the Disillusioned kid: Thoughtcrime
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Friday, August 05, 2005


I'm not entirely au fait with this indistinct thing known as "the British way of life", but it seems to be very important. Gerald Howarth, shadow defence minister, even went so far as to suggest that for those who "don't like our way of life, there is a simple remedy - go to another country, get out." He was referring specifically to those who viewed the invasion of Iraq as a war against Islam; recidivists he denounced as comparable to Soviet sympathisers during the Cold War. This seems to imply that acting on such a belief is unneccessary in order for someone to be disqualified from participation in the "British way of life". Simply having the wrong thoughts is sufficient.*

Of course, there appears to be a further requirement: that your skin be the wrong colour (i.e. not white). As a white person I can say what I like about British foreign policy (and generally do), but I can't imagine anyone ever suggesting that this means I "hate the British way of life". Suggestions that I leave are likely to be meant only rhetorically (I can hardly "fuck off to the Soviet Union," as some hecklers have suggested, as they are surely aware).
* I'm not suggesting here that the invasion of Iraq, or for that matter the "War on Terror" (latterly the "global struggle against extremism"), should be viewed as a war on Islam. Quite the contrary. I think such an analysis is demonstrably wrong when viewed in the context of American power over the latter half of the Twentieth-century. Furthermore, assertions that there is such a war are potentially dangerous, fuelling as they do a communalist mind-set with all that entails.

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