Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Acceptable Racism

Walter E. Williams
How appropriate would it be for a major publicly held American company to hire a person with a history of having publicly made the following statements and many others like them? (In the interest of brevity, I shall list only four.) “The world could get by just fine with zero black people.” “It’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old black men.” “Dumbass f—ing black people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.” “Are black people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically only being fit to live underground like groveling bilious goblins?”

I think most Americans would find such blatant racism despicable and would condemn any company that knowingly hired such a person. Leftists of every stripe would be in an uproar, demanding the dismissal of such an employee. College students and their professors would picket any company that hired such a person. I could be wrong about this, so I’d truly like any employer who’d hire such a person to come forward.

Most Americans would see such statements as racist, but consider this: Suppose we slightly changed the wording of each statement, replacing the word “black” with “white.” For example, “The world could get by just fine with zero white people.” Would you consider that statement to be just as racist? I would hope you’d answer in the affirmative. They’re all racist statements!

The full scoop on those statements can be found in an excellent essay by William Voegeli, “Racism, Revised,” in the fall edition of the Claremont Review of Books. The racist statements about white people were made by Sarah Jeong, one of the newest members of The New York Times’ editorial board. Jeong attended the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She decided to become a journalist specializing in technology and the internet. She has an active Twitter account with over 97,000 followers.

One person excused Jeong’s tweets by saying they “were not racist” but merely “jokes about white people.” Leftists have been taught utter nonsense by their college professors. The most insidious lesson taught is who can and who cannot be a racist. Jeong was born in South Korea in 1988 and became a U.S. citizen in 2017, so she is a minority. According to the thinking of academia’s intellectual elite, a minority person cannot be a racist. The reason is that minorities don’t have the political, economic and institutional power to adversely affect the lives of whites.

Such reasoning is beyond stupid. Here’s a test. Is the following statement racist? “Jews are money-hungry hustlers.” Before you answer, must you first find out the race of the person making the statement? Would you suggest that it’s not a racist statement if the speaker is black but it is if he’s white?

Voegeli says that calling someone “racist” is one of the most severe accusations that can be made against a person but at the same time is among the vaguest. Years ago, one had to don a hood and robe to be a certified racist. Today, it’s much easier. Tucker Carlson of Fox News questioned whether diversity is all that it’s cracked up to be. He asked: “How, precisely, is diversity our strength? Can you think, for example, of other institutions, such as … marriage or military units, in which the less people have in common the more cohesive they are?” The Washington Post’s media critic declared that it was racist for Carlson to cast doubt on the proposition that diversity is good.

Voegeli’s article is rich with many other examples of how lots of Americans are losing their minds in matters of race. Muhammad Ali had it right when he said: “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”


Now we have seen the true colours of Britain's Leftist "Momentum" movement

Their counter-protest at the Brexit Betrayal march betrayed their middle-class elitism

How are these for catastrophic optics. Across Europe people are in revolt. They’re raging against the EU. They’re beating the streets in their tens of thousands in France to rage against the Louis XVI of Euro-technocracy, Emmanuel Macron. Belgian ‘yellow vests’ tried to storm the European parliament. Dutch protesters are agitating against Brussels rule, too. And while this is all happening, as Europe teeters on the brink of continent-wide revolt, what is Momentum doing? It’s popping into London to scream ‘fascists!’ at largely working-class people who are concerned about the betrayal of Brexit.

In the bad-optics stakes this is up there with Gordon Brown branding an elderly lady who raised concerns about mass immigration a ‘bigoted woman’, or Ed Miliband launching his manifesto on what looked for all the world like a tombstone. Yes, Momentum, the quite posh, mostly youthful Labour Party outfit that does Jeremy Corbyn’s bidding online and on the streets, has chosen this moment of Euro-revolt to counter-protest a pro-Brexit march; to brand as Nazis a gathering of people concerned about Theresa May’s awful deal; to play-act at chasing down fantasy fascists rather than taking sides against the very real forces infuriating millions of ordinary Europeans right now: the technocratic elites.

Momentum and other leftists, including the perma-protesters of the SWP, traipsed to the Brexit Betrayal demo in central London on Sunday. That demo was led by Tommy Robinson and attended by some Robinson supporters, some UKIP supporters, and people who are neither of these things but who are looking for a forum in which to express their anger with the political class’s relentless assaults on Brexit. They wanted to make their voices heard ahead of the Commons’ vote on May’s Withdrawal Agreement this Tuesday. It is estimated that 2,000 turned up to the Brexit Betrayal march, while a reported 15,000 attended the anti-Brexit Betrayal march. Corbynistas are crowing about this having been a huge victory for the left when of course all it really shows is that their pre-march claims that Tommy Robinson is the new Oswald Mosley and Britain is infested with 1930s-style fascism was bunkum of the highest order.

The self-flattering narrative promoted by Corbynistas in relation to their counter-protest has at times been unhinged. Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell implored ‘all Labour members’ to join the counter-protest on the basis that ‘the working class of Britain have a proud history of beating the far right’. That’s true. Though it is no thanks to Labour, which, lest we forget, advised its members not to attend what became the Battle of Cable Street in 1936, during which East End Jews and radical leftists faced down Mosley’s marchers. More importantly, what we had in Sunday’s counter-protest was nothing like the working classes confronting fascism – it was mostly middle-class leftists shouting abuse at working-class people.

We come back to the optics question. Did no one in Momentum, or in McDonnell’s office, or among the Media Studies Marxists (ie, not Marxists) of Novara Media, stop to think about what it might look like for plummy leftists to spend a day hurling epithets at notably less well-off people? To take photos of men with St George flag tattoos and mock them on social media, akin to when Lady Nugee (Emily Thornberry) took the piss out of people in Rochester who had the English flag hanging from their windows?

The two demos were actually a good snapshot of a very important divide in politics today – that between what David Goodhart refers to as Anywheres and Somewheres. The Anywheres are the new elites who prefer global institutions over national democracy because it means they can make decisions far away from the madding crowd; the Somewheres are those who still long for a sense of place, of national attachment. So we had the counter-protest leftists calling for the opening of borders and the Brexit Betrayal marchers demanding greater national democratic control. Anywheres vs Somewheres. But here’s the thing: millions of Europeans are currently in revolt against the paternalistic, anti-democratic rule of the Anywheres, and at precisely that moment, Momentum makes clear that it is in the Anywhere camp. Sunday’s counter-demo was a quite colossal self-defeat for the radical pretensions of the Corbynista movement.

It is actually quite disgraceful that the first protest by Labour’s pseudo-radicals in the era of Yellow Vest rebellion involved slandering concerned Britons as ‘fascists’. It doesn’t matter what you think of Robinson or UKIP. The fact is that the people on the march were not fascists. Many were not even supporters of Robinson or UKIP. As a reporter for the Independent said, it would be ‘disingenuous’ to say this protest was ‘only about Tommy Robinson’; lots of people were there simply because they ‘passionately believe in Brexit’ and they feel ‘Theresa May’s deal offers [Brexit] in name only’. To travel into London and libel normal, politically worried people as fascists is a pretty low form of politics and a searing indictment of Corbynistas’ distance from the Brexit worldview and by extension from public sentiment.

This is about more than optics. It speaks to the great moral and political error that the British left has made since the populist revolt began, and particularly since the vote for Brexit. Which is that they have uncritically bought into the old, bruised establishment’s depiction of this populist anger as a species of fascism. They have swallowed the political, bureaucratic and even religious elites’ propaganda about the new populism representing a return of 1930s-style hatred. They have obediently parroted police exaggerations about post-Brexit hate crimes and bishops’ warnings of the march of a New Nazism. And so when these leftists see working-class people gathering to defend Brexit, they think to themselves: ‘They must be fascist scum.’

People across Europe are nailing their colours to the mast right now; Corbynistas have clearly nailed theirs to the technocratic status quo. Their counter-protest was a greater defeat for them than it was for Tommy Robinson.


Misguided Proposal From Christian Leaders and LGBT Activists Is Anything but ‘Fairness for All’

Does the golden rule ever require bad public policy? That’s the implication of what some political strategists are proposing in the name of fairness.

At issue is a proposal among some Christian leaders to strike a compromise with some LGBT activists to balance “LGBT rights” with religious liberty. The proposal would elevate “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) to protected classes in federal law in exchange for certain exemptions for religious colleges and institutions. They call this approach “Fairness for All.”

Compromises can be good, but this particular one is bad. As I explain in a recent issue brief, such proposals would not result in actual fairness for all. Instead, they would penalize many Americans who believe that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other. They would violate the privacy and safety of women and girls, the conscience rights of doctors and other medical professionals, and the free speech and religious liberty rights of countless professionals who find themselves outside the select group of institutions who are exempted.

Establishing bad public policy for everyone and then exempting select religious institutions is not acting for the common good—and is certainly not fair for all. And there are better ways forward for those who seek compromise.

Yet some are now claiming that this bad public policy is required by the golden rule.

Rod Dreher reports on a conversation he had with “a prominent conservative Evangelical political strategist” who requested to remain anonymous. Dreher writes: “He simply believes that ethically and politically, this is the right thing to do. In Smith’s view, in a pluralistic society like America 2018, do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a good rule for religious liberty advocates and gay rights supporters alike.”

The golden rule is always a good rule for all people. But the public policy being proposed doesn’t embody the golden rule. Making “gender identity” a protected class in federal policy, for example, could impose a nationwide transgender bathroom policy, a nationwide pronoun policy, and a nationwide sex-reassignment health care mandate.

This is anything but the golden rule. And imposing bad law on everyone else while exempting yourself is the exact opposite of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The anonymous political insider Dreher talked with also seems confused about pluralism:

If pluralism is about accommodating deep difference—if conservative Evangelicals are going to ask for accommodation of difference, then they can’t turn around and say in every single case when they are asked to accommodate sexual minorities, ‘No, we will fight to the death.’ That’s not pluralism if all you’re doing is protecting your own rights and saying error has no rights when it comes to you. Pluralism has to be seen by others who disagree with you as fair.

It’s rather remarkable to think that accommodating deep difference requires passing laws that impose orthodoxy. But that’s what SOGI laws do, including Fairness for All.

Dreher summarizes the anonymous insider’s perspective: “He said there really is a question of justice within a pluralistic society that conservative Christians have to face. We may sincerely believe that homosexuality is morally wrong, but at what point does the common good require that we agree that gay people have a right to be wrong?”

But that’s not what this policy debate is about. In the United States of America, people who identify as LGBT are free to live as they want. But SOGI laws, including Fairness for All, are not about freedom—they are about coercion. SOGI and Fairness for All are about forcing all Americans to embrace—and live out—certain beliefs about human sexuality. They are not about protecting the freedom of people to live as LGBT, but about coercing everyone else to support, facilitate, and endorse such actions.

This is one fundamental problem in equating coercive antidiscrimination laws with permissive religious freedom laws. And imposing a bad coercive policy on everyone while exempting select faith-based institutions is anything but fairness for all.

Antidiscrimination laws are about the government coercing people to live according to the majority’s values. Religious liberty laws are about removing government coercion and allowing people to live by their own beliefs. While there can be good justifications for certain antidiscrimination policies, there is no human right to them. Religious freedom, however, is a human right. Fairness for All mistakenly conflates these rather different concepts.

And yet, the president of a Christian college—who also sits on the board of two Christian organizations who recently voted to support Fairness for All—claims that these coercive policies that undermine the common good are actually “basic human rights for members of the LGBT community.”

But coercing other people into supporting LGBT values is not a “basic human right.”

Nor is religious liberty the only value at stake. And yet, the anonymous political strategist says: “The so-called Fairness for All project has always been about how do we protect the most religious liberty that we can in a realistic way.”

But as any number of policy analysts have pointed out, the problem with SOGI laws goes well beyond “religious liberty.” And exempting your own institutions while imposing these bad policies on everyone else doesn’t address the problems.

How do religious exemptions help women in secular institutions who don’t want men in their bathrooms? How do religious exemptions help secular doctors who think it a misdirection of medicine to perform a double mastectomy on a woman who wants to identify as a man?

All of the misguided rhetoric suggests that the underlying policy of elevating sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes is misguided from the start.

None of this, however, is to say that we shouldn’t work to find compromises and win-win solutions. I’ve been participating in these discussions for several years now, and contributed a chapter to a forthcoming Cambridge University Press book, “Religious Freedom, LGBT Rights, and the Prospects for Common Ground,” proposing how to properly craft policy that would be fair for all.

The title of the book is misguided, both because there are no such things as “LGBT rights”—human rights are equally possessed by everyone, but there are no special human rights based on one’s sexual identity—and because it frames the discussion as one primarily about religious liberty.

As I explain in my chapter (and this National Affairs essay), a better policy approach would be to better define the specific needs of people who identify as LGBT that actually require a policy solution, tailor a policy response to that need, and properly define what constitutes “discrimination.”

Indeed, properly defining “discrimination” is key. Part of the problem with SOGI policies, including Freedom for All, is that they leave it entirely at the whim of hostile bureaucrats and judges to declare that commonsense actions may constitute “discrimination.” SOGI laws treat reasonable actions as discriminatory.

A better approach would define specifically what constitutes “discrimination,” as distinct from genuine difference in a pluralistic society, and target a legal response at that.

Does anyone even really know what elevating gender identity to a protected class in civil rights law will mean long term? What does “discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity” entail?

Activists currently claim that combating “discrimination” requires new bathroom, pronoun, and health care policies. But when you consider the fact that most Americans hadn’t even heard the phrase “gender identity” five years ago, it seems premature to suggest that elevating it to a protected class status is a “basic human right” and a requirement of the golden rule. Now is not the time to rush to conclusions, but to think critically and prudently.

In the midst of the redefinitions of marriage, sex, and gender, all Americans—wherever they fall on the political spectrum and whether they are religious, secular, or agnostic—should join the effort to find ways to coexist peacefully.

SOGI laws, including Freedom for All, do not achieve this goal. Instead, they penalize disagreement as if it were discrimination, impose sexual orthodoxy, and coerce dissenters.

SOGI antidiscrimination laws are unjustified, but if other policies are adopted to address the needs of people who identify as LGBT that require a policy response, they must leave people free to engage in legitimate actions based on the conviction that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other.

Any such laws must protect the privacy and safety of women and girls, the conscience rights of doctors and other medical professionals, and the free speech and religious liberty rights of countless professionals. This would leave all Americans free to act on those convictions. It would also protect diversity and promote tolerance, and it would promote true fairness for all.


The Chihuahua Effect

Bettina Arndt comments on her defence of men against feminist abuse

Promoting my new book #MenToo has provided a wonderful example of the chihuahua effect. In case you haven’t heard of this before, that’s a term coined by Eric Weinstein, the brilliant American mathematician, economist, writer and managing director of Thiel Capital, which he used describe a small group producing most of the noise. Like our feminists.

No question we’re talking here about a tiny group. Only 19 per cent of Australians call themselves “feminist”, according to the Macquarie University survey that was at the heart of the recent SBS documentary, Is Australia Sexist – I recently made a video about that appalling programme. 

Boy, is this small group busy yapping away, putting their own spin on what I am doing. Last week I was interviewed about #MenToo, on Channel 7’s Sunrise programme – see that interview on my video from last week. The two female hosts were surprisingly positive about my central message about mothers being concerned about their sons in this male-bashing society. It triggered a huge response from viewers, with nearly 5,000 likes on their Facebook page, compared to only 200 critical responses. Most of the 1.8 thousand comments posted were positive and included many from women supporting my argument that feminism is no longer promoting equality but rather is advantaging women at the expense of men.

There’s been no mention of this overwhelming public support in the stream of critical articles being published commenting on the interview. Instead journalists like Stephanie Bedo on attacked the Sunrise hosts for their “one-sided” interview in which my “controversial views were left unchallenged.” Many other commentators have followed suit invariably saying Sunrise had “copped criticism” for the interview. The fake news took over as other media sites promoted this minority view as if it was the main story.

My Sunrise experience is all about the chihuahua effect. A small, noisy band of feminists attack a mainstream television programme for an interview overwhelmingly endorsed by the bulk of the programme’s audience. But it is their yapping about the shameful, one-sided television interview which attracts all the subsequent media attention.

Roll on the day when the Great Dane, the sensible majority concerned about what’s happening to men in our society, puts a stop to the antics of this irritating creature and takes it on.

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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