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Time to introduce the Tory diversity warriors to Thomas Sowell


IN A letter to the Sunday Times in December, supporters of the ‘Banknotes of Colour’ campaign argued that ethnic minority representation on the new £50 note would ‘send a message that the contribution of ethnic minorities to Britain’s history, culture and economy is recognised and valued’. Now, according to Saturday’s Telegraph, it seems that Treasury minister Robert Jenrick and Conservative party vice-chairman Helen Grant have joined the campaign and urged the Bank of England not to choose a white scientist but ‘ensure wider diversity is represented on our currency’ (Grant).

Would anyone dispute these sentiments? Would anyone dare dispute them and risk being branded a racist and white supremacist, terms that are bandied about with consummate ease by the most illustrious organs? The premise lurking behind these pronouncements, as in all calls for equality of outcomes and the positive discrimination that would bring them about, is that the lack of ethnic minority representation is a social injustice. It is the result of discrimination; or if not active discrimination, then a system which perpetuates white privilege, the hegemony of a dominant class – white, male and heterosexual. But is there any evidence for this?

Perhaps it is just as well that the most eloquent proponent of the counter-argument is black and therefore cannot be accused of being either a racist or a white supremacist. In Intellectuals and Society, Thomas Sowell argues that disparities in the achievements of different socio-ethnic groups at different times can be explained by the simple fact that their cultures are, for a host of historical and geo-political reasons, differently conducive to the attainment of economic prosperity, social and political stability, and cultural achievement. History is littered with examples of peoples whose superior culture ensured them dominance in various fields, and peoples who attained a superior culture ‘by availing themselves of the culture of others around them’ – for example, the Scots in the eighteenth century in relation to the English. Likewise, inter-group differences in educational achievement in Britain today have their origins in cultural factors, not racism. One need only consider those who come out bottom – white working-class males; and those who come out top – the Chinese.

But where does this leave the argument for enforced diversity? Basically, it is a campaign fuelled by hatred and resentment, and large public subsidies, whose purpose is to destroy the historic inheritance of our national culture – all in the name of diversity and multi-culture. It makes sense because so long as there is a dominant culture, so long as English culture survives – in the corridors of power, the London clubs (take a look in the foyer of the Athenaeum and try to spot a BAME specimen among the privileged representatives of the liberal establishment), the elite public schools – those who exclude themselves from it by proclaiming their ethnic minority status will be doomed to fail.

The resentment arises because the history and culture of Britain did not begin in 1948 with the embarkation of the Empire Windrush but stretches back over a thousand years. It is, moreover, a culture founded not on diversity but on a remarkable degree of homogeneity – genetically speaking, the English of 1940 were ninety per cent the English of 940. The only significant migrations were those of the Huguenots and the Jews, both of whom assimilated and because they assimilated went on to make remarkable contributions to our national life. Which explains why ethnic minorities have indeed done nothing, or next to nothing, of significance in our history up to the past fifty years. The point is that a settled way of life and a distinctive national culture – English culture – was able to develop.

If only more recent newcomers had been assimilated into the dominant culture, then this grotesque identity politics would never have arisen. Tragically, it was not to be. Instead, the ruling liberal establishment, consumed by guilt and self-loathing for their own national culture, willingly adopted the politics of cultural Marxism and set about instituting diversity and multi-culture through mass immigration.

But enforced diversity comes at a terrible cost. If we are to be divided into people of colour (the victims) and whites (the oppressors), and positive discrimination is to be enforced against whites in the interests of diversity, buttressed by racially aggravated hate crime legislation; if this is the shape of things to come, then what is to stop whites from proclaiming an ethno-cultural identity of their own? What is to stop the white English who live in culturally homogeneous communities – in the villages, towns and counties of rural England – from seeking to defend their identity? What message does it send to the white English that the likes of Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee cannot feature on a banknote because they are white? Do the useful idiots of the modern Conservative party, who, for lack of conservative principles spout fashionable slogans, have any notion of the forces they are unleashing?

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Alistair Miller
Alistair Miller
Alistair Miller writes for The Salisbury Review

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