Monthly Archives: May 2017

My Problem With Islam

I have been asked by a ‘liberal’ friend, “What’s your problem with Islam?”

I now have to put ‘liberal’ in scare quotes because the word no longer means what one might expect it to mean. I consider myself to be a liberal: a secular liberal democratic atheist Humanist sums up my political persuasion.

That I have to spell this out today is pretty much entirely down to the matter of Islam. This is about why that is.
Continue reading My Problem With Islam

The White European Culture Fallacy

White supremacism! Eurocentrism! Murticulturalism! Western Values! …

Endorse, deplore, assert, denounce, support any of these, vociferously, emotionally? Want to promote freedom and equality without stumbling over these dilemmas? Read on.

Richard Spencer is an ‘Identitarian’, in his own terms – though not all ‘Identitarians’ are quite like Richard Spencer. He’s a white separatist; white nationalist; whatever he wants to call it; but, it’s about being white. He values ‘White European’ values.

His ideas are based on a fallacy, because what we really value, what Spencer pretends to value, is not whiteness, or anything associated with the rather poor attribution of being white. His is really an ancient tribalism, something that we acknowledge the human race went through naturally, but not something that’s worth hanging on to.

The origins of the ‘Identitarian movement‘ suggest something more specific than just being white, but rather the desire, one which many ethnic groups aspire to, to have an ethnicity and culture remain intact. Other ethnicities cling to their ‘ethnic identity’ without receiving any push back. White Identitarians (and Jews) do seem to take a lot of flack for expressing what other ethnicities do.

I’m not a ‘white Identitarian’. As you’ll see when I get to the thought experiment later. I can understand some of the concerns – they are mostly related to opposition to the political ideology of Islam. Now, that I do oppose.

The problem I have with the ‘White Identitarian’ movement is the specificity of the ‘white’ aspect. I know, it arose arose in opposition to the perceived non-white Islamification of France. However, it erroneously conflates a difference that matters, culture, with one that does not, ethnicity. I doubt very much the ‘White Identitarian’ movement would be much of a thing (outside Richard Spencer’s tiny mind) had it not been for Merkel’s open door policy. But, let’s put that aside, and focus on the fallacy of the ‘whiteness’.

When Spencer uses the qualifier ‘White European’, when referring to culture, he’s doing so to pretend to loftier things, but he’s really about nothing more than base tribalism.

What’s worth valuing is something else other than racist ‘whiteness’; or even anything specifically ‘European’, despite Europe being historically the most localised origin of what we do value … and here I presume ‘we’ value freedom and equality, though I recongnise some do not.

Continue reading The White European Culture Fallacy

Analogies Misunderstood – The Pope and Hitler, and Others

There’s a common use of analogies as counter examples to some claim, that appear quite often on Twitter, but which are immediately misunderstood by one’s interlocutor.

You’re saying the Pope is equivalent to Hitler! How dare you compare them!

You might even be accused of falling foul of Godwin’s Law. Hitler is always a challenge in analogies. One use is to show that the Hitler case is so far from being equivalent that the analogy should show the statement its being compared to to be false or unreliable in its claim. Sadly, most people read equivalency.

Here’s what happens …
Continue reading Analogies Misunderstood – The Pope and Hitler, and Others

Biggest Threat – Islamism or Far Right? Trick Question – Islamism is Far Right.

My previous post had a dig at an article by Julia Ebner of Quilliam. I still support Quilliam’s efforts, even though they went hyperbolic over Tommy Robinson’s (typo alert) crass stunt, which in turn was a response to the hit job by Julia.

This post might be damning them with feint praise too, but I do agree with Adam Deen’s HuffPo piece:

The Emergence Of Meta-Jihad: Why Defeating Isis Won’t End The Plague Of Terrorism
Continue reading Biggest Threat – Islamism or Far Right? Trick Question – Islamism is Far Right.

Julia Ebner’s Hit Job – Is Everyone Far Right?

This is about a piece from Juila Ebner in the Guardian:

The far right thrives on global networks. They must be fought online and off – Julia Ebner –  Nationalists across the world are sharing knowledge and reinforcing messages of hate. The fightback begins with social media companies, and all of us.

It sounds like (look at the url) it’s about getting the social media companies to tackle hate speech. But that begins to look like a thin disguise for a hit job … or perhaps the person being made example of is an unlucky target. That will depend on your perspective.

It’s also related to the spat between Maajid Nawaz and Tommy Robinson deepening, and Robinson’s attempst to interview Julia about the article, when he ‘stormed’ the Quilliam offices.
Continue reading Julia Ebner’s Hit Job – Is Everyone Far Right?