Roger Scruton didn't expect to live much longer when he wrote "My 2019" for the Christmas issue of the UK Spectator. It's been republished as his obituary.
My 2018 ended with a hate storm, in response to my appointment as chair of the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. But the new year brings a lull, and I hope and pray that the Grand Inquisitor enthroned by social media will find another target.
The hate storm was noted by John Derbyshire under the heading Badthinker gets government job on Radio Derb.
Well, the British government seeks to beautify their country, which is very commendable of them. They've set up a commission to advise them on how to improve the nation's architecture. Since Sir Roger's written two books on the subject, they asked him to chair this commission, and he agreed. It's an unpaid post, so he's doing it from motives of duty and patriotism.
He may not be doing it for long. The CultMarx mob is mighty over there, and they've been trawling through Sir Roger's vast output of books, articles, and speeches looking for badthink. It turns out that this brilliant and distinguished person is a homophobe, an Islamophobe, a misogynist, and an antisemite … according to them.
Squealed one of these nitwits, quote: "Nobody holding [Scruton's] views has a place in modern democracy." Swooned another, quote: "It beggars belief that [Scruton] passed a vetting process."
Both of those nitwits are Members of Parliament, with all the associated privileges and emoluments.
In April 2019, before he'd been diagnosed with the cancer that was to kill him, Scruton was the subject of a hit job by a young New Statesman writer named George Eaton:
My publisher, Bloomsbury, has agreed to an interview in the New Statesman, a magazine for which I retain a certain fondness, having served as its wine critic for several years. Unfortunately Bloomsbury’s publicity officer cannot make it to the interview, and I am alone with an eager young man who has come not to learn about my views but to reinforce his own. I think nothing of it, since the presence of a young and enquiring mind switches me to teacher mode, assuming knowledge in order to induce it. The fact that this person may be not just ignorant of the issues that crop up but interested only in the ways they can be used to damage me does not cross my mind.
Readers of The Spectator do not need reminding of the sequel. The interview is duly published — a mendacious concoction of out-of-context remarks and downright fabrications. We are able to obtain the tapes of the interview, [The Roger Scruton interview: the full transcript, New Statesman, April 26, 2019] and on the strength of this, and thanks to all the support that is offered to me, not least by this magazine and its brave associate editor Douglas Murray, I obtain an apology from the New Statesman.
By that time the damage has been done. I have been dismissed from the Commission, by a party [Theresa May’s Conservative Party] which seems entirely unacquainted with the many thousands of quite well-argued words that I have offered in support of it, and the architects queue up to pour their ritual denunciations on my head.[Links added.]
There were also a headline in the London Times saying No. 10 adviser sacked over “white supremacist” views and a demand that Scruton be stripped of his knighthood for Wrongthink. For the full story, see The Scruton tapes: an anatomy of a modern hit job | How a character assassination unfolded on Twitter, by Douglas Murray, April 27, 2019.
Obviously, what Scruton did was trust a member of the Mainstream Media, in this case George Eaton, who applied the "Ransom Note Racism" technique to the interview, taking things out of context, and posting them on Twitter.
This is what happened to Steve King, when he was interviewed by the New York Times.
As John Derbyshire described it at the time was a huge kerfuffle—with King losing committee seats and being "censured"—about something King allegedly said, it happened like this:
This all followed a single remark Steve King allegedly made in a January 10th interview with the New York Times:
White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?[Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics, By Trip Gabriel, NYT, January 10, 2019]
Steve King insists that the last six words ("how did that language become offensive?") applied only to the previous two, "Western civilization." The way the New York Times punctuated it, though, it looked as if they covered "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" as well.
In Scruton's case, he was able to find a tape, and get an apology. King, having failed to record it, couldn't.
This is why VDARE.com editor Peter Brimelow will only do interviews with the MSM by email, which means he has a record of both sides of the interview.
Here are some of the articles we've written about that: