Friday, February 27, 2015

A British A-to-Z guide to the new PC

From appropriation to zero tolerance, everything you need to keep an eye on while checking your privilege

Anyone who thought political correctness had croaked, joining neon leg warmers, mullets and MC Hammer in the graveyard of bad ideas from the late 1980s and 1990s, should think again. When even someone as gay-friendly and Guardian-hued as Benedict Cumberbatch can be hounded for incorrectness, you know no one’s safe. So what can you say? Here’s an A-to-Z guide to the new PC.

A is for America. One-time land of the free, founded by un-PC white dudes partial to a drink and sex with slaves, but more recently the birthplace of identity politics (see under I) and 21st-century taboos (see everything below).

B is for bitch. Perfect example of a word some can say but others can’t. For a sassy chick to refer to herself and her girl pals as ‘bitches’ is cool; for a rapper with metal teeth it is rampant misogyny. To find out if you’re allowed to utter this word, put your hand in your underpants. Is there a penis? You can’t say it. If you do you’re the other B: bigot.

C is for cultural appropriation. When people from one culture adopt the styles or habits of people from another culture. Like middle-class white kids making rap music or donning Native American head-dresses at a rock festival. This is really bad. Thankfully Glastonbury is now restricting the sale of Native American dress and some British unis have banned sombreros. C is also for check your privilege. You must do this all the time. If you’re white, male and middle class, you’re super-privileged and must never speak about women’s issues or black people’s problems. White women are more privileged than black women, and straight black women are more privileged than queer black women (don’t worry — queer is OK here: see under Q). ‘What about solidarity and cross-class, cross-race empathy?’ I hear you cry. Please. Solidarity has been replaced by intersectionality (see below). Stop being a dinosaur.

D is for dinosaur. I shouldn’t have said the D-word, sorry. Alongside geezer, codger and blue-haired, it’s what the New York Times calls an ‘age-disparaging word’. Never say it, even to refer to actual dinosaurs: in 2012 some New York schools banned the lessons on dinosaurs for fear of offending creationist kids, and offending people is the worst thing you can ever do (see under O).

E is for ethically challenged. You, if you don’t adhere to these rules.

F is for faggot. Fine if you’re a gay man referring to himself, but it’ll earn you a knock on the door from the boys in blue if you’re a straight man referring to someone else. Never write it on a missile. American Navymen were instructed to ‘more closely edit their spontaneous acts of penmanship’ after one of them wrote ‘Hijack this, you faggots’ on a bomb for the Taleban. Members of the Taleban do not accept homosexuality as a valid way of life and thus should not be reminded of its existence as they have their heads blown off.

G is for gender. Never assume to know gender. Someone might look and sound like a man, and even wear a beard and possess a penis, but ‘he’ might identify as a woman, which is his/her/their right. Who are you, or nature, to say whether someone is male or female or something else entirely? Facebook now has 71 gender choices. The City University of New York recently banned the words ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ from ‘all types of correspondence’ with students in order to prevent the faux pas of wrongly guessing a student’s gender ID. Ask everyone you meet: ‘What gender pronouns should I use when referring to you?’

H is for hir and hirs: gender-neutral terms for him and her. Safest bet when you’re at a dinner party surrounded by people whose preferred gender you don’t yet know.

I is for identity politics. Always define yourself by your natural characteristics rather than your character, achievements or beliefs. You are first and foremost male, female, other, straight, gay, black or white and should refer to yourself as such. Martin Luther King should have checked his privilege when he had that nonsense dream of a world where people ‘will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character’. That’s easy for a middle-class straight man to say, Marty. I is also for intersectionality, the tearaway offspring of identity politics, where you must constantly wonder how your various personal identities intersect with each other (or something).

J is for jokes. Don’t tell them. It’s too risky. Rape jokes, Holocaust jokes, sexist jokes, banter-based jokes — you might find them funny but others will experience them as a threat to their mental safety. Learn from the Dapper Laughs debacle: a wicked joke can hurt thousands and end your career.

K is for kiss chase. Never let your kids play this. For boys to chase girls in search of a smacker on the cheek is evidence of a culture of male sexual entitlement, so mercifully this ‘game’ has been banned in schools across the nation.

L is for LGBTQQIAAP. No, not a place in Wales — an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, allies and pansexual. If you’re the kind of person who says ‘gays’, or even worse, ‘the gays’, stop it at once and learn this by heart.

M is for microaggressions. A microaggression is an unwitting act of discrimination by people who think they’re super right-on, such as asking a black woman how she keeps her hair so funky or inquiring if a lesbian has ever had ‘real sex’. On some American campuses, professors have been accused of racial microaggression for correcting spelling mistakes in black students’ essays.

N is for nigger. Massive no-no (unless you’re a rapper, and even then tread carefully). New editions of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn come with the N-word expunged. Just as cigarettes are being cut out of old cartoons and Ghostbusters is being remade with the main roles now played by womyn (see under W). The past must be corrected.

O is for offence. The original sin. Offending people is worse than punching them. And offence is in the eye of the outraged — it’s they who decide if your words are hurtful. One man’s joke might be another’s mortal blow to his self-esteem. To avoid offence, speak as little as possible.

P is for people of colour. Coloured is bad, but people of colour is fine. Of course, it might one day be added to the list of once-PC but now sinful phrases, so keep an eye out for updates.

Q is for queer. Queers can say this, but non-queers can’t. Unless you’re an ally (see under L), in which case you can.

R is for racist. You’re a racist. I know you think you aren’t, which is sweet, but you are. Everyone is. By this point, we should all know about ‘unwitting racism’ — being racist without realising it. The solution? Racial sensitivity training for all. Stop racism by encouraging nationwide racial consciousness.

S is for safe space. A zone, usually at a university, in which no offensive language, off-colour jokes, banter, lads’ mags, mansplaining (men talking about feminism), manspreading (men spreading their legs), gender-questioning, or any other wicked words or deeds are allowed. A prototype PC society.

T is for tranny. Never say this word. Ever. It’s the Voldemort of PC. Whisper it and you will be accused of transphobia — not a country but a mental malaise that prevents you from accepting that gender is a fluid concept.

U is for uterus. If you have one of these, you may speak about abortion; if you don’t, you may not.

V is for vagina. People with vaginas, check your privilege. You aren’t the only people who get to call yourselves women. Plenty of folk do not have vaginas but are every bit as female as you. The US women’s college Mount Holyoake recently banned The Vagina Monologues because it ‘offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman’.

W is for womyn. An alternative spelling of ‘woman’ for those who reject patriarchal spelling norms.

X is for Generation X, the post-baby-boom generation that is the architect of PC, which having waged a war of words against its hippy-dippy parents and their harebrained belief in a colourblind, gender-ignoring world, is now caught in a desperate rearguard action against younger activists armed with hashtags and intersectionality.

Y is for #YesAllWomen. A social campaign — well, a Twitter hashtag — created in response to the assertion that said #NotAllMen were rapists. Maybe they aren’t, but #YesAllWomen are victims.

Z is for ze. Gender-neutral term for he or she (see Rod Liddle, opposite). Z is also for zero tolerance. Of homophobia, rude old novels, saucy photos, and anything that might offend someone somewhere sometime. From student unions to trendy workplaces, the PC love nothing more than to boast of their lack of tolerance. You thought tolerance was a good thing? Get with the programme. Don’t be a D-word.


Just Who Has to Adjust in the Name of Tolerance?


Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy Fellow Shadi Hamid recently criticized the West as "illiberal" for refusing to accept the fact that Muslims, both in the West and globally, are different from Westerners.

It was an unusual argument, one for which The Atlantic devoted 3,400 words.

Although President Obama insists that the "fight against terrorism is not a religious war," Hamid seems to disagree with him.

According to a variety of polls, Hamid is right. For example, while a 2009 Gallup poll shows European Muslims overwhelmingly reject violence, they are far more religious than those who live in secular Europe (France, England, and Germany), and are more strongly opposed to homosexuality than are secular Europeans. In addition, young, second or third generation European Muslim men favor veiling for women, polygamy, the execution of apostates, and favor prohibiting Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men.

Muslims are more likely to view "blasphemy as unacceptable," Hamid wrote. He described Muslims as "deeply conservative" and, to varying extents, wanting "the application of Islamic law."

The liberal West believes in criticizing everything, especially religion, beginning with Judaism and Christianity. Extending this right-to-criticize, satirize, or examine Islam has led to major Muslim meltdowns.

Creative and scholarly exposures of Islam's history and practices amount to shaming and therefore are impermissible, especially when infidels are doing the exposing. Lawsuits, assassination attempts, lynch mobs, and political murders have been the radical Muslim response to books, films, lectures, and cartoons that detail Islamic gender and religious apartheid.

Documentation of normalized daughter-and wife-beating, child marriage, forced veiling, forced marriage of adults, polygamy, pedophilia, FGM, and honor killing has led to cries of "Islamophobia" and "blasphemy."

In a recent conversation, Israeli Arabist and counter-terrorism expert, Mordechai Kedar said: "Why would anyone get so outraged by a cartoon unless they believe that the cartoon is telling the truth? They are angry because it is the truth."

According to a 2006 Pew poll, 79 percent of French Muslims blamed the 2005 cartoon controversy on Western nations' "disrespect for the Islamic religion." The general population blamed "Muslims' intolerance."

This is completely foreign to the West's post-Enlightenment culture. Many Muslims are very clear on this point.

Hamid writes that French Muslims are "more likely to believe that attacks on the Prophet Mohammed and the Quran should be criminalized as hate speech and incitement, much like denial of the Holocaust is."

This is a shocking but familiar false equation. Jew-haters and Islamists minimize, disbelieve, but deeply envy the Jews as victims of the Holocaust. But they covet the reverence for sacred victim status that they believe Jews have-ostensibly via trickery. Islamists invented the false allegation of "Islamophobia," positioned the Palestinians as the "new Jews," and appointed the Jewish Israelis as the "new Nazis."

Unfortunately, many Europeans signed onto this lethal narrative in the hope that doing so would appease their hostile, unassimilated Muslim citizens. Also, latent European anti-Semitism happily found a new outlet in anti-Zionism, which is the new anti-Semitism.

Are Muslims being falsely accused and even persecuted? Can one even ask this question in an era when Muslim-on-Muslim, Muslim-on-infidel, and Muslim male-on-female barbarism is borderless, boundary-less, and beyond surreal?

Nevertheless, the false concept of Islamophobia - often defensively raised when the discussion focuses on radical Islamic ideology - has become equal to real concepts such as homophobia, sexism, and anti-Semitism. Despite FBI verification that hate crimes against Jews are far greater than those against Muslims, Muslims continue to insist that they are being racially and religiously targeted.

Islamophobia is worse than anti-Semitism, according to Hatem Bazien, the founder of Students for Justice in Palestine and the director of Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender, in a 2011 report co-sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Bazian concluded that, on a scale from 1 (best situation for Muslims) to 10 (worst possible situation for Muslims), "Islamophobia" in America stands at 6.4. One does not know how to greet such brazen foolishness.

Globally, Islamists demand that the West, which has separated religion and state brilliantly, accept and accommodate an aggressive and entitled theocratic state-not only abroad but in its midst.

In Hamid's view, real "moral courage" in France would consist of a "major political party" calling for "a rethinking of laïcité [secularism], and for the broadening, rather than the narrowing, [of] French national identity."

Challenging the "tolerant" West to accommodate an intolerant Islam is the tried-and-true Islamist method of hoisting the West by its own petard. Sophisticated Islamists are trying to use post-Enlightenment laws to achieve the right to practice pre-medieval and barbaric customs. Western political leaders and the intelligentsia are flirting with cultural suicide and siding with barbarism over civilization.


After Copenhagen: resist the empire of offence

The biggest threat to free and open debate is the fear of giving offence

Like the Paris massacre last month, the shooting spree in Copenhagen at the weekend started with an attack on a site that symbolised free speech and ended with an assault on a building used by Jews.

I didn’t watch the events in Copenhagen unfold on the news. The first I heard of what was going on was when I listened to a phone message left by a friend. She sounded upset; her voice was strained as she asked, ‘After this mess in Copenhagen, are you still going to go to Amsterdam to debate?’.

Although her message was framed as a question, it was clear she was worried about my involvement in an upcoming debate in Holland, titled ‘Free speech after Charlie Hebdo’. My immediate reaction was to dismiss such concerns as an over-the-top response to the tragic events in Denmark. After all, Western Europe is one of the safest regions of the world, and exercising the right to free speech rarely exacts a significant cost. However, the more I thought about my friend’s message, the more I began to be concerned by things that, thankfully, I have never needed to think about before.

The Krudttoenden cultural centre in Copenhagen was holding a peaceful and civilised discussion on free speech when it came under gunfire. When I looked at the pictures of this cultural centre, my thoughts turned from the plight of the victims to the realisation that this event was held in a building that was very much like the one that is hosting my debate in Amsterdam. Did I feel a slight pang of unease when I realised that the topic of the debate in Copenhagen was not a million miles from what I will be discussing in Amsterdam? Yes, is the answer. But what really disturbed me was the realisation that we have now moved into a world where the idea of a genuine clash of views on a controversial subject is increasingly associated with physical threats.

The likely target of the Copenhagen attack was the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. He has acquired a reputation for being a provocateur and, since the publication of his cartoon of Muhammad in 2007, has faced many threats to his life. In 2013, he, along with other ‘offensive’ artists, was placed on a hit list published by al-Qaeda.

Like his ill-fated Charlie Hebdo colleagues, Vilks is considered by many to be inflammatory and offensive to many Muslims. Likewise, Vilks’ critics argue that, through his provocative work, he has brought the wrath of angry Islamists on himself. Many institutions and publications have been wary of giving him a voice, and he has had numerous lectures and exhibitions cancelled by cultural organisations.

Sadly, far too many public figures and institutions take the view that anything that provokes Muslim sensibilities cannot be said. Indeed, their argument sometimes goes so far as to imply that the only way to prevent murderous attacks, such as the one in Copenhagen, is to cease publishing provocative cartoons and articles that Muslim people find offensive.

I must confess that I am not a fan of Charlie Hebdo or cartoonists who, instead of making a deeper point, opt for insulting their target. I find that such self-consciously in-your-face cartoons tend to infantilise discussion about difficult problems that actually require serious thought. But we don’t get to choose whose freedom of speech we uphold. Cartoonists have every right to offend, since that is what free speech is all about. By its very nature, the free exchange of views and sentiments will inevitably result in someone being offended. Throughout history, every new and important idea has been deemed offensive.

Alongside regarding freedom of speech as inviolable regardless of the offence it causes, there is also an absolutely compelling argument for not making concessions to the ‘I am offended’ lobby. In the Western world, the ‘feeling offended’ sensibility has acquired an expansive and unrestrained quality. Those who are offended by the work of Vilks will not be placated by the censoring of his cartoons.

Tomorrow, they will raise objections to an ‘offensive’ essay that criticises one of their cherished beliefs. The day after tomorrow, they will express their offence at a supermarket that sells pork in the wrong neighbourhood. And other groups of the offended will pile in to demand the silencing of their critics.

The concessions already made to those claiming offence have led to the ongoing expansion of words that cannot be said, and the continued extension of what is deemed unacceptable behaviour. What has also expanded are the death threats. You don’t need to be a cartoonist to invite a threat to your life. This week, the media reports that the artist Paul Cummins, whose poppy installation drew millions of people to London last year, has received death threats because some of the money raised by his project has gone to charities that have connections with the military.

Many, including Vilks, have predicted that after the Copenhagen murders it will be even more difficult to organise open debates on issues that hardline groups regard as offensive. And now, with the news that a Jewish radio broadcaster in Copenhagen has been forced to shut down for security reasons, the fight for freedom of speech has become ever more urgent. Instead of looking for excuses, we have to insist that speaking out and defending free speech is as important today as it ever was.


Ukiphobia: the prejudices that dare not speak their name

UKIP is a conservative British political party that aims to remove Britain from the EU

With 78 days left till election day, when us Brits will visit the ballot box to put our crosses next to the party that has disappointed us the least, Channel 4 has done us a favour by airing the docudrama UKIP: The First 100 Days.

A badly written, poorly acted fantasy born of the caliginous minds of the most aloof and self-satisfied section of the UK’s cultural elite, the drama imagines what Britain would be like if UKIP won the election and its pint-downing leader, Nigel Farage, became PM: in a nutshell, this once fine nation would become a hellhole in which those fat blokes with rough hands and even rougher accents would finally feel confident enough to air their racist prejudices on the streets rather than just on their beercan-strewn sofas.

This is what is so brilliant about C4’s drama: in setting out to confront what it imagines to be the prejudices of the numbskulls planning to vote UKIP, it unwittingly exposed the bigotry of the chattering classes themselves, of the self-styled progressive sections of the politically switched-on classes, whose visceral contempt for the white working class makes every other prejudice in 21st century Britain pale into insignificance in comparison.

With a couple of months of election-talk to go before we vote, you couldn’t have asked for a better insight into the minds of the upper echelons of society than this drama. It exposed a prejudice that usually does not speak its name, which normally only makes a public appearance dolled up in pseudo-progressive garb and fortified by advocacy research from Demos or some other wonk-station showing that the white and uneducated aren’t massive fans of immigration — we might call this prejudice Ukiphobia, a swirling fear, not simply of Farage and his footsoldiers, but more urgently of the incomprehensible blob of non-Guardian-reading, pale-skinned plebs whose passions and worries Farage and Co. might tap into.

Telling the story of the imagined UKIP government’s first Sikh MP, who slowly but surely realises that the party she represents is a bunch of nutters, the drama features every middle-class fear made flesh. There’s the white working classes, depicted, in the words of the Telegraph’s review, as a ‘stereotyped mob’. It’s as if C4 execs were put on a therapist’s couch to have their inner-most fears teased out and turned into TV fare. Then there are the petit-bourgeois supporters of UKIP, the Middle Englanders, who aren’t quite as dumb or corpulent as the working classes — who is? — but who are presented as nasty and racist. The good middle classes who love Jon Snow, dodge Starbucks and feel bad for Palestine hate the bad middle classes who drink pints and moan about the EU almost as much as they hate those inner-city swarms. Speaking of Palestine, the drama also contained a shot of a hard-right, immigrant-bashing demonstration on which someone was waving the Israeli flag. Well, supporters of Israel are all racist brutes, right? Yet another media-elite prejudice, chucked in for good measure.

The drama captured brilliantly a prejudice that is now so commonly and deeply held among the cultural and political elites that they don’t even think of it as a prejudice. Really, they don’t! It’s a prejudice that imagines Britain is neatly split between a cosmopolitan and enlightened elite which is pro-EU, pro-gay marriage and allergic to the St George’s flag and a throng of Daily Mail drones who are overweight, anti-EU and, of course, racist.

This belief that vast swathes of Britain are a problem needing to be nudged or re-educated towards a slimmer and more enlightened existence is now the most powerful bigotry on the political scene. Only it doesn’t call itself bigotry, or even think of itself as such. But given that the OED definition of bigotry is someone who is ‘unreasonably wedded to a creed or opinion [and] intolerant of others’, there could be no better description for those convinced that they’re right about everything and contemptuous of anyone who thinks differently.

The C4 drama has proved unpopular. Hundreds have complained to Ofcom and newspaper reviewers have slammed it. But it’s important to note that this ugly drama, with its dehumanising caricatures of whole sections of Britain, was merely a more extreme version of what increasingly passes for mainstream politics. The elitist treatment of the swarm as incomprehensible, as unknowable, as potentially volatile and given to poisonous ways of thinking, informs pretty much all mainstream political thinking and commentary these days. You can see it in the handwringing over the wisdom of debating immigration when it might ‘inflame’ the prejudices of you-know-who. You can see it in the widespread acceptance of the nudge industry and its right, its duty in fact, to reshape the behaviour of the masses. You can see it in the political interventions into ‘chaotic families’ (note: not families in the Home Counties) which are ‘white trash’ (Jamie Oliver) and don’t know how to feed their kids (everyone). And you can see it in the daily drip of commentary about communities that are ‘paranoid, suspicious, mistrustful, misogynist and racist’. Guess what communities that Guardian piece was referring to? Yes, obviously, we all know.

In recent years, this elite disdain for the unhealthy (in mind and body) sections of society, which has been alive and thriving from the New Labour days through to Cameron’s war on the ‘chaos’ in poor people’s homes, has crystallised around the issue of UKIP. Through attacking this party, the cut-off elites can express their ugly prejudices in a seemingly political and progressive fashion. They can pose as pro-Europe (when in fact they are just in love with the Brussels bureaucracy) and pro-immigration (when in fact they vote for parties that are just as keen to limit immigration as Farage is), when in truth their Ukiphobia is fuelled by something utterly unprogressive in nature: a disdain, even a disgust, for the little people, for those who still wave the national flag and eat chips, who still call their female colleagues ‘love’ and read a redtop [popular newspaper], who aren’t PC and aren’t enamoured with the European Court of Human Rights. The elite’s self-conscious distancing of itself from the horde now finds its keenest expression in their panic about UKIP.

So, thank you Channel 4, for exposing in a bit more Technicolor than normal the liveliest, coarsest bigotry in politics today. Looking ahead to the debates and clashes before the election in May, some of us now know what really needs to be put squarely on the agenda and challenged passionately: the cultivation of a new divide between the pseudo-cosmo elite and a vulgar public, and the spreading of the nasty prejudice that says the less well-off lack the lingo and ideas and decency to be able to do politics in a grown-up way. Let’s kick this idea to the kerb, and stand up to the hijacking of mainstream politics by a professional elite and their denigration of the once-proud tag of ‘liberal’, which on their watch has come to mean nothing more than: ‘Better than the blob.’ And let’s remind people that the problem here isn’t UKIP — it’s the now Grand Canyon-sized chasm that exists between Us, the everyday public, and Them, the mainstream parties that are bereft of members and ideas and now view the electorate as a problem to be solved rather than a people to be seriously engaged with.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Multiculturalist unwisely given a position of trust

A 'devious and calculating' accounts manager who stole £23,000 from a TV star's home improvements company was jailed for 16 months today.

Abeyomi Ogunagbadaro, 44, had only been working at home expert Alison Cork's Alison At Home furniture business in Regent Street, central London, for six weeks when he started stealing from the firm.

The financial controller, who was on a £42,000-a-year salary, had access to the company's online bank account and was able to launder payments via two innocent friends he duped into giving him their bank details.

Mother-of-two Ms Cork, 51, has appeared in a number of home and garden shows and is best known for her ITV series 'Don't Move, Improve'.

Ogunagbadaro, who started work at the company Alison At Home on March 4 last year, admitted one charge of fraud by abuse of position and was jailed for 16 months when he appeared in front of Southwark Crown Court today.

The fraud was only discovered after Ogunagbadaro had left the company in May of that year.

Peter Zinner, prosecuting, said: 'This was a very sophisticated, pre-planned fraud by a devious and calculating defendant who abused his position as a financial controller to his own financial gain.

'The offence, say the Crown, was aggravated by the use of various lies and by the involvement of two innocent people in an attempt to launder, or disguise, where the monies were being transferred to.  'Those two innocent people were put in the threat of prosecution by their unwitting involvement.'

'His employment commenced on the 4 March 2014, but there were immediately problems during his probation period with accounting errors and processing errors which resulted in him being spoken to by supervisors,' Mr Zinner said.

'To elicit sympathy from his employers the defendant lied about illness and death of a child in his family and because of that he was given a little bit of latitude and time off.'

However, the story was a sham and there had been no death or illness in his family.

'As his performance was not good he parted company, it seems amicably, with Alison At Home on May 7 but shortly afterwards the owners of the company decided they would do an audit and in particular they were concerned about three unrecognised transfers,' said Mr Zinner.

Two payments of £4,000 each were made to Vanessa Murphy and a further £15,000 was sent to Daniel Collen.

'The two payments were made without the consent or authority of the accountants signing off at Alison At Home, the recipients of the funds were not related to the business and suspicion fell on Mr Ogunagbadaro as he had actioned all the transfers.'

Ogunagbadaro had tricked his friends into receiving the money by telling them he wanted to conceal a bonus payment from his family and lying that he needed help keeping the cash because he had a drug problem, the court was told.

But none of the money has ever been recovered and Ogunagbadaro has not paid a penny back.

The judge also criticised the defendant for blaming alcohol and cocaine as 'excuses latched on to'.

Ogunagbadaro, of Kilburn, north west London, was led to the cells carrying his belongings in a Louis Vuitton rucksack.


Another false rape claim in Britain

These are regularly disastrous for the men

A man was stabbed and attacked by a mob when he was wrongly accused of rape, and claims his partner suffered a miscarriage after a gang hounded the couple over the false allegations.

Terry Brown, 33, was forced to flee his home town of Basildon in Essex after Lisa-Jayne Samuels falsely claimed he had drugged and raped her, and even picked him out of an ID parade.

Samuels - who had made up the lies to get attention from her mother - was jailed for 20 months after she admitted perverting the course of justice but Mr Brown claims he was made a prisoner in his own home while he spent a year on bail for the false allegations.

In one incident Mr Brown and his partner, Tracey Choularton, 25, were surrounded by a gang as they left their home and as Ms Choularton tried to flee she tripped and fell. She later suffered a miscarriage. 

Mr Brown was frequently targeted by angry mobs and the home he shared with his partner was daubed with graffiti on a daily basis, branding him 'scum' and a 'rapist.'

'We had to barricade ourselves into the house as we were terrified,' said Mr Brown, speaking after Samuels, a mother-of-four, was jailed for the lies.

'I walked outside my house once and a group of lads just jumped me and started hitting me with fence panels that had nails sticking out. 'I was left with puncture wounds in my back and they smashed out my teeth. Eventually we had to leave Basildon as I just didn't feel safe there.  'Everyone had branded me a rapist because I had been arrested so they decided I must be guilty.'

Mr Brown now lives on Canvey Island, Essex, with Ms Choularton, 25.

'I'm on anti-depressants and I haven't worked since this all started.  'I'm a plasterer by trade but just can't do it anymore as I am constantly shaking.'

Samuels was jailed for 20 months when she appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Friday. It emerged that the 29-year-old had falsely cried rape twice before.  The court heard that she had police draw up an e-fit based on her bogus claims and had picked Mr Brown out of an ID parade.

Her false claims saw 80 hours of police time wasted during the investigation. 

Samuels, of Southend, Essex, called 999 at 1am on October 10, 2012, claiming to have been raped at the town's cliffs.

She told police her drink had been spiked by her attacker, who she knew from a shelter. Eventually when CCTV showed no evidence of her being in the pub she claimed and her friends proved fictitious she admitted lying - after Mr Brown had already spent a year on bail.  

Recorder Anthony Abell said: 'The consequences for Mr Brown have been catastrophic.

'He has had 'dirty scummy rapist' graffitied on his home, been attacked by a gang of thugs with a large piece of wood so that he could not speak for a couple of days and he blames himself for the loss of a child.

'He was prevented from seeing his two elder children and got so scared he sought help to move away from the area.'

Samuels was jailed and all her children were taken into care. 


The Cancer of Multiculturalism

President Barack Obama surprised many at the National Prayer Breakfast when he lectured us, "Lest we get on our high horse and think this (barbarity) is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."

Obama went on to explain, "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often (were) justified in the name of Christ." In Obama's mind, Western outrage at Islamic barbarism should be tempered by the remembrance of what Christians did a thousand years ago in the name of Christ. Plus, that outrage should be chastened by our own history of slavery and Jim Crow.

President Obama's vision is that of a man brainwashed through an academic vision of multiculturalism, in which American exceptionalism has no place. It's a vision that has been shaped by a longtime association with people who hate our country, people such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Weather Underground leader and Pentagon bomber William Ayers and Ayers' onetime fugitive wife, Bernardine Dohrn. A vision that sees a moral equivalency between what Christians did centuries ago and today's Islamic savagery is quite prevalent in academia. It's part of what's worshipped on most college campuses as diversity and multiculturalism.

College campus idiots — and that includes faculty members and administrators — call for the celebration of and respect for all cultures. In their eyes, it's racist Eurocentrism to think that Western values and culture are superior to others. But that's the height of stupidity. Ask your campus multiculturalist who believes in cultural equivalency: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Sudan and Niger; is that a cultural equivalent?

In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits on women — such as prohibitions on driving, employment, voting and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. Some multiculturalists are members of campus LGBT groups. Ask them to what extent the Muslim culture would tolerate their lifestyle.

At the very heart of multiculturalism is an attack on Christianity. Much of that attack has its roots among hypocrites in the intellectual elite. For example, Duke University sponsored Muslim calls to prayer in the name of promoting "religious pluralism," until external pressures forced it to cancel the practice. Earlier, Duke administrators removed Chick-fil-A as a campus vendor because of CEO Dan Cathy's comments regarding his religious opposition to homosexual marriage. So much for religious pluralism, tolerance and free speech.

Some public school boards have attempted to ban songs containing references to Santa Claus, Jesus or religious Christmas symbols. One school district banned a teacher from using excerpts from historical documents in his classroom because they contained references to God and Christianity. The documents in question were the Declaration of Independence and "The Rights of the Colonists," by Samuel Adams.

Western values are by no means secure. They're under ruthless attack by the academic elite on college campuses across America. These people want to replace personal liberty with government control; they want to replace equality with entitlement; they want to halt progress in order to worship Mother Earth. As such, they pose a far greater threat to our way of life than any Islamic terrorist or group. Visions of multiculturalism and diversity are a cancer on our society. We stupidly fund them with our tax dollars and generous charitable donations.

Islamists and leftists attack not only Christianity but also free market capitalism. They do so because Christian nations, which have a great measure of economic liberty, have been at the forefront of the struggle for personal liberty and private property rights for centuries. Personal liberty and private property are anathemas to people who want to control our lives. That is part and parcel of the multicultural and diversity movements infecting the Western world.


Al Sharpton and Comcast hit with $20 billion lawsuit… alleging racial discrimination (!)

Bad news, everyone. According to reports and rumors, MSNBC’s Red Wedding is only growing bloodier. Al Sharpton’s MSNBC program Politics Nation, on the air since 2011, is headed for the chopping block. For now, that’s just a rumor, but the confirmed details of a lawsuit targeting both Sharpton and his employer are far more troubling for both than merely the floundering ratings of the cable host slash political activist.

A lawsuit targeting Comcast and Sharpton last week, filed by the National Association of African-American Owned Media, alleges that both parties engaged in systematic discrimination against black-owned media outlets.

This group filed a similar suit against AT&T and DirecTV in late last year. “This time, the plaintiff is not only targeting both Comcast and TWC on the verge of what would be the largest pay television distributor in the United States, but also various African-American advocacy groups and MSNBC host Al Sharpton for allegedly facilitating discrimination,” The Hollywood Reporter revealed.

"At the time of Comcast’s 2010 acquisition of NBCUniversal, Comcast entered into memoranda of understanding with the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, but the lawsuit says the voluntary diversity agreements are “a sham, undertaken to whitewash Comcast’s discriminatory business practices.”

The plaintiff objects that the only fully owned black-channel picked up by Comcast is the Africa Channel, and that entity is owned by former Comcast/NBCU exec Paula Madison, who “was directly involved in putting together the sham MOUs and obtaining government approval for the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal, thus creating a serious conflict of interest.”

Other black channels are said to be “window dressing,” with black celebrities as “fronts” when they are “white-owned businesses” that are run by friends or family of Comcast executives."

The suit further alleges that Comcast made a series of donations totaling $3.8 million to Sharpton’s National Action Network to ensure that he would endorse Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal and deflect attention from its discriminatory practices. That seems like a more supportable charge than the claim that Comcast has a “Jim Crow” system in which black-owned media outlets are discriminated against and African-American talent is selectively elevated so as to shield the company from racial criticism. This allegation might be true, but it seems difficult to establish as fact.

This isn’t the beginning of the backlash against Sharpton by a younger set of African-American activists, but it is a significant development in that ongoing generational and cultural clash. A report in Capital New York published last month detailed a speech in which Sharpton lashed out at younger protesters who saw little value in deferring to New York City’s elected officials amid ongoing protests against police brutality that exploded late last year.

“You can’t be that stupid!” Sharpton reportedly barked at a crowd of protesters in Harlem on January 31. “ You more worried about who going to lead [National Action Network] than who going to be the governor with a multi-billion dollar budget that you got to pay state tax in. You can’t be that stupid.”

"In a statement to Capital following Sharpton’s speech, [protest participant Josmar] Trujillo wrote, “In New York, specifically in the majority of the work happening in the last year, Sharpton’s brand is largely seen as destructive at worst– irrelevant at best.”

Trujillo added, “This city voted in a self described ‘progressive’ mayor and city council, only to have Rudy Giuliani’s police commissioner, Bratton, return to power. And who opened their doors to welcome him back? Al Sharpton and NAN.”

Trujillo also said, “As we move ahead here in New York, inspired by Ferguson youth, we’re speaking truth to power. Sharpton, and others like him, are in fact much too cozy with power to fill that role. For the former informant to paternalistically admonish younger, more dynamic leaders by comparing them to ‘hoes’ is just another self-serving attempt to squash dissent as he wrestles for control of a movement that’s leaving him behind.”

It seems that a younger generation of African-American activists who seek to reform the establishment are tired of taking orders from someone who is quite plainly part of the establishment. Described as Obama’s “go-to” man on the subject of race, Sharpton is no longer an outsider bravely combatting the injustices of the system from without. An activist leader who evades prosecution for tax evasion despite flagrant violations and who celebrates his birthday surrounded by celebrities and powerbrokers at the Four Seasons in Manhattan no longer enjoys a claim to hardship and moral authority. For a new batch of activists, Sharpton is no longer viewed as an asset but as a liability.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Get a job! Judge backs ruling that ex-wife of millionaire racehorse surgeon has no right to be 'supported for life'

A parasite gets her comeuppance

A top judge has backed a ruling which told the ex-wife of a millionaire racehorse surgeon to 'get a job' because she has no right to be 'supported for life' at her former husband's expense.

Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, has rejected an application by Tracey Susan Wright, 51, who claimed she should continue to receive maintenance support from her ex-husband Ian.

Last year, Mr Wright, 59, who is one of the country's top equine surgeons, went to the High Court to try and reduce the £75,000-a-year in maintenance and school fees he was ordered to pay his ex-wife following their divorce in 2008.

At the time, Judge Lynn Roberts agreed that the payments should come to an end since there was no good reason why Mrs Wright had not taken up any paid work in the six years since the divorce.

Mrs Wright, who lives with the couple’s two children in Newmarket, Suffolk, challenged the ruling, claiming that having to care for their 10-year-old daughter 'was an inherent restriction on her ability to develop any kind of earning capacity in the next five years.'

However, Lord Pitchford has now upheld Judge Roberts’ initial ruling and supported the idea that it is ‘imperative that she go out to work and support herself.'

The lengthy court battle began when the couple – who married in 1997 - divorced in 2008, having separated in 2006.

At the time, a judge ruled that they should sell their £1.3million seven-bedroom home, set in 16 acres of countryside in Suffolk, and split the proceeds.

It meant Mrs Wright – a former legal secretary and riding instructor - walked away from the divorce with a lump sum which enabled her to buy a £450,000 mortgage-free house in the heart of Newmarket, Suffolk, plus stabling for her horse and her daughters' ponies.

As part of the divorce order, she was also handed £75,000 yearly payments, of which £33,200 was spousal maintenance for her personal upkeep.

She opted to remain a stay-at-home mother following the split and has so far refused to take up any paid employment.

It prompted Mr Wright, who runs a cutting edge equine hospital in Newmarket which carries out life-saving surgery on top-class horses, to approach the High Court to seek a reduction in the hefty maintenance bills he was paying his former partner.

He protested that it was not fair that he was expected to keep supporting his ex-wife indefinitely, even after his retirement, while she made 'no effort whatsoever to seek work.'

The court heard that Mr Wright steadfastly made the payments, but was worried that supporting his wife would be unaffordable after he retires at 65.

Ruling in Mr Wright’s favour, Judge Roberts agreed last year that there was no good reason why Mrs Wright had not taken up work and criticised her for being 'evasive on the subject of her own earning capacity.'

'The world of work has innumerable possibilities these day...vast numbers of women with children just get on with it and Mrs Wright should have done as well,' the judge said.

'I do not think the children will suffer if Mrs Wright has to work, and indeed a working mother at this stage of their lives may well provide them with a good role model.

'It is possible to find work that fits in with childcare responsibilities. I reject her other reasons relating to responsibilities for animals, or trees, or housekeeping.

'Mrs Wright has made no effort whatsoever to seek work or to update her skills...I am satisfied that she has worked on the basis...that she would be supported for life. 'It is essential...that she starts to work now.'

He added that 'the order was never intended to provide the wife with an income for life' and concluded: 'The onus will henceforth be on her. This application is dismissed.'


Are the Ruling Elites in China Now More Pro-market than the Ruling Elites in the USA?

The current issue of the Cato Policy Report (January/February 2015) contains a short article about a book by Zhang Weiying called The Logic of the Market: An Insider’s View of Chinese Economic Reform, which was originally published in Chinese (and said to be a best-seller in China in that form) and was recently translated into English.

The author is the director of Peking University’s Center for Market and Network Economy and is described as a leader among pro-market economists in China, a description that accords well with the quotations given from his writings. In the article, a quotation from a recent Wall Street Journal interview with him states: “He [Zhang] says that when he recently wrote an article praising the late Austrian economist Murray Rothbard, the Communist Party secretary of Shanghai—a fairly high-level apparatchik—told him he liked it.”

I ask you: Has anyone high in the U.S. government ever praised any writing that lauds Rothbard’s views, not to mention Rothbard’s writings themselves? To me it is inconceivable that any such figure would do so. Moreover, is anyone in U.S. academia with a position comparable to Zhang’s position in Chinese academia likely to praise Rothbard’s views? To me it is inconceivable that any such figure would do so.

Once upon a time, the Chinese were the enemies of private property rights and free markets, and the Americans were the enemies of the Chinese and purported to cherish the institutions that the Chinese hated. Today no such clear-cut difference exists. If anything, today’s Chinese in high places seem to be more inclined to say kind words about private property rights and the free market than are comparably placed Americans. And when such Americans do speak favorably of these institutions, they do not really mean what they say, as their actions consistently attest.


Let Them Eat Cake

In January of this year, a Denver bakery found itself at the center of a civil rights controversy. The crime? The bakery refused customer Bill Jack’s request to put an anti-gay message (“God Hates Gays”) on a cake. He reported that he felt as though the bakery discriminated against him based on his “creed.”

In response to the claim, the bakery’s owner, Marjorie Silva, stated that, “it’s unfair that he’s accusing me of discriminating when I think he was the one that is discriminating.”

Almost immediately, people came to Silva’s defense. Her supporters claimed that she had every right to deny Jack’s request. Her personal convictions differed from those of her customer, so why should she be forced to cater to his request? There are a multitude of other bakeries who would have likely supplied the requested confection.

This isn’t the first time a Colorado bakery has come under fire for its decisions regarding the LGBT community. In fact, a judge recently ruled that Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop had unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple for refusing to sell them a wedding cake.

In this case, however, the sympathies went to the customers, and not the store’s owner.

This is puzzling. In both cases you have a store owner refusing to serve a particular client because their personal beliefs conflict with those of their customer. However, the reactions have been very different. In both of these cases, however, the parties have called upon the government’s anti-discrimination laws to compel the other party to compensate them.

Why is it that we should be discussing whether or not we should force bakers to make gay wedding cakes, straight wedding cakes, anti-gay cakes, etc.? Allow me to argue that there is another way to deal with this issue—let the market sort this one out.

Above is a quick Google search of the bakeries in Denver. Every one of the red dots represents a bakery. As you can see, that’s a lot of pastries. Now, let’s suppose that some of these bakeries, say 25%, have a problem making wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. This means there are 75% of bakeries that would make the cake. Perhaps a subset of these bakeries specialize in same-sex wedding cakes (to answer your question, no, I don’t know what a same-sex wedding cake looks like vs. a traditional one other than maybe the cake with me).

What would happen in this case? Certain bakeries would get reputations for making particular cakes and serving a certain clientele. After word gets out, those in search of same-sex wedding cakes go to bakeries that will make them and avoid the ones who don’t. Those who are offended by the idea of same-sex marriage don’t have to compromise their convictions–producers or consumers. Same goes for those who are offended by a strictly heterosexual interpretation of marriage.

This idea makes many people uncomfortable. In response to this idea, many people would say that we should just ban this idea all together because “discrimination is wrong.” If we allowed businesses to refuse service to particular groups based on sexual orientation, or race, age, etc., then we’d wind up with a pre-civil rights era world of restaurants, theaters, bakeries, etc. completely excluding particular groups.

Perhaps we should let them. Why? Because they bear the full cost of that choice.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say a restaurant owner is a misogynist. He just can’t stand women. As a result, he makes his eatery a “men only” establishment. What are the consequences of this decision? First, he loses out on the business he might earn from women coming to eat in his restaurant. Since women make up about 50% of the population, he’s eliminating a potentially large source of revenue. In addition to this, he loses out on a variety of male customers who want to bring their wives, girlfriends, etc. Further, many people, including a lot of men, will find the owner’s policy offensive. As a result, they will refuse to eat there. The owner sees his profits fall. Most likely, he will be forced to close his business.

So what can the owner do? He can continue to indulge his preferences of discriminating against women and lose a ton of business or he can serve women and potentially increase his revenues.

Put simply, the market tempers his discrimination. The market forces of profit and loss mean that he bears the full cost of his bias against women.

Let’s bring this back to the idea of bakeries and wedding cakes for same-sex marriages. If a bakery refuses to make a cake for a gay wedding, or refuses to put an anti-gay message on a cake, they bear the cost of those preferences. As a result, they will lose the business of a particular group of people. In addition, just as in the example above, they will likely lose additional customers who identify with the group or find the bakery’s policy offensive. It will negatively impact the bakeries. They will either a. continue to refuse service to the particular group and lose business or b. relax their restrictions.

The current policies of anti-discrimination doesn’t eliminate bigotry. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, anytime you prohibit something you merely succeed at pushing it under ground. Moreover, current policies require monitoring and enforcement costs. As the example above illustrates, the market acts as its own monitor and enforcer–putting financial and competitive pressures on those with extreme (and unpopular) preferences.

Put simply, allowing people to indulge their preferences, or discriminate, have significant consequences in the marketplace. In this case, allowing the market to handle the situation means that everyone gets to have their cake and eat it too


Republicans in Congress Demand Answers About Military Chaplain Disciplined for Referencing the Bible

A group of 24 Republican lawmakers are demanding an explanation about why the Army disciplined a military chaplain for making references to the Bible during a suicide-prevention seminar.

In a letter addressed to Army Secretary John McHugh, lawmakers wrote:

"We believe this administrative action sets a dangerous precedent for Army suicide prevention initiatives, the role of Army chaplains, and most importantly, the ability for service members to exercise and express religious beliefs, as protected under the First Amendment and reinforced by current law and [Department of Defense] regulations."

In addition to 17 U.S. Representatives, Senators Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, James Inhofe, R-Okla., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Vitter, R-La., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and James Lankford, R-Okla. co-signed the letter.

The lawmakers called the disciplinary action “unwarranted,” and said it “sends the wrong message not only to chaplains of all faith traditions throughout the Army, but also to soldiers as well, that spirituality and religion are not welcome in the Army as viable methods for coping with suicidal thoughts or other personal issues more broadly.”

The chaplain, Capt. Joe Lawhorn, was punished last November after conducting a training session on suicide prevention at the University of North Georgia.

During the suicide prevention session, Lawhorn shared his personal struggles with depression while serving as an Army Ranger and explained how he learned to conquer adversity by following the example of Israel’s warrior king, David, one of the great heroes of the Old Testament.

Lawhorn also passed out a handout that drew from the Bible’s Book of Psalms and referenced its central Jewish figure, David, as an example of how to manage thoughts of depression and suicide.

A serviceman alerted an atheist group, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, about the chaplain’s comments.

The atheist group complained about it.  “This chaplain violated the privilege and responsibility he had and he exploited that opportunity to push his personal religious beliefs on the captive audience of military personnel,” Jason Torpy, president of the organization that filed the complaint told The Daily Signal in an earlier interview.

Lawhorn then received a letter of concern from Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Ga., faulting him for “using Christian scriptures and solutions.” The disciplinary letter said:

During this training, you advocated, or were perceived to advocate for Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions. This is in direct contrast with Army Regulation 600-20 and violates the Army’s Equal Opportunity Policy.

It will remain in the chaplain’s file for up to three years.

In their letter to Secretary McHugh, the 24 lawmakers requested that the Army review the incident as it relates to federal law—in specific the First Amendment right to free speech—and demanded an explanation of a chaplain’s role in conducting Army training.

“We fully expect Army to take the steps necessary in protecting the religious freedom of all soldiers while affirming the vital role of chaplains in ensuring the well-being of our soldiers,” they wrote.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Where is the Je Suis Chelsea march?

The Chelsea fans on the Paris Metro have spurred on football’s censors

Last week’s Copenhagen shootings have provoked another bout of phoney libertarian posturing. We saw the same gushing lip service paid to the principle of free speech after the Charlie Hebdo massacre last month. Everyone wanted a slice of the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ action, including those without a libertarian bone in their bodies. Every right-thinking person, it seemed, fully supported the right to offend, insult, ridicule and blaspheme. Naturally, we shouldn’t have believed a word of it. You only have to look at football to see how hollow the commitment to freedom of expression really is.

Exhibit A, m’lud, is the race row which has blown up over the video clip of Chelsea fans behaving oafishly on the Paris Metro. The video shows fans singing ‘We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it’, and pushing away a black passenger trying to board the train. It has provoked widespread condemnation. Chelsea FC issued a statement saying: ‘Such behaviour is abhorrent and has no place in football or society.’ The club is appealing for witnesses and says it will impose banning orders on the fans involved. London’s Metropolitan Police say they will ‘examine the footage with a view to seeing if we can apply for football-banning orders’.

This incident has been gleefully seized on by those who believe that racism in football never really went away. Scratch the surface and you’ll still find ugly bigotry. ‘We know that prejudice is on the increase and that in itself leads to hateful attitudes and this sort of conduct’, said Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley. ‘There is a greater shame here because we foolishly, naively, believed the issue of racism among our football supporters was a thing of the past’, laments Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail. The Guardian’s Barney Ronay says the incident is no surprise. ‘[F]or decades this kind of thing has happened, continues to happen, and most troubling, appears to be happening a little more now’, he writes.

I think we need a sense of perspective here. The video appears quite shocking to us precisely because it’s extremely rare to hear overtly racist chants sung by football fans. It’s certainly not something you’re likely to hear at Stamford Bridge. And we also need to bear in mind that this was a handful of fans – a tiny fraction of the 2,000 supporters who travelled to Paris. We’ve come a long way from the bad old days when Chelsea fans booed one of their own players, Paul Canoville, because of the colour of his skin. One isolated, unpleasant incident certainly doesn’t signify a resurgence of racism.

I think we can all agree that the ‘we’re racist’ chant was abhorrent. It is indisputable that the behaviour of those Chelsea fans was puerile, idiotic, rude and boorish. But should it be a crime to sing insulting and bigoted songs in a public place? Not in a free society. Should behaving like a complete uncouth moron on public transport be an arrestable offence? As I said, not in a free society. Freedom of speech: it’s not such a difficult concept to grasp, is it? In a free society, we don’t lock people up for expressing opinions which cause offence. We don’t arrest people just because they have insulted us. And we certainly don’t impose criminal sanctions for behaving like dickheads in public. If those supporters had kicked or punched passengers on the train, then they should of course have been charged with assault. But being rude, insulting and odious on public transport should not be a criminal offence.

I’m struck by the deafening silence from the advocates of civil liberties on this question. Where, one wonders, are all the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ types now? David Cameron described the Paris Metro incident as ‘extremely disturbing and very worrying’. Yes, that’s right, the same David Cameron who went on the Charlie Hebdo march last month and who told Channel 4 News that we should be ‘allowed to offend people’. In a similar vein, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg was also grandstanding as a champion of free speech after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. ‘You cannot have freedom unless people are free to offend each other’, he said. ‘We have no right not to be offended.’ Admirable sentiments, but shouldn’t that freedom extend to football fans singing racist songs? Are some forms of offensive speech more worthy of defending than others? Is it okay to lampoon jihadists but completely verboten to chant a stupid racist ditty?

Much as it might stick in the craw, the freedom to offend should apply to bigoted football fans, too. You can’t be selective about which forms of expression should be permitted. You can’t be ‘Je Suis Charlie, but…’. We can’t make exceptions or impose conditions. Freedom of speech should have no ‘get out’ clauses. Does that mean we turn the other cheek to racist chanting involving football fans? Certainly not. We should argue with, rebuke and confront the idiots. But arresting people for singing songs that we find distasteful has no place in a free and democratic society.


The real dodgers are those obsessed with tax avoiders

I’ve not broken the law. I’ve not done anything illegal. But morally, morally…’ Comedian Jimmy Carr’s deadpanned quip during a gig in 2012, when his involvement in a tax-avoidance scheme was generating a lot of political heat, captures what appears to be the connundrum at the heart of the ongoing arguments over tax avoidance. That is, tax avoidance is legal, as anyone fingered for it is quick to point out -  it simply means paying as little as the law requires. But that doesn’t make it right, as anyone crusading against it is equally quick to point out. Because morally, morally…

Those claiming that they’ve done nothing wrong, as the Tory donor Lord Fink did last week, following Labour leader Ed Miliband’s suggestion that Fink’s tax affairs were ‘dodgy’, are seemingly up against the political class as a whole. Over the past six-or-so years, politicians from across the political spectrum have all been singing from the same hymn sheet: tax avoidance is a moral issue. Its perpetrators may be adhering to the letter of the law, but they’re violating its spirit.

As early as 2010, the Lib-Con coalition was already busy framing tax avoidance as a moral issue, announcing several legislative changes designed to tackle the issue, including the introduction of a General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR). The GAAR, which was passed into law in 2013, overturned the precedent set by the 1936 Duke of Westminster case that asserted no one could be compelled to pay more tax than is required by statute. This meant that paying as little tax as required, while not illegal, was no longer acceptable. The terrain for moral intervention was opened up. Politicians were quick to take advantage, be it prime minister David Cameron taking time out of a diplomatic visit to Mexico in 2012 to denounce Carr’s tax affairs as ‘morally wrong’, Chancellor George Osborne using his 2012 Budget announcement to condemn tax avoidance as ‘morally repugnant’, or Miliband declaiming a year later that ‘[tax avoidance] is scandalous, it’s got to change. The next Labour government will change it.’

Such has been the moralising mood music around the tax affairs of wealthy individuals and large, largely unpopular corporations, such as Starbucks and Google, that it is now almost taken as a given that how much tax one pays is a moral issue. It’s about paying your fair share. It’s about honouring the social contract. It’s about putting in what you’re getting out. And those who are not playing fair, those who are exploiting tax laws to reduce their liabilities, those who are ‘aggressively’ paying as little as legally possible, are now ripe for vilification.

But are things really as clear cut as the tax moralisers make out? In one sense, tax avoidance is unavoidably a moral issue. That’s because the Byzantine intricacies of the tax code (1,200 pages and counting), replete in loophole-creating exemptions, allowances and incentives, have transformed the straightforward legal requirement to pay tax into a choice as to how much tax to pay. It is then up to individuals and companies (time and money for accountants permitting) to decide what to pay. But even then, there is nothing inherently virtuous about paying more tax than the state legally requires. And there is nothing morally worthy about lining the state’s coffers. After all, while the state uses tax revenue to provide many vital public services, it also spends billions on the latest weapons of mass destruction and, yes, bank bailouts. Perhaps, just perhaps, those avoiding paying more tax than legally required are spending their saved cash on something more worthwhile than an Apache helicopter.

So while it’s not clear that how much tax one pays is the index of moral worth that campaigners and politicians have been cracking it up to be, there’s no doubt that it has been constructed as a moral issue. It may not be a moral issue, like murder or lying, but it is represented as one. Why has this happened? Why has an issue that, 10 years ago, was a wonkish concern for political pedants, a nostrum beloved of the socially inadequate and Lib Dems, been transformed into one of the dominant themes in the run-up to this May’s General Election?

The answer lies in the way Britain’s political elite, and its media cheerleaders, responded to the economic crisis. That is, since the sub-prime mortgage crash in 2007 began popping credit bubbles throughout Western economies, the prevalent narrative that emerged has involved greedy bankers and gullible, stuff-wanting citizens. This made sense for a clueless elite. Faced by deep-seated structural problems in the economy, structural problems for which they and their predecessors were culpable, they were only too happy to avert their eyes.

But their gaze also needed another object on which to focus blame. So what brought the economy to its current interminably stagnant impasse, according to this story, was the bad behaviour and selfish decision-making of individuals: bankers lied and cheated; the authorities were too weak to resist; and the gullible, Visa-wielding masses were all too happy to go along with it all. And this story has largely prevailed. The economic crisis has effectively been painted as a crisis of morals, a product of the immoral behaviour, principally, of those in the financial sector.

Given the strength of this narrative among politicians and pundits alike, it is no surprise that the political answers to these economically straitened times are framed in equally moralising terms. Impersonal economic forces are not the problem here; it’s wealthy personages wot dunnit. And this is where tax avoidance comes in. So moralised has the economic crisis become, that politicians can only envisage solutions in moral terms - that is, in terms of individuals ‘doing the right thing’, cutting back, paying their fair share, indeed paying as much tax as is legally possible. Tax avoidance has become the big issue not simply because of the economic crisis, but because the response to the economic crisis has been so myopically moralistic.

The problem is that this massive displacement activity, this eagerness to recast economic problems, from a failure to cut the deficit to the continued inability to restore conditions of growth, as a moral issue, an erring on the part of selfish individuals who just aren’t giving enough back, leaves the real problems untouched. If those currently banging on about the tax affairs of the rich really did care about raising tax revenues, they would concentrate on raising the volume of wealth that can be taxed. But that would require a tough look at the economy, at the dearth of productivity, and at how it might be possible to restore conditions of growth. It would require serious investment, risk-taking, and nerve. These are not qualities today’s political class have in abundance. So, instead, they continue to project blame, singling out individuals for moral censure in the hope they’ll increase their payments to the state.

This obsession with tax avoidance is not the mark of a morally enlightened society. It is the mark of a society that is refusing to face up to the real problems in its midst. There is no moral clarity to be gained from gawping at individuals’ tax returns, only moral scapegoating.


US satirists have been ‘de-fanged’

There cannot be an iron-clad rule that you cannot go “there”’, said Pulitzer Prize-winning artist and illustrator Art Spiegelman yesterday evening at the French Institute Alliance Francaise in New York City. He was speaking at After Charlie: What’s Next for Art, Satire and Censorship?, co-hosted by the PEN American Center and theNational Coalition Against Censorship.

After navigating through the airport-style security to get into the event (such is the state of fear now associated with anything Charlie Hebdo), the audience was greeted to a striking backdrop to the stage, featuring a rolling montage of classic and contemporary satirical cartoons from old Mad front pages to the now infamous Charlie Hebdo covers.

Spiegelman, best known for Maus and In The Shadow of No Towers, subversively vaped throughout the evening. He was joined on the panel by Molly Crabapple of VICE, Francoise Mouly, art director of the New Yorker, and French cartoonist Emmanuel ‘Manu’ Letouzé. Having a panel of French and American speakers provided some initial discussion on the relative differences in the history and state of satire, particularly in the form of cartoons, between the US and Europe. It was somewhat depressing to hear Spiegelman describe the current situation of satire in the US as one in which cartoonists now largely self-censor. He said cartoonists had been ‘de-fanged’.

But one wonders if that is not the direction that Europe is going in now, too? Even after giving a solid defence of the need to understand cartoons and satire in the political and historical context in which they are drawn and presented, Manu almost seemed to be suggesting that censorship of artistic expression when outside of a valid context is okay.

That, unfortunately, became a theme of the evening. At every opportunity for the panel to really stick the knife into those seeking to censor, they stepped back. It is somewhat troubling when, even on a panel of ‘liberal’ satirists, no coherent argument is ventured for the need to support the right to be offensive or to push back against censorship. But then again, this is no longer a surprise.

As Mouly herself pointed out, it was the liberal-leaning papers in the US that most shied away from republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons for fear of causing offence. At a time when a relatively mainstream magazine like the New Yorker can become the focal point for satirical and rebellious artistic expression in the US,  then it’s clear that the de-fanging described by Spiegelman is a reality.

Spiegelman seemed most animated and most inspiring when describing the times in his career which have made him most want to push back against any restriction on his artistic expression. He stressed the importance of the medium of art and the cartoon in satire and how it was often born either from youthful rebelliousness or a street graffiti culture in which people were pushing against the status quo. But today, we are more likely to hear about an illiberal right-on mob demanding that a piece of art be banned because it is deemed offensive (such as the protests around The Death of Klinghoffer at the New York Met last year) or about a campus removing a statue to protect the emotional safety of its students.

Spiegelman’s career has undoubtedly run the gamut of provocative subjects. From his 1993 New Yorker cover in response to the NYC Crown Heights riots, to the 2006 cover of Harper’s Magazine in response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammed cartoons (a cover which meant Spiegelman joined Hitler on the list of authors banned by Canadian bookstore-chain Chapters Indigo), he has a long history of pushing back against the offence-seekers. But for today’s young artists and aspiring satirists, the confidence to draw and comment on the politics and events of the day, no matter how juvenile, puerile or just downright offensive, needs to be reasserted.

When I arrived at this event and saw the backdrop of provocative cartoons and the resumés of the panel, I was excited. It seemed that the stage was set for an impassioned defence of the right to be offensive. Unfortunately, I left feeling cheated. If we are going to stand up for true free speech and complete freedom of expression, now is not the time to mince our words. As we have argued on spiked repeatedly, free speech and the freedom to draw satirical cartoons should come with no ifs or buts. That is the only way to secure a healthy future for art and satire.


Former Fire Chief Sues Atlanta, Mayor for Firing Him ‘Solely’ Because of His Beliefs About Marriage

Former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran filed today a federal lawsuit against the city of Atlanta and its Mayor Kasim Reed alleging they terminated his employment because of his belief in traditional marriage.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, states Cochran’s was fired “solely” because:

    …[Cochran] holds religious beliefs concerning same-sex marriage and homosexual conduct that are contrary to the mayor’s and the city’s views on these subjects, and because he expressed those beliefs in the non-work-related, religious book he self-published.

Cochran had been a firefighter since 1981 and was appointed Atlanta’s fire chief in 2008. In 2009, President Obama appointed him as U.S. Fire Administrator for the United States Fire Administration in Washington, D.C. In 2010, he returned to serve as Atlanta’s fire chief.

Cochran is a devout Christian and active in his community as a member of Elizabeth Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon and teacher.

On Jan. 6, 2015, after writing and self-publishing a book which briefly mentions homosexuality as one among many sexual sins from a Christian perspective, the city of Atlanta and Mayor Reed suspended Cochran without pay, subjected him to “sensitivity training” and ultimately fired him.

Although a city investigation found that Cochran has not discriminated against anyone throughout his career as fire chief of Atlanta, the city still fired him, citing the need for tolerance of diverse views.

“I respect each individual’s right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions, but when you’re a city employee and those thoughts, beliefs and opinions are different from the city’s, you have to check them at the door,” said City Councilman Alex Wan, a leader in the campaign to oust Cochran, to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in November.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith, is defending Cochran in his lawsuit against the city and mayor of Atlanta.

Kevin Theriot, a senior counsel for the organization, said today in a press release:

    "Every American should be concerned about a government that thinks it can fire you because of what you believe. If it can happen to Chief Cochran, a distinguished firefighter who attained the highest fire service position in the United States, it can happen to anybody".



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Monday, February 23, 2015

Minneapolis cop shooter

Another whitewash below.  Not mentioned is that the alleged shooter is a member of a black Muslim gang.  Being both black and Muslim means that his identity must be doubly protected, of course

Authorities announced Saturday afternoon that a man had been arrested in connection with the shooting of a police officer earlier that morning.

Andrew Neal, 43, was arrested for suspected burglary and domestic assault, at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Matt Clark said the department’s SWAT unit, along with other officers, surrounded and entered an apartment building at 1119 Logan Ave. N. to apprehend Neal.

Clark was not able to confirm Neal is the one who shot a Minneapolis police officer who responded to a burglary call in north Minneapolis around 5 a.m., and said police are still investigating the burglary and subsequent shooting.

He also reiterated an earlier statement by Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau that authorities believe the officer was the shooter’s intended target.

“It is clear to us that the officer was shot in connection to his response to the burglary,” Clark said. “It does not seem like there would have been any reason to shoot this officer other than him being targeted for doing his job.”

According to John Elder, public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, two Minneapolis Police Department officers responded to a burglary call on the 1100 block of 24th Avenue North in Minneapolis, and one of them was shot near his squad car.

The officer’s partner drove the wounded officer to a nearby hospital. Clark said the wounded officer – whose name has not yet been released – was recovering well and in fair condition Saturday afternoon.


Pat Robertson warns of bestiality wedding cakes: ‘What if somebody wanted to marry his dog?’

TV pastor Pat Robertson warned on Thursday that the government could force Christian florists and bakers out of business if they did not cater to weddings where men marry dogs.

After a Washington state judge found on Wednesday that a Christian florist had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to sell flower arrangements for a same-sex couple’s wedding, Robertson asserted that an “intelligent judge” would have ruled against the gay men.

“To say that some procedural anomaly in the statute overrides the fundamental religious freedoms of the people, it’s just crazy,” he insisted. “And I hope that the lawyers for this florist will appeal this thing to get into the federal courts.”

“But this is outrageous!” the conservative preacher continued. “To tell a florist that she’s got to provide flowers for a particular kind of wedding. What if somebody wanted to marry his dog? She’s got to have flowers for that? What if there’s a polygamous situation where a guy has five wives and he wants to have five ceremonies, and she’s going to be forced by the law to provide them flowers. I mean, this is crazy.”

Robertson recalled that a court had also ruled that George Washington University had to provide accommodations for a “campus gay group.”

“I asked [Cardinal John O'Connor], ‘What would you do if you were in charge of it?’ He said, ‘I’d close the school down. Just like that, I’d close it down.’”

“Well, some of these bakers and florists may be forced out of business if the courts make them do things contrary to their beliefs,” the televangelist concluded.


Small breakthrough for homosexual couple in Texas

Early this morning, history was made as the first gay couple in Texas received a marriage license in Travis County.

Austin residents, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, secured a temporary restraining order from Travis County District Judge David Wahlberg allowing Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to grant them a lawful marriage.

In a statement, the County notes the situation applies to a medically fragile couple – Goodfriend suffers from ovarian cancer and her “future remains uncertain,” according to court documents – and any additional licenses must also be court ordered. It was "crucial" that the 9am marriage be validated before any opposition could be tipped off to the plan, reports Burnt Orange Report.

“Plaintiffs have no adequate remedy at law for the damage and the continuing harm that this course of action is causing them and will continue to cause them, and thus the only remedy available to Plaintiffs is the issuance of a temporary restraining order to prevent that ongoing unconstitutional denial of Plaintiffs' constitutional rights,” wrote Wahlberg.

Judge Guy Herman ruled the Texas ban on marriage equality unconstitutional earlier this week at the conclusion of an estate lawsuit; DeBeauvoir and county officials, weighing their options and getting pushback from Attorney General Ken Paxton, did not immediately issue licenses at the time. Meanwhile, Texans await a decision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, who still have yet to rule on the Texas ban after hearing oral arguments in early January.


Who can’t say they’re superior to Islamic State?

MARTIN Amis, who loves nothing better than riling respectable society, once asked an audience of arty types at the Institute of ­Contemporary Arts in London to put their hands up if they thought they were morally superior to the Taliban.

Less than half the audience did. The rest shuffled uncomfortably in their seats or gawped awkwardly out the window.

“About 30 per cent,” Amis said in his trademark laconic, scathing drone, in the process passing judgment not only on those gathered to hear him speak but on the ­relativistic, self-loathing liberal elite more broadly.

That was 2007. Fast forward eight years and now there’s a group that makes the Taliban look like the Girl Guides in comparison: Islamic State, crucifer of apostates, executor of queers, immolator of prisoners, and all-round medieval nutjobs who look and sound like they wandered out of the swirling recesses of Dante’s brain.

Yet if Amis repeated his experiment with reference to this mob, asking the latte-sippers if they considered themselves morally superior to its cowboy caliphate, I reckon the result would be same. “About 30 per cent” would say yes. The rest? Shuffle, dodge the question, move on.

For amazingly, as the actions of Islamic State have become crazier, so the willingness of Westerners to pass clear judgment against this murderous statelet has waned.

The cult of relativism, the nonsense notion that all cultures are equally valid, now has the West in such a vice-like grip that it seems some of us can’t even bring ourselves to say: “Yes, those people who throw gays off buildings and who whip women who don’t wear black sackcloths are uncompli­catedly bad.”

Today, you don’t have to go to a place like the Institute of ­Contemporary Arts, long home to the morality-eschewing chattering classes, to witness the West’s niggling discomfort with morally condemning Islamic State.

President Barack Obama himself annoyed Christians but delighted the mob of moral relativists when he said at a ­National Prayer Breakfast that we Westerners should think twice ­before treating Islamist acts of ­violence as especially nutty.

“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he said.

“Slavery and Jim Crow (were) all to often justified in the name of Christ.”

Isn’t it part of the job description of being self-styled top dog of the free world that you occasionally get on your high horse, whether it’s to slam the evil empire (as Ronald Reagan did) or worry about an axis of evil (as George W. Bush did)?

That Obama can say openly we shouldn’t high-horse Islamist terrorists confirms that the kind of self-loathing that was once the preserve of post-colonialism studies and other university departments in which Enlightenment was a dirty word has now seeped into the White House itself.

Many are behaving like cut-price Joseph Conrads in relation to Islamic State, glimpsing in its heart of darkness our own ­capacity to be dark and heartless.

No less a figure than Bill Moyers, White House press secretary under Lyndon B. Johnson and now a leading commentator, said the first thing he thought of when he saw the Jordanian pilot being burned alive by Islamic State was “our own barbarians”: the white Christians in America’s south who a few decades ago burned black people. “Homegrown. Godly. Our neighbours, friends and kin.”

It takes a special, well-honed form of self-loathing to watch a modern-day Islamo snuff movie and immediately think of your “neighbours, friends and kin”, who apparently were once just as bad, and thus have the potential to be just as bad again.

Across the press, the judgment dodgers have implored us not to get all morally uppity about Islamic State. The Atlantic, conscience of liberal America, cut to the heart of the caginess about slamming Islamic State when it praised Obama putting the high horse out to pasture and said that “a certainty about which ‘side’ is always good and which ‘side’ is forever evil doesn’t really exist”.

The Economist said, of course, we shouldn’t be too judgmental of Them because “If you think your side is too virtuous to sin, it ­probably will sin”.

Meanwhile, New Matilda, key portal of Aussie miserabilism, ­bellowed: “Yes, ISIS Burned A Man Alive; White Americans Did The Same Thing To Black People By The Thousands”.

This “remember the lynchings” rallying cry has been made by everyone who thinks we should park our moral judgments and accept that Islamic State is only a 21st-century version of the scumbags we used to be.

Salman Rushdie calls these people the “But Brigade”. They ­interrupt every act of moral judgment by yelling “but!”. “Yes, Islamic State aren’t very nice, but we burned people too.” “Yes, it’s bad to shoot cartoonists, but they shouldn’t have been so offensive.” “Yes, Bashar al-Assad is a warmonger, but think about what your own great-grandad did in the Somme, the murdering ­bastard.”

The role of all these big, stinking buts is to prevent the making of any clear moral judgment, or even just moral distinctions between different ways of life. This is what fundamentally lies behind the weird reluctance of Obama and others to get on their high horses: a severe allergy to expressing moral superiority.

Across the West, for decades now, sniffiness about the Enlightenment has been the in thing, discomfort with the idea that our democratic traditions are superior to anyone else’s traditions has been widespread, and having a pop at dead white European males — the architects and narrators of modernity — is every student’s favourite pastime. The end result is that we’ve paralysed our moral muscles, virtually criminalised moral judgment, making it hard even to say: “Yep, we’re ­better than a group that burns people alive on TV.”

Of course, it’s true our history is peppered with awful events. And these should be studied. But to the new breed of Enlightenment-eschew­ing observers, history is not simply something to be analysed — rather, it has become a rich resource of ugly episodes that the self-loathers can dig into whenever they want to hate themselves a bit more and do what that Amis audience did: avoid like the plague making moral judgments against any group or idea.

This incapacity to judge is a ser­ious problem. Thousands of young people in the West are upping sticks to join Islamic State. And one reason they’re doing this is that they feel so little attachment to their own societies, and in fact view these societies as rotten, ugly, hypocritical.

Where could they have got this idea? Perhaps from watching ­Islamic State videos, yes. Or perhaps from listening to leading thinkers in their home ­societies who now constantly send the message that the West is historically compromised, violent, repulsive. So why not join Islamic State? They must be better than us, right?



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here