Reading The Liberal Defence of Murder is not for the feint-hearted. With its pathological hatred for all things white, American, European and with particular bile reserved for Judeo-Christianity, Seymour’s long and often tedious polemic exhibits all the myopia, denialism and self-loathing that has come to typify the Guardian-reading Liberal set.
Ostensibly Seymour’s book is a rebuke to fellow Liberals who have, according to the author, supported various wars and acts of aggression over the centuries. Seymour chastises them all from JS Mill to Woodrow Wilson even finding time to castigate Charles Dickens along the way. Each and every one of them is weighed up and found to be morally deficient. Oh and racist.
Interestingly, ‘murder’ committed by his admired comrade Stalin hardly merits a mention. And the same is true of the Armenian genocide carried out by the young Turks. Not a word. But ‘murder’ is always a one way street for Seymour. While Europeans have blood on their hands, his beloved commies and Islamists do not. How’s that for a Liberal defence of murder? But irony is always lost on bleeding hearts. Seymour is no exception.
Unsurprisingly, ‘racism’ and ‘racist’ are among his favourite charges. Setting himself up as the Judge Jeffreys of Racism, Seymour flings the accusation around with something akin to Millerian hysteria. Nobody, but nobody escapes his pious eye. For example, JS Mill is absolved of ‘biological racism,’ – a judgement that will no doubt be of relief to the great Victorian’s many admirers. Phew! Close escape there J S…
In Seymour’s ideologically infused mind there are good guys and bad guys. Simple. Hence, Palestinians are good, Israelis bad; Islam is good, Judeo-Christianity bad; Capitalism very bad, Communism very good. And so on and so forth. You get the picture.
Particular scorn is laid at the door of Christopher Hitchens. Seymour just can’t resist having a pop at Hitchens, chiefly because of his support for regime change in Iraq. It seems that Hitchen’s ever maturing outlook, which saw him shift from the student politics of the left over to the right, infuriates Seymour - a self-acknowledged lefty and Marxist.
In the student common room of Seymour’s world, such changes in perspective are not a mark of maturity, but of betrayal.
However it soon becomes apparent the chief target for the writer's scorn is what he terms variously as ‘European racism,’ Euro-ethnocentricity,’ or ‘white supremacism.’ Now, Liberals reading of history is nothing if not selective and Seymour proves the point over and over again.
His analysis of slavery is just one example. For Seymour, slavery begins and ends with ‘white supremacy’ so circa 1600-1850. Such a superficial analysis wilfully and egregiously ignores a long and bloody history of endemic African slavery - one practiced hundreds of years before any Portuguese galleon was ever sighted off the West African coast. It also ignores the continuation of that trade well after the age of the Europeans.
It also ignores the very significant trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trade carried out by Muslims which supplied slaves to Persia, the Arabian Gulf and the Ottomans. Such facts however do not support Seymour’s ‘white supremacist’ and anti-European fanaticism and are thus ignored.
I could go on forever, but will highlight just a few more examples of this hugely dishonest narrative.
Given his virulent anti-Britishness, it’s hardly a surprise that abolitionism is treated with disdain by the author. It doesn’t fit his anti-European narrative very well at all. While begrudgingly admitting that the British played some sort of role in abolishing the trade, (Gee, thanks Dickie) according to Seymour it was for all the wrong reasons...
The fact that Britain had to coerce, threaten and sanction African and Islamic slave traders in order to stamp out the trade in those regions is blithely ignored. And what of Denmark’s abolition as early as the 1780s?
So, is the author just dumb or is he concealing that which does not tally with his own prejudices? Who knows, let alone even cares?
What else would we expect from a man who openly states his admiration for the ‘perspicacity’ and the ‘impressive range’ of ideas found in the discredited theories of Marx and co.? But that’s nothing to what follows.
Admiration is routinely expressed for terrorists throughout the book. In Seymour’s world the atrocities committed by Palestinian factions and such ‘revolutionaries’ as Che Guevara are not murder, they’re acts of resistance. So that’s ok then. That’s not murder. Murder is something homicidal white supremacist males inflict on angelic brown people.
Seymour is at his most contradictory and disingenuous when regaling his readers with his thoughts on Israel. Rather than summarise his rantings, Seymour’s own words will undone him better than I am able to do. In his effort to polarise the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and all its complexities, he wilfully confuses capacity with morality, a well-worn trick of the Liberal:
Even so, for all the bias of the Anglophone media and political classes, nothing could conceal the tremendous disproportion between Qassam rocket attacks, which rarely killed or injured anyone and a premeditated aerial assault and invasion. (p.267)
Because the Palestinian armoury is inferior to that of Israel, it somehow makes their equally murderous intentions pardonable in Seymour’s mind. What more is there to say?
This book was basically written to appease the author’s friends in the lefty-liberal media. It’s little wonder that the panegyrics on the back cover emanate from the white-hating, metropolitan bleeding heart elites of the Guardian and Independent.
I understand Seymour has recently turned his attentions to David Cameron. Don’t tell us, he’s a war-mongering, Islamophobic, Euro-white-supremacist. With an honourable mention for 'racist.' Yawn.