A Land of Selective Laws

Just as an addendum to Tuesday’s discussion re Martha’s Vineyard:

The southern border of the United States is wide open to millions of persons per year, equivalent to the entire population of Northern New England annually, for those of you excited about abolishing the electoral college and having a straight up-or-down vote for president.

However, if you like selective application of the law, you’ll be thrilled to hear that in recent days two foreign visitors headed to Steyn HQ to tape a couple of interviews were both fingerprinted by the crazed fanatics of US Immigration.

Fingerprinting is something you do to criminals. My guests were traveling for business on passports of two prosperous western nations that happen to be, both formally and more broadly, “allies” of the United States. But, in the crapped-out Oppositeland that is today’s America, the southern border is open 24/7 to human traffickers, drug cartels, child sex-slavers, terrorists, bearers of viruses, and illegal immigrants with no verifiable identity, while respectable travelers without criminal records are treated as low-life scum by the perverts of US officialdom. Neither of my guests enjoyed the experience, and, notwithstanding the efforts of my hospitality to compensate, neither has any desire to set foot in the United States ever again.

I can’t say I blame them. It was a condition of my own admission to this once great republic that I not foment the overthrow of the United States government. I have not combed the fine print to see whether I’m permitted to foment the overthrow of individual agencies within it. But we are definitely at the stage where natural-born Americans might usefully show a few signs of inclining to foment. Because this is your problem too. The bifurcation of our society is accelerating: the more the criminal classes are given the run of the land in New York, Portland, [Your City Here], the more the law-abiding are crimped and restrained and micro-regulated into compliance. This will not end well.

~As Neil Oliver and I discussed on a recent Mark Steyn Show, all this is happening because the people who run the world want it to happen. Pre-Covid freedom of movement with respect to international travel is never coming back. You might think, “No big deal, I’m perfectly content where I am” – but the local diner’s only open Thursday-to-Sunday now and the general store closes at five because they can’t get the staff and the big-box KrappiMart has closed its outdoor garden center because there’s no one to man it. As Neil’s missus puts it, it’s not about going green, it’s about going without. Less travel, fewer restaurants, smaller homes poorly heated, less individual-car ownership …and for those willing to expend huge effort to wiggle through the cracks, more fingerprinting and iris scans and digital ID.

~Almost exactly three-quarters of a century ago – October 1947 – the newly independent India and Pakistan became the first dominions of the British Commonwealth to go to war with each other, over the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu (or, alternatively, Jammu and Kashmir). It was an odd conflict: both sides had the same nominal commander-in-chief, HM The King, and indeed the senior officers on the ground were all English. The Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army was General Sir Rob Lockhart KCB, CIE, MC and the Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army was General Sir Douglas Gracey KCB, KCIE, CBE, MC & Bar.

Still, if you’re seeking diversity, the commander of the forces in the princely states they were fighting over was Scottish: Major William Brown, MBE, of the Gilgit Scouts, whose men eventually overthrew the Maharajah’s government and pledged their allegiance to Pakistan.

The Raj’s last pukka sahibs were aware of the ironies of the situation. When Muhammad Ali Jinnah first told Sir Douglas Gracey to order British-commanded Pakistani troops into Kashmir and into battle against British-commanded Indian troops, the general opted to run it by Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, GCB, GCIE, CSI, DSO, OBE and Supreme Commander of all British forces in both India and Pakistan. Auchinleck advised him to withdraw the order.

I wouldn’t have wanted to be in their position (and at least one English officer died in combat). But they were under no illusions about the basic dynamics when Pakistani Muslims are in close proximity to Indian Hindus. Which is why Kashmir rumbles on, and the First Indo-Pakistani War was merely the first of multiple wars in what’s now a near century-long conflict.

Flash forward seven-and-a-half decades, and Indians and Pakistanis are once again settling time-honoured scores – but this time on the streets of an ancient English city, Leicester in the East Midlands. The story is, to put it mildly, under-reported and, on the rare occasions it is acknowledged, the sound of dainty tiptoeing is deafening. My old chums at The Spectator headlined it thus:

Why Is Violence Breaking Out in Leicester?

The subsequent piece, by a man with the quaintly obsolescent anglo moniker of “John Connolly”, navigates that question with exquisite sensitivity. There was a cricket match…

In Leicester?

No, in Dubai. But it was India vs Pakistan, and India won. So Indians draped in Indian tricolours took to the streets of Leicester to celebrate by shouting “Death to Pakistan!” Muslims then vandalised a Hindu temple. Hindus doubled down, yelling “Jai Shri Ram!” – or “Victory to Lord Ram!” There were rumours (false) that a mosque had been destroyed.

The local MP is neither Hindu nor Muslim but a black lady expelled from the Labour caucus following her conviction for criminal stalking of her husband’s new bird. Claudia Webbe seems to think it’s still 1947 and all these warring Indians and Pakistanis are under the command of white men – or, as she calls them, “far-right elements”.

It would certainly be impressive if so-called “white supremacists” were wily enough to stage sectarian street wars between the identity groups of the New Britain. But that would be a tough act to pull off in the East Midlands: One quarter of all the Ugandan Asians expelled by Idi Amin eventually settled in Leicester, and a decade ago the city became the first in the United Kingdom to lose its “white British” majority. Other than an occasional pasty constable, I’ve yet to see a white face among the feuding parties.

But Ms Webbe understands the politics of the situation: In twenty years’ time, there will be one white man left in Leicester; he will be 137 years old, but everything will still be his fault. “Diversity” is where nations go to die.

~All this has been playing out during the media’s long farewell to the Queen. I was very moved by the old rituals – the recitation of Her Majesty’s style and titles as her coffin was lowered into the burial vault of St George’s Chapel, etc. But it is hard, for those following both the dominant news story and the all but unreported one, not to feel that what is being interred with the Sovereign is the old Britain itself, and that the scenes from Leicester are a portent of a terrible future.

~If you would like to read a blunter take than the Speccie‘s, Peter Brimelow’s VDare has one. I mentioned Mr Brimelow on air the other day, as an early example of how so-called “cancel culture” doesn’t mean merely that a state university or NPR won’t hire you or review your book; it increasingly means a denial of such things as an Internet provider or a merchant processor of credit-card payments – the basic services necessary to function in the modern world. In other words, a ChiCom “social credit” system:

You can ask Peter Brimelow about how that goes over at VDare.com because he’s living it right now. He was the pilot programme for this.

Indeed. This week, PayPal (a de facto monopoly) came for my old comrade Toby Young – freezing not only his personal account but those of the two institutions he currently runs, The Daily Sceptic and the Free Speech Union. Toby doesn’t talk much about immigration, which is necessarily a third-rail issue. But The Daily Sceptic has been critical of lockdown and the Free Speech Union defends lady novelists accused of transphobia. At this stage, it might be quicker for PayPal to let us know on what subjects a diversity of opinions is still permitted. The quality of the CGI in X-Men 37?

~We opened The Mark Steyn Club well over five years ago, and I’m thrilled by all those SteynOnline aficionados across the globe – from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Surrey to the Solomon Islands – who’ve signed up to be a part of it. With exterior pleasures still threatened by Covid commissars around the world, those in search of strictly in-home diversions can find more information about our Club here – and, if you’ve a pal who might be partial to this sort of thing, don’t forget our special Gift Membership.

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