Thursday, February 10, 2011
Britain's intolerant and oppressive Left
Labour frontbencher Sadiq Khan should be thoroughly ashamed of his despicable, though utterly predictable, attack on David Cameron. Far from bolstering the Far Right, the Prime Minister has commendably reclaimed the debate about state-sponsored multiculturalism. His speech was measured and not in the slightest way inflammatory.
For too long, anyone who has questioned this pernicious doctrine has been smeared as ‘racist’. Labour spent a decade and a half trashing those who expressed concerns about unlimited immigration and the refusal of some ethnic groups to integrate into British society.
And as a consequence, decent people found themselves smeared as extremists and a minority regrettably sought refuge in the arms of the BNP. Some of those same people are now flirting with the street thugs of the English Defence League. It’s because they feel they have nowhere else to go.
But be under no illusion, Nick Griffin is the bastard son of Jack Straw and every other Left-wing politician who has consistently tried to close down debate on this sensitive subject and routinely rubbished their opponents as racists and ‘Little Englanders’.
Falsely accusing someone of racism is as repellent as racism itself. But Khan will keep his job. You can hurl the most vile smears at anyone these days, provided you insert the word ‘Tory’.
Take the case of the Conservative MP Paul Maynard, who suffers from cerebral palsy and was cruelly mocked by Labour members in the Commons. Can you begin to imagine the reaction if some Conservatives had abused a disabled Labour MP?
They’ll get away with it, though, because he’s a ‘Tory’, so deserves all the contempt he gets. If the lads from Top Gear had insulted Tories instead of Mexicans they would have been hailed as heroes by the Left.
Most of the real hatred and bitterness in Britain comes from those who noisily proclaim their own ‘tolerance’ and are quickest to take offence at any real or perceived slight. After ‘homophobe’, ‘Islamophobe’, ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’, ‘Tory’ is their favourite slur.
Last week a moderate students’ union leader in Leeds was subjected to a barrage of abuse from demonstrators who called him ‘Tory Jew scum’ — despite him being neither Jewish nor a Conservative. But like ‘Tory’, ‘Jew’ is now an acceptable insult on the Left. So virulent is their hatred of Israel that all Jews are considered fair game.
As I exposed in a TV documentary a couple of years ago, the worrying rise in anti-semitism in Britain stems from an unholy alliance between the fascist Left and militant Islam.
If these protesters had been screaming ‘Muslim scum’ there would have been a whole host of arrests, questions in the House and a Panorama special on the BBC.
You might expect the Labour leader to have a view on this. Yet Ed Miliband, who is himself Jewish, has stayed silent. His energies are employed in denouncing the wicked ‘Tory cuts’.
There’s an entire industry devoted to seeking out offence and persecuting people for inoffensive remarks. In Wiltshire, a health watchdog has had its funding withdrawn because its chairman was overheard referring to ‘jungle drums’ at a public meeting in a local scout hut.
What unites these seemingly different examples of the Prime Minister, a disabled Tory MP, the students’ leader and the lady from the Wiltshire health watchdog is that all are victims of modern-day, Left-wing witch-hunts.
We live in an age when all language is monitored as closely as it was in Communist East Germany and careers are ruined at the drop of a so-called ‘offensive’ remark. Yet the self-appointed moral guardians of the Left believe they have a divine right to hurl whatever slanders they like provided they simultaneously proclaim their own goodness.
So it’s OK to monster ‘Tories’ and ‘Jews’ and make false, hurtful allegations of ‘racism’ against a thoroughly decent and selfless 70-year-old woman just as long as your heart is in the right place.
While the Prime Minister is big enough and ugly enough to handle the rough and tumble of political abuse, Mrs Farquhar has had her life turned upside down.
There will be no sanction against Sadiq Khan, or those Labour MPs who mocked Paul Maynard’s disability. The demonstrators who called the student leader ‘Tory Jew scum’ will not be prosecuted.
And the smearmonger from the Wiltshire Racial Equality Council will not be forced to apologise and will continue to seek out racism where none exists.
No doubt Sonia Carr considers Mrs Farquhar a symbol of ‘old’ Britain and therefore a perfectly legitimate target for vilification. She’s probably also suspected of voting Tory.
BBC bias still thriving
After failing to bounce the Lib Dems into a ‘progressive’ coalition with Labour, the BBC set itself up as the official opposition to the new Government.
Day after day, horror stories about the ‘cuts’ dominate the Corporation’s news bulletins.
The BBC could choose to report on the massive waste in local government and the 20 per cent pay rises enjoyed by council middle managers, whose ranks and remuneration have swollen under Labour and now cost us £2.8billion a year in wages alone.
It could draw attention to the vast sums of money frittered away on useless and time-consuming bureaucracy in the police.
But instead it focuses on library closures and Labour’s ludicrous claims that thousands of police are to be sacked and we’re all going to be murdered in our beds because of the ‘cuts’.
All news organisations have an agenda tailored to their own audience. But the BBC isn’t a commercial operation. It is paid for by a poll tax, enforced by law. It has a duty to be impartial, yet pumps out a diet of Labour-friendly, political propaganda.
NPR is no better, being hopelessly skewed to the Democrats. But it’s financed by public subscription, not by a licence fee.
The BBC does many good things, but it takes its news agenda from the Guardian, one of Britain’s worst-selling, loss-making newspapers.
While the row over Rupert Murdoch buying out the whole of Sky rumbles on, two-thirds of people still get their news from the BBC.
Ten million homes voluntarily subscribe to Sky, so why not to the Beeb? Some people think subscription would spell the end of the BBC. No doubt the poor and minorities would be hardest hit.
An obsession with corporations is driving the Left crazy
Part of a general lurch to the Left among Democrats
In early January, the British medical journal BMJ completed an investigation into one of the most notorious articles in recent history: Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 study in The Lancet claiming that the MMR vaccine, designed to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella, causes autism. The Lancet had already retracted the piece in February 2010 (following a partial retraction in 2004), and Wakefield was stripped of his medical license three months later. BMJ concluded that Wakefield consciously distorted the medical histories of each of the 12 patients on which he based his study. “The MMR scare was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud,” Editor in Chief Fiona Godlee wrote. Such “clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare.”
Since the original article was published, vaccination rates have tumbled in the U.K. and U.S., while measles rates have shot up. Certainly Wakefield and The Lancet shoulder some responsibility for the damage done to public health. But bad information does not spread and trigger action (or, in this case, inaction) without a willing audience. The vaccine/autism link has been debunked repeatedly since 1998—by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine, and the British National Health Service, among many others. Yet the myth persisted. Why?
One reason is perfectly understandable: Reported incidence of autism was going up, and parents in this overprotective age were freaking out. Anti-vaccine sentiment also overlapped with the ideas of the all-natural wing of the counterculture. But a key precondition for believing and propagating the anti-vaccine myth was a fundamental distrust of corporations, especially the pharmaceutical variety.
“The story of how government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of [the MMR-style vaccine ingredient] thimerosal from the public is a chilling case study of institutional arrogance, power and greed,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote in an influential, conspiratorial, and widely debunked article for Rolling Stone in 2005. “The evidence suggests our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children.”
You do not need to be an apologist for Big Pharma to observe that maybe it’s against the self-interest of an industry to deliberately poison its customers. So how does one arrive at such a monstrous conclusion?
In Kennedy’s case it’s of a piece with his belief that Republicans are in cahoots with big corporations to steal elections (such as the presidential race in 2004) and reintroduce fascism. “While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business,” he wrote in the 2004 book Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy. “My American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as ‘a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism.’ Sound familiar?” In Kennedy’s nightmare world, corporations can only be restrained by granting more power to a centralized government through measures such as nationalizing oil companies, re-instituting the Fairness Doctrine, and emulating the enlightened policies of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (the “kind of leader my father and President Kennedy were looking for” in Latin America).
Although the anti-corporate virus only occasionally infects the host with pro-Chavez insanity, even less extreme versions can do tremendous harm. Whenever you see an otherwise semi-sound liberal or progressive thinker succumb to fact-free paranoia, expect to find the c-word nearby.
The autism-vaccine fraud found its most receptive audiences in the left-leaning media outlets Salon, Rolling Stone, and especially The Huffington Post. Fear and loathing of corporations is at the heart of liberal revulsion at the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a ruling that you would otherwise think should warm a liberal’s heart, centered as it is on the right to broadcast a political documentary without approval from the government. Yet there was MSNBC host Keith Olbermann saying that Citizens United “might actually have more dire implications than Dred Scott v. Sandford,” the notorious 1857* decision that declared blacks had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
If political hyperbole were the only byproduct of anti-corporate hysteria, we could safely laugh at it and move on to more pleasurable pursuits. Alas, we do not have that luxury. As two articles in this issue vividly illustrate, fear of corporations is directly responsible for a dreadful mistake: increasing government control over the Internet.
In “The Rise of Cybercollectivism,” Adam Thierer documents more than a decade of consistent—and consistently wrong—techno-pessimism from a parade of left-wing activists who believe state power is the only defense against a corporate takeover of all things online. In “Internet Cop,” Associate Editor Peter Suderman explains how that belief led the Federal Communications Commission to foist “net neutrality” regulations on a public that has never expressed interest in federal controls over what is arguably the single most remarkable development of modern life. Suderman shows that neutrality activists have managed to codify some of their goals even though they have yet to offer convincing examples of the corporate misbehavior they are trying to prevent.
That sort of anti-corporate policy nullifies the hard-won insights that many left-leaning policy analysts arrived at in the 1970s. December saw the passing of a great American: the academic and bureaucrat Alfred E. Kahn, father of airline deregulation. Kahn was a liberal Democrat who, after applying rigorous study to the impact of federal regulation on industry, came to the conclusion that in many cases regulation served to raise prices, blunt innovation, form government-sanctioned industrial cartels, and discriminate against new businesses. The market, not the government, was the most effective tool to discipline big business, because corporations that punished their customers were doomed to failure. In short, Kahn understood that misguided regulation produced exactly what Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claims to despise: big business and government entwined in unholy corporatism.
Liberals and Democrats in the 1970s —a decade that should have proved once and for all the folly of letting “the best and the brightest” try to build a technocratic nirvana—understood that loosening government control helped consumers at the expense of big corporations. The senator most responsible for pushing through airline deregulation was Kennedy’s uncle Ted. The staffer who did the most important legwork on the Kennedy-led Senate hearings was a guy who would later become a liberal Supreme Court Justice, Stephen Breyer. The most famous consumer advocate in favor of decontrol was Ralph Nader. And above them all stood a liberal president.
“I share the basic beliefs of my region [against] an excessive government intrusion into the private affairs of American citizens and also into the private affairs of the free enterprise system,” Jimmy Carter said in his one and only presidential debate with the man liberals now blame for deregulation, Ronald Reagan. “One of the commitments that I made was to deregulate the major industries of this country. We’ve been remarkably successful, with the help of a Democratic Congress. We have deregulated the air industry, the rail industry, the trucking industry, financial institutions. We’re now working on the communications industry.”
If only there were Republicans, let alone Democrats, who were as deregulatory in 2011 as Jimmy Carter was in 1978.
Mike Adams on atheists
Mike sees Christianity as a bulwark of liberty. In an American context that has some truth but a wider perspective might be of interest too
An atheist reader has asked that I devote a column to explaining what he sees as my contempt for atheists. In past columns, I have exhibited a careless tendency to lump atheists together into a single homogeneous category. In my experience, there are two distinct categories of atheists – the unbelieving atheist and the evangelistic atheist. Only the latter category is deserving of contempt.
There are a number of reasons why a person might identify himself as an unbelieving atheist. I believe very firmly that one can be reasonably mistaken in one’s unbelief. While I think atheists are uniformly wrong, I do not consider them to be uniformly unreasonable.
It may well be the case that the unbeliever was raised by atheist parents in a home without religious instruction. I know of atheists who were raised in homes without a copy of the Bible. Each had to rely upon second hand accounts of what the Bible says on a variety of issues. Most of them never got around to reading it firsthand.
Those who lack religious influence in the home and religious instruction at an early age are at a disadvantage in 21st century America. Long before President Obama declared that we are no longer a Christian nation, our courts and schools began to lay the foundation for post-Christian America.
There is no mistaking the fact that our public school system has become secularized to the point of relinquishing any claims of neutrality. Most schools have reached the point of being overtly anti-religious. Kids who have no firm foundation in Judeo-Christian ethics are likely to become highly resistant to conversion at a later age. You can thank our public schools for that. We all pay for public education in more ways than one.
The unbelieving atheist often sets a high standard of proof when confronted with Christian apologetics. That is what his culture teaches. He is also taught that religion and logic are incompatible. I recently heard someone say, “One can’t put the words logic and religion in the same sentence.” Of course, that statement contains a serious flaw: It uses the words logic and religion in the same sentence.
Regardless of what others say, we are commanded as Christians to provide a ready defense for our beliefs. And that calls for the use of logic and reason and evidence. We are obligated to polish our arguments. It is a part of our obligation to hold out a candle and light up the world.
But holding out a candle cannot help others to see the sun. If things have become dark enough for them our candle might even obscure their view of the stars. At some point they must be willing to look beyond isolated arguments. They must open their eyes and contemplate their surroundings. And they must look beyond concepts like “luck” and “random variation” to find a more complex and refined view of the universe.
I love my unbelieving atheist friends and I enjoy the conversations we have on many weighty issues. Even when they seem stubborn, they seldom seem unreasonable. The fact that many of them are politically conservative gives me great hope.
But the evangelistic atheist is a different breed altogether. One atheist evangelist sits in his office with piles of anti-religious books as he prepares his next lecture for his Sociology of Religion class. He curses more than he uses words like “a” and “the.” And he posts the headlines of the latest church scandal on his office door. He takes more pride in the failure of others than in his own personal achievements.
Another evangelistic atheist writes books distorting the history of Christianity and the life and words of Jesus – all the while calling it scholarship. He develops courses on “Atheism and Unbelief.” He even posts “Godless!” (Compete with the exclamation point!) in the “religious views” portion of his Facebook profile. Yet he claims emotional detachment on issues of faith and religion.
In short, the evangelistic atheist is characterized less by the absence of belief than by a zeal for destroying the beliefs of others. He is seldom politically conservative and almost always “very liberal.” Just take a few minutes to examine his Facebook profile.
The politically conservative unbelieving atheist must wake up and connect the dots between religion and politics and between social and fiscal conservatism. He must realize that the evangelistic atheist is on a political rather than religious crusade. His evangelism targets religion because he seeks to destroy the family. And he seeks to destroy the family because he seeks to replace it with the welfare state.
Our individual liberties are in jeopardy. But they may only be taken away by men if it is presumed that they are granted by men. We need fair-minded unbelieving atheists to reconsider the underpinnings of their beliefs. A godless conservatism is only one election away from extinction.
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.