All posts by Ron Murphy

The Nation State

The nation state is still the only large scale functional unit of social cohesion that can provide citizens with both rights and freedoms in a manageable manner.

The USA has struggled, mostly successfully, to balance what could have been small nation states as states within a larger federal state. The EU wants to go the same way, but, just as many in the US oppose federal government power, so in the EU some of the nation states (Brexit) object to the lack of accountability of the federalists and the loss of self determination of the individual states.

Globalism, of any kind, is currently worse. There is no functional world democratic government (UN?ūü§£) so all the global power is in the hands of global corporations and powerful individuals and groups. While Soros may not be the monster he’s portrayed to be, I didn’t get the chance to vote him in as a mover and shaker of EU affairs. Meanwhile, we all know of Putin’s dabbling in the affairs of nation states. Or indeed of nation states interfering with other nation states, of which the US, UK and others have vast experience.

Then we have the dreamers … the anarchists, the socialists, that have some crazy idea that humans can form Goldilocks societies that just happen to work .. in their heads … but which take no account of the variety of human political opinions that are out there. The Utopians look mystified when you tell them you don’t want their particular Utopia. Well, I suppose they think “There’s only one true Utopia!” I’m sure I’ve heard that sentiment in another context.

Even the nation state has its troubles. Who in their right mind thinks Pakistan is a good functioning state? Yet they just had elections. And, good luck bringing socialism to Afghanistan … or secular freedom of belief to anywhere dominated by religion.

Let’s be realistic, and call western states ‘nearly’ functioning, ‘reasonably’ representative of the wishes of the people. Trump and Brexit have exposed the visceral hatred that the nice socialists are capable of towards their fellow citizens. Then there’s the ‘far right’ (the real, not the imagined). The right will grow in response to the craziness of the left. Extremes sustain each other.

Many on the left have shown their colours. Democracy, as long as they win. Secularism, as long as you don’t offend their pet religion.

It’s difficult enough to hold a nation state together. Europeans have been trying to do it in one form or another since Ancient Greece, slowly, often too slowly, extending the franchise to all citizens. Trial and error. Two steps forward one step back. It’s been hard and often bloody work. But nation state democracy is about the best these evolved apes with partially functional brains are capable of.

Thinking you can wreck it and start over, or that revolution *against* a democratic system is even a rational idea, pretty much sums up the capabilities of some human brains. Haven’t we tried ‘day zero’ scenarios a few times and watched the genocide unfold to know that’s probably the worst of all worlds. Isn’t revolution the last desperate attempt to get rid of an oppressive state?

There is no western government that cannot be voted out of office, no matter how bad you currently think they are. None. And while many in the west are looking at destroying democracy, other parts of the world are struggling to implement it.

But, the first sign of a democratic system going down the pan is a loss of free speech. If you can be locked up for speaking on any political matter, then your freedom is on the way out. The ECHR has just approved the protection of Europe’s pet religion. You can go to jail in European states for expressing an opinion … and I don’t mean incitement to violence dressed up as opinion. I mean opinion dressed up as incitement to violence. If you point out the capacity of Islam to be used to incite violence in terms that upset the violent among the Islamic religion, and they threaten or enact violence against you, you are in danger of becoming their victim, or, a victim of the state that is busy eroding your free speech. Madness.

The shock to many liberals has not been the bunch of actual far right loons, or the stupid alt right that think ethnic separation is even a possibility, or the oppressive nature of a conservative, actual far right, political judicial religious ideology. No, the shock has been the willingness of the supposedly secular left to go along with Islam’s far right political agenda while mouthing off about a much smaller fractured far right of perceived fascism. They can spot a good old Nazi, but can’t see an Islamofascist cheer leading them on.

Islam, anarchism, socialism, big business … these contain a variety of globalist agendas that will subvert individual freedom in order to gain ground. Sometimes they are temporary allies in localised regions. Each contains ideologues that think their way will inevitably win. If they could only stop pesky individuals getting in the way with their damned freedoms, they could set everyone free to live in their Utopia on their terms.

Currently, the only safeguard against these varied globalists is secular liberal democratic nation states, cooperating on security, law and policing, but also ensuring the individual freedoms of their citizens as a primary principle … especially freedom of speech.

So, when you hear that nationalists are racist xenophobes, you’ll realise that the target isn’t just the actual real live racist xenophobes. It’s the nation state and its capacity to thwart the various globalist agendas.

We can’t have versions of democracy where every single person gets a say on every single topic – someone always has to compromise. So, representative democracies of one sort or another are the way to go, as the least worse option. They could be improved, with some variety of proportional representation … but even then, someone always fails to get what they want – compromise is inevitable. There is no perfect democratic system.

And to work on local, regional, state, global scales, we need representational democratic systems that are seen to be democratic.

So, I don’t have a problem with federalism in principle, as one of those levels. That includes, in my local case, a federal EU. I’d even back a world federation, if its members were also democratic states (the UN fails in the respect).

The problem with the EU, and one of the reasons Brexit has come about, is that the EU federalisation project has not been democratic, and is still subject to the whims of dominant states like Germany, or rather to dominant parties within the dominant states. And, this made Brexit appeal in another respect: the 2016 UK EURef vote that came after 2014/5 unilateral action by Merkel to not only open the EU’s external borders with no vetting, but to go on to bully other EU states into complying and taking ‘refugees’ (i.e. economic migrants).

Even ex-Muslims and fanatic for¬† ‘open doors’, Maryam Namazie doesn’t want to avoid proper vetting:

And, just to clarify the related issues of ‘xenophobia’, ‘racism’, ‘Islamophobia’ that raise their ugly heads any time one objects when some SJW suggests un-vetted immigration is OK and “There are no illegals, they are all humans” …

  • Protecting a democracy with law and order and applying it to all citizens, avoiding an undocumented underground that’s rife with black markets and people trafficking seems a pretty rational perspective … and opposing those things seems insane.
  • The term ‘Islamophobia’ is an irrational fear of Islam – and the only true Islamophobes are those press, politicians and police that go out of their way to make excuses for Islam … which is, by the definition of its own texts, an ultra-conservative (i.e. far right) political judicial ideology dressed up as a religion, with strong misogynistic and homophobic tendencies written in, and a mechanism for threatening death for any Muslim that chooses to leave. It’s not compatible with secular liberal democracy, except in so far as many Muslims explicitly (Reformers) or implicitly (“Not MY Islam”) fail to follow the prescriptions in the supposedly ‘inerrant’ Quran. And, just to be clear, Christian lunacy has its own problems, not least in the USA.
  • Actual racism and xenophobia exists, and it doesn’t help the cause against them if everyone that dares talk about immigration is labelled a far right racist xenophobic Nazi from the outset.

Clear up those mostly left wing misrepresentations of reality and we might see some normality and rationality return to western politics.

And so, if we want effective global governance that supports genuine secular liberal freedom, we need a system that looks democratic, behaves democratically, and is respected enough to hold in check the excesses of rogue states … or even our own democracies that get it wrong so often. The UN has been referred to prior to a number of actions (Iraq War), but in the end, western states felt they had sufficient authority to go to war without the full backing of the UN.

And now Trump has shown his disdain for the UN, and a large number of Brits have done the same for the EU. Those organisations are not fit for purpose. Who the heck thinks the UN is up to scratch if Saudi Arabia is on the UN Human Rights Council? Who the heck thinks the European Court of Human Rights is up to scratch if it endorses jailing someone for disrespecting some cult’s fake war mongering child marrying prophet?

In an effort to be ‘nice’, and in order to protect a ‘minority’ (second larges and most violent religion in the world), the left has sold out secular liberal freedoms, and ordinary people can see that. Hence, Trump and Brexit.

Liberal democratic secular nation states are currently the only protection against chaos and corruption – as imperfect as they are, with their own corrupt elements. In fact, if we can’t get nation states right, what chance have we with larger organisations? Nation states will remain valuable until and if similar global systems can be set in place. Tearing them down in some ‘Year Zero’ fantasy will not help. Destroying them slowly by a thousand cuts of erosion to personal freedom and free speech will only make the demise apparent when its too late.

The Enlightenment of the Brave Saira Khan

When it dawns on the enlightened Saira Khan that the truth must come out, she really goes for it, and reveals some tragic long held secrets of abuse She surprises herself at the behaviour of Pakistani men (not all, we must inevitably add), and rallies around our shared values for peace and freedom.

I’ve become an admirer of Saira, because it takes some doing for a Muslim women to speak the way she does on Loose Women (UK daytime TV show). I’m sure she’s been influenced and helped by being part of that show, and the result is that she is providing a significant contribution, for the benefit of young girls and women suffering abuse.

This important of voice of hers cannot be under-estimated.

I don’t agree with Saira on all points. It’s nothing to do with religion? Yes it is.

Saira On Islamic Terrorism

We start with Saira’s input on an episode on Islamic terrorism.

Let’s dig into this a little …

Whether you are white or you are Muslim …

There are no white Muslims? There are no non-white non-Muslims opposed to Islam?

ISLAM. IS. NOT. A. RACE.

Islam is a political judicial ideology, as well as a religion – it says so itself. Read the texts.

It’s not only legitimate to oppose Islam, as it is Communism, Fascism, Christianity, or any ideology, … for any liberal, it’s a duty: read the texts of Islam, especially the Quran, which is presented as the ‘inerrant’ word of Allah. What honest liberal would not oppose such an ideology?

Religions are let off the hook far too easily.

We have to feel what we can say without being deemed a racist.

Let that sink in. I ask you to do this, not to pick on Saira, but to point out that to declare criticism of Islam to be racism is a very common defensive stance we see regularly.

Every time there is an issue about Muslims, I’M brought out to talk about it.

Saira! You go on Loose Women and CHOOSE to talk about it. And, now that you are being more honest about it, I’m very glad that you do.

I want Jane to come out, I want you to come out. Because we are united by our values, not by religion. If we live in this country we have to put our hands up and say we are British, and we are all aligned by the same things.

Who would Saira not want to talk about it? White working class men?

Nevertheless, it’s warming to hear Saira say this.

(But, note later, that she also effectively says she IS the sort of person that CAN talk about some issues, because she is ‘part of the community’. Mixed messages like this are common.)

Saira moves on to integration, and how Britain is a well integrated society, an yet so many Muslim children don’t feel integrated …

But we are not integrated. If you go to a school … and your best mate goes on six weeks school holiday and doesn’t come back and nobody asks you, why didn’t your friend come back, you’d feel angry. Who do you talk to? You can’t talk to your family, you can’t even talk to your school.

In 2012 I visited 75 primary schools, and I have to say, some of those schools would have been quite happy as if they were in Afghanistan. How can you have that in Britain? How can you have schools, with white teachers, and fully Muslim kids, and the parents are dictating the agenda?

These are strong words. So, don’t be surprised if Saira gets some flack for this.

And those teachers say to me, we don’t have the powers, we don’t have the resources. We are too scared to say something in case we are deemed racist.

And, with regard to authorities outside the ‘communities’ that Saira refers to, such as schools, social services, police, politicians, there has been this reluctance. And that’s because of the recent history of conflating Islam, culture and ethnicity to the point where any is all too easily labelled as a racist Islamophobe.

Jane asks about Jihadi John …

He came over here from Kuwait. As far as I know he went to a multicultural westernised school. He got our free education, free healthcare. We were nothing but kind to him and his family. Where did that hatred for Britain and all that we represent, come from?

Saira …

It comes from home. It comes from ordinary Muslim families that don’t speak up, who actually hear what’s being said, and don’t make a big deal about it. And that’s why I say today, it is not good enough for the majority of peaceful Muslims living in this country not to come out and speak up and say, not in our name.¬†And these people are using Islam, and Muslims, and it’s branded all over the place. I’m a Muslim. Not in my name

A great sentiment, Saira.¬†Thank you. I agree. It’s not in your name.

But it’s quite counter to what we have been told for years, not only by peaceful Muslims, but by Islamic apologist non-Muslims. Here’s why:

By adopting the narrative of “Nothing to do with Islam”, how can you then come out and say, “Not in our name?”

  • Islamic terrorism clearly does have something to do with Islam.
  • And it’s not in ‘your’ name that they do it, but in the name of Islam.
  • And, Islam isn’t just ‘your’ Islam – remember how diverse Islam is? So we are told.

This is where it becomes a bit tricky for a critic of Islam.

You can hardly use unifying calls to Islam, as many Muslims do, and then deny that unity. We hear about the Caliphate, the Ummah, Brothers and Sisters, ‘Nation of Islam’, ‘Muslim lands’ – there is no doubt that if one claims to follow Allah, Mohammed, and the Quran, and declare you are a Muslim (the shahadah), then you are a Muslim.

Despite that, Muslims around the world are endlessly declaring other Muslims to be non-Muslims, not proper Muslims, not Islamic enough, not authentic, …

If any particular Muslim thinks they are an authentic Muslim, then without some ‘Pope’ to determine otherwise, who is to say who is not a Muslim?

But,¬† Muslims denounce other Muslims regularly. And “Nothing to do with Islam” has been a huge confidence trick.

And what’s more, the fools on the left are all too eager to join in with this duplicity.

Saira …

I want to see a million people marching in this country, led by Muslims, led by moderate Muslims, to say, this is not in our name. Because I think indigenous people of this country, now, deserve people, somebody looking like me, saying, we are with you.

Wow! But she’s has a point.

However, here’s a contradictory point. You’ll note that indigenous peoples¬†around the world are a common cause for supportive activism, among the left – with the exception of white people.

Of course, the term ‘indigenous’ doesn’t carry the same meaning in a genuinely mixed race multicultural society like ours, and quite rightly. We have many generations of British born people, of various ethnicities, and many children or other descendants of mixed raced relationships. A person with any skin colour could be as ‘indigenous’ as any particular white person. At least in part, my heritage on both sides is Irish from about three or four generations. There will be descendants of other ethnicities with a longer heritage than mine.

But, I hope you see the problem. When Saira thinks there’s a point in mentioning ‘indigenous peoples’ she might feel as though she’s referring to white people, as a majority, but already Saira has declared, and goes on to declare, the issue is about cultural values. It’s not about race – or at least it wouldn’t be, if only the left and much of the press weren’t so keen to make it about race. There’s a lot of race baiting going on, and far less actual racism.

Saira …

Just to let you know, when I say things, I get abused, I’m called a coconut*, .., I’m called a racist.

(*coconut: brown on the outside, white on the inside)

It’s both tragic and amusing how many non-white racists are prepared to call other people racist.

I’m attacked by white British liberals, as well as members of my own community. I don’t care.

Nuff said.

The discussion moves on to parental responsibility, and being aware of the radicalisation of children,

You can’t watch them all the time, but you do have a sense of who their friends are, what they are doing, and how they’re acting.

Fair point.

But I do have some concern for some Muslim mothers. Some of the more pious and misogynistic parts of the Muslim community actually give young sons greater authority over the female family members, both sisters and mothers.

In some places, like Saudi, there are widowed women who are under control of their young sons, their ‘guardians’, that prevent the women going out alone. They may even require the son’s permission to take up employment. This Islamic male domination reaches out to other Muslim communities too.

With regard to the Pakistani Muslim community, when¬†Pakistani model Qandeel Baloch was killed by brother, many British Muslim young men were on social media declaring they’d have done the same had their sister dishonoured the family.

This is how messy it is, and though I agree with Saira that parents should take more note, there are cultural and religious influences that prevent that happening.

Saira is also asked whether parents should ‘shop’ (expose, report to authorities) radicalised children.

I’ve shopped my own cousin who came to this country on a sponsorship form and disappeared within fifteen days. It was all pre-planned, I had not idea about it. Am I not going to shop him in just because he’s my cousin? No. I’m going to shop him in because he went against my British values of honesty, decency and respect.

Honest? Decency? Respect? Respect for the law?

This is worth noting, because there are so many people on the left that actually condone illegal immigration. It doesn’t matter that honest legal immigrants are prevented from coming here, or that illegal immigration cannot vet those arriving for their intentions.

Even ex-Muslims and fanatic for¬† ‘open doors’, Maryam Namazie doesn’t want to avoid proper vetting:

But, back to a leaving remark from Saira ..

I say to people in my own community, if you don’t like it here, go and live somewhere else. I want you to own it. I want you to stop cowering behind “Oh, I’m too scared to be racist.” If you want to have a conversation, and you want to put people on the spot, then you own it and you say it, you are not a racist.

That’s quite a statement. Well done Saira.

Abuse in Pakistani Muslim Families

Bear with me on this aside, you’ll get the point. … Some time ago, atheist Richard Dawkins collected and published on his site some of the many examples of abuse and death threats he received through various channels, from lovely religious people that didn’t appreciate his atheism. He made light of it. The messages were hilariously stupid.

Mayor of London, sad Sadiq Khan (no relation to Saira) didn’t quite take the same tack. He made a racist meal of it, and wallowed in his Muslim victimhood as he read out the abuse he received. … Except …

One of the examples he read out was a mere question, from the daughter of Muslim father and non-Muslim white mother. It was from none other than Shazia Hobbes, author of¬†The Gori’s Daughter.

This was the ‘hate speech’ that Sadiq Khan read out:

If you use a knife to mutilate your daughter’s vagina will the full force of the law be brought down on you? Asking for a Muslim. Thanks.

Given that at the time this was written there were thousands of recorded incidents of FGM, and zero prosecutions, it seems like a reasonable question, especially from a daughter of a Muslim. For more context, here’s Shazia’s letter in response.

This is the context of ‘hate speech’ and the fear of being called a racist, that Saira has been talking about above, with the other context of Islamic terrorism.

And so, it was with some surprise, and great admiration, that I heard Saira broaching this subject, again on Loose Women. …

Saira begins by telling this story …

In June 2002, MukhtńĀr MńĀ’ńę was the survivor of a gang rape as a form of honour revenge, on the orders of a tribal council of the local Mastoi Baloch clan that was richer and more powerful as opposed to her Tatla clan in that region. See here.

Saira …

She [MukhtńĀr MńĀ’ńę ] then went on to set up a charity in Pakistan to help women like that. … She was put on a fashion show in Pakistan, which shows that progress is being made, slowly. The designer said that she wanted her to be a symbol of hope and for women’s rights.

Picking up Saira’s earlier point, “I’m attacked by white British liberals“, we find this sort of attack on one’s intentions happens so often if non-Muslims try to support Muslim women at all.

Yes, as a Humanist I oppose all religions, and yes, I find Islam to be particularly bad. But that doesn’t negate my support for women, even Muslim women, especially Muslim women, that are oppressed by cultural norms that are perpetuated by Islam.

Now, specific cultures may result in different specific brutal and misogynistic practices, but you will still find that much of the justification comes from the religious modesty and honour system. I’d like to see anyone justify these acts of abuse using the Humanist Manifesto. Old religious texts perpetuate old misogynistic values into the present.

And it’s here I’m guessing we’d still see Saira reacting negatively to comments on Islam, despite her earlier statement, “Because we are united by our values, not by religion.” Yes, we should be, and religion should not be let off the hook so easily.

But, to continue, at 2:10, we come to Saira’s brave revelation …

… at thirteen years old, sitting in my bedroom, a male member of my family – he’s died now – came in, and did things …

Please, listen to Saira’s story directly, in her own words. She struggles to hold it together, but does manage to do so.

I’ll pick up points salient to the wider message. …

It is wrong. It is not culturally acceptable. It is not religiously acceptable.

Correct. It is not acceptable. But note that Saira points out that it is unacceptable both culturally, and religiously.

For those that want to protect the religion and say, “It’s not the religion, it’s the culture,” well, it is both, and is unacceptable as both.

The culture in Pakistan is a mixture of older traditional culture and religion. The religion and the culture ARE used to justify these behaviours, because in both, women are second class citizens.

How on earth can a religion be excused, when it endorses: taking a woman’s testimony to be worth half that of a man; beating of wives; … Of course such a religion will perpetuate the misogyny and ‘toxic masculinity’ that was present when it arose – in Islam’s case, 1400 year old misogyny.

Culturally we can’t talk about it [abuse], because we [women] are seen as the ones that inspired it, there’s no help.

Quite. And this aspect of the culture is right there in the religious texts, and encouraged by the modesty rules that see women as the provokers of men’s uncontrollable lust.

It is not JUST the culture. Because this attitude remains prevalent across many cultures that are intertwined with Islam. And with other religions (e.g. conservative Christianity in the USA).

On the Fusion of Culture AND Religion

Let’s hear more from Saira, on another Loose Women episode, about a visit to Pakistan, because that will reveal more about the cultural AND the religious acceptance of the abuse of women.

I was sent to Pakistan by the BBC to do a documentary … There was one day where the prophet Mohammed’s birthday was to be celebrated. I had an all-male British team with me. We went to this square, and there were just thousands of men, and there wasn’t a woman in sight. And my director was quite nervous, and I said, look, we need to get into the heart of this, we need to find out what the atmosphere’s like.

And my Pakistani fixer was, like, there’s no way you can do that. And I just looked at him, why not, I want to do it. A was wearing traditional chemise, I had my head covered, because it was a spiritual day, they were celebrating the prophet’s birthday, and I thought, what’s going to happen to me. And I didn’t want to believe ….

And I didn’t want to believe ….” – and that, I’m afraid, is what drives a lot of opposition to the criticism of Islam. It’s what drives many interactions with Muslims.

They will close their eyes and flat out tell you it’s night, when it’s clearly day, if only they’d open their eyes and look.

I’m attacked by white British liberals” – Well, yes. because they too don’t want to believe there’s a problem with Islam.

… with everything my parents told me about men from those cultures, I thought, no, it’s not true, I’m going to prove to them them that it’s not true..

Denialism is a powerful psychological force, and it controls many a religious mind. Saira had the courage to face hers.

They’re going to respect me as a woman. … I went down, into the crowd, and only on the sidelines, and within moments I’d been bustled into the middle of a group of men … it was horrific

… my boobs were touched, my bottom was touched, my legs were touched .. I was just shaking “Get me out, get me out, get me out.”

… My fixer came in, and grabbed me.

… I dread to think what would have happened. I believe I would have been raped.

… I was so angry. … No one would have helped me [had the British camera crew not been there]

That’s an astonishingly brutal awakening. Bear in mind that Saira isn’t some wet lefty that has a couple of Muslim acquaintances that wear the hijab and claims, “But my Muslim friends are lovely,” as if to explain why these stories couldn’t possibly be true.

Saira is, as she says, part of the Pakistani Muslim community (or one of the variety of those). And her parents warned her. And she knows of the honour culture, the treatment of women …

Denialism is a powerful psychological force, sustained only by cognitive dissonance. You WANT to believe, and when faced with stories, the stories must be racist lies … or so the conversations often go.

There’s more …

We have to accept, that when we are bringing in migrants, asylum seekers, people from different cultures, they have a very different upbringings. Their societies, their political systems, …

Islam is the bedrock of the social and political features of these cultures, and often contributes to the judicial system too, and the misogyny in Islam informs it, as does the behaviour of many of the men. Young boys are taught to both respect women, but also devalue them, to the point where if a woman is a victim, it must be her fault for bringing it upon herself, for shaming her family, … for shaming Islam.

… what they think is normal in their country is not normal in our country …

Sadly, many of those ‘liberals’ that attack you, Saira, are post-modern relativists, who ask who we are to judge their culture, their religion. And many Muslims pick up on this and ask, who are YOU to tell me about MY religion.

And, also sadly, many think it should also be normal behaviour in this country, and act as if it is, … which it can seem, in a closed community.

… and we have to do that to protect ourselves, and to also protect them …

You can see why racist Muslims talk of Saira in terms of ‘coconut’ … I’m surprised she hasn’t been called a white supremacist, for daring to suggest these behaviours aren’t up to our British value standards.

But, of course, Saira is dead right. Spot on.

Our standards of equality, across race, religion, gender, are significantly better than any that privileges one race, religion, gender over another other.

We may not succeed in achieving this equality (and no thanks in small part to religions that perpetuate the inequality – looking at you CofE, not just Islam), but in law, and mostly in practice, we are all equal.

It’s quite common to see these faults as the domain of the white racist misogynist male xenophobic bigot – aka Nazi – but that is engaging in precisely the false accusative rhetoric that Saira has been opposing in these programmes.

No. Some of the highest privileges we have go to religion. The Church of England is the state church, and we have unelected bishops … and child abuse. The Roman Catholic Church is even further behind … and child abuse. And Islam is virtually untouchable, despite Islamic terrorism … and child abuse by grooming gangs now appearing in our newspapers regularly.

As Andrew Norfolk said, after publishing his Times report on grooming gangs, his PC and fear of being thought of, of thinking himself, as a racist, made him sit on the story, while who knows how much child abuse continued.

Ruth Langsford chips in …

We all have this fear of being labelled a racist,
or you can’t talk about somebody’s religion
… this is not a religious thing, this is a cultural thing

What???

Have you ANY idea what that sounds like? Let me spell it out. It sounds like this:

You can’t talk about somebody’s religion, so let’s not talk about religion, even though I just did, because I don’t want to blame religion, so let’s blame their culture …

And let that sink in for a while. You’d rather throw whole rich and potentially adaptable cultures under the bus, rather than even contemplate that it’s related to the temporally closed and persistent impact of the religion on those cultures?

And this, remember, is in a context where Saira is talking about sexual abuse occurring right in the middle of a¬† festival dedicated to the celebration of prophet Mohammed’s birthday, where there was absolutely ZERO conflict in the minds of those that abused Saira?

What???

Jane Moore has a stab at excusing religion … but then, after Saira’s, interruption goes on to say …

Explain to me, surely there is not a culture, your experiences aside, where a couple of these assaults we’re talking about do extend to rape, I mean, obviously, white men commit rape as well, but surely there is no culture in the world where it is acceptable to rape a woman who is a stranger to you.

Wow! That needs some unpacking.

  • They have just decided that it’s the culture, not the religion.
  • Now Jane wants to make sure there is no culture in which it is acceptable to rape a women who is a stranger to you.

The point here, regarding culture, AND religion, is that some cultures, or even sub-cultures, DO condone rape, of any women, because they see women as a lower value than men. AND, that perspective is all over the Islamic texts.

Jane is confusing two points that Saira has already managed to be pretty clear about, … but I’ll help out with the third one:

  • It’s not acceptable TO US that ANY culture should condone this.
  • But it IS accepted in some cultures
  • And it IS accepted in some religions.

And very clearly so, if THEY find it acceptable to molest Saira in the middle of a religious festival dedicated to the birthday of the prophet Mohammed. It really is accepted in the religion.

You can keep on playing around with words all you like, but it’s right there in front of you.

Saira responds …

You’re right , it is unacceptable, but rape, in many cultures, goes unreported, because men can get away with it, because it’s not seen as a serious crime.

So, Jane, how is that not clear enough to you. SOME cultures DO see rape as acceptable behaviour by men towards women.

But, again, I have to disagree with Saira and the panel. It very clearly IS acceptable in the Islamic texts. As is slavery, as is sex slavery. The Quran has passages that excuse various behaviours, regarding one’s wives, and ‘those that your right hand possesses’, which is usually referring to slaves, and female slaves. Mohammed married one of his female slaves, to which the excuse it usually, “Oh, she became a Muslim first.” Was that an ‘Offer you can’t refuse‘, from the Islamic godfather.

Saira …

I was taught that as a woman, if I ever got raped, or if anything happened to me, it was going to be my fault. What were you doing in that situation? Why were you on your own? What were you wearing. I was brought up with that mentality.

And the Quran has plenty to say about modesty and women covering themselves.

Blame culture?

No. Cultures adapt. Cultures don’t both persist ancient codes of conduct, and resist modern improvements, without some strong underlying encoded system that traverses generations, even skips generations and re-emerges. Religion fits he bill.

We have seen 1970s westernised Afghanistan, and Iran, with women in the mini skirts that were fashionable at the time. Cultures adapt to the times. In both cases it was the oppressive religion that re-asserted itself.

Blame religion? A BIG YES. It’s no coincidence that the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Ayatollah in Iran swept away the modern cultural adaptation to more liberal values, and dragged both those countries back 1400 years.

Come on, Saira, you can’t keep excusing the religion.

Jane again …

Is the issue here then, mass uncontrolled immigration, where everyone arrives at once and there’s no expectation of integration? Because surely, you growing up in Britain, you must know lots of law abiding men from your culture who would never behave like that.

Saira …

Yeah, we’re not talking about Britain, because they’ve been brought up in Britain, with Western values, with British values, who know that you cannot do that, that women have equal rights, … [End of clip]

Notice here that Pakistani heritage men, who have been brought up in a British culture, … well, not them, obviously. And yet we are often told how most sexual abuse in Britain is committed by white men.¬† There are some confused messages that emerge when you’re focus is to explain something and yet not blame a religion. You are bound to tangle yourself in knots.

I’m sure there are many decent people in Pakistan and in other cultures that know that the cultures they’re in, on the whole, don’t treat women well … and, yes, Britain has been like that too.

As I said, cultures can adapt.

But hold on there Saira, they do do it in Britain. That was the point of your brave exposition on your misfortune.

Let’s look at this next clip to clear this up …

Christine Lampard …

They’ve also told us of a noticeable rise in calls [about abuse] from Asian women

Another aside …

You have to be careful when the media use the term ‘Asian’ regarding abuse and grooming gangs. It is used so often to mask a more specific identification, such as in the case of Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs, or grooming gangs generally. This is a really weird and dishonest narrative.

First, after years of insisting that if anyone starts a critical view with “Muslims, …” they are immediately tarred as racist Islamophobes, because, well, “Not all Muslims”…

But, when they are talking about Pakistani Muslims, they prefer to use ‘Asians’. Surely “Not all Asians” should apply here. Are they Asianphobic racists?

Well, I’d certainly say using ‘Asian’ is more racist than being specific. If “Muslims …” unfairly implicates all Muslims, then surely “Asians …” implicates all Asians, and is racist towards even more people.

I think they are going for the angle that if you implicate an ever wider range of people, then you are not being a specific racist. Maybe that’s better, I don’t know entirely how this left PC mind-set works.

But, in truth, this is a total fraud, because this never happens to Chinese, or Koreans – they would be identified by their original ethnicity.

We know this is only used to protect Islam, to avoid criticising Muslims.

You should spot this when referring to grooming gangs, because though most are Pakistani Muslim, some are Muslims from other cultures, including African.

Back to Christine’s main point …

They’ve also told us of a noticeable rise in calls from Asian women who suffered abuse in childhood, and the main perpetrator is usually someone from their own family …

I remind you again of Shazia Hobbes’ story.

It just sounds shocking, but this is not even surprising to you, Saira, from the stories you’ve heard.

Saira …

We had the fight for the girls in Rochdale, and I think we now need to put a real fight up for the girls that can’t be seen or heard, because they don’t have representation in society.

That’s another devastating statement. Let that one sink in too. Nobody in their community will represent them? Are social services able to operate in these communities? What are the police doing?

I’m afraid that what we’ve learned from Rochdale, Rotherham, Telford, Oxford and other places, is that if the police won’t act for child victims from outside the community, they sure as hell won’t act for children inside those communities – and one suspects, given some of Saira’s comments above about schools she visited, they wouldn’t find much cooperation if they tried.

Look, I can talk about it because I come from culture, I come from a community, and I’m talking about the Pakistani community.

Bear in mind that Pakistan is substantially occupied by Muslims, and that most British Pakistanis are Muslims. Pakistan was, after all, created as a nation for Muslims. It is a Muslim nation. What does that tell you about the ‘community’? It’s not merely a Pakistani community. It’s a Pakistani Muslim community. Currently, I know of no Pakistani Humanists that would or could use Humanists texts to excuse their abuse of women.

Well, as I said, the problem is that these closed communities will not allow outsiders, non-Muslims, to investigate. This is the non-integrative isolated community that reeks of bad Multiculturalism – Multiculturalism will fail, if we are not more discriminating about which cultural/religious practices we will tolerate – some, as Saira has said, are not acceptable. And though we mouth off about FGM … there have been no successful prosecutions. It’s very un-PC to investigate the inner women’s business in such a community, and your average non-Muslim PC plod isn’t up to it, and I doubt many Muslim PC plods would dare expose problems in heir communities.

Note that my objection to Islam does not mean banning or not tolerating Islam. Part of our ‘British values’ that Saira subscribes to is freedom of belief. You can believe what you want.

But if you turn your beliefs to actions, and those actions contravene basic human decency, and/or the law, then they need dealing with and must not be left to fester, the way the Muslim grooming gang problem has, and, according to this episode of Loose Women, the way abuse has within those communities.

I have to say that this isn’t based on religion, this is culture, and the culture I was brought up in is, keep your mouth shut, and make sure you do not bring dishonour on our family, you must not bring shame.

Except it is religion. Various religions. Bringing shame through the behaviour of children, especially girls, is pretty standard across many religions, including Christian conservatism of the USA, and has been in Roman Catholicism, such that it resulted in the Magdalene laundries of Ireland.

So, again, we have Saira desperately trying to avoid blaming Islam. Why is that?

Because that would bring down even more wrath upon her head, if she dared blame the religion of Islam. It’s that simple.

Saira’s perspective might be induced by her own indoctrination, so that she really believes that what is blindingly obvious, is not so.

Or, …

It might be self preservation. Because to blame Islam would be blasphemous. A very dangerous game, in Islam.

… you must not bring shame. And what that means, as a young girl, .. or a young boy, growing up, you’re too scared to talk. If terrible things happen to you, you are too scared to talk.

There is no representation, because it’s such a tight knit community. There are other things that go on in the culture that basically mean you’re isolated.

I have sat amongst a group of people, and I have heard stories of a young girls being raped in the family, of a young girl being abused, or a young boy being abused.

And I’m sat there thinking, why doesn’t anybody do something, please.

And when asked, why don’t they, …

Because, there is no one to talk to. Most of the elected community members are men …

Religious men. Muslim men. Do they elect atheists, or Christians? Are Pakistani Christians allowed to exist in the ‘community’?

No, I’m sorry, Saira, but your fantasy has to be shattered. These leaders are religious men. Good Muslims.

.. and they know that you can’t just go and snitch on your family …

Bear in mind how Saira had no trouble with HER British values, with regard to snitching on her cousin’s bunking off. But this is child abuse we’re talking about. Or not talking about, depending on your ‘culture’. So, you’d think that a British Pakistani community that isn’t suffering the misogynistic throwbacks of Pakistan would be more forthcoming in solving this problem. Apparently not. More like Pakistan than is good for us … or rather than is good for the children.

When asked whether a young girl could speak to her mother …

You are so brainwashed into what shame means and what dishonour means.

In these communities, rape in a marriage is not recognised …

Again, I refer you to Shazia Hobbes who has been resoundingly castigated, as an Islamophobe, for saying these very same things. Do read her book.

Culturally, you can marry somebody that’s thirteen years old. You can do it back in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, you can do it in India.

Except, of course, it is endorsed by the example of the prophet Mohammed, and his marriage to his six year old wife, and in some places they take that specific age even more seriously. And, even if the state doesn’t allow it, oddly enough the religious do it.

See here: Marriageable Age. Note that most state determined ages are 15 – 21, but some allow younger than the self-consent age, with parental/judicial approval. Given that many marriages are forced anyway, parental approval will often apply. It’s self-determination that suffers.

Note also, from that page, the table lower down, on religion, and the various sects of Islam. Hanafi and Jafari Islam: age 9 for girls. These are the sects of Islam of Pakistan and Iran, where child marriages occur.

Still nothing to do with Islam, Saira?

When that’s acceptable, you think that’s normal.

They are taboo subjects anyway, but in this culture they are even more taboo.

Once you bring shame to your family, that’s it.

The consequences are, you could be killed, you could be ostracised.

Killed??? In the UK, you might be killed, for honour. We know of several cases that have made the news.

I wonder how the rest of the Loose Women panel are taking this. They are the ‘liberals’ that would shoot down as a racist any non-Muslim that said this (despite Saira’s insistence they should not) .

But, this is general knowledge.

NOT ALL MUSLIMS – Yes, we know. But enough. Too many.

Literally, the whole family splits up. When I came on here to talk about me, it was a family member. It took me years to come out and say it. I think I just did it spontaneously on Loose Women. The repercussions on my family have been horrendous. They didn’t believe me. They had a go at my mum. …

But wait … this is important

It went all the way back to Pakistan and the family there.

This is what a lot of liberal lefties don’t get.

They see our lovely British Muslims like Saira, or their hijabi friend at school, and they are totally clueless about the extent to which these ‘unacceptable’ cultural practices are so easily imported to the UK, whether it’s this topic now, or abuse, or the earlier one, of Islamic terrorism. They have no idea what their nice Muslim friends are NOT telling them.

The left just don’t get it. Labour just don’t get it. Jermey Corbyn just doesn’t get it. That’s why he’d rather nudge Sarah Champion, MP, off the front bench, for daring to say, “Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs“, and leave the gangs to continue grooming.

The Conservative government hasn’t been much better. But, just this week, we had …

Another very important point coming up¬†…

They did a study at Hull university, and the research in 2015 found out that “Official police data suggest that incidences of sexual violence among South Asian women are low, however, this new research suggests it is happening, but not reported.

As you would expect from a close knit community.

I want to say that, if there is anybody, in the South Asian community, or any community for that matter, please note that there are help lines, and you can talk in confidence. Even if you don’t want to take it any further, or get something off your chest, please do so. I’ll tell you something, that happened to me at thirteen, and that affected the rest of my life.

Now, here comes Jane Moore, working her way up to the patently obvious,¬† …

They are saying that the increase [in reporting] from the Asian community has increased since the broadcast of the Three Girls**, because that was largely, but not all Asian men.

(** Rochdale’s infamous an dramatised case of the prosecution of a Muslim grooming gang abusing young white girls)

I think what Jane should have said was, they were largely but not all Pakistani [some British born but Pakistani families] Muslim men, because some were Muslim men from other Muslim backgrounds. I’m not aware any were non-Muslim. To be specific:

Nine men were convicted, of whom eight were of British Pakistani origin and one was an Afghan asylum-seeker. – from Rochdale child sex abuse ring.

They were all Muslim.

And here comes the obvious …

The majority of perpetrators of organised abuse are white. And the second largest group are Asian. Now that may be because a lot of it goes unreported. We should also point out that it happens in white families.

The conflation of issues here is astounding.

  • It’s not white v Asian. The significant figures are Pakistani Muslim v everyone else.
  • Of the ‘family’ child abuse, those numbers differ so much you’d expect an absolute figure to be greatest among the largest group you’re identifying, whether that’s white, non-white (including black, for example), specifically Asian (including Sikhs and Hindus, for example), even more specifically Pakistani Muslim, or Muslim. This matters.
  • Muslims are only a small percentage of the UK population, and Pakistani Muslims even smaller (Saira’s concern) .
  • Again, you’d expect a largest absolute figure in other groups.
  • You’d expect a similar rate (%) among all groups, except, with lower reporting in Pakistani Muslim communities, the numbers should be lower.
  • Jane is also conflating in-family abuse, with the grooming gang abuse.
  • Of this particular type of grooming, it is public, under the noses of the community, local police and social workers

From a story based on information from Haras Rafiq, from Quilliam

A think tank has claimed that 84 per cent of people convicted of child grooming-gang offences since 2005 were Asian.

Type 1 offenders work in groups such as grooming gangs to target victims based on vulnerability, while Type 2 offenders form paedophile rings to carry out abuse because of a specific sexual interest in children.

Jane …

The whole thing that props this up is the conspiracy of silence …

And you continue to be silent on the religion. But, on the specif c problem of abuse, no matter what the cause, I’ll leave the final word with Saira …

The only thing that I would say, is that whereas those girls [Three Girls case] did go to the sexual health worker to get condoms, and the social worker was involved, there was a pattern, so it could be traced. In an Asian household, these girls aren’t seen.

They can never be detected, unless somebody from the community or a member of the family puts their hands up bravely and says we’ve got a problem here.

Best of luck with that.

A Problem for Islam

Muslims generally don’t want Islam to be criticised at all – I mean really don’t want it to be criticised. This is all to do with the depth of conviction they are induced into, indoctrinated into.

Many will even throw other aspects of their own identity and the identities of others under the bus, in order to save face for Islam, to save the honour of Islam. Characters like Miqaad Versi, of the Muslim Council of Britain, seem to devote much effort to writing to editors of newspapers to point out how racist and Islamophobic they are for any headline of piece that tarnishes the name of Islam.

The BBC have been so cajoled into submission that all ‘Asians’ are smeared, by a refusal to make a more specific identification of the culprits in some case or other. They refuse to identify culprits as Pakistani Muslim, when they clearly are, and instead identify them as Asian, as if spreading the blame around a bit is somehow less racist.

We’ve seen this instinctive protection of Islam many times following Islamic terror attacks. This is how it often goes:

  • Islamic terrorist commits some heinous act, and declares it to be in the name of Islam.
  • The press report it as an Islamic terror attack (if ever more reluctant to do so).
  • Islamic organisations cry out, “Nothing to do with Islam! … Islamophobia!” Because the good name of Islam is the most important thing in such a situate.
  • Eventually the same organisations get around to expressing sorrow for the loss of life … but they don’t really see why they should need to, since it’s nothing to do with Islam or the many peaceful Muslims who wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing.
  • Watch how quickly these organisations take the opportunity to point out the white far right when a far more rare non-Islamic terror attack occurs.

Basically, Muslims have talked themselves into a corner, in order to defend Islam.

They could have been straight from the beginning:

  • Yes, there are some uncomfortable aspects of the religion which are too easy to take literally.
  • Yes, the Quran is inerrant and that makes it difficult to move on away from the value systems that were prevalent at the time the religion emerged.
  • Yes, we need a reformed Islam … WHAO! NO!!!!

Of course, this is basically what the Ahmadi Muslims did. They invented another prophet. They even went to the trouble of getting round the thorny issue of Mohammed being the supposed last prophet, by declaring Mohammed was indeed the last prophet of revelation and their later prophet came along to help interpret Islam so that it was truly a religion of peace.

And look how they are persecuted for it. In Pakistan they are unable to call themselves Muslims. Their mosques are attacked.

The problem with all, even the Ahmadi version, this is that it’s a massive fudge.

And as much as I admire Saira Khan’s efforts to deal with some of these problems, I can see the conflicted position she is in.

Islam has influenced cultures for so long that those cultures are Islamic ones – the people of those cultures say so themselves … Muslim lands. And yet, there are aspects of those varied cultures that remain unique and visible. And this is what the apologists for Islam latch on to. They will throw many of these diverse cultures under the bus, in order to safe the honour of the one common factor: Islam.

I say all this is a problem for Islam. But of course it’s actually a problem for Muslims. And more recently has become a problem for non-Muslims.

Explaining My Bias Against Islam, and Christianity

There’s always some point in a discussion, having had a dig at Islam, there comes a necessary aside. So here it is, for future reference.

“Why do you pick on Islam? What about Sikhs, Hindus? What about Christianity?”

This question inevitably follows. I don’t only pick on Islam, but it does attract greater attention now.

Because, after a lifetime of opposing Christianity and seeing secular success in taming it, Islam has burst on the scene in the UK and undone much of the work of secular liberal progress. To the point that in support of ‘minorities’ (but not minorities within minorities – FGM victims, persecuted and killed for honour, apostates) the second largest religion in the world gets a free pass on way too much of its own bigotry.

The rhetoric of ‘Victim Islam’ (fake Islamophobia) has even contributed to many young people rejecting secular liberal values like free speech, in favour of the dangerous ‘hate speech’ laws.

It started with Blair, funding self-appointed Islamic organisations, several later shut down for their links to extremists. It has continued after 9/11, with excessive and poor attempts to ‘protect’ Muslims in the UK, with ridiculous statements like “Nothing to do with Islam”. Lies like that have only increased anti-Muslim sentiment as well as opposition to Islam.

So, yes. I oppose Christianity and Islam, explicitly. I find them both antithetical to Humanist liberal values. I won’t support their legal outlaw, or any violence against their followers. But I do oppose them and argue against their support.

As for Hindu and Sikh religions … I do criticise them, when the need arises. In the UK we occasionally have reason to criticise. But, anecdotally, personally, I find they accept the secular nature of the UK more readily. So, while I’d probably disagree with them on some grounds, I don’t know enough or find I’ve needed to know enough to make an issue of it.

Islam and Christianity are in my face constantly. Fair enough – proselytise by all means. But expect a response. And don’t think I’ll look the other way, as many police, politicians and press have done, actively, in the face of evil done in the name of or under the cover of religion.

You can tell I’m not one of the passive aggressive atheists that complain more about atheists like me, in some daft deference to religion. Religions deserve ZERO deference. They are ideologies, like any other. To be criticised and ridiculed, like any other. There is a ‘spiritual’ aspect, but religions are NOT about spirituality, but about propagating THEIR particular dogmas, politically.

There are many very nice Christians, Muslims and other religious people that follow their religion and don’t ram it down my throat, and don’t try to impose their personal ideas of sexual propriety on others (it’s always about sex). Many in my own family are like that. I’ll argue the toss over religion, if they like, but otherwise, their beliefs are their business.

I’ll even agree that some, a few, religious people are far nicer than most non-religious people. There’s a reason. Nice people are attracted to the sales pitch of religion, and naturally cherry pick just the Goldilocks parts of the doctrine. The bad people in religion I’d say were already religious, and somehow manage to convince themselves there’s no incongruity: Roman Catholic Mafia gangsters, paedophile priests. So, anyone that is seriously lacking in empathy isn’t going to be attracted to the nice religious sales pitch, and if they have no need for religion, they will boost the number of evil non-religious people: the non-religious killing regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot.

But on the whole, and very specifically too in some cases, religion is a divisive force that I oppose.

That’s how it is. I value Global Liberal Secular Democratic Humanism. Not religion. Certainly not Islam.

For more detail on ‘Why Islam’, see¬†My Problem With Islam.

For my view of Islamophobia, see Our Islamophobic Politicians.

For a list of other posts on Islam, see Islam.

Nick Cohen Finds Cover To Smear Robinson

The recent and undeniably stupid Tommy Robinson walked into jail. And this has given cover to many people that wanted to jump on the bandwagon. Perhaps made uncomfortable by his ‘activist journalism’, as he’s moved away from street protest himself, this last installment has proved too much of a temptation.

So, Nick Cohen jumped aboard.

Tommy Robinson and the rise of the new extremists

This is a thinly disguised hit piece on Robinson. Though disguised as general commentary on ‘extremism’ politics, that talks about the funding of political enterprises, it also throws in a few other individuals, but only in passing, for good measure, to keep up the tone so that it looks less like a hit piece with one target. He mentions Katie Hopkins, for example. But, Robinson gets more paragraphs than anyone else.

Why is Robinson lumped in with extremists? What has been extreme, exactly, about his activism? If you think he has, could you be explicit.

He created a street protest movement, the EDL, which he says himself was beleaguered because it attracted the unsavoury elements. Some of Robinson’s and the EDL’s reported thuggish behaviour was actually throwing those elements out. You’ll also note that in another context, when AntiFa are on the scene there’s often violence, and ‘arrests’ are reported – though what fails to be reported is that it’s usually AntiFa doing the attacking and sustaining most arrests. No matter. Blame Robinson.

So, other than a street protest movement, what extremism?

I don’t think Labour is considered an extreme party even though it has attracted left wing extremists all along, and arguably has them running the show now – but all very mainstream.

It doesn’t take Nick long to get down to trolling the uneducated masses. There’s the usually snobbish hat tip to the working class ‘beer hall’. But I suppose the ‘Doc Martens’¬† is very much a reference to the Reggae loving skinheads against fascism, isn’t it? Oh, well, may be not. Football thugs? Yes, that must be it.

On the point of football, what’s not covered here is the Football Lads Alliance. Look on Twitter and they are clearly labelled in the same light as Robinson often is: fascists, Nazis, racists. The FLA t might well appear on Nick’s radar when it has smeared so sufficiently to let Nick write a piece on it without seeming to be too obviously anti-working class. British football has undergone a transformation since its skinhead ‘bovver boot’ days. It’s now a family affair, supporting local communities, with female directors and women’s teams becoming stars alongside their male first team counterparts. Watch any FLA march and you’ll see people of all ethnicities, and, gosh, some females. And banners representing elements of supporters of many clubs – it’s serious business if you can unite football ‘thugs’. It turns out their message is pretty much the same as Tommy Robinson’s – it’s just that Tommy Robinson has been louder, and he’s been saying it longer.

Robinson has some issues, there’s no doubt. But, his actual criminality is, when you examine it, far more mundane than many other street activist groups, such as AntiFa, that not only get a pass from the press (if they can keep the violence below the radar) but are actually endorsed as Nazi-punchers. Robinson’s criminality emerges from his over exuberant stupidity more than any criminal intent, and also gets a good helping from conveniently unrelated charges being filed, and even thrown out of court. And what he genuinely does do that is criminal doesn’t remotely compare to the criminality that he protests, both terrorism and grooming gangs.

Yet more people on the ‘progressive left’ hate Robinson with a passion they seem unable to muster for the child killers and child rapists. They’ll happily scream about Robinson, but would be much happier if they could sweep the bomb bits, body parts and broken childhoods under the carpet.

To call (or, as in Nicks piece, to sneakily imply, with sufficient deniability) Robinson an extremist is extremely dishonest.

When Julia Ebner misrepresented Robinson in this way, though a little more explicitly, with less deniability, she did it in the Guardian, but while she worked out of the offices of Quilliam. Haras Rafiq felt it necessary to go on Newsnight with Robinson and actually deny that he, or Quilliam, endorsed what Ebner had written. Ebner didn’t last long after that. She still manages to do what Nick has done here: write a piece ostensibly on extremist politics, but name dropping Robinson with sufficient frequency,¬† alongside the names of actual extremists, that the inference is near impossible to fall for. Throw ‘alt-right’ in a few times, without actually saying Robinson is alt-right, and that will be enough to get retweets* of the article by those that will do the job more explicitly. And, when writing these articles, conveniently avoid an explicit meaning of the term alt-right – because Robinson is obviously not alt-right, since in terms of racism Robinson is as polar opposite of Richard Spencer as Nick Cohen is. But, the ‘racist’ smears will follow on nicely just by making sure ‘Tommy Robinson’ and ‘alt-right’ appear in the same article that avoids saying the former IS NOT the latter.

*Money making click bait that help Nick’s income? Odd, that Nick, a paid journalist, homes in on Robinson’s earning capacity, as if earning a living from a cause one is passionate about is less moral than other moralising journalism. That’s how the world works.¬†

Oh, and apparently, Robinson has been raised to the grand position of ‘politician’ or is it lowered – you can never tell with politicians. Anyway, this seems absurd:

Most conservatives steered well clear of Tommy Robinson, even though he was one of the few politicians who can speak well to the racist strain in white working class British culture.

“can speak well to”? Well, if joining with people of various ethnicities, targeting one specific political judicial religious ideology, and being particularly clear that his real targets are Islamists, terrorists and grooming gangs, amounts to racism, then surely criticising the Indian Caste system or FGM is racist too. Yes, I know that some ‘progressive’ numpties think it is, but that’s besides the point. Pointing an accusing finger at the abusers and terrorists that currently over-represent in some (non-Monolithic) ‘communities’ is not racism.

In this context, you should note, though it’s often ignored, that Tommy Robinson targets the genuinely ‘Islamophobic’ politicians, police and press – you know, the ones that have such an irrational fear of Islam they will look the other way as abuse goes on, as Andrew Norfolk did, until he snapped out of his ‘progressive’ mindset and came to his senses.

“racist strain in white working class British culture” – Too easy, Nick. You know full well that for so many, this means ALL working class people. I hear this from people that are, or were working class too, but managed to get a reasonable education, leave their council estates for the suburbs, and now look down on the scum they left behind. The very people that jump down your throat if in talking about ISIS you don’t qualify it with NOT ALL MUSLIMS.

What about the title of the article? “Tommy Robinson and the rise of the new extremists”

Well, it doesn’t actually call Robinson an extremist. And we often see article authors using the get out of jail card, “Well, I didn’t write the headline.”

Many working class people, that lack the sophisticated education enjoyed by many that look down on them, are far more ‘straight talking’ – which obviously means not being as capable of being judicious with their smears as the more literary journalists that thinly disguise their contempt for the likes of Robinson.

For other topics of public concern, what would be called ‘people power’, is extremism when engaging in the thoroughly decent thing of not taking a dislike to Islam. Why do religions get such unholy passes to promote such barbaric ideas, and then get away with claiming to be a religion of peace?

It’s typical that the credibility of a call to ‘people power’ very much depends on who is doing the calling. Jeremy Corbyn manages to appear interested in the people, while looking down on the actual people that have no voice. He’s become the leader of the Labour party on the back of his say nothing, commit to nothing’ skills in this regard (“I abhor all bombing”).

But I’m afraid there’s somebody else shouting now, making the very claims about police and political corruption that allowed grooming gangs to operate in plain site. Maggie Oliver investigated and brought to justice just a small number of the Rochdale grooming gang members. Her success has given her a voice (and funnily enough, a means of earning a living from her valuable experiences). What’s Maggie Oliver calling for now?

People power.

Tommy Robinson was doing people power when ‘Islamophobia’ (the fear of criticising Islam or Muslims) was well established by Blair’s multiculturalist funding of self declared Muslim representative organisations.

Now, Maggie Oliver is saying what Robinson has been saying:

Remember, Islam is a very conservative political judicial religious ideology. The judicial part is Sharia, that so many Muslims turn to for justice. The politics is written into all religions that make social prescriptions and proscriptions, but it’s even more explicit in Islam, which is anti-secular and has an explicit goal of Islamic domination written into it.

Many traditional liberals like Nick have already commented on how the Left’s alliance with Islamism is characteristic of actual extremes having common goals – rub out the sensible voices in the middle and deal with the final battle of what looks like interchangeable good and evil later.

I won’t bother asking for examples of Robinson’s racism. They never materialise. Some very credible examples would have appeared by now were there any truth in the charge. That failed narrative has moved on.

The ‘far-right’, ‘alt-right’ and ‘extremist’ charges are much easier to make and not support, when you don’t even have to back them up. They are charges that are vague enough that they are far easier to deny you made them.

So, what extremes does Robinson represent? Well, you could actually make the effort to ask him.

 

To write a piece about extremism, and include Tommy Robinson, who Nick has sort of defended in other contexts, and the only difference then and now is his latest arrest, … well, that seems like outright dishonesty.

Sure, Nick thought he Robinson didn’t help himself. But an extremist? Like, comparible to say an Islamic extremist? Seriously? Has Tommy Robinson EVER called for the harming or ANYONE?

If we take Anjem Choudary, who approves of dath for apostasy, as the low bar of extremism, and ISIS as the high bar, compared to which even Hitler wins only because of numbers, then ‘extremist’ is already pretty wide. Even then, based on death for apostasy alone, that’s a lot of Muslims you’re calling extremists.

How about AntiFa? Sure. They are extremists. They shut down people they disagree with. Violently. That’s pretty extreme. Has Robinson EVER recommended that?

No. Nick’s piece is pure bullshit, when you look at in that context.

It’s funny, because I’m pretty sure Nick has lamented the tendency for the Left to call everyone Nazis, fascists, and other things they are not. What happened?

 

I suppose otherwise rational people can go off the rails sometimes.

Islam, LBGT, and Peter Tatchell

So this event happened a few years back. “Public reactions to LGBT-Muslim Solidarity initiative – East London, 21 October 2015”:

The reason I’m posting now is that Peter Tatchell is still selling this narrative.

It was a brave attempt by the great Peter Tatchell, the long term campaigner for LBGT cause against persecution, particularly by the law and the police.

I support Peter’s support of gay Muslims. An since I support freedom of belief, I support their right to be gay and Muslim. No problem.

Unfortunately, Peter suffers from the common blindness that has a tendency to think a critic of Islam is an anti-Muslim bigot. He has joined in the smears of people outspoken about Islam. And it’s this aspect of the narrative being sold here that I object to.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell, 2 minutes in:

“I feel that LGBT communities and Muslim communities are ideally placed to show solidarity with one another because of the long history of homophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment that they both face.”

Let’s go through some of the problems with this statement, that sweeps across time and geography selectively picking out the narrative that Peter Tatchell has been pushing for some time.

LGBT communities, and Muslim communities are not monoliths (we are told so often) that have some uniting common ground.

The long history of homophobia in Britain is there to be examined. But now? No. Some remnant homophobia among the ignorant, but generally socially accepted.

The most homophobic messages in Britain today come from religious people, and, accounting for population proportions, proportionately more from Muslim ‘communities’. That is, after all, why this event was put on.

And, you will find that the most horrendous stories where gay people are rejected wholesale by family and community are from gay Muslims and ex-Muslims. The video above starts with one, and others are recounted. And, since the religion is often specifically cited as the reason for the rejection and persecution, the idea that LGBT communities, and Muslim communities have something in common is laughable – unless you see the common ground as actually having polar opposite views on homosexuality.

Of course, not all Muslims are homophobic. And not all LBGT are not anti-Muslim. And plenty of LGBT people are anti-Islam. And not all non-Muslims are not homophobic.

It’s a messy world, and the above poor attempt to persuade Muslims that they have a lot in common with LBGT because they are both persecuted is a lie. LBGT is well accepted now in the wider British society, and it’s Muslims doing the persecuting of LBGT now. It’s an insane narrative.

Then, add to that the fact that Muslims are not a minority.

We are told there are 1.6 billion Muslims. That isn’t a minority. It’s the 2nd largest and fastest growing religion. And in ‘Muslim lands’ (that monolithic term beloved by many Muslims) Muslim and ex-Muslim LBGT are at risk of losing their lives. You will have seen the images of gay men hanged on cranes in public squares in Iran.

Nevertheless, you can bet your life that without having to endorse LBGT one iota, the Islamic homophobes will be rubbing their hands, because their victim status has been turned up a notch and validated by the LBGT community in this video. This is madness.

Oh, wait. I’ll tell you where there’s common ground between LBGT and homophobic misogynistic Muslim groups. When Maryam Namazie tried to present her views on the misogynistic nature of Islam at a university, the ISOC shut her down. And then the LBGTSOC backed up the ISOC, not Maryam. This is madness.

By all means get as much support from the Muslim communities as you can. Try to persuaded them that freedom of belief and freedom of sexual orientation are valuable freedoms. It was obviously nice to see that some Muslims agreed (we don’t know to what extent the video was edited).

But the problem with trying to set a false narrative is it has the habit of backfiring. The emperor’s nakedness is obvious. And speaking of nakedness, at 2:13

Muslim: If I don’t approve this, doesn’t mean they are my enemy. It doesn’t mean I haven’t got tolerance against (for) them. I am tolerant. …

That sounds like freedom of belief and tolerance to me.

Off screen interviewer: Don’t you believe that the fact you are saying that you don’t approve of something is lessening people who are gay and Muslim. You’re not saying that they deserve to be gay.

This is typical Leftie BS. You’re worth is not set by whether someone believes that being gay is OK. It is set by yourself. If this Muslim man, as a parent of a gay son or daughter, were to persecute them, that would be infringing on their freedom. But if he disapproves, but is tolerant of them, then what’s the problem? After all, Peter Tatchell is here preaching tolerance and he’s not a Muslim. And I doubt all ex-Muslims present approve of Islam.

Msulim: Do you approve of somebody walking barefoot without clothes?

To which one could answer yes or no, depending on one’s approval or disapproval. That’s freedom of belief. I think he expected here to disapprove, but she may have been about to approve. But she lost the plot when she tried to deny the comparison to right to express your feelings in nakedness to the rights of LBGT. He wasn’t denying rights, he was speaking of personal approval., which is free to give or not.

They do get a bit confused.

Of course, the interviewer is merely arguing here that the Muslim’s view is devaluing. It’s a handy rhetorical tool – it can be useful to throw back at someone that accuses you of devaluing them, while they happily devalue you. Where have we seen that before? Oh, yes, when Peter Tatchell complains about how Muslims are devalued by critics of Islam, and then goes on to devalue those critics of Islam, calling them anti-Muslim bigots.

So, to be clear, freedom of belief is important. Thought policing, the persecution of people for their beliefs, is bad. But, trying to persuade someone to change their beliefs, through dialogue, and through protest (Peter Tatchell’s fame is built on it) is legitimate.

Sadly, Peter doesn’t seem to think this is the case when it comes to criticising or protesting against Islam, because, as this narrative goes, Muslims are a minority ally of the LBGT community.

Who knew? Someone best tell the gays and their hangmen in Iran that they are allies.

Another Muslim interviewed, asked if they should unite is against a common oppression, having just been told that his community is doing the oppression:

No comment, man. No comment.

 

 

 

Our Islamophobic Politicians

The hot trend at the time of writing is the call for the Conservative Party to investigate itself for the amount of ‘Islamophobia’ engaged in, by members or MPs.

Obviously, this is kick-back for the accusations of antisemitism in the Labour party, and it looks like Corbyn is now benefiting from his alliances in the Islamic world, as race baiting CMB and their puppet master Miqdaad Versi push this for all they’re worth.

To Conservatives in particular. You have lost the narrative to Islamic fundamentalists. You bought into the ‘multiculturalism’ narrative of Blair’s Labour, and you have lost. But, as you’ll see, you can start to save your party.

Politicians generally. You are being conned on ‘Islamophobia’.
The people know this.
The people know that YOU know this.
Do you realise the contempt with which you are currently held for this cowardice?

Islamophobia:

  • a) a tool used by Islamists (those politically motivated to further Islam and Sharia)
    to shut down discussion of the worst practices in Islam,
    by conflating criticism of Islam, anti-Muslim bigotry, and racism.
  • b) a fear instilled in Muslims, based on indoctrination into a cultish reverence
    for Mohammed and the Quran,
    such they submit themselves to Islam,
    often above family members,
    so that some would kill their own children or siblings if they left Islam.
  • c) a fear instilled in Muslims by Islamic fundamentalists,
    that to speak out about the bad practices in Islam is
    un-Islamic, treason, blasphemous, heretical,
    even default apostasy by fiat … and threateningly, a death sentence
  • d) the fear of Islam instilled into UK politicians, police and press that shuts them up,
    and even persuades them to collude in the silencing of those that speak out about the worst aspects of Islam.
  • e) the fear of Islam instilled in politicians across Europe,
    that Muslim unrest is more difficult to deal with than any popularist reactionary unrest,
    so that they would rather kow tow to Muslim community demands.

Islamist have succeeded. We realise you just want it all to go away. Your opponents know how to play this game. It’s a rhetorical method that works very well throughout the wider Islamic world. But, you are too scared to do anything about it.

Andrew Norfolk knew of this fear of Islam, when he accepted he’d sat on a report on paedophile Muslim grooming gangs, and let the rapes continue unexposed.

Maggie Oliver knew this, when her GMP seniors deflected her from investigating a case. Only with #threegirls in Rochdale, did she get anywhere.

Maggie Oliver realises you have no stomach to do the right thing. So she now calls for people power.

But we know what you politicians and police have done when people have raised this. We have seen you smear those that speak out, or at best, you have looked the other way.

Labour sacked MP Sarah Champion. They even deselected a Labour councillor.

Decent head teacher, Ray Honeyford, was hounded out, three decades ago, for trying to protect and improve the lot of children, and YOU or your fellow MPs let this happen.

Here’s what you can do.

  • You can start by rejecting the term ‘Islamophobia’.
  • Islam is the set of ideas.
  • Muslims are the people.
  • Oppose actual anti-Muslim bigotry, where individual decent Muslims are persecuted.
  • Oppose racism.

On that last point, I’m sure you’ve been told, but, Islam is not a race. There are many ‘white’ Muslims, and many ‘non-white’ non-Muslims. Make sure you are prosecuting actual racism, and not opinions on what is just another set of ideas.

If you play this ‘Islamophobia’ game, of seeing Muslims as victims while a minority, then you’ll find that you are becoming the minority.

Decent secular Muslims will tell you all this too. Perhaps you don’t want to listen. Perhaps you’ve already submitted to Islam.

 

 

Dishonest James O’Brien Reads Adolf Rudd

This is an extract from an earlier post: Lies, Damned Lies, and .. Political Rhetoric, 2016, post-Brexit, and the lies told by Remainers.

Here’s James O-Brien on Amber Rudd’s speech at the Conservative part conference: this clip. Have a listen, it’s worth it.

obrienhate

Just a bit of angry rhetoric? Not quite. Here’s the text of what he said. First, the opening from the LBC web page:

This startling observation stopped James O’Brien in his tracks – the eerie similarities between Amber Rudd’s plan to list foreign workers and a passage in Mein Kampf.

The eerie similarities? If that’s so then LBC’s programme listing has eerie similarities to Hitler’s passage in Mein Kampf – at least LBC’s programme list is actually a list.

So, what did O’Brien say? Well, here it is. But bear in mind that Rudd said nothing like this, didn’t say a thing about lists, about a nations existence and greatness, a sharp line of distinction, didn’t give an anecdote about a plasterer, … And yet O’Brien re-reads this in parts, emphasising the meanings from Mein Kampf, with not a jot from Rudd’s speech.

“Very important that firms declare how much of their workforce is foreign because they’re just domiciled in this state simply as earners of their livelihood there. They’re not members of the nation, they’re not members of the foundation and the support of the nation’s existence and greatness.

You have to have a sharp line of distinction between those who are members of the nation and those who are just domiciled here as earners of their livelihoods.”

No, that wasn’t from Amber Rudd’s speech yesterday, I’m really sorry, that’s from Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

A sharp line of distinction between those who as members of the nation are the foundation and support of its existence and those who are domiciled in the state simply as earners of their livelihood here. Do you recognise that need for a sharp distinction? Do you feel it? Do you applaud that today?

Do you cheer it because you’ve heard some meaningless anecdote about plasterer whose wages have gone up by roughly the same percentage over the last ten or fifteen years that almost everybody else in the British workforce has? You see the need for that sharp line of distinction? Are you going to swallow that today?

A sharp line of distinction between those who are the foundation and support of the nation’s existence and greatness. And those, like almost everybody I’ve encountered so far today, who were just domiciled in the states simply as earners of their livelihood here. What do you think will come next?

If you’re going to have a sharp line of distinction between people born here and people who just work here, you’re enacting chapter two of Mein Kempf. Strange times.

“sharp line of distinction” – quoted once from Mein Kampf, and then repeated four more times. Who would come away from this thinking that phrase wasn’t part of Rudd’s speech?

This is like reading Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s speech and presenting it as Malcom-X. No. It’s worse than that. Because despite the differences, at least King and Malcom-X were on the same subject. This Holocaust precursor from Hitler was actually about hate and demonisation. Nowhere did Rudd demonise or even criticise foreign workers in speech. What criticism she did include was entirely about the current UK methods of managing foreign workers. This is a particular malicious and dishonest clip from O’Brien – and plenty of people have bought it hook line and sinker.

Citing and re-citing phrases from Mein Kampf and playing on those words and meaning as if they are Rudd’s, is a straw man argument clearer than many I’ve seen for a long time.

By all means disagree with the policy, but at least criticise the policy and not some trumped up misrepresentation.

It’s difficult to emphasise how bad this is. His repeat of the¬†“sharp line of distinction” very specifically gives the impression it’s in Rudd’s speech. I’ve seen this clip posted on a Lib Dem Facebook page a few times, and people are buying it, reposting it, and becoming outraged at the ‘fact’ that Rudd is a Nazi.

At this point it’s worth looking at a tweet from O’Brien:

No kidding. I’ve added the twitter ‘exchange’¬†below as an update. Won’t defend his own misrepresentations but happy to point it out in others.

What Rudd Said

I’m not kidding about this. Some people are seriously claiming the Tories are fascists, and it isn’t being used metaphorically. A UK elected government, that will abide by UK election rules and hand over power if they lose the next election, that have none of the actual features of actual fascist governments.

Let’s have a look at what Rudd actually said in this context of foreign workers.

I believe immigration has brought many benefits to the nation. It has enhanced our economy, our society and our culture.

This is why I want to reduce net migration while continuing to ensure we attract the brightest and the best.

Because it’s only by reducing the numbers back down to sustainable levels that we can change the tide of public opinion … so once again immigration is something we can all welcome.

The test should ensure people coming here are filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do.

But it’s become a tick box exercise, allowing some firms to get away with not training local people. We won’t win in the world if we don’t do more to upskill our own workforce.

  • No xenophobic closing of doors, but a limit on immigration to manageable levels.
  • Actually making a case for immigration, at manageable levels.
  • Acknowledgement of the concerns that caused the Brexit win.
  • This is the only reference to a ‘test’, and it’s not a call for a test but rather a measure of policy effectiveness.
  • She’s actually addressing what many people have wanted addressing, the failure to train British citizens.

Labour and Lib Dems (I’m a member of the latter) have not been shy about demanding better education and training of our young people, and have been quick to complain about the lack of training. The current system sees some employers using foreign¬†workers when they should be training British people. Note that this is necessary for British competitiveness – something Labour and Lib Dems sign up to.

These are not controversial points from Rudd. Prior to Brexit and Syria and Merkel’s cock up, this could have come from any of the major parties, not just¬†UKIP. Labour and Tories have lower immigration targets.

The O’Brien misrepresentation and his responsibility for its spread on social media is the only controversial issue here.

I dropped¬†the above criticism in O’Brien’s¬†Twitter stream once or twice soon after I posted it here¬†and had no reaction from him – O’Brien owes me nothing, fair enough. I’ve posted it elsewhere, but I haven’t trolled O’Brien with it. Then I saw this retweet of an O’Brien tweet …

jamesobrien-hypocrite

Bursting The White Supremacy Bubble

I was asked what Richard Spencer said that was wrong in the interview with Gary Young.

THE KLAN IS BACK

Where do I start. Well, let’s start right here – and this alone has many things wrong with it:

“Africans have¬†benefited¬†from the experience of white supremacy”

No. On many counts. If this rambles a bit, it’s because there is so much wrong with it and the notions its built on.

Starting with those living at the time of slavery, there were zero benefits and lots of negatives to being a slave, … or do you not think so?¬†Slavery was a system of supreme power and cruelty. Not really something our slave owning ancestors can be proud of. Slavery showed no intrinsic sign of superior intellect. Many working hands¬†on slave ships might have been pressed into service and will have been dumber than many slaves. Many slave owners survived by their capacity for cruelty, not their intellect. But sure, some cruel and intelligent slavers made a good living. All of which begs the question, is intellectual superiority enough, or even necessary, for power supremacy?

So, let’s have a look at ‘supremacy’ more generally. We know from the way the white supremacy narrative goes that they think the power superiority of Europe derives from a greater intelligence, so I’ll try to focus on power and intelligence.

Not all modern self-made millionaires are the brightest people. They make their money by being hard working, persistent, good at making money off the work others put in, or luck.

There are many rich crooks that earn their money by being just clever enough to outwit the competition in their sphere, and just clever enough to steal from the less clever, and need not be particularly bright in other respects. Crooks can also make money off people far brighter than themselves. All it takes is the capacity to break a trust, to engage in fraudulent and corrupt practices.

There are some really clever people, with high IQs, that don’t have the capacity for empathy that others have, and are quite able to manipulate their way to power. We call them sociopaths, or psychopaths (clinical details of terminology aside) – they are not all mad killers. Oddly, the most empathetic people we have can have no empathy in common with someone that has no empathy, and so we find that many very empathetic people have none to spare for the sociopath. Someone with a high empathy drive, but without the intellect or interest to think things through, will even see these fellow humans, that didn’t choose to have the brains they have, as being non-human monsters. And,¬†conversely,¬†the natural sociopath with an intellect can learn the skill of¬†appearing¬†to have empathy while feeling none. Some sociopaths might be ruthless and selfish in business, while others might make great contributions because they are single minded in their focus on what interests them, rather than dedicating time and energy to feeding their feelings towards others. It’s and odd world.

So, with this, and many other factors that lead to power, in a society as a whole, and members of a particular society, what does it mean to be ‘supreme’, to be a ‘white supremacist’ in particular. This ‘supremacy’ attribute is a pretty complicated thing.

The power superiority of European nations came from fortunate circumstances in Europe.¬†At one time other parts of the world were way ahead of Europe. There hasn’t been enough time in a few short centuries for evolution to have an impact to make white Europeans suddenly smarter. There’s a certain irony here in that many white supremacists are idiots that reject much of evolutionary theory, yet seem able to figure out that ‘something’ made white Europeans smarter, all of a sudden. Round about 1500, maybe? Or 1700? Who knows when we lucky whites became supreme, but I know that for some time, in what we call ‘the dark ages’, we weren’t.

The strange truth is that centuries ago, any bell curve difference on intellectual supremacy was already there when Europe was a dumber civilization. If Europeans got smarter, it wasn’t some sudden genetic brain boost.

If anything history would suggest that mixing of cultures made Europe ‘superior’ in power. A single¬†stable culture that works well in a stable climate setting with sufficient resources has little pressure for technological change.¬†Warring small nation states with lots of trade, and exchange of ideas and peoples stimulates change. The Renaissance, the Enlightenment, science, philosophy, if they come together they can create massive progress, as they did in Europe. The introduction of Arabic works, the re-introduction of Greek works, they all boosted a Europe that was awakening in the ruins of Rome, looking back on a civilization that had been way ahead in its prime. Then, once technical progress is under way, it takes off quickly – which in itself is a massive story, involving many famous people, most of which were ‘white’ because, like religious persuasion, they happened to be born where they were. Any bright African, Indian, Asian in Europe at that time, free of an racist persecution, could join in as well as any white person – except that for many of our famous early scientists,¬†privilege gave them the capacity to do the work they did. That’s why much European science history is ‘white’, not because of any innate white supremacy.

Social change that’s unnecessary in small tribal systems becomes crucial in a more complex mercantile trading and technical societies. Wars and revolutions do much damage. Democracy works better.¬†But democracy doesn’t work so well if many are actual or effective slaves. First the barons wanted a greater say. Aristocratic elites still ruled, but the money of¬†mercantile¬†power started to speak. Actual slaves, the non-elites, women, they all eventually wanted the freedoms the elites enjoyed. Education increased, increasing the diversity of opportunity with it. With luck, a bright kid from some slum could break out, end up at university, and become a great engineer, while his intelligent counterpart in a South American tribe has no chance or learning any of the mathematics and science his European brother is exposed to. Privilege begets privilege, unless the privileged and powerful are prepared to share what they have.

All this comes together in Europe, and by fortune of circumstances, both dumb and bright white people, far from supreme, living in slums in the cities of the west, start to demand fairer conditions. Social change comes along with the greater voting franchise. A better understanding of biology, health, suffering … all these inspire many bright people to be better towards their fellow humans, to demand change. What amounts to a supremacy of power, money, technology, science, brings European states into competition, war, world domination, at the very time social improvements are afoot at home.

Not all these changes are smooth or balanced. While a good man might be helping the poor in slums back home, his brother might be in India beating down an uprising of oppressed and starving people. The power supremacy that can bring good continues to bring much harm in parallel. This is the messy world of the reality or Empire, not the simplistic ‘white supremacist’ world that idiots like Richard Spencer have in their minds. There are many dumb, evil and far from supreme people among the supreme European race, and many very bright and genuinely superior intellects among the people oppressed by this European superiority.

Don’t get me wrong. Empires have come and gone in the past. It was mostly shear good or bad fortune that determined whether you were a thicko with power in the supreme echelons of the white European culture, because your aunt was bedded by some duke, or whatever, or you were a brown¬†genius trying to figure out how to get this white European oppression out of your country, while still having to deal with cruel idiots in your own culture that make money off the back of the oppressors and help them maintain the oppression.

This is a very messy history with so many strands that it’s impossible to do them all justice here. But it should be clear enough that ‘white supremacism’ is one of the dumbest notions you could dream up, if only for the fact that so many white supremacists are thick. What the heck is supposed to be supreme about them?

The big joke is that by around the time Europe becomes a supreme power base, we are already mixed race. Apart from some isolated families that protect their ‘blood lines’, whether for race or mere genealogical reasons, we have been screwing our way around the world for several hundred years, and many people that think they are true blood white are not.

How about all white supremacists subject themselves to DNA tests and ANY ‘non-white genes’ gets you rejected from the master race. Good luck with that. Many will be rejected. The thing is, this definition of ‘white’ that’s supposed confer supremacy is such that a) doesn’t exist; b) certainly doesn’t confer supremacy (again, have you seen some of these dumbos).

But, let’s go with it. Let’s play Bell Curve. Suppose you can identify categories of peoples, that are identifiable by ‘race’, and that some category bell curves on intelligence show Group A is higher than¬†group B on some measure. What does that mean? …

It means in the overlap there are some seriously unintelligent people in both A and B. So, what do I want, if YOU insist we must split society?

I’ll tell you. I want to be in the group of white, black, brown, yellow, purple, any colour, as long as they are the smart non-racist ones. Those smart Jews that are top of the charts? I want to be in their camp, not stuck with knuckle dragging racist morons – even smart ones.

The thing is, statistics can be helpful. Identify a group and see that there is a group tendency to have some health deficiency, and you can target treatment better. But even here, individuals still count. Not all people in a statistically identifiable genetic group need have the condition your looking at – and that has serious implications if you get the targeted treatment wrong. If group A has a tendency to have the condition more than those in group B, so you target only group A, you leave those in group B with the condition to suffer. Such a statistical difference can only benefit everyone if limited resources are distributed according to the relative number of people in the groups, and the relative¬†occurrence¬†of the conditions. You have to do a lot of Baysian stuff to be effective. You can’t simply say, “Oh, group A has a high statistical bias for this condition, we’ll target only group A.”

And this is what the ‘white supremacists’ don’t get about the bell curves that they rely on for intelligence and supposed ‘supremacy’. It’s more complicated than just ‘race’ – and their’s isn’t even just about actual race, but apparent race, because, at least until they have prepared the internment camps where all the forced genetic testing can be done. They can’t tell who’s white and who isn’t, outside a very simple stark difference in colour. You could have a fine blood line going back to mad King George, but if your great gran got too friendly with a slave, you’re out of the master race.

On so many grounds, these ‘white supremacists’ don’t really know what they are talking about.

But, hey, those bright Jews?¬†If it’s genetic, why don’t we dumber white folks want what they have?¬†If some Jews are so bright, how seriously dumb was Hitler. Exterminated or exported a minority people, because he could. And yet they could have helped Germany recover from the devastation that resulted from its previous screw up of WWI.

But those Jews, those philosophers, scientists that survived, helped make America great, not the dumb white supremacists in the south. One of my heroes, Erik Kandel, left Europe in his youth to escape extermination, and went on to contribute to neuroscience of memory. I’m sure most sensible people will happily name their own great Jew. If what the the ‘white supremacists’ think is true, can you give me a genetic injection of Jewish intelligence please. If, as many antisemite will tell you, the Jews are really ruling the world, because they are so good at it, then instead of exterminating them, why don’t we work towards making ourselves that bright? Why make the world dumber, by killing off the intelligent ones? This ‘white¬†supremacism’ simply doesn’t make sense by their own standards or reckoning.

Getting back to Spencer’s claim. No. Africans Americans didn’t benefit from ‘white’ supremacy. They suffered under white idiocy and cruelty coupled with technological supremacy. They suffered at the hands of Christians men and women that failed to live up to the principles that a Jew supposedly taught them. The number of ironies to the ‘white supremacy’ stupidity is astounding. Thankfully, enough decent Europeans saw things differently, and just as they fought injustice that befell the ‘white inferiors’ at home, they opposed slavery. The African and Middle Eastern world under Islam continued with slavery long after Europe came to its senses. Europe banned slavery. It just took some time and a civil war to convince some thickos in America.

And, of course, winning a war on slavery and persecution doesn’t end it. It exists everywhere in the world. It’s odd that the white supremacists in the USA look to Europe, the place that has done most to end racism, that is the least racist place on earth. This is not an idle claim.

Check our Russia, China, Japan, South Africa, Middle East, India … These are not the mixed race societies. These are not non-racist societies. Why is there a ethnic cleansing occurring every now and then? Because one ethnic group doesn’t like another – they are racists. Why are there multicultural problems in Europe with Islam? Partly because of Islam’s own version of supremacy – it’s Islam or nothing. But also partly because of racism – there are Arab, Pakistani, Turkish, Indonesian and other Islamic sub-cultures within Europe, and they won’t even intermarry among themselves as Muslims. Pakistanis are well known for keeping their ties with Pakistan. There are Pakistani families in the UK, screaming to high heaven about white racism, and yet they’d kill their daughter if she tried to marry a non-Muslim or non-Pakistani.

Again, we have to be clear, that this is messy. Many white, brown, black people get along fine, and mix socially, and marry, and have children. Europe is the least racist place on earth – even with our racists, of every colour and cultural origin. Has racism been ousted from Europe? No. Too many white Europeans are racist… but I’d¬†hazard¬†a guess that proportionally there are more POC racists in the UK than white racists.

So, what is Richard Spencer thinking when he talks of his superior white European heritage? Well, it’s not the whiteness that’s superior. He’s referring only to the coincidences of history that made Europe powerful, that then allowed it to dominate the world, for a time.

Political ideas are far more important than skin colour or race – in fact I can’t think of anything that requires differentiation based on race or skin colour other than the beneficial statistics that can help target healing of genetic conditions – and even then, there are genetic differences within what Spencer would think of as a race that are just as important to health. Race is simply a really bad demarcation that mostly leads to great harm. Racism is a bad political idea.

To think in terms or racial superiority is so bad that it has caused a double whammy of hate. First, there are the racists themselves. Second, and more recently, in response to white racism, we have seen a SJW backlash that has become so toxic we have who knows how many white people actually hating their own race.

Pause … Let than sink in for a moment: … those that campaign¬†vociferously¬†against racism, that declare race isn’t important, see their own race as the only source of racism, and actively want an end to white people.

But, on the bright side, at least they provide yet more evidence that white people can be as dumb as anyone of any other skin colour.

Time to get back to the Richard Spencer quote. Let’s suppose he accepts that white supremacy was cruel and unjustified (I dont know that he does). What does Richard Spencer mean when he says African Americans have benefited? Maybe Spencer is thinking, hey look at ‘shithole’ Africa, compared to great lives African Americans have. He’s wrong there too.¬†Centuries of persecution, with legal persecution stopped only decades ago, and social persecution still active (that’s what Spencer is engaged in) are not¬†benefiting¬†African Americans now, but still hindering.

Can many African Americans have successful lives, better than many whites? Sure. That’s what equal opportunity should result in. And great lives too, if only they could avoid idiots like Spencer. Again, don’t get me wrong. There are stupid racist black Richard Spencers among groups like BLM – we’ve seen them. We’ve seen the idiots in Africa that think some of their ancient tribal practices are somehow superior to ‘white science’ – as if science is ‘white’.

But, to take Spencer’s line of reasoning: that all that suffering in slavery, and post-slavery racist laws, and post-racist law racist persecution, … all that has given current African Americans the great reward of living in the soon to be great again USA.

There’s a trivial ironic truth to this point of view. Oscar speech time …

I’d like to thank all the people that made me what I am today. I’d like to thank Hitler, and all the dead Jews in the Holocaust, for bringing my mother and father together, post-WWII, which led to my lucky existence – oh, and thanks to my dead uncle that was killed in the war. And I’d like to thank those that contributed to the Irish famine that drove my recent ancestors, on both sides, to leave Ireland and come to England and marry some English people. A special thanks to the invading Normans that persecuted others in my family tree that were mere serfs … oh, and my other ancestors that were Normans that persecuted them. A great big thank you to Julius Caesar, for without his invasion and killing of so many people we wouldn’t have some of the lovely straight roads that I enjoy today. I don’t know who you are, but thank you Neanderthal woman for being raped by my other early human ancestor. And thank you Africans starving and migrating to Europe in search of a better place – twice – you really made the effort form which I now benefit. And thank you, African ape mother of all humans today. Thank you all.

Any history that humans have gone through that has been objectively bad for some people and good for others, in terms of material reward, security, health, social status, self determination, has resulted in the people we are now. So, is a black guy in America now better off because his recent ancestor was brought over in a slave ship?

It’s actually a dumb question, and a dumb point from Richard Spencer.

First, that person would not have been present in Africa today had his ancestor not been a victim of slavery. Any number of things might be different without European slavery. Islamic slavery was present in Africa long after it was stopped in Europe, so maybe his ancestor would have been a slave after all. Or maybe his tribe would have become slavers themselves in turn. Maybe if decent European explorers had brought only benefits of European progress to Africa … but hold on, before we get too far into this, remember that much of the technical and mercantile progress in Europe was made on the back of Africa and other places. Mmmm. Tricky.

And now the ironic aspect of the Richard Spencer quote. The problem is that if you play the same game as Richard Spencer, and try to say that African¬†Americans¬†benefit now from the cruelty of past white Europeans, then he could be letting himself in for a whole pile to grief. White people, as defined in the simplistic terms of Richard Spencer, are actually a minority in the world population. Suppose all non-whites made slaves of whites for a century or so, it wouldn’t be that bad, would it? After all, in a few more centuries there’d be a black Richard Spencer saying, …

“Whites have¬†benefited¬†from the experience of black supremacy”

Enough of the ‘white supremacy’ stupidity.

How about Identitarianism, White Seperatism, and the other BS terms that mask a white supremacist agenda?

It’s simple:

If you want to marry and mate with someone of your own ethnic background, then go for it. Nobody is stopping you. As white separatists point out, there are many self contained ethnic groups that value their heritage, white can’t white people? Yeah, fine, again, go for it.

Here’s the problem – and it’s one I touched on above. What if I, as a white person, doesn’t want that? What if I am friends with and enjoy the company of people of all backgrounds? What we want to get together and make mixed race babies? What’s your problem? Only I can tell you our problem is – YOU.

And it’s not just the Richard Spencers – and here’s where I depart form the current white hating SJW loons. Many ethnic groups insist on their own ethnic purity, just as Spencer does. So, where they insist that applies to all their children, we have a problem, again, and it’s the problem caused by the separatists, of any colour or culture.

There are Muslims and Hindus in India that will each kill anyone of the other religion that tries to marry their daughters. There are Pakistani heritage British men (get this, they are actually English by birth) that will kill their sister if she tries to marry outside their race and religion. Many of us are supporting the Kurds, and the Yazidis, and the Christians that have been persecuted by ISIS – and yet there will be those among those groups that will be seperatists and will not let their culture die, and will persecute those of their own that try to stray.

It’s not just race. My Catholic mother married my Protestant father, and she converted. My mother’s Catholic priests damned her children to hell. Well, I am an atheists, so I guess he got his wish. My wife’s Baptist wife, on first hearing my name asked asked her, “He’s not Catholic, is he?”

There are those that fear the loss of their race, culture or religion. But I’m afraid they are only entitled to perpetuate those in as much as they can personally, with like minded people. They are not at liberty to demand that their children should too. They are not at liberty to protect their racial, cultural and religious ideology through separatism.

So, to Richard Spencer specifically, the rest of us don’t want your racist BS.¬† Tough shit.

Hylas And The Nymphs – A Local Visitor’s Perspective

Most people have jumped the gun. I did too – prepared to vent my indignation. I went to take a look on Saturday, the day the picture was put back.

The removal was a part of another project specifically planned to provoke discussion. The #MeToo and #TimesUp were the context, not the reason.

Here’s the gallery’s perspective in more detail:

Presenting the female body: Challenging a Victorian fantasy

Opposite the Nymphs picture is Sappho, by Charles Mengin – supposedly one of the most alluring images of the female body. And I have to say that’s not too far off the mark. And there are other provocative representations of naked and part naked women around the gallery.

As a male curator explained,

“If we wanted to censor, we’d have to remove maybe half our exhibits.”

To be honest, they seemed as thrilled by the negative responses as much as the positive. It might be worth noting the deep love of art that would be a natural part of a curator’s persona: the human body, which they may well have been exposed to in the flesh while studying. I don’t think we’re dealing with 3rd wave feminist prudes here (though I know nothing more about the curator or artist that were involved in the event).

The other charge was that it was a publicity stunt. Again, he said that had they intended that, there are a number of things they would have done differently … and would have been better prepared … which brings us to the post cards: it seems they sold out, so much was the demand. They were not removed, as many have claimed.

I had conversations with some other visitors there, those that, like me, saw it as censorship initially … they too were changing their minds.

And as far as the stated intent, it worked well. On Saturday the picture was put back, and the post-it notes left in place. And the outrage on display (again, of which I might have been a willing contributor) was as visceral as any that we might accuse SJWs of engaging in.

So, given the pre-planned project by the artist Sonia Boyce ( #MAGSoniaBoyce ), I’ll give the benefit of any remaining doubt to those who run my favourite local gallery.

And, as this the context was about #MeToo and #TimesUp, I thought I’d end with a sobering piece:¬†Nobody‚Äôs Victim: An Interview with Samantha Geimer¬†

There are a lot of perspectives on these movements, and a lot of heated outrage, rather then healthy, if heated, debate.

RadFem Idiots Lie About Kenan Malik

I follow Kenan Malik on Twitter. Decent guy, good articles, his book on my shelf reading list. I occasionally disagree, but you really can’t come across many more honest a journalist than Kenan. One of the good ‘lefties’. A Humanist. Keen on ‘justice’.

So, he wrote an article A desire for vengeance is human but checks the pursuit of proper justice, and a good one it was too.

If I had to bet any money on who’d respond to this negatively and mistakenly, I’d have thought it’s be some of the supporters of the death penalty supporters that would like to castrate painfully and then hang draw and quarter child abusers. And it’s not as if Kenan misses the natural human sentiment of rage and vengeance that such cases arouse – that’s¬† what his article was about, separating our baser desire for vengeance for the greater utility of justice.

But, no. what caught my eye first was a diversion into RadFem writing

Here’s Kenan’s tweet of the article, and then we’re off into RadFem land

I didn’t read the piece at first, and noted only the ‘himpathy’. Instead, I noted this tweet.

I read Kenan’s article again. Not a sign of him defending the abuser.

And so I thought I’d have a say too:

What followed for a few tweets was the usual back and forth of disagreement about what was actually in the article, until I wondered if Jo had read the article. So I simply asked.

And that’s when it turned to ‘mansplaining’. And what you’re going to see is a deep dive into childishness (and, for the record, that opinion is not based on their gender, but on their stupidity; for there’s plenty of male stupidity to go around too – and that’s gender equality for you).

OK, let’s play that game …

At which point the RadFem tweets to me:

And it’s at that point that RadFem goes quiet … at least with me.

But meanwhile … back on Jo’s response to me, Kenan tries to get some sense out of the implication that jail was being argued against:

No response there, either.

Did anyone else have any luck? Anshu responds to the RadFem’s tweet of her article, which at this point I still haven’t read.

This reply betrays a complete and utter failure to understand basic discourse and the presentation of evidence to back up claims. Anshu had said no more than that they disagree, and had not made a claim that warrants evidence.

You might think this a simple twitter wording gone astray, except that RadFem is a writer herself, and makes a splash of it in her Twitter bio – ‘bon mots’.

Nevertheless, Anshu clarifies his disagreement, which is the same point, put in other words:

And there you have one of the skills of RadFem on display: mind readers.

But you just did, you moron! You specifically analysed the hypotheitical of the judge being a man in this case and asserted this conversation would not be happening.

Well, on second thoughts, to be fair, that’s probably true. But the reason would be (engaging my own hypotheticals) that the RadFem would not have bothered to pick up the evidence against her RadFem agenda.

And that’s the bias of RadFem for you. And, just to make sure it’s clear, Kenan responds at this point:

Again, blatent accusations morph into hypotheticals when the RadFem is cornered in a lie or a smear.

I have to say that Vonny is well out of her depth here. Is she clueless about Kenan’s credentials regarding class and identity struggles?

Oh, FFS! She really has no idea who Kenan Malik is, or she’d not be making dumb ass statements like this. But not only that, the judge is white, the abuser is white, … and he wasn’t even racist in his choice of victims. He’s an equal opportunity abuser.

This RadFem nonsense is off the rails at this point.

The profile of the RadFem @vonny_bravo:

Journalist. RadFem. Martinis, bon mots, good shoes. Writes about women & girls. @ScotNational columnist. @Guardian contributor.

We can only hope for more rationality and use of evidence in articles that aren’t as agenda driven. So, to Vonny’s article:

“Larry Nassar will die in jail. Following arguably the biggest child abuse scandal in sporting history …”

So, Vonny hasn’t heard of the UK football abuse scandals? “Writes about women & girls” – OK, maybe that’s a hint to broaden one’s horizons.

“In reporting it, too often the victim is an afterthought. The perpetrator profile, the act detailed, the woman or girl nowhere to be seen.”

I wonder if that’s because their identity is specifically protected. This was once a problem for women victims, but now this has become a problem for the falsely accused, as the recent Liam Allan, where even the police and prosecution stacked the cards against him by withholding evidence that should have seen the case thrown out long before his name became public.

And, of course, despite Vonny’s pleading, as shown in the Liam Allen case, details about the accuser are not without pertinance to the case.

“When we hear her name, it‚Äôs when a case collapses and the tabloids feast.”

Collapse? How about when they are shown to be based on lies, smears, false accusations? What about when the lying accuser at last gets some publicity? Does Vonny oppose this too?

“More often, we hear nothing unless a woman waives her right to anonymity”

So, what exactly is the complaint here? That women victims get publicity, or they don’t? Do note that the football coaching abuse scandal has male victims waving anonymity.

“She sentenced him to 175 years. A titan of a sentence, the fullest force of the law ‚Äď but just one year and one month per girl when you do the maths.”

What’s she proposing? 1,750 years? 3,500 years? What point is Vonny making with the “one year and one month per girl”?

“You would think denouncing a serial paedophile would be a given in a civilised society. There‚Äôs no ambiguity about the atrocity of child abuse. And yet countless men took to the internet denounce everyone but Nassar. The girls were looking for money and attention. Aquilina was grandstanding. She was mean. The sentence was too harsh. She wears too much makeup. Where were their mothers?”

Maybe “countless *men* (no women?) took to the internet denounce everyone but Nassar” because Nassar was already denounced. Did anyone actually claim he was not guilty? After all, if there was no ambiguity.

Maybe some were curious about how he got away with it for so long. Who else was culpable – not of abuse, but of a failure of a duty of care to watch out for the girls.

Comments about the judge’s makeup were irrelevant to the case. Who exactly used that as a reason to claim Nassar’s innocence? I ask, because you can see what ‘journalist’ Vonny is doing here. She’s using spurious comments, by who knows, to form a case for the new hip term ‘himpathy’.

“Professor Kate Manne, a moral philosopher at Cornell, theorises this as ‚Äúhimpathy‚ÄĚ.”

So, women don’t engage in excusing women? And when it comes to excusing men, there are an awful lot of female Trump supporters, and all the serious bad guys, like Hitler, Moa, Castro, all had their female apologists. Of course you’d expect more men and fewer women to excuse a man charged with abuse. What woman could possibly excuse him? Well, you could ask that of many religious women that seem to idolise male prophets and preachers.

“Himpathy blinkers us.”

This, in a post that was offered as response to Kenan Malik’s article on distinguishing justice and revenge, where zero support, sympathy of excuse was offered to the abuser, and not a hint of victim blaming. Blinkered is what Vonny is.

Enough of the crazy. Some sane voices:

If you let your ideology overcome your capacity to reason, and it prevents you simply admitting you were mistaken when accusing a particular person of something they didn’t do, and if you find you are doubling, trebling down on your position, or diverting from it entirely, then maybe you need to take some philosophy classes.

Well, that’s a start.

 

 

 

 

 

Killers for Religion and Atheism?

So, an atheist kills a bunch of religious people, and the religious can now cite an example that shows that their religion isn’t that bad after all.

Not so fast.

Atheism vs Theism

Both Atheism and Theism are simply opposing philosophical positions. Any other system’s metaphysical philosophy is ‘atheistic’ if it rejects theism.

A particular theism might be vary vague – “I believe there is one, and possibly more gods, but I don’t know whether any of the religions are true …”.

Or it might be specific yet still ‘other worldly’ – “I believe that there must have been a creator god, but I have no idea what he intends for us, and I offer no moral guidance based on my belief that there is a god.”

Or it might be committed to the variable claims about the god or gods of a particular religion, which may have many sects.

Atheism is pretty much opposition to these sorts of theism, usually on the grounds that there is no evidence or reason to believe specific claims, or support the level of hopefulness that the ‘spiritual’ seem to be clinging onto. In this respect Atheism is a negative position: it simply rejects the claim that there are gods.

Note that Atheism does not assert that there are definitely no gods.

Some atheists might assert that there are absolutely no gods, but that isn’t much better than asserting absolutely that there are gods. You might call such an atheism a ‘faith’ based atheism. But if you take the trouble to pin atheists down they generally agree that they do not hold such a strong opinion, but merely act as if they do because that’s often easier to express.

But this acting as if there are no gods is a fair position to take. Christians act as if there are no Norse gods. They act as if there are no fairies or Santa. (Note that playing along with such fantasies for the fun they provide for children isn’t acting with true belief.)

Religions

Religions are a subset of Theism …

Atheism-Theism-Religion

[Agnostics may not deny the existence of god, but they don’t positively assert there are gods either.]

Religions take the basic philosophical position of theism, thinking there are some teleological entities that created our universe, and add many more specific claims:

  • Our god is the only god.
  • Our god cares about us.
  • Our god dictates our moral codes.
  • Our god wants us to punish people that don’t follow his codes.
  • Our god wants us to punish people that don’t believe in him.
  • Our god doesn’t want us to eat pig meat and thinks it a moral obligation that we don’t.
  • Our god wants us to punish people that have sex outside the specific type of union sanctioned by our god (monogamy for Christians, up to four wives, but one husband for Muslims)
  • Our god will not remarry divorcees – old school Catholic; god changes his mind sometimes; he’s fickle; or humans decide he changed his mind.

Most religious people are born into, indoctrinated into, their religion. And the religion may provide many social benefits if it’s a large religious community.

But there can also be great costs for those that simply cannot continue to believe. In some more fundamentalist communities, ex-believers can be ostracised, might suffer social and economic hardship if rejected by the community, and might even risk death. If the religion prescribes death for apostates, as is the case for Islam, then even if the religion isn’t the state authority, believers are easily persuaded to take it upon themselves.

The list of additional beliefs on top of basic theism, including the many moral prescriptions and proscriptions, is long. It depends on the religion, the sect within the religion, and the personal willingness of individuals to follow the rules of the religion.

This becomes a little tricky for the religious that try to divert criticism away from their religion, when opinions differ so widely within:

  • God changes his mind often, it seems, judging by how religious opinions change.
  • Individuals make up their own minds what they take from their religion … you’d think the religious would therefore appreciate how atheists make up their own minds about morality.
  • The greatest opponents to a particular religious believer’s views are … other religious people. Islamic terrorism? Many victims are other Muslims, for being the wrong type of Muslim.

The variety of religious belief is often greater than the difference between Atheism and a particular Religion. Modern Anglicans that accept secular liberal democracy, have no problem with homosexuality, even in the church, are for full gender equality, and gender identity. They have much more in common with the social and political leanings of many atheists, than with even their fundamentalist Christian brethren, let alone than with people of other faiths.

And yet, the religious stick together. It only takes the whiff of an atheist with a strong opinion for the ‘interfaith’ community to band together in offended outrage. And let anyone speak out about the Islam of the Islamic extremists and even moderate Muslims will come to Islam’s defence as much as agree with an atheist that there might be a problem with the religion.

[Update 5/12/2017] There was greater outrage that Trump retweeted a lead figure one of Britain First’s outspoken anti-Islam activists than at the content of the videos the activist posted. One was ‘fake news’, but the other two were of Muslims persecuting others. Despite the acts of the Muslims, this was actually seen as anti-Muslim bigotry. Take a moment. Here’s the upshot: every tweet condemning German neo-Nazis is anti-German bigotry; every tweet showing and condemning videos of Britain First are anti-British bigotry, and by extension, anti-Muslim bigotry, since, as¬† is belaboured painfully, British Muslims are British. This is the state of play in 2017, where any criticism of Islam is interpreted as ‘Islamophobia’, ‘anti-Muslim bigotry’ … and yes, ‘racism’.

Political Ideologies of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, …

Whenever an atheist argues with Christians or Muslims, it’s not long before we get the Hitler, Stalin, Fascism, Nazism, Communism line thrown at us. And no matter how often it’s pointed out that this isn’t a valid argument, it still keeps on coming up. Often from the same people that have had this pointed out before.

Political ideologies can of course cross boundaries of Atheism-Theism. Christians can be socialists. In the 70s it was quite common for Islamists to lean towards socialism … maybe they hadn’t realised how far right Islam really is … or maybe they had.

And, Hitler was not an atheist. He might not have favoured the established churches that opposed his thugs, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t religious. Many Nazi ideas were based on the old Teutonic ideals of religiously motivated knights.

Communism? Don’t think that political ideology stops you believing in a personal god … it just becomes less convenient and maybe a little dangerous to admit to one, but Communism does not preclude theism.

These political ideologies tell us little about the wide variety of atheists. The Atheism that some political ideologies might embrace informs the ideology with nothing other than the fact that there is no evidence for any god.

Religious Political Ideologies

Some political ideologies are religious ones.

And most religious ideologies are political – they are inherently so because they dictate the behaviours of people, and that’s a very political thing to do. And they usually have a lot to say on social issues … not all good. Homophobia, sex outside marriage, modesty, … religions can be obsessed with sex, particularly with regard to women, and if feminism isn’t a political matter I’m not sure what is.

It is possible to believe in a religion and treat it as an entirely personal belief system that determines how you live your own life, without you making any claims about what it implies for anyone else.

But this is rare. Most religions, and especially religious organisations, are very keen on telling: religious believers how they should act; non-believers that they are anything from misguided to evil;¬†the religious what they should do to the non-believers: killing apostates, bombing abortion clinics, punishing people for blasphemy (the modern version is imprisoning people for ‘hate speech’).

Christianity, as supposedly expressed by Jesus, is a “render unto Caesar” kind of religion – a reasonable basis of separation of church and state. However, the Catholic church in Rome put a swift stop to that. Christianity, especially through many bishops and popes, made state business very much church business. The US continues this tradition by distorting the intentions of the founding fathers and making it the godly nation the founding fathers tried to avoid – they’d seen enough of that in Europe.

Islam is very specifically, inherently, by design, a political ideology. Only Muslims can hold certain offices of state. Muslims and non-Muslims are taxed differently.

Many Muslims will try to pull a fast one by telling you that Islam insists that Muslims follow the laws of the the land in which they find themselves … where Muslims are a minority that does not hold power. But Islam also requires Muslims to spread Islam … which means it would eventually become a majority. This is why many opponents of Islam also oppose too much immigration from Muslim countries.

Of course many Muslims don’t want a dominant Islam any more than non-Muslims do. Many escape the domination of Islam of their homelands, and are quite happy to live in secular democracies where they can practice their religion in peace.

But then we also see a lot of duplicitous language from supposedly ‘moderate’ Muslims that think homosexuality should be illegal, and make excuses for their more extreme brothers and sisters (“Nothing to do with Islam”).

In Europe the atheists and secularists have been opposing the power of the church for centuries, letting the humanistic principles take precedence. There’s still plenty of religious protectionism that goes on – a refusal to give up the reigns of power, as diminished as they are. Why the heck do Bishops get seats in the UK House of Lords – and why is there even such an unelected house still?

But I’ve seen and heard much more of the stranglehold religion has in some parts of the US, where the mark of a good plumber is whether he’s a good Christian or not. “In God We Trust” – indeed they do.

So, religions are political, and as such are as fair game for criticism and ridicule as any non-religious political ideology.

And being offended when religions are criticised is just one more political tool the religious try to pull. It may be a genuine feeling, and so they try to give it moral weight. Hence, critics of Islam are labelled haters of Muslims.

But, realising that atheists tend not to be impressed by the special pleading for the religion, that atheists aren’t taken in by the piety, the hurt feelings, what are the religious to do? Compare their religion to atheism? They can’t. They are not comparable.

Humanism

So, religious friends, you can’t really compare Atheism with your religion.

You can compare Atheism with Theism, if you’re talking only about the philosophy, reason, evidence, to support either case.

But you can’t compare Atheism as such with Christianity or Islam. Yes, I know that atheists argue against Christianity and Islam, but they do so on two quite separate grounds:

1 – A disagreement with the underlying theistic claims of your religion. If your religion relies on a claim that there is one or more gods, and there isn’t, then 2 is irrelevant. But, we humour you anyway and so …

2 – A disagreement with the moral assertions that you think your imaginary god has prescribed. It’s not like we disagree with all your moral positions, we just hold those we agree on for different reasons, for which we don’t need an imaginary god. But those Humanist atheists also find many of the moral guides of religion to be immoral, barbaric at times, and remnants of ancient codes of conduct prescribed at the time of the religion’s inception.

The thing is, Atheism prescribes no moral position whatsoever. It really is merely the rejection of your unsubstantiated claims about your god.

And this, of course, leads to another failure to understand atheism: “Atheists have no morals. They are nihilists.” Not so.

We have morals. We just don’t think some imaginary friend dictates them; and we very specifically reject many of the immoral codes that gods supposedly do dictate.

But you’re nearly right. it’s not our atheism that determines our morals, it’s something else.

Many atheists find other reasons for their morality – many simply acknowledging that harming others isn’t nice. People and animals don’t like to suffer harm, so we prefer to minimise that. It seems a very simple idea, but it’s amazing how far you can go with just that basic starting point. And it also avoids the need to punish people for daft reasons – such as for having sex outside marriage, for not being heterosexual, for drinking, for working on the Sabbath.

[In the UK the¬†Shops Bill 1986 was defeated; the¬†Sunday Trading Act 1994 eventually introduced limited Sunday trading … so strong was Christianity’s hold over British life. Now we’re finding we have to start again, with Islam.]

Many atheists want to live by their own moral ideals, and many collect these ideas about living a moral life into a set of codes. It’s not that these codes are necessary, but they are helpful in declaring some minimal set of behaviours we agree to abide by.

And one example of such a guide is the Humanist Manifesto. Take a look at it. You’ll find no diktats about women being lesser than men, or how to deal with the evil of homosexuality, or what the best way is to kill apostates. Humanists don’t have to look for ‘nuance’ and ‘scholarship’ to explain away inconvenient passages ‘revealed’ through some desert warlord or hippy.

So, if you want to carry out any comparisons I’d suggest you try these:
– Atheism vs Theism
– Humansim vs Christianity, Islam, …

You might find that many atheists tell you they don’t belong to any Humanist organisation, because they would rather not belong to any group that sets their ethical standards for them, as they can figure it out for themselves. They have a point. We are free to decide our own moral codes, and put them to the test in our societies.

My personal subscription to Humanism is one of convenience, and support for many of the programs of Humanists UK (formerly British Humanist Association).

Other atheists might join other groups of common interest, such as the many secular and skeptical societies around the world. Ex-Muslims have a shared experience that brings them together in various groups – often with the added benefit of providing a safe community to those ex-Muslims that are still at risk from their families.

Let that sink in, and imagine a child of Humanists being ostracised, forced into marriage, threatened with death, killed. I don’t know of any such incident. Has one ever made the news?

The next time you’re arguing with atheists on Twitter, they are unlikely to be Nazis. So when you pull the “What about Hitler, Stalin ..” it’s a Straw Man. If you want to argue for your religion, why don’t you try coming up with good reasons for it, not excusing the bad stuff by dragging in some irrelevant comparison.

And for pities sake, give up on trying to defend the indefensible. Your religious texts are full of ancient stuff that really doesn’t stand up to our moral standards today. Some religious passages are outright contraventions of the human rights that most people would want to sign up to. Stop defending that crap with ‘nuance’ and ‘scholarship’ – it makes you look like damned fools that are fooling no one but themselves.

Atheist Terrorists

And that atheist killer you want to call a terrorist because you’re sick of hearing about Islamic terrorists? Could be they are genuinely crazy, or have some motive other than their hate for religion.

And even if they carried out the heinous act because they hate religion and religious believers, there’s no Atheist Bible, and nothing in the Humanist Manifesto to suggest they should … unlike your religious books. Not even The God Delusion, Letter to a Christian Nation, or any of the New Atheist books.

If some killers that are atheists really are killing for atheism, there’s nothing in atheism, or Humanism, that can be removed that would stop them. There are no doctrines we can reject. There’s no “Believers are children of Satan” sermons going on. Pointing out the problems with religion doesn’t automatically create Atheist Killers. Sadly it does all too often create killers of atheists.

But, hey, if someone has a terrorist agenda, against believers, for atheism, then pretty much all humanist atheists will oppose them. I’ll happily denounce any such terrorists. But I won’t be able to point to any atheist texts that has incited them. I can only point to Humanist texts that are very short and very explicit in their opposition to doing harm. There is no Humanist Prophet whose example I should follow that includes his beheading of enemies.

The Humanist Manifesto is so clear in rejecting doing harm to others there’s no way you can mistakenly or otherwise derive some crazy idea that it’s a good idea to kill believers.

This cannot be said of the books of Christianity and Islam. Alongside all the lovely stuff is some seriously dark and immoral doctrine.

Look, if you want to call some atheist killer an atheist terrorist, knock yourself out. Any disagreement from atheists will be on a technicality, not for some fear of having to explain away our inconvenient texts. Let me help you out with A Guide To Terrorists For Idiots.

Harvey Drowns Nazis, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

Here we go again. Satire. Wasted on idiots.

Fox: French magazine Charlie Hebdo mocks Harvey victims as neo-Nazis

Hebdo-NaxisOfHarvey

NO. IT. DOES. NOT. It mocks Nazis [and, as I too missed, on first writing, it mocks some of the liberal commentary on how deserving conservative Texan’s might be, which I hadn’t seen – see Areo link later]

It is not mocking all victims of Harvey. It is not claiming all victims of Harvey are Nazis.

Idiots are doing 2 + 2 = 5 again. Reading their own interpretation into a simplistic view of Hebdo.

Hebdo is anti-Nazi.

Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is a neo-Nazi organisation.

Bayou Knights of the Ku Klux Kla is present in Texas.

Hammerskins were formed in Texas.

Resistance Records is headquartered in Texas.

Now, you might want to bear in mind that this next link is based on the notoriously dodgy SPLC, but according to them there are about 55 ‘hate groups’ in Texas – and even allowing for SPLC bias and lies, that would still likely leave a few.

About the only real complaint one could make about the Hebdo piece is “Too soon!” But topicality, satire, irreverance, is their thing.

A question: Is Hebdo’s message any worse than the many religious people in Texas thanking God for their survival, while ignoring their imaginary friend’s failure to protect Texas from the storm? Or that Texans deserve the ‘biblical’ flood?

Update: On these other aspects of the meaning of the cover, and how Hebdo’s satire operates – recommended reading:¬†What Charlie Hebdo Can Teach Us About the Nature of Satire

Anyway, even if ‘tasteless’ is an appropriate description, the typical hysteria around Hebdo, which is based on past misrepresentations that have created this image of Hebdo the Haters, is misplaced.

To help you understand Charlie Hebdo: http://www.understandingcharliehebdo.com/about-charlie-hebdo/

My previous Hebdo links:

Headless May, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie – Including how Hebdo explain themselves

Amatrice Pasta, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

 

 

 

Left, Right: Marching In Step With Your Enemy

Beware! Nazis!

Nazi Germany was built in part on fantasy propaganda, of an idillic Europe of kings, knights, glory and honour. They turned a grimy bloody history that makes Game of Thrones look glamorous into a Disney fantasy. They rewrote history in order to give meaning and righteousness to their terrible regime.

Along with the imagery created to invoke that past was the dark side of National Socialism. Like all inflexible ideologies it had to resort to violence to achieve its aims – because, of course, not everyone agrees with your ideology, no matter how good it sounds to you. When you’re an ideologue and you insist people must accept your way or the highway, then by any means necessary starts to sound justifiable.

Immediately after WWII, West Germans and their new friends and allies, Western Europe and the USA, conspired to re-write history once again. The spectre of Nazi Germany was obliterated, buildings demolished, had they survived the war, … and, statues toppled. All was good, and West Germany rose to become a civilised western democracy.

Beware! Fascistic Anti-Fascists

In the 1960s West Germany the new generations started to question their nation’s history, and the roles their parents played in it. Naming and shaming – doxxing today – and divisions among families seemed to be necessary. But it didn’t stop there.

As events continued into the 1970s The Red Army Faction arose as a terrorist group.

These far left activists hated of Nazis, naturally. And they noted that many people running the state were of that Nazi generation. This helped convince them that because the state would not do what they wanted them to do, violence to achieve one’s political goals was entirely justifiable – just as it was for the Nazis in their early days.

Punching Nazis was very popular, and before long, when people still refused to listen, they started to blow up and kill people. The political cause is all that matters, the methods, not so much.

Stefan Aust, author of Der Baader Meinhof Komplex:

World War II was only twenty years earlier. Those in charge of the police, the schools, the government ‚ÄĒ they were the same people who’d been in charge under Nazism. The chancellor, Kurt Georg Kiesinger, had been a Nazi. People started discussing this only in the 60’s. We were the first generation since the war, and we were asking our parents questions. Due to the Nazi past, everything bad was compared to the Third Reich. If you heard about police brutality, that was said to be just like the SS. The moment you see your own country as the continuation of a fascist state, you give yourself permission to do almost anything against it. You see your action as the resistance that your parents did not put up.

[my emphasis]

Were all Germans WWII really Nazis? Were Germans, whether Nazis or not, aware of the genocide? What could they have done? The pre-Nazi state was weak. Rule of law was nothing like that of Western Europe today (even as bad as it is today).

Does guilt by association sound familiar? It should do. How many people have you seen labelled as Nazis that are barely right of centre? How many generally left of centre people have you seen labelled ‘far-right’?

The Adam Curtis BBC programme, The Living Dead, 1995 (an almost prescient perspective) [currently here, but may change]:

Screenshot 2017-08-19 14.46.10

¬†It was complete confrontation. One part of the people against the other. … I had begun to realise, fighting against the state, by armed groups, with this revolutionary strategy in mind, was to bring up the fascistic tendencies, not only of the political class, but the people too. We ourselves became in the same way fascistic as the fascists were. We didn’t realise, our enemies, our opponents, were human beings. This is what is in the heart of fascism. The oppression of other meanings of the political opposition. And oppression means elimination. By killing.

РHorst Mahler, Red Army Faction [Adam Curtis film]

[my emphasis]

Now, remind me again what the limits of violence are for Yvette Felarca and By Any Means Necessary. Tell me where the punching of perceived Nazis stops. With a bike lock? Tell me when you decide to become what you oppose.

You might want to think of someone you know when you read Mahler’s words here. Dan Arel came to my mind.

Fascism is a component in all of us. … We have a picture of ourselves. We want to be good. We want to be human creatures. But we are a contradiction, in ourselves. We don’t know how to handle this contradiction. We don’t know how to live with this evil part in ourselves.

РHorst Mahler, Red Army Faction 

The words of Horst Mahler should be sounding alarm bells particularly when you realise the direction he went in. Here’s the top of the Wiki page about him:

Horst Mahler (born 23 January 1936) is a German former lawyer and political activist. He once was an extreme-left militant and a founding member of the Red Army Faction, but later became a Maoist before switching to Neo-Nazism. Between 2000 and 2003, he was a member of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany. Since 2003, he has repeatedly been convicted of Volksverhetzung (“incitement of popular hatred”) and Holocaust denial and served much of a twelve-year prison sentence.

[my emphasis]

From far left to far right looks incredible like a sprung switch, a flip-flip, with no hanging around in the centre ground to re-think one’s ideology.

Socialist – Fascist Common Ground

This is the path taken by fascist Mussolini: a member of the Italian¬†Socialist Party, who couldn’t get his way, and moved on to use fascistic means to do so, creating the national Fascist Party, coining the term ‘fascism’ in doing so.

While the ‘left’ v ‘right’ is often thought of in terms of in terms of collectivism v individualism, the German Nazis and Italian Fascists were clearly collectivists in their national ‘socialism’ and their national ‘fasci‘ (bundle).

One main distinction between revolutionary left ideologies like Communists, Anarchism and the Fascists and Nazis amounts to how they see their particular struggle, how they perceive the solution to the problems they see, and who are the people causing the problems.

The ‘left’ collectivism is a class war that divides a nation on class, but can still portray itself as nationalistic when defending a Communist state in face of anti-Communist opposition. Appealing to nationalism, Mother Russia for example, is useful when it works, especially when purging the state of enemies and undesirables that threaten the state, and hence the people.

The ‘right’ is a nationalism that uses socialism to unite the people against the state’s enemies, without or within. Appealing to the socialism of the ‘folk’ and their nation, The Fatherland for example, is useful, especially when purging the state of internal enemies and undesirables that threaten the state, and hence the people.

The Socialists/Communists and the Fascists/Nazis ideologies are very similar politically, and in the way they suppress opposition by the use of violence. [here Рh/t @SamWhiteTky]

As are theocracies (*cough* Islam).

The internal enemies often turn out to be the Jews (*cough* Islam) and the Intellectuals – and the intellectual Jews are often right out of luck. Other ‘peoples’ like the Poles were a common target too. And anyone else that gets in the way. Because, of course, when your ideology is right and you know it’s right, killing for it doesn’t seem too much of a problem.

Another issue that distinguishes them is racism, at least superficially. The hyper-nationalism of Nazi Germany, when immigrant populations were much smaller, made it easy to identify other races as a problem. But racism is present in most cultures, if not all, so it can’t be ruled out under Socialism, where again the Jews are still targets.

Isn’t it odd that the left tend to support Palestinians, and the terrorist Hamas, with much anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism. For parties like the UK Labour Party, that claim to be egalitarian, where does this racism come from? Perhaps¬†Horst Mahler is right – there’s a bit of the fascist in us all, and even your party’s stated principles can’t erase it in those that can’t help expressing it.

So now, tell me again why you think that the Nazis and AntiFa/BAMN are poles apart. There are simply too many parallels here to dismiss the similarity between the current street violence and the support for the punching of Nazis in the 1960s Germany. The Germans at least had parents who could have been real-deal Nazis.

Berkeley, Charlottesville and Beyond

And here we are. A decade and more of political correct ideological propaganda. The requirement to choose a side, in order to be on the right side of history, is raising its nasty duplicitous head again.

Charlottesville had some neo-Nazis attend a rally, but many of the people there were not genocidal ‘final solution’ people. Or so they say – ¬†but then unless you’re an actual mind reader, you can’t assert they are genocidal: you’re playing rhetorical games, and ¬†you are not in a position to refute their denial of being Nazis, without evidence. And if there are genocidal people there, they aren’t giving you the evidence.

By all means take sides. I certainly do. I’m opposed to all those that marched on the side of the alt-right, even those that don’t consider themselves to be alt-right:

  • Neo-Nazis – Well, obviously. Whatever the political origins of the German Nazis, the Italian Fascists, even if they have similarities with Socialism, they descend into xenophobic hatred that demonises others for who they are, not for what they choose to believe or do.
  • White Supremacists – Well, obviously. White (Black, Brown, …) Supremacy is one of the dumbest ideas still being perpetuated. It’s so stupid it’s on a par with Young Earth Creationism as an intellectually defunct idea. Those that present themselves as White Supremacists are some of the least supreme examples it.
  • White Separatists/Nationalists, Identitarians – This is the supposedly egalitarian version of White Supremacism – though it’s just as dumb. There’s no explicit claim to white supremacy, just some poor reasons for thinking the world would be better if the ‘races’ lived apart. Of course it’s based on the same nonsense as white supremacy, and it’s not clear how many in these groups are not in fact white supremacists looking for an easier ride – but we must avoid mind reading, because we can’t do it … evidence!
  • Poor beleaguered white boys – Yes, I know there’s a current taste for ‘white people’ comments, claims that all white people are racist and non-whites can’t be. This is as dumb as white supremacy and deserves the same treatment: derision, laughter, evidence to the contrary. But come on, do you really need a tiki light vigil?

Yes, alt-right, I know it’s about statues too. But, come on. I get the point. Nobody is tearing down the pyramids because they were built by slaves. But this is closer to home, and the Confederate flag is a bit of a give-away. You’re not doing it for historical reasons.

I’m not on the side of these people when it comes to supporting their ideologies. I oppose them and support criticism of them. I support counter-protests, generally (though more can be said on how to better organise and police that).

What I don’t support is the street violence, of the pre-emptive punching of ‘Nazis’. The AntiFa crowd went to Charlottesville ready for and intent on violence. They, with a little help from the Mayor, provoked the alt-right protesters into violence. Yes, factions of the alt-right came armed too – but what do you expect given AntiFa’s recent history:

Screenshot 2017-08-19 16.12.19

Remember this? At Trump’s inauguration, while other protesters were screaming and crying in over dramatic outrage, the AntiFa thugs were smashing up windows Washington’s businesses, and burning this limo. It was owned by the¬†Nationwide Chauffered Services LLC From Alexandria, VA – run by Muslim¬†Omar Ash. Ooops! AntiFa are racist, by the measure of what they and many others deem to be racism: when a Muslim is a victim of hate or when Islam is criticised.

If you’re still not sure about AntiFa, try this. Not surprisingly they started in Germany.

ANTIFA | Activists or thugs?

Time to Choose

  • “We must choose a side” – If the two sides on offer are in the wrong, then I choose neither of them. I will choose to criticise both.
  • “They are not equivalent – one is worse than the other.” – No, they are not. On the matter of street violence AntiFa have been consistently worse. On political ideas I’m still not in favour of either, but even less so the racist side.

By the way, have you noticed how this comparison of evils is now an OK thing to say, but not when comparing Islam and Christianity?

Watch the Adam Curtis film and consider some of the issues raised there. We may want to choose sides, and we may think we are on the right side. That doesn’t give you licence to engage in the fascistic activities you are claiming to oppose.

Free Speech

The far left don’t want to protect free speech particularly, and the far right only want it for their own purposes.

The problem with Nazi Germany wasn’t the free speech of the Nazis. It was their violent crushing of the free speech of others.

The problem with Stalinist Russia wasn’t the free speech of the Stalinists. It was their violent crushing of the free speech of others.

The ideas that these ideologies are based on are simply dumb. They are easy to challenge. That’s why they have to use violence to defend or promote them,
and attack others that oppose them.

They all employ or employed street violence BY their supporters to crush opposition. Whenever they take power they use the state machine to promote propaganda and crush dissent.

A civil society need not fear free speech, if it upholds the law against violence and terrorism that opposes free speech

 

 

You Should Read The Quran – Really? Why?

I’m often told, “You Should Read The Quran.” – Really? Why? Islamic specialism seems to presume I’d be enlightened by one particular holy text, but not by others.

I’m an atheist that doesn’t see any merit in holy books that claim to be inspired by or revealed by imaginary friends. I don’t swallow the presuppositional existence of a deity that such inspiration or revelation demands. There are just too many religions, and sects within religions, to make ANY of the claims credible – and there is NEVER any evidence to back up the claims.
Continue reading You Should Read The Quran – Really? Why?

Headless May, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

I’m sure Chalrie Hebdo staff must feel that Sisyphus had it easier than this. Having to explain Charlie Hebdo, again, and again, …

I made an attempt a while ago: Amatrice Pasta, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie, when the Italian victims were on the cover but the target was Italian politics.

This time the images are of London victims fleeing ISIS, and Theresa May, head under her arm.

CH is not mocking the victims but those that contribute to the creation of victims. CH asks you to think. The image is the shock that makes you question. But if you just look at the image and jump to your own simple conclusions based on that alone, it is YOU that is failing to think.
Continue reading Headless May, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

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‚Äôs 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 РJulia Ebner Р 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?