Thursday, 29 January 2015

Julian Baggini's Thought Experiments: Torture (1)



This is a commentary on the 'The torture option' entry in Julian Baggini's book, The Pig that Wants to be Eaten.

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It's hard to know what to say to someone who says that “all torture is indefensible”. Or, rather, you don't know where to begin.

The same is true for this position as it's put by Julian Baggini:

The first [strategy] is to insist that the torture is in principle wrong. Even if it would save thousands of lives, there are some moral lines that cannot be crossed.”

All you can ask is: Why is torture wrong... “in principle”?

Could it be that many people adopt this position without advancing arguments to defend it? And, in certain respects, that's understandable.*

Torture Saves Lives

If it's deemed to be an almost factual matter (even if only factual in theory, as it were) that if X is tortured he will tell you where the bomb is and thus many lives will be saved, then torturing that person seems preferable to allowing many innocent people to die. Especially since those deaths can be averted.

This is even more the case if the person being tortured is guilty in some way: say, if he's a terrorist who's already killed many innocent people.

We must now ask a simple question:

Why is wrong to torture this one individual if such a thing will save many lives?

Of course it is sometimes argued that torture is ineffective. (Actually, that's not true – it's sometimes ineffective.) We can also say that the victim of torture may be innocent and so on. However, these possibilities are being discounted here. The issue is about torturing a person who is known to be guilty; or who's known to have knowledge of the bomb's whereabouts.

(In any case, arguing about the efficacy of torture can be seen as a practical position; not necessarily a moral or philosophical one.)

So, again, let's say that he is guilty and that the torture will result in lives being saved. After all, let's remember that some acts of torture have indeed saved lives in cases like this. Torture sometimes works.

However, even if torture works (however that's cashed out), it may still be deemed to be wrong.

That Slippery Slope Again

People who are against torture may say that torture will “inevitably go on” on a wider scale if it were legalised. However, that can happen even if it's proscribed. Indeed that's obviously happened on many occasions. (This discounts the reality of torture being “officially denied”yet practised by various authorities or governments.)

It could even be argued that official torture (as it were) will set limits on when and why torture is acceptable; whereas as if it's deemed unacceptable in all cases, it may encourage various authorities to use it willy-nilly. After all, there's a monumental difference between torturing someone in order to save hundreds of lives and torturing someone to gain state secrets. (Or even torturing a petty criminal in order to get him to tell you what another petty criminal is planning.)

This may lead one to the conclusion that when torture can be shown to save many lives, it should be allowed. Though when it's used for petty or insignificant political reasons, it shouldn't. (Of course arguments will be advanced as to how these distinctions can be quantified.) And, again, if torture is rejected (at least officially) out of hand, then these distinctions become irrelevant because all acts of torture are as bad as each other!

Incidentally, it can never be said that legalised torture will "inevitably lead" to anything specific. It depends. And the total prohibition of torture may lead to more gratuitous torture, not less.

Moral Self-Indulgence

The case of what Julian Baggini calls “moral self-indulgence” is also interesting – especially in the case of torture.

Although Baggini doesn't say this, it also appears to be similar – or the same – as moral grandstanding.

To put that simply: it's not important to the self-indulgent moralist whether or not lives are saved, or even what the arguments are on both sides of the debate. What's important to the moral grandstander is to take a strong or absolute moral stance on the matter. Or, in some cases, what matters is how such a person is seen by others or how he sees himself.

Let's not forget here that moral absolutes have also been the domain of the intolerant and dangerous. And that can just as much apply to those who take an absolute position on torture (or on another “human rights” issue) as it can apply to those who take an absolute position on abortion or blasphemy.

And the bottom line (as stressed by Baggini) is that “the charge of indifference to the lives of those left to die as a result is hard to shake”. In other words, one's moral scruples or absolutes (depending on how you look at it) are going to result in many deaths– at least on the scenarios outlined above.

Political Selectivity on Torture

From a purely political perspective, many Leftists only protest against torture when it's carried out by “capitalist states” (such as the US and UK). They virtually never protest about torture in Iran, Pakistan, Cuba, Venezuela, etc. And, similarly, many Leftists (or at least communists) rarely – if ever - protested against torture when it was carried out by the many communist states which existed in the 20th century.

Similarly, many conservatives or right-wingers only protest against torture when it is carried out by communist or Muslim states. They virtually never protest about torture when carried out by regimes they are ideologically or politically happy with (specifically their own countries).

In other words, one's prior politics is determining which acts of torture - or which regimes - one speaks out against.

To add to the political nature of this debate, it can also be said that once you've established an argument that successfully puts the case for torture (if any argument can ever be entirely successful on this - or on any - subject), then the same argument or defence can – or could - be used by literally anyone.

What I mean by that is once you've argued for your own favoured state (or favoured government or institution) using torture, then states (or governments or institutions) you don't politically favour can use exactly the same argument/s in their own defence when they too use torture.

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*)To play the devil's advocate: there are examples of psychological and physical pressure which even some – or many - human rights activists would happily engage in. For example, when you shout in a racist's ear-hole. Or when you deny someone food for 24 hours. Or indeed even when you deny someone a single meal.

All three can be deemed to be torture. Mild - or even very mild – torture, sure ; though still torture.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Cui Bono? The Conspiracy Theorists!


 
There were conspiracy theories about the Charlie Hebdo massacre circulating around the Internet literally hours after the attack. Most of them blamed Israel or “Zionists”. Others said the attack was a “false flag” operation by some “capitalist state” or other (usually the United States or Israel). Indeed the words “false flag” and “cui bono” have become Internet clichés in recent years.

This also happened immediately after the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar just over a month ago. In this case, the “[Indian] Hindu state was blamed by many Muslim theorists.

Basically, whenever Muslims carry out a terrorist outrage in Europe or the United States, a conspiracy theory is quickly released (or concocted) which says that it wasn't Muslims “that done it”. (Usually Israelis/Jews/Zionists are blamed.) This was also true of London bombings, previous terrorist attacks in Paris, the Madrid train bombing, etc.

Indeed what many people may not know is that there are also many conspiracy theories about the London bombings of 2005. In other words, it's far from only being a 9/11 phenomenon.

(Check out this particular theory about the Paris killings; which mainly boils down to the fact that these conspiracists don't seem to realise that chrome mirrors on cars can change colour.)

Cui Bono?


On September 14, 2001, Pakistan's Major General Hamid Gul (former Director-General of the infamous ISI security/intelligence services) was reported (in Newsweek) as saying that “Mossad and its American associates are the obvious culprits [for 9/11]”.

He asked this very common question: “Who benefits from the crime?”

(There will be more on this particular 9/11 theory later.)

That's the central question most conspiracy theorists ask: Who is to gain from X?

So what about people having something to gain from conspiracy theories themselves? Or in Major General Hamid Gul's words: Who benefits from conspiracy theories?

Basically, X (the conspiracy theorist) has “something to gain” from saying that Y has something to gain from saying that Z committed the attack.

Indeed I believe that some – perhaps many – of the political disseminators and propagandists who plant these theories on the Internet and elsewhere don't themselves believe them! (They are, in other words, “lying for Justice”.)

Conspiracy theories are, after all, as easy to create as Tweets. It could take literally minutes to concoct one. (It may take longer to construct a believable one.) And if it furthers the theorist's political goal/s (or prejudices), then what's to stop him creating one?

You can then guarantee that at least some theories will spread themselves over the Internet. It's just so damn easy to spread them!

(None of these points, incidentally, require a denial that states and politicians conspire - they do.)

9/11: The Jews done it!

Let's take the case of one conspiracy theory that became very popular at one time - and still is in some circles.

This is the theory that “Jewish” or “Israeli” (depending on the particular rendition of the theory) workers in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were given advanced warning of the impending 9/11 attack.

So I wonder what National/International Socialist “anti-Zionists” think of the fact that their conspiracy about Jewish or Israeli workers being forewarned was actually started by Syria's government-owned Al Thawra newspaper (penned without 24 hours of 9/11) and Hezbollah's Al Manar network (disseminated six days later)?

Anyway, that's how the story was spread.

What were the origins of this story? (Though sometimes conspiracy theories don't have evidential origins as such; they just appear out of the conspiracy theorist's hat.)

Of all things, it was the Jerusalem Post's Internet edition that was partly responsible.

The story had it that the Israeli foreign ministry had gathered the names of four thousand Jews thought to have been in the vicinity of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on the morning of September 11. The problem for the conspiracy theorists was that this bit of information-gathering occurred after the 9/11 attacks, not before.

Consequently, it was one small step in Hezbollah's mind - and, later, in the minds of Middle Eastern (Muslim) news agencies - to say that the Israeli information-gathering occurred before - not after - the attack. It's almost certainly the case that some - or many - Hezbollah journalists and conspiracy theorists actually knew this this to be the case; though that didn't matter to them.

One other thing changed, eventually, after the original Hezbollah and Syrian reports.

Syria and Hezbollah first talked about four thousands “Israelis”. That soon became four thousand “Jews”.

The final blow to this conspiracy theory, however, is that up to 400 Jews did die on 9/11 (9.2% of all victims).

Conclusion


One of the main motivating forces for many conspiracy theories is the conspiracist's prior politics. (See this American Thinker article: 'One's Politics Determines One's Conspiracy Theory'. )The theories are usually tailor-made to advance - or gel with - prior ideologies or political beliefs. Thus whatever conspiracy theory a person believes may well be determined almost entirely by his prior politics.

Because of such political motivations and the psychological desire for titillation and simplicity (e.g. the US/Jews “done it!”), conspiracy theories - unlike scientific theories - are passed on largely without critical scrutiny from their believers. But that doesn't matter. Once the meme or virus is spread, then it keeps on spreading - as memes or viruses tend to do.

And that's precisely what happened hours after the Charlie Hebdo killings.

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Notes

1) A journalist once wrote an article on conspiracy theories. He told us about how he tested himself and his creative abilities when it came to theories about specific events.

The writer created around thirty possible theories - or scenarios - about the same event (which clashed with the “mainstream media story”) in less than an hour. All of them involved seemingly legitimate questions and were believable.

That's how easy it is to “ask questions” about the “official story”.

My bet is that there's an indefinite – perhaps infinite - amount of questions that can be asked about the same event. Indeed, mutually-contradictory theories are on the market for the very same events. (One says X and another says not-X.)

So, to be honest, there simply isn't time to go into great detail about the Hebdo killings because I would also need to do exactly same with the Peshawar massacre, 7/7, the Madrid bombing, the Bali bombing, the killing of JFK, the first moon landing, the death of Prince Diana, etc.

Though, after saying that, take the “legitimate question” about the Paris killers leaving their I.D. in the car. Many have made much of that.

Well, very intelligent people can make mistakes. In fact they have often made mistakes! Do you remember the story of the MI5 operative who left his files on a train? Robbers and bank robbers have often made that mistake or silly mistakes like it.

So why couldn't these Muslims have accidentally left their I.D. on the car seat? Is that impossible? Can't these theorists accept that people can make mistakes when they're panicking?

One further point about the Hebdo massacre is that attacks was very well-planned and therefore must have also been a state or Israeli operation. Indeed someone asked me: “How many massacres do you know of that have been so well-planned?

There haven't been many massacres like the Paris attack in Europe. So how can we answer that? However, there have been terrorist attacks in Europe which were very well targeted. There have also be assassinations, which, by definition, were targeted.

2) Despite their “questioning” and “scepticism”, conspiracy theorists appear to know exactly what our governments are doing. In fact conspiracy theorists in their thousands are always telling us what our governments are doing.

They also seem to know (or many of them do) that Muslims didn't carry out 7/7/, 9/11, the Hebdo Massacre, etc. - at least not on their own. In that case, where's the genuine questioning and scepticism?

The other conspiracy theorist cop-out is once you show his conspiracy theory to be false, or at least to be highly suspect, he intermediately invents another to explain why the previous one has been called into question.










Friday, 23 January 2015

Eric Pickles MP Distrusts the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)



In response to the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, the British Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, wrote a letter to various Muslim “community leaders”, mosques and imams pleading for their help in dealing with Islamic extremism in the UK.

Within that letter, the following words can be found:

We must show... these men of hate have no place in our mosques or any place of worship, and that they do not speak for Muslims in Britain or anywhere in the world.”

(The word “we” is used in the above because the letter was co-written by Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.)

Eric Pickles didn't send this letter to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

In response to not receiving this letter, the MCB itself wrote its own letter to Mr Pickles: 'Letter to the Secretary of State'.

The MCB is Part of the Problem


The ironic thing is that the MCB is part of the problem (as the Telegraph implies later). And the MCB writing this letter to Eric Pickles demonstrates that very well.

It seems that it wasn't good enough that Eric Pickles sent his letter “to Imams and leaders around the country” because he didn't also send it to the MCB.

The MCB said that “as one of the largest Muslim umbrella bodies in this country, we did not receive this letter”. Perhaps that's because Mr Pickles also knows that the MCB is part of the problem. After all, the MCB has been officially rejected by both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party in the past. (The British Prime Minister himself, David Cameron, rejected the “hard-line” MCB as long ago as 2007.)

The UK's Telegraph neatly sums up the problem with its own title for its article on this letter: 'Britain's Muslims are only being asked to help'.
 

The Telegraph states:

All Mr Pickles was proposing was that those who have a leadership role among Muslims should recognise that there is a serious issue they need to address. To deny its existence or muddy the waters with protestations of offended amour propre is to miss the point entirely.”

And not only is the MCB miffed that it didn't receive Eric Pickles' letter (which it's against anyway), it even tacitly accuses Mr Pickles of contributing to the “heightened tension” between Muslims and non-Muslims.

As ever, the MCB puts the cart before the horse.

There isn't heightened tension with Muslims because of this letter (or because of any other statements about Muslims and Islam). There's heightened tension because of the Charlie Hebdo killings, jihad throughout the word, the Muslim grooming-gangs, the dozens of foiled Islamic terrorist attacks in the UK, 7/7, the Islamisation of certain British schools, etc.

The thing is that Muslim communities – on the whole - are already divided from non-Muslim communities. The terrorist acts in Paris are a consequence - not a cause - of that division.

Throughout the Muslim world numerous Muslims have also condoned and even praised the terror attacks in Paris. In fact millions of Muslims have done so. And even in the UK thousands of Muslims have expressed their support for the Paris killers on Facebook, Twitter and on the Internet generally.

So when the MCB says that “Muslims from all backgrounds have stood united in condemnation at these horrific crimes”, it's not telling you the whole story.

Challenge Terrorism?

The MCB also says that it does

take issue with the implication that extremism takes place at mosques, and that Muslims have not done enough to challenge the terrorism that took place in our name”.

Well, it's a firmly established fact that extremist words and actions have taken place at many mosques in the UK. Such facts and investigations have appeared in the Times, the Independent, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Mirror, BBC 1, Channel 4, ITV, Radio 4, etc. So the MCB must know that this is the case. Sure, it has never been demonstrated that every single mosque in the UK is a home of extremism because that probably couldn't be demonstrated even in principle. (It probably isn't the case either.)

One, not every mosque is under scrutiny. Two, the definition of “extremism” will of course be contested – by the MCB (amongst others) – in any case.

The other point is that it's conclusively the case that Muslims - on the whole - have “not done enough to challenge” terrorism and Islamic extremism. This too has received coverage all over the place. And this must also be known to the MCB itself. But, as with the extremism in mosques case, it will be hard to demonstrate that the majority of Muslims haven't done enough.


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The MCB says that it “reject[s] suggestions that Muslims must go out of their way to prove their loyalty to this country of ours”.
 
No one is asking Muslims to “prove” anything. Indeed what does this use of the word “prove” (by the MCB) so much as mean? All that's being asked is that Muslims are “loyal to this country of ours” (as the MCB also puts it); not that Muslims prove that loyalty.
 
Indeed why is that Muslim loyalty is so often questioned? Not because it's not proven by Muslims; but because it's rarely even displayed or shown (outside media photoshoots and interfaith events). In fact the exact opposite is all too often the case.

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Notes:

1) The MCB doesn't help it's cause when it states what amount to blatant lies or things which, quite simply, don't make any sense at all.

For example, in the MCB's letter to Eric Pickles it says that “British values are indeed Islamic values”. (Though, to be fair, this is an exact quote from the Eric Pickles letter!) Now that is simply staggering! Not only is it a soundbite – it's also blatantly false. And it's false for a multitude of reasons.

However, just take this obvious point.

If “British values are indeed Islamic values”, then there would be no reason for anyone to become a Muslim simply because British values are already Islamic values.

It would also mean something even more obviously false: that British and Islamic values don't conflict in any way whatsoever!

2) The MCB's letter to Eric Pickles also contains an advertisement for Fiyaz Mughal's Tell Mama organisation, which was discovered to have misused tax-payers money and made false claims about supposed attacks against Muslims. (Fiyaz Mughal himself has failed in the courts on three different occasions.) It also states that “the thugs of the English Defence League and Britain First is just as much an affront to British values as the teachings of preachers of hate”.

3) On a technical point, note this piece of deceit from the MCB on the issue of its own democratic status. (You get the feeling that almost every sentence the MCB utters either contains an outright lie or a piece of dissimulation/deceit.)

After again saying that it is mightily peeved off about not being sent Eric Pickle's letter (which it's against anyway), the MCB tells us why that is so. It is so primarily because the MCB sees itself as “the largest democratically-elected and representative Muslim organisation”.

That sounds impressive, doesn't it?

Firstly, it sounds as if the Muslims as a whole have somehow “elected” the MCB or its leaders. They most certainly have not! Chose any adult British Muslim at random and you will soon discover that. They will either deny it or even say that they don't know much – or anything - about the MCB.

So what the MCB means by “democratically-elected” is that those already within the MCB vote for its leaders and representatives. That means that every Muslim in the UK outside the MCB doesn't vote for the leaders or representatives of the MCB. So, in that sense, the MCB is democratic – if it is democratic - in the same way the local branch of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is democratic.

4) The reason why MCB announcements and statements are so damned vacuous, full of soundbites and lies is that if they ever did go into detail about the subject at hand it would let many cats would out of various bags. That's why it relies exclusively on capsule posts and statements: anything more than that would give the Islamist game away.

We're talking about a Islamic organisation which sells itself as the most important Islamic organisation in the UK, yet the average length of its website posts is something like 400 words - usually less. It's website is little more than an advertising stand for selling Islam to gullible kuffar. And it's because of that that there is never any detail on its website. In other words, the MCB knows that most of its readers are probably non-Muslim.

Take the phrase “seek to divide us” (as in the MCB's “terrorists seek to divide us”). This is a phrase that all sorts of groups use: from UAF, to Hope Not Hate to Labour councillors. In fact the phrase is used all the times by such groups. In other words, it's a soundbite. And because it's a soundbite, it, in most occasions, has virtually zero content. People use it because they have heard other people use it. And that's certainly the case with the MCB.

Exactly the same is true of the MCB's use of the word “cohesion” (as in “our common objective to seek unity and cohesion between communities”). At least here we don't have the ever-present “community cohesion” that Leftists and Muslims utter as if they have Tourette Syndrome.

All these MCB soundbites would be fair enough if it were from an advertising firm for a brand of chocolate drink. But, instead, the MCB is an Islamic organisation. Indeed it's an advertising firm for Islam!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Anti-Racism Causes Racism!




 
It can be argued that zealous and fanatical anti-racism is doing more than almost anything else to contribute to racism in the United Kingdom and United States. To put that in very basic terms, one of the biggest contributors to racism today may very well be anti-racism policies and statements.

Almost every single day someone or other is put before an anti-racist inquisition or a new - even stricter - law is decreed to fight racism.

Anti-racism has now become another revolution that's eating its own children.

What we have with much of today's anti-racism is the same kind of absurdity and extremity which often happened during various historical inquisitions. More specifically, anti-racism is just like the many other political movements that, in time, became corrupted.

Many anti-racists also feel the need to to justify their existence and legitimacy by becoming more and more pure (i.e. extreme). And, as a consequence, they will also need to find new targets – more evil racists - to reprimand or even punish.

What partly contributes to all this is that a minority of Leftist activists (though often highly-influential people in the law, councils, academia, etc.) are attempting to create a “revolutionary situation” by deliberately making anti-racism policies and actions more extreme. Thus, in the process, these Leftists - along with their words and actions - are alienating people who aren't otherwise racist. Such Leftists think that the violence, turmoil or even civil conflict that their words and policies create may be utilised to benefit their own primary cause: revolutionary socialism or the “progressive future”. Thus they see what they're doing as tapping into anti-racism's revolutionary/radical potential. (These very same Leftists also - to use their own words - “tap into the revolutionary potential of Muslims”.)

The fight against racism, then, is but a means to a revolutionary or radical end.

Let's just take two examples – from a multitude - to begin with.

Think of Rotherham (UK) Council's anti-racism policies and how they resulted in fifteen years or more of unchecked Muslim sexual-grooming; which, all in all, claimed over 1,400 young victims.

In terms of the United States, think of Ben Affleck's mindless belief that the criticism of Islam equals racism.

I know that that many people are more or less being goaded into racism as a direct reaction to the extreme bullshit, zealotry and prejudice (yes, prejudice) that's coming – every day - from countless professional anti-racists (whether in politics, the law, academia or wherever).

Of course the partisans of anti-racism will simply say that such people were racist all along. After all, only the pious Leftists of this world are truly untainted by the sin of racism.

It's often as if many – or at least some - anti-racists are trying to prove their own non-racist purity by citing even more perverse and ridiculous examples of what they take to be racism. Is this because they are themselves racists? Is it because many – or at least some - anti-racists have racist thoughts?

Like their National Socialist (Nazi) counterparts, when such pious anti-racists see a person they immediately note his or her skin colour (i.e., if the skin isn't white). And that changes everything for them. They will automatically see that person as being “oppressed” or as an endless victim of racism (somehow and somewhen). Or, alternatively, as exotica to be patronised - or condescended to - in an orgy of positive Orientalism.
 
Therefore in order to assuage the guilt they feel about their own negative and positive racism, these puritanical Leftists project their racist thoughts into the minds and words of other people. (This is called “psychological projection” in the psychological literature.)

But really....?

The obvious riposte to what I'm arguing, then, will either be that I'm rationalising/justifying racism or that I'm a racist myself. But that response would itself display the very problem that's being highlighted: mindless and zealous anti-racism.

It can also be said that it's perfectly acceptable to say that people should – and do - react to zealous and absurd anti-racism. However, to also argue that anti-racism can actually have racism as a consequence is surely a different thing entirely.

Let's put it this way.

If anti-racist activists continuously muddy the water between genuine racism and fictional/possible racism, then surely others will do so too. That means that if things which aren't in fact racist are constantly being classed “racist”, then other people may give up on trying to make such distinctions too.

Take this example.

If the very act of giving a comedic representation of any ethnic minority individual is deemed racist (which it nearly always is), then people might have started to think that many genuine cases of racism (as put forwards by professional anti-racists and others) are bogus too. Or at least many might have developed a disposition to think that way precisely because Leftists are ceaselessly muddying the waters in order to advance political/personal objectives which have very little to do with the fight against racism.

In any case, I'm not saying that anti-racism causes all racism. I'm not even saying that extreme examples of anti-racism cause all racism. I'm simply saying that certain strands of anti-racism (e.g., ones based on Marxist and other arcane political theories) may well be responsible for much racism.



After all, after thirty or more years of outright political correctness and Leftist indoctrination (in schools, universities, council chambers, public libraries, buses, the BBC), many people are claiming that racism is still a big problem or even that it's getting worse. So have such people ever thought – for even one moment - that racism may be getting worse precisely because of thirty years of political correctness and sanctimonious anti-racism?

The constant barrage from councils, (Leftist) lawyers, rights 'n' race groups, police bodies, councillors, council workers, politicians, etc. against whites people and against English/American identity causes racism. And indeed even if there is no such thing as “English/American identity”, it's still not the place of a Marxist/Leftist academic (at Neasden University or the LSE) to decide on that and then try to get politicians and the legal system to legislate accordingly.

Conclusion

So where does all this leave the British and American people?

It leaves millions of people in a state in which any criticism of Islam, Muslims, immigration, Pakistani council corruption, black criminality and violence, etc. can't even made made - let alone acted upon. A state in which the people have effectively been silenced on some of the most important issues of the day.

More specifically, these professional and political anti-racists know that the silencing of the British/American people about Islam and immigration, for example, will eventually help destabilise society (as referred to earlier). And in such a destabilised society it will be easier to create (so they think) a revolutionary situation out of which - like a phoenix rising from the ashes - a new Leftist/progressive state and society can be created. From such chaos and inter-communal conflict, the Left's “fairer and better society” will somehow be formed.

Large parts of the Left also think, for example, that the large-scale criminalising of free speech – the Gulag without walls - will somehow stop or end racism. No it won't: it will make it worse!

This fear and trembling about real, possible and often fictional racism has meant that very many people – from all walks of life - have been let down by the authorities. In all these cases, the supreme and (self)righteous fight against racism has taken first place in the pecking order of politics.

The permanent revolution that is the fight against racism has often become fanatical, extreme and puritanical. Anti-racism, it seems, takes no prisoners and permits no compromise. And neither does it follow the principles of fairness and justice. What I mean by that is that it's often the case that many other rights, values and standards are sacrificed in order to cleanse society of not only real racism; but often fictional or possible racism too.

Actions cause a counter-reactions. And relentless anti-racist zealotry – day after day – is bound to cause at least some equally zealous counter-reactions.

Basically, then, many anti-racism policies and statements do cause racism.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Charlie Hebdo Killings Explain Islam's Long History



The Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris – as well as all the other recent acts of violence against “blasphemers” in Europe, the United States and Canada – show us something very important about the long shelf-life of Islam. It shows that Islam has sustained itself through such violence.

Think about it.

For hundreds of years at a stretch, Islamic societies – as well as all those Muslims within them - would have experienced almost zero critical views of Islam. And when rare criticisms did escape from that void, the critic would have almost immediately been either killed or imprisoned.

And we're not talking about the 8th century here; or the 12 or 15th century. This is true of the Muslim world right up until today. Think of what happens in Pakistan/Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shia) when it comes to blasphemy and apostasy.

Indeed we can also bring all this bang up to date and apply it to the entire non-Muslim world.

For example, one of the largest United Nations (UN) institutions is the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); which includes an incredible 56/57 Muslim states. (It has permanent delegations to both the UN and European Union.)

For the last 46 or so years (since 1969) it has been systematically attempting to get all non-Muslim countries (I.e. the entire world) to implement sharia blasphemy law. But, of course, the OIC doesn't call it sharia blasphemy law. That would be silly and politically counterproductive. It speaks, instead, of 'hate crimes', 'human rights', 'racism' and 'disrespect'. That is, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has rather cleverly co-opted the language of the West.

(This is an article by the OIC telling us about its long-running attempt to impose sharia blasphemy law on the United States and how it has tried to use the services of various notables – such as Hilary Clinton – in order to do so.)

Islam's Long Shelf-life



This Islamic tradition which demands death for apostasy – as well as punishment for blasphemy (or “hate speech”/“racism” as it's now called) – started with Mohammed himself. In 1,400 years, every apostate and blasphemer was either killed or imprisoned.

In Islamic or Muslim countries/empires, it was impossible to criticise Islam, Muhammed or the Koran in any way whatsoever. Sharia law made sure of that. Yes, there were indeed debates within Islam on interpretation, etc., though certainly no debates about Islam itself.Islam has lasted for so long because of these overreactions to all and every criticism (or ‘offence’/‘insult’/'mockery'). That’s why Islam survived. Death for apostasy also helped it survive and spread.

So even a train-spotters' religion would survive and prosper if all criticism - or ‘insults’ - were forbidden on pain of death. The Train Spotting Religion would also survive if all apostates had their heads chopped off.

Islam's One Billion Muslims?



So why are there so many Muslims?

Muslims often tell us that there are over one billion Muslims in the world. (They usually state this in response to any criticism of Islam.)

This is a roundabout way of saying:

How can a religion with so many adherents be false or intrinsically violent?

Well, how could communism have been wrong/false when at its height it had millions of adherents (say, in the 1940s and before)? And what about Nazism? At its peak (say, the mid-1930s) there were tens of millions of Nazis and fascists in Europe and beyond. (Though both communism and Nazism relied on their own political versions of death for apostasy and blasphemy law.)

Numbers on their own prove neither truth nor goodness.

And then there's the demographic fact that Islam was simply passed on from generation to generation. This means that in Muslim societies - which also outlaw all criticism of Islam and stipulate death for apostasy - the numbers of Muslims would (by definition) increase from generation to generation. It could never have been any other way. In a sense, there was bound to be a billion Muslims on this planet at some point for simple reasons of demographics and the outlawing of all internal criticism of Islam.

We can also add to all the Islamic tradition of forced conversion and dhimmitude which were the result of Islamic expansionism and imperialism.

What we also have, then, is the lineal progeny of Islam through generations and generations of Muslim families. Millions of Muslim families that never considered – not even for one moment - the possibility of not being Muslim or changing their faith.

Now tell me that one billion Muslims says that much about either the truth or morality of Islam.

Conclusion


Islam has survived with the utterly necessary help of relentless violence. And that violence has now come to Europe and America.

It fact it arrived in Europe some time ago. (If we discount the historical Muslim invasions which predated the Crusades.)

Muslim have rioted in Malmö, Paris, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and in many other European cities. They have also rioted in the UK cities and towns of Bradford, Oldham, Keighley, Rochdale, Blackburn, etc. They rioted and killed over Salman Rushdie and the Danish cartoons of Muhammed. They assassinated Theo van Gogh and have threatened to kill Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Gert Wilders and Salman Rushdie. They have bombed the streets of London, Paris and Madrid. They have demanded that sharia blasphemy laws be implemented in the UK to deal with all criticisms of Mohammed, the Koran and Islam itself. And no doubt they will eventually riot and kill over these issues in the future.

So when Muslims and Western Islamophiles tell you about Islam's long history and the “billion Muslims”, remind them of the Islamic traditions of death for apostasy and the violence against all critics of Islam.

Remind them of the Charlie Hebdo killings too.









Tuesday, 13 January 2015

BBC & Guardian Hypocrisy on Blasphemy


 
 

The Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris was discussed on the well-known BBC discussion programme Question Time last Thursday. Quite oddly (I suppose), the host of the programme, David Dimbleby, decided to read out the BBC's official guideline on the depiction of Muhammad. (Yes it has/had one!)

Mr Dimbleby said:




"The prophet Mohammed must not be represented in any shape or form."*


Indeed, on the day of actual broadcast, a link was provided to the BBC's guideline; only to lead nowhere some time later (“an error has occurred”).

David Dimbleby may well have put his foot in it by reciting the ruling live on air because the BBC almost immediately (the day after) changed its tune.

The BBC is now saying that the “guideline is currently being revised”. Again, this is clearly a response to David Dimbleby's live faux pax (if that's what it was). However, perhaps I'm being cynical (probably not!) because a BBC spokesman has since said that “our policy has not changed as a result of the discussion on Question Time”. Yet the only defence of this seemingly revised position appears to be that the the previous guideline is “old”.

All this basically means that if Mr Dimbleby hadn't read out the guideline on TV, things may well have carried on as before. In other words, the BBC would now still have a rule banning all depictions of Muhammed. The only difference would be is that many people would still not know about this ruling.

Interestingly enough, on the same Question Time show, the panellist Liz Kendall MP (Labour Party) said that the BBC guideline on Muhammed is “a special case”.

Labour MPs and Leftists always seem to think that there's “a special case” to be made for suppressing freedom of speech (or print) when that speech is ideologically incorrect. And in our universities at present, for example, students and professors are finding good reasons (to them) for suppressing dissent almost every week. In other words, every silencing of political disagreement is a special case to the political censor or suppressor.

The BBC

From the BBC News website.
This isn't a defence of Christianity. It isn't even an argument to say that Christianity is superior to Islam. I'm simply trying to highlight the BBC's blatant and gross double-standards. As everyone knows (including the BBC itself!), those double-standards are born of the BBC's sheer fear of Islamic violence, its political-correctness and its appeasement of noisy and violent Muslims.

This is the same BBC which has broadcast:

- Monty Python'sLife of Brian many times. (Here's the 'Life of Brian Debate'; which was also on the BBC. It included the cast, the Bishop of Southwark - Mervyn Stockwood - and Malcolm Muggeridge.)

- Numerous critical programmes about Christianity and Jesus.

- The Last Temptation of Christ and Jerry Springer – The Opera.

- Positive reviews and shown 'Piss Christ'.

Basically, the BBC has shown countless programmes (from the comedic to the academic) that very many Christians have deemed to be offensive and sacrilegious.

Just to highlight one example.

The BBC run shows called The Dave Allen Show and Dave Allen at Large from 1971 to 1990. (It has also shown them since 1990.) These were shows written and presented by an Irish comedian. In the shows Mr Dave Allen relentlessly parodied and satirised the Catholic Church and even God. (Here, ironically, is a piece on him to be found in the now pseudo-religious Guardian newspaper more of which later.)

You could say that most of the time his satires of the Catholic Church weren't exactly vicious or political. Yet we must also realise that the vast majority of Muslims (nearly all of them) wouldn't allow any kind of satire against Islam or Muhammad. Think here of the death threats and anger about that 'Jesus and Mo' t-shirt and image. The reactions – from Muslims – to that were almost exactly the same as it would have been had the image shown Muhammad having sex with a goat. (Ironically, when the 'Jesus and Mo' issue was debated on the BBC, no closeup was allowed of the t-shirt. Not because of the image of Jesus; but because of the image of Muhammad!)

The Guardian

The Guardian is even worse – or at least it was.

Before The Guardian realised – very recently! - that it had an inconsistent view on religion (i.e., relentless criticisms of Christianity and a positive view of Islam) , it would regularly feature critical pieces on the Church of England and Christianity itself and even publish negative depictions of Jesus. Only recently has The Guardian come to its current “interfaith position” (though it's not held by all its writers) on religion. Thus, for example, it has started to talk about “atheist fundamentalists” (such as Dawkins) and the like. Yet all this was initiated by atheist criticisms of Islam; not Christianity.

So it's crystal clear that The Guardian's newly discovered critique of atheism is almost entirely a result of its defence of Islam and Muslims. This is obviously the case because its criticism of certain atheists – as I said - are a very recent phenomenon. How recent? This change occurred largely in tandem with the increase in Muslim demographics; as well as with the political radicalisation/Islamisation of Muslims in the UK.

The Guardian's view on religion, therefore, is entirely political in nature; not at all religious. (There may be one exception to this at The Guardian: Andrew Brown, who does appear to be genuinely religious.) Basically, it is born of The Guardian's love of political Islam (e.g., Respect, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim Association of Britain, Hezbollah, Muslim reactions to “Western colonialism, imperialism and racism”, etc.); not of Islam itself. It's also born of The Guardian’s self-appointed role of fighting what it deems to be “racism” (or “Islamophobia”).

In other words, when most of the outwardly religious people in the UK were seen - by Guardian journalists - to have brown skins, then the racist Guardian began to change its tune on religion.

The Guardian's Leftist politics is driving its new-found position on religion (basically, on Islam) and indeed on blasphemy.

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Notes

1) Here's a Guardian article arguing against the publication of the Danish cartoons entitled 'Prejudiced Danes provoke fanaticism' (January, 2010). I'm convinced that The Guardian - or at least most Guardian journalists – also came out against the Charlie Hebdo cartoons when they first caused a Muslim reaction; though since the massacre, it has changed its tune. For some reason, its Charlie Hebdo articles only go back five days or so. So my guess is that The Guardian has deleted its earlier pieces against Charlie Hebdo, which is something it has done on previous occasions when it has written (retrospectively) controversial things.

2) I suppose that the best that can be said about this episode is that at least David Dimbleby (or the BBC) had the honesty to read out the BBC's official guideline on the non-depiction of Mohammed on TV. In other words, this is one step better than having such a policy and denying or hiding it. Still, the BBC still has – or had - such a policy.
 

3) I don't know about you; but I don't like the sycophantic words “the Prophet” when used by non-Muslims in discussions: why the definite article? The words “the prophet Muhammad” are, I suppose, fine. Though you often get kuffar simply saying “the Prophet”; which implies the one and only prophet or the overriding prophet. Indeed the vast majority of Christians don't see Mohammed as being any kind of prophet. It's only recently that various Christian churches have revised their position on Muhammad’s status. In Dante's Inferno (14th century), for example, Muhammad was to be found in Hell.
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