Thursday, January 13, 2011
Intrusive political correctness in Britain
Are you straight or gay? Police and nurses to be asked their sexuality in new equality drive. I wonder how "None of your F** business" would go as a reply?
Millions of teachers, nurses and policemen could be asked to disclose their sexuality, religion and race as part of a new Coalition equality drive.
Lib Dem equalities minister Lynne Featherstone says all public sector organisations should consider sending ‘diversity monitoring forms’ to staff to prove they are treating all sections of society fairly.
From April, public bodies will be subject to the Equality Act – passed by Labour but taken up enthusiastically by the Coalition – which will force them to consider the impact of everything they do on the diversity of the people they serve or employ.
Miss Featherstone supports sending staff a questionnaire about their sexuality and even whether they have had a sex change.
Her plans are suggested in a guide to how public bodies should comply with the Act. Critics fear it will lead to an avalanche of bureaucracy and expense just as jobs are under threat and budgets are slashed.
One example given in the document is banning police from imposing height restrictions because they may be discriminatory to women.
It also says that complying with the equality duty ‘may involve treating some people better than others, as far as this is allowed by discrimination law’.
The Latest Shootings in America: An English View
I try to avoid commenting on American affairs. It is usually bad manners to get involved in the politics of a foreign country. It is always unwise for someone to get involved in the politics of country where he does not live. I see this all the time in foreign comments on England – they are never enlightening, but range between repetitions of platitude and the utterly perverse. This being said, the shooting last week by Jared Loughner of Gabrielle Giffords, a politician there, and of several other people, is an exception. The matter of who kills whom in America, and for what reason, is no proper concern of mine. But the shootings have, on both sides of the Atlantic, begun a debate over the possible effects of speech on action. So far as this debate touches on England, and might be used to justify the removal of what freedom we still possess, I do not think it inappropriate to comment on the shootings.
Now, when speaking about the removal of our freedoms, a good place to begin is an article in yesterday’s Independent. Mary Ann Sieghart appears to blame the shootings on freedom of speech. She certainly disapproves of those journalists in America who fail to agree with their ruling class on every main issue. She says, for example:
These viewers [of Fox News] were shockingly misinformed. They were twice as likely to believe that most scientists don't believe in climate change and that it wasn't clear whether Obama was born in America. The more often they viewed Fox News, the more likely they were to believe these untruths. And the effect wasn't just a matter of partisan bias. Even Democrats who watched the station were more likely to be misinformed.
This is, I must confess, the first good thing I have heard in recent years of any media outlet owned by Rupert Murdoch. For Mrs Sieghart, though, it stands to reason that anything like the spreading of probable truth on these and other issues must lead inevitably to the shooting of politicians. Such is her opinion, and such seems to be the consensus among other ruling class propagandists here and in America.
I do expect this consensus to fracture in the next few days. In America, media attention may be shifted to the supposed ease with which common people can buy guns. Over here, this would be the waste of a good shooting. Our victim disarmament laws are already about the strictest in the world. The only way left to reduce the number of guns in circulation would be to start disarming criminals and the police. But, though our own censorship laws are also stricter than the American, they are still far from complete. Every so often, there are reports in the newspapers that someone has been arrested for uttering words that might, before about 1980, barely have raised an eyebrow; and libertarians of all shades – real libertarians, that is, not the sort who get jobs with The Guardian or the BBC – then strike up a chorus of horror about the abolition of free speech.
We are, of course, right in one sense. On the other hand, the censorship laws are still applied very feebly, and they do not apply to dissent within the educated classes. So long as we know what phrasing to avoid, we can still complain as we please about the joint loss of our country and of our liberties. Stopping this is much more important to our ruling class than finding an excuse to take away a few more shotguns and hunting rifles. It therefore makes sense for the debate in England over these shootings to remain fixed on the alleged connection between what is called hate speech and violent crime.
Already, the newspapers here are repeating claims about the influence on Jared Loughner of the white nationalist journal American Renaissance. According to a headline in the last Mail on Sunday, “Tucson shooting suspect [is] linked to fanatical pro-white magazine with anti-Semitic and anti-government views.” The story is repeated across much of the British media. It is only a matter of time before someone points out that Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, was invited to speak last year at an American Renaissance conference – and would have spoken, had this not been cancelled after threats of violence from “anti-fascist” protestors. We shall then have a “clear and obvious” connection between Mr Griffin and Jared Loughner.
It may be remembered how, in 1999, someone called Michael Copeland let off several bombs in London. He had briefly been a member of the BNP. Though he had left the moment he discovered that no one shared his interest in killing people, calls still went up for the party to be banned. The calls were manifestly unfair. The BNP could be held no more responsible for David Copeland’s crimes than the Social Democratic Party could for the crimes of the serial sex killer Dennis Nilsen. But that was then. The BNP is now the third or fourth opposition party in this country. I have no doubt the calls will go up again. I do not think they will fade away so quickly.
But let us look at this “fanatical” and “anti-semitic” and “anti-government” and pro-white” journal. Anyone who looks on the American Renaissance website will see that it is a white nationalist journal. Its overall message is to claim that whites should think of themselves as members of a distinct group, with certain interests and certain aptitudes, and that they should defend their possession of those territories where they now form the majority – and that they should be at least sceptical when members of other groups, or their white allies, call for endless apology and abasement and surrender.
These claims may be true. They may be false. They may equally be irrelevant in a world where a set of cultural values and ways of thinking about the world may have first been developed by whites, but are now the common heritage of all mankind, and where future conflicts will arise not between whites and non-whites, but between believers and disbelievers in the power and autonomy of reason. Civilisation, as it has so far existed, may be overwhelmingly a creation of the white races. But that may not be so in the future. Political correctness and forced multi-culturalism should be denounced as ruling class legitimation strategies. But a libertarian world, based on respect for life, liberty and property, will have its own natural diversity.
But true or false or irrelevant, I can see nothing in American Renaissance that could be remotely described as an incitement to violence. The tone of the journal is uniformly courteous and scholarly. I have never once seen the slightest intemperance of language, except where it has been necessary to quote the words of others. It is not fanatical. It is certainly not anti-Semitic. Some of its writers are Jews. So are many of its readers. If some borderline raving lunatic can read a copy of American Renaissance, and find in it advice that he should go out and shoot someone, that is properly a matter for the lawyers and doctors to consider, not an excuse for censorship of the journal or the persecution of its readers.
The standard response to this sort of factual challenge is to collapse all distinctions between incitement and inspiration, and to carry into the second the moral blame attached to the first. We saw this in 1999, when no one could find evidence that the BNP had recommended any acts of violence. The talk then was all of the “climate of hate” variety. The BNP was said to have created an environment within which acts of violence were more likely to be perceived as legitimate. The same argument is used by the anti-pornography lobby. No one can prove that showing pictures of naked women is direct incitement to rape. And so the claim is that these pictures somehow “dehumanise” all women and make it more likely that they will be raped.
Whoever uses it, this argument is based on a trick. Incitements to violence imply blame. Inspiration at worst implies causality. Anyone who uses the argument must be a villain or a fool. Most who use it, I am sure, are villains. They are villains because they never apply it consistently. For example, though I have never read the collected writings of Marx and Engels. What I have read, though, does not contain any direct incitement to mass-enslavement and mass-murder. However, they are strong mix of denunciation and utopian fantasy that have obviously inspired the creation of terrorist governments.
Again, the reported words of Christ suggest a more than womanly dislike of violence. But his promise of eternal life for all who will heed his call to repentance has been inspiring various kinds of inquisition for the past two thousand years. Should we therefore use the “climate of hate argument” to ban Das Capital or shut down the Roman Catholic Church? I do not think any of the ruling class propagandists who will cry up the alleged link between Jared Loughner and Nick Griffin via Jared Taylor will show much interest in consistency. They want to make the BNP an illegal organisation, and any argument – no matter how defective – will do, so long as they can get enough people to go along with it.
But let us leave the matter of inspiration and go back to arguments about incitement. Let us suppose – and this is not, I believe, the case – that American Renaissance and Nick Griffin and the BNP were to advocate the use of violence. Should this be made grounds for any kind of legal action against them? Again, I will say that this case is hypothetical: it has neither evidence nor other credibility. But let it be supposed for the sake of argument. I think the answer must be no. Someone who commissions violent acts against a named individual is an accessory to the crime, and there is no need to consider the nature or degree of incitement.
It may be a special case when a man is urging on an angry crowd against some nearby object. But someone who makes a speech inside a room, or who writes a book or an article – especially if no names are mentioned or implied, and if no money changes hands – should not be held legally responsible if others take his words, even if in their most natural meaning, and go out and hurt someone. The sole responsibility for acts of violence must lie with those who commit them. This is so because all reasonable considerations make it so. A man who reads or hears an argument for violence will generally have enough time before carrying words into action to think about what he is doing, and to take responsibility.
Deny this, and you have to say that Bill Gates forced me to buy Windows 7 because, three weeks after he offered me a copy for £30, I pulled out a credit card and paid the money – or that Margaret Thatcher forced David Laws to give the taxpayers’ money to his male lover, because she first allowed House of Commons expenses to become a shadow increase of salary for Members of Parliament.
Moreover, to make a crime of incitement is to deny the possibility of democratic government. If men cannot be trusted to think for themselves, it is both dangerous and a waste of time to trust them with the vote. Of course, this may be a good argument against the sort of democracy we now have. But anyone who really does believe in our current political system should be cautious about accepting any argument that spreads responsibility for criminal acts beyond those who commit them.
I am not saying it is other than disreputable for someone to preach violence against those he dislikes. There is a case for shunning people like Abu Hamza. I just do not see how it can be consistent with any idea of liberal democracy to hold one man guilty of crimes committed by another. But – I repeat – I am not accusing any of the persons mentioned of incitement. I only deny that incitement is the excuse for censorship it is taken to be.
As I have said, what happens in America is not my concern. America is not my country. I have no great regard for the United States as a country or as an idea. Equally, as said, when American facts seem likely to be made into argument for the further theft of English liberties, I do see reason for commenting on those facts. All that remains is to see whether the debate in England goes in the direction that I strongly suspect it will.
The attack on Israel is part of a larger attack on reason and morality
As we all know by now, Israel has lost the battle for public opinion in the west. Even the Israel government is now acknowledging this fact. Israel and its defenders have been outclassed and outmaneuvered in a war of the mind being waged on a battleground it never even acknowledged it was on.
The first thing to say is that this phenomenon is characteristic not just of the media animosity or economic or academic boycotts. It goes across the intelligentsia and political class, spreading well beyond the normal suspects on the left into the mainstream middle-classes.
In Britain, the universities, the established church, the theatrical and publishing worlds, the voluntary sector, significant elements within the Foreign Office, members of Parliament across the political spectrum, as well as the media have overwhelmingly signed up to the demonization and delegitimisation of Israel.
The scale of this phenomenon is nothing short of a multi-layered civilization crisis.
The west is experiencing a total inversion of truth evidence and reason. A society's thinking class has overwhelmingly subscribed to an immoral, patently false and in many cases demonstrably absurd account of the Middle East, past and present, which it has uncritically absorbed and assumes to be true.
In routine, everyday discourse history is turned on its head; logic is suspended; and an entirely false narrative of the conflict is now widely accepted as unchallengeable fact, from which fundamental error has been spun a global web of potentially catastrophic false conclusions.
This has led to a kind of dialogue of the demented in which rational discussion is simply not possible because there is no shared understanding of the meaning of language. So victim and victimizer, truth and lies, justice and injustice turn into their precise opposite.
This madness is being promulgated through a global alliance between state and non-state actors – diplomats and journalists, politicians and NGOs and websites. Many of these are waging war not just against Israel but against the west.
There are two preconditions for an effective fightback. First is to form effective structures of resistance. Those structures, however, depend in turn on a correct understanding of the nature and scale of what Israel is up against.
So far, the structures are not in place, and more important still, what Israel is up against is grossly – and fatally – underestimated and misunderstood.
The problem is that we are dealing with a pathology – to which we nevertheless respond as if it were rational behavior.
What's happened is a pattern of thinking in the west which turns reality upside down. Remarkably, this in turn echoes a very similar inversion of reality within the Islamic world, where such inversion has a theological base.
Because Islam is considered perfect, its adherents can never do wrong. All their aggression is therefore represented as self-defense, while western/Israeli self-defense is said to be aggression.
So in this Orwellian universe the enslavement of Muslim women is said to represent their liberation; democracy is a means of enslavement from which the west must be freed; murder of Israelis is the purest form of justice.
Furthermore, this is overlaid by the phenomenon of 'psychological projection' in which the Islamic world not only denies its own misdeeds but ascribes them instead to its victims.
So while Muslims deny the Holocaust, they claim that Israel is carrying out a holocaust in Gaza. Anti-Semitism is central to Jewish experience in Europe; Muslims claim that 'Islamophobia' is rife throughout Europe.
Israel gives all Jews the 'right of return' to Israel on account of the unique reality of global Jewish persecution; the Muslims claim a 'right of return' – not to their own putative state of Palestine, but to Israel. They even claim that the Palestinians are the world's 'new Jews'.
These and many other examples are used within the Islamic world to negate Jewish experience and appropriate it for itself to obtain what Muslims want in terms of status, power and conquest.
What is remarkable is that instead of treating this as a pathological deformity of thinking, the western progressive intelligentsia has largely embraced it as rational and true. And to a large extent this is because that same western intelligentsia has itself supplanted rationality by ideology – or the dogma of a particular idea.
Objectivity, evidence and truth have been ditched for ideologies such as moral and cultural relativism, multiculturalism, feminism, environmentalism, anti-capitalism, anti-colonialism, transnationalism, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism.
Across a wide range of such issues, it's no longer possible to have a rational discussion with the progressive intelligentsia, as on each issue there's only one story for them which brooks no dissent.
This is because, rather than arriving at a conclusion from the evidence, ideology inescapably wrenches the evidence to fit a prior idea. So ideology of any kind is fundamentally anti-reason and truth. And if there's no truth, there can be no lies either; truth and lies become merely 'alternative narratives'.
Moral and cultural relativism – the belief that subjective experience trumps moral authority and any notion of objectivity or truth – has turned right and wrong on their heads.
Because of the dominant belief in multiculturalism, victim culture and minority rights, self-designated victim groups – those without power – can never do wrong while majority groups can never do right. And Jews are not considered a minority because – in the hateful discourse of today – Jews are held to be all-powerful as they 'control' the media, Wall Street and America.
So the Muslim world cannot be held responsible for blowing people up as they are the third world victims of the west; so any atrocities they commit must be the fault of their victims; and so the US had it coming to it on 9/11. And in similar fashion, Israel can never be the victim of the Arab world; the murder of Israelis by the Arab world must be Israel's own fault.
So the way has been opened for mass credulity towards propaganda and fabrication. The custodians of reason have thus turned into destroyers of reason – centered in the crucible of reason, the university.
All these different ideologies are utopian; in their different ways, they all posit the creation of the perfect society. That is why they are considered 'progressive', and people on the progressive wing of politics sign up to them. That helps explain the distressing fact that so many Jews on the left also sign up to Israel-hatred, since they too sign up to utopian ideologies.
But when utopias fail, as they always do, their adherents invariably select scapegoats on whom they turn to express their rage over the thwarting of the establishment of that perfect society. And since utopia is all about realizing the perfect society, these scapegoats become enemies of humanity.
For Greens, such enemies of humanity are capitalists; for anti imperialists, America; for militant atheists, religious believers. Anti-Zionists turn on Israel for thwarting the end to the 'Jewish question': the redemption of western guilt for the persecution of the Jews – a guilt which can never be redeemed as long as the wretched Jews continue to make themselves the targets of attack.
In short, therefore, the west cannot defend itself against the Islamic jihad because it can't itself even think straight any more.
But this lethal muddle in the minds of the intelligentsia must be viewed in turn in the context of a global diplomatic process which itself embodies upside-down thinking, which fans the flames of bigotry and defeatism – and in which Israel itself has been tragically, and suicidally, complicit.
McDonald's reviews ban on gay websites
McDonald's New Zealand said it was reviewing its internet access policies after gay groups complained the fast-food giant was blocking their websites from its Wi-Fi network.
Gay lifestyle website GayNZ.com sparked the review when it published an open letter condemning McDonald's for "censoring" the free Wi-Fi access it introduced in its 132 restaurants last month.
It said GayNZ and other sites offering advice and resources to the gay community were barred, preventing access to information that could be "extremely valuable, even life saving, for young people".
"There is a difference between sexuality and sex. Perhaps your censors do not understand this?" the website said.
McDonald's said it barred gambling, tobacco and adult websites from its Wi-Fi service because it was a family restaurant chain and all content it allowed must be suitable for children to view.
The company said this extended to sites where clicking on links and third-party advertisements could provide access to sexually explicit material.
"However, we might not always get our filtering process right, and we're absolutely happy to review websites on a case by case basis, if our customers believe that sites have been unjustifiably blocked," it said in a statement.
Rainbow Youth executive director Tom Hamilton said there was no inappropriate content on the organisation's website, which offers support services to gay and lesbian youths.
"Obviously there is a flaw in [McDonald's] approach. Websites like Rainbow Youth are not of any danger to young people," he told Radio NZ.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.