Britain is famed for its nutty eccentrics, and two made news today – a Saddam-boosting archbishop, and an anti-semitic historian. The historian is the harmless one.
Brit eccentrics are, like all eccentrics, wrong. But some are evil while some are harmless.
The archbishop is an evil eccentric:
Christians in the Middle East are being put at unprecedented risk by the Government’s “shortsighted” and “ignorant” policy in Iraq, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says today.
In an extraordinary attack, Dr Williams accuses Tony Blair and the US of endangering the lives and futures of many thousands of Christians in the Middle East, who are regarded by their countrymen as supporters of the “crusading West.”
The archbishop is head of the Church of England (C of E), an organization in decline for decades – when new Army recruits state their religion as “none” they’re put down as C of E.
The archbishop’s eccentricity is to confuse cause and effect. Christians have been persecuted in Muslim nations for centuries. And even if it has gotten worse because we’ve deposed a monster who killed millions, how can he treat inconvenience to Christians as worse than that genocide? This goes beyond eccentricity to real harmfulness because he absolves the people who persecute Christians of responsibility for their crimes, so they’ll keep on persecuting
By contrast, David Irvine is a harmless eccentric:
British writer David Irving wasted no time Friday offending Jews and black people at a news conference, a day after his return from Austria where he was imprisoned for denying the Holocaust.
At a news conference in London, Irving endorsed actor Mel Gibson’s drunken comments earlier this year that Jews were responsible for all modern wars.
He also referred to his success as an author in the 1970s by talking about how be used cash to buy a Rolls-Royce – the color of which he described by using a racial slur against blacks.
Mr Irving follows in the grand tradition of the likes of the historian Alan Clark, who famously seduced many of the women he encountered but was so likable that his talented and beautiful wife tolerated his foibles. Irvine’s oddity is different – he doesn’t like Jews. But he is IMHO a very good historian, writing the definitive history of the German V-1 and V-2 programs.
And his acerbic comments are understandable after 12 months locked up by the self-satisfied and pompous Austrians, whose parents included many of Hitler’s most efficient Jew killers.
Irving, like all Englishmen, is entitled to his opinion, no matter how lunatic – only fellow-lunatics will agree with him while the rest of us can use our right to free speech to disagree with him.
So Irving is harmless and the archbishop is not.