UK Bookstore Chain Cancels Catholic-Friendly Journal for Wrongthink
The European Conservative describes itself as Europe’s ‘premier conservative English-language quarterly journal of philosophy, politics, and the arts.’
A quarterly magazine that seeks to defend and promote Western Christian civilization and is known for its Catholic sympathies has been removed by a major U.K. bookstore chain on account of its criticism of the same-sex agenda and for running an interview with Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán.
The European Conservative, self-described as Europe’s “premier conservative English-language quarterly journal of philosophy, politics, and the arts,” has been pulled from the shelves of WHSmith after two individuals waged a campaign against it on social media.
Alexi Kaye Campbell, a Greek-British playwright, and his civil partner Dominic Cooke, an English director and writer, took to Twitter and Instagram on Aug. 19 to highlight three aspects of the journal they found objectionable.
The first concerned an interview with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the second a description of “Pride” Month as “an opportunity to publicly parade some of the more dissolute aspects of human experience,” and the third an editorial cartoon showing a child vomiting a rainbow (the symbol of the LGBT lobby) after school.
They then urged friends to pressure WHSmith to immediately remove the publication, which the retailer duly did, without informing The European Conservative directly.
“It's really astonishing,” the magazine’s editor Alvino-Mario Fantini told the Register. “Our beautiful publication — which is dedicated to the pursuit of the true, the good and the beautiful — has been called ‘fascist’ and ‘hate-filled’ by people who have never before read our pages.”
Fantini believes such a response says more about “ignorance and intolerance than anything else” and that “it’s ironic that a publication like ours — that has so consistently defended the free exchange of ideas, no matter how unpopular — should now be censored and silenced through the efforts of a small, online mob.”
“Why is it that the same activists who demand we all ‘celebrate diversity’ want to limit diversity to only things they agree with?” Fantini asked, adding that he believes such people “are not liberals who stand behind the principle of freedom of expression” but rather “anti-pluralistic authoritarians who seek to impose their own views on others.”
WHSmith is one of the U.K.’s oldest retailers, dating back to 1792 when Henry Walton Smith started a news vendor business in Little Grosvenor Street in London. The company used to be one of the U.K.’s most respected, but it has reportedly deteriorated in recent years in the face of strong competition from Amazon and e-book readers.
On the advice of their U.K. distributor, The European Conservative sent a message to WHSmith explaining that their publication is “dedicated to art, history, literature, poetry, and political philosophy — not ‘hate’” — and that it was apparent that neither Campbell nor Cooke, nor any of their followers had read the magazine.
The European Conservative said one of their core objectives, inspired by the late British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton (one of their long-time advisors), has been to resist all “censorship, repression, and cancel culture” and instead “promote vigorous open debate and the free exchange of divergent viewpoints.”
The magazine pointed out the lack of consistency in WHSmith’s approach, noting that it doesn’t ban pornography because it offends, or Salman Rushdie’s works because they offend Muslims. “The core issue here is that those who complained do not agree with our views on sexual morality,” Fantini said. “But does one agree with everything one sees on the shelves of WHSmith or any other news vendor?
“Surely WHSmith has previously received complaints about other materials it sells but has not removed them,” he added. “Presumably this is because they think consumers are mature enough to be able to decide for themselves what to buy. If WHSmith were to remove from its shelves all publications that someone found objectionable, it would find itself with empty shelves pretty quickly.”
Sebastian Morello, essays editor and columnist at The European Conservative, noted that the publication came into being “to defend and promote European civilization, which is being so aggressively repudiated by established governments, longstanding institutions, and modern culture alike,” and that its readers, who have “done the hard work” to learn about their civilizational inheritance, “love our journal.”
“Because we love our civilization, we take a stand against the immoral revolution that seeks to destroy it, so of course we criticize such pernicious groups as the radical LGBT lobby and its attempts to indoctrinate children to be future revolutionaries against the moral law.”
Morello added that if they disagree with the magazine’s Christian worldview, they should argue and challenge them rather than resort to cancel culture. “That's just lazy,” he said, “and indicates their inability to enter into a serious discourse suggesting a corruption of the rational faculty — which, as the Catholic religion has always taught — is a consequence of sin.”
The European Conservative has yet to receive any direct communication from WHSmith.
The Register contacted the retailer asking if they could explain why they pulled the magazine from their shelves and if they would stock the magazine again but their media office had not responded by press time.