Sunday, 13 September 2009


I try to be fair minded. Sometimes it's very difficult with all the daft knee-jerk stupidity out there. I don't think of myself as racially prejudiced, because I've lived and worked amongst all creeds and colours quite happily, and have no real issues with anyone providing they are willing to pull their weight. My guiding axiom in this matter is 'all blood is red'. And no, I'm not going to say 'but some of my best friends are..." because I try not to discriminate. If you are an honourable hard working and peaceable person, then as far as I am concerned you're all right by me. You get on with your life, and I'll get on with mine.

On this issue I've found myself almost involuntarily drawn into a little blog spat on Dan Hannans Telegraph blog under the soubriquet 'wmsticker'. The subject being the anti-semitism of the political left, which is to my mind exactly the same as racism. I've never really understood it. Maybe I don't have the anti-semitic gene or something. Why specifically hate the Jews? They're just another loose racial / religio- cultural grouping with strong familial structures. So what? There are a lot of other, similar groupings around the world. You might as well vent your spleen on a lump of rock.

Over the years I have heard people from supposedly 'enlightened' parts of society, particularly the left leaning, and especially card carrying Socialists and Communists, spout some pretty vile things about Israel, Zionists or Jews (As well as 'Toffs' and Capitalism). Mainly in private. I'm not going to repeat their assertions here because I try not to do that sort of stuff. I've actually been quite shocked by the virulence of these outpourings, and I'm not that easily shockable. I heard these views so often that to this day I automatically assume that people espousing leftist politics are anti-semitic. Talking of knee jerk prejudices. That's one of mine. Lefties (although they're not the only ones) hate Jews. I'm not going to doubt what I've heard with my own ears.

In many parts of society you are taught to expect anti-semitic prejudice. Especially in my family where my parents views would have made Atilla the Hun look like some commie pinko wussie. As they always tended to the far right of the political spectrum, I simply rather expected it of them. Ergo, I paid their views no mind and just went on my merry way, talking to whomsoever I pleased and trying to be me. Whoever that is / was / going to be.

Upon careful reflection, I tend to think that such reflexive prejudice is part of the natural xenophobia hard wired into all humans and possibly mammals. It's an instinctive reaction that anyone who is even vaguely self aware should seek to overcome because of its destructiveness. Seen in context with our primitive forbears it's so atavistic. Very tribal. Which rather confirms my long held view that humanity is best described as a 'bipedal tribal predator' species.

Look at it this way; Ug the Neanderthal and his tribe have their own valley full of game and wild berries. For generations they live undisturbed lives, hunting, gathering and fishing, making sure granny, the wife and kids are fed and sheltered. Putting up wonky neolithic shelves in their modest little cave complex. The generations come and go. Then along come some Cro Magnons who set up home at the other end of the valley. What is Ug the Neanderthal's first reflex? Suspicion of the newcomers because they are different. He tells his daughters that they will be disowned if they have anything to do with the newcomers. Who are these people in our valley, killing all the game and nicking all the juiciest wild berries? Who do they think they are with their horrible smooth skin and that silly mop of hair on their head? I mean, call that a spear? Bleedin' outsiders! Pass me that rock. Here are the roots of prejudice and racism.

To me it's part of the biological imperative. Such behaviour can be observed in all vaguely tribal animals. Meerkats, Lions, you name it. Newcomers are only assimilated with careful introduction, and even then the newcomer will be subject to attack while the tribes / prides / whatever pecking order is rearranged. Moving down the biological orders a little, ever seen two Ant colonies at war? Interesting from our god like (To the Ants) perspective to see red and black ants going at it hammer and tongs. Not much fun if you are an Ant. Such are the results of prejudice, be that anti-whatever. Sometimes I think that this world is getting a little too small for such knee-jerk reactions, and we as a species have to find something slightly better to do with our time.

Maybe this is what W H Auden meant when he said we must love one another or die.

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