Monday, 23 December 2013

Three bad reasons why Ian Watkins shouldn't die

Nobody believes me, but I am not right wing and I am not left wing. I am a Darwinist.
This is important because it allows me to draw a line - nonexistent or even nonsensical to most - between my political instincts and my political opinions.

My instincts are all to the left, and until my twenties I was an entirely unreflective but no less vocal left winger. My epiphany was not political but scientific. Through sociobiology I discovered that politics was not an endlessly unfulfilled war of conflicting instincts and opinions but a predictive science. Different political systems and programmes can be tested, the results gathered and a conclusion drawn. But more even than that: they can be worked out in advance.

The science of human behaviour is resented by just about everyone. It's resented by the right because they think it is a challenge to religion (though I personally can't think of anything more conciliatory than the revelation that Darwin and the Bible are in total agreement about everything except the nuts and bolts), and by the left because there is nothing more heretical to the left than the notion that people are not lumps of clay they can make cute new shapes out of, all the while demanding of them that they love the sensation of being squashed and remoulded.
The challenge is to accept the data when the results are in, and then to act sanely and humbly on that evidence and to modify one's views accordingly - impossible for almost everyone, alas, especially in an age when means really are believed to justify ends. (Who cares if my caring, considerate ideas make life worse for almost everyone, and especially the very people I'm weeping treacle over in the first place? I feel great about myself!)
That's why progressivists, viewing the chaos their creed has unleashed throughout western Europe, actually believe that the lesson to be drawn is not that they were wrong after all but that what is needed is more of the same. Because their ideas simply cannot be wrong a priori, the only other possible option is that they haven't yet gone far enough.
And it follows, because they are obviously, axiomatically correct, that nobody who disagrees with them can possibly want the same abstract results that they do. They are only pretending to disagree as to the means, what they really reject are the ends; they must be evil.

Reluctantly, then (because the emotional pull of leftism remained strong, and the repelling power of conservatism remained equal and opposite), I came to realise that because human nature is essentially fixed it must be taken into account, and all utopian-progressivist-idealist ideologies that ignored or even denied this fact were doomed to end not merely in spectacular failure but also - because they cannot sustain themselves organically - in tyranny.
Kids, I wish it weren't so, but it is, and we're not in the nursery any more. We're big boys and girls. Most of us accept there is no Santa Claus. That doesn't mean we wouldn't like there to be one! It's just that we've reached an age where, as the Bible says, we put away childish things. In other words, we realise that the truth is sometimes at odds with how we'd like it to be. We can run away from that, or we can face it. It would be lovely if Santa existed, but that's not going to make it happen. It would be lovely too if socialism were sustainable, but that won't change the fact that it will always fail because it makes no allowance for the possibility of corruption (it just wishes it away, rather, because it is a tenet of socialism that human nature is infinitely malleable and amenable to reason, which is a basic scientific untruth).
Only a reasoning and accountable conservatism can guarantee the greatest happiness of the greatest number. The alternative secures these things only selectively, via injustice elsewhere. That it does so with the very best of intentions may or may not be true, but scientifically speaking it's irrelevant, provided of course that justice, fairness, security and happiness for the greatest number really is what you're after.

Anyway, I'm not sure that it actually is a left-right issue, really, except by accident (and then with massive blurring and dissent at the fringes) but it's certainly the case that the instinctive position I found it hardest to be reasoned out of - by far - was opposition to capital punishment.
No argument did I join more willingly or more often, on none was my speech so well-prepared and unvaryingly delivered. I even had my comebacks sorted, especially for the inevitable 'bet you'd feel differently if the victim was a member of your own family'. Of course I would! And that's why it is essential that the law is there to intercede on my behalf - to stop me demeaning myself by stooping to revenge and to instead administer impersonal justice. We must prevent criminals having the freedom to commit crime, of course, but... Well, you know the rest, I'm sure.
The interesting thing is how my passion flowed in inverse ratio to the amount of actual thought I put into the position I was taking. It makes sense, I suppose: the issues we feel strongest about are those we have the most intense instinctive convictions about, and therefore the ones we are least likely to really think about rationally. And when others try to get us to do so, we resist strongly, because it's a faith position rather than a reasoned one, and we often become hostile.
The truth of course is that I hadn't thought about it one little bit. When the point was made to me that it would be different if my own family were the victims, I faux-graciously conceded the point without ever actually thinking about what that would really feel like. I didn't think about it at any level. It took a lot of cracks in the brickwork before I accepted the bridge was collapsing.

Firstly, it should be noted that there are two entirely different classes of anti-capital punishment argument. It is equally possible to hold either, none or both. But even for those who do hold both, neither is dependent on the other; they remain separate. Nonetheless, it is extremely convenient to switch from one to the other, as I did, when either is being walloped with logic.
The first is technical, and concerns fallibility: the fact that no proof is ultimate proof, humans are not perfect, and mistakes can always be made, therefore it is never possible to safeguard one hundred per cent against the possibility of somebody being executed for a crime of which they were in fact innocent.
The second is moral, and states that no matter what the provocation nor how irredeemable the criminal - and therefore even if ultimate proof were theoretically possible - we simply do not have the right to take the life of another human person.

The second, obviously, is the easiest to demolish, because there's nothing to it at all. It's just posturing.
How do we have the right to do anything? Where in theory would we get this right from? If we are not religious (and most religions explicitly grant us that right anyway!) to whom do we actually apply for these rights?
All this grand talk actually means is, 'I personally don't feel it is right', which is very different, because it shifts the focus of authority back where it should be - to one's own conscience, rather than some mysterious authority to which we have access but which allows no argument.
Ask them why we don't have that right and they will say, "we just don't." What do you mean, 'we just don't'? Why don't we? "Well, I personally don't think we do." Well say that, then!

Do such people think murderers should therefore run free?
Oh no, they hasten to reassure, they should be imprisoned. Very, very often, they will go further and say something like, "in fact, I think 'life' should mean 'life'" or, "if it was up to me they'd lock them up and throw away the key!"
So they do have the right to take away somebody's liberty, just not their life. Where did they get the first right from, if they don't have the second? It makes exactly as much sense as if someone were to argue for capital punishment on the grounds that we just don't have the right to imprison people.
What they mean is that the idea of their being a willing member of any society that endorses the execution of heinous criminals makes them personally uneasy. Which is, of course, a view to which they are entitled, and which they are entitled to argue, and to promote. But they must also accept the majority verdict on it: the one thing they cannot do. So the whole point of their vaguely metaphysical talk of 'not having the right' is to side-step the fact that it is a view no more fundamental or objective than any other they hold, and no less entitled to be decided upon democratically.
And when you point this out, they switch to the other line, and say that the risk of a miscarriage of justice is too great. Even though they'd begun by saying we don't have the right even if there was no such risk. And then tomorrow they'll be right back to saying we don't have the right again.

It reminds me of a documentary I saw when I was a boy, about a man in America who makes it his life's work travelling from state to state, trying to get the sentences of criminals on death row commuted to life imprisonment. Note that he was not investigating their cases to see if they had been convicted wrongfully and to try to get them freed. His was the purely abstract desire to stop them being killed, and to have them imprisoned instead. What stuck in my mind was a comment he made, in response to the suggestion that he might have more concern for the criminals than the victims. Oh no! he said (always that rush to reassure!), far from the absence of capital punishment being soft on criminals, as far as he was concerned, the prospect of spending one's entire life in a cell, knowing that you would never taste freedom again, is if anything a worse fate than a quick and painless death of which one is unaware. 
And we the viewers were expected to nod and say, yes, there's some truth to that; he's not just a wishy-washy liberal after all... and not to spot the paradox that this man thinks capital punishment is so immoral, and so unacceptable, that he would rather subject people to a fate he himself considers worse.

The other argument is more intricate because it is obviously true as far as it goes.
The risk of miscarriage is there, of course. But again, we have to follow the logic of this one very calmly and carefully - to ensure it is not being used as a smokescreen for the other. If this were any other speculative argument in the world, the route to be taken would be obvious. We should ask: how great a risk is there? And then: how small does the risk have to be before it becomes acceptable?
On the latter, the most common answer is that there is no likelihood too small: if there's the smallest chance, it becomes unacceptable. Therefore to even ask the former question is pointless, and perhaps even immoral, in that it weighs a human life against statistical calculation.
Like the 'we have no right' argument, this sounds terribly upstanding and worthy - until you actually think about it. Then it becomes absurd. There is some kind of risk of an innocent person being killed when we do virtually anything. If I go to a supermarket and buy a packet of breakfast cereal, the risk is there that in lifting the packet I will unbalance the shelf, which had been faulty but held in place by the precise weight of that one packet, and the whole thing will collapse, killing the old lady choosing cat food on the other side.
If the risk of miscarriage in a capital case were only of that order of magnitude it would be simply ridiculous to advance it as sufficient in itself to rule it out. Therefore it becomes not only sensible but imperative to decide how great a risk there is, and how great a risk we would be prepared to tolerate. This trade-off may divide us in the details, but nobody can logically hold that the very fact of having that conversation is wrong. Or if they do, they are actually taking the old 'we have no right' position again, but trying to disguise it by making it look logical instead of emotional.
For it is here, in this very calculation, that the only sensible argument about capital punishment can take place, and we should neither expect nor demand consensus, merely accession to the majority. The reason this fact is fudged so relentlessly, and this point never allowed to be made, is that the majority are now and always have been in favour of capital punishment, and everybody knows it.

For what it's worth, my own view is that I'm still not sure. The thought of an innocent, facing death, trapped in some Kafkaesque web of error is a terrifying one. But it's no more terrifying than being randomly murdered in the street by someone who's just been let out after serving five years of a ten year sentence for killing somebody's grandmother. So that conversation about relative risk is an essential one. And I do think the evidence is on the side of the pro-capital punishment position, even if I'm still not quite ready to sign my name to it yet.
With the proper safeguards (unanimous verdicts, qualifications for jury service, right of appeal, etc) and with the extra assurance of DNA evidence, the risk seems to me very, very small indeed. I am strengthened in that belief by the fact that I know of no execution in Britain through the whole of the twentieth century that was later found to be of an innocent man. If your lips are forming the name 'Hanratty' go to the back of the class; if 'Tim Evans' is your victim of choice you can be more easily forgiven for not knowing he was guilty as charged, but  he was. Derek Bentley? No, there is a case for saying he should not have stood trial in the first place, and another for saying he should have been shown mercy at appeal, both of which I would sign, but he was not wrongfully convicted.

An entirely different argument is that there have been cases since abolition of people who would have been executed and were found innocent. But in the first place, I don't know how validly one can assume the verdict would have been the same in a capital case: I suspect juries take the burden of proof much more seriously in such circumstances, and that many later convictions would have earlier been acquittals. Second, I note that many of these later miscarriages, especially of Irish gangsters, tend to be of the wrong members of the same illegal, criminal organisations. Rarely, if ever, has the legendary man on the corner of the street been wrongly fingered and convicted of a crime of which he knew nothing at all. Back in hanging days, criminals knew getting done for someone else's crime was an occupational hazard, a likelihood vastly greater for them than for the law-abiding. They took the chance well aware of the risk.

So if the 'no likelihood is too small' argument cannot hold, let us look seriously at what the real threshold might be. And the obvious question to ask of a 'none too smaller' is: what is their view of war? Are there ever occasions when war is justified?
Was, for instance, the Second World War justified? If it wasn't, then you retain consistency, albeit at the expense of never again deserving to be taken seriously on any subject under the sun. If, on the other hand, you accept that, for instance in the need to repel Hitler, war can on occasion be necessary, then you are explicitly endorsing a plan of action where the loss of entirely innocent life, often in circumstances more unimaginably appalling than any execution, is not merely possible but one hundred percent guaranteed.
If you still feel that the execution of savage murderers does not fall into the same category, again such is your right, but your grounds for condemning morally those who think otherwise has, surely, been fatally undermined, and you are obliged to explain the difference. Numbers?
Anyway, you have in any event conceded that there are circumstances in which the loss of innocent life becomes justified, if always to be regretted. All you have left to argue about are the details of what other circumstances might be added to the list. (And as Peter Hitchens has noted, they don't have to be as big and weighty as war, either. We allow the existence of motorised traffic in the absolute certainty that it will cause the deaths of hundreds every year. There is also the cold, unambiguous statistical evidence - of an entirely different order than vague talk of likelihoods or possibilities - that releasing murderers at the end of finite criminal sentences causes innocent death, as a percentage of them will definitely kill again, and do so in huge numbers every year. So do they all stay in jail for ever? Do we have that right..?)

There is one final argument, of course, but it is so silly that it is only resorted to when both the 'no right' and the 'miscarriage' argument are right up against the ropes, that being the claim of inefficiency.
It takes the first two as understood but seeks to offer more practical ballast so that their appeals to mere emotion are made less overt. According to this argument, statistics show that capital punishment has no practical effect, so in addition to all the other concerns we should have, it cannot even be supported on the grounds of being 'the lesser evil', as it is shown in practice to neither lower the numbers nor minimise the hideousness of criminal acts.
It is the classic idealist's argument of last resort, in that it is completely and utterly untrue, but they think that simply by saying it it will magically come to be.

It is so obviously true that leniency with crime makes more of it that one would have to be an intellectual or a member of the media class to doubt it for a second. The same of course goes for the normalisation and fetishising of crime in popular culture. It's no surprise to the rest of us that sympathising with aggressors, demonising law enforcement, glamorising criminal lifestyles, relativising justice and discrediting the concept of punishment has turned society from something that even the still-living can remember as relatively safe and peaceful - where murders of course occurred, but where they made the front pages of newspapers for weeks - to one where they are so commonplace they often go unreported in the media, and take forms so vile and corrupt as to have been literally unimaginable by them at earlier points in their adult life.

The case of Ian Watkins is instructive here.
This goonish, ludicrous pop singer, a shambling, mumbling celebration of both mental and physical inarticulacy, a pathetic cultural parasite of a sort that did not and could not exist for most of the twentieth century, finds himself at large in a society so lost, and a culture so degraded, that he can be lavishly rewarded and almost literally worshipped, simply by talentlessly whining shitty rock music. And such is his sense of entitlement, and the fathomless emptiness of his soul, that he both desires and is able to use his unearned status to encourage (and it really is 'encourage': it would be wrong to use a word as strong as 'coerce') his idiot fans to join him in the rape and torture of their own babies.

This is not mere crime. This is something new. This is true decadence, as great as anything in the court of Nero; a black, grinning, rotting, profound evil. It should terrify us, because we know it is not unique. It is here, alongside us in the same world we live in, like the rats we are supposedly never more than ten feet away from. It uses the same streets as we, watches the same television programmes, passes by us on the same motorways. And it is something that we - by which I mean each and every one of us - has either by cowardice, apathy or our own selfish chasing after cul-de-sac freedoms, allowed to come to pass.
And it reminds me that there are arguments for capital punishment, far deeper and more fundamental than the mere rebuttal of specific arguments against it.
The risk of the loss of innocent life is too great to allow it? Or is it too great not to? Do we not have the right? Or is it a responsibility we have no right shirking?

Those who condemn the idea of the death penalty look on their opposite number with moral disgust, as backward savages trying to block out the light of moral evolution. I think it's time they got some of the same medicine back. I think anyone who reads in detail the case of Watkins and doesn't think he should die is a savage and a barbarian, and the fact that they hold the cultural whip is chilling. I stress: I am happy to debate and take seriously the issue of statistical risk of capital punishment taking an innocent life, and the question of how central that is to the issue. But I will not respect any pseudo-moral position that decrees the killing of a murderer is to commit the very crime for which he himself has been condemned.
For that is nonsense, and despicable nonsense at that.
Any sane, functioning society that does not want to collapse into lawless anarchy and blood in the gutters has to say that there are certain things that must be safeguarded against at all costs, things - 'crimes', let's call them - that are so serious that to commit them is to explicitly reject the protection and freedom that society guarantees us. The wanton taking of life is a 'crime' so serious, so fundamental, that anybody who willingly enacts it does so on the understanding that they renounce their membership of society there and then, and forfeit their entitlement to be treated by the same rules as everyone else.
How much do we want to keep murder out of our society? Very, very much. So much so that we make it clear from the outset that it warrants the ultimate punishment. If you willingly kill, your own life will be taken. By making that choice, you effectively kill yourself.
There is not the smallest moral analogy between the callous, selfish, unjust, unwarned murder of an innocent, and the quick and painless removal of the perpetrator from the common pool. It is decadent as well as cowardly to claim otherwise; it is, I think, a smaller symptom of the same madness. Here, if you can bear the details, is the judge's summing-up in Watkins's trial. Do we have the right to take his life? Or do we have the obligation to?

Funny thing is, when you don't execute them, you end up in absurd contortions trying to calculate relative responsibility, to be translated into degrees of punishment. We do 'have the right' to try and sentence 'offenders' (the new, kinder, greasier, less existentially binding name for criminals), but by what pervert's arithmetic can it be decided the things Watkins did and planned warrant 35 years, the last seven spent effectively at large? How is the calculation even done? What, theoretically, would be a slightly worse crime, deserving of a few more years, or a slightly nicer one, deserving of a couple fewer?
The alternative, that he has willingly kicked himself out of the circle within which the right to life is ensured, makes perfect sense, however. You've crossed the ultimate line, you've confessed, you're on video committing the crime, there are no mitigating circumstances. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya. Clean and clear.
But to say these unimaginably vile acts planned and executed by a person that surely, if it could be said of anybody, defines the term 'no use to anyone' are somehow dealt with, that the cosmic balance is restored, by keeping him indoors for thirty years is just lunacy.

This is the moral puddle you end up in when you deny yourself the right to take life.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

I died with dignity, and I have remarkably few complaints about it

The Spectator published an article considering the bleak Nazi free for all we are sleepwalking into with regard to the assisted dying movement.
And naturally, the fruit and nut assortment of well-meaning cranks and creepy eugenicist fiends that make up the movement were not happy, to the extent that one of their number (Philip Graham, the 'vice-chair' - not a medieval torture device but a politically correct position of authority - of 'Dignity in Dying') felt compelled to write and complain.
In the course of so doing, he put forward one of the best pieces of evidence I've ever seen advanced in a serious discussion:

"(The author of the article) suggests that people will feel pressured to end their lives. In Oregon, where legislation on which Lord Falconer's draft bill is modelled has been in place for 15 years, there has not been a single instance of coercion reported."

Er... by whom exactly, Phil?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Neville Rides Out

It's difficult to imagine what William Hague and Barack Obama could possibly have been thinking with regards to the recent Iran deal.
Actually, scrub that: it's impossible to know what Obama could possibly be thinking, ever. Malevolent genius or bewildered child adrift among exploiters, he could so easily be either, and I doubt we shall ever encounter a more sinisterly or smoothly enigmatic political phenomenon in the rest of our days. We should never expect him to behave reasonably or wisely, or to convey any sense of grasping the meaning of what he does or says, and I assume most people reading this have long since ceased to entertain any other expectations of the man.

But Hague is different. He's easier to get a handle on. He is most definitely not stupid. He is most definitely not ignorant of history or politics. He's a modern career politician, so we should not demand integrity of him, but still he might be expected to behave rationally, or at least to his own best advantage. His shameful belligerence towards Israel, for instance, is not going to endear him to history, but is, I suppose, fairly wise positioning in the here and now.
But what on earth was going through his mind this week?
How did he think he was doing anything other than a) bringing Armageddon closer, b) making himself look both idiotic and cowardly, and c) ensuring his place in history as one of the all-time most naive and derided chumps in political history?

Everyone has likened him to Chamberlain. Well of course they have! Is it at all possible he thought they would not, or that the notion did not cross his mind?
Surely the answer is no. There is just no way he could have been thinking about anything else, as he made his little way down the steps outside the airplane, except that everyone is going to liken him to Chamberlain.
So why did he make it so bizarrely easy for them?
Why did he not only do the deal - the craven, cowardly, not worth a light appeasement deal that they're still guffawing about in Tehran as we speak - but actually deliver the catchphrase, too?
Chamberlain had his piece of paper and "peace in our time", and amazingly, with precedent hanging heavy, this womble still feels able to say that the spectacle of western nations rolling on their backs in front of a bunch of genocidal lunatics was "good for the whole world", a phrase he might just as well write on a piece of cardboard and hang around his neck for the rest of his life, for all the chance he'll have of it not being mentioned  every single time his name is recalled in the future.
And he didn't leave it at that, either: "This agreement shows it is possible to work with Iran," he blathered on, as a million yet-unwritten future chronicles of the century readied themselves to use that as an ironic picture caption under some scene of horror and devastation soon to occur.

It's more than blind, floundering naivety, rather it is - and this is something I'll be addressing more fully next week in a separate post - a conscious, institutionalised naivety, that recognises itself, and likes what it sees.
It is true derangement, magical thinking, political astrology. We now sneer at the uncompromising cynicism without which survival is impossible, and honour instead idealistic, teenage wishful thinking. Actually, we've honoured it for a long time; now we do worse than honour it: we act upon it.

How many wars has Iran started in its history?
People actually say this! And they say it all the time. Adults, I mean, pretending to debate on social media, put this forward as a counterargument to anyone expressing scepticism over Iran's motives.
As if there is anything to be considered here other than specific people running a specific country at a specific moment in time.
What the bollock is this other thing they perceive called 'Iran' that sits fixed and unchanging on its historical lily pad? This is the even sadder flip side of the the penchant among western nations for apologising for things they were not responsible for: just as I am somehow responsible for the slave trade, so Iran's history must be counted as a factor in predicting the course of its future. As if Iran - of all nations! - has the smallest claim to ideological continuity!

No, it's sheer wishful thinking, the behaviour of children. Why do they - Hague and Kerry and Barry and the other losers - why do they think the Iranian government has made this deal, and at this time?
Because we have got them wrong? Because they are not the unreasonable medieval maniacs we've had them pegged as all these years? Because the well-being of people anywhere on the planet outside of a ten mile radius of their letter box is of the smallest concern to any one of them?
They must do! That has to be what they actually think. If the one and only alternative is the truth, then they really must be that stupid.
Hague even says it: "This agreement shows it is possible to work with Iran." When all it really shows is that the West, at one of the most vital, knife-edge moments in its history, has never been in sillier hands.

Douglas Murray puts it well here:

The mullahs did not come to Geneva because they wished to give up their capability. And they did not come to the table because after 34 years of revolutionary Islamic governance they have seen the error of their ways. They came because international sanctions were beginning to hurt. Those sanctions – which took years to put in place – have now fallen apart thanks to a few days of incompetent negotiating on the part of the P5+1 plus some simple common sense from Tehran. People tend to say at this stage that the Iranians are ‘master negotiators’. They aren’t especially. They are simply fortunate to be playing against Catherine Ashton and a generation of other weak and short-sighted American and British politicians. 
The result is that the Iranian regime has managed to walk away with a deal to relieve the pressure of sanctions at the very moment that the pressure was working and the very moment that it should have been kept up and ultimately used to break them. They now have the breathing hole they need to reinforce their power at home and continue their search for nuclear weaponry.

See also here and here.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The very idea

It’s no longer a matter of debate. There is no longer any room for argument or ambiguity.
The official voices of the western leftist intelligentsia are officially and undisguisedly head over heels in love with Islamist fascism.

We knew it all along, of course, but they had always been careful to plant their weeds in a verdant forest of disclaimers and disavowals, and to pretend they were just giving all sides a fair hearing.
Perhaps they even had a few doubts about it themselves, at one time. Who knows, or cares?
There’s no doubt whatever now. They’re out and proud and in love. Like Baader-Meinhof in love. Like Red Brigade in love.

It’s odd that they should have fallen quite so head over heels on the face of it, given the objects of their ardour are not cool, beret and bandana-wearing Marxists, but medievalist religious no-funs whose ideas on homosexuality, women’s rights, capital punishment and almost everything else are utterly antithetical to everything they pretend to cling to.
All they have going for them are a) most of them are brown or brown-ish, and b) they hate us.
And for these unbelievable fools, that’s good enough.

We few, we sane few, on hearing the appalling news of the Kenyan massacre, knew it was only a matter of time before the waters broke, and the articles started appearing in The Guardian and The Independent and the New York Times offering up their own 'perspectives': excusing, exculpating, misattributing motive.
Some of us even lay cynical bets on which excremental British journalist would be the first to indulgently explain what their ‘grievances’ were, or blame Israel, or both.
That the terrorists would be called 'militants' at all times on the BBC and throughout the British media was of course a given, but this, from Giles Foden in The Guardian, surely goes above and beyond the call of relativist and distractionist duty, and then some:

 Al-Shabaab is responding, specifically, to Kenyan involvement in a joint African peacekeeping force (Amisom) in Somalia. But like al-Qaida before it (the two groups linked formally in 2011), al-Shabaab is really attacking the very idea of capitalism.

Oh, so that's what they are responding to!
But beyond that obvious and specific motivation for slaughtering innocent kids in a shopping mall and ripping out people's eyes and ears (a Kenyan involvement in a joint African peacekeeping force in Somalia: enough to make anyone start killing kids), Boden has found their essential goal: like al-Qaida before it, al-Shabaab is really attacking the very idea of capitalism. Not kids, at least not as such. The idea of capitalism. Just in the form of kids.
Vive la révolution putain.

It’s important because The Guardian is the absolute foremost voice of the mainstream left in Britain. It’s the only newspaper in which the BBC advertises its job vacancies.
It is, for a huge number of blithering idiots, the voice of reason.

And the future of the country was doing what, do you think, while the rest of us were getting our world news filtered through the undergraduate agit-prop prism, and fed through the leftist claptrap sausage machine?
Let’s find out, by taking a trip to a British mall, and see what scenes were unfolding at around the same time.

No machine guns here, you'll notice, but plenty of brain dead slaves to nihilist ideology, and all taking on the very idea of capitalism with fifty quid heroically liberated from their mothers' handbags, an old woman's feeble grasp or the coffers of the poor and needy, to spend on a computer game in which they can win points by raping prostitutes, shooting policemen and torturing people by tearing their teeth out with pliers.
If you have any doubt that the red carpet for fanaticism being prepared by the gullible media class will be laid out without opposition or comprehension, just look at this dribble-chinned row of condom-splits, waiting excitedly to distract themselves from the hell outside their windows with a virtual one of their own choosing.

Postscript 30/9/13: And the Guardian triumphs again. Try reading this without puking your liver up.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Everyone who voted for Obama should be made to watch this every half hour for the rest of their lives

Trouble is, some of them would probably enjoy it even now, at least a fraction as much as the audience (which going purely on aural evidence, appear to be coked-up hyenas being prodded with sticks).

But to anyone who voted for him yet remains in possession of the smallest spark of reason... you must be asking yourself some big questions round about now.

What were my motives?
Could they really have been as appallingly superficial as they now seem?
How STUPID must anyone have been to fall for this transparent, shameless fool?
Am I that stupid, therefore?

Search your soul all you want, but here he is.
When you think about Egypt, Syria, Benghazi, drone attacks on US citizens, covert government surveillance of law-abiding US citizens... Every time you count the cost of that decision you made...
I want you to watch this video.

This is the man that was going to save us.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

It's actually CALLED “Big Brother” ...

... And still the idiots just sit and watch it.

ron atkinson

A grown man makes an innocuous comment, is taken into a room and threatened into ideological compliance by a computer...
... is made to endorse and proclaim an absurd position ...
And a nation of morons calls it entertainment.

From Fascington Press:

Ron Atkinson in Celeb BB Race Storm

Ron Atkinson has been in the 'Celebrity Big Brother' house less than four full days, and he's caused controversy already, asking housemate Danielle Marr if she was "carrying a bomb" after she donned a headscarf. 
Former football manager Atkinson was in the garden crooning 'Feeling Good', while 'Botox doctor' Marr was beside him, providing a human beat-box accompaniment. 
When she put a scarf over her head, Atkinson asked her, "You're not carrying a bomb under that, are you?"
Although Marr didn't say anything at the time, Atkinson was later given a formal warning by the CBB team over his remark.
"Because you linked the fact that Danielle was wearing a hard scarf with the fact that she could be carrying a bomb, this could be seen as offensive. Do you understand why?" he was asked. 
"I can see that now," he replied. "I certainly didn't at the time in all fairness. I apologise profusely if I did cause offence, I didn't think I did, but if I did I'm sorry about that. Complete oversight."

If it helps any, we do deserve it.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Yet again, Obama casts me into confusion!

It's all very easy for me to say so now, I freely admit.
But I honestly, honestly, honestly did wonder at the time why, in the famous picture of Obama looking butch and resolute during the Bin Laden raid, it appeared to be a slightly smaller-than-life-sized cardboard cut-out of the glorious leader, rather than the man himself.
And also why he was sat unimportantly at the back, like the equally fake-looking 'ordinary Joe' standing witnesses, rather than round the big table, next to the one unoccupied laptop.

It simply never occurred to me to take that idle reflection any further, and speculate that he might be photoshopped because... well, why would he be? Where the hell else could he have been?

Now we know that he was out of the room playing cards with a pal because he didn't fancy all that nasty, boring presidential stuff, it all becomes clear, and the really interesting question becomes: did he deliberately pose for the fake shot, or did they use the best one they could find already in existence?
The fact that he's not round the table where he should be suggests the latter. On the other hand, there's no way they could possibly risk reusing a shot that's already in the public domain. So why waste time searching through already extant unpublished shots of him, even assuming they could find one with his head and eyes at the right angle, and the right kind of gritty expression on his face?
The irresistible conclusion is that he sat down and posed for it, and it's quite something, taking that as your premise, to ponder just what kind of a man that would mean we're dealing with here.

And that brings me back to the same old indecision I've been nursing over this character from day one.
Does he know exactly what he is doing? Is he in control, deliberately and knowingly and systematically conducting the course of his presidency?
Or is he the ultimate puppet: the idol to whom the Left must inevitably flock, pop icon of the Leftist media, impossible for them to attack no matter what he does, a political and conceptual masterstroke behind whom the real players do their thing?

I can't even decide if he's incredibly clever or incredibly stupid: everything he's done is pretty much open to either interpretation. Yet it is one or the other; no inbetweens, I'm sure of that.
He is a genuine mystery.
At the moment, thinking of him taking it easy elsewhere while the real leaders masterminded the Bin Laden attack, I'm back to thinking he's Peter Sellers in Being There.
Tomorrow, I may well change my mind again.

A tragedy for his people, certainly. But what an interesting chap.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Horrendous Dawkins backlash continues

The reasons why Richard Dawkins has disgraced himself and should rethink the course his professional life has taken in the last decade are outlined in my posts over that period, obtainable by clicking the banner in the list on the right.
Also there you will see the reasons why the backlash he is currently experiencing was inevitable.
Now it is here, however, he must be defended.
Far worse than the silly critique I linked to in my previous post, this is downright obscene.

First, everyone knows that Dawkins talks of all religious believers in what Owen calls "the most dismissive, generalising and pejorative fashion." 
If you don't know that, it's a wonder you even know how to spell his name. Ask any Catholic if they think he singles out Muslims or not. 
Yet that he does do this is the central and all-defining argument of Owen's screed! 
Hard to imagine how it could possibly go downhill from that completely insane non-starting point, but Owen's got it covered.
Just take this paragraph for instance:

 Another of his tweets accused UCL of “cowardly capitulation to Muslims” because it “tried to segregate sexes” in a debate between Lawrence Krauss “and some Muslim or other.” There's a good test here: replace “Muslim” with “Jew” and tell me you're comfortable.

Not really the safest question to ask Independent readers at the end, there, Owen, to be honest... but let's take this from the top.
If UCL segregating the sexes was not capitulation to Muslims then who was it capitulation to? Unless Owen thinks it wasn't an act of capitulation, and that a major centre of learning in the western world in the twenty-first century segregating a debate audience by sex is no big deal, and could have happened at any time for any number of reasons, then what does he think happened and why? 
It's inexplicable, really, what point he can possibly think he's making.

The last part of the quote I just couldn't believe. I had to rub my eyes a couple of times, look away, and come back with an open mind, to make absolutely sure that this crazed Owen Jones character really was trying it on in the year 2013.
Are serious writers really still trying to do that? That silly semantic trick that everybody knows to avoid if they want to be taken seriously?
Replace 'Muslim' with 'Jew' in that sentence and tell me you're comfortable? 
Oh my God, he's calling that "a good test"!
Okay Owen, I'll talk you through it one last time. 
You can only replace like with like, if you want it to mean anything. A Muslim is a follower of a religion called Islam: that's all it is and all it can be. A Jew may or may not be a follower of a religion called Judaism, but all it certainly is is a member of a racial group known as the Jews. 
So of course it becomes offensive. If you replace a negative description of someone with a particular opinion with the name of someone with a particular genetic inheritance causing offence is pretty much a dead cert, mate. 
You'll find that it also becomes uncomfortable if you replace the word 'goldfish' with 'Jew' in the sentence, "The best thing to do with a dead goldfish is flush it down the lavatory"... but why would you do that? And is that really enough to make the original sentence offensive?

And guess what? It goes on! 

It goes on. Dawkins has described the burka as being like a “full bin-liner”, and spoken of his “visceral revulsion” when he sees it being worn.

This is because he sees it as a kind of enslavement, and a betrayal of a western bedrock standard regarding the freedom of women. Presumably Owen doesn't see it that way, or maybe hasn't given the matter much thought, which says far more about him than it does about Dawkins. But if he did, or had (and therefore did) would "visceral revulsion" be an inappropriate response?

And now comes Owen's killer punch:

It is in this context that Dawkins' latest contribution is so inflammatory. “All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.” (...)
The point Dawkins was making is that this should reflect badly on Muslims: that, as a group, they had done nothing of worth since the 15th century. Nobel Prizes have disproportionately gone to the advanced, developed countries with lots of money for education and scientific research, which tend to be white and Christian. For example, not many Africans – whatever their religious beliefs – have won Nobel Prizes for this same reason.

That's right. The Nobel Prize for science is biased in favour of white Christian countries. "Not many Africans have won Nobel Prizes for this same reason."
The whole continent of Africa is just teeming with scientists, who never get a look in because the Nobel Prize is disproportionately awarded to white Christians. Who knows what they've achieved? Millions, perhaps, of great scientific discoveries, and all unknown to us, because the Nobel Prize is disproportionately awarded to white Christians. 
(Actually, if it's disproportionately awarded to anyone, it's Jews, except it can't really be called disproportionate if they actually do keep doing great, amazing life-changing and life-saving science, can it? Surely the word Owen is searching for here is 'proportionate' - always a tricky one to use when there's Jews about, of course.)
None too sure, either, about that bit about the Nobel-winning nations having "lots of money for education and scientific research." I suspect by 'having lots of money for' he means 'spending lots of money on'. Plenty of money to go around in the oil nations, for instance. I'm not sure lack of money is the reason why Saudi Arabia didn't let girls go to school until the 1960s. (What was the rationale informing that, I wonder?) 

From hereon I just lose patience, as the piece spirals in tail-chewing lunacy:

In any case, it presumes that race actually exists, rather than being a social construct. Yes, there are different ethnicities, cultures and skin colours: but there is only once race, and that is the human race. There is more genetic variation within what are called “races” than between them. It was in the 19 century, to justify horrors such as slavery and colonialism, that pseudo-scientific theories of “race” became fashionable: for example, the size and shape of human skulls. The Irish were once considered a “race” by their English oppressors. We should simply stop talking about “races” altogether.

As is so often the way with the mad, a lot of this makes a frustrating kind of sense. 
We certainly should stop thinking in terms of races. But this nonsense about 'the human race' is just as meaningless, and, indeed, racist. What about the mammalian race? What about the sentient race? What about the earth-dwelling lifeform race? 
Wherever you choose to draw the line, you draw it arbitrarily, and you automatically consign whatever lies on the other side of the line to the status of 'fundamentally different'. It's never right or wrong to do that, because you can always point to a reason why they're different: the question is why that reason should be of such complete significance as to draw the line there and not somewhere else. 
I may be wrong, because I'd never even heard of him before today, but it's statistically likely (and doubly so if he goes around flinging all that 'human race' nonsense about) that Owen thinks that many of his fellow mammals are sufficiently different from himself to belong on the other side of one of those racial lines, and he probably falls for the old 'difference = inferiority' equation too, and thinks they're so different, and so inferior, that they're actually his, and he can pay to have them killed, so he can eat them. 
I know! Unscientific irrationality - you couldn't script it! But fair enough, of course: different strokes for different folks and what have you. 
But then, having said all that, he actually thinks he's strengthened, rather than demolished, his 'anti-Islam = racism' proposition, and defends it with this magnificent piece of non-logic:

What is really meant is that while skin colour is not optional, religious conviction is. This is a claim I simply cannot subscribe to. It understates just how powerful and life-consuming beliefs can be – ironically, something that is simultaneously used as a criticism against religion by anti-theists. Personally, I cannot imagine being me without my atheism or my socialism.

Oh, bless him! So one's religious convictions are not optional, and neither is his socialism, because - wait for it - he cannot imagine being without it. Not wanting to put the sweetie bag down is equivalent to the transmission and replication of genetic information. And therefore, in less time than it takes to say "this guy really is out of his bloody tree" it is 'racist' to criticise people on the grounds of their religious convictions. And, presumably, the same would apply to Owen's socialism. If you're anti-socialist, you're just a racist bigot. 

How can comments by the likes of Dawkins really be separated from a broader context where Muslims are feared, suspected and even hated? If we were to look back at literature from 1920s Britain, would we look at statements such as “Judaism is the greatest force for evil today” and divorce them from the atmosphere of then-rampant anti-Semitism?

Or, indeed, can we divorce the rampant anti-Semitism of today from the inflammatory rhetoric of the anti-Israel movement? (Who knows, Owen, but if you want to go looking for anti-semitism you're at the right newspaper. But that fact alone suggests to me that, probably, Owen doesn't want to go looking for anti-semitism.) 
On the other hand, we do live in days when dozens of daily murder and terror attacks the world over are carried out explicitly in Islam's name and with explicit recourse to its tenets: a fact as inarguable as that no other religion is ever comparably evoked.

The extent to which Dawkins does consider Islam distinct from other faiths in terms of its threat is, of course, the extent to which it is. But try getting someone like Owen Jones to grasp that. He'd have more chance of not being arrested for being an atheist in any Islamic country.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Told you so

Repeatedly, over the last few years (there's a button on the right for all my related posts if you want to check and see) I have warned that the worst thing about the gang of dumbo hero-worshippers Richard Dawkins has squandered his good name for is that they are as fickle and as inconsistent as they are stupid.

Time and again I pointed out that while they may grovel at his feet and call him 'Prof'' on his tragic, ridiculous website today, that's no reason to think they won't cast him loose and move on to some other guru tomorrow.

Over and over I warned that while it may look to him as though they are his acolytes, in reality it is they who hold the strings and he who must dance, and one mis-step and they'll reach for the scissors.

That Darwinism and atheism have become fashionable to the Left, I noted, is a recent and unsustainable accident, and thanks only to the opportunity it offers to attack Christians, and especially Christian Americans.
In the seventies it was deemed a sinister, right wing science, as Edward O. Wilson remembers only too well - and Dawkins should.
How could it not be? Darwinism proves that socialism is impossible and its political implementation can only ever be disastrous.

To his eternal shame, Dawkins, who is clever enough to know all this, pretended it wasn't in order to be a hero to da kids, and began prostituting his talent in a series of inane articles and rabble-rousing speeches, lending his support to crapulous schemes and campaigns like the atheist bus and the attempt to arrest the Pope when he visited Britain, and writing The God Delusion, surely the worst book ever written by a truly great man.

I said that his fall would sooner or later come. I said that the problem would be Islam. He knows, as all sane men must, that it is a unique and pressing problem in the world. They know, as all right-thinking drones must, that to say such a thing is not only less fun than insulting Christians (and a hell of a lot less safe) but also strictly prohibited, on the grounds that many Muslims are non-Caucasian.
I could tell, from his nervous little asides on the matter on his website, that he was finding it harder and harder to resist the call to reason he has now fought against so hard for so long. It was like he was willing them to see it his way, to use all the capital he had earned bigging up gay marriage and slagging off George Bush to get them to take a step towards him for once, just this once...

Sorry, mate: they're idiots.
And I told you that, too.

And now, it's starting.
I said it would be all for the best if it convinced him to go back to doing his job: being one of the greatest explicators (and no mean innovator neither) in the history of science, and so it would.
I also said that when it came it would give me no pleasure, and I was certainly right there.
It's incredibly sad.

Personally, I agree with former TV comedian Stephen Fry

I think we should boycott the Russian Olympic games.

Mostly, admittedly, because we should boycott all Olympic Games, because it's embarrassing they still have them at all, and because it's about time we grew out of anything that unites nationalism with fascist body worship (a fact that the relentless promotion of the far nobler Paralympics serves to underline rather than obscure).

But partly, yes, for exactly the reasons that olden days small screen laughtermaker Fry thinks we should.

Of course, there are lots of other questions I'd like to ask him, too (or rather I wouldn't, in case he answers them, in that awful sing-song voice of his): did he feel equally uncomfortable about the Chinese one a few years back?; would he have called for a boycott of the Moscow ones in 1980?; would he call for a boycott if it was held in Saudi Arabia?; would he not call for a boycott if it was held in Israel?

Personally, I'm not certain we'd get a yes answer on any of those questions, which is why it's always wise, ordinarily, to maintain a strict policy of boycotting Stephen Fry.

But there's no question his point is inarguable as far as it goes. Russia is again plainly a top-heavy gangster state where a cynical oligarchy scapegoat random minorities in the hope that the masses don't spot what a bunch of bastards they are.
There are worse countries out there, true, and more pressing human rights abuses you'll never hear a peep about from Stevie, but that's irrelevant. If the time came for any of those rotters to host the Olympics, we should boycott them too.
Doesn't mean we shouldn't boycott the Russian ones.

There's really no argument in the world more annoying, when you say something is bad and should be stopped, than "well, in that case, what about..." and then something even worse.
It's one of those points that is always made with a satisfied smile, on the assumption there's no possible reply, when in fact it hardly makes any kind of sense at all.
There's no reason in the world - logical, practical or moral - why problems have to be addressed in strict hierarchical order of seriousness. Indeed, nothing would ever be solved that way.
As long as your stance on them is consistent, there is no hypocrisy. Trouble is, when someone plays the "in that case, what about..." card, you just know that what they mean is "let's not do anything about that either."

Boycotting the Games sends a powerful but at the same time humble message, commensurate with our status as a world power.
Given the events of the last quarter-century, the idea that Britain of all places has the means, let alone the right, to go barging into other people's countries and telling them what to do is, I hope, one we've at last outgrown. But turning down an invite to a plainly hypocritical war-substitute sports tournament says something much worthier.
It says, we look down on you. Further, we look down on you not from a position of physical power, but of moral superiority.
We're past invading, and trying to throw our weight about, but at the same time, no way are we going to come when you whistle and chuck javelins about, or whatever it is they do at these events.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Is anything in the world less funny than Stephen Colbert?

I'm going with 'no'.

Holy cow! I thought our comedians were diseases in suits. But after a few days sampling the archives of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and watching their oozing, semi-liquid hosts at work, I'm ready - as in so much else - to give the crown to Uncle Sam.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Now there's a couple of guys in the wrong job, huh?
I mean, I could maybe see them picking up a buck or two as marketing consultants, or Hollywood press agents, or some other form of satanic emissary. But comedians?
Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate that if you share their shrivelled, bat-blind, batshit, dreamy-dreamland worldview, it's going to make you feel all cosy inside to have your most illogical instincts massaged by a couple of smarmy pricks who know that so long as they start quietly and end up shouting, you're going to be thumping the air in agreement with them no matter what they're actually saying.
(And what are they actually saying, by the way? Who cares! They're on your side, and everyone agrees they're the most incisive thing out there, so [insert terrifying, sub-human whooping noise].)

So yes, I get it: it's your team, and you like to pretend you're a cultural minority and that the people who come out with this kind of stuff on the telly are brave and edgy, rather than the most predictable cowards this side of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Believe me: that bit I understand. They're your boys.
But funny?
Really and truly and seriously? They actually make you laugh?
As in: ha ha? As in: that comment expressed an amusing idea in a clever and original way, and I was sufficiently unprepared for the likelihood of them saying it that I am going to respond instinctively and involuntarily to it by giving myself over to laughter?
As in: actually funny?
Because I've just been watching Colbert for about three hours straight now and I gotta tell ya, I've seen funnier orphanage fires.

Just imagine the strain for his audience, having to pretend not merely to be amused, but to be doubled-up with hilarity, to have to shriek with phony incontinent abandon, at every single thing he comes out with! They must ache when they get home. They must be so sore.
Or even worse: consider the possibility that these people - all of them, of course, free to vote, drive cars and even breed - really are amused by this kind of easy to write, easy to do, very, very basic comedic entertainment!
I swear to God, if Stephen Colbert ever makes me so much as smile, I'll bite my fingers off one at a time.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Congratulations, 21st century humans! And I thought there was no way I could hate you more!

Is there any way the Zimmerman case could have painted a worse picture of us as a generation?
Or our institutions of justice? Or our media? Or our leaders?
From first to last it was a jaw-dropping charade in which Alice in Wonderland insanity prevailed over reason, emotion over logic, fantasy over fact and ideology over law.  

I see no reason to take sides, and precious little that qualifies anyone connected with the farce as heroic.
It even gives me the rare chance - for the first time in decades - to feel smugly English about it all, safe in the for once genuine knowledge that it really and truly couldn't happen here (rather than, as is usually the case, hasn't quite happened here yet). 
Of course, for most Europeans, suggesting that the insanity of the world is invariably American in origin is pretty much their default mode of engagement, but that's because they're smug and foolish, and envy our former colony's retained world status and sense of destiny.
This time, though, we really were looking through plate glass at a strange and alien world.

A world, first and foremost, in which it is considered perfectly permissible in theory - avoiding the specifics for a moment - for George Zimmerman to act the way he did that night. To follow a man who was suspected of nothing in particular, to challenge and provoke him, and to ignore official instructions not to act. 
This is not a murderer, still less a 'racist', but neither, clearly, is it the man at the centre of the Right's take on the affair: a guy defending himself from a criminal attack, a totemic hero on whose fate the whole issue of the right to defend might symbollically hang. 
In Britain we get sent to prison for wounding people who actually break into our homes and attack us. We chase and confront known criminals at extreme peril not only of violent retaliation but also of the strong likelihood of the law taking the scumbag's side. There's no question that had this happened here, even without the gun, the truth or otherwise of Zimmerman's account of what happened would not be the issue. His own account of what happened, his case for the defence, would be much more than enough to land him in chokey.
Given the choice, as always, America wins. But isn't there a middle valley we can carve between these two mountains of madness? And if not we, who? 

Of course it is the Left that come out the vilest here, the most hypocritical, babyish and absurdly conspiracist. 
Before, during and most of all after the trial they have behaved with their now customary complete and proud absence of anything resembling explicable logic and basic decency. Their threats of retaliation, petitions to have the law keep harassing Zimmerman and determination to portray the defendant and his actions in a light so ridiculously at odds with the facts are all equally unforgivable, and by far the most disgusting element of the whole business.

But they're right about one thing, albeit in the exact opposite sense to that which they claim (and - who knows with people this base and stupid? - perhaps even genuinely believe): the important issue here was race. 
Not in the actual case. So far as I could see that had nothing to do with race at all, despite their insane need from day one to play the case up as something it wasn't, and the unashamedly obvious emotional manipulation (refusing to refer to the dead man by his surname, only ever using a picture of him as a twelve year old child, portraying him as a happy go lucky kid set upon by a white racist thug) that may well have been the decisive factor in securing Zimmerman's acquittal, so obviously childish, divorced from reality and blatantly propagandistic was it. 
The white racist Zimmerman was actually an Obama-voting Hispanic with a history of multi-culty good deeds. Whatever mission he thought he was on that night, it had nothing to do with skin colour. 
Whether his opponent attacked or merely defended himself, that had nothing to do with skin colour either. 
The idea that this sorry affair (a tragedy caused in part by lax, ill-defined and possibly out of date laws concerning the right to engage, and mainly by a perfectly valid fear of violent crime, its rise and relative victory over the law-abiding majority and the resultant need to confront it on a preventive and individual basis) was for one second and in one atom of either party inspired or even aggravated by their slight difference in skin tone is much, much worse than absurd. And it reflects a governing ideology that in fact cares nothing for real people and their lives, only for how its grievance-mongering view of the world reflects on itself, and the personal satisfaction their incessant brow-beating, rabble-rousing pseudo-empathy gives to those who espouse it.

The case had nothing at all to do with race, but the trial itself, as opposed to the case supposedly being tried? That was all about race. Race got it there in the first place. Race got in the world's media. Race made the charge. Race got the acquittal. Obsession with race turned an ordinary trial into a hall of mirrors, where every proffered interpretation was the opposite of the one most reasonable and likely. Race meant it would never be treated seriously. Race meant neither Zimmerman nor Martin would ever get a fair hearing.

And not only do they play by lunatic rules of their own devising, they make them up as they go along, and change them whenever they see fit. 
By their normal hymnsheet Zimmerman too should have been on the victim list: a Hispanic, he is part of a racial group (if we must engage in this kind of outdated Nazi-style cataloguing; well, they started it) that is almost as much under whitey's malevolent thumb as the blacks. Indeed, had Zimmerman been the dead man and the defendant an actual white man (rather than 'white' in the sense it suddenly became acceptable to use in this fruit loop trial) not a word of rhetoric would have changed: it still would have been a racial attack on a poor minority by the dominant and bigoted majority. 
Disgustingly, then, the media's actions and words reveal themselves to be obsessed with race not only as much as any racialist bigot (exactly what they are, of course, only vicariously) but guilty of possessing a disgusting mental hierarchy of race, where Hispanic is good but black is best. A Hispanic in a confrontation with a white man is automatically a victim. A Hispanic in a confrontation with a black man is automatically a villain. What hideous minds are thus revealed!

And, as I said, counterproductive. It is by the desire to portray a violent confrontation as a racist assault that Zimmerman's defenders were able to excuse his - at best - idiotically foolhardy behaviour, and its tragic result. His actions don't make him a racist, but they do make him a key architect in a tragedy. He was not a hero. But the Left have made him one with their obscene disregard for actual human feeling, actual tragedy, actual death, and their masturbatory obsession with portraying everyday violent confrontation, of a sort that is inevitable in a culture that mocks and undermines community traditions, as a primal struggle between racial oppressor and victim.

And who are the real victims of allowing this evil fantasy version of modern life cultural supremacy?
Well, the fact that a further 11000 black men have been murdered in America by other black men since the death of Trayvon Martin may perhaps incubate the germ of an answer to that question. 
Liberal white guilt-mongering and blame-apportioning kills black people.

Another reason why this is interesting to the British is because we have something very specific to compare it to. 
The Stephen Lawrence trial was everything this case was not. The victim actually was a kid. The defendants actually did follow and murder him because he was black. And their acquittal really was an outrage. 
And yes, the immediate result was counterproductive and foolish (albeit vastly more understandable): the usual round of wild claims of 'institutional racism' within the police force, and the idea of a 'culture of racism' (when of course Britain has the exact opposite) somehow making the crime inevitable. But there were no dark threats of riots, or of lynch justice; no lip-smacking promises to ensure the acquitted are denied any chance to get on with their lives, as is happening in the most sincere and co-ordinated way with Zimmerman.
It seemed obvious to all - albeit tempered with a humility as to the unyielding requirements of legal process to be seen nowhere this time - that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. But only the looniest fringe suggested that it was inevitable, or engineered, or representative of a wider ingrained injustice. And nobody cracked jokes about going on a murder spree in retaliation.

The Zimmerman affair was, from first to last, a media circus. Despite the fact that only one man has died (so far), it paints as gloomy and doomy a picture of our generation as anything in the last twenty years. 
It shows us the future, and how it can only get worse, unless we can somehow break the stranglehold ideology has over reason. 
'But what about the issues?' is the habitual refrain of those determined to have actual adult debate in the face of robot rhetoric and t-shirt sloganeering. But I can't remember a time when it could so validly be asked of the protagonists in a law case. 

The irony is that it wasn't even a complex case. It was incredibly straightforward (though the actual verdict was a tough call, I'd have thought.) 
Here is what happened: now, did Zimmerman act within the law or did he step outside it? Did he provoke or merely respond? Those are the only questions that ever mattered.
What happens next will be entirely the fault of the leftist media and its footsoldiers on the campuses and wherever the young, empty and idealistic congregate.

There's one final point, peripheral but worth making, because of what it reveals about just how grave and near-complete the decline of western civilisation is. In a case crowded with candidates for ideal representatives of the very worst we can offer as spokespeople, it is (and not for the first time) Barack Obama who emerges against all competition as the most reprehensible.
His absurd, dangerous, moronic and in context sinister assertion that the victim looked like his non-existent son deserves to go down in history as the most irresponsible thing ever said by a leader of a democratic nation. 
It should live in infamy as long as civilisation survives: it tells you everything you need to know about what this case shows of us, and of what we have let ourselves become.

Friday, 24 May 2013

The threat of evasion

What's the worst thing about the most useless prime minister in British history and the London mayor rushing to the airwaves to make sure we all realise how naughty it is to posit any connection between the only world religion whose injunctions to go around murdering people are still taken seriously on a daily basis by millions of its followers all over the world, and the fact that an off-duty soldier had just been hacked to death in broad daylight on the streets of London by two men chanting allahuh akbar?

I seem to remember asking the same question when other instances of Muslims going on a murder rampage resulted in similar lectures, such as the occasion when a group of Muslims blew up a large part of London's underground system during the morning rush hour, and Sir Ian Blair or someone equally ghastly (the memory blurs with time, I'm pleased to report) immediately popped up to say there is no connection between the world 'Islamic' and the word 'terrorism' (saving, of course, in that handy conjunction 'Islamic terrorism', an example of which, ironically enough, had just claimed the lives of 52 innocent people. Oddly, media coverage invariably follows this bit with a paragraph about how the outrages have been condemned by Islamic groups, which is nice of them, given their complete lack of any connection to it. Why no similar disavowal from the British union of pastry chefs? Should we be concerned here?)

The answer I recall settling for (to the question at the head of this post) is the monstrous condescension of it: the grotesquely demeaning and inappropriate tone of a parent laying down the law to a child, the notion that we need to be told what to think; that our conclusions are not our own, and if we decide otherwise we can expect trouble from them.
Actually, though, watching this appalling, simpering man nursing his sincerity hernia yesterday, it occurred to me that there is also something profoundly disrespectful and warped about the spectacle, as well as merely patronising: it is not simply that we need to be told what to think, and that he thinks he has the right to tell us, but also that to do so is the first and most important task he has to perform as a result of the crime.
Yes, of course, the usual hollow rhetoric about never giving in to terrorism (tell that to the Irish), about all communities coming together in condemnation (oh yes: there they go now, united in condemnation: hiya, fellas!), and about how our values will remain unaltered by such threats (phew! internet pornography's safe for another twelve months, guys).
But more important than any of that manly condemnation of the killers and sensitive sympathy for the victim-type stuff, once that's been got out of the way in what could easily be word for word what was said every other time (he should just stand there and spout keywords: APPALLING, CONDEMN, INVESTIGATION... ) the really important thing is what we decide to conclude about it.

Why does he even care? I don't care a rat's nutsack what he thinks, so why does he care what I think?
That's a good question, actually. Why does he care? Does he fear some kind of indiscriminate mass-backlash? If so, he has a simultaneously low opinion of his people (who have shown remarkable restraint until now) and  high opinion of himself (if he thinks warning us sternly would be enough to quell it).
Or is he afraid of a massive escalation in such attacks, were he to admit to their doctrinal nature?
Cowardice is certainly a huge part of it, but as I have written elsewhere, I don't despise cowardice, especially when it's rational. My only concern here is that this particular example of look-the-other-way cowardice is likely to have the effect of making worse the problem it is trying to appease.
So yes, it's partly a mixture of those things. But it's also simply that Cameron is a definitive example of the kind of slimy, relativistic media class toad to whom we cravenly handed over responsibility for our destinies towards the end of last century, and that really is the normal way those kinds of people think and speak and carry on.

Still, how dare he!
How dare this little pipsqueak, born after the assassination of Kennedy and too young to remember the moon landings, presume to tell a populace what to think when a British soldier is savagely murdered in the street by religious fruitcakes? A populace that still contains many who would have heard Churchill's speeches on their original broadcast (such as the immortal "we will compromise with them on the beaches" and that inspiring one about how it would be wrong to attribute the actions of a few warped Nazis to the German people generally).
What generation of Britons before our own would have expected - still less been expected - to accept that a British soldier being hacked to death before their eyes is something that could happen, and must be incorporated into their sense of everyday reality?
How many centuries back do we need to go for anything comparable to that? How many centuries of certainty and security are we pissing down the drain here?
No, Cameron, we do not need to be told what to think about this. We need to be told that it won't be happening any more.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Not only must justice be not done, it must also be seen to be not done

Put these three statements in order of soul-draining awfulness, and you could win a luxury lifetime holiday stuck in Britain.

A group of teenagers cornered three passengers on a Croydon tram, and attacked them with poles, sticks and socks filled with ballast, pulling the emergency door release so the vehicle could not move on, and taking turns to attack the victims for ten minutes. One was kicked so hard against an internal glass door that it smashed. The tram, filled with terrified pasengers, sustained over £3,400 worth of damage and had to be taken out of service. A supposed 'revenge attack', the victims were in fact entirely unconnected with the earlier confrontation that had prompted the assault.

The six men were handed suspended jail sentences for violent disorder.

Detective Constable Ostin Elkins of British Transport Police said: "We welcome the sentences handed down."


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

While we were sleeping (a round-up)

Interesting how quickly interest waned in the Thatcher circus, proof yet again of how difficult sustained effort comes to Britain's spoonfed campus attention-seekers and their media class brownhatters.
(To keep those memories alive, though, here are some nice photographs of that quintessentially British alliance of feral losers and champagne socialists who took to the streets to celebrate: I especially like the pudgy-faced old boiler in the jaunty black hat: now there's a woman who's clearly suffered in her life.)
Here and there some interesting fallout, however, like the minor hypocrisy of the BBC defending the jokes on Have I Got News For You? (I know: I couldn't believe they were still making it either) on the grounds that "it would have been impossible to ignore her death as the programme covers the biggest stories of the week" (a suggestion that will indeed be news to anyone whose memory stretches back as far as the death of Princess Diana), and this account of how the 45 year old teacher (yes, social optimists: a 45 year old teacher) who organised the 'Witch is Dead Party!' (sic) Facebook group (without getting fired, needless to say) benefited from Thatcher's right to buy council house scheme to the tune of more than 150000 big ones. (This scheme, enormously popular with socialists, enabled council tenants to buy their own homes and thus deny anyone benefiting similarly in the future.)
Click on the link, look at her beautiful face, and speculate on which worthy charities she distributed all that loot amongst.

The funeral itself went off with surprisingly little bother, the only major gesture of disrespect being Obama's deliciously typical decision not to take it seriously, sending only a couple of clapped-out old Republican has-beens as representatives of the American government.
Not often I have a good word to say for Obama, but I must say in all sincerity that I've always found the fact he's never bothered to pretend that Britain and the 'special relationship' are anything but a big joke to the US administration to be refreshingly honest, and useful in popping the absurd Churchillian balloon of self-regard in which we still conduct foreign policy.
It's also funny to see his worshippers among the British politcal elite and media class falling over themselves not to notice. (Some of his best gestures of contempt for Britain are listed here: I cherish the image of Gordon Brown being sent on his way with a pat on the head and a box full of shit DVDs that the poor boob couldn't even watch without a multi-region player.)
Nonetheless, Obama's decision to sprinkle his magic ambiguity dust over the issue of the sovereignty of the Falklands Islands - and there are few issues as clear cut and less meriting his trademark six-of-one shuffle - might have even penetrated the six-inch skulls of the British metroproles. (Still, at least he didn't call the Islands the Malvinas, which is one up on John Lewis.)

Sticking with the greatest human who ever lived or shall: he also went on a middle east trip, where he reaffirmed America's belief in Israel's legitimacy while redesigning its map so it no longer has a capital, and compared Israeli-Palestine relations to those between the US and Canada. With his customary clarity and razor insight, he explained to Israelis that, while there is no excuse for attacking them and no hope for any ideology that seeks to deny them the right to exist, the future of peace was to be found in seeing things the way Palestinians do.
Meanwhile the Palestinians celebrated his historic bridge-building by burning American flags and chanting “Allahu Akbar.”  And this despite the fact that back at home, pupils in something called 'fifth grade' at Flour Bluff Independent School in Texas were given a test in which the correct answer to the question, 'Why might the US be a target for terrorism?' was: "Decisions we made in the United States have had negative effects on people elsewhere."
Obama really must wonder just what more he has to do to please these people.

One person who won't be following the great peacemaker to Israel, incidentally, is Professor Stephen Hawking, who has boycotted an Israel academic conference due to political objections which, given that he was more than happy to visit Iran, are presumably rooted in opposition to regimes that wouldn't exterminate him.
(And I know we all do funny things and it's naughty to single out Muslims, but just briefly: here's the story of a 28 year old Iranian who attacked the priceless 14th century astronomical clock in Lyon's John the Baptist Cathedral with an iron bar because "the beauty of the clock prevented believers from concentrating on their prayers".)

Guess who's going to be "earning more than President Obama", according to the Mail? None other than David Miliband, who's abandoned politics and followed Tony Blair into the netherworld of huge international charity organisations. He's taken his boyish charm and cute fuzzy hairdo to New York, there to trouser the £300000 salary that comes of being president of something called the International Rescue Organisation.
The glorious World Socialist Website ("published by the International Committee of the Fourth International") is worried Millie's appointment will make it more difficult for the organisation to suck up to the Taliban (a fair point, as far as it goes) and adds these amusing general comments about the lad's progress since his political trajectory was stymied by his comedy brother:

When interviewed, he appears as a petulant schoolboy waiting for something bigger and better to come along. In the meantime, he has turned his hand to making considerable amounts of money. He has reportedly amassed almost £1 million through public speaking engagements such as the recent lecture he gave in Abu Dhabi, for which he received £25,000. He set up a company, The Office of David Miliband Limited, which right-wing commentator Toby Young has attacked as a tax-avoidance scheme through which his non-parliamentary earnings are channelled.

I can't see him being too worried by a golden oldie drubbing from the International Committee of the Fourth International; altogether more worrying for him, potentially, is a ringing testimonial from creepy sex pest Bill Clinton ("one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time"), generally a kiss of death akin to a pop group getting an endorsement from Paul Morley.

At the same time, he's resigned as vice-chairman of Sunderland Football Club because some new player or manager or something, from Italy I think, has spoken in favour of fascism.
No clearer sign that he's giving up politics than that! For any silver spoon leftist seriously intent on political credibility, pretending to share the funny poor people's love of football is simply non-negotiable. Certainly it far outweighs queasy displays of political ethics, especially the sort that comes from people who see no reason to disown a youth spent larking around with unapologetic Stalinists. Footie transcends anything, mate.
The further irony that football is, in its essence, an enactment of every impulse and principle on which fascism rests, is presumably as lost on Millie as it is on Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of Unite Against Fascism (which, in its frequent alliance with Islamists to oppose inarticulate nationalist pressure groups might be better named 'Unite With Fascism'), who applauded Miliband's decision, and made the truly strange claim that "football has made great strides in opposing fascism", possibly in recollection of the Sylvester Stallone movie 'Escape to Victory'.

Last of all, here's some great footage of a woman being booted off an American Airlines plane for refusing to stop shrieking Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' because she's a diabetic.

No argument from me

Huffington Post headline:
"Zooey Deschanel Is Unrecognisable"

Sometimes you just have to smile

Iran to chair UN arms control forum

Monday, 15 April 2013

Lessons from the death of Margaret Thatcher

1. They love to fight yesterday's battles

The most darkly comic feature of the Thatcher death parties was their bizarre cowardice. As if Thatcher, the week before, was still an intimidating enough presence to stay their hands! People celebrate the death of a tyrant because they are no longer subject to them, and thus have no need to fear their wrath. The Thatcher parties, by contrast, were an expression of contempt, but one they waited until the very moment that it made least sense to give vent to. This was either cowardice, or a display of extreme respect to the woman that negates the whole point of the exercise in the first place. Which is to say, it was cowardice.
Yet this is ever the story. Looking back over their shoulders to the time when they bravely stood up to some existential menace; it's always the past. Ask them to oppose true injustice in the present and their cowardice will sting them so much they'll accuse you of provocation.

2. They need people to hate

It happened to be her. There may or may not have been another suitable candidate had it not been her, but the need precedes the selection, nonetheless.
They are incapable of not reducing politics to personalities. The fact that people who disagree with them are permitted a voice - the cornerstone of an oppositional democracy and the guarantee of their right to hold and express their own views - is intolerable, because people who disagree with them must by definition be malevolent. They are innately totalitarian, and bridle at the charge only because of its popular (if largely fallacious) association with right wing dictatorships. A totalitarian state conducted to their satisfaction wouldn't be oppressive at all in their eyes, because they are self-evidently benevolent and self-evidently right. They love the idea of no opposition, and they love the idea of getting rid of troublemakers.

3. They think of politics as the clash of icons

Whether hero-worshipping or burning-in-effigy, the Left refuses to concentrate on issues and insists upon personalising its hopes and fears in the form of gods and monsters. Witness their toe-curling (and in context rather comic) lapping at the altar of Obama, the flipside of the demonising of Thatcher. Doubtless many of those joining in the frolics over the death of a frail 87 year old woman were also to be counted among the weepers and wailers when their own team lost a former Ku Klux Klan member (see here). To them, our leaders - a dubious enough term in itself - are not extensions of themselves, the voices they have elected to speak for them, but saints to grovel before, or fiends to damn to hellfire.
When a right winger dies, the response is muted, and the emphasis is on their message. (The thought of them celebrating the death of a left-winger is also, of course, unthinkable.) This is healthy, and respectful not merely in the sense of mannered, decent and polite, but respectful of the whole notion of democratic representation and the freedoms guaranteed to all by the democratic system. The Thatcher death parties display more than contempt for a woman, they are also contemptuous of the freedoms and safeguards that make them permissible in the first place.
They are demonstrations not of freedom but of impatience with freedom. They are overtly fascistic.

4. The links between Leftism, Progressivism and Fascism are as strong as ever

At the risk of some smartarse invoking 'Godwin's Law', their newest stupid attempt to close down legitimate debate (a reasonable analogy with Hitler is no more off-limits that a reasonable analogy with anything else,  but please, if you must smugly indulge this latest idiocy, at least pay me the compliment of assuming I might have heard it before: it's not so much the inevitable resorting to it that offends me as the presumption that I simultaneously need to be told what the fucking thing means), the similarities between the Thatcher death displays and the similar provocations of Nazism and other fascist intimidation cults are obvious.
Here, plainly, is a woman who is neither tyrant nor dictator, but a three-time democratically elected representative of her people. That she alienated those who did not vote for her is, of course, inevitable, but it is not any kind of injustice. Mass displays of hatred, of the kind we have been seeing, are therefore sinister, because they imply that democratic process can and should be overturned if the need arises (the need to be decided, of course, by them).
This is not merely a classically fascist tactic, it is how fascism actually works, and gains influence and power: a basically minority concern making careful and effective public displays of punching above its weight, coupled with declamations of moral and social fervour, salted with intimidation and threat.
The illusion is therefore created that a small group of people represent a much larger and more important constituency than they in fact do, (just as the fact that Thatcher could only have come to power - and then retained that power in subsequent free elections - because more people wanted her in power than did not becomes mysteriously forgotten in the clamour). The careful appeal to grievance and resentment swells the numbers of course, along with the careful selection of monsters or a monster-class to vent the frustration against. So the voice gets louder, the tone more certain, the demands more insistent, the pretence of victimhood more central to the message.

The ability to make public one's opposition to and dissent from one's government is one of the many great luxuries of a political system that allows you to vote out people you don't want.
Celebrating the death of a leader only even makes sense if that leader is a tyrant or dictator whose death is the only legal means of their being displaced. Even then, such celebrations may be short-lived, because without the right to choose the replacement, there is every reason to think the next in line will be just as unpleasant, if not worse.
The celebration of the death of a former democratic leader is something entirely different. It is a frightening reminder of how strong the siren lure of fascism remains.
Look at the hideous faces of those who took to the streets, the complacent joy, the pantomime sneers, the facile gestures of outrage toward a long-dead consensus of permissible conduct.
How did they get there? They were mobilised, which is to say they were instructed. They are there because they are obeying orders. Few would have done the same alone. Like the happy torturers of the Inquisition, the assurance of a moral justification for their outrages is all the excuse they need to get out the pincers and enjoy themselves. The thrill is of being simultaneously provocative and cosseted, cosseted by numbers, by the assurances of their leaders, by the fact that their friends are all doing the same. Of course they are happy: they have been told they are free. But their job, what they are actually doing, is trying to intimidate the rest of us.
The world is full of people who are happy to do as they are told, and people just waiting for the excuse to do the telling. Nothing demands greater vigilance for those who believe in self-determination, and that vigilance is harder than ever to enforce, now that the willing stooges control the media and popular right-thinking, and social media makes mass-mobilisation so trivially easy that it has become a popular sport.
A whole new age of fascism may be about to dawn.