I’m into reality and what works. The philosophy of the West in the last few hundred years has been the most glorious and beneficial curative for our imperfect human condition this earth has ever known. Worldwide decreases in poverty and mortality rates; increases in prosperity and lifespan; the quality of that extended life: improvements abound. The philosophy works.
There can be no denying at this point that the adoption of the principles of individual liberty have indeed improved our world. But there is that one thing – liberty. It is a slippery thing, elusive and sometimes hard to define. One problem is that you can be fairly well off, live a long and mostly peaceful life, and yet it is still possible to not be free.
In this sense, the English continue to fascinate me. The people that for millennia inhabited lands in parts of the island called Great Britain (ninth largest island in the world) were dramatically involved in what we in the modern world call freedom and liberty. Yet the people in those same lands today seem to be more and more oblivious to their own contributions, and more and more oblivious to the fact that they are not free, based on their own historical and philosophical experience.
In 2015, professional soccer player Jamie Vardy was playing poker in a casino. A Japanese-looking guy walked behind him, looked at his hand and then whispered to another man at the poker table who subsequently called his hand. Vardy got upset at what he assumed was unfair play by the bystander and then said this in anger to the card whisperer:
Jap! Yo Jap!. Walk on. Walk on. Oi, walk on. Yeah you, Jap. Walk on! [Jamie Vardy]
My fascination with the English hence continues with the maelstrom that surrounded these words, then and today, in this situation and thousands of others. Could you describe the words as vulgar, crude, bigoted, mean-spirited and offensive? Absolutely. But as with another professional soccer player, Paul Gascoigne [see here], you are dealing with one grown man saying words to another grown man. No uttering of a threat. Not slander. Therefore not a crime. Not a crime, but a crime nonetheless.
Could you describe the words as vulgar, crude, bigoted, mean-spirited and offensive? Absolutely. [LL&TNPOS]
How can a people invent freedom and then be at the vanguard of helping to destroy it? This is indeed historically and philosophically fascinating. More fascinating is how their own words are now seen by the people who speak them, and what they will spend the remainder of their life doing and saying in order to remove their “stain”. Vardy was in the end fined by his club and had to attend a re-education camp¹.
Most convictions get wiped after a period of time. But there’s no way of erasing what happened in July 2015. The word “racist” is a permanent stain against my name. It’s worse than a criminal record. Some people will never forgive me. Others will accept I made a terrible mistake and recognise I have learnt from it. [Jamie Vardy]
I have no special interest in Vardy. I don’t care if he is a bigot (or ‘racist‘). It is the grovelling acquiescence to speech codes in order to potentially escape a speech crime that is disturbing and chilling. We can attempt to cover this in as many multicultural layers or diversity layers as possible but this is exactly what it looks like: a political crime – a crime against state orthodoxy.
This European disease is quickly spreading to North America. We don’t need to be become offensive for its own sake as some in the ‘alt-right‘ movement might allow, but we men need to acknowledge that we must never allow the state to control our ability to speak our minds, even if it offends other grown men. We men can figure this out all by ourselves believe it or not. Better the words, “Hey pal, do you want to take this outside..,” to, “The court hereby sentences you to…” Much better.