Thursday, July 05, 2018

Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it

One could point out many examples of the saying that those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.  The one that presses on us all most these days has to be the finding that a majority of Amerrican young people think well of socialism. That is not too surprising given that a modern American education usually includes little history. Even so, that there clearly is for many no memory of the Soviet or Maoist tyrannies is disturbing.

It is not socialism that is most at issue, however.  It is the culture wars.  The ferocious attacks on critics of homosexuality are a good example.  How can anybody be so dogmatic about the unattackable righteousness of homosexuality, knowing that only a few decades ago it was so execrated as to be illegal? Being informed by history, however, in particular by Karl Marx's hostility to the family, it seems to me that homosexuality is now being used by Leftist haters as a tool to attack the traditional family. I see a pretense that a perversion is being promoted as being in some way equal to normal family life.

So ignorance of even recent history  can be deplored. So what about the history of times much further back? I like to go back to Beowulf, an epic poem that is the only substantial remainder of pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon literature.  The values one encounters there are the values of our relatively recent ancestors -- people who came out of the womb very much like us -- and yet they are at huge variance with current Western values.  Formidableness in battle was the chief value then.

So Beowulf is a hugely useful corerctive to all assumptions that our culture is in any sense absolutely right.  It alerts us to the way our values are a product of our time and place and that they may be replaced by something quite different in the future.  It introduces us to humility about our beliefs.

In saying that, however, I realize that very few people are going to take time to read a poem from a thousand or more years ago.  So I am very pleased to have found a much shorter peom set to good music which has basically the same values as Beowulf.  It was written quite recently by Scottish/Canadian tenor John McDermott, well known in Canada.

I rather wonder what made McDermott able to think within a primitive pre-Christian mindset but he has done it  The values seem insanely warlike to a modern mind but they are in fact the values of our own pre-Christian ancestors so they should alert us to  how unwise it is to be dogmatic about the rightness of anything.

Below is a video and the lyrics of McDermott's version of Scotland the Brave. The values in the song probably do well represent the values of the Scots of old. They probably had to have such values to survive as an independent people.  To be a little bit Jungian about it, perhaps there was in McDermott a folk memory of how his remote Scottish ancestors would have felt.

Let Italy boast of her gay gilded waters
Her vines and her bowers and her soft sunny skies
Her sons drinking love from the eyes of her daughters
Where freedom expires amid softness and sighs

Scotland's blue mountains wild where hoary cliffs are piled
Towering in grandeur are dearer tae me
Land of the misty cloud land of the tempest loud
Land of the brave and proud land of the free

Enthroned on the peak of her own highland mountains
The spirit of Scotia reigns fearless and free
Her green tartan waving o'er blue rock and fountain
And proudly she sings looking over the sea

Here among my mountains wild I have serenely smiled
When armies and empires against me were hurled
Firm as my native rock I have withstood the shock
Of England, of Denmark, of Rome and the world

But see how proudly her war steeds are prancing
Deep groves of steel trodden down in their path
The eyes of my sons like their bright swords are glancing
Triumphantly riding through ruin and death

Bold hearts and nodding plumes wave o'er their bloody tombs
Deep eyed in gore is the green tartan's wave
Shivering are the ranks of steel, dire is the horseman's wheel

Victorious in battlefield Scotland the brave
Victorious in battlefield Scotland the brave


I wondered what McDermott was referrring to in his verse about Italy.  The best I could come up with was Monteverdi madrigals.  Below is "Chiome d' Oro" ("Tresses of gold" -- i.e. praise of a blonde woman)  A wonderful rendition performed on original instruments below.  Wait for the words:

Italian text

Chiome d’oro, bel tesoro,
tu mi leghi in mille modi
se t’annodi, se ti snodi.

Candidette perle elette,
se le rose che scoprite
discoprite, mi ferite.

Vive stelle, che sì belle
e sì vaghe risplendete,
se ridete m’ancidete.

Preziose, amorose,
coralline labbra amate,
se parlate mi beate.

O bel nodo per cui godo!
O soave uscir di vita!
O gradita mia ferita!

English translation

Golden tresses, oh so precious,
you bind me in a thousand ways
whether coiled or flowing freely.

Small, white matching pearls,
when the roses that conceal you
reveal you, you wound me.

Bright stars that shine
with such beauty and charm,
when you laugh you torture me.

Precious, seductive
coral lips I love,
when you speak I am blessed.

Oh dear bonds in which I take delight!
Oh fair mortality!
Oh welcome wound!

And then there is "Zefiro torna", which some regard as the best of Monteverdi's madrigals:

First in Italian then translated into English.


Zefiro torna e di soavi accenti
l’aer fa grato e’il pié discioglie a l’onde
e, mormoranda tra le verdi fronde,
fa danzar al bel suon su’l prato i fiori.

Inghirlandato il crin Fillide e Clori
note temprando lor care e gioconde;
e da monti e da valli ime e profond
raddoppian l’armonia gli antri canori.
Sorge più vaga in ciel l’aurora, e’l sole,
sparge più luci d’or; più puro argento
fregia di Teti il bel ceruleo manto.

Sol io, per selve abbandonate e sole,
l’ardor di due begli occhi e’l mio tormento,
come vuol mia ventura, hor piango hor canto.


Return O Zephyr, and with gentle motion
Make pleasant the air and scatter the grasses in waves
And murmuring among the green branches
Make the flowers in the field dance to your sweet sound;
Crown with a garland the heads of Phylla and Chloris
With notes tempered by love and joy,
From mountains and valleys high and deep
And sonorous caves that echo in harmony.
The dawn rises eagerly into the heavens and the sun
Scatters rays of gold, and of the purest silver,
Like embroidery on the cerulean mantle of Thetis.
But I, in abandoned forests, am alone.
The ardour of two beautiful eyes is my torment;
As my Fate wills it, now I weep, now I sing.

Gina Miller’s nasty elitism sums up Britain's EU enthusiasts

How dare you plebs question us experts? This is the cry of Remainers.

It’s not often I say this, but we should be grateful to Gina Miller. Ms Miller is the wealthy businesswoman who says the Brexit vote made her physically sick and who is so barren in the category of self-awareness that she once gave an interview to a fawning New Statesman hack in which she gabbed about the problems facing 21st-century Britain while ‘spread across a velvet sofa’ in a ‘high-ceilinged drawing room’ while her ‘multimillionaire husband’ acted as her bodyguard. So Caligulan! These are the people the left now loves. Anyway, we should nonetheless be grateful to Ms Miller because her latest outburst has really shone a light on what is driving elitist Brexitphobia.

On Friday, Ms Miller and a host of other female members of the great and good – lawyers, professors, peers, the daughters of filthy-rich capitalists, etc – wrote a letter to the Guardian – where else? – in which they opined that women’s rights would collapse post-Brexit. Because before the EU came into existence in 1992 – the year of Wet Wet Wet, John Major and Damien Hirst’s shark, in case you’re one of those people labouring under the illusion that the EU has existed forever – British women basically had no rights, right? It is only thanks to the grey, stale, quite male oligarchy in Brussels that British women were able to shake off the shackles of oppression. What an insult to the generations of British Suffragettes and libbers who spent decades struggling for freedom before the EU was even a glint in the eye of scheming bureaucrats.

Not surprisingly, Miller and Co’s ridiculous letter – long on initials after the signatories’ names, short on facts – caused annoyance. Not least among some of the millions of women who voted for Brexit. Ms Miller, incredulous that such inhabitants of the plebeian sections of society would presume to question her and her friends, all of whom are well-educated and read broadsheet newspapers, fired back at these little people on Twitter. ‘People responding negatively to our letter [regarding] loss of women’s rights post-Brexit know more than the top women signatories?’, she asked. Then she listed some of these ‘top women’. ‘Jessica Simor QC, Caroline Criado-Perez feminist activist, Cherie Blair QC, Helena Kennedy QC, Shona Jolly QC, Susie Courtault rights campaigner…’

We get it, you know a lot of QCs! And QCs count for more than you and me. This is what Miller is saying. She knows this is what she is saying, we know it is what she is saying, so can we cut to the chase here? Ms Miller is really asking, in the tone of a 17th-century monarch, or 19th-century boss, ‘Do you think you know more than me?’. And we should be glad she is, because this Twitter freakout, this rage of a businesswomen who puked over our vote, this listing of people who are better and cleverer than the rest of us, captures the essence of elitist Remoanerism – which is the belief that some people’s political views are worth more than other people’s, and therefore should carry more weight. Autocracy, as some of us might call it. Whatever it is, it isn’t democracy, which is a system in which everyone’s views, regardless of our racial, gender or educational background, are meant to impact equally on the fate of the nation.

Miller’s unguarded snobbery, her probably accidental exposure of her belief that lesser citizens should stop criticising people with letters after their names, confirms what lies behind Remoaners’ deification of expertise. It is a belief, as old as politics itself, that the well-educated and well brought-up are better placed to make political judgements than the rest of us. Right from Plato’s ‘Philosopher Kings’ to the complaint that was made about women demanding the vote in the late 19th century – as one misogynist politician put it, women ‘lack the expertise… which is necessary for informed political activity’ – there has always been this idea that some people, us, are better at thinking and deciding and doing politics than other people: them. You know them: the kind of folks who vote for Brexit or who outrageously clog up Ms Miller’s Twitterfeed with – brace yourselves – negative comments.

This is the tyranny of expertise. This is the thing Michael Gove was dead right about – and you could tell he was dead right because his comments sent the chattering classes into a political tailspin – when he said people have ‘had enough of experts’. This public bristling against the elevation of expertise in political and social matters isn’t philistinism, as the elitists claim it is, and nor is it a folk-wisdom that prefers the diagnosis of a witch doctor over the insights of Western science. Rather, it is part of a great and democratic growing discomfort with the way in which the beatification of experts grates against the ideal of ‘one person, one vote’ by suggesting, or outright arguing, that some people and some groups should have more say than us.

The populist revolt against experts is a wonderful and positive moment in British politics. This is people saying, ‘Our views count as much as yours. When it comes to politics, our say is absolutely equal to your say, even if we might be poorer than you and have fewer PhDs’. This is in keeping with virtually every stab for the expansion of democracy in history, all of which have relied upon a scepticism about elevated expertise and a conviction that ordinary working people have just as much to contribute to political debate as lords and ladies and business owners do.

In fact, I’d go further: in answer to the question Miller is really asking – which is, ‘Do you lot think you know better than us?’ – we should say ‘Yes’. Yes, by dint of the fact that ordinary people really live in society in a way that bureaucrats and businesspeople often don’t, and therefore are very often more sensitive and alert and thoughtful about the difficulties facing that society, they know more than you. They are better than you at making long-term political decisions that will benefit everyone. They are more politically trustworthy than those who have vested interests, narrow experiences, and a sometimes jaundiced view of society and its inhabitants. But don’t worry, we are democrats, which means we won’t let the fact that ordinary people are better placed than the elites to make sensible political decisions get in the way of your rights. So you’ll still have a vote. That’s all, though. One vote. Like the rest of us.


Why Britain's Deradicalization Programs Are Failing

A. Z. Mohamed says radical Islam is straight from Muslim scriptures so you must tackle that in some way to have much  success

The vast majority of deradicalization programs in the UK are at best ineffective and at worst counter-productive, according to a recent study by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT, also known as the "nudge unit"), a social purpose company partially owned by the UK government, but that works in partnership with the Cabinet Office.

As the Times reported recently, BIT examined 33 deradicalization programs across Britain, in schools, youth centers, sports clubs and English-language classes. Most of these are part of Prevent -- a strategy presented in 2011 to the UK Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Home Department -- designed to keep vulnerable citizens from becoming terrorists or supporting any form of violent extremism inspired by radical Islamist or right-wing ideologies. BIT found that only two of the programs have been successful.

The main reason for the failure of the other 31 programs, according to the Times' report on the study, is:

"...that facilitators were uncomfortable dealing with sensitive topics and would often refuse to engage if they were brought up. BIT found that teachers in particular were afraid to bring up matters of race and religion with their students without appearing discriminatory, often causing them to refuse to talk about these topics entirely."

The two effective initiatives, according to the Times, were "one defying political correctness and tackling difficult issues head-on and the other directly addressing extremism in religious [Islamic] texts."

In Britain, the majority (82%) of the 228 people in custody for terrorism-related offenses espouse Islamist extremism. In August 2017, the EU's counter-terrorism coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, said that the UK has more radicalized Muslims than any other European country. He added that Britain "has identified 20,000 to 35,000 radicals. Of these, 3,000 are worrying for MI5, and of those 500 are under constant and special attention."

In a speech in London on June 4, Britain's recently appointed Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, said that the UK's "... biggest threat [today] is from Islamist terrorism – including Al Qa'ida, but particularly from Daesh.

"While the so-called caliphate is a thing of the past, Daesh continues to plan and inspire attacks both here and abroad as well as recruiting British citizens to fight.

"Over the past 5 years, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies have foiled as many as 25 Islamist-linked plots."

"But the threat doesn't only come from Daesh. "Extreme right-wing terrorism is also an increasing threat... Daesh and the extreme right wing are more similar than they might like to think. "They both exploit grievances, distort the truth, and undermine the values that hold us together.  "And they don't hesitate to learn lessons from each other."

"Misapprehensions around Prevent are often based on distortions.  "They are based on a lack of understanding about the grassroots work that is involved, and the efforts by civil society groups and public-sector workers to protect vulnerable people.

"We have a moral and social obligation to safeguard vulnerable people from the twisted propaganda of those seeking to radicalise them. "And Prevent is about doing just that."

To illustrate the benefits of Prevent programs, Javid told the story of a 13-year-old boy:

"He witnessed domestic abuse at home and suffered from racist bullying at school. He started to watch violent propaganda online and to show an interest in fighting for Daesh. But he was given the mentoring and support that he needed to stop him from going down that wrong path. Now his mum says, and I quote, 'he's no longer on the path to radicalisation and all he wants to be is a car salesman.'"

Unwittingly, by recounting this tale, Javid showed just why the deradicalization programs he is defending do not work. He reduced the radicalization of a Muslim teenager to domestic abuse, racist bullying at school and online violent propaganda. He said nothing about the boy's family's religious faith, radical Islam or the narrative of hate and intolerance founded on a "radical" interpretation of the Quran and Sunna to which the boy may well have been exposed at home, at the mosque and over the internet. Instead, Javid provided a politically correct narrative to back up his assertion that Prevent is not only a success, but part of the "new counter-terrorism strategy" he was unveiling.

Javid then devoted a whole section of his speech to his fellow Muslims in Britain:

"After any [terrorist] attack, a lot of well-meaning people will line up to say it has nothing to do with Islam. That the perpetrators are not true Muslims. I understand this reaction. I know they are not true Muslims. But there's no avoiding the fact that these people they self-identify as Muslims.

"Let me be very clear. Muslims are in no way responsible for the acts of a tiny minority who twist their faith. And I know that there is no such thing as a single, homogenous Muslim community. Muslims live and thrive in all walks of British life and society.

"Globally, Muslims are by far the biggest victims of Islamist terrorism. And Muslims are fighting and dying on the frontline of the battle against terrorism every day.

"It would be absurd to say that the actions of a tiny handful in any way represent a peaceful, wonderful religion shared by a billion people worldwide.

"That's exactly why, although we all share the responsibility for tackling terrorism, there's a unique role for Muslims to play in countering this threat.

"British Muslims up and down the country are leading the fight against Islamist extremists by throwing them out of their mosques and by countering poison online and on the streets. It is incredibly powerful when a young Muslim man turns their back on the preachers of hate, and say: 'Your bigotry and bloodlust have no place in the modern world.'

"I want to say to all those who stand up against all forms of extremism that this government stands with you..."

The trouble with Javid's tribute to those Muslims who "stand up against all forms of extremism" is that bigotry and bloodlust are not merely figments of Islamist extremists' minds that lead to their violent conduct. They stem from an authentic interpretation of Quranic verses and hadiths, which -- according to Londonistan author Melanie Phillips -- "although millions of Muslims don't subscribe to it, currently dominates the Islamic world." Sadly, worldwide, Muslims, too, are often victims of Muslim violence.

For deradicalization programs -- and counter-terrorism initiatives -- to work, they must first defy political correctness, tackle the root causes of Islamist extremism and address all related sensitive issues, including those which appear in Islamic texts. British Muslims should not only participate in this endeavor, but be on the front lines, monitoring early signs of radicalization and ceasing to show sympathy for or to rationalize violence.


Australia's absurd Human rights commission strikes again. Orders Suncorp Bank to compensate paedophile after it refused to hire him because of his criminal record - but the bank refuses to pay

The Commission has only advisory power.  It has to go to court to enforce anything.  It would lose this one

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) ordered Suncorp to compensate a registered sex offender but the bank refused to pay.

Despite the AHRC ruling a man was 'discriminated against due to his criminal record' the bank insisted the man's convictions for possessing child pornography justified the decision not to hire him.

The man, known as BE, had applied to be an insurance claims consultant at Suncorp in 2015.

While AHRC president Rosalind Croucher conceded BE did not fully disclose his criminal record, she still ordered the company to pay him a total of $2,500.

Prof Croucher said in a statement, 'Notwithstanding the very serious nature of Mr BE's convictions, I find that Suncorp's decision to deny Mr BE the opportunity to access employment with Suncorp constituted an exclusion which impaired Mr BE's equality of opportunity.

'I accept that having a conditional offer of employment ­extended to him, and then ­rescinded on the basis of a criminal record that does not adequately relate to the ­inherent requirements of the role has caused ... distress'.

BE reportedly answered 'No' to a question in his online application that asked if he had been convicted of an offence.  

BE's criminal record dates back to 2008, which included convictions of 'use of a carriage service to access child pornography material' and 'possession of child pornography'.

BE was sentenced to a year in jail and was suspended for two years.

Suncorp was also told to re-educate its staff, revise its policies, and review its conduct after the incident.

'We have carefully considered your findings and recommendations,'Suncorp responded in a December 2015 statement.  'In particular, we note your finding that Mr [BE] was discriminated against on the basis of his criminal record.

'We respectfully maintain that Mr [BE]'s criminal record is of a serious nature and impacts on his ability to perform the inherent requirements of the Work@Home Consultant role. 'For this reason, Suncorp declines to pay any compensation to Mr [BE].

'Notwithstanding the above, Suncorp has developed comprehensive recruitment procedures and provides on-going training to employees, including in relation to anti-discrimination and equal opportunity.

'These procedures and training assist with ensuring we can fairly assess whether a prospective employee with a criminal record can perform the inherent requirements of a particular role, on a case by case basis.'



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


1 comment:

Paul Weber said...

His lying about having a criminal record alone is reason for me not to hire or to fire him. Simply put, if he lied to me I can't trust him.