Wednesday, 28 December 2016

James Delingpole marked Christmas Day with possibly his best article of the year

There's nothing quite as exhilarating for those of us on the Right as James Delingpole pistol-whipping the virtue-signalling left-liberal enemy. His 25th December Breitbart piece was his most spirited assault in quite some time. His main theme was the tendency of leftists, in the wake of a Islamist terrorist attack, to deflect attention from the actual perpetrators of the foul deed - and from the religion which they follow - by singling out some (usually perfectly reasonable) comment made by a right-winger in the wake of the attack, and employing the tactics of "point and shriek" and "isolate and storm". The latest instance of this was Nigel Farage's linking of the Berlin slaughter to Angela Merkel's deranged immigration policy, and his subsequent spat with Brendan Cox, the widower of the murdered Labour MP, Jo Cox. Delingpole became a subsidiary target of left-wing pseudo-anger when he tweeted, "When are we allowed to say that Brendan Cox is a total arse?":

For about 24 hours, I experienced what Nigel Farage has to put up with pretty much every day of his life—and has done for the last 25 years. Wave after wave of self-righteous lefties pouring vitriol, wishing death on me, calling me the worst names they could think of in their limited imaginations. 
I’m perfectly OK with the insults. I’m used to it. It’s a technique popular with the regressive left known as “point and shriek” and “isolate and swarm.” The purpose—as Vox Day explains in this SJW attack survival guide—is to frighten you, isolate you, and silence you. And the key thing is to recognise it for what it is and not be upset by it—and definitely not apologise. 
But what I cannot tolerate or forgive, and nor should you, is when these scum-sucking regressive types think they have the right to judge and to take the moral high ground.
The reason the Left keeps doing this to anyone who says anything they disagree with is that these bullying tactics have, until now, worked rather well in turning "free speech" into "free speech as long as what you say is acceptable to liberal-leftists", and turning the expression of a contrary opinion into an act of pure evil. News broadcasters and a surprising number of national newspapers are happy to jump onto the outrage bandwagon and to take part in the Two Minutes Hate. But the ritual has begun to lose its coercive, shaming power to silence any form of dissent. The British are basically a fair and commonsensical people, and they'll only put up with unjust, irrational behaviour for so long before the urge to say, "Oi! This is a free country. Let him have his say. Anyway, I think he's right," kicks in. And, as Delingpole points out, that's what happened with Brexit here and the "Britons abroad" who voted against Hillary Clinton in the US:
... I have a very special Christmas message to all those people who attacked Nigel Farage for telling the truth about the Berlin massacre, and to all those who called me a “c***” for being rude about Brendan Cox.
 You are the reason Donald Trump won the U.S. Presidential election; you are the reason 17.4 million people voted for Brexit; you are the reason the European Union is collapsing. You are hateful, bigoted and—for all your hypocritical pretences to the contrary—fascistic.
You are an intellectually spavined, moronic, self-righteous and disgusting losers who have been shown by the events of 2016 to be on the wrong side of history. There is nothing noble or worthy or decent about your ranting rage: it is the fury of a vampire stuck with a stake, realising as he shrieks his last that finally the good guys have ended his reign of terror.
It's been one hell of a year. And it's heartening to find Delingpole in such fine, feisty form at the end of it. And it must be heartening for him - and all the other conservative commentators here and in the US - to feel that the tide might just finally have turned, and that, whether they believe that there is a "right side of history" or not, they're most definitely on it.


  1. As I often say, in their book The Blunders of Our Governments Professors Anthony King and Ivor Crewe talk about several of the causes of failure in government projects. Among them, group-think, which they blame for the Poll Tax, for example.

    Group-think was given its first academic treatment apparently by Irving J Janis, a US psychology professor. Messrs King and Crewe have this to say about it (pp.255-6):

    According to Janis, whose views are now almost universally accepted, group-think is liable to occur when the members of any face-to-face group feel under pressure to maintain the group's cohesion or are anyway inclined to want to do that.

    It is also liable to occur when the group in question feels threatened by an outside group or comes, for whatever reason, to regard one or more outside individuals or groups as alien or hostile.

    Group-think need not always, but often does, manifest itself in pathological ways. A majority of the group's members may become intolerant of dissenting voices within the group and find ways, subtle or overt, of silencing them. Individual group members may begin to engage in self-censorship, suppressing any doubts they harbour about courses of action that the group seems intent on adopting. Latent disagreements may thus fail to surface, one result being that the members of the group come to believe they are unanimous when in reality they may not be.

    Meanwhile, the group is likely to become increasingly reluctant to engage with outsiders and to seek out information that might run counter to any emerging consensus. If unwelcome information does happen to come the group's way it is likely to be discounted or disregarded. Warning signs are ignored. The group at the same time fails to engage in rigorous reality-testing, with possible alternative courses of action not being realistically appraised.

    Group-think is also, in Janis's view, liable to create “an illusion of invulnerability, shared by most or all the members, which creates excessive optimism and encourages taking extreme risks”. Not least, those indulging in group-think are liable to persuade themselves that the majority of their opponents and critics are, if not actually wicked, then at least stupid, misguided and probably self-interested.

    1. Interesting. One of the ways group think managed to perpetuate itself at the BBC was the tendency for believers to classify sceptics as either (1) members of the "awkward squad" - i.e. bitter failures whose objection to the current ethos was based on resentment at being passed over for promotion - as often as not, these were people on the far left who were judged to be pretending to be far left as an excuse to moan, or (2) eccentrics (invariably conservatives) who were useful to have around in order to keep abreast of what Middle England was thinking, and who - if you only scratched the surface - would prove to be just as liberal as everyone else: after all, they were well-educated, so they couldn't actually be genuine right-wingers.

      The next question is - how do organisations prevent group think?

  2. The next question is - how do organisations prevent group think?

    2 January, and I get homework set? Crikey.

    If anything occurs to me by way of an answer I will of course tell you.

    Meanwhile, there is the suggestion implicit perhaps in your question that actually organisations can't avoid groupthink, it's endemic, if a collection of people doesn't suffer from groupthink then that collection doesn't amount to an organisation.

    I must go and take my medication.