Category Archives: Politics

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 systems 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.”

Atheism is pretty much opposition to this sort of theism, usually on the grounds that there is no evidence or reason to believe such claims. 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 is. You might call such an atheism a ‘faith’ based atheism. But if you 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 – and 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 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,

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 opponent’s to a particular religious believer’s views are … other religious people. Islamic terrorism? Most victims are other Muslims.

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, 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 for the ‘interfaith’ community to band together. 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.

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. 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 did.

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 the 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.

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 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.

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 dictated 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 BS 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 to 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 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; but it has moral weight.

And so the religious, 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

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 them for different reasons, for which we don’t need an imaginary god.

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.

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 – like having sex outside marriage, for not being heterosexual, for drinking, for eating pork, 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 code 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 dessert 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 Humanism, 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 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.

This brings us back to another issue of comparison. 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 shit with ‘nuance’ and ‘scholarship’ – it makes you look like damned fools that’s 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 the religious, 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.

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.

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 lovey 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.

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

 

 

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

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?

The Loony Left Will Lose Violently

Dan Arel has been endorsing street violence. Supposedly only against Nazis, but when you can put that label on anyone it becomes a bit tricky. Street violence is a Nazi thing, so … think it through.

Dan’s moral position is lost. Violence is what we’re supposed to be against.

But there is a practical issue for Dan and SJWs generally, and anyone (what you’re Aunty Fa is getting involved for I can’t imagine) that thinks the sucker punch and the Berkley ‘riot’ is a good idea going forward.

A few pointers:

A Trump conservative state, with many highly weaponised police, and a military,

Hint:

… and a big portion of the Trump supporting public, a ‘malitia’ as they see themselves, including many vets, with guns, and the NRA on their side.

Oh, and Milo’s boss has Trump’s ear (and is maybe leading him by it).

Really? You think it’s a good idea? You make yourselves look like Nazis, and you think that’s smart?

The funny thing is you hear a lot of, “We defeated the Nazis before!” Mmmm, but a lot of the guys that defeated the Nazis didn’t do it with placards and the odd sucker punch. There are some seriously fit and beefy killing machines in the military (no offence, but I think some are pretty proud of their capabilites.)

And another one you hear, “Remember what we achieved the sixties!” Well them conservatives love their freedom. This isn’t about Vietnam, this is about their Homeland.

It would be the biggest damned mistake the Left in the US could make, to start endorsing violence.

Opposing Free Speech With Vigilante and State Violence

Dan Arel has been advocating vigilante violence against people HE perceives to be ‘Nazis’. Here’s one of his latest tweets.

No Dan, we’ve been opposing your jerking off and slobbering at the violent attack. I thought it was only Islamists and sociopaths that jerked off to watching people getting hurt.

Here’s another that seems unable to make simple distinctions – which is worrying among people that label others all too easily when there are violence advocates like Dan around:

No, we are not defending Nazism. You cannot possibly be that thick. Well, maybe, but I suspect you are being intentionally obtuse. You do realise in making such an assertion you basically give Dan’s bully boys the green light to get violent on our asses, right?

This is basically the Takfir of the Left: if you disagree with someone that has a different view, declare them apostates, or Nazis in this case.

This is part of a running battle that Stephen Knight has been having trying to knock sense into Dan’s thick skull. That’s a metaphor by the way, Stephen has been opposing Dan’s endorsement of actual violence, and his opposition to free speech.

But free speech is a selective right, it seems; and well, not he doesn’t confirm his opposition to violence but evades:

Even if JE doesn’t condone violence, isn’t advocating violence actually hate speech? Should Dan be prosecuted for his hateful tweets advocating violence against Spencer?

Can we get a definitive answer on the violence?

JE confirms he’s not with Dan on the violence, but I’m not sure his heart’s in the non-violence thing (as we’ll see):

So, JE is anti-free speech. It’s not the right of everyone. OK.

No answer. Why is it so difficult. If you are slective in who YOU think has free speech then you haven’t got a moral leg to stand on when actual Nazis or Islamic Caliphates take your free speech away. It’s like FAITH – anyone who thinks they have faith in their God and his demands that they should be peaceful doesn’t really have a come back to Islamic fundamentalists that want to kill apostates, because they have faith in Allah’s wish that this should be so. The peacefully faithful can try some basic humanism – but their faith already trumps human wishes, and humanism trumps the need for a god.

JE thinks that the crazy uncontrollable hate speech laws that have been introduced around the world are a good thing. I think he’s an anti-Constitutionalist.

But … but …

So, merely being a Nazi … National Socialism? Nationalism? White Nationalism? … it’s never made clear what the limits are of being a Nazi, it’s just a demonising word used against anyone to the right, although not against ultra conservative fundamentalist apostate killing Muslims – not all Muslim being that (caveat required to avoid recusrsive Nazi accusation). The term ‘Nazi’ is now as useless as ‘Islamophobia’ – it’s a term designed to silence others.

We’re ‘fam’ now?

But I guess he’s not an equal opportunity offender. Only Nazis. Correction, only those opponents one labels as Nazis, whether they are or not. And even if they were, Nazism

… the rabbit hole goes deeper …

What?! What the fuck?!

White Nationalists? Nazis? What’s the difference? Who cares. Dan’s Vigilantism or JE’s State Violence will do the job. And Muslims that think apostates should be killed? No answer.

Not happy with that …

That’s as good an excuse as any to abandon ship.

Of course someone had to come up with a Hitch quote. Spot on.

And …

And …

And …

twitterblocked-je

I think that was soon after posting this on Twitter. They are so full of shit.

Left Violence? Bad Idea!

This is both simple and fundamental. It’s not a difficult concept. Once you advocate violence against speech you open the door for anyone else who advocates violence against speech – including violence against your speech that advocates violence against speech.

The irony being that when we turn to it, it’s the Nazis that are going to be a damned sight better at it then the Left.

Dan and JE and those that follow their line are not doing themselves any favours. In particular Dan as said how he thinks it’s a good idea to give the ‘Nazi’s a bloody nose – that’ll teach ’em. Well he’s merely inviting the Right to up the ante…

I’M GLAD RICHARD SPENCER GOT PUNCHED IN THE FACE

It’s pretty unwise for the Left to be normalizing political violence given the way the wind’s blowing. It doesn’t take a genius to see that ours is the side with most of the guns, most of the veterans, most of the people who work out, and most of the people who can both execute and absorb a good solid punch. Our side avoids violence because we’re attempting to win a moral case. Our side avoids violence because the system’s itching for any excuse to crack down on us. Our side avoids violence for a lot of reasons, but fear of losing a fight isn’t one of them.

And then this was spotted:

I know JE has seen this, he retweeted it.

As much as I dislike Spencer’s views (and go and read the comments sections on posts on that site if you think his views are bad), violence is a losing game for the Left – morally and legally (ironically JE’s state violence will come after the Left if they continue). A Trump conservative state; with many highly weaponised police, the military, and from a big portion of the Trump supporting public, a ‘malitia’ as they see themselves, with guns.

The funny thing is you hear a lot of, “We defeated the Nazis before!” Well, think on, a lot of the guys that defeated the Nazis didn’t do it with placards and the odd punch. Them conservatives love their freedom. It will be the biggest damned mistake the Left in the US could make, to start endorsing violence.

Vigilante Violence and State Violence are what the moderate ‘Left’ has been fighting against. The far Left has always been authoritarian and not averse to a bit of thuggery, but Dan considers himself to be an SJW. This is not a good sign, Dan. You make SJW’s look like actual Nazis, rather than just autoritarian idiots.

I’ll give you an example of what’s idiotic about SJWs in this case. They are responding to Trump’s EO on entry from some countries and shouting about how the USA needs to be better than that; and when whataboutery is used to say, “What about ‘Muslim’ countries not allowing in Jews”, they rightly respond, “We’re better than that; we should not descend to their level.” But they don’t get that when sucker punching Spencer?

This is so important for opponents of racism, white nationalism, white supremecism,… Islamism … Islamofascism. We’ve got to get the criticism right, and we must not resort to violence.

Here’s where violence is reasonable:
– Self defence (even pre-emtive if there is a real imminent threat of violence)
– State control/restraint in response to illegal activity (without undue force)
– State violence by police (yes, I know there’s BLM issues to talk about)
– War (yes, I know, there are conversations about what acts of war are legitimate)

The above should be no more violent than is necessary. Want to talk about the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, fine. But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about pre-emptive violence vigilante style, and state oppression through violence, used against political oppoenents, in a lawful democratic liberal society. That doesn’t add up.

Lies, Damned Lies, and .. Political Rhetoric

Britain voted to leave the EU, and the 48% of British people that voted remain went all wobbly, then turned into hate filled monsters spewing fire in the direction of the 52% Brexiters, for the hate filled xenophobic racist bigotry some of the 48% perceive in them.

I’ve no way of knowing how many of the 48% have gone crazy with hate, but they are certainly loud. It really isn’t the end of the world for the UK, though you’d think it was from the rhetoric. Look at Aleppo. Remember two World Wars?

We’re damned lucky to live in Britain, even a Brexit Britain. We have to get over our disappointment and deal with it, whether it’s committing to the leave process or trying to persuade the nation to remain in the EU despite the referendum – not such a good idea.

But the haters, with their powder dry, primed and ready to blow, watched the Tory government hold their conference. Correction – the crazies watched and misrepresented, and the gullible lapped up the misrepresentations.

There is always room to criticise a government – none are perfect and there’s always room for improvement, and opportunities to take a different route. That’s what an opposition should focus on. The gross misrepresentations are plain dishonest and bring into disrepute the offenders themselves more than their targets.

Amber Rudd gave her conference speech, and despite the text of her speech being available, people seemed to hear things that weren’t said by Rudd, their Babel Fish translators set to Demonic.
Continue reading Lies, Damned Lies, and .. Political Rhetoric

Referendum – Not Such A Good Idea

I used to like the idea of a referendum on big decisions that set the direction of the nation for the foreseeable future. It’s important everyone gets a say, right?

When I was really young and idealistic I looked to a future where the power of computers would allow every voter to have a say on every issue and problem the government faced. Until I realised how chaotic that would be.

But I still thought it was a pretty good idea on big issues like EU membership. I voted in favour every time we had a choice. I’ve gone off the idea. Is it just because I was on the losing side? Or has being on the losing side woken me up to the problem with referendums?

One problem with a referendum is it represents a single snapshot of opinion, influenced by conditions at the moment of the vote, supposedly on one issue, but influenced by many others. Had the UK EU referendum been held before Merkel opened the door to migrants (and not just the minority that are refugees) the result could have gone the other way. Had Johnson not made such a hash of it with his Bus NHS millions the Brexit win might have been greater. It’s all down to the moment, the chaos of lots of voices, each making points, some of them dumb.

Another problem is that many of us, we the voters, don’t have the technical knowledge to make the right choices. And here for me, like Dawkins, I don’t mind admitting this is the case, even if I do think I have a grasp of many of the issues.

Elected representation for a number of years brings some stability that a referendum cannot. The scientists at Cern don’t have a referendum on what experiments should be run.

And ‘experiment’ is a good analogy. The world is changing all the time, such that any elected government is effectively experimenting with the economy in a set of novel world conditions, and the conditions change throughout the life of a government. And you need bags of expert input when making decisions (not less, Mr Gove).

Not only is a referendum a bad idea in this regard, it could also be argued that all too often governments don’t take enough of an account of expert opinion, letting ideological politics overrule it.

It’s not just the government choosing ideology over good ideas. What’s disappointing about a lot of politics is that oppositions act as if the government should have foreseen and planned for problems that neither the government, OR the opposition saw coming; or the opposition work to make a government policy fail, and then crow over the fact that it failed. Much of our plolitical rhetoric carries the fortunate weight of hindsight.

Perhaps we need to make the system we have work better, rather than throw it out in favour of a referendum. And perhaps demand better quality members of parliament, and better standards of political behaviour, and political education (but not the indoctrination of children – looking at you, Momentum).

One of the principles we hold dear is that elected members should come from a cross section of society and therefore be ‘representative’. Unfortunately that alone isn’t enough, because it ensures some popular but inadequate people can be elected, and their faults become apparent the more important a role they are given in government. Counter to this is the fear of elitism – but in science I want scientists to be the elite of their profession.

To some extent this worry of electing dummies is alleviated by the fact that cabinet positions are determined by the leader, and the leader is chosen by the party. There’s a chance that there are enough sensible people around not to elect a fool. Not iron clad I know, but still better than a referendum, surely. It’s even dubious whether opening leadership election to the whole party membership is a good idea – Mr Corbyn.

Corbyn has been elected leader effectively by a referendum of the Labour party membership – anyone with £25 and a bucket of idealistic wishful thinking to spare; and he will now have the power to determine a shadow cabinet. Which will form a destructive rather than a constructive opposition.

So, we (I) have realised that referendums aren’t that helpful.

Is that it? Scrub referendums and let the government decide? Well, no. It should be a parliamentary decision, with free votes – not of that bullying party whip stuff. And perhaps it should be preceded by more expert opinion. Parliamentary committees have a pretty good reputation generally. We should use them more as precursors to big events, rather than for telling us what went wrong after the fact.

And, better political education! Did I say that already?

Pseudo-Liberal Double Standards

Pseudo-liberals are supposedly liberals, but they aren’t too fussed about being inconsistent in the way they apply their liberalism. And will employ methods that one would expect of an authoritarian regime, to the extent that one wonders how they would use their power, if the were in fact leaders of a government; or a secret police.
Continue reading Pseudo-Liberal Double Standards

Carl Miller of Demos Still Misfires on ‘Islamophobia’

rCarl Miller (@carljackmiller) of Demos, a ‘Cross Party Think Tank’  has produced some research that claims to show spikes in ‘Islamophobic’ tweets around incidents of Islamic terrorism.

There are problems with this research, as pointed out very well in this piece, by Benjamin Jones: Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law [1], from the National Secular Society (NSS). One big problem is the word ‘Islamophobia’ and how it is used; which in turn leads to a subsequent problem, the selection and analysis of the tweets used to produce the results.

Carl Miller responded to Benjamin here: Measuring Islamophobia on Twitter [2]. He acknowledges the problem, but then goes on to compound it. Continue reading Carl Miller of Demos Still Misfires on ‘Islamophobia’

Catlicks and Prodidogs

 

Religion’s sectarian influence pervades the minds of children and can persist into adulthood and on into politics, and on across generations.

Heather Hastie’s More Delusions About Religion looks at a news article that tries to distance religion from violence, by trying to convince us that the the Northern Irish Troubles were not about religion. That’s nonsense, and here’s why. Continue reading Catlicks and Prodidogs

I Don’t Like The Labour Party

I haven’t voted Labour for a long time, and even back then I occasionally voted Conservative when I thought that Labour was leaning too far left.

I’ve been watching the Labour internal conflict and it has echoes of earlier decades, just different players. A post I read recently was about the unelectability of Corbyn, and the author mentioned “57 varieties of Trotskyists“. That pretty much says it all. Continue reading I Don’t Like The Labour Party

Cenk Uygur Misrepresents D’Souza – To His Face

Here I go again, unbelievably defending someone I disargee with: Denesh D’Souza. But Cenk does exactly what he’s done with others – totally twists their words, misrepresents the balance of fact by ignoring the salient facts and screaming the obvious but less relevant facts.

Remember, from here on in this isn’t about the case either is making, though some of the points will be covered, it’s about Cenk’s misrerpesentaiton of D’Souza’s case, right there in front of D’Souza, and D’Souza calls Cenk out on it. Naturally, Cenk passes that by; doesn’t hear it for the challenge it is; even misrepresents that.
Continue reading Cenk Uygur Misrepresents D’Souza – To His Face

Another Greenwald Attack on The Evil West and its Media

A friend recently asked me why I attacked Glenn Greenwald for his Intercept article Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions.

Specifically I was asked:

It’s strange that your focus is on the reputation of the person who wrote and also whether what is said is unique or not. Neither are relevant. Do you agree with what is said?

Where journalistic integrity is known to be lacking it’s worth pointing out to those that might not know, and in this case it is relevant.
Continue reading Another Greenwald Attack on The Evil West and its Media

Populations in a Secular Liberal Democratic EU – #EUref

This is about the UK referendum on EU membership. It’ll meander back an forth across some issues as it’s more an ideas and concerns barf than a rational argument aimed to persuade, so apologies if it’s a chaotic and incoherent at times. These are the issues that I hear people talking about; issues about populations, migration and sovereignty that are easier to understand than the economic ones that even the ‘experts’ can’t give clear answers to.

Here’s a quick summary, with short videos, that explains the organisation of the EU and the powers of its various bodies. Use it as a primer if you’re not sure what the EU is about: BBC’s EU Introduction.
Continue reading Populations in a Secular Liberal Democratic EU – #EUref

A Guide To Terrorists For Idiots

[Updated 4/10/2017]

The question of what is and what is not ‘terrorism’ becomes most contentious when it’s not a Muslim doing the killing.

The reason is that there are clearly plenty of Islamic terror attacks, and far fewer for any other religion or ideology, and Muslims and other apologists for Islam don’t like it that Islamic terrorism gets so much attention. They’d like non-Islamic non-terrorist attacks to be called terrorist attacks, or they’d like the world to make less of the ‘Islamic’ in Islamic terrorism (“Nothing to do with Islam”, “Not a true Muslim”, “Terrorism has no religion”, …). And when the real world doesn’t comply, they make fake claims about ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘racism’.

Define-Terrorism

Is there a lone killer, that’s crazy (crazier than run of the mill crazy ideologues) and is he unaffiliated with a particular group or acting without sanction from a particular group?

He’s a crazy lone wolf killer.

Is he doing it in the name of his ideological group in order to strike terror into the target?

He’s a lone wolf terrorist.

Continue reading A Guide To Terrorists For Idiots