Home Australia PETER HITCHENS: There’s nothing conservative about these warmongers and dubious drug legalisers

PETER HITCHENS: There’s nothing conservative about these warmongers and dubious drug legalisers

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Nigel Farage outside the Brussels event which was briefly called off earlier this week. What exactly is conservative about it?

What is a conservative? All supporters of free speech must, of course, unite in defense of the strange conference in Brussels that was briefly suspended by the city’s bigoted and leftist local government heads last week. But if this was conservatism, no wonder the cause is lost.

Among the planned, or actual, speakers was our own Nigel Farage. What exactly is conservative about it? He is the star performer of the burgeoning Margaret Thatcher Tribute Band, which has grown as the Conservative Party has become increasingly maudlin and Blairite.

Nigel Farage outside the Brussels event which was briefly called off earlier this week. What exactly is conservative about it?

But he seems like a liberal to me, just like Liz Truss. Both, for example, have spoken out in favor of weakening marijuana laws, a totally unconservative position. Then there is Hungarian politician Viktor Orban, who knows how to play the tunes that patriots and conservatives love to listen to. But something about him suggests he’s the kind of politician who enters through a revolving door behind you and comes out ahead. And there is the French politician Eric Zemmour, who has questioned the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish officer in the French army accused of being a spy by anti-Semites in one of the most shameful events in French history. All the Belgian leftists who tried to prevent this event from going ahead should have known that they were doing a favor to these so-called “national conservatives”.

Their cause prospers when no one can hear what they say. Silenced, they gain prestige as martyred victims of censorship. Meanwhile, serious, thoughtful conservatism has all but disappeared, replaced by dubious sloganeering, wild tax reducers, warmongers, and drug legalizers.

Cheerful little adverts have started to appear in posh areas of Westminster (my example here comes from an alley near the exclusive clubs of St James’s, quite close to several royal sites). They threaten severe fines for those who commit what we used to call a nuisance on the street. OK that’s fine. We would all prefer pristine sidewalks. But have these bladder police recently tried to find legal relief? Public toilets in Westminster (and many other places) are closed all the time, closed most of the time, or prohibited to anyone lacking the right type of contactless payment card. It’s not the highest function of government, but if you think about it, it’s pretty important.

Not long ago, early reports of the Sydney knife murders would have assumed a terrorist was involved. This time almost no one came to this conclusion. It’s a step forward that we’ve stopped making this silly assumption. But how long will it be before we start asking whether the culprit has been a long-term user of drugs, especially marijuana?

I suspect that if Western societies started looking for this link, they would find it again and again. But they don’t want to do it, because many people in public life have used this drug and because the police have abandoned the fight against it.


I’m not particularly interested in Rishi Sunak’s plan to make it impossible for people under a certain age to buy cigarettes. Anyone can see that it is a gesture, a way of saying that it is time for this miserable habit to go away. It probably won’t stop anyone from smoking.

I have only become engaged thanks to the ‘libertarian’ squawks who pretend that such a law is the first step towards Hitlerism, or banning bacon, or whatever they think is a slippery slope (it isn’t). These are the same people who defend the “freedom” of young people from suffering permanent mental illness from smoking marijuana. They are also usually the same people who defended or accepted a real attack on freedom, the shutdown of the entire country in a crazy and unscientific attempt to control Covid. There are times when even those who love freedom can see that the law plays a role in protecting the foolish or reckless from themselves. Because, in destroying themselves, they often destroy others who love them. The idea that inhaling smoke from burning vegetables is a sacred freedom, like the freedoms of thought, expression, and assembly, is so foolish that no thinking person could sustain it.

As for the freedom to be stupefied and become mentally ill (as many marijuana users do), that doesn’t seem like a freedom worth defending either.

How happy are the people who become torturers!

I recommend a new movie, Civil War, starring Kirsten Dunst. Imagine the outbreak of a second Civil War in the United States of the 21st century. Its main characters embark on a journey through a prosperous suburban and rural area of ​​​​the United States, that fat, placid land of well-watered grass, smiling fields and baseball diamonds. And they find ruins, not only of buildings but of people.

Men and women who were normal, kind and generous have become cheerful torturers and happy, even cheerful, murderers. The war has done this to them. They look a lot like they did when there was peace, but they have become monsters.

This is a war, no matter how horrible it is, costly in lives and treasure, destroying human kindness and turning our society into a poorer and more regulated place than before.

I can easily see why leftist revolutionaries might like it. But not why those who consider themselves “conservative” or “right-wing” do it. In the last 120 years, war has destroyed almost everything those people are supposed to value. So why are they so excited about every war that comes up?

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