Friday, April 30, 2010

Another gross failure by British Social workers

They just don't want to know about the underclass. Persecuting minor infractions by the middle class is what gets them off

Social services repeatedly missed opportunities to protect a 14-year-old girl from her parents despite concerns about the family and reports of physical abuse.

The parents, who were jailed yesterday, sexually abused the girl and traded indecent images of her with an American paedophile, Plymouth Crown Court was told.

The teenager was “brainwashed” into believing that the abuse was her own fault. She refused to co-operate with the police investigation or give a statement and tried to claim that she took the indecent images herself, the court was told.

The parents, who cannot be identified to protect the girl, had been known to social services for at least three years before her birth and her older brother had been taken into care and adopted. Between her birth and 2002 the children’s department was called in seven times because of repeated complaints of abuse.

When she was seven she was taken into foster care for a short time, during which her carers expressed concern that she was “over-sexualised”. Despite this she was returned to her parents by social workers.

The court was read a comment by Judge Miranda Robertshaw, who is hearing care proceedings in the Family Court. She said: “The assessment of the local authorities is almost incomprehensible given the previous family history and the vulnerability of such a child.”

The girl was taken out of school at the age of 13 when her parents claimed she was being taught at home, but no checks were made by the authorities. A psychiatric report said the girl developed “accommodation syndrome” and became completely compliant to her father’s wishes.

The father, aged 43, admitted sexual activity with a child, four offences of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, and making and distributing indecent images. He was jailed for ten years.

Her mother, 39, admitted two counts of inciting a child to engage in sex acts, child cruelty, and making an indecent image. She was jailed for three years.

Bronwen Lacey, director of services for children at Plymouth City Council, said: “The last contact with the then social services department was in 2002. [Since then] Plymouth has made significant improvements in social care and safeguarding arrangements.” [Ho, ho!]


Leftist hate from "Slate"

'We Should Go After Them with Pitchforks, Knives, Guns, Clubs…'

Does anyone remember when the liberal intellectuals decried populism coming from the likes of Glenn Beck and other conservatives that was aimed at the direction the country is going under the leadership of President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress?

Throughout 2009, that so-called "bottom-barrel demagogy," as Troy Patterson called it in an post for Slate one year ago, was the focus of much consternation from the intellectual class that resides in the Northeastern U.S. corridor. One example was a critique of the Rick Santelli call that inspired the Tea Party movement, which John Dickerson called "impassioned, scattershot, and ultimately clownish" in a post for Slate back in February 2009.

Apparently it is OK to cry foul on so-called populist rants when the mouthpieces tend to be right-of-center. But now, with Congress debating financial regulation, this sort of above-the-fray approach has gone by the wayside, at least for On Slate's Political Gabfest podcast for April 22, moderator John Dickerson asked his panel consisting of Slate editor David Plotz and Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon, if Wall Street banks had a responsibility to self-regulate and do what's right as opposed to solely relying on legislation to set the boundaries. That inspired an "impassioned" populist response from Plotz.

"Can I spin this question in an entirely different way -- which is, I don't really care what Wall Street banks have to say because I'm not a politician," Plotz said. "I don't take a lot of donations from them. I think it is appalling and shocking that neither party, either President Obama who wants real financial reform or the Republicans who ought to as well have stood up and taken the reasonable American position, which is the behavior of Wall Street, is absolutely disgusting."

But Plotz took it a step further than Santelli or Beck ever have and suggested actual means to express outrage - hopefully metaphorically, but it isn't clear. He cited an April 9 story from ProPublica that contended a hedge fund called Magnetar prolonged the housing bubble and stories from Michael Lewis' much-ballyhooed book, "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine" as the sources of this outrage.

"And we shouldn't talk to them, try to persuade them," he continued. "We should burn them down. We should go after them with pitchforks, knives, guns, clubs we find, mace - anything, because it's appalling. You only need to read the story that ProPublica did about the hedge fund Magnetar and what they did or Michael Lewis' ‘The Big Short' or these stories about Goldman to realize these guys are corrupt."

Plotz expressed frustration that Wall Street has managed to command a lot of America's "intellectual energy" and no one seems to care.

"They're using -- there's way too much American intellectual energy going into creating essentially gambling instruments which have nothing to do with improving the efficiency of the American economy. And like to go at it, just tooth and nail and not to give a damn about what Wall Street says and just populist fury. There's so little populist fury. The behavior is disgusting."


Belgium bans burkas: Women who refuse to show faces to be jailed for a week under draft law

Belgium became the first European country to impose a full ban on wearing a burka last night. Its parliament approved a draft law which states women can be jailed for hiding their faces in public. The bill - which must be rubber-stamped by the Belgian senate - is set to become law by July.

Centre-Right MP Daniel Bacquelaine said last night: 'The notion of recognising people in the street is essential to maintain public order. 'It's also a question of human dignity. The full face veil turns a woman into a walking prison.'

The ground-breaking legislation comes just ten days after an earlier vote on banning the burka was scuppered by the collapse of the country's parliament and resignation of its prime minister, Yves Leterme. Despite the political turmoil, MPs in the fragile five-party coalition managed to push through the controversial law yesterday evening.

It means anyone will be banned from covering their face in a public place, including the street, shops, offices, schools and hospitals. Women will be fined £110 for the first offence. If they refuse to pay or are caught a second time, they can be jailed for a week. It is estimated up to 400 of the country's 280,000 Muslims wear the burka in public.

The move comes as other countries consider bringing in similar legislation. There is widespread support for a ban on burkas, or full face veils, and niqabs, which cover the head and face but leave the eyes visible, in the Netherlands.

In Switzerland, voters recently supported a ban on the construction of new minarets, while France is preparing to vote in July on its own law banning Islamic headwear.

Under French proposals, women would be fined up to £600 for hiding their faces, and be 'unveiled' at a police station so they could be identified. Husbands who forced their wives to wear burkas would be sent to prison.

Jean-Francois Cope, president of France's ruling UMP party, said this week: 'The prime minister has told us the new law on wearing burkas would be adopted by mid-September. 'A recent survey found 70 per cent of French people are opposed to the wearing of full face veils in public.'

Despite widespread support for a ban, France's highest legal body, the Council of State, has warned any law could be overturned by EU human rights laws. Belgium's law could also be challenged by the same legislation.


More Multicultural delights in Australia: Polynesian versus African

From what I have seen, Africans do tend to talk loudly on their mobile phones, and anybody who does that is annoying and should in my view be reminded of good manners. The reminder in this case was undoubtedly extreme, however.

I actually have used a rather good remedy in similar situations. Without looking at the offending party, I have myself spoken up in an exceptionally loud voice saying at some length how ignorant it is for people to talk so loudly that other people have to listen to their inane conversations. I have found that remedy to be effective but you probably have to be pretty assertive to use it.

A BRISBANE father-of-four brutally bashed a young rail commuter for speaking too loudly on his mobile telephone, a court has been told. The Brisbane District Court was this morning told Popani Fala Tovale, 40, fractured the nose and left cheek of Chernor Hadi Bah, 20, after punching him up to three times in a so-called “phone rage” attack while travelling on a Brisbane to Beenleigh commuter train on September 6 last year.

The court was told Tovale, a Samoan national, attacked Mr Bah after calling him an "African" and ordering him to get off the passenger train at Coopers Plains, 15km south of Brisbane, for talking too loudly on his phone.

Prosecutor Jacob Robson said Mr Bah had been on the phone speaking with his father and was in the process of trying to end the call when Tovale repeatedly punched him in the head -- leaving him with a fractured nose, left cheek bone and numerous deep lacerations.

He said Tovale told Mr Bah: "Hey, get off the train you African. Why are you talking on the phone?" "Just get off this train or move away from here."

Mr Robson said Mr Bah replied: "I think I am allowed to talk on the phone if I don't talk loudly."

The court was told Tovale punched Mr Bah so hard he was knocked unconscious and later required surgery to insert a plate to repair his cheek and suture his numerous facial cuts.

Mr Robson said Tovale later told police he attacked Mr Bah because he was in a "bad mood" after having an argument with his sister. He said although Tovale called Mr Bah an "African" it appeared their was no suggestion the attack was not racially motivated. "It's not a premeditated racial attack," he said. "The main motivation was (Tovale) was in a bad mood and it was the way (Mr Bah) was talking that upset him."

Tovale was sentenced to 18-month's jail after pleading guilty to one count of grievous bodily harm. He will be eligible for parole on October 30.

The Crown also tendered a victim impact statement, written by Mr Bah, which revealed he now feared people of "islander appearance."

Judge Greg Koppenol, in sentencing Tovale, said unprovoked and brutally violent attacks in public places would not be tolerated by the courts. "There was no provocation for this brutal attack," he said. "Brutal violence leading to serious injury should attract the appropriate (jail) sentence."



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

The roots of racism are in our brains, based on empathy

The roots of racial prejudice lie deep within the brain, research has suggested. A study found that when we watch someone from our own race do something our brain simulates the action mentally as a form of empathy, known as 'mirroring'. But when we see someone of a different race do the same thing we make much less effort to empathise.

Researchers asked a group of white men to watch film clips of white, black and Asian men picking up a glass of water and drinking.

While the men watched the videos the scientists hooked them up to machines that monitored whether their brains mimicked the action. The men's brains lit up most when watching someone of their own race.

All the viewers were white but the researchers believe the results would still have been similar with any other group.

Writing in the Journal Experimental Social Psychology, Dr Michael Inzlicht said he believed people are born with a tendency to group others on how like themselves they are.

Dr Inzlicht said the research did not necessarily mean prejudice was innate, adding that discrimination about race, religion or hair colour was 'probably learnt'.

[Inzlicht is a great one for making unwarranted inferences and drawing strange conclusions. His own findings often don't seem to suit him but they are certainly interesting on this occasion. They could just show that people are more interested in people of their own race but, although not too surprising, that does seem worth stating]


A non-dogmatic feminist on female IQ

Richard Lynn, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Ulster, is a brave man. In a letter to The Times responding to a lament by Susan Greenfield about the dearth of women in science, the professor came to a stinging conclusion. It’s the stupid genes, stupid.

Women are simply not as clever as men, he wrote. Besides, they have different types of intelligence — men are stronger on reasoning and maths, while women have more verbal intelligence. Thus men are over-represented in the physical sciences and women can make successful newspaper columnists. Gee thanks, Prof.

To judge by the deluge of furious responses from Times readers, women are just a little peeved at the professor’s verdict. Amid the vitriol, however, no one paused to ponder this question: are we more stupid than men? What if the professor is right?

The liberators of women believed that once the patriarchy was overthrown, the differences between men and women would disappear. Gender was a cultural construct. My generation of women, the lucky inheritors of our mothers’ battle, grew up believing that there was no limit to what we could achieve. Yet in this post-patriarchal world, gender still looms large. Men and women are different. Some of these differences may be explicable as lingering legacies of the patriarchy, but not all of them.

Men may be from Mars, but does that mean that their brains are, as Professor Lynn implies, better?

We are at the early stage of unpicking the mysteries of the mind. We can play God, creating matter where there was none before. We can manufacture antimatter, and split the atom down to fundamental particles. But we can not yet quantify the impact of culture on grey matter. We have not untangled nature from nurture.

One of Professor Lynn’s contentions is that men have a greater range of intelligence — there are more men with very high IQs and more with very low. We women muddle along in mediocrity.

In The Strangest Man, Graham Farmelo’s book about the mathematical genius who first posited the existence of antimatter, Paul Dirac emerges as a man of extreme intelligence, and no social skills. His principal guide in theoretical physics was a quest for beauty — the more beautiful the maths, the nearer the truth. It takes a certain type of brain to see the beauty in maths.

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, of the University of Cambridge, says that there is a link between the scientific brain and autism in men. He argues that men possess brains that are better at systematising and analysing. Women’s brains are more about empathy and social skills. In the Baron-Cohen view of the world, scientific genius dances with autism. The “extreme male brain” produces both extraordinary talent and absurdly poor social skills.

There is a convincing counter-argument, however, that embedded cultural stereotypes, rather than genes, are hampering women in science. The lack of female winners of Nobel prizes actually supports the nurture argument. Neither Rosalind Franklin nor Jocelyn Bell won Nobels for their respective work on DNA and radio pulsars in space: two of the most important scientific developments of the past century, yet the female contribution was overlooked and belittled...

Some of those cultural influences have not gone away. Little girls are still swathed in pink and encouraged to embrace their inner princess. They are taught early that prettiness is the apogee of female ambition. As Mattel’s Barbie famously said, when prodded: “Math is hard!”

My own view, but I fear it is based largely on faith rather than hard evidence, is that Professor Lynn is profoundly and utterly wrong. One day science, rather than faith, may give us an answer.

And herein lies the real challenge for women. At present, it is easy to rebut the likes of Professor Lynn. His studies are based on IQ evidence, and IQ data is controversial at best. But what happens in the unlikely event that someone proves, definitively, that women’s brains are, on balance, not very good at science? Or that scientific genius is a very male preserve?

When Galileo threatened the fabric of the religious orthodoxy with his observations of the heavens, which proved Copernicus’s theory about the Earth orbiting the Sun, he ran up against the might of the Catholic Church. He invited his inquisitors to look through the telescope — yet they refused.

The new cultural orthodoxy is liberalism. Yet we liberals are remarkably illiberal when faced with dissent from our cosy, equality-driven view of the world. The American academic Lawrence Summers was forced to grovel publicly over remarks that innate ability, rather than discrimination, accounted for the dearth of female scientists.

One day, a scientist may come to us, and say: here is the telescope, there is the evidence. Look. Yesterday’s feminists would have argued that the telescope was made by a man, pointed by a man at man-filtered evidence. But times have changed, and a new generation of feminists must not allow dogma to trump fact. If nature and nurture are untangled, and the results are anathema to our feminist sensibilities, we must at least have sufficient courage to peer into the telescope.

SOURCE. (The lady cannot see the telescope. There is already plenty of evidence of differences between male and female brains)

The Strategic Foundations of the US-Israel Alliance

By Caroline B. Glick

Why a strong Israel is essential for US national security

Israel's status as the US's most vital ally in the Middle East has been so widely recognized for so long that over the years, Israeli and American leaders alike have felt it unnecessary to explain what it is about the alliance that makes it so important for the US.

Today, as the Obama administration is openly distancing the US from Israel while giving the impression that Israel is a strategic impediment to the administration's attempts to strengthen its relations with the Arab world, recalling why Israel is the US's most important ally in the Middle East has become a matter of some urgency.

Much is made of the fact that Israel is a democracy. But we seldom consider why the fact that Israel is a representative democracy matters. The fact that Israel is a democracy means that its alliance with America reflects the will of the Israeli people. As such, it remains constant regardless of who is power in Jerusalem.

All of the US's other alliances in the Middle East are with authoritarian regimes whose people do not share the pro-American views of their leaders. The death of leaders or other political developments are liable to bring about rapid and dramatic changes in their relations with the US.

For instance, until 1979, Iran was one of the US's closest strategic allies in the region. Owing to the gap between the Iranian people and their leadership, the Islamic revolution put an end to the US-Iran alliance.

Egypt flipped from a bitter foe to an ally of the US when Gamal Abdel Nasser died in 1969. Octogenarian President Hosni Mubarak's encroaching death is liable to cause a similar shift in the opposite direction.

Instability in the Hashemite kingdom in Jordan and the Saudi regime could transform those countries from allies to adversaries.

Only Israel, where the government reflects the will of the people is a reliable, permanent US ally.

America reaps the benefits of its alliance with Israel every day. As the US suffers from chronic intelligence gaps, Israel remains the US's most reliable source for accurate intelligence on the US's enemies in the region.

Israel is the US's only ally in the Middle East that always fights its own battles. Indeed, Israel has never asked the US for direct military assistance in time of war. Since the US and Israel share the same regional foes, when Israel is called upon to fight its enemies, its successes redound to the US's benefit.

Here it bears recalling Israel's June 1982 destruction of Syria's Soviet-made anti-aircraft batteries and the Syrian air force. Those stunning Israeli achievements were the first clear demonstration of the absolute superiority of US military technology over Soviet military technology. Many have argued that it was this Israeli demonstration of Soviet technological inferiority that convinced the Reagan administration it was possible to win the Cold War.

In both military and non-military spheres, Israeli technological achievements - often developed with US support - are shared with America. The benefits the US has gained from Israeli technological advances in everything from medical equipment to microchips to pilotless aircraft are without peer worldwide.

Beyond the daily benefits the US enjoys from its close ties with Israel, the US has three fundamental, permanent, vital national security interests in the Middle East. A strong Israel is a prerequisite for securing all of these interests.

America's three permanent strategic interests in the Middle East are as follows:

1 - Ensuring the smooth flow of affordable petroleum products from the region to global consumers through the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal.

2 - Preventing the most radical regimes, sub-state and non-state actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm.

3 - Maintaining the US's capacity to project its power to the region.

A strong Israel is the best guarantor of all of these interests. Indeed, the stronger Israel is, the more secure these vital American interests are. Three permanent and unique aspects to Israel's regional position dictate this state of affairs.

1 - As the first target of the most radical regimes and radical sub-state actors in the region, Israel has a permanent, existential interest in preventing these regimes and sub-state actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm.

Israel's 1981 airstrike that destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor prevented Iraq from acquiring nuclear weapons. Despite US condemnation at the time, the US later acknowledged that the strike was a necessary precondition to the success of Operation Desert Storm ten years later. Richard Cheney - who served as secretary of defense during Operation Desert Storm - has stated that if Iraq had been a nuclear power in 1991, the US would have been hard pressed to eject Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army from Kuwait and so block his regime from asserting control over oil supplies in the Persian Gulf.

2 - Israel is a non-expansionist state and its neighbors know it. In its 62 year history, Israel has only controlled territory vital for its national security and territory that was legally allotted to it in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate which has never been abrogated or superseded.

Israel's strength, which it has used only in self-defense, is inherently non-threatening. Far from destabilizing the region, a strong Israel stabilizes the Middle East by deterring the most radical actors from attacking.

In 1970, Israel blocked Syria's bid to use the PLO to overthrow the Hashemite regime in Jordan. Israel's threat to attack Syria not only saved the Hashemites then, it has deterred Syria from attempting to overthrow the Jordanian regime ever since.

Similarly, Israel's neighbors understand that its purported nuclear arsenal is a weapon of national survival and hence they view it as non-threatening. This is the reason Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal has never spurred a regional nuclear arms race.

In stark contrast, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, a regional nuclear arms race will ensue immediately.

Although they will never admit it, Israel's non-radical neighbors feel more secure when Israel is strong. On the other hand, the region's most radical regimes and non-state actors will always seek to emasculate Israel.

3-- Since as the Jewish state Israel is the regional bogeyman, no Arab state will agree to form a permanent alliance with it. Hence, Israel will never be in a position to join forces with another nation against a third nation.

In contrast, the Egyptian-Syrian United Arab Republic of the 1960s was formed to attack Israel. Today, the Syrian-Iranian alliance is an inherently aggressive alliance against Israel and the non-radical Arab states in the region. Recognizing the stabilizing force of a strong Israel, the moderate states of the region prefer for Israel to remain strong.

From the US's perspective, far from impairing its alliance-making capabilities in the region, by providing military assistance to Israel, America isn't just strengthening the most stabilizing force in the region. It is showing all states and non-state actors in the greater Middle East it is trustworthy.

On the other hand, every time the US seeks to attenuate its ties with Israel, it is viewed as an untrustworthy ally by the nations of the Middle East. US hostility towards Israel causes Israel's neighbors to hedge their bets by distancing themselves from the US lest America abandon them to their neighboring adversaries.

A strong Israel empowers the relatively moderate actors in the region to stand up to the radical actors in the region because they trust Israel to keep the radicals in check. Today's regional balance of power in which the moderates have the upper hand over the radicals is predicated on a strong Israel.

On the other hand, when Israel is weakened the radical forces are emboldened to threaten the status quo. Regional stability is thrown asunder. Wars become more likely. Attacks on oil resources increase. The most radical sub-state actors and regimes are emboldened.

To the extent that the two-state solution assumes that Israel must contract itself to within the indefensible 1949 ceasefire lines, and allow a hostile Palestinian state allied with terrorist organizations to take power in the areas it vacates, the two-state solution is predicated on making Israel weak and empowering radicals. In light of this, the two-state solution as presently constituted is antithetical to America's most vital strategic interests in the Middle East.

When we bear in mind the foundations for the US's alliance with Israel, it is obvious that US support for Israel over the years has been the most cost-effective national security investment in post-World War II US history.


Buckley and Reagan, Fighting the Good Fight

Wherever he was — in New Guinea; in Gstaad, Switzerland; or at his home in Stamford, Connecticut — Bill Buckley kept his eye on the state of the conservative movement, including and most especially the political fortunes of Ronald Reagan. The two conservatives had first met in January 1961, when Reagan, then the host of the popular television program GE Theater, was to introduce Buckley to an assembly of mostly doctors and their wives at a Los Angeles high school. However, it was discovered that the microphone was dead, and the control room at the rear of the hall was locked. As the audience grew increasingly restless at the delay of the program, Reagan decided to take remedial action.

The future president walked to the side of the hall and looked through the window at the ledge running the length of the building some two stories above traffic. He slipped out the window and with his back to the wall sidestepped carefully on the parapet toward the control-room window. Reaching it, he broke the glass with his elbow and disappeared into the control room. “In a minute there was light in the upstairs room,” Buckley later wrote, “and then we could hear the crackling of the newly animated microphone.”

For Buckley, Reagan’s movements that night were a “nifty allegory of his approach to foreign policy” — the calm appraisal of a situation, the willingness to take risks, and then the decisive moment “leading to lights and sound — and music, the music of the spheres.”

The Yale University graduate and the Eureka College alumnus had much in common: Each was tall (Reagan 6′1″, Buckley 6′2″), handsome, ambitious, a gifted speaker with a ready wit, an inveterate reader with an abiding interest in ideas, and a star in his profession. Each was a committed conservative — Reagan the zealous convert from liberalism, Buckley the cradle conservative. Each had a strong libertarian streak and viewed government as almost always the problem, not the solution. (One of the earliest and most important influences on Buckley was the libertarian author and social critic Albert Jay Nock.) Each was a fierce anti-Communist who believed that you could only trust the Communists to be Communists — although Reagan would come to believe that you could trust some Communists if you carefully verified their actions. A close friendship developed, reinforced by Nancy Reagan’s warm approval of Bill Buckley and his wife, Pat, who knew many of the same socially prominent New Yorkers she did.

There was a significant intellectual difference between the two conservatives: Buckley’s innate skepticism — deepened by the influence of former Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers and National Review senior editor James Burnham — about the possibility of altering the course of history contrasted with Reagan’s sunny belief that, in the words of Thomas Paine, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

When Reagan ran for governor of California in 1966, NR enthusiastically endorsed his candidacy. By the early 1970s, Buckley was convinced that “Reagan was capable of becoming President.” Following Agnew’s exit in disgrace in 1973, the magazine dubbed Reagan the leader of conservatism. But after 20 often frustrating years of building a conservative alternative to the liberal establishment, Buckley could not help wondering what there was to lead.

In a November 1975 interview, a saturnine Buckley said: “As of this moment [the movement] is going nowhere.” At the 20th-anniversary dinner of National Review, Buckley described in detail the leftward tilt of Western civilization, led by American capitalists “fleeing into the protective arms of the government at the least hint of commercial difficulty.” He suggested that survival might well depend upon something like Albert Jay Nock’s “Remnant” — what Nock described as an elite group of writers and thinkers who would one day build a new and free society on the ruins of the modern welfare state

Still, Buckley would not submit to despair, because from the right angle it could be seen that “Communism is theoretically and empirically discredited.” All over the world, he said, “enslaved people continue to dream about freedom.” Inroads against poverty were successful “in almost exact correspondence to the vitality of the private sector.” And most significant of all, “there are no signs at all that God is dead. He appears to have survived even Vatican II.”

In these remarks we see the three major ideas that guided Bill Buckley from the beginning of his career: a contempt for Communism, a firm belief in private enterprise, and an abiding faith in God. As at previous anniversary dinners, Buckley pledged that he and the magazine would continue to persevere. “We have stood together for one-tenth the life span of this Republic,” he said, “and we must resolve to stand with it, and its ideals, forever.”

In the same interview in which Buckley said that the conservative movement was “going nowhere,” he added, “That would change if Reagan were to decide to challenge Mr. Ford in the primary.” Some conservatives, including leaders of the New Right and NR publisher William Rusher (but not Buckley), were pushing the idea of starting a third, conservative party. Reagan disavowed any interest in the idea. Conservatives lustily cheered Reagan at the 1975 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) when he asked, “Is it a third party that we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all the issues troubling the people?”

Reagan hesitated and then decided to do as Buckley had suggested: challenge incumbent president Gerald Ford for the 1976 Republican presidential nomination. A turning point for Reagan had been Ford’s refusal to meet with famed Russian dissident and author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. For Reagan and Buckley there was no greater anti-Communist than the man who wrote One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The Gulag Archipelago. “The public acclaim by Solzhenitsyn of the kind of thing we were doing,” Buckley said, “was an enormous stroke in the ideological heavens, and his Gulag book simply broke the back of the intellectual pro-Communist Left.”

Buckley shared the movement’s elation when Reagan sought his party’s nomination — he had been encouraging Reagan to seek the presidency since at least 1973, and he backed the bid in his column, although he played no formal role in the campaign. He felt sharp disappointment when Ford won the nomination in a heartbreakingly close vote at the national convention — 1,187 delegates to 1,070. Reagan thanked his advisers and workers, many of whom were weeping, and reminded them that although “we lost . . . the cause goes on.” And he added a couple of lines from an old Scottish ballad, “I’ll lay me down and bleed awhile; though I am wounded, I am not slain. I shall rise and fight again.”



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

False history of slavery preached by the Left

By Thomas Sowell

The history of slavery across the centuries and in many countries around the world is a painful history to read-- not only in terms of how slaves have been treated, but because of what that says about the whole human species-- because slaves and enslavers alike have been of every race, religion and nationality.

If the history of slavery ought to teach us anything, it is that human beings cannot be trusted with unbridled power over other human beings-- no matter what color or creed any of them are. The history of ancient despotism and modern totalitarianism practically shouts that same message from the blood-stained pages of history.

But that is not the message that is being taught in our schools and colleges, or dramatized on television and in the movies. The message that is pounded home again and again is that white people enslaved black people.

It is true but it is also false in its implications. Just as Europeans enslaved Africans, North Africans enslaved Europeans-- more Europeans than there were Africans enslaved in the United States and in the 13 colonies from which it was formed.

The treatment of white galley slaves was even worse than the treatment of black slaves picking cotton. But there are no movies or television dramas about it comparable to "Roots," and our schools and colleges don't pound it into the heads of students.

The inhumanity of human beings toward other human beings is not a new story, much less a local story. There is no need to hide it, because there are lessons we can learn from it. But there is also no need to distort it, so that sins of the whole human species around the world are presented as special defects of "our society" or the sins of a particular race.

If American society and Western civilization are different from other societies and civilization, it is that they eventually turned against slavery, and stamped it out, at a time when non-Western societies around the world were still maintaining slavery and resisting Western pressures to end slavery, including in some cases armed resistance.

Only the fact that the West had more firepower than others put an end to slavery in many non-Western societies during the age of Western imperialism. Yet today there are Americans who have gone to Africa to apologize for slavery-- on a continent where slavery has still not been completely ended, to this very moment.

It is not just the history of slavery that gets distorted beyond recognition by the selective filtering of facts. Those who go back to mine history, in order to find everything they can to undermine American society or Western civilization, have very little interest in the Bataan death march, the atrocities of the Ottoman Empire or similar atrocities in other times and places.

Those who mine history for sins are not searching for truth but for opportunities to denigrate their own society, or for grievances that can be cashed in today, at the expense of people who were not even born when the sins of the past were committed.

An ancient adage says: "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." But apparently that is not sufficient for many among our educators, the intelligentsia or the media. They are busy poisoning the present by the way they present the past.


Behind the Obama policy towards Israel

No, the Obamaites are not motivated by anti-Semitism. Their sentiments are actually more dangerous. President Obama believes that he understands Israel's best interests better than Israel's American supporters, and better than Israelis themselves do.

Speaking at Cairo University in June 2009, the president explained that looking at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict "from only one side or the other" would "blind one to the truth." That truth, he continued, was that the only possible solution was "two states where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security." Obama could see, even if the benighted parties could not, "that (a two-state solution) is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest." He said the same thing upon welcoming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Oval Office. Earlier this month, the president told The New York Times that while "we can't want (peace) more than (the parties do)," we are "setting out very clearly to both sides our belief that not only is it in the interests of each party to resolve these conflicts, but it's also in the interest of the United States."

To Israelis, who daily read of thwarted terrorist attacks, who gave up land for peace in Gaza and were rewarded with thousands of missiles fired at Israeli civilians, who can watch Palestinian TV teach Palestinian children that "their" country stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, who see public squares on the West Bank named in honor of mass murderers of Israeli civilians, who see Syria attempting to build a nuclear reactor, Iran closing in on a bomb, and a festering civil war between Hamas and Fatah, the road to a two-state solution may not appear so obvious. Perhaps they lack Obama's clairvoyance.

In addition to the conceit that Obama understands Israel's interests better than Israelis do, the administration has also repeatedly stressed in recent weeks that a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian dispute is vital to American interests, and to saving American "blood and treasure." Settling the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, the Obamaites believe, is more important for America's long-term interests than preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. In fact, multiple emissaries have warned Israel against taking military action against Iran.

The administration's strong-arming of Israel didn't stop with the infamous 40-minute scolding Secretary of State Clinton delivered to Prime Minister Netanyahu when Israel had the temerity to build homes in its own capital. Mrs. Clinton intensified the pressure last week, complaining that Israel's recent steps to ease movement on the West Bank were "not sufficient to prove to the Palestinians that this embrace is sincere." The Palestinians scarcely need a representative since the administration is negotiating for them.

This is of a piece with the Obama administration's invertebrate approach to the rest of the Middle East. President Obama bows low to the Saudi King, has sent multiple emissaries to Syria's Bashar Assad, and has proclaimed a new dawn with Iran. In that same spirit, the State Department issued a plaintive request last week for the release of three American hikers Iran has been holding in prison for nine months. Failing that, our diplomats pleaded that the hikers' families be permitted to visit them.

The Obama administration is at least consistent. The foreign policy of self-abasement, weakness, and dithering that it thinks best for the United States is the one it is attempting to impose upon Israel.


Useless British police again

Motorist walks into police station to report vandalism ... but is told to PHONE call centre. They are only interested in political crimes

When vandals damaged Andy Bevan's car, he thought he was doing the sensible thing by visiting his local police station to report the attack. But to his astonishment, he was told he could not register the crime in person - and had to make a telephone call instead.

A community support officer handed Mr Bevan, 57, a card and asked him to ring the number on it. Mr Bevan, a retired industrial chemist, described the attitude of Humberside Police as 'ridiculous'. He said he visited Peeler House station in Hessle, near Hull, after his tyres were damaged because he wanted the culprits caught and wasn't concerned about getting a crime number for an insurance claim.

However, he was told only the command centre could deal with the incident - and not the officers at the station. He said: 'I told the PCSO at the counter my car was vandalised last night. He said words to the effect "have you rung?" 'I said I'd just popped in to report it, and he said, "you can't just pop in, you have to ring".

'I said it was absolutely outrageous and if I saw bank robbers going into a bank I couldn't come in and tell them that it was happening? They said that was different as it was a crime in progress. 'He said you have to ring in and gave me a card and that was it.

'He wasn't being officious - in fact I'd give him ten out of ten for bedside manner. But I just think it's ridiculous that you can't report a crime in a police station - end of story.' Mr Bevan was then told he could use the telephone inside the police station to report the crime

Mr Bevan, who has not made an insurance claim for the damage caused by the vandals, added: 'I actually wanted someone to be caught and punished but I don't think it's the police's remit any more.'

Humberside Police yesterday failed to clarify whether a mistake had been made, but insisted crimes could be reported in person or by telephone. Chief Superintendent Paul Davidson said: 'If a person wants to speak to an officer within a police station instead of the command centre or arrange a suitable time in which to take a statement, we can provide that facility. 'If this gentleman was not satisfied with the service he received, I would like to apologise to him and invite him to discuss the matter with me personally so we can reach a satisfactory outcome.'

The incident comes just weeks after a shopkeeper stopped another Humberside Police officer to ask for help in catching teenage thieves and was told to 'call the police'. Graham Taylor, 50, was chasing two teenagers who had stolen spirits from his newsagents, also in Hessle, East Yorkshire. He stopped an officer in a marked patrol car who told him 'you had better call the police' instead of giving chase.

Mr Taylor then rang 999 himself. However, the officers assigned to deal with the crime missed the radio call because they were celebrating at a colleague's retirement party.


Parents who spank their children should be prosecuted, says Europe human rights body

Parents who smack their children should be prosecuted for assault, a European human rights group said last night. The Council of Europe is calling for a complete ban on smacking across the continent, saying even the smallest slap can leave psychological damage. One official even compared parents who smack to men who violently beat their wives.

The Council says that Britain lags behind other countries who have initiated a ban.

It claims that one of the reasons that the UK has not put in place a ban is because of the 'traditional parent-child relationship' here which they claim is one of authority.

But the call from Europe to outlaw smacking provoked fury from parents' rights groups, who said it was wrong for Governments to try to dictate what parents could do in their own homes.

Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust said: 'The Council of Europe is failing to recognise that parents are authority figures in their children's lives. 'It is parents, and not national governments, who bear the responsibility of caring for children, nurturing them, and correcting them where necessary.

'As with any other authority figure, parents need to have sanctions at their disposal when their children misbehave, and they must be free to exercise their discretion and judgment with respect to their use. 'In a free society it is vital that parents should be allowed to bring up their children in a reasonable way, in line with their convictions.

'Generations of parents have proved the benefit of moderate smacking to correct their children's behaviour, and research continues to show its positive effects when used in the context of a loving home where children are respected and cherished. 'It has become a contentious issue only because of a vocal minority who are determined to undermine the authority of parents.'

European judges ruled a decade ago that smacking could breach children's rights and in the last three years some 20 countries have implemented a ban. Britain is among a handful of European states, including France and Poland, who are holding out against the pressure for a ban.

Corporal punishment is banned in British schools but parents have a defence against assault charges on the grounds of 'reasonable chastisement'.

Council of Europe deputy secretary general Maud de Boer-Buquicchio said even smacks which did not leave a mark could cause serious psychological harm. She said: 'Children are not mini-human beings with mini-human rights. 'Even if there are no visible scars on the children there can be other scars because of the humiliating effect.

'When we talk about violence against women everyone agrees with that and the same should be true for children. Human rights do not stop at the front door of people's homes. 'It is in my view important to remove the defence of smacking from the criminal law.'

She pointed to Sweden, where smacking was banned 30 years ago, and claimed its children were not more 'wild or indisciplined' as a result.

Academic research released earlier this year found children who are smacked by their parents grow up to be happier and more successful than those who are never physically disciplined.

It revealed children who are smacked before the age of six perform better at school once they reach their teenage years, are more likely to do voluntary work and go to university. But those who are smacked after six were more likely to misbehave and become involved in fights at school.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Enemies List’ a Fantasy

The Southern Poverty Law Center's new list of scary "Patriots" connects people as various as Alex Jones, Ron Paul, and Glenn Beck into a vast conspiracy. Robert Stacy "the Other" McCain tries — and fails — to make sense of it all

Catherine Bleish is a 26-year-old libertarian who was a Ron Paul delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention. She is a leader of the Liberty Restoration Project which, among other things, opposes the federal “War on Drugs” and denounces the Patriot Act as “an assault against the civil liberties of Americans.” Perhaps you disagree with those views, but is Bleish dangerous?

The Southern Poverty Law Center seems to think so. In a special report called “Meet the ‘Patriots’” issued last week, the SPLC named Bleish as one of 35 people “at the heart of the resurgent movement.” The report — which also names WorldNetDaily publisher Joseph Farah and Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media — describes the movement thus:

“In the last year and a half, militias and the larger antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement have exploded, accompanied by the rapid expansion of other sectors of the radical right. … [T]he so-called Patriots [are] people who generally believe that the federal government is an evil entity that is engaged in a secret conspiracy to impose martial law, herd those who resist into concentration camps, and force the United States into a socialistic ‘New World Order.’”

The SPLC’s scary references to militias and conspiracies and a “resurgent movement” very much echo Bill Clinton’s recent conflation of the tea party with Timothy McVeigh and, like Clinton, the Montgomery, Ala.-based organization singled out Rep. Michelle Bachmann, calling her an “enabler” of the Patriot movement. Also labeled “enablers” by the SPLC were Glenn Beck and Andrew Napolitano of Fox News, as well as Ron Paul, the Texas congressman whose quixotic 2008 presidential campaign helped turn Bleish into a full-time political activist.

A graduate of the University of Missouri who majored in communications, Bleish says she has postponed her graduate studies — she aims to get a master’s degree in political science — to become involved in a variety of libertarian projects. She participated in the July 2008 “Revolution March” of Paul supporters in Washington, D.C., and attended a May 2009 conference in Jekyll Island, Ga., that also included several others named in the SPLC “Patriot” report. The SPLC says that “seminal” meeting — organized by libertarian activist Bob Schulz — “helped lay the groundwork for the resurgence of the [Patriot] movement.”

Bleish says she’s not sure why the SPLC — which typically monitors hate groups like the KKK and the Aryan Nations — is now targeting libertarians like herself.

“They’re indirectly associating people who aren’t violent and aren’t racist with violence and racism, and that’s unfortunate,” Bleish said in a telephone interview.

If Bleish is considered a “conspiracy theorist,” that’s probably because of her group “Operation: De-Fuse,” which depicts the Department of Homeland Security as part of a “police/surveillance state” that is “militarizing and federalizing our police forces.”

Bleish and others say that this isn’t conspiracy theory, but conspiracy reality. The name of Operation: De-Fuse is a reference the DHS “fusion centers” such as the Missouri Information Analysis Center, which issued a controversial 2009 report identifying Ron Paul supporters and pro-life activists (as well as fans of Rambo movies and Tom Clancy novels) as potential terrorists.

“Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups,” the MIAC report said. “It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material.”

If DHS is identifying third-party political movements as threats, is it irrational for supporters of those movements to consider the DHS a threat?

Regardless of the legitimacy of Bleish’s concerns about DHS, however, the SPLC report is at least correct in portraying Bleish as part of a “movement.” Looking over the “Patriot” report, Bleish identified about a dozen names on the list — including Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party — as people she’s communicated with or met at various events. But some of the names on the SPLC’s list call to mind the lyrics of an old Sesame Street song: “One of these things is not like the others.”

Why, for example, does the SPLC list that includes 9/11 “Truther” Alex Jones also name Kincaid, whose Accuracy in Media is a well-established conservative organization devoted to identifying media bias? In fact, Kincaid denounced the 9/11 “inside job” conspiracy theory as “absurd” in a recent column warning that Jones is “playing a destructive role” that could discredit the tea party movement.

Jones and Kincaid are clearly not part of the same “movement,” and there is no connection between Kincaid and libertarians like Bleish, except for their all being named in the same SPLC report....


Dog-fighting videos: a free speech issue

A US Supreme Court ruling rightly argues that all speech should be free, not just speech that is ‘socially beneficial’

Pit bull fighting is not the most likely starting-point for a debate about freedom of speech. Yet this week, following a US Supreme Court ruling in favour of a man previously imprisoned for producing videos of the pugnacious terriers, that’s precisely what it became.

‘Generations and generations of pit fighting have resulted in a very tough animal. These dogs will continue fighting even though most of their ear or a section of their mouth has been chewed off – or a leg rendered inoperable.’ This is an excerpt from the 1983 pit bull-loving classic Dogs of Velvet and Steel, penned with enthusiasm rather than good grammar by Robert ‘Bob’ Stevens, a 68-year-old from Virginia.

Judging by the many drooling, teeth-baring passages elsewhere amongst its 400-odd pages, it is fair to say that Stevens has a bit of a thing for pit bulls. He is fascinated by them – drawn inexorably, it seems, to the breed’s ‘gladiatorial tendencies’. As he readily admits, ‘I attended many pit fights and saw some real deep, hard biters’. Unfortunately for Stevens, this love of all things pit bull was to land him in serious trouble.

So it was that in 2005, Stevens became one of the first people to be convicted under the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, serving just over three years in prison. This was nothing to do with Dogs of Velvet and Steel itself; rather it concerned a series of films he had been selling under the same title. These featured, as you might expect given the defining obsession of Stevens’ life, pit bulls fighting. Not just footage of any old pit bulls fighting, but footage of pit bulls fighting in Japan, a country where dog fighting is still legal.

The problem for Stevens, however, was that the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act covered this. Drawn up in 1999 by US Congress in response to so-called ‘crush’ films – films showing attractive women crushing small animals to death, a craze which, I suspect, passed many of us by – this law prohibited the portrayal of living animals being ‘intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed’. It was irrelevant, under the terms of the law, that the act being portrayed was legal in the country where it took place. It was enough for that conduct to violate federal or state law where ‘the creation, sale, or possession takes place’. Under this law, Stevens’ desire to express his love of pit bulls fighting was a criminal act.

Which is surely a good thing, right? After all, banning films of dogs fighting, maiming and mutilating each other is no great loss to civilisation. In fact, such ‘portrayals’, such ‘expressions’, sound pretty uncivilised, barbaric almost. A good, progressive law, then?

Well, no, not really. In fact this law contains within itself a regressive, anti-democratic, anti-freedom germ. It implies that it is up to the state to declare what is a worthy object of expression and what is not. Which is why this week’s US Supreme Court ruling, declaring the law unconstitutional insofar as it violates the First Amendment, is so welcome.

As the Supreme Court views the matter, the 1999 legislation means that the state divides up the wealth of human expression into that which is worthy of protection under the First Amendment and that which is not. So while the pit bull fighting vids of someone like Stevens were not considered to be protected forms of expression, other types of so-called animal cruelty, such as hunting videos, with, as the original statute put it, ‘serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value’, are exempt. This is a highly suggestive clause, a sentence that suggests that the state has reserved the right to say which forms of human expression are worthy or useful, and thus should remain free.

With regards to that sentence in the original statute, the Supreme Court was unequivocal: ‘As a free-floating test for First Amendment coverage, that sentence is startling and dangerous. The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not extend only to categories of speech that survive an ad hoc balancing of relative social costs and benefits. The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the government outweigh the costs.’

And then, in a passage that brooks no compromise or concession, the Supreme Court says: ‘Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it.’ There you have it: a defence of people’s freedom, our freedom of speech, that pays heed to the universal form of freedom, not its particular exercise – whether that involves the production of a set of dog-fighting DVDs or a call for the Caliphate.

This is an important argument. Today, free speech comes with qualifications attached, caveats imposed. Often a Western politician will declare ‘I believe in freedom of speech’ before following it up with the killer conjunction, ‘but…’ They will then go on to say that not all content should be expressed, that there are some things – in the UK, for instance, the glorification of terrorism – that do not deserve to be freely expressed. Such expressions are deemed to incite, corrupt, deprave.

The logic here is indeed startling and dangerous: our governments regard our freedoms, our freedom of speech, not always to be in our own best interests. We are not able to cope with our own freedoms, freedoms that in the US have been enshrined in the Bill of Rights. It was this kind of patronising perspective that made the US government believe it was okay to pass legislation which arrogated to itself the right to decide what was worthy of protection under the First Amendment, and what was not.

The one member of the Supreme Court who objected to the ruling against the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, Justice Samuel Alito, argued that the court was in danger of legitimising ‘a form of depraved entertainment’. And depraved it may well be. But that is a moral argument, and as such it ought to be up to citizens, viewed as individuals capable of moral reasoning, to decide whether or not to indulge in or observe such ‘entertainment’ as part of their broader decision-making about how to live their lives.

You may not be a fan of dog-fighting videos; you may even think they sound pretty grim. But it’s still worth defending someone’s right to produce them.


Problems of Britain's welfare State

The social benefits of the welfare state are now more than outweighed by its social costs: diminished subjectivity, corroded communities, and increased state power

Over the past couple of decades, a new understanding of welfare has been put at the centre of the elite’s project to connect with, engage with and remould the citizenry. Where the old welfare state was largely about providing citizens with the material things they needed to survive, the new welfare state is a far more therapeutic institution and is about redefining what it means to be a citizen and how citizens relate to the state.

The old notion of the welfare state as a ‘safety net’ to help citizens cope with hardship assumed that individuals, families and communities were generally able to run their own lives most of the time. Social assistance, therefore, was designed to return people to a situation where they could get on with their lives unaided, as autonomous, capable human beings. But the model of welfare that has developed over the past two decades entirely rejects the idea that individuals have the capacity to run their lives. Welfare provision now starts from the assumption that individuals and communities are incapable of managing their own health and lifestyles, family life, child-rearing and informal community relations without the constant intervention of the state and its institutions to advise, train, counsel and (re)educate them.

The change has been so profound that it is really no longer appropriate to talk about a ‘welfare’ state at all. In its place there has developed what former New Labour prime minister Tony Blair described in 2006 as an ‘enabling state’. This new ‘enabling state’ might promote itself through the rhetoric of responsibility and empowerment, but in fact its impact on individuals and communities has been extremely disabling. Virtually every welfare-state intervention is now premised on the assumption that individuals are vulnerable, physically and psychologically incapacitated, and in need of constant therapeutic intervention....

The social provision of material necessities and resources to individuals who, through no fault of their own, were unable to provide for themselves is an expression of the important humanist responsibility that society has to all of its members in times of need. The recognition that poverty, illness and unemployment are social problems, and not the result of individual moral failings, was implicit in the model of welfare that was dominant in Britain from the end of the Second World War to the 1970s, and is an essential insight for anyone concerned with social justice.

However, it is important to set the positive benefits of the welfare state against the constant potential for the ever-greater intervention of the state in society, and the consequent domination and structure of dependency that this establishes, to limit the capacity of individuals and communities to take control of their circumstances. By providing a buffer against the worst deprivations caused by poverty, unemployment and social alienation, the welfare state also plays a significant role in encouraging people to accommodate to their lot.

The criteria by which any past, current or proposed welfare intervention should be judged is in terms of the capacity that it gives individuals to take greater control of their lives – to live the lives that they want to lead, with the means to take control of the resources that they feel are necessary. On this basis, it would be wrong to dismiss the gains of education, healthcare and material welfare benefits – when people are in need, a decent society should develop mechanisms to meet those needs. But it would be naive to overlook the hardnosed political origins of the welfare state, and its role in de-radicalising and controlling working-class aspiration, and to leave unexplored the increasingly problematic role that a new therapeutic welfare state plays today.

From welfare to therapy

The old aspiration, amongst social reformers at least, to provide social mechanisms that might empower people to take greater control of their lives has been entirely absent in the discussion and development of the welfare state over the past two decades. Indeed, the new ‘enabling state’, as Blair christened it, is a direct consequence of a diminished view of the capabilities of individuals and communities.

Where the welfare state was in essence an attempt to head off radical, working-class politics, the motivation for the transformation of the meaning of welfare in recent years has been a semi-conscious attempt by the state to engage with, connect to, and in numerous ways reshape and resocialise the citizenry. Let us consider two examples.

The case of children and families

One of the most progressive campaigns of the feminist movement in the 1970s and 80s was for the provision of universally accessible childcare on demand. At first sight, it might seem as if this demand has finally been achieved with Sure Start, the New Labour government’s ‘programme to deliver the best start in life for every child by bringing together early education, childcare, health and family support’. Sure Start provides children’s centres (‘service hubs where children under five years old and their families can receive seamless integrated services and information’), through a guarantee of free ‘early education’ provision for three- and four-year-olds, and the promise of childcare provision for every child between the ages of three and 14, from 8am to 6pm. The only party political disagreement over Sure Start today concerns who will do the most to increase its funding and ability to provides services.

However, two insidious ideas underpin the Sure Start initiative. First, the assumption is that most parents are at best ignorant of how to raise their children, and at worst are utterly dysfunctional. The second is a fatalistically deterministic view of child development – an idea that miscreant adults and broken communities are the result of ‘bad parenting’ from the earliest months of a child’s life.

Sure Start aims to create healthier children by ‘supporting parents to care for their children both before and after birth’ [my emphasis]. In reality this involves the state teaching parents about the moral ills of smoking and drinking during pregnancy, and ensuring that children are fed the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day, amongst other things. Sure Start even provides instructions to parents on how they should play with their children.

Such intervention undermines the authority and autonomy of parents and encourages them to view child-rearing and family life as an activity which can only be undertaken under the careful guidance of state-sanctioned experts. More than any previous social-service interventions in family life, which were traditionally directed towards a relatively small section of very deprived families, Sure Start aims to engage with families across all social classes. Sure Start assumes that state intervention is essential to produce properly socialised individuals and to keep families together, while ignoring many other problems related to childcare provision, access to decent education and the financial burden of raising children. It is all about therapeutically redirecting the population towards the right way of thinking and behaving and parenting, rather than providing them with the things and finances they might need.

Unemployment and incapacity

Over the past couple of years, society has been going through a deep economic recession, with the official level of unemployment reaching nearly 2.5million people. Consequently there has been much material insecurity and hardship for a great many individuals. However, in our response to these hardships, we have moved a long way from the period of industrial labour militancy that dominated the recession of the 1970s, and which played a large part in bringing to an end the traditional postwar welfare consensus. As Brendan O’Neill has argued, unemployment has ceased to be a political issue to which we see the possibility of social and political solutions.

In response to the current recession, the state is not readying troops of armed men to maintain social order – instead it is training an army of counsellors and therapists to help the newly unemployed cope with their changed circumstances. NHS Direct call-centre operatives have been encouraged to listen out for signs of depression amongst callers who have lost their jobs, while Jobcentres have been given the authority to refer jobseekers for cognitive behavioural therapy, with a promise that such therapy will soon be offered onsite at Jobcentres themselves.

These initiatives are only an expansion of the government’s stated intention, planned before the recession, to provide psychological therapies to the unemployed, not simply to help them cope with unemployment, but to help them to ‘develop the confidence’ to get back into work. Unemployment, in other words, is now seen as a problem of individual psychology rather than social and economic organisation. The changing understanding of unemployment, from political failing to individual handicap, is reflected in the fact that of the five million people currently out of work and claiming benefits in the UK, over 50 per cent are drawing Incapacity Benefit – they have been redefined as incapable of working rather than as being denied a job by the current social and economic framework.

While political parties do still express concern about the rising bills for the expansion of welfare, behind their rhetoric there is no real attempt to encourage any autonomy or independence. Instead, the mechanisms through which the unemployed will apparently be ‘assisted’ back into work involve an ongoing process of training, mentoring and support, which will continue even once work has been found. In other words, the assumption is that state intervention and support will be needed in order to maintain an individual’s capacity for work and employment.

The widely held assumption that many unemployment and incapacity claimants are cynically manipulating the welfare system misses the extent to which individuals have been encouraged by the new welfare state to understand themselves in terms of their physical incapacities and psychological vulnerabilities. That unemployment has come to be understood as a problem of individual incapacity and community attitudes and culture, rather than of social organisation, is expressed in the Conservative Party’s diagnosis that ‘in many parts of the country, worklessness is being passed from generation to generation’. Here, the children of unemployed families are understood as being socialised by a degenerate culture; such children are seen as being less likely to achieve at school and more likely to end up as workless in the future. Like the assumption that the abused child becomes the adult abuser, unemployment is seen to be a psychological problem caused by a failure of appropriate parenting and poor socialisation. In some ways, this takes us back to the old idea of poverty as a moral failing (or in this instance a psychological failing) rather than as a social problem – the new therapeutic state is taking us backwards.


Outrageous Sexual Violence of Islam

The sexual issues are foundational for understanding the health of a culture, and for predicting its levels of internal social violence, and how it behaves towards "the other" who is not like themselves. My extensive review of sexual and family-life conditions globally, in the book Saharasia, years ago proved the factual nature of Wilhelm Reich's clinical observations and sex-economic theory: Cultures which heap trauma and abuse on their infants and children, and later crush down the expression of developing sexual love in their young people (ie, Romeo and Juliet) with harsh and deadly taboos, will invariably turn out to be the most violent ones.

The converse being true also, that cultures with much gentle treatment of babies and children, and tolerance for romantic love expression within peer groups of their children and adolescents turn out to be the healthier, non-violent, and more productive and inventive societies. And in fact such societies do not have pedophiles, as pedophilia is something produced from children who are themselves subjected to rape and abuse. Though as with much else from childhood, the original memories are typically driven down into the unconscious where they continue to mould behavior and psyche.

So a key and critical factor for building of a healthier and more peaceful world is, the children must be protected from the pathological impulses of sexually predatory and sadistic adults. Otherwise, they turn out no better than the rapists who abused them, and go out to wreak havoc on the world. This is far and beyond the usual discussion on "sex-repression", which merely tells the young person to "stop" and "wait until you are married". This is, putting a child into the hands of a corrupted and violent male, who then repeatedly rapes them and then hands them off to another for the same, and on it goes for years. The destruction of the capacity to love, in any sense as is known in the West, is total and complete.

In this regard, Islam proves itself to be the most sexual twisted and damaged social structure in existence, given the preponderance and full legal nature of this kind of child-rape, of both boys and girls. So, that is Today's Cultural-History Lesson:

Institutionalized Pedophilia-Pederasty Within Islam.

And how the non-Muslim world commits cultural suicide by ignoring this, even as Muslim immigrant communities continue to grow within their borders, bringing exactly this same kind of stuff with them.

This is a part of the larger problem of Islamic Sexual Slavery which affects both boys and girls.

The problem outlined above exists across the entire Islamic world, and has poisoned the relations between men and women. The late Sir Richard Burton addressed the matter more than 100 years ago, calling the basic region of Saharasia the "Sotadic Zone", given how sexual inversion has developed there to such astonishingly high levels. He looked primarily at homosexuality as the major consequence of the Islamic situation, but in fact the whole matter of female hatred, the veiling of women and crushing down of them into sexual slavery, is another major expression. These are critical components of the origins of armoring question which Wilhelm Reich never had the time to investigate, as he never visited any Islamic nation to see with his eyes, a situation that was far worse than what he observed in chaotic Vienna or Russia, or elsewhere he travelled. These issues were firstly addressed as regarding the Islamic world in my Saharasia book, starting around 1980, though with far less detail than is available today.

This is the social background of the Talibans and al-Qaeda killers, of the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists, and of the Iranian Mullahs, the Royal Families of the Persian Gulf oil shieks, of goat-herders in Yemen or Sudan, the Algerian Islamic fanatics who in their zeal to drive out the remaining French influences will throat-cut young unveiled women and even babies, after gang-raping them of course. And so on.

Lets view the ugly reality, without pulling punches. Here, one brave Swedish cartoonist captures the essence of Islamic pedophilia - the "ideal man" Muhammed at 53, with his 9-year old "wife", getting ready for the bed. This is an all-too-frequent reality across the Islamic world.

If you find this stuff offensive (and you should!) then don't blame the messenger. Islamic Pedophilia also comes to Islamic communities in the West

These are not "isolated cases" from individual insane sexual predators. It is part of a system and way of life, of a totalitarian culture which is smugly arrogant and proud of its pathos, and filled with hatred of anything that is healthier than itself . Go read Reich again on the Emotional Plague, if you need a reminder.

Incredible that the prevailing "status quo" liberal Dutch think this is OK, and call Geert Wilders a "right wing racist" for wanting to put a stop to it.

In France, they have prepared a new law forbidding full facial veiling of women and girls in public. If such a woman is found with full veil, or a girl-child, they will be fined, and it goes to being a criminal offense if the violations are frequent. It is an effort to stop the deliberate effort by Muslim men to keep their women in a low status, and to import the widespread concepts of "sexual dirtiness" and "female sex dirtiness" into France.

Now, just before this law can happen, a policeman stops a woman driving a car with full facial veiling. He says, she cannot see and so is an unsafe driver with that rag on her head.

The left-wing asks, why get upset about such a veil. Ignore it, they say. That is a reasonable question, but is based upon a terrible ignorance. Such facial veiling (note in the photo, the husband does not wear any such veil) it is a symbol of Islamic conquest, of the male brutality and conquest over the female and should not be tolerated in a free society. So say the moderates, concerned for their culture and children. And this one case proves the moderates (accused as "right-wing") are correct. Read on.

As publicity came on this case, it turns out the woman is one of four wives of a polygamist Algerian immigrant. The guy is networked with Algerian terror groups. The four wives have 12 children from him, collectively. They all separately go to the social services using their maiden names, claiming to be single women. "Oh Boo Hoo help me, my husband abandoned me with these six kids, and I have no job, etc., boo hoo."

So the French people are not monsters, and will give this woman plenty of social welfare, for all six kids too -- an apartment, food, clothes, car, education for the kids, you name it. How much for just that one wife? 3000 Euro per month? Times four wives that's 12,000 Euro, per month! 144,000 Euro per year. French people, where is the end of your generosity?!

Don't you think this guy is telling all his friends to come and do the same? So you wonder why your economy is suffering? Why so many of these Muslim guys ride around in Mercedes and wear slick clothes, flying here and there in the world like money is nothing, and laughing with contempt at the stupid dhimmi Western people. It is not like the shabby immigrants from Russia or elsewhere, whose clothes immediately show they are in poverty. No, they are wearing the best clothing, the men, even as their slave-women walk under full black curtains, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and so always speaking in support of their tormentors.

More HERE (See the original for links)


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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Discrimination is necessary

Subjecting kids to weirdos undermines standards of decency

First-graders should not be forced into the classrooms of teachers undergoing sex changes. Religious broadcasters and faith-based summer camps should not be forced to hire cross-dressers. Women should not be forced to share bathrooms with people with male body parts who say they want to be females. Yet those are some of the likely results if Congress passes H.R. 3017, the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which is due for a vote this week by the House Education and Labor Committee.

ENDA purports to "prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity." Clever politically correct wording aside, this is a direct attack on common sense. On some matters, it is good to be discriminating. It is right to discriminate between honesty and dishonesty, between politeness and impoliteness, between right and wrong. And it assuredly is right to be discriminating in choosing who teaches our children. ENDA would make it impossible for a non-church-based charter school, for instance, to remove from the classroom a "she-male" who insists on exposing her pupils to her unnatural transformation.

This is no idle threat. ENDA would supersede the laws of 38 states that do not have laws treatingthose with an unusual "gender identity" as a legally protected "class" of citizens. Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition wrote in the April 20 edition of Roll Call about several examples of cross-dressing or sex-changing teachers who claimed protections under state disability laws (in the 12 states that do indeed protect "gender identity") and were able to remain in the classroom despite parents' protests. Perhaps the worst was at California's Foxboro Elementary School, where a music teacher underwent surgery to become a man, but parents originally were not even notified because administrators feared running afoul of medical privacy laws.

Even if California wants to be so foolish, the residents of the 38 states without such absurd legal strictures shouldn't be forced to do the same. States have a sovereign right to set standards governing behavioral - as opposed to immutable - personal characteristics.

ENDA does provide supposed exemptions for churches and church-based schools to refuse to employ sex-changers and cross-dressers. But the exemption is far less than meets the eye. Even religious organizations, under the standards cited, are prohibited from making employment decisions based on the worker's sex. ENDA opponents rightly cite last year's 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals note in Prowel v. Wise Business Forms that "the line between sexual orientation discrimination and discrimination 'because of sex' can be difficult to draw." In short, courts easily could decide that even parochial schools must hire she-males to teach their kindergartners.

Similar problems abound in this bill, which treats a conscious decision to choose a new or different sexual identity as if it were an inherent, unavoidable condition. But it's not. It's actually a psychological disorder, officially listed as such by the current American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Our children and our co-workers should not be forced by law to be held hostage to such disorders, nor should employers be forced to have psychologically troubled persons as the public face of their businesses.


PC Alert: Rev. Franklin Graham Banned by the Pentagon for Telling the Truth About Islam

Franklin Graham, distinguished Christian minister and son of an American evangelical treasure (i.e. Billy Graham) was banned from praying at the Pentagon for their upcoming May 6th National Day of Prayer event because he called Islam “evil.”

Apparently Franklin didn’t get the memo that we can’t say squat about Islam anymore. Oh, hell no. Muslims are groovy no matter what they do, and anyone who says otherwise … is … well … evil … in the eyes of the thought police who’re heading up the United States of Political Horse Smack.

Check it out: When Muslims kill 3,000 Americans, we can’t call them “wicked.” When they abuse women, cut off little girls’ clitorises, stone unruly wives, honor kill their teenage daughters for texting someone not named Achmed, and keep precious women in stone-age bondage worldwide, we can’t say that’s BS because that might offend them. And God forbid we should offend folks who’re six bubbles off level and don’t get basic women’s rights.

I’m scratching a bald spot on the back of my head on this one because we won’t put up with that bollocks with any other people or religion except with Islam; they get a free pass. Yes, we’re being whipped into believing that we’re misjudging them even though the preponderance of historical evidence indicates that those who believe they’re bogus are spot on.

I think it is legitimately safe to say—and extremely sad to say—that Political Correctness has officially seeped its fetid sewage into the brass inside the beltway.

Matter of fact, I’m wearing black today because I’m in mourning. As far as I’m concerned, it’s calamitous when the U.S. Army bans a solid Christian minister and upstanding citizen (who has added much to America’s Christian heritage and the well-being of millions of suffering people worldwide) from praying for our troops just because he called Muslim crap crap. You can read the full horror story here.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Franklin for having the holy testosterone—amidst the many craven and neutered capitulating clerics, pundits and politicians across our land—to call Islam’s actions wicked because … duh … they are. Good job, old chap. It seems as if only South Park, Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, a smattering of other analysts (mostly women) and Graham will come out and verbally hammer these cats for their “faith”-inspired atrocities against non-Muslims and their own women.

Oh, by the way: If you’re not convinced Islam is evil, check out this video.


Bill Clinton Explains How Middle East Utopia is Just Around the Corner, Just Tell Israel and Palestinians How to Make Peace

It's truly amazing what some people say about the Middle East without anyone noticing the inaccuracies and contradictions. An interview former President Bill Clinton gave to the ABC news' program "This Week" is a wonderful example of this situation.

As a friend of mine who's a policy analyst just put it in evaluating another, roughly similar article: "Everyone should have views that approximate reality. There's still plenty of room for argument within that space."

I will now show, point by point, how almost everything Clinton said, however, is outside that space. Still, Clinton-who was an okay president-is savvy enough to make one terrific argument which shows he really does understand the shortcomings of Obama Administration policy.

Of course, as a fellow former president, a Democrat, and husband of a certain secretary of state, Clinton isn't going to trash the current government's stances. But his statements force him into saying some very silly things. I will give you one point for each of them you spot. Read each paragraph, think of one or more major problems with it, and then read my analysis.

"If [Obama] decides to [issue his own peace plan], I will support it," said Clinton, suggesting that such an action would be like what he did at the Camp David meeting and later in the Clinton peace plan, both in 2000.

What's wrong with this?

Answer: Clinton did not really present his own peace plan in either case. On both occasions, he was presenting a plan which he had cleared with Israel's prime minister. This was appropriate since the Israeli government had agreed to make some major concessions if it received certain things in return. In sharp contrast, however, Obama would be proposing a plan demanding Israeli concessions which not only hasn't been approved by Israel's government but which the president knows it would oppose.

Incidentally, as we will see in a moment Clinton knows-despite his support-that this is a serious mistake. If the president puts forward a plan both sides will reject he does no good and ends up looking very foolish. Moreover, what about Clinton's own experience: offering a great deal to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and watching them turn it down. Shouldn't he be warning Obama--and his spouse--more about how the PA is unwilling or unable to make peace?

Next, what's wrong with this:

"We need to do something to deprive both sides of any excuse not to engage in serious negotiations."

Answer: If the goal is to get talks going, the way to do so is not to propose a comprehensive peace plan which both sides will certainly reject but to start with small things on which they can agree. To put forward such a plan would be the best "excuse not to engage in serious negotiations" of all!

But, by the way, might it be relevant that the PA has refused to talk for 15 months while Israel's government has been ready to meet during this entire period? So Clinton knows Israel is not looking for any excuse not to engage in serious negotiations. The PA is. But to be "even -handed," Clinton is covering up for PA intransigence. And who should know better about PA intransigence then the man who was humiliated by Yasir Arafat's refusal to make peace in 2000?

At this point, Clinton does give some good advice: "The current Israeli government, with its current coalition, almost certainly would reject it. And the argument is that that makes us look weak." Right. Why put forward a plan that's going to be rejected. The Obama Administration already looks dangerously weak. Once both sides reject its plan, things will really be at a dead end.

But soon we are back in fantasyland. So what's wrong with this:

Clinton said that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would vastly reduce the level of terrorism in the region: "Half of the energy coming out of all this organization and money-raising for terror comes out of the allegations around the unresolved Palestinian issue."

What's wrong with this?

Answer: Suppose you are the kind of Arab who supports terrorist groups politically and gives them money. Would a two-state compromise agreement make you stop doing that? Of course not, you would say that the Palestinian Authority had betrayed the Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims, while the United States was a horrible enemy that had destroyed the chance for destroying Israel and creating a Palestinian Muslim Arab state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

Consider Hamas. If an agreement was made leaving it aside, would it fold up? Stop terrorism? Cease receiving money? Lose all popular support? Forfeit the backing of Iran, Syria, and the Muslim Brotherhoods? And how in Hades are you going to have and implement such a solution without the Gaza Strip?

See if you can spot the pattern: King Abdallah of Jordan made a deal with Israel and was assassinated. President Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt made a deal with Israel and was assassinated. President Bashar Gemayel of Lebanon made a deal with Israel and was assassinated. Ah, "President" Mahmoud Abbas, please just sign right here and terrorism will just disappear. Nothing to worry about!

What planet is Bill Clinton living on if he believes this?

Much more HERE

Battle against the Burka is not based on bigotry

Comment from Australia

FRANCE'S move to extend its ban on the Islamic headscarf and outlaw the full-face veil appears to be catching on. Belgian MPs will vote on whether to prohibit it and similar laws have been drafted in Italy. Europe's rising Muslim population, which exceeds 20 per cent in some cities, has ensured a groundswell of support for these moves.

The debate in Europe has stirred interest in Australia too. Some commentators have seized on calls to ban the burka, which they judge to be "un-Australian". Others, including this writer, saw the French move as a xenophobic overreaction, more likely to inflame social tensions than ease them. However, this glib interpretation does not withstand an hour's conversation with a key architect of the hijab ban, French scholar Gilles Kepel, who visited Australia recently.

Kepel was a member of a commission established by the French government in 2003, which recommended forbidding the hijab, along with other religious symbols such as the Jewish yarmulke and large Christian crosses, from government-run schools.

Kepel is no xenophobe. He's the son of Czech migrants and has an Algerian wife. He is also one of the world's most esteemed authorities on political Islam.

Kepel argues persuasively that interpreting the French position as a symptom of xenophobia is a profound misunderstanding of the pivotal role of secularism in the French nation-state. He makes a considered and compelling case that, for a country founded on secularity, a policy of multi-culturalism that allows overt displays of religiosity poses a threat to the unity of the state. Whether the same can be said of Australia is a provocative idea that merits sober consideration.

The concept of laicite (secularism) is at the core of the French constitution. Its origin was a law passed in 1905 separating church and state to counter the oppressive domination of the Catholic Church. Laws passed even earlier made schooling -- until then limited and largely Catholic controlled -- mandatory, free and secular. "France had to make a law to be free of Catholic Church hegemony," Kepel explains.

"It was conceived as a reaction to the overwhelming influence of the church."

Laicite was always controversial, detested by monarchists who would prefer Catholicism as the state religion and increasingly resented by Islamists as a bar to free religious expression. Nonetheless it has remained an article of faith in French political and social life.

The French government is constitutionally prohibited from recognising any religion. Religious buildings were made the property of city councils. There is no question on religion in the French census and public schools are seen as a crucial bastion.

Generations of Muslim migrants were encouraged and obliged to embrace this conception of citizenhood. In an essay in The National Interest, Kepel writes that the promise of future French citizenship was "part and parcel of a workable imperial dominion".

"As soon as the former colonized set foot on French soil in their new migrant-worker garb, they took Paris at its word and France paid its colonial debt through a process of cultural and political integration," he writes.

Thus, like the Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Poles and Czechs who had come before them, a new generation of mostly Muslim migrants became French citizens, in an "intermingled culture, forged on a daily basis between the native Gaul and the immigrant Arab and Berber". This policy of cultural integration -- distinct from the more insidious "assimilation" with its connotations of cultural cleansing -- has "worked pretty well", says Kepel. The North African dish couscous is now the favourite food and a second-generation French Algerian soccer star, Zinedine Zidane, the national hero.

The crushing of Islamist sentiment during the Algerian civil war and a state security apparatus vigilant against its re-emergence have played an important role in France's success. But a willing "cultural acquiescence" has been the key. For most of France's Muslims, French citizenship seemed a fair trade for an overt religious identity.

Contrast this with Britain's policy of multiculturalism, under which migrants settled in enclaves in cultural isolation. "In Britain, one is born English, end of story," notes Kepel. Instead their "Islamness" became a kind of new national identity. While France banned foreign Islamists from entering the country, Britain gave them asylum, creating in "Londonistan" a crucible for the jihadist movement that would eventually blow back on Britain, which now has the worst home-grown terrorist problem in the world, illustrated by the 2005 London train and bus bombings, the attempted Glasgow airport attack in 2007, and dozens of similar thwarted plots. In contrast, France has not had a successful terrorist attack on its territory since 1996.

But back to the hijab. In 2003 then president Jacques Chirac established a commission to examine how the principle of laicite should be applied in today's France. Kepel co-authored its December 2003 report, which led to the hijab ban. He points out it applies only to minors in government-run schools, because "you can't make a law on what people wear on the street", and a majority of Muslims supported it as a necessary compromise.

Importantly, the commission called for the ban to be offset by a suite of reforms to combat socio-economic disadvantage in the Paris ghettos where many Muslims live.

The Chirac government ignored this crucial recommendation. A year later the Paris riots erupted, as mostly Muslim youths burned cars and looted shops in protest against a lack of jobs and economic opportunities. Kepel says it was a lesson to the French government for ignoring its responsibility to ensure socio-economic equality to safeguard the "cultural acquiesence" on which France's ethnic and religious harmony is built.

On a visit to Sydney's southwestern suburbs, Kepel saw many similarities to both Britain and France. "Leb-kemba" is like "Londonistan" in many respects. Inter-generational unemployment is common. Some residents live in cultural isolation, their "Islamness" the closest they have to a national identity. Kepel remarked on the open hostility displayed by some of those he encountered toward the outsiders intruding on their patch. A few angry individuals in insular communities like this have become home-grown terrorists and planned attacks on Australian soil

These similarities should neither be exaggerated nor ignored. Australia is a land of immigrants, like France, but one with an entirely different migration history and far greater ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. No convincing case has been made for banning either the hijab or the full-face veil here. But a powerful case exists for ensuring our Muslim countrymen and women have a strong stake in sharing the national identity and social harmony their fellow Australians enjoy.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.