Tuesday, February 28, 2006


He sounds a lot like The Prime Minister of Australia in fact

Muslims must accept that freedom of speech is central to Britishness and should be preserved even if it offends people, says Sir Trevor Phillips. The chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) said we should "allow people to offend each other". And he suggested that Muslims who wanted a system of Islamic Shariah law should leave the UK. His comments follow angry protests against cartoons satirising the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

Sir Trevor told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme: "What some minorities have to accept is that there are certain central things we all agree about, which are about the way we treat each other. "That we have an attachment to democracy, that we sort things out by voting not by violence and intimidation, that we tolerate things that we don't like." And that commitment to freedom of expression should also allow Muslim preachers to make comments about homosexuality that are offensive to broad segments of the British population, he said. "One point of Britishness is that people can say what they like about the way we should live, however absurd, however unpopular it is," said Sir Trevor.

He also rejected the idea of Shariah law in Muslim communities in the UK. "We have one set of laws. They are decided on by one group of people, members of Parliament, and that's the end of the story. "Anybody who lives here has to accept that's the way we do it. If you want to have laws decided in another way, you have to live somewhere else," he said.



From a review of "The Strange Death of Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium" by Paul Edward Gottfried

According to Gottfried, we have witnessed in recent decades a gradual and accelerating evolution of the European Left away from doctrinaire Marxism and toward a multicultural substitute that bears little resemblance to the earlier creed. Essentially, no one on the European Left calls for nationalizing the means of production or looks toward a sweeping overthrow of capitalism at the hands of a class-conscious proletariat any longer. Why this should be is a complicated matter. Social, economic, and demographic changes in Europe have made substantial inroads into an ideology aimed at the working class. There is, also, reality’s stubborn refusal to conform to classical Marxist predictions of the immiseration of the proletariat; anyone can see that the working class of the Western world enjoys a standard of living of which even the nobility of yore could only have dreamed.

The European Left is, therefore, post-Marxist. As Gottfried puts it, “Looking at the legislation Communists have pushed center-left coalitions into supporting—from hate-speech laws directed primarily against the European Christian majority populations, through the criminalization of published or televised communications deemed to deny or minimize Nazi acts of genocide, to the sponsoring of multicultural programs, to the declaration of national commemorations for the deportation of Nazi victims, gay rights, and the raising of public subsidies for asylum-seekers—it is not clear how these projects fit into Marxist revolution.”

Inseparable from the modern European Left, Gottfried argues, is an intense self-loathing for all things Western (themselves and their ideology excluded, naturally), and particularly for the Western past. This pathology manifests itself in “the frenzied desire to repopulate the West with non-Western immigrants, some of whom are unmistakably hostile, and the propensity to exalt what is non-Western as a replacement for Western moral and spiritual impoverishment.” One is reminded of Robert Frost’s definition of a liberal as someone who refuses to take his own side in an argument.

Although American conservatives from time to time still write books and articles about the alleged problem of leftist anti-Americanism in Europe, Gottfried suggests that the “anti-Americanism” complained of by many on the Right is only superficial. Although European leftists have vigorously dissented from American Middle East policy, they deeply admire what the United States has become at home, finding “aspects of American politics and society they wished to import into their own country.” And unpleasant as it may be to admit, why shouldn’t they, given the leftist premises that dominate American political speech, even among many self-described conservatives? “Generous immigration policies, a culturally pluralistic, creedal basis for citizenship, and the readiness to employ government to banish prejudice were American trends that the European Left, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet model, ran to espouse.” Alain Minc, one of Le Monde’s senior editors, wrote last year that “no democrat can ever be anti-American, seeing that America is the land identified in an almost ontological sense with modernity and progress.”

In its never-ending “antifascist” crusade, the European Left is anxious to reeducate those backward souls whose religious convictions and bourgeois values could, they fear, easily give place to a fascist resurgence. Now any sensible person realizes that fascism is about as likely to return to Europe as the Bourbons are to return to the French throne. But the European Left sees fascism and oppression everywhere: in even the mildest expressions of nationalism and national identity, in insufficient devotion to multiculturalism, and in continuing allegiance to the bourgeois family.

According to Gottfried, “Whether fighting to allow unrestricted Third World immigration into Europe, gay marriage, the lowering of the legal age for male homosexual prostitution, the building of mosques at the expenses of European taxpayers, this Left is implacably hostile to those who think differently and trace this deviation to fascist sympathies.” Merely calling attention to atrocities perpetrated by communist regimes is frequently denounced as evidence of fascist tendencies, since cataloguing such offenses supposedly serves to divert attention from fascist crimes, the Holocaust in particular.

Sometimes the antifascist crusade even involves the criminalization of insensitive speech, as in France where the infamous Loi Gayssot, introduced in 1990, has been applied “to prevent or inhibit criticism of immigration, the growing Islamicist presence in France, and responses to attacks on the French Catholic identity.” Banning such speech is one of the therapeutic functions of the managerial state, staffed by leftists, whose task it is to govern in accordance with officially sanctioned victimology and to punish patterns of thought and behavior among the majority population that indicate a lack of penitence for past racism, sexism, homophobia, and other sins against officially protected groups.

Given the cultural and political dominance of the Left in present-day Europe, such that even alleged conservatives all too often speak in a leftist idiom, the continent’s future is, to say the least, uncertain. On the one hand, Western Europe is experiencing a massive influx of non-Westerners who are, quite possibly, religiously and culturally unassimilable and who, in many cases, lack even the desire to be assimilated into their new societies. On the other, Europe is dominated by a political and intellectual class that views this demographic revolution as a delightful source of enrichment for a Europe in need of redemption.

One hardly needs a crystal ball to predict the outcome of a clash between a determined and self-confident Muslim population and a European elite that lacks the will to defend itself—and worse, has long since abandoned the thought that Europe possesses much worth defending in the first place. Unless the continent’s political culture undergoes a dramatic transformation in the very near future, the suicidal ideology of the European Left practically guarantees not only that Europe as we know it will simply disappear amid the radical demographic shifts that the Left itself has engineered, but also that its trip to the graveyard will be accompanied by delusional hymns to multiculturalism, human brotherhood, and the glorious victory against resurgent fascism.

Kingsley R. Browne on Sex Differences

Post lifted from Keith Burgess Jackson

There are a number of reasons that "all-consuming" jobs are aversive to women. One reason, of course, is children. Seventy or eighty-hour (or even fifty or sixty-hour) work weeks are not compatible with the level of family involvement that many people, but especially many women, desire. Because women, on average, desire greater day-to-day involvement with their children than men do, intense career investment is more costly to them. Despite the fact that surveys find that women are as satisfied with their jobs as men are, they are less satisfied with the number of hours they work, despite the fact that they work shorter hours.

Not only are the psychic costs to women higher for participation in grueling careers, the psychic rewards may be smaller. Because women, on average, attach less value to being at the very top of their profession than men do, the psychic payoff to women from single-minded dedication to (or obsession with) achievement of professional status is often less than for men. That is, women are more likely than men to say, "If that's what this career requires, it's not worth it to me." In academia, a primary measure of status is scholarly productivity. Scores of studies of academic productivity have found that men publish more articles than women do, typically about 50% more (independent of whether they have children). This disparity is obviously not due to women's inability to publish more but rather to the fact that they choose not to.

Although one might argue that jobs should not be structured to require so many hours, the fact that some people (predominantly men) are willing, even eager, to work such hours, means that competitive pressures to be productive result in many other people working longer hours than they might like even in the absence of a formal requirement. The two most obvious solutions to this problem, if it is a problem, is to break the link between productivity and reward or to prohibit people, even those who are eager to do so, from working long hours. Neither of these courses of action is practical, of course. Even if universities stopped providing tangible rewards for scholarly productivity, the major status reward of scholarship is not in its tangible recognition by one's employer but by its reception in the scholarly community. As for limiting work hours, that is easy enough to do for factory workers, but not so easy for academics who may do much of their work at home or in otherwise unsupervised settings. Apart from practical concerns, there is, of course, the further question whether either of these responses would be desirable.

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