Following this blog's originator onto Twitter , I was intrigued by the admittedly entertaining 'Moronwatch', evidently someone of leftist thinking, he does however seem admirably open minded, including Islamic extremists and members of the extreme Left on his list of 'following'. This became all the more alarming when this piece by the dreadful Polly Toynbee appeared on the airwaves in the wake of the admittedly contentious 'agreement' on the US budget deficit ,decried as yet another 'sellout' to Radical Republicans, basically the culmination of a 3 year retreat before the fissiparous 'Tea Party' and its acolytes since those heady days of November 2008.
However, the piece's significance is perhaps part of a greater struggle from the Left, a struggle which followers of American 'Higher education' will be familiar with from the Early 1990's and 1980's when the movement for Political correctness reached its apogee in US academe. Whole rafts of European authors were effectively removed from circulation or became 'samizdat' across many institutions, due to their alleged racist, sexist or homophobic viewpoints(part of the 'amputation of the time dimension from our culture' to quote Sir Ernst Gombrich). Authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, Plato, Aristotle and Mill (to mention just five) were shoehorned into the category of 'DWEM' (Dead White European Male) and two decades of college students in departments such as English and especially the Social Sciences were in effect given a narrow, hardline marxist view of the world that anyone with the slightest nous (or indeed critically experience of the real world outside academia)could see was utter nonsense.
To the creditof academics in the UK, outside a few niche disciplines such as 'Women's studies' or 'Race studies' these views never gained much currency in the UK, and it perhaps testament to the relatively benign state of race relations comared with the US that such vicious thinking never did really make its way into the mainstream, save for a few extremist Labour politicians (The famous racist Lee Japser for example) on the left, and the motley crew of the National Front and latterly the BNP and EDL on the extreme right.
However, the left has always sought to control the debate, hence its stranglehold (despite 18 years of Tory government) on the education system. that's whay the Toynbee article, though vaguely ludicrous is perhaops an indicator of how the Left is looking to use the 'Phone hacking' scandal to circumscribe the terms of the debate. The article starts by offering the Tories a backhanded compliment, applauding them (probably very politely!) over their refusal to drift as far right as the 'Tea Party'. It then launches into two paragraphs regarding 'Climate change deniers' that make me ask whether the author's sanity should be questioned. The term 'Denier' is in itself grotesque, designed to elicit comparison with those who would deny the holocaust . the shockingly lazy formulation comes forth:
'for some reason they (referring to commentators in the Mail and Telegraph) seem to consider 'the warmists' a left wing conspiracy'
Whatever could have persuaded them of that? Is it that, almost without exception, environmentalists, many of whom are retread socialists, are in favour of: Greater government intervention, more regulation, more restrictions on people's activities, higher taxes, less freedom of movement, and the list goes on. Whatever would make me believe that such people are left wing? As for the ludicrous assertion that a 'scientific consensus' exists. Such 'consensuses' were used to prove the 'inferiority' of certain races less than two centuries ago, and when the implications for policy are so critical, I would have to examine the background and vested interests of anyone proposing such wide ranging changes as, for example, the Green Party as indeed they no doubt examine closely the links with certain Oil companies or other 'polluters' of the Climate Change sceptics. I note with some interest that Toynbee is a regular contributor and keynote speaker at various Compass conferences. Is this a taste of what's to come under 'Mr.Ed' - people's opinions being silenced by 'consensus' on Global warming/Climate Change?(note the lingustic shift from 'warming' in response to declining temperatures in certain areas during part of the last decade) What next to be judged 'subject to consensus' and no longer worthy of debate? - Immigration/The EU? I for one hope we don't have to find out.