What happens when a culture rejects its underlying principles? When any structure loses its foundations it crumbles and falls. Western civilisation is rejecting its foundations and we are beginning to see the results.
The West was built on Christian principles. Not everyone consistently held to biblical principles, but our history, our laws, our way of living together all emerged from Christianity. Progressives think they are all grown up and don’t need Christianity, yet we find they don’t have a viable structure to replace Christianity, and the chaos is beginning to emerge. Continue reading “TRUE EQUALITY”→
There is no lack of vile regimes which subjugate their own citizens and spread terror abroad. This is especially true of the Middle East where there appears to be little to choose between hereditary dictatorships, military juntas and Islamo-Fascist theocracies. Democracy is a fragile flower in even the best of Arab countries.
A report issued by the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) this week criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas for assaults on human rights and freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The report lists cases of torture and mistreatment in PA and Hamas prisons. ICHR pointed particularly to an increase in the number of torture cases in prisons belonging to the PA’s much-feared Preventive Security Service in the West Bank.
It appears that during January alone ICHR received 56 complaints about torture and mistreatment in Palestinian prisons: 36 in the Gaza Strip and 19 in the West Bank. In addition, they received innumerable complaints about arbitrary and unlawful arrests of Palestinians by the PA and Hamas.
The PA police force have a rather direct way with demonstrators. On January 12, 2014, PA policemen used force to break up a protest by Palestinian youths north of Ramallah. Between 60-70 protesters, the report states, were wounded in the head and legs after policemen attacked them with clubs and stun grenades. According to the report on January 28, 2014, PA policemen used live ammunition to disperse stone-throwers in the centre of Ramallah.
You must remember watching the TV news reports about this and reading about it in the newspapers. Perhaps if you missed these you picked it up on the BBC Radio 4 documentary about conditions in Gaza and the West Bank. No?
Don’t beat yourself up. There was no media coverage of the report, just as there is little media coverage of corruption in the Palestine Authority. An EU report found that financial corruption in the PA led to the ‘loss’ of aid to the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the period 2008 to 2012 amounting to around €2 billion.
Yet we all know, because we are constantly told so, that the bad boy in the Middle East and the cause of all the suffering of the Palestinian people is Israel.
Why in a world replete with corrupt and violent regimes should our progressive elites demonise the one regime in the Middle East which actually dares to be democratic? Arab citizens of Israel enjoy more human and political rights than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East. They serve in the Knesset, in the Judiciary, in the Foreign Service, in higher education, and in business. They are free to criticize Israel and to support its enemies. Israeli universities are hot beds of anti-Israel rhetoric, advocacy and even teaching.
Moreover, anyone—Jew, Muslim or Christian—dissatisfied with Israeli actions can express that dissatisfaction in the courts, and in the media, both at home and abroad. This freedom does not exist in any Arab country, nor in many non-Arab countries.
Yet it is Israel alone which is being threatened with boycott, disinvestment and sanctions. Israel and the plight of the Palestinians have become the progressive cause de jour.
There are many reasons held in varying degrees, none having much to do with the facts. There is the herd mentality. Our fiercely individualistic progressives have evolved into what Harold Rosenburg termed a ‘herd of independent minds’.
Long before Rosenburg, Thomas Huxley (Darwin’s Bulldog) wrestled with the inherent contradiction between man’s ‘innate tendency to self-assertion … as the condition of victory in the struggle for existence and the obvious fact that in the struggle for survival loners are losers and individuals who banded together increased their chances of survival.’ Huxley came to the conclusion that the glue holding individuals together in a group is the collective shaming code.
The shared code binds members of the group as one. They share disgust, anger, delight and shame of the same things. The unanimity of their visceral response provides a powerful sense of collective identity. They become the tribal ‘Us’, as opposed to those tribes who are not disgusted, angered or shamed as ‘We’ are. A group sharing a powerful visceral code inhibiting the natural tendency of the individual to self-assertion presents a united front against its enemies. To step outside that group is a betrayal of the group, more importantly it is a betrayal of one’s identity.
There are also the great many armchair warriors. Sitting in suburbia or a student union bar the armchair warrior can obtain the thrill of engagement merely by voicing support for the Palestinians. There need be no actual engagement but virtual participation brings with it a sense of taking part in the struggle. North Americans of supposedly Irish descent found the same in their support of Irish terrorism, a dollar in the collecting tin for the ‘bhoys’ and they were on the front line, never mind the innocent shoppers blown to bits by bombs.
Israel is far from perfect but when criticism is focussed on a state with strong democratic credentials, and that nation happens to be the state of the Jewish people, the suspicion of bigotry must be considered. Declarations that ‘I’m not anti-Semitic but ant-Zionist’, sound alarmingly like those statements beginning, ‘I’m not a racist, but …’
Dr Martin Luther King said: ‘Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so.’
Despite Dr king’s assertion it is possible to be anti-Zionist and not anti-Semitic, but it is increasingly difficult especially when the side you support has a view of the Jews which would get Hitler’s stamp of approval. Your position is seriously undermined when the people you support or work alongside are virulently anti-Semitic.
Cliff Hanley believes 9/11 is a Jewish conspiracy; Sammi Ibrahem supports the Holocaust and refers to the Nazis as “martyrs”; Ellie Merton reckons the Breivik massacre in Norway was ‘an Israeli Govt sponsored operation’; and Gill Kaffash believes the Holocaust is a lie. The common factor? They have all chaired or held other prominent positions in the UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an organisation which makes the barking mad BNP seem like a group of hand-wringing moderates.
There is also the anti-colonialist’s self-hatred. At the end of the day the problem with the Israeli’s is that they are just too like us.
Language is a wonderful construct, especially that Queen of languages, English. It is not for nothing that the greatest contributions to world culture emerging from English speaking nations have been literary. We may not be all that good at splattering paint on canvas or chipping away at marble, which perhaps explains Britart, but we are good with words.
However, as with all good things there is a dark side. Language, a tool for expressing and exchanging ideas can also be used for shutting down thought and speech. This is the particular genius of progressives, they have treated Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four as an instruction manual instead of a warning against Stalinist thought control.
Younger readers may find this hard to believe but there was a time when if someone told you that you were a discriminating person you would have been pleased at the compliment. Discrimination meant discernment, the ability to tell the difference between good and bad, helpful and harmful, ugly and beautiful, truth and error. Today it is code for a person who has just crawled out from under a rock where he had gone to adjust his swastika armband.
Discrimination has become as toxic as that other no-no, prejudice. Yet prejudice is a useful attribute which we all employ, it saves not only time but a great deal of aggro. Everyone is prejudiced for the simple reason that prejudging is a socially useful cognitive function. You make observations based on experience and live by them until proven otherwise.
It is prejudice, or prejudging a situation and people, which prevents one from going into certain pubs in the Gallowgate in Glasgow where the patrons are all wearing green scarves and starting to praise Rangers FC. It may just be within the bounds of possibility that the assembled Celtic FC supporters would greet one with bonhomie and joviality and be eager to swap merry quips about the sportsmanlike qualities of those fine upstanding chaps who play in blue. Then again it may not.
For those outwith Scotland, football in Glasgow is inextricably, and often violently, linked with religion. In the illustration above, and its reverse, prejudice is not an example of sectarianism it is an example of common sense, something lacking in progressive circles. Prejudging a situation can be not only useful but necessary.
Likewise judging people, far from being labelled a dangerously harmful attitude was once considered a necessity if you were not going to be ripped off or generally taken advantage of. To lack judgement meant that you couldn’t be trusted to be in charge of a water pistol. Since time immemorial judgement has been seen as the basic building block of wisdom and a signifier of maturity.
Martin Luther King, Jr, famously dreamed of the day when his children would “not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” We focus on the first part of that statement, but the second part is important also: didn’t Dr King have an expectation that we would have standards and that we would judge people by them?
Today judgement is no longer a desirable attribute, rather it is seen as malign. Employing judgement, or being ‘judgemental’ as it is usually termed, is to be avoided wherever possible. Instead we are urged to put judgement aside and be more empathetic. The big drawback with this attitude of never mind the facts feel the emotion is that it leaves us wide open to all those things which might harm us and those whom we love.
Tolerance is seen by progressives as the mark of the well integrated individual, which is an incredibly dangerous attitude. Blanket, non-judgemental tolerance is harmful to society. Genuine tolerance demands judgement and discrimination because there are things and people of whom we should not be tolerant. Progressives with their blanket tolerance end up with the inanity of demanding tolerance for those who are themselves rabidly and dangerously intolerant. In doing so they end up righteously endorsing sexism, homophobia, inequality and the very intolerance they fear.
What progressives do is take a word with a perfectly good even positive meaning, select a few extreme examples of its dreadful misuse and forever ban use of the word except in a pejorative sense. This restricts not only the use of language but the thought process behind the word. As Wittgenstein told us, “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”
By hijacking these and other words progressives infantalise the rest of us and ensure that we are dependent upon them to tell us what we should think and value. By their manipulation of language progressives have become the arbiters of right and what is wrong. As Joseph Stalin said, “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?”
As Grain is about to go to Inverness for a few days this will be the last posting for a week or so. Those wishing to condemn me, point out my Neanderthal tendencies, or otherwise blow off steam, please hold your fire until Grain returns.