Friday, June 30, 2006

When Sexism Claims Are a Real Hoot

You've probably heard of Hooters -- the restaurant chain known for attracting male customers by hiring waitresses who are well-endowed and dressed to show it. The firm now employs more than 30,000 people. Some would consider this a success story, but our government didn't. Not because Hooters is using sex to sell -- but because its waitresses are -- get ready -- women! "Discrimination!" cried the federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The business of Hooters is food, said the government, and "no physical trait unique to women is required to serve food." EEOC lawyers demanded Hooters produce all its hiring data, and then grilled Hooters for four years. Mike McNeil, Hooters' vice president of marketing, told "20/20" the EEOC bureaucrats demanded to look at reams of paperwork. "Employee manuals, training manuals, marketing manuals -- virtually everything that's involved in how we run our business . . . "

The EEOC then issued a set of demands. First, it defined a class of disappointed males who had not been hired by the company. The EEOC said, according to McNeil: "We want you to establish a $22-million fund for this mythical 'class' of dissuaded male applicants. We want you to conduct sensitivity training studies to teach all of your employees to be more sensitive to the needs of men."

I suspect Hooters' customers are mostly men who think the firm is quite sensitive to their needs, thank you -- and that there would indeed be a class of disappointed males if the government insisted men do the jobs of Hooters girls. Typically, companies assaulted by EEOC lawyers just pay up to avoid ruinous legal fees, but Hooters fought back, cleverly, not just in court, but in the court of public opinion. Hooters waitresses marched on Washington, chanting, "Save our jobs." A burly Hooters manager dressed as a Hooters waitress posed for cameras, beard and all, demonstrating what a "Hooters Guy" might look like.

That was a hoot, and it may have worked. Lawyers representing male applicants accepted an out-of-court settlement of $3.75 million, a fraction of the $22 million that had been demanded. The EEOC dropped its demands for sensitivity training; Hooters agreed to create more jobs like busboys and managers, which didn't have to be performed by women.

Sears found itself in the EEOC's cross hairs because more men than women held jobs selling things like lawn mowers and appliances. The disparate numbers themselves were proof, said the government, that Sears discriminated against women. Sears denied discriminatiing: "We asked women to do those jobs. It's just that few women want to sell things like lawn mowers."

Is that too politically incorrect a concept for government lawyers to get? Men and women do have different interests. Go to any Wal-Mart and you'll see women looking at clothes, men in the hardware department. There are exceptions, of course, but the sexes do tend to have different interests. More men selling lawn mowers and more women selling cosmetics does not imply evil discrimination that requires armies of lawyers from the State. Show me women who want to sell lawn mowers but are being required to sell cosmetics instead -- or men who want to sell cosmetics but have to sell lawn mowers -- and we have grounds for discussion. But if the women choose the cosmetics counter, any discrimination is their own.

The EEOC was unable to produce any women who would complain that they'd been discriminated against, so Sears finally won the suit. The $20 million the litigation cost was passed on to us customers. Have these and other EEOC excesses embarrassed the government into shrinking the EEOC? Of course not. It now has 2,400 employees, and spent $326.8 million in 2005 -- millions more than the year before. Government keeps growing, and as it grows, it feeds on our money, erodes our freedom and defies our common sense.


Should we be ashamed of Western civilisation?

I was very touched by the latter paragraphs of this article

At the end of World War II, my parents and brothers, like so many British and Europeans, were thinking seriously about migrating to one of the English-speaking Commonwealth countries. Heading the list were South Africa and Australia. Both offered a stable democracy, good climate, no rationing, good job and business prospects plus, most importantly remoteness from Europe and the Cold War. I had been to South Africa: the troopship carrying me to India in 1942 had put in at Durban for urgent repairs. Officers' accommodation there was on the Grayville racetrack. For a week I had a camp bed in the jockey room. The hospitality and welcome we received made our stay a high point of our war service.

But it was not a country to which I wanted to migrate. The little of apartheid I saw - separate public lavatories for "Black" and "White"; emaciated blacks running with rickshaws ... My father took my advice - it was Australia. Dr David Corlett - author of Following Them Home: The Fate of the Returned Asylum Seekers (Black Inc. Books, 2005) and "Asylum seekers and the new racism" (Dissent, No. 8, Autumn/Winter 2002) - writes:

"Australian political culture - as exemplified by the politics of asylum - has become characterised by a kind of racism that essentialised people and groups of people not according to their physical, biological characteristics, but their cultural backgrounds. This was evident from 1999 when unrest and certain forms of protest by asylum seekers detained in Australia's remote and desert detention centres were said, by the Minister and others, to be the result of these people's cultures ..." ("Asylum seekers: an update", The Sydney Papers, Vol. 18, No. 1, Summer 2006).

In the same piece, Dr Corlett writes: "The rise of a cultural racism was a response to the anti-racist movement that had formed after the Second World War. With biological racism discredited, it was necessary, for those who saw the world in racial terms, to reframe their theories. It was not biology that prevented different peoples from living together, they suggested, but culture. The new cultural racists were able to capture the language of the anti-racist movement and package their message in anti-racist terms."

As a supporter of the anti-racist movement from my schooldays in the 1930s (how could a sane Jew be anything else - even one so far removed from religious observance, as I was then?), I am somewhat surprised, to say the least, to learn that I am now a "cultural racist".

Certainly, I confess to a number of cultural prejudices. I would be horrified to learn that any of my grand or great-grandchildren were in any way associating with people whose culture condoned sexual perversion, adultery, incest, bestiality, pederasty, sodomy, gang rape, pornography, drugs, wife-beating, domestic violence, lying, cheating, female circumcision, paedophilia, car-stealing, idolatry, atheism, shop-lifting, murder-suicide-bombing, terrorism or anti-Semitism. There are others, but you get the gist of my religio-cultural prejudices. If this makes me a "cultural racist", I stand accused.

Now I should like to put a few questions to our anthropologists and other accusers.

David Morrissey, an anthropologist, writes: "The assessment by the Alice Springs Crown prosecutor, Nanette Rogers, of the most overt human tragedy in Australia today documents no less than the decimation of a civilisation that has been in Central Australia for 20,000 years." (Sydney Morning Herald, May 19, 2006).

I too stem from a civilisation and, though it is of relatively recent origin, say 3,500-4,000 years, it has been the vehicle to underpin the rise and spread of the greatest civilisation the world has ever seen. We call it Western civilisation.

Yes, indeed, I am fully aware of its failures. How could a Jew who has lived through the Holocaust and learned of the failure of that civilisation to seize any and every opportunity to rescue the condemned not have mixed feelings about the civilisation which has nurtured his forebears for generations?

That said, however, perhaps the anthropologists and other "cultural racist" theorists would go through the list of the increasingly popular cultural practices and let the Australian public know precisely which they consider acceptable in our society; and, conversely, which - if any - would mark an intending migrant to Australia as undesirable.

When they have checked the list, which is not exhaustive, and can then assure me they would gladly sponsor an intending migrant with a police record which includes drug-smuggling, car-stealing, gang rape, membership of the Taliban and Holocaust denial, I will accept their assurance that they are free from the horrible crime of "cultural racism".

My second question demands an expert anthropological opinion on two distinct and ancient cultures: Australian Aboriginal and Jewish. According to the anthropologists, the Australian Aboriginals occupied a massive land area for 20,000 years. For 19,800 years they were unmolested and entirely free to create a great civilisation. Yet, when the British colonisers arrived, there were no schools, hospitals, industry, transport, literature ...

Within 200 years, however, the colonisers had built a highly educated population and a society and infrastructure comparable to any other nation in the world. In this absurdly short period, relatively, Australia takes its place in the world councils as an advanced society in the forefront of experiments to shift the frontiers of knowledge and government for the benefit of mankind. There is even a "brain drain" - Australians being sought by countries such as the United States and Britain to head research in various fields of human endeavour.

It is agreed that the colonisers had behind them the backing and expertise of their British forebears; but where did they get it if not from the 1,800 years of a culture rooted in the Jewish Bible and known as the Judeo-Christian culture?

Compared with the Jews, however, the Aborigines had it easy. The Jews even lost their homeland, not for the first time, 2,000 years ago. They were pushed around from country to country, mostly leaving behind their homes and property, escaping with their lives. In the ghettos of Europe, for centuries, they lived in poverty - no government welfare, schools or hospitals. How did they survive? They never looked to government for help; it would not have been forthcoming. Their religious "culture" was rooted in the written texts - Bible and Talmud. They were a literate people when such education was confined to the priesthood in other societies.

Their "culture" demanded that every Jew had to donate a minimum of 10 per cent of his income to charity, with assistance to the poor of one's own city taking absolute priority. Even in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the yeshivas (tertiary seminaries) of eastern Europe could not feed their students; it was the custom for private families to provide a student with one meal a day. Breakfast would be one slice of bread and tea with one lump of sugar.

What is the reason that, since the release from the ghettos, Jews have taken to secular education like ducks to water and, in so doing, have risen to leadership in so many fields of human endeavour? (Some 25 per cent of Nobel Prize-winners have been Jews). The suggestion that the difference is in the genes is to write oneself off as a "racist" in the original sense. To blame the government for throwing money at the Aborigines is quite ludicrous.

The reason is of course that the Jews were bound by a "culture" which demanded rigorous discipline - in their sexual lives, appetites, emotions, work, learning, social life. There was a demanding religious routine, not simply on the Sabbath, but 24 hours, seven days a week. It is summed up in the Noahide Laws - seven laws demanded of all mankind, with the promise that those who observe the laws will merit a place in the world-to-come. This is the "culture" that once underpinned the nations of Europe, hence their dominance. One need look no further than Condoleezza Rice, a second-generation Christian, to understand the meaning of the long-term greatness or degeneration of nations and the vital and irreplaceable nature of its "culture".

I should like to have taken an anthropologist with me to a small country town in California, USA, where I spent a week with my wife in the home of our granddaughter, Leah. Camarillo is an unusual place to find a Jewish community, but our grandson-in-law, Rabbi Aryeh Lang, leased a shop in the main centre some years ago and has converted it into a synagogue. Right next to the main shopping centre - no more than about a dozen shops, a bank, medical centre and supermarket - is a large retirement village accommodating 3,000 retirees who live in separate one- or two-bedroom cottages. It has everything from a golf course to a swimming pool and private TV station.

In addition to the large Jewish retiree population, there are a growing number of young families shifting out from Los Angeles. It is also the centre of a strongly Christian population, the backbone of the USA. I went with my grandson-in-law to visit Jewish patients at the St John Pleasant Valley Hospital, a five-star hospital in every respect. The rabbi is on easy terms with staff and the Catholic chaplain.

While there, I was told of a patient who had been operated on, but it was thought he would not walk again. However, he did walk down the passage, and the nurses stood in line and clapped. It was this kind of atmosphere that impressed me deeply. Many times, crossing a road, a car or commercial vehicle, approaching 50 metres away, would brake and stop to allow me to cross. Strangers would greet me.

In a supermarket, at the checkout, the girl asked me for my card which entitles regular customers to a 10 per cent discount. When I explained that I was a visitor, the woman behind me, a complete stranger, put her card through the machine for me. Somewhat dubious about accepting a discount to which I was not entitled, I could only thank her.

When my wife and I needed a doctor, and I explained that we were not covered by insurance in the US, he halved his fee by not charging my wife for her visit. I later learned, from a circular he sent out, that he was a "born again" Christian.


Thursday, June 29, 2006


On Saturday, Compass, a leftist pressure group, amassed intellectuals, unions, campaign groups and activists under the dome of Central Hall in Westminster, London, to debate a new ‘direction for the democratic left’. Such an initiative reflects the widespread disenchantment with Blairism. At the conference, speaker after speaker argued that politics needs to go ‘beyond soundbites’, and that debate needs to be about more than management-speak and PR.

The intention here – to break out of the deadlock and strike a new direction – is a good one. But the content of the conference raises questions about whether the future could (or should) belong to this leftist alliance.

A number of speakers talked vaguely about the need for ‘new vision’ and ‘new ideas’. Others appealed to building ‘networks’ or creating ‘dialogue’, as if lots of connections between different kinds of people would yield the sought-after ideas. This is a modern brand of alchemy: the notion that bringing people together to talk will transform the base matter of today’s politics into bright gleaming gold. Then there were those who called for a ‘new language’, as if we only had to change the terms and politics would leap into life.

The real problem with the conference, though, was not the vague references to the new, but the harking back to the past. A number of speakers sought to reclaim notions such as ‘equality’, ‘society’ and the ‘common good’ as political rallying cries. References to the heritage of collective action came thick and fast. Compass head Neal Lawson nodded to the previous occupants of Central Hall, such as the Suffragettes: ‘They believed the world was theirs to make.’ Geoff Mulgan, former policy adviser in Downing Street and now director of the Young Foundation, quoted Marx’s aphorism, ‘Philosophers have merely interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it.’ This is a radical legacy indeed, but it is being betrayed now. Today it is often an elitist and conservative agenda that shuffles under the banner of ‘society’.

Lawson talked about the need to put the interests of ‘society’ above the narrow interests of ‘the market’. It’s certainly the case that the market is neither a just nor rational way of distributing resources, and different visions of the common good have in the past been pushed forward in the streets and workplaces of Britain. But who are the representatives of ‘society’ now? Who decides what is the ‘common good’?

In the absence of popular mobilisation, social interests generally get decided by committee. This often amounts to little more than reining in individuals’ aspirations to bring them into line with what the committee thinks best. Lawson talks about the problems of consumerism – but rather than offering something better than shopping, he merely tells people not to shop, with proposals such as restrictions on advertising and campaigns against supermarkets.

A War on Want stall at the Compass conference had a leaflet criticising the ‘Tescopoly’, which was also supported by organisations such as Friends of the Earth and the New Economics Foundation. Certainly, there are problems with Tesco, but at least its success is in part the outcome of real individuals choosing what they want to buy. Far better this than an alliance of the great and the green deciding what kinds of local shops are in our interests.

The bigger the words get, the narrower the concerns that lie behind them. Ed Balls, Gordon Brown’s economics adviser, sung the praises of new social values such as ‘internationalism’, ‘justice for everybody’, ‘collective responsibility’, and talked about the importance of ‘acting collectively as a community’. (If they talk about ‘global citizens’ or ‘unborn global citizens’, you’re really in trouble.) When the elite talks about ‘collective responsibility’ it generally means an appeal for individuals to do what it wants them to do. Attacks on the selfishness of individuals mean getting us to keep our heads down and discouraging us from being too aspirational or disorderly.

The term ‘equality’ has been stripped of nearly all its radical impetus. This battle cry from the French revolution was about people asserting their dignity and demanding their due. Now it’s used in the dry manner of a supermarket manager checking that there are no gluts in supply and demand: it’s about making sure that everybody gets their share of the pie, and that there are no disturbances. A speaker from the Fabian Society even talked about the ‘problem’ of public attitudes about equality, and the need for re-education.

People are the passive objects of inequality policies, never the subjects driving policy. That’s why the main concern is with child poverty, the model of the passive and needy being, rather than with the working men and women who feed those children.

The desire to start politics off on a new footing is a good one. So is the desire to draw what inspiration we can from the struggles of the past. But today we need to beware those speaking on behalf of society and the common good, for they could be a Trojan Horse.



Chris Smith, former culture minister and former Blair ally, could have had a nice post-cabinet life of gossiping, writing newspaper columns on ‘Why Blair must go’, advising think-tanks and giving after-dinner speeches. Instead he chose to co-write (with consultant and businessman Richard Koch) Suicide of the West, a free-ranging polemic on the decline and fall of Western civilisation.

‘It is a cri du coeur for a number of fundamental Enlightenment values’, Smith tells me, sitting in his office looking out over the Thames. These values – each of which forms a chapter of the book – are Christianity, optimism, science, growth, liberalism and individualism. ‘Here are the building blocks that have made the West successful. We are now at a fork in the road. One way lies cynicism and despair, the other is rediscovering a belief in the things that we hold dear.’

The book is a timely intervention. We are constantly told about the terrorists and others who are threatening ‘our values’ and ‘our way of life’. The challenge to the West is presented as entirely Other: barbarians clamouring at the gates with their copies of the Koran in hand.

Yet, as Smith and Koch argue, the threat comes not so much from without, as from within. They write: ‘If there is a crisis of the West…it is internally generated. It lies in the collapse of Western self-confidence…. [This] has little to do with enemies, and everything to do with seismic shifts in Western ideas and attitudes’. Larger-than-life figures such as Osama bin Laden merely feed off the West’s self-doubt: their braggadocio has its roots in a system that doesn’t believe in itself.

Years in politics have taught Smith that this is a system lacking passion and ideals. ‘A lot of modern politics is about managerialism’, he tells me. ‘It’s not about debating ideas, but about who can tinker with the existing system. In the past, politics was about hope. I joined the Labour Party because I thought that it was the best vehicle for social change, for making people’s lives better.’ Institutions and systems that once inspired passion and allegiance are now going through the motions. The bottom line for the Western elite is holding things together, keeping the system working without too much disruption. Public institutions – from politics to the marketplace – seem to float above society, ticking over automatically.

Values such as rationality or autonomy have become barren abstractions. Suicide of the West highlights the problem that liberalism has been ‘[divorced] from its ethical base’ – that is, from an individual ‘who is going somewhere, who believes in himself or herself and in their role in society’. Once rationality is separated from our pursuit of the good life, it is merely computation, a kind of A plus B equals C. Once autonomy is detached from individuals trying to develop themselves and others, it becomes merely about ‘doing as one likes’ – that indifferent version of freedom that Matthew Arnold railed against in Culture and Anarchy.

However, like the Western system itself, Suicide of the West is full of cracks. Smith and Koch can’t quite put their finger on what has gone wrong for Western values, and how that might be remedied. At points, they seem to be throwing everything into the pot. There are lots of lists of ‘important values’: ‘The essence of the West is an indefinable blend of rationalism, activism, confidence, knowledge-seeking, personal responsibility, self-improvement, world-improvement and compassion.’ It’s a sign of the fact that these terms have been emptied out, that they can be bandied around so liberally.

The ‘crisis of the West thesis’ has appeared in different shapes and sizes over the past century – from Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West to Daniel Bell’s Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism to Juergen Habermas’ Legitimation Crisis. These theorists had a somewhat clearer vision though. ‘In the ethics of the West everything is direction, claim to power, and the will to affect the distant’, wrote Spengler. Gunnar Myrdal highlights ‘the essential dignity of the individual human being’ as key to life the West. Now it seems that we know that something is wrong, but find it difficult to put our finger on what it is.

Suicide of the West also has a strong pragmatic streak: in large part, it seems to be defending Western values because they ‘work’. The worry is that a system that doesn’t hold to essential values will breed ‘cynicism, unmitigated selfishness, indifference, re-centralisation and aggression’. Individuals need to believe in themselves, Smith and Koch write, because ‘without self-esteem, an individual can do little constructive’. They describe the six key Western values as ‘success factors’, and their conclusion gives a green, amber, red colour-coding system for how much each of these values can work for our society now. It might be true that Western values work, but we can’t commit to them for that reason alone.

We should perhaps remember that, as UK culture secretary from 1997 to 2001, Smith did his bit for the undermining of Western values. The Millennium Dome was a colossal example of the sacrifice of principles to expediency – and this was a project that Smith continued to talk up long after everybody else had abandoned ship. Yet Smith defends himself against the charge of pragmatism. He says the book is ‘about a combination of pragmatism and principle: it is about what has worked very successfully over a number of years; and it is also about what is worth believing in, it is about the enhancement of human life and the human spirit’.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I have heard people who have grown up in former Communist countries say that we in the West are at least as brainwashed by Multiculturalism and Political Correctness as they ever were with Communism, perhaps more so. Even in the heyday of the East Bloc, there were active dissident groups in these countries. The scary thing is, I sometimes believe they are right.

But how is that possible? Don't we have free speech here? And we have no Gulag? The simple fact is that we never won the Cold War as decisively as we should have. Yes, the Berlin Wall fell, and the Soviet Union collapsed. This removed the military threat to the West, and the most hardcore, economic Marxism suffered a blow as a credible alternative. However, one of the really big mistakes we made after the Cold War ended was to declare that Socialism was now dead, and thus no longer anything to worry about. Here we are, nearly a generation later, discovering that Marxist rhetoric and thinking have penetrated every single stratum of our society, from the Universities to the media. Islamic terrorism is explained as caused by "poverty, oppression and marginalization," a classic, Marxist interpretation.

What happened is that while the "hard" Marxism of the Soviet Union may have collapsed, at least for now, the "soft" Marxism of the Western Left has actually grown stronger, in part because we deemed it to be less threatening. The "hard" Marxists had intercontinental nuclear missiles and openly said that they would "bury" us. The soft Marxists talk about tolerance and may seem less threatening, but their goal of overthrowing the evil, capitalist West remains the same. In fact, they are more dangerous precisely because they hide their true goals under different labels. Perhaps we should call it "stealth Socialism" instead of soft Socialism.

One of the readers of Fjordman blog once pointed out that we never had a thorough de-Marxification process after the Cold War, similar to the de-Nazification after WW2. He was thinking of the former Soviet Union and the countries in Eastern Europe, but he should probably have included their Marxist fellow travellers, their sympathizers and apologists in the West. We never fully confronted the ideology of Marxism, and demonstrated that the suffering it caused for hundreds of millions of people was a direct result of Marxist ideas. We just assumed that Marxism was dead and moved on, allowing many of its ideals to mutate into new forms and many of its champions to continue their work uninterrupted, sometimes filled with a vengeance and a renewed zeal for another assault on the capitalist West.

We are now paying the price for this. Not only has Marxism survived, it is thriving and has in some ways grown stronger. Leftist ideas about Multiculturalism and de-facto open borders have achieved a virtual hegemony in public discourse, their critics vilified and demonized. By hiding their intentions under labels such as "anti-racism" and "tolerance," Leftists have achieved a degree of censorship of public discourse they could never have dreamt of had they openly stated that their intention was to radically transform Western civilization and destroy its foundations.

The Left have become ideological orphans after the Cold War, or perhaps we should call them ideological mercenaries. Although the viable economic alternative to capitalism didn't work out, their hatred for this system never subsided, it merely transformed into other forms. Multiculturalism is just a different word for "divide and conquer," pitting various ethnic and cultural groups against each other and destroying the coherence of Western society from within.

At the very least, the people living in the former Communist countries knew and admitted that they were taking part in a gigantic social experiment, and that the media and the authorities were serving them propaganda to shore up support for this project. Yet in the supposedly free West, we are taking part in a gigantic social experiment of Multiculturalism and Muslim immigration every bit as radical, utopian and potentially dangerous as Communism, seeking to transform our entire society from top to bottom, and still we refuse to even acknowledge that this is going on.

In Norway, a tiny Scandinavian nation that was until recently 99% white and Lutheran Christian, native Norwegians will soon be a minority in their own capital city, later in the whole country. And still, Norwegian politicians, journalists and University professors insist that there is nothing to worry about over this. Multiculturalism is nothing new, neither is immigration. In fact, our king a century ago was born in Denmark, so having a capital city dominated by Pakistanis, Kurds, Arabs and Somalis is just business as usual. The most massive transformation of the country in a thousand years, probably in recorded history, is thus treated as if it were the most natural thing in the world. To even hint that there might be something wrong about this has been immediately shouted down as "racism."

Eric Hoffer has noted that "It is obvious that a proselytizing mass movement must break down all existing group ties if it is to win a considerable following. The ideal potential convert is the individual who stands alone, who has no collective body he can blend with and lose himself in and so mask the pettiness, meaninglessness and shabbiness of his individual existence. Where a mass movement finds the corporate pattern of family, tribe, country, etcetera, in a state of disruption and decay, it moves in and gathers the harvest. Where it finds the corporate pattern in good repair, it must attack and disrupt." This corresponds exactly to the behavior of much of the Western Left in our age.

In Germany, Hans-Peter Raddatz in his book "Allahs Frauen" (Allah's Women) dissects the destructive attitude of Multiculturalism that is shared by many civil servants, journalists, politicians and lawyers in Germany and the EU. In particular, he documents how the German Green Party has a program for dismantling and dissolving the Christian "Leitkultur," or common culture, that so far has been the foundation of Germany and the West. Raddatz thinks that the decades of Muslim immigration are used as an instrument for breaking down the institutions, norms and ideas that the Left has earlier tried to break down through economics. From powerful positions in the media, public institutions and the system of education, these Multiculturalists are working on a larger project of renewing a Western civilization that, according to them, has failed....

Much of the political Left is simply engaged in outing their opponents as evil, instead of rationally arguing against their ideas. Attaching labels such as "racist" or even "Fascist" to anyone criticizing massive immigration or Multiculturalism has become so common that Norwegian anti-Islamists have coined a new word for it: "Hitling," which could be roughly translated to English as "to make like Hitler." The logic behind "hitling" is a bit like this: "You have a beard. Adolf Hitler had facial hair, too, so you must be like Hitler. Adolf Hitler liked dogs. You have pets, too, you must be like Hitler. Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian. You like carrots, you are just like Hitler."

Any "right-winger" can be slimed with such accusations. Curiously enough, the reverse is almost never true. Although Marxism may have killed 100 million people during the 20th century and failed in every single society in which it has ever been tried out, there seems to be little stigma attached to being a Leftist. The fact that Leftists can get away with this and claim to hold the moral high ground amply demonstrates that we didn't win the Cold War. We let our guard down after the fall of the Berlin Wall and never properly denounced the ideology behind it. This is now coming back to haunt us.

One member of an anti-immigration party in Britain stated that to be called racist in 21st-century Britain is "the same as being branded a witch in the Middle Ages." He's probably right, which means that anti-racism has quite literally become a modern witch-hunt.

More here

The Left hurts the battle against torture, rape and other evils

When you hear the words "oppression," "genocide," "racism," or even "torture" or "rape," do you immediately recoil as you always did? I don't. While I hate those evils as much as ever, I no longer assume the term always describes the reality. For example, the liberal press' unending preoccupation with American abuses of Iraqi detainees had a number of deleterious consequences. One was a further undermining of Arab and Muslim support for America's liberation of Iraq. But the longest-lasting negative effect was probably the cheapening of the word "torture." It undermined the war against torture to characterize what some Americans did to some Iraqis in the Abu Ghraib prison -- actions that were indeed sick, un-American and shameful to our military -- as "torture." Labeling abuses as "torture" filled me with pity for all the people around the world who had experienced real torture.

I kept thinking about those whose bodies were burned, whose fingernails were torn out, who were hung by their arms in a way that broke their shoulders (a common Chinese communist torture), who were put into human shredders (in Saddam's Iraq) or who had burning hot steel rods shoved into their rectums. How did these poor souls react to seeing the Western media routinely describe humiliating and frightening naked men for the sadistic amusement of guards as "torture"?

A second example is "rape." In the past, when I heard that a woman had been raped, I recoiled in horror. Not any more. Now, my first reaction is, "What happened to her?" One has to ask that question because the feminist left has redefined the word "rape" to the point where, unless you know the specifics, you don't know if a woman was violently forced into sexual intercourse or had engaged in sex that she regretted the following morning.

For the latter is one of the definitions of "rape" that the feminist movement uses and has disseminated. That is how the figure "one in four" women having been raped was derived. And while the late feminist thinker Andrea Dworkin did not actually make the statement widely attributed to her that "all (heterosexual) sex is rape," it was a sentiment that was earnestly debated in feminist circles.

Individuals and groups on the left have done the same to the word "genocide." The term originally meant an attempt to murder all members of a racial, ethnic, national or religious group. Today, it is used to describe an Israeli attack on Palestinian terrorists that also unintentionally kills some civilians, and to describe what America is doing in Iraq and even what America has done to its black population. So, when one hears "genocide" today, one immediately wants to know who is using the term and against whom.

Even the left in Israel, the nation that arose from the ashes of the most organized genocide in history, misuses the word. For example, professor Israel Charny, director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, told the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz: "We (Israelis) have never committed an act of genocide. We have perpetrated a few acts of genocidal massacre against a small number of people." "Genocide" against a small number of a people? What, then, is not "genocide"?

No term is more often used by the left than "oppressed." American women are routinely described as "oppressed," as are America's blacks, Hispanics and all poor people. But if American women, the freest women in human history, are oppressed, what term is left to describe the treatment of women in Arab and some other Muslim countries?

And then there is "racism." Being aware of the racism of those who lynched blacks in America and the racism of Nazism, I grew up believing no doctrine was more evil. Yet today, I yawn when I hear a member of the left use the term -- such as when Sen. Harry Reid characterized the Senate's proclamation of English as America's official language as "racist," or when whites and blacks who oppose race-based affirmative action are called racists.

One more example will have to suffice: The left regularly charges America's conservative Christians with wanting to make America a "theocracy," being "fascists" and/or being "anti-Semites." They are none of those things, and as a result, the battle against real theocrats (Muslim fundamentalists), real fascists and real anti-Semites is compromised. The tragedy of all this is that when evils are defined down, good people are left verbally unarmed when the real evils present themselves. It is yet another way in which the left, intentionally or not, undermines the battle against evil.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Australian Professor lodges complaints alleging political discrimination and anti-white racial vilification

Below is a media release from Prof. Andrew Fraser dated 26 June 2006

Associate Professor of law Andrew Fraser will provide the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission today with documentary evidence supporting his complaint of political discrimination against Macquarie University.

In July 2005, Professor Fraser wrote a controversial letter to the Parramatta Sun in which he suggested that large-scale immigration from black Africa could lead to increasing levels of crime, violence and a wide range of other social problems.

Almost immediately, Macquarie University was subjected to intense political pressure from black African organisations, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and many other "anti-racist" activist groups and individuals demanding that Professor Fraser be sacked.

Soon after returning from overseas, the then Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University, Professor Di Yerbury declared that Professor Fraser's view were "repugnant" to her, offering a series of apologies on behalf of the University to African migrant groups.

The Vice-Chancellor also sought to procure Professor Fraser's immediate resignation, offering to buy out his one-year pre-retirement contract which is due to terminate on June 30, 2006. When Professor Fraser declined that offer, the University immediately cancelled his classes and suspended him from teaching.

Shortly thereafter, the University lent its weight to an organised campaign of political intimidation aimed at Professor Fraser. It sponsored a "Racism Within" forum (really a latter-day Stalinist show-trial) where hundreds of Macquarie academics and students gathered to denounce Professor Fraser's alleged "extreme racism" in terms bordering on the hysterical.

Despite assurances from his Dean that Professor Fraser would be permitted to resume teaching once Professor Yerbury had resigned in early February 2006, the University cancelled his classes once again in the first semester of the current academic year.

The decision to suspend Professor Fraser this year was taken explicitly because his political views on race were deemed likely to influence his approach to the subject he was set to teach; namely, American Constitutional History.

Professor Fraser will be retiring from Macquarie University at the end of this week. Unlike other academic retirees who intend to remain research-active, he has been denied the status of an Honorary Associate which would entitle him to library privileges facilitating research into his next book on Anglophobia: Its Causes and Cure. That petty academic vindictiveness is the latest step in a year-long campaign of discrimination by the University against his political heresies.

In a case of turnabout is fair play, Professor Fraser also has lodged a complaint against the Parramatta Sun and its editor Charles Boag. The Human Rights Commission declared Professor Fraser's observations on black crime to be an unlawful form of racial vilification. But the same issue of the Parramatta Sun that published Professor Fraser's allegedly "racist" letter carried a signed editorial by Charles Boag asserting that it is mere "fantasy" to worry about black crime in light of the notorious record of "murder and mayhem on a great scale" committed by white Europeans, here in Australia and elsewhere in the world.

Professor Fraser looks forward to finding out whether the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is, as advertised, a neutral and impartial investigative body. He hopes that a double standard will not be applied by the Commission allowing white Europeans to be subjected to wholesale "racial vilification" while suffering blatant political discrimination whenever they protest the loss of their freedoms and their ancestral homelands.

He is, however, not at all confident that his hope will be fulfilled.

Andrew Fraser
Associate Professor
Department of Public Law
Macquarie University
Sydney, Australia 2109
tel: 61 2 9613 3382

Officeholders Favoring Diversity Ignore Laws They Don't Like

The South was once famous for "massive resistance." Now officeholders and civic leaders of the North and West are in the game too, this time to push "diversity" programs in defiance of the law.

The American Bar Association, for example, has been preparing to force the nation's law schools to grant racial preferences in admissions that would clearly violate the law. But the group produced an "equal opportunity and diversity" standard saying that no "constitutional provision or statute" could stand in the way of the required compliance. (Just ignore the law, you lawyers.) It also threatened non-complying schools with loss of their accreditation. Among the provisions and statutes that the ABA apparently wanted to override were two presidential executive orders on affirmative action, by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and laws in Florida, California and other states explicitly prohibiting racial preferences and set-asides.

The ABA amended its proposed standard in the face of criticism, particularly from George Mason law professor David Bernstein, who has been analyzing and protesting the illegal ABA plan for months. Bernstein writes: "One thing that continues to amaze me is how major legal institutions, staffed by lawyers who presumably know the law, are consistently willing to brazenly announce their defiance of the law in the name of diversity."

The most "massive resistance" in the name of diversity has been the broad and scandalous refusal to abide by California's Proposition 209, which bans preferences and quotas in state jobs, hiring and education. Mayors, city attorneys and even judges have avoided the clear wording and intent of Prop 209. Defiance is often cloaked as an "outreach effort" or as "comprehensive reform," a term used by some state universities to favor students of certain ethnic backgrounds despite low SAT scores.

Sometimes defiance is out in the open. San Francisco made no bones about its lawbreaking. Both the city attorney and Willie Brown, when he was mayor, declared that since a majority of city voters had cast their ballots against Prop 209, San Francisco needn't comply with it. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, a civic problem all by himself, has refused to push for compliance. Instead he has appeared in court on the side of the lawbreakers.

After the first six years of efforts to get civic leaders interested in obeying the law, "playing favorites by color remains official policy in some of California's largest bureaucracies," says an article on Same thing in Seattle after Initiative 200 banned preferences in Washington state. The mayor of Seattle was not swayed. He prepared a fresh batch of preferences, and a councilman said, "I'm not sure I care if we're in compliance" with the law. Whatever. It's only a law.

A similar pattern of resistance greeted the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, a version of Prop 209 and I-200. The resisters, including a group with a telltale name, By Any Means Necessary, are fighting to keep the public from voting on the issue. At one point the board of state canvassers refused to put MCRI on the ballot, despite a court order to do so.

The current mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, came to the nation's attention by illegally marrying gay couples. Now he is promising another adventure in lawbreaking. In April, he and the entire city board of supervisors urged San Francisco law enforcement not to comply with criminal provisions of any new immigration bill. "If people think we were defiant on the gay marriage issue, they haven't seen defiance," he said.

Another wave of resistance may be forming in Massachusetts, this time to protect sex lessons in public schools, particularly lessons on homosexuality. So much material on sex was appearing in lower grades of schools that parents fought for, and got, a state law allowing a child to be excused when these lessons came up. But in a highly publicized case in Lexington involving a kindergarten boy and gay sexuality, the school system refused to allow the opt-out. Superintendent Paul Ash said, "We couldn't run a school if every parent who feels some topic is objectionable to them for moral or religious reasons decides their child should be removed."

The man who wrote the law, Brain Camenker of the conservative Article 8 Alliance, said the school system justified ignoring it by willfully misinterpreting the language used in the law.

Why is the new resistance occurring? One factor is that many of the people involved have a personal history of activism and see their current posts as opportunities to promote their causes. They often have romantic views of lawbreaking derived from the civil rights movement and the in-your-face activism of the 1960s. Traditionally, officeholders are expected to resign if they cannot bring themselves to obey the law. The resisters don't feel that way. Often they see themselves as prophetic figures working against sluggish majorities to produce a better future. Save us from visionaries who think they are entitled to break the law.


The country that hates itself

The sense of shock in Canada following the arrest of 17 Muslims charged with plotting acts of terror against their fellow Canadians rings a horribly familiar bell in Britain. In the wake of the London bombings last July by young British Muslims, Britons have found it hard to accept that boys who had been born in Britain, who as often as not came from middle class homes, had been to mainstream schools and university and held down good jobs, could turn into human bombs. Britain's experience has much to teach Canada. Despite some differences between the two countries - Britain's Muslim population is larger than Canada's, for example - there are many points of similarity.

In particular, both Canada and Britain need to face the fact that multiculturalism, which for both countries is an article of faith, has brought havoc in its wake. This doctrine holds that all minority cultures must enjoy equal status with the majority, and that any attempt to impose the majority culture over those of minorities is by definition racist. It has helped create a cultural vacuum into which has roared militant Islamism - the interpretation of Islam that preaches holy war. Multiculturalism not only creates the environment in which this clerical fascism can flourish but - crucially - also undermines our ability to defend ourselves against it.

Like Canada, Britain prides itself on being a tolerant society committed to minority rights. Yet in the wake of the July bombings, the U.K. government estimated that 26% of Britain's 1.6 million Muslims felt no loyalty to Britain, 3,000 had passed through al Qaeda camps and up to 16,000 were either actively engaged in or supported terrorist activity. Although hundreds of thousands of British Muslims have no truck with either Islamist extremism or terror, these numbers were astounding. Britain had turned into `Londonistan' - the European hub of al-Qaeda.

In the wake of the London bombings, people came up with a litany of excuses - such as the war in Iraq, poverty or Islamophobia - to explain what had happened. There was a widespread determination to avoid discussion of the actual cause: religious fanaticism. The orthodoxy of minority rights means any criticism of minorities is deemed unsayable.

Multiculturalism has exacerbated the alienation that has left so many British Muslims vulnerable to the siren song of jihad. In addition, Britain has been unravelling its identity for decades, and multiculturalism has been the outcome. Since World War Two, Britain's elite has suffered from a collective collapse of cultural nerve. Many things contributed: postwar exhaustion, the collapse of the British Empire (and therefore of national purpose), and post-colonial flagellatory guilt of the kind that white western liberals have made their specialty.

This left the British establishment vulnerable to the revolutionary ideology of the New Left, at the core of which lay a hatred of western society. As a consequence, the British elite decided not only that the British nation was an embarrassment but also that the very idea of the nation was an anachronism. Britain had to be unravelled and a new world order constructed from principles untainted by the particulars of national culture.

So schools no longer transmitted the British national story and the country's bedrock values. Immigrant children were taught instead that their culture was the community they came from, and children were left in ignorance of British history and taught that their values were whatever they wanted them to be. Instead of principles rooted in British law, religion and history, Britain subscribed to the doctrine of universalism expressed through human rights law, and placed its faith in transnational institutions such as the UN, International Criminal Court or European Court of Justice as the major sources of legitimacy. Only the universal and the nation-busting could be innocent of prejudice.

Far from promoting equality, however, this approach fashioned minority rights into a deadly weapon. For if all values have equal status, majority values get knocked off their pedestal. So the very idea of the nation as an overarching framework of shared and binding values and obligations is undermined.

This has had a number of calamitous consequences. Remaking the nation gave rise to a collapse of immigration controls. Illegal immigrants simply vanished into British society. The chaos resulting from this loss of border controls made security impossible, since the intelligence service didn't know who was in the country. Anyone who questioned the desirability of such trends was vilified. Mass immigration was held to be an absolute good, not least because it destroyed Britain's white character. Multiculturalism became the driving force of British life, ruthlessly policed by an army of bureaucrats enforcing a doctrine of state-mandated virtue to promote racial, ethnic and cultural balkanization.

This left many Muslims and other minorities stranded. The doctrine was a complete break from the earlier pattern of assimilating immigrants. Now, minorities could no longer be integrated because there was no longer an overarching culture for them to integrate into. By denying the validity of a common culture, multiculturalism reinforced those dangerous tendencies toward isolationism and hostility to western values expressed within Britain's Muslim community. How could Muslims be expected to sign up to a national project the very expression of which was now considered 'racist'?

When British Muslim youths turned themselves into human bombs, the attractions of multiculturalism suddenly seemed rather less obvious. Nevertheless, its grip upon the British psyche remained so strong that Britain was unable to condemn the mind-twisting excuses served up by spokesmen for the British Muslim community. Instead, it actually endorsed them. Thus, it was agreed that what caused the bombers to strike was lack of integration, Islamophobia and rage over the war in Iraq. But the broad public didn't ask why so many British Muslims refused to integrate; and while the Iraq war was undoubtedly being used to whip up Muslim anger, Britain didn't question the implication that any attempt by the west to defend itself would be turned upside down and misrepresented as aggression against the innocent. Here indeed was the multicultural rub, the mind-bending reasoning by which the doctrine locks Britain and Canada into the mother of all Catch-22s.

At the heart of multiculturalism lies a radical egalitarianism by which everyone's culture and lifestyle has equal validity and moral stature. The consequence is that people are increasingly unable to make moral distinctions based on behaviour. Instead, minorities of all kinds -- ethnic, religious, sexual -- are not held responsible for their misdeeds because they are perceived as a victim class. So the majority are held responsible instead.

The greatest exponents of this morally upside-down grievance culture are those Muslims for whose pathological inferiority complex it seems to be tailor-made. They represent their own aggression against the west as defence, because of their belief that the weakness of Islam relative to the west must be the result of a western conspiracy to destroy the religion. Since they therefore think that their culture is under attack, they believe it is legitimate to restore the former global power of the Islamic empire by aggressive attacks which they reconceptualize as defence.

Everything that follows is viewed through this prism. The Islamists' exaggerated notions of shame and honour mean that every slight turns into a major grievance, disadvantage morphs into paranoia and Islam itself is perceived to be under siege everywhere. The more the free world defends itself, the more the Islamists claim they are under attack. So the more atrocities there are against the west, the more the Islamists claim they are victims of Islamophobia. Truly, this is a dialogue of the demented.

It is impossible to overstate the importance to the global struggle against Islamist extremism of properly understanding and publicly challenging this moral, intellectual and philosophical inversion, which translates aggressor into victim and vice versa. Only by doing so will the free world realize that it is not enough to thwart actual terrorist plots, crucial as that is. What must also be addressed is the fanatical hatred in people's heads that drives them to such inhuman acts, and which is itself fuelled by paranoid fantasies and lies about a conspiracy to destroy Islam by the west and its supposed puppet-masters, the Jews. It is impossible also to exaggerate the fuel that has been poured onto the fires of Islamist terror by the dupes and malcontents of the western intelligentsia who themselves echo precisely these prejudices.

If we are to defeat this terrible thing that threatens us, we have to grasp that while grievances such as Iraq or Israel are used as recruiting sergeants for terror, they are not its cause. That lies in the Islamist doctrine of religious conquest. Canada, like all Western nations, should send a clear message that while Islam is respected like any minority faith, Muslims must play by the rules of the minority game. That means that our countries will not allow religion to be used to incite hatredand violence, and where this is taking place -- in mosques or madrassahs, in prisons, youth clubs or on campus -- it will be stopped. But that can only happen if the shibboleth of multiculturalism is set aside. Otherwise our culture will continue sleepwalking into oblivion.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Deluded America

I can see it now, I think. It is on the right-hand page of a book by or about Winston Churchill, and it is a quotation by Churchill on the subject of war. Specifically, what happens to a civilized society when it goes to war with a barbarous one. I can't find it (yet), but what I remember as being the main point was that if the civilized society is to prevail over the barbarous one, it will necessarily and tragically be degraded by the experience as a vital cost of victory. Partly, this is because civilized war tactics are apt to fail against barbarous war tactics, thus requiring civilized society to break the "rules" if it is to survive a true death struggle. It is also because the clash itself — the act of engaging with the barbarous society — forces civilization to confront, repel and also internalize previously unimagined depredations. This is degrading, too.

In Churchill's era, the more civilized world of the Allies was necessarily degraded to some intangible extent by what it took to achieve victory over barbarous Nazism. For example, bombing cities, even rail transportation hubs, lay beyond civilized conventions, but these were tactics the Allies used to defeat Hitler. However justifiable, civilization crossed a previously unimagined and uncivilized line to save, well,civilization. Thentherewas Hitler's Holocaust — an act of genocide of previously unthinkable scale and horror. Who in the civilized world before Hitler had ever imagined killing 6 million people? And who in the civilized world retained the same purity of mind afterward? Civilization itself was forever dimmed.

The question is, did bombing Dresden to defeat Hitler or dropping two nuclear bombs to force Japan to stop fighting make the Allies into barbarians? I think most people would still say of course not and argue that such destructive measures were necessary to save civilization itself — and certainly thousands of mainly American and Allied lives. But if this argument continues to carry the day, it's because we still view that historic period from its own perspective. We view it from a perspective in which Allied lives — our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons — counted for more than Axis lives, even those of women and children. How quaint. That is, this is not at all how we think anymore. If we still valued our own men more than the enemy and the "civilians" they hide among — and now I'm talking about the war in Iraq — our tactics would be totally different, and, not incidentally, infinitely more successful. We would drop bombs on city blocks, for example, and not waste men in dangerous house-to-house searches. We would destroy enemy sanctuaries in Syria and Iran and not disarm "insurgents" at perilous checkpoints in hostile Iraqi strongholds.

In the 21st century, however, there is something that our society values more than our own lives — and more than the survival of civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, CIA interrogations or Guantanamo Bay. Morally superior people — Western elites — never "humiliate" prisoners, never kill civilians, never torture or incarcerate jihadists. Indeed, they would like to kill, I mean, prosecute, or at least tie the hands of, anyone who does. This, of course, only enhances their own moral superiority. But it doesn't win wars. And it won't save civilization. Why not? Because such smugness masks a massive moral paralysis. The morally superior (read: paralyzed) don't really take sides, don't really believe one culture is qualitatively better or worse than the other. They don't even believe one culture is just plain different from the other. Only in this atmosphere of politically correct and perpetually adolescent non-judgmentalism could anyone believe, for example, that compelling, forcing or torturing a jihadist terrorist to get information to save a city undermines our "values" in any way. It undermines nothing — except the jihad.

Do such tactics diminish our inviolate sanctimony? You bet. But so what? The alternative is to follow our precious rules and hope the barbarians will leave us alone, or, perhaps, not deal with us too harshly. Fond hope. Consider the 21st-century return of (I still can't quite believe it) beheadings. The first French Republic aside, who on God's modern green earth ever imagined a head being hacked off the human body before we were confronted with Islamic jihad? Civilization itself is forever dimmed — again.



A torrent of polarized commentary fell after I discussed motorcycle helmet laws on Sunday. (I favor free choice.) Most of those opposed to free choice focused not on the merits of helmet laws, but on my characterization of helmet activists as ''safety nazis.'' That indelicate appellation, said Barbara Richardson of Lehigh Township, ''should only be used for the most evil of entities.'' John de Planque of Kutztown accused me of ''inflammatory oratory.''

I am loath to hurt anyone's feelings, but I'm at a loss to come up with a better term. What should we call people who seek to abridge the rights and freedoms of others? Please note that most car crash fatalities involve head injuries. There are more fatalities in cars than on motorcycles, so the safety nazis should also insist that people in cars be forced to wear helmets. Will they do that? Not on your life , because nazis always want to restrict the freedom of people other than themselves.

There also were supportive letters, from as far away as Lahore, Pakistan, where Lehigh Valley native and American Consulate official Michael Eagan yearns to get back home to ride his Harley Davidson - in a climate of freedom. Rick Loomis of the Lehigh Valley chapter of ABATE (the outfit that lobbied for free helmet choice) thanked me ''for being a voice of reason.''



Do gang rapes boost GDP? Was that an offensive question, you say? Well, according to Sweden's finance minister P„r Nuder, more immigrants should be allowed into Sweden in order to safeguard the welfare system. However, in reality estimates indicate that immigration costs Sweden at least 40 to 50 billion Swedish kroner every year, probably several hundred billions, and has greatly contributed to bringing the Swedish welfare state to the brink of bankruptcy. An estimated cost of immigration of 225 billion Swedish kroner in 2004, which is not unlikely, would equal 17.5% of Sweden's tax income that year, a heavy burden in a country which already has some of the highest levels of taxation in the world.

At the same time, the number of rape charges in Sweden has quadrupled in just above twenty years. Rape cases involving children under the age of 15 are six times as common today as they were a generation ago. Resident aliens from Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia dominate the group of rape suspects. Lawyer Ann Christine Hjelm, who has investigated violent crimes in one court, found that 85 per cent of the convicted rapists were born on foreign soil or by foreign parents. Swedish politicians want to continue Muslim immigration because it boosts the economy, yet the evidence so far indicates that it mainly boosts the number of gang rapes. Meanwhile, research shows that fear of honor killings is a very real issue for many immigrant girls in Sweden. 100.000 young Swedish girls live as virtual prisoners of their own families.

An ever growing group of non-western immigrants in Norway is dependent on welfare. This was the conclusion of a study by Tyra Ekhaugen of the Frisch Centre for Economic Research and the University of Oslo. Ekhaugen's research contradicted the often heard assertion that Norway's labor market depends increasingly on immigrants. The study indicated quite the reverse. If the present evolution continues, immigration will increase the pressure on the welfare state rather than relieving it because many immigrants do not join the tax-paying part of the population. "Non-Western immigrants" in Norway are recipients of social security benefits ten times as frequently as native Norwegians. If we remember that "non-Western immigrants" include Chinese, Indians and other non-Muslims who are known for (and statistically proven to be) hard working, this speaks volumes of the heavy burden Muslims constitute on the welfare state.

Journalist Halvor Tjonn from newspaper Aftenposten, one of the few genuinely critical journalists in the country, in June 2006 cited a report from NHO, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. NHO stated that the current immigration policies were a serious threat to the country's economy. Norway is the planet's third largest exporter of oil, next to Saudi Arabia and Russia. Yet according to NHO, there is a risk that much of the profit Norway earns from oil could be spent on paying welfare for a rapidly growing immigrant population. The most profitable immigration would be high-skilled workers who stay for period of limited duration, but at the same time not too brief. A Danish think tank has estimated that the net cost of immigration was up to 50 billion kroner every year, and those were cautious estimates. Denmark could thus save huge sums by stopping immigration from less developed countries. A study found that every other immigrant from the Third World -- especially from Muslim countries -- lacked the qualifications for even the most menial jobs on the organized Danish labor market.

Professor Kjetil Storesletten at the University of Oslo said that the net contribution of immigrants to the economy was probably negative in Norway, too. "Admitting immigrants with low levels of education leads nowhere. We cannot continue the immigration policies we have followed until now," said Storesletten. In Norway, social benefits and salaries for low-skilled workers are among the highest in the world. At the same time, the salaries for highly skilled workers are comparatively lower and the taxes are high. This compressed salary structure is the result of decades of Socialist policies in Scandinavia. It leads to attracting people with lower skills and little education, but also makes the countries less attractive for researchers and scientists. Still, the agency that handles immigration to Norway, UDI, in 2005 thought that the country must make it more attractive for both skilled and unskilled workers to move to Norway. "We need more immigrants," claimed UDI chief Trygve Nordby. "Too few dare to say that we have a large need for non-professional workers as well," he said. UDI, in turn, should be able to have more flexibility in deciding cases, and process cases more quickly and efficiently.

As it turned out later, the bureaucrats of UDI were in fact so "flexible" that they had been running their own, private immigration policies, and that the agency's liberal interpretation of asylum rules had "stretched the boundaries" of the law. UDI violated both the law and political directives when it granted residency permits to nearly 200 Iraqi Kurds in the fall of 2005. A commission that probed the controversial permits blasted the former head of UDI, Trygve Nordby, and his successor resigned. More than half of the social security benefits in the city of Oslo are spent of non-Western immigrants, a portion that has grown tremendously over the years. City council leader Erling Lae warns against prejudice and states that without immigrants, there would be "complete chaos" in Oslo. Meanwhile, Norwegian newspapers are worried that online debates are "flooded with racist comments" about Muslims. One of the racist comments they mentioned was this one: "A large number of Muslims out of their own, free will choose to live in parallel societies where they speak their mother tongue, watch foreign TV, despise the society they have moved to and pick spouses from their original homelands. The only contact they have with the natives is in the social security office."

"The debate is often colored by ignorance. It is not a human right to be heard at any given time. It requires a certain minimum of social intelligence to be allowed to participate in the public debate," says Esten O. Saether, online editor of the Leftist, pro-Multicultural newspaper Dagbladet. S‘ther warns that the newspapers may have to impose stricter censorship on their online discussion forums and the comments to online articles. However, Dagbladet seems to have little understanding of why so many people are fed up with Muslims and their demands. Neither have they admitted that they were wrong in their one-sided praise of the positive effects of Muslim immigration for decades, nor apologized for demonizing the right-wing Progress Party and its leader Carl I. Hagen throughout the 90s for their "racism" for questioning the real costs of this immigration.

On the contrary, although information about the costs of Muslim immigration has been available for several years, this was a non-issue in Norwegian media prior to the national elections in 2005. Instead, they were focusing on "poverty" in Norway and the need for increased welfare spending. This in a country that is among the wealthiest in the world and which provides its citizens with the highest social security benefits in Europe. Norway's media coverage of the national elections revealed a desire for a Leftist government, said Election expert Aarebrot, a professor at the Institute for Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen. He argued that, with few exceptions, most of Norway's media leans to the left politically. "Most newspapers are what I would call politically correct. By politically correct in Norway today I mean slightly radical, urban and liberal," Aarebrot said. Nearly 70 percent of journalists vote Labor (Ap), Socialist Left (SV) or Red Electoral Alliance (RV) according to a poll, and this is reflected in the press, Aarebrot said.

Oslo will have a non-Western majority in a few decades, if the current trends continue. There are now several researchers who predict that in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the native population and their descendants will become a minority in their own country within this century. The only question is when. Since the Islamic Jihad usually enters a much more aggressive and physical phase once the Muslim population reaches 10 - 20% of the total in any given area, this does not bode well for the future of the urban regions in Scandinavia. Will they turn out different from similar regions in Thailand, the Philippines or Nigeria?

Admittedly, part of the problem lies with the Western European welfare state system itself and cannot be blamed on the immigrants alone. Iranian Nima Sanandaji tells of his family's meeting with the Swedish system: "In Sweden my family encountered a political system that seemed very strange. The interpreter told us that Sweden is a country where the government will put a check into your mailbox each month if you don't work. She explained that there was no reason to get a job." "Although my mother got several jobs, we concluded that this really didn't improve our family's economy. During the sixteen years we have been in Sweden, my mother has in total worked less than one year."

However, part of the problem is also due to the mentality of some of the Muslims who move there, yet display no loyalty to their new countries. Immigrant men who divorce their wives according to secular law, but stay married to them according to sharia, Islamic law, represent an increasing problem in the city of Odense, Denmark, according to Erik Simonsen, deputy major in charge of administration. The result is a large number of "single" women who receive welfare support. From other countries, it is known that some Muslim men to do this trick with several women at the same time. Some observers blamed the Muslim riots in France in 2005, accurately described by writer Mark Steyn as the "first welfare funded Jihad in history," on polygamy practiced by Muslim men, paid for by French taxpayers. But also immigrants who are financially independent are cheating, says Simonsen. "80 percent of the immigrant economy in Odense is a black market economy. That's a lot, and it cannot be tolerated, because the law is equal for all."

As one Muslim in Norway stated: "I worked in a Pakistani shop, but all of the work there is 'unofficial.' Neither the boss nor I pay taxes to Norwegian authorities. In addition to this, I receive 100% disability benefits and welfare. I have to be cunning to make as much money as possible, since this is my only objective with being in Norway." Undoubtedly, many Muslims view welfare money from the infidels as Jizya, the poll-tax non-Muslims according to the Koran are supposed to pay to Muslims as tribute and a sign of their inferior status and submission to Islamic rule. In Britain, one member of an Islamic group warned an undercover reporter against getting a job because it would be contributing to the kuffar (non-Muslim) system.

One of the reasons for the low participation in the work force among Muslims is a very high drop out rate from schools, especially for boys. Although Muslims themselves blame this on "poor integration efforts" and "marginalization," some of them are actively obstructing their kids' education, lest they become too much like the infidels. Thousands of Muslim children with Scandinavian citizenship are sent to Koran schools in Pakistan and other countries, to prevent them from becoming "too Westernized." When this practice was documented and criticized by the Norwegian organization Human Rights Service, Pakistanis in Norway had the galls to ask for a school for their children in Pakistan, funded by Norwegian taxpayers. They will probably get it.

According to the Copenhagen Post, in Denmark when the country's schools open their doors again after the summer holidays, not every student is there to enter. Some schools report one in every five students missing from the schoolrooms. Daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende reported that some children had not returned from vacation in their homelands with their parents. 'When students are kept away from school start, it's a big problem for their integration and can affect the children's educational level,' said Integration Minister Rikke Hvilshoj. She said a committee would discuss methods to get parents to send their children to school from day one. 'These are children who have problems beforehand following what's going on at school,' Hvilshoj said. 'Not being there when the school year starts won't make it any easier. We need to make parents understand that if their children are to get a good chance in Denmark, they need to make sure that they are there when school starts.' Author and journalist Rushy Rahsid said she had often gone on long vacations to Pakistan with her parents as a child. 'Families go on such long trips to give their children a healthy dose of religion, culture, traditions, and family,' she said. 'If you buy a very expensive ticket, you want to take full advantage of the trip and meet the entire family.'

Not that the problems always disappear when they actually attend school, either. Going to school is no child's game for many children in Copenhagen, where beatings, kicks, robberies, and threats have everyday occurrences. The perpetrators are normally their own age. Violence and threats pose such a big problem in high schools in Malmo, Sweden, that the local school board wants to install surveillance cameras and security guards in the buildings. The city's education director Matz Nilsson said unruly and aggressive students had become a more common sight in the high schools of Malmo, the home of some of Scandinavia's biggest and roughest slums.

More here

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Post lifted from Buzzwords

Now this is strange. Melanie Phillips and I would no doubt disagree vehemently about any number of things, but I suddenly find myself inclined to defend her, or, more precisely, one of her arguments. In Friday's Guardian, Jackie Ashley interviewed Phillips about her new book. Londonistan, which addresses the rise of belligerent and literalist Islam in the UK, and the various reactions to it -- including the way in which aggressive claims of grievance are exploited to intimidate and censor.

Ashley devotes a great deal of space to Phillips' rather breathless and hyperbolic writing style, and one has some sympathy for Ashley's observation that this over-revved tone often "repels frank and thoughtful argument", leading instead to glib dismissal, at least in certain quarters. Indeed, Ashley herself promptly exploits this manoeuvre, teetering on the brink of ad hominem as she focuses on the method of delivery rather than the message.

The bulk of Ashley's critique seems to hinge on the assumption that because Phillips' commentary is often shrill and overly dramatic, one need not trouble oneself with addressing any points of substance expressed in such a manner: "At this point... I want to say, 'Blimey, Mel' and, 'Relax, old thing' and, 'You may, just possibly, be going a little over the top.' In fact, in a cheery way, I suggest that some of this may sound a bit 'bonkers'."

To which Phillips replies: "If the response to the kind of things I'm saying is to pretend that it's not happening, and worse, to characterise people like me as paranoid, hysterical, mad, this is first of all nasty stuff... but it is aimed at shutting down discussion of this completely." Curiously, this point passes without further exploration.

Instead, Ashley directs her own breathless indignation to this line from Phillips' book: "[Islamists] are fuelled by an ideology that itself is non-negotiable and forms a continuum that links peaceful, law-abiding but nevertheless intensely ideological Muslims at one end and murderous jihadists at the other." Ashley finds this shocking and, quite literally, unthinkable: "If you blinked at the word 'continuum', she means it: the British establishment is 'transfixed by the artificial division it has erected between those who actively espouse violence and those who do not.' Yes, artificial division." At no point does Ashley even try to refute Phillips' statement in any meaningful way; she simply gasps in disbelief and encourages her readers to do the same.

This refusal even to entertain some theological connection between coercive Islamism and 'mainstream' Islam is remarkably widespread, and appears to be based almost entirely on ignorance and wishful thinking. Despite her emphatic tone, Ashley doesn't explain why this reassuringly total distinction is to be assumed as a given. At no point are readers told why they should suppose some clear ideological discontinuity between those who believe that the world belongs to Islam, and would be made perfect by submission to it, and those who try to further that end exactly as Mohammed demanded.

Presumably, Ashley is unaware of recent polls by the Pew Research Centre, which found that 51% of Pakistan's Muslims claim to support al-Qaeda's aims and have "confidence" in bin Laden and his ideological peers. Similarly, she seems unaware of President Musharaff's interview with CBS News in September 2005, during which he was asked whether the US or bin Laden is more popular in Pakistan. Musharaff hesitated before conceding, "Maybe Osama bin Laden. In the man on the street, it may be Osama bin Laden." Faced with this, it isn't clear how one would neatly categorise those polled as 'radical' or 'mainstream'. Apparently, they are both.

Like so many of her Guardian colleagues, Ashley displays no knowledge of -- or interest in -- the actual content of Mohammed's exhortations or the theo-political imperatives built upon them, despite their centrality to the issue, and despite the fact such things are pointedly cited as justification by the two dozen or so jihadist movements currently known to exist. Nor does she appear to be aware that jihadist ideology is found in school textbooks in Egypt, Pakistan, Palestine, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and in every major school of Islamic jurisprudence, with only minor variations.

One therefore has to wonder if Ashley has ever paused to ask the logically obvious question: If a person believes Mohammed was the Prophet of Allah, and believes that Mohammed's teachings are divine imperatives, how does that person sustain this belief while simultaneously rejecting those who enact Mohammed's teachings, often verbatim? A serious writer might look for answers to such questions and pursue discussion to that end. Instead, Ashley prefers to avert her gaze with a gasp of impropriety.


Even though he did less time than he was sentenced to

A drugs dealer is demanding 100,000 pounds from the Government — for NOT sending him back to the Caribbean after he was freed from jail. Cocky Charlesworth Christian wants Human Rights damages because he was not deported as soon as he was eligible. He has even tried to get his claim financed by British taxpayers through legal aid.

Last night his case — yet another battle for the beleaguered Home Office under John Reid — was branded a farce by MPs. But it could open the floodgates to copycat claims from other foreign prisoners. Christian was caught trying to bring Class A drugs, thought to be cocaine, into Britain from his native Antigua. Last May a judge gave him three years and recommended he be deported after serving his sentence.

Under early release laws he became eligible for deportation on February 23 this year. But he was not sent back until Wednesday, meaning he spent an “extra” 118 days in Edmunds Hill jail in Suffolk. His lawyers are now arguing his release and deportation were “statutory”. His plea for legal aid was turned down.

Yesterday Mr Justice Newman, sitting at the High Court in London, adjourned the case until next month. The judge ordered the Home Office to produce any evidence that it was pressure of work or lack of resources that had led to the mix-up. Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: “This sounds like a farce.” Legal expert Dr Chaloki Beyani said: “I doubt he will win.”



Three reports below:

Rape of ten year old kept quiet for three weeks by child safety authorities

Just blacks being blacks, you know (!)

The Queensland Government is investigating allegations that child safety authorities failed to alert police that a 10-year-old girl was repeatedly raped in a Cape York community. Child Safety Minister Mike Reynolds has ordered his department's ethical standards unit to investigate the allegations that the matter was known about for three weeks before police were notified.

Acting Premier Anna Bligh said today the Government was "very concerned" by the allegations and would take every step to get to the bottom of the incident. "Any allegations (about) possible harm to children should be reported to the appropriate authorities, including where appropriate police, as soon as that comes to their attention," Ms Bligh said. "Clearly children need government departments to be acting co-operatively, whether it is Child Safety, Queensland Health, Queensland Police or any other agencies that this matter might come to their attention." Ms Bligh said the matter would be referred to the Crime and Misconduct Commission if the investigation recommended as such.

But Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg said an internal investigation would not suffice. "There needs to be a proper independent investigation of this and the information in the report should be made publicly available," Mr Springborg said. He said only two and a half years ago Premier Peter Beattie had called a state election in order to protect the kids. "If children under the supervision, or with the knowledge of the Department of Child Safety, had been repeatedly raped for three weeks ... I can just say that in Queensland things have got decidedly worse."


Inquiry into black sex abuse

The Northern Territory Government has launched an inquiry into child sex abuse in indigenous communities after allegations of pedophilia and sex slavery. The ABC's Lateline program last night broadcast allegations that indigenous men in central Australia were keeping girls as young as five as sex slaves. An unnamed former youth worker at Mutitjulu, near Uluru, said some men were were offering young girls petrol to sniff in exchange for sex. The worker said he had been intimidated by the alleged abusers into withdrawing his complaints to police. "It's true that there are predatory men in the central deserts who are systematically abusing young children," he said. The NT Government yesterday announced an inquiry into child sex abuse across the territory's Aboriginal communities, while police vowed to investigate the allegations involving Mutitjulu, where petrol sniffing is rife. "It's time to break through the fear, silence and shame about what's happening in the bush," NT Chief Minister Clare Martin said. "Too many families are being destroyed by child abuse. We must draw a line in the sand and get all the facts and act on them."


STDs rife in indigenous children

Sexually transmitted diseases are spreading rapidly through Australia's indigenous toddlers and children as the hidden tragedy of child abuse becomes a broader health crisis for the nation. With federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough standing by his claim that pedophile rings are operating in central Australia, Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin yesterday ordered an inquiry into the abuse of children in Australia's most disadvantaged communities. But new figures reveal child abuse and poor indigenous health is not confined to the Territory, with the number of Aboriginal children in Western Australia infected with STDs doubling in the past five years.

According to West Australian Health Department statistics, 708 children under 14 had been infected with the diseases since 2001. And almost 80 per cent of the victims were Aboriginal. Of those, 19 were toddlers and preschoolers under the age of four. In the Kimberley region in the state's far northwest, four children aged under four had been infected with chlamydia or gonorrhoea last year. STD rates are also high in other states, as the culture of silence over sexual abuse, coupled with a lack of support services and indigenous disadvantage, continues to blight the next generation of Aboriginal men and women.

While The Australian and other media outlets have been casting light on the issue for years, doubts remain over the official response to the crisis, with the NSW Government under fire yesterday for sitting on a damning report on Aboriginal child abuse and the Queensland Government investigating claims its child safety department was too slow to respond to complaints a 10-year-old girl had been raped on Cape York.

Ms Martin is today expected to name the head of the NT inquiry she hopes will "break through the fear and the shame and the silence we see about child sex abuse in our communities". "We have failed to prosecute child sex abuse," Ms Martin said yesterday. "We have failed because we couldn't get people to come forward as witnesses. Police have done work in those communities and we can't get the evidence, we can't get people to step forward - and that's what this inquiry is about."

Mr Brough, who has called a summit on indigenous disadvantage for Monday, last night declared the victims could not wait for another inquiry to report. "You would hope that anything that is going to shine the light on what is a desperate situation is positive but what we need right now is action and that's what I hope to achieve in co-operation with the states and territories on Monday," Mr Brough said.

Melva Kennedy, a member of the Aboriginal Child Sexual Assault Task Force in NSW, said it was a misconception that systematic sexual abuse within indigenous communities was confined to remote areas. "It happens all over the place, all over Australia, not just the outback" said Ms Kennedy, who has worked in the field of child protection for the past 20 years. "I know of incidents of sexual abuse in communities in the cities, in country towns, and in the outback."

The NT inquiry was called amid a heated row between Mr Brough and territory authorities over allegations of child abuse at Mutitjulu, an Aboriginal community in the shadow of Uluru that the Chief Minister describes as one of the most dysfunctional in the Northern Territory. Mr Brough claimed his department had sent a "full report" to NT police about the Mutitjulu allegations raised on Wednesday night on the ABC's Lateline.

But Deputy Police Commissioner Bruce Wernham said yesterday that Alice Springs police had only received an anonymous fax in February that contained "general intelligence", was unsigned and written on a plain piece of paper. Mr Wernham said police had been aware of some of the allegations but could not gather enough evidence to act. He said just four cases of sexual abuse had been reported at Mutitjulu since 2002, including one involving children. "An allegation is one thing, but following that up and getting hard evidence is totally another," he said. "That's where we really rely on the goodwill of individuals." Mr Brough last night defended his actions and maintained that police were able to use information he passed on as intelligence. Police have formed a taskforce to investigate the claims at Mutitjulu.

In NSW, Attorney-General Bob Debus is still sitting on a report, delivered to the Government three months ago, on Aboriginal child sexual abuse in NSW. The report is understood to find that child sexual assault has reached "epidemic proportions" in Aboriginal communities in NSW, and is four times more prevalent than in the general community. It says the assaults have led to high levels of mental illness in communities, but that victims rarely come forward due to fear of retribution. Ms Kennedy, a member of the taskforce that produced the report, said she was frustrated at the lack of action.

Despite publicity over the Cape York case in Queensland, and claims violence has gone unchecked in the state's indigenous communities, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie yesterday said his Government had already held an inquiry into the abuse of Aboriginal children and would not convene a second one. Mr Beattie said the inquiry by Tony Fitzgerald led to alcohol management plans and that a forum and a follow-up inquiry had also fostered a new child protection system.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

'A White Individual' barred on racial grounds from Congress

Seeing that black racism cannot exist (according to the Left) some examples of it seem of interest

With Congress poised to extend, for another quarter-century, certain "temporary" provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, it's worth pondering some of the political mischief taking place these days in the name of "voting rights."

Take New York's 11th Congressional District, a safe Democratic seat covering several neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The seat is currently occupied by Major Owens, a black Democrat who has held it since 1983 and is retiring this year. One of the four candidates to replace him is David Yassky, a white Democrat who represents some of the same Brooklyn neighborhoods as a city councilman.

Mr. Owens has one of Congress's most liberal voting records, and there's nothing in the background of Mr. Yassky, a prot,g, of New York Senator Chuck Schumer, that suggests he would vote much differently. Even so, Mr. Owens and the three other candidates, all of whom are black, are on a mission to force Mr. Yassky out of the race. In the case of Mr. Owens, this has partly to do with the fact that his son is among those running in the September 12 Democratic primary. But Mr. Owens, the other black candidates and local black officials have stressed that their overriding concern is the color of Mr. Yassky's skin. And they're using the Voting Right Act to justify old-fashioned race-baiting.....

Representative Owens has labeled Mr. Yassky a "colonizer." Al Sharpton, ever the statesman, has called the candidate, who is Jewish, "greedy." And the New York Sun reported last week that Albert Vann, a city councilman who opposes Mr. Yassky's candidacy, sent an email to black elected officials nationwide announcing that "we are in peril of losing a 'Voting Rights' district . . . as a result of the well financed candidacy of Council Member David Yassky, a white individual."

More here


Jeff Jacoby looks at the issues

This is America. If you plan on responding to this column, make sure you do it in English. Wait a second -- am I allowed to say that?

Six months ago, Joey Vento posted a sign saying more or less the same thing -- "This is America. When ordering, speak English" -- at the takeout window of his popular South Philadelphia cheesesteak joint, Geno's Steaks. As a result he finds himself the target of legal action by the city's Commission on Human Relations, which issued a complaint last week accusing Geno's of discriminating against non-English speakers on the basis of national origin or ancestry. Under the city's Fair Practices Ordinance, the commission will investigate the complaint and could ultimately order Vento to take down his sign or face a fine for refusing.

The sign attracted little notice until the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story about it on May 30. That set off an avalanche of attention, with appearances by Vento on a slew of national television and radio shows. Papers as far away as Australia have taken note of the case, and more tourists than ever are flocking to Vento's neon-bedecked landmark at 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue.

For all the hullabaloo, though, there are really just two essential facts to this case, and both of them came across clearly in the original Inquirer story. This was the first: "Vento's political statement -- from a man whose Italian-born grandparents spoke only broken English -- captures the anger and discontent felt by many Americans about illegal immigrants."

And this was the second: " 'If you can't tell me what you want, I can't serve you,' he said. 'It's up to you. If you can't read, if you can't say the word cheese, how can I communicate with you -- and why should I have to bend?' " In other words, Vento's sign was intended to express a point of view on a controversial public issue -- exactly the type of speech the First Amendment was written to protect. And since he himself apparently speaks only English, telling customers to do the same was a way to keep the long lines at Geno's moving -- not to drive customers away out of bigotry. Geno's would hardly have become a roaring success if its owner had a habit of refusing to serve anyone. Vento says no one has ever been denied service for failing to order in English, and nobody has come forward to contradict him.

But none of that seems to matter to the censors and busybodies who regard Vento and his "speak English" sign as obnoxious and who are ready to shred his freedom of speech to teach him -- and anyone else with politically incorrect opinions about designated victim groups -- a lesson. "We think it is discriminatory, and we are concerned about the image of Philadelphia," declares the chairman of the Human Relations Commission, the Rev. James Allen Sr. "The issue is not whether anyone has been denied service, but that such a sign discourages people from coming -- asking for service."

But how can a sign written in English discourage people who don't know English? Anyone who has mastered enough English to read Vento's sign presumably knows enough to order a sandwich from his extremely limited menu. Anyone who can't read the sign can't be discouraged or feel discriminated against by what it says. In any event -- and more important -- since when does the "image of Philadelphia" trump the First Amendment?

In an excruciatingly careful editorial on the flap last Thursday, the Inquirer allowed as how "sure, Vento has free-speech rights. But sometimes one person's right bumps against another person's, and something has to give. Vento is running a public accommodation, just like those lunch counters in the segregated South where African-Americans couldn't get a seat. Some of the arguments that some of Vento's defenders are offering sound awfully familiar from those days. "To be fair," the editorial quickly added, "the analogy ends there. It's hard to link any actual harm to Vento's English-only grandstanding. He's not accused of actually refusing service to any customer." Then why sideswipe him with the Jim Crow smear? And what exactly is the difference between "grandstanding" and exercising one's right to free speech? If it's "grandstanding" when a sandwich maker posts a seven-word sign in his window, what is it called when a newspaper company publishes hundreds of thousands of copies of a 450-word editorial for distribution?

It is one thing to say that places of public accommodation may not refuse service on the basis of national origin. It is something much more radical to say that a sign exhorting customers to speak English should be illegal, too. Anyone offended by Vento's views is free to boycott his shop and urge others to do the same. But nothing in the Constitution gives those who are offended the right to silence someone else's speech. Agree or disagree with Vento's views, a government that can punish him for expressing them in public is a government that threatens us all.

Australia: Police must hire someone with a criminal record?

Those good old "human rights" again. Criminals have a "right" to a police job?

A Federal civil rights watchdog has found the Victoria Police and the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority discriminated against a woman by refusing to employ her because she had a criminal record. In a report tabled in Parliament, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission found it was discriminatory to refuse to hire someone to answer phones because she had been convicted of drink-driving.

Tracy Gordon applied for the job of communications officer with the ESTA in August 2003. After a typing assessment she filled in an application form, which asked if she had a criminal record. She alleges a staff member then told her she was ineligible to go any further with the assessment because she had been convicted of drink-driving. Ms Gordon claims when she contacted Victoria Police about the issue she was told the authority had a rule that anyone with a criminal conviction could not be hired.

But commission president John von Doussa found Ms Gordon was discriminated against because she did not need to reach the same standard of character and integrity as a police officer in order to answer phones. "I am of the view that if a person is convicted of an offence for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol, it does not mean that they fail to meet this lower level requirement," he said. ESTA and the police said they were considering the recommendations.