George Eaton, deputy editor of the left-wing publication New Statesman, has published a piece based on an interview with Sir Roger Scruton. Eaton’s dishonest characterization of Scruton’s statements and views has today resulted in the conservative philosopher’s sacking today from a government commission — his sacking by a Tory government, note well.
The same kind of technique was used elsewhere. Eaton claims Scruton was making anti-Semitic remarks and calling Jews the puppets of George Soros. Here is the relevant section of the speech on nationalism:
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.
In other words, Scruton gave a speech on nationalism to Hungarian nationalists, and defended on historical and ideological grounds the wish for Hungarian Jews to associate themselves with an anti-nationalist like Soros.
What George Eaton has done to Scruton, and what the Conservative government has done in its turn, is despicable. It remind me, though, of something an English academic who grew up under Eastern European communism told me a few years back, when I asked him to explain why he felt that the environment in his adopted country today reminded him of his native country in the early years of communism. He explained that it was the total politicization of life, and of the eagerness of the Left to destroy its opponents, even if they had to lie to do it. This is becoming normal in British life, he said.
We see now, in Sir Roger’s case, another example of this sort of thing. It won’t be the last. Shame on the Conservative Party for its gutlessness.
For reasons of space, @georgeeaton had to excise the precise five words that entirely change the meaning of his subject's quote.
Imagine forfeiting your self-respect as a journalist and the respect of every half-literate reader for the backslapping of Owen Jones. pic.twitter.com/08scGJRyY3
— Michael Brendan Dougherty (@michaelbd) April 10, 2019