It's been nice to see my articles on Peter Hitchens being read. So much of the time we spend on the internet seems fruitless. One of the unfortunate side-effects of attracting the attention of a Mail columnist is that the comment section on your blog is soon a refuge for a new breed. Namely the people, who are unspeakably ignorant, but think they are more intelligent than you because they are right-wing. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't turn up four by four. The kind of comments made on the Hitchens blog about my writing have been no more pithy, as you can see below.
Mike Barnes: Well I read his response. Might as well have been in Arabic or some lost tongue. These lefty are so comfortable. Unaware their grasp on power, can and will be wrenched from their wretched hands in a moment. All they have is a backward nature. The future would and does confound them. Egalitarianism didn't work in the French terror. And today its used against the mob, a kind of reversal of the French revolution. All they really want is to sit atop the pile. They care not if its a pile of corpses.
My response: It's funny how often the people of the Anglosphere seem to take pride in ignorance. Mr. Barnes says I might as well be writing in Arabic, as if that's some kind of put-down, it could just as well mean Mr. Barnes is a bit of a dullard. I'm writing in English and I do my best to articulate my ideas. As for the rest of the comment, I have no idea what he thinks constitutes a "comfortable lefty" and a "backward nature". After all, he's the one who can't read my writing.
Andrew Pitt: On conscience, Mr White says that moral values have "a necessary role". This sounds a bit relativist to me, as though other things have a role as well. He says, "I do not know of any leftist who embraces moral relativism". I find this statement inexplicable: no doubt we all claim to be moral, but in practice do the policies we advocate lead to the upholding of moral values, or do they undermine them? There is then a reference to personal circumstances and he says, "I don't expect the Mail to portray this side of so called 'dependency culture'....." Lumping Mr Hitchens in with "The Mail" is contrary to the point of Mr White's original article. Mr White says that he doesn't "romanticise" marriage, which implies that Mr Hitchens does. He then moves on to addiction: it's obviously a totemic issue for those on Left, with "addiction" having the status of a scientific fact.
I think it is the case that Mr White has rowed back a little from his original article.
My response: It would seem Mr. Pitt can't read either. The necessity of moral values in human life is a statement of realism. Moral relativism does not refer to 'other things', which may have a role, nor does it suggest moral values aren't important. In descriptive terms relativism is only the acknowledgement of differences of moral opinion, nothing outrageous there; but it's in the normative sense that it is really problematic. If you hold that the beliefs we have stand in relative terms to other beliefs then you can't make judgements in the first place. As everyone is right in context, then it's the context to which we must keep, and we can't infringe upon one another.
If Mr. Hitchens doesn't want to be lumped in with the Mail then he should write for another newspaper. He writes for the Mail because he does have an affinity with the paper's content, editorial policies and its offer of payment. So the criticism still stands of the prognosis taken by the Mail journalist.
Addiction is not a 'totemic issue' for those on the Left. As I said, the case for illegalisation/recriminalisation of drugs can be made without such a bafflingly stupid attempt to disprove the 'existence' of addiction. It's a clever maneouvre. Addicts certainly exist, but addiction is hardly tangible though it has physical symptoms.
As for the charge of 'rowing', it's just that the two articles have different purposes. The original piece made the case for a qualified respect for an opponent of the Left. The follow up articles (see here and here) were primarily written in response to the points made by Peter Hitchens.
John Vernau: "... he yearns for a return to halcyon days, and of course these days never existed. To be fair, I was referring more so to the reactionary press in general ..." ---J.T. White, 'accordingly' responding to PH.
Odd that Mr White should say that halcyon days never existed and say so on the 29th of December, which is in fact within the 14 day period of the traditional 'halcyon days'. I'm also much impressed by his use of "more so" in the above quote. It seems so much more literary than the common 'more' that most of us would use. I suppose he is one of those people so educated that they always say 'epicentre' when they mean 'centre'. Reading Mr White is diverting, in the way that crossword puzzles are, except that with those it becomes clear when the meaning has been deciphered.
My response: Turn of phrase, Mr. Vernau. Not everything is to be taken literally, I used 'halcyon days' in reference to the "golden age" nostalgia often misattributed to Peter Hitchens. It's nice of Mr. Vernau to say my writing style is 'much more literary'. I wouldn't consider myself 'so educated' in spite of the fact that I've been to university. Education is mostly about the numbing and stifling of independent thought. It seems Vernau makes two points: 1) I'm literary and therefore 'uncommon', 2) he can't understand my writing. I fail to see the threat of such dim observations.