Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Myth of the Melting Pot

The right won the economic wars and the left won the cultural wars. Apparently. Whether this is true or not, at some point during the 20th Century the left in Britain and Europe which had traditionally defended the white working class, turned against them. At one point the white working class were there to be protected from big business and the wealthy in society but at some point they became the enemy, a part of 'monoculture' and racism and today the left spends all of its time with its back firmly turned to the people it grew up defending.

One of the big problems with this switch is it meant that the parameters for political discourse changed quite drastically. When the left's concern was economic, this was quantifiable and could be measured, when the left's concern became 'multiculturalism' it became far more hazy and ideological. This is, I fear a large amount of the problem today when it comes to arguing with liberals. No matter how much evidence is presented to them on this topic, nothing will change their mind because essentially Britain merely has to be a diverse country in point of fact so they can tick it off of their ideological list, whether that means that the diverse nation gets on together or is remotely cohesive is an entirely separate and to most leftists, irrelevant point. This is one of the things I found so infuriating about arguing with students at University. The same people who spent their time opposing 'imperialist America', hating the Tories and promoting multiculturalism, never actually took part in it themselves. It shows their great ignorance on the topic that many friends would point to the fact that they had some black friends that, that was somehow proof that they were engaged in multiculturalism, as if to be black automatically meant that you had to be part of another culture. The reason why race is brought up so often in discussions on this topic is because most people cannot tell the difference between multiculturalism and multi-racialism. No-one reputable or mainstream has a problem in the 21st Century with racial diversity, the argument is not against racial diversity but against artificially and rapidly created cultural diversity even when those cultures contain aspects that are incompatible and even hostile to British culture. Trevor Phillips the head of the Commission for Racial Equality repeatedly warned that Britain was sleepwalking into segregation with communities sharing some of the same space but none of the same identity or interaction. To most liberals I speak to though any failure at all of multiculturalism (if they will acknowledge even a small amount) is attributed to a racist and stubborn indigenous population, any evidence that demonstrates that it is far more often, the minority communities that refuse to engage in multiculturalism themselves by even going as far as to arrange marriages from abroad to avoid interacting with cultures outside of their own is completely ignored. This multicultural paradise we live in, is in the minds of the left alone. It was in creation and remains so today.

A better term for what has happened in Britain is multi-nation-alism because this is what has happened, as it has happened everywhere else in the world where multiculturalism has taken place. In Britain we have segregated communities divided up along ethnic instead of racial lines. There are plenty of black and asian British people who have assimilated into the British culture and have British accents and British interests like anyone else (one of a million reasons why the BNP will never receive any significant backing from the British public), but we also have, at the behest of the government communities that have been essentially transplanted from other cultures. In many cases where first generation migrants have integrated fairly well we are finding now that many of their later children and grandchildren are doing the opposite and 'de-integrating' due to this insane policy made worse under New Labour of identity politics. How did multiculturalism work out in the Soviet Union? Or Serbia? Even in places like Canada to dispel the racist misunderstanding, there is great division between the ethnically 'French Canadians' and the rest of Canada.

The entire notion of multiculturalism is that you become British merely by owning a passport and obeying the law, and that you do not need to integrate but may retain your own culture. The phrase 'Islamification' is quite a loaded and often misused term. However, if multiculturalism means that you do not integrate and bring your culture with you, then if a large number of Islamic migrants move into an area and impose their culture then under any definition that area has become 'Islamised'. Recently, I was watching the documentary 'Don't Panic I'm Islamic' put on youtube that was supposed to give a perspective from the British-Muslim side that perked my interest in this topic recently as a large amount of the faulty liberal world-view was once again on display and not registered. For example, one of the Muslims interviewed stated that when he applied for jobs using his non-Anglo sounding name he did not receive any replies, and when he changed it to an English sounding name he got plenty of replies which apparently demonstrated once again that they only problem is the racist host culture. This is not proof of individual racism but universal human nature. If an English sounding person applied for jobs to an entirely Muslim neighbourhood, they would similarly be passively discriminated against for appearing different. This is a cultural phenomenon that is universal. People need to feel part of a community and are fairly hostile on differing scales to outsiders. The refusal to acknowledge that and the 'one-way integration' that a lot of people complain about was again perfectly demonstrated in this documentary when the issue of the veil was brought up. The Muslims in the documentary felt no stigma attached when it came to criticising if not downright insulting the members of 'English culture' who were drunk at night or were female and not wearing a huge amount of clothing, but refused the same courtesy to people who criticised Muslims who for example dressed in full faced veils. They seemed to quite happily recognise a cultural dissonance between themselves and the host culture, the only difference was when they were the ones being criticised they screamed Islamaphobia and prejudice. I guess they were all Anglophobes. I know many Muslim friends who have told me that their parents discipline them if they are caught dating a 'white girl', I do not bring this up to scream reverse racism as I do not think it even exemplifies such a phenomena but rather exhibits a recognition of one's endogenous community that the minority population is allowed to exhibit by the liberal elite which the majority is not. It is impolite to acknowledge in liberal circles that the Muslim complaint that the veil is no different to the uniform worn by nuns is actually completely valid. The reason that most British people are slightly hostile to the veil and not the nuns is the same reason that many Muslims are slightly hostile towards too much exposed flesh; because it is not a part of their culture and what they expect. Much of the religion of Islam is heavily influenced by Eastern culture and especially the garb associated with it. People from a non-Islamic culture naturally find this to be fairly alien, as do those brought up in the east, exposed to western dressing habits. The liberal response to this natural trait has been either flat out denial that such a separation is present, or to simply label any hostility as one-way and due to racism.

What's worse is the original notion of multiculturalism, of merely changing the make-up of the nation state without compromising on the values it was built on has changed over time as well. The values the West is supposed to hold dear have played second fiddle to multiculturalism at almost every conceivable opportunity. In the Netherlands recently the Jewish community were told to leave the country, as they could no longer be protected from Islamic anti-Semitism. Free speech irrespective of offence is no longer considered a virtue and it is now a mainstream view of the secular left that religious sensibilities may legitimately suppress free speech (unless it's Christian of course). Feminists are silent on the burqa and the treatment of women in many new migrant communities. All of this of course is simply political discourse, but there have been plenty of threats to the actual legal aspects related to multiculturalism as well. Labour attempted to put through the despicably backward law on blasphemy recently in relation to 'offensive' statements made against predominantly Islam. It seems very likely that aspects of sharia law that already take place in an unofficial basis, may do so under an official auspice in the near future. This all means that where Islam has entered Britain, instead of Islam becoming more like Britain, Britain is expected to become more like Islam, and in may areas has already done so.

This same double standard is applied to media representation. Despite the cries of victimhood that come out of the Muslim community, all institutions of government are at a pains to satisfy quotas and appear politically correct. Any Muslim extremist is instantly disassociated with the rest of the Muslim community, which went as far as the British government under Gordon Brown calling Islamist terrorism 'Unislamic activity'. This same courtsey is never applied to the broader British culture, whereby any racist or other comment is instantly seized upon as evidence of the sins of the majority rather than a fringe member of society. The delusional liberal classes of Britain make every effort to engage in multiculturalism to communities that have largely migrated from fairly illiberal areas and do not extend the courtesy back as the increasing attacks on Jews and gays the extreme end of the spectrum demonstrate, as well as the problem of arranged marriages and segregated communities in the wider population.

Members of the British public are increasingly confused as to why they should endorse continued mass immigration when they already have high levels of unemployment, an incredibly fractuous society that must be held together by legally sanctioned discrimination against the idengous population in the work place, millions of pounds spent on race relations committees, translation services and other instruments of the state, unbearable levels of political correctness and state interfering, all to achieve the so-called multicultural dream of parallel communities that do not interact, expect one way tolerance, bring religion back into the public sphere and erode free speech. Half of the arguments that the left make about modern Britain seem to suggest that they themselves think that multiculturalism has failed. The constant moaning and crying about racism, distrust, discrimination and hostility all seem to point to one thing: a fractured society, the very opposite of a multicultural society but parallel societies that happen to be geographically connected. If when the social experiment was concocted in the early years of the of the post-war period (or again around the time of New Labour's election) this issue had been discussed in parliament and members of the supposedly conservative party had objected by arguing that this policy would lead to such wide levels of hostility, distrust and racism, surely the left would have had to of argued that they were wrong and this was not their desired intent? By spending so much of their energy arguing that Britain is racist, hostile and all the rest of it, surely they are admitting to their own mistakes?

The very opposite of a multicultural society seems to be preached at a political level as well. Apparently Muslims cannot be properly represented unless the MP in their constituent is a fellow Muslim. Does this mean therefore that any African Christians cannot themselves be represented by a Muslim? By extension if blacks are expected to vote for fellow black candidates does that mean the indigenous population has a legitimate grievance at an ethnic minority becoming their MP, because apparently an MP can only represent his or her ethnic background? All of this seems to suggest that only individual ethnicity's can be catered to by a representative of that ethnicity which as well as promoting (and producing) sectarianism, flies completely in the face of the idea of multiple cultures interacting and moving forward equally and together. This has also meant in popular discourse that while going to extreme lengths to recognise and celebrate ethnicity's that have originated from outside of Britain, the notion of a British ethnicity has been effectively eradicated and even a crime to celebrate. Hazy terms like 'always evolving' are used refer to British culture, which apparently has never been particularly homogenous or rooted in religion or community like all other cultures. This has meant that while minority communities are encouraged to celebrate their ethnicity and vote accordingly at local elections, the British community is essentially told that it is not a community at all and is not represented as a valid ethnicity. This appalling policy has led to one million voters in the nation that fought against fascism in the Second World War, voting for the BNP.

History (and one really would have thought, common sense) tells us that piling together large numbers of people from different backgrounds does not automatically lead to peace, love and brotherhood. Integration is not an automatic occurrence but a process. It requires an active effort on the part of the migrant (and the host) to learn the language and customs of the place they are entering which requires translation, communication, housing and job searching facilities to be made available. If, as under New Labour immigration is not checked to make sure that migrants are not heading to areas that cannot sustain them and not even keeping a check on them, then of course chaos is going to ensue and of course people are going to be angry. Furthermore if migration is no longer treated as a process but as an economic good that automatically takes place then the policy on migration is going to quickly fall apart.

Ken Livingstone made a point of emphasising that Britain was a multicultural country and that attacks like 7/7 on our country would not stop our policy of allowing people from all over the world to settle and live in our cities. Saying things like that still does not have a stigma but it should. What he was really saying was unlike in say the 19th Century in America where she was in the process of being built as a nation by migrants and other processes, when Britain is already a nation, where families and communities already exist he was telling the world at the behest of his own ideology not the population he was supposed to represent, that they could come and use Britain like a hotel and bring and impose their own culture and celebrate their own heritage in these cities without a single care in the world for the people that were already there who already had their own communities and heritage. Britain is an island which was once populated by no-one. It became a nation by immigration whereby those who moved here integrated into a broader British nation, it did not develop by people moving here and retaining and actively holding on to the culture they had left, foreign to Britain and not integrating. Multiculturalism in other parts of history has led to disintegration and even war in many parts and as such we must recognise this problem for what it is before it gets completely out of our control. The same liberals who complain at the arrogance of Tony Blair for invading Iraq against popular public opinion should take a leaf out of their own book and start to form a policy that does not ignore, lie to, deceive and patronise the population they are supposed to be representing on this issue, but listens to it.

Confusing Realpolitik with Imperialism

Probably one of the most infuriating things about the New Left is the unspoken assumption that all liberals walk around with, that international relations are essentially a benign state of affairs where everyone pretty much gets on with each other and all minor trade and other disagreements are settled without too much fuss over some tea. Unless of course there are warmongering creationists in the White House breaking that peaceful status quo.

Let's briefly consider the history of international relations. Let's take Ancient Greece, which is one of the closest things we have to a modern nation state with diplomacy over trade and war from the ancient world. Ancient diplomacy most famously demonstrated through the vigilant and changing allegiances of the Greek cities before the dominance of the Roman Empire was based on power. Each cities' concerns revolved around their own power status and their relation to other blocs of power. If another city acquired too much power, alliances with states that may have been hated ideologically would naturally form to attempt to restore the balance of power in the participant's favour. The expectation of any kind of reciprocation of a diplomacy based on anything other than ruthless self-interest and militarism was not present at the destruction of Rome and thus the end of the classical period. The first notions of concern for states outside of one's own could be said to have developed in the middle-ages in a very infantile manner due to a variety of factors. First of all the role of religion in Catholic Europe as a unifying ideology that placed an importance in the protection of an idea rather than an individual state's power, which brought nations together however rarely and briefly. Wider ethnic notions of a 'Europe', 'Africa', 'Arabia' were slow to develop and most of these periods are still marked by continual war. The continuous struggle for power combined with advancements in technology led to a new generation of empires as each state rushed to increase their respective balance of power by taking colonies and carving empires. These empires were not, despite popular belief created purely to generate wealth, as vast fortunes were squandered fighting each other with such power politics ultimately leading to one of the deadliest conflicts in recent history, the First World War. The first efforts of the benign and disinterested United States at the kind of policy modern leftists demand of it now is remembered as the laughably naive and unsuccessful attempts by Woodrow Wilson of creating an international community called the League of Nations, that was doomed to fail from the outset due to a lack of mutual trust in good intentions in the international arena. The Second World War is largely viewed as an ideological war, with Britain and France declaring war on Nazism whereas again the concern was mainly over the growing threat of a militaristic Germany rather than an illiberal ideology (it was after all the British empire that declared war on the Reich and Japan's attack on Pearl Harbour that brought American entry into the war). The utter chaos and devastation that followed from this war forced a Europe that had now been eclipsed as the military and economic hub of the world to choose co-operation instead of confrontation at the behest of the United States, which itself finally had to depart from its Wilsonian ideals in its entry into the Cold War. 

This period (the Cold War leading up to 9/11) is where we draw our precedent for our modern foreign policy. This was a period where every nation on earth engaged in power politics where possible, and reluctant co-operation where forced. Battered Europe begrudgingly (in a far less smooth manner than most believe) began the slow move towards integration and co-operation that we now know as the EU. America did not have the luxury of fighting the Cold War under purely rosy ideological terms. The threat from the Soviet Union originated entirely in power and influence. If the Soviet Union increased its respective power, then it exerted a greater influence and threat towards the United States and its wider economic interests and national security. Regions such as South America, the Middle-East, Africa and Asia all contained a unique strategic interest to both powers irrespective of the ideology they held. A very lazy criticism of the US these days is to hear people claim that 'America created Osama Bin Laden' or 'Armed Saddam', as if they were done in a vacuum of free will and preference. America's involvement in the Middle-East was based on a policy of necessity of nurturing as much influence towards America and her allies as possible and as much away from the Soviet Union. Yes it did arm the enemies of the Soviet Union to keep the people of Europe and America as free as possible from the danger of Soviet invasion. How dare they. 

This is what I have always found slightly confusing about Noam Chomsky and his work, in that I actually agree with a lot of what Chomsky believes, being that much of US foreign policy is about power and increasing that power. The only thing I am confused by is his apparent view that the US is somehow unique in this phenomena, or that any other nation has ever existed or could exist that would not act in such a way. I even heard an interview of his recently where he stated that the US is merely acting as all other power systems do, seeming to render a lot of his criticism presumably void without offering an alternative that has not yet been presented. 

Taken from an article written by Tariq Ali.
It is with this backdrop that a large amount of leftist thinking in modern foreign policy is so baffling. Describing the war in Vietnam as 'imperialism' is an utterly puerile view of international relations. That does not mean that there are not legitimate criticisms of Vietnam, such as the methods used to conduct the war, or even the decision to get involved in the first place but to describe this policy as imperialism, as a form of empire building for profit, instead of a natural continuation of power politics in the interest of protecting national security is completely childish. Furthermore when we enter the post-9/11 period we find a branch of foreign policy so far removed from the 20th Century's Realpolitik it can be barely be compared to the imperialism emanating out of Europe during the 19th Century that it is so commonly compared to. Instead of simply neutralising the threat posed by a foreign state in the case of Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States at the expense of its own tax-payer's money and solider's lives overthrew the dictatorships and attempted to build democracies in their place. Had it followed its Cold War policy that the left spends so much time criticising, it would have simply removed the dictatorship and funded another one that was at least favourable to American interests in return for American backing. Of course the left criticises America for supporting as well as overthrowing dictatorships so it cannot win. Contrary to popular conspiracy theories, the US spent a lot of money on building infrastructure for democracy in Iraq and allowed it to keep its own valuable resources in oil whereby oil contracts were sold off freely last year by the Iraqis with very little going to the American invaders. Once again, just because it is not imperialism does not mean that one should automatically support all facets of the war on terror, but it should at least mean it does not actively oppose it in the manner that it routinely is subject to. It is also interesting that the same people who denounced the policies of the US in the Cold War for  the 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' type approach, are themselves taking up the banners of anyone that opposes the United States whether they be the Islamist insurgents in Iraq (not freedom fighters, the exact opposite in fact) or the vicious Hezbollah in Lebanon. If as this pictures from an article of Tariq Ali seems to demonstrate, the left does not believe in allying strategically with enemies' enemies, then are we to believe that the pro-gay, pro-women, pro-free speech, secular left actually find solidarity with the people that blow up civilians and civil workers because they fundamentally oppose the idea of women voting and democracy? 

Some states cannot be negotiated with.
One's role in the international arena is dominated by the actions of its enemies which create the prevailing rules of war. If the Soviet Union has opted for an isolationist and merely ideological and charitable form of influence then the United States could have similarly sat back and attempted to enforce its national security by simply exporting arguments and ideology. Not recognising that the United States' policy during the Cold War was simply a necessary process of power politics dictated by circumstances regardless of how deserving of criticism that participation in places may have been, will not result in an accurate assessment of the period. Describing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, whatever their faults as 'imperialism' and a belief that militaristic Islamism and authoritarian dictatorships can be overthrown without force is akin to advocating at best national surrender and at worst, national suicide. Nowhere is this clearer then the left's willingness to acquiesce in Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. 

Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Left In Bed With The Far-Right

What comes to mind when you think of old-school right-wing thought that the European left dedicated its life in opposition to?

  1. Nationalism - Or anything that divided people other than the true problem of class, whether that was race, nation, religion, sex or any other classification.
  2. Religion - Plenty of feminism is rooted in psychology and other secular topics like biology, but plenty of feminist theory was born in opposition to religion.
  3. Racism - Probably one of the greatest struggles of the 20th Century post-WW2 was the struggle for equality and to see different races as equal.
  4. Conservatism - Rejecting the 'reactionary' ways of the right, who looked to heritage and culture instead of working class unity and progress.
  5. Internationalism - Defending fellow members of the left and other persecuted minorities abroad.
  6. Feminism - Uniting the sisters against male patriarchy.
  7. Free Speech - In direct opposition to dictators of the 20th Century, Orwell was the bible of the left in opposition to authority and censorship (unless it was in the Soviet Union of course!)

Well, on point number one the left has certainly done half of the job. Only an absolute fringe minority in Britain or Europe today would describe themselves as a 'nationalist' a term synonymous with racism and totalitarianism. Unfortunately, they seem to have given up on large amount of the fight. One common form of nationalism alive today is that of the 'Ummah' or Muslim 'nation' which we repeatedly hear about when the topic of Israel or Iraq is brought up. We hear waves of far-right Muslims decrying the desecration of Muslim lands and of their Muslim brothers and sisters all with the support of the European secular left. Instead of supporting the Muslim and brown-skinned members of the left in countries like Iran and Iraq who are attempting to bring about a society with the right for women to vote and free speech, the left now support the religious fundamentalists on incredibly reactionary terms. There is no reason why the left should not support Muslims if they are as they perceive it oppressed, but they should help because they are oppressed not because they are Muslims. In Iraq, they abandon the Muslim and other members of the left under the banner of socialism, in place of the Muslim right under the banner of nationalism. For some reason the idea of uniting everyone under the banner of socialism, falls trump to non-European religions, which are given a free pass to divide people up however they wish. 

Religion used to be the opium of the people that broadly supported ideas that the left were generally opposed to such as attitudes against abortion, patriarchy and authority in the hands of the church. The 'right' of European Islam has more in common with the 'right' of European Christianity than most liberals care to admit on these topics. Broadly speaking most conservative Muslims are opposed to abortion, are heavily in favour of men in positions in the mosque and wider society, and you will find more Muslims in Europe today opposed to evolution than you will Christians, the type of 'unenlightened' thinking the left is supposed to be opposed to. Try today, to find some condemnation from the left of Muslim faith schools, that divide children up from an early age, teach superstition, girls to cover themselves and all the rest of it and I will be impressed. Try and find a member of the left criticising the babyish behaviour of grown men taking to the streets and screaming death and murder over some cartoons.  In fact, try and find a member of the left who will categorically say that the oppose Sharia Law in any form becoming a part of British or European life, and I will be impressed.

I mostly dealt for now with the racism point, in my post 'The Evolution of Racism' but it has long been the case that the left applies staggeringly different standards to ethnic minorities. This is not merely in areas where it might be expected such as in employment law to avoid discrimination, but a lot of the standards that are expected of the seemingly 'superior' white population such as an opposition to religious bigotry, homophobia, equal treatment of women (the list is endless), is never applied to the seemingly backward and 'inferior' minorities from the the third world, who the left apparently don't expect and do not think of as capable of living up to the same standards.

I have similarly dealt with the idea of conservatism and the left in previous posts but to recap lightly here. The left spent a large part of the 20th century emphasising unity along class lines and a rejection of 'backward' notions of heritage and nationalism. This has now morphed where it not only expects, but actively state sponsors disunity and division amongst people, by emphasising not their individuality or unity, but their heritage and where they come from even if they are second or third generation migrants. While bizarrely nationalists in their own country and considered reactionary and bigoted, nationalist migrants are the elevated exemplar citizen.

Nowhere is the betrayal of the modern left more apparent than in their abandonment of internationalism. Whatever one thinks about the Iraq War, whether it was a good idea, bad idea, good idea that was poorly executed, a war for oil, whatever. Surely it was not asking too much to first of all consider the idea that Iraqis deserved a say in their own government and not to be tortured and sent to rape rooms, but also that even if one thought that costs outweighed the benefits, to support the trade unions and other factions in Iraq that were fighting to bring that society about after 2003 instead of spending all one's energy harping on about WMD's. Regardless of whether one believes the situation is now worse, regardless of whether one believes it could have been avoided, surely in the current situation between religious fascists, the left would be capable of showing their support to their fellow workers and members of the left, instead of following the Muslim-right, and offering a unity instead with the insurgents.

I can deal with six and seven in barely a sentence because it is one of the few areas where the betrayal is open and undisguised. Where are the feminists rallying against the burka? Where the are members of the left that defended Salman Rushdie, or more importantly the Danish cartoonists in 2005? You won't need but a second to find a member of the left condemning a Christian pastor threatening to burn a Koran but try and find the same if the opposite is the case. Very little else to say, as sadly this is a topic where the betrayal is not hidden and yet still embraced. 

I cannot pretend to know what the great Karl Marx would think or assess today, either about the destructive attempt to apply his work in the Soviet Union and elsewhere or any other of these topics I've mentioned, but I can be fairly certain that he would not be a supporter of spreading religion and ethnic nationalism in the name of 'diversity' and would certainly be appalled to see members of the SWP that supposedly continue his legacy carrying banners that say 'We are all Hizbullah'. 

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Exposing What?

My initial response to Wikileaks was fairly sceptical. On the one hand my small-government instincts commend accountability, but my realist spectacles recognise the need for secrecy. At the same time, a lot of the people associated with Wikileaks and its supporters seem to live in an incredibly naive fairy-tale world, were they struggle to distinguish for example between war crimes and just plain war.

With the latest round of leaks, once again Wikileaks seems to spend more time exposing the naivety of the left and those that support it than the evil schemes of warmongering neocons. In fact, it seems to have leant a lot of credence to a lot of neoconservative thinking:

  1. 9/11 Was an Outside Job - Yes, it goes without saying that the conspiracy theories are complete nonsense but they are so incredibly pervasive and popular that it is still nice to see yet more credibility taken from them. Indeed, in order to further propagate the theory, many are now accusing Assange of being in the pockets of the CIA or indeed Israel who don't so far appear to have been particularly damaged by the leaks. There is only so far (one would hope) that the general public can stretch before this latest symptom of denying the threat we face by falsely blaming it on ourselves will hopefully be removed.
  2. Holocaust Denying Anti-Semitic Regimes Should Not be Trusted With Nuclear Weapons - And even many fellow 'brothers and sisters' that surround Iran think so as well. Yet more reason why it infuriates me that Sarah Palin is in the running for Presidency when it leaves sensible Americans the only choice of leaving the weak but at least plausibly qualified, Barack Obama in power.
  3. Michael Less- Michael Moore's film Sicko was amusingly discredited recently by some of the leaks relating to Cuba.
  4. Liberal Interventionism Does Not Equate to Imperialism - You would think that 'exposing the lies and secrets' of the Iraq War would lead to some confirmation of the more widely accepted conspiracy theories floating around, relating to Iraq's oil. Further it places the figures that opponents of the war have so freely thrown around regarding the deaths of Iraqi civilians, not even close to the purported million mark (regardless of the fact that it is not US soldiers doing the killing anyway), putting the average number of deaths during the intervention well, well below what they would have been had Saddam remained in power, ignoring also the threat to the region removed and the possibility of the growth in democracy. 
  5. Domestic Extremism is a Serious Threat - The latest cable regarding Britain's appalling record on dealing with Islamic extremism, especially in our Universities is understandably pissing our cousins across the pond off, as much as it is those of us at home tearing our hair out about it as well. 
  6. Zionist Plots For the NWO - And as already mentioned Israel, either by paying off Assange, or by simply not aiming for World Domination has not come off too badly.
One can't help but feel if this is the best WikiLeaks has to offer, then let it continue! The most it has done is unnecessarily expose private conversations amongst diplomats and put at risk those brave people in Afghanistan who are fighting alongside Coalition forces for women's rights and the right to vote, which the left absolutely opposes when it is done outside of Europe or America. 

Monday, 20 December 2010

Rioting and Accountability

The above is a picture of Jody McIntyre. Jody was recently taking part in student demonstrations against the rise in tuition fees before he was reportedly pulled out of his chair by a policeman in order to drag him away from the protests. I haven't researched the specifics of the incident but I will assume that the story is completely true for the sake of this post.

The only point I intend to make in this post is about who is responsible when such things go wrong. It goes without saying that were Jody walking lawfully down a high street with nothing out of the ordinary going on, and a policeman had behaved in this way, there is no grey area or uncertainty over who is responsible. But that is not the circumstances within which this happened. An out of control riot was taking place amongst protesters that were attacking the police who were not responsible for the legislation the students opposed, but merely maintaining law and order. When a criminal gets away untouched the public scream that there are not enough police doing the job, and when the police seem to be heavy handed they scream we live in a dictatorship. Very few members of the public seem to realise that it is everyday people like them that have to fill the ranks of the police who are just as capable of fear and fallibility as anyone else. In a recent summer I remember speaking to a policewoman who had worked in Birmingham who told our group about some of the riots she had taken part in resisting and described it as one of the most terrifying events of her life. In a violent protest like many of the student demonstrations against tuition fees are turning into, despite claims of police brutality most of the pictures clearly show literally thousands of protesters against often just a single line of police. It is very rarely reported with the same sense of condemnation nor disgust when the many police men and women, walk away from these student protests with bleeding heads from bricks and punches that have been thrown their way, yet when a single protester in the midst of the chaos that the protesters themselves have created is not treated as if they are in a first class hotel, then we are expected to be up in arms. The point is that the rough handling has been coerced by the circumstances that the rioters brought about themselves, not the other way around. You cannot take part in a violent demonstration that attacks the police and then claim the moral high ground if you or someone else gets hurt in the process.

I'd like to repeat I have not researched the particulars of this case, I am merely commenting on the recurring theme in the responses to it. I would put forward though, that had a non-disabled protester broken the law and breached the restricted barrier then they would rightly have to be removed and were Jody doing the same then exactly the same is true and it should be noted that he wasn't actually injured or hurt in any way by the proceeding.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Please, Blow Us Up

This is a small post on what is a bigger issue that I'll probably write about a bit more at a later date. On the issue of security versus freedom, I am always very wary and suspicious of anyone that falls too heavily on either side of the argument, and especially those who do so dogmatically and treat those on the other side of the argument as if they are mad.

'If we allow ourselves to be blown up then we stop the terrorists from succeeding'. Hyperbolic as it sounds, this seems to be the attitude of a large portion of the British elite. Even if we accept the left-wing belief that Islamic Terrorists' aims are secular, rational and negotiable and it is merely incidental that they happen to be Islamic, the idea that taking precautions in airports means the terrorists have won is nonsense. Terrorist aims when they do involve foreign policy are to pressure a government and the populace that votes for them, to alter their policy as a direct result of a calculation on the costs to civilian life that further policies would result in. Therefore when we hear idiots like Ken Livingstone, blaming not the terrorists that perpetrated the acts of 7/7, but Tony Blair for the intervention in Iraq and therefore implying that we should give in to terrorist demands, that is allowing the terrorists to win. That does not mean, that if you do/ did not support the war in Iraq, you are automatically a terrorist sympathiser, but if your foreign policy views are guided specifically by the threat of terrorism, then you are letting the terrorists win.

I heard recently an American commentator snorting at the perceived use of fear in American political campaigning to deal with the problem of terrorism. In other words succumbing to fear to fight fear. It does not mean that you have been 'terrorised' because you take precautions or are fearful of a further loss of life. It is the opposite of emotional distress, but completely rational to fear that more lives may be taken by terrorists and therefore precautions must be taken to stop that from happening. Once again, that does not mean that every precaution taken in the name of preventing terrorism must be accepted, but it should be recognised that it is not Osama Bin Laden's intention to make our trips to the airport slightly more inconvenient. Arguments against measures to stop terrorism should be made, on the merits of the policy themselves, not this bizarre notion that taking efforts to impede terrorists is somehow playing into their hands.

This also brings me to a similar point about the language associated with torture and the War on Terror. People often refer to the War On Terror as a war of ideals and by engaging in torture we are somehow losing that war. Regardless of whether or not one condones water-boarding, this idea that it is uniquely wrong to torture in this particular war is a fallacious one. The War on Terror, declared just after the attacks of September 11th, was a war to defeat the institutions and operations that were used to promote and carry out terrorist attacks. This means that even though the military aims of the Taliban for example, are perhaps not as conventional as those of the Nazi Germany spreading through Europe, i.e. of conquest and occupation, the means of fighting on our side are still the same. For example, torturing a captured Nazi officer for information on a military base that helped bring it down, is no different to torturing a captured member of the Taliban for militarily useful information to take down an underground network in Afghanistan. Again, someone may believe that torture is immoral in both circumstances, but we are fighting an enemy that hates us and wants to destroy us, whether or not we engage in a so-called 'moral' war or not, will make no difference to the military objectives that we have to achieve. So once again I emphasise that if someone wishes to oppose water-boarding, then do it on the merits/ morality of the policy itself not on some convoluted and fuzzy reference to our role in the War on Terror which is no different to any other war we have so far fought where torture may have been useful.

Double Standards With Israel

There is no such thing as double standards in International Relations. I repeat, there is no such thing as double standards in International Relations.

It is not the job of a sovereign nation, to treat interactions with foreign states like a board game, where one gives equal time to each and every other head of state, trades equally with every other economy and wages war with each and every player. Every nation has a distinct relationship with any one particular state at any one particular time, and all states have a different level of economic usefulness, diplomatic closeness and other relevant factors to a state at any time, and it is the job of a state to to correspond one's foreign policy in accordance with those considerations to maximise the benefits gained for his or her state.

This means that even if there were such a thing as 'double standards' applied to Israel it is still likely to be perfectly consistent with a state's perceived aims. It is not the job of the United States to compile a foreign policy that suits the standards or any other moral guidelines that any idiotic left-wing European or especially the god-awful Russia TV hosts, may desire.

Did we apply the same standards to Nazi Germany as we did to other nations? No of course not, because different responses apply to different circumstances. Are liberals really saying, that they would feel happier morally if Iran did acquire nuclear weapons and blow Israel half to hell, and start an arms race with the rest of the middle-east, knowing that regardless of the real-life consequences, they could rest safe knowing that they had treated a gay-killing, theocratic regime with the same standards as secular, democratic state? I doubt it.

Now ignoring the lunacy of attempting to apply equal treatment to unequal recipients, let's consider why Israel may be considered a different kettle of fish in the region we know as the Middle-East. For some reason it is now the popular role of the left to assume the absolute worst of the West and its representatives and the absolute best of the fascists and racists that oppose the West. For example. You are far, far more likely in popular discourse to hear some cretin claim that George W Bush was behind the attacks of 9/11 than to hear that Iran may actually pose a danger. With some perspective, the Bush administration for all of its faults, despite falling on the 'right' of the domestic American spectrum was in the wider scale of things, a liberal government that believed in free speech, democracy and the rule of law. The Iranian perspective has no concept of the things the modern left is supposed to hold dear, namely the separation of the civic and the religious institutions of statehood, rights for gays and women, free speech, free elections etc. Yet for some reason, even when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad openly denies the first holocaust and expresses a desire to bring about the second, people assume that he can be trusted with nuclear weapons. People assume the best of him. He kill gays? Oh well. He's an anti-Semite? Not a big deal. He wants to wipe out Israel? Israel has nukes, why can't Iran hmm?!

Israel's enemies such as Hamas openly express their desire not to have peace with Israel, but to kill every Israeli and every Jew, even those from outside of Israel. Israel, whatever one may think about it's policies in Gaza, does not want to kill every last Palestinian, which they very easily could have already if they wanted, as they already have the nuclear weapons and military superiority. Iran's proxies such as Hezbollah, even have a mushroom cloud as their flag. If you treat Israel's enemies by the same standard as Israel, there will not be an Israel much longer.

When Hitler expressed a desire to wipe out the Jews, it would have been the height of lunacy to allow the Nazis to have acquired the bomb. When Ahmadinejad very plainly states his desire to wipe Israel off of the map, it would be the height of insanity to let him get the bomb.

Here is another pretty stupid cartoon, that represents another pretty stupid myth in the whole 'Israeli double-standards' argument. Israel pulled out of Gaza, it spent many months withstanding rockets fired into its civilian areas before they eventually, and reluctantly retaliated. Were the evil war-mongering Zionist myth, even remotely close to reality then Israel would have attacked at the first sign of provocation. She didn't. When Israel went to war with Lebanon, Israel at least attempted to make an effort to warn civilians of areas that would soon be attacked, and at least attempted to aim for military targets that the Islamists deliberately place on or near civilians. So yes, when Islamist suicide bombers, intentionally target innocent Israeli civilians, they are innocent victims. And when Israel having made every effort to not kill civilians, do inadvertently do so in wars that the Islamists are responsible for, yes however tragic the loss of any life, especially a child, they should be put down to casualties of war.

I never would have treated Nazi Germany with 'equal' standards and I'm very proud and unashamed to say that I will never play a moral equivalence between Israel and Iran. Never.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Muslim Victimhood

It has become a horrible cliché especially for liberals who feel like they are stabbing themselves when they criticise Muslims to recognise on the one hand that there are extremists in the Muslim camp, before going on to neuter this accusation by saying that there are extremists on both sides in reference to far right parties like the BNP. Cliché or not, it is undoubtedly true that non-Muslims are just as capable of having extreme views as Muslims, but there is an enormous gulf between the moderates on both sides and their willingness to acknowledge and condemn the extremists on their side.

In the above clip the first question asked by the Muslim on whether the media play a role in fermenting hostility towards the Muslim community represents a common flaw in Muslim thinking. While there may be aspects of the media that do not help attitudes towards Muslims (especially because, shock horror, they actually report on Islamist actions) the number one cause of fear of Muslims, is the behaviour of Muslims themselves. That sentence is not an indictment of every Muslim or even a majority of Muslims but to think that a media report on some bearded preacher from London sticks in the mind of the general public more than seeing 3000 people slaughtered in New York City is the height of lunacy. This question represents the first response of the Muslim community towards any problem related to their faith which is to never criticise their own community or attempt to change the behaviour of their own, but always to blame others and outsiders such as the media.

Mehdi Hasan has the fantastically stupid idea which he never stops repeating, that because the media reports on extremists that aren't representative of the majority of Muslims, therefore they shouldn't be allowed to report that news, or can't do so without being accused of having an ulterior motive. He may very well be correct that Islam4UK do not represent all Muslims, but how does that stop them being newsworthy? When have we ever seen a mainstream paper describe Anjem Choudary as representative? Do we hear the same whinging from white members of the society every time the BNP are reported in the news, screaming that because they are not representative of white society therefore they shouldn't be in the news? Of course not! He refers in the above video to the law-abiding citizens getting ignored while this reporting is going on. Apparently according to Hasan, every time the British Press report on Muslim Extremists they must publish a corresponding piece about how nearly 2 million other Muslims went about their day and obeyed the law. The fact that they are law abiding, means that they are not newsworthy, hence why they are not reported, there is no ulterior motive. At the same time there are plenty of non-Muslim groups that are reported sensationally in less reputable papers such as the Daily Express, I'd imagine there are plenty of single mothers and other groups of society that feel as if they are demonised and unfairly treated. Picking a few extreme examples in fringe papers and using them as evidence of mainstream conspiracy is simply puerile.

Once again Mehdi applies the same double standard as many others which Clarke rightly calls him up on at the end. After demonising anyone that reports on so-called unrepresentative Muslims he feels quite happy to refer to the 'climate' of non-Muslim extremism. The same man who complains that reporting on the thousands of Muslims marching through Europe calling for the murder of innocents as unfair and deliberately creating a climate of fear is quite happy to refer to the racists and fascists of the BNP as if they are representative of British society, or somehow not condemned enough.

Non-Muslims in Britain, bend over backwards to be seen as inoffensive and politically correct towards the religion of Islam. The so-called 'Islamophobic' media in Britain refused to re-publish a single cartoon from the Danish Cartoon Controversy. The so-called 'institutionally racist' police force, arrested almost no-one in the same year as the July 7th Bombings, when Muslims were taking to the streets in the thousands inciting murder and yet plenty of non-Muslim counter-protesters were arrested. The anti-Muslim BBC has speakers from MPAC and the RESPECT party on their shows all the time, and the only time they have allowed Nick Griffin on they were almost stopped from doing so. We have a situation now, where being a fascist and calling for the death of Jews and the stoning of homosexuals is acceptable if you are a Muslim whereas it is reporting on this kind of activity which gets you into trouble as per the reference in the video above to some of the vile teachings in the Birmingham Mosque and Andrew Gilligan. Non-Muslims do everything they can to be seen as not being offensive, and this is rarely reciprocated. This can be clearly seen in the video by the idiot questioner denying the fascistic nature of the Islamic Forum of Europe. After 60 years of mass immigration, largely taken against the will of the British electorate we have still not had a single BNP MP, but the Muslim community that has been imported in has voted in, the equally extreme RESPECT Party in certain districts.

The BNP party wishes to kick Mehdi and his family out of this country largely due to the colour of his skin (regardless of what their reformed manifesto says this is what they want), I have no problem therefore with him criticising the BNP and complaining about them. Similarly, extremist groups in the Muslim community wish to impose sharia law on as much of Britain as possible and in some cases commit acts of terrorism. Just as I do not label Mehdi 'anglophobic' for criticising extremists in the non-Muslim camp I expect him to do the same when I criticise the extremists in his camp and continually rejecting and complaining about that criticism will only lead to a breakdown in dialogue of these important issues and greater hostility.

Gay Marriage Is Not An Ideological Issue

Heterosexual marriages have been the bedrock of societies for a very a long time now. As an atheist I do not have a particularly moral view of marriage but rather a pragmatic one as far as the state is concerned. If it could be proved to me that gay marriage was as stable as traditional marriage, and more importantly that gay couples were as capable as heterosexual couples, at raising children, then I would support gay marriage,  if the opposite were true, then I would oppose it. Either way, my point of view is based on the utility of marriage and its effects, there is nothing ideological about it.

Before we consider whether gay marriage should be considered as equal to heterosexual marriage we should be mature enough to recognise that there is a rational reason to assume that it isn't. Most of our behaviour is evolutionarily determined. Women's behaviour is wired differently based on their evolutionary value and men's is also wired differently for the same reason. Loosely speaking women are evolutionary designed to be the bearers and carers of children and men the protectors and providers. This is not a culturally imposed state of being and it is not an assumed position from biology, but psychology. To support gay marriage and especially gay adoption is to make a fairly bold statement in the nature/ nurture debate. It is to imply that nature can be overcome and evolutionarily assigned roles can be 'learnt'. Homosexuality goes against our evolutionary programming to procreate, but this is not necessarily harmful. There are plenty of people who have vasectomies and use contraception which is just as unnatural as homosexual behaviour for the same reasons. Whether one wants to use language as politically charged as a 'disorder', or whether one wants to use the more benign 'alternative' we have to accept that in the arena of relationships, nature has set us a norm that homosexuality violates. The lines of what is acceptable seem to be incredibly obvious to those on the left. When someone decides during their teens that they are attracted to the same-sex it is considered something to celebrate, when someone decides they are attracted to children it is obviously seen as a disorder even if that person agrees to never act on that desire. 

As far as my own views go, however reluctant I may be to say it, homosexuality is just as abnormal as paedophilia but it is not as harmful or equal as a disorder. Even though it may not conform to biological demands a relationship between two consenting adults should not be considered harmful or automatically threatening. A relationship between an adult and a child could never be a relationship because it could never have the child's consent and as such should never be compared to homosexuality. The same applies to those who ask if gay marriage advocates would support marriage between a man and a dog. And this is where I differ with most conservatives on the issue of gay marriage. Denying gays the right to marry is not going to stop them being gay, but it is going to deny them access to the institution that conservatives are supposed to believe in. The comparison to paedophilic 'marriages' or 'marriages' with animals is not a comparison at all because those are not marriages whether legal or not, in the way that gay marriage is between two consenting adults.

To come back to the first paragraph then, having listed some possible objections, I cited two reasons that conservatives are supporters of marriage. First, is the aspect of stability, the idea that commitment to another in a loving relationship over polygamy and promiscuity produces stable households and stable communities. In no way at all do I see a contradiction between these values and allowing gay marriage. Again however one wants to define the difference between gays and heterosexuals, they are not mentally ill, they are perfectly healthy individuals who are capable of living within caring and faithful relationships. 

The second issue was that of parenting. While in caveman times the issue of parenting would have been irrelevant, in today's society gay couples can now have children through adoption (as one of a few ways). Someone that says that they are opposed to gay adoption, is by extension saying that it is better for children to be bought up with no Mothers than two of them. There is a lot of statistical evidence to support the notion that children brought up in foster care often end up committing more crime and contributing less to society, having not had an ideal upbringing. In regards to parenting I am one of those inclined to view parenting as a skill more than a biological trait. There are plenty of idiots out there having children, that make terrible parents despite having all of the 'biological equipment' because they simply have no clue about parenting. One of my big problems with a lot of modern feminism is its denial of the qualitative difference between the sexes, and as such I can't help but be slightly reluctant at breaking the evolutionarily created tradition of bringing up children with a mother and a father, which each have different roles. The point of adoption however, is that not just anyone can adopt children as there has to be a long vetting process for prospective parents to go through to see if they are suitable for raising children. It seems to follow to me that just as plenty of heterosexual 'chav' couples could do with some teaching in regards to raising children, that there is no reason why gay couples could not receive the same training, in providing the maternal care of the mother and the discipline more commonly associated with the father. 

Either way, children's development is a very serious and nuanced issued as many psychology studies show if children are not brought up properly the damage to them psychologically can be irreparable. Therefore anyone giving an opinion on this issue who is willing to support the social experiment of allowing gays to adopt or choosing to deny children the opportunity to be adopted by gay couples and instead remain in foster care, should treat the issue seriously enough to look at the evidence provided by psychology that demonstrates the success or failures of same-sex upbringing and bring some stats to the table instead of treating it as an ideological issue which for the most part it isn't.  

Monday, 13 December 2010

In Defence Of Nationalism

I should preface this by saying that I do not identify myself as a nationalist, but just as I do not identify myself as a socialist, there are still aspects of socialism that can be useful.

One of the most common criticisms of Nationalism that I hear (and indeed one I used to parrot when I was younger) is that it is an accident of birth which nation one is landed with and therefore it is silly to be proud of something that is a result of pure chance, something that is purely arbitrary. There are various flaws to this argument. First of all it assumes that all nations are identical and indistinguishable. Were nations distinct it would logically follow that taste could be applied and one could favour one nation over another based on genuine preference as opposed to an 'accident of birth'. Someone who thinks this merely has to ask themselves a simple question. Do they recognise that across the world nations are divided by distinct cultures and languages, that the difference between say Americans and Indians is not simply that Americans call themselves by one label and Indians by another, but that there is a distinct culture and heritage shared by each that separates them and the labels and flags created represent rather than define those differences. 

This is not to say that every single individual within the state lines of America or India form one robotic homogenous bloc where they are all identical 'culturally', but that there is a core, a pool from which all members of the nation-state derive from to create a united community. 

If one recognises that they come from and are part of a culture, and that, that culture is distinct from any other culture in the world, then unless one is filled with a self-loathing about who they are, they are most likely a nationalist is some form or another even if not by name. It may be true that it was not a choice which nation they landed in the lottery of life, but the same could be said about one's family or one's child. Just as with our nation we would recognise that our family is unique and distinct from others, but that does not mean one has to hate all other families to love our own. 

Ignoring a lot of the obvious moral relativism that the left exhibits today which clearly plays a role in people's reluctance to call themselves a nationalist, a large part is due to the association with Hitler and the Nazi party. Yes the Nazis were nationalists, and yes a lot of their policies were an expression of their form of nationalism. Just as the Soviet Union was in many parts what could loosely be called 'egalitarian', does that mean people should similarly be tarred with the same brush if they believe in some form of welfare? Of course it doesn't. Nationalism is simply a recognition of what you are, and an admiration for that. Any policies or views that follow from that are subjective and open to discussion. Yes there are nationalists such as Hitler which were very war-minded but there are also the paleo-conservatives in America that are very isolationist. 

One of the ironies of modern multiculturalism is that in attempting to reject the notion of the nation-state and the ideal of conservatism, the left have allied with the conservatives that are not of the indigenous persuasion. For example, it logically follows that mass immigration and multiculturalism will result in an undermining of the initial nation state, but in order for that to work the new migrants must themselves by conservative and make a very proactive effort to retain their heritage. If in Britain you debate a liberal and describe yourself as a conservative who cares about his heritage you will be laughed out of the room as a reactionary, unless you are of a minority status and the liberal will fascinate in hearing about your culture and your heritage. Just so long as it isn't his own.
When Conservatism meets Masochism
Ask a liberal about the melting pot of the world and he will start to rub his hands with glee. Ask him what he thinks of Thai culture and he'll perhaps note the food, or India and he'll mention the religion. But ask him about British, or European or American culture and he'll falter. Our culture is that we have no culture. Our values are that we have no values. Everyone is allowed, indeed encouraged and forced to be a conservative unless you are white and conserving the culture of the land you are in. 

What is the difference between an African migrant in Britain who loves his African heritage and celebrates his African culture and a British citizen who tries to do the same? The latter doesn't fall into the left's vision for 21st Century Britain. 

Thursday, 9 December 2010

White Guilt

So I'm British. Worse than that, I'm also White. And Male. I'm not a Christian, but I am a heterosexual. So why is it that I am not ashamed of my culture and heritage? Don't I owe the rest of the world an apology or an admission of guilt?

Well. First of all I'm not one of those new generation of revisionists, that are apologists for the Empire. Truthfully I am not a historian, but I have no doubt that in many instances the British Empire was a brutal and cruel system of oppression. While I can accept in limited circumstances that the Empire may have provided infrastructure and other useful contributions to areas it conquered, I am under no illusion that, this was not necessarily the case in the majority of circumstances and more importantly was not the original motive.

The British Empire, like the French Empire, and the German Empire and Empires from the Middle-East and Africa and any other Empire that has ever existed was formulated out of a desire of a state to increase its power relative to its rivals. States since the very first moment they were formulated have never been peaceful, but have always been involved in a constant struggle to achieve supremacy in the balance of power. The British Empire was preceded by Christian Europe which often fought each other and at times of occasional unity invaded areas outside of Europe. The Middle-East was the same, as was Africa. Any state that gained enough power would not simply increase their power by invading rivals but also by building colonies and Empires. The only thing that is unique amongst the British state and its pursuit of power was that is was more successful than any other state.

There is one other thing which sets it, and all other so-called 'white Empires' apart. They were considerably more moral and humane than any other Empire. There's no politically correct way to say this next sentence so I'll just say it. I often hear minorities in Britain, particularly blacks refer to the practice of slavery within the British Empire as if it is something that modern Britons should both be ashamed of and even apologise for. This implies many things that are fallacious. First of all it implies that the British Empire was unique in taking slaves. This is completely untrue. When Britain went in to Africa to take slaves, it was continuing a practice that was already taking place. So Britain was no different than any other nation, black or white, in that it pursued as much power as possible at the expense of any other nation in its way, and that it used slavery. There is one other thing which sets Britain apart however. It fought to end slavery. Britain was the first nation to make slavery illegal even when many of its rivals were still using the practice and hence benefiting from it, relative to Britain. America as well fought a civil war and many lives were given to stop the practice of slavery.

Slavery as well as war and power politics were (and in some cases still are) stains on all human beings, but the fight to end slavery before anyone else is a compliment that can only be lain at the feet of the British. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a nasty piece of work that often brings up the issue of slavery as a Muslim living in modern day Britain. However, were it possible to trace her exact heritage and my own there is as much chance that her ancestors in the Islamic Empires of the Middle Ages took part in slavery before the British ever did, as there is that my own ancestors did themselves at some point. The same is true of anyone with a heritage from the African continent.

Another myth of the British Empire is that its benefits were equally shared out amongst those native to the British isles. Wealth and all of the other benefits of Empire were held very highly up amongst the privileged and elite in society, and the lowest classes of Britain lived in appalling circumstances. It is certainly true that they lived in better circumstances than many other parts of the world, but this had nothing to do with slavery or the Empire which the working class themselves had to go out and fight and give their lives for without seeing the benefits of it. The majority of those descended from within Britain at this time, lived in squalid, unhygienic and desperately poor circumstances. A working class white family in 1950s London living below the poverty line has about as much the thank the British Empire for as the Afro-Caribbean family that has moved in next door. In a recent debate Mrs Brown referred to the white members of the audience enjoying those benefits of Empire as if separate to her. This is a complete lie, she benefits from every aspect of infrastructure, wealth and economy in this country just like any one else and as a journalist she enjoys far more benefits and luxuries than most of the white working class will ever be able to dream of.

It is certainly true that slavery was not just a policy of power politics, but many revolting ideologies were created that justified the use of slavery irrespective of economic benefits. The churches preached that Blacks did not possess souls, and scientists, that Black people were 'sub-human'. These same tribal instincts and disdain for the 'other' could be found in every other part of the world. Again, it was only in the West where advances in science and a philosophy of human rights were nurtured that such views began to be over-turned. Again, the West is not unique in having racist and other views hostile to outsiders, but it is unique in bringing an end to those views endogenously and voluntarily.

I believe an individual has to earn credit, not demand it. If the hypothetical heritage test between myself and Mrs Brown took place, and it turned out that my ancestors had fought against slavery in the American Civil War for instance before moving to Britain, and that Yasmin's ancestors had practised slavery for generations without reprieve it would not change my opinion of Yasmin one iota. She is to be judged on her actions and what she can do, as am I. Were I to judge myself on the deeds of those who had come before me however, I cannot think of any part of the world with a better record in every conceivable realm of progress than where I have come from, and that is still true to this day.

Friday, 3 December 2010

The Evolution of Racism

When one distinguishes between the 'left' and the 'right' in European circles we often attach labels such as 'pro-choice, pro-immigration, pro-gay rights and anti-racism' to name just a few that could be applied to the left to distinguish them from the right. By referring to the left as 'anti-racist' it inevitably implies that the right is, if not actively racist itself, not particularly against racism. Despite this, I don't really object to leftists or others referring to the left as 'anti-racist', as it is merely a label used for convenience, and nonetheless correctly describes the fact that anti-racism has undoubtedly been at the heart of left-wing movements in Europe, much more-so than the right. In the 21st Century however, the term racist has come to mean something very different and the ideology of anti-racism that we refer to of the left is something that I do not mind not being associated with.

That's certainly a sentence that could be taken out of context one day if I ever ran for office, so I better add some caveats. In the early 20th Century racism was not an important issue in Europe or specifically places like Britain, because for the most part Britain was racially homogenous. After the Second World War however, racism came to be associated with the Nazis and the Holocaust, as well as discrimination against the new tide of migrants that moved to Europe from non-white areas. The term racialism back then used to refer to the claim that races possessed unique characteristics, thus making some more superior than others. Despite what many young people and even mainstream members of the left might say, in the 21st Century no-one, left or right still in any significant number believes in that form of racism and it is silly to pretend otherwise. There is of course plenty of racism still in society, but this comes from all aspects of society and cuts across the political divide, and the view that one race is superior to another is a proposition rejected by both the left and the right.
There are however, two different views that can be ideologically divided between right and left on how to deal with issues of race. As I see it, the left got the questions about race in the 20th century correct, but the answers completely wrong. Racism is harmful to society for two reasons. First of all, in any form it's a pretty stupid view to adopt and should be offensive to everyone from an intellectual standpoint alone. Secondly it leads to division and most importantly discrimination. Discrimination in whatever guise is harmful but most importantly is equally harmful for whatever reason used to justify it. If a black man is the subject of racist taunts in the street he is just as much a victim as the gay person that he might abuse verbally later that day in a backlash. The issue of reverse racism/ affirmative action is often seen as a very petty issue for white members of societies to bring up, but to suggest this, is in itself a form of racism. To say that a black student should be more offended or upset over being refused a place at University because of his race, over a white student, is to suggest that the white student is made of stronger character thanks to his race, or more to the point that the black student is made of weaker character due to his. Affirmative action essentially asserts that the racists they are trying to correct were right. If in post-war America white University officials discriminated on the grounds of race, and the left's solution is not to ban that practice and open the market to a level playing field, but instead to legislate that blacks must be admitted due to their skin colour, is presumably confirming that blacks cannot make it fairly and therefore in a meritocracy it would be right to exclude them?

There is of course an obvious counter-argument to this objection based on pragmatism. It is uniquely hard to legislate bans on discrimination, as it is very hard to prove that it has taken place. Therefore a safe balance is to legislate for a statistically realistic quota, that may result in some whites being discriminated but would overcome the greater costs of many more blacks being discriminated, and I accept that argument completely. The American experience with minorities is very different from the European one as African-Americans have been in American society in one form or another since conception, whereas minorities were introduced very suddenly to European society in huge numbers. The first waves of post-war immigration took place only 30 years after the First World War, a time that was very far from tolerant and pluralistic to people from the third world and as such, I accept the pragmatic counter-argument in Europe's case that some form of reverse discrimination could be justified for good reason. Despite this there are too many other examples of where the left is genuinely racist now.

The left used to reject the 'authoritarianism' of the right and stand as firm supporters of free speech to take one example. When the right is not white however, they do not apply those same standards. It is becoming a cliché to point out that defecating on a Bible is regarded as 'art' and doing the same on a Qu'ran is considered hate speech. Once again 'whites' or more usually in this case Christians, are expected to be able to take criticism and behave maturely and responsibly. Muslims, or 'brown' and 'blacks' are not held to the same standard even if their behaviour is hurting fellow minorities. During the Danish Cartoons Crisis you were far more likely to hear a condemnation of the Danish Cartoonists for being racist, Islamophobic and all the rest of it, than the fascists in the street calling for their death. At what point did it become acceptable for grown men to take to the streets and incite murder over criticism of their religion as small as a cartoon. When the press and elites in society excuse and justify this behaviour from certain groups it creates a culture of victimisation and alienation within that group. If poor behaviour is excused and covered up by the 'race card' then it places a cloak over addressing genuine problems which as a result, persist. Free speech is just one issue of many where the left applies utterly different standards to those with white skin and those with darker skin. There are also increasingly worrying trends where anti-gay rhetoric and backward views on women are being excused for being part of their 'culture'. Searchlight are one of the few left-wing campaigners who oppose the EDL and BNP who have announced that they will be turning to the extremists on the Muslim side as well ( They are a very rare exception. 

A lot of left-wing ideology used to be about the brotherhood of man, and how arbitrary classifications of race and nationality got in the way of the important differences of class inequality. Now however, the left revels in race and how it divides people. Apparently an MP or a Parliament can only represent the society it comes from if they share the skin colour of some of their constituents. This seems to imply that in a multi-racial constituency, the different racial groups will continually be in opposition and conflict when it comes to political matters simply because they have a different skin colour. By this logic, if Labour and the Conservatives were to both put up black candidates and the only other candidate was a white man from the BNP, then white voters should vote for the BNP member in order to be represented. This is clearly ridiculous as the colour of one's skin is irrelevant and it is the ideas and character of individuals that is important. Again the left gets the questions right and the answers wrong. If black politicians are being discriminated against, that isn't a bad thing because whites are not capable enough by themselves and we need extra black politicians to placate this problem, it is a bad thing because discrimination under any circumstances is a bad thing. The solution is to remove that discrimination and create a level playing field, not to promote those who are unqualified because of their skin colour and harshly discriminate those are qualified for being white. 

The difference as I see it between myself and the 'anti-racist' left is that while we both dismiss the silly claims that one race is genetically superior to another, I apply the same standards and expectations to minorities as I do to majorities. I see minorities as just as capable of running for office, jobs and positions in education and just as capable of behaving responsibly in society and adhering to non-negotiable values such as freedom of speech. In other words I treat them equally. I do accept that there is a still a lot of racism and discrimination in society and I do think there is a role for government to play in this area, but putting the racism on the other foot is just making that resentment and hostility worse.