O suicídio do Ocidente (3)
Não subscrevo tudo o que Scruton escreve, mas neste artigo na New Criterion são apresentados vários argumentos que deveriam merecer reflexão aprofundada: Should he have spoken?###
In 1968 the products of the postwar baby boom decided to seize the European future and to jettison the European past. In that same year Enoch Powell delivered to the Birmingham Conservatives the speech known forever after as “Rivers of Blood”: a speech that cost him his political career, and which, on one plausible interpretation, made the issue of immigration undiscussable in British politics for close to forty years. It is a speech that raises in its acutest form the question of truth: What place is there for truth in public life, and what should a politician do when comfortable falsehoods have settled down in government, and their uncomfortable negations seek forlornly for a voice?
Such predictions as Powell made in his speech, concerning the tipping of the demographic balance, the ghettoization of the industrial cities, and the growth of resentment among the indigenous working class have been fulfilled. Only the sibylline prophecy has fallen short of the mark. Even so, the Madrid and London bombings and the murder of Theo van Gogh are viewed by many Europeans as a foretaste of things to come. It is now evident to everyone that, in the debate over immigration, in those last remaining days when it could still have made a difference, Enoch Powell was far nearer the truth than those who instantly drove him from office, and who ensured that the issue was henceforth to be discussed, if at all, only by way of condemning the “racism” and “xenophobia” of those who thought like Powell. As for the racism and xenophobia of the incomers, it was indiscernible to the liberal conscience, which has never been able to understand that liberalism is an unusual state of mind.
Liberalism emerges from a long-standing rule of law, shaped by the Enlightenment view of citizenship, and dependent upon the shared customs, shared language, and shared culture of a people who have lived together in a common home and acquired the habit of defending it. But it is virtually unknown among people who are seeking territory, and who have conscripted their gods to fight for it.
This flight from reality is not a new feature of political life. It is always easier to bequeath a problem to your successors than to face it yourself, and when the problem is intractable, Doublethink will soon erase it, as Hitler was erased from the thoughts of the appeasers, and the Gulag from the political map of the peaceniks. Nor are American presidents any more realistic than the rest of us. When the embassy in Tehran was invaded and United States citizens taken hostage, President Carter chose not to notice what was, certainly de facto and probably de jure, a declaration of war. That may prove to have been the costliest mistake made by America in the Middle East. Likewise, the silencing of Enoch Powell has proved more costly than any other post-war domestic policy in Britain, since it has ensured that immigration can be discussed only now, when it is too late to do anything about it or to confine it to those who come in a spirit of obedience towards the indigenous law.
Decisions can still be taken, but only in the hope of limiting the damage. And even now, when opinion across Europe is unanimous that immigration must be controlled, and that Muslims must be integrated into the secular culture, liberal politicians are refusing to admit to a problem or to confess that they are the cause of it. They still preach “multiculturalism” as the sign of our “vibrant” future; they still condemn “racism and xenophobia” as the enemy; they still try to state and solve the problem by the promiscuous multiplication of “human rights.” Their Enlightenment creed makes it all but impossible for them to acknowledge the fundamental truth, which is that indigenous communities have legitimate expectations which take precedence over the demands of strangers. True, indigenous communities may also have duties of charity towards those strangers—or towards some of them. But charity is a gift, and there is no right to receive it, still less to force it from those reluctant to give.
It is not “racist” to draw attention to this kind of fact. Nor is it racist to argue that indigenous people must take precedence over newcomers, who have to earn their right of residence and cannot be allowed to ap- propriate the savings of their hosts. But it is easier for me to write about these matters in an American intellectual journal than in an English newspaper, and if I tried to write about these things in a Belgian newspaper, I could be in serious trouble with the courts. The iron curtain of censorship that came down in the wake of Powell’s speech has not lifted everywhere; on the contrary, if the EU has its way, it will be enshrined in the criminal code, with “racism and xenophobia”—defined as vaguely as is required to silence unwanted opinion—made into an extraditable offense throughout the Union.
The problem with censorship, as John Stuart Mill pointed out a century and half ago, is that it makes it impossible for those who impose it to discover that they are wrong. The error persists, preventing the discussion that might produce a remedy, and ensuring that the problem will grow. Yet when truth cannot make itself known in words, it will make itself known in deeds. The truth about Hitler burst on the world in 1939, notwithstanding all the pious words of the appeasers. And the truth about immigration is beginning to show itself in Europe, notwithstanding all the liberal efforts to conceal it. It is not an agreeable truth; nor can we, in the face of it, take refuge in the noble lies of Enoch Powell. The fact is that the people of Europe are losing their homelands, and therefore losing their place in the world. I don’t envisage the Tiber one day foaming with much blood, nor do I see it blushing as the voice of the muezzin sounds from the former cathedral of St. Peter. But the city through which the Tiber flows will one day cease to be Italian, and all the expectations of its former residents, whether political, social, cultural, or personal, will suffer a violent upheaval, with results every bit as interesting as those that Powell prophesied.