Liberal Hate Speech May Doom Dems' Election Hopes
First it was Rev. Jeremiah Wright's expletive-laced sermons and anti-Semitic rants that plunged the Obama campaign into full damage-repair mode. Then Barack triggered an uproar when he remarked about down-on-their-luck voters, "And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." That's right, the reason those yahoos place their faith in a Higher Power is because they can't find themselves find a decent job.
Then Obama turned on Hillary. During a Pennsylvania campaign stop he twice stuck his opponent with the harsh, "Shame on her." Mocking her new-found support for gun rights, he compared her to a warmed-over Annie Oakley. So much for Barack the Unifier.
Candidate Hillary Clinton has made her share of caustic remarks as well, often directing her barbs at members of the male species. Shortly after she announced her candidacy, Clinton traveled to Iowa to press the flesh. In response to a question about persons like Osama bin Laden, she responded with a sly grin, "And what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?" And hours before she pulled off her New Hampshire primary upset, Hillary regaled the audience with this biting stereotype: "the remnants of sexism are alive and well."
Not so long ago, liberalism was synonymous with tolerance and open-mindedness. If you weren't of the liberal ilk, you were almost suspected of being a closet bigot. But in the last decade, the good name of liberalism has gone to the gutter. Remember the racist, thick-lipped caricatures of Condi Rice when she was named Secretary of State? Recall former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill who blamed the 9/11 attack on the victims themselves? And how is it that modern liberalism has come to embrace resurgent anti-Semitism?
Then there's the suppression of free speech on college campuses. At Colorado College, the Feminist and Gender Studies Program produces the Monthly Rag. The latest issue featured an excerpt from The Bitch Manifesto and a vulgar discussion of "packing" in which a woman creates the appearance of a male genitalia under her clothes. But when a group of men issued its own flyer satirizing the Monthly Rag, progressive administrators charged the students with violating the campus speech code.
So how did liberalism devolve into a wellspring of potty-mouth rants, crude stereotypes, and campus intolerance? Part of the reason, I'm convinced, is the ever-strengthening grip of radical feminist ideology on the liberal conscience. Were you in New Orleans this past weekend? If not, do you realize you missed Jane Fonda's reading of The Vagina Monologues at the Super Dome? Actress Kerry Washington was also there. She was particularly touched because the Monologues compares a woman's vagina to New Orleans and the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. (I'm not making this up!)
Recently I had the unpleasant task of reading Catherine MacKinnon's 1989 tome, Toward a Feminist Theory of State. Now required reading in women's studies programs, the book is best described as the Mein Kampf of the radical feminist movement. While Mein Kampft blamed Aryans' woes on an alleged international Jewish plot, Toward a Feminist Theory of State sees men as secretly aligned in a vast anti-woman conspiracy. MacKinnon alarms the reader with improbable statistics such as "85% of working women will be sexually harassed," and "one-fifth of American women have been or are known to be prostitutes." She then concludes that "the major distinction between intercourse (normal) and rape (abnormal) is that the normal happens so often that one cannot get anyone to see anything wrong with it." By reducing females to docile and helpless creatures who lack moral agency, MacKinnon does an enormous disservice to women. In the end, her high-octane screed epitomizes gender intolerance at its worst.
Five years after MacKinnon's book was published, along came Sen. Joe Biden's Violence Against Women Act. That became the occasion for another round of male-bashing.
Newspaper reports openly portray men as wily batterers. But when singer Amy Winehouse admits to using her husband Blake as a punch-bag, persons look the other way. "I'll beat up Blake when I'm drunk. . If he says one thing I don't like then I'll chin him," she once bragged.
Just imagine, I once believed the Democratic agenda would bring about a kinder, gentler existence to our planet. Now I'm beginning to have my doubts. I suspect many Americans will feel the same way come Election Day.
Balanced approach to homosexuality in Singapore
They don't supervise your bedroom but you are not allowed to promote homosexuality
A Singapore television station has been fined for airing a show that featured a gay couple and their baby in a way that "promotes a gay lifestyle," the city-state's media regulator said. The Media Development Authority fined MediaCorp TV Channel 5 some 15,000 Singapore dollars ($11,600), it said in a statement on its website.
The station aired an episode of a home and decor series called Find and Design that featured a gay couple wanting to transform their game room into a new nursery for their adopted baby. The authority said the episode contained scenes of the gay couple with their baby and the presenter's congratulations and acknowledgment of them as a family unit "in a way which normalises their gay lifestyle and unconventional family setup".
The episode was in breach of rules on free-to-air television programming, which disallows content that promotes, justifies or glamourises gay lifestyles, the statement said. Earlier this month, the authority fined a Singapore cable television operator, StarHub Cable Vision $S10,000 for airing a commercial that showed two lesbians kissing.
Under Singapore law, gay sex is deemed "an act of gross indecency" punishable by a maximum of two years in jail. Despite the official ban on gay sex, there have been few prosecutions. But authorities have banned gay festivals and censored gay films, saying homosexuality should not be advocated as a lifestyle choice.
Europe or Eurabia?
By Daniel Pipes
THE future of Europe is in play. Will it turn into "Eurabia", a part of the Muslim world? Will it remain the distinct cultural unit it has been for the past millennium? Or might there be some creative synthesis of the two? The answer has vast importance. Europe may constitute a mere 7 per cent of the world's landmass but for 500 years, 1450-1950, for good and ill, it was the global engine of change. How it develops in the future will affect all humanity, especially daughter countries such as Australia that still retain close and important ties to the old continent. I foresee potentially one of three paths for Europe: Muslims dominating, Muslims rejected or harmonious integration.
* Muslim domination strikes some analysts as inevitable. Oriana Fallaci found that "Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam". Mark Steyn argues that much of the Western world "will not survive the 21st century and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries". Such authors point to three factors leading to Europe's Islamisation: faith, demography and a sense of heritage.
The secularism that predominates in Europe, especially among its elites, leads to alienation from the Judeo-Christian tradition, empty church pews and a fascination with Islam. In complete contrast, Muslims display a religious fervour that translates into jihadi sensibility, a supremacism towards non-Muslims and an expectation that Europe is waiting for conversion to Islam.
The contrast in faith also has demographic implications, with Christians having on average 1.4 children a woman, or about one-third less than the number needed to maintain their population, and Muslims enjoying a dramatically higher, if falling, fertility rate. Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in about 2015, are expected to be the first large majority-Muslim cities. Russia could become a Muslim-majority country in 2050. To employ enough workers to fund existing pension plans, Europe needs millions of immigrants, and these tend to be disproportionately Muslim due to reasons of proximity, colonial ties and the turmoil in majority-Muslim countries.
In addition, many Europeans no longer cherish their history, mores and customs. Guilt about fascism, racism and imperialism leaves many with a sense that their own culture has less value than that of immigrants. Such self-disdain has direct implications for Muslim immigrants, for if Europeans shun their own ways, why should immigrants adopt them? When added to the existing Muslim hesitations over much that is Western, especially concerns about sexuality, the result is Muslim populations who strongly resist assimilation. The logic of this first path leads to Europe ultimately becoming an extension of North Africa.
* But the first path is not inevitable. Indigenous Europeans could resist it and, as they make up 95per cent of the continent's population, they can at any time reassert control should they see Muslims posing a threat to a valued way of life. This impulse can be seen at work in the French anti-hijab legislation or in Geert Wilders's film, Fitna. Anti-immigrant parties gain in strength; a potential nativist movement is taking shape across Europe as political parties opposed to immigration focus increasingly on Islam and Muslims. These parties include the British National Party, Belgium's Vlaamse Belang, France's National Front, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Party for Freedom in The Netherlands and the Danish People's Party.
They are likely to continue to grow as immigration surges ever higher, with mainstream parties paying and expropriating their anti-Islamic message. Should nationalist parties gain power, they will reject multiculturalism, cut back on immigration, encourage repatriation of immigrants, support Christian institutions, increase indigenous European birthrates and broadly attempt to re-establish traditional ways.
Muslim alarm is likely to follow. US author Ralph Peters sketches a scenario in which "US Navy ships are at anchor and US marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's Muslims". Peters concludes that because of Europeans' "ineradicable viciousness", the continent's Muslims "are living on borrowed time". As Europeans have "perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing", Muslims, he predicts, "will be lucky just to be deported" rather than being killed.
Indeed, Muslims worry about just such a fate; since the 1980s they have spoken overtly about Muslims being sent to gas chambers. European violence cannot be precluded, but nationalist efforts will more likely take place less violently; if anyone is likely to initiate violence, it is the Muslims. They have already engaged in many acts of violence and seem to be spoiling for more. Surveys indicate, for instance, that about 5 per cent of British Muslims endorse the 7/7 transport bombings. In brief, a European reassertion will likely lead to ongoing civil strife, perhaps a more lethal version of the 2005 riots in France.
* The ideal outcome has indigenous Europeans and immigrant Muslims finding a way to live together harmoniously and create a new synthesis. A 1991 study, La France, une chance pour l'Islam (France, an Opportunity for Islam), by Jeanne-Helene Kaltenbach and Pierre Patrick Kaltenbach, promoted this idealistic approach. Despite all, this optimism remains the conventional wisdom, as suggested by an Economist leader in 2006 that dismissed, for the moment at least, the prospect of Eurabia as scaremongering. This is the view of most politicians, journalists, and academics, but it has little basis in fact.
Yes, indigenous Europeans could yet rediscover their Christian faith, make more babies and again cherish their heritage. Yes, they could encourage non-Muslim immigration and acculturate Muslims already living in Europe. Yes, Muslim could accept historic Europe. But not only are such developments not under way, their prospects are dim. In particular, young Muslims are cultivating grievances and nursing ambitions at odds with their neighbours.
One can virtually dismiss from consideration the prospect of Muslims accepting historic Europe and integrating within it. American columnist Dennis Prager agrees: "It is difficult to imagine any other future scenario for western Europe than its becoming Islamicised or having a civil war." But which of those two remaining paths will the continent take? Forecasting is difficult because the crisis has not yet struck. But it may not be far off. Within a decade, perhaps, the continent's evolution will become clear as the Europe-Muslim relationship takes shape.
The unprecedented nature of Europe's situation also renders a forecast exceedingly difficult. Never in history has a civilisation peaceably dissolved, nor has a people risen to reclaim its patrimony. Europe's unique circumstances make the outcome difficult to comprehend, tempting to overlook and virtually impossible to predict. With Europe, we all enter into terra incognita.
Fear of democracy
West stands by idly as its foundations are being rent asunder. Last Friday the UN's Human Rights Council took a direct swipe at freedom of expression. In a unanimous 32-0 decision, the Council instructed its "expert on freedom of expression" to report to the Council on all instances in which individuals "abuse" their freedom of speech by giving expression to racial or religious bias. The measure was proposed by paragons of freedom Egypt and Pakistan. It was supported by all Arab, Muslim and African countries - founts of liberty one and all. European states abstained from the vote.
The US, which is not a member of the Human Rights Council tried to oppose the measure. In a speech before the Council, US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Warren Tichenor warned that the resolution's purpose is to undermine freedom of expression because it imposes, "restrictions on individuals rather than emphasiz[ing] the duty and responsibility of governments to guarantee, uphold, promote and protect human rights."
By seeking to criminalize free speech, the resolution stands in breach of the UN's Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of that document states explicitly, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
The Europeans' decision to abstain rather than oppose the measure seems, at first glance rather surprising. Given that the EU member states are among the UN's most emphatic champions, it would have seemed normal for them to have opposed a resolution that works to undermine one of the UN's foundational documents, and indeed, one of the most basic tenets of Western civilization. But then again, given the EU's stands in recent years against freedom of expression, there really is nothing to be surprised about. The EU's current bow to intellectual thuggery is of course found in its response to the Internet release of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders' film "Fitna."
The EU has gone out of its way to attack Wilders for daring to utilize his freedom of expression. The EU's presidency released a statement condemning the film for "inflaming hatred." Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenendeissued statements claiming that the film "serves no other purpose than to cause offense." Then too, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon blasted the film as "offensively anti-Islamic."
These statements follow the EU's quest to restrict freedom of speech following the 2005 publication of cartoons of Muhammed in Denmark's *Jyllands Posten* newspaper. They also come against the backdrop of the systematic silencing of anti-jihadist intellectuals throughout the continent. These intellectuals like Peter Redeker in France and Paul Cliteur in the Netherlands, are threatened into silence by European jihadists. And the governments of Europe either do nothing to defend and protect the threatened thinkers or justify the intellectual blackmailers by sympathizing with their anger.
It is axiomatic that freedom of expression is the foundation of human freedom and progress. When people are not allowed to express themselves freely, there can be no debate or inquiry. It is only due to free debate and inquiry that humanity has progressed from the Dark Age to the Digital Age. This is why the first act of every would-be tyrant is to take control over the marketplace of ideas. Yet today, the nations of Europe and indeed much of the Western world, either sit idly by and do nothing to defend that freedom or collaborate with unfree and often tyrannical Islamic states and terrorists in silencing debate and stifling dissent. There are two reasons that this is the case.
In the first instance, the political Left, which rules supreme in the EU's bureaucracy as well as in most of the intellectual centers of the free world, has shown through its actions that it has no real commitment to democratic values. Rather than embrace democratic values, the Left increasingly adopts the parlance of democracy cynically, with the aim of undermining free discourse in the public sphere in the name of "democracy."
Writing of the leftist uproar against Wilders' film in Europe in Der Speigel, Henryk Broder noted that almost across the board, the European media has castigated Wilders as "a right wing populist." As Broder notes, on its face this assertion is absurd for Wilders is a radical liberal. In "Fitna," the outspoken legislator shows how verses of the Koran are used by jihadists to justify the most heinous acts of mass murder and hatred. His film superimposes verses from the Koran calling for the murder of non-Muslims with actual scenes of jihadist carnage. It also superimposes verses from the Koran vilifying Jews with footage of Islamic clerics repeating the verses and with a three year old girl saying that she learned that Jews are monkeys and pigs from her Koran classes. "Fitna" concludes with a challenge to Muslims to expunge these hateful, murderous religious tenets from their belief system.
While arguably, but not necessarily inflammatory, Wilders' film serves an invitation to Europe and to the Islamic world to have an open debate. His film challenges viewers - both Muslim and non-Muslim - to think and to discuss whether Islam accords with the notions of human freedom and what can be done to stop jihadists from exploiting the Koran to justify their acts of murder, tyranny and hate.
As Broder notes, by calling Wilders a "right-wing populist," the Left seeks to silence both him and his call for an open discourse. The underlying message of such labeling is that Wilders is somehow beyond the pale of polite company and therefore his message should be ignored by all right thinking people. If you don't want to be intellectually isolated and socially ostracized like Wilders, then you mustn't watch his film or take it seriously. Doing so would be an act of "right-wing populism" - and everyone knows what that means.
Like all anti-democratic movements, today's political Left seeks to silence debate and so undermine democracy first by demonizing anyone who doesn't agree with it and then, by passing laws that criminalize speech or override the people's right to decide how they wish to live. In the EU, the Lisbon Treaty effectively regurgitated by bureaucratic fiat the constitution that was rejected by voters in France and Holland and was set to be defeated by the British. In Britain, Parliament has labored for years to pass a law which would criminalize the act of insulting Islam. Then too, one of the first acts the Brown government took after entering office last summer was to prohibit its members from talking about "Islamic terrorism."
As in Europe so too, in Israel, the Left goes to extraordinary lengths to undermine democracy in the name of democracy. In just one recent example, this week, leftist law professor Mordechai Kremnitzer warned the Knesset not to pass a law enabling a referendum on the partition of Jerusalem and the surrender of the Golan Heights. As Kremnitzer sees it, "If the verdict of a referendum is determined by a small majority, that includes Arab voters then a certain sector whose view was not accepted is liable to attempt to reject the legitimacy of the referendum and may fight against it violently." That "certain sector" Kremnitzer was referring to, of course are the Jews who oppose the partition of Jerusalem and the surrender of the Golan Heights by a large majority.
Kremnitzer's argument is both ridiculous and self-serving. It is ridiculous because he knows that in 2004, Likud members held a referendum of the government's planned withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria. Then prime minister Ariel Sharon pledged to abide by the results of his party's vote. But then, when 65 percent of Likud voters rejected his plan, he ignored them. And public's the reaction, while strong, was completely non-violent.
The only force that used sustained force and intimidation in the run-up to the withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria was the government. It deployed tens of thousands of policemen to break up protests, bar protesters from travelling to lawful demonstrations, and jailed protesters without trial for months. In its overtly anti-democratic and legally dubious actions, the government was ably defended by Kremnitzer and his colleagues who either stood by as the civil liberties of the protesters were trampled or enthusiastically defended the government's abandonment of democratic values by calling the protesters "anti-democratic." Indeed, in his testimony Wednesday, Kremnitzer parroted that argument by claiming that referendums "are a recipe for harming democracy."
Aside from being factually and theoretically wrong, Kremnitzer's argument -- like the arguments of the EU bureaucracy which sidelined Europe's citizenry by passing the Lisbon Treaty -- is transparently self-serving. Like his EU counterparts, he knows full well that his support for an Israeli surrender of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights is a minority view. So his actual concern is not the health of Israeli democracy, but the power of the political Left to determine policy against the interests and wishes of the public.
The second reason that the Left acquiesces to the silencing of speech is because its members are just as concerned about the threat of Islamic supremacy as their political opponents. But unlike their opponents, they are too cowardly to do anything about it. This point was made clear too, in the wake of the release of Wilders' film.
This week a delegation of Christian and Muslim Dutch religious leaders travelled to Cairo to speak to religious Islamic leaders. Speaking to Radio Netherlands, Bas Plaisier, who heads the Dutch Protestant Church said that the delegation's mission was to "limit the possible consequences" of Wilders' film. The consequences he was referring to, of course, are the prospects of violent Muslim rioting and attacks against the Dutch and against Christians worldwide. Radio Netherlands reported that Plaisier "has been receiving disturbing reports from Dutch nationals all over the world, including ones about fear of repercussions among Christians in Sudan, the Middle East and Indonesia."
So the real reason the Dutch Protestant Church decries the film not because it thinks Wilders is wrong, but because its leaders believe that Wilders is absolutely right. It's just that unlike Wilders, who has placed his life in danger to express his views, they are too cowardly to defend themselves, and so, they travel to Cairo to genuflect to religious leaders who daily oversee the preaching of hate and Islamic supremacy in Egyptian mosques. They go on bended knee to coo before those who coerced the institutionalization of Egypt's religious persecution of its Christian Coptic minority and its silencing of liberal critics of the Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood.
And that is the rub. By squelching debate - out of loathing for their non-leftist political opponents and out of fear of jihadists and the regimes that promote them -- the West as a whole undermines not only its own values and foundational creeds. It also undermines the non-jihadists of the Islamic world, who, if ever empowered, would work to promote a form of Islam that does not respond to challenge with violence but rather with the discourse of reason and mutual respect for differences of opinion.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.