This Johann Hari interview was picked up by Harry's Place, where David T's piece seems to have an oblique reference to yours truly. As the wires seem to be down between this blog and HP, it looks as if semaphore (or the megaphone) will be the only means of communication. It sure does look like Amis is wading deep into Laban territory - and it's making HP very uncomfortable. No sooner have they got over Amis remarks about giving Muslims a hard time (remarks with which I totally disagree, btw) than he starts quoting Mark Steyn :
Amis tells me Steyn is “a great sayer of the unsayable.” Muslims are indeed reproducing at a faster rate than the rest of us, he says, and they will eventually outbreed us and become a majority. “One of the mathematical beauties of democracy is that you can look at the figures and be pretty sure how it’s going to fall out,” he says. “It’s not PC, it’s so saturated in revulsions that people can’t go near it. [But] we should go near it... Just because of there have been horrible abuses based on this [way of thinking] doesn’t mean that it’s not worth considering, or that it’s so radioactive that you don’t dare go near it. That is the defeat of reason.”
I grimace. I loathe and detest Islamic fundamentalists just as much as Amis - but this is going way beyond criticism of Islamic fundamentalism. It presents each new Muslim child – a Salman Rushdie, or a Salman Rushdie-killer – as a problem. Amis concedes readily that Steyn “writes like a nutter” and is “a very unstable kind of mind,” but quickly adds, “you’ve got to be able to talk about race.” Is this a revealing Freudian slip? Does he mean culture?
It's culture, of course. But in the case of, say, Bangladesh and Pakistan, race is a reasonably proximate cypher for culture - just as 'white' and 'Christian' would have been pretty near interchangeable a hundred years ago.
Amis' slow recognition of facts which others would rather wish away is praiseworthy, given that he has enough money to live wherever he wishes - unlike some poor Brit in Thornton Heath or Rochdale. Just another small sign of change. It may well be that his ideas are completely acceptable among educated Brits of his generation in another 15 years or so - by which time, of course, it will probably be much too late to do anything about it.
Talking of Steyn, here's the man himself discussing multiculturalism. Talks as well as he writes.
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