The Other Hitchens

by John Derbyshire

After a week of distraction by personal business, I spent the weekend catching up on commentary. I was of course especially keen to see what op-ed thumb-suckers had to say about the English riots.

They had a lot to say, from all sorts of different angles. After a few hours browsing, much of it melted and blurred in my mind. Not all of it, though.

Head and shoulders above the rest, in my opinion, was Peter Hitchens at the Daily Mail. I’ve been a fan of Hitch Minor since reading The Abolition of Britain ten years ago. He just gets better. Here he is on the riots. Sample:

[British Prime Minister David Cameron] thinks the actual solutions to the problem are “fascist”. Deep down, he still wants to “understand” the hoodies.

Say to him that naughty children should be smacked at home and caned in school, that the police (and responsible adults) should be free to wallop louts and vandals caught in the act, that the police should return to preventive foot patrols, that prisons should be austere places of hard work, plain food and discipline without TV sets or semi-licit drugs, and that wrongdoers should be sent to them when they first take to crime, not when they are already habitual crooks, and he will throw up his well-tailored arms in horror at your barbarity.

Say to him that divorce should be made very difficult and that the state should be energetically in favour of stable, married families with fathers (and cease forthwith to subsidise families without fathers) and he will smirk patronisingly and regard you as a pitiable lunatic.

Say to him that mass immigration should be stopped and reversed, and that those who refuse any of the huge number of jobs which are then available should be denied benefits of any kind, and he will gibber in shock.

Yet he is ready to authorise the use of water cannon and plastic bullets on our streets (quite useless, as it happens, against this sort of outbreak) as if we were a Third World despotism.

I was so enthused I read through a random selection of the pieces on the mostly-Hitch’s archive on the Daily Mail website. As is bound to be the case with anyone who writes a lot, the quality is variable. When he’s good, though, he’s very good; and his range is by no means restricted to the mad follies of liberalism. Try this piece, on China’s empty new cities.

I salute Peter Hitchens as a fellow laborer in the vineyards of reactionary civilizational pessimism. I’ve bookmarked that archive. Now I have one more place to turn to for consolation the next time some smiley-face liberal ninny tells me that violence never solves anything, or that gay is just as good as straight, or that Arabs are yearning for liberal democracy, or that All We Have To Do Is Fix The Schools!, or that settling Somali goatherds in Tennessee with full welfare rights will “enrich” our country, or some other variation on the cheery old lie.

Hail, brother and friend!

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