Ever since Prince Harry announced his engagement, the invigilators of the Left have been on the prowl, sniffing out critics of his fiancée, Meghan Markle. This is unusual. British Leftists generally like to proclaim their indifference to monarchy. Although they often take a secret interest in the lives of glamorous and titled people, they know that the correct attitude of their tribe is one of ostentatious boredom.
This time, it’s different though, and you can probably guess why. It’s not just that Markle shares the broadly liberal outlook of Hollywood, being keen on feminism and Noam Chomsky. It’s that is that she is of mixed race, which has prompted lots of British journalists to try to sniff out her racist detractors.
In fact, such detractors don’t exist. Or, if they do, they are keeping very quiet. The general attitude to the forthcoming wedding seems to be one of cheerful goodwill. The fiancée is poised and pretty, and seems good-natured. And anyway, what kind of curmudgeon doesn’t wish a bride well? “A princely wedding,” wrote the Victorian constitutionalist Walter Bagehot, “is the brilliant edition of a universal fact.”
Not that the absence of racism puts off the anti-racist police. They will always find something to be outraged about. “Ann Widdecombe branded a ‘racist dinosaur’ after saying Meghan Markle is ‘trouble’ because of ‘her background,’” was a tabloid headline last week. Ann Widdecombe, I should explain, is Britain’s maiden-aunt-in-chief, a former Tory minister, and a committed Catholic with a no-nonsense style. She shot to public fame when, in an episode of "Strictly Come Dancing," our version of "Dancing with the Stars," she flew onto the stage on a suspension wire. I hope Ann won’t mind my saying that she is a substantial lady in every sense, and the effect was to make her an overnight star.
What did she mean by Meghan Markle’s “background”? In the context of the conversation, it was obvious. Ann doesn’t approve of divorce and thinks the Royal Family should hold itself to a high standard. She is plainly uncomfortable with a prince marrying a divorcée — the very act that forced Harry’s great-great-uncle, Edward VIII, to abdicate in 1936.
Now, you might call her attitude priggish or moralistic. But these are not words we like to use nowadays. Instead, anything we disapprove of is “racist.” It’s the pathology of our age.
Did you know, for example, that farmers’ markets are racist? According to two professors at San Diego State University, “Farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized.” Ewww! The consumption habits of white people!
Farmers’ markets join a long list of things you might not have realized were racist. I adumbrated some of them in this column a few months back: Airport expansion is racist; dressing up as Moana is racist; grits are racist; white turkey meat is racist; calling America “a melting pot” is racist.
What will future generations make of us? We shake our heads in wonderment as we consider the medieval church’s response to Galileo — that it was OK, for the purposes of navigation and so forth, to act as if Earth and the planets orbited the sun, but that it was not OK actually to believe it. Words were judged, not according to their logic, their pertinence or their empirical truth, but according to how closely they matched the sacred values of the inquisitors.
Is that not exactly what we are doing today? Everything is measured against the arbitrary test of race. A company board is there, not to represent shareholders, but to be diverse. Politicians are not supposed to reflect, not their constituents’ wishes, but their colors. The English curriculum should not have too many white men, nor the math syllabus too many ancient Greeks.
You’d think that universities, of all places, would stand for objectivity and rigor. But, no, the very concept of rigor is tainted by “white male heterosexual privilege.” Seriously. According to Donna Riley of Purdue University, “The term has a historical lineage of being about hardness, stiffness, and erectness; its sexual connotations — and links to masculinity in particular — are undeniable.” Prof Riley heads … the engineering department. Truly, no field of knowledge is safe.
In the current climate, it is pointless — even provocative — to point out that interracial marriages, like that between Harry and Meghan, have never been more common, that ethnic violence is at an all-time low, and that the U.S. recently had a mixed-race president. We’re dealing with faith, not facts. We are in a realm beyond reason.
Daniel Hannan, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a British member of the European Parliament.