(First Response) On the Recent Nostalgia for Enoch Powell

Enoch Powell, the man behind the infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech, has found newfound appreciation in the 21st Century, a fact that unfortunately can be laid at the feet of those responsible for the European immigration crisis. Prior to this, Powell and his speech had effectively been placed into the same box as Mein Kampf and “Segregation Today, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever.” However, among the formerly stigmatized nationalists and even modern conservative intellectuals (including Douglas Murray, who had mounted a defense of Powell in his otherwise wonderful and eye-opening book “The Strange Death of Europe: Identity, Immigration, Islam”), Powell has become a figure of nearly prophetic vision with regards to the changing demographics of Britain. When put into the proper historical context, the fears expounded upon in Powell’s speech are groundless and blatantly racist–the speech was, after all, a reaction to the increasing presence of black people in England and the groundless accusation of interracial rape which instigated the Notting Hill Riots. However, it is easy enough to recontextualize words spoken almost exactly fifty years ago today in order to find a prophet–religion gets away with such blatant intellectual dishonesty all the time. There will always be people who are hungry for revisionism.

Consider the Hobolt article regarding the reasons behind the success of the Leave Vote. The fears of those who voted to abandon the European Union–anti-immigration stances, the desire to reassert control over borders, et cetera–are absolutely not irrational when we look at the disastrous consequences of the mass immigration policies of Europe. Nobody in their right mind would look at Germany, Sweden, Italy or any other country that allowed in such a ridiculous number of people without regard for available space, available resources to adequately care for and integrate these people into the society or the strain that this would place on the native population. Worse than that, transplanting millions of people who come from illiberal, hyper-religious (that is to say Islamic), ultra-conservative third-world countries was going to shift the zeitgeist of the society receiving the transplant. This was destined to be a disaster from the very beginning and, unfortunately, this is the kind of environment where racists, far-right figureheads and fringe groups like The National Front, UKIP, Geert Wilders and Enoch Powell find re-invigoration and, worst of all, vindication.

Unfortunately, years (if not entire decades) will be required to repair the damage caused by this immigrant crisis. Perhaps world leaders will look at these events and realize that they need to think carefully before virtue-signalling their countries toward the brink of illiberal chaos. Otherwise, the vultures of the far right will find a banquet of corpses on which they can feast.

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