In 2009, Fred Siegel, in the midst of writing the articles that were the rough draft, and in retrospect also expand upon his terrific recent book, The Revolt Against the Masses, dubbed H.G. Wells “The Godfather of American Liberalism” at City Journal. But Wells could also be called — perhaps even more so — the Godfather of British “Liberalism” as well:
By 1932, a frustrated Wells found his superior wisdom bypassed time and again by the superior mass appeal of fascism and Communism. In a talk at Oxford provocatively titled “Liberal Fascism,” he called for liberalism to be “born again.” After his customary denunciation of parliamentary politics as an anachronism, he let out his frustrations, calling for fascist means to serve liberal ends by way of a liberal elite as “conceited” and as power-hungry as its rivals. “I suggest that you study the reinvigoration of Catholicism by Loyola,” Wells said. “I am asking for a Liberal Fascisti.” It was also to Communism that “we shall have to turn—we outsiders, that is, the young people with foresight for enlightened Nazis; I am proposing that you consider the formation for a greater Communist Party; a western response to Russia.”
Flash-forward 82 years, and as Kathy Shaidle proffers at the PJ Lifestyle blog, “Meet the Famous British Liberals Who Support Government Control of the Media:”
Within living memory, plays could only be performed in London if they’d been approved by the Lord Chamberlain.
Naturally, that regime was pulled down in the late 1960s; it may surprise some to note how many of the names on the Hacked Off petition are “Swinging London” era artists who led, and benefited hugely from, the battle to abolish that and other restrictions on free speech.
That very surprise is what surprises me.
By now, doesn’t everyone know that many of the leftist Baby Boomers who led the 1960s and 1970s “revolution” were always totalitarian hypocrites?
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Salman Rushdie is one of the signatories, too.
(“How much tax-payer dosh was spent protecting HIS ‘freedom of speech’?” asked one commenter.)
So are JK Rowling, Maggie Smith, Richard Dawkins, Russell Brand, Tom Stoppard, Bob Geldof, Stephen Fry and Steve Coogan (above.)
When I got to the bottom of the list without seeing the name of anyone I still give a damn about, I literally let out a sigh of relief and slumped in my chair.
The rest of you may have to spend part of your weekend weeding your collection of books, records and DVDs, however.
Mike Hume sums it up perfectly:
Some 80 years ago, George Dangerfield wrote his famous history, The Strange Death of Liberal England. Today, it seems we are witnessing the strange suicide of liberal Britain, as those who like to think of themselves as free-thinking radicals and champions of human rights publicly declare their ‘weakening of the desire for liberty’. They have effectively signed a death warrant for liberal Britain by tossing away the most fundamental liberty of all, freedom of expression and of the press.
Remember their names, and the next time any of these illiberal liberals tries to claim that they are radicals, rebels or freedom fighters, let us remind the world that they are fully signed-up supporters of an unfree press by order of the Crown.
The ghost of Oswald Mosley gives his blessing to the entire endeavor, the natural conclusion to a nation that toppled National Socialism only to immediately begin nationalizing and socializing their own country. Read the whole thing.
Update: Here’s the list of names; Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd was one of the signees. It’s not an entirely “unexpected” development, but naively, I thought Gilmour, one of my teenage guitar heroes, was less obsessed with totalitarian control than his bandmate Roger Waters. Between Gilmour’s willingness to sign off on the concept of a state-run media and Waters’ escalating rabid hatred of Israel, increasingly I start to wonder, half-seriously, if perhaps songs like this from The Wall weren’t meant to be ironic:
Note that in the above video, the odious lyrics from “In The Flesh, Part II” are being sung by Bob Geldof, the star of the movie version of The Wall, who also signed off on the notion of state media control.