Monday, April 17, 2017
Boat load of highly skilled engineers, scientists and doctors to enrich Europe with their vibrant culture of peace and love
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Values of the vicarage can bring the UK together after Brexit, Theresa May says in her Easter message
Britons should be guided and brought together by the values of growing up in a Church of England vicarage as the UK leaves the European Union, Theresa May says today.
The Prime Minister also said that Christians should not be afraid to discuss their faith in public in a message to mark Easter Day.
Mrs May, the daughter of a vicar, said Britons’ “shared interests, our shared ambitions, and above all our shared values can – and must – bring us together” after the decision to leave the EU. She said: “After a period of intense debate over the right future for our country, there is a sense that people are coming together and uniting behind the opportunities that lie ahead.”.
The Prime Ministerdescribed Easter as “a moment to reflect and an important time for Christians and others to gather together with families and friends”.
She said: “I think of those values that we share – values that I learnt in my own childhood, growing up in a vicarage. Values of compassion, community, citizenship. The sense of obligation we have to one another.
“These are values we all hold in common – and values that are visibly lived out every day by Christians – as well as by people of other faiths or none.”
Mrs May grew up in the village of Church Enstone in the Cotswolds with her father the Reverend Hubert Brasier and her mother Zaidee.
The Conservative leader also reiterated her view that Britons should not be afraid of discussing their faith with friends or work colleagues.
She said: “We should be confident about the role that Christianity has to play in the lives of people in our country. And we should treasure the strong tradition that we have in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech.
“We must continue to ensure that people feel able to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ.”
Mrs May also paid tribute to “the sacrifices and service of aid workers who put themselves in harm’s way to bring much needed relief in war-torn parts of the world”.
She said: “We should celebrate all these contributions and others like them, and the difference they make in our society and around the world.”
Mrs May added: “And we must do more to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions to practise their beliefs openly and in peace and safety. So this Easter, whatever our faith, let us come together as a nation confident in our values and united in our commitment to fulfil the obligations that we have to one another.”
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, called for people to tackle the world’s problems “through action and support for social justice, peace and reconciliation”. He said: “Christians throughout the world will this weekend be remembering Jesus’s example of love and sacrifice, and the Easter message of redemption and peace.”
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, warned against Britain becoming consumed by nostalgia and nationalism. He said: “I don’t want the Christian message to be stolen by the nostalgic nationalists, just as no liberal should seek to appropriate Jesus for their own purposes either.”
The dangers of equating words with actions
The idea that words cause harm is being used to justify censorship and violence.
‘Over the past few years, several guest speakers with controversial and objectionable beliefs have presented their ideas at Wellesley. We, the faculty in [Commission for Ethnicity, Race and Equity], defend free speech and believe it is essential to a liberal-arts education. However…’
I needn’t complete the quotation. The ominous ‘however’ is enough to let us know what’s coming next. It’s a familiar technique, reminiscent of that well-worn conversational opener, ‘I’m not racist, but…’. In this case, it is the beginning of an email from six professors at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, in which colleagues are advised to avoid inviting potentially controversial speakers to the campus for fear of causing offence. Because God forbid a university should be a forum for exploring difficult or contentious ideas.
The email encourages faculty members to make no distinction between words and physical violence. The professors discuss a ‘disturbing… pattern of harm’ in the speakers thus far invited. They describe how students have been left ‘in distress’ at having to listen to such ‘painful’ ideas. These talks have caused ‘damage’, and any who have had the courage to rebut the speakers’ arguments have experienced ‘injury’ as a result. If students really are as delicate as this assessment implies, it’s a good job the US government hasn’t reinstated conscription.
Perhaps there are some who genuinely consider emotional grievances to be every bit as damaging as physical violations, but such acute frailty is rare. In truth, most of those who demand a Safe Space from offensive ideas are being disingenuous. The conflation of words and violence is a tactic used to avoid debate and, with the febrile atmosphere currently prevailing on some university campuses, it appears to be working.
Take, for instance, the ongoing furore at the University of Toronto, where Professor Jordan Peterson’s refusal to adopt gender-neutral pronouns has led to calls for his resignation and the possibility of legal action under Ontario’s human rights code. During a recent televised debate, Nicholas Matte, a teacher at the University of Toronto’s faculty of sexual diversity studies, accused Peterson of ‘abusing students’. His actions, Matte said, were ‘tantamount to violence’. Another activist withdrew from the panel on the grounds that to even hold a debate with Peterson was ‘an act of transphobia’.
This is the kind of rhetorical sleight of hand we’ve come to expect from those on the left with an aversion to free speech or open debate. Ntokozo Qwabe, the key activist behind the campaign to remove Cecil Rhodes’s statue from Oriel College in Oxford, claimed that for the university to preserve the monument would be to inflict ‘violence’ on the black community. In these terms, student ‘safety’ involves the protection of emotional sensibilities as much as physical wellbeing. The Safe Space mentality seeks to destabilise the terms of debate, reimagining two opposing points of view as a struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed, the violent and the victimised. After all, how can one have a reasoned discussion with a person whose intention is to cause harm?
At the same time, we have seen a reluctance on the left to condemn actual violence when it is perpetrated in its name. In the wake of protests at the University of California, Berkeley earlier this year – a response to a scheduled appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos – some university professors openly defended the riots and the destruction of property that ensued. Similarly, after conservative provocateur Gavin McInnes was assaulted during his talk at New York University, a woman was filmed screeching at police and urging them to physically attack McInnes and his entourage. ‘You should be protecting these students from hate… How dare you fucking assholes protect neo-Nazis! Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you… You should kick their ass!’ This charming individual claimed to be a professor, although her specialist subject is anyone’s guess. One assumes it isn’t oratory or critical thinking.
This insistence that words can be a form of violence has a further, more sinister, strategic purpose. It means that inflicting physical harm on one’s ideological opponents can be justified as self-defence. When alt-right figurehead Richard Spencer was punched during an interview in Washington, many were quick to support his assailant. The Guardian published an extended piece of sophistry on the subject of whether or not it was ethical to punch a Nazi. The author stopped short of actually condoning violence, although there can be little doubt of where he stands on the issue, given his endorsement of another article which concludes that punching Nazis is ‘not only ethical, but imperative’.
The danger of this reasoning should be obvious. Nobody is suggesting that we have a responsibility to seek out neo-Nazi thugs or Ku Klux Klan members and engage them in debate, but surrendering the moral high ground to a reprobate like Spencer can hardly be said to be a shrewd move. As Hannah Arendt pointed out in her essay On Violence (1970), political violence is inherently self-defeating because ‘the means used to achieve political goals are more often than not of greater relevance to the future world than the intended goals’. However justifiable or rational our objectives might be, recourse to violence has a delegitimising effect, and its inherent ‘arbitrariness’ is likely to result in increasingly unpredictable cycles of conflict.
Arendt’s essay demonstrates the folly of interpreting violence as a form of political discourse. We should be likewise wary of any attempts to interpret speech, political or otherwise, as a form of violence. There is a world of difference between barbed words and barbed wire. To erode the distinction is to risk the promotion of a culture in which debate is impossible, individual liberty is denied, and physical hostility is validated as a pre-emptive form of defence. There are many who would misconstrue this as progress. For the rest of us, we need to be on our guard.
Australia: The pot calls the kettle black
A violent brawl between four men has been captured by a passenger on a train in Melbourne. The footage shows a group of men arguing on a Sunbury line train, before three men appear to attack one man who is left slumped on the floor, reported 7 News.
A witness who spoke to 7 News however, said there was more to the scenario than it appeared. The witness said the man on the ground who was being attacked was the one who initiated the fight.
'He was bleeding from his lip because he suffered a lot of punches. And he deserved it too,' the witness said.
He explained the altercation began with insults between the three Arabic men and the African man.
'He (the African man) said ''Go back to where you came from'' and ''All immigrants are a problem to this country and you bring all the crime here'',' the witness said.
After this, the insults turned to terrorism.
The witness said the African man told the three other men that all Arabic people were part of ISIS, and that's when the physical fight began. He said: 'They just wanted to beat she s*** out of him and they did.'
Other passengers sought help from transit guards when the train pulled into Tottenham station.
One man was seen getting off the train and yelling 'Look here, they're fighting on the train. There's one down on the ground now. They seem to be affected by alcohol.' Transit guards are then seen rushing into the carriage.
According to 7 News police and transit guards spoke to the four men but none of them wanted to press charges or take the incident further, with each group blaming each other for the violence.
The witness to the incident said he thinks public transport needs more security.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.