Sunday, July 08, 2007


The NHS is the nearest thing to a religion that the British now have. For half a century the British have convinced themselves that the NHS is the envy of the world. It is - for the third world. And it is the third world's doctors and nurses who keep alive this socialist cult of security from cradle to grave.

No politician dares to reform the NHS, which is still run by its white-coated medical priesthood. Even Margaret Thatcher, who was fearless with terrorists, quailed before the doctors and nurses. "The NHS is safe in our hands," she said. But the question has long been: are we safe in the NHS's hands?

Aneurin Bevan, the man who created this monster, explained how he had persuaded the senior doctors to submit to the state: "I stuffed their mouths with gold." But training our own doctors is expensive. Today, the agencies that supply the NHS with doctors recruit their staff throughout Africa and Asia. Many are Muslims and, inevitably, some of them are Islamists.

The origins of the eight suspects arrested so far are diverse - Iraq, Jordan, India, Saudi Arabia - but all spent time at NHS hospitals or medical schools. One of them, who drove a blazing Jeep into an airport terminal and set fire to himself, is now being treated for burns that cover 90% of his body in the same hospital that unsuspectingly employed him. If he survives, he will owe his life to his intended victims.

Anybody with medical qualifications has been able to enter Britain with few questions asked. Of the 277,000 doctors in the NHS, some 128,000 - that is nearly four out of 10 - were trained abroad. It was a loophole that should have been obvious, given Al Qaeda's declared strategy of recruiting highly educated professionals. The cell that launched last week's attacks is probably not the only one.

After a slow start, the security operation has moved quickly, using information gained from the cell phones that failed to detonate. The net was cast widely enough to catch one suspect in Australia just as he was about to fly to Pakistan. The only Anglican clergyman in Baghdad, Canon White, was apparently warned by an Al Qaeda operative: "He said the people who cure you would kill you."

What, though, has been the political response to this potentially devastating conspiracy - one of dozens that are believed to be active in Britain alone at any one time? Gordon Brown's new government has been eager to contrast itself with Tony Blair. To this end, it has excised three terms from the official vocabulary: "Muslim," "Islam," and "the war on terror." There is to be no mention of the wider context in which Al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorists operate. The new home secretary, Jacqui Smith, laid down the new doctrine: "Terrorists are criminals who come from all religious backgrounds." I am sure one or two are Quakers.

Compared to Mr. Blair, Mr. Brown looks like a man in manic denial. But his conservative opponent, David Cameron, is determined to out-deny him. First, he insisted that the word "Islamist" should be censored from political discourse. Then, after two Muslims were made junior ministers last week, Mr. Cameron promoted Sayeeda Warsi to be a member of his shadow cabinet, with the title of "community cohesion secretary." Having failed to be elected, she is to be ennobled and will sit in the House of Lords. Ms. Warsi is thus the most senior Muslim in British politics.

Yet Ms. Warsi turns out to hold views that are not only at odds with her party's, but also with any "community cohesion" except the Islamist kind. She not only opposed the Iraq war, but also welcomed the election of Hamas. She opposes anti-terror laws and rejects the idea that extremism is a problem for British Muslims: "When you say this is something that the Muslim community needs to weed out, or deal with, that is a very dangerous step to take." Mr. Cameron has taken a dangerous step by handing over his policy on Islam to a person who appears to be part of the problem.

"Don't mention the war" was the catchphrase of the manic hotelier, Basil Fawlty, played by Monty Python actor, John Cleese, in the BBC comedy series "Fawlty Towers." While serving his German guests, he goose-stepped around the room. Now that the war in question is a holy war unleashed against Western civilization, the joke is on us. Jihad may be preached from British pulpits, but the word has gone out from Downing Street: "Whatever else you do, don't mention the war on terror."



Years ago, I had an office next to a guy named Don. He was the Network Administrator for the same company that employed me, and, like most network guys, he had a strong libertarian bent. It goes with the turf - a network administrator is like a yeoman smallholder, guarding his domain fiercely from cyber-intruders: "No one's gonna f**k with my network."

On any given question - gun control, affirmative action, political correctness, global warming, government spending - Don held what would commonly be known as the conservative position. I doubt he voted for Democrats very frequently, even though he viewed Republicans with an almost equal contempt. Yet Don took great pains to identify himself as a moderate. "I'm not a liberal, and I'm not a conservative," he told me. "I'm middle-of-the-road." I doubt the average Kerry supporter would have agreed with his self-identification, but that's the way he thought of himself. Why this desire to distance himself from the people he fundamentally agreed with? Why not identify himself with his natural allies?

There's a normal social urge not to be held in contempt by one's fellow humans. The fact that more people agreed with Don's positions than disagreed with them was not enough to save him from a nagging feeling that his opinions were beyond the pale. Everything he took in from the larger culture around him - the TV news, the pronouncements of government officials, the unctuously politically correct magazine advertisements placed by large corporations - told him that his natural tendencies were atavistic, hateful, and wrong. He couldn't bring himself to adopt a liberal stance, so the safest thing was to be "middle-of-the-road". No one could fault him for that. If you adopt a moderate stance, you won't be mistaken for a racist or a Nazi or a theocon. Nobody will call you a "right-wing extremist".

But have you ever noticed that liberals don't sweat being confused with Trotskyites, or Maoists, or Stalinists, or anarchists? It doesn't bother them particularly to be seen as further left than they are. From the point of view of the larger culture, they have nothing to lose by being mistaken for communists - after all, it only means that they get to bathe themselves in the hallowed red glow that surrounds Che Guevara and the other icons from The People's Sourcebook of Communist Saints.

All this goes to show who controls the national conversation. There are only two available positions: Left and Further Left. Anybody claiming middle-of-the-road status is well-advised to announce repeatedly, "Hey! At least I'm not a conservative."

There's another kind of "moderate" stance which is very much in vogue: the idea that the best course of action, not mention the truth, always lies somewhere between two extremes. This was brought to mind by a comment on one of my recent posts:

The major downside of blogs is they allow people to tune out any alternative opinion and hear only what they want to hear. This not only destroys communication, creating ever greater divides between groups, but it also serves as an echo chamber pushing people further and further to the right or left. I think this partially explains your growing paranoia. Political studies show that as people move further right or left, they become increasingly convinced that not only is the `other' party wrong, but also their own. Taken to the most extreme, you end up with groups like Daily Kos or truthers, willing to believe even the most ridiculous paranoid rants because it conforms to their pre-determined expectations.

This is the number one problem with the counterjihad in my mind. The conservative message is not `Islamic fundamentalism is a problem that must be stopped'. Instead, the conservative message is `Islamic fundamentalism is only a problem because of the liberal media, the left wing conspiracy to overthrow the west, and because our own leaders are really secretly working against us'. Meanwhile the liberal message which necessarily has to be the opposite of the conservative one is now `there is no terrorist threat, it was a huge plot by republicans, and any terrorism that occurs is orchestrated by the USA'. As a result, the messages are restricted to groups that are too small to effectively stop the jihad.

There are several false premises at work here. Our commenter's point is that there must be a "happy medium", a position somewhere in between the extreme liberal and extreme conservative positions. The middle-of-the-road approach of necessity reflects the well-reasoned, thoughtful, moderate, and dispassionate truth, and following it instead of the overheated extremes is bound to bring success. But is this necessarily true? Is the happy medium always the truest and most moral course to take?

Let's take some instructive examples from history. Consider the ancient controversy over the idea of a geocentric cosmos. At one extreme were the traditionalists who insisted that the Earth lay at the center of creation, and the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars all revolved around it in a set of concentric crystalline spheres. At the other extreme were the radical proponents of the heliocentric universe, among them Aristarchus of Samos, Ptolemy, and Copernicus.

Did the truth lie somewhere between these two extremes? Was there a model of the universe which included some geocentric elements? Maybe we could tinker with the original theory and have the moon and the stars revolve around the Earth, while the planets could revolve around the sun.?

Or consider Communism. At one extreme were Lenin and Stalin, who believed that private property was an unmitigated evil, that the socialist state had the right and the duty to control all aspects of people's lives, and that the extermination of the bourgeoisie was a moral imperative. At the other extreme were capitalists, who believed in the sanctity of private property, the rule of law, the right of people to live free of interference by the state, and the value of private contracts to promote the general welfare.

Is there a happy medium between these two extremes? Is there an ideal way to construct a polity which includes elements from both sides? Maybe we could allow people to keep some of their property, but force them to surrender other parts of it. Maybe we should permit them to live free of government interference except when it's for their own good. Maybe we could eliminate the bourgeoisie by taxing away their prosperity, rather than by hauling them out of their beds in the dead of night and shooting them.

Actually, these prescriptions sound pretty much like life under the European Union today. And don't get complacent - we Americans are no more than a decade or two behind our comrades across the Atlantic.

For a final example, consider slavery as practiced in the antebellum South. At one extreme were the plantation owners, who believed that their Negroes were their property, just like their cattle and their chickens, and that they had a right to buy, sell, and abuse their property as they saw fit. At the other extreme were the Abolitionists, who thought that the slaves were human beings no different from white people, and that holding them in bondage was an unmitigated evil.

Was there a happy medium between these two extreme views? Did the best course lie somewhere in between them? Perhaps we could have forbidden the ownership of Negroes as property, without recognizing them as full human beings. Maybe they could have the right to hold some property, though not the same rights as white people. We could allow them to live autonomously, but not to vote, nor to share schools and other public institutions with white people. Wait a minute - haven't we heard this somewhere before? Do you really think it would be a good idea to try it again?

This is not to say that a successful political system never involves compromise. In order for our political structures to work, they must always allow for compromise. But sometimes one extreme or the other represents the truth. It's not always true that "both sides" have validity. The best course is not always the happy medium. We have to take the issues on a case-by-case basis. And sometimes we just have to grit our teeth and hold out for the "extreme" view because it is, well, right.

Another false premise presented by our commenter is that if we stopped "preaching to the converted", if we could somehow broaden our audience to include people who are not members of the VRWC, we could convince them of the rightness of our cause. It's been my experience that no matter how soberly and judiciously and reasonably I present an argument, I never convince anyone who isn't ready to be convinced. Not only will someone who actively holds an opposing position not be convinced, the more reasonable I am in my argument, the more angry and vitriolic will be his response.

Carefully-written argument is aimed at those whose opinions are not fully formed, people who may have an inchoate sense of the truth, but have not yet articulated it or even brought it into consciousness. Our goal as polemicists is to reach out to such people, to strive for an eloquence and cogency that makes them snap their fingers and say, "You know, he's right! I never quite thought of it that way, but what he says is absolutely true." I will never convince a liberal that my ideas are right. There's no point in trying.

But there are innumerable people out there whose minds have been fuddled by decades of one-sided MSM propaganda, people who know that there's something not quite right with all the PC nonsense that irradiates them every day from all the outlets of the popular culture. They're aware that there's something vaguely wrong with the way they feel. The culture has taught them how they're supposed to feel, but they can't quite manage to feel it. Our job is to reach out to them and deliver a message that is immediately recognizable to them as true.

It's hard to tell how many of them there are because they are separated from us and from each other by fifty years of liberal domination of the culture. The smothering blanket of political correctness has made their opinions doubleplus ungood, so much so that they will lie even to political pollsters about them. That's why it's so hard to determine how vast this untapped reservoir of public opinion is. We know it's out there, but how do we determine its extent?



Post lifted from Taranto. See the original for links

As inevitably happens when the U.S. Supreme Court closes its term by deciding a case involving racial discrimination, white liberals are scorning Clarence Thomas for failing to conform to their expectations of how a black man should think. Among them is Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman, last seen trivializing the Holocaust in the name of global warmism:

A special shout-out to Clarence Thomas, who may embark on his annual road trip in his 40-foot motor home knowing that he's accomplished one life goal. The justice is now talked about even less in terms of race--less as the profligate successor to Thurgood Marshall than as a certified member of the court's right wing. Color him conservative. . . .

Thomas's psyche still intrigues those who search for the biography in his opinions. We know Thomas as a man who benefited from the affirmative action he scorns. He attended Holy Cross with a scholarship established for blacks after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. He was accepted to Yale Law School, where a program committed 10 percent of the seats to minorities. . . .

I have no doubt that Thomas sees himself as the victim of racism and the "racism lite" experienced by many black professionals tagged as "affirmative action babies." He's kept the pile of rejection letters received after graduating from law school. At his searing confirmation hearings, he froze the senators in their tracks by consciously describing himself as the victim of a "high-tech lynching." He also knows that many people questioned his credentials for the Supreme Court.

Let's focus on one of Goodman's tropes: "We know Thomas as a man who benefited from the affirmative action he scorns." Goodman implies, and others among his critics have stated directly, that because Thomas (purportedly) "benefited from affirmative action"--that is, from racial discrimination in favor of blacks--he is morally obliged to favor such discrimination, and to hold it constitutional.

Ellen Goodman is a person of pallor, and her bio tells us that she finished college in 1963, the year before the Civil Rights Act became law. Thus she is old enough (sorry, Ellen) to have benefited from discrimination because she is white. Would anyone suggest that therefore she is morally obliged to support discrimination in favor of whites? Of course not.

In the white liberal's worldview, if a white past beneficiary of discrimination favors racial equality or even discrimination against whites, that is an act of atonement or principle. But if a black past beneficiary of discrimination favors equality, white liberals view him as a traitor to his race. To put it another way, white liberals expect blacks to act out of self-interest based on race, while they expect whites to act altruistically. They attack blacks like Thomas who rise above racial self-interest--and they do so in explicitly racial terms--while faulting whites who fail to do so.

This may be the most invidious racial view to remain respectable in 21st century America. The idea that whites are on a higher moral plane than blacks is a form of white supremacy; and the attacks on Thomas and other blacks who embrace equality and reject racial self-interest are an attempt to keep black people in their place.

White liberals often claim that racism is everywhere, "just beneath the surface." Given the intensity with which they target blacks who reject liberal orthodoxy on race, one suspects they are telling the truth--about themselves.


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, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


No comments: