Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday 15 February 2023


 Writing in the Telegraph this week, Charles Moore describes how younger employees are holding the whip hand and effectively controlling the output of publishing houses, where their refusal to work on books of which they disapprove is effectively silencing authors whose works do not conform to the current orthodoxy.

Despite their junior status, these staff members are potentially wielding a formidable weapon against their superiors. With the example of JK Rowling looming large, the prospect of falling victim to a mass social media campaign is clearly enough to make those in charge bend to their will and turn down books younger employees deem ‘offensive’. A recent victim was Nigel Biggar’s ‘Colonialism: A Reckoning’: 

The author’s crime had been to attempt a balanced judgement of empire, especially the British Empire. The very idea of such a balance [...] had earlier been denounced by academics worldwide, including 58 from his own university. “OMG. This is serious shit... we need to SHUT THIS DOWN,” the ringleader of his opponents had tweeted.

The same undue influence is being exerted in Britain’s museums, where directors told Moore that their institutions tweeted support for Black Lives Matter because they “could not ignore the opinions of talented young staff”. The ‘talent’ in question. I suspect, has less to do with intrinsic ability than with their prowess with the very same communications technology they are using to censor our heritage and culture - and more:

It is nowadays common for staff groups within the civil service to criticise government policy, publicly and unrebuked, although the job of the civil service is to serve the elected government impartially. If a young employee decides to take offence, that seems to trump other considerations.

As Moore points out, this is getting alarmingly close to Mao’s Red Guard*, putting power in the hands of indoctrinated youngsters too inexperienced and solipsistic to be open to reason, empathy or compassion. By giving power of veto to these junior employees - many of them the product of universities which have effectively become echo chambers for left-wing ideology - the institutions of this country are setting a very dangerous precedent indeed.

*If you haven’t already read it, I thoroughly recommend Jung Chang’s ‘Wild Swans’, which includes chilling descriptions of the vicious Red Guard persecution and abuse of teachers and other ‘intellectuals’.

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