Monday, June 01, 2009

Evil British social workers again

They really are the spawn of Satan. Their contempt for ordinary people knows no bounds

A MOTHER is taking her fight to the European Court of Human Rights after she was forbidden from seeing her three-year-old daughter because she is not “clever enough” to look after her. The woman, who for legal reasons can be identified only by her first name, Rachel, has been told by a family court that her daughter will be placed with adoptive parents within the next three months, and she will then be barred from further contact.

The adoption is going ahead despite the declaration by a psychiatrist that Rachel, 24, has no learning difficulties and “good literacy and numeracy and [that] her general intellectual abilities appear to be within the normal range”.

Her daughter, K, was born prematurely and officials felt Rachel lacked the intelligence to cope with her complex medical needs Baby K was released from hospital into care and is currently with a foster family. Her health has now improved to the point where she needs little or no day-to-day medical care.

Rachel said last night: “I have been totally let down by the system. All I want is to care for my daughter but the council and the court are determined not to let me. “The court here has now ordered that my contact with my daughter must be reduced from every fortnight until in three months’ time it will all be over and I will never see her again.”

Rachel has now lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights, which has the power to stop the child being given to another family. She has also applied for a judicial review of the adoption order.

Her attempts to fight Nottingham city council’s adoption of her daughter have been hampered because her case was taken over by the official solicitor, the government-funded lawyer who acts for those unable to represent themselves. He was brought in to represent Rachel’s interests because she was judged to be intellectually incapable of instructing her own solicitor. He declined to contest the council’s adoption application, despite her wish to do so.

After the psychiatrist’s assessment of Rachel, the court has now acknowledged that she does have the mental capacity to keep up with the legal aspects of her situation. It has nevertheless refused her attempts to halt the adoption process.

John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, who is campaigning on Rachel’s behalf, said: “The way Rachel has been treated is appalling. She has been swept aside by a system that seems more interested in securing a child for adoption than preserving a natural family unit.”


Christians risk rejection and discrimination for their faith, a study claims

Christians are facing discrimination at work, and ridicule and rejection at home, according to new research. The first poll of Britain's churchgoers, carried out for The Sunday Telegraph, found that thousands of them believe they are being turned down for promotion because of their faith. One in five said that they had faced opposition at work because of their beliefs. More than half of them revealed that they had suffered some form of persecution for being a Christian.

The findings suggest a growing hostility towards religion in this country, which has been highlighted by a series of clashes between churchgoers and their employers. Church leaders, including the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, have urged Christians to "wake up" and defend their beliefs after the suspension of Caroline Petrie, a community nurse, for offering to pray for a patient.

Churchgoers are likely to be further concerned by new guidelines that warn that employees face dismissal if they share their faith with colleagues at work. Employers have been given new advice in a campaign, funded by the Government's equality watchdog, that says people who evangelise in the workplace are "highly likely" to be accused of harassment. The guidelines have been drawn up by the British Humanist Association (BHA), an atheist group, with the help of a £35,000 grant from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), a taxpayer-funded body.

Andrew Copson, director of education at the BHA, claimed that attempts to convert colleagues could amount to harassment under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. He said: "The law specifically protects people from being intimidated or confronted with a hostile environment in the workplace. "Systematically undermining someone's beliefs or persistently attempting to convert someone would lead to the creation of a hostile environment." However, legal experts have attacked the guidelines as "nonsense" and Christian groups have condemned them as "propaganda".

Churchgoers interviewed in the ComRes poll said that they are already facing discrimination at work and one in 10 churchgoers said they have been rejected by family members because of their religious beliefs. As many as 44 per cent said they had been mocked by friends, neighbours or colleagues for being a Christian, and 19 per cent said they had been ignored or excluded for the same reason.

They also claimed that they are being discriminated against at work, with five per cent saying they had been turned down for promotion due to their faith. The same number said they had been reprimanded or cautioned at work for sharing their faith.

There has been a series of cases over recent months featuring Christians who have been suspended after expressing their religious views, including a teacher who complained that a staff training day was used to promote gay rights. Churchgoers believe that these incidents reflect growing intolerance towards Christianity in Britain. Nearly three out of four of those questioned said that there is less religious freedom in the UK now than 20 years ago, and one in five said persecution of Christians is worse in this country compared to other European nations.

Although the EHRC declined to comment on the content of the BHA guidelines, a spokesman said: "The commission's funding programme supports a wide range of organisations, both faith and non-faith groups, in keeping with its aim of promoting good relations and a better understanding between those from different religions and beliefs. "This is one of many such projects to that end. This isn't about supporting a particular belief or lack of belief over another, but encouraging debate." [Threatening Christians who talk about their faith is a great way to encourage debate, of course]

ComRes asked 512 worshippers between April 21 and May 1. The respondents were selected through different Christian media, from liberal publications through to evangelical websites. The results are weighted to the exact denomination and churchmanship profile as defined by the 2005 Church Census.


Women less happy after 40 years of feminism

Despite wealth, health and opportunity, men still more content says study by US National Bureau of Economic Research.

On the long and winding road to having it all, Helen Parker is making good progress. At 27 she’s forging a career as an executive with a transport company in London, she has a steady boyfriend, and together they are buying a flat. One day the prospect of starting a family will beckon. By many standards, she’s thriving. So is she happy?

“Um, I’m reasonably happy,” she said. “And I’m optimistic about the future. But there will always be sacrifices. “There’s plenty more opportunities for women than there used to be — but then again, that means you are always questioning whether the moves you have made are correct, or whether you should have done something else.”

Like many women, her sense of wellbeing and life satisfaction do not match up with advances in social circumstances and material comforts. After 40 years of fighting for equality, it seems that women are no happier. In fact, women in many countries have been growing steadily unhappier compared with men, according to a study published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States.

In The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania, begin by noting the gains. “By many measures the progress of women over recent decades has been extraordinary: the gender wage gap has partly closed; educational attainment has risen and is now surpassing that of men; women have gained an unprecedented level of control over fertility; (and) technological change in the form of new domestic appliances has freed women from domestic drudgery,” they wrote.

Yet Stevenson and Wolfers have found that in America women’s happiness, far from rising, has fallen “both absolutely and relatively to that of men”. Where women in the 1970s reported themselves to be significantly happier than men, now for the first time they are reporting levels of happiness lower than men.

In Europe, people’s sense of happiness has risen slightly, but less so for women than men. In 12 European countries, including Britain, the happiness of women has fallen relative to that of men.

The authors readily admit that measuring happiness is necessarily a subjective task, but the overall trend from the data, compiled from social surveys conducted over many years, is clear and compelling.

The work builds on earlier research by Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at Warwick University, who has a particular interest in the study of happiness. He said: “What Betsey and Justin have done, which is a valuable addition, is to show that the trend is found rather widely. For most of the post-war era, happiness surveys showed women noticeably happier than men. That difference has now eroded to zero.”


Psychologising the Jewish question

In the past few years an interesting mode of discourse has gained currency among some critics of Israel. It consists in characterizing most Israelis, and the Jews who are concerned about Israel's continued existence, as suffering from a deep collective psycho-pathology that conditions them to commit or to endorse systematic brutalization of the Palestinians. It takes Israel and its supporters to be acting out the effects of a long term historical trauma that reached its climax in the Holocaust. They are deflecting the intense anger, helplessness and shame accumulated over centuries of persecution in Europe on to innocent Arab victims in Israel/Palestine. These victims are surrogates for the real but no longer accessible oppressors of the Jews. The analogy driving this discourse is that of the abused child who grows into an abusive adult, imposing his childhood experiences of violence on members of his family and his adult environment.

Three clear examples of this psychologized view of the Israel-Palestine conflict are Jacqueline Rose's book The Question of Zion(Princeton University Press, 2005), Caryl Churchill's play Seven Jewish Children, recently staged at the Royal Court Theatre, and Anthony Lerman's article 'Must Jews always see themselves as victims' (The Independent, March 7, 2009). Rose argues that Zionism, and the country that it created, derive from the the same psychological disorder that generated the false messianism of Shabbtai Zvi and his followers. She regards it as a form of mass hysteria generated by the inability of Jews to respond rationally to prolonged suffering. Churchill adapts this diagnosis of Zionism to Israel's recent offensive in Gaza. She portrays Jewish children as obsessively raised with the collective memory of historical trauma as the pervasive background against which Israeli acts of murder and expulsion are justified or denied. Lerman invokes the work of Israeli political psychologist Daniel Bar Tal to claim that the inability of Israelis and Jews to deal adequately with the experience of the Holocaust has given rise to a persecution complex that is responsible for Israel's perverse behaviour towards the Palestinians, as well as the willingness of Jews abroad to support this behaviour.

There are at least five features of the psychologizing discourse worth noting. First, it provides an ostensibly scientific basis for attributing negative properties to an ethnic group. Inter alia, most (but not all) Israelis, and many of their Diaspora Jewish supporters suffer from a blood lust. They are insensitive to the suffering of innocent Palestinians. They are exclusively concerned with the welfare of their own people. They engage in illicit lobbying and hysterical political campaigning to promote a narrow and destructive group agenda. They refuse to acknowledge the normal constraints of universal human rights and morality. These are, of course, versions of longstanding anti-Jewish bigotries that infect European and Middle Eastern history. They are, however, rendered opaque and acceptable through translation into the psychological symptoms of a disturbed group. The painstaking clinical studies required to support serious psychological diagnoses are singularly absent from the psychologizing discourse. It is, in fact, a vintage case of pseudo-science in the service of prejudice. It does, however, serve an important political and cultural role. It renders acceptable attitudes and assumptions that would be inadmissible if expressed in traditional terms.

Second, the practitioners of psychologizing discourse do not, in general, present themselves as adversaries of Israel and the Jews. On the contrary, they are therapists moved by the highest motives of public responsibility. They seek to cure the patients of their collective disease by getting them to see the full extent of their malady and to recognize its roots in a historically disordered collective spirit. They do not see Israel and the Jews as evil, but as deeply pathological and in need of proper care. That they may, in many cases, prescribe a therapy that requires the patients (in the case of Israel) to cede their own collective existence is not an expression of hostility. It is a desire to free the patients from the agony that they are inflicting upon themselves and the rest of the world.

Third, this discourse is a particularly effective method for shutting down serious political discussion and controlling reaction. If members of the deranged group dissent from this account, their comments are summarily dismissed as the delusional resistance of patients to the benign efforts of the therapist to treat their illness. Moreover, events like Israel's operation in Gaza are not construed as the destructive and misguided actions of an unpleasant government, phenomena common enough in other parts of the world. They are taken to be direct expressions of a perverse national psychology working itself out with the grim inexorability of a medical condition. They require not the sort of criticism appropriate for normal people and countries, but a complete quarantine of the patients for their own good, as well as that of everyone else. Jews and Israelis do not act from the same motives that determine the behaviour, good or bad, of balanced people. Their conduct is the result of a diseased nature that requires radical revision to restore them to health.

Fourth, the psychologizing discourse contrasts with 'root cause' explanations applied to terrorist violence and extremism from oppressed groups. These explanations use past persecution to exculpate the agents of violence from responsibility for their choices. The actions that they commit are ultimately reduced to the oppression that they or their people have experienced. The therapists to the Jews do not treat Jewish suffering as a basis for mitigating Jewish or Israeli misbehaviour. Instead, it is used to highlight the depth of the pathology that generates it, and to focus on the need for drastic corrective measures, where these frequently require that Israel be politically eliminated as the best way of eradicating the disease.

Finally, the use of the psychologizing discourse for the Israel-Palestine conflict is sui generis. If anyone were to construe other conflicts in analogous terms, they would be quickly dismissed as racists or neo-colonialists. Imagine, for example, how progressive opinion would receive the suggestion that Africans were disposed to mass murder and civil war because they had been traumatized by centuries of colonial rule and so had internalized the treatment and mores to which Europeans had subjected them. Similarly, it seems unlikely that any attempt to analyze the contemporary Muslim world as suffering from a collective psychosis brought on by the trauma of European violence over the centuries will meet with much enthusiasm among people who regard themselves as politically enlightened. But it is precisely the fashionably 'progressive' who accept as the height of wisdom the psychologizing discourse about Jews and Israel.

Using group psychological profiling to attribute to Jews an unnatural and diseased nature is not new. In 1901 Otto Weininger published Sex and Character in Vienna (an anonymous English translation appeared in 1906, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York). In this book, Weininger contrasts masculine and feminine character types. He identifies men with reason, virtue, heroism, ego, cultural creativity (genius) and social order. The female is weak, dependent, cowardly, amoral, lacking in ego, driven by sexual passion, incapable of genuine creativity, and subversive of order. Weininger cites a variety of biological and medical 'facts' to argue for his description of male and female typologies. He then distinguishes between 'Aryan' and Jewish characters, claiming that the Aryans instantiate male properties, while the Jews are largely feminine in nature.

Weininger wrote in turn of the century Vienna, when pseudo-scientific theories of race and sex were invoked to support racist anthropological views and misogynist attitudes towards women. These cultural themes defined the context in which Weininger formulated his ideas. They also provided the basis for Nazi policies in the following decades. However, it is important to distinguish carefully between some of these themes and Weininger's enterprise. While there are clear racist elements in his book, he is careful to insist that he is not characterizing Jews as a racial entity, but as an idealized psychological type, instantiated to a greater or lesser degree by actual Jews. He also clearly states that he opposes any attempt to persecute or disenfranchise Jews. He holds out the prospect of escape from their respective natures to both individual women and Jews. For women this requires adopting male values and forms of behaviour. Jews can redeem themselves from their type by converting to Christianity and embracing Aryan culture. Weininger himself had adopted Lutheranism. He identified with Protestantism, rather than Catholicism, because of a strong admiration for Kant and the reliance on individual conscience in achieving moral responsibility.

It is tempting to dismiss Weininger as a crackpot (Freud, who met him briefly, described him as 'highly gifted but sexually deranged'). He committed suicide at the age of 23, two years after the publication of Sex and Character, and became a romantic cult figure. In fact, his book had a significant impact on intellectual life in Vienna and abroad. Prominent cultural figures hailed it as a work of genius. So, for example, Karl Kraus, the noted Viennese satirist, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, the influential Austrian philosopher, expressed great admiration for Weininger's work. Like him, they were both converted Jews. Weininger's view of Jews resonated widely through Austrian literary society.

Weininger was an early therapist to the Jews. There are, however, fundamental differences between his project and that of the latter-day therapists: he regarded Jews and Judaism as a disease to be escaped; they, in general, do not, although they frequently slide into such a view of Israel. Some even present themselves as the guardians of 'true' Jewish values in the face of Zionist corruption. The traits that Weininger stigmatizes in his caricature of a Jewish cultural type are largely disjoint from those that the contemporary therapists select for opprobrium. Weininger states that the origins of the Jewish type are a mystery to him. By contrast the contemporary therapists explain negative collective Jewish features as the result of group trauma.

But important analogies do exist between Weininger's writings on Jews and the psychologizing discourse that has emerged in recent years. In both cases traditional anti-Jewish prejudices are effectively legitimized through a pseudo-scientific exercise in collective psychological portraiture. Weininger and the latter-day therapists both offer an exit from group stigma through recognition of the pathology that provokes it, and the adoption of an alternative set of cultural commitments. For the Jews among the therapists, this is a route out of quarantine into the mainstream of civilized opinion. No wonder, then, that it should prove to be attractive in the face of a hostile social environment.

Most therapists to the Jews would probably recoil at the suggestion that they share a common set of concerns with Weininger. They are undoubtedly sincere in their professed intention to be helpful and constructive. It is unfortunate that they have apparently failed to examine the defining assumptions of their enterprise. Should they do so, they may well be surprised to discover the deeply racist nature of some of these assumptions.



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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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