Monday, May 02, 2016
I know the poor
Poverty is a shortage of money, right? It is not. In our society, poverty is an effect of foolish decisions. It is a behaviour problem, not a money problem.
I have seen it many times but I saw it most frequently when I was the proprietor of a 22-room boarding house located in a poor area. Many of the residents would buy basic groceries etc from a nearby service station, where the prices were about 50% dearer that at the supermarket. And there was a branch of a large supermarket chain only ten minutes walk away.
And on "payday" (the day when government welfare money was paid into their accounts) it was a wonder to see the casks of "goon" (Sweet white wine in a cardboard box) coming into the place. There was always money for alcohol.
And I had to be on the ball on "payday" too. I had to get my rent before the money was all spent. I even knew where some of them drank and would go in and collect my money from them at the bar.
And they would often have fights, usually over women. And that often left me with property damasge. I always had a glazier ready on call to fix broken windows. I could have tried to claim that cost back off them but that would have been in vain. By the end of the week most had nothing left in their pockets.
And the fighting was not limited to my place. They would also get into fights in bars and elsewhere. And the loser in a fight generally had his money stolen off him, often on the night of "payday". So, sometimes, if I had not got his money that day, he would have nothing left by the time I got to him.
But not all welfare clients are like that. Many are prudent enough to have money left over at the end of the week and accumulate some savings. One such was a tall black Melanesian man -- named Apu if I remember rightly. When I approached him for his rent he said: "I got into a fight last night and lost my money ... so I went to the bank and got some out". He was the only man ever to say that to me.
So he was not poor. He had money for his needs and could put something aside as well. He got the same "pay" as everyone else but he was more prudent in his behaviour.
I spent many years endeavouring to provide respectable accommodation for the poor but the poor did not make it easy for me. Many are their own worst enemies.
And in my younger days I lived on Australia's student dole for a couple of years -- and led a perfectly comfortable life. The student dole was actually a bit below what the unemployed got. So I have NEVER been poor.
I sometimes had only a little money but I have always had savings, have always eaten well, have always had comfortable accommodation, have always had sufficient clothing, have always had lots of books (mostly bought very cheaply secondhand), have always had good access to the sort of recorded music that I like, have always been able to afford the day's newspaper and have rarely been without an attractive girlfriend.
I did not however drink alcohol until I could afford it. I was teetotal until I was about 28. And I have never smoked or used illegal drugs. So I made good choices -- for which I largely thank my fundamentalist Christian background -- and have always been contented
While I am enormously grateful to my Protestant background for putting my teenage feet onto the right path, there seem to be some genetics involved too. I say that because my son, who did not have that background, is a lot like me. He seems to save as much as he spends and yet has an attractive girlfriend, a job he enjoys and vast amounts of "stuff" - mainly books and computer games.
He does however have an addiction -- as young people these days mostly seem to. So is he addicted to heroin, cocaine, marijuana or "Ice"? Far from it. He is addicted to flavoured milk. He finds it hard to get past the flavoured milk display at our local supermarket. At a time when young people pour all sorts of foul things into themselves, I am overjoyed about that
Milk IS bad for his waistline but he has the self-discipline to get that under control from time to time too. I think that both he and I have inherited Puritan genetics. I am convinced there is such a thing. It is a great gift.
And let us not forget that Puritans founded America. So Puritans can be people of considerable personal effectiveness. And for some people Puritanism feels right. It did for me. People exiting restrictive religions tend to be resentful of their times in the religion concerned. But I revelled in it. And it is still a fond memory of that time in my life
So in the end I have to agree with a great Rabbi: "The poor ye always have with you". There may not be such a thing as "white privilege" (most of my lodgers were white) but there may be such a thing as an inborn Puritan privilege -- JR
How the British Left embraced an ideology that has race hate at its heart
A party that was once pro-worker and anti "the bosses" has forgotten that and is now "anti-imperialist" -- which is a much more useful hate
Jeremy Corbyn has refused to share a platform with David Cameron over the EU referendum, although they both advocate a Remain vote. Mr Corbyn’s stated reason for this refusal is that “We are not on the same side”.
In his long career, Mr Corbyn has shared a platform with – among many other such – Sheikh Raed Saleh, who (elsewhere) repeated the “blood libel” against the Jews, and called them “monkeys” and “bacteria”; with representatives of the British Muslim Initiative, which plays the anti-Semitic card of comparing Jews with Nazis with its “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza” placards; and with what he calls his “friends” from Hamas. Hamas’ Charter refers to “the Jews’ Nazism” and quotes approvingly the saying of the Prophet that when Jews hide from Moslems behind stones and trees, “The stones and trees will say: 'O Moslems…, there is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him’.”
Sharing a platform with the above, Mr Corbyn presumably believes that he and they, unlike he and Mr Cameron, are on the same side.
“One of our two main parties has adopted, almost without thinking about it, an ideology of which race hate is an intrinsic part”
It is in this context that one must place Ken Livingstone and his Zionists = Hitler outburst and Naz Shah’s suggestion (which Mr Livingstone was excusing) that the entire population of Israel should be deported to the United States. Both of them must feel bewildered by the condemnation heaped upon them, because they inhabit a party whose leader has, over his 40 years in politics, spent hundreds and hundreds of hours sharing platforms with virtually every sort of Muslim anti-Semite and advocate of terrorism that one can imagine. They may have thought they had permission.
There is, of course, an important difference between Mr Livingstone and Mr Corbyn. You can tell by the way the former drags Hitler in, by his bad-taste references to hating Jews as if it were half-funny, that he actually is personally anti-Semitic. You can find no such thing, to be the best of my knowledge, about Mr Corbyn.
But I’m not sure that makes things better. If Labour’s problem was individual, oddball anti-Semites, they could simply be removed. If it is about an ideology so wide and deep that its adherents don’t even realise what they are supporting, then you really have got trouble. If perfectly pleasant people like Mr Corbyn, with no personal malice, nevertheless make common cause with such extremism, then you have got, to use a concept beloved of the Left, institutional racism.
This story is less to do with individual wickedness than with what has happened to the Left. The stuff that Mr Livingstone garbled about Hitler supporting Zionism comes from a book by Lenni Brenner called Zionism in the Age of the Dictators. Brenner, a Trotskyite who renounced his own Jewish upbringing, sought to prove that Zionism in the Thirties was a Jewish collaboration with Hitler.
In the early Eighties, when the book was published, Mr Livingstone was in charge of Labour Herald, the newspaper vehicle for his hard-Left takeover of London Labour (printed with the help of money from Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya). Labour Herald gave Brenner’s book an ecstatic review. It was part of a growing trend.
During the Sixties, much of the Left moved from its traditional concern with the organised working class to a greater focus on “the wretched of the earth”. The phrase was the title of a book by the Marxist philosopher, Franz Fanon, who heavily influenced, among others, the young Barack Obama. In this picture, the greatest enemy was colonialism, and the perpetual victim was the Third World, or what is nowadays called the Global South. Violent struggle by the victims to cast off their shackles was advocated.
In the same period, the Soviet Union, which had frequently used anti-Semitic propaganda to reinforce its internal repressions, began to export the stuff. In the Middle East, where it sought advantage against the United States and the West, such tropes were particularly effective. Many in the Muslim world craved support for the idea that Israel, which had so amazingly trounced its Arab neighbours when they attacked it in 1967, was part of a global plot by Western power and money to keep them in subjection.
Until then, in countries like Britain, Jews and Israel had usually been well treated by the Left and seen as allies in the fight against fascism. Now this shifted. The Young Liberals, taken over by leftists such as Peter Hain, who much later became a Labour Cabinet Minister, were the first grouping to become militant about the Palestinian cause. Then the ideology spread, and gradually broadened into the all-encompassing account of dispossession and oppression – applicable from Bethlehem to Belfast to Birmingham, Alabama – which it is today.
One might have thought that September 11 2001 would have made this movement pause. If blood-crazed theocrats had started the 21st century by blowing up themselves and a couple of thousand ordinary citizens in the name of Allah, might it not be time for a bit of secular modernity? But no, instead these events seemed only to assist the narrative of burning grievance against the West, and the conspiracy theories that go with it. Many of the chaps and organisations with whom Jeremy Corbyn has shared platforms have ever since promoted the brilliant idea that it was actually the Jews who destroyed the World Trade Centre. I have not heard Mr Corbyn rebuke them for saying this.
Although people like Mr Corbyn have never shown belief in Islamist doctrines about chucking homosexuals off cliffs or imposing sharia law or torching synagogues, they have found themselves absolutely unable to confront such things. In doing so, they would have to question the most sacred tenet of the “anti-imperialist” Left, that the Western powers are always wrong. Besides, why should they consider accusations that they are anti-Semitic? In their minds, anti-Semitism, like all other racism, is a product of fascism. They are anti-fascists, so they simply can’t be racists.
By electing Mr Corbyn as leader, Labour in effect endorsed this paranoid narrative of grievance and conspiracy that has developed over the last 50 years. So its new recruits are drawn from that school of thought – more Islamists and anti-Semites; fewer Jews, or, come to that, ordinary working people. Unlike in the Eighties, the party has not been infiltrated in a calculated manner (though Mr Corbyn’s lieutenants are now making up for lost time). It has simply decayed so much that its immune system can no longer resist the infection. One of our two main parties has adopted, almost without thinking about it, an ideology of which race hate is an intrinsic part. This has never happened before in Britain.
Next week, London will elect a new Mayor. Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate, is astute. He was quick to condemn Mr Livingstone on Thursday. But he too has done a good deal of platform-sharing. In 2004, for example, he appeared on the same bill in Tooting as prominent Holocaust deniers, Hamas supporters, misogynists and supporters of violence against Israel. He now says he “regrets giving the impression” that he shared their views The other main performer on the platform that day was a backbench Labour MP, one Jeremy Corbyn. Today, regrets are too late.
Political Correctness is Neither from Mars nor Venus
I myself grow rather weary of watching shows or reading books from a foreign culture, where fornication is considered lawful and admirable, sexual perversion laudable, and there are no families to be seen. No one goes to Church, no women are feminine, and no men are masculine.
That culture is political correctness — but it is more foreign to me, and more offensive, than reading traditional Japanese novels or watching Chinese historical dramas where polygamy and suicide are regarded as normal. At least the Chinese dramas show a proper respect for motherhood and family duties. They are peopled with real, if pagan, people, whose emotions and motives make sense to me.
I will be reading merrily along in what I think is some perfectly ordinary adventure story or science fiction yarn, when suddenly a minor character, such a policeman, will announce that he has a husband. No one around him reacts as if he is a sick pervert or a crazypants. Because in crazypantsland male is female and female is male.
Or the characters will time travel to ancient Mesopotamia or the Jurassic, but the narration will give the date in terms of a calendar called ‘B.C.E.’ which is a calendars whose only purpose is to tweak the nose of Christians, and call them evil for daring to make a scientific calendar that coordinates between earthly seasons and astronomical motions.
Whereas in a Chinese costume drama, a mother who is worried that he son is too deeply in love with his first wife, and therefore too distracted to serve the Emperor, will arrange to marry him to a concubine, so as to dilute that love. She selects as the concubine the first wife’s best friend, that way they are more likely to find domestic harmony with their mutual husband. The son throws himself on a sword in front of the Dowager Empress to prove his love for the first wife, but he never disobeys his mother.
These are all non-Western and non-Christian but perfectly understandable expressions of perfectly understandable human emotions.
On the other hand, when in a cop show, the cop’s partner decides to fornicate with the cop’s daughter, the true depth of emotion is displayed when the partner kneels and offers the daughter a box from a jewelry store. Inside is not a ring — fooled ya!–but a key. He is offering to move his gear into her apartment, to make the fornication and the eventual break easily to manage logistically.
The cop, instead of drawing his sidearm and blowing the brains out of the man who is frelling his daughter outside of wedlock, merely looks mildly grumpy and says the situation is ‘weird’ but he is glad is his daughter is seeking happiness in shallow copulation with an unmarried man who has only moderate affection for her.
These are not human emotions. A Martian, perhaps, would look upon the reproductive antics of his daughter, and hopes that she will raise his grandchildren as bastard in a single-mother home with no father, almost certain to be beaten or killed by one of her serial live-in lovers, but no real father from our planet, not one worthy of the than, hopes this.
The creatures in politically correct films and stories have a stiff and unconvincing range of emotions: characters designated good guys are tolerant, and designated bad guys are intolerant, everyone is self-centered but not selfish, and they all refer to friends as family members.
It is like watching dead-eyed manikins being moved in awkward jerky motions through human poses, and hearing slightly flat and oddly-spaced words issuing from frozen, half-smiling lips.
Target Illustrates Why Boycotters Are Taking Aim
The oft repeated and dangerously flawed justification the Rainbow Mafia uses to support allowing supposedly transgender individuals to pick the restroom of their choosing took another beating last week. The retailer Target recently amended its policy on bathroom use to conciliate people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery. Many people worry predators will exploit the new policy to satiate their perverted behavior — a view generally not shared by the Rainbow Mafia. But a new video substantiates the concern.
In the film, a man named Andy Park — who, to be fair, was obviously out to make a point, but the outcome wouldn’t have changed otherwise — enters Target and approaches the customer service desk. He tells an unidentified man, “I was driving by and I needed to use the restroom and I just wanted to get a clarification on your new restroom policy.” He then asks, “Is it true that men are now allowed to use the women’s room?” The man calls up a co-worker named Gerard from “AP” (Asset Protection). He arrives shortly thereafter, and Parker once again explains, “I just came by because I wanted to make sure that I was allowed to use the women’s room before I went in.” Gerard assures him, “Yeah, that’s correct.” Parker adds, “If any of the women have a problem, you’ll let them know?” Gerard again reassures him, “Yeah, they can come and we’ll speak to them.”
To be clear, there was little doubt about Parker’s sex. As Caleb Howe explains, “[B]efore you ask what he was wearing, you can see it in the reflection. On Facebook, Park states that he ‘walked in wearing men’s clothing and with two days of beard stubble.’” There’s obviously no way to disprove a “transgender” individual’s admission unless you want to violate their civil rights. But that’s the dilemma Target got itself into when it flushed the terms “men” and “women” down the toilet.
This development leaves folks like National Review’s David French, who generally opposes boycotts, no other choice but to reconsider: “There are times … when I can be pushed too far — when a boycott isn’t so much a matter of making a statement as it is a matter of safety. … Obviously the odds of any given negative incident are quite low, but if I’m given the choice between a store that opens the women’s room to men and one that doesn’t, why would I choose the store that provides an opening for sexual predators?” The nearly one million people who have now pledged to boycott Target aren’t necessarily doing it for revenge; they’re doing for safety reasons. The Parker video only adds credence to those fears.
1 Million Have Now Signed on to #BoycottTarget Pledge
The American Family Association said Friday that its #BoycottTarget pledge has reached 1 million signatures one week after the pro-family group called for consumers to boycott Target stores over the company’s bathroom policy that allows the use of restrooms and changing rooms according to gender identity.
“Earlier this month, the retail giant publicized its policy to allow self-identifying transgender individuals access to store bathrooms and fitting rooms that correspond with their own gender identity,” the AFA said in a statement Friday.
“AFA’s #BoycottTarget initiative has garnered widespread media attention, as AFA continues to maintain that while the Target policy aims to be welcoming to the transgender community, it opens the door for predators and voyeurs who would take advantage of such a policy,” the AFA added.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, Target said in a statement on its website last week that transgender individuals are welcome to use any bathroom that fits the gender they identify with.
“We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination,” the retail chain said.
“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity,” it said.
“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image. #BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans,” AFA President Tim Wildmon said in a statement.
“Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy. Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable. And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree,” Wildmon said.
“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” Wildmon said. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”
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.