All posts by Ron Murphy

Dishonest James O’Brien Reads Adolf Rudd

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

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

obrienhate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Rudd Said

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jamesobrien-hypocrite

Bursting The White Supremacy Bubble

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

THE KLAN IS BACK

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

“Africans have benefited from the experience of white supremacy”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Whites have benefited from the experience of black supremacy”

Enough of the ‘white supremacy’ stupidity.

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

It’s simple:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hylas And The Nymphs – A Local Visitor’s Perspective

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

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

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

Presenting the female body: Challenging a Victorian fantasy

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

As a male curator explained,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RadFem Idiots Lie About Kenan Malik

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so I thought I’d have a say too:

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

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

OK, let’s play that game …

At which point the RadFem tweets to me:

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

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

No response there, either.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This RadFem nonsense is off the rails at this point.

The profile of the RadFem @vonny_bravo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Professor Kate Manne, a moral philosopher at Cornell, theorises this as “himpathy”.”

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

“Himpathy blinkers us.”

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

Enough of the crazy. Some sane voices:

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

Well, that’s a start.

 

 

 

 

 

Killers for Religion and Atheism?

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

Not so fast.

Atheism vs Theism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Religions

Religions are a subset of Theism …

Atheism-Theism-Religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Political Ideologies of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, …

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

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

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

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

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

Religious Political Ideologies

Some political ideologies are religious ones.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humanism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atheist Terrorists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harvey Drowns Nazis, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

Here we go again. Satire. Wasted on idiots.

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

Hebdo-NaxisOfHarvey

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

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

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

Hebdo is anti-Nazi.

Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is a neo-Nazi organisation.

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

Hammerskins were formed in Texas.

Resistance Records is headquartered in Texas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My previous Hebdo links:

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

Amatrice Pasta, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

 

 

 

Left, Right: Marching In Step With Your Enemy

Beware! Nazis!

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

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

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

Beware! Fascistic Anti-Fascists

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

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

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

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

Stefan Aust, author of Der Baader Meinhof Komplex:

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

[my emphasis]

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

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

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

Screenshot 2017-08-19 14.46.10

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

– Horst Mahler, Red Army Faction [Adam Curtis film]

[my emphasis]

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

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

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

– Horst Mahler, Red Army Faction 

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

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

[my emphasis]

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

Socialist – Fascist Common Ground

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

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

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

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

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

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

As are theocracies (*cough* Islam).

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

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

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

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

Berkeley, Charlottesville and Beyond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshot 2017-08-19 16.12.19

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

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

ANTIFA | Activists or thugs?

Time to Choose

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

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

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

Free Speech

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

You Should Read The Quran – Really? Why?

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

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

Headless May, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

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

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

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

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

My Problem With Islam

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

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

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

The White European Culture Fallacy

White supremacism! Eurocentrism! Murticulturalism! Endorse, deplore, assert, denounce any of these, vociforously, emotionally? Want to promote freedom and equality without stumbling over these dilemmas? Read on.

Richard Spencer is an ‘Identitarian’ in his terms; a white separatist; white nationalist; whatever he wants to call it, it’s about being white. This is a fallacy, because what we really value, what Spencer pretends to value, is not whiteness, or anything associated with the rather poor attribution of being white. His is really an ancient tribalism, something that we acknowledge the human race went through naturally, but not something that’s worth hanging on to.

The origins of the ‘Identitarian movement‘ suggest something more specific than being white, but less general than some of the values we might want to endorse. The specificity of the ‘white’ aspect arose in opposition to the perceived non-white Islamification of France. However, it erroneously conflates a difference that matters, culture, with one that does not, ethnicity.

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

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

Continue reading The White European Culture Fallacy

Analogies Misunderstood – The Pope and Hitler, and Others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justin Welby’s Easter, Dishonest or Dumb?

Justin Welby, Dishonest or Dumb? At least the latter has no moral implication for him – he can’t help it.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter 2017 Sermon – Sunday 16th April 2017

Christian faith starts with One who literally (that misused word) rose from the dead.

So much for the hard work of all those sophisticated theologians (h/t Jerry Coyne) that have been trying to dissuade people from reading books like The God Delusion by Dawkins, “because nobody believes it that literally”.

Literal belief is literally real.

And the depths of irony in Welby’s ‘that misused word’ has my head spinning. Here’s a summary of Christian theology

Jesus literally rose from the dead … allegorically … such that there’s no actual evidence that he did … and no real requirement to provide evidence … except that if you have faith, and believe it, it will be literally true …

And so the nonsense goes on like the endless Easter parades I used to watch as countless churches gathered and marched to bands.

Laid stone cold dead in Joseph’s tomb on Friday, on Sunday morning the tomb is empty, he is physically, bodily, tangibly alive. Why would we presume to know better than these first witnesses what took place?

Let me see …. because there were no witnesses? Because there is no evidence of witness to the death let alone any resurrection? Because a fourth century Emperor got tired of all the conflicting stories and with a bit of arguing and a game of eenie-meanie-miny-mo (there’s as much evidence of that as there is of the resurrection) chose which fairy tales would make the least implausible gospels?

Welby knows damned well how flaky Christian history is. He knows damned well that none of the gospels represent a true interpretation of what little biblical ‘original sources’ exist.

It happened: the witnesses are those who met him. Today the calling of every Christian is to be a witness to the Resurrection.

Let that sink in. “Today the calling of every Christian is to be a witness to the Resurrection” As much a ‘literally happened’ witness as any original person that happened to live around the time Jesus is supposed to have died and been resurrected … by himself.

How do you do that, resurrect yourself, when you’re dead without not really being dead, as in dead dead, not an undeadable deity pretending to be dead? God did it? But Jesus IS God? Miracle! Maybe Harry Potter is literally true by the same sort of miracle.

The idiocy of Christian belief is palpable – and a damned sight more literal than the theological nonsense.

In our reading from Acts, Peter speaks of events that are only a couple of years in the past … It was a testimony easily checked, easily dismissed.

No it is not easily checked. This is an utter lie. There is no way to check that. Even if there were multiple records that were used as evidence that Peter actually said what he is supposed to have said, that would be no verification whatsoever that what he said was true – it would be hearsay, nothing more. Likewise Josephus, that supposed ‘witness’ to Christian truths that merely told us what Christians were telling someone else. Hearsay!

We are used to facts being contested. We are even used to facts being reduced to the level of opinion. So individualised are our news cycles that our opinions are in themselves the only facts that seem to count. However, what brings the faithful out to worship in Tanta and Alexandria is truth. It happened. The resurrection is an event which – although never experienced before or since – changes everything because it happened.

This is an unbelievably stupid thing to say. It happened because Welby and a bunch of other gullible or dishonest people proclaim that it did. He has nothing else.

Events claimed to be fact are reduced to opinion when there is no evidence to support the claim that the events took place. Just as in the case of the resurrection, or the cruciFICTION, or most other stories about Jesus. So many are so obviously trumped up they out-trump Trump.

You know what this bit is …?

However, what brings the faithful out to worship in Tanta and Alexandria is truth. It happened.

That’s an infant mind throwing it’s toys and stamping its feet because it can’t have its own way. That’s all that is. It really is that childish a statement, especially in the context of the paragraph as a whole.

 

We atheists often point out how Islamism, the politicised Islam, is actually plain old Islam, because Islam is a political religion. But next we have Welby making the political claim for Christianity:

Yet it was not on the lists of important dates for me to learn at school. It is not in the politics text books, although it defines the aims and ends of politics. It is not in the economics lessons, although economics is transformed by it. It is not in the geography courses, although human geography was changed more by this than any event that has ever happened. It is not on courses at military academies, although war and peace are judged by it.

He’ll be asking to ‘teach the controversy’ of of Design over Evolution next, the dimwit.

Bear that in mind when political leaders that are religious tell you they are ‘informed’ by their religion but don’t let it interfere with their politics. Looking at you, Tim Farron, my dear leader of the Liberal Democrats. [I may be a bit harsh on poor old Tim, but I’d rather keep imaginary friends right out of politics.]

And talking of political Islam, here’s Welby’s back stabbing ode to it … inter-faith respect, my arse.

The greatest mystery is that the greatest event went almost unnoticed and spread to conquer the known world without drawing a sword, without taking a life, winning an election or starting a campaign.

Welby headed his sermon with references to St George’s church Tanta and St Mark’s church Alexandria, sites of Islamist killing of Christians. No such barbarity from Christianity! … except …

Actually, it’s no mystery that the ‘greatest event’ went almost unnoticed. It didn’t happen. And neither is it a mystery that it ‘spread to conquer the known world without drawing a sword’, because of course swords were well and truly drawn in its spread, from the early Roman emperors converted to Christianity, through warring popes and kings and queens, and on through the western empires that that forced Christianity on the wider world. A bit like Islam really, just better at it … so far. Heads up!

At the resurrection the world did not merely shift, a new world emerged in embryo …

Funny that nobody noticed until many years later, with many twists to the tales. Just like a myth, really.

Consider the women; they thought death ruled, that despair had conquered, that stones could not be moved. They were wrong on everything. Death was conquered, despair fled, the stone was rolled away.

This is what the religious do. They feign doubt, talk about opinions, present objections as if unimportant, … and then go right on an act as if it’s all totally documented, triple signed and on record, with photographic evidence that has passed umpteen tests for photoshop trickery true.

Because God acted and raised Jesus everything is different: we know the truth about God, through the resurrection.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Did I say stupid? This little circle is tighter than Jesus’s sphincter when the nails went in.

Look, you cannot have a supposed revelation (in a book, the word of a person, or the content of a myth) that claims to be the source of its own truth.

If  liar came up to you and said, “Hi, I tell the truth. I never lie.” And then a truthful person came up to you and said, “Hi, I tell the truth. I never lie.” How would you know which was telling the truth? How would you even know they were not actually both liars, if all you had to go on was that I told you one of them was telling the truth … you’d then be relying on me telling the truth too … and so it goes. This rhetoricaly BS from Welby is stupid … did I say that?

This is the holy book. Revealed by God. To the man. The man that is handing it to you now. A book in which it tells you that God is real, and that did the revealing, … a book that totally wasn’t made up by the man. … honest!

Stupid!

More on that topic … The Liar’s Holy Book – Your book, your god’s revelation, cannot contain the proof of the truth of its own claims. You have to presuppose a god that does the revealing; and a presupposition isn’t proof of anything, it’s you making shit up.

After a couple of paragraphs of more mumbo jumbo meaningless Alice in Wonderland prose, Welby comes up with this:

But be under no illusion, this is utterly counter to how the world runs itself, and so we live in the now of a world in which the resurrection has happened, and the not yet of a world where there is still evil.

Illusion? It’s not an illusion. It’s a fully fledged and taken flight of fantasy delusion.

But, the words Jesus says on that first Easter day he says to you and me now; ‘Do not be afraid’….

But of course there is no known record of Jesus having said anything.

There is only one finality: Jesus the crucified one is alive. … blah-dy-blah-dy-blah … joy and light in the face of suffering bullshit … blah-dy blah …  it happened, Jesus is alive.

“It’s True!”

Here’s Justin welby as a little girl explaining his theology:

 

Hope I’ve not hurt anyone’s feelings … except …

MeansSoMuch

 

 

 

Desperate Dan Arel the Duplicitous Man

This is the post where Desperate Dan makes his excuses and leaves the Patheos network:

The Danthropology blog is moving on

Yet today, I am here to announce I have decided to leave the Patheos network. This is a decision I did not come to lightly, but one I feel is the right next step for my career.

With that, I began to feel my writing didn’t fit on Patheos and I felt I was forcing myself to cover religion and atheist based issues when I didn’t wholly want to. Instead of faking my way through a blog on a network I love, I felt it was time to move on.

All so sweet and nice. Until you read his other perspective, expressed here:

When did online atheism get into bed with the neo-nazi movement?

It’s astonishing to watch the evolution of the atheist community online, mainly Twitter, move from liberal to alt-right conservatism.

Dan, this is idiocy. We’ve been here before with P Z Myers. Look what happened then.

desperatedanthestreeetfightingman

What’s going on with Dan?

 

The Three Stooges

Here’s the clue:

How prominent atheists are telling American rape victims they have “privilege” because at least they are not being forced to marry their rapist?

Let’s summarise the significance of this …

Dan has been taking some stick for his Nazi punching ways, and he doesn’t like it.

Eiynah (Nice Mangos) has been quite nasty about a few people, has been called out on it, and doesn’t like it.

Aki Muthal has been her usual snappy self, and has been called out on it, and doesn’t like it.

And these three, in their various ways, have become highly critical of a bunch of other atheists. Any such criticism is for them to make freely as they wish, and I’ve not seen anyone of note say or imply they should not. But I have seen people disagreeing with their take on a number of issues. And what you do see is the Three Stooges going hyperbolic when they are criticised in turn.

Let’s make these things clear:

  • It’s ok to criticise prominent atheists if you disagree with them.
  • It’s ok to criticise their critics in turn if you disagrees with their criticism.
  • If you throw your toys out of the pram and start claiming there are conspiracies against you because the ‘fan boys’ of the big names won’t let anyone criticise them, then you’re being a snowflake. Get over yourself.

That clue? That references a spat that grew out of the following:

Eiynah and Yasmine had a spat. Someone else questioned Eiynah’s authenticity (heaven forbid one’s history is actually questioned), and it blew up, with Eiynah being her usual reactionary self – she can dish out the criticism but doesn’t like it when it’s aimed at her. Eiynah, who has tried to use Yasmine, Faisal and Ali to discredit and disown Dave Rubin, and has tried to get Jerry Coyne to denounce and discredit Gad Saad, didn’t like it when Machael Sherlock made consiliatory noises – Eiynah didn’t like being associated with Yasmine … so blame Sherlock for even tghinking reconciliation might be possible.

Aki Muthal, who shoots from the hip at anyone who speaks out of turn, jumped in on Eiynah’s side. Could that have anything to do with her history with Lalo Dagesh? These things are hard to keep up with.

Then, Sherlock began to tweet about the plight of Dina Ali (#SaveDinaAli), and while his main thrust was in support of her, he pointed out how many western feminists fail to back Muslim and ex-Muslim women – this isn’t news, it’s been mentioned before, including by the Three Stooges.

Well, that was an opportunity for Aki to take a shot at Michael. And Michael made what amounts to a mean tweet. His point was valid, but not entirely appropriate.

And in that thread Dan makes his little contribution of hate for the ‘prominent’ atheists, following his run-in with Stephen Knight and others on his Nazi punching agenda.

Déjà vu?

Does this all look familiar? You bet it does. This is basically a re-run of an old movie: P Z Myers turning on New Atheists, supposedly on their misogynist agenda, with a bit of ‘ALL Muslims’ presumption read into tweets and posts. Myers began throwing unsupported accusations around willy-nilly – and this was already after a few preminary splits in his brand of ‘atheist activism’ because, well, they eat their own, don’t they.

While going through this it’s worth bearing in mind what’s already been said about the Myers view of the ‘atheist community’.

Atheism isn’t a singular community. Atheism really is ‘dictionary atheism’, merely not believing in gods and stuff. It’s therefore open to anyone who doesn’t believe in gods, be they far right, alt-right, liberal, far left or aliens from the other side of the galaxy. Or, indeed, Dan Arel, who, for all his claims to wish for a better sort of atheist has not been short on vitriolic hatred towards believers.

Is Myers Morally and Intellectually Bankrupt? – Is Dan? Read on.

Dan’s Perspective

It’s astonishing to watch the evolution of the atheist community online, mainly Twitter, move from liberal to alt-right conservatism.

 

It’s not the case that the ‘atheist community’ has moved to the right. It may well be that atheists from the right have become more open … but no, that’s not what Dan is talking about.

So much so, I have struggled to find the words to express how disgusting it has become.

How it has gone past criticizing religion and has almost fully embraced the alt-right and neo-Nazi ideologies of politicians as long as they hold anti-Muslim views?

How prominent atheists are telling American rape victims they have “privilege” because at least they are not being forced to marry their rapist?

Yet, I’m tired about writing about these racist fools. They will just demand evidence that Hitler was a racist, dogpile detractors on Twitter and then beg for Patreon donations.

Fully embracedalt-right and neo-Nazi ideologies? Where? When? This is so utterly rediculous even Dan’s friends must be face palming when they see this crap.

As anyone with half a brain might suspect, there’s a broad spectrum across ‘the right’, from right of centre libertarianism, through shades of conservativism, religious or atheist, on to the more conservative, and into the far right … but the thing is, these are not identities that are easy to pin down.

Someone can be religiously conservative, don’t drink, don’t do sex outside monogomous marriages, oppose abortion, and still be socially liberal in not requiring everyone else to conform to their beliefs, and might even support economic and political socialism. And, someone who is socially, economically and politically conservative, might be an atheist that wants a small government, individual responsibility and no significal social programs. This is not simply Nazis v anti-Nazis, whetever the binary limits of Dan’s tiny mind might be.

Telling American rape victims they have privilege? Not for being raped, but since there’s a hierarchy of oppression Sherlock’s tweet was simply more about mocking that, than aiming any abuse at a rape victim on the matter of being raped.

An insensitive tweet by Sherlock? Sure. But racist fool? Note how these are linked by implication here, yet are deniable. This is Dan’s schtick.

Further, note the disconnect here, between the points Dan is trying to string together.

Evidence of Hitler’s racism? Yes, we would demand evidence that Hitler is a racist, if he were accused of being one. What’s wrong with that exactly? I’ll tell you what’s wrong, in Dan’s eyes – presumption of guilty worthy of a punch is how Dan deals with Nazis …. but of course that presumes the said Nazi is a Nazi. Fortunately there is ample evidence that Hitler was a Nazi, and a racist.

Dogpiling? But what has Hitler got to do with dogpiling of detractors of the prominent atheists? And why does this dogpiling take place – if indeed it does? Could it be for the way the Three Stooges and others have been stalking these atheists, making entirely hyperbolic claims about them, misrepresenting them, … lying.

And the begging for Patreon accounts? Who’d do such a thing?

Dan Arel:

Eiynah:

The hypocrisy is astonishing to behold.

That’s what the online atheist community is now. It’s a neo-nazi cesspool of money hungry bigots with mediocre podcasts, half-assed blogs, and a Twitter following they think makes them famous.

This is nothing more than an acrid smelly brain fart. Dan’s just trumpeting vile insults. He’s got nothing else. This is what he is reduced to.

But if you want a bigot? Dan. Money hungry? Dan. Medocre half-assed blog? Look no further than Dan. Tell me, did he leave Patheos of his own free will, without the slightest nudge? “Just askin’?” (tribute to Cenk Uygur’s deniable ‘just askin’ and ‘just sayin’ questioning smear tactic).

Rape!

… the accused rapist Michael Shermer …

Whoa there cowboy Dan! Don’t get so desperate in a hurry, Dan. Look back at Myers. Read Nugent on that whole sorry claim by Myers. That little business about evidence? You’re going to need to back this up.

Oh, hang on, … “accused”. Ah, the get-out-of-libel ploy. So, who’s doing the accusing, Dan? You? I guess not. But if not, then is someone guilty merely by being accused? As you’ve been accusuing people of being Nazis? Or perhaps, like Myers, you’re prepared to accept accusations of guilt as guilt. Warning! This is what happened when Myers tried that.

PZMyers-ToxicStar

Seriously, Dan is a class-A fucking idiot. Has he learned nothing?

… out there blaming people of color for racism because they dare identity as a color that isn’t white …

Dan. These atheists you are targeting aren’t calling any POC a racist because that POC doesn’t identify as white. Some POC are being called racist for their racist views. It’s that simple.

This is because these atheists are more religious than the religions they fight against. Dawkins, Harris, Rubin, Maher, and Shermer are untouchable gods. Infallible.

This is right out of the Greenwald/Werleman/Uygur/Myers play book. I have NEVER seen any supporter of these atheists claim they are infallible. The supporters of these atheists do in fact disagree with them some times, but agree with a lot of what they say. What you do see are responses to BS from Dan and the other stooges that call THEM out on THEIR BS … and of course Dan and co don’t like it, have nothing left in their game but name calling.

My friends are running a campaign to #NormalizeAtheism and it’s a valiant effort and I fear it’s doomed to fail unless they can normalize non-racist voices quicker than these assholes are rising.

“My friends”? Which friends? Have you got any friends left? Have you seen the #NormalizeAtheism hashtag on Twitter? … surprise, there all about atheism and don’t make, support or even mention racism, because that’s a separate issue. Of ourse some atheists can be racists – atheism and racism are not co-dependent variables in human life – but not the named atheists Dan targets.

Here are some #NormalizeAtheism I don’t think Dan would approve of:

Yes, Dan, you are an asshole on Twitter. Confirmed.

I love being openly atheist. … At the same time, as I see atheists follow a path towards right wing lunacy (online at least), makes me understand those who refuse to use the label openly. It’s being destroyed by the likes of Sam Harris, Dave Rubin, and their cronies who will defend them at all costs.

If Dan cared to look before becoming so desparate he’d see that many people that oppose Dan and defend Harris, Rubin and others do also disagree with them sometimes.

These are the same people who continue to deny that Richard Spencer is a Nazi and argue against any attempt to silence his spread of a genocidal ideology.
Who would want to be associated with that mess?

They do this only in the context of Dan labelling every man and his dog a Nazi. They are in no way supporting or defending Spencer’s racist separatist ideology, and many expressly say so … and any idiot other than Dan would know this. I suspect Dan knows this too … he just doesn’t seem to know that he knows it. Danialism! We are not mind readers, so we rely on what people say and do. So far Spencer has not given any support to genocide as far as I can tell, and the atheists targeted by Dan would oppose that too if he did.

This is a major reason I left the atheist/nonreligious channel at Patheos and broke out on my own.

All alone. Nobody listens to his Nazi punching incitement any more. It must be tough being Dan, a loon, … sorry, ‘alone’, I meant ‘alone’.

I didn’t lose my mind, as many of these nazi apologist want to claim, …

So YOU claim. Many others seem to see it differently. I’m not taking bets on when Dan claims he’s the second coming of Jesus … an atheist Jesus of course.

I instead was pushed to be more vocal as they continued to amplify voices that promote racism, hate, and bigotry.

I didn’t move away from movement atheism, movement atheism moved away from me.

What we have seen is people opposing the street violence that Dan subscribes to. And we’ve also seen Rubin actually talking to people of a wide political spectrum. And we’ve seen Sherlock criticising liberal regressive feminists for their support for the hijab toting Linda Sarsour while they ignore the plight of women forced to wear the hijab. And we’ve seen some personal spats as the Three Stooges throw tantrums.

Nowhere have I seen any of these targeted atheists support fascism, Nazism, racism, misogyny.

Dan has totally lost the plot. Some people are glass half full people. Dan is a dig the hole deeper person. Don’t be Depserate Dan.

DanArel-DesperateDan

 

Etymology Man! Help!

A post by Jerry Coyne on an XKCD comic strip riminded me of a problem that keeps coming up: how labels are used to demonise, ostracise, and even to justify violence against people; and then to excuse the abuse of words for the greater good.

The following is an earlier comic strip from XKCD Comics. My interpretation here may have been covered elsewhere at the time it was published (though isn’t on the ‘explained‘ site), but I offer it now to explain the current related problem of how SJWs abuse words, and then deflect, by complaining of the relative insignificance of the etymology, when it’s their abuse of words that’s causing the problem.

etymology_man

I took the comic to be taking a swipe at any situation where an etymological discussion errupts while the real catastrophy proceeds to engulf the disputants.

This was used, for example, by some SJWs who complained that those citing ‘dictionary atheism’ where hung up on etymology while real social justice needed to be done. The problem was much SJW action is itself hung up on words – their abuse.

The Insanity* of the SJW

(* to abuse a word for effect).

As PZ Myers moved from New Atheist, to Atheism+, to whetever, denouncing each in turn (settling on the useless ‘our movement’) he was clearly, and in earlier guises explicitly, trying to create a movement, based on atheism, or the more general ‘Skepticism’. Of course we already have Humanism. When he started to demonise other atheists, specifically New Atheists, he needed to distinguish them from himself, and yet still make it an ‘atheist movement’. When his detractors pointed out his abuse of the term atheism he had a lot to say about how these ‘dictionary atheists’ were not helping. They were merely pointing out how it was PZ Myers and crew that wasn’t helping. Eventually the identity politics of Social Justice Warriorship started to go through one of its many implosions, until Myers lost it.

Identity politics relies very much on innapropriate use of labels to demonise and ostracise people … and often leads to the phnemenon of ‘eating their own’ … again an allusion from the Mantis that screws and eats its mates in the later  comic?

wrong_superhero

The self-destruction of ‘the movement’ as resulted in a few emissions from the Freethought Blogs community, and this was pretty much down to someone not being on-message, destroying their SJW credentials.

PZMyers-ToxicStar

A current incarnation surrounds the tendency of SJWs to label anyone to the right of them as Nazis when they are nothing of the sort – so we have Dan Arel advocating punching those he sees fit to be called Nazis.

Call out the SJWs on their abuse of words to the point of where they diminish all useful meaning in their advocacy of attacks on totally inappropriate targets, and their backlash is yet more of their hate. It’s more important to punch Nazis than to figure out who is actually a Nazi, and much less to question the morality of pre-emtive violence.

Deflection ensues as Dan accuses his critics of ‘supporting Nazis’.

Here’s the problem when you get to decide that Nazis deserve punching and you are the one deciding who the Nazis are:

nazis
h/t someone on Facebook, who may or may not be the originator.

In one sense the XKCD comic is criticising those dusputing the incorrect use of terms, in that they are focusing on useless etymology while the SJWs are doing their good deeds. That’s how SJWs see it.

But the real issue is that the SJWs are indeed in need of Etymology Man, who could have perhaps set them straight so that they don’t go on pre-emptive self-styled vigilante sprees. But, hey, what right has anyone to tell them who they should or should not label as Nazis? Free speech!

The importance of free speech, unencombered by a violent opposition (but opposition with speech is good), is a core issue for many liberals. But not for Dan and his ilk. Violence first, … ask questions later, or not at all. This how it often goes …

nazis-supportingthem

 

Real Advocates of Freedom

Here are some people that get it. And, their concern for the use of words plays an important part in explaining how they understand freedom.

The Secular Detective breaks down terms to get to their meaning and how they are used, and how even Nazis have the right to free speech.

On Punching Nazis and the Justifications of Violence

Maajid Nawaz, acknowedging the freedom of expression due to everyone, including Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood.

My Open Letter To A Jailed Muslim Brotherhood Leader

Maryam Namazie and Sarah Heider do a great job here in trying to get across how terms like ‘safe space’, ‘no platforming’, ‘protest’ need to be understood in a context that benefits all, rather than letting these terms be used by ideologues to suppress freedom.

There’s a dignity to these writers and speakers, even in moments of frustration and anger, where they will not concede to the oppressive forces that demand that people be shut down, shut up, punched.

They in no way support or advocate for the views of their political opponents.

Sarah makes the point that no matter what your good intentions, shutting down free speech will lead to the most vulnerable being shut down. It’s a weapon that the powerful will use, if you submit to opposing free speech.

This isn’t to say people won’t disagree – they do. Plenty of people have criticsed Maryam on a number of points – her Communism, the removal of all borders, her spat with Sam Harris over something and nothing. But none of that detracts from the great work she does, at great personal risk. And this is part of the point. If on hearing Maryam on Sam’s podcast you were to write her off, you could very easily get carried along with her dishonest detractors and start retweeting things about here that smply are not true.

Words evolve. But if you abuse them by making them fit your own political agenda, and allow them to encompass people they really don’t apply to, the words become meaningless as descriptors and take on a role that is little more than a hate label for an out-group, and that then gives you tacit permission to demonise them and ostracise them,so you never actually get to hear what they say in their own words. Result: you end up spreading lies.

Let Them Speak

My personal feeling is that if you think you disagree with someone, first be sure you disagree with them: check out what they actually say. That means putting in some effort and not merely retweeting a false or out of context quote from years ago, that might not be the targets current position anyway. Letting your actual political opponents expose their views is the only way to find out what they are. The presupposition that you already know their views because someone you trust tweeted how bad they are doesn’t really cut it.

There’s a lot to be gained from letting people speak.

  • It’s not a matter of giving them a platform to spread ideas that you don’t want to spread. You get to point to their actual words that you disagree with.
  • You might find you don’t disagree with them as much as you expected.
  • You will find it exposes the lies of some people you thought were honest allies.

Over the last few weeks since he started his advocacy of violence, Dan Arel’s words have been captured for anyone to see. The hate filled comment columns of PZ Myers’ Pharyngula show him for the mean spirited hate monger he is. But both those characters have good sides too them, and I doubt any of those promoting full free speech would want them shut down.if they actually followed their own advice, they would be the very people meeting the criteria they think should be shut down – if only they had a modicum of self awareness.

Dan Arel Piece of Shit

Dan has been accused of labelling people a Nazi all too easily. That’s not fair. “piece of shit” is also a favourite label, which I discovered while looking for a tweet in which he called someone a piece of shit, for another post.

I’m not suggesting for one minute that Dan Arel is a piece of shit. I’m just admiring what Dan can do in 140 characters with a piece of shit … this might become a little repetative.
Continue reading Dan Arel Piece of Shit