Unlike some bloggers, I’m not against a spot of vitriol in the comments and I’m not worried about email abuse. I’ve had it all: in fact I’ve been called everything from a Nazi homophobe to a boy-hungry communist – with paradoxical allusions to evangelical zealotry and unnatural relations with a tree. My hair (which entirely my own) is a frequent target of abuse, as is my age (I’m older than I look, which is the right way round to have it). I am often called “Timmy,” sometimes "Timbo." Might I suggest, as an alternative, a play on my middle name of Randolph? In the US “Randy” is a perfectly acceptable boy’s name, but in the UK it has sexual connotations (“Switch off the electric blanket, I'm feeling randy.”) If people are going to insult me, may it at least be Chaucerian.
None of this bothers me. But I am surprised that I should have to defend myself because I came out against a nationalist. Let me clear something up for those who left negative comments: no one told me what to write. I do not receive orders from the politically correct lobby over a morning conference call with Jesse Jackson, the King of the Freemasons, and Israel’s press officer. Whatismore, I’m not a “liberal,” as was suggested by some people. In fact, of all the terms of abuse you could use against me, that’s the one I actually find offensive. To me, “liberalism” is the summation of everything wrong about the last two hundred years of history – all of the ineptitude of Marxism, the interference of petite-bourgeois conservatism, without any of the Romanticism of either. “Liberal” is interchangeable with “secularist,” “eco-friendly,” “politically correct,” and “Dr Who fan.” Please don’t use it again.
In fact, I sympathize with some of the policy positions that Marine Le Pen holds. Just because her philosophy is wrong doesn’t mean that she’s incapable of stealing a good idea or two from here or there. Protectionism? Yes, I could protect a few British enterprises that face unfair competition from China. Curbs on immigration? Yup, a country has the right to at least know who goes in and out. Death penalty? I hate it in the abstract, but recognize that it’s necessary to maintain some semblance of law and order. In fact, my traditionalism probably convinces most liberals that I, too, am a nationalist authoritarian.
So why come off against Le Pen? Two reasons. First, her brand of communitarianism isn’t volunterist – it’s coercive. It accords with a strong state tradition in France that conflates the needs of the individual with the will of the nation. Hence, her economics is far to the Left and her social policies smack of authoritarianism. Her desire to tear the burqa off the heads of Muslim girls is a fine example of muscular liberalism turned into fascism, along with its disregard both for the ability of the individual to chose to wear the headscarf and for the strength of religious belief found beneath it. A truly Christian voter cannot endorse Le Pen’s statism because it rejects free will on every level - and a coerced faith is valueless. She is Robespierre in high heels.
The second problem I have with the Front National is the whole racism thing. I despise it. Sorry to get all holier-than-thou here, but racism is loathsome, contrary to ethical standards of human behavior, and a barrier to the kinds of relationships that keep our society and species ticking along. So long as we hate, we cannot love. And the highest commandment of God (and man) is to love. I do not privilege myself above Jews, African-Americans, Asians, or even the French. I don't even judge them by their character as the Americans are want to do: I regard them as fellow sinners and souls of equal value. I love them, insofar as my personality will allow.
I wrote this in the post: “The FNP’s underlying concern is not the preservation of secularism, feminism or La Revolution. It is that little white babies not be outnumbered by little brown babies. It is racism, vile and simple.” That sentence received a lot of outrage, with many people arguing that what I am describing here is not an attempt at racial preservation but cultural preservation - that I was wilfully misrepresenting Marine's politics as racism. As a cultural conservative, I take that challenge very seriously. And here is my answer.
Culture is not rooted in race. Some of us believe that it has a spark of divine will, but for the most part it is the product of environmental factors, intellect, tradition, trial-and-error, and change. Over time, culture matures like a fine wine to the point when it can be enjoyed by all. It is not limited by geography or race, which is why European Christian culture was able to spread across the globe, adapt, and survive. Very few faith-based cultures have accepted race as a determinant because it contradicts the universalism of faith and it places artificial boundaries out its message.
Hence, whenever you see a self-described nationalist (a term not necessarily racist), ask yourself what “culture” they are trying to preserve. If it is a system that can survive a little dilution of the blood – a culture that can be communicated through ritual or language – then you have someone genuinely trying to preserve a cultural tradition that they believe makes meaning of the lives of those who live it. If, however, a nationalist determines wellbeing by birthrates and closed borders, you have something else. You have biological determinism masquerading as social identity. I reject it, I hate it, I will have nothing to do with it. And Timbo will continue to condemn it so longs as the Telegraph employs him.