You have to feel a bit sorry for Scotland Yard, the famous British police force. There was a time when it hunted really evil and dangerous criminals like Jack the Ripper, the Moors Murderers and IRA terrorists. Today, such has been the progress of Great Britain into the happy land of multiracial utopia, the Yard is reduced to investigating Thought Crimes and the improbable gentlemen who commit them.
The most recent Thought Criminal to be hauled into the Yard’s lineup is one Taki Theodoracopulos, journalist and playboy, who for obvious reasons is better known simply as “Taki” to friends and enemies alike. These days there seem to be more of the latter than the former, and Scotland Yard may be among them.
Taki, you see, writes a regular column for the London Spectator, a conservative weekly, and he is best known for his outspokenly incorrect sentiments about race, sex and other indelicate subjects. As the London newspaper the Independent recently reported some of his sentiments, “In 1997 he described Puerto Ricans in New York as ‘a bunch of semi-savages … fat, squat, ugly, dusky, dirty.’ In 2001 he called himself a ‘soi-disant anti-Semite‘ and has also referred to Kenya as ‘bongo-bongo land.'”[A racist rant too far? Police investigate Taki the playboy pundit, By Sholto Byrnes,Independent, February 01, 2003 ]Personally, I’m still waiting for something tasteless, but in Great Britain, you see, such men are dangerous.
Hence, when Taki published a column in the Jan. 11 Spectator with the headline “Thoughts on Thuggery,” the long ears of the Yard began to prick. With reference to the recent murders of two black girls in Birmingham, Taki wrote,“Only a moron would not surmise that what politically-correct newspapers refer to as ‘disaffected young people‘ are black thugs, sons of black thugs and grandsons of black thugs … West Indians were allowed to immigrate after the war, multiply like flies, and then the great state apparatus took over the care of their multiplications.”Apparently, under the Thought Crime statute, that was even worse than commenting on the physical appearance of Puerto Ricans, and soon the coppers came snooping.
The coppers came around mainly because one Peter Herbert, a lawyer and member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, alerted Scotland Yard’s “Diversity Directorate” (yes, there really is, in a British government agency, a bureau called that), which, as the Independent reports, “will assess whether the piece incites racial hatred and thereby breaks the Public Order Act, for which the maximum sentence is two years.”
The kicker is that some years ago, Taki, who inherited an immense amount of money from his father and is a bit of a jetsetter in what the Independent calls “Eurotrash plutocratic circles,” was busted at Heathrow airport for possession of cocaine. He wound up serving four months in the slammer. For a really serious crime like writing incorrect thoughts, he faces two years. So much for freedom of expression in the land where Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
Taki would be well advised not to count on the deathless support of his conservative editors either. Boris Johnson, editor of the Spectator, was quick to tell the Independent, “It was a terrible thing. It should never have gone in.” Mr. Johnson, of course, insists that he was conveniently on vacation the week the article appeared (how about the week the article was approved for publication?), but “takes full responsibility.” How very responsible.
In fact, those in the know about British law and politics are pretty certain that nothing will come of the police investigation and that Taki will survive to spew hate once more. But what’s remarkable is that l’affaire Taki happened at all, as Dr. Johnson remarked about a woman preaching.
If Taki had been nabbed in China, Iraq or even South Korea, his investigation by the country’s Thought Police would hardly be surprising. But this, after all, is Great Britain, Mother of Parliaments, where freedom of expression has a long history so long that it’s also the mother of the same freedom in American constitutional law.
Today, police investigation of a journalist in the United States for something he has written (assuming it’s not obscene or actually treasonable) is probably not possible, mainly because we still take freedom of expression more or less seriously. But the exact same mentality that enacted and enforces Thought Crimes laws in Great Britain and in other European “democracies” exists also in this country and demands the same governmental enforcement of Correct Thought about race, sex and similar issues just as ferociously. Be not deluded that just because we still have a little sentence in our Constitution known as the First Amendment, what almost happened to Taki in Great Britain doesn’t await American journalists in this country. If it can happen there, there’s no reason it can’t happen here.