Sunday, February 01, 2015



TWO LEFTISTS ARE CRITICAL OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

But for different reasons.  See the two articles below

Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say

How the language police are perverting liberalism

By Jonathan Chait

Around 2 a.m. on December 12, four students approached the apartment of Omar Mahmood, a Muslim student at the University of Michigan, who had recently published a column in a school newspaper about his perspective as a minority on campus. The students, who were recorded on a building surveillance camera wearing baggy hooded sweatshirts to hide their identity, littered Mahmood’s doorway with copies of his column, scrawled with messages like “You scum embarrass us,” “Shut the fuck up,” and “DO YOU EVEN GO HERE?! LEAVE!!” They posted a picture of a demon and splattered eggs.

This might appear to be the sort of episode that would stoke the moral conscience of students on a progressive campus like Ann Arbor, and it was quickly agreed that an act of biased intimidation had taken place. But Mahmood was widely seen as the perpetrator rather than the victim. His column, published in the school’s conservative newspaper, had spoofed the culture of taking offense that pervades the campus. Mahmood satirically pretended to denounce “a white cis-gendered hetero upper-class man” who offered to help him up when he slipped, leading him to denounce “our barbaric attitude toward people of left-handydnyss.” The gentle tone of his mockery was closer to Charlie Brown than to Charlie Hebdo.

The Michigan Daily, where Mahmood also worked as a columnist and film critic, objected to the placement of his column in the conservative paper but hardly wanted his satirical column in its own pages. Mahmood later said that he was told by the editor that his column had created a “hostile environment,” in which at least one Daily staffer felt threatened, and that he must write a letter of apology to the staff. When he refused, the Daily fired him, and the subsequent vandalism of his apartment served to confirm his status as thought-criminal.

The episode would not have shocked anybody familiar with the campus scene from two decades earlier. In 1992, an episode along somewhat analogous lines took place, also in Ann Arbor. In this case, the offending party was the feminist videographer Carol Jacobsen, who had produced an exhibition documenting the lives of sex workers. The exhibition’s subjects presented their profession as a form of self-empowerment, a position that ran headlong against the theories of Catharine MacKinnon, a law professor at the university who had gained national renown for her radical feminist critique of the First Amendment as a tool of male privilege. MacKinnon’s beliefs nestled closely with an academic movement that was then being described, by its advocates as well as its critics, as “political correctness.” Michigan had already responded to the demands of pro-p.c. activists by imposing a campuswide speech code purporting to restrict all manner of discriminatory speech, only for it to be struck down as a First Amendment violation in federal court.

In Ann Arbor, MacKinnon had attracted a loyal following of students, many of whom copied her method of argument. The pro-MacKinnon students, upset over the display of pornographic video clips, descended upon Jacobsen’s exhibit and confiscated a videotape. There were speakers visiting campus for a conference on prostitution, and the video posed “a threat to their safety,” the students insisted.

This was the same inversion of victim and victimizer at work last December. In both cases, the threat was deemed not the angry mobs out to crush opposing ideas, but the ideas themselves. The theory animating both attacks turns out to be a durable one, with deep roots in the political left.

The recent mass murder of the staff members of Charlie Hebdo in Paris was met with immediate and unreserved fury and grief across the full range of the American political system. But while outrage at the violent act briefly united our generally quarrelsome political culture, the quarreling quickly resumed over deeper fissures. Were the slain satirists martyrs at the hands of religious fanaticism, or bullying spokesmen of privilege? Can the offensiveness of an idea be determined objectively, or only by recourse to the identity of the person taking offense? On Twitter, “Je Suis Charlie,” a slogan heralding free speech, was briefly one of the most popular news hashtags in history. But soon came the reactions (“Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie”) from those on the left accusing the newspaper of racism and those on the right identifying the cartoons as hate speech. Many media companies, including the New York Times, have declined to publish the cartoons the terrorists deemed offensive, a stance that has attracted strident criticism from some readers. These sudden, dramatic expressions of anguish against insensitivity and oversensitivity come at a moment when large segments of American culture have convulsed into censoriousness.

After political correctness burst onto the academic scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it went into a long remission. Now it has returned. Some of its expressions have a familiar tint, like the protesting of even mildly controversial speakers on college campuses. You may remember when 6,000 people at the University of California–Berkeley signed a petition last year to stop a commencement address by Bill Maher, who has criticized Islam (along with nearly all the other major world religions). Or when protesters at Smith College demanded the cancellation of a commencement address by Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, blaming the organization for “imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.” Also last year, Rutgers protesters scared away Condoleezza Rice; others at Brandeis blocked Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s-rights champion who is also a staunch critic of Islam; and those at Haverford successfully protested ­former Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who was disqualified by an episode in which the school’s police used force against Occupy protesters.

At a growing number of campuses, professors now attach “trigger warnings” to texts that may upset students, and there is a campaign to eradicate “microaggressions,” or small social slights that might cause searing trauma. These newly fashionable terms merely repackage a central tenet of the first p.c. movement: that people should be expected to treat even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses. Stanford recently canceled a performance of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson after protests by Native American students. UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I — one example of many “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.” A theater group at Mount Holyoke College recently announced it would no longer put on The Vagina Monologues in part because the material excludes women without vaginas. These sorts of episodes now hardly even qualify as exceptional.

Trigger warnings aren’t much help in actually overcoming trauma — an analysis by the Institute of Medicine has found that the best approach is controlled exposure to it, and experts say avoidance can reinforce suffering. Indeed, one professor at a prestigious university told me that, just in the last few years, she has noticed a dramatic upsurge in her students’ sensitivity toward even the mildest social or ideological slights; she and her fellow faculty members are terrified of facing accusations of triggering trauma — or, more consequentially, violating her school’s new sexual-harassment policy — merely by carrying out the traditional academic work of intellectual exploration. “This is an environment of fear, believe it or not,” she told me by way of explaining her request for anonymity. It reminds her of the previous outbreak of political correctness — “Every other day I say to my friends, ‘How did we get back to 1991?’ ”

But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

It also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity. A year ago, for instance, a photographer compiled images of Fordham students displaying signs recounting “an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.” The stories ranged from uncomfortable (“No, where are you really from?”) to relatively innocuous (“ ‘Can you read this?’ He showed me a Japanese character on his phone”). BuzzFeed published part of her project, and it has since received more than 2 million views. This is not an anomaly.

In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. “All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate Change.org petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps,” Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.

Two and a half years ago, Hanna Rosin, a liberal journalist and longtime friend, wrote a book called The End of Men, which argued that a confluence of social and economic changes left women in a better position going forward than men, who were struggling to adapt to a new postindustrial order. Rosin, a self-identified feminist, has found herself unexpectedly assailed by feminist critics, who found her message of long-term female empowerment complacent and insufficiently concerned with the continuing reality of sexism. One Twitter hashtag, “#RIPpatriarchy,” became a label for critics to lampoon her thesis. Every new continuing demonstration of gender discrimination — a survey showing Americans still prefer male bosses; a person noticing a man on the subway occupying a seat and a half — would be tweeted out along with a mocking #RIPpatriarchy.

Her response since then has been to avoid committing a provocation, especially on Twitter. “If you tweet something straight­forwardly feminist, you immediately get a wave of love and favorites, but if you tweet something in a cranky feminist mode then the opposite happens,” she told me. “The price is too high; you feel like there might be banishment waiting for you.” Social media, where swarms of jeering critics can materialize in an instant, paradoxically creates this feeling of isolation. “You do immediately get the sense that it’s one against millions, even though it’s not.” Subjects of these massed attacks often describe an impulse to withdraw.

Political correctness is a term whose meaning has been gradually diluted since it became a flashpoint 25 years ago. People use the phrase to describe politeness (perhaps to excess), or evasion of hard truths, or (as a term of abuse by conservatives) liberalism in general. The confusion has made it more attractive to liberals, who share the goal of combating race and gender bias.

But political correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression. Not only is it not a form of liberalism; it is antithetical to liberalism. Indeed, its most frequent victims turn out to be liberals themselves.

I am white and male, a fact that is certainly worth bearing in mind. I was also a student at the University of Michigan during the Jacobsen incident, and was attacked for writing an article for the campus paper defending the exhibit. If you consider this background and demographic information the very essence of my point of view, then there’s not much point in reading any further. But this pointlessness is exactly the point: Political correctness makes debate irrelevant and frequently impossible.

Under p.c. culture, the same idea can be expressed identically by two people but received differently depending on the race and sex of the individuals doing the expressing. This has led to elaborate norms and terminology within certain communities on the left. For instance, “mansplaining,” a concept popularized in 2008 by Rebecca Solnit, who described the tendency of men to patronizingly hold forth to women on subjects the woman knows better — in Solnit’s case, the man in question mansplained her own book to her. The fast popularization of the term speaks to how exasperating the phenomenon can be, and mansplaining has, at times, proved useful in identifying discrimination embedded in everyday rudeness. But it has now grown into an all-purpose term of abuse that can be used to discredit any argument by any man. (MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry once disdainfully called White House press secretary Jay Carney’s defense of the relative pay of men and women in the administration “man­splaining,” even though the question he responded to was posed by a male.) Mansplaining has since given rise to “whitesplaining” and “straightsplaining.” The phrase “solidarity is for white women,” used in a popular hashtag, broadly signifies any criticism of white feminists by nonwhite ones.

If a person who is accused of bias attempts to defend his intentions, he merely compounds his own guilt. (Here one might find oneself accused of man/white/straightsplaining.) It is likewise taboo to request that the accusation be rendered in a less hostile manner. This is called “tone policing.” If you are accused of bias, or “called out,” reflection and apology are the only acceptable response — to dispute a call-out only makes it worse. There is no allowance in p.c. culture for the possibility that the accusation may be erroneous. A white person or a man can achieve the status of “ally,” however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue. A community, virtual or real, that adheres to the rules is deemed “safe.” The extensive terminology plays a crucial role, locking in shared ideological assumptions that make meaningful disagreement impossible.

Nearly every time I have mentioned the subject of p.c. to a female writer I know, she has told me about Binders Full of Women Writers, an invitation-only Facebook group started last year for women authors. The name came from Mitt Romney’s awkwardly phrased debate boast that as Massachusetts governor he had solicited names of female candidates for high-level posts, and became a form of viral mockery. Binders was created to give women writers a “laid-back” and “no-pressure” environment for conversation and professional networking. It was an attempt to alleviate the systemic under­representation of women in just about every aspect of American journalism and literature, and many members initially greeted the group as a welcome and even exhilarating source of social comfort and professional opportunity. “Suddenly you had the most powerful women in journalism and media all on the same page,” one former member, a liberal journalist in her 30s, recalls.

Binders, however, soon found itself frequently distracted by bitter identity-­politics recriminations, endlessly litigating the fraught requirements of p.c. discourse. “This was the first time I had felt this new kind of militancy,” says the same member, who requested anonymity for fear that her opinions would make her employer uncomfortable. Another sent me excerpts of the types of discussions that can make the group a kind of virtual mental prison.

On July 10, for instance, one member in Los Angeles started a conversation urging all participants to practice higher levels of racial awareness. “Without calling anyone out specifically, I’m going to note that if you’re discussing a contentious thread, and shooting the breeze … take a look at the faces in the user icons in that discussion,” she wrote. “Binders is pretty diverse, but if you’re not seeing many WOC/non-binary POC in your discussion, it’s quite possible that there are problematic assumptions being stated without being challenged.” (“POC” stands for “people of color.” “WOC” means “women of color.” “Non-binary” describes people who are either transgender or identify as a gender other than traditionally male or female.)

Two members responded lightly, one suggesting that such “call-outs” be addressed in private conversation and another joking that she was a “gluten free Jewish WWC” — or Woman Without Color. This set off more jokes and a vicious backlash. “It seems appropriate to hijack my suggestion with jokes. I see,” the Los Angeles member replied. “Apparently whatever WOC have to say is good for snark and jokes,” wrote another. Others continued: “The level of belittling, derailing, crappy jokes, and all around insensitivity here is astounding and also makes me feel very unsafe in this Big Binder.” “It is literally fucking insane. I am appalled and embarrassed.”

The suggestion that a call-out be communicated privately met with even deeper rage. A poet in Texas: “I’m not about to private message folks who have problematic racist, transphobic, anti-immigrant, and/or sexist language.” The L.A. member: “Because when POC speak on these conversations with snark and upset, we get Tone Argumented at, and I don’t really want to deal with the potential harm to me and mine.” Another writer: “You see people suggesting that PMs are a better way to handle racism? That’s telling us we are too vocal and we should pipe down.” A white Toronto member, sensing the group had dramatically underreacted, moved to rectify the situation: “JESUS FUCK, LIKE SERIOUSLY FUCK, I SEE MORE WHITE BINDERS POLICING WOC AND DEMANDING TO BE EDUCATED/UNEDUCATED AS IF IT’S A FUCKING NOBLE MISSION RATHER THAN I DUNNO SPEND TIME SHUTTING DOWN AND SHITTING ON RACIST DOUCHE CANOE BEHAVIOUR; WHAT ARE YOU GAINING BY THIS? WHAT ARE YOU DETRACTING? YOU NEED SCREENCAPS OF BURNING CROSSES TO BELIEVE RACIST SHIT IS HAPPENING? THIS THREAD IS PAINFUL. HUGS TO ALL THE WOC DURING THIS THREAD”

Every free society, facing the challenge of balancing freedom of expression against other values such as societal cohesion and tolerance, creates its own imperfect solution. France’s is especially convoluted and difficult to parse: It allows for satire and even blasphemy (like cartoons that run in Charlie Hebdo) but not for speech that incites violence toward individuals (like provocative comments made by the comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala). This may appear to Americans as a distinction without a difference, but our distinctions are also confused, as is our way of talking about free speech as it overlaps with our politics.

The right wing in the United States is unusually strong compared with other industrialized democracies, and it has spent two generations turning liberal into a feared buzzword with radical connotations. This long propaganda campaign has implanted the misperception — not only among conservatives but even many liberals — that liberals and “the left” stand for the same things.

It is true that liberals and leftists both want to make society more economically and socially egalitarian. But liberals still hold to the classic Enlightenment political tradition that cherishes individuals rights, freedom of expression, and the protection of a kind of free political marketplace. (So, for that matter, do most conservatives.)

The Marxist left has always dismissed liberalism’s commitment to protecting the rights of its political opponents — you know, the old line often misattributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” — as hopelessly naïve. If you maintain equal political rights for the oppressive capitalists and their proletarian victims, this will simply keep in place society’s unequal power relations. Why respect the rights of the class whose power you’re trying to smash? And so, according to Marxist thinking, your political rights depend entirely on what class you belong to.

The modern far left has borrowed the Marxist critique of liberalism and substituted race and gender identities for economic ones. “The liberal view,” wrote MacKinnon 30 years ago, “is that abstract categories — like speech or equality — define systems. Every time you strengthen free speech in one place, you strengthen it everywhere. Strengthening the free speech of the Klan strengthens the free speech of Blacks.” She deemed this nonsensical: “It equates substantive powerlessness with substantive power and calls treating these the same, ‘equality.’ ”

Political correctness appeals to liberals because it claims to represent a more authentic and strident opposition to their shared enemy of race and gender bias. And of course liberals are correct not only to oppose racism and sexism but to grasp (in a way conservatives generally do not) that these biases cast a nefarious and continuing shadow over nearly every facet of American life. Since race and gender biases are embedded in our social and familial habits, our economic patterns, and even our subconscious minds, they need to be fought with some level of consciousness. The mere absence of overt discrimination will not do.

Liberals believe (or ought to believe) that social progress can continue while we maintain our traditional ideal of a free political marketplace where we can reason together as individuals. Political correctness challenges that bedrock liberal ideal. While politically less threatening than conservatism (the far right still commands far more power in American life), the p.c. left is actually more philosophically threatening. It is an undemocratic creed.

Bettina Aptheker, a professor of feminist studies at the University of California–Santa Cruz, recently wrote an essay commemorating the Berkeley Free Speech movement, in which she participated as a student in 1964. She now expressed a newfound skepticism in the merits of free speech. “Freedom of speech is a constitutional guarantee, but who gets to exercise it without the chilling restraints of censure depends very much on one’s location in the political and social cartography,” she wrote. “We [Free Speech movement] veterans … were too young and inexperienced in 1964 to know this, but we do now, and we speak with a new awareness, a new consciousness, and a new urgency that the wisdom of a true freedom is inexorably tied to who exercises power and for what ends.”

These ideas have more than theoretical power. Last March at University of ­California–Santa Barbara, in, ironically, a “free-speech zone,” a 16-year-old anti-abortion protester named Thrin Short and her 21-year-old sister Joan displayed a sign arrayed with graphic images of aborted fetuses. They caught the attention of Mireille Miller-Young, a professor of feminist studies. Miller-Young, angered by the sign, demanded that they take it down. When they refused, Miller-Young snatched the sign, took it back to her office to destroy it, and shoved one of the Short sisters on the way.

Speaking to police after the altercation, Miller-Young told them that the images of the fetuses had “triggered” her and violated her “personal right to go to work and not be in harm.” A Facebook group called “UCSB Microaggressions” declared themselves “in solidarity” with Miller-Young and urged the campus “to provide as much support as possible.”

By the prevailing standards of the American criminal-justice system, Miller-Young had engaged in vandalism, battery, and robbery. By the logic of the p.c. movement, she was the victim of a trigger and had acted in the righteous cause of social justice. Her colleagues across the country wrote letters to the sentencing judge pleading for leniency. Jennifer Morgan, an NYU professor, blamed the anti-­abortion protesters for instigating the confrontation through their exercise of free speech. “Miller-Young’s actions should be mitigated both by her history as an educator as well as by her conviction that the [anti-abortion] images were an assault on her students,” Morgan wrote. Again, the mere expression of opposing ideas, in the form of a poster, is presented as a threatening act.

The website The Feminist Wire mounted an even more rousing defense of Miller-Young’s behavior. The whole idea that the professor committed a crime by stealing a sign and shoving away its owner turns out to be an ideological construct. “The ease with which privileged white, and particularly young white gender and sexually normative appearing women, make claims to ‘victimhood’ and ‘violation of property,’ is not a neutral move,” its authors argued. It concluded, “We issue a radical call for accountability to questions of history, representation, and the racialized gendering of tropes of ‘culpability’ and ‘innocence’ when considering Dr. Miller-Young’s case.”

These are extreme ideas, but they are neither isolated nor marginal. A widely cited column by a Harvard Crimson editorial writer last year demanded an end to academic freedom if freedom extended to objectionable ideas. “If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism,” asked the author, “why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?” After the Nation’s Michelle Goldberg denounced a “growing left-wing tendency toward censoriousness and hair-trigger offense,” Rutgers professor Brittney Cooper replied in Salon: “The demand to be reasonable is a disingenuous demand. Black folks have been reasoning with white people forever. Racism is unreasonable, and that means reason has limited currency in the fight against it.”

The most probable cause of death of the first political-correctness movement was the 1992 presidential election. That event mobilized left-of-center politics around national issues like health care and the economy, and away from the introspective suppression of dissent within the academy. Bill Clinton’s campaign frontally attacked left-wing racial politics, famously using inflammatory comments by Sister Souljah to distance him from Jesse Jackson. Barbara Jordan, the first black woman from a southern state elected to the House of Representatives, attacked political correctness in her keynote speech. (“We honor cultural identity. We always have; we always will. But separatism is not allowed. Separatism is not the American way. We must not allow ideas like political correctness to divide us and cause us to reverse hard-won achievements in human rights and civil rights.”)

Yet it is possible to imagine that, as the next Clinton presidential campaign gets under way, p.c. culture may not dissolve so easily. The internet has shrunk the distance between p.c. culture and mainstream liberal politics, and the two are now hopelessly entangled. During the 2008 primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the modern politics of grievance had already begun to play out, as each side’s supporters patrolled the other for any comment that might indicate gender or racial bias. It dissipated in the general election, but that was partly because Obama’s supporters worried about whether America really was ready to accept its first president who was not a white male. Clinton enters the 2016 race in a much stronger position than any other candidate, and her supporters may find it irresistible to amplify p.c. culture’s habit of interrogating the hidden gender biases in every word and gesture against their side.

Or maybe not. The p.c. style of politics has one serious, possibly fatal drawback: It is exhausting. Claims of victimhood that are useful within the left-wing subculture may alienate much of America. The movement’s dour puritanism can move people to outrage, but it may prove ill suited to the hopeful mood required of mass politics. Nor does it bode well for the movement’s longevity that many of its allies are worn out. “It seems to me now that the public face of social liberalism has ceased to seem positive, joyful, human, and freeing,” confessed the progressive writer Freddie deBoer. “There are so many ways to step on a land mine now, so many terms that have become forbidden, so many attitudes that will get you cast out if you even appear to hold them. I’m far from alone in feeling that it’s typically not worth it to engage, given the risks.” Goldberg wrote recently about people “who feel emotionally savaged by their involvement in [online feminism] — not because of sexist trolls, but because of the slashing righteousness of other feminists.” Former Feministing editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay told her, “Everyone is so scared to speak right now.”

That the new political correctness has bludgeoned even many of its own supporters into despondent silence is a triumph, but one of limited use. Politics in a democracy is still based on getting people to agree with you, not making them afraid to disagree. The historical record of political movements that sought to expand freedom for the oppressed by eliminating it for their enemies is dismal. The historical record of American liberalism, which has extended social freedoms to blacks, Jews, gays, and women, is glorious. And that glory rests in its confidence in the ultimate power of reason, not coercion, to triumph.

SOURCE





I don’t know what to do, you guys

Fredrick De Boer

So, to state the obvious: Jon Chait is a jerk who somehow manages to be both condescending and wounded in his piece on political correctness. He gets the basic nature of language policing wrong, and his solutions are wrong, and he’s a centrist Democrat scold who is just as eager to shut people out of the debate as the people he criticizes. That’s true.

Here are some things that are also true.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 19 year old white woman — smart, well-meaning, passionate — literally run crying from a classroom because she was so ruthlessly brow-beaten for using the word “disabled.” Not repeatedly. Not with malice. Not because of privilege. She used the word once and was excoriated for it. She never came back. I watched that happen.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 20 year old black man, a track athlete who tried to fit organizing meetings around classes and his ridiculous practice schedule (for which he received a scholarship worth a quarter of tuition), be told not to return to those meetings because he said he thought there were such a thing as innate gender differences. He wasn’t a homophobe, or transphobic, or a misogynist. It turns out that 20 year olds from rural South Carolina aren’t born with an innate understanding of the intersectionality playbook. But those were the terms deployed against him, those and worse. So that was it; he was gone.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 33 year old Hispanic man, an Iraq war veteran who had served three tours and had become an outspoken critic of our presence there, be lectured about patriarchy by an affluent 22 year old white liberal arts college student, because he had said that other vets have to “man up” and speak out about the war. Because apparently we have to pretend that we don’t know how metaphorical language works or else we’re bad people. I watched his eyes glaze over as this woman with $300 shoes berated him. I saw that. Myself.

These things aren’t hypothetical. This isn’t some thought experiment. This is where I live, where I have lived. These and many, many more depressing stories of good people pushed out and marginalized in left-wing circles because they didn’t use the proper set of social and class signals to satisfy the world of intersectional politics. So you’ll forgive me when I roll my eyes at the army of media liberals, stuffed into their narrow enclaves, responding to Chait by insisting that there is no problem here and that anyone who says there is should be considered the enemy.

By the way: in these incidents, and dozens and dozens of more like it, which I have witnessed as a 30-hour-a-week antiwar activist for three years and as a blogger for the last seven and as a grad student for the  past six, the culprits overwhelmingly were not women of color. That’s always how this conversation goes down: if you say, hey, we appear to have a real problem with how we talk to other people, we are losing potential allies left and right, then the response is always “stop lecturing women of color.” But these codes aren’t enforced by women of color, in the overwhelming majority of the time. They’re enforced by the children of privilege. I know. I live here. I am on campus. I have been in the activist meetings and the lefty coffee houses. My perspective goes beyond the same 200 people who write the entire Cool Kid Progressive Media.

Amanda Taub says political correctness “doesn’t exist.” To which I can only ask, how would you know? I don’t understand where she gets that certainty. Is Traub under the impression that the Vox offices represents the breadth of left-wing culture? I read dozens of tweets and hot take after hot take, insisting that there’s no problem here, and it’s coming overwhelmingly from people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Well, listen, you guys: I don’t know what to do. I am out of ideas. I am willing to listen to suggestions. What do I do, when I see so many good, impressionable young people run screaming from left-wing politics because they are excoriated the first second they step mildly out of line? Megan Garber, you have any suggestions for me, when I meet some 20 year old who got caught in a Twitter storm and determined that she never wanted to set foot in that culture again? I’m all ears. If I’m not allowed to ever say, hey, you know, there’s more productive, more inclusive ways to argue here, then I don’t know what the fuck I am supposed to do or say. Hey, Alex Pareene. I get it. You can write this kind of piece in your sleep. You will always find work writing pieces like that. It’s easy and it’s fun and you can tell jokes and those same 200 media jerks will give you a thousand pats on the back for it. Do you have any advice for me, here, on campus? Do you know what I’m supposed to say to some shellshocked 19 year old from Terra Haute who, I’m very sorry to say, hasn’t had a decade to absorb bell hooks? Can you maybe do me a favor, and instead of writing a piece designed to get you yet-more retweets from Weird Twitter, [I changed my mind, Weird Twitter is cool and good] tell me how to reach these potential allies when I know that they’re going to get burned terribly for just being typical clumsy kids? Since you’re telling me that if I say a word against people who go nuclear at the slightest provocation, I’m just one of the Jon Chaits, please inform me how I can act as an educator and an ally and a friend. Because I am out of fucking ideas.

I know, writing these words, exactly how this will go down. I know Weird Twitter will hoot and the same pack of self-absorbed media liberals will herp de derp about it. I know I’ll get read the intersectionality riot act, even though everyone I’m criticizing here is white, educated, and privileged. I know nobody will bother to say, boy, maybe I don’t actually understand the entire world of left-wing politics because I went to Sarah Lawrence. I know that. But Christ, I wish people would think outside of their social circle for 5 minutes.

Jon Chait is an asshole. He’s wrong. I don’t want these kids to be more like Jon Chait. I sure as hell don’t want them to be less left-wing. I want them to be more left-wing. I want a left that can win, and there’s no way I can have that when the actually-existing left sheds potential allies at an impossible rate. But the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism. And I’m left as this sad old 33 year old teacher who no longer has the slightest fucking idea what to say to the many brilliant, passionate young people whose only crime is not already being perfect.

SOURCE







The evils of Britain's family courts again

A mother and her 11-year-old son were separated on the orders of a judge who refused to listen to their pleas to live together, an appeal ruling found today.

Three Appeal judges said the mother was wrongly denied the hope of getting her son back by the behaviour of Judge Robert Dodds in the family court in Liverpool.

Judge Dodds took the decision to break up the family forever on the basis of an out-of-date report by social workers. He refused to listen to crucial facts of the case - dismissing them as ‘Victorian detail’.

Instead he decided to make a final judgement about the mother and son’s future on the spot, at a court hearing that was only supposed to plot the future conduct of the case, the Appeal judges found.

Judge Dodds decided to break up the family ‘within a matter of minutes’, dismissing the 11-year-old’s hopes of living with his mother.  He wished the boy ‘every good luck in the world but the Children Act and the court has nothing to do with it.’

The Appeal ruling published today contained severe condemnation of Judge Dodds’ conduct of the case by three Appeal judges: Lady Justice King, Lord Justice Lewison and the most senior family judge, President of the Family Division Sir James Munby.

Sir James said: ‘It is unhappily all too apparent that no dispassionate observer of the proceedings could think that justice was done, let alone that it was seen to be done. It was not.’

He added that ‘such a ruthlessly truncated process as the judge adopted here was fundamentally unprincipled and unfair.’

Lady Justice King said that Judge Dodds’ behaviour ‘was not only unfair to the mother but contrary to the interests of the children with whom he was concerned.’

Lord Justice Lewison added that justice could not be done ‘when a judge has apparently made up his mind before hearing argument or evidence.  ‘A closed mind is incompatible with the administration of justice,’ Lord Justice Lewison said.

The family that came before Judge Dodds in the brief hearing in Liverpool last August were the mother and her three children who had been taken into state care at the end of 2012.

Lawyers, social workers and grandparents had agreed that two of the children, aged 14 and 10, would go to live with their grandparents.  But the 11-year-old wanted desperately to live with his mother.

The Appeal judgement said that the boy was academically capable and ‘overachieving’ at school. But in less than two years he had gone through 14 different placements with foster parents and his life was one of ‘continued instability, distress and fervent desire to go home.’

At one stage social workers had sent him to live with his father, a drug dealer, where the boy complained of ill treatment. He was sent back to the father, who was later charged with assaulting the boy and was in prison awaiting trial at the time of the Appeal hearing last month.

Social workers had told the mother they would allow new drug tests to check her claims that she had turned her life around, and lawyers agreed the court should consider sending the boy back to her.  But Judge Dodds took a different view.

The Appeal judges said that at the August case management hearing intended to plan future hearings, ‘within a matter of minutes the judge had made abundantly clear, in trenchant terms, his determination to conclude the case there and then by making final care orders.

‘All the parties crumbled under the judge’s caustically expressed views, and as a consequence were unable to explain to the judge that the situation was more complicated.’

They added that at one stage Judge Dodds said the mother looked ‘upset and bewildered’. The Appeal judges observed: ‘It is hard to see how she could have looked otherwise.’

Judge Dodds made care orders placing all three children under the care of Liverpool social workers despite the detailed and different plans that had been made for them.

The Appeal judges set the decision aside and ordered the case should be taken over by a different judge.

Sir James Munby said: ‘A parent facing the removal of their child must be allowed to put their case to the court, however seemingly forlorn. It is one of the oldest principles of our law – it goes back over 400 years – that no-one is to be condemned unheard.’

He added that the mother had a right to question social workers in court.

Sir James said that while requirements that family cases involving the fate of children should take no more than 26 weeks in court were important, ‘robustness cannot trump fairness.’

SOURCE






Australia: You can't makes whites out of blackfellas

Successive governments of all stripes have tried everything To get blackfellas to behave like whites -- but nothing works.  Despite all efforts, blackfellas remain welfare dependent, violent towards their women and children, prone to alcoholism and in poor health.  The only people who really had any effect on them were the missionaries -- but nobody in government wants to know about that.  I knew some of the older generation of blackfellas who grew up under the missionaries and they had their limitations but were real gentlemen

Australia's native people mostly call themselves "blackfellas".  Interesting that only the Latin term "Aborigines" is used below


ALMOST 1½ years into the initial term of Tony Abbott’s Coalition government and the latest drastic overhaul of indigenous affairs policies and programs, the great mystery overhanging remote ­Aboriginal Australia has only deepened.

It is the besetting question no one in the circles of administrative power wants to ask clearly, or answer squarely: Why aren’t the men and women of indigenous communities across the deserts and the north sending their children to school, seeking out jobs and training opportunities, engaging with the scores of programs under way in their midst? Why, given the vast social engineering efforts launched for their benefit, are the people of the remote bush townships and outstations failing to thrive? And what more, beyond the measures tried already in the past decade of large-scale interventions, can be done?

Among the architects of new policy initiatives, the standard assumption is that the legacy of passive welfare is to blame for this persistent failure of response in the target populations of the centre, the Kimberley, Cape York and the Top End. Simply design the right combination of constraints and incentives, they argue, and human nature being what it is, all will improve in time.

But the emerging picture of policy fiasco is disquietingly stark. Despite the blizzard of despairingly tweaked official statistics and assessments of progress, the “gap” persists; even though measures of indigenous wellbeing are routinely presented so as to blur the distinctions between the remote bush and the towns and more settled regions, the landscape is plain. Across the country, remote community schools are empty and ineffective, grog and drugs loom large, health is poor, preventable illnesses rampant, feud and family violence pervasive; even the make-work jobs for locals tend to go unfilled.

The dramatic change expected in the wake of the 2007 Northern Territory “Emergency Response” and allied programs around the remote bush has simply not materialised. For a range of expert observers, there is now a dark conclusion to be drawn. Remote Aboriginal Australia is more than merely indifferent or disengaged: it is pursuing a mingled strategy of noncompliance and resistance to outside authority — and from this diagnosis several consequences flow.

The way the commonwealth bureaucracy and successive governments have reached the present impasse is instructive. By 1999 the new native title system had been launched and bedded down. Attention turned to the worsening condition of the bush. Cape York reformer Noel Pearson put forward his argument that passive welfare was the chief factor behind remote community anomie, and that alcoholic drinking should be treated as a cause, rather than a symptom, of social collapse.

These views won converts in the government of prime minister John Howard, whose activist indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough based the Territory intervention on the three principles of enhanced child protection, alcohol bans and welfare income management. This was a stripped-down version of the reform recipe being tested in four Cape York communities in concert with the Queensland government, and it would be extended, retouched and widened in its geographic scope by Labor under minister Jenny Macklin between 2008 and 2013.

Pearson’s schema won the day not only because of its upscale presentation and strong media support but because it came with a prescription, a cluster of linked programs to change behaviour: if parents failed to send their children to school their welfare income would be quarantined after review by a local panel, the Family Responsibilities Commission. The logic was straightforward: welfare simply paid without reciprocal obligation was sapping the autonomy and judgment of remote communities. They needed the guidance of a penalty-and-incentive model.

This became the ruling paradigm, with bipartisan political support. Welfare quarantining and close surveillance were enshrined as the mainstays of remote community administration in the Territory: a network of outside overseers is still in place, backed by trainers, job skills instructors, community capacity builders and engagement officers. From Mount Isa to Kalgoorlie, public servants now report and assess all signs of community advancement. These are well advertised by governmental media: upbeat spin and announcements of transformative new schemes have become the order of the day.

So things stood when Abbott took the reins in September 2013. In his opposition years he had made a habit of sitting down with traditional leaders and working alongside community members, and all this was more than show, it was a statement of intent. The Prime Minister was also close to the Territory’s centrist chief minister Terry Mills, who had recently won office with the solid backing of Aboriginal bush voters and was just beginning a redesign of the Territory’s relations with its remote communities.

It felt like a new dawn in Canberra, at close to midnight. A good four decades had gone by since the welfare net came down on remote indigenous Australia, the “sit-down” money times began, the outback cattle industry was modernised and station life for Aborigines vanished in the dust; four decades since drinking in town camps first became entrenched. Two full generations, in indigenous life. The last chance had come to cut into welfare dependency while senior remote community members who remembered another system were still living.

Abbott had given undertakings that he would consult and listen to Aboriginal voices in crafting his approach. Of course, when the maelstrom of office hit he found he had no real time to give to such a marginal portfolio. How to proceed? He held one simple truth fast: education was the key. Bush children had no hope without schooling. Abbott selected as his minister Nigel Scullion, from the same party as his Territory ally, Mills. But within months Scullion’s faction had deposed the elected chief minister in Darwin, torn up his program of reforms and brought in a group keen to break the political power of the large Aboriginal land councils and gain easy access to indigenous land: it was a change of course felt in the bush as a shock betrayal.

As a check to Scullion, Abbott had singled out Alan Tudge, a former associate of Pearson. He also looked for some blue-sky thinking: philanthropist Andrew Forrest, abetted by Melbourne academic Marcia Langton, produced a report on training in the bush that recommended a steroid expansion of compulsory income management’s scope and the creation of a largely cashless remote area economy to fight the scourge of drink and drugs. Abbott brushed these draconian plans aside when they were first presented to him, but the bureau­cracy in Canberra smiles on them and is keen to implement some of Forrest’s recommendations.

It is clear enough, by now, what happened to the Prime Minister’s indigenous affairs dream. When he came to office he had no seriously developed or fine-grained blueprint for transforming the bush, despite his feeling for its plight and the length of his waiting time as leader of the opposition. He swiftly brought the entire indigenous affairs bureaucracy into his own department and charged Scullion with prosecuting his one big idea, the compulsory school attendance agenda. And he adopted the cause of the constitutional referendum on Aboriginal recognition as his grand symbolic issue.

Only now, halfway into his initial term, is Abbott poised to commit the government to a new set of practical reform measures. What course will he choose? Advice comes to Abbott from a tight circle, including favoured members of the indigenous political class, but he has no real access to community-based voices, and his impulse to involve bush leaders has evaporated. His counsellors all believe in the primacy of economic signals as the most effective agents of social change. As a result, the commonwealth is now on the verge of adopting an intensification of approach — more stringent management of welfare income, more reciprocal obligation to work for transfer payments, more controls on substance abuse, more concerted action on parental neglect and domestic violence.

A milder version of this policy set has been in place in remote north Queensland, the Territory, parts of desert South Australia and much of the outback west for seven years. As a result, the impact of such top-down controls has been much studied and the outcomes tabulated.

The school attendance project being run by Abbott’s department provides the latest example. It covers 30 target schools in the Territory and a handful elsewhere, and has enlisted and paid some 300 community members to get children to go to school, at a cost of more than $30 million. An increase of 15 per cent in attendance has been claimed by the program managers, but this is a fiction: numbers have actually fallen in many schools, the reporting method is flawed, the numbers are grotesquely padded.

The record of the north Queensland “direct instruction” schools in boosting attendance has been more promising, yet the broader impact of Pearson’s long-running Cape York reform project in its four trial communities is much more ambiguous. The landscape there is one of stabilisation, at best, rather than revolutionary behaviour change. But the most telling research has been carried out in the Territory’s swath of intervention communities.

The largest of these evaluation reports, examining all aspects of the intervention, was released late last month, after long delay and with much reluctance, by the Department of Social Services. The study had been run over four years by an expert team; the sample was large, the range of data broad. For those who had put their faith in controls as triggers for behaviour shifts, its conclusions were startling. It found that compulsory welfare income management had not promoted “independence and the building of skills and capabilities”, nor had it changed patterns of spending on food, tobacco or alcohol. Rather, it had increased a sense of dependency on welfare and removed the burden of personal management from community people.

The take-out was pretty clear: the intervention’s flagship measure had been a costly waste of time. But government ministers promptly seized on the review’s findings as evidence of the need for much stricter income management. They argued that if remote area Aborigines were not responding to the sanctions placed on them, they had too much welfare cash on hand, and therefore 60 or 70 per cent of the welfare payment should be restricted to the “basics card”, rather than the present 50 per cent.

The idea was simple: disempower to empower; limit economic freedom to set free people’s minds. The parliamentary secretary assisting Abbott in the indigenous field, former management consultant and Cape York expert Tudge, gave the strong version of this thesis in The Australian last month, citing a Mornington Island study showing half of all welfare payments were spent on drink: a level that would defeat the present setting of the basics card.

This study, carried out in the 1990s and published in 2002, was the pioneering work of the profound and humane anthropologist David McKnight, whose constant focus was the colonial encounter. He saw no simple solution to the alcohol plague. He traced the despair and social breakdown on Mornington to the coming in the 70s of the local government shire, which stripped autonomy from the local Lardil people and gave them in its stead the welfare benefits that tore apart traditional ways of life.

Can the sharp remedy now being proposed by Tudge, Forrest and the government’s coterie of advisers make inroads, and reverse the long decline and fall of the Aboriginal bush? The commonwealth is the last authority willing to engage. The state government in South Australia has given up on social remediation projects in the Pitjantjatjara communities, and wants to adopt full-scale welfare income control. The West Australian government has canvassed a sharp reduction in remote support funds that would see a number of smaller communities and outstations shut down. And the Territory’s priorities are clear: it has just opened a $500m jail and launched a mandatory rehab scheme that has already recorded its first death in care; a new courthouse and new police stations are under way; it has assembled a crack team of lawyers for its bid to have the Aboriginal land rights act watered down in the coming year.

On the ground, signs of positive behaviour change are increasingly hard to find. Broome is flooded by remote community dwellers from the Kimberley and desert who gather there in camps to drink; in Alice Springs, there are 15 thriving sly-grog sale outlets unknown to the police, who pride themselves on their effective bottle-shop controls. The towns to the south of Cape York are fringed by seasonal drinking humpies, all currently occupied.

What is the group psychology underlying this pattern? Can it be that the remote population is not susceptible to economic pressure, or that intervention is proving counterproductive? What if the control programs are now generating defiance and sabotage?

In all the long official debate on the bush communities and their condition, there has been a blanket reluctance to take the harsh politics of the frontier seriously, or consider the impact when two distinct worlds and their perspectives meet. But close, committed observers free from governmental ties and consultancies and keenly aware of the indigenous thought-world have come to a contrarian position: one that demands attention as policy lines are hardened for the years ahead.

The most prominent exponent of this viewpoint is the Territory’s leading public intellectual, Rolf Gerritsen, a professor at Charles Darwin University’s Northern Institute. He knows the Roper Gulf region closely; he also knows the political economy of the centre and the north. He was for four years director of social and economic policy in the Chief Minister’s Department. After his resignation in 2006 he blew the whistle on the Territory’s large-scale diversion of commonwealth funds earmarked for remote areas to its own metropolitan priorities. Gerritsen believes that remote settlement Aboriginal men and women have adopted a strategy of covert resistance to the intervention and its associated programs.

At the heart of his analysis is an awareness of the persisting difference between the values of “our” mainstream society and the traditional Aboriginal world, with its emphasis on reciprocal responsibility and its strong belief in individual autonomy. Thus “we” are inevitably seeking to re-engineer “them”. For Gerritsen, bush Aborigines are not merely Australian citizens: they are also a dispossessed people, conscious their world is occupied by outsiders. They collaborate with the occupiers, and acquiesce, and also resist, and the strain of resistance strengthens when their limited free agency in life is infringed. They have two quite separate modes of expression: one for when white people are around, one for themselves.

Hence the school attendance puzzle, and scores of others like it. When asked, or “consulted” in public, Aboriginal parents all say they want their children to go to school, but that commitment may be insincere, or may waver, or be countermanded by dislike of the school, or the teachers, or the actions of the government and its local figureheads. Constraint is still the chief weapon of the state: Aborigines are being asked to adapt — “we are requiring them to become like us” — and they object, and fail to comply. This is what social policy observers then tend to describe as “dysfunction”.

There are several ways this pattern manifests itself in the bush. The resistance can be overtly political. Black votes were responsible for removing NT Labor in the 2012 election; when the conservative regime broke its promises to the bush, voters swung and gave Labor a rare good result in the Territory regional seat at the 2013 federal poll.

Individuals also act this disobedience out. Young Aboriginal men between the ages of 15 and 35 are the “zealot” resisters who engage in substance abuse, drive unregistered vehicles unlicensed, are fined repeatedly and then go to jail, thus “confirming the significance of their rebellion”. Their behaviour becomes “a resistance to what the white society has in mind for them”. Illegal card gambling is a form of rebellion. So is littering in communities, and in towns. Drinking, which the authorities prohibit or seek to limit, is itself a weapon — a deliberate gesture of “rejection of the conqueror and all he stands for”.

The rebel withdraws from the victor’s realm: and it is very striking how many well-trained community men and women refuse to work. Trained teachers don’t teach, builders don’t build, while more than 30,000 young Aboriginal men from remote areas have forgone their benefits and refused to submit themselves to the job search discipline of Centrelink.

This analysis of conflict between two cultures leads to a dark concluding point: self-­neglect, poor health and social harm are also expressions of what Gerritsen sees as the veto Aborigines hold in their hands over Australian society and its representatives: “Governments think they have power over Aboriginal welfare recipients, but Aboriginal people, in their failure, in their covert resistance, can place pressure on government.”

This version of the remote community context is in diametrical opposition to the consensus position of the indigenous affairs establishment, which likes to present a map of constant slow progress in the bush as newer and more enlightened strategies are brought to bear on the hapless native population. The upturn in outcomes is always just ahead, or just beginning to be visible in the reports and statistics.

Can Gerritsen be right? The evidence is suggestive — and bush Aboriginal people tend to smile quietly when asked their view. Resistance shades into pure reserve, and into indifference. Damian McLean, president of the Ngaanyatjarra shire in the far western desert, places the weight in the seven ultra-remote communities he represents on withdrawal as much as on defiance. He has watched aghast over the past half-decade as official policy blow after blow has damaged the resilience and capacity of the indigenous bush: “Successive Australian governments have been increasingly dismissive of the collective and individual indigenous identity, and insistent on compliance with social norms: school attendance, transition to work, home ownership and economic participation.”

These norms coerce, but have little transformative impact. In fact the world of the far western desert is still very internal to itself, McLean contends: “Its people are aware that they have limited interest in the things that engage the white world and they know that the outside world would find the practices at the heart of desert life quite confronting. And the intimidating impact of welfare reform drives people further into their own world, and makes them less confident and safe to feel out the wider world.”

Such sketches of the attitudes in the remote bush fit precisely with the outcomes: it is hard to point to a single top-down social reform or employment or home ownership project in any part of the centre or the north that has taken off. This may well be because the intervention has never been “owned” by the communities it affects.

In the Cape, a mounting hostility towards the Family Responsibilities Commission is palpable in the four trial communities. Social and medical workers on the front line know that wellbeing in their host communities is on the decline and that agents of the outside world are increasingly viewed with suspicious eyes.

What might be done to change this picture, and enlist the support of remote Aboriginal Australia’s men and women in a journey towards a fuller, easier participation in the mainstream? An article in next week’s Inquirer will seek to outline a fresh approach.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Friday, January 30, 2015



The likely cause of addiction is not what you think

By British Leftist journalist Johann Hari.  What he says below is pretty right for heroin and cocaine use but may not apply to other drugs.  Hari's stress on the importance of human connections should sit well with conservatives.  With their connections to their families, their churches and their past, conservatives tend to have much better connections to others than do Leftists. Leftists think anything is a family, despise the churches and despise the past

Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine.

Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment.

The rat is put in the cage all alone.  It has nothing to do but take the drugs.  What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently?  So Professor Alexander built Rat Park.

It is a lush cage where the rats would have coloured balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want.  What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.  The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water.

They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

At first, I thought this was merely a quirk of rats, until I discovered that there was — at the same time as the Rat Park experiment — a helpful human equivalent taking place. It was called the Vietnam War.

Time magazine reported using heroin was “as common as chewing gum” among US soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 per cent of U.S. soldiers had become addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Many people were understandably terrified; they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended. But in fact some 95 per cent of the addicted soldiers — according to the same study — simply stopped. Very few had rehab.  They shifted from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one, so didn’t want the drug any more.

Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation.  It’s not you.  It’s your cage.

When I first learned about this, I was puzzled. How can this be?

This new theory is such a radical assault on what we have been told that it felt like it could not be true. But the more scientists I interviewed, and the more I looked at their studies, the more I discovered things that don’t seem to make sense — unless you take account of this new approach.

Here’s one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day.

If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin.  In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief.

The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it.

So if the old theory of addiction is right — it’s the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them — then it’s obvious what should happen.  Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets to meet their habit.

But here’s the strange thing: It virtually never happens.  As the Canadian doctor Gabor Mate was the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use.  The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts and leaves medical patients unaffected.

If you still believe — as I used to — that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander’s theory, the picture falls into place.

The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to.

The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves.  The drug is the same, but the environment is different.

This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts.

Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections.  It’s how we get our satisfaction.

If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find — the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe.  He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’

A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety.  It is human connection.

SOURCE






Spare the blogger and lash us instead

by Jeff Jacoby

ON JAN. 9, the government of Saudi Arabia publicly whipped a liberal Muslim writer, Raif Badawi, flogging him 50 times outside a mosque in Jeddah. It was the first installment of the 1,000 lashes to which Badawi had been sentenced — in addition to 10 years in prison and a fine of more than $250,000 — for the crime of "insulting Islam" on his former website, the Saudi Free Liberals Forum.

Two days later, following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the Saudi ambassador to France joined in the great Paris solidarity march in defense of freedom of expression.

Such hypocrisy was more than seven members of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom could abide. The commission — an independent, bipartisan federal agency — had several times expressed concern about the persecution of Badawi; it denounced his lashing as "a cruel and barbaric act" inflicted "for nothing more than creating an online forum for diverse views to be expressed freely." Last week, writing in their individual capacities to the Saudi embassy in Washington, the seven commissioners drew attention to the glaring inconsistency between Saudi Arabia's public show of support for civil liberties in France and its brutal denial of those very liberties in Badawi's case.

Then, in a powerful demonstration of genuine solidarity, they offered to share personally in his flogging.

"If your government will not remit the punishment of Raif Badawi, we respectfully ask that you permit each of us to take 100 of the lashes that would be given to him," they wrote. "We would rather share in his victimization than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured."

The signatories are as intellectually distinguished as they are religiously and politically diverse. They include Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor and former ambassador to the Vatican; Zuhdi Jasser, a physician and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy; Robert George, a notable public scholar and professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University; and Eric Schwartz, a former assistant secretary of state who is now dean of the University of Minnesota's school of public affairs. Another commissioner, Daniel I. Mark, is a political scientist at Villanova University; Hannah Rosenthal is president of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation; and Katrina Lantos Swett, the commission chairman, heads an international human-rights foundation.

Of course, the chances are nil that the Saudis will agree to administer lashes to prominent American thinkers and social activists. But that doesn't make the commissioners' willingness to share in Badawi's suffering insincere. "If you're a serious religious person, you don't make such an offer unless you're prepared to carry it out," George told me. The same conviction was expressed by Mark, who in a blog post titled "#IAmRaif" wrote that he had been thinking hard about "what it means to sacrifice for others, to go to the Cross, as some might say, in the fight for justice."

Vocal appeals in support of Badawi have come not just from the American commissioners, but also from Nobel laureates, from Amnesty International, from members of Congress, and from PEN, the international writers' organization. But from the president of the United States there has so far been only silence.

President Obama cut short his state visit to India this week so he could travel to Saudi Arabia to pay his respects to the deceased King Abdullah. Yet "the Saudi who should be on the president's mind and heart right now," George insists emphatically, "is not Abdullah, it is Raif Badawi — the brutalized freedom advocate who has become the living symbol of the oppression practiced by Saudi Arabia's rulers."

Obama's silence is a source of particular distress to Jasser, a faithful Muslim who since 9/11 has made opposition to radical Islam his life's mission. "Everybody asks why more moderate Muslims don't speak out against the poison of Islamism," Jasser said by phone the other day. "Well, Badawi's ordeal is a clinic in what happens when they do." It would so hearten reformers and moderates within Islam, he says, if the president would publicly express concern for liberals like Badawi — the way Ronald Reagan made a point of mentioning Soviet refuseniks like Natan Sharansky by name.

Realpolitik may require an ongoing US relationship with the Saudis. But Americans are not obliged to pretend that Saudi Arabia — where liberals are whipped, dissidents are tortured, and jihadists are incubated — isn't one of the world's leading producers of intolerance and fanaticism. Badawi and others like him are the antidote to those toxins. They need all the solidarity we can give them.

SOURCE






European Socialists, Radical Muslims United by ‘Mutual Hatred for Judeo-Christian Culture’

 European socialists are united with radical Muslims by a “mutual hatred for Judeo-Christian culture,” which is why they continue to defend failed multicultural policies that are promoting the Islamification of Europe, says Soeren Kern, a senior fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.

“It’s called the Red-Green Alliance, red being the socialists and the green being Islam. There’s sort of a mutual interest on both sides to deconstruct the Judeo-Christian culture in Europe,” he explained.

“What the socialists don’t realize is that the Muslims hate them even more than they hate the Judeo-Christians, and so once it works out to its logical end, the socialists will be in big trouble.

“But right now, there’s a mutual interest to change the established historical culture in Europe. And that’s really what multiculturalism is all about,” Kern, an expert on Euorpean politics, told CNSNews.com.

Kern pointed out that European politicians like French President Francois Hollande, leader of the Socialist Party, promote the expansion of social programs in return for Muslim votes. Because of this mutually dependent alliance, socialist leaders are reluctant to criticize the 10 to 15 percent of Muslims who have become radicalized, even in the wake of the bloody terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.

“I thought that these attacks in Paris were going to be a turning point, but when Francois Hollande said these attacks had nothing to do with Islam, that made me realize that either he’s dishonest, or he’s so afraid of what the consequences might be if he actually says that these terrorist attacks are somehow linked to Islam, what the Muslim community in France might do, how they might react.

“I think he’s trying not to rock the boat because he’s very fearful of [National Front Party leader] Marine Le Pen, who is the most popular politician in France right now. He’s trying to show that he’s doing something about it to slow down her rise in French politics.

"On the other hand, he doesn’t want to upset the Muslim community. So he is really walking a very fine tightrope. And the problem is, if you don’t have convictions one way or another, then you lose the respect of everybody.”

Kern said that while most European leaders are “reluctant” to take on the threat posed by radical Islam, more ordinary Europeans are coming to the conclusion that multiculturism has been a failure.

“I think that the European elites are very reluctant to admit that they were wrong, because they have everything invested in this multicultural social model. But I do believe that in most European countries, a pretty significant segment of the population is beginning to wake up and beginning to realize that something needs to be done,” he told CNSNews.com. "And that is the appeal of people like Marine Le Pen, she's from the National Front Party.

“I think until European elites recognize that mass immigration, a model of multiculturalism, is not viable, and it’s actually damaging, it’s putting in jeopardy the future of Europe, until they come to that conclusion, this is going to continue. Because right now, there’s no political will whatsoever to crack down on this and to admit that there’s been a mistake.

"And I think that the rise of people like Marine Le Pen, whether you like her or not, she's a fixture in French politics and I think that she is going to end up putting a lot of pressure on the multiculturalists. But what they're going to try to do is they're going to try to demonize her. They're going to try to destroy her, and do whatever they can to make sure that she never gets into political power in France,"

Kern added that the European political elite’s embrace of multiculturalism, with all of its “internal contradictions,” has ironically created more segregation and less freedom in Europe by allowing Muslims to create their own enclaves governed by sharia law, which is often at odds with their own nation’s laws.

“In Europe, it’s not a melting pot at all,” Kern told CNSNews.com. “Multiculturalism allows minority immigrant groups to set up their own societies and there’s no expectation of integration, of learning the language and of adopting to the legal system.

“In Britain, what you have now is a parallel system of more than 80 sharia courts that adjudicate all sorts of family law for Muslims. And under Islamic sharia law, women are not equal to men. So in a country where all people are supposed to be equal, you have a certain segment of society allowed to be treated as lesser individuals because they’re subjected to sharia law instead of the British Magna Carta.

“You also have the question of polygamy,” he continued. “It’s illegal in Germany and all the European countries, but exceptions are made for the Muslim communities. And what’s even more outrageous is that in the U.K., for example, the polygamists are able to collect social welfare benefits for all of their wives and all of the offspring of those wives. So you have one family of maybe 30 or 40 people all living off the state, even though it’s illegal.

“Even women’s rights groups in Europe, they all want abortion rights, but then when you have all this mass female genital mutilation and all this terrible stuff going on against [Muslim] women, they don’t say anything because it’s a ‘cultural right',’"Kern said. “So there’s a lot of contradictions and a lot of hypocrisy going on in Europe, and I think we’re beginning to see the consequences of all that.”

Most Europeans, including the police, are afraid to enter Muslim enclaves, added Kern, who has written that there are “literally thousands of references to French ‘no go zones’ from academic, police, media and government sources."

“Radical Islam has momentum. It operates on fear and there’s a lot of intimidation going on,” Kern told CNSNews.com. “A lot of journalists and a lot of [other] people who see what’s going on are afraid to speak up because of reprisals. That’s been going on for at least 10 or 15 years, but it’s definitely picking up over the last couple of years.

“I think it has something to do with just the fact that there are more Muslims in Europe and that they’re beginning to become more politically assertive. And multiculturalism, which is closely linked with political correctness, is also a factor. People are afraid to speak out against Islam because they’re afraid of being accused of being Islamophobic or racist or whatever.”

Kern pointed out that “the majority of Muslims in Europe are peaceful and wish no one harm. But I’d say 10 or 15 percent of European Muslims are drawn into radicalized Islam. These are the guys that are really willing to die for their beliefs, and they’re the ones that are perpetrating what happened in Paris and setting up these sharia courts in different European cities and trying to intimidate even moderate Muslims into conforming to their ideas of Islam.

“To my mind now, it’s come to [the point] where it’s almost impossible to reverse because of the sheer numbers of radical Muslims. They’re becoming mobilized, they have the initiative, and they see that time is on their side. And they also see that the European authorities are afraid and don’t know exactly how to deal with them.

“Radical Islam plays on fear,” he noted. “Looking at Islam when it’s in power, like in the Islamic State or in the caliphates in the early period of Islamic history, it is essentially a totalitarian system that brooks no opposition whatsoever. And you pay for it with your life if you oppose it, so it does have parallels to [Nazi] Germany in the 1930s and ‘40s.”

CNSNews.com asked Kern why Europeans, who suffered under both Nazi and Communist rule, seem unable to defend themselves from this new form of totalitarianism.

“I’m a Christian. Personally I believe that it’s a spiritual issue at root. But from a secular perspective, there is a lot of confusion in Europe about nomenclature,” he replied.

“It’s like these PEGIDA [Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamification of the West] guys in Germany. These are just ordinary citizens. I did an analysis, and they are not even linked to neo-Nazi parties.

"And what’s happened is that automatically, the press and the German political establishment tries to brand these critics of Islam – they’re not really even critics of Islam, they’re critics of the Islamification of Germany, which is a different thing – they right away brand these people as Nazis. And they’re trying to delegitimize any criticism of what’s going on in the country.

“I don’t know if that is because of what happened to the Jews, that there’s a fear of singling out a certain religious group, but this is very, very different from anything that Europe has seen before.”

Kern noted that Princeton historian Bernard Lewis predicted back in 2006 that Europe would be majority Muslim by 2100.

“Islam is definitely not going away. It’s rising in every single European country,” he pointed out. “And so whether it’s in 2050 or 2100, things are going in a certain direction. And it’s partly demographics, because there’s a certain hedonism in European society and that contributes to the low birth rates.

“People don’t really care about tomorrow that much. They just think about enjoying today. Because when you have children and have to think about the future, that creates a burden that takes away your liberty of enjoying life today.

“Whereas I think the Muslims have a long-term view of history. They know that time is on their side. And I do believe that ultimately, there’s going to Muslim leaders, Muslim presidents in Europe, and European societies are going to be more Islamized. I don’t know when that will take place. But the trend is definitely going in that direction.

“As a dual German-American citizen, I’ve lived in Europe all my life,” Kern added. “I really do love it, but I feel very sad by what I see going on there and the reluctance of European leaders to do anything about it.”

SOURCE






Safety fear as EU make Britain's  railways go metric

Britain’s rail network is to go metric on the orders of EU bureaucrats – sparking safety fears that the move could cause chaos and lead to more accidents.

Miles and yards will be banished from official signs and documents and translated into kilometres and metres under the plans.

But an official report seen by The Mail on Sunday states that railway workers will have to calculate speeds and distances in both imperial and metric measurements during the change-over, causing a risk of dangerous confusion.

And last night the switch was branded unnecessary by train drivers’ union Aslef. General Secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘It’s a waste of money which would be better spent on keeping fare increases down.

'It is also an unacceptable safety risk to expect train drivers to cope with signalling data which switches between mph and kph depending on which bit of track they are on.’

According to a ‘risk analysis’ by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), problems could arise when staff are required to handle some trains which are metric-compliant and others whose speed is still measured in miles per hour during the transition period.

Trackside mile markers will be replaced by kilometre signs and staff rule books and training manuals will be rewritten following a directive from the European Railway Agency, an EU quango based in France.

The chain – a unit of measurement equivalent to 22 yards still used by engineers to calculate track lengths between stations and bridges – will also disappear. It follows a decision to introduce the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in EU countries – a computerised signalling network that feeds information about the train’s location and speed to a screen inside the cab.

A test run of the system on the remote Cambrian line between Shrewsbury and the West Wales coast has been blamed for a series of problems, including five incidents in five months of trains passing red signals.

Train operator Arriva said in a report that difficulties had been encountered in introducing metric measurements on a route originally designed in miles.

Despite these problems, Network Rail has started rolling out the new signalling system across the country. The Department for Transport applied to Brussels for an opt-out from the metrication directive in 2012 but was turned down.

The RSSB ‘hazard analysis’ warns: ‘Signallers will be required to advise train drivers of speed restrictions in kph for ERTMS-compliant trains and in mph for non-ERTMS compatible trains. That means the signaller will need to be able to identify the type of train he is dealing with before sending the information.’

It adds: ‘Train drivers may… have to operate in metric one day and imperial another, thus exacerbating potential for confusion and error.’

The switch to metric will take place over the next two decades.

Network Rail said: ‘Our aim is to digitise the railway to ensure Britain has the network it needs for the future.’ The Department for Transport said: ‘To meet EU regulations, ERTMS-equipped trains and signs will use the metric system.’

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Thursday, January 29, 2015


A multiculturalist abuses a position of trust



A bank adviser and her fiance stole £123,000 from a customer's account after they claimed fraudsters had threatened to reveal compromising photos in the run up to their wedding, a court heard.

Anisyah Ali, 25, who was working at Halifax's North Finchley branch in north London, passed confidential details to fiance Salim Hussain, 29, and used the money to buy cars and jewellery.

The Old Bailey heard that by the time customer Julian Masters spotted the transactions, £123,000 had been approved, while the bank had declined another £114,000.

Ali was allegedly able to use her position as a personal banker to remove blocks on the account when the bank became suspicious of unusual spending activity.

The couple changed his address and used his personal details to order a new debit card and PIN number and Ali quit her £16,500 job the day before she was arrested on 30 May 2012.

She initially made no comment, but in a prepared statement later told police her husband-to-be had been threatened by a man known as Raza Shah and co-defendant, 28-year-old Zain Hussain.

Prosecutor David Hughes told the court: 'She said prior to the offending her husband had been subjected to a campaign of harassment by way of threats to his mobile phone.
Salim Hussain, 29, is believed to have helped Ali spend the money on cars and jewellery in the run up to their wedding
+2

Salim Hussain, 29, is believed to have helped Ali spend the money on cars and jewellery in the run up to their wedding

'She also stated that Shah threatened to reveal compromising photos of her to her family.'

However, there is no evidence to back up her claims, the court heard, and Mr Hughes added that Shah, real name Alexander Saeed, was not standing trial after admitting fraud.

Mr Hughes continued: 'It is the Crown's case that the role of Anisyah Ali is absolutely vital. She was a pivotal figure. The fraud could not have been carried out without the involvement of Ms Ali.

'She used and abused her position to access the account, obtain the necessary information to change the account owner's address to another one connected to the fraudsters and enabled the obtaining of the debit card used to carry out fraudulent transactions in a variety of locations on many occasions.'

The court heard how, on April 16, 2012, Ali accessed Mr Masters' account while in a private interview room at the bank.

She changed the address on the account to one in Southall, west London, and ordered a new debit card and PIN number destined to fall into the hands of the fraudsters, the jury was told.

The card was blocked on a number of occasions between April 21, and May 5, 2012 because of the unusual spending pattern on the account.

Mr Hughes said: 'The information she was able to get from the account enabled those carrying out the fraud to telephone the bank to have the card reinstated.'

Ali was arrested on 30 May 2012 at the bank's Wembley branch and receipts found in her handbag revealed cash deposits made to her Barclays account totaling more than £13,000.

At her Southall home, which she shared with Salim Hussain, more receipts were recovered, including ones from a local jewellery shop.

Checks at the shop revealed a forged utility bill had been used in conjunction with the debit card to make fraudulent purchases, the jury heard.
Ali, Hussain and co-defendant Zain Hussain deny the claims while another defendant - Alexander Saeed admitted fraud and is not standing trial at the Old Bailey (pictured), which continues

Ali, Hussain and co-defendant Zain Hussain deny the claims while another defendant - Alexander Saeed admitted fraud and is not standing trial at the Old Bailey (pictured), which continues

Other successful transactions included the purchase of two cars, for £7,950 and £6,900.

SOURCE





French mayor removes iconic statue of national symbol of freedom from his town hall - because she is black

A French mayor is set to remove an iconic statue of a woman symbolising France from his town hall - because she is black.

The statue of Marianne features in thousands of public buildings in France as a national symbol of freedom and democracy in the French Republic.

The effigies are usually of a white female wearing a cap, but for the last 16 years the statue in the council building in Fremainville, northern France, has been of a black woman.

But the town's mayor Marcel Allegre, who won local elections in March, has now ordered it to be removed. He said: 'This black sculpture was a Marianne of liberty, but not a Marianne of the French Republic. She undoubtedly represented something, but not the French Republic.'

Although Marianne is considered to be a national symbol, there is no official legislation how it should appear.

The black Marianne's 'eviction' from Fremainville has now sparked outrage from the country's minority rights groups.

Thaiba Bruni, spokeswoman for the Representative Council of France's Black Associations, said: 'Either we live in a white and racial Republic, and Marcel Allegre is right, or we live in a diverse Republic, and the mayor of Fremainville is wrong.'

The organization is also calling upon France's National Association of Mayors to pick 'black, Arab or Asian woman' as a new Marianne.

Maurice Maillet, the town's mayor for 25 years until losing to Allegre, was confused by the decision.  “I don’t see any reason why the French Republic would not be black,' he told France24. 'Just look at France’s national football team.'

The decision to remove the black Marianne has also triggered a row in social media.  One Twitter user wrote: 'In Fremainville, the first black Marianne de France is to be scrapped by the new mayor..It's stupid.'  A reader of le Parisien newspaper wrote: 'It's very beautiful, and it's a shame especially in these troubled times to do this.'

But another commented: 'We need to stop massacring the symbols of our history in the name of 'multiculturalism'.

'White or black, and why not yellow, our MARIANNE has always been white because we are in France, until proven otherwise, we are a white country.'

Fremainville's Mayor Allegre has now told Le Parisien that he will not scrap the black Marianne, but instead place it in another municipal building in his town.

SOURCE






Carly Fiorina: ‘Hypocrisy of Liberals’ on Abortion Is ‘Breathtaking’

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina criticized House Republican leadership in a speech Saturday for their decision this week to postpone the vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, after some Republican House members objected to the legislation.

She also took aim at the left as well, saying in her remarks at the Iowa Freedom Summit that “it is on the issue of life that the hypocrisy of liberals is at its most breathtaking.”

“Liberals believe that flies are worth protecting,” Fiorina, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said, “but that the life of an unborn child is not.”

Noting that the majority of women and Americans believed that permitting most abortions after twenty weeks was “extreme,” Fiorina talked about House GOP leaders:

Politics, apparently, intervened to prevent the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act from being brought to the floor for a vote. This is disappointing. Because what it says is that once again, politics has triumphed over principle, and expediency has triumphed over courage. This is not leadership of the House.

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would have banned abortions after twenty weeks, except in cases where rape or incest was reported to authorities.

Fiorina also spoke in her speech about her views on abortion, talking about how her mother-in-law had been urged to abort her husband, Frank, due to the health risks of the pregnancy.

SOURCE






British intolerance of minority politics goes to absurd lengths

Britain First, a far-right BNP spin-off which exists almost entirely as a Facebook group, is hardly a terrifying new presence on the British political scene. It’s known for its anachronistic political demands, like calling for the guillotining of nonces, and the often amusingly inept political stunts of its leader Paul Golding, who recently travelled to Ireland to confront Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at his constituency office in Dundalk. Unfortunately, Golding failed to check if Adams was going to be there first (he wasn’t).

Despite Golding lacking any real air of menace, the cops have been desperate to nab him for some time. He has been arrested several times on trumped-up charges. And his latest conviction is particularly absurd. In a typically poorly planned stunt, the gormless Golding went to confront alleged 7/7 plotter Sajeel Shahid. He called on the wrong house, that of Shahid’s sister-in-law Munazza Munawar, so he just decided to give her an ear-full instead.

At his trial for harassing Munawar, Golding was also landed with a second charge under the Public Order Act (1936) for ‘wearing a political uniform’. Under this archaic and largely forgotten piece of legislation, which was brought in to combat Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF), Golding’s trademark Britain First-branded windbreaker and Andy Capp-style flat-cap apparently constitute an illegal political uniform. As Golding himself pointed out, come election time we’ll no doubt see people of every political stripe out canvassing in branded political-party clothing, yet it is unlikely they will meet with any legal censure.

The banning of BUF uniforms in the Thirties coincided with, and some historians believe caused, an upsurge in the BUF’s popularity. Indeed, when the act was used to ban Irish republican uniforms in the Seventies, the same thing happened: it helped rather than hindered the republicans’ cause. Likewise, the prosecution of Golding for wearing a ‘uniform’ is unlikely to damage his slim support. Instead, it allows him to present himself as a persecuted party worthy of sympathy and support. He is not, but nor should he be singled out and targeted by the law for his political beliefs. Fringe crackpot groups like Britain First are not something society needs to worry about, but the state’s attack on people’s right to express their political beliefs is. 

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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