Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Dyspepsia and American Atheism
Every now and then there is a lawsuit that really defines the desperation of a failing social movement. The recent decision of one of America’s most intolerant religious organizations, American Atheists, provides a prime example. This group of anti-Christian zealots has filed a lawsuit they will surely lose. But they will suffer an even more resounding defeat in the court of public opinion. Put simply, the lawsuit will demonstrate that atheism is largely the result of emotional inferiority rather than intellectual superiority.
If you think my claims are over-stated, just read the following excerpt from their civil (actually it is quite un-civil) legal complaint:
“The plaintiffs, and each of them, have suffered, are suffering, and will continue to suffer damages, both physical and emotional, from the existence of the challenged cross. Named plaintiffs have suffered, inter alia, dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack and the lack of acknowledgement of the more than 1,000 non-Christian individuals who were killed at the World Trade Center.”
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, you heard it right. The American Atheists are suing over the two giant World Trade Center beams that remained standing and formed a cross at Ground Zero on 911. The cross, which gave comfort to millions, is now in a taxpayer-funded museum. And the atheists are hoping to exploit it for millions.
When I read about these allegations on the American Atheists website it made me break wind, cry, and toss and turn in bed for the next several nights. I’m just kidding. I don’t get gas or get emotional when exposed to other points of view because I’m a grown man. That is why this lawsuit is so embarrassing. Almost all of the plaintiffs are grown men. They are mostly grown white men who have easy lives – at least until they see a cross and start barfing and farting and crying and lying awake at night.
American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) attorney David French recently noted that anti-establishment plaintiffs have for decades simply claimed that they were “offended observers” of religious displays or, I would add, “offended listeners” to public prayers. But, according to French, federal courts are increasingly rejecting such arguments.
French also notes that anti-establishment plaintiffs have also made “offended taxpayer” arguments on the grounds that their tax dollars sometimes fund such displays. But federal courts are increasingly rejecting that argument, too. And that is only common sense. Every taxpayer is offended by something. I’m offended by the I.R.S.
So the American Atheists have been forced to make an argument with more substance than the simple claim that they are “offended.” And, in all likelihood, the atheists have simply concocted all of their wild stories of physical suffering and mental anguish. In other words, these atheists are probably liars rather than mere sissies. But the atheists don’t have to worry about the eternal consequences of lying. They reject the Ten Commandments. Hell, they even reject eternity!
Speaking of rejection, the American Atheists’ lawsuit should be rejected in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion. Christians should reject these atheists because our nation was indeed founded on Christian principles. Among those principles is the notion of religious tolerance – the idea that we should be tolerant of atheists who do not share our views. But that does not mean Christians must retreat from the public square because atheists claim that we make them sick to their stomachs – figuratively or literally. That would amount to rewarding intolerance.
Secularists should also reject the claims of the American Atheists. And they should do it with equal enthusiasm. To grant them the authority to trump speech because of their own confessed weaknesses would interfere with naturalistic evolution. It would promote the survival of our least physically and emotionally fit citizens. It would also result in the promotion of our silliest ideas.
So, in a nutshell, I think it’s time for American Atheists to start carrying their own crosses. And they should do it without the help of American judges. After all, Christian tax dollars help fund their salaries. And that offends some of us.
Gender Quotas Spread in Europe, Mandated for Corporate Boards
After Norway adopted gender quotas for corporate boards — requiring companies to have boards of directors comprised of at least 40 percent women — large numbers of inexperienced people ended up as corporate directors. “A study by the University of Michigan found that this led to large numbers of inexperienced women being appointed to boards, and that this has seriously damaged those firms’ performance.”
But this didn’t stop other European countries such as Spain and France from following Norway’s example and mandating 40 percent quotas (Spain’s quota requirement is already in effect, while France’s law goes into effect in 2017). Italy’s Parliament recently passed a 30 percent quota requirement after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who had previously opposed such quotas, endorsed them (perhaps as a way of attempting to defuse public outrage over his sexual escapades and his patronizing remarks towards women). The European Parliament has recommended that all member countries adopt such quotas in their national laws.
The Economist recently opposed such quotas in an editorial. (Corporate law scholars such as Stephen Bainbridge have previously criticized these proposals.) As The Economist later noted, Europe’s race towards quotas is at odds with company practice and legal norms elsewhere in the world:
Hans Bader, a senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, compares the situation in Europe with that of America: “From an American legal perspective, laws mandating quotas for women on corporate boards in European countries seem utterly bizarre. In America, such quotas would be struck down as a violation of the right of male directors to equal treatment. The Supreme Court ruled in its 1989 Croson decision that quotas violate, rather than promote, equality, calling it ‘completely unrealistic’ to expect groups to be represented in each field or activity ‘in lockstep proportion to their representation in the local population.’ American courts have struck down quotas and gender-balance requirements for boards and commissions in cases such as Back v Carter. They have allowed companies to challenge quotas on behalf of their male or white employees in cases such as Lutheran Church Missouri Synod v FCC. And they overturned government-mandated preferences for female business owners in the Lamprecht case.” . . . Ranko Bon, writing from Motovun in Croatia, thinks it is lucky that the idea of female quotas is catching on in Europe only: “America is largely free of it, and much of Asia is still blissfully unaware. As Europe is increasingly irrelevant in world business, the damage will be limited and perhaps even tolerable.”
Defenders of these quotas argue that quotas are good for business because companies with more women on their boards do better. But even if this is true, it confuses cause and effect, and puts the cart before the horse, as studies like the University of Michigan study illustrate. With each passing year, the percentage of female business professionals in Europe rises, as does the percentage of female college graduates. The pool of female qualified applicants in a company for a directorship naturally rises over time. So a company that is not growing and hires few new people will naturally have less women in its ranks than a company that is growing and hiring new people. The company’s growth does not occur because of the increase in women in the company; rather, the increase in women in a company occurs because of the company’s prior and pre-existing growth.
This is also why growing companies in the U.S. tend to have more Asians, Hispanics, and women on their boards than companies that aren’t growing: the percentage of each graduating class that is Asian or Hispanic grows each year. It’s not because affirmative action helps company performance — it doesn’t. Rather, it’s because growing companies hire new blood, and new blood is more heavily Asian and Hispanic (and female) than the older generation, among whom business people are overwhelmingly white men. My brother’s investment firm was much more heavily minority than the ranks of the company its principals came from (DeutscheBank), and the financial industry as a whole, but it did not practice affirmative action, and would have regarding doing so as bizarre. The reason for its high minority percentage was because the company’s managers were young, and young people as a group are more heavily minority and more heavily non-white than their elders, due to immigration (immigrants are disproportionately non-white) and a higher non-white birthrate.
Muslim extremism in Britain
They must be the first teenage boys in history to take offence at the sight of a scantily-clad Playboy model. Most young men would salivate over a poster of a voluptuous Kelly Brook pouting provocatively while thrusting her ample bosom in their direction.
But when Mohammed Hasnath and Muhammed Tahir encountered the image of the model/actress/whatever on the side of a bus shelter in East London they were horrified.
The sight of Miss Brook dressed as an angel in a Lynx deodorant advert was too much for their religious sensibilities. So they painted a burka over her. They said it was a ‘sin’ for a woman be uncovered in public.
This poster was just one of a number the pair defaced on decency grounds. At Thames Magistrates Court, in Tower Hamlets, they admitted six counts of criminal damage, were ordered to pay £283 each and given a 12-month conditional discharge.
Hasnath and Tahir, both 18, told police that the way the women had been photographed was against their religion. Hasnath said: ‘If someone was to look at our wife or mother or daughter with a bad intention, we would not like it, so we were just trying to do good.’
There will be some sympathy for them — and not just from other Muslims. Plenty of people, especially those with young children, are uncomfortable with the proliferation of sexually-explicit advertising in public spaces.
You don’t have to be a purse-lipped prude to believe there’s far too much gratuitous nudity and hard-sell soft porn on daily display.
On one level, Hasnath and Tahir are no different from those Victorians who insisted on covering table legs lest they unleash pent-up male passion. It would be easy to dismiss them as harmless eccentrics.
But their actions come against a backdrop of growing militancy among young Muslim men and attempts to impose Islamic Sharia law on whole areas of Britain.
The most serious incident of religious intolerance in Tower Hamlets came back in April. I brought you the story of a 31-year-old Asian shop assistant in fear of her life because she refused to wear a headscarf.
Islamist hardliners first threatened to organise a boycott of the chemist’s where she worked and then, when she still wouldn’t cover up, told her: ‘If you keep doing these things, we are going to kill you.’
Up the road in Waltham Forest, which is home to one of the country’s largest Muslim populations, extremists have taken to the streets and declared the area a ‘Sharia Controlled Zone’.
As Sue Reid reported in Saturday’s Mail, stickers have appeared on walls, lamp-posts and in shop windows proclaiming ‘no alcohol, no gambling, no music or concerts, no porn or prostitution, no drugs, no smoking’.
Militants say they will patrol the streets to enforce the Sharia code. It will come as no surprise to discover that one of the prime movers behind the Sharia Zone is Ram Jam Choudary, the jihadist formerly known as Andy.
While at college he was fond of a drink, a spliff and casual sex before he underwent a religious conversion and teamed up with Captain Hook at the Finsbury Park mosque.
Somehow he manages to stay just inside the law. I’ve always assumed that’s because he is a paid MI5 informant. There’s no other good reason why he hasn’t been banged up.
Whether it’s beheading enthusiasts screaming abuse at British troops, burning poppies on Remembrance Day, or celebrating the mass murders on 9/11 and on the London Underground, Ram Jam’s never far away.
His partner in jihad, Abu Izzadeen, styles himself ‘Director for Waltham Forest Muslims’ and was recently released from prison after serving a term for funding terrorism. Izzadeen (real name Trevor Brooks from Hackney) is especially keen on killing homosexuals and segregation of the sexes.
Mainstream Muslim leaders are outraged at the activities of these extremists and denounce the likes of Ram Jam and Trev (sorry, Abu) as ‘small-minded idiots’.
Small-minded they may be, but they think big. There is a tendency towards complacency in the face of their blowhard threats.
Of course they are not representative of wider Muslim opinion. But if someone tells me he wants to kill us if we don’t covert to Islam and embrace Sharia law, I’m prepared to believe him.
What I fail to understand is why the authorities continue to indulge them. Both Ram Jam and Izzadeen are able-bodied and in the prime of their lives but they live on benefits. Izzadeen even boasts that his weekly stipend from the state is his ‘jihad-seekers’ allowance’.
Ha, bloody, ha.
Yet both of these jokers are heroes to young Muslim men of a certain mindset. I would hazard a guess that Mohammed Hasnath and Muhammed Tahir are among their admirers.
There are plenty of sexually-confused, impressionable young Muslim men ready to rally to the extremists’ flag. Hasnath and Tahir would seem to exemplify them. Brought up in Britain, they have the appearance of any other young man of their generation.
Hasnath may subscribe to a medieval philosophy when it comes to women, but he is pictured wearing 21st century iPod headphones. What’s he listening to, I wonder — Adele or a podcast of the latest rantings from some preacher of hate?
There seems to be no shortage of frustrated foot-soldiers in the scramble to impose Sharia law. But the Government has just quietly shelved an inquiry into the spread of Sharia courts because no one would co-operate.
And except in the more extreme cases there’s a reluctance not only to prosecute but make any connection between extremism and Islam itself.
Hasnath and Tahir were originally charged with ‘religiously-aggravated’ damage. The religious bit was dropped when they agreed to plead to common or garden criminal damage.
But their actions were religiously motivated. The same philosophy underpins both painting a burka on Kelly Brook and issuing death threats against a woman shop assistant who refuses to wear a headscarf.
Let’s hope these two young men have learned their lesson and can now grow up and channel their energies in another direction. Getting a girlfriend might be a good start.
Some reduction of red tape in Britain
Rules which ban the sale of liqueur-filled chocolates without an alcohol licence and demand permits for selling toilet cleaner are just some of the laws ministers will tear up as part of a war on red tape. Around two-thirds of the 257 regulations imposed on retailers are being repealed or revised as part of the coalition’s ‘red tape challenge’.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, will abolish 130 pieces of red tape and simplify a further 30 rules which apply to the retail sector.
The Cabinet minister said some of the most ridiculous regulations he discovered included the poisons licensing system, which makes retailers hold £35 licences for selling products such as fly spray or bleach.
The legal age for buying Christmas crackers will also be dropped from 16 to 12 – the minimum in the European Union.
Redundant laws such as the war-time Trading with the Enemy Act, which restricts trade with the old USSR, Germany and Yugoslavia – a country that no longer exists – as well as other nations, will also be repealed.
The requirement on shops to notify the licensing authorities when people buy new TVs will be scrapped. Officials insisted it would not drive down collection of the TV licence fee.
Mr Cable conceded that governments had announced repeated crackdowns on red tape with little action, but he said the latest scheme would tear up legislation quickly to make it easier for firms to do business. He said: ‘We have struck a balance between keeping regulations necessary to protect consumers, the workforce and the environment, while rolling back the number of rules and regulations our businesses have to deal with.
‘We have heard these promises by successive governments before, but these first proposals from the red tape challenge show that we’re serious and we are making real progress.’
Mark Prisk, the Business Minister, said: ‘Every 30 minutes a business somewhere has to fill in a form. We have four million businesses in this country – that is a lot of productive time lost.’
Sunday trading laws will stay in place after employees made representations to the Government over being able to spend time with their families.
Business groups met the announcement with scepticism, calling on the Government to tackle the bigger regulatory burdens rather than tinkering with less important rules. David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘There is no doubt that scrapping some of these specific regulations will have a positive effect on some firms in the retail sector. ‘But we question how these incremental changes will deliver real change on the ground at a time when the Government is introducing more big ticket regulation, for example around parental leave and flexible working.’
John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘It is evident that hefty regulatory changes in pensions, flexible working and maternity and paternity are still going to hit small firms hard.
‘Some of these regulation cuts being announced today will have no tangible impact on small firms at all as they are outdated and unused anyway.’
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.