It could be I’m about to get cancelled, for having the wrong opinion, and Imperialist opinion … on measures used in cooking. I haven’t written a blog on cooking tips before, so here goes.
What the hell happened?
The very informative tweet below appeared in my timeline. It illustrates the various measures of the US system, based on the British Imperial system. It’s clear from the measures listed that most of these are used in domestic cooking. The quart and the gallon less so, but they are units of measure used for bulk delivery of liquids, which will still have been used in some larger households for some liquids. You might have seen other containers, such as milk churns, that deliver milk: multiple gallons, the actual capacity depending on the size.
For what it’s worth, I like this tweet, and agree with the premise that to use it today in some circumstances would be pointless when any metric system would be easier across a number of magnitudes: the sciences.
How did this informative tweet kick off into a tirade? Simple. While the original tweet was deriding the imperial system, quite rightly when applied to standardisations in science and industry, someone pointed out that they think the measures above were better for cooking – by which I presume they meant domestic cooking, on the small scale of families, or perhaps parties, or maybe even restaurants.
Had I taken note sooner of the various names and flags used by some of these Metric Nazis I’d have realised that this wasn’t the simple cooking 101 debate I thought it might be. Anyway, I jumped in, and it turns out I’m Trans-Metric phobic.
I’m in the UK, where we now use metric measurements for food. But I remember (as a Boomer) the imperial units from school, and they were a pain in the ass to use. When I started studying engineering it was even worse: horse power, pounds force, ergs! I was genuinely grateful for the change to metric. I still have engineering course books on my shelves that use a variety of units, imperial and metric, in the same book.
In engineering it can be dangerous to mix units if precision is crucial – not because either system is imprecise, but that conversions add the opportunity for error. But not so much in domestic cooking, unless you’re cooking up a batch of drugs and you’re cutting it with something lethal.
Seeing some back and forth on the cooking thread I noted what seemed like an obsession to measure everything precisely. The metric system and the use of scales seemed to be getting some traction. I wondered if any of these people actually cooked anything.
The point I tried to make was that the actual measures don’t matter, and that ratios and approximations were good enough. I’m not averse to using scales, and would generally use them on a novel (to me) recipe where it was easier to just measure than figure out the actual rations. Many recipes use convenient measures that are easy to scale. Some use stupidly precise measures: “Oh, crap, I dropped 376g into the bowl instead of 35g, better fish out a gram.”
There’s also the matter of many food-stuffs not coming in precise gram packages but in sizes that vary, like eggs, or carrots. So, what do you do when faced with a recipe? Here’s the significance of measures in recipes for apple crumble as a simple example:
So, the salient points from just these recipes:
Absolute amounts vary.
The amounts you make will depend on a number of factors: number of people you’re cooking for, amount of a key ingredient (apples in apple crumble), the baking container size you have, if you don’t have a range of them.
Ratios of bulk ingredients matter more than the units: tens or hundreds of grams, or ounces. If you have a recipe for 100g of X and 50g of Y, to feed two, you might make it 150/75 if you want two helpings. Or double it up if you want two full meals out of it over two days.
Approximate measures “to taste”, usually for seasoning and flavourings; but it can apply to bulk ingredients – my wife keeps short changing me on the sugar in apple crumble!
The convenience of using household volume measures rather than precise weighing: cups – from your cupboard; actual desert spoons and teaspoons – i.e. not necessarily the precise cup/tablespoon/teaspoon measuring tools.
I thought all of this was quite uncontroversial and sound advice for the budding cook that didn’t want to become anal retentive about measuring the sugar to the nearest gram +/-1%. It’s going to make your cooking so much easier and more fun, and dare I say it exciting:
With hindsight that wasn’t a piece of advice I should have been posting for people obsessed with safe spaces.
You think I’m mocking over safe spaces?
I must admit I was beginning to care a lot less about teaching the lost souls of Twitter how to cook without losing their minds at the supermarket about how many carrots to buy. It turned into a philosophy class. The Sorites paradox re-defined: What makes a cup of carrot?
For those wondering the Soritese ‘heap’ paradox is not a paradox but another ambiguity of the definition of a measurement.
The tensions over how precisely one should measure food continued.
“Measurement errors add up pretty fast on some recipes.” Well, if you add 250g or butter measured out at 1g at a time, I guess so. Cutting off half a pack of 250g for a 4oz recipe not so much that it matters, in your kitchen. Do you ever get the feeling that problems are being invented in order “own” you?
I suppose they all think I’m a far right Imperialist because I don’t denounce the use of Imperial measures in domestic cooking.
When you come to bulk manufacturing there are other factors where precision becomes more significant: consistency, and avoiding waste. But even in large kitchens chefs will vary their recipe according to taste and ingredients. Did you ever see Gordon Ramsey knocking out a dish and not tasting it to make sure it’s OK?
Oh, while I’ve been writing this, over a few minutes, and after my replies to some of the daft replies, the likes for the daft ones are ramping up:
Who knew cooking was such an ideological hell hole. I expect to see an outraged Owen Jones any minute.
If you’d like to see the original tweet and all that followed, here it is:
Some of the respondents wanted to impress upon me how precise and ‘scientific’ were the renown cooks like the French. But they have been deceived by the over priced restaurants that take a wad of cash for a morsel on a large plate, as long as it has a few swirls of coloured gravy around it.
That’s not home cooking for many in France. Here is one person’s awakening to the traditional nature of French cooking, that not only lacks unnecessary precision, but where the same meal could vary a great deal depending on the season and what is available.
I thought French cuisine was the height of precision. My mother-in-law taught me an easier way.
All this should be obvious to anyone with a sense of history. Precision scales were not available or necessary in most homes. My own grand mother made wonderful cakes after measuring out the dry ingredients in her hands! Or sometimes estimating by sight, pouring straight from the flour and sugar bags into the bowl. I have to confess, at age eight and beginning to wonder at the marvels of science, I was shocked that this worked. But I was eight, not a grown adult with significant experience in a home kitchen, … which is what I really think is the problem with many on the Twitter tirade.
Of course there are many cases where non-decimal measures work very well: factors make for easier fractions.
The Babylonian system is base 60: having factors of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30, and 60, while decimal uses 1, 2, 5, and 10 for base 10.
“Ha! The Babylonians are long gone. Not very modern, is it!”
OK, is computing modern enough for you? That’s binary, base 2.
Or how about web sites? Many use base 12 column system that gives you convenient factors for splitting up a web page into rations of 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, and sets of columns: 4 + 8, 3 + 6 + 3, etc.
Now, I’m not going to stretch this point, because for many uses decimal is very convenient. But deceptively so. The reason base 10 for measures seems better is because we use base 10 for counting. But what if we did not?
If we used base 8 for counting our digits would be only 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. And counting would be in that base:
four = 4
five = 5
six = 6
seven = 8
seventy one (our eight) = 10
seventy two (our nine) = 11
The ‘problem’ with the imperial system is that it uses multiple bases at the same time, and THAT is why we have to convert between them – as the diagram in the original tweet illustrated.
But that ‘problem’ is also a convenience. Ounces are conveniently small for cooking with small amounts, and even with bulk ingredients (8oz, 16oz), but pounds are also good (1/4lb, 1/2lb). Cups are mere handy implements (the standardised cup being a convenience for the apprehensive cook more than anything).
And, while the decimal system is more convenient across scales, it’s not entirely consistent. Decimal scales are usually used in rations of thousands: 1, 1000 (Kilo), 1,000,000 (Mega), 1,000,000 (Giga), etc., but in practice other measures are convenient. The 1cm is 1/100 of a metre, 1mm 1/1000.
Inglorious Basterds Fighting Fascism
OK, enough of the common sense. Here is some outrage, for the giggles.
We’re now in SJW crazy town … over approximations in home cookery – Dowsomane is upset …
While we have one idiot crying about ableism another is engaging in ageism.
Labour’s Stella Creasy gave a very good speech on the crisis in Afghanistan in Parliament today (18th August 2021), where she emphasised that the duty of this nation (UK) now was to help those that helped us, and the women and girls, and that we should play our part in an international effort to monitor the actions of the Taliban that have now become the rulers of Afghanistan.
This is good stuff from a Labour MP – poles apart from the previous leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who can only manage to take the opportunity to chide the foreign policies of the USA and the UK (not that he’s wrong) but never seems to manage to point out how much worse are Islamic extremists that are in the habit of killing women for the slightest ‘immodest’ behaviour. None of that evasion from Stella.
However, she couldn’t resist making a “Nothing to do with Islam” claim. Her actual words were:
We must also say, this is not Islam. Islam is not the reason why people are clinging to planes to save their lives. That is brutalism and terrorism., and we must not let people divide us here or overseas in that fight for those values.
Stella Creasy, 18th August, 2021 – UK House of Commons speech on Afghanistan.
This is utter nonsense. And, this is divisive, the opposite of what she wants, because while this will appease the Muslim Council of Britain and 5 Pillars and similar organisations, it is flying in the face of reality and insulting the many ex-Muslims, Muslims and non-Muslims that can see very clearly it all has a lot to do with Islam.
Here, I have to inject the necessary “NOT ALL MUSLIMS“. It seems stupid having to do so, but of course that is exactly what is necessary to attempt to avoid the cursed Islamophobia charge, along with “Why do you hate all Muslims?“, though it will come anyway. It’s an odd charge, since most victims of Islam are Muslims, and if I really hated Muslims I’d be all for these murderous examples of it.
The Taliban have been very clear throughout their existence that their justification for their brutality is Islamic. They will cite the texts that demand the punishments they mete out.
The same has been true of those other “nothing to do with Islam” Islamists and extremists: ISIS, al Qaeda, Boko Haram.
We also have Islamic states like Pakistan, where the famous cricketer and now Prime Minister of Pakistan supports blasphemy laws, laws that saw Christian Asia Bibi flee Pakistan for her life, after a ten year sentence in prison, chased by the baying mobs led by Islamic preachers demanding she be hanged.
Pakistan is also the location from which Saira Khan tried to present a piece for the BBC, on the celebration of the birthday of the prophet Mohamed. She convinced here minders and producer that she would be safe down on the ground among the many men (only men) enjoying the celebrations. But, she was groped and mobbed to the point where she feared that had she remained or been there alone, she would have been raped.
See The Enlightenment of the Brave Saira Khan. Of course, Saira too, at that time, along with her co-presenters, insisted it was “Nothing to do with Islam“, but rather “Pakistani culture“. The latter is actually a racist claim because it implicates all the women in Pakistan too, and the Pakistani Christians, non-Muslims, … Jews (are there any left in Pakistan?). It’s culture, sure enough: Islamic culture – just not for all Muslims.
That post covers many other examples presented by Saira on several Loose Women shows. You’d have to be thoroughly insane to miss the point that all her examples are from Muslims, in many cases justifying their actions from Islam.
Poor brave Saira stuck with Islam as long as she could, but because of all the abuse she received from her ‘Muslim community’, she eventually declared she was no longer a ‘practicingMuslim‘. This was a wise choice of words, and I suspect intended. She did not declare she was no longer a Muslim, for then she would be an apostate, punishable by death in much of Islam. Death for apostasy exists as a sentence in some Islamic states.
In Iran we have seen the perpetual persecution of women that refuse to wear the hijab, required for ‘modesty’ purposes, as prescribed by the Islamic regime: #WhiteWednesdays, #FreeFromHijab, #NoHijabday.
While Stella laments the suffering of men too under the Taliban, how on earth can she declare “Nothing to do with Islam” when ISIS (Sunni Islam) have been throwing gay men of buildings (“from a high place” in the Islamic texts) and the Iranian regime (Shia) has been hanging gay men.
In Afghanistan it’s not just the Taliban that have been persecuting and killing women. Farkhunda Malikzada was killed by a mob (beaten, run over by a car, stoned, then set on fire – when she actually died nobody knows). Why? Because she was believed (mistakenly) to have damage a copy of the Quran. You can’t get a more Islamic example of Islamic brutality.
Islam IS the reason so many Muslims are fleeing the Taliban (and maybe ex-Muslims – it’s not always wise to reveal your real metaphysical position in Islamic dominated states and communities). Of course, for the feeing Muslims it may not be THEIR Islam – we are often reminded by the very same people that declare “Nothing to do with Islam“, that “Islam is not a monolith“. Surely they wouldn’t have to keep making the latter statement if the former were true. They make the latter because they too know that all this Islamic extremism really does have much to do with Islam, and that thankfully, not being a monolith, not all Muslims follow all aspects of Islam to the letter.
The fleeing Muslims are fleeing from the type of Islam they don’t want. That’s a far more honest claim than Stella’s “this is not Islam“.
The Wider Islamic World
Throughout the Islamic world there are countless examples of the brutality of the punishments prescribed in Islam. The chopping of limbs and heads in Saudi. One hundred lashes (Quran 24:2) for sex outside marriage in the in Indonesia, and for a Filipino maid in the UAE.
And, the UAE has had several cases where rape victims have been prosecuted for having sex outside marriage. This is particularly egregious. Islamic apologists insist that such cases are rare because several witnesses to sex outside marriage are required, and who would bear witness to their own ‘sin’? Well, rape victims, apparently.
Muslims in Western states aren’t free from Islam. The UK has more than its share of Islamic extremists. No wonder Asia Bibi didn’t come to the UK – wise move. Unfortunately, for those living here, Islam can be very unforgiving.
Asad Shah, a British Ahmadi Muslim (Ahmadis are denied their rights in Pakistan) was killed by a British Sunni Muslim for ‘disrespecting Islam’. How very Islamic.
Nissar Hussain was a Bradford Muslim who converted to Christianity – apostasy. He was lucky not to be killed, but was beaten brutally be local Muslims and driven out of Bradford. How very Islamic.
British Labour Apologists
Besides Stella Creasy we have many more British MPs that want to declare “Nothing to do with Islam”. Following the Manchester Area bombing by an Islamic terrorist, Manchester Mayor “Shaykh” Andy Burnham had something to say, though he was put in his place by Muslim Haras Rafiq.
Then we have Owen Jones and Jeremy Corbyn, never shy of ‘sticking up for Muslim’, which, ‘coincidentally’ includes them going missing in action when Islamic states do wrong. Not much from either of them on the hanging of gay men in Iran, or the horrors of ISIS or the Taliban. And, eager to tell us how close we were to WWIII when Trump took out terrorism promoter Soleimani, they both coincidentally went very quiet when Iran shot down a passenger jet killing all on board.
Whenever I hear “Nothing to do with Islam” it’s mostly coming from people that don’t seem to be aware of the many ex-Muslims and ex-Muslim organisations that have been trying to tell Western progressives how little they know about Islam.
Ex-Muslims are are often dismissed with, “Oh, well, they would say that wouldn’t they,” as if they are criticising Islam BECAUSE they are ex-Muslims, rather than the reality: many very pious Muslims, indoctrinated into Islam, eventually wake up to the fact that not only are many atrocities committed in the name of their religion, they too learn the texts that prescribe these atrocities. No! Many ex-Muslims are ex-Muslims and criticise Islam BECAUSE they are familiar with Islam.
The irony in all this is that Labour think they are protecting a minority, Muslims, when they declare, “Nothing to do with Islam.” But of course Islam isn’t a minority. It’s the second largest religion in the world, with several states dedicated to upholding Islamic values, just as are the Taliban.
Who are the actual persecuted minorities throughout the Islamic world, and in Islamic communities in the West? Jews, ex-Muslims, Christians, atheists … and the “wrong type of Muslim”. Where are Labour for those minorities. (Yes, OK, we have learned what a large part of Labour thinks of Jews).
Perhaps Stella could start engaging with more ex-Muslims.
And, perhaps Labour would have a greater opportunity to return to power if they didn’t make such stupid claims.
There are serious challenges to the Christian claims about what happened to a man they call Jesus, the one they think is Christ, son of God. The same sorts of challenges can be made about Mohammed, and many other religious prophets and deities, particularly if they happened in the distant past, where there are few if any contemporary documents or artefacts.
The claims tend to fall into two categories: the historicity of the person (Jesus, Mohammed); and the supernatural claims made about them (miracles performed, revelations revealed). I’ll refer to then as the Natural claims and the Supernatural claims.
For Jesus, we find now that we have a religion built around him: Christianity. The main sources of information come from the Bible’s Gospels, with all other sources being references to Jesus and Christianity made by non-Christians and Christians some time after the time for which the claims are made (his birth, life, death, resurrection). These claims are a mix of both Natural and Supernatural.
I am an atheist and I see no evidence to support any of the Supernatural claims about Jesus – his own claim to be the son of God, his reported miracles, and his resurrection.
Those theists that do think there is evidence of these are really saying some version of the following: “We have Natural historic evidence of Jesus, and of the Natural events that happened in his life, and we have witnesses to all that, AND to the miracles, the Supernatural events.”
This must be essentially what they are claiming, because they clearly have no direct evidence of miracles actually happening. For example, take the healing of the blind man’s sight. How do we know that happened? Is there some test we could do now, to say, “Look, there’s the evidence of that miracle!”
Well, there were no videos then, so we can’t look at those. And, of course, even if there were it could be that the blind man was faking blindness, in league with Jesus and his crew. “Ah, but other people knew he’d genuinely been blind.” Really? Which people? The people that the narrator of the story told us about? Where did that narrator get the story? Was he there? If he was, was he in league with the fraud? If he wasn’t there himself, the narrator has no evidence that any of it happened, let alone who was there to testify that it was genuine. In other words, the parable of the blind man is at best hearsay, about a story, that has no more evidence for its truth than any other myth.
And so it is will all claims about the Supernatural … AND the Natural claims about Jesus. And behind these objections to the stories about Jesus we have the obvious suspicion that those that started the religious movement early on were either inventing it completely, or elaborating on stories about one of the many ‘prophets’ that wandered the world making claims about their access to various gods. It wasn’t a new pastime even then. Do you believe all of them? If you think some were false prophets, then why not yours?
A common follow up claim made by Christians is that some other party reported on these events, someone that wasn’t committed to promoting Christianity, someone that even disapproved of Christianity, someone with no skin in the game, so they must be credible, right? For example, Tacitus and Josephus.
Tacitus and Josephus
Tacitus was a Roman historian. He referred to Christ and Christianity in his final book, Annals, written in AD 116. This is long after the death of Jesus, so clearly nothing in his account amounts to his memory of events in Palestine. He wasn’t there.
And yet, we hear that scholars consider it to be an “authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source.” What does that mean? Does it mean it’s an authentic record of what happened to Jesus? No it does not. It means merely that the scholars think there really was a guy called Tacitus, and that he really did report the story in his book. What it does not say is where he got the story from.
If you read the words of Tacitus it amounts to nothing more than the following: “Nero persecuted the Christians. The Christians took their name from the guy know as Christ. And, here’s what Christians say happened to Christ at the hands of his executioners.”
Tacitus is obviously no more than a report of what Christians believed. Tacitus does not, for example, refer to some other Roman document signed by Pilate, or one signed by the Captain of the guard that saw Jesus die.
So, no wonder it is similar to what was written in the Gospels, because both the Gospel authors and Tacitus got the information from what Christians claimed to be the case. This is no more than reporting hearsay.
If you claim you have half a dozen sources, and all those sources trace back to one source, then you have one source, not six. We don’t know where the current sources got their sources from. It’s a dead end. And as such amounts to a myth.
Josephus is no better. He was a Jewish historian. His references were written around 93–94 AD, 60 years after the supposed death of Jesus, so clearly he too was writing about what others were telling him. While some scholars think the texts have been changed, they think the core is ‘authentic’. Again, the authenticity in question is about whether Josephus wrote them, and that what he wrote is largely what he was told. Who told him? Christians, or someone else reporting on what Christians claimed.
While the claims by scholars to the authenticity of Tacitus and Josephus are about whether Tacitus and Josephus wrote what is in their purported works, the authenticity is NOT about the truth of what they wrote about Jesus.
An Accidental Religion
How do religions arise? One way is accidentally.
Imagine we had a world wide apocalypse, another pandemic that wiped out all but a few human groups dotted around the world. In one group, in Europe, for each Christmas after that event, parents would tell the tales of Santa Claus to their children. One Christmas, a visitor from another colony is passing through and hears the stories of Santa Claus, how he used to visit each Christmas. The stranger mistakenly takes the stories seriously, and repeats them elsewhere on his travels. Further more, he finds that the more he repeats them, the more people want to know about Santa, so he elaborates, invents miracles and all sorts of new events, the healing of blind men, for example. And some of those that heard these elaborated stories go on to expand on them themselves. All of a sudden you have a religion out of nothing more than a children’s Christmas fantasy.
Of course the stories now circulating will differ with different elaborations. They will be inconsistent. Eventually, a new emperor of Europe calls all the bishops of Santa Claus religion together.
Does that make those people appear too stupid? You think that couldn’t happen? If you think this is far fetched compared to evidence to support Christianity, think about the following.
Creating a Religion
So another way of creating a religion is with the intention of fooling people. Perhaps Joseph Smith, the man of Golden Tablets. Smith published the Book of Mormon. “By the time of his death, 14 years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion that continues to the present with millions of global adherents.”
Wow! That was in the 1800s, the time of developing ‘Enlightenment’.
But that was nothing.
In the 1950s, a time of radio and television, a second rate science fiction author decided he would create a religion. Obviously, nobody would be dumb enough to pay attention, right? Wrong. Scientology.
The 21st Century celebrities that follow Scientology can look online and read all about this bogus origin, and yet they still believe it. So what makes you think that it would be so difficult to start a religion back in the time purported to be around the life of Jesus? If these Christians are reporting to Tacitus on what they think happened to Jesus, who is Tacitus to say, “Sorry, never happened.” Why would he? He’s only reporting on what they themselves claim.
Of course we don’t even know that Tacitus got the report from Christians directly. It could have been his mate down the brothel, “Hey, Tacitus, that book you’re writing, Have you heard the one about a guy in Palestine seventy years ago?”
This is how poor the information is that’s presented as evidence for Jesus. Even if we have a piece of what Tacitus himself wrote, it says nothing about the truth or falsity of what he wrote about, other than to say that, “Some Christians believed blah, blah, blah.”
If a religion like Scientology can be created in the mid 20th Century, why not one in the time of Pilate in Palestine?
My Alternative Gospel
Imagine, if you will, this scenario (not one I’m claiming happened, but not out of the question).
A man Jesus started making false claims about his access to God’s thoughts. Perhaps he’s a bright fellow, but a little mad. Most people make fun of him. But a few gullible people actually believe what he’s saying.
A couple of other smart guys currently out of work, let’s call then Eric and Ernie, tag along, and while they don’t entirely disbelieve Jesus, they certainly take advantage of him, hype him up, and start to tell others all about him. Maybe slip in the odd story about the occasional ‘miracle’.
Eventually they have raised a bit of a crowed and started to become a real nuisance. The priests want to get rid of Jesus, so make up even more stories about his blasphemous claims, “He actually thinks he’s the son of God!” They succeed and bump him off with the help of one of Pilate’s men, and a little bribe to smooth things over. Jesus is indeed crucified, and dies.
What happens to his followers? This is a bit inconvenient. They were going around with Jesus, being housed and fed wherever they went.
Eric, “I know, let’s tell people he’s coming back in a few days! That will sustain the religion. AND, even better, what if he vanishes … to heaven … by rising up. We can continue telling stories abut him and he’s not here to dispute them. Do you think the other followers will buy it?“
Ernie, “Well they’ve been easily fooled so far. Nobody has to actually witness this resurrection. We only have to SAY that someone witnessed it, us. And, we have to go an steal the body, of course. AND, the more fake witnesses we can add, besides ourselves, the better. AND, with Jesus now resurrected out of the way, in body and ‘spirit’, there’s no way that anyone can disprove any of this junk. AND, we get to live off the tale for the rest of our lives!“
And so, the resurrection story emerges.
Eric, “What if if some of the other followers go back and start asking questions. Everyone will deny witnessing the resurrection. We’ll be caught out.“
Ernie, “No problem. We’ll say it’s a cover-up instigated by the priests that have warned witnesses that they’ll go the same way as Jesus if they say anything.“
Eric, “Brilliant! The greater the conspiracy against OUR conspiracy, the less people will notice ours.“
Welcome to Christianity – my version – which is just as well evidenced as any other … that is, there is no evidence for any of it.
“Whoa, there! It’s not as simple as that. What about the Virgin Birth?”
Didn’t happen. Eric and Ernie made up that story too, to add a bit more mystique to the religion. Mary was actually fooling around with Joseph’s mate. Stoning adulterers was common back then, so what would people rather believe about ‘Christ’? The truth or another myth? Which myth, mine or the Christian myth?
But if Jesus is who he says, that changes everything! Jesus said, “I am the way, the TRUTH & the life…” The number of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ life including things he had no control over (eg: place of birth & specific details regarding his death). That would be mind blowing!”
No, Jesus did not say “I am the way…” Eric and Ernie made that up to. And what if he HAD said it? It was false, because he was just some ordinary mad man.
But you can’t do that! You can’t mess around with history that way. What if we did that to Churchill, or any other historical figure? Many historical stories have very little evidence.”
Why not? How do YOU know YOUR myth is true, and not mine, or some other perfectly simple explanation as to why the religion arose out of a lie?
I didn’t meet Winston Churchill but I have no doubt he wrote his, ‘Fight them on the Beaches’ speech! There are many eyewitness accounts of the life, death & resurrection of Jesus. The apostles were willing to die for the Gospel. I don’t think they would have died for a lie.
Well, if you’re a Christian, I assume you disbelieve in the Islamic faith. Yet, many Muslims have martyred themselves for what they believe in.
If you die for a lie, but you don’t think it’s a lie, you don’t know you’re dying for a lie, but it’s still a lie.
What About Churchill?
Let’s take seriously the possibility that Churchill’s “Fight them on the beaches” speech didn’t happen. Let’s suppose the recordings we hear today were fake, created after the war to make Churchill seem even more of a hero. What about all those people still alive today that heard the speech on the radio? Let’s pretend they have false memories, instilled in them be playing the later recordings.
I know, I’m stretching your credulity here, imagining such a famous speech was faked, that false memories implanted, that old news papers reporting it were fake too, … including the treasured notebooks, the government materials … all fake, all a WWII conspiracy.
Nevertheless, let’s suppose that somehow it was actually fake. What would that matter now? Sure, some historians would want to re-write some text books, and we would probably get a few more History Channel documentaries out of it. But what would it really change to our lives now? Would it make you give up on your studies, or convince you to quit work, to go an live in France? Would it change the Brexit deal? Would it stop the COVID pandemic?
I doubt very much would happen at all.
And the same goes for most historic events. Historians and archaeologists are learning more about he past all the time, and when something new crops up, a new piece of evidence that changes a story, what happens? Outside academia, the world carries on.
But, as our Christian friend asked, what if the story of Jesus is true, and could seriously shown to be true? Even if it was only the Natural history of Jesus that was proved to be true, that would be amazing. What if the Supernatural claims could be proved to be true? As our friend said, “That would be mind blowing!“
Yes, but what if it isn’t true?
Unlike the histories of Churchill or any other historic figure, if some evidence was found that Jesus did not exist, some evidence, a scroll or two, that showed that the story of Jesus was totally made up in 30 AD, what would THAT mean for Christians, for the Roman Catholic Church, for every Evangelical preacher getting rich off the proceeds of his church? Well, that would indeed be mind blowingly interesting. Christianity would be destroyed! Wouldn’t it?
We have to be honest with ourselves. To most Christians it wouldn’t make a jot of difference. They don’t believe based on reason and evidence. When they claim to provide evidence, such as Tacitus and Josephus, that’s not for their benefit. That’s for our benefit, to shut us up. NOTHING will stop a true believer believing, no matter how great the fantasy the religion is built on. How do we know this? Because of the number of totally incompatible religions that exist.
Nobody that values reason above faith could possibly believe that their religion is the one true religion while all the others were false, given the lack of evidence for all of them. But if you hold faith above reason, you can be convinced to believe any one rubbish.
All you Christians know this, when you look at Muslims. All you Muslims know this when you look at Christians. You just can’t look at yourselves in the same light.
Faith to Faithless
Now and again, the reality of how ridiculous the stories of Jesus and Mohammed hit home. That can be quite a shock.
If it happens to you, you might find yourself in conflict with family and friends. You might be bullied into returning to the religion. You might be ostracised once they realise you are really leaving. In some cases there might be the threat of death.
If you need help, contact Faith to Faithless, and find a group of people with similar experiences that will help you deal with this dramatic change in your life, which I hope will be a good one.
I can’t imagine the Batley ‘blasphemy’ incident has escaped the notice of ANYONE interested in British politics. In summary, a teacher showed a class a cartoon of Mohammed. From what we know it was a legitimate use of the cartoon. And, we don’t have a blasphemy law in the UK … officially. Yes, we are damned close with our ‘Hate Incidents’, and Scotland now has what is essentially a blasphemy law, introduced by Humza Yousaf, SNP Cabinet Secretary for Health & Social Care. But, as yet, it is not illegal to use a cartoon of any religious figure in a classroom while teaching about religion, or about blasphemy.
Of course, the Islamists of the Batley ‘Muslim community’ want otherwise. They’d like nothing more than a blasphemy law preventing the criticism of Islam. So, when it became known that the teacher had used a cartoon of Mohammed, the Islamists stepped it up a gear and ‘parents’ (i.e. leaders of mosques and a members of a number of Islamist groups) started to demonstrate outside the school.
The teacher was justifiably afraid for his life. A similar incident resulted in the beheading of the teacher Samuel Paty, in France. The Batley teacher went into hiding.
Where were that teacher’s union representatives? Where was the outrage over the Islamist activists attempts to impose blasphemy laws by coercive campaigning? Nowhere.
And, where has Owen Jones been? Perhaps he’s too busy wondering, “Why do they think I support Islamic extremism?”
Here’s why some people might.
Our 21st Century Citizen Smith was out meeting with striking teachers, and even managed to put in an appearance at a photo op for a George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Knowing how fond Owen is of teachers (he has many tweets supporting them), and the persecuted, you might expect him to have a few things to say about the situation at Batley, and the persecuted teacher, no?
No, of course not. At least not the incident at Batley involving Islamists trying, again, to dictate the school curriculum and enforce blasphemy rules.
When Owen suddenly took an interest in Batley, it wasn’t for the persecuted teacher, but for Labour’s potential demise in that constituency. Own was happy to tweet support for Labour.
The video linked in Owen’s tweet only had this to say about Batley …
“Batley … diverse … Muslim community … supporters of the Labour Party”
Since Owen has an interest in the wellbeing of teachers, including the Batley teacher in hiding, and of Labour’s Muslim voters in Batley, why would he miss the opportunity to mention the problem, the conflict, the ‘slight’ difference of points of view on the matter of Mohammed cartoons?
Owen wasn’t going anywhere near this banana skin. There was no way he was going to risk alienating Labour’s Muslim voters (the remaining red wall) by having anything to say about the extremists in their midst If you listen to his video it will become clear that IF Batley is lost to Labour, it will, as usual, have “nothing to do with Islam” and its horrific blasphemy demands, but instead will all be Keir Starmer’s fault. Keir, it seems, is the new Labour patsy for all that’s wrong with Labour.
Both Owen and the Batley teacher’s union that has also gone missing. It seems Batley’s ‘bin men’ have a greater interest in a persecuted teacher than either teaching unions or Owen Jones.
Except that the teachers unions did eventually put in an appearance, or at least ‘a teaching union official’ is reported to have done so, and has told the bin men to shut up.
Where have we seen this sort of intervention before regarding Labour’s reduced red wall in Yorkshire? Remember Naz Shah liking and retweeting this?
Not only have the teaching unions not come to the aid of a member, but they seem to prefer to support a ‘charity’.
So, Owen Jones, defender of the persecuted, supporter of teachers’ rights … why are you MISSING IN ACTION AT THE BATTLE OF BATLEY
Questions about Israel always seem to be one sided. Though critics might reply, “Of course, Hamas shouldn’t fire rockets … but …”, it’s always the ‘but’ and ensuing excuses that are so revealing.
There’s a tendency to look back, to the history of the region … but only as far back as suits the anti-Israel narrative.
“Why is Israel bombing Palestinian buildings?”
Maybe if Palestinian terrorist didn’t fire rockets into Israel.
“Apartheid* Israel started it, persecuting Palestinians?”
Maybe if Palestinian terrorists didn’t kill Jews in Israel, coming through terror tunnels, sending incendiary kites over.
“They wouldn’t** if they didn’t have to live in Gaza prison.”
Gaza was walled because Palestinian terrorists attacked Jews so often, Israel refused to put up with it and created a security barrier.
“The West Bank!”
The West Bank was taken by Jordan in one of the several attempts by Muslim neighbours to defeat Israel. Israel took it back in the six day war of 1967. Tough.
“The British and Zionists are to blame! 1948!”
Well, maybe, if Germany, Russia and practically every other country hadn’t persecuted Jews in the diaspora.
The Jews have ONE homeland.
Where was the international condemnation of Pakistan, created as a Muslim state, which persecutes Jews (are there any Jews left there?) There are many Islamic states. Why was there a need for another, if Jews can’t have ONE?
Israel is surrounded immediately by antagonistic Muslim states, that have attacked Israel, some of which indoctrinate their children with a hatred for Jews, in Muslim homes, in Muslim religious schools, on state TV children’s programmes in some cases. There are many liberal Muslims, and man, many ex-Muslims that attest to this teaching.
No wonder, Apartheid* Islam always persecuted Jews, as well as Christians, Atheists. Muslims even persecute the wrong type of Muslim, but critics of Israel don’t seem to mind, so accustomed are they to Islamofascism.
Perhaps many critics of Israel mean well, in defending Muslims, as they see it when they wave Palestinian flags. But there’s a gross ignorance about Islam that these dupes seem blind to. Islam is the second largest religion in the world, has plenty of ‘Muslim lands’ – an Apartheid term used by Muslims, because when Islamic law is implemented as intended, non-Muslims are second class citizens, having to pay differential taxes, and unable to hold various positions in the Islamic state.
It’s sometimes convenient to step back in history to pick a time when the land of Israel wasn’t in the hands of the Jews or their forebears, or when Jews or someone else can be blamed for the driving out of the Jews, other than Muslims.
The British are often to blame. Conveniently. But they ended up controlling the region only after the last Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire, but we’re not supposed to talk about the Islamic conquests, just as it’s reasonable to mention the Atlantic slave trade but not the Islamic, which pre/post dated and supplied the Atlantic.
Though there have been many conquerors of the region of Israel up to the middle of the 20th century, since 1948, when Israel was established as the ONE Jewish homeland, Jews have suffered persecutions in and expulsions from ‘Muslim lands’, so that Israel is the ONLY place for Jews to go.
And yet, after several wars on Israel, still the Muslim nations around them want to drive Israel, and Jews off the map. And their allies, usually left wing fools that mysteriously seem to favour the ultra-conservative, misogynistic, homophobic (i.e. far-right) political religious ideology of Islam.
“No, it’s not Jews, it’s Israel”
Really? The world persecutes Jews wherever they are, drives them into their ONE and legitimate homeland, … and then tries once more to drive them out again.
There’s no end to this, especially from Islamic anti-Jewish hate.
“They wouldn’t** if they didn’t have to live in Gaza prison.”
Of course they would. It’s the stated aim of terrorist Hamas, and of the rogue state of Iran, and it’s only recently that some of the more pragmatic Arab Islamic neighbours have finally figured harassing Israel isn’t working and have acknowledged Israel’s right to exist.
There will remain disputed borders, as there are around the world that don’t attract an irate antisemitic crowd. But Israel stands as a state and has a right to defend itself. If it’s over zealous sometimes, by all means criticise it. But if you keep calling for sanctions, or want Israel prosecuted for human rights violations, or whatever else you can think of, then at least be balanced.
If you want to criticise Israel for ‘killing children’, at least have the decency to thoroughly condemn Hamas for deliberately putting children in harms way. And do the same for all the other examples of Muslims elsewhere that devalue the lives of children: grooming gangs, honour killings, FGM, brutal religious schools, forced marriages, under age marriages. Stop being such hypocrites. …
You might think I’m exaggerating about the antisemitic motivated focus on Israel. So, let me give you a couple of examples from the UK. I pick on these two because they are similar in their biases, not that they are the only ones. They are the ones I notice most.:
Jeremy Corbyn – A long time ‘friend’ of terrorists, seen at the graveside of IRA and Islamic terrorists, recently Labour Party leader, at a time that saw increasing antisemitism in the party, and Corbyn sharing platforms with known antisemites.
Owen Jones – Not an MP, but a Labour Party member, and long time choir boy for the party, and for a time, a strong supporter of Corbyn.
It’s difficult to pin either down as explicit antisemites, but according to the current progressive popular measures of ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘unconscious racism’ this two fit the bill of at least ‘unconscious’ antisemitism.
They tout themselves as champions of the oppressed and persecuted, when Israel is supposedly doing the persecuting, then they go missing in action for other causes. Some examples from their twitter feeds might help make the point, as both of them are not shy when it comes to tweeting about Palestinian rights and Israel’s ‘crimes’.
Who are the subjects of these empty feeds?
Nassir Hussain was a Muslim, in the UK. He converted to Christianity. Leaving Islam is a capital crime in Islam – supposedly not in the UK. As it is, he got away lightly with a beating, using baseball bats, by local Muslims, all being caught on security cameras he had to have installed because he was being persecuted by Muslims.
Corbyn and Jones are not interested.
Asad Shah was an Ahmadi Muslim. Ahmadi Muslims are persecuted in Pakistan, and are prohibited in law from calling themselves Muslims. Their mosques are often attacked in Pakistan. Their HQ is now in the UK. But, since we have a large Pakistani community in the UK they are not entirely free here. The Muslim Council of Britain has a page dedicated to denouncing them – though, of course, in the nicest possible way so as not to infringe British draconian hate speech laws. Well, it was too much for one Muslim, who drove from Bradford, up to Glasgow where Asad Shah lived, in order to kill him. In the aftermath the Ahmadi community attempted to hold an inter-faith peace event, to which Jewish and Christian leaders turned up … but not Sunni or Shia Muslim leaders.
Corbyn and Jones are not interested.
Asia Bibi is a Christian woman who served ten years in prison in Pakistan on some trumped up charge that was entirely about religious sectarianism. When Pakistan’s courts freed here, there were massive religious demonstrations encouraged in Pakistan to have her hanged. To Britain’s shame, we did not offer her sanctuary. To be honest, given the zealotry of some of our Muslims, many of whom were only too keen to join ISIS, it might have been a wise move from our government, “We’d like to offer you a home here, Asia, but you wouldn’t be safe from too many our own Pakistani Muslim community. Don’t tell anyone I said that.”
Corbyn and Jones are not interested.
These are not the only examples of Corbyn and Jones going missing in action in revealing ways.
Here are two very similar posts, about how, outraged at the killing of Iranian tyrant Qasem Soleimani, they both went missing in action when the Iranians shot down an airliner, killing all on board, so reluctant are they to criticise Iran.
To repeat, these are not the only culprits that focus more than a little suspiciously on Israel, the home of the Jews, but because they are OUR British far left progressive champions of the oppressed, particularly when Jews appear to be doing the oppressing, and hardly ever when Muslims actually and very overtly are, when there are far more examples of the latter.
I have some news for you. There are invisible mischievous magic fairies living at the bottom of my garden. They leave no trace, no evidence that they exist. But, when things go missing, like my car keys, I suspect they have been coming into the house and moving them around, just for kicks. Sometimes, when I find my car keys, I remember that I had left them in that place. Other times, when I do not remember leaving them where they are found, but rather have a distinct memory of putting them on the hook in the hall, then I know that either the fairies moved them, or that my memory was mistaken.
Acting as if it’s so, that there are such fairies, or as if it’s not so, causes socially different outcomes, but no difference to the reality behind the acting out.
Acting as if it’s not so, when it is so, or when it isn’t, makes no difference to the reality, or the social outcomes. I go about my life dismissing the occasions when I have misremembered where I left my keys as just that, an error of memory on my part. If a fairy believer asks how I know fairies didn’t move the keys, I reply I don’t, but since I can’t distinguish between misremembering and the act of fairies, what does it matter? If there are really fairies moving my keys I and the world remain indifferent to it, as there is no evidence of it that could not be explained by an error of memory. That a believer in fairies might demand, “How can you not see that it was obviously fairies that moved your keys,” isn’t convincing.
However, acting as if it’s so, when it’s not so, just means I’m a bit loopy. If I tell lots of people about this story, I’m going to get some funny looks, except from people who also believe and act out that it’s so. We believers might get a lot of comfort from believing that fairies move our keys. We don’t have to suffer the indignity of memory loss, and I can bear the social stigma from non-believers, because we believers get together and provide the support we need in the face of doubters.
To believers in gods this story might sound childishly foolish. What grown intelligent adult would believe in such fairies?
I’m sorry to tell you, believers in gods, but that’s just how your beliefs look to atheists. You might find that insulting, offensive, but is it any more offensive than your attitude to believers in fairies, to Scientologists, Fly Spaghetti Monster followers? I know, because I’ve seen it said, that some believers in the Abrahamic god find the blue gods of India comical, ‘unbelievable’. Yet you believe in a zombie Jesus, or a flying horse riding Mohammed, or a sea parting Moses?
And, you agnostics, are you ‘agnostic’ about the fairies in my story?
The only difference between your gods and the gods, aliens and fairies you don’t believe in is your particular commitment to a story you have been convinced of – from childhood indoctrination for many, through a deep seated need to believe by adults that change or find religion.
This acting ‘as if’ something is so, whether it is or not, has a name in a religious. Praxis: the engagement in accepted customs and practices.
The problem for women like me, who have a Muslim name and are of Asian heritage, is that others make assumptions about us before we even open our mouths
It’s common to see this complaint about assumptions being aimed at critics of Islam, as if we are making generalisations about what all Muslims think – which isn’t true, though it can be for those that have never taken the trouble to pay attention to Islam outside terrorist attacks.
However, it’s also true of many Muslims who want to impose their expectations of what a (‘good’) Muslim should be.
This week I received a disgusting message from a troll, which made me think it’s high time I came out of the closet to proclaim that I am not a practising Muslim.
It has taken me till the age of 50 to find the courage to say it.
I’m doing it now for my own wellbeing.
I want to be honest and feel free to live my life by my own rules.
I feel that by saying this as a public figure, I will no longer inadvertently confuse or unintentionally hurt others of the Muslim faith.
I must be clear that I do not represent any Muslim communities – especially Muslim women.
It’s worth emphasising some of the points made here.
If it has taken 50 years to have the courage to say it, and it was true during those 50 years, then it is not merely a matter hiding one’s own identity, but also raises the question of why Saira went to so much trouble to make sure she protected Islam from criticism. From outbursts on TV accusing others of racism towards Muslims, when they are criticising the religion, Saira went on to absolve the religion of criticism and instead put all the ills of, as she calls it, “my community” on being of Pakistani origin, and made much of Pakistan itself and its culture being the source of the problems. That this was as racist as labelling grooming gangs as Asian seems to have slipped Saira’s notice – it was not Pakistani Christians, Jews (are there any left) or even Ahmadi Muslims causing the many problems Saira has described numerous times on her Loose Women appearances.
So, in wanting to be honest it’s not just a matter of being honest about one’s own identity that needs to be established, but a little more honesty about Islam. But no, it seems not hurting ‘others of the Muslim faith’ seems the greater concern, and not the harm done by SOME (too large a number) of the Muslim faith, by action or omission.
And, it’s a pity Saira feels she does not want to represent any Muslim community, or Muslim women, because there are many Muslim women, in places like Iran, Saudi, and, yes, Pakistan, that might appreciate a little more vocal support from Western liberal women, especially those that have suffered the experiences Saira has from some Muslims. But, if Saira needs a break from Islam, as a spokesperson, or a critics, that’s her choice.
People assume that because we have Muslim parents we are practising Muslims, that we have read the Quran, that we fast every Ramadan, that we don’t drink, that we don’t have sex before marriage.
Surely Saira knows that the punishment for sex outside marriage in Islam, as stated clearly in the Quran and implemented in some Islamic countries, is 100 lashes? Perhaps not, if she hasn’t read the Quran. But this raises a genuine problem for many Muslims:
They assert that the Quran is the literal perfect word of Allah, valid for all time, a complete guide to life.
They ignore the parts of the Quran that are plain for everyone to see, that it prescribes horrendous punishments for acts that should not be considered criminal.
They assert only the ‘few’ extremists or fundamentalists take the bad stuff literally (i.e. the ‘nice’ Muslims cherry pick and leave those behind, or wave their hands and magic them away with ‘nuance’.)
They then scream ‘Islamophobia’ at those that choose the take the extremist’s and fundamentalist’s word for it.
Imagine the following:
Many Nazis declare that to be true to some of the ideas addressed in Mein Kamp it is necessary to exterminate all Jews.
Opponents of Nazism point out that this crazy ideology is endorsing genocide.
Some ‘nice’ Nazis scream, “Naziphobe! Not all Nazis! Only the extremists. Nazism is an ideology of peace.”
Would you be convinced?
At last, Saira has found the courage to choose for herself how she wants to live, irrespective of what others want for her.
I’ve not dared to share these feelings before because the very few Muslim women who have already made the admission are called sinful and some have even been targeted with death threats.
Saira is a mature adult, not some teenage girl uncertain of what the changes she is undergoing mean and how they fit in to the strict demands of Islam. If it has taken this long for Saira to have dared, how tough is it for so many others, of all ages, to speak out, female or male, in Islamic or any other ‘community’?
Saira’s public persona is both a privilege and a curse. A young unknown girl that wants to break free of strict religious traditions would have little support within the family or community – the dangers would be very local. A celebrity has wider public support, but also attracts the attention of religious lunatics from further afield.
What I am is someone brought up in the Muslim faith, with parents who practised it. So I have an insight into Islam. Most of my values are based on the spiritual aspects of the Muslim faith. But I’m also influenced by other spiritual teachings. I have found a huge relief in being honest. I feel this was the last taboo to overcome before I could live my best, most happy and fulfilled life.
Perhaps this feature comment says it better than most could:
I have to say I admire you Saira. I’m a 42 year old man from an African background, I entirely understand the cultural and family demands. Girl, you have more balls than most men I know. Bravo!!!
I am puzzled by how seemingly liberal people will make excuses for what, at best, is a conservative religion, and at worst is an ultra-conservative, misogynistic, homophobic political religious ideology – i.e. as far right as you can get.
This is especially puzzling, up to a point, when most victims of Islam are Muslims and ex-Muslims. The ‘point’ at which it ceases to be puzzling is when you hear the stories, some as bad as Saira’s, many far worse – Muslims and ex-Muslims are terrorised into conforming, or at least looking the other way while those that don’t conform are terrorised. Too often this happens within a family, and more so to women whose brothers, male cousins, uncles, even fathers, would kill a girl for dishonouring Islam.
There seems to be as much identity and protectionism in Islam as in any ‘replacement’ conspiracy theorising white racist group. Islam isn’t a race, but it has clearly been hyped as one, simply because the majority of Muslims in western countries are of a non-white heritage. Good luck pulling of ‘Islamophobia = racism’ when ex-Muslims of the same ethnicities as Muslims criticise Islam. And, did nobody notice the white Muslims (‘converts’ or ‘reverts’) joining ISIS? Saira has spoken out against this identity expectation, “I shopped my own cousin”, “it’s not racist to point out these problems”, but has also been the victim of it … for 50 years?
The ‘Muslim community’ is actually anything but, unless Islam is challenged by non-Muslims, and then the ‘unity’ card is played and even liberal Muslims are either coerced or feel obliged to play along, as Saira herself has done in the past. And when Muslims try to break the pattern, as a number of ‘reform’ Muslim groups do around the world, they are treated as apostates.
Sunni Muslims kill Ahmadis in Pakistan, … and the UK. The Muslim Council or Britain denounces Ahmadis on its web site, with the obligatory text to provide plausible deniability of stirring hate. Sunnis and Shias have flash points in the Middle East. The Oscars, of all places, saw this hatred for Ahmadis when it so many Muslims came out to celebrate a film by Muslim producers … until the Muslim Mafia realised they were Ahmadis. Smaller sects are denounced as not being proper Muslims.
Many Muslims denounce ISIS as non-Muslim, despite so many Muslims, and only Muslims, joining ISIS. But, ISIS denounce Muslims that won’t join or affiliate with them.
Islam is a mess. Not unlike Christianity used to be, and still is to a much lesser extent, with even Northern Ireland sectarian violence having cooled.
Christians are to blame too, for the mess of Islam in the west. It’s a bit risky criticising Islam without bringing down their own house of cards.
Woke anti-racism also plays a significant part. There are racists of all skin colours. #Woke#AntiRacism is #EquityRacism: It doesn’t reduce the amount of white racism in a majority white nation, it gives power to racists of all colours, increasing net racism, validating segregation, even dividing ethnicities internally. And Muslims are a very convenient tool for anti-racists.
Western Feminism can take some blame too. Despite the cries for support from ex-Muslims around the world, or from Muslim women in Iran, too many western feminists look the other way. In my previous post on Saira, where I posted the videos from ITV’s Loose Women, Saira’s co-panelists went out of their way to agree with Saira that this was all about culture and “Nothing to do with Islam”.
Oddly, and to the benefit of nobody, many on the non-Muslim far right, when not blaming all Muslims (and Sikhs) for every Islamic terror attack, will not shy from stating more honest facts about some case involving Islam. The problem is we know it’s not just the facts they want but some wider identity agenda of their own.
I’m anti-religion. It does way more harm than good, when the good could be achieved through any number or religions or none. The good that people claim to get from religion isn’t down to what the religion claims, and could be had without all the dreadful baggage that religion brings with it.
Islam currently brings with it the worst baggage because it is the second largest, and probably soon the largest religion in the world, given Christianity’s slow death. And then you only have to read the Quran, the supposed ‘perfect literal word of God, valid for all time’, a book that is easy for all to read, on the one hand, and yet requires great scholarship to understand – though that scholarship only ever seems to apply to excuse the nasty bits.
Decent Muslims have to ignore much of the Quran. We are told the fundamentalists are a minority of Muslims. OK, then how many decent Muslims will come straight out and say people should not be lashed 100 times for having sex outside marriage? Where is this renounced? Dare it be renounced as a bad part of the Quran, even 1400 years ago. Nobody thinks the Atlantic slave trade can be passed off as “Well, for the times …” – though the Islamic slave trade seems to get a pass, when it wasn’t given up in Saudi until 1962, and Mauritania, a key part of the slave trade, until 1981. The Quran, perfect for all time, still endorses slavery today.
While I still think Ahmadis are wrong in their beliefs, they must be given credit for at least attempting to disarm Islam by conveniently having another prophet (one of explanation not revelation, since Mohammed is supposed to the the final revelatory prophet). But they have no chance of catching on.
The same for reformers. What chance do they have when so many ‘decent’ and ‘liberal’ Muslims denounce them?
Those that want to minimise Islamic terrorist attacks so that Islam doesn’t appear to be so bad will use a number of rhetorical and statistical tricks to do so. Some of the most common are surely these:
Refer to Islamic terror attacks ONLY in the USA.
Refer to Islamic terror attacks SINCE 9/11.
Compare Islamic terror attacks to ALL ‘FAR RIGHT’ terrorist acts combined, with a generous conflation of both the attackers motives and the labelling of acts as ‘terrorism’.
The take-home that the Islamic apologists want to you to accept from this is that, well, “Islamic terrorism ain’t so bad, look at far right extremism.”
A common claim is that “right wing EXTREMISM is rising faster than Islamic extremism.” This is BS. At any instant, following some event, it may indeed be the case that far right extremism rises faster than Islamic extremism, but that’s because deaths that occur as a result of right wing extremism are often somewhat incidental, or unplanned, and mostly result in a smaller number of deaths. It doesn’t take some Islamic terrorist long to boost their victim count and leapfrog the far right terrorists.
Nevertheless, looking at the chart above, it does seem clear that right wing extremism is a serious threat, in the USA. But this is of no great relief to citizens that still care about Islamic extremism, since all Muslims account for a meagre 1% of the US population, and of course Islamic extremists are a tiny minority of US Muslims. So that those ‘Jihadist’ victims are on a par with those of right wing extremists is a pretty serious problem.
Here’s a better representation of the data … in the 9/11 era, not the post-9/11 era, compared to far right ideology.
I’ve emphasised the fact that the term EXTREMISM is used with regard to the far right, as that allows the narrative to include those on the far right with extremists views, whether they have engaged in terrorist acts or not. On the other hand, when it comes to Islam, the use of the term ‘extremism’ is often used to include only Islamic terrorist acts or foiled plots to engage in terrorist acts.
This is a dishonest comparison, because even within the small US Muslim population ‘extremist’ views (death for apostasy, blasphemy, adultery, homosexuality, harsh punishments for sex outside marriage, etc.) are more common than many would like to admit. Many ex-Muslims will confirm that their families wish them dead, for being apostates, even if they are not prepared to carry out the sentence themselves.
One can even ask to what extent is Islamic extremism NOT far right extremism? Islam’s more fundamentalist forms are ultra conservative, political, ‘nationalistic’ (‘the nation of Islam’, ‘Muslim lands’, ‘the Muslim Ummah’), judicial, misogynistic, homophobic, … it has all the hallmarks or a far right nationalist supremacist ideology, … and, it just happens to revolve around a religious ideology, as does the Christian far right. What is NOT far right about Islamic extremism?
And, “Nothing to do with Islam”? Everything about Islamic extremism is about Islam and its various prescriptions and proscriptions.
It’s been an astonishing ride for the last decade or so, and two narratives typify the Islamic apologetics that has been going on, in addition to the above.
When Charlottesville happened, Donald Trump disavowed the far right extremists and white supremacists and racists – and has done so often, on record. And yet because he also pointed out that there were many ‘good people’ in the Charlottesville protests the extremists, this was seen as tacit support for the far right.
Yet, when Obama said “Nothing to do with Islam”, a direct lie, his supporters agreed whole heartedly.
The far right, the white supremacists, the racists, should be called out and argued against whenever we find them. And far right extremists that plot to engage in terrorist acts should be hunted down and prosecuted.
More honesty about Islamic extremism and terrorism, and less apologising for it, would go a long way to making the US and the rest of the world safer.
France’s Macron has eventually been forced to accept this, because Islamic terrorists in Europe have a freer hand than they do in the USA, because:
Europe has tolerated extremist Islam and its hate preachers, and has even funded them through self-proclaimed representative organisations.
They can get into Europe more easily.
Islamic apologetics from non-Muslim pseudo-liberals is even stronger in Europe.
Europe’s ‘hate speech’ laws and the lack of constitutional support for free speech has stifled those that speak out against Islam (and Islamic paedophiles grooming gangs).
Europe has already allowed Islamic extremism to flourish. The USA should not. More honesty about Islam would help.
More specifically, Mohammed endorsed slavery? While there are verses where Mohammed suggests slaves may be freed, it is in some cases for the benefit of the Muslim slave owner, not the slave – to earn bonus points for good behaviour, so to speak.
In other cases it’s clear Mohammed presumes Muslims do have slaves, and therefore endorses the practice of slavery. There can’t be so many occasions when being nice to slaves, or even freeing them, or marrying them, is possible if you don’t have slaves in the first place, and if you don’t expect them to be owned, over many verses, and so over the many occasions when the verses were supposedly revealed.
Nowhere does Mohammed say, “Muslims, slavery is bad. Free all your slaves now, and take no others! Oh, and you shouldn’t have been using them for your own sexual gratification.”
You’d think an almighty deity could have given Mohammed a very clear message in that regard. But, no,or course not, because Mohammed was a man of his time; and so (if you can believe Mohammed was the source of any of the Quran) the best he can do is be a bit nicer to slaves and maybe free some now and again. It’s not like Romans didn’t occasionally dole out freedom – this wasn’t Mohammed coming up with some unique for the times socially woke policy, as many Muslims would have you believe.
Nevertheless, many modern Muslims will try to convince you that Mohammed was basically an Abraham Lincoln, or a Martin Luther King Jnr., so keen was he to set slaves free. This is the sort of verse they use to try to convince you:
Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.
They neglect to point out all the other verses where Mohammed clearly has in mind that Muslims do actually own slaves.
Here’s an analogy of the duplicitous move Muslims make in declaring Mohammed opposed slavery …
Believer in a fictitious holy book (not the Quran in this case): Hey guys, my holy book opposes slavery. It says you should not take slaves! Look at verse X “You must not take slaves at the weekend.”
Non-believer reads the holy book: Hold on, verse Y says you can take slaves on weekdays. You’re a fraud.
In 4:24 we see the phrase “those your right hands possess“, which usually means slaves, and is understood to mean slaves by many scholars. Clearly, this verse would be meaningless if Allah had banned slavery. You are not prohibited from marrying slaves, even if they are already married. You are only prohibited from marrying believing women married already (could also meaning chaste women, but that’s thought to mean married women anyway).
And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
In 4:25 there’s a clear link between being a slave girls and the phrase “whom your right hand possesses” – this is clear that the phrase does mean slaves. And here, again, slavery is clearly presumed, because if you can’t afford to marry a free believing woman, you can marry a believing slave.
And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [he may marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. And Allah is most knowing about your faith. You [believers] are of one another. So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. [They should be] chaste, neither [of] those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take [secret] lovers. But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free [unmarried] women. This [allowance] is for him among you who fears sin, but to be patient is better for you. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
In 4:92 it’s again specifically believing slaves – not non-believing slaves? So, implicit here is that you can own non-believing slaves, and believing slaves.
And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake – then the freeing of a BELIEVING slave and a compensation payment presented to the deceased’s family [is required] unless they give [up their right as] charity. But if the deceased was from a people at war with you and he was a believer – then [only] the freeing of a believing slave; and if he was from a people with whom you have a treaty – then a compensation payment presented to his family and the freeing of a believing slave. And whoever does not find [one or cannot afford to buy one] – then [instead], a fast for two months consecutively, [seeking] acceptance of repentance from Allah . And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
Moving on, in 24:33 Mohammed talks about “your slave girls” again. I guess while it’s okay for you to have sex with them, prostituting them out is a bit much, even for a slavery endorsing warlord. So thoughtful.
But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty. And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess – then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you. And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful.
Again, in 58:3, you can’t free slaves you don’t have. Mohammed clearly expects slaves to be owned.
And those who pronounce thihar from their wives and then [wish to] go back on what they said – then [there must be] the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. That is what you are admonished thereby; and Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
These are just a few examples that show that Mohammed didn’t have a problem with slavery as such. Perhaps he recited verse 2:177 on a weekend.
The Last and Missing Revelation?
Even in the last verses revealed there’d have been the opportunity to to make adjustments, for an almighty deity that’s keen on revealing inerrant and final truths for all time.
Oh, yeah, Mohammed, slipped my mind, but I notice you guys still have slaves. Let me make it clear, when Allah said free them, he didn’t mean just now and then. He meant free them all, and take no more.
But, you said he said we could marry slaves, and use them as currency to pay debts of honour, or for piety bonus points. How can we do that if we don’t have any slaves? What’s the point of those revelations?
Oh, yeah. Let me get back to you on that. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation.
I gave our black cat a rub. It nearly scratched my eye out, As it ran it tripped me up, I bumped my head and passed out. When I came around at night, I reached to switch the light on, It seems the cat had pissed on me, I lit up like New Brighton.
The current flowed right through my veins, boiling up my blood, I knew that something must be wrong, I wasn’t feeling good. I hadn’t rubbed a rabbit’s foot, I realised I should. I’d mixed my superstitions up. I hadn’t understood.
I heard cricket in the house is supposed to bring you luck. I bowled a goolgy down the lounge, but then I cried “Oh fuck!” I’d smashed the mirror on the wall, I’d really come unstuck. My first attempt at superstition, I’m out for a duck!
When we were young we were told what we should and shouldn’t do, And wiping snot on your sleeves was definitely taboo, And that applied with a cold, or even with the flu. Now it’s bad luck not to do what we were told not to.
Coronavirus came along an gave a big fuck you! It’s bad luck now for everyone whenever you “Ah-chu!” So elbows bent and cough and spit as much as you must do, But for good luck’s sake use your sleeve as your backup tissue.
Four-leaf clovers, right-hand hitches, horseshoes that were lost, An itchy palm, clothes inside out, fingers that are crossed, I don’t get this superstition stuff, I’ve found out to my cost. It’s all a load of balls to me. It’s going to be tossed.
I need a better look at life, something antithetic To this superstition that makes me so apoplectic! How anyone believes that crap, it really is pathetic! Fuck that para-skevi-shit, I’m going to stay a sceptic!
Triskaideka’s bull shit, it really isn’t magic! Every time it comes along we hope that we get past it, Without the loss or limb or life, our money on our plastic, Para-skevi-deka-tria-phobia! How Tragic!
A number of ‘lefties’ have gone missing in action. The precise point they went missing is telling.
Jeremy Corbyn, still the leader of HM Opposition, Labour, seems to go missing shortly after the outbreak of ‘WWIII with Iran’, around the time the Iranians shoot down flight PS752.
Here he is on the 3rd, when WWII supposedly starts.
10:55 AM · Jan 3, 2020 – The US assassination of Qasem Soleimani is an extremely serious and dangerous escalation of conflict with global significance. The UK government should urge restraint on the part of both Iran and the US, and stand up to the belligerent actions and rhetoric coming from the US.
Jeremy is miffed that Boris hasn’t included Jezbollah in any briefings … nobody seems to know why, not even PressTV.
7:02 PM · Jan 3, 2020 – I’ve written to Boris Johnson requesting an urgent Privy Council briefing and answers to questions following the US assassination of Qassem Suleimani. [Letter attached]
On the 4th he justifiably and rightly tweets about the murder of a taxi driver in Finsbury.
But nothing on Iran.
On the 5th he retweets his own tweet with a comment. “Two days …”, which will become an ironic tweet.
8:35 AM · Jan 5, 2020 – Two days since I asked Boris Johnson these vital questions about the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani and its consequences. And no answer.
Jeremy seems not to like anyone being thankful that the Middle East is rid of Soleimani. A pity Jezza thinks more of what the theocratic state’s TV has to say than the persecuted Iranian people who seem to be very grateful the “reckless and lawless” Soleimani is gone.
4:07 PM · Jan 5, 2020 – Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s declaration of ‘sympathy’ for Trump’s reckless and lawless killing of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani is craven and dangerous. Boris Johnson’s government must oppose this escalation towards another devastating war in the Middle East.
On the 6th and 7th he has a couple of tweets on other topics, and then …
5:27 PM · Jan 7, 2020 – The government must rule out plunging our country into yet another devastating war. [speech in Parliament attached]
This is his most statesmen-like comment that doesn’t come too close to support for Iran, and in Parliament he even manages to mention of British citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. It’s good to know how often he has tweeted support for Nazanin by mentioning her name prior to this … three times.
Nov 2017 – Nearly 18 months months since her arrest, and the tweet was a vehicle for having a dig at Johnson for his comments.
Jan 2019 – One that appears to have been prompted by Emily Thormberry’s tweet on Nazanin’s hunger strike.
Jun 2019 – A photo op with Richard Radcliffe. While it’s great that he brings publicity to the case you might wonder who he thinks the publicity is benefiting, given how little he has publicised the case since Nazanin’s arrest.
True to form, the real reason for mentioning Nazanin is opportunism – a chance to have a go at Boris.
In Iran on the 7th, at the burial procession for Soleimani, the contrived procession for Soleimani killed at least 56 people and injured over 200. Nothing from Jeremy? You’d think he’d show sorrow for such a loss of life, as he usually does. However, this is a diplomatic nightmare for Jezbollah, star of Iranian state TV, well wisher of the homecoming of a ‘brother’ terrorist’s return to Iran.
Here’s Jeremy posting comments on Johnson, on the 8th. But nothing on Iran events.
4:15 PM · Jan 8, 2020 – The Prime Minister is unable to stand up to President Trump because he’s hitched his wagon to a trade deal with the United States. #PMQs
In the above he talks about the problem of losing out on the Iran nuclear deal – this from a man whose negotiation would simply give up the UK’s nuclear arms unilaterally, and then expect the mad mullahs to reciprocate.
Also on the 8th, the Iranians fire missiles, supposedly at US bases in Iraq, and PS752 goes down, killing all on board. In the end, not quite the glorious day the regime and its supporters hoped for. Where’s Jeremy? He’s usually out of the trap with a rocket of his own up his ass when there are condolences to be given. Nothing.
On the 10th he manages a retweet on the sorry state of the NHS.
And also on the 10th he emerges from his WWIII war room bunker, to congratulate his mates in NI on … a Labour legacy??? But if it’s a Labour legacy at all, it’s specifically one of Blair’s, and here’s me thinking all all the far left of Labour thought Blair was a war criminal or something. Oh, sorry, Jezza isn’t referring to Blair, he’s referring to all the superb work he did himself for The Cause, when he held the crucial cross party conference, grave side of Bobby Sands.
5:44 PM · Jan 10, 2020 – I congratulate those in Northern Ireland who have worked to reach agreement to allow a return to power sharing at Stormont. The Good Friday Agreement and peace process in Northern Ireland is a proud Labour legacy we are committed to support and protect.
On the 11th he retweets an upcoming CND rally to oppose the impending WWIII – nothing but thorough, it won’t matter that WWIII fizzled out when the Iranians shot down a passenger plane while inflicting zero casualties on the Great Satan’s bases.
5:57 PM · Jan 9, 2020 – We’re delighted to announce that CND vice-president Jeremy Corbyn will be addressing the #NoWarOnIran demonstration this Saturday in London. Gather 12 noon outside the BBC hq on Portland Place.
Where the heck are those words of condolences we’re so used to seeing? Where is he? Waiting for approval or something?
Oh, here it comes …
Finally, he can say something.
2:11 PM · Jan 11, 2020 – My thoughts are with the family and friends of those killed in the Ukrainian plane crash in Tehran, including the three British nationals on board. [Image of his Facebook post]
WTF!?? It wasn’t merely a crash??? Even the mullahs are saying they shot down the plane.
And what about the #FreeIran2020 protests now making news everywhere except on ‘lefty’ accounts?
We last hear from Jeremy’s Twitter account on the 12th
It’s the 14th as I write this. So much for his complaints about Johnson’s two days in getting back to him, Jezbollah. He can’t even acknowledge his precious theocratic regime shot down a passenger plane. Where’s his outrage at that? Oh, it was merely an unfortunate crash.
A number of ‘lefties’ have gone missing in action. The precise point they went missing is telling.
Owen Jones writes articles on a number of issues, but mainly Labour support, and, being gay himself he writes and campaigns on LBGT+ issues.
You’d think Owen would be all over the Iranian regime, given they are well known for hanging gay men. He has occasionally tweeted that Iran’s regime is “vile”, though under the search term ‘Iran’ there’s no explicit tweet about the hanging of gay men, or the protests by Iranian women about the forced hijab.
His comments on Iran focus almost exclusively with an obsession about US potential for starting a war with Iran – not in itself an unrealistic concern, but when he has zero tweets about gay men being hanged by the regime, it’s a little suspicious of his motivations and agenda. I’m not suggesting he’s not interested in these issues and the suffering of people in Iran, but what I am suggesting is that his political biases prevent him being explicit about it … after all, it wouldn’t do to be thought an Islamophobe. And, what would Mehdi Hasan think about it?
This post is about how Owen is quite interested in events in Iran, the killing of Soleimani, and the prospect of US troops going into Iran. Until, that is, flight PS752 is shot down. Then it all goes very quiet. Not unlike other left wing accounts.
We’ll pick up Owen’s tweets and retweets here, on the 3rd, when news broke of the killing of Soleimani. I won’t include all tweets, but I will point out the gaps, and give examples of other tweets he was posting or retweeting.
11:09 AM · Jan 3, 2020 – Donald Trump killing Iran’s second most powerful leader risks a horrific wider war in which many innocent people will die, in a region already long consumed in death. But it could also bolster Trump’s re-election chances by making him a wartime President. Which he knows.
11:15 AM · Jan 3, 2020 – Britain must not back another US-instigated catastrophic war: discussing that on @LBC at 11.20am.
11:21 AM · Jan 3, 2020 – You don’t need to try hard to work out what’s going on in Trump’s head. You just need to read his old tweets.
11:37 AM · Jan 3, 2020 – Qassem Soleimani does indeed have blood on his hands. As do many current and former US leaders and senior officials – indeed, from Henry Kissinger to George W Bush, far more. What precedent does Trump think has been established?
6:06 PM · Jan 3, 2020 – The orchestrated right wing pile on against this good tweet underlines that any Labour leader who doesn’t cheerlead for the foreign policy of Donald Trump will be deemed unacceptable and beyond the pale[Quote Tweet of Lisa Nandy on Iraq war as a warning]
Retweets Mehdi Hasan, fan of Iran, who else:
4:25 PM · Jan 3, 2020 – If the argument is simply that Suleimani was a bad man who has American blood on his hand and therefore deserved to die/be killed/assassinated, then who’s next? Kim Jong-Un? Oh wait, Trump gets “love letters” from Kim. So the Iranians need to brush up on their writing skills.
Owen continues with retweets of others that posted on the 3rd. He might retweet on the 4th (I’ve not checked time of retweets, only tweets).
He retweets less frequently, and posts none of his own tweets on Iran – though his tweets continue on a number of other issues.
He manages to retweet the glorification of the support for Soleimani, on Soleimani’s funeral:
2:25 PM · Jan 5, 2020 – A video of the Soleimani funeral. This is the largest crowd I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I’ve never seen Iranians so unified, ever. This is Suleimani’s funeral in Ahvaz, Iran. Trump has no idea what he has done.
This is outrageous glorification of a despotic terrorist funding warlord, and we soon find out that the funeral was, as expected, staged by busing in people, whether they wanted to be there or not. This is the type of misrepresentation we’d expect from supporters of authoritarian regimes. How is Owen letting the gay hanging regime off so easily?
This is the last retweet on Iran as far as I can see:
11:31 PM · Jan 7, 2020 – TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran state TV says Tehran launches “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles at Iraq’s Ain Assad air base housing US troops
On the 8th, the plane was shot down. Of course plenty of reports echo the Iranian state position of engine failure, but I would find it difficult to think anyone but the most naive would not at least suspect the plane had been downed by an Iranian missile.
There are no other tweets from Owen on the subject. None. Not while we awaited the outcome of the initial investigations. Eventually, the regime admitted that the plane had been downed by a missile. Nothing from Owen.
Not ‘nothing’ as in no tweeting, no. The thankful relief of anti-Meghan racism (of which there’s no actual evidence) fills a few tweets from Owen, along with other subjects that would make you think the Iran situation had never happened. I mean, seriously, Owen doesn’t even have anything to say about Trump’s war mongering, not that the Iranians have shot down a passenger plane.
Surely Owen would eventually come out with a tweet or two in support of the people of Iran as they find their brave voices of opposition to the “vile” regime. After all, in several of his older tweets, while lambasting the Great Satan, he made sure he had virtue signalled the fact that he supports a ‘democratic Iran’ … we’re just not sure which democratic Iran – a really democratic Iran, or the pseudo-democratic Iran of the oppressive regime. This would be a big opportunity for him to speak out and let us know.
But no. … Well, not quite. He does retweet this …
4:58 PM · Jan 11, 2020 – Solidarity to the 100,000s taking to the streets in India led by women marchers to protest the plans of the far right Govt of Modi to strip Muslims of citizenship. Smash fascism
Hold on! This isn’t about the Islamofascism of the Iranian theocracy, It’s about the Modi government.
That’s right. From the downing of the plane, through the street protests of the Iranian people, his only tweet of street protests is of events in India – and that’s because in this case the victims are Muslims and the perpetrators are not, which is such a consistent bias seen all over the far left it would be comical if not so tragic a betrayal of liberal principles to the fascism of Islam.
Oh, and he tweets this … on the police labelling XR an extremist group.
5:08 PM · Jan 11, 2020 – Where this is heading is very clear: towards an authoritarian state in which dissent – in this case, trying to stop the destruction of human civilisation – is equated with dangerous extremism.
A particularly ironic tweet, given his MIA on Iran. Let’s absorb his words:
“Where this is heading is very clear: towards an authoritarian state in which dissent – in this case, trying to stop the destruction of human civilisation – is equated with dangerous extremism.”
An authoritarian state? The UK? Well, I too am concerned about the restrictions on free speech … restrictions that Owen Jones seems to have either overlooked or supported. And yet he has nothing to say on Iran and the #FreeIran2020 protests going on there, where an actual authoritarian state is now taking pot shots at protesters, with live rounds, … in the aftermath of having shot down a passenger plane.
This is our freedom loving socialist people of the left: Fuck freedom, if it means we have to criticise Islamic regimes, or heaven forbid, actual Muslims no matter how despotic they are.
Jeremy Corbyn got rid of Sarah Champion from the Labour front bench because she spoke out about the Muslim grooming gangs in Rotherham.
Sammy Woodhouse and other victims tried to raise cross party support for their case for compensation, for the years of neglect by politicians and police, mostly in Labour held councils, where the grooming gangs were not only allowed to operate in the open, but were protected from prosecution for so long (that’s why we now see cases historic abuse in such large numbers).
And yet, Corbynistas are still blind to Corbyn’s part in the cover-up.
It’s January 2020 as I write this, and Corbyn has had more to say about the killing of butcher Soleimani over the last few days than he ever has about the victims of Muslim grooming gangs in the UK.
And then let this sink in …
The 2017 article quoting Saraha Champion …
For too long we have ignored he race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up.
No more. These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage.
We have to have grown-up conversations, however unpalatable, or in six months’ time we will be having this same scenario all over again.
This was in relation to sex crimes only between 1999 and 2001 in Champion’s constituency of Rotherham. At least 1,400 children had been sexually exploited in the town.
In Telford, MP Lucy Allen continues her long campaign to uncover the truth, despite being blocked by those that don’t want to see it exposed.
I will also be here to ensure Telford’s Child Sexual Exploitation Inquiry goes ahead and is not kicked into the long grass because those in authority would rather it did not happen. It seems extraordinary that even though we have a Chairman in place road blocks still exist preventing him from moving forward with the work of the inquiry. I have already joined the Department of Justice support group to ensure that the legislation preventing the early release of serious sexual offenders passes through Parliament at an early stage in the Parliament.
Lucy Allan, A New Parliament – My Priorities, December 2019
But still, nothing from Corbyn and his Labour chumps.
But, surely he has more to say about grooming gangs in Telford … you’d think an opportunity to have a dig at the Tories on this issue might be of interest. I mean, he has plenty to say about other social issues in Telford (but not Rotherham, Rochdale, where infamous grooming gangs have also operated).
Of course not. That would only expose his covering up the issue in Labour areas.
This is not the only failing of Corbyn and Labour. Ever wondered why they are considered to be antisemites? They will have plenty to say about the killing of Palestinians by Israeli troops, but nothing about Hamas attacks on Israel. FFS, they can’t even defend Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and the UK, because that would upset their Islamic support.
Surely they will show support for Uyghur Muslims in China …
Sorry, that would mean criticising a socialist state … even Muslims aren’t worth that much to Corbyn. So, you grooming gang victims don’t stand a chance.
Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is portrayed as a Nice Man. A significant feature of his leadership campaign was ‘Nicer Politics’. And yet in many appearances throughout his career in politics, and in his interviews since becoming leader, he has been touchy, and sometimes downright angry. Is this the mere frustration of being on the receiving end of press scrutiny, which many other politicians appear to survive with politeness and patience, or is there a deeper truth to Labour, Socialism and its end game of Communism. And why am I starting with Jeremy Corbyn and not the subject of this piece, John McDonnell?
Because Jeremy Corbyn had been presented as the nice face of Labour Communism, the nice old man of Socialism. The dear old uncle that seduces the masses and the gullible young. The good cop to McDonnell’s bad cop … though you might have been deceived by John McDonnell’s transformation as Shadow Chancellor and bearer of free stuff during the 2019 election campaign. Corbyn is a front. He is a front to Labour’s Communists. Corbyn the old man Socialist is a stepping stone to the younger Communist McDonnell, who is the real future of Labour … if the Marxists get their way.
This makes Corbyn sound like a bit of a martyr, and maybe he is. Ideologues play the long game. It’s the long game they’ve played throughout the Cold War, when Harold Wilson’s revival of the “Reds Under The Bed” warning was dismissed as fear mongering … yet, here we are, with Communist John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor, perhaps ready to take over from Corbyn as Prime Minister (though he supposedly refused leadership this time?) , should Labour get into number 10. The reds are thoroughly tucked up in the bed and have not only pulled the blankets off the social democrat moderate Labour MPs, but booted many of them out into the cold.
Of course we can’t read Corbyn’s mind. Is he part of the set-up of Labour’s Communism, ready to step aside for the younger men, or will he become another Trotsky, written out of history by the hard liners like McDonnell and others that will take the party forward? This sounds so conspiratorial. And yet, the guide book for the latest manifestation of Labour has been around for over a century: The Communist Manifesto.
This piece is no mere comedy meme, no cartoon of Corbyn or McDonnell. It takes Communism very seriously, because in many ways Marx was right. In some respects his historical analysis, even his predictions for the future, were accurate enough, as one possible model of changing society. What is horrifying about Marxism is its implementation, it’s prescriptions for the future, that others like Lenin and Mao have implemented faithfully and brutally enough.
Communism’s Inherent Brutality
Communism would be better called Conflictism. Even in the language of Marx the brutality is evident.
When you take a closer look at Communism you will find you fall into one of two camps, depending entirely on how thoroughly you are seduced, or not, by both it’s accuracy as a description of society, and its cold hearted moralising, that can be be used to justify the many horrors we have seen in the USSR and ‘Communist’ China. There are parallels with other brutal ideologies of the modern world, such as Fascism and Islamism, and all three, Communism, Fascism, Islamism differ in brutality only to the extent to which they have the power to enjoy it. None of these ideologies suggest there can be too many eggs broken in the making of their omelettes.
If you are seduced by Communism, then, like many Muslims and Fascists do for their ideologies, you will make excuses for its failures and for your ideology’s horrors. You might admit the terrors, but blame them on other reactionary forces; or you might deny the horrors and re-write history, ready to create yet another Year Zero*. Whichever way you look at it, if you are committed to it, you will not only believe the credible analysis of history, but you will submit yourself to the fantasy outcome that Communism itself accepts will never materialise, because the end game, for Communism, is an asymptotic road to diminishing returns achieved by exponentially increasing brutality. Only the dreamers think the Utopia of perfect Communism is realisable.
*Year Zero – There is a tendency of revolutionaries to re-invent history and define their own ideological coming to power with a new calendar. The the Khmer Rouge chose Year Zero. The French Revolution had a Year 1. Islam has its own calendar. Christianity too (B.C./A.D. became BCE and CE).
Perhaps you will study the theory and the practical attempts and come to admit the horrors and so reject Communism, but tell yourself stories about the half-way house of Socialism. A common retort I often hear to my claim that Labour is run by Communists: “I’m not a Communist, I’m a Socialist. You don’t know the difference. Read a book!” Well, they clearly haven’t read the books of Marx. Because Socialism is one of the phases that society goes through on the way to Communism. Perhaps the hapless Socialists thinks Socialism is a suitable end game, as Social Democracy. Unfortunately their fellow party members that are Communists know it’s not, and have no intention of leaving it there. It is a matter of history now how Hitler seduced, then subdued, then crushed the people of Germany that opposed him. Communism hasn’t been so lucky in the West because the West has seen the implementations of Socialism and Communism’s early stages in the USSR and China. But, that hasn’t stopped Britain’s Communists trying to win power by controlling Labour. In what amounts to a two party system under first past the post the only way to achieve a one party system is to control one of those parties.
It is true that the Social Democratic form of Socialism is a tamer version of Stalinist Socialism, but the dividing line isn’t clear when members of one party, such as the UK Labour party, are drawn from the various factions of Socialism and Communism. In the USA McCarthyism, with its own undemocratic purges, made sure Communism didn’t get off the ground, and much of Western Europe had the Spectre of Communists to the East to scare them. In the UK this didn’t stop the Communists using democratic liberal freedoms to keep plugging away. The “Reds Under the Bed” term was revived during Harold Wilson’s premiership, and has dogged Labour since. The term is often ridiculed as exaggerated fear mongering. But, here we are.
Maybe the demise of the USSR, the slight opening up of China and its toying with capitalism has left the current younger generations with little understanding of the history and reality of Communism, being told the ‘progressive’ version in an education system dominated by left leaning illiberal progressives. We can certainly see the use of propaganda in education, especially in the USA, where old Commie professors have managed to twist the brains of gullible students more than they ever must have hoped for. For evidence of this sorry state of US education, see the case of Bret Weinstein at Evergreen, and in particular his explanation of the problem here: Bret Weinstein.
Marx’s theory explains well enough the history that resulted in the Capitalism of his time. It’s a very binary perspective that is based on “us and them”. Where does Jeremy Corbyn’s nicer politics of ‘unity’ fit in? It’s a front. See later for Mao’s ideas on unity: “One divides into two“.
Marx, in his Communist Manifesto, lists the various stages of history, through feudalism, serfs and lords, merchants, capitalists and workers.
And it’s all phrased in terms of a class struggle where only a violent revolutionary overthrowing of the current ‘bourgeoisie’ will change the system. Note that this isn’t a one-off revolution as Marx sees it, but a repeatable historical inevitability, and a future necessity, a never ending chain of violent struggles of the oppressed to overthrow their oppressors. This is not merely an observation of how things have been, but a prediction of how they will be, and a prescription of how they must be played out. This is such an absolutist part of the doctrine, requiring as much of a commitment as any religious one, that it not only predicts the future, but makes it. It asserts that this is the way it will have to be, and it demands that Communists make it so, by finding the appropriate enemy of the day, the current oppressor, and beating the crap out of them on the streets until the next phase of Communist programme is complete … and then, on to the next phase.
What Marx implies where he does not say explicitly, though it’s clear enough, is that today’s revolutionaries are tomorrows oppressors. The phrase ‘eating their own’ takes on a significant meaning under Communism that is very much like Takfir in Islam – it’s a risky business whereby if you stick your head above the barricades you’re as likely to have it shot off by one of your comrades as anyone else. In the USSR, yesterday’s heroes of the state became tomorrows occupants of the gulag or the grave, and often both in succession.
We have Capitalism as the current enemy. The Capitalist owns the means of production (machinery, factory, land) privately (personally, or through shares), and as such he is the one that takes the excess, the profit, from the business. No matter how much workers contribute, the Capitalist profits while the workers receive a meagre wage. Yes, now we have share options in some companies, and entrepreneurs can start small business where sometimes they are sole employees. But on the whole, the Capitalist system that Marx observed is still intact. Other ameliorating trends, like imposing regulation on companies to treat employees well, to provide a minimum wage, and to protect them and the public from the greed of the Capitalist, have made the current system more acceptable to some people in the hierarchy of a business, but many labouring and low skilled workers are still poorly paid compared to the profits of the company from which the capitalist accrues his personal wealth.
The criticisms are legitimate. It’s the Communist solution and the Communist methods I have a problem with. But Marx was pretty good with his predictions. His millionaries became today’s billionaire villains of Corbyn’s tax targeting (Labour has millionaires, so he can’t attack them the way Marx did). Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, … massive corporations, all pretty much predicted by Marx. No wonder it’s easy to buy into the killing if Marx’s theories are so spot on. What’s next in Marx’s theory, after Capitalism?
Socialism is next. The proletariat must rise up, overthrow the Capitalists and take control of the means of production – i.e. state ownership. Socialism requires that the ownership of the means of production should be collective and democratic, rather than being owned by individuals that are differentiated from the employees by that ownership and power. However, Socialism is temporary. Marx said so, and so, it must be.
“Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of revolutionary transformation of the one to the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.”
Here, the working class rules over the capitalist class, as a collective dictatorship. This was Marx’s vision of society before Communism could be achieved. This is why Socialism is temporary to Communists. And all you Social Democrats? You are just pawns in the Communist vision. Soon enough, they will come for you. That saying you often hear about the appeasement of extremists comes from Martin Niemöller. He wrote it in 1946 about the cowardice of Germans that didn’t resist the Fascists early enough because the Fascists were busy arresting others:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Just in case you think this only applies to Fascism and not Communism, let me add another line, which has meaning in the context of current China:
Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Muslim.
We can also add lines that make it applicable to Islamic states:
Then they came for the Christian, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Christian.
Then they came for the ex-Muslims, and I did not speak out, because I was not a ex-Muslim.
It applies to any ideology that is prepared to use force to attain its goals.
So, socialist democrats of Britain, be warned. Labour under Corbyn and McDonnell isn’t what you think it is.
The Communists (and Islamists) will come for Jews. Oh, they already are doing: Labour refuse to deal with antisemitism within the party, whether from Muslims or non-Muslims. And, when Muslim votes are no longer needed, even Muslims – the conflict between Islamic homophobia and inclusive education in Birmingham schools is a warning.
Labour supporters are also conflicted over China. For example, there’s an acknowledgement of this problem by Peter Tatchell – long time campaigner for gay rights, supporter of Labour. At the time of writing he has been criticising China for its persecution of Muslims, while at the same time wanting to celebrate the anniversary of Mao’s Communist Revolution. It’s a tricky sell. How does he do it? He declares that current China, with its recent to dipping into small business capitalism, is ‘state capitalism’ and therefore not true Communism. It’s a clever rhetorical move by Peter, until you realise that this ‘state capitalism’ is also part of Marx’s predictions, which means, according to Communism, the Muslims need ‘re-education’. Not such a smart move after all, Peter, to point out that China’s current persecution of Muslims is part of the plan. UK’s Labour Communists still find the Muslim vote useful.
True Socialism is the dictatorship of the proletariat (that’s by the proletariat). And the point here is that according to Marx the purpose of the state is to oppress one class with another. Under Socialism the proletariat, through the state, oppress the capitalists. This is merely a reversal of the recent oppression by capitalists of the workers.
The ‘final’ (yet never ending) phase, Communism, is the end game. Socialists achieve victory through global Socialists societies, until Capitalism can not get a foothold. Note that this is part of the continuous struggle, because Marx’s understanding and theory includes the probability that not everyone will agree with this movement to Socialism and then Communism, that some people will still want other systems. And such ‘reactionaries’ must be oppressed and crushed, because oppression is an essential part of the dogma. This theme recurs in Maoism.
The end game is that there will no longer be a class based society – there will be no class. The state will no longer be needed other than for pure administrative functions, and it will eventually fade away.
The next step is the phasing out of money. In a phase called ‘post scarcity’ (a naive idea that there will always bee more than enough food and goods produced by a technological productive society) products will be plentiful and everyone can have what the need and want. Yes, really, this is part of the dogma. With an over abundance of cars you don’t need to buy one. If you need one, or yours needs replacing, you can simply ask for another and it shall be given. The idea behind this is a ‘gift economy’, where technology boost production to such levels that there will always be enough produced.
You might be wondering about a few things at this point. What about the ecosystem and our green credentials? Who decides that my third car wreck this month is a little wasteful so I can’t have one until next month? I mean, there should be no need for quotas from a production point of view, if there’s an abundance. See CPG Grey video Humans Need Not Apply
Of course you could achieve a state of ‘post scarcity’ if you oppressed the masses to prevent them having too many children, as China did. It’s no coincidence that a one party state with central planning would decide to control so many aspects of a person’s life that it amounts to oppression.
I’m not sure why Communism and its bloody revolutions at each stage is necessary, except that Conflictism seems to incite moral cruelty in Socialists and Communists who always need to find a class enemy. Why can’t society evolve rather than revolt?
The conflict is built into Marxism through the dialectic – the inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions. This is a method of analysis that deals with conflicting, contradictory interests, resolving the contradictions and coming out the other end with a new system, the synthesis. Sounds so reasonable, but when posed in terms of a class struggle, revolution, oppressors that need to be defeated, you can see where the violence comes from. This is not a negotiated synthesis.
It’s not just scary USSR and Chinese Communism. John McDonnell calls for Insurrection, violent opposition, if he can’t get his way democratically.
For Marx it wasn’t simply the basic idea of the dialectic, but it’s use in his Historical Materialism. He describes the steps:
In a slave owning system both the land and the slave that works the land are owned.
Eventually, this dialectic resolved itself so that the slave can become notionally free and independent, but the land he works is still owned, under a feudalistic system, where the worker paid the land owner rent and a share of the profits of his labours.
That contradiction is resolved in turn to become Capitalism.
Those contradictions give rise to Socialism, as described above.
Then, the contradictions in Socialism will give rise to Communism.
Enter Leninism. Lenin had the advantage of witnessing the actual growth of capitalism that Marx had predicted, and saw it emerge in a way not anticipated by Marx. He saw the imperialist instincts of Capitalism expand into large multi and trans national corporations that acquire land and resources around the world, draining those resources and using their labour for the benefit of the Western Capitalism systems.
And it’s with Lenin that we also see the notion of the Vanguard. This is a group of the proletariat that are conscious of this worldly situation, and their role is to enlighten and waken up the masses that are still under the yoke of Capitalism. The problem is, who is going to form the Vanguard? And how will they (how did they) resolve disputes? You guessed it. Killing. Though the Vanguard is supposed to be a revolutionary tool of the working class, the Vanguard is obviously not that. Tools are usually wielded by the user, so that they can direct it. How can the uneducated masses know better than the Vanguard members? And so how can the masses lead the Vanguard if they are ignorant of the class struggle, and hence ignorant of the need for a Vanguard?
This exposes one of the common issues with Communism, Socialism, and collectivism generally. The Vanguard become the leaders, and they are going to release you from servitude, whether you like it or not, and if you don’t like it, if you resist, you are part of your own problem and you must be eliminated – killing two birds with one stone, releasing one member of the collective from his servitude and ignorance, and removing a reactionary obstacle, in the killing of one person. The Vanguard is no more than a dictatorship, of an individual, or a ‘committee’.
Does this ring yet another bell? Are we not in the midst of woke culture where a black people like Thomas Sowell refuses to be seen as a victim, or Candice Owens refuses to play the game, and is ostracised and demonised as a race traitor, a ‘porch monkey’, by the very people that want to rescue them? How dare you black people be so unappreciative. The Vanguard (Marxist BLM today, Marxist Black Panthers yesterday) is there to help you, but you resist its efforts! You are an enemy of the system, a negative conflict to my positive, and to resolve this conflict you must be re-educated or you must go. Referring again to the Bret Weinstein case, he was and is a progressive, a lefty, but he criticised a flaw in the dogma, and over night became a ‘Nazi’.
Another of Lenin’s ideas was the necessity to smash the state so that a new one can be built. Again, the violence visible throughout Communism is justified by this divisive idea of revolution against oppression. His “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination” sounds like a far right Nationalist agenda, doesn’t it? The parallels are not hard to find.
Note that this aggressive nationalism from the left and the right is quite distinct from benign nationalism. Benign nationalism simply sees the democratic state as one level of devolved self-governance of a people that can be used to manage their shared affairs while sustaining individual freedom within it. Co-operating democratic nation states are not xenophobic, since they permit migration, travel, exchange of goods that accounts for the different state economics, and they co-operate in wider enterprises such as trade organisations and the UN. It may be that this isn’t as successful as we’d like it to be, as there will always be conflicts of interest, that could, and sometimes do, lead to war. But this isn’t inherent in the system. Democratic states tend to go to war with non-democratic aggressors – and even when the West ‘invades’ states, like Afghanistan or Iraq, though many might not agree with it, there is usually agreement from at least some members of the target states.
Of course Lenin wasn’t in a position to create Communism everywhere, and so the idea of Communism in one country was a necessary beginning. Even so, Russian expansionism was an obvious part of the Soviet system. Their own invasion of Afghanistan was supposed to prop up the Communists there, and so Communist imperialism is just as likely to be oppressive as any Capitalist imperialism.
Next up is Mao. The result is Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (MLM) Communism. What did he bring to the killing fields that another Communist would make infamous? Well, his experiences in China were a little different to those in Russia where the Monarchy and feudal system existed. China had its own nationalists and external imperialists running the show. And this experience shaped Mao’s theory.
With Mao we see the theory of The Permanent Feature of Contradiction – his version of the dialectic applied to Communism. The Unity and Struggle of Opposites. And there we see again how fundamental conflict is to Communism, and why, when you see the term ‘struggle’, you should expect violence to be a part of the system.
Incidentally, do you see the narrative of Corbyn’s “working for peace” anywhere in all this? Or does this look more like the narrative of Islamists and IRA terrorism? What do you think is the true position Corbyn held when he had all those meetings with Islamists and IRA, supporting their ‘struggles’ while having no such support for the other side, the Jews or the Protestants? Corbyn and McDonnell see everything in terms of a class struggle. No matter that Catholic Ireland unification dictated the ‘struggle’ against an unwilling Protestant Northern Ireland. No matter that Israel is the only democratic state in a region of antisemitism. No matter that there are minorities within minorities that Corbyn cares little for. If he can identify a class struggle, he seems willing to look the other way as his ‘friends’ commit their violent acts. The Hamas rockets into Israel, the knee capping and bombing of the IRA … Corbyn will only denounce them when pushed into a corner, and he will only denounce the violent acts, not the parties that commit them: “I oppose ALL bombing.”.
This inherent conflict in Marxism, the persecution, the oppression, is endless under Communism, and this is why Muslims in China are being ‘re-educated’. Mao’s expression of this was “One divides into two”. This was a statement of the principle that even after resolving a binary contradiction into one resolution, the unity, it will be inevitable that further contradictions will emerge, to create another conflict that must be resolved (through violence, you can be sure).
The reason this is significant to Mao’s Chinese experience is that in his time China had not resolved earlier contradictions, because it never achieved the phase of Capitalism, being under the boot of imperialists exploiters. In this case the nationalist bourgeoisie of the state must cooperate with the proletariat to throw out the imperialists, then some form of State Capitalism can build the economy to a point where the state can be overthrown and the proletariat take control under Communism at last. Mao also saw that other states must move towards Communism in some similar but locally unique way. This move from imperialist control to State Capitalism directly was the New Democracy (as opposed to the Old Democracy of the West). Basically it’s skipping what Marx thought of as a necessary stage of Capitalism that would grow the economy until contradictions forced the revolution into Socialism: State Capitalism.
The New Democracy is symbolised by the flag of China.
“The largest star symbolizes the Communist Party of China’s leadership and the surrounding four smaller stars symbolizing the Bloc of Four Classes: proletarian workers, peasants, the petty bourgeoisie (small business owners) and the nationally-based capitalists. This is the coalition of classes for Mao’s New Democratic Revolution as he described it in his works. Mao’s New Democracy explains the Bloc of Four Classes as an unfortunate but necessary consequence of imperialism as described by Lenin.”
This differs from Marx’s description of events in Western Europe, but is not contradictory to the main idea that the road to Communism is through a series of class ‘struggles’. The dialectic of contradictions, the resolution through the overthrow of perceived oppressors, this is still part of the nature of MLM theory and dogma. It is still a conflict based ideology that makes a mockery of Corbyn’s ‘Nicer Politics’, which at best could be attributed to naive wishful thinking, or more in common with regular Communist propaganda, propaganda. Within Mao’s New Democracy were yet other phases, such as the Great Leap Forward. Note again, though, that this is still a stepping stone to actual Communism.
This is why on the one hand it’s a legitimate claim to say “True Communism has never been tried.”
On the other hand, it’s a god awful way to get there, because, steeped as it is in conflict, there are going to be potentially many deaths along the way. Is there any Socialist revolution that has been on the path to Communism that hasn’t smashed thousands if not billions of eggs?
Mao and Stalin recognised the fact that Socialism can’t remove all other elements of culture and capitalism overnight. And there are other cultural aspects that will remain and have to be kept in check, including cultural elitism that appears in the party system. They must be on the look out for counter revolutionary elements – another convenient categorisation of inconvenient people and an excuse to get rid of them.
The solution for Mao at this stage is to have another revolution, a Cultural Revolution, that requires mass criticism of the culture, of leadership. It requires a proletarian culture to be created to replace older ones. This leads to the Mass Line:
“consulting the masses, interpreting their suggestions within the framework of Marxism-Leninism, and then enforcing the resulting policies. … to ensure that all cadres and other workers would be “carefully indoctrinated in basic Marxist-Leninist mass line theory and practice” –
Xi Jinping is quite keen on this, which could also be part of the justification for the persecution of Muslims.
The methodology in all this is indoctrination or elimination. Not exactly what most ‘progressive’ liberals think they are buying in to. Communism is an oppressive system that does not cater for the individual. It makes a claim that since the collective is made up of individuals it is for the individual, but it clearly is not. Individual sheep, maybe. But it’s a weak claim. Collectivism is the enemy of the individual.
Defenders of Communism will attempt to deflect attention away from the failures in the USSR, Cuba …
“Communism is a good system.”
“What? Look at all the failed communist states.”
“They are not true communism [ring a bell with ‘not true Islam’, ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy?]. They are failed Socialist states run by dictators. Real Communism has never been tried.”
Every apologist for Communism
Unfortunately this isn’t a good sales pitch for Communism, because it’s an acknowledgement that you actually have to have such Socialist horror shows in order to make your way to Communism, and they don’t get you to true communism anyway. The route to idyllic Communism is one long hidden mass grave, which, to add insult to injury, is paved with enough visible bodies to make a point to reactionary forces that might oppose the movement.
There’s a funny thing about Communists. They will scream bloody murder when the Capitalists treat workers poorly, by dismissing them in redundancies, or closing unprofitable coal mines. Yet they don’t bat an eye when Socialist Communist states make people disappear, perform mass purges, and force re-education on people as China is doing now with its Muslims.
Reflections of a Red Guard
Teachers were the target of the political campaign. Mao taught us they have to receive political re-education by the workers and the peasants. My female teacher, who I loved … she liked western clothes … this was a criminal accusation. One boy went to her bedroom and led so many people .. I went there too late, her hair had been cut already. She was humiliated and I could not help. … Shame on me.
After reports of rioting and beatings up, and even murder, the Red Guards seemed to have gone too far.
This is ironic, since the doctrine of Mao’s Communism asserts that the party must listen to the people and do what they ask. Apparently Mao decided that the Vanguard in the party knew better after all. The trouble is, if your doctrine unleashes the violence of the masses, what else can you expect but street violence.
John McDonnell Incites Insurrection
And what has this to do with John McDonnell? Here is John McDonnell inciting violence through insurrection if you can’t win at the ballot box.
Elections aren’t working for us … we’ve got to bring democracy back into the community. And that means the democracy of the streets. So when it comes to coordinated industrial action, we need coordinated street action. And that means, if we have to, close off Parliament square, close off Westminster Bridge, in the form of direct action. There’s more to democracy than just a vote every five years. Democracy is about taking control of your own community. And that means industrial action combined with direct action. We used to call it ‘insurrection’. Now we’re polite and say its ‘direct action’. Let’s get back to calling it what it is. It’s insurrection. [Applause] … to bring this country standstill, let’s start organising for it now. [Applause] It needs absolute determination. It needs courage. Above all else it needs solidarity.
So, screw you if you don’t agree. John McDonnell’s Communism requires absolute determination to inflict insurrection on the people of Britain. No wonder he had his copy of Mao’s Little Red Book to hand for George Osborne.
If you’re still not sure about McDonnell’s Marxist credentials – after all, in TV interviews he wouldn’t be drawn on whether he was a Marxist or not – then listen to his own words, as he gloated over the 2008 crash:
“This is a classic Marxist crisis of the economy, a Capitalist crisis. I’ve been waiting for this for a generation. For Christ’s sake don’t waste it. “
And, if you still think Labour isn’t in danger of becoming another Communist Party, a People’s Popular Front of Islington, or an Islington People’s Popular Front, here is a typical comment section from one of the more popular Facebook groups supporting Corbyn and McDonnell:
The last bit, “Based in London”, and it’s name, “Demos”, might be the only true parts of that bio line.
Think tank? Well, I’ve a couple of other posts related to their thinking. I’m not impressed. These were about a really sloppy piece on the Victoria Derbyshire, on the BBC News channel, and Carl Miller, of Demos, and their dubious ‘research’ milking the ‘Islamophobia’ craze.
Britain’s leading independent cross-party think tank? Really? Independent and Cross Party?
Well, they have done work for more than one party, but to say they are cross-party is a bit of a stretch. Independent? Not of thought.
From the Wiki page:
Demos was founded in 1993 by former Marxism Today editor Martin Jacques, and Geoff Mulgan, who became its first director.
In the run-up to the 1997 general election it was seen as being close to the Labour Party, in particular its then leader Tony Blair.
On 9 August 2006, in a speech at a Demos conference, British Home Secretary Dr John Reid stated that Britons ‘may have to modify their notion of freedom’, as a result of his plans, claiming that freedom is ‘misused and abused by terrorists.’
Take a look at their 2018 accounts, here.
And, after you’ve tried to work out the flow of money in and out, go to page 30 for some of their funders.
The Open Society Foundation. And who are they? You want to know what George Soros funds? Demos is one of his pets. Independent?
Don’t like the George Soros conspiracy theories? OK, let’s try another.
The Politics and Economics Research Trust. Did you know this report was produced by Charity Commission for England and Wales?
I can’t pretend to know everything Demos get up to, but to me, and having seen the work of the fabulous Carl Miller, it looks like a bunch of people that can’t get proper jobs so they sell their souls to anyone that will buy them and enjoy playing around in the dubious charity money-go-round, and call the work ‘research’.
So, what about their director, Polly Mackenzie? How much thinking does this head of a think tank do? More to the point, what’s the quality of this thinking?
Polly Mackenzie joined Demos as the new Director in January 2018. She previously worked for Nick Clegg from 2006 to 2015, helping to write the 2010 Coalition Agreement, and served as Director of Policy to the Deputy Prime Minister from 2010-15
Well, that didn’t go too well did it.
Just curious, but did Polly have anything to with forming Nick Clegg’s opinions on the EU. Yes, I know her time with him was up to 2015, before Brexit EU Ref, but, well, ideas aren’t formed over night, are they, and when Nick Clegg laid into Nigel Farage about how saying there would be an EU Army was a dangerous fantasy, Nifty Nick had buggered off to Facebook just before Merkel and significant EU figures started telling us that not only was the EU starting an EU Army, but political and military fusion ought to be a future goal.
Anyway, whatever contribution Polly made towards Nicky Know Nothing’s demise, at least she is able to put her own thoughts down. Sadly, it doesn’t get any better.
Case 1 – Letting Children Vote – And Proxy Parental Votes
Children 10 and above should be able to vote. How hard is it for a ten year old to make a cross in the right place on a piece of paper?
Children under 10 shouldn’t be able to vote (come on, Polly’s not mad, you know). Instead, their parents should be able to cast a proxy vote on behalf of the infant (I presume only one parent gets to vote for each child, but which one? Not sure Polly has think-tanked this through).
You can read the delusional reasoning yourself. But here, for Polly’s benefit, are some objections.
The notion of a proxy vote is entirely counter to the principle of one-person-one-vote. Large families, religious conservative families, would in fact give multiple votes to the parents, as proxies. To say that such proxy voting parents were casting a vote for the children themselves is delusional. They would be casing a vote for themselves and their of how the world should be.
Childless people will be disenfranchised, because parents get 2 or more times their vote.
As for children themselves voting, there are several reasons why they should not, not least of which are the following.
We have limits on parent power. Parents cannot abuse their children. An anathema to this is the indoctrination of children into political and religious ideologies. We are not raising independently minded adults, but pre-programmed adults. It takes a lot of learning to realise the extent to which you’ve been indoctrinated, and some never get out of it. Jess Phillips, Labour MP, describes how she was taught a visceral hatred of Tories. The indoctrination of children into our main religious cults is a disgrace to civil society. Until both political and religious indoctrination are criminalised, and a rounded education in reason and science becomes the standard, we will not be producing independent minded rational adults, but victims and perpetrators of the tribal party and religious politics we have today.
Young teenagers are naturally rebellious, and are wide open to the political indoctrination by extremists. Labour’s Momentum know this – Corbyn’s Kids is not a neutral educational programme but a mind programming school. Many young people were so easily indoctrinated into extreme Islam, and left home to join ISIS. The Orthodox Jewish communities keep a tight control of their children, as do Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Roman Catholics, and even ‘moderate’ Islam.
Read Poly’s article. But just for fun, here’s a sample of Polly’s think-tanking.
“Will you let them drink and smoke, too?” – This is usually the first response I get when I propose enfranchising all citizens under the age of 18. The answer is, obviously, no. We have laws that prevent young people from drinking and smoking because these things are harmful. voting, by contrast, is not harmful; drawing an X on a ballot paper is substantially less dangerous than inhaling toxic smoke into your lungs.”
What? So, coerced voting of ten year olds, indoctrinated ten year olds, isn’t a danger? To society, and the better judgement of those children that have to live in the world they were coerced into voting for?
Polly, putting an unlit cigarette in a child’s hands and to a child’s lips is no more dangerous than putting a pencil in the mouth after drawing a cross on a piece of paper. However, to the child personally, the former could have longer term implications for the individual, if they were coerced to light it; but the latter could cause a far wider danger to themselves and society, if they were coerced to vote a particular way.
There are now many people that were indoctrinated into voting Labour – “I’m a life long Labour supporter.” But many such supporters are overcoming their own indoctrination because they can see before their eyes how Corbyn and Communist McDonnell are changing the party, and they have figured out that in their opinion they don’t like it. The same has been true of may Conservative voters. Many adults learn to change their minds for themselves.
Children cannot. Do you imagine a ten year old having a conversation about the subtleties of Labour’s Socialism, McDonnell’s Communism, the entryism that’s been going on in the Labour Party for generations? No. They won’t even take an arbitrary lucky dip vote. Their parents will coerce them into voting for the parent’s preference.
And all the above doesn’t even begin to take into account the actual issues of brain development and maturity.
We should be worried about the indoctrinating abuse of children and their use in political vote rigging only somewhat less than psychological child abuse.
No, children should not be allowed to vote, and their parents should definitely NOT get extra votes because they have kids.
This piece by Mackenzie is idiotic. Yet she’s the director of Demos? And Carl Pilkington, sorry, Carl Miller (apologies to Carl Pilkington) is their Research Director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media? Would you trust ANY of their output?
I can see why conspiracy theorists look to Soros. Throwing money at this bunch of clowns is top rate trolling.
Case 2 – Free Stuff Utopian Dreams
It was at this point I thought I’d have a look at Polly on Twitter. Interesting. Following what was obviously a quick lesson in economics by Labour’s John McDonnell’s free stuff promises, Polly gave it a critical eye.
Tweet – Nationalising Openreach is perfectly plausible. But why should broadband be free and not – for example – water, food, heating, clothes, all of which are rather more essential to the human condition.
You’d think Demos might have a director that have some feel for economics. Apparently not.
But, not to worry, Utopia is within reach for Polly …
Which manifesto? Only given Polly’s eagerness to indoctrinate voting children there are several to choose from.
So, for Polly’s benefit, what’s wrong with free stuff, state control and the removal of wages?
Eventually, workers don’t need money because everything is free.
But workers are then dependent on the state alone.
Result: oppression of workers that can have no independent means of survival so must comply with the state.
Check out some history. Hint: Soviet Union and its oppressed satellites; Moa’s China. The brutality of the party and the Dear Leader.
Political Utopias are no better than religious fantasies – they are used to control people.
It’s not uncommon for Giles Fraser to take an opportunity to have a pop at atheism and the dreaded Strident New Atheists, and this little foray into excuses for believing in imaginary friends is not untypical: The Battle to Believe in God
According to Giles, according to atheists, God …
“… was killed by thinkers: philosophers and scientists, especially those associated with the Enlightenment. First, God died in theory, only after which He died in practise, when ordinary people eventually caught up with the ideas that were first formulated in the study and the laboratory. The only problem with this, as Alec Ryrie astutely observes in a new book on the rise of atheism, is that “death-by-philosophy … is a poor fit with the actual chronology of western secularisation”. Atheism, he asserts, was alive and well before the Enlightenment.”
This is not news to atheists that have done their homework, particularly the ones that Giles names later. In fact, Dawkins and others insist that everyone is born an atheist, and most only have a very specific religion thrust upon them in childhood, and a rare few invent religions (rare, relatively speaking, of course, since there are many thousands of religions and sects). Given evolution’s description of human origins and our emergence among and from other animals, Giles would have to assert that animals are religious, unless only Humans invent gods, … or gods are choosy about which animals they reveal themselves to, though they don’t seem so choosy about how often and in how many ways they reveal themselves, if indeed they do.
The article title and sub-heading sum up the problem with the article.
The battle to believe in God
Don’t kid yourself that atheism is a modern invention — it’s as old as religion
Correction. It’s older than religion. It’s what humans and pre-humans and other animals with brains had going on in their brains before some humans invented religion. It’s a-theism:not theism, like a-symmetry is not symmetry.
Having poorly characterised atheism, Giles at one point, in this part book review, part dig at atheists, gets around to telling us what Christianity is about, according to Spufford (and Ryrie and Giles).
“The proper starting point is not the question of God’s existence, but what he calls “the HPtFtu” – or, “the human propensity to fuck things up”. The propensity extends to our relationships, our attempts to be good, even to our rationality. Emotionally, Christianity begins within the unfixable realities of human life, its tragedies and absurdities. Even its blood-soaked history, including that of the Reformation, is just yet another example of the HPtFtu. … Christianity grows out of the broken and unfixable. Its USP is to be found within and alongside the stuff that doesn’t work … Virtuous and idealistic atheists are at work all over the place, but it is observable that a surprisingly large number of believers are at work with the dying, the demented, the addicted, the institutionalised and the very impaired and afflicted, where the best that can be done is to love for the sake of it”
It doesn’t take religion to realise that HPtFu, or that humanity is Fubar. It does take religion to milk suffering for all its worth to the coffers of the church. Too often the religious agenda has been to fix the sinner’s soul rather than fix the problem the sinner is suffering from, the latter being a means to an end. Not to say there aren’t genuinely nice, thoughtful compassionate believers out there, but are the same people so limited they need God to do it? Or has religion simply acquired the monopoly on helping the suffering. (Hint: it hasn’t – medicine cures people more than prayer does.)
And I’m not sure how Giles thinks Dawkins managed a career in Evolutionary Biology if he and Spufford really do think “Virtuous and idealistic atheists are at work all over the place“, as if they had no time for anything but to rebut religion’s fantastical and often harmful claims.
The Hippocratic oath requires doctors do no harm when healing. The hypocritical oaths of religion requires no such commitment, and religion has been known to be quite enthusiastic about saving souls by condemning bodies to death. Allahu Akbar, for good or ill.
“I suppose that is why I read the New Atheist critique of Christianity as often obviously correct, and yet strangely irrelevant. What they take to be a kind of philosophical or quasi-scientific explanation of things is often much more like a cry for help. And to accuse a cry for help as being intellectually confused is a peculiar kind of response.”
I find it a confused kind of response to pain to tell the sufferers, “Pretend to believe in this fake stuff and it might make you bear the suffering a little more easily,” distracting a child that’s about to receive an injection by waving a cuddly toy in front of its face. An elixir salesman’s fake medicine.
Homeopathy for the soul.
And, Giles ends with …
“Now, of course, you may completely disagree with my characterisation of Christianity. Many will. But what Ryrie’s engaging book suggests is that the battle over God is really a battle about a certain sort of emotional literacy. For the Christian life is as much dependent on arguments about God’s existence as birds are dependent upon ornithology.”
“Many will” – Yes, including many religious people.
Giles makes a mockery of the religionist rejection of the analogy of religious belief that atheists often put forward: a belief in fairies. Yes, Christianity as described by Giles does not depend on the existence of God, so emotional literacy could just as easily depend on the non-existent fairies, … or Allah, or any other imaginary friend that Giles does not believe in. So, what makes a Christian? Not believing in Christ as much as not believing in Odin or Allah, but pretending to believe in Christ anyway?
And of course this conception of religion that Giles presents is dishonest … he knows full well that many believers really do believe God exists. Try following people that have suddenly realised they’ve been scammed, how that shocks them when they self discover religion’s empty promise. The “many will [not accept his characterisation of Christianity]” plausible deniability card up his sleeve is just another cheat.
Let’s translate Ocham’s Razor into Giles-Speak: You better believe there is a God that doesn’t exist, because if He were to exist, though He doesn’t, you’d be good to go, but if there isn’t such a God, which there isn’t, you’ll be disappointed when you don’t end up in the literal hell that doesn’t exist?
And it’s no more than a perverted intellectual elitism that supposes the naive child-like plebs will be satisfied with the emotional sweeties, while the epicurean geniuses of theology dine on the sophistication of arguments for God’s existence. The religious intellectuals HAVE dedicated themselves to arguments for God’s existence. It’s only in the 21st century that theists like Giles are pretty much forced to concede “New Atheist critique of Christianity as often obviously correct, and yet strangely irrelevant” – yes, quite, “It doesn’t matter that I believe in BS, because I don’t care.“
Giles may be sincere. But then he has no choice in the matter, because being aware of one’s own intellectual bloopers, or giving up religion, are the unbearable painful cracks that religion, as he elucidates here, is well equipped to paper over
But it’s intellectual duplicity, even if self-imposed. A greater intellectual sophistication should be seeing the irrationality of religious belief, and helping the plebs get wise to the fairy tales. The intellectual failure of the theists is they ought to know full well how silly it is to latch on to just one of the myriad of gods that have been invented.
To speculate about origins, to wonder if all reality is an impersonally causal series of events, or a teleological invention, is a reasonable metaphysical exercise. But to choose one of the many supposedly revealed fantasies, to call oneself a Christian or Muslim, as if some ancient goat herder really did receive a message from a creator of the universe, and play out that game, while keeping atheists at bay by saying you don’t really believe in the literal claims, is no better than the fraudsters that caused the financial crash.
If you want to be ‘mystical’, there’s another option. It’s not beyond the wit of an intellectual to take up the selected cherry picked nice philosophy of Jesus, along with that of the Buddha, as well as atheist philosophers, and disassociate them totally from the fantasy. They could give up the religious mumbo jumbo and to stop conning the plebs that there’s some mystic truth they are incapable of seeing, so they’d better giving up quizzing the literal reality of this God thing. Trouble is, if they were honest with the flock they’d have no justification to dress up on a Sunday.
Not content with merely pulling The Lamb’s wool over the eyes of parishioners, Giles’s and other theists have to demonise the opposition, with what amounts to no more than propaganda about angry atheism.
“What Ryrie’s account achieves is an explanation as to why atheism often remains so angry. That it is angry seems undeniable — from the vituperative nature of exchanges on social media, to the hardly concealed fury of its leading lights, Dawkins, Hitchens etc, there can be little doubt it is driven as much by passion and righteous indignation as by following the consequences of cold clear dispassionate rationality. “Reason is a slave to the passions” as David Hume rightly noted”
This is a dishonest use of Hume’s ‘passions’, which isn’t about anger, but merely the idea that is now a fully credible understanding of consciousness: the lack of free will, that ideas appear as if from nowhere, but actually from the stimulation of the brain by bodily functions. The ‘passions’ in this understanding are well presented by neuroscientists like Antonio Damasio (The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness).
And where atheism is angry it has every right to be. Religion is the quintessential bully that persecutes and brutalises victims, then cries foul when the victim bloodies the nose of the bully.
For millennia witches and heretics have been burned at the stake, while hapless parishioners were scared out of their wits and manipulated by parsons, priests, monks and mullahs.
Civil wars were fought over religious differences – and it’s no good claiming that there were other political reasons, not religious ones. It doesn’t help religion’s cause to point out that a supposedly benign or even beneficial belief system can be put so easily to division and death as it was during the Christian Catholic and Protestant wars, the Crusades, the Islamic invasions from Spain to India, and the later ‘Troubles’ of Ireland, the Islamic terrorism.
Even now, throughout the Islamic world, atheists are persecuted, and in too many states, atheism is a crime punishable by death at the hands of believers that believe nothing like Giles’s theological scam on a scam. In the UK homophobic Islam patrols school gates and justifies the grooming of young girls, as Mohammed did. Damned right atheists are sometimes angry.
Speaking of Islam, reading Giles’s representation of atheism and atheists is very much like reading that of other popular believers, like Mehdi Hasan. Yes, the Mehdi Hasan who really does believe Mohammed split the moon, and in other miracles. Yes, the Mehdi Hasan who revealed that to the not so angry more astonished Dawkins. Yes, the same Mehdi Hasan, who, like that other fraud, Reza Aslan, will tell you you don’t understand Islam, because it’s nothing like atheists present it, … all the while his co-religionists butchering gays in the name of Allah for exactly the reasons atheists say they do. Oh, yes, what happened to Reza Aslan and his lovely Indonesia, where lashings à la (Allah?) Quran 24:2 are a regular occurrence?
It’s odd that these fake theists declare that only atheists and extremists believe in the literal truths of the holy books. No, atheists do not believe in the literal truths of these books. Atheists merely point out the obvious fact that too many theists do. Only the fake theists try to square the circle, by claiming the truth of the holy books (the inerrant truth of the Quran), while simultaneously denying the very words written therein – but only the inconvenient words, remember. The nice worlds can be read as-is.
Whatever this piece says about Christianity, it contains the usual mischaraterisation of ‘angry’ atheism, while it unironically tells us all about the greater angers of the religious.
“For Ryrie, a scholar of the Protestant Reformation, the passion in question has its roots in the protest against the abuses of the church of Rome, of well-padded priests feathering their own nests, of the bullying authority of the Papacy…”
Yes, quite. The ‘angry’ passions of the religionists have always been more ideological, more pathological, more psycopathic than any atheist, simultaneously defrauding the plebs.
Oh, and let’s head this one off at the pass before Giles or some other theist manages to slip some whataboutery through … “But, Stalin!” Not so fast. Yes, Stalin was an angry brutal ideologue. But it was not his atheism that drove the brutality of his ideologically inspire psychopathy.
While Stalin and other communists and fascists had the benefit of 20th century weapons of death, religions have been killing millions with the ultimate deity of doom, the authority of the autocratic arbiter of heaven or the abyss.
Not that the lovely Giles is a religious madman that would go in for the sort of cruelty that has been the mainstay of religious power for millennia. On the contrary, he’s one of my favourite public theists, and can be rational enough, on other topics.
But there are plenty of his coreligionists that are madmen, and religious ideologues can find all the justification they need in their holy books … you know, the holy books that tell of the gruesome demands of a God that doesn’t need to exist, the same God of passions that Giles’s parishioners don’t require.
You don’t find suicide bombers citing the Humanist Manifesto. Angry atheists. Ha!
But Giles’s fake of a fake God is in truth, as Steven Weinberg pointed out …
“The god of traditional Judaism and Christianity and Islam seems to me a terrible character.”
Unless, that is, you cherry pick the relatively sparse interesting and nice stuff, and ignore the vast amounts of hell, damnation and slaughter, and the boringly obvious nice stuff.
Tell me. How, in these horror shows of belief, do the nice believers pull off that particular scam on a scam? Based on what theologically obtuse reasoning do they justify their claims that the nice stuff in these books is the real deal, while the bad stuff is history, metaphor, old hat, from ignorant times, myth, allegory?
The trouble for the nice guys like Giles is that the same game can be played by ISIS: all the grotesque punishment is literally true, and the nice stuff is metaphor for what happens after death, after you’ve met the punishments prescribed in the holy book here on earth.
Both tacks seem equally plausible readings, as does the irrational but obvious requirement that belief in a God that revealed a book requires you accept all his words as-is, contradictory or not.
The consequence of this intellectually conflicted nonsense that is religion is as Weinberg also pointed out in his thoughts on God’s believers, that Giles thinks don’t really require a God to exist …
Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
And Giles has the nerve to complain as ‘angry’ any atheists that point this out.
To repeat Giles’s point …
“For the Christian life is as much dependent on arguments about God’s existence as birds are dependent upon ornithology.”
Yes. You don’t need arguments for God’s existence when blind faith and duplicitous rhetoric is quite sufficient for self delusion. You may be fooling yourselves, but you don’t fool us.
To try and pass this whole religion thing off as a benign homeopathic remedy, God diluted so there’s not an atom of him left, yet the water holds his memory, … is a scam. It is put on the shelves of therapy with the real medicines of the sciences of the brain-mind-life; and on the shelves of genuine religious belief in existent fantasy friends. It’s sellers ought to be intellectually prosecuted for fraud.
Moderate Muslims, there are only so many ways you can twist this, only so many hoops you can jump through …
Perhaps there really is only one true Islam …
“There’s only one Islam, and all self proclaimed Muslims are Muslims, including ISIS, and Ahmadis, … and we all agree on the punishments prescribed in the Quran and Hadith, for apostasy, theft, sex outside marriage, adultery, …. I just don’t like to admit it to non-Musims.”
Except, of course, you don’t all agree. So, maybe there isn’t one true Islam …
“There’s diversity in Islam. ISIS are Muslims, but not practicing my kind of Islam. I don’t agree with … and I don’t agree on the punishments prescribed in the Quran and Hadith, for apostasy, theft, sex outside marriage, adultery, …. I know better than Mohammed, and I think that Allah has changed the rules.”
But usually, it’s something like this …
“ISIS aren’t Muslims, Ahmadis aren’t Muslims, … all those other self-proclaimed Muslims that happen to be an inconvenience to my claim that there is only one true Islam, while trying to distance myself from those other ‘Muslims’ that follow aspects of Islam in ways I don’t like (or don’t like to admit to) … well, they are not Muslims.”
Who gave you the right to say they are not Muslims or that they are doing Islam wrong?
Because I AM a Muslim. I should know. Whereas you, non-Muslim, are ignorant about Islam.
Who gets to decide who are true Muslims? What qualifies YOU to decide?
The scholars tell me!
How do I know which scholars are the right scholars to listen to?
Because they are the ones that I happen to think fit the kind of Muslim I want to be … err, though there is only one kind of Muslim, the kind that fits into the narrow band that I think won’t embarrass my religion.
Pity. This is all so embarrassing.
A Muslim Embarrassing Himself
This morning, as I started to write this, I thought I’d better go an dig up some examples, knowing there are plenty. I opened Twitter, and bingo! A gift from Allah?
First, Dawkins, one of the people I follow, had a tweet at the top of my feed, and the very first reply …
This seems like a reasonable response …
And, in turn, we have the usual nonsense …
Let that sink in …
“Not minimising anything. Just pointing out that any sane, moral, rightminded, peaceful individual can recognise …”
So, why do sane, moral, rightminded, peaceful individuals need Islam?
“The punishment for blasphemy in Islam is not death.”
Maybe not in YOUR version of Islam. But you know it is in some versions … which sort of makes a mockery of ‘one true Islam’, or any claims by ANY Muslim to understand Islam, when clearly, different Muslims have different understandings of Islam.
The One True Islam Embarrassment
K T Shamim’s bio reveals he’s an Ahmaddi Muslim … not allowed to call themselves Muslims in Pakistan, opposed by many other Muslims. But still, he thinks he knows the one true Islam.
“The true religion [Ahmadis claim there’s is the one true Islam] …. Don’t know which Islam these Muslims follow …”
So, there are multiple Islams? But how does K T know that his is the true one, and not the Islam of ISIS?
Hold on! It’s all very nice that K T likes the love and peace Islam, but how does he know that’s the right one? How come punishment and intolerance aren’t the one true Islam? Or why not both?
Really, why not both the peach and love AND the punishment and intolerance? Why are the nice verses taken literally and the nasty verses require excuses?
It’s not like I’m advocating this all inclusive Islam as system to follow. My point is, why can’t you just do peace and love WITHOUT Islam? Why stick with and try to a system in which so many declare the Quran inerrant and have to go to all this trouble to defend it … and let’s be honest … to LIE for Islam, to escape its violent nasty clutches.
This is the first of a series on Fallible Heroes – where people I follow, support, and respect, get it wrong sometimes. This may seem like a trivial case, but the last tweet in the final image expresses the importance of it – “I too want everyone to feel protected but discussion gets shut down with cries of ‘bigot’. “
[Feel free to tweet this … since I’m blocked for opposing extremists.]
I’ve followed Alice Roberts (not in a creepy way, honest) since her days on the UK TV programme Coast. Seen some of her other TV documentaries … and now she’s president of Humanists UK.
So, it was a bit of a disappointment to see the following exchange, since Alice’s response, in blocking rather than engaging – at least providing a link to some ready presentation of her views on the matter of transgender issues – leaves a vacuum that actual bigots could fill.
My interest here is not to support any positions that her interlocutor, Michael, might take, but to wish for a better response from the president of Humanists UK in trying to reach those that disagree with her. And, it is clear from other responses that Alice’s decision to block has not helped any case she might wish to make, but has simply affirmed, in the minds of those that disagree, that she has no position worth making. Bit of an own goal.
Yes, I know, she’s busy and can’t engage with every actual transphobe on the planet. But, the current understanding of trans issues is not a done deal, and there are many people with mixed views on the issue, and I expect quite a few in Humantsts UK.
So, what was the exchange? Here is part of it (link to the thread), which began with a question regarding trans issues … and in particular the conflict of interests that exist between cis women and trans women in some specific scenarios.
Alice responded to an assertion in another tweet (from someone else) about the binary nature of sex …
This is the point where it might have been helpful, in spreading the Humanist scientific, rational and kind message, had Alice pointed to some useful information that she thinks lays out her position on this complex subject. After all, Twitter is hardly the place, and surely this isn’t a new topic for Alice.
Actually, he did. It was pretty clear from the start that what was being discussed was the human issue of gender identity with regard to the issues that are currently hotly debated. And, if anything, Alice could be quizzed here about whether she was attempting to slip in the appeal to nature fallacy.
And then …
And, why is this block a problem? Because it leaves other’s with their echo chamber and promotes the idea that Alice isn’t really as committed to trans issues as she might have tried to imply.
Alice Roberts cannot be expected to engage in debates that will probably go nowhere, so that she chose not to carry on, seeing the lie of the land in the thread, her disengagement might have been the best option … but, it could have been done with more dignity and less of what appears to be petulance (whether it was or not in Alice’s mind). For example …
However, Alice does continue to subject, when it suits …
Sense indeed. But it still doesn’t address the actual issue, about humans, that eventually incited Alice to block. Those questioning Alice on this issue would really like to know how you square the circle here – which is, socially, how do we deal with the two conflicting (not always, but not never, either):
Allowing trans people to live the lives they choose.
Allowing women to live the lives they choose.
Do you remember when safe spaces for cis women to protect them from men – even though not all men are a threat to cis women?
Why can’t cis women have safe spaces from trans women – even though not all trans women are a threat to cis women?
Are there any trans women who fear other trans women? After all, some trans women are very much like traditional cis women, and those trans women need safe spaces from men too, … and by extension, from some trans women.
These are complex issues, and Alice Roberts cannot be expected to have all the answers (indeed, answers that would satisfy everyone are mythical beasts). But the block was disappointing, if only for the reason that the blocked person will not see a more reasonable debate going on.
Alice doesn’t say how she thinks this circle might be squared. Which I think is precisely the point Michael was trying to make, and which Alice avoided.
Nevertheless, Alice is a great president of Humanists UK, and this criticism on this particular matter of this block will not change my opinion on that.
There are some utterly bizarre interactions going on around Islam in the UK. There’s much guilt by association and incredibly dishonest smear campaigns, even coming from those that are often victims of dishonest smears themselves.
Nigel Farage was demonised as a racist for his UKIP Brexit campaign that saw him stood in front of a poster of economic migrants. It should have been obvious to anyone (because he explained it) that his point was that the images we were seeing throughout 2014/15 were predominantly of healthy young migrant men. Where were all the weak, old and infant refugees? Why had these men left them behind? These were legitimate questions, at the height of illegal immigration. So too was the question about the political ideology that many of the illegal immigrants were committed to. Even Angela Merkel had to face up to these realities eventually, as she shut down all the publicly expressed concern she could, and eventually had to stem the flow.
But then, when Gerard Batton announced the ‘consultation’ role of Tommy Robinson, Farage joined in the smears of Robinson and the guilt by association of UKIP. Personally, I see Robinson as a legitimate activist, but not a particularly good politician – too hot headed and not responsible enough to have him too close to the leadership of a party. But, he has definitely been smeared beyond any recognition of the person he actually is. So, it’s strange to see Farage take that particular stance himself – a convenient distancing of himself from someone he sees as lost to fair coverage and so dangerous to Farage’s personal agenda.
In another context we see long-term gay activist Peter Tatchell struggle to hold a rational position regarding Islam. He has joined with activists from Faith to Faithless (a part of Humanist UK) to encourage acceptance of homosexuality among Muslims in Britain. He too has demonised Farage and Robinson, and has played the dodgy alliance game of suggesting ‘persecuted’ minorities like gays and Muslims should unite against the right. Totally paradoxical since Islam is inherently conservative, and in many cases far right – so much so that explicitly liberal Muslims like Maajid Nawaz are demonised by organisations like the Muslim Council of Britain and 5 Pillars. Of course Tatchell’s hoped for alliance backfired when Muslim parents announced their own homophobia* is an essential part of Islam.
[*They declare they are not homophobic, and yet also insist that anyone that doesn’t like their bigotry is Islamophobic. The ironies mount up pretty fast in this sphere of human affairs.]
In a similar fashion we see Owen Jones denouncing the same homophobia among Muslim parents, yet also declaring as Islamophobes anyone else that dares to criticise Islam. Lately he has taken to building a chain of guilt from Tommy Robinson, to Douglas Murray, and on to Yasmine Mohammed, the latter being a thoroughly decent ex-Muslim that simply campaigns for the right for ex-Muslims not to be persecuted.
And it’s odd that Owen Jones cites the Muslim Council of Britain as an upstanding organisation in the same thread, when it is they, among others, that declare that Ahmadi Muslims are not to be considered Muslims, so continuing the persecution of Ahmadis that sees their mosques attacked in Pakistan, an Ahmadi killed in Glasgow by a Sunni from Bradford (for ‘insulting Islam’), and even very recently having a UK mosque provide leaflets requiring the killing of Ahmadis. What on earth is Jones doing siding with a conservative homophobic misogynistic religion? I doubt he’d have much in common with Westboro Baptists who seem to hold a similar view on homosexuality to many Muslims (a large number of UK Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal, at least … the less cautious will support the death penalty).
Elsewhere we have the Muslim prosecutor of Muslim grooming gangs on the Three Girls case also declaring other critics of Muslim grooming gangs to be Islamophobes, while his colleague and ex-police investigator Maggie Oliver, also of Three Girls fame, uncovers much police corruption around the cover up of grooming gangs and calls for ‘people power’ in response. Wasn’t Tommy Robinson and example of ‘people power’ in action?
And even though we see more and more Muslims acknowledging the problems in ‘our community’ they too still play the Islamophobia game: The Enlightenment of Saira Khan. Saira has been calling Robinson a racist for years, and yet she is just as explicit as he is, even more directly so, in her condemnation of those in her ‘community’ that transgress the bounds of decency by being a groomer or a terrorist.
Papers like the Guardian seem to alternate between articles that report on problems around Islam, only to follow up with an opinion piece by yet someone else that declares it’s Islamophobic to report on the problems around Islam. No surprise that Miqdaad Versi of the MCB has created a busy schedule for himself demanding, with some success, that news papers change the headlines of many of their stories so that thy are less ‘Islamophobic’.
It’s not as if the news about the news is consistent in this regard either. Owen Jones, again, expressed his Twitter indignation by declaring that stories about the young ‘angelic’ Christchurch terrorist wouldn’t happen if it were a Muslim terrorist – except that’s precisely what the news papers did regarding Jihadi John – so much so the Mail front pages for the two terrorists were practically identical.
Within Islam it doesn’t become any simpler – quite the opposite. Liberal-Moderate, Moderate-Conservative, Conservative-Fundamentalist, Fundamentalist-Extremists … overlapping circles of influence where the extreme ends totally denounce each other as non-Muslims, yet each circle makes excuses for and defends their near political neighbours. You have to wonder where all the 2 billion Muslims are, when so many Muslims declare fellow Muslims to be non-Muslims for their inadequate understanding of Islam. Meanwhile, we are told, “We are all Muslims”, under the unity of the Ummah … a monolith of Muslim creation. We are also told that Islam is a diverse religion, yet, oddly, all accept Allah, Mohammed and Quran – where all but liberal reformers insist the Quran is the inerrant perfect word of Allah, that is both easy to understand and yet needs scholarship to avoid all the nasty bits – nasty bits that are not there, apparently, despite what you actually read in the Quran.
“Nothing to do with Islam” we hear. Well, if that’s so, how is it Islamophobic for non-Muslims to point to the Islamic texts that ISIS cite? How is it that many of those that joined ISIS became more religious, more Islamic, according to those that knew them, before tipping over the edge into radicalism and extremism?
The complexities of all this, the smears, the alliances, the shear irrationality of it all, need a damned good Venn diagram of overlapping appreciation. But I fear it would be so complex it wouldn’t make it any clearer.
We need more rational debate, and more honesty, less conflating Islam with race – what nonsense that is. We have a long way to go.
Hirsch’s political agenda is to smear critics of Islam. Same for newly woke Frankie Boyle. Sarah Pascoe and Richard Osmon are there for the entertainment value and are a couple of hapless woke celebrities along for the ride.
Headline: Has Racism Been Normalised?
Yes. Both by actual racists and the supposed anti-racists such as those on this show.
The discussion at this point revolves around grooming gangs and the opposition to someone like Tommy Robinson having a say in the matter. Let’s pick it up with Afua’s point about how serious the Muslim grooming gang problem is:
… there are really serious problems that led to them [the girls … or the culprits?] being abused.
Yes. Specifically Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs, as pointed out by the following, when they too are not being accused of being racists.
Voices on Muslim Grooming Gangs
Andrew Norfolk, Times journalist, who sat on the story for a couple of years for fear of being racist, allowing who knows how many other girls to be groomed before he broke the story.
The Sikh community that for years pointed out the grooming of Sikh girls by Muslim grooming gangs, but were ignored.
Ray Honeyford, head of Drummond Middle School in Bradford, became the target of a campaign by an action group involving a number of parents (not unlike the ‘No Outsiders’ head of Parkfield now, by homophobic parents in Birmingham).
Labour MP Sarah Champion, kicked off the Labour front bench for speaking out (you won’t hear much, if anything, of Jeremy Corbyn … search his Twitter feed for Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, etc. not a word)
Labour MP Ann Cryer, who while getting some support from some Labour colleagues, had to suffer the smears of being a racist by others – simply for caring about the girls.
Maggie Oliver, police investigator in the Rochdale 3 girls case. Oliver was prevented from investigating the problem in Manchester and since gone on toe actually call for ‘people power’ because politicians, the press and the police had actively covered up the problem for years.
You can butter it up all you like, and blame Robinson as much as you want, but you are lying when you do.
Here’s Maggie Oliver directly accusing her police chief of covering it up. [Update 2019-07-16 – In her recent book release interviews she points out the grooming continues and many groomers remain free of prosecution]
If you want the longer and more harrowing tale of just THREE girls (1400+ in Rotherham alone … estimated) then watch this:
Saira Khan, who has made similar comments to those of Tommy Robinson … on the TV show, Loose Women. My one issue with Saira is she’s still too afraid, or too blind, to see the problem: The Enlightenment of the Brave Saira Khan
Nothing to do with Islam?
When you’re done digesting what Saira Khan has to say, go back to Afua Hirsch:
They [Tommy Robinson and co] are only interested in this minority (Muslims)
Yes, why is that? How come Robinson and co aren’t interested in Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, or even ex-Muslims, … or even Ahmadi Muslims?
Let’s go to Ahmadi Muslims – I don’t know that Robinson has EVER criticised them.
But you know who has?
Other Muslims. Ahmadi Muslims are not allowed to call themselves Muslims in Pakistan, and they are persecuted there and have their mosques attacked – BY MUSLIMS.
In the UK, we had Ahmadi Muslim Asad Shah, killed by a Sunni Muslim from Bradford.
And when the Ahmadi Muslims held an interfaith peace rally, other faith leaders turned up – but the Sunna and Shia Muslim representatives refused to do so.
And even recently we have had the BBC reporting that a mosque in Britain has been making available leaflets demanding the killing of Ahmadis.
And the Council for British Muslims on their own site state that Ahmadiyya are not Muslims, rejecting the Ahmadi Muslim right to identify as Muslim.
How come we don’t hear much from Afua Hirsch on that problem? Or does racism only count when Afua Hirsch sees it in one particular direction?
Afua Hirsch Lies
they try to create a narrative that all Muslims need to be accountable for the actions of the paedophiles …in one or two towns
Wow. Let’s get the first lie out of the way before addressing the very cause of this problem of ‘Tommy Robinson’.
No, It is not the case that the narrative is about making all Muslims accountable *for the actions of the paedophiles*. What many critics DO ask is that Muslim organisations and local Muslim communities stop trying to cover the crimes up.
Any other working class grooming gang, if found out in a local community, would find that the gang members would be lucky to escape with their lives and their genitals intact, so outraged would the local community be. So, from early in the piece …
… does Tommy Robinson really care about the vulnerable girls?
Yes. Why on earth would you think otherwise, unless your own agenda was to smear him. His own relative was groomed. So, yes, damned right he cares about the girls. That’s how working class communities would react if press, politicians and police, and other local community members were trying to over up any ‘white’ grooming gangs. And, what’s more, the town wouldn’t be safe for them to return after their sentence were complete.
Which has not been the case for many of the Muslim grooming gangs, where family and friends support them, even shouting support in trials; where after serving their sentence they return to their communities with no problem, and are even seen by their victims; where protecting the good name of Islam is far more important to the community than the victims.
Here comes the necessary disclaimer: NOT ALL MUSLIMS. There must be many Muslims that are horrified by these acts by members of the ‘community’. The problem for many decent members of the Muslim communities is that it’s actually risky for them to speak out if they live in those communities. Ask Saira Khan, who has received terrible abuse, … FROM PEOPLE ON THE LEFT AND MUSLIM COMMUNITIES.
Let’s get back to the really egregious part of this dreadfully dishonest programme
And they are towns where some prosecutions have taken place, but where we have no real idea of the historical unreported cases, and no idea of how many other towns may have been affected. On some occasions the victims have been driven to other towns to ‘serve’ the Muslim men of those communities.
THIS has been the problem that has created Tommy Robinson: the utter stupid denialism of people like Afua Hirsch. She can’t even leave her “there are really serious problems” sit without diminishing it with “one or two towns”
White Paedophiles – Whataboutery
We never talk about white paedophiles
What utter BS.
Let’s start with ‘white working class‘ paedophiles. Do you know when we talk about white paedophiles? When they are rooted out by long winded police investigations into their secretive gangs.
What’s different about the Muslim grooming gangs? They do it openly, in front of schools, in shops and taxi firms in the ‘local community’. They do it with police knowledge, and social services knowledge, and press knowledge, and local council knowledge. They do it with impunity.
THAT is why you have Tommy Robinson, and specifically why Tommy Robinson gets so much support from the working class.
But, of course, what about paedophile politicians and celebrities, like Jimmy Saville. YES! It’s the same press, police and politicians covering up their crimes as it is the Muslim grooming gangs – for entirely different reasons of course. YES. That’s the point. Cover ups.
THAT is why you have Tommy Robinson, and specifically why Tommy Robinson gets so much support from the working class, because not only have the press, politicians, press and celebs been covering up Muslim grooming gangs, they do it for their own too!
Whataboutery of Numbers
even though the majority of paedophiles are white
Not proportionate to population size.
The estimates vary, but of course you’d expect a 90% white population to produce more paedophiles that the mere 5% population of Muslims.
But that’s not the point, is it. The point is, that even allowing for variations in population estimates, for street grooming gangs 84% are Muslim. And, it gets worse. For race targeted (white non-Muslim) victims, by Pakistani Muslims, it is almost exclusively Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs (small clusters of other Muslim grooming gangs such as in Somali communities do exists).
Find ANY substantial reports where white paedophiles are targeting Muslim girls, or Sikh girls, or Hindu girls, or girls of other nationalities at all – have you heard of ANY?
The ONLY other significant perp profiles is where girls are trafficked by criminal sex gangs, and sex tourism in the far east, … and powerful people protected by politicians, press and police.
Who Defines a Legitimate Debate?
it’s frustrating when he (Tommy Robinson) is given a platform by mainstream media …because it’s not a legitimate debate
Well done on giving him a platform then, on this programme, you utter clown. How many programmes have we seen where critics of Tommy Robinson have given him far more air time than he has created for himself.
But the real problem is caused by NOT giving a platform to more reasonable voices, like those listed earlier, that have been talking about this for decades.
YOU are part of the problem that has created Tommy Robinson.
And, you think voicing an opinion about the cover up of Muslim grooming gangs is NOT legitimate?
We’ve got to a really dangerous position where now, if someone like me who is anti-racist is in a debate there’s this need to put me on against a racist …
YOU and pundits like you, and the press, and police and politicians have created Tommy Robinson by your neglect.
Robinson started campaigning against Islamic extremists over a decade ago, and grooming gangs shortly after, … after he gained EDL notoriety and other people from around the country reported to him how grooming gangs where operating freely, just as they had with his relative.
If we were talking about rape, you wouldn’t have me on with a pro rape activist
What the heck are you talking about? YOU are asserting that Robinson is racist, with no evidence whatsoever. YOU are equating his criticism of Islam, Islamists and Muslim grooming gangs with racism. YOU are fabricating the debate that isn’t being had.
And, I don’t know if you noticed, but the subject matter IS about rape and other abuse, and Robinson has been opposing it. And YOU are opposing Robinson’s opposing of it. How twisted can you get.