Journalists who find it difficult to follow intellectual arguments or to understand the use of irony may nevertheless be anxious to add to the indictment against me. I have made a preliminary survey in search of sentences that can be used out of context as evidence of crimethink and come up with the following interim observations:
Homophobia. Following the discovery somewhere in my writings and speeches of the impious remark that homosexuality is ‘not normal’, I have naturally been on the look-out for further proof of this pernicious state of mind. I returned to Sexual Desire, published 1984 and, disgracefully, still in print. Unfortunately I was unable to find in the section on homosexuality anything that is really useful. Although the section occurs in the chapter on perversion, it is only by way of proving that homosexual desire, while significantly distinct from heterosexual desire, is not a perversion. I turned instead to my works of fiction since my first published novel, Fortnight’s Anger, which I don’t much like, seemed promising, containing an (abusive) homosexual relation. But I came across no useful out-of-context quotations, and was deterred from further research by the positive review in Gay News, which chose the book as novel of the year.
Still, the charge of homophobia is an interesting and fertile one. The idea of such a state of mind stems from Freud and his (now largely discredited) view that infantile sexuality is ‘polymorphously perverse’ and becomes focused on the other sex (if it does) only by developing defences against the rival channels. Hence, according to Freud, there arises a conscious revulsion against that which is unconsciously desired. In a paper published a long time ago entitled ‘Sexual Morality and the Liberal Consensus’ I ventured another explanation of the revulsion against homosexuality (i.e. homophobia), couched more in evolutionary terms. But my version of evolutionary theory was too socialised, too much influenced by the social science model that has its roots in Weber and Boas, and the explanation doesn’t work. In my view, therefore, the question remains open, as to how this state of mind might be explained – open, but of course undiscussable.
Islamophobia. Although Freud’s attempt at explaining homophobia might be held to justify the use of that term to describe at least some of the negative views that some people hold about homosexuality, this is no excuse for inventing ‘Islamophobia’ as an explanation of the negative views that many people hold about Islam. The invention of this term by activists of the Muslim Brotherhood is a rhetorical trick, though it seems that my habit of pointing this out is a further proof that I am guilty. Are we then to suppose that people are repelled by Islam because of the unconscious desire to embrace it, this repulsion being part of an elaborate defence mechanism? Or could it be that murder, genocide, rape and enslavement carried out in the name of Islam have made people somewhat suspicious of the faith? My own view, expounded in The West and the Rest and elsewhere, is that the only phobia involved here is the natural revulsion against those horrible crimes, and has nothing to do with Islam, which is abused by those who commit the crimes and not by those who are repelled by them. However, I am sure that there are out-of-context sentences to be extracted here that will be useful in pinning on to me an accusation that admits no presumption of innocence, there being, as with all nonsense accusations, no gap between accusation and guilt.
Sexism and other isms: There is a recent interview on this site, given to the Hoover Institution, in which there are many phrases that could be captured from the air and used in evidence against me.
There is also very useful stuff in the lecture delivered to the sens-commun congress in Asnières on 18th November 2018. I recommend that journalists study this shocking event with care, especially the passage devoted to the welfare state, which, as journalists will know, is l’état providence in French.
Again there is useful evidence in my works of fiction. The fact that I presume, in The Disappeared, to describe rape and sexual abuse from a woman’s point of view is surely an outrageous proof of gender appropriation. And the fact that the rapist in question is an immigrant of Muslim background, living in a Northern city not so many miles from Rotherham, is surely clear proof of Islamophobia.
Phobias and Isms generally: There was also a lecture delivered in 2016 to the University of Buckingham on ‘making the University a Safe Space for rational argument’ which has some choice morsels. It is available on this site. I also recommend ‘The Art of Taking Offence’ from Spectator Life, which is likewise available on this site.
When time permits I will continue my researches. At least when I present the evidence against myself it will not be in the tone of voice of a writer for the Evening Standard, who began her interrogation thus:
To Mr Scruton,
I am a reporter for the Evening Standard.
I have been made aware of pieces you wrote in the City Journal between 1999 to 2001.
They include comments about gay people and the disabled which people have found offensive.
Not ‘dear Mr Scruton’, or ‘Dear Professor Scruton’, certainly not ‘Dear Sir Roger’. I was reminded of the Nazi habit of never addressing Jews, when arresting them, by their titles but always by their surnames, and using the impertinent ‘du’ instead of the formal ‘Sie’. These are the manners now taught to the censorious young, and with which they sally forth into the world of adults in order to take offence at what they find.