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Some Activist Words Explained

The language of political activism, which is invariably promoted by our education system, the media and our other intellectuals, usually incorporates deception or aims to obfuscate or confuse. We should not adopt it.


To colonise a place means to bring your people in and take it over, therefore to decolonise it means to take your people out and return it to its original inhabitants. But in the anti-racist usage, decolonising something means taking its original inhabitants out and replacing them with aliens. Thus to “decolonise” an English literature curriculum means replacing Jane Austen by Toni Morrison, Chaucer by Chinua Achebe and Shakespeare by James Baldwin. Yet as soon as the media put the word into common use, even defenders of Western civilisation started using it, wondering what could be made of this process of decolonisation that had overtaken us. They should have spoken more accurately of ethnic cleansing or white replacement.

To give a few more examples, in 2020 the director of the previously reputable Royal Academy of Dramatic Art confessed that it was “institutionally racist” and promised to bring in a team of consultants to advise on a “root-and-branch structural reform” that would put more black people in senior roles. It would thereby be “decolonised”.[i] Other institutions, such as the British Library and the National Trust, set about “decolonising” themselves in a similar fashion.

In 2022 Durham University decided that its mathematics course put too much emphasis on the achievements of white male mathematicians.[ii] It needed to be “decolonised” by the addition of references to some eminent black female mathematicians. Clearly there were no eminent black mathematicians of either sex before white people taught Africans how to count past two in perhaps the 18th century, by which time Leibnitz and Newton had already invented differential and integral calculus. Whether Durham found any eminent black female mathematicians who emerged since has not been stated.

“Decolonising” something can mean no more than taking a feature of white culture out of it. There does not need to be anything to put in its place. Thus in 2020 the BBC proposed simply omitting the words of “Rule Britannia” and “Land of Hope and Glory” from the proms, thereby “decolonising” them.[iii] In the same year a lecturer at Rutgers University argued on the basis of the death of George Floyd that students should no longer be taught grammar. Why? Because the English department needed to be “decolonised”.[iv]

Oliver Twist originally


Oliver Twist “decolonised [v]

“Social construct”

People who call things social constructs think that they are denying that they exist, but this doesn’t make sense. Societies construct things all the time that obviously exist, like roads and hospitals. Or perhaps by “construct” they mean concept. A social construct is just an idea, they might be suggesting, to which nothing in reality corresponds. But to say that something is a concept doesn’t mean that nothing in reality corresponds to it. We have the concept of a table, and tables are really there. To demonstrate that something doesn’t exist you need to make an argument against the idea that it does, and calling it a social construct does not amount to this. A third possibility is that what social constructionists mean when they call something a social construct is that the only reason we think that it exists is that society has agreed that it does, and society is mistaken. But again they would need to show that society was mistaken.

What social constructionists never mean when they call things social constructs, or “just” social constructs, are things that really are just social constructs, like money.[vi] The only reason that a ten-dollar bill can be used to buy things with is that society has agreed that certain pieces of paper are ten-dollar bills, which have this capacity. Otherwise ten-dollar bills would be useless and indeed could not exist. But what social constructionists call social constructs could hardly resemble such examples less. They are referring to brute facts of nature such as the facts of racial or sex differences or the facts of race and sex themselves.

The term “social construct” is only a device for letting people persuade themselves that things they would rather not acknowledge the existence of aren’t really there.

True social constructs

“White supremacy”

As “superior” means better, so “supreme” means the best, therefore when anti-racists talk about white supremacy they are calling white people the best of races. Yet this is supposed to be a term of condemnation, not a compliment. Perhaps then by “white supremacy” they mean that whites are supreme in power, ruling over the other races in an objectionable manner, but this would be a fairly silly proposition. So are they referring to an ideology which says that white people should rule the world? How many people think this, ten? Thirdly it might be said that anti-racists are referring not to white supremacy but to a belief in white supremacy in some sense, which they do not share. But then why do they talk about white supremacy rather than about a belief in it that they do not share? It is not as though one would launch a campaign against global warming and expect to be understood to be saying that one did not believe in global warming. All that the term “white supremacy” tells us is that for anti-racists words don’t need to mean anything. A random phrase can be endowed with negative associations before being used as a weapon of attack regardless of its actual meaning.


To mislead someone is to lead them in the wrong direction. To misconstrue something is to construe it wrongly. Therefore you might think that to misgender someone would be to identify them as belonging to the wrong gender, or sex. But no: in the activist sense, to “misgender” someone is to identify them as belonging to the right sex. Not only do the media promote the activist usage; the police apply it, and the courts dither over whether they too deplore “misgendering”. In 2018 Britain’s Daily Telegraph took the side of a lawyer who was suing a writer for defamation and harassment for “misgendering” him.[vii] The lawyer, calling himself Stephanie Hayden, had been “caused distress”. In January 2023, Essex police admonished people for describing a sixty-year-old man hanging around outside a school in a wig and skirt as a man.[viii] But two moths later the conviction of a preacher who had called a group of men dressed as women “gentlemen” was overturned.[ix] Consider, though, that although the preacher had been harassed, attacked and stolen from by the “gentlemen” in front of the police’s eyes, it was he and not his persecutors who was arrested, and he was prosecuted and found guilty.

The thick-necked “Stephanie Hayden”

If referring to someone who denies that they belong to their sex as belonging to it is an offence, how long before it will be an offence to point out a mistake in arithmetic if the person who has made it insists that they have got it right? How long before it will be a crime to contradict a politically favoured person who bears false witness? At this rate telling any unwanted truth could become a crime.

But in Britain, in the context of race it can already be one. For more than 35 years the British have been liable to prosecution for stating a fact about racial differences if it might be found insulting and if by stating it they might have encouraged racial hatred.[x] They do not need to have intended to encourage such hatred, nor does it need to be shown that any such hatred arose. They can have committed a crime just by stating an unwanted fact.


“Diversity” means variety, and who wouldn’t want variety, which is the spice of life? But is variety necessarily good? Does a football team want as many poor players as good ones for the sake of variety? Does a firm of accountants want as many innumerate employees as ones who can add up? The political use of the word “diversity” plays on an unthinking attraction to the idea of variety in order to promote particular types of variety that can only be obtained by causing institutions to operate unfairly, as when members of favoured groups such as non-whites, women or homosexuals are brought in who would not have been admitted on merit. Ultimately, “diversity” means non-diversity: the complete absence of disfavoured groups, principally white people, men and heterosexuals.


“Equality” is another word of the type known as cheer words, which has the opposite effect from that of “diversity” and is therefore used when the opposite effect is needed. Whereas “diversity” raises a cheer for difference and variety, “equality” raises a cheer for sameness.


“Community” is a less powerful cheer word than “diversity” or “equality”, but it still gives you a warm feeling, suggesting a group of villagers sitting contentedly round a fire encircled by their huts. Anyone would want to belong to a community; no one would attack one. That is why our intellectuals reserve the word for favoured categories for which we might not otherwise have warm feelings, such as the “LGBTQ+ community”.

A “community” does not need to be a community. It can consist of groups that want nothing to do with each other. What fellow feeling is there between a lesbian and a man who wants to be able to get into women’s changing rooms on the basis that he calls himself a woman? Why should a man who happens to be homosexual necessarily feel any affinity for a “queer” person, whatever that is? The “LGBTQ+ community” is not a community but a category created solely for the political purpose of opposing heterosexuality and making homosexuality and other deviations seem just as normal.

“Force” and “service”

The anti-racist conception of the police was always that they constituted the oppressive arm of a racist state, despite the whole point of the British police being that they were not an arm of the state, nor were they commonly racist, nor indeed was the state. But as the police were increasingly made an arm of the state by Tony Blair’s Home Secretary Jack Straw around the year 2000, which coincided with both the police and the state becoming increasingly racist, meaning anti-white, so the police force was renamed the police service. No more would they impose themselves on people or enforce anything; rather they would seek to do the bidding of those upon whom they previously imposed themselves, such as black criminals. And so the change of nomenclature signified anti-racism’s success in stripping the police of the unjustly used power it imagined they had always wielded. But this is not what happened. Newly renamed a service, they became a force like never before, but an anti-racist one at the disposal of the anti-racist state. Told to pay less and less attention to real crime, they paid more and more to hate crime and hate non-crime too in the cause of anti-racism and other ideologies.[xi]

The police “force” (1990)


The police “service” (2020)


Let us end with an activist term of a different kind. There is no doubt about what “anti-semitic” means: it means disliking Jews. The term signifies something bad not because of any verbal hocus-pocus but only because it is thought to be bad to dislike Jews. The interesting thing is that no reason has ever been given for thinking that disliking Jews is bad. We can be as anti-American, anti-Canadian or anti-British as we like, but we must never be anti-semitic. No one knows why.


[i] Ikon London Magazine, June 30th 2020, email from the Director of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Edward Kemp,

[ii] History Debunked, April 20th 2022, “Decolonising degrees in mathematics at Durham University”,

[iii] Reasoned, Aug. 25th 2020, “BBC Pandering To Identitarian Ideologues If It Bans ‘Rule, Britannia!’” The proms are the annual promenade concerts held at London’s Albert Hall.

[iv] Full explanation given by Rebecca Walkowitz of the Rutgers English department: the department’s committee on Bias Awareness and Prevention, which had “moved its focus” to “culture change”, decided that the department needed to become anti-racist, which would mean eradicating “systemic inequities facing black, indigenous and people of color”, who presumably couldn’t learn grammar. By ceasing to teach this, the department would “decolonise” itself. See Anthony Brian Logan, July 29th 2020, “Rutgers University Declares Grammar RACIST For Black Lives Matter!”,

[v] The actor on the right played the title part in an “updated” version of the novel broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 2022, in which Oliver Twist was a Nigerian.

[vi] This example is due to John Searle. See for example Searle 1995, The Construction of Social Reality, London: Penguin.

[vii] Telegraph, Oct. 8th 2018, “Transgender lawyer launches UK’s first ‘deadnaming’ case against Father Ted writer Graham Linehan”,

[viii] New Culture Forum, Jan. 27th 2023, “‘White Resentment’ in Tory Party. Loony Left Council Renames Black Boy Lane”,

[ix] Christian Concern, March 13th 2023, “‘God didn’t get it wrong’: David McConnell comments on his ‘misgendering’ conviction victory”,

[x] Public Order Act 1986, Section 19.

[xi] The official name for a hate non-crime is a “non-crime hate incident”, a concept introduced by Sir William Macpherson, who in an official report of 1999 called for the police to pursue crimes and non-crimes with equal commitment, if, that is, the offender in the case of a non-crime was white and the victim was not. See Sir William Macpherson, 1999, Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, CM 4262-I, The Stationery Office, available at, Paragraph 47.13.


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