For all its alleged faults, the United Kingdom is not an institutionally racist country — that seems to be the finding of a detailed, thorough, and heavily referenced recent report by the British government. It seems to be a logical conclusion, and one can imagine similar results would grace the findings of an unbiased and non-ideological panel in the United States.
The report was compiled by a panel of mostly non-white members, which included Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economist notable for her book “Dead Aid,” arguing against foreign aid to Africa; Mercy Muroki, a noted Afro-British social researcher; and Dr. Tony Sewell, an Afro-British education reformer.
In sadly predictable fashion, all of these people were called racists by primarily white left-wing columnists and critical-race-theorists, simply because they worked to wreck the myth of institutional and systemic racism. The report also outlines how social science research can be used as a genuinely effective counter-narrative against toxic critical race theory, a lesson that has some importance for American conservatives.
Under any objective and quantifiable metrics, the Anglosphere is quite possibly the least racist place to live on this planet. The Times quotes academics arguing the report minimizes racism. Yet, as Eric Kaufmann points out, all that should matter is whether the methodology is sound, and the conclusions correct — which is the case. Kaufmann writes:
The current default narrative in elite institutions is that if there is a racial gap in any desired outcome, this is proof of institutional racism. Individual anecdotes from members of protected groups must be accepted as evidence even when it is unclear how generalizable they are.
The report is more nuanced, and not as simplistic. It claims that equality of outcome has never been achieved and is not achievable, not due to racism and discrimination, but due to multiple variables like cultural differences. The report’s chief author, Sewell, notes:
Put simply we no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities. The impediments and disparities do exist, they are varied, and ironically very few of them are directly to do with racism. Too often ‘racism’ is the catch-all explanation, and can be simply implicitly accepted rather than explicitly examined. The evidence shows that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture, and religion have a more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism.
This is a new battleground of the culture war, and the United Kingdom is providing a guideline that can prove useful and instructive for conservatives across the Anglosphere.
In recent years, Boris Johnson’s government has threatened to fine universities that de-platform people and to defund charities, museums, and heritage groups that promote critical race theory-oriented self-loathing. It has increased jail time to ten years for the desecration of statues and heritage buildings and war memorials, reversed a cap on nuclear weapons, and planned an increase of nuclear warheads.
Now, with this report, it has taken a stab at the most viciously anti-British idea of all times: divisive identity politics that wreck the union. Britain has been historically known to incorporate color-blind meritocracy from across the Empire, and is currently one of the least racist countries in Europe. If conservatism stands for the nation-state, then all divisive domestic ideas need to be intellectually and politically countered.
There is another theoretical lesson here from post-Brexit British conservatism. Since the 1980s, the baseline instinct of modern Thatcherite free-market libertarian conservatism has been to defund every adversarial institution.
In some ways, it’s a fair and reasonable impulse. Most of the modern disciplines in academia needs defunding, and public institutions that receive taxpayer cash need to be told to shut down gender studies and other disciplines that are activist in origins. But there’s also another way.
The baseline instinct of an older, more reactionary conservatism is to re-capture that institution from its revolutionary drift — not just defund and be done with it, but channel state power towards the desired goal. One can not just threaten to defund universities, but threaten to require publically funded institutions to teach civics, and discard all critical theory-infused subjects and lectures. History is littered with examples of such moments — most notable among them, the Bourbon restoration in France and the clean-up of public institutions after the collapse of the Warsaw pact.
So-called “centrists,” conversely, would much rather see the nation drift towards radicalism than side with any reactionary conservative willing to use state power towards conservative politics. Centrists and leftists prefer to lecture the former type of libertarian conservatives but actively hate the latter type of reactionary conservatives, as they know the former will instinctively be there to conserve an arrangement, even when it is a revolutionary one.
Yet the latter will not honor that arrangement, and reverse it. This is the same reason leftists oppose people like Christopher Rufo and James Lindsay, and why the entire centrist cognoscenti hates Donald Trump.
British conservatives are changing that, returning to an older, much more powerful worldview and version of conservatism. The Tories have realized that you cannot “persuade” left-wing fanatics with reason and debate. You can persuade voters to win power, and then can push back, counter, and depower the fanatics that have overrun our once-cherished institutions.
That is the only way of governing: Win votes, take positions of influence, and legislate. In short, in British conservatism, technocracy is out and governance is back. American Republicans should take note.