Monday, April 22, 2019

The far-right is mainly a Leftist fantasy

A few fruitcakes are magnified into a movement by the Left in order for them to have a bogeyman that they can frighten themselves with -- and thus give themselves an illusion of having something important to say.  Both Breivik and Tarrant were loners with not a single other person to support them.  There was no "movement"

Even before the horrific terrorist atrocity in Christchurch, there have been signs that racist extremists are becoming more active. In the UK, four of the 18 terror attacks prevented by the intelligence agencies since March 2017 have come from the far right. Although, thankfully, the far right is still a fringe phenomenon, it is futile to deny that such groups are steadily growing in influence. How sad, then, that the debate about how best to stymie this disturbing trend has been reduced to facile and baseless finger-pointing.

Often seen as ‘a sideshow to the serious business of governance’ (to borrow Stephen Heuser’s phrase), what has become known as the ‘culture war’ has been brought into sharp focus through the reinstatement of tribal faultlines in politics. This week we have seen David Lammy doubling down on his ludicrous comparison of the European Research Group with the Nazi party, and Chris Key in the Independent calling for UKIP and the newly formed Brexit Party to be banned from television debates. It is clear that neither Key nor Lammy have a secure understanding of what ‘far right’ actually means and, quite apart from the distasteful nature of such political opportunism, their strategy only serves to generate the kind of resentment upon which the far right depends.

The blame game after Christchurch was a similarly scattershot affair. Australian senator Fraser Anning blamed Muslim immigration. American videogame developer Brianna Wu implicated Tucker Carlson. A student at a vigil in New York City harangued Chelsea Clinton, saying the attack had been ‘stoked by people like you’. A chain of bookstores in New Zealand stopped selling Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life on the supposition that it had inspired the killer, which would suggest that they are not remotely familiar with its contents.

Although obviously an emotional time, there can be no excuse for such divisive kneejerk responses. Soon after the attack, the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, called for a concerted global fight against racism. The sentiment is obviously laudable, but her government has begun by enacting heavy-handed internet censorship which extends even to discussion of the shooting. This is a boon to the far right, who will doubtless play on the legitimate grievances of citizens who feel that their freedoms are being curtailed. The far right – no supporters of free speech – are able to point to the increasingly censorial tactics of politicians in order to pose as martyrs.

Those who seek to narrow the Overton window of acceptable thought, to restrict free speech as a means to prevent the ‘normalisation’ and ‘legitimisation’ of certain forms of discourse, are doing more harm than good. But the cultish nature of the social-justice movement – with its combination of utter self-certainty, a reluctance to debate, and a belief among its most vocal proponents that they represent the underdogs – means that it will be difficult to stem the momentum.

Perhaps the most damaging aspect of present-day social-justice activism is its weaponised form of identity politics, a feature it has in common with the far right. On both sides we have seen the promotion of a ‘Them vs Us’ mentality, one favoured throughout history by those who wish to reduce complex situations to a readily digestible slogan. Moreover, identitarians on both the left and the right see human beings only through the prism of race, gender or sexuality, and fail to account for the primacy of the individual. As such, they are in direct opposition to the principles of Martin Luther King, who valued the content of one’s character over the colour of one’s skin. While collectivist rhetoric from the racist far right is easy enough to dismiss, it is far more difficult when it comes from those who claim to be advancing a progressive agenda. ‘Well-intentioned authoritarianism’ might be a semantic contradiction, but it has nonetheless emerged as a powerful and ominous force.

After events such as Christchurch, it is important to reflect on the circumstances that have somehow produced a human being so lacking in empathy that he would commit such an unfathomable act of violence, but in doing so we must exercise caution. The instinct to apportion blame to anyone other than the perpetrator is understandable, but it only really serves to mitigate his own responsibility. All of us are open to persuasion and influence, and the effects of propaganda are well documented, but we also have individual autonomy and should be held accountable for our choices. The leap of faith it takes to blame the right-wing commentariat for the murder of Jo Cox, for instance, is as myopic and distasteful as those who seek to demonise all Muslims for the behaviour of a violent minority.

The question as to why the far right is growing in strength, albeit from a position of relative obscurity, is a complex issue that will only be further complicated if we engage in crude blame games. It strikes me as obvious that extremism thrives in divided cultures. Racism is by definition divisive, and its proponents are by and large impervious to reason. We are fortunate enough to live in a country in which racists are treated with the contempt they deserve, but there are many who have exploited the anonymity of the internet to disseminate their lies.

The clandestine nature of these far-right activists has given rise to precisely the sort of response they seek. That is to say, the likes of David Lammy have been goaded into a dangerous form of concept creep, detecting fascism even where it doesn’t exist. They have eschewed the dictionary definition as an inconvenience, so that even to express misgivings about the benefits of free movement in the European Union, or to criticise aspects of Islamic doctrine, can lead to one being branded as ‘far right’. Speaking as someone who is in favour of immigration, I have often been dismayed to find those on my side of the argument dismiss the valid concerns of their opponents as ‘fascism’. Quite apart from the historical illiteracy this entails, it is hardly likely to persuade anyone to change his or her mind.

We need to restore some clarity when it comes to these terms. We are right to call groups such as the BNP ‘far right’ because they have always been dominated by those who believe in the concept of racial superiority. But once the meaning of the term spreads to incorporate readers of right-leaning tabloids, the average UKIP voter, or members of the ERG, we are helping to create the illusion that fascism has gone mainstream. By adopting this flawed tactic, activists are effectively working as PR for the far right, who are able to claim a degree of support far in excess of the reality.

The best resolution to the culture war would be an end to the pre-eminence of identity politics and a non-partisan consensus on the inviolability of free speech in any civilised democracy. We are seemingly trapped in an endless cycle in which the racist far right and the extreme identitarian left are locked in a mutually cannibalistic struggle, feeding off each other as they fight. It is the far right, however, who will be the chief beneficiaries of an unresolved culture war. In order to defeat them, we need to move beyond the kind of political tribalism that creates the very conditions within which they can thrive.


Transgender Privilege: Why Must We All Be Forced to Bow to It?

The subject of this article is transgenderism, the advocacy for and encouragement of individuals changing genders. It is not about individuals who have engaged, to one degree or other, in changing genders. These are our follow citizens and fellow community members, who should have the same rights, and are due the same consideration, as all of our fellow citizens and community members.

Transgenderism is said to be a response to gender dysphoria, which the American Psychiatric Association defines as follows:

Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.
The APA regards gender dysphoria as a mental disorder, discussing diagnosis and treatment. The APA guidelines on treatment are as follows:

Treatment options for gender dysphoria include counseling, cross-sex hormones, puberty suppression and gender reassignment surgery. Some adults may have a strong desire to be of a different gender and to be treated as a different gender without seeking medical treatment or altering their body. They may only want support to feel comfortable in their gender identity. Others may want more extensive treatment including hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery leading to a transition to the opposite sex. Some may choose hormone treatment or surgery alone.
The discussion of gender dysphoria usually treats it as a unique case human discomfort, often recommending radical measures for correction. But perhaps gender dysphoria should be considered with the context of the wide range of dysphoria experienced by people, such as body dysphoria. For example, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America defines it as follows:

People who have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) think about their real or perceived flaws for hours each day. They can't control their negative thoughts and don't believe people who tell them that they look fine. Their thoughts may cause severe emotional distress and interfere with their daily functioning. They may miss work or school, avoid social situations and isolate themselves, even from family and friends, because they fear others will notice their flaws.
The ADAA recognizes that BDD is just an extreme expression of a widely experienced discontent: “Most of us have something we don't like about our appearance — a crooked nose, an uneven smile, or eyes that are too large or too small. And though we may fret about our imperfections, they don’t interfere with our daily lives.”


The Natural Limits of Identity Politics

Economist Herbert Stein’s old adage—“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”—still holds.

Take illegal immigration.

There are currently somewhere from 11 million to 15 million immigrants living in the United States without legal authorization.

Last month, nearly 100,000 people were apprehended or turned away while trying to illegally cross the southern border. Some experts suggest that at least that number made it across without arrest. At that rate, the United States would be gaining a fairly large city of undocumented arrivals each month.

Most of the people who enter the United States illegally arrive without fluency in English, a high school diploma, competitive job skills, or money. The majority will require support subsidies, and collectively they will require increased legal and law enforcement investments.

At some point, American social services will be so taxed that the system will be rendered dysfunctional—as is already occurring in areas of the American Southwest. Or, some regions of America will so resemble the countries illegal immigrants abandoned that there will be little point in heading north.

Either way, the current border chaos will find its own self-correcting mechanisms, even if that means there will be no border at all—or northern Mexico and the southern United States will become indistinguishable.

Currently, the national debt is $22 trillion and growing at a rate of nearly $1 trillion a year due to staggering annual budget deficits. The George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations roughly doubled the debt they inherited, and the Donald Trump administration may be on schedule to do the same.

More importantly, the national debt is now over 100% of the gross domestic product.

Presidents and Congress like to spend and to spread money to voters. They fear politically suicidal recessions if they cut back. But over the last 20 years, the government has mostly exhausted traditional economic stimuli such as larger budget deficits, near-zero real interest rates, and expansion of the money supply.

Common sense would dictate that in the present boom cycle, the president and Congress would get together to reduce discretionary spending and at least curb the growth of entitlements before we enter the next inevitable recession.

Otherwise, history outlines a lot of near-automatic solutions to unsustainable government borrowing. Sometimes massive inflation ensues, as the government is forced to print currency to pay bondholders with play money, eroding the assets of those who are thrifty and put cash savings in the bank.

Sometimes more desperate governments simply renounce their obligations to bondholders, on the principle that such creditors are well off anyway and can afford the losses.

Another solution has been simply to slash defense spending and entitlements, and hope that neither a war abroad nor civil strife at home breaks out.

The common result of all these draconian solutions is a general distrust of government. The big fear is an ensuing Venezuela-like nightmare, with shortages, violence, black markets, mass flight, corruption, and hatred of elected officials.

For history’s rare multiracial and multiethnic republics, an “e pluribus unum” cohesion is essential. Each particular tribe must owe greater allegiance to the commonwealth than to those who superficially look or worship alike.

Yet over the last 20 years we have deprecated “unity” and championed “diversity.” Americans are being urged by popular culture, universities, schools, and government to emphasize their innate differences rather than their common similarities.

Sometimes the strained effort turns comical. Some hyphenate or add accents or foreign pronunciations to their names. Others fabricate phony ethnic pedigrees in hopes of gaining an edge in job-seeking or admissions.

The common theme is to be anything other than just normal Americans for whom race, gender, and ethnicity are incidental rather than essential to their character.

But unchecked tribalism historically leads to nihilism. Meritocracy is abandoned as bureaucrats select their own rather than the best-qualified. A Tower of Babel chaos ensues as the common language is replaced by myriad local tongues, in the fashion of fifth-century imperial Rome. Class differences are subordinated to tribal animosities. Almost every contentious issue is distilled into racial or ethnic victims and victimizers.

History always offers guidance to the eventual end game when people are unwilling to give up their chauvinism. Vicious tribal war can break out as in contemporary Syria. The nation can fragment into ethnic enclaves as seen in the Balkans. Or factions can stake out regional no-go zones of power, as we see in Iraq and Libya.

In sum, the present identity politics divisiveness is not a sustainable model for a multiracial nation, and it will soon reach its natural limits one way or another. On a number of fronts, if Americans do not address these growing crises, history will. And it won’t be pretty.


Antisemitic Australian Labor Party candidate believes Palestinian falsifications

Such falsifications are as old as the hills.  You would have to be naive to believe them

Star Labor candidate for Curtin Melissa Parke has quit after a controversial speech which outraged the Jewish community.

Speaking to pro-Palestinian activists last month, Ms Parke described the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as 'worse than the South African system of apartheid'. 

Ms Parke also claimed she 'remembered vividly' when 'a pregnant refugee woman was ordered at a checkpoint in Gaza to drink a bottle of bleach', The Herald Sun reported.

She made the comments at first-ever meeting of the Western Australian Labor for Palestine group in March and stepped down on Friday night.

The bleach burned the woman's throat and insides but her baby was saved, according to Ms Parke. 

Ms Parke is a former lawyer for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and has worked in the Gaza Strip.

She said she did not want her views on the Middle East to distract from electing a Labor government.

Her speech was called 'nothing more than a laundry list of slanders, including discredited conspiracy theories and downright falsification' by Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein.

Ms Parke withdrew from the race for the Perth seat of Curtin, which was vacated by former foreign minister Julie Bishop.

It is considered a safe Liberal seat because it has been held by the party since 1998.

The former Fremantle MP resigned from her seat in 2016 after nine years to spend more time with family.



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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