• jamalrob
    1.9k
    Government sacks Roger Scruton after remarks about Soros and Islamophobia

    Scruton is a traditional conservative, so he is in many ways a long way from my own political inclinations, but I do like several of his books, and I think his treatment here is a disgrace. His knowledge and appreciation of Islam is profound, and the idea that "Islamophobia" is an invented propaganda word is a legitimate one. I don't see anything wrong with what he has said, nor have I read anything anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, racist or xenophobic in the many books and articles of his that I've read, most of which are deeply humane and thoughtful.

    This has happened following an interview and article by George Eaton published in the New Statesman. To see just how reliable the writer of this article might be, here are Scruton's original words about Hungary, which he defended in the interview, and which are being presented as evidence of anti-semitism:

    Many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros Empire. People in these networks include many who are rightly suspicious of nationalism, regard nationalism as the major cause of the tragedy of Central Europe in the 20th century, and do not distinguish nationalism from the kind of national loyalty that I have defended in this talk. Moreover, as the world knows, indigenous anti-Semitism still plays a part in Hungarian society and politics, and presents an obstacle to the emergence of a shared national loyalty among ethnic Hungarians and Jews. — Scruton
    https://www.roger-scruton.com/articles/276-the-need-for-nations

    To present this as anti-semitic is simply dishonest. The more you look at George Eaton's behaviour--his articles and Tweets--in the context of the ongoing criticism of Scruton, the more it seems that this deputy editor of the New Statesman (!) has been part of a smear campaign.

    Another reason given for his dismissal was this quote:

    Each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing. — Scruton

    But according to others, what Scruton said was this, referring to the Chinese government:

    They’re creating robots out of their own people by so constraining what can be done. Each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing. — Scruton

    See here: https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/04/roger-scrutons-sacking-exposes-the-tories-cowardice/

    It's appropriate to give Scruton the last word here:

    Although Freud’s attempt at explaining homophobia might be held to justify the use of that term to describe at least some of the negative views that some people hold about homosexuality, this is no excuse for inventing ‘Islamophobia’ as an explanation of the negative views that many people hold about Islam. The invention of this term by activists of the Muslim Brotherhood is a rhetorical trick, though it seems that my habit of pointing this out is a further proof that I am guilty. Are we then to suppose that people are repelled by Islam because of the unconscious desire to embrace it, this repulsion being part of an elaborate defence mechanism? Or could it be that murder, genocide, rape and enslavement carried out in the name of Islam have made people somewhat suspicious of the faith? My own view, expounded in The West and the Rest and elsewhere, is that the only phobia involved here is the natural revulsion against those horrible crimes, and has nothing to do with Islam, which is abused by those who commit the crimes and not by those who are repelled by them. However, I am sure that there are out-of-context sentences to be extracted here that will be useful in pinning on to me an accusation that admits no presumption of innocence, there being, as with all nonsense accusations, no gap between accusation and guilt. — Scruton
    https://www.rogerscruton.com/articles/556-sin-bin
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.4k
    He didn't paint the roses red enough.

    Off with his head?

    Fast and loose are our reactions, and atonal rage is our rhythm.

    The Kafka trap springs again...
  • I like sushi
    617
    If he’a sacked by the university then we know for sure that the UK is in a seriously sorry state. No doubt his haters will spill out into social media and call for his removal from university too.

    It’s a politicized move and one driven by the low standard of journalism in the UK. I wouldn’t be overly worried about this though and look to how less prominent figures are being effected rather those with an actual public platform.
  • Maw
    1.2k
    Yeah I mean saying that there is a "Soros Empire" formed by and around an "extensive network" of "Jewish intelligentsia" who are pulling the strings, is an age old antiSemitic stereotype through and through. The idea that the term 'Islamophobia", or, more saliently, the meaning behind it is agitprop is detestably ludicrous. In fact, I think the term "Islamophobia" doesn't fully express the connotations it ought to have, as compared to antisemitism. But that's fairly demonstrative of what can and can't be discussed, as shown by the rancor expressed towards Ilhan Omar.

    But why should I or anyone really care that Roger Scruton is losing a Government position because of this?
  • jamalrob
    1.9k
    Yeah I mean saying that there is a "Soros Empire" formed by and around an "extensive network" of "Jewish intelligentsia" who are pulling the strings, is an age old antiSemitic stereotype through and through.Maw

    Knowing that you've seen the full quotation, I have to say that this is beneath contempt.

    The idea that the term 'Islamophobia", or, more saliently, the meaning behind it is agitprop is detestably ludicrous. In fact, I think the term "Islamophobia" doesn't fully express the connotations it ought to have, as compared to antisemitism. But that's fairly demonstrative of what can and can't be discussed, as shown by the rancor expressed towards Ilhan Omar.Maw

    You attempt to push his position outside the realm of reasonable opinion, but really you just disagree with him. I happen to agree with him.

    But why should I or anyone really care that Roger Scruton is losing a Government position because of this?Maw

    A predictable and thoughtless question. It's not for any personal sympathy for him or his agenda as a government housing adviser, but--obviously--because of what it shows about the state of public debate, of government, of cultural mores, and of journalism.
  • I like sushi
    617
    Because he is being publicly sacked by some feared public outrage due to biased journalism.

    It is well known that broadcasts in the UK are screened for so called “antisemitic” remarks - it has been conflated to such a degree that criticizing the Israeli government is seen by some as “antisemitic”. The BBC has a policy about this.

    The whole deal with Ken Livingstone was quite silly to fro what I understand. He said some pretty silly things (given he should’ve realised how he’d be attacked for them; but it happens). His defense of what he said was perfectly reasonable because he was stating historical facts and continually voiced that he wasn’t a Nazi - it as yet another political game to defame a party (the irony being most voters don’t give a toss about this kind of thing and it is the governmental games that produce the hatred on purpose in order to manipulate others ... sadly it’s been taken to such an extent they’ve managed to catch themselves in their our traps).

    No doubt we’ll see attempts made by naive student protesters soon enough calling for him to be sacked from his actual job. If that happens ... sad, sad state of affairs (it wouldn’t surprise me though).
  • andrewk
    2.1k
    I disagree with Roger Scruton on most things, and I don't agree with him about 'Islamophobia' but, reading most of what he said, I can't see any grounds for the accusations made against him. With one possible exception - see below - it does sound like an ill-considered knee-jerk reaction by a government that is jumping at shadows because of the mess it's got itself into over Brexit.

    The exception is the following quote, reported in Eaton's article:

    "The Hungarians were extremely alarmed by the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East.”

    I would need to see the context to fully understand it but on the face of it, the use of the word 'invasion' to describe desperate refugees fleeing a horrific war sounds heartless at best and bigoted at worst.

    Given Eaton appears an unreliable and tendentious source, I would want to see corroboration about what Scruton actually said in that regard.
  • Maw
    1.2k
    Knowing that you've seen the full quotation, I have to say that this is beneath contempt.jamalrob

    How does the second half of the full quotation justify the first half regarding a "Soros Empire", and "Jewish intelligentsia networks", which are in and of themselves, antiSemitic remarks? Not to mention his defense of Orban, saying that accusations of antisemitism were "nonsense".

    You attempt to push his position outside the realm of reasonable opinion, but really you just disagree with him. I happen to agree with himjamalrob

    And just because you agree with him, doesn't mean his views are inside the "realm of reasonable opinion". They are demonstrably Islamophobic and outright absurd.

    because of what it shows about the state of public debate, of government, of cultural mores, and of journalism.jamalrob

    Yes so sad for the state of the world in which a prominent old white guy was let go from a public position because a journalist printed his exact words. So sad that his name will undoubtedly be forever tarnished, that he will live in destitute poverty for the rest of his years. I will play the world's smallest violin for both Scruton and the death of public discourse. Surely this is what Kafka and Orwell were alluding too in their novels.
  • Maw
    1.2k
    There are innumerably more concerning things occurring in the world that demonstrate the absolute abysmal state of affairs in regards to public discourse, government, culture, and journalism, than Roger Scruton losing one of his jobs in a public position because he said Islamophobia is made up. No one should really care.
  • jamalrob
    1.9k
    Thanks for the thoughtful response. It's good to know that some people who strongly disagree with Scruton's opinions are willing to be reasonable.
  • ssu
    1.1k
    I've listened to some lectures and speeches that Scruton has given. I don't think he is at all anything like an anti-semite. Just a traditional conservative British academician. Of course this was a political move and Scruton was already critisized when he was appointed to the political position.

    Tells how restrained and Limited public speech has become today. Shows the reality.
  • andrewk
    2.1k
    How does the second half of the full quotation justify the first half regarding a "Soros Empire", and "Jewish intelligentsia networks", which are in and of themselves, antiSemitic remarks?Maw
    According to the original quote, and even according to Eaton's article, Scruton never said 'Jewish intelligentsia networks', which would have nasty connotations, implying the age-old belief in a Jewish conspiracy. He spoke of 'Budapest intelligentsia' and 'networks around the Soros empire'. To me at least, that has very different connotations. Further, the overall tone of that paragraph is one of empathising with the Budapest intelligentsia.

    Accuracy in reporting is crucial, and misreporting what Scruton said as a hot-button phrase like 'Jewish intelligentsia networks' is inflammatory.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.2k
    Roger Scruton is one of the very few intellectuals actually engaging in meaningful and respectful discussion with the muslim community. I've read his work, seen him talk, and find him to be a very honest and respectable person. I recommend watching his discussions with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (American convert to Islam). I find it very hard to believe that such a genuine individual who has made more effort than most to engage with muslims has an irrational fear of islam and muslims. Such accusations are absurd, and the evidence you put forward in this post seem to me, I agree, nothing more than a smear campaign; probably by someone who has conservativphobia. lol.

    For a list of video's:
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=roger+scruton+hamza+yusuf

    or watch this one in particular:
  • ssu
    1.1k
    Thinking about the incident further,

    I think is academic philosophers make terrible government officials. Scruton isn't an official, but just sitting in one committee or more (haven't researched the backstory more), makes you one. Once having that committee seat however unimportant, free speach does go the drain. You are talking as if representing the British government in this case. And naturally someone like Scruton will speak his mind bluntly even if angers Hungary or China (or people think these sovereigns are angered about the comments) as it surely angers those who are in the left. I assume this incident won't be seen in this light, but the narrative will be that this is an example on how conservative speakers are attacked today. Another example of this is Jordan Peterson and Cambridge University rescinding a two month employment after a student union protested about it. All I can say that people shouldn't engage in what they criticize, hence the victimhood card shouldn't be used here.

    Well, hopefully (and likely) the bogus accusations don't effect Scruton status. And likely they will just increase interest on what he says. I think he makes a good point especiallly about the humanities. Humanities should be against the kind 'scientism' that does lead to nonsense when applied to the humanities.



    No islamophobia, anti-semitism or hate speech here either.
  • Kippo
    104
    I think that Scruton comes across as completely uncaring about some of the
    dangerous developments in western politics. It's not so much what he says - though there are examples that are indefensible - but what he doesn't say.
  • Jake
    1.3k
    This is an inevitable result of trying to do philosophy for a living, ie. to earn money. The untold story is all the professional philosophers who will tailor their writings to the academic group consensus to avoid a similar fate. There is a serious lack of clarity regarding the difference between philosophy, and the philosophy business.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.4k
    Alright, so who was arguing with me re people wanting to control speech, wanting to control others' lives in reaction to speech?
  • Terrapin Station
    8.4k
    How does the second half of the full quotation justify the first half regarding a "Soros Empire", and "Jewish intelligentsia networks", which are in and of themselves, antiSemitic remarks?Maw

    What the heck would "antisemitic" refer to if either of those are sufficient to be antisemitic? (Not that he even used the phrase "Jewish intelligentsia networks," but we can pretend that he did.)
  • iolo
    40
    In the UK at the moment 'anti-Semitic' is more and more being used to mean 'opposing the crimes of "Israel"', which complicates matters considerably. Compared with, say, Mr Corbyn, Scruton seems to be talking about Jews rather than Zionists, and some of his statements do seem a little smelly. I hardly think we are in such a state of Nazi revival that they justify sacking anyone though. Anti-Islamic drivel, on the other hand, is par for the course, and probably does need heavy opposition.
  • fdrake
    2k
    Scruton's always interesting because he engages in cultural critique from a conservative perspective without being reductive or otherwise batshit insane. He's obviously not an outright racist in the 'I don't like the Jews or the Muslims' sense, and even if it is true that his conservatism is allied with systemic injustices, he shouldn't be martyred over it.

    I imagine that no one was actually offended by what he said, but the potential for what he said to be found toxic or prejudiced (even if being done in a smear job) was what got him ousted. I'm, ironically maybe, reminded of Zizek here; we don't have to be of the opinion that what he said was toxic in order to believe that it is - we simply need to defer belief to our community, they may find it toxic, they will find it toxic, so it is - nevermind what we think about it.
  • frank
    2.4k
    we simply need to defer belief to our community, theyfdrake

    But the community is schizophrenic and prone to Trumping and Brexiting. I wouldn't leave anybody's career in the community's hands.

    Also, I dont think china has ever valued individuality. Where it show up there, it's where China has absorbed western values.
  • unenlightened
    3.5k
    Or could it be that murder, genocide, rape and enslavement carried out in the name of Islam have made people somewhat suspicious of the faith? — Scruton

    Well it could, up to a point. But generally, I don't expect people who are 'somewhat suspicious' to burn mosques, attack people for wearing particular clothes, or commit random mass murder at Islamic centres.

    Here are over 200 'incidents'. But some of these incidents are like, The Bosnian War, the Chad riots, the Genocide of the Rhohingya. At some point rather a long way before all these massacres, genocides random attacks and killings, 'reasonable suspicion' becomes untenable, and unreasonable fear, hatred and prejudice becomes the only possible explanation.

    But Scruton is not naive or foolish or ignorant. Therefore he is malevolent.
  • NKBJ
    894
    His knowledge and appreciation of Islam is profound, and the idea that "Islamophobia" is an invented propaganda word is a legitimate one.jamalrob

    All words are invented. And just cause it may be applied inappropriately too frequently doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    Remember when people were joking about sending soldiers into Iraq and elsewhere with bullets doused in pig fat? It very definitely and absolutely exists.

    And yes, the etymology is odd considering Freud's original intent behind "homophobia," but as a culture we've adopted and altered the meaning of the "phobia" suffix, and it's a bit of a red herring to debate that at this point in time.
  • unenlightened
    3.5k
    Well the dehumanising rhetoric passes for normal these days I suppose, especially applied to the press.

    Not for the first time I am forced to acknowledge what a mistake it is to address young leftists as though they were responsible human beings.

    In retrospect I could have chosen the words more carefully.
    But unfortunately, you don't get to be a media star by choosing your words carefully, but by being controversial and using inflammatory innuendo.

    As I said above, if it was a young right wing irresponsible nonhuman some mediocre pundit, we could put it down to foolish naivety. But right here in this piece, Scruton claims the superiority of his humanity, his maturity, and his responsibility. He makes no apology and explicitly denies that he has any excuse. Why wouldn't a professional writer and thinker, dealing with a highly controversial issue choose his words a bit fucking carefully?

    I mean think about choosing carefully the words to address a complaint such as this on the topic of antisemitism and islamophobia, think about the whole dehumanising processes - tattooed numbers, cattle trucks, and industrial death camps, and ask yourself whether this is appropriate _ "what a mistake it is to address young leftists as though they were responsible human beings." I start to wonder about dementia, because at this point it is not merely tastelessly offensive ,it's doubling down in a completely ridiculous way that only serves as further evidence for his critics.
  • jamalrob
    1.9k
    I start to wonder about dementiaunenlightened

    Reading your recent posts, so do I.
  • unenlightened
    3.5k
    Oh it's quite possible, but perhaps lay out the particular factors that lead you there rather than casually cast aspersions like a mere philosopher. Apparently, only humans and pigs suffer from dementia, though you might want to check that. :grin:
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.2k


    You're incredibly aggressive recently, lol. I remember a time when your posts had a lot less fire behind them. I hope you're ok.
  • unenlightened
    3.5k
    There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that I am liberated from what I saw as the necessity for restraint under fire imposed by being a site leader. The other is that I stopped smoking in the New Year, and all you lot are going to fucking suffer for it too.

    Edit. Actually, I think my response to the site owner suggesting I was suffering from dementia and giving no reason and no response to the points I have made, was unaccountably restrained. It was a completely unjustified flame, that he will defend as humorous but is in fact highly offensive.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    1.2k
    One is that I am liberated from what I saw as the necessity for restraint under fire imposed by being a site leader. The other is that I stopped smoking in the New Year, and all you lot are going to fucking suffer for it too.unenlightened

    :rofl:

    Well, I will try my best to be understanding of your situation and offer support.

    I quit smoking cigs and weed about 2 and half years ago now; after having been heavily addicted. Terrible timing as well because I had not long got married and my wife became pregnant. Which is an excuse to smoke more if there ever was one. So I can relate to the stress.

    Hope you get through the teething period :strong:
  • ssu
    1.1k
    . But generally, I don't expect people who are 'somewhat suspicious' to burn mosques, attack people for wearing particular clothes, or commit random mass murder at Islamic centres.

    Here are over 200 'incidents'. But some of these incidents are like, The Bosnian War, the Chad riots, the Genocide of the Rhohingya. At some point rather a long way before all these massacres, genocides random attacks and killings, 'reasonable suspicion' becomes untenable, and unreasonable fear, hatred and prejudice becomes the only possible explanation.

    But Scruton is not naive or foolish or ignorant. Therefore he is malevolent.
    unenlightened
    I don't understand your logic, unenlightened.

    What is this malevolence you are talking about?

    Is Scruton encouraging to burn mosques, giving a green light for the Burmese government to persecute the Rohinda?
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