Leon Lemmer: Peter Hitchens oor die ontaarding van die Britte

Peter Hitchens
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Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was ‘n radikale, konfronterende, marxistiese joernalis wat baie polemieke met sy omtrede uitlatings ontketen het. Saam met Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett en Sam Harris was hy een van die grondleggers van die militante Nuwe Ateïsme. In sy latere lewe is Hitchens daarvan beskuldig dat hy polities (meer) regsgesind geword het, bv vanweë sy renons in Bill Clinton en sy veroordeling van NAVO se militêre inmenging in Bosnië.

Vandag skryf ek egter oor Christopher se minder bekende broer, Peter Hitchens (gebore in 1951), ook ‘n Britse joernalis, wat in sy prille jeug ‘n aanhanger van Leon Trotskie (1879-1940) se marxisme was. Hy verwys na homself as “a former Bolshevik” (bron hier onder, Kindle 4904). Peter het polities van verlinks tot regs gevorder, van sosialisme, via die Britse Arbeidersparty tot lid van die Konserwatiewe Party (1997-2003); ‘n party wat hom mettertyd ook nie meer aangestaan het nie. Deesdae beskou hy Edmund Burke (1729-1797 – Praag 2.05.2020) as sy mentor. Hitchens wil nie polities byderwets wees nie. Hy is ten gunste van die doodstraf en gekant teen homoseksualiteit asook die dekriminalisering van dwelmgebruik, bv dagga. “Legalization … lead[s] to social acceptance” (3820). Hy het geen simpatie met mense wat deur eie toedoen aan longkanker (weens die rookgewoonte) en vigs (weens homoseksuele gedrag) ly nie. Tydens Suid-Afrika se 1994-oorgang/ondergang was hy in Suid-Afrika. Hy het tot die juiste gevolgtrekking gekom, naamlik dat Nelson Mandela nie ‘n heilige is nie. Verder het hy die Wikipedia korrek as ‘n linkse naslaanbron geïdentifiseer.

Soms dryf Hitchens sy konserwatisme dalk te ver. Hy is bv gekant teen die “valsheid” van Britse Somertyd. Hy verkies Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) dwarsdeur die jaar. Hy verset hom selfs teen die metrisering van mate en gewigte. “My instincts … revolt against the shiny, efficient, ugly and stone-cold metric system” (4797). “English measures … pounds and ounces, inches and feet, chains and furlongs … were destroyed with slow subtlety and cunning, and resistance is left to a few eccentrics, such as me, fuming hopelessly against a loss nobody else can see” (4803). “[English] measurements … were based on the individual. A pound was what could be held in the hand. A pint was what a grown man might reasonably drink to quench his thirst. An inch was the top joint of a thumb, a foot was, well, a foot, and a yard was a pace. A fathom of water was deep enough to close over a man’s head. They worked outwards from the human. Metric measurements, by contrast, were based on a (mistaken) calculation of the Earth’s circumference” (4839).

Ek bespreek vandag die volgende boek van Peter Hitchens: The abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Theresa May (London: Bloomsbury, 1999/2018, 368p; Amazon Kindle $21,23). Die hooftitel van die boek word in die 2018-voorwoord soos volg verduidelik: “The abolition of a great and famous nation is now virtually complete. This book, originally [1999] intended as a warning in letters of fire, might now at least serve as a headstone” (116). Die newetitel wek verkeerdelik die indruk dat hierdie boek onlangs geskryf is. Al die hoofstukke is reeds in 1999 vir die eerste keer gepubliseer. Slegs die voor- en nawoord is later bygevoeg. Nogtans toon die teks uitstekende insig in die diepgaande veranderinge wat sedert die dood van Winston Churchill (1874-1965) in die Britse omstandighede en geestesklimaat ingetree het. “The death of Churchill, an unchallengeable father figure, was a final farewell to a reassuring past” (182).

“My argument is that we chose the wrong future in the second half of the twentieth century” (101). Hy noem dit ‘n kulturele revolusie (162). “We have gravely devalued knowledge and academic qualifications, made many thoughts almost unthinkable, sundered many of the invisible bonds which once held our society together, and inflicted upon our country a permanent and irreversible change in morals, values, customs, taboos, language, humour, art and even eating habits” (167). In Suid-Afrika het dit veel erger daaraan toe gegaan. In 1994 het ons ‘n politieke revolusie beleef, waarna ‘n kulturele revolusie ingetree het waarin ‘n grootliks vreemde swart kultuur die twee tradisioneel leidende blanke kulture/lewenswyses verdring het. Hitchens noem Brittanje “a wholly foreign country” (187). Uit die oogpunt van die blankes geld dit in veel groter mate vir Suid-Afrika.

Volgens die outeur het die Britte in 1965 nog rede gehad om hulleself as die voortreflikste mense op aarde te beskou en kon hulle met reg trots op en patrioties jeens hulle land wees. Hy verwys na “a society that was profoundly civilized, gentle and humane” (707). Hy meen dat die Britse samelewing sedertdien feitlik onherkenbaar ontaard het. Dit herinner aan die ingrypende verskille wat daar tussen die ou en die nuwe Suid-Afrika bestaan, wat onder meer die entoesiasme vir en die tradisionele patriotisme van Afrikaners vir hulle geboorteland weggekalwe het. Daar kan egter kwalik van Afrikaners verwag word om die tradisionele Britte as verhewe organismes te beskou, gedagtig aan onder meer die Anglo-Boereoorlog. Tog is daar vir die plaaslike blankes min troos in die volgende reeds aangehaalde woorde: “The abolition of a great and famous nation is now virtually complete” (116). Brittanje is nog ‘n blanke Westerse land wat weens bv selfaangedoende, ingevoerde multikulturaliteit besig is om onder te gaan.

In Suid-Afrika ken baie jongmense van die huidige geslag nie die land se geskiedenis nie. Dit is veral te wyte aan die propaganda van die ANC-regime, bv in skoolgeskiedenisboeke, en die uitlatings van ANC-nalopers in die massa-inligtingsmedia. In Brittanje het iets soortgelyks gebeur. Hitchens verwys na “a generation to whom the past was not just a foreign country, but a place of mystery which was easier to mock than understand” (146). By hedendaagse Britte, soos by Amerikaners, is daar die neiging om onpatrioties te wees, om ‘n negatiewe siening van hulle land en hulle geskiedenis te hê. “The ideas of the past were invariably wrong, that putting the clock back was a sin, while progress and change were both inevitable and right” (616). Hitchens verwys na “the ‘anti-establishment’ tendencies in politics, academe, broadcasting and the press” (458). “Patriotism, monarchy and Englishness in general [became] unfashionable and – worst of all – comical” (600). “In 1965, even the radicals were loyal patriots” (474).

Daar word plek-plek na Suid-Afrika verwys:

  • “The old struggle between Afrikaner and British settlers in South Africa had ended in the triumph of the National Party, the building of grand apartheid and the founding of a Boer republic outside the Commonwealth” (637).
  • Die Britse openbare mening is “unshakeable in its certainty that personal righteousness is reserved for those who share its views about South Africa” (151), naamlik dat die swart politieke bewind reg en goed is en die blanke bewind van weleer, by name apartheid, verkeerd en sleg was.
  • Voorgeskrewe skooldrag word in progressiewe geledere geassosieer met “repressive and reactionary forms of government such as apartheid South Africa and Augusto Pinochet’s Chile” (1119).
  • “Opposition to apartheid or General Pinochet are valued more highly than personal adherance to the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount. An adulterer with the correct view on Nelson Mandela is perferable to a Mother Teresa who fails to critize the currently unfashionable regimes of the world” (4446).
  • Vir ‘n politieke aktivis soos Desmond Tutu gaan dit om die hiermaals en nie om die hiernamaals nie. Hy probeer om ‘n (swart) hemel op aarde te skep. Hitchens noem dit sosiale teologie “in which Christian charity to your neighbour was expressed through political action at home and abroad, rather than in your own conduct. This was especially attractive to the British because the Church’s old missionary links with the former colonies now gave it a potent voice in places such as South Africa, where it was to play an often creditable role in resisting the stupidities of Grand Apartheid” (1658).
  • Die hedendaagse afkeer van Standaardafrikaans kan ingevolge kulturele marxisme verduidelik word. Ordentlike, suiwer Afrikaans herinner aan ‘n glorieryke verlede wat deur ANC-kamerade weggewens word. “The glories of the language were offensive to the modernizers because they reminded them of what they owed to the past, because they reinforced the bonds of tradition, but above all because they constantly reminded them of a view of religion which was not theirs. It did not offer salvation through the Overseas Development Agency, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, Amnesty International and the Social Security budget. It offered it in an entirely non-political way, through the faith and deeds of the individual” (1871).

Hitchens kan nie (heeltemal) vrede met die nuwe elektroniese kultuur maak nie. Hy noem dit “post-literate” omdat die inligting eerder deur piktogramme, dus deur beelde/illustrasies, as deur teks oorgedra word (223). “Early television was nothing like the modern force which has now displaced all other forms of culture and entertainment. Its effect on the imagination has been the motor of the new morality and the new conformism” (234, ook 468). “The BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] functions as a sort of priesthood of the politically permissible, awarding airtime and favour to those it likes, and silence, bad camera angles or mockery to those it dislikes” (4952). “[Television] encourage[s] only one set of ideas about what was good” (447). “It made each one of us more like the other, it narrowed the gaps between us and made us simultaneouly less alone and more conformist. We have all noticed the way in which mass culture has flattened out accents and made us dress and even walk in standardized fashions” (238).

“This regimentation has also affected our thinking, and our ability to choose. In a society of stable values and unchanging tradition, this would not be specially important, and the cinema had far less impact on 1930s Britain than television was to have fifty or sixty years later. The effect of television, especially colour television, on a society whose values were all open to question and whose morals were dissolving was explosive, and continues to be” (243). “Television robs adults of one of their most important tasks, as passers-on of culture to the young” (2116). Gelykmaking, eendersverklaring en internasionalisering kan die taak van regerings vergemaklik maar het ‘n vernietigende uitwerking op bv individualiteit, kreatiwiteit en eiesoortige kultuur. NP van Wyk Louw het reeds in 1936 geskryf: “Ons tyd wil net van gelykheid en gelykmaak weet; die natuur ken net ongelykheid en streng rangordening” (Berigte te velde, Kaapstad: Nasionale Boekhandel, 1959, p 17). Plaaslik is dieselfde neiging as in Brittanje waarneembaar: “The increasingly blatant use of soap operas as cultural propaganda” (Hitchens 48). Sepies en baie ander televisieprogramme is as’t ware ‘n siekte wat nie net bedags nie maar veral saans kulturele verwoesting saai.

Amerika was die eintlike wenner in die Tweede Wêreldoorlog. Amerika het die leidende land geword. “By 1941 we were a defeated nation” (285). “When American servicemen began arriving in Britain in 1942, much of the United Kingdom fell under a bizarre and unique form of military occupation” (4140). “They spoke the same language but brought with them a completely different culture, different morals, different habits of courtship and even different tastes in food and drink, music and entertainment” (4145). “The total number of Americans in the UK at this time [1944] was more than 1.6 million, mostly active young men, at a time when Britain’s active young men were mainly away from home” (4171). Hitchens bied die volgende as ‘n kompliment aan: “A rather touching and honourable refusal by Britons to countenance the US Army’s colour bar” (4192).

Die Amerikaanse besetting van Brittanje het tot lank ná die oorlog voortgeduur. Hierdie situasie “undermined and belittled Britain’s image of herself, and the British people’s view of themselves” (270). Amerikaanse kultuur het die Britte grondig beïnvloed, nie net vanweë die baie Amerikaanse soldate wat daar gestasioneer was nie, maar ook vanweë Amerikaanse rolprente en televisie. Daar was gevolglik “the increasing use of American terms in language” (280), asook die groeiende invloed van Amerikaanse populêre musiek, bv rock (295). Hitchens verwys na moderne populêre musiek “with its strangely bisexual appeal and its carnal beat” as “part war-dance, part fertility ritual” (2121). Wat die tradisionele Britse kultuur ook ontwrig het, is “America’s supposed ‘classlessness’, actually a fiction, [which] mocked our minutely graded caste system” (290).

Hitchens maak gewag van “the huge scale of the war effort and the breath and depth of the destruction it had caused not just to the physical fabric of the country but to its social fabric. Few now recall that the immediate postwar years were a time when many were alarmed by a rapid increase in crime, an atmosphere of purposeless rebellion among the young and a great deal of family breakdown because of the number of marriages which failed to survive the long partings of war” (680). “The Americanization of our sex lives was probably more important than all these put together. American attitudes towards divorce and adultery, the collapse of American puritanism … under the blows of Kinsey and the contraceptive pill, fanned out across the country like an infectious disease” (290). “As late as 1965, the child of divorced parents was an exception at any school, illegitimate children were a shameful rarity, homosexual acts were illegal, and contraception and abortion were taboo subjects in most homes” (572). Hierby kom nog “the arrival of North American feminism” (306).

Van die veranderings in die Britse leefwyse wat Hitchens opgemerk het, is die agteruitgang van die gehalte van standaard- of tradisionele Engels [Estuary English (358)], bv weens Amerikaanse invloed. “Estuary English – the universal classless patios of southern England” (3363). Daar is deesdae baie meer misdaad (566), bv inbrake (561), as voorheen en daar lê vullis in die strate (363), onder meer weens die multikulturele gedaanteverwisseling wat veral die stede ondergaan het. Maar sulke negatiewe verskynsels word deur linksgesindes goedgepraat. Daar is “a crude moral justification for crime, seen by many modern thieves as a form of taxation levied upon the greedy by the rest” (2381). In Suid-Afrika maak die ANC-regime die nieblankes wys dat die blankes hulle grond gesteel het en dat die blankes hulle besittings bekom het deur nieblankes uit te buit, bv deur hulle te min vir hulle arbeid te vergoed. Dit kan ten minste deels verduidelik waarom misdaad, bv onwettige grondbesetting en diefstal, op so ‘n buitensporige skaal in Suid-Afrika gepleeg word.

“In 1965 … eating in the street, except for a holiday ice cream or a homebound parcel of fish and chips, was practically unknown, and drinking in the street quite unthinkable for most people” (512). Die gedrag van mense het verander; eintlik versleg (479). Daar is al beweer dat die hedendaagse Britse kultuur gekenmerk word aan “lager, football and bodily functions” (611). Hoflikheid en goeie maniere het skaarser geword (479). Goeie smaak het agteruitgegaan (368). Mense voel minder veilig as voorheen, veral snags (389). In 1965 was Brittanje baie meer verenig as tans (432), met baie inwoners in Wallis en veral Skotland wat deesdae van Engeland wil wegbreek. “Northern Ierland … was the only place on British territory where British patriotism took the form of nationalism” (4615). Daardie nasionalisme is uit nood gebore – die gevaar vir Protestantse Britte van vereniging met en oorheersing deur die Rooms-Katolieke Iere van die Ierse Republiek. By die Britte in Noord-Ierland is daar deesdae egter al hoe groter onsekerheid of hulle in die toekoms deel van die Ierse Republiek of van Engeland gaan wees. Voorheen was daar nasionale solidariteit in Brittanje maar sedert 1965 het gebeure dit weggekalwe (653).

“A nation is the sum of its memories, and when those memories are allowed to die, it is less a nation. However, when a people cease to believe their national myths, and cease to know or respect their history, it does not follow that they become blandly smiling internationalists” (756). Die ANC-regime beywer hom vir die herskrywing van Suid-Afrika se geskiedenis, sodat die swartes beter en die blankes, veral die Afrikaners, slegter voorgestel word. Plekname word verander en standbeelde vernietig of verwyder ten einde die Afrikanerdom se trotse verlede te misken. Gebeure soos die Groot Trek en die Slag van Bloedrivier word as mites afgemaak. Dit alles word gedoen om die Afrikaners as etniese nasie, as volk, te probeer vernietig. Afrikanisme en globalisme word as plaasvervangers vir Afrikanernasionalisme aan ons opgedring. Regeringsleiers soos Donald Trump en Boris Johnson verset hulle teen globalisme. Hulle ondersteun onderskeidelik Amerikaanse en Britse nasionalisme, maar word om veral hierdie rede in die massa-inligtingsmedia verguis. As eilande is Brittanje, volgens Hitchens, “uniquely suited to be a nation-state” (809); des te meer sedert sy onttrekking aan die Europese Unie.

Ons het pas die onverkwiklike ondervinding gehad dat Jeremy Vearey (Praag 26.05.2018), ‘n opgeleide ANC-terroris, oud-Robbeneilander, nie-taalkundige en nie-letterkundige, klaarblyklik weens politieke redes deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns gevra is om vanjaar, vyftig jaar ná sy dood, die NP van Wyk Louw-gedenklesing te lewer. ‘n Soortgelyke vergryp is die jaarlikse Neville Alexander-lesing wat deur die Afrikaanse Taalmuseum en -monument aangebied word ter huldiging van nog ‘n oud-Robbeneilander. Hitchens vestig die aandag op ‘n soortgelyke polities byderwetse skuif: om die blanke Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), tradisioneel dié heldin in die verpleegkunde, met ‘n swart rolmodel, die Jamaikaan Mary Seacole (1805-1881), te vervang (910). Albei het gedurende die Krim-oorlog (1853-1856) gewonde soldate verpleeg. Dit herinner aan die vervanging van ons volksplanter van weleer, Jan van Riebeeck, met ‘n nuwe vader van die (swart) Suid-Afrikaanse nasie, die geweldenaar Nelson Mandela. Sedert 1994 is daar in ANC-geledere selfs meer as een moeder vir hierdie nasie ontdek.

Volgens Hitchens is die Britse neo-marxiste “drearily left-wing, and focussed upon suffering and deprivation rather than upon achievement or heroism. They are also notably more forgiving of the misdeeds of communist totalitarianism than of fascist totalitarianism” (938). Weens die gebrek aan positiewe prestasie deur ANC-kamerade word negatiewe gebeure, soos ongehoorsaamheid en geweldpleging, sedert 1994 in Suid-Afrika tydens openbare vakansiedae in herinnering geroep. Dit dui op geestelike en morele bankrotskap.

In Suid-Afrika is skoolonderrig vir die verskillende kultuur- en etniese groepe, elk met sy eie leerplanne, sedert 1994 deur gemeenskaplike leerplanne, primêr afgestem op die swart meerderheid, vervang. In Brittanje is die tradisioneel monokulturele skoolonderrig tot multikulturele opvoeding omvorm. Hitchens noem dit “yet another excuse to denigrate the nation-state, apologize for the Empire and abolish the lore of the British tribe” (998). Terselfdertyd was daar, soos in Suid-Afrika, ‘n ernstige verlaging in akademiese standaarde – “standards always are out of date” (2272) – en die vernietiging van die tradisionele geskiedenisleerplan (1003). In Suid-Afrika verkondig die ANC-regime openlik dat ons geskiedenis volgens die voorkeure van ANC-kamerade herskryf word. Daar is blanke historici wat hartlik aan hierdie projek saamwerk. “In an incredibly short time, we have been turned into a nation without heroes, without pride in our past or knowledge of either our past triumphs or our past follies and disasters” (1007).

Plaaslik was daar al uitsprake van die nuwe bewindhebbers dat dinge soos meriete en standaarde Westerse uitvindings is wat maar agterweë kon gebly het. Jonathan Jansen het hom by uitstek smalend oor akademiese standaarde uitgelaat, heel moontlik omdat hy, sonder om dit te erken, besef dat akademiese standaarde in die skole en aan die universiteite in die ou Suid-Afrika veel hoër was as wat hulle in die nuwe Suid-Afrika is. Hitchens skryf: “The great universities of Oxford and Cambridge are still being attacked by ministers for trying to maintain some standards” (48). Later skryf hy van “a general lowering of Oxbridge standards” (1134). Dit is die Britse weergawe van die ANC se: “pass one, pass all.” Dit is ‘n tragedie as geestelike vervlakking twee van die oudste en akademies-wetenskaplik mees gerespekteerde universiteite in die wêreld aangetas het. Albei het in die 13de eeu ontstaan..

Hitchens noem die hedendaagse marxiste “cultural revolutionaries”: “They believe, in most cases with some passion, that education should be used to eradicate privilege and élitism, to spread the gospel of the new society in which everyone (and everything) is equal” (1015) – dus “the ‘democratic’ or levelled society” (1042). Mededinging word ontmoedig. As sommige skoliere akademies beter as ander presteer, word die (natuurlike) ongelykheid by skoliere sigbaar. As ‘n skolier druip, tas dit sy menswaardigheid aan, wat taboe in hedendaagse verligte samelewings is. Meriete is tot ‘n onding verklaar omdat dit ‘n hiërargie daarstel. “Melanie Phillips [Praag 18.08.2018] has condemned the ‘all must have prizes’ ethos of the modern system” (1108). Die gesag van onderwysers word deur ‘n verbod op (lyf)straf ondermyn. Dit skep ‘n situasie in die klaskamer waarin leer weens gebrekkige dissipline bemoeilik word. In baie gevalle leer skoliere deesdae op skool minder as voorheen. Om hierdie feit te kamoefleer, verkies die ANC-regime dat daar van leerders pleks van skoliere gepraat word. Die marxistiese obsessie met verandering (pleks van verbetering) is die rede waarom sulke disfunksionele verskynsels hulle opwagting maak (1064). Sodanige transformasie word deur sommige sielkundiges goedgepraat; “those stand-by experts who can always be counted on to decry common sense, defy public opinion and loathe hallowed tradition” (1166).

Een van die hoofoogmerke van kulturele marxisme is om die tradisionele gesin te vernietig. “The greatest fortress of human liberty, proof against all earthly powers, is the family [“huisgesin”]. In its small private space, it can defy the will of authority and the might of wealth. It is without doubt the most effective means of passing lore, culture, manners and traditions down through the generations. Its loyalties are stronger than those of the state, more powerful even than patriotism. All serious tyrannies have sought to undermine or infiltrate it, socialist tyrannies most of all” (2837). “There are many explanations for authority’s mistrust of the family. The main one must be that it cannot control what goes on there, what ideas are taught, what wealth stored up, what loyalties fostered” (2853). Weens sy magsbeheptheid sou die ANC-regime te graag iedere gesin na sy beeld wou afrikaniseer en aan die ANC gedienstig maak. Huwelike, dus histories normale gesinsvorming, word nie deur die ANC-regime bepleit nie. Die huwelik is al beskryf as “an unromantic compromise between sensuality and drudgery” (3070). Die huwelik is in baie gevalle nie hemel op aarde nie maar kultureel nogtans meesal ‘n beter, bv meer stabiele, situasie as heteroseksuele saambly of ‘n selfdegeslagverbintenis.

In Suid-Afrika kom enkelouergesinne algemeen voor, veral by die swartes. Trekarbeid, dus die blankes, is dikwels die skuld hiervoor gegee. Eintlik is ‘n gebrek aan seksuele dissipline, oftewel permissiwiteit – “moral poverty” (2635) – ‘n meer geldige rede. Die eksponensiële toename in buite-egtelike kinders kan ook toegeskryf word aan die (oor)gewilligheid van die ANC-regime om ongehude moeders met staatstoelaes te vergoed. Dit geskied sonder dat enige teenprestasie vereis word. Daar is ook nie ‘n maksimum perk vir sulke kinders nie. In die nuwe Brittanje is daar al hoe meer buite-egtelike kinders. “Roughly 44% of children in Britain are now born to mothers who are not married” (63). “The new cruelty, which leaves hundreds of thousands of children without a proper family, is imposed through many acts of generosity by the state and the taxpayers, and through the broad-minded tolerance of individuals and opinion-formers” (2428). “It is certain that crime is higher among the children of broken homes than among those from stable families” (4354). Wat nodig is, is “a sensible compromise between stern duty and individual kindness” (2433).

“Illegitimacy – the very thing marriage is supposed to prevent – has become so common as to be the norm. Shame and stigma, which once both defended respectable marriage and heaped misery on the poor bastard and his wretched mother, have disappeared. Instead, there is the slower, vaguer, more indirect misery of a society where fewer and fewer children have two parents, and where more and more women are married to the State” (2444). Maar dit is juis hierdie toenemende getal afhanklikes van staatstoelaes wat aan die ANC-regime ‘n substansiële steunbasis verseker. Terselfdertyd veroorsaak kinders uit enkelouergesinne dikwels dat misdaad floreer.

“The cultural revolutionaries have understood that a nation’s literature is one of the ways, perhaps the most important way, in which values are transmitted unchanged from generation to generation. They understand that Shakespeare’s Englishness is not an accident, and that Shakespeare and Englishness have helped to form each other” (2722). “This literature is also dominated by men” (2727). Wat ‘n marxis soos Terry Eagleton (gebore in 1943) hieromtrent doen, is “to try to rebuild Shakespeare as some sort of Marxist critic of the social order” (2738). “The desire for a national culture is seen as damagingly conservative, often ‘racist’ and almost inevitably unsympathetic to the rights of women” (2772). “Something called ‘the cult of the apron’ is constantly attacked” (2801). Die nuwe vooroordeel (2812) is dat vroue net sulke bekwame skeppers van letterkunde, asook ander literatuur, bv nie-fiksie, en ander kuns as mans is. Pas is daar ‘n bohaai in die plaaslike pers opgeskop omdat blankes oor die toekenning van literatuurpryse besluit het. Volgens die polities byderwetse narratief moet enersyds sowel mans as vroue en andersyds sowel blankes as nieblankes by enige openbare geleentheid, bv besluitneming, betrek word. Die ANC-regime verlang voorts dat swartes substansieel in die meerderheid moet wees en vroue in dieselfde mate as mans betrek moet word. Dit gaan nie om meriete, bv kennis en kundigheid, nie. Dit gaan om ras en geslag.

In hoofstuk 15, onder die opskrif, “Is Britain civilized?” word die linkse politikus, Roy Jenkins (1920-2003), uitgesonder as die hoofaanstigter van die Britse kulturele revolusie. “He should see it as his task to revolutionize all our habits” (3939). Volgens Jenkins: “It is about the need to make this country a more civilized place in which to live” (3949). Hy het bv die doodstraf en sensuur veroordeel, maar hom ten gunste van die openbare aanvaarding van aborsie, homoseksualiteit en dobbel uitgespreek. Jenkins het “a new era of loving the sinner” ingelui (4070). Die gevolg was: “The laws have grown more permissive and society more violent, selfish and chaotic” (4075). Jenkins was “the Europhile of Europhiles” (3994). Hy het geen gevaar vir die Britse kultuur weens massa-immigrasie voorsien nie. Hy het verkies om Brittanje voor te hou as deurgaans moreel voorbeeldig, naamlik as “the traditional refuge op the oppressed” (3978).

Wat ek uiters eienaardig vind, is dat Hitchens, anders as baie ander waarnemers, nie die verwording van Brittanje primêr aan die massa kultureel vreemde inkommers toeskryf nie. In sy 2018-nawoord is daar net ‘n enkele opmerking hieroor, wat eintlik geen verduideliking verskaf nie: “Immigration itself, which I deliberately did not include in my 1999 book [why not?], has beyond doubt transformed many towns and urban areas beyond recognition, far beyond what had happened in the forty years of immigration before 1997” (4753). “The UK welcomed an estimated net 1.5 million immigrants in the decade to 2008. Part by accident, part by design, the Government had created its longed-for immigration boom” (4770).

Die skuld hiervoor word by uitstek aan Tony Blair (Britse eerste minister, 1997-2007) toegeskryf. “The Blair government was not like any previous governments. It had a declared cultural purpose” (4871). “The truth, that New Labour was a sophisticated version of Eurocommunism, hugely socially radical, deeply hostile to the nation-state and monoculture and coldly dismissive of Church and Crown, can be observed in its actions by those who understand these things” (4899). Blair het erken “that he had himself been a Trotskyist” (4899). “Labour supporters … felt that mass immigration had changed their lives for the worst without their permission. It was this, above all, that turned a strong anti-EU minority into a decisive majority” (4776) in 2016.

Hitchens se betoog is soms wydlopig. Hy is geneig om in sypaaie af te dwaal. Die volgende kan as ‘n samevatting van sy konserwatiewe stellinginname beskou word: “The pattern in all these events is the same: Behaviour which was once deviant is made to seem mainstream, or al least acceptable, and those who are unhappy about it are portrayed as narrow-minded, old-fashioned, prejudiced and wrong. The effect of this implicit propaganda upon public opinion has been enormous, causing many people to be ashamed of views they had held since their childhood and had thought until recently were normal” (3439). Veertig jaar gelede was daar onder blanke Suid-Afrikaners ‘n oorweldigende mate van eenstemmigheid dat een mens, een stem rampspoedige gevolge sou hê, ‘n swart meerderheidsregering die land in sy swernoot sou stuur, gedwonge rasse-integrasie absoluut verwerplik is, ens. Deesdae word diegene wat steeds sulke menings huldig as verkramp en rassisties uitgekryt. Die ergste is blankes, insluitende oud-Broederbonders, wat deesdae valslik voorgee dat hulle eintlik reeds hulle hele lewe lank nalopers van die ANC is.

“How do you tell that a country has died? I would say that the moment comes when its people no longer even know that they have lost their culture and their history” (4730). Die Afrikanerdom is darem nog nie daar nie, maar is fluks op pad daarheen. Binne enkele geslagte kan sowel ons voortreflike Afrikanerkultuur as ons roemryke geskiedenis in die vergetelheid verborge wees. NP van Wyk Louw het in 1936 oor “ware volkskuns” geskryf: “Die beste daarvan sal alleen vergeet word wanneer die geaardheid en omstandighede van ‘n groep so verander dat hy homself nie meer daarin herken nie” (17)

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