Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Financial Times thinks we have free speech.

The second paragraph of yesterday’s leading article starts “One of the canards of British political discourse is that no one dares talk frankly about immigration”.

Well first, that’s what is known as a “straw man” argument: that is, attributing an obviously absurd argument to someone, then demolishing the argument, and claiming you’ve demolished or dented your opponent’s case. That is, the idea that “no one” in the whole of the UK dares say what they think on immigration is obviously absurd.

The more important question is whether there a SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION of the population don’t dare say what they think. And indeed it would seem from this survey that about a third of the population don’t think they are free to say what they think on immigration for fear of prosecution or losing their jobs.

And indeed they are right: people HAVE BEEN sacked from their jobs for being members of anti-immigration organisations. Plus the law on “inciting racial hatred” is extremely vague, and doubtless deliberately so. That is, you never quite know what statement about other races or about immigration might land you in trouble. So the best thing to do, especially if you’ve got a well paid job and/or a family to feed is to keep quiet. And the politically correct opponents of free speech only have to prosecute VERY FEW people in order to get the desired result, namely suppressing free speech in general.

The same principle applies to another lot who want to suppress free speech, namely Muslims who want to ban cartoons about Islam: they only need to slit the throat of about one cartoonist every two or three years, and two hundred other cartoonists take note. If the latter cartoonists have a family to support, they might as well play safe and not publish cartoons about Islam.

Hitler and Stalin suppressed free speech and boasted about it. The politically correct and Muslims suppress free speech and then claim they haven’t done so. I’m not sure which is the more odious.


  1. Ralph,

    I rather wonder what the reaction to free speech would be in this country if we were:

    1. Colonised and lived under a foreign imposed dictatorship (any number of Muslim countries).
    2. If we tried doing anything about this neocolonialism were bombed into submission until we allowed the toppled dictatorship back into power (again the list is very long).
    3. Subject to absurd stories that were concocted to legitimise invasion (see above).

    And at the end of it all, having seen our country destroyed, millions dead and made refugees, we had to listen to some gibberish about the right to be insulted.

    I am very much in favour of free speech and to be insulted, but let's not be dishonest about this. We want to insult people who see their coreligionists being murdered on the basis of fantastical propaganda (45 minutes and all that), and then spin it as some defence of enlightenment values.

    In the UK, we happily vote for neo-fascist political parties without any of the provocations listed above. Presumably we'd go Nazi in no time if subject to a mere fraction of what Muslim countries are subjected to. Indeed, many British people pre-1945 rather liked the Nazis. If we had been occupied they'd have collaborated just as all of Europe had.

    Yet objectively speaking, nearly all Muslims are amazingly restrained in their actions, make a distinction between the governments of the West and the peoples of those countries, and are sensible enough not to label whole people as depraved degenerates if they get a little miffed by being blown to bits.

    I should imagine British Hindus would soon become more than just a little upset if the UK started bombing India on ludicrous pretexts. British Jews would similarly get rather agitated if the UK bombed Israel based on a sexed up dodgy dossier.

    1. Re “Colonised and lived under a foreign imposed dictatorship (any number of Muslim countries)”, Muslims since the founding of Islam in the 6th century in the Arabian peninsula has “colonised” almost half the world. So there’s no need for Europeans to apologise to Muslims on that score (not that two blacks make a white of course).

      Moreover I can’t think of a single example of a Muslim country living under a “foreign imposed dictator” (although doubtless there are one or two). All the recent dictators in Muslim countries I can think of are home grown: Saddam Hussein, Gadaffi, El-Sisi in Egypt etc. And then there are a host of non-democratic regimes in the Gulf which are home grown. It’s true that the West does support some of those because the West wants stability there so it can buy oil. But basically the West couldn’t care less what sort of regimes exist in the Gulf, just as long as there is stability. However, I’d guess the vast majority of Westerners would prefer to see democratic regimes there.

      Re “bombed into submission until we allowed the toppled dictatorship back into power” again, can’t think of any examples. Indeed 95% of recent “bombing” was done so as to REMOVE dictators: Saddam Hussein and Gadaffi (not that I supported either of those interventions).

      Re “45 minutes” the big problem with your argument there is that the Iraq war was supported by numerous Muslim countries. Indeed the war would have been impossible without Gulf states, particularly Saudi, letting Americans use Saudi airfields etc. I.e. it wasn’t a straight case the “wicked Westerners” maltreating Muslims (not, to repeat, that I supported the Iraq war).

      Next, the objective of Muslim cartoonist and author murderers is to supress criticisms of Islam IN THE WEST. This isn't a case of “poor downtrodden Muslims” defending their culture in the own countries: it’s a case of cultural imperialism. That is trying to impose Islam on the West. Indeed it’s their declared aim to do just that. The Koran tells them to use all available means, civilised and not civilised to spread Islam.

  2. Part 2:

    As for your somewhat peculiar rendition of modern history. The Baathists in Iraq were brought to power by what the CIA called their "favourite coup". The Shah of Iran was brought to power by a CIA and Islamist coup. Sisi was brought to power by a US-backed coup against the democratically elected government. The fanatical Pakistani Islamist Zia ul Haq was brought to power by a US backed coup. The Indonesian dictator Suharto was brought to power by a US and Islamist coup. And the list goes on. Indeed, a 2012 report by US Defence Intelligence Agency was recently released after a federal judicial tangle. What did it report? That Western powers understand that its policies regarding Syria will establish an extremist Islamic state outside the hands of Assad. Not only did these powers understand this but that they favoured it.

    What Islamic empires did hundreds of years ago is irrelevant because it has no current impact. What we do now is relevant because it does have an impact. The Islamic invasion of Spain is not relevant today. The US and UK invasion of Iraq is relevant to what is happening today.

    "Re “45 minutes” the big problem with your argument there is that the Iraq war was supported by numerous Muslim countries."

    No, Ralph: US-backed dictatorships, not the countries. As big a difference as is possible to get. Polls taken in the Muslim world reflect this.

    "But basically the West couldn’t care less what sort of regimes exist in the Gulf, just as long as there is stability."

    Then why topple stable democratic governments in Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc, many of which are the most populous and liberal Muslim countries? Obviously it is because the Western powers prefer dictatorships. Indeed, why try and topple Assad and replace him with ISIS? In what civilised world is that a preferable choice?

    "Next, the objective of Muslim cartoonist and author murderers is to suppress criticisms of Islam IN THE WEST."

    That's partially right. The jihadis have never been particularly popular with Muslims. They're very popular with western governments, but not their own coreligionists. Given that they are incapable of convincing their coreligionists with rational arguments, because they don't have any, they engineer situations in which their moderate coreligionists end up having to choose between two nasty sides. They can portray themselves as the defenders of Islam against the western armies invading Muslim countries on absurd pretexts. Moreover, in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, etc the countries have been destroyed and the jihadis take power in some fashion, either in the whole country or a good part of it. In the West, the dimwitted liberalistas do the jihadis work for them by supporting wars and then printing provocative and insulting cartoons and articles.

  3. Part 3:

    "It’s a case of cultural imperialism. That is trying to impose Islam on the West."

    I'll believe that when Muslim countries have their drones, tanks and soldiers on the streets of any Western country. Evidently, things are the exact opposite: it is western imperialism that is seeking to impose itself on the Muslim world. Or were those US and UK soldiers in Iraq a figment of my imagination?

    "Indeed 95% of recent “bombing” was done so as to REMOVE dictators: Saddam Hussein and Gadaffi."

    True as far as it goes. But to be replaced by what? You'll find that democratically elected governments were not what was envisaged. It was simply a case of replacing one dictator with a different but more manageable dictator, but given the incompetence of those at the helm - Bush, Blair and co - things have backfired spectacularly.

    "The Koran tells them to use all available means, civilised and not civilised to spread Islam."

    Well, maybe it does and maybe it doesn't, but so what? Every religion tells its followers to spread the message by fair means or foul. No doubt the scientologists believe the same nonsense, but I'm not in favour of bombing East Grinstead.

    If Muslims apparently know that false idols (archaeological treasures that predate Islam) are an abomination, like the Sphinx, then why have false idols been left alone and been protected and cared for? If Muslims apparently know that the only good unbeliever is a dead one, why did Muslims not kill all these unbelieving Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc when they had the opportunity? Why give refuge to Jews expelled from Europe if they believed them to be wicked? The reason is that Muslims don't believe this nonsense. We believe it about them because it is very convenient to blame the victims and portray them as evil barbarians.

    We started this madness by toppling liberal governments in Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, etc, aided the jihadi menace in the fight against the Soviet Union, installed brutal dictatorships to keep the price of oil within an acceptable range, and now we feel hurt when the plan has started to backfire with threats to, and the murders of, cartoonists by our former chums. Talk about self-pity.

    As another Middle Easterner who advocated the spread of his religion once said: "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

    1. Even assuming there’s been excessive manipulation and/or military measures taken against Muslim countries, that’s still not an excuse for Muslims killing cartoonists or authors.

      The Germans bombed London to smithereens during WWII and invaded Russia and killed about 20 million there. Do the Brits object to cartoons in German newspapers making fun of Brits? No. Would the Russian Orthodox Church object to cartoons in German newspapers making fun of the RO Church and try to kill relevant cartoonists? No.

      Europeans invaded and took over North America a few centuries ago. Do North American Indians object to cartoons about North American Indians? No.

      It’s only Muslims with their raging inferiority complexes who go in for killing authors and cartoonists.

      And finally, the BASIC POINT in my above article still stands, namely that the FT was wrong to say that Brits do not feel they have freedom of speech on immigration. The point about killing cartoonists and authors was an aside in the last two paragraphs occupying a small portion of the article.

  4. Ralph, my Part 1 seems to have been lost in cyberspace. Here it is:

    When you're not avoiding the issue, you're making arguments that are the political equivalent of "loanable funds" and "fractional reserve banking", fantastical and unreal assertions that have no evidence whatever other than misunderstanding, propaganda and tradition.

    Would British Hindus and British Jews react violently if India and Israel were attacked? Yes, they probably would. Furthermore, having seen countries to which they are deeply attached destroyed and their coreligionists murdered, would they champion freedom of speech while Vishnu and Moses were portrayed as paedophiles, sex addicts and bloodthirsty barbarians? No, I rather think not. Moreover, these stupid, provocative cartoons are knowingly printed again and again until there is a reaction.

    Do these newspapers have that right? Yes. Do I defend that right? Yes. But that isn't the point now, is it? The point is the context. The point is that almost all of these so-called newspapers supported and were cheerleaders for wars based on knowing lies that left millions dead and countries in total carnage, and now claim that they are merely defending freedom of speech when they publish knowingly provocative cartoons. Do these newspapers honestly believe they are striking some sort of blow against Islamic extremism by publishing this stuff? They obviously know it aids the jihadis, and the jihadis can't believe their luck.

  5. Ralph,

    Your points about North American Indians and the rest miss the obvious point that these things are not happening as we speak. The issues I am talking about are happening right now, and are therefore very raw.

    Your argument seems to be that Muslims just like taking offence. That it happens to be at the very same time Muslims are being murdered by our troops is just some weird coincidence.

    I suggest we stop invading Muslim countries, toppling their governments, interfering in their affairs, then we can insult them to our hearts content. We'll see what reaction we get then. Probably nothing.


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