Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Blaming Righty in Oslo
By Robin of Berkeley
A madman a continent away in Norway mows down almost 100 innocent people in cold blood. The shooter, Andrers Breivik, grew up a child of divorce, estranged from his father, in a liberal home in a liberal country.
And yet when the press starts pointing fingers, guess which direction they point. Do they gesture leftward, towards a liberal culture that belittles family and religion? Is atheist Europe the culprit for spawning a homicidal maniac? On the contrary...the media chooses the Usual Suspects, that vast right-wing conspiracy.
This is no surprise. Last year, the actions of a lone shooter in Arizona were twisted and distorted to indict conservatives. Jared Loughner, a devil-worshiping fan of the Communist Manifesto, somehow became linked to Sarah Palin and Rush.
And yet which is the political movement more aligned with violence? I offer this pop quiz to test your political IQ.
Question one: Which movement is the offspring of communism, which, as you may recall, led to the deaths of hundreds of millions of people last century?
a. The left, or
b. The right?
Question two: Who popularized the phrase, "Through any means necessary"?
a. Malcolm X, or
b. George Will?
Next: Which political group bombed ROTC buildings, police stations, and courthouses in the '60s, murdering and maiming officers and other innocent people? Was it:
a. The Weather Underground, or
b. The Young Republicans?
Which '60s group kidnapped Patty Hearst, beating and raping her until she robotically committed crimes? Was it:
a. The far-left Symbionese Liberation Party, or
b. The Ayn Rand Society?
As for the spanking New Black Panthers, did they wield billy clubs at election sites in support of
a. Barack Obama, or
b. Mitt Romney?
The next question is a tough one.
The Unabomber, the environmentalist who tried to save the earth by rubbing out a bunch of people, had a well-read book in his shack. Was this book by:
a. Al Gore, or
b. William F. Buckley?
Another environmental activist, Ira Einhorn, was the mastermind behind Earth Day. Where is he currently residing?
a. In Hawaii, where he swims with the dolphins, or
b. In a federal penitentiary for beating his girlfriend to death and stuffing her body in a trunk.
And now for some bonus points, try your hand at this vexing question: Is it the left or the right that is aligned with radical Islam, with its burqua, genital mutilation, beheadings, and stoning?
Now, liberals will scoff at my little test, pointing out that the right has been violent as well. True, there have been violent conservatives, such as the lone gunman who murdered abortion doctor George Tiller. But as for creating mob terror and mayhem, and activating evil, the left has no close competition.
Liberals will insist: what about Timothy McVeigh? Isn't the Oslo bomber another example of that most threatening of creatures: the conservative, angry, white male? No, according to reporter Jayna Davis. Through extensive research, ignored by the mainstream media, Davis ties the Oklahoma bombers to radical Islam, whom she calls the "Third Terrorist."
Given all of the evidence to the contrary, why are conservatives continually viewed as unhinged killers-in-the-making? Why, given that the ultimate demon, Hitler, headed the National Socialist Party, are conservatives continually targeted? And why, for God's sake, are conservatives now under fire for the actions of an evil man in Norway?
For one, it's politically expedient for the left to blame and shame the right. What else can they do? With the economy in free-fall, and nuns being groped at airports, liberals sure can't rest on their laurels.
And it's not hard to convince the gullible masses that conservatives are culpable whenever and wherever violence erupts. The left has done a spectacular job of brainwashing Americans to believe that conservatives are coarse and subhuman. Simply consult your nearby thesaurus for evidence: here are some synonyms for "conservative": reactionary, right-wing, redneck, unadventurous, rigid, intransigent, and square. And for "liberal": tolerant, unprejudiced, broad-minded, abundant, and generous. Oh, and of course, "progressive."
Since conservatives are the designated enemy, liberals don't blink an eye when the government, Soviet-style, tars opponents as "racist" and "Nazi." Even when Obama comports himself as a king, spending extravagantly and forcing legislation and executive orders down people's throats, this is no problem for liberals. They'll happily chuck the Constitution in order to suppress conservatives, that purported enemy within.
But there's a more profound explanation about why liberals embrace the delusion that conservatives are the enemy, not Ahmadinejad, not Chavez, not that home-grown terrorist down the block. It has to do with secularism, and how it strips people of ultimate truth.
Every human being has an innate knowledge deep inside that good exists -- but so does evil. Historically, people had turned to their Bibles, and churches, and synagogues for lessons on how to escape evil's clutches.
But postmodernism teaches that there is no good or evil, that we simply create our own reality. With man on center stage, God is optional and Satan is dead and gone.
Is it any wonder that people cling to all sorts of false teachings to braille themselves to safe ground; and that as they hunt for the true monster under the bed, they turn on each other? By weeding out the evildoers, they themselves do evil.
But they do not just do evil: they become evil itself. Whether it's in Norway or Madison, Wisconsin; whether it's a bombing in Bali or a mob attack in Atlanta, it's all the same process. It's people, insane with hatred and drunk with power, becoming precisely what they hate.
And in the process, they aid and abet the Enemy, the real one, who is not dead at all, but is alive and well and living abundantly off of those who have turned their backs on God. And of this most deadly foe, everyone, of every color and stripe, should be exceedingly afraid.
Muslim fanatics killing millions of other Muslims
An excellent reason NOT be ruled by Muslims, it seems to me
The famine in Africa's fragile Horn of Africa region has been caused by climate change and a collective failure to end the Somali civil war, the head of the African Development Bank says.
The two regions in southern Somalia where the UN last month declared a famine are controlled by rebel groups, including the al-Qaeda-linked Shebab.
Shebab is ""playing with lives"" by barring foreign aid from reaching starving people in drought-hit Somalia, Kaberuka said.
A famine declared last month in two southern Somali regions controlled by the Shebab rebel movement has grown to huge proportions and now threatens millions in the Horn of Africa with starvation and malnutrition, Kaberuka said.
Ten million people in the Horn of Africa are now in need of food aid, two million children are malnourished and half a million people are in danger of starvation, he added.
The international community should ""get in and help"" parts of Somalia that do work, namely Somaliland and Puntland in the north of the country, and give logistics aid to the African Union force, AMISOM, deployed in Somalia to try to stabilise the country.
""No one is saying they should put in soldiers from abroad - Africans are capable of doing that - but they need logistics support,"" Kaberuka said, citing things like food rations, transportation and helicopters.
Shocking hypocrisy from a bunny hugger
A leading animal welfare expert has been practising the opposite of what he so insistently preaches. Chris Laurence is veterinary director of the politically tinged charity Dogs Trust. He used to be chief vet at the RSPCA, another outfit that has become distinctly political.
In animal rights circles, Mr Laurence MBE is a top dog. He is a trustee of the Feline Advisory Bureau. He frequently lobbies British and European parliamentarians and has appeared on telly.
One of the issues on which both Dogs Trust and the RSPCA have pressed politicians is electric fences for pets. These devices are, to my mind, practical and humane. I wrote a feature article about them recently. Many (though not all) readers agreed.
Last year they persuaded the Welsh Assembly to ban such devices. Using one in Wales could now cost you £20,000 in fines or six months in prison. Last week, a pet owner was left £3,000 worse off after such a case. Serves him right, Dogs Trust said.
But hang on. Information comes my way that Mr Laurence is himself an enthusiastic user of these electric fences. Can it be true? After some sucking of gums, Dogs Trust said: 'Chris Laurence does have a containment fence which can be set up to emit electric shocks. 'However, he has never used the fence in this way with his dog and the electric shock component on his dog's collar is permanently turned off.' Believe that if you will.
But what about cats? Pause. Then came a further admission. The charity said that Mr Laurence had indeed used the shock aspect of the fence to stop his cat straying into the road. 'Chris's personal opinion is that for cats this system can be the lesser of two evils. This does not reflect the view of Dogs Trust,' growled the statement.
'Dogs Trust will continue to lobby government in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to ban electric shock devices.'
So a charity, some of whose staff seem to hold an anthropomorphic view of pets, is campaigning for the criminalisation of a device — even though its chief expert himself uses one. What hypocrisy.
What about our human right to a common language?
A 54-year-old Indian woman has launched a human rights challenge in the High Court to overturn a new immigration rule, introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May, that bans her husband from coming to the UK from India because he can’t speak English.
Needless to say, we’re footing the bill for this preposterous case, since she’s funded by legal aid.
And it won’t be cheap — Rashida Chapti is represented by one of our leading human rights lawyers. She claims the law violates her right to a family life under the Human Rights Act.
Mrs Chapti, who has lived here for six years and can hardly speak English herself — she needed a translator when she appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme this week — says her 57-year-old husband, Vali, will be ‘a valued member of society’.
But how can a person who cannot speak English possibly be a meaningful member of British society?
Isn’t it time we ended all this nonsense? This case goes to the heart of the debate over what a nation is and what it is that holds us together. And central to that debate is a shared language. It’s got nothing to do with human rights, or the subjugation of minority cultures.
In isolation, Mrs Chapti’s sounds a pitiful case. What difference would the arrival of one middle-aged Indian man make, even if he can’t speak English?
But we can’t treat this case in isolation. Unless we insist that people arriving here speak our common language, we can’t operate as a harmonious society. If those who arrive on our shores can’t communicate with us, how can they expect to work and contribute? How can they avoid being a leech on others?
The great multicultural experiment failed precisely because it encouraged incomers not to sign up to our common culture. It has resulted in ghettos and isolation.
Communities that do not integrate are breeding grounds for anger, joblessness and welfare dependency. They often have an appalling record for women’s rights and, at worst, give rise to home-grown terrorists.
Mrs Chapti says her husband has no intention of learning English even if he is allowed to join her. And why should he? There will be plenty of interpreters on hand — whom we pay for — to help him complete his benefit forms when he fails to get a job.
She claims her husband can’t learn English, as he lives too far away from the nearest school. Yet she’s been able to afford to fly to and from India in the past five years — on her machinist’s salary in a clothes factory — so surely she could stump up the bus fare he needs to get to the school. And how long do you think it will be before her six children decide they want to join her in the UK as well?
This case reminds us how hollow is David Cameron’s promise that the despised Human Rights Act would be replaced by a British Bill of Rights.
Rational argument is the only response to Norway
An editorial in "The Australian"
THERE is a diabolical symmetry between the slaughter of 76 people in Norway last week and the terrorism of Islamist extremists.
Anders Behring Breivik and terrorists such as 9/11 bomber Mohamed Atta choose violence to express their rage against globalisation and employ a messianic justification for their actions. Their atrocities serve no rational political purpose and it would be useless, not to say unconscionable, for civilised people to offer appeasement.
While it is reasonable to draw a moral equivalence between the acts committed, it is entirely unreasonable to presume a moral equivalence in our response to the murderous rampage in Oslo and Utoya Island and 9/11. The organised nature of Islamist terrorism, the scale of the atrocities, the preparedness of rogue nation-states to bankroll their operations and their ability to exploit the anti-modern fears of hundreds of millions of people puts the Islamists in an entirely different league from the lone operator in Norway.
Yet the horror of the killings last week has been employed by some commentators to slander their cultural and political opponents and delegitimise views that do not conform to their own narrow code. They suggest that because Breivik was troubled by modernity, everyone who expresses concerns about radical change in Western society in recent decades is implicated in his crimes. They seek to appropriate the event to further unrelated, progressive political causes here. Some have used the attack to smear anyone on the Right of politics and call for opponents of the government and the Greens to back off.
It is not the first time. Earlier this year, there was a similar effort to blur and slur when a madman shot a US Democrat congresswoman and killed six people in Arizona. Commentators blamed the attack on strident right-wing political rhetoric but were silenced when it was revealed the gunman's politics, such as they were, came from the Left, and that his grievances were beyond reason. In Breivik, these political opportunists have found their right-wing perpetrator.
The instinct to close down debate by conflating evil with a desire to question is a worrying phenomenon, and not restricted to devastating events such as this one. We have seen in this country in recent months the development of a febrile atmosphere in which people at extremes of the ideological spectrum feel empowered to attack their opponents or even their questioners, with scant regard for civility or rational argument. It is difficult to pursue genuine public debate about important social, political and cultural issues without being accused of running an agenda. Yet rational debate has never been more necessary at a time where virtually everyone has access to free, unfiltered publication of their views.
Each day brings new cases of illiberalism. On Monday, the Greens deputy leader, Christine Milne, was applauded on national television for citing The Australian's opinion pages as reason to exercise parliamentary oversight on media bias. On Thursday, former Labor leader Mark Latham went into print to urge the government to "strike hard" against "the evils of Murdoch journalism" while the activist organisation GetUp! announced it would try to force the hand of the broadcasting regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, to censure a prominent radio host for stating his view on climate science. For the record, we believe the radio host in question, Alan Jones, was wrong on this occasion and his rhetoric sometimes crosses the boundary between strident and offensive. But we respect his right to say what he thinks and note that he gives voice to many Australians excluded from the debate by many other media outlets.
The disintegration of our national conversation into a blogging, tweeting, cacophony is an unfortunate development in a civil democracy. Yet it is pouring fuel upon the fire to respond to the illiberalism of one's cultural opponents with equal intolerance. An ad-hominem tweet, or inflammatory invective on talkback radio, will never win the argument, but that is not what their authors intend. It takes effort to assemble a rational, logically sound argument; it is easier to intimidate and shame your opponent into silence and thereby, in the manner of Steven Bradbury, triumph by being the last man standing.
Many fair-minded Australians hold legitimate concerns about the effects of globalisation and are troubled that the nation and the patriotic values they hold dear are threatened by an influx of people from different cultures. They are concerned, as we are, that government policy that celebrates difference and ignores the values that bind us together is bad for the nation. They are concerned that we are surrendering the values implicit in our succinct but effective de facto bill of rights: the fair go. To hold these opinions may be unfashionable in some circles, but they are not a crime, and the correct response is to reason, not to censor.
This newspaper has always supported Australia's open-migration policies. We believe the mix of people from different ethnic backgrounds is a national strength but that does not blind us to the complexities of change and the need for a common set of public behaviours and values. We believe, too, that most Australians are not racist, regardless of their views on immigration or asylum-seekers. It is wrong to assume that those who object to boatpeople are doing so on grounds of race. Their argument is with asylum-seekers jumping the queue and with people-smugglers. Maintaining the order of the system underpins community support for immigration.
In the shock of Islamist-inspired terrorist acts, the faith of Islam has been served a grievous injustice. Terrorists who claimed to act in the name of Allah have damaged the reputation of a noble religion. But that does not justify a similar denigration of Christianity in this case. News reports, including in this newspaper, have claimed Breivik is a fundamentalist Christian. Whatever his churchgoing habits, it is wrong to smear Christians generally with this appalling crime. It is people, not religion, who are to blame for evil acts.
If any encouragement can be drawn from this tragic, dispiriting week, it is in the work of people such as former British prime minister Tony Blair who are prepared to stand against the tide of rampant secularism to declare that interfaith dialogue may indeed be the answer to fractured globalisation.
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.