When Harry met Karl

Home Secretary Pritti Patel was asked to comment on England fans who booed the England footballers ‘taking the knee’. The interviewer was clearly expecting Miss Patel to express a heartfelt wish that those racist troglodytes be lined up against the wall and machinegunned.

That expectation was quickly frustrated. “That’s a choice for them quite frankly,” she said.

What?!? People may choose to scream racism?!?!? To do or say anything that our opinion formers regard as heretical?!?!?! (I’m sorry about the excessive punctuation, but it was necessary to convey the pitch of the ensuing public outcry.)

It fell upon the England defender Tyrone Mings to put the blame for racism squarely at Miss Patel’s doorstep: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against happens.”

The non sequiturs of that statement outnumber the caps Mings won during the tournament, but then we don’t expect rhetorical rigour from a ball-kicker. We do expect something along those lines from our columnists, especially those who are peers of the realm.

There goes another expectation right out of the window, if Lord Finkelstein of The Times is anything to go by. He thinks Mings was right and Patel’s reply was imprudent: “I’m never in favour of jeering anyone, is, I think, a pretty safe answer for a home secretary.”

Really? What about the England players giving the Heil Hitler salute, as they did at the 1936 Berlin Olympics? Imagining for the sake of argument that they felt like repeating the gesture today, would we be allowed a teensy-weensy jeer then?

Yes, says Lord Finkelstein, Miss Patel was right – ‘taking the knee’ is indeed gesture politics. But there’s nothing wrong with that in se. “The question is what the gesture is meant to represent.”

He continues: “Some of my friends on the right seem to have got it into their heads that taking the knee is an endorsement of the programme of a small group of Black Lives Matter activists. That taking the knee is a call for the abolition of capitalism and the advancement of the theories of Marx.”

Lord Finkelstein, who despite his protestations is a woke leftie, referring to his ‘friends on the right’ is a bit like an anti-Semite prefacing a hateful diatribe by saying, “Some of my best friends are Jewish.” But do let’s get back to what he thinks about the views supposedly voiced by his friends on the right.

Those are simply ridiculous. Neither Harry Kane nor Raheem Sterling, explains Lord Finklestein, wants to overthrow capitalism. Why, none of the England players has even read Das Kapital. Their gesture is merely “a protest against the racism they encounter”.

Well, I have news for Lord Finkelstein, and I’m appalled that this may indeed come as news to him.

Those millions of Russians screaming “Death! Death!” when the show trials were under way hadn’t read Das Kapital either.

The same people sobbing uncontrollably as they joined the stampede of mourners at Stalin’s funeral might not even have read the much shorter Communist Manifesto.

And I bet most were unfamiliar with Kritik des Gothaer Programms and Anti-Dühring, which didn’t prevent them from roaring their collective demand that ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ be exterminated.

In the same vein, it’s a safe bet that most Germans screaming “Heil!!!” at Nuremberg Rallies hadn’t perused the works of Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain. Yet such lacunae in their erudition in no way diminished their vigour in running gas chambers to purify the racial makeup of Europe.

The facts of the current confrontation are there for all to see. Black Lives Matter is indeed a self-proclaimed Marxist group proudly calling for the abolition of capitalism.

The genuflecting gesture originates from the unfortunate death of a drug-addled criminal who was killed by a Minneapolis cop kneeling on his throat after a scuffle. Mobs of BLM supporters then went on a rampage, burning and looting their way through the country.

They’d assail passers-by and diners in outdoor cafés, demanding they ‘take the knee’, a gesture BLM had adopted as their signature. Those who refused were killed, beaten up or otherwise abused.

So yes, woke genuflection is indeed gesture politics. And yes, this gesture is a clear-cut sign of support for BLM. And yes, BLM is a subversive Marxist gang trying to use race as a battering ram bringing down the walls of capitalism – they say so themselves.

Lord Finkelstein will never learn to think soundly – such an ability has to be acquired at an earlier age. But at least he could plug the most gaping holes in his education, specifically on crowd psychology and the proven methods of manipulating it. I’d recommend starting with Gustave Le Bon’s book The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind.

Then he’ll learn that vox populi isn’t so much vox dei as a dummy to variously evil ventriloquists, or else a puppet to their wirepullers. It’s they who decide what the dummy will say or do – and the throng acts no more rationally or even consciously than my metaphorical figurines.

Those wild-eyed Russians might indeed have thought they were striking a blow for universal justice and equality. Those fanatical Germans might indeed have felt that only Hitler could lead them to happiness and prosperity. And England footballers may indeed believe they are registering their “protest against the racism they encounter”.

But all of them were doing someone else’s bidding, however inadvertently or incidentally. For turning the mindless masses (and the masses are always mindless collectively, even if some individuals within them aren’t) any which way isn’t just possible but dead easy.

Someone like Lenin (who, incidentally, swore by Le Bon’s book) or Hitler had such techniques down to a fine art, and so do today’s propagandists. A few well-chosen incendiary platitudes, and the dummy throng gets its marching orders – either directly from the expert manipulators or indirectly, through the mysterious workings of the zeitgeist.

And what do you know, the same – exactly the same! – peasants who yesterday prayed for their beloved tsar, today sing and dance on hearing the news that he has been butchered together with his whole family. And the same bürgers who yesterday shared a friendly schnapps with their Jewish neighbours today denounce them to the Gestapo.

The two groups were equally certain they were doing the right thing both before and after. But they didn’t act as free agents; mobs never do. Le Bon’s disciples, all those ventriloquists and wirepullers, guided them then – as they are guiding our knee-takers now.

The intellectual paucity of our hacks never ceases to amaze me, and you would have thought I’d get used to it by now. I am, usually. But then Finkelstein et al. deliver themselves of another idiocy…  

3 thoughts on “When Harry met Karl”

  1. Sometimes i think there are only two types of people – “Feelers” or thinkers, with the former running the show.

  2. “That’s a choice for them quite frankly,”

    At least in the USA it is a workplace issue. Those athletes are professional and their comportment on the field is specified by written and signed contract. Violate that contract and you normally get instant dismissal.

    NOW not to violate the contract is seen as a virtue. YEA, even obligatory.

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