For those of us who grew out of football in our teens, or who support local teams on the terraces, the politics surrounding the World Cup in Qatar is a welcome distraction from the football – that ghastly spectacle of pampered celebrity brats making an exhibition of themselves on and off the pitch. And few things are more enjoyable than the spectacle of righteous liberal equality-mongers tearing each other to pieces over minority rights.
The liberal media have had a field day calling out the Qataris for their unliberal attitudes to the LGBT community, women, and migrant workers. A veritable orgy of self-congratulation and mutual virtue signalling has ensued. Yet the relevant explanatory variable – that Qatar is an Islamic state, a Caliphate, practising traditional Islamic laws and customs deriving from the teachings of the Prophet – seems to have been overlooked. Which is odd, since anyone calling out Muslims in the West for these same illiberal attitudes is immediately condemned as an ‘Islamophobe’ by these very same liberals.
So, the intervention of Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president, is most welcome. Infantino, by name and by nature, has condemned the ‘moral lesson-giving’ of Western critics as ‘hypocrisy’ because ‘for what we Europeans have been doing the last 3,000 years, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people’.
The liberal media is reeling from the shock of the Fifa president’s ‘extraordinary monologue’ (BBC), his ‘bizarre attack on critics’ (the Guardian) on the eve of the World Cup. According to critical liberal theory, Western hegemonic domination is indeed the source of all the world’s ills. Before the arrival of Western imperialists, the rest of the world comprised a pristine mosaic of indigenous cultures and societies living together in peace, harmony, equality, and full recognition of LGBT rights. All this was destroyed by the introduction of slavery, exploitation, discrimination, racism, torture etc., none of which had existed before, together with capitalism and consumerism. Which is why we in the West are busily deconstructing our culture and decolonising our history.
How dare Western cultural imperialists seek to impose their moral hegemony on others.
Yet the notion that there exist universal human rights, whose metaphysical status transcends all local cultures and traditions, is an idea rooted in a tradition of an individualism unique to Western civilisation. The reality is that the only human rights which have any meaning or significance are those which have developed within a longstanding moral and cultural tradition, which in the Western case, has its roots in Christianity, Judaism, and Ancient Greece.
Either there are universal human rights, in which case Western individualistic values must be imposed on the rest of the world, as well as on minority populations in Western countries; or there are not, in which case we subscribe to cultural relativism, and respect other cultures and traditions, including those of conservative Islam. Liberals, fired up by self-loathing, want it both ways, and so we have the incoherent mass of contradictions that goes under the name ‘multiculturalism’.
So, let’s sit back and enjoy the show. Things are warming up very nicely in Qatar and the England fans in search of a piss-up have only just started arriving. Throw in scantily clad women, LGBT protestors, Western investigative journalists in search of human rights abuses, and whip-wielding Qatari police, and we have the makings of a most entertaining fortnight.
Who needs football?