With the conviction of six people in connection with child sex abuse in Rotherham, I think it is time to comment on it.

I don’t have detailed knowledge of the situation, beyond press reports and the report from Louise Casey’s enquiry last year, so what follows is to a certain extent informed by prejudice and hearsay. But the same is true of much other commentary on the case, so I think it’s at least worth exposing the differences. Don’t treat the claims below as authoritative.

The view on the outer right is that Rotherham, like sexual violence in Cologne and sex slavery in the Islamic State, is just an expression of Islamic attitudes to women. There is probably a grain of truth in that, but there are far more significant aspects.

The first thing about Rotherham is how enormously fucked up white British working-class society is today. The victims were overwhelmingly girls “in care”, wards of the state living in childrens’ homes or foster homes. A few weren’t, but involving them was the act of stupidity that eventually blew the racket away. It was actual parents who went to the media after the local authorities and the police failed them.

Without intending disrespect towards today’s enlightened, empowered sex-work professionals, the traditional position of a whore was a woman who had nothing of value to offer but her body. It is, in a sense, the default social role of a woman, as manual labourer or bandit are the default social roles of a man. It is an error made by some traditionalists to see the default social role of a woman as being that of wife; that is a role that requires a level of achievement, to become someone that a man with means of supporting a family would choose to keep his house and bear his children. A woman who fails to attain those achievements, and also fails to achieve other marketable abilities, is a whore. She may or may not have sex for money, but she has sex for everything else.

It appears that most girls in care, failed by the wreckage of what used to be family life, do not have either the traditional achievement of potential wife nor the modern achievement of useful education. They are unintentionally, and tragically, raised to be whores. I would be surprised if one in ten reaches their sixteenth birthday virgin. Note this paragraph in particular is an impression based on rumour and hearsay, and might in truth be badly mistaken

It is too easily assumed that the world no longer works this way, since the welfare state will feed and house these girls for their entire lives, and they therefore do not have the economic necessity to sell their bodies like a medieval pauper. But humans don’t work that way—we need to fit a social role, we need to exchange value with other humans in order to validate ourselves. Offering value to others is an essential part of social living, and a girl with nothing of value to offer but her body will offer it, not out of economic necessity but out of emotional necessity. The staff of children’s homes are fully occupied with keeping their charges out of violent situations; stopping them from having boyfriends is out of the question.

As an aside, if the staff taking personal advantage of the situation is more than a rare exceptional incident, then that is because they can see what is in front of them. These girls are available.

Once the available girls were pulled in to the ring’s activities, they were trapped and controlled using violence and threats, as well as drugs and everything else from the standard playbook on how to control and exploit defenceless women. [inserted 27Feb]

So that’s part 1 of the situation: whores from care homes or foster homes. Emphasising this side of the problem isn’t “victim blaming”—it’s not the fault of these girls that they’ve been raised as whores in the rubble of English working-class culture, and it doesn’t mean they deserve any less sympathy or protection. Pretending that everything would have been fine for them were it not for these predatory Pakistanis is doing no favours to the girls in the same situation today.

Part 2 is the gang. This is not a story of immigrant thugs committing violent crime because they’re not part of society. Quite the reverse: the gang was all too integrated into Rotherham’s society, economy and politics. This is straightforward organised crime, with the usual organised crime aspects of political and police connections. In a large immigrant community, like Rotherham’s Pakistanis, those links are easier to form.

One girl said the Hussain brothers “owned” Rotherham, while another told the jury: “The police gave them a free card to do what they wanted.”

So, the organised crime situation is somewhat characteristic of a divided society, and it’s probably also true that the gang saw these white girls as unprotected and available, and did not see Pakistani girls the same way. But in that they were simply being realistic.

If we pull together Rotherham, Cologne and the Raqqa slave-market, they are, as I said, very different, but the common thread is the attitude that a woman without the protection of male family members is there for the taking. You can call that an Islamic attitude if you like, but I tend to think it’s almost a universal attitude, one which Western society has only recently rejected. To make it untrue, rather than merely unfashionable, requires more ruthless and determined state action than Rotherham Metropolitan Borough or the South Yorkshire Police were willing to take.

Which takes us to part 3, the one point where Rotherham and Cologne are exactly alike: the cover-up. For the local government staff, fully indoctrinated into modern leftism, going public with the news that gangs of Pakistanis were systematically raping white girls would be—and has been—a far worse disaster than the abuse itself. The major takeaway from the Casey report a year ago was that, even after the Jay report commissioned by Rotherham Council concluded that over 1400 children had been sexually exploited in the town, the council staff rejected the findings. It could not be true, and anyone who said it was, from The Times to Professor Alexis Jay herself, was part of a racist conspiracy.

For an organized crime ring like the one in Rotherham, anti-racism is just one more weapon available to defend their position. The local government has been controlled by the Labour party for ever, so there is nobody to even oppose the political orthodoxy.

To my mind, the political situation is the biggest problem of all. The Labour Party in towns like Rotherham is dominated by Muslims, and enmeshed in their internal cultural networks, and if those cultural networks include drug dealers and child prostitution rings, then the links are hidden from the national party, whose local representatives are unable to act on or disclose what they know because of anti-racism. The existence of this problem does not require that the immigrants be any worse than the native population; it is a simple consequence of mass immigration combined with democracy. I actually suspect that British society could absorb large numbers of these immigrants without significant damage if it did not give them votes and protected status. But an immigrant community with its own social standards and religion, plus a major voting bloc, plus a native establishment which is afraid to criticise them, is a lethal combination.


27Feb—I’ve added a paragraph; I never intended to imply the girls weren’t victims of horrendous violence and rape, but the account could have been read to imply that.

13Sep2016—Supporting evidence emerged for my view of the situation of children “in care”, from MP Simon Danczuk. I have excerpted his speech to the Commons here

Tribes and Parties

a fashionable opinion

In his recent two-part “paranoid rant” in his own comments section, Scott Alexander once again proved himself, whether he likes it or not, to be one of neoreaction’s most important and effective writers.

The truly significant argument, however, hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

I think of these political differences as secondary to (and proxy for) more complicated tribal/class differences

The modern left is primarily a culture. Its political positions are emanations of that culture, not its central or essential elements. What unites the culture is not any set of political propositions, but the social elements of belonging to an in-group and following a set of fashions.

As far as membership of the culture is concerned, opposing abortion or supporting gun ownership are exactly as bad as listening to Nickelback. Political positions are fashionable or unfashionable first, and subject to rational or ideological analysis second.

This is really important, because of what it says about the motive (or rather, lack of motive) behind the direction of dominant political thought. If Selina Gomez wears a fishtail skirt at the Grammys, that’s not because she wants people to wear fishtail skirts for the rest of 2016, it’s because she wants to be noticed and admired, and other people copying it is just a byproduct of her being more popular than Lady Gaga. Likewise, if Jon Stewart says he wants laws against people owning guns, it doesn’t mean he is actually affected by the law, it just means he thinks that opinion is a good one for him to have. If other people then copy his views, he will be pleased that they are copying him, and that he is therefore a fashion leader, but he won’t be even vaguely aware of what the results of that shift in opinion actually is. That’s much less important than whether people are following him or following the other guy.

Jon Stewart won’t come out for gun control if he thinks it’s stupid, and Selena Gomez won’t wear a dress to the Grammys if she thinks it’s ugly, but in both cases the decision of what is or is not attractive is being made in the context of what other fashionable people are doing, and is validated after the fact by the reaction it gets. Also in both cases being “daring” counts for a lot.

Fashion isn’t random, and neither is political fashion. There is a degree of stability, balanced against a search for newness, and with fairly predictable directions of development and occasional abrupt “shock value” reveals. The way to be a fashion leader is first, to be recognised as fashionable, and then to take the current height of fashion and change it slightly. Changing back to last year’s version doesn’t work, so extending the most recent changes is the best bet.

Most people of course aren’t trying to be fashion leaders, they’re just trying to keep up. The safest way to do that is to simply copy what the fashion leaders have done recently, perhaps after a slight delay to make sure the latest styles didn’t turn out to be seen as mistakes.

The reason it is so important to understand this is that it reveals the irrelevance of actual political positions, and, especially, their consequences. Voting or advocating for a policy is so remote from, first, that policy being enacted, and, second, the eventual effects of the policy that it plays no role in determining what the best policy to advocate for is. Is Emma Watson likely to be directly harmed by calling for refugees to be settled in Britain? Not at all: first, what she says as an individual is very unlikely to make a difference, second, if it does make a difference it is unlikely to affect her, and third, even if it does, it may be years away and the connection from cause to effect is not going to be obvious. And that’s for one of the more spectacularly insane policy positions: most political argument is about much smaller-scale questions of welfare allocation or environmental policy or whatever, where the actual effects of a policy round to zero in the cost-benefit calculation even to six decimal places. This is the Myth of the Rational Voter applied even to politicians and opinion leaders themselves.

If the effect of the policies being driven by the fashionable is to impoverish, damage, or even destroy an entire civilisation, that does not mean that anyone at all actually wants to impoverish, damage or destroy the civilisation. They’re just wearing pretty dresses, participating in the culture, being human. The followers even more, are just adopting good opinions. If Selena Gomez wears a dress, it is a good dress. If the Daily Show assumes a political point of view, it is a good point of view. That’s not a deduction, it’s a definition: good opinions are the opinions of good people. Consequences don’t come into it.