Why the left must embrace campaigning than laws


by Gracchi    
4:21 pm - March 11th 2008

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The Fast show had a sketch where a character every week sitting with a group of middle class friends made a social faux pas and ended the sketch by saying ‘I’ll get me coat.’ The Sketch illustrated a principle that David Willets’s lecture at the LSE on 20th February attempted to elucidate in more academic and less amusing way.

Basically Willets argued, rightly, that law is much more than just an act of government. Law embodies convention. In some sense what is written in the law is an expression of the conventions by which we operate. As Willets demonstrates for reasons to do with game theory and also evolution, such conventions are neccessary to maintain a stable functioning society. He does not really go farther than making this point- and its a sensible point and his talk is well worth reading, but I think it leads on to some important consequences particularly for us on the liberal left.

The first consequence is that leglislation is not the be all and end all. It is important to obtain leglislation in many areas- one being for instance safety at work where leglislation creates a normative equilibrium using which companies compete. But it also reminds us of the virtues of doing things which are not leglislated. Take my example from above for a moment, I think one of the most important advances in life in this country during my parent’s lifetime and partly during my own is the advance of equality- sexual, racial and between sexual orientations. The evolution of attitudes on those matters has not been something only produced by government- its been produced as well by people changing their behaviour and that has often come about because they have been shamed into changing their behaviour.

Campaigning works. I’ve been in rooms where people have argued that explicit consent isn’t needed for sex or that homosexuals are worse than heterosexuals- and seen the distancing that everyone else in the room does from those people. The intake of breath, the slight contempt in the voice, all those things tend to create an unwritten but still powerful social consensus that operates to constrain what people can and cannot say. In reality this is what we mean by political correctness- its a code of convention and for the most part its a sensible code of convention.

You can see it in other ways as well- but it gives us on the liberal left a challenge.

Because to have recourse to government action to repress attitudes is the easy but ultimately flawed way of doing things- it doesn’t work in the end. Governments can leglislate against discrimination in the workplace, against all sorts of tangible crimes but attitudes are hard to change by the blunt instrument of leglislation. Rather it is social stigma and generational change that changes a society’s mores. We can do little about the second- but we can do a lot about the first.

Its why campaigning say against sexist advertising is so important because it sends out a signal that this is unacceptable.

We have done a lot of good work in the past on this- but we need to keep up the fight say against perceptions of black people as physically strong mentally weak individuals. And its also why some of the right’s counter attacks- from semi-racists like Mark Steyn- are so worrying because they enable people to think that this sort of language- and ultimately this attitude is a legitimate one when it isn’t. Its immoral.

What we on the left have to continue to do is what American political scientists call framing.

Framing means making the debate fit into our norms by using things like this website and other avenues to say that racism, sexism etc is not merely wrong but that its immoral and to be condemned. By doing that we create conventions. But we also have to be alert to other people manipulating the discourses of society- for example the religious claiming that they are discriminated against- when they actually are not. Being forced to treat others equally is not being discriminated against, it is being coerced and such coercion may be justified.

Also, we on the left can really get to an important dimension of citizenship and fellow feeling- equality. A society riven by class hatred is a society which cannot sustain recipricocity in its values, it cannot sustain in the long run the kind of world that David Willets wants to produce. Ultimately such a society devolves into one where the people’s allegiance is bought by politicians and where class becomes such a dividing line that people feel no sympathy or empathy across it. Mr Willets’s logic leads one to put a priority on equality as a means to social cohesion and to democratic stability.

One last point deserves emphasis though, because although Willets’s arguments do not naturally prescribe a moral system- there are indications in there of what a moral system that would fulfill his conditions looks like.

Game theory relies upon the idea of trust: I break my word with those that break their word and I keep my word with those that keep their word. We all prosper more in a society which does the latter rather than the former. And that involves of course the most important moral sentiment within our consciousness- sympathy. If you think of the moral advances of the twentieth century- from the emancipation of women to the creation of a welfare state- they have all depended upon the extension of sympathy to a class of people who previously did not receive it in the same way. Sympathy is the centre of any system of morality which prioritises the way that we behave towards others- and as Willets discusses there are good evolutionary reasons to be sympathetic.

Far from suggesting that we need to embrace a Christian world view as the basis of our normative thinking or ushering in a reign of relativism, Willets’s arguments lead us to a position where sympathy, in classical Scottish enlightenment terms, becomes the basis for our moral position in society. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, they all maintain sympathy as a moral value but also do much more: if we are to seek the kind of minimalistic moral concern that will satisfy everyone and make the law best reflect the way that people think, then working off the basis of sympathy gives us some clue as to how that could happen.

That also gives us clues as to how to argue and what to argue. It refocuses the debate upon the real issue between us and conservatives of every hue: that is what we do about equality. Ultimately we argue that in an unequal society the bonds between people, the productive equilbria in game theory, are disintegrated by the mutual distrust produced by massive inequalities. Ultimately should some people or classes of people have better access to law, Parliament, the instruments of power in the market etc, that delegitimates the games that we play.

Either we end up with a population which quietly accepts and does not engage, or worse we end up with a situation involving rising criminality and fear. Willets is right to target the way that we see each other and the way that we behave each other as the best avenue to pursue in understanding the productive synergies that we produce in society: he is entirely right in appreciating the force of convention in changing behaviour. Where he is wrong is to underestimate and not even to mention the effects that inequality can have on all of this.

Inequality is most often economic inequality- but it can also take the form of glass ceilings which may not show up as easily in statistic. However understood, inequality is corrosive to society and corrosive therefore to the productive externalities that wider cooperation between us all can produce.

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About the author
'Gracchi' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He started a blog last year which deals with culture and politics and history, where his interest lies. He is fascinated by all sorts of things including good films and books and undogmatic discussion of ideas. This seems like a good place to do the latter... Also at: Westminister Wisdom
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Reader comments


I had something to do with liberalising the sex laws in the 1960s, and am glad you think that was important.

Laws are moral – and sometimes immoral – signposts. Changing them demands strenuous, sustained effort [in my case, for a decade]. Changing the climate of opinion is not just a matter of shaming people; their ignorant, reactionary and oppressive ideas have to be confronted, publicly challenged, and openly debated. That is why I am wary of ring-fencing any opinions, whether I agree with them or not, by laws limiting freedom of expression.

Emerson said “every reform was once a private opinion”.

Ultimately we argue that in an unequal society the bonds between people, the productive equilbria in game theory, are disintegrated by the mutual distrust produced by massive inequalities.

I am not sure this argument is convincing. If I trust someone, it means that I do not believe they will betray any spoken or unspoken expectations between us.

That is a matter of information, and reasons to believe they expect to suffer if they betray me. I would probably trust Tescos more than someone I met in the street, not because we are more equal, but because Tescos has more to lose.

So increasing trust requires giving people a reason to be trustworthy.

On the other hand, if money is taken from A and given to B because B claims to be poor that gives people an incentive to game the system, and distrust other people who may also be gaming the system. The benefits system has almost certainly increased distrust between social groups.

To take from one and give to another will almost never make them trust each other more. Whatever claims you make to justice, the recipient will almost always believe that he is really entitled to more than he has been given, and the person forced to make the donation will think he has been forced to give more than is justified.

Steyn is not semi-racist. Where do you peole come up with this baloney. Character assasinations against people critical of certain religions like Islam{no one ever calls someone critcal of christianity “racist” or semi-racist”, so why with Islam?}. Is this what the left-wing and liberals have come to? Falsely labelling people as racists or semi-racists{whatever} and committing ad hominem character assasinations?

Grow up. Educate yourself as to what ‘race” and “racism” mean and their etymological meanings before mindlessly tossing the accusation around.

By the way I’m liberal and left-wing. And I find this conduct, which is becoming all to prevalent amongst the left-wing liberal community, to be below contempt.

But I suppose because I hold this opinion, and because I am amongst the growing number of rationalists whom see the true threat of Islam{amongst other revealed religions like say Christianity as well}, I suppose now I’m also semi-racist?
Seriously, this tendency amongst the left wing to do this…HAS TO STOP!!!

In Reason:
Bill

Steyn is not semi-racist.

Oh give us a break. Have you read his stuff? Granted, being Muslim is not a race, but then neither is being America and yet certain people keep going on about ‘Anti-Americanism’ like its a disease.

I’m not sure what the threat of revealed religion itself is as such, compared to what people actually espouse in name of religion or foreign policy etc. If a religious person is getting on with their lives a law-abiding citizen, you have no right to interefere in their lives personally. If they’re inciting violence, like a non-religious organisation for example, then its a problem.

The problem with people like Steyn is their blanket condemnation of all Muslims and bizarre proposals, which fits nicely into the narrative of anyone who sees all Muslims as a problem. That is bigotry and prejudice, not unlike anti-semitism against Jews.

3. Bill:

The trouble is that I don’t think anyone reasonable calls genuine criticism of a religion or person as anything other than criticism. Not that long ago I had to endure, however, some Muslims and socialists try and argue how their criticisms of Judaism were legitimate despite the fact their criticisms encouraged the use of anti-Semitic images and fairly unquantified language. There is a fine line between criticism and hatred and prejudice veiled as criticism.

Have to agree with Bill Baker. You can’t be “racist” if you’re not discriminating on the basis of race. Race is something you are born with, culture is something you learn at an early age, but choose to maintain and embrace as an adult.
In point of fact, arguing for the superiority of one culture over another is the basis OF culture.
Steyn’s identification of the superiority of “our” culture (Western Capitalist Christian: WCC) over what’s coming from some parts of Islam may grind some people the wrong way, but it isn’t remotely racist. And face it, WCC is the only culture that’s ever given any thought at all to the idea of individual rights, something I’d think the readers of this blog support..

Steyn may not agree with what you have to say, but he’s not going to declare a fatwa against you to stop you from speaking. Unfortunately, far too many Muslims (and Liberals) don’t think much of freedom of speech.

Judaism is also a religion not a race – people are free to practice it or not. So by Bill and Paul’s logic above anti-semitism is not racism. So if I were to write articles in newspapers repeatedly saying all followers of Judaism, and the belief system itself, were a threat to the culture of my country that would just be a legitimate part of normal discussion of a religion.

Now how many people think my behaviour above would be acceptable?

Race is something you are born with, culture is something you learn at an early age, but choose to maintain and embrace as an adult.

I’m afraid this is bad logic. If I said all Americans were chimpanzees on account of American culture, would that be perfectly acceptable discourse? I’m not insulting any race after all.

Race too is a social construct. Its something we’re born with, of course, but its people’s prejudice that makes it into a pernicious problem.

So, bigotry and discrimination is the real problem, not people’s identities in themselves. Unless you think being Muslim should automatically mean you’re inferior or stupid. In which case I can’t engage in a sensible conversation with you.

I don’t have a problem with people finding certain cultural habits abhorrent, nor saying they dislike religion generally. But Steyn goes past that into naked bigotry.

Let me quote the great liberal freethinker Thomas Paine{whom the left in all it’s guises- Liberal, Left Libertarian, Libertarian Socialism, so on and so forth; and essentially ALL people living in a liberal democracy or free nation in the west we huge amounts of thanks to, but we seem to have largely forgotten}:

“Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance but the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms: the one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, the other of granting it.”
– Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

as well as “He who dares not offend cannot be honest”

These quotes are quotes that todays liberal would do well to heed. Paine and his enlightenment cohorts contributed more to the cause of liberalism, freedom,egalitarianism,etc, than anyone since. What we have now is largely due in thanx to the work of these men like Paine.
And he{and they} were far from Politically Correct, he was;nt so damned concenred with not “offending peoples sensibiltiies”. He and other liberal forefathers of ours woulod shake their heads in disgust at the political correction, and the censorship{which we liberals used to hate the right wing for; now it’s becoming our domain}taking hold.

Heed Paines quotes.

In Reason:
Bill

10. Bill Baker

Sunny;

My issue is that Steyn{along with Ezra Levant} revently was dragged before the kangaroo courts of the Human Rights commission. He{like Levant} has to pay for his defense out of pocket. In the meanwhile his character gets assasinated, he gets demonized as a racist,etc. When the whole reason this stupid witchhunt was conducted was simply because of a quote in an article he wrote- taken out of context, about Muslims spreading like what was it? “fleas” I think. And it was’nt even him whom was saying this, it was some Muslim cleric whom he was merely quoting. Then some over-sensitive, special privelage pelading Muslims decide- that steyn is racist because he does’nt like Islam and has called us ‘”fleas”{which he did no such thing} and go to the corrupt HRC to get them to put Steyn through hell simp,lky because someone was “offended”.
the same with Levant simply becaus ehe had the guts to print the Mohammed cartoons, which most of the rest of the press wussied out of out of fear of the threats of both fundamentalist and so-called “moderate” Muslims alike{along with P.C. far left-wing dolts}; so of course, the big international stink…most people were left in the dark not knowing what the big fuss was about because no member of the press or media had the integrity to show them the pictures. So Levant did.

You know what. I DESPISE “racism”, bigotry, PREjudice, oppression,etc. Yet, because I am hardore anti-islam{the faith} and don’t believe moderate Islam to be true Islam, because I have the guts to call Mohammed{piss be upon him] the child molester and bloodthirsty hypocrite he was, I have been labelled “racist” by a few emty headed fellow liberals/leftisst and by a whole shitload of Muslims{moderates included}. I’ve had death threats from muslims, and all the while so-called moderate muslims and P.C. liberals have been implying that I asked for it by speaking against Islam and Mohammed so freely.

I am not asking for Oppression of Muslims or banning of the Quran. Nor are fellow contrarian liberal like Christopher Hitchens or Bill Maher, nor are guys like Steyn,Levant, or other right wingers that have a problem with Islam.
All we are advocating is what Sam Harris{philosopher, author “end of faith”, ‘letter to a christian nation” and neuroscientist to be}calls “Conversational intolerance”{wikipedia it, and goodle it}. Something that started with the liberal freethinkers of the enlightenment, like Paine{and many others}.

Furthemore, revealed religions is the biggest threat to humanity bar none. Always has been. Name me one belief system,creed, or view of any sorts that has been responsible for as much opression and death for as long a period of time- over and over again- and as cruel in this for such a period of time as Revealed Religions{especially Christianity and Islam}. Name me ones that have pretended so consistently to be about “love” and “charity”{all the while looking to exploit any their extend their so-called kindness towards by taking advantage of their ignorance and bribing them into converting}.
NONE!!! No creed has done this so consistently or badly or for such a long period of time. NONE!!!

When will P.C. liberals get it through their thick heads. The Bible/Tanakh and Quran{amongst other “revealed holy books”} and the Gods and prophets of these books{from which the faths are directly derived} ARE THE PROBLEM. That bigotry,prejudice, discrimination and worse are INHERENT in these religions because of the commands and stories of the books and gods and lifestyles of the prophets. That there simply is NO SUCH THING as “moderate” christianity,islam,judaism,etc. PERIOD!!!

Goddamned it, it’s like the Left has forgotten their roots, and foresaken true liberal principles.

But, again another Paine quote is apt here:
“To argue with a man who has renounced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead.”
– Thomas Paine, The Crisis

In Reason:
Bill

11. Bill Baker

{Quote/}3. Bill:

The trouble is that I don’t think anyone reasonable calls genuine criticism of a religion or person as anything other than criticism. Not that long ago I had to endure, however, some Muslims and socialists try and argue how their criticisms of Judaism were legitimate despite the fact their criticisms encouraged the use of anti-Semitic images and fairly unquantified language. There is a fine line between criticism and hatred and prejudice veiled as criticism.
{Unquote/}

Lee.
Were any of these Muslims Arab or mid-eastern?
If so, how can you say they were beeing “anti-semitic”? Arabs are Semites themselves.
Jews are NOT the only semites, and semite is not “race”, it has more to do with a set of languages.

But “anti-semtism”, like “racism’ gets falsely thrown around a lot these days as an accusation.

The issue is when someone denies or mocks the holocaust. But that is not ‘anti-semitism”{because recall, one would have to OPPOSE and hate ALL semites, not just jews, to be truly anti-semitic}, rather it is “Anti-Jewism”. Lets be as specific and correct in our use of terms{especially when it comes to “accusations”} as possible, or we risk beeing complete hypocrties.

{Quote/}There is a fine line between criticism and hatred and prejudice veiled as criticism.{Unquote/}

True, sometimes.
But you also have to distinguish here. “hatred” is valid. It’s a human emotions, and too often we demonize it whilst condescnending to thsoe honest enough to admit they have hatred{whilst we hide our won under a guise of self-righteous “love” rhetoric}.
Hate does’nt always include PREjudice either{though it can}.
Also, often some people call true and valid JUDGEMENT by the false term “PREjudgice”. People rarely think about these things, they just buy empty rhetoric.
I criticice Islam{and all revealed religions and the concept of faith} because I genuinely HATE Islam{and these other religions}, but my hate of them is right, it is NOT PREJudgment. It is valid judgement.
I don’t hate ALL Muslims{Christians,etc}, hate has to be earned. Do I hate “some” of them? Sure, also hate some atheists,deists,and humanists.

And I don’t think Steyn or Levant; or left-leaning haters of Islam and mocker sof Muslim beliefs such as Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, or Thomas Paine{or myself} HATE MUSLIMS in genera; some of us might think all Muslims are stupid for beeing Muslims{ditto for christians,etc}, but that does’nt negate that we KNOW many of them still have other admirable individual traits and deserve individual dignity as human beeings.
I know I don’t. Nor do I think that hardcore critisizers of rationalism are haters of of all Rationalists like myself; but it’s funny because when it comes to Muslims, say one unfavourable thing of their religion and they are down your throat{even moderates} with ad hominem, with character assasination, with lawsuits and pleas for special privelage, with threats of harm and death.
I go to a University, I happen to wear a button that says “Islam is our enemy”{it said “Islam is NOT our enemy”{but I whited out the “NOT”}; I also wear other buttons critical of religions and promoting freethought, and I wear a big inverted crucifix around my neck. The first Muslim{a girl}I met on campus whom saw and read my button instea dof asking me politely why I wear it or my opinions,etc, she responded angrily with “ASSHOLE”.
Ok, Ad hominem helps your case. Whatever. My city is largely Christian{or christianized} and I don’t even get such reactions from many{if any} christians for wearing an inverted crucifix, most just ignore it.

We have to admit it people. Muslims are more likely to act these ways, including and oddly enough especially “moderates”{whom tend to be mor eloud in their anger at non-muslims critical of Islam than towards the fundamentalists dooing violence in the name fo Islam; some will timidly say ‘yeah we don’t agrree with terrorism” but then much more vehemently condemn criticism of the religions or fucking cartoons}.
Muslims demand more of people than they are willing to give. This is just the way it is.
They are ALL hypocrites{same can be said of christians and Jews}. Though they are not ALL bad people in general.

In Reason:
Bill

In Reason:

12. Bill Baker

one more thing Lee.

Have you read the Quran? Has ANYONE HERE READ THE QURAN. It says horribly bigoted and violent things about infidels and non-theists, and about pagans and polytheists, and even christians and jews{whom it calls, especially the Jews, Pigs,dogs,monkeys,etc}.

Why the hell is it that Muslims get a free pass and all this mindless defense from “tolerance” police when their word of god says such horrible shit?

In Reason:
Bill

On the one hand you’re calling us to listen to “reason”, on the other you’re listening to my reasoning.

You’ve quoted Thomas Paine – fine – but anyone can agree to follow those principles and yet stay true to what is being said here.

He{like Levant} has to pay for his defense out of pocket. In the meanwhile his character gets assasinated, he gets demonized as a racist,etc.

That’s an irrelevant argument. People have to pay for legal stuff out of their pocket all the time. If he can dish out crap, he should be able to take it. I get bloggers calling me racist all the time for no reason, I haven’t taken anyone to court.

Yet, because I am hardore anti-islam{the faith} and don’t believe moderate Islam to be true Islam, because I have the guts to call Mohammed{piss be upon him] the child molester and bloodthirsty hypocrite he was, I have been labelled “racist” by a few emty headed fellow liberals/leftisst and by a whole shitload of Muslims{moderates included}

Let’s get a few things straight first. Are you against all faiths? So does that include being happy to gratuitously insult Jews, Christians and all the rest etc? Have you done it recently or is the vendetta against only people of one religion?

Always has been. Name me one belief system,creed, or view of any sorts that has been responsible for as much opression and death for as long a period of time- over and over again- and as cruel in this for such a period of time as Revealed Religions{especially Christianity and Islam}.

Fascism, communism, capitalism etc etc. I think its important to understand that its not ‘creeds’ that kill people, but people use them as excuses to kill others. I’m not going to deny people used communist, religious, fascist utopias to kill lots of people. There’s thousands of women who get murdered by psychotic men every day in this country, for no reason other than that women don’t do what those men say. What creed do you attribute that to?

That bigotry,prejudice, discrimination and worse are INHERENT in these religions because of the commands and stories of the books and gods and lifestyles of the prophets. That there simply is NO SUCH THING as “moderate” christianity,islam,judaism,etc. PERIOD!!!

If you want to believe that, fine. I don’t take issue with it. What matters is what you then advocate as “policy” as a result. Round up all Muslims because they are “inherently” prejudiced?

If you can’t see that there is a line here, similar in the way that making up conspiracy theories about Jews falls into traditional racist narratives, then you’re being rather blind to the obvious.

Mark Steyn, and his supporters, which includes the prominently religious Melanie Phillips for example (so he doesn’t hate all religions, only Islam for some reason) use the line: “hating on Muslims is not racist”. but no one said it was explicitly. Bigotry and prejudice is broader than simply race.

Lastly:
It says horribly bigoted and violent things about infidels and non-theists, and about pagans and polytheists, and even christians and jews{whom it calls, especially the Jews, Pigs,dogs,monkeys,etc}.

Have you read the whole th ing, with commentary, or simply selected passages? Because there’s a lot of historical commentary in there. And the same stuff exists in Christian and Jewish scriptures. You know this right? And yet you buy into Steyn’s “Judeo-Christian values” narrative?

14. Bill Baker

Paul,
thanks for the backup.

{Quote/}WCC is the only culture that’s ever given any thought at all to the idea of individual rights, something I’d think the readers of this blog support.. {Unquote/}

I think you have your definitions confused.
Western Christian Capitalist has been a tool of oppression.

What you refer to is the superiority of “enlightenment’ culture. Which was and is liberal{or at least left libertarian}, rationalist, secularist; but yes it is western.
That’s not to say that this is Euro-centric or white centric as so many P.C. dumbasses are apt to label it. No it has nothing to do with race or nationality, for they are values espoused yes largely by western cultures{such as ancient greece; expounbded upon by the Enlightenment thinkers and politicians in Europe AND America and subsequently Canada shortly thereafter}. However, long before it was promoted by European and American thinkers, it was promoted probably just as far back as greece by some Eastern philosophers{as we can see in philosophies such as that of Siddhartha Guatema Buddhas, or taoism,etc}.
It’s just that it was more perfected{not COMPLETELY PERFECTED of course} by Largely white males{and females; there were great female thinkers in europse and america during the enlightenment}. That’s not to say that White males{and females} from Europe and America were/are superior, because they got their influences from other cultures{not just white ones} from way back and added to those influences to try and perfect a more egalitarian society.
But there is no denying the fact that the men whom were responsible for the first great liberal democracy{I dislike “majority rules”, but that’s a discussion for a different time and place} of America and subsequently Canada and some european nations wer elargely white men, true. But that’s not an argument for white supremacy…hell, most of the greatest of these thinkers and men were anti-raism/anti-sexism,etc. I refer once again to the great THOMAS PAINE.

However, to plainly state these facts like this means your apt to be called “euro-centric” or worser still- “racist”.
Whatever! I honestly think that the dipshits whom do this all the time are actually themselves the true racists and sexists…they have a subversive bigotry against whites and males; and if they themslves are such, they are inwardly self-loathing, blaming themselves and all white malekind for the sins of “some” of their white male ancestors.
Self-flagelating xtiods!

I find the mindless tjhrowing around of the accusation of ‘racism” to be well…mindless. But it’s done by the same hypocrite P.C. radical liberals whose tendecy it is to compare right wingers to Hitler and the Naiz’s too quickly and often. As bad as Geoge Dubya is, he’s no fuckin hitler! LoL!!!

I just am so tired of the hypocrisy and p.c. stupidity corrupting the left these days.

Whatever.

In Reason:
Bill

15. paul meyer

Saying that all Americans were chimpanzees would be acceptable to me; it’s also stupid.

Arguing that there are aspects of American culture you disagree with, or that you find Canadian/French/Wahabist/Muslim culture superior, is also acceptable and is in fact the whole point of HAVING a culture. A culture is a set of beliefs and attitudes that you and a group of people hold to be better than the alternatives.

I belive both my son AND my daughter should have the right to vote. I strongly disagree with cultures that think she cannot vote; and should also have a clitoridectomy. When it comes to voting and respect for women, I believe my culture is better, and theirs is inferior. Steyn also believes in, and argues for, the superiority of many aspects of WCC culture. That has nothing to do with bigotry or racism, but the promotion of values that HIS culture holds dear. Whether that’s a rejection of slavery, belief in equal rights for the sexes, separtion fo Church and state, you name it, promoting those ideas means rejecting the views of those who disagree.

Having an open mind is one thing; letting your brain fall out is quite another.

16. Bill Baker

SUNNY;

{Quote/}That’s an irrelevant argument. People have to pay for legal stuff out of their pocket all the time.{Unquote/}

That’s bullshit. The Muslims dooing this to him, they don’t have to pay a dime, their legal fees are all taken care of.

Dish out?!!! Haahahahahahaa!!! Did you not hear a word I said? These dipshits did this to Steyn because he quoted a Muslim clerics words, and they mistook this as Steyns own words, and becduse he is rationally critical of Islam otherwise.
He hardly deserves this treatment for that.

{Quote/}Let’s get a few things straight first. Are you against all faiths? So does that include being happy to gratuitously insult Jews, Christians and all the rest etc? Have you done it recently or is the vendetta against only people of one religion?{Unquote/}

I am against FAITH. But only ideologically, I would not ask for faiths to beanned or persecuted outright.
In fact I would come to their defense if so- To quote Paine again:

“I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies another this right makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.”
– Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794),

and again

“An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
– Thomas Paine, Dissertations on First Principles of Government (July 7, 1795

Yes, it mean beieng happy to gratuitously insult JUDAISM{christianity,islam,etc}.
It does not mean I go out of my way to insult or mock Jews,christians,Muslims,etc all the time. I have had christian and muslim friends and on day to day basis I am polite and civil to individuals these or any faith. However, I am quite content and believe it my duty to mock the hell out of these faiths and to opnely say the facts of the COLLECTIVE itself of any of these faiths “the adherents of such and such faith have a mental problem, faith IS itself a mental problem, a delusion”, but that’s not to say that every INDIVIDUAL adherent of these faiths is worthy of scorn and mockery, they may well be great INDIVIDUALS aside from their theological neuroses.

I have criticizend and mcoked pretty much every faith,religion. Even STRONG Atheism and STRONG Deism are not safe{though I don’t spend much time or energy on them}.
Nothing is sacred.
Everything is and should be open to critisicms and if a person cannot rationally defend a belief{religious,political, what have you} or provide valid evidence to support their beliefs/conclusion- they don’t deserve to have their belief given any credibility and depending on the individual or context- may deserve mockery for those beliefs.

{Quote/}Fascism, communism, capitalism etc etc. I think its important to understand that its not ‘creeds’ that kill people, but people use them as excuses to kill others. I’m not going to deny people used communist, religious, fascist utopias to kill lots of people. There’s thousands of women who get murdered by psychotic men every day in this country, for no reason other than that women don’t do what those men say. What creed do you attribute that to?{Unquote/}

You don’t seem to understand the difference between political creds{in the here and now} and rleigious creeds which extend BEYOND this life; and the extra power that religious creeds have because of this.

To my understanding{granted I’ve never read it yet} Marxes communist manifesto does’nt call for the indiscrimimate persecution and wholesale murder of people. The Bible and Quran DO!!!

The last sentence. RELIGION!!! Don’t you get it? If they are religious, then the bible/quran/etc will play alrage role. If they are NOT so, than there will be a whole variable of different reasons…but allmost always certain ideas inculcated into their minds via a religious upbringing or via the prevalence of the sexism of these religions which PREDOMINATE AND DOMINATE THE CULTURE AT LARGE will have influenced their thinking in some way.

{Quote/}If you want to believe that, fine. I don’t take issue with it. What matters is what you then advocate as “policy” as a result. Round up all Muslims because they are “inherently” prejudiced? {Unquote/}

I’m tired of hearing fellow liberal say such stupid things, implying that we are all fascists orwellian pigs. NO! Nor to my understanbding is this neccaserily the opinions of Steyn,Levant, or on the left- Hitchens or Maher or Paine.

We are simply saying that it;s time to call a spade a spade{conversational intolerance} and to quit granting special rights to the religious.

{Quote/} (so he doesn’t hate all religions, only Islam for some reason) use the line{Unquote/}

That hypocrisy has not gone unnotice dby rationalists like myself.
But I still support his right to spak freely and not be falsely accuse dof “racism” and to be abused by hypocritical and power hungry Human Rights commissions.

{Quote/}Have you read the whole th ing, with commentary, or simply selected passages? Because there’s a lot of historical commentary in there{Unquote/}

I’ve read enough.
Commentaries mean NOTHING. It’s like christian apologetoics, devoid of validity.

The Quran is to be interpreted only through the lens of Hadith alone{this or soley the quran itself alone}. Which is oddly just as bad or even worse.

I resort to the knowledge of ex-muslims like the Creator and writers at faithfreedom.org or apostatesofislam.com. I maintin that no one knows a revealed religion like it’s apostates{especially if those apostates spent a considerable amount of time as members of the faith and have thouroughly studied the apologetics and the arguments against and all historical contexts and other contexts}.

{Quote/} And the same stuff exists in Christian and Jewish scriptures. You know this right?
And yet you buy into Steyn’s “Judeo-Christian values” narrative?
{Unquote/}

I am well aware.

You obviously have been paying very little attention to me and my arhuments. How many bloody times have I pointed out or heavily implied I am a rationalist? that I am opposed to faith and theism?

In Reason:
Bill

This article was clearly designed to get me to break my self-imposed silence here at LC, there are that many things wrong with it.

Firstly, though, yes, I agree, campaigning does lead attitudes, and working from the grassroots up is a conscious way of motivating political thought into the conventional mainstream, from whence it is only a small step before it is reflected in law changes.

It is, however, equally true that this rule can be inverted, as it has been by the Labour party leadership, under the guise of ‘social engineering’, by whose top-down dogmatic authority is exerted (on the biased presumption of those in office that consensus exists beneath them).

Whenever people start using morality as a basis for their argument I get suspicious about which version is being proposed as a viable, legitimate and sustainable course of action.

Unfortunately here Gracchi uses all the correct words, just not necessarily in the correct order, so any logic which resides in the article is irretrievably lost. Worse still, Gracchi accepts the politicised conventions of the left with regard to those words without compromise to any underlying meaning.

For example: discrimination isn’t wrong per se, except that the term has become a by-word for false judgement, which is. The article gets confused by the assumption that right and wrong is based on claims of moral status, rather that being determined by it.

The differences are defined by the laws of consequence.

Campaigning doesn’t work because shame is directed by any group dynamic (and it’s not successful if it does), but because it creates a lightening rod for opinion by which observers and participants are independently and privately forced to make conscious and rational choices about the consequences of their actions (and the actions of others).

Likewise, ‘sympathy’ is inadequate as it is a word used to pander to an audience of converts. While the sentiment may be correct, it only provides a half-answer to finding the way to advance society – in reality, only at the point where self-interest and mutual-interest coalign do we see practical progress.

So, in essence, I fully disagree with the way that Gracchi has formulated this as a debate between liberal-left and conservative-right, rather it is a point of contention between the forces of authority and those of autonomy, which cut across party boundaries.

Gracchi simply fails to address the paradox that equality isn’t possible without diversity and difference, while it is also clear that he thinks productive equality is sufficient to create economic equality!

As for the points made about ‘racism’, these are all based on false premises: there are only two races – the human race and the rat race – one is a race to the top, the other a race to the bottom – attempts to associate artificial sub-divisions (religion, culture, ethnicity etc) with one or other are flawed (and floored) by the destruction that is the only consequent conclusion of such divisiveness.

Sorry Bill if I don’t respond to all your points, your style of writing is very hard to follow.

Basically I don’t have a problem with people criticising religion, I don’t have a problem with you calling god’s and prophets and whoever whatever you want. I too believe that it is the individuals right to say what they like, but also to respect other peoples opinions and wishes…both within reason. What I don’t agree with is those, like I gave the example of earlier, that use such language against religion to cast aspersions against a set of people because of who they are.

I think it’s highly counter-productive to get in to an argument about what we mean by racism, as far as I’m concerned whether or not it is strictly applicable or not racism is the act of prejudicing against a group of people because of who they are for no reason other than who they are. We could, if it pleases you, just call it prejudice simply instead, though it really doesn’t matter.

Do what you like, say what you like, but if you at all transfer your hatred of a religion on to those that practice it then you are as bad as a racist even if technically you are not one. If you merely are criticising religions then I think you’ll find very few people disagree with your ability to do that.

I’ve found the above a pretty interesting argument. However, I take real exception with one something said by the blog owner.

That’s an irrelevant argument. People have to pay for legal stuff out of their pocket all the time. If he can dish out crap, he should be able to take it.

The problem with this is Steyn’s “dishing” consists of opining in various outlets. If all those who disagree with him did was opine in return, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Unfortunately, Steyn’s been taken to a kangaroo court, on his dime, with the intention of forcing him to admit “blame” and/ or apologize. This is little more than soft facism.

I get bloggers calling me racist all the time for no reason, I haven’t taken anyone to court.

What if those who call you racist took YOU to court with the intent of making their private assertions public? Would you feel any differently then?

20. Bill Baker

LEE;

{Quote/}I think it’s highly counter-productive to get in to an argument about what we mean by racism, as far as I’m concerned whether or not it is strictly applicable or not racism is the act of prejudicing against a group of people because of who they are for no reason other than who they are. We could, if it pleases you, just call it prejudice simply instead, though it really doesn’t matter.{Unquote/}

It’s not counter-productive. People take “racism” as a term and thing much more seriosuly than most things, including much moreso than other forms of discrimination,prejudice,bigotry,or marginalization.
People usually see it{or till recently saw it} in terms of “skin colour” or perhaps even ethnic background. At best you can widen it to mean of “common descent”. All attempts to use it otherwise are deceptive, because there are other, better, more accurate terms to be used for other things.
When you just use “racism” as an blanket accusation, you ruin lives and comit character assasination. You advance rumors into the public conciousness that someone is “racist”{therefore, highly contemptable, as “racism” is the most highly contemptable thing to most people}- when in fact they often are not “racist” by any proper use{and there may be, ARGUABLY, more than just the referance to skin colour or hatred of people based on skin colour, like I said ethnic background or common descent may possibly be ok to put under the umbreall of “race”}.

So, your argument is false and falls flat on it’s ass when examined rationally and using facts and objectivity. Your use of racism makes it possible for Muslims to go around accusing Critics of Islam or even Muslims in general of ‘racism”. When the FACT IS that Muslims are of various racial,ethnic and even cultural backgrounds{just as with christianity}.

Totally absurd, because then by that logic used by you and they, then criticism of Nazi’s beeing mainly white and of a “political religion”{which is what Nazism is} , or criticism of communists or capitalists or criticism of goths,metalheads, or hip hoppers,criticism of calvinists or of Trekkies could be called ‘racist”. I mean, they are all “groups of people” sharing “something” in common, and like Muslims are various of races,ethnicities, cultural and national backgrounds,etc.

There is NO accurate information to support this blanket use of “racism” against all people with criticism of a belief or even a set of people. Racism is a incredoibly loaded term and should ONLY be used as an accusation when it really, truly,objectively fits as valid an accussation. The proof must be there. Throwing the accusation around unfairly ruins peoples lives. This is contemptable!

We have to draw the line for our use of the term somewhere, or it loses any meaning{subsequently, it loses and validity as an accusation- even in genuine cases of REAL racism; because it has no discernable, exact meaning anymore}.

You’re argument for your use of “racism” is not supportable PERIOD!!!

And back to the issue at hand. I don’t think Steyn “hates” or “fears” or “mistrsusts” ALL Muslim individuals. Therefore, even by your own ridiculous meaning of “race”/”racism”, Steyn is then obviously not even “racist” by your definitions. Nor is Levant; nor am I, nor is Christopher Hitchens, nor is Bill Maher, nor is Thomas Paine, etc,etc.
We may think “less” of those whom believe such beliefs, CONTEXTUALLY in connection with their belief itself{as I said, for example, I think “Christians and Muslims are stupid for beeing such”, FOR BEEING SUCH. That does not mean that they as individuals are STUPID in general and in all other contexts; and anyone whom does’nt realize that this is what we mean is just plainly and simply…a moron!}.\
I think less of christians and muslims,et,c for BEEING such, but I’m sure many of them are great individuals otherwise and intelligent in other contexts and ways. I mean those whom call THEMSELVES by these labels, though they may not truly be{ie: moderates whom pay lip service to the religions and yet cherry pick, and therefore are’nt as truly Muslim or Christian as those whom actually have the courage of their convictions and actually follow the commands of their gods and prophets in their holy books to the full- or at least…more fully}
Does this make me, or any of the others{Steyn included} racist?

I think Islam is a real threat to humanity. Same with Christianity and Judaism{read the torah and prophets some time, disgusting,bigoted, cruel filth these books}. And I AM suspicious of ALL fundamentalist followers of them{that doe snot mean I “hate” them “all” as individuals}, and I think that whilst the moderates may call themselves by those labels and tout the greatness of the holy books and gods and prophets, are still nonetheless…NOT REALLY SO. But I will call them so if that’s what they call themselves. But I’ll still call them on aiding a dangerous belief system and it’s extremists by supporting the same unholy piece of trash called ‘gods word”{and the gods themselves; oir their cruel,manipulative,hypocritical and in Mohammeds case…child molesting… prophets}.
Does this make me “racist”?
NO OF COURSE NOT! But fools will continue to call me, US this abusive and false accuasatory label with no proof or rational argument to support the accusation. They will continue to commit character assasination on us because they’ve got their heads way to far up their Politically Correct naeive and hypocritical asses, and up the asses of their Monotheist overlords to whom they are willing dupes,slaves, and dhimmis.

{Quote/}but also to respect other peoples opinions and wishes…both within reason{Unquote/}

I don’t owe Anyones “OPINION” or “wishes” any respect, unless they can show that those opinions,beliefs, or wishes DESERVE respect. I DO owe INDIVIDUALS themselves respect and dignity as individual human beiengs, damn straights. But I will nto be so stupid as to conclude that the Person IS the opinion, or that the Person IS the belief system,etc. How insulting to denigrate an individuals individual worth and dignity by suggesting that they or slavishly conceding to their self-flagelatting desire to not think themsleves as an INDIVIDUAL worthy of INDIVIDUAL dignity, but rather as just an extention of a creed or belief …or of an opinion held{get this saying: Opinion “held”, not HELD BY THE OPINION}.

In Reason:
Bill Baker

“So, your argument is false and falls flat on it’s ass when examined rationally and using facts and objectivity. Your use of racism makes it possible for Muslims to go around accusing Critics of Islam or even Muslims in general of ‘racism”. When the FACT IS that Muslims are of various racial,ethnic and even cultural backgrounds{just as with christianity}.”

No it doesn’t, as I said…criticism of a religion is not racism, attributing it to a people is. My example here is clearly anti-semitic feelings shrouded as “criticism” of religion that ultimately only go to strike at the heart of legitimacy for Israel, that’s one example.

People that criticise Islam because they mean those in the middle east, and use the religious argument to group them, that’s another example. Call it bigotry or racism, it doesn’t matter. If you think that the outcome of you being called a racist when you can’t fight off the accusation is wrong then fair enough, but to me that only goes to show how weak people as a population feel towards bigotry and other prejudices. What you call it doesn’t matter here because the act is the same, and getting off the hook because it’s “just” some other kind of prejudice isn’t exactly indicative of lack of wrong-doing.

I don’t know exactly what you’re trying to get at but if you hate followers of Islam simply because they follow it then you are whatever you wish to accurately describe yourself as, be it a racist, a bigot or a xenophobe if you happen to be a certain kind of nationalist. Whatever you want to call yourself makes no difference to me because the stance is corrupt, and on weak grounding.

#7
As I understand it, the work ‘Jew’ can refer to either an ethnic group or followers of Judaism, the religion. This does cause confusion. Perhaps someone who IS Jewish can clarify this. I’ve known people who did not follow the religion of Judaism, but still identified as Jewish. Where did you get the idea “anti-semitism” referred to the religion and not the ethnic group?

#11
While technically true that Arabs are semitic and therefore anti-semitic should also be anti-Arab, this is simply not the way the meaning of the word has evolved. It’s usage has ALWAYS been to mean discrimination against Jews.

#12
It’s highly doubtful anyone here has taken the time to read the Koran, but you probably already knew that. Maybe it just doesn’t translate well. :)

but if you hate followers of Islam simply because they follow it then you are whatever you wish to accurately describe yourself as, be it a racist, a bigot or a xenophobe if you happen to be a certain kind of nationalist.

The guy says he thinks Islam and Judaism and Christianity are “threats to humanity” but the argument comes back around to only Islam again. That’s telling.

Paul and Bill, firstly you:

Steyn also believes in, and argues for, the superiority of many aspects of WCC culture. That has nothing to do with bigotry or racism, but the promotion of values that HIS culture holds dear.

Of course he’s allowed to. No doubt many from Arab cultures believe their values to be superior etc etc. I don’t have a problem with people’s beliefs, only if they seek to impose that on others – like I keep saying. I’m not fussed if Bill thinks anyone who believes in any religion is a nutjob – only if he seeks then to lock people up as a result of that belief. Steyn purposely pushes that claim, albeit couched in “liberal” language. His constant insinuation is that Muslims in themselves are a fifth column, that their religion is a threat to western society and frnakly they should be treated as the enemy. That, to me, is problematic, and not different to how JEws were treated early in this century. The difference being at that time race was used as an example (no, Jews are not a different race) and now culture/religion is.

Bill – please stop putting Thomas Paine and MArk Steyn in the same sentence. Its highly disingenuous. One was a political philosopher, the other an idiot who doesn’t have an original brain cell in his body.

For a start, he doesn’t even believe in the same as you.

The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birthrate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyperrationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a 21st-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion. The problem is that secondary-impulse societies mistake their weaknesses for strengths–or, at any rate, virtues–and that’s why they’re proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007760

And there you have it. By Steyn’s own words – you’re stupid because your hyper-rationality means you’ll be crushed under the demographic forces of Muslims.. blah blah… yada yada.

He doesn’t even believe in the same rubbish as you. He believes, like Melanie Phillips does, that Christian and Jews should unite and not only spread their religion but also increase their birthrate to fight Muslims.

So if I were you, I’d think Steyn is as much the enemy as the Jihadis. Unles, of course, your problem is only with Muslims specifically and not religious belief more broadly.

thomas – that was an interesting post as always. In particular:
Campaigning doesn’t work because shame is directed by any group dynamic (and it’s not successful if it does), but because it creates a lightening rod for opinion by which observers and participants are independently and privately forced to make conscious and rational choices about the consequences of their actions (and the actions of others).

That doesn’t apply in all cases however. In many cases, the problem is assymetric information. People may carry on wearing clothes made by poor peasants who get paid peanuts, until someone comes along and makes a campaigning film that jolts people out of their normal behaviour and forces through changes.

Sometimes, lawmakers lead the change. For example in the civil rights movements one could argue the lawmakers were more progressive and ahead of the population of the United States (especially in the South). Isn’t that what Gracchi is talking about here?

Ok Sunny, we could talk about Uzbek child slaves who are forced to pick cotton without rest, food or water for 12hrs+/day, and I do recall watching a campaigning film about it last autumn, but that the practise is continuing isn’t because lawmakers haven’t been (in your words) given a jolt (they have), but because the establishment hasn’t been overturned [voted out] by a self-consciously broad-based and politically motivated movement.

At least, not yet. But a jolt simply isn’t enough in the same way a soundbite that makes it into the news headlines does not make a fully fleshed out policy.

Normal practice in Uzbekistan is continuing and our desire for cheap clothing and disposable fashions (among other things) remains undiminished. While no pressure on demand is exerted by consumers there will be no pressure from trade regulators or inspectorates, for the simple reasons that international bodies are above electoral accountability and there are no votes in it for those that aren’t.

I recognise that on the odd occasion such a campaign will be built into some sort of personal crusade, but behind the headlines there is always either a personal connection, or an electioneering practicality allied to some wider political manoeveur.

To suggest any politician will attempt to get a bandwagon rolling out of any ‘moral’ imperative is completely ridiculous, as it opens up the dual charge of distraction from the main business of the day and (far more damaging) naive irrelevance – there are always the mavericks who specialise in single-issues, but the campaigning priority overrides any partisanship and all arguments will be welcomed into the fold to mount the push for that cause.
Multiple-issue campaigning, on the other hand, demands coordination as well as personal and philosophic coherence.

The campaign for the abolition of slavery required three prongs before it became inevitable, convincing people of different persuasions according to the way they placed differing emphases in analysis – namely human reasons, economic reasons and practical reasons – in each case consciously and rationally reunderstanding the problem in order to remake the argument.
Then, and only then could a majority be counted on to win a vote in parliament.

We could boycot Sportsworld and Newcastle Utd to gain attention on behalf of the thousands of exploited and abused Uzbek children (or alternatively Chinese prisoners), but this will never succeed in gaining a critical mass alone, for one thing the issue is too obscure and convoluted, nor would it be sufficient (too many high street chains have forced the search for cost efficiencies in the supply cycle in order to maintain competitive stock values) .
This futility is magnified by the fact that all areas of the economy are similarly impacted by these management issues, not solely the major fashion and clothing empires.

In the Uzbek case it isn’t enough to say that the conditions of labour are awful and that kids as yound as 6 or 7 are being taken from school to do the work, it must also be put across that the profits of the business are exhorbitant, both inflating the already exhorbitant wages of (at least) one relegation threatened sports team here (simultaneously helping fund the culture of celebrity with its attendant ills) and managed by oligarchs who buy the guns which repress and prevent the functioning of legitimate government in the producer country, primarily because the invisible costs (education, policing, healthcare, utilities etc) required to build the infrastructure of a fully-functioning social economy are not being fully met.

In addition we need to make a case that these issues are relevant to the end-consumer – which means disproving that current prices are ‘cheap’ for the level of quality, and by showing how the consequences of these governance failures impact on every sphere at a global level, which results in each of us paying more taxes.

For example, cotton prices are open to manipulation by the lack of regulation on the central Asian steppe, where environmental damage from outdated agriculture methods is unchecked.

Furthermore the gang masters need to be pinpointed as figures tightly enmeshed into the criminal networks which also form the establishment power heirachies in these underdeveloped areas.

Then we need to draw the link between addressing these indirect problems among invisible populations and the more direct and pressing problems in places like Afghanistan, which we are collectively far more aware of – for they are the result of the same processes.

While age-old power imbalances remain entrenched and grow their means to entrench themselves further (as has been the case in the past decade) no individual moral crusader or concerned citizen will ever be able to build any movement alone.

Multiple-issue campaigning does make a difference when it coalesces around a coherent foundation point and makes the transition into a real political groundswell until each wave of action develops into an onrushing Tsunami of opinion, but the questions remain: what is it? and, how do we recognise it when we see it.?

You raise the civil rights movement as an example where politicians were ahead of the majority.
That is an opinion of misguided conventional wisdom promoted by the political forces which originally claimed and now wish to retain credit for any successes.

Again you’ve fallen into the trap of describing political structures from the top down, when the reality is that there is a fluid and dynamic form of continuous discourse throughout all layers of society – not only were the politicians and lawmakers able to influence the behaviour of the population through legislative changes, but they were themselves elected as representative of their constitutencies (that is unless you’re suggesting that all politicians are mindless and lack backbone, in which case I’ll defer to your personal knowledge) who were engaged far more with their home community agendas than is now often the case.

Libraries are full of the individual struggles and inspirational stories that took place during the lead up to the end of segregation in the US – to ingore the role millions played in liberating themselves casts the institutions of the establishment falsely as heroic (and worse, furthers the insinuation that they are immovable and immutable) – were it not for all those individuals who took up the charge and became the ambassadors for the modernised approach to civilised industrial society throughout all sectors (not just at the political pinnicle), then things simply would not have changed.

I’m sorry to start to rant so early in the morning, but while shorthand conclusions are more tactful, convenient and widespread, they also conceal far more than they reveal.

27. Bill Baker

{Quote;Lee/}I don’t know exactly what you’re trying to get at but if you hate followers of Islam simply because they follow it then you are whatever you wish to accurately describe yourself as, be it a racist, a bigot or a xenophobe if you happen to be a certain kind of nationalist. Whatever you want to call yourself makes no difference to me because the stance is corrupt, and on weak grounding.{Unquote/}

Lee.

I never said I HATE follower sof Islam, and I don’t believe the so-called ‘racist’ right wingers like Levant and Steyn, or the left wingers like myself, Maher, or Hitchens, are have ever said they HATE the adherehts, and I don’t ebleieve they do hate them either.
They all, like mself, obviously think that the adherents as a collective in general are stupid FOR BELIEVING that bullshit, sure. but that’s a far cry from racism, hate, or even PREJudice. Rational judgement, perhaps, but not PREjudgement.

I’m not any of those things. I hate nationalism,etc, Like Mr.Paine I consider myself a world citizen and a member of the human species. I DO see something as SUPEIRIOR though, and that is ‘enlightenment values”. Those values are IN-”DEED” Superior. They have proven themselves thus. But I don’t expect ultra-relative P.C. twits to understand these objective facts and truths. Bcause they too busy living in a utopian delusion of all views and ways beeing equally valid.

In Reason:
Bill

28. Bill Baker

{Quote;DLM/}As I understand it, the work ‘Jew’ can refer to either an ethnic group or followers of Judaism, the religion. This does cause confusion. Perhaps someone who IS Jewish can clarify this. I’ve known people who did not follow the religion of Judaism, but still identified as Jewish.{Unquote/}

DLM.

This that you’ve heard is false rhetroic with no rational or evidenceable validity.

It is based ona couple false and illogical beliefs.
1} If you come from a Jewish background and even if you leave it you are still a Jew.
2} if your mother was a Jew-you are a Jew{but not if only your father was a Jew; it helps if both parents are, but if only one aprent- then the mother only}.
3} the holocaust happenned, therefore in solidarity anyone whom came from a Jewish background is still a Jew even if they reject the beliefs by which Jewi is originally defined

Tell me if these arguments have ANY rational or evideceable validity. Alot fo so-called non-believing/atheistic{etc} and secular Jews and pretty much everyone else buy this flatly false and absurd argument. But some of us don’t. I even know of a person whom has put up a websitre whom comes from this Jewish background and once held trhe beliefs as well, he has now rejected the term ‘jew” outright. He recognizes the absurdity and arrogance of the above arguments. He recognizes that a Jew is truly only someon whom believes in Yahweh and b follows the Torah, period!!! No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
{but the way the guy still has a name that your average P.C.L reverse racist and religious Jew would call a religious JEWISH NAME; I have christian names- does that make me christian???} His name is David Dvorkin. If you’re interested in his arguments just google “why I am not a Jew” and/or his name.

JEW refers to not a race, not an ethnicity. It refers to a “PEOPLE” yes, and by definition a ‘religiously-based” people. Even the Jews that accept the idea of non-believeing Jews recognize that the non-believing Jew must still pay homage to the Jewish COMMUNITY/COLLECTIVE and the Jewish traditions and rituals{which, of course, are originally theistically/religiously based}.

There’s n way any one can rationally argue against htese facts I put forth. But still billions buy the false rhetoric.

To bad they don’t respect the ex-Jews whom have renounced the label “Jew”{such as the guy i mention above}, apparently their sensitivites don’t matter, only the sensitivities of the “chosen people of yahweh” matter.

PFFFFTT!!!

{Quote/}Where did you get the idea “anti-semitism” referred to the religion and not the ethnic group?{Unquote/}

I never said that. “Anti-semitism” does not refer to the religion and not the ethnicity. Did’nt you read what i said? I said Jews are not the only semites, and often even Arabs and Arab muslims{etc} that are against the Jews are falsely called “anti-semitic”, which is absurd because if they were that’d mean they hate themselves too.

My view of “semitism” comes from the OBJECTIVE REALITY/FACTS and etymology of the word.

{Quote/}While technically true that Arabs are semitic and therefore anti-semitic should also be anti-Arab, this is simply not the way the meaning of the word has evolved. It’s usage has ALWAYS been to mean discrimination against Jews{Unquote/}

And that de-evolved meaning is flat out FALSE. It is also a sneaky way for people to control speech and ideas. It’s like the frsh new “Islamaphobia” term. Both are used t silence criticisms and to demonize critics as “racists”.
In fact even more strongly so. Why do you think that no one hardly ever critisizes the Jews or their beliefs or culture? Why do you think that it is that the harshest criticisms against Christianity and Christians{fundamentalism especially} is actually focuse son the Old Tesament, originally the Jewish scriptures and indeed written by Jews promoting the Jewish religion and culture? No one dare point this out, no they just blame the christians for the evil cruelty of Yahweh the Old Testament{never called the Tanakh/Jewish scriptures god} deity?
Think about that.

In Reason:
Bill

I never said I HATE follower sof Islam, and I don’t believe the so-called ‘racist’ right wingers like Levant and Steyn, or the left wingers like myself, Maher, or Hitchens, are have ever said they HATE the adherehts, and I don’t ebleieve they do hate them either.

Bill – its a bit more trickier than that. If you started going on about how JEws were running the world and that for some reason Jews were in positions of power and Christians / whites weren’t and that is was a grand plot to take over our great country… yada yada – people would think you were an anti-semitic nut for good reason.

Now, I see that you’ve subtly disassociated yourself from Mark Steyn based on what I quoted above, but not addressed it. His premise is the same as above: that all Muslims present a threat to western society (hence he talks about their numbers versus our numbers) in demographic terms.

He’s not anti-religion like you are – he loves Christian nut jobs! In fact, the biggest supporters of his theories are the Christian Zionists! Are those your ideological buddies?
So by putting Thomas Paine and yourself in the same category, you do Paine and yourself a disservice. I suggest reading a bit more Steyn before mouthing off loudly on here about how anyone pro-rationality is being unfairly tarred a racist. Cheerio!

30. Bill Baker

{Quote;Sunny/}that their religion is a threat to western society and frnakly they should be treated as the enemy{Unquote/}

Their religions IS a threat to not just western society, but the entire world{as is christiaity and other revealed religions, which unfortunately the more right wing enemies of Islam hypocritically fail to recognize most of the time; including Steyn and Levant}.

Christians and Muslims,and revealed religionists SHOULD be treated as an enemy; but only an IDEOLOGICAL one, not as individuals. They should not be actively oppressed and persecuted. And I don’t think anyone left or rigt in this debate wants that for them either{that they should be actively oppressed or persecuted}-at least not many think this or want this.
Fact is though that in Europe Islamofacism is a real threat{moreso than in other western nations}, I reccomend the videos of Brit- Pat Condell on youtube for analysis of the threat{smak on and amusingly said at the same time}.
And the way that The HRC’s continue to allow Muslims to use them to persecute critics of Islam{such as Steyn or Levant} shows that Islamofascism IS a threat here in Canada too{not as badly so as say in Europe, but it is}.

We can’t keep kissing the ass of Muslims and Christians{etc} and not admit that so long as they subvert society or even outright impose their absurd and dagerous beliefs on us; we are incredibly naeive to think that them believing and promulgating these beliefs is harmless.

No one wants outright persecution nor oppression of them or their rights to their beliefs, we are just as I keep saying calling for the legitization and spread of “Conversational intolerance”.

{Quote/}, to me, is problematic, and not different to how JEws were treated early in this century{Unquote/}

That’s horrible comparion. There are big differences, the Jews wer enot imposing their values on the Germans. The Jews were no threat. Just because they were savvy businessmen does’nt make them a threat. There was no rational reason to fear the Jews.
Muslims[and christians,etc} are a differnet story alltogether; they continuously ipose, seek privelages everywhere they go, and they continue to demonize otgers as a result of their religions. They really are a threat, Jews never were. Allthough Jews are stupid for believin Judaism and for thinking the bible tyrant Yahweh a just god, and for arrogantly thinking themselves “Gods CHOSEN people”{but then christians and muslims think the same shit about themselves}.
But Jews were never a real threat. Christians and Muslums,etc, ARE and we can see through history that they and their beliefs are and always have been.

And again, no one is calling for treatment of Muslims that is similar to that of Nazi germay Jews or histrical Jews.

{Quote/}Bill – please stop putting Thomas Paine and MArk Steyn in the same sentence. Its highly disingenuous. One was a political philosopher, the other an idiot who doesn’t have an original brain cell in his body.{Unquote/}

I’m not comparing them if that’s what you think. LoL!!! Far from it. I’m merely defending Steyns free speech and his position on Islam, I’m not glorifying him like I would the great Tom Paine.

{Quote/}And there you have it. By Steyn’s own words – you’re stupid because your hyper-rationality means you’ll be crushed under the demographic forces of Muslims.. blah blah… yada yada.{Unquote/}

I think Steyn is mistaking Politically Correct idiocy taking hold amongst the liberal left these days for hyper-rationalism.
He’s mistaken. I disagree strongly. but that’s not the point here. The point is that Sten has every right to say this or to say shit about Islam and not be legally penalized or hyper-demonized for it.

{Quote/}He doesn’t even believe in the same rubbish as you. He believes, like Melanie Phillips does, that Christian and Jews should unite and not only spread their religion but also increase their birthrate to fight Muslims{Unquote/}

And that is hypcoritical idiocy on his part. But he still has a right to say it without legal penalizations, which msulim dipshits love to do to people whom critisize Islam.

You seem to be completely missing my point. I’m not glorifying Steyn or agreeing with some of his idiotic positions{though I may agree with him on some positions}, that has not been my argument at all. My only argument has been that he has a right to free speech without legal penalizations and that he is not a “racist”. That’s all.
But this sems to be flying right over your head.

{Quote/}So if I were you, I’d think Steyn is as much the enemy as the Jihadis. Unles, of course, your problem is only with Muslims specifically and not religious belief more broadly.{Unquote/}

As a right-wing ideologue and supporter of christianity, yes he is an ideological enemy.
But again you’re missing my point entirely.

I also think Muslis have a right to free speech without legal penalizations and hardcore persecution. I may think them morons, I may think Islam is evil, I don’t think they should be censored or legally penalized for their opinions and beliefs. If that happenned to them… I’d stand up for them too.
But you seem to be completely missing my point.

In Reason:
Bill

31. Bill Baker

{Quote/]Bill – its a bit more trickier than that. If you started going on about how JEws were running the world and that for some reason Jews were in positions of power and Christians / whites weren’t and that is was a grand plot to take over our great country… yada yada – people would think you were an anti-semitic nut for good reason.{Unquote/}

No doubt about it, Jews do have some power. By and large they’ve earned it, but not always.
But this is irrelevant, because their beliefs don’t suggest they should rule the planet.
The Christians and Muslims beliefs and holy books do say this for them.

{Quote/}Now, I see that you’ve subtly disassociated yourself from Mark Steyn based on what I quoted above, but not addressed it. His premise is the same as above: that all Muslims present a threat to western society (hence he talks about their numbers versus our numbers) in demographic terms.{Unquote/}

Perhaps, perhaps not. From what I can tell thus far is that his premise is that fundamentalist Muslims are all a threat. He is correct. So are all fundamentalist Christians{etc}.

But to my understanding when Steyn refers to THEIR NUMBERS, he’s talking about in Europe. Muslims are breeding like jackrabbits there, and I am one whom thiks that if allowed to continue to grow in such numbers and allowed to continue to move to free European nations, the FUNDAMNETALIST Muslims{not the moderats ones neccaserily; allthough their contant asking us not to critisize their religion and asking us angrily whilst softly critizising fundy extremists only serves to help the fundies grwo in number and power} ARE a real threat, and they ARE using Europes tolerant liberal laws against Them{as they do here}, they are manipulating liberal tolerance to a subversive and dangerous advantage. What happenned in Denmark with the cartoons amonbgst Muslims, when an oddly scary number of Muslims threataned life and limb and cried for special privelage and when Imams there started blatantly saying that Islam will gain a footlhold and power in Europe, this IS REAL my friend.

In Russia for example. Putin put a Radical Muslim{pretending to be moderate} in power of Chechnya in charge, Ramzan Kadyrov. His private army allegedly murders and abducts enemies of the regime with impunity, and he has enforced upon all the peopl some Sharia laws[for example, women have to wear hijabs,etc}. This is what happens when we treat Muslims and their religion with “tolerance”. This will happen in parts of Europe so long as we don’t admit that Muslim fundamentalism really is a threat and that moderates have to choose a side… secular democracy or kissing the ass of their fundamentalist brethren.

Christian Zionists, no I hate em. I never said I liked Steyn I said I support his free speech. You keep missing this point.

{Quote/}So by putting Thomas Paine and yourself in the same category, you do Paine and yourself a disservice{Unquote/}

That’s not what I did. I said we are in the same boat in our opposition to Islam, that’s all.
I also said that we’re in the same boat in our love of free speech.
And via the quotes I gave from Paine…it’s obvious he was too.

“he who dare snot offend canot be honest”.

“Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance but the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms: the one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, the other of granting it”

‘He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression”

“I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies another this right makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it”

“An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

And the facts still hold, you have not provided amplpe proof that Steyn is “racist”.
You know what, Chris Hitchens has faced the same accusation from Muslims and P.C. lefties, and yet no valid proof has been presented to back this accusation up.
Mel Gibson faced tha accusation…yet no valid proof.
People love to throw around this loaded accusation of “racism” against people, and it has to stop. Unless there is AMPLE proof that someone TRULY is “racist”, DON’T CALL EM THAT!!!

In Reason:
Bill

His premise is the same as above: that all Muslims present a threat to western society

I’ve read hundreds of Steyn’s columns and he’s never said or implied that.

He’s not anti-religion like you are – he loves Christian nut jobs!

Care to name the “Christian nut jobs” Steyn loves so?

Bill – if you truly stand resolutely for reason, then you will have to be more careful and restrained with your use of language, otherwise I will take it that you stand readied for action (!).

Perhaps it might be advisable to strongly disagree, rather than hate. It might also be diplomatic to identify challenges where more intemperate eyes see threats.

This is a continual problem, especially in the domain of public presentation, as all messages are filtered through their messenger and the more immediate impact will ultimately have a strong bearing on whether the most important information is effectively transmitted and successfully recieved.

In campaigning terms this is also highly relevant, as the form of action must marry with the aim of undertaking it, otherwise it can be dismissed as a gesture.

Definition of Rascist? Bigot? Anyone losing an argument with a liberal? Definition of Fascism? Any movement led by those who “know better” which advocates ignoring constitutions and democracy, using government to implement the changes “they” see fit by the use of official propaganda and force if necessary. That sounds like you.

Why is equality “moral”? Why, for example, does it appear to be exclusive to man as a species? Why is there no welfare state for animals?

How is equality to be effected? Surely stigmatisation and marginalisation of those with whom we disagree violates equality?

As regards sexual relations, how do we distinguish between those that are truly moral and those that are knowingly built on deceit? “Love” is easier said than done. If as a society we fail to curtail the abuse of that word it can only be to the detriment of mutual trust.

Traditionally, English law has used objective, demonstrable fact as the measure of criminality. Assault, for example, has to be proved in a way that hatred cannot. How do we square the non-scientific concept of “potential life”, by which we really mean “dependent life”, with that principle? Is pain really the only measure of morality? If I kill someone while he is under anaesthetic is that OK? Is our definition of humanity objective or subjective? If the latter, doesn’t that make us no better than the dictators?


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