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October 2020

Difficult Questions, Carefully Avoided

In the UK in the last census, it turned out that people who identified as white British were a minority in 23 out of the 33 boroughs in London. Now, if you were born in the 1960s, say, which isn’t that long ago, this means a total transformation of the capital city of the country you’re in. I suggest that some people deprecate that, some people love it, most people have a very mixed view towards it. But to pretend that it isn’t a very significant change to occur in a lifetime is nonsensical…

There has been a presumption in recent years in Europe to assume that, historically, whenever you shake the great Rubik’s cube of humanity, it always comes out looking something like The Hague – that everything ends up in the sort of peaceful, decent, liberal settlement that you happily have in your own country… I suggest that this is a very serious underestimation of, among other things, ideas that people bring with them, how long it takes to lose them, and particularly the struggle that liberal societies, in the true sense of the term, have about what they do regarding the integration of people who may not want to join the other elements of the society…  

We wish to have justice for people coming; we should have mercy for people fleeing other places; but we also need to have a sense of justice for people in Europe who pay their taxes, who have been decent citizens, and who need to be asked if there are going to be massive societal changes that will take place. Because we’re not petri dishes, we are countries.

Via the comments, Horace Dunn steers us to this debate between Douglas Murray, quoted above, and Flavia Kleiner. Ms Kleiner is a mass-immigration enthusiast and one of Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30,” a list of entrepreneurs, activists, and people of growing influence. She is, we’re assured, “fighting for your rights and better government.”

Readers who watch the video in full will, I think, note a contrast in disposition and approach. Murray is thoughtful, knowledgeable, and curious. He asks questions, listens, and tests his opponent’s assumptions, exploring what they imply. In contrast, Ms Kleiner seems doctrinaire, presumptuous, and morally glib. When Murray replies to some specific claim or conceit, Ms Kleiner seems uninterested in any possible oversight on her part, as if listening to the other person were some achingly tedious chore. Presumably on grounds that anyone who disagrees must be insufficiently liberal and enlightened, i.e., unwilling to pretend all of the things that she pretends, and therefore unworthy. Even when those whose views diverge from her own are a majority of the electorate.

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Friday Ephemeraren’t

Yes, a chance to throw together your own pile of links and oddities in the comments. I’ll set the ball rolling with a photoshoot of note; some questionable signage; via Perry, what to do in a crisis; a breakthrough in the world of cosmetics; fun with rope; a rationalisation in progress; and a headline that I assumed was a spoof, but isn’t

Oh, and because it’s been a while since we’ve had a toilet-related item, flushing difficulties