's 100m final this afternoon.
But I do believe in culture and I talked about that a lot.
Ah, culture! "The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group." (Dictionary.com.) And what are the determinants of culture? Why, culture, culture, and more culture! It's turtles all the way down!