An in­tel­lec­tual gi­ant hounded by nasty fools

The Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - Pe­ter Hitchens Hitchens Read Pe­ter’s blog at hitchens­blog.mailon­sun­day.co.uk and fol­low him on Twit­ter @clarkem­icah

SIR Roger Scru­ton is one of the wis­est and clever­est men in Bri­tain. It is a dis­grace that his pow­er­ful, lu­cid mind has not been placed at the ser­vice of the coun­try, and that he has in­stead been pushed to the edge of the aca­demic and po­lit­i­cal world.

I don’t al­ways agree with him. He’s hope­lessly wrong about Rus­sia, which he has mixed up with the USSR. I think the Gov­ern­ment are ex­ploit­ing him by ap­point­ing him as an ad­viser on hous­ing. They will po­litely hear out his ar­gu­ments in favour of build­ing beau­ti­ful things, and then con­crete over the coun­try­side with ugly box homes any­way.

But the at­tempt, by Left-wing fa­nat­ics, to get the Prime Min­is­ter to sack him, is ac­tu­ally shame­ful.

Sir Roger’s views, sim­i­lar to mine, are un­fash­ion­able. But they are not wicked. And I am es­pe­cially dis­gusted by an at­tempt to sug­gest that he is anti-Jew­ish.

I have read the speech against which this charge is made, and I can only con­clude that his ac­cusers have not read it. It is not re­motely anti-Semitic, and nor is he – un­like the un­pleas­ant author Roald Dahl, whose seething, re­pul­sive Ju­do­pho­bia has long been over­looked be­cause his works bring in lots of money to pub­lish­ers and film-mak­ers.

The worst part of this at­tack on Sir Roger is this. Not long ago, at some peril to him­self, he was one of a small, brave band of men and women who went into the dark lands of Eastern Eu­rope in the days of Com­mu­nist re­pres­sion. They set up se­cret schools of free thought, where Sir Roger taught. They smug­gled aid in var­i­ous forms to coura­geous dis­si­dents who were si­lenced by Left-wing cen­sor­ship and se­cret po­lice.

Now, by a twist he can never have ex­pected, he is him­self a dis­si­dent in a coun­try that was once free. And fool­ish, nasty peo­ple snap at his heels, smear him and would like to see him si­lenced.

We don’t have se­cret po­lice here quite yet. But I can see them tak­ing shape in a shad­owy form among us, and when they fi­nally open for busi­ness they will not be short of vol­un­teers.

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