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What’s gone wrong? The northwest of England has catapulted BNP leader Nick Griffin into the European parliament with 8 per cent of the vote. It’s tempting to dismiss those who vote and stand for the BNP as stupid, but the truth is more disturbing. Griffin is an apparently intelligent Cambridge graduate, yet he’s unable to think himself out of a racist framework. Many of us would like to believe that intellect banishes prejudice. Sadly, this is itself a prejudice.

Great philosophers—those doyens of reason—have a miserable and mostly hidden record on racism. Martin Heidegger’s involvement with National Socialism is notorious.…

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