I don’t have a lot of time at the moment unfortunately so James Heartfield will have to speak for me; which he does quite eloquently in his review of Luke Harding’s latest anti-Russia offering.
The thing with Harding is (in his own words) he “joins the dots” on Russia. He is the true believer in his own inventions. But they remain, as Heartfield suggests here, inventions.
I especially like Heartfield’s suggestion that the liberal-progressive class are using Russia/Putin/The Kremlin as a prop to explain all their losses of recent years. It is true – and it pours from every page of the Guardian – that they cannot accept that democracy can return a result other than a liberal-progressive one. When it does it has to be because of malefaction or some other sinister intervention. The one truth they can’t accept is that there is widespread disenchantment with the liberal projects and the people have voted for alternatives. In connection with this – a close study of the Guardian shows that liberal-progressives increasingly fail to engage with and argue against their opponents. Instead they diagnose their opponents. (Like the Soviet Union sent dissenters to psychiatric instituions).
It goes on and will possibly lead to a backlash. This is a particularly absurd example of liberal-progressive ideology in the Independent. The journalist cites “campaigners” and “experts” who are up in arms that figures show that black people are much more likely to be arrested and convicted of cannabis possession than their white counterparts – statistically given their overall representation in the population. The experts and campaigners express outrage at the statistics which obviously show police bias. At no point in the article does anyone – expert or journalist – consider the simplest and most obvious explanation; young black men smoke more weed than young white men. When I was young this was a truism; if you wanted to buy some weed you could go to an area of London or any city with a high proportion of West Indian and people of African heritage and buy weed on a street corner. That they smoked more weed was probably a point of honour for many West Indian people. (Not all, of course).
(If similar statistics were sought for cocaine use and that found a higher percentage of convictions by white people how would that be interpreted? Is it not possible that drug use is a cultural phenomenon with different weightings between different social groups? Is it racist to posit that?)
There used to be a genuine campaign against racism. But this modern development is self-seeking and detached from reality.
This kind of ‘outrage’ is entirely mocked. It is difficult to believe that the people who express really believe it. People use it to establish positions like this Liberal Democrat MP:
Liberal Democrat leadership contender Layla Moran, who obtained the figures, said: “These figures expose the glaring racial injustice at the heart of the UK’s outdated drug laws.
It is this sort of nonsense like the ideology that all asylum seekers are victims of persecution that is partly responsible for a kind of red-neck backlash. People don’t want to swallow obvious phantasies. The people who propagate these phantasical but ideologically correct narratives which depend on totally closing one’s eyes to everyday reality are probably unaware of the part they play in generating unpleasant counter-currents.
For the record; of course there may be an element of racism in this matter as there is in any case where black people are over- or under- represented compared to their white peers. But the picture is far more complex than this extraction of one thread to the exclusion of all others allows for. One can even wonder at the endless counting of black people and white people. Can’t they give it a rest?