Finsbury Park Mosque attack sign of a society coming apart

Finsbury Park Mosque attack sign of a society coming apart

 

On the morning of Monday, June 19, at 00:21 am, a white van ploughed into a crowd of worshippers who had exited the Finsbury Park Mosque. 10 people were injured, eight are in hospital with several whose conditions have been described as very serious. One person was killed.

The far-right terrorist, for that, is what we must call him, was held down by members of the congregation while the police were called. The imam protected him from the anger of the crowd so that the police could do their job properly when they arrived. The man reportedly said that he’d done his job, and apparently shouted that he wanted to kill all Muslims.

This attack came just over a year after the murder of the MP Jo Cox by another far-right terrorist. Anniversaries are important for terrorists.  The Manchester bombing came 4 yours after the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

Last week, Grenfell Tower in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea caught fire and has resulted in the likely deaths of around 79 people. The safety concerns of the residents had been ignored. The workmanship of the refurbishment, hired out to a series of contractors, had been substandard. Now, this blackened tower stands like a tomb, reaching into the sky and berating us for the lack of thought for those at the bottom of society.

The London Bridge attack took place on June 3, and shook the capital and country, already off balance after the attack in Manchester; this was followed by the fire. Now, this. Londoners could be forgiven for feeling like society is seriously fraying at the seams. After the Manchester attacks, there were calls to carry on, as usual, to not allow the terrorists to divide us and to not let it alter our attitudes to each other or to life.

Of course, this didn’t happen, bar some much talked up events where the efforts made by the media to draw attention to their healing and harmonious nature only served to instill in the minds of many people that there are those who are endeavouring to paper over the cracks, encouraging us to dance and sing, and all the while it feels more and more like some black wave is rushing towards us, threatening to drown us, with every attack, every disaster, every instance of political upheaval.

The Finsbury Mosque attack is what happens when the great societal conversation, the dialogue between people from different walks of life, breaks down and is replaced by mistrust, fear and suspicion. The extremists from both ends of the ideological spectrum, whether it is the Islamists, the far-right ethno-nationalists, or indeed the militant far-left, thrive in this polarised environment, as more and more people are driven into their ranks seeking some kind of psychological and spiritual safety.

Al-Quds day saw a march by Hezbollah supporters and other Islamist extremists march through the centre of London. They, of course, blamed the Grenfell fire on the ‘Zionists’. The March saw the flags of Hezbollah and other terror groups flying. This is not a sign of a healthy society.

After the Grenfell fire, there was a protest against the negligence the residents felt at Kensington and Chelsea Council, the local municipal authority. A crowd of angry protesters surged into the council building and tried to make it upstairs but were stopped by police. Later, the protest took to the street, marching through central London, shouting their anger, at the government, at society, at the clear evening sky. There is evidence that many of the protestors were far-Left militants, as evidenced by the signs carried. This is where the majority of the chants for the overthrow of the democratically elected government came from.

The ‘Day of Rage’ protest planned to coincide with the Queen’s Speech this week has been infiltrated by far-Left radicals who will use the grief and anger of the residents of Grenfell and the surrounding area for their own malign political purposes: namely, toppling a government they see as illegitimate despite its having won the General Election. Even the residents have raised concern over these ideologues using their pain for their own gain.

Far-right extremism is on the rise, with the Prevent counter-radicalisation scheme seeing a sharp increase in the number of people being referred for worrying far-right behaviour. ISIS wanted to divide us as a society, to turn us into two armed camps, Muslim v non-Muslim. Last night, they succeeded. They cannot be allowed to succeed again.

Now, more than ever, it is vital that we have those ‘embarrassing’ conversations that Theresa May spoke of in her speech following the London Bridge attack. It is only through dialogue that we can diffuse the brewing tensions that people in London and across the country can feel, even if they do not wish to admit to it. It is far, far better to have combat with words, rather than combat with weapons. It is only if we speak the truth to the best of our ability that we can gain some control over the chaos that threatens to unleash itself on our society.

Robert Putnam, in Bowling Alone, demonstrated that multicultural societies are lower in trust than monocultural societies. People tend to hunker down in their nests and engage with each other less. This is not an option for us, as the last few weeks have proven. We must engage, we must discuss, we must debate, we must argue, we must not let offence at people disagreeing with ideas hold us back.

The only option for our increasingly diverse society is to have an increasingly free and open debate. The alternative is to hunker down even more and allow the cracks to grow and the tension to rise.

That would be the worst thing we could do.

Re-posted from Bombs and Dollars

Upon a Windswept Shore: The Falklands War 35 Years On

Upon a Windswept Shore: The Falklands War 35 Years On

It was 35 years ago. Margaret Thatcher was in power, but only precariously so. The country was fractious, and the economy was still struggling to emerge from the subterranean depths it had plunged to in the 1970’s. A war on the far side of the world was fought and won, against all the odds, and showed the world that Britain would not sit idly by as its sovereign territory was invaded by a belligerent dictatorship.

The first signs of trouble came on March 31, 1982, when news came of Argentinian naval vessels fast approaching the few rocky and windblown islands at the bottom of the world, 8,000 miles away from the UK. The islands were home at the time to around 1,500 people who considered themselves British.

This move by the Argentines came at a bad time. Britain was still weak after the disaster of the 1970’s when even the USSR didn’t want to buy our goods because they were so poorly made. As a result of this, the armed forces, and particularly the navy, had faced budget cuts and was untested since the 1950’s. A victory was not inevitable or even looked possible. The task before Thatcher’s government and the armed forces, in purely logistical terms, let alone in military capability, was immense.

Thatcher had to wage a two-front campaign, both within her own cabinet in order to determine Britain’s response, and also against America, whose interests in the region ran counter to Britain’s. If she had made a mess of either situation, the circumstances would have been extremely severe. However, the way Thatcher managed the crisis mirrors the performance of the soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought; they rose to the task, drew a line in the sand and refused to accede to the thuggish behaviour of a dictatorial totalitarian regime.

The cabinet and members of the Foreign Office were already resigned to defeat, showing the prevailing idea from the 70’s of Britain being a nation in decline and that they were just there to manage it. Admiral and First Sea Lord Henry Leach forced his way into the meeting in the House of Commons in his full uniform, showing that at times like this symbols of authority such as this are needed to galvanise people into action. He was emphatic: “I can put together a task force of destroyers, landing craft, support vessels… It can be ready to leave in 48 hours.”

This forthright plan of action was the spark that lit Thatcher’s will to action, kindling in her a belief that it could be done. Despite the instability within her inner circle following the invasion, Thatcher assembled a team that served her well during the crisis.

America, as mentioned, had interests counter to Britain’s in the area. There was a lack of clarity surrounding the situation from Washington, and Secretary of State Alexander Haig did not help matters with his poorly handled attempts of trying to persuade Thatcher to sue for peace on terms that she saw as ‘conditional surrender’. The Americans in this instance were not helpful to Britain, and in reality only served to make a difficult and worrying situation more challenging than it already was. Francis Pym, Thatcher’s Foreign Secretary, made matters worse by siding with Haig. Luckily, the rest of the cabinet sided with Thatcher, but it was another obstacle that she could have done without.

The House of Commons voted in approval of the formation of the task force on April 3, with Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse in command. The task force consisted of several groups, the largest focused around the aircraft carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible. In mid-April, the task force left for the Falklands, along with a large number of tankers and cargo ships to supply the fleet while it operated far across the oceans. In total, 127 ships served in the task force. This included 43 warships, 22 Royal Fleet Auxiliaries, as well as 62 merchant vessels.

The first clash came at sea, with the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano by the HMS Conqueror, followed by the retaliatory sinking of the HMS Sheffield by an Exocet missile fired from an Argentine jet. So far, 323 Argentine dead, 20 British. On May 21, 4,000 British troops were landed on the Falklands at San Carlos Water on the north-west Coast of East Falkland by amphibious craft. Over the following week, the ships supporting the landing were hard hit by Argentine air force fighters. HMS Ardent (May 22), Antelope (May 24) and Coventry (May 25) were sunk, along with MV Atlantic Conveyor.

Brigadier Julian Thompson advanced his men south, in his plan to secure the western side of the island before moving on Port Stanley to the east. On May 27-28, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones led 600 men and soundly defeated over 1,000 Argentines around Darwin and Goose Green, forcing them to surrender. Jones was killed leading a critical charge from the front and later received the Victoria Cross posthumously. A few days after, British commandos defeated Argentine commandos on Mount Kent. In early June, another 5,000 British troops arrived to reinforce the men already in the fight, with command shifting Major General Jeremy Moore. While some of these troops were disembarking at Bluff Cove and Fitzroy, their transports, RFA Sir Tristram and RFA Sir Galahad, were attacked, leaving 56 killed.

After reinforcing his position, Moore launched the assault on Port Stanley. British troops launched coordinated assaults on the high ground surrounding the town on the night of June 11. After hard fighting, they succeeded captured their objectives. The attacks continued two nights later, and the British took the town’s last natural lines of defence at Wireless Ridge and Mount Tumbledown. Surrounded on land and blockaded at sea, the Argentine commander, General Mario Menéndez, realising the hopelessness of the situation surrendered his 9,800 men on June 14, effectively bringing an end to the conflict.

The Falkland Islands are harsh outcrops in the southern Atlantic. There wasn’t much there back then, apart from sheep and some people. That wasn’t the point. The point was that these islands were British; their people were British and wished to remain so. And indeed, still do, by around 99%.

The war showed that Britain was not in a state of managed decline if only it had the will and the spirit to fight for something more. It was able to protect its own when others with malevolence in their hearts wished to do us and ours harm. The war showed that Britain was prepared to fight for this and that some two-bit dictator wouldn’t succeed in his vain attempt at gaining military glory.

On those rocky outcrops far away in the cold southern ocean, Britain refused to back down and fought back. Her troops acquitted themselves admirably and with great courage, showing that they were a force to be reckoned with. In ordering the creation of the task force and the retaking of the Falklands, Margaret Thatcher showed that she also had the strength of character and spirit to choose the way of war, despite the difficulties, despite the risks, despite the self-defeating apathy of those around her. She did it because it was the right thing to do.

Whether Britain could do the same today, 35 years on, with the diminished state our armed forces are in, and the lack of leadership from all political parties is another thing entirely.

Re-posted from Bombs and Dollars

Christianity and the Imperative of Freedom of Speech

Christianity and the Imperative of Freedom of Speech

The most fundamental freedom that Christianity guarantees and demands as an absolute necessity for the good of us as human beings created in God’s image is freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech as an almost spiritual necessity in order to find truth and draw order out of chaos is something that’s integral to Christian doctrine. This is demonstrated in John 1:1, which begins with ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning’. This is an extremely important idea; the idea that God brought the world into existence through speech, by using his voice to shape the potentiality in chaos and to draw out an ordered world through the use of speech. 

Further on there is the passage ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’. This is where Christianity and its Greek philosophical predecessor intertwine in the idea of the Logos. In Greek, logos means, the logic behind and argument, used to engage in discussion to formulate ideas, test theories and see how your preconceptions stand up under scrutiny, to see whether they have validity or need to be modified or discarded. It’s a form of learning and growth through conversation or dialogue, the word whose root if logos.

In the Christian sense, this passage in John established in the eyes of the Church and set out in the Chalcedonian Creed, Jesus as equal to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. This means that the Christian belief system places Jesus as a physical manifestation of the Word, of God speaking the universe into the existence out of the chaotic potentiality of nothing; they’re the same thing. The idea behind this, as Jordan Peterson argues, is that if a person embodies the immortal soul or Word of God properly then they’re the thing that draws order out of chaos here on earth, they’re the dividing line that sits on the border between order and chaos. This is what the Bible arguably portrays Jesus as; the same thing as that which spoke the universe into existence; the beginning of being.

How did Jesus embody the immortal soul of the Word of God and God the Word? He embodied it through articulated truth. Jesus was the salvation of mankind, and he brought this salvation through truth, the best defence against the suffering inherent in life. He was the truth, articulated through speech, used to save us from the suffering of our sinful existence.

Think about his encounter with Pontius Pilate. Jesus said in John 18, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me”. Pilate then retorts “What is truth?” The implication of this emphasis on the articulation truth obtained through speech is that speech is necessary for us to try and live as truthful lives as we can. We cannot know if it will succeed or even be sure what will happen, but we will only find out once we try. It requires Kirkegaard’s leap of faith. Articulated truth through speech is the only defence against suffering we have in this life, and as we were created in God’s likeness, it is our duty to tell the truth as much as is in our power. Lies on the other hand only serve to unleash suffering on the world.

In this way, restrictions on freedom of speech, beyond those prohibiting direct calls to violence, are a sin against consciousness itself. It is only through free thought and truthful speech that we can guard against the chaos that lies bring with them. If you cannot say what you think and mean what you say in a dialogue, then your path to the truth is cut, and lies become more easily spread in the void that this restriction on articulated truth leaves behind. We may not know what would happen if enough of us told as much of the truth as we knew as much of the time as we could, but we do know what happened when the truth was replaced by lies.

Lies can be the most destructive thing in the world. There is no other way of saying it. One need only look at the bloody history of the 20th century, with its procession of totalitarian dictatorships that relied on lies to attain and keep power realise this. This was particularly true in Naxi Germany and in Soviet Russia, where lies opened the door to the darkness of resentment, envy, jealousy and bitterness in every human heart, allowing the leaders to pursue their utopian dreams that rapidly became charnel-house nightmares.

In Soviet Russia, the Soviet intellectuals went round the provincial towns and villages, spreading the lie among the most resentful and bitterest peasants that their plight was really due to their oppression at the hands of their Kulak employers, who were really just peasants able to afford a brick house, maybe a cow and possible an employee or two. The Soviets told the people that if they pointed out who the Kulaks were and surrounded their homes and businesses, then the Soviet authorities would have these oppressors shipped off to Siberia. Meanwhile, the food supplies would be collectively owned in a central supply so that everyone would be equally fed. As a result of this mass imprisonment of the Kulaks and the executions of those who kept their food and were thus enemies of ‘the people’, 6 million Ukrainians starved to death, along with another 30-50 million Russians who died of starvation and from the purges.

In the end, the entire population became complicit in the lie that none of this had anything to do with them, that is wasn’t their responsibility, that they hadn’t given in to their base desires and given their friends or neighbours away to the authorities, who of course portrayed themselves as the guardians of ‘the people’, and as the moral authority that would guide ‘the people’ on the path to their Communist heaven. This is what lies that loose the darkest emotions in the human heart can achieve: 30-50 million people dead between 1920-1959, with people so hungry that signs were put up reminding parents it was wrong to eat their children. The revolution literally ended up eating its children, because of lies. By the time enough people realised what had happened, it was too late, and their complicity in the lies that led to the horrors of Stalin’s Russia had become the complicity in the silence that enabled it to maintain power.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn said that the line between good and evil runs down every human heart. Lies, to each other and to oneself, allow evil to snuff out the good side; one must always be on the watch for this, as it is hard to keep the two sides in balance and very easy for evil to snuff out the good without eternal vigilance.

As with Communist Russia, so with Nazi Germany. Hitler and his fellow Fascists used the same formula of lies. The only difference was in application. This time, it wasn’t the Kulaks that were the victims of the lies about being the oppressors. This time, it was the Jews who were the oppressors of the German Volk. Instead of the lie of oppression occupying the realm of class structure, it occupied the realm of racial hierarchy.

The German people and many throughout Europe bought wholeheartedly into this lie because, as in Russia, it meant they could avoid looking within themselves to see where the faults in their own character lay and how these might have contributed to their situation. It was much easier to believe the lies of the Nazis and put all their failings, brought together with that of their fellow countrymen under the collective ideology of Fascism, on others who if purged would then lead to the purging of their collective faults. This lie also extended to Gypsies, homosexuals, dissidents and disabled people. 6 million Jews would die, along with 5 million others. 300,000 disabled people were among their number, with horrific experiments performed on them as a result of their abnormality. All because of a lie.

In totalitarian dictatorships, authoritarian leaders have to purge the bacterium of dissidents and dissenting thought from the body of ‘the people’ because these dissidents will disrupt with the virus of truth the lie that everyone else believes in. Only if everyone believes the lie that the authoritarians peddle will enough people willingly follow their leaders down the road to utopia.

The need for indoctrination and propaganda is essential to stamp out individual thought by leading people to willingly open the door in their heart that their resentment, envy, jealousy and bitterness is always threatening to slam wide, otherwise their minds would receive dissenting ideas that could contradict the lie that the authoritarians spread and many people will readily accept. That is why totalitarian regimes, especially Communism, always lead to genocide; more people always have to be killed to keep the body of the people pure to usher in the utopian date with history.

The use of speech as a means to articulate truth in order to mitigate the suffering inherent in life was instantiated in the Bible through the figure of the Logos, the human figure of Christ, who was the embodiment of the Word, the use of articulated truth to pull order out of chaos.

Freedom of speech is thus a necessity, and any attempt to restrict it beyond reasonable limitations against incitement to violence is a sin against consciousness. It is a sin because without the ability to freely articulate the truth through speech and dialogue in order to mitigate suffering and the resentment that spring from suffering, lies readily take the place of truth and feed on that resentment.

And we know where that leads.

 

 

 

 

London Burning: Latest terror attack is “Fourth Gen Warfare”

At 10:30 pm on Saturday June 3, London witnessed the latest in a string of jihadi terror attacks that have so far hit Afghanistan, Iraq, and Manchester. ISIS has also taken over the town of Marawi in the southern Philippines, showing that as its central state is rolled back inch by inch it has the potential to expand elsewhere.

The attack on London Bridge saw 7 people killed by being run over by a white van or stabbed by the three terrorists who then went on a stabbing rampage that ended in Borough Market. British armed police arrived on the scene in 8 minutes from the time of the alert, where they shot all 3 men dead, who were wearing what turned out to be fake suicide vests.

The attacks struck at another landmark in the capital of the West’s home to parliamentary democracy; London Bridge is a landmark with deep historical significance, and to launch an attack on it was an attempt to reach the same level of psychological impact as that on Westminster Bridge back in March. Borough Market is a popular tourist and local attraction, and is always full of people. If the attackers had managed to obtain AK-47’s or another similar firearm, or indeed if they’d actually had real suicide vests, the death toll could have been catastrophic. As it was, the country is grateful that they only had a vehicular missile and blades to finish the job. That is what we’ve come to in the West.

What we are seeing is, as Maajid Nawaz and others have described, a full blown global jihadist insurgency. The jihadists have taken their campaign of terror beyond mere terrorism and have elevated it to the levels of highly decentralised, insurgent, Fourth-Generation warfare.

Through the communications networks of the internet they are able to coordinate and contact each other constantly and at speed. If they use anonymising software like VPN’s or Tor, or particularly Telegram, a private messaging service with end to end encryption that is extremely difficult to monitor or hack into, then they can reduce their visibility online, making them harder to track.

This makes it easier to create what Marc Sageman calls ‘leaderless networks’, where groups of jihadists can operate at a level of autonomy and without the need for a central command hierarchy dictating their every move that has never before been seen, and is a boon for the terrorists while proving a nightmare for our security services and governments.

Added to this, recruitment to the insurgency is facilitated by the easy dissemination of radical Islamist propaganda and ideological material via the internet: through jihadi websites and forums, through oil rich Saudi-funded Salafi organisations who spread their puritanical form of Islam to millions in the West through the use of their own websites, YouTube and other video sharing platforms, and through satellite TV channels that host hate preachers who regularly call for the genocide of Jews, other non-Muslims, and “heretical” Muslims. This gives ideological fuel to those who wish to access it, both online and through the network of Saudi affiliated Salafi and Deobandi mosques that have proliferated across the country; the Didsbury Mosque where Salman Abedi worshipped hosted preachers who called for Sharia Law and the destruction of the West.

As Kenan Malik and Nawaz argue, this has been going on for decades and stretches back to the 1980’s if not earlier. Thanks to the politics of multiculturalism instantiated in the 80’s, there has been a growth in communalism in the UK with each minority group progressively cutting its ties with mainstream society, reverting to cultural norms that might best be left in the middle-ages, while being represented by self-elected speakers who often have ties with organisations who represent the most extreme views present within those communities. This particularly pertains to the Muslim community in Britain, where although not all Muslims buy into this radical form of Islam, many in the younger generation certainly do.

A recent example of how this communalism backfires comes in two forms: the head of the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy in Manchester, Samiya Butt has posted a message supporting an “Islamophobia Awareness Month” project led by Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), an organisation that has shown support for extreme Islamist positions and has been accused of including ISIS imagery in its campaign posts. The director of engagement for Mend, Azad Ali, has publicly expressed support for killing British soldiers and called Anwar Al-Awlaki one of his favorite speakers. In order to avoid confusion, an official in charge of the government run counter-extremism scheme is herself affiliated with an extremist Islamist organisation. And this in the city where the Manchester bomber lived and who attended Salford University whose official policy is to boycott Prevent.

This situation is replicated across the country with Muslim organisations falling prey to the Salafi Islamist ideology that is pumped around the world using Saudi oil money. Seen in this light, the fact that the number of potential jihadis in Britain that are on the security services’ radar stands at 23,000 is perhaps no longer inexplicable, even while remaining a shockingly high number. By the way, 3,000 of that number apparently pose a high risk, while the rest pose a ‘residual’ risk. Salman Abedi, the Manchester bomber, was a “residual” risk.

This is what we in the West and around the world are dealing with. We are facing a motivated foe which has the means to communicate with each other; the means to operate in a diffuse, decentralised manner with a lack of hierarchy and who operate in small units and sub-networks that makes it harder to get a grip on them; the means to obtain funds to further their campaign against those they deem the infidel; who are able to manipulate the media and online platforms to wage psychological warfare against us; who carry out genocidal attacks on civilians (the Yazidis and Middle-Eastern Christians) in order to further terrify while desensitising us and who attack significant landmarks and public areas and populations to further affect us psychologically, economically and politically.

The Salafi-Jihadists have been waging Fourth-Generation warfare against us for the better part of 25 years. We have not understood their motives that are based in parts of the texts; we have not understood their strategy in trying create a division between Muslims and the West in order to advance their goal of creating a new caliphate, and we have not understood their tactics for bringing this about.

We need to wake up and educate ourselves fast. We have been at war for decades and we haven’t even known it. If we do not wake up, London and the rest of the world will continue to burn.

Re-posted from Bombs and Dollars

The British Bataclan and Western Passivity

On Monday May 22, an Islamist jihadist blew himself up at the Manchester Arena, at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. He killed 22 people, mostly young teenagers, one only eight years old. Most of the concert attendees were teenage girls, who the bomber may have seen as a legitimate target because of their femininity–the same way Islamists pour acid on women. Police and counter-terrorism operations are still ongoing as of this writing, while the terror threat has been raised to critical and there are now soldiers on Britain’s streets.

Given my dissertation focuses on ISIS-inspired Islamist terror attacks in Europe 2015-16 it now looks more relevant than ever, and not in a good way.

Theresa May’s speech after the attack was mostly good, but she didn’t name the ideology of Islamism. As a result, she risks falling into the same trap as Obama in not naming the ideology behind these attacks. She risks handing the narrative to those who will use it for their own malevolent ends by insisting that it’s the fault of all Muslims.

Andy Burnham, mayor of Manchester (and a long-time critic of the present government’s counter-terrorism policy), said that the bomber was a terrorist, not a Muslim. As Haras Rafiq of the Quilliam counter-extremism think-tank said, who does Andy Burnham think he is to decide who is and isn’t a Muslim? It is yet another example of a politician not having the spine to face up to what is happening and where it comes from.

Burnham also belittled those on BBC Question Time who called out the ideology of Islamism and called for the Muslim community to do more by portraying them as unserious and not “real” Muslims.

Meanwhile, in response to Morrisey posting his thoughts about the attack and Western leaders’ failure to do anything substantive about it, the Guardian argued that those who blame the lack of recognition of Islamism as the driving force of these attacks on political correctness were using the same arguments as those on the far-right. Given Maajid Nawaz, also of Quilliam, made this exact point, he is now, according to this logic, supposedly considered far-right.

Adding a note of farce to the tragedy of Monday night, Channel 4 news interviewed members of the Manchester Muslim community, who were the usual self-appointed representatives of the Muslim community and obviously spoke for every member of that monolithic bloc. One of those interviewed was a burka-clad woman who had a top on which spelt out the word ‘Love’ with the different letters represented by guns, switchblades and a grenade. The video was then taken down when this was pointed out before returning. Channel 4 said it had “investigate[d]” and found, in its words:

“We are now satisfied that the intention of that image is to subvert weaponry and is an anti-violence protest t-shirt.

The image was made famous in 2013 when the singer Jennifer Hudson was pictured wearing a very similar design, which spelled out the word “love” in guns and other weapons. She told fans “it’s time to turn all of that into this LOVE”.

“As a Muslim, this evil disgusts me; it cannot be the “new normal.”” – Haras Rafiq

Staying on the subject of the media response, which reflected the response of many politicians, many outlets and pundits took on the passive, fatalistic and naively lethargic attitude of the Independent newspaper, which ran the headline that said that the only way to respond to this attack was to keep going as normal. This spoke to a feeling among many in the cultural and political elites that there was nothing to be done, that nothing could be said about the atrocity beyond some platitudes about the undoubted bravery of emergency services and law enforcement while insisting that love would solve everything and that our diversity shouldn’t be allowed to be riven by divisions resulting from the attack.

While solidarity is important, the overwhelming feeling that showed through in all the utterances from the supine media and politicians was that there was nothing to be done, this is the new normal, and if we don’t cause offence by talking about substantive issues and keep as quiet as possible in the hope the terrorists will stop killing us, is frankly no longer good enough. As Haras Rafiq said, platitudes are no longer enough. We don’t want to live in a country where this is accepted as the new normal with little resistance.

What is needed now more than ever is an honest and open discussion about what drives this ideology, including the fact, the deeply uncomfortable fact that there are passages in the texts that specifically call for violent action against non-believers. This will not happen by cleaving to the same old platitudes, playing identity politics and slamming anyone who stick their heads up to speak uncomfortable truths.

This textual basis is what these people, even if they’re newly converted to the jihadist cause, base their actions on and use to give them “moral” legitimacy.

The counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam and other individuals are working to try to reform the religion of Islam so that these passages which undeniably exist are somehow negated. But the first step is to admit to the name of the ideology of Islamism, that it has something to do with Islam while not representative of all Muslims, and that the only way we will defeat this jihadist insurgency is by dealing with the philosophical and theological roots of the ideology.

We will not do this by passively accepting these attacks as the new normal and carrying on with our lives like everything is fine.

The only way we will win is by grasping the thorns of the painful discussions we need to have and accept that causing offence is not an acceptable reason for not having this discussion.

If we can’t even do this, then these attacks will continue, divisions will deepen and more people will die.

Re-posted from Bombs and Dollars

On Disability and Individualism

On Disability and Individualism

Disclaimer: I do not claim to speak for every physically disabled person. I do not “represent” the disabled community. This is my opinion, which I think may fall on sympathetic ears within the disabled community. Nor, in the arguments laid out below do I apply it to every able bodied person and their view of disability and disabled people.

 

Some time ago I read Bret Easton Ellis’s long but insightful “In the Reign of the Gay Magical Elves” where he argues that the attitude shown by the identitarian Left towards gay men like himself is arguably both condescending and infantilizing, with many advocacy groups reinforcing this by punishing those who stray off the ideological reservation.

I’m not gay so I can’t totally relate to everything Ellis describes in his piece. However, the sense that a body of organisations and affiliated notables who supposedly have my best interests at heart, all the while proclaiming the acceptable narrative of what a disabled person is and what they should do, be, say and think – and the fact that I’m against this collectivisation – is something I do have in common with Ellis.

In conjunction with this, the Paralympics in Rio also revealed the tendency to collectivise disabled people into a monolithic bloc, which doesn’t actually help the individuals within that group of “disabled people”. Now, I support the idea of the Paralympics and think it’s good that disabled people get to compete in a sport at the highest level they can, in other words, they are given equality of opportunity.

Yes, it’s right and good that these people, who have been given a bad hand in the game of life whether through birth or fate, should be celebrated for their amazing achievements against odds that normal athletes don’t have to deal with. However, I’m also ambivalent about what the Paralympics represent to some members of the general public. It is to be hoped that large numbers of those who watched the Paralympics did because they wanted to see high-level athleticism, with the disabilities of the participants an incidental fact. And yet I fear that it could also be argued that watching the Paralympics and showing support for the athletes is a way for some able people to salve their consciences about their attitudes to disability, the fact that perhaps they only notice the UK is full of disabled people every four years. What better way to do this than to watch a load of “brave” athletes (Channel 4’s “superhumans”) breaking boundaries on the track, in the pool or on the water?

Sometimes it feels as though events like the Paralympic Games are an excuse for some “normal” people to not only remember that disabled people exist without feeling guilty for their previous lack of acknowledgement of disabled people as individuals, but to take it as an opportunity to celebrate the sanctity of the Sainted Super Disabled, to be masochistically reminded only of “Tolerance” and to “Feel Good About Ourselves” when viewing these disabled athletes as symbols for all disabled people, rather than viewing each one based on his or her individual character and merits. This attitude also pertains to the treatment of disabled people as endowed with inborn virtue for merely existing as disabled people.

I mean, God help the disabled man of woman who doesn’t want to conform to this idealised collectivist idea some people have of what being disabled means. What about those who don’t want to be representatives of the disabled class? Who don’t want to teach with their supposed inborn moral clarity and insight? Who don’t feel like an inherently moral authority before which all able bodied people must prostrate themselves in supplication, the altar upon which they can exorcise their guilt for being who they are and dissociate themselves from who they were in relation to their attitude towards disability?

I hate to break it to you, but suffering oppression, adversity or misfortune in life, whether being born disabled or becoming so later in life, for example, does not make you inherently noble, just as being in poverty doesn’t imbue you with goodness. Your base characteristics do not decide your moral status; it’s what you do with that, how you choose to act because or in spite of your apparent limitations, how you bear the suffering of existence, that really defines your moral character.

In my opinion, those who sanctify disabled people (again, it is hoped that this is a minority) by portraying them as more inherently good, noble and dignified than able-bodied people do so because they arguably use the disabled person’s physical deformity as a psychological expression of their own emotional and spiritual deformities and deficiencies. By having this exterior deformity, disabled people are arguably assumed to be almost holy in their spiritual, mental and emotional purity. They are therefore worthy at the same time, of veneration, and of exploitation under the guise of support for the redemption of the able-bodied person’s soul.

I would argue that this is why disabled people are held up as paragons of virtue: some able people need us to fit this image so they can find redemption for their own deficiencies which they see represented in physical form by our disabilities. It’s a classic case of psychological projection that reduces disabled people to cyphers for some able peoples’ personal characterological deficiencies, and the treatment of disabled people as inherently virtuous allows the able bodied person to dissociate from past and present character flaws.

This might explain the reaction the depiction of a less than perfect disabled individual in the entertainment sphere in recent years, in the character of Will Traynor in the smash-hit book and movie Me Before You, about a man who’s run over and paralysed, and ends with him choosing to commit suicide at a Dignitas type clinic in Switzerland. Now, I don’t agree with the ending but thought it was an interesting take on a disabled character that opened up the possibility for dialogue around extremely emotive and complex questions like the issue of quality of life, and how much agency a disabled person can have.

But of course, because the film didn’t depict Will as some sort of morally superior being, it went off the ideological reservation for what is an acceptable depiction of disability, with many disability rights campaigners and other activists panning it for its nihilistic take on living with a disability. In other words, as soon as a story came along that depicted a disabled person as a flawed individual, like the rest of us, the disabled community was up in arms about it not being perfect and upbeat enough.

Well, I would argue that actually both the book and the film were a refreshing change to the usual view of disabled people as an almost holy symbol that serves to save some able peoples’ sense of guilt. This was a portrayal of a disabled individual’s life that didn’t shy away from the tougher aspects of what it entailed and didn’t pull any punches over what it actually meant.

The character of Will Traynor himself, disability aside, is also interesting. To start with, he was a horrible, self-centred, egocentric, arrogant, surly, rude, ungrateful and sometimes malicious man. Further from the Sainted Super Disabled, one could not get.

As such, I found it refreshing to see a disabled man who behaved more like many people might if they were in the same situation, which is not as well as they might hope because none of us is inherently good.

Did the campaigners and activists not see that this film might actually bring people closer together through the potential for dialogue? Did they not see that there was a possibility that a more realistic view of a messy flawed, individual who happened to be disabled might mean some members of the general public who went to see the film might leave with a more realistic impression of how disabled people might actually behave, rather than continuing on with their cozy fantasy of the Sainted Super Disabled? It does not appear so.

The reaction to this film and the issues around the Paralympics I discussed earlier will never be entirely mitigated. In the end, the best thing that everyone can do is to treat each disabled person as an individual. Acting and being treated like an individual is more attractive to me than being a member of a collective identity that is the be-all and end-all of my existence, from which there is no escape.

This is why I am a conservative; the values of individual liberty and freedom that conservatism enshrines as its core principles are the only way that people as thinking individuals can achieve their full potential. As Shelby Steele says, “Only human initiative is transformative, and it is an eternal arrogance of the Left to assume that government can somehow engineer or inspire or manipulate transformation. You cannot help people who have not already taken initiative—meaning total responsibility for their future. And it takes very little to help those who have actually taken such responsibility.”

Incidentally, this is also why I am a supporter of free speech, and despite the identitarians now running riot in our universities; my body is in chains. I can only experience freedom using my mind. To limit my speech, as the identitarians do on our campuses, strips me of my only recourse to freedom; not only is my body in chains but so too, in their world, is my mind.

The response to disability, like all other challenges that life can throw at you, is to show the initiative needed to take up the freedom that we enjoy in the West in any small way you can, in spite of the challenges being disabled places before you. The new reality of this freedom can be disconcerting and can leave one feeling resentful at the weight of the burden that freedom places on your shoulders; the requirement of freedom that you show greater responsibility, discipline and sacrifice. In the end, a truly meaningful life is only possible if you have the freedom to pursue that life as you see fit in accordance with the law.

In the end, this shows greater respect for disabled people as individuals. I find conservatism, more than the politics of today’s Left, offers the simple fairness of true freedom in which both individual success and failure are always possible, a fairness grounded in an ideal of unbiased level-headed interaction between people. This does not mean that I think there is no place for some sort of safety net for disabled people, or that there are not huge challenges that disabled people face every day, both in dealing with their condition and in facing the many societal challenges that still face them. But it is only in this kind of fairness there is respect for disabled people as individuals who could be competitive with others once any residual discrimination is removed and they are allowed to compete and given the tools they need to perform to their full potential, taking into account any limitations they may have.

Indeed, I would argue that this course of action is the only route to disabled people feeling some sense of having transcended their often painful physical reality. This is the same for everyone, but for those of us whose physical existence is chained by disability, this is of the utmost importance.

To conclude, I’ll leave off with another quote from Shelby Steele: “only the impartiality of true freedom—uncontaminated by group preferences and governmental paternalism—[will] provide exactly the right incentives to do precisely this”.

The Camp of the Saints: Bigoted Diatribe Used to Torpedo Serious Discussion about Immigration

The Camp of the Saints: Bigoted Diatribe Used to Torpedo Serious Discussion about Immigration

The book The Camp of the Saints was written by Jean Raspail and published in 1975. It’s a particularly foul piece of book-length bigoted polemic soaked in purple language, making it a far from pleasant read if you’re not part of the alt-right.

The basic plot is that Europe has been hollowed out by its loss of faith, loss of civilizational will and loss of white pride while being ashamed of its racist and genocidal past. Then 1 million Indians turn up in a sea going version of Genghis Khan’s horde and proceed to conquer the continent (i.e. France because we all know France represents Europe) while raping every white woman in sight and eating as much shit as they can, all the while grubbing in the dirt like animals.

Here are some quotes.

“The old professor understood. That scorn of a people for other races, the knowledge that one’s own is best, the triumphant joy at feeling oneself to be part of humanity’s finest — none of that had ever filled these [white] youngsters’ brains, or at least so little that the monstrous cancer [of treating people with a different skin colour as individuals] implanted in the Western conscience had quashed it in no time at all.”

“Retaliation took many forms. … A hundred nice French girls, teaching school in Algeria, were suddenly hauled into the hospital and spread on the stirrups to be plumbed and explored by a squad of medical student commandos, whipped up to a frenzy. Two of them died as a result…”

“But in time, very slowly, the flesh [aboard the ships] began to seethe. … Perhaps it was the heat… . Most of all, the natural drive of a people who never found sex to be sin. … [E]verywhere, a mass of hands and mouths, of phalluses and rumps. … Young boys, passed from hand to hand. Young girls, barely ripe … waking to the silent play of eager lips. … Men with women, men with men, women with women, men with children… . And so, in a welter of dung and debauch — and hope as well — the Last Chance Armada pushed on toward the West.”

“Sure ‘nough boss,” one red-spattered black said, “we can sure ‘nough do one more at least…” The white man felt no more pain than any of the other pigs on the line. Stunned, hoisted, slaughtered. … [Hung from a hook, the murdered boss’ body] caused … no special disgust [among the black workers]. They had seen such things before, after all. At market, in the Congo.”

“Lydie … died in Nice, in a whorehouse for Hindus… . At the time, each refugee quarter had its stock of white women, all free for the taking. (One of the new regime’s laws, in fact. In order to “demythify” white women, as they put it.) … [In the end, Lydie, along with other white female sex slaves, is confined by the “Hindus” to their] “White Female Practice and Experimentation Center.”

“[F]irst to land were the monsters, the grotesque little beggars from the streets of Calcutta. As they groveled through the wet sand like a pack of basset hounds, or a herd of clumsy seals exploring an unfamiliar shore, with their snorts and grunts of joy, they looked like an army of little green men from some remote planet. … Yes, the country [France] would suit them fine. No question.”

Many people on the Far-Right/Alt-Right love this book and use it as an allegory for what has been happening in Europe since the upsurge in migrant flows in 2015 (these flows have been coming for years, 2015 was just a peak). They see Europe’s identity – and by extension the whole West’s – as tied to the superior characteristics of the white race, which is now under threat of being swallowed up by a brown skinned tide of dirty sub-humanity who are invading the white ancestral homelands to fill in the spaces left by Europe’s declining birth rates, hammering the final nail in the white coffin by screwing every white girl they can find to produce lots of mixed race children.

The problem with this view is that not only is it undoubtedly xenophobic, nihilistic and over-simplified, it actually harms the debate on immigration, multiculturalism and integration that we in Britain and Europe need to have.

First of all, the book and its adherents tie race and culture together completely, never allowing for any nuance and leaving no room for facts to get in the way.

Some of these facts include the fact that not all white people are heroic individuals endowed with god-like mental and physical abilities. Who knew? Neither are all British or European people of an ethnic minority background all hate filled barbarians who refuse to integrate, who instead want to take the white man’s birthright by force if necessary, in the meantime leeching off the welfare state, rioting or abusing white people. Really? I would never have guessed.

For example, Nigerian immigrants to the USA do better economically than both black and white Americans. What happened to the barbarity and lack of civilised behaviour that all black people are supposed to have? Why aren’t they turning America into a 3rd world hell-hole? Aren’t they all meant to perform sacrifices or something?

Let’s take another example, this time from the UK. Many Indian immigrants to the UK actually do better economically not only than the white British population, but also many other immigrant populations. Same with East Asian immigrants, and now also black Britons in school, who do better than white working class boys. What happened to the inherent superiority of the white people? What happened to the supposed moral turpitude and deviancy of the Indians portrayed in the novel? Weren’t they supposed to take over Britain? Why did they integrate and become upstanding members of our communities? Weren’t they meant to destroy all that?

Of course, there are also examples of immigrants from successful groups that don’t do so well and cause problems for society. Just like with most other groups. Again, who would’ve thought?

It seems to me that what is most important is culture, not race. The idea that people of a different skin colour will never fit into British or American life and never hold their values because their skin colour is a clue to their intellectual, moral and behavioural deficiency is just plain wrong, intellectually and morally.

The problem that this book represents, and the rhetoric from like minded people who hold similar views on race and immigration, is that it and the rhetoric that stems from these views are used as a club by the regressive Left to tar anyone who has questions about immigration as it currently stands in Britain and Europe today.

Even today, to question the numbers of people from different cultures to our own moving to Europe or the UK is still seen as a sign of secret bigotry that says you don’t want a lot of brown skinned people moving into your country because they’re brown. For a few this may be true, but for most people, the concern is not necessarily the colour of immigration itself but the speed and scale. Indeed, many immigrants to the UK also say how concerned they are with the speed and scale of the influx. Human societies are bound together through strong feelings towards the Oikos, or your local community, starting at the level of the family, moving up to the tribe, then the region, then the nation, which is the largest group size we as people can still feel some level of kinship and loyalty to.

These feelings of preference for people like you, in terms of values and ideas and beliefs, is built into us on an evolutionary basis, and should not be discounted lightly. Of course, this idea directly flies in the face of the “blank slate” theory on human nature popular among the Left, that states that everything about human behaviour is learned rather than evolved, and thus there is no human nature. Steven Pinker destroyed this idea in the book The Blank Slate, but still, it persists.

The fact is that the nation-state is the largest social entity to have existed that successfully binds people together through the bonds of mutual attachment, understanding and cooperation while facilitating their existence and growth as sacrosanct individuals. These bonds, even at the level of family, clan or tribe, are an extremely fragile ecosystem that binds us together and gives us a sense of belonging. If something drastic happens to disrupt this, then everyone feels like the ground is shaking beneath their feet and that the world is tipping over into the chaos unknown. This is the major downside to globalisation and the increased immigration that accompanies it.

This is the biggest problem with the speed and scale of immigration that Europe and Britain have experienced over the last 20 or so years. It has happened so fast and on such a scale that a lot of people (including immigrants themselves) haven’t had time to completely come to terms with how the social dynamic of the nation-state, their largest conception of what community is, has changed, and as such they feel like everything’s shaking around them. This is arguably why you’re seeing the regrettable and potentially worrying rise in nationalism across Europe, because at one level it is a reaction against the problems that stem from the amorphous entity of the EU which many people feel little to no attachment to, and at another level it is a reaction against the “global community”, an idea so vast and amorphous in scope that most people cannot truly comprehend it and feel no attachment to it whatsoever.

Unfortunately, in reaction to the sense of chaos that globalisation brings, nationalism leads to a lack, ultimately, of intellectual diversity through homogeneity, thus sacrificing any dynamism and opportunities to learn from those different from you. A totally nationalist state is a dead entity; it never evolves or progresses. Globalisation and Nationalism are both sides of the same coin; each brings their own problems, but the trick is not to fall into the trap of excess chaos (total globalisation) or excess order (total nationalism). Both are catastrophic paths to follow.

Multiculturalism is arguably part of this path towards chaos. Along with the questions about the size and scale of inflows of immigration that result from the increased globalisation of our world, there are serious questions about the policies and attitudes towards multiculturalism as it has been practised since its height in the 1990’s. As we have seen, it has encouraged ethnic or religious minority groups to cluster in their own cultural enclaves, having little contact with the outside world and with people of different worldviews and beliefs, leading to a country where different communities lead parallel lives. This is no good for anyone, as it breaks the bonds that hold a nation together as the people inhabiting its borders revert to a form of tribalism, a tribalism originally from good intentions and enforced by political correctness.

Part of the failure of the liberal-international elites that have been in power over the last 25 years in many Western nations like Britain is their failure to fully articulate what our values are. To my mind, these include property rights, the division between Church and State, the rule of the common law before which everyone is equal, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion and freedom from overt governmental imposition in our lives. If our leaders articulated this and created an atmosphere that allowed civil society to do the same, they would give the new incomers something to join and assimilate to, which would be better for everyone, immigrant and non-immigrant alike.

In the case of those who come to our countries and don’t wish to assimilate at all while holding on to their extremely culturally regressive attitudes, our elites have failed not only to articulate the values that we used to take for granted but to be firm in defending those values in the face of those who view them with scorn, distrust and outright hostility, as recent surveys showing large value discrepancies between a proportion of the British Muslim community and the rest of the country demonstrate. The problem is that many of our elites no longer take the values that grew with Western civilisation seriously anymore, instead viewing them as relics of a past based on oppression and exclusion, and view the propagation of these values as a form of racism in itself, as it is a form of cultural imperialism. Instead, our elites want to govern based on moral compulsion under the law backed up in civil society by fear of seeming culturally insensitive. The fact that this displays a shockingly condescending view of non-white British and European people is seldom mentioned.

The approach to multiculturalism that we’ve seen in the West these last 25 years has led to a breakdown in assimilation, as it has been viewed as racist to insist that some elements of some cultures do not fit our Western way of life. One cultural practice that springs to mind and which is seldom talked about let alone condemned is female genital mutilation. After all, if hacking off a girl’s clitoris is “their” culture who are we rich, cultured, sophisticated white people to say otherwise? Never mind the pain and suffering it causes to those who go through it, it’s their culture so we can’t interfere. This abdication of responsibility is disgusting because it is basically a statement of the belief that those with brown skin aren’t able to enjoy the benefits of our culture because that is not their culture and to protect them with the benefits of our culture would be neo-colonialist. This is the horrifying bigotry of low expectations.

These questions have only become more pressing in the last couple of years since the sharp uptick in migrant flows entering Europe from Africa and the Middle East in the summer of 2015. The scale and speed of the migrant flows were so large and fast that no country that has taken in significant numbers of migrants and refugees has been successful in integrating them. Germany suffered mass sex attacks in Cologne over New Year’s 2016 and continues to see social problems to the present day, as does Sweden which has seen the number of rapes and violent crimes go through the roof, with unrest in migrant areas of the big cities continuing to this day. Meanwhile, Paris suffered a terror attack in November 2015, where one of the perpetrators had come into Europe on a fake passport specifically to carry out the attack, has suffered more terror attacks since and still remains in a state of emergency.

The societal problems that we have seen over the last year or so have been bubbling underneath the surface for a long time now, and the migrant crisis was just the catalyst that brought them to the surface. Recent events have shown that our leaders and elites have failed in pursuing their policies of multiculturalism in response to mass immigration. They still refuse to see the problems that have come from their unwillingness to look the problems of cultural segregation in the face and deal with them honestly, instead preferring to label anyone who raises doubts or questions the wisdom of their actions as racist, xenophobic and bigoted.

The Camp of the Saints was written by a racist who saw culture and skin colour as inextricably linked. If our leaders don’t want the people of Europe to start looking for answers to their legitimate questions by looking to the fringes of politics where the answers to these issues range from unsavoury to borderline or downright fascist, then they need to wake up.

If they don’t want political leaders who embody the spirit of The Camp of the Saints then they must confront the issues that they have avoided for too long. For the good of everyone, both indigenous European and immigrant. Otherwise, because of multiculturalism and the growth in identity politics on the Left and Right, we are on the road to tribal violence based along ethnic, cultural and religious lines. And it will be horrific for everyone, no matter their race, religion of culture.