We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

In praise of discrimination

What I am about for argue for may strike long time readers of Samizdata as strange, given that I have written so many articles deploring racism, calling for open borders and taking various pro-immigration positions. None of my views on those things have changed one iota but clearly Britain and the western world generally has a problem with the Muslim communities in their midst. If Muslims really do share a broad consensus of opposition to free speech and the social liberalism that defines us, then Muslims are quite unlike any other community who have demonstrably integrated and assimilated over time, such as the Irish, Poles, Afro-Caribbeans, Sikhs, Hindus, Chinese, etc.. If Britain’s Muslims wish to both be separate but also have a veto over how non-Muslims are permitted to discuss them, then they are a cohesive political and social problem. So how does a tolerant, cosmopolitan, pro-immigration, free market capitalist, social individualist (‘libertarian’ if you insist) react to the threat posed by an intolerant and even barbaric cultural-religious minority in the midst of his society? Here is where I put myself ‘beyond the pale’ with some people. The short answer is… discrimination.

I have long argued that intolerant Islamic values are a problem that needs to be opposed, not accommodated. However people in the Muslim community need to be opposed not for being Muslims but for refusing to integrate into British society. As so many ethnic groups have successfully (even if not always effortlessly) integrated and assimilated into tolerant British society, the problem is not mass immigration, the problem is Islam and the antithetical values it brings. In short, the problem is Muslim mass immigration and the refusal to reciprocate tolerance for tolerance.

However it is important to keep in mind that Islam is not a race or an ethnicity, it is a religion, and therefore it is a choice. As a result, when the BBC says that the police have arrested a group of “Asian men on suspicion of terrorist offenses”, they are doing everyone a great dis-service by making a remark which is by any reasonable definition racist in the most literal sense. It does not matter that the people in question are ‘Asian’, what matters is that they are Muslim. Race and ethnicity is not the issue and to suggest otherwise is racist: the political consequences of a specific religion and its associated culture, that is the issue. Social mechanisms are the natural defence against people who do not integrate. Inter-marriage and economic participation are the natural rewards for people who do. The evidence that Afro-Caribbean people are now well and truly ‘British’ is the high levels of inter-marriage. But although the state does not force individuals to marry others against their will, it does indeed force the owners of the means of production to rent houses to, and offer jobs to, un-assimilated people. In short, the law prevents discrimination on pretty much any basis. And I would argue that although blanket discrimination against a person on the grounds of their race or ethnicity is almost always a bad thing, discrimination on the basis of a person’s beliefs can be a very good thing indeed. Few Guardian readers seem to have a problem ‘discriminating’ against racists.

If if a woman walks into my office in a burqua and asks for a job, clearly she has not assimilated and I frankly I would rather not hire her for that reason alone, which of course can get me in trouble with the authorities for ‘discrimination’. Yet it is discrimination that is the natural pressure that entourages assimilation. Why should I have to associate with people I do not wish to? If I have the right to free association, surely that must include dis-association. For me to be willing to hire that woman she need do nothing more than take the damn burqua off and make me comfortable that she is not likely to be deeply alien to the rest of my employees. The carrot for assimilating (or at least accommodating) the host culture is economic participation and social harmony, the stick is discrimination and it is a stick the state does not allow people to use. As usual, the state is not your friend, unless you are a Muslim bigot of course.

That is a mistake. We do not need to restrict immigration to defend ourselves, we just need to make people who refuse to integrate a great deal less welcome. Islam and the intolerant social values it imposes are a choice, not a matter of genes, and if you cannot judge a person based on their choices, you cannot judge them for anything, which is preposterous. If most Muslims really do reject the core values that make Britain what it is then they cannot complain if increasing numbers of British people reject the core values of what makes Islam what it is and react accordingly. It is really quite simple to adopt the trappings of ‘Britishness’ and fit in. Jews do not have to stop being Jews to also be British, cannot Muslims also find a way? Perhaps not. But the consequences for not assimilating need to be significant. If Muslim separatists dislike the reception they get, the solution is both simple and quite inexpensive.

62 comments to In praise of discrimination

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Excellent piece, Perry. Nicely nails the issue that is consciously held beliefs, not inborn traits, that is the crucial point here. It is a distinction that needs to be made repeatedly because actual racists are determined to blur those distinctions.

  • J

    Actually, I think you could quite reasonably not hire a person who insisted on wearing a burqua, if (for example) they were applying for a sales position. It would be harder if they were applying for job in the kitchens, although I believe that health and safety law always trumps protection for religious dress laws.

    I recently saw a c.v. with the line (more or less verbatim)

    “By the grace of Allah I work hard and strive to deliver projects on time and on budget”

    I chucked the C.V. on the grounds that the guy was a nutter. But maybe that line was a literal translation of a common way of writing C.V.s in arabic. Who knows. After all, I did once hear someone saying on the phone “Tell him there’s some left over soup in the fridge, inshallah”

    I don’t think I would have trouble defending my decision in a tribunal. Maybe he wasn’t a nutter, maybe he just hand’t integrated far enough to know how to write CVs for non-muslim consumption. If instead, it had been a normal C.V. with the line “I am an active muslim and a member of my local Mosque football team” in the ‘Other interests’ section, not only would I personally not have cared, but I think I’d be obliged by law not to care.

  • guy herbert

    I don’t think this makes the case for discrimination on religious grounds, even if there is no case for banning discrimination – which is what really gets us into trouble.

    There are cultural-ethnic factors at play too, which aren’t inborn but which aren’t directly chosen either. The idea it is OK to discriminate on grounds of another’s choice but not on innate characteristics is the same weak one at the heart of so much quota-thinking… It looks at people as a bundle of characteristics to be checked off independently of the person and the circumstances. (Consider the fury that will be directed at you by gay-rights people if you dare suggest sexuality has an element of choice:
    it is feared to imply that mistreatment of the gay is therefore OK.)

    We can’t in fact always readily distinguish what’s a matter of choice, nor should we have to. We should be free to discriminate. But that doesn’t mean we should. And I don’t think Perry has found a good rule. I think you still have to take the particular person as you find them.

    A burqa would be so odd as to amount to deliberate statement, and it would make me, too, uneasy. But what’s it to you or me if someone we work with prefers a hijab or shalwar kamees – even though it is a pretty unambiguous sign of cultural affiliation? Nothing, I suggest. Less worrying than deely-boppers.

    The young men arrested today are overwhelmingly likely to be of Pakistani heritage or black English converts like previous actual terrorists. Perhaps that’s prejudice by me, perhaps the facts if they bear me out would represent prejudice by the police, and artefact of arrest, but there are more factors acting than merely religion. Young and men for a start.

    England (and London in particular) has many Muslims of Kurdish, Turkish, Persian, Bangladeshi or East or West African origin. We have Moroccan Arabs and Malays. To suppose that a few signifiers of religion and skin colour place them in the all in the same cultural category would be weird, regardless of any personal degree of assimilation into British ways.

  • Nick M

    Nice piece, Perry.

    If the muslims integrated then they wouldn’t be able to play their ace in the hole – the victim card. Unfortunately for all of us the Islamic victim card has been shown to be especially effective. The more we ignore this card and the less we “try to understand” the better.

    This will happen alas only as a result of even more atrocities commited in the name of the RoP.

    Personally, I am shocked that so many of my fellow countrymen haven’t rumbled Islam yet. How many Beslans, 7/7s and cartoon intifadas does it take for people to en bloc realise that Islam is very dangerous?

  • guy herbert

    I don’t think Perry has found a good rule.

    I should add that the other point he makes, that voluntary discrimination does provide an incentive to integration, is of course correct. But it also provides self-justification for separatism.

  • I disagree Guy. To argue Islam is not a ‘choice’ for a person in the west seem odd and all I am saying is it makes sense to discriminate based on a person’s choices. Face it, we do that all the time.

  • llamas

    Sorry to hear about the latest rictus in the UK.

    I’m starting to think, more and more, from such data as I am able to glean from what goes on in the UK, that there are emerging two distinct groupings of observant, ‘radical’ Muslims.

    The first are the 7th century nutters who want to kill everyone and let Allah sort them out.

    But – it seems to me – there is a second, very distinct grouping emerging, of Muslims who are repulsed and repelled by trends in British culture in the last two decades – the descent into ‘chav’ culture, the dissolution of law and order, rampant crime and a general decline or disappearance of many conventional societal standards.

    In their repulsion, they really are no different than large numbers of the native-born who are similarly repulsed by these things.

    It’s hard, in contemporary Britain, to educate others about liberal Western values when the practical applications have gone so haywire. Wrongdoing goes unpunished, the banal and the prurient are celebrated while the serious and the elevating are mocked, and every social more is up for grabs. Many of the native-born recoil in horror from these things, and reflexively reach for familiar cultural norms to cling to. Why would we be surpised that Muslims do likewise?

    I have no time or sympathy for a Muslin jihadist who claims that he must kill all Westerners in order to bring the new Caliphate. I do have a lot more time and sympathy for a young woman who is repulsed by the tawdry tat that is modern pop culture and who recoils from the values and mores it tries to impose on her – and who seeks to avoid it by reverting to her familiar culture.

    When the streets and homes of poorer, working-class neighbourhoods are filled with teenage sluts and thugs, it must be hard to find a way to partition oneself from what is obviously a destructive, wasteful and ultimately useless lifestyle, and one could see why the veil, or the madrassa, might be seen as less-worse than the few other alternatives on offer.

    llater,

    llamas

  • But – it seems to me – there is a second, very distinct grouping emerging, of Muslims who are repulsed and repelled by trends in British culture in the last two decades – the descent into ‘chav’ culture, the dissolution of law and order, rampant crime and a general decline or disappearance of many conventional societal standards. In their repulsion, they really are no different than large numbers of the native-born who are similarly repulsed by these things.

    An interesting point but I am not sure you are correct. The aversion to the trappings of modern Britishness seems much more deep than that of paleo-conservative Daily mail readers.

    I too dislike chav culture with a passion, but that does not make me want to pass laws against homosexuals, stone adulterers, imprison people who draw cartoons, prohibit booze and impose dress codes on women on grounds of decency and I think you will find very few non-Muslims with conservative values (in the broadest non-political sence) real want those things either. Most conservatives (by which I do not mean Tories) want restraint, not repression. I think it is a mistake to think Muslim espousing ‘conservative’ values really mean the same thing as Digby Anderson when they rail against ‘booze Britain’.

  • Excellent piece. Personally, I imagine that people do, in fact, discriminate on precisely this basis: keeping overenthusiastic Muslims out of their social circles, for instance. Still, it can’t be repeated often enough that Islam is not a race, it’s a religion, and thus it’s not racist to discriminate on that basis.

    Of course, widespread acceptance of this will just result in the PC crowd switching over entirely to ‘islamophobia’ (as is unsurprisingly already happening.)

  • Nick M

    llamas,

    May I make a point. Round where I live a very large number of the chavs hanging round street corners and intimidating people are muslims. Many muslim parents have formed an accomodation with their teen lads that they can basically do what the bloody hell they want for a few years as long as they abstein from booze and accept marrying cousin Aisha from Islamabad a few years down the line.

    I also don’t believe there has been a significant descent into “chav culture”. This is just the same small “c” conservative “going to the dogs” stuff which bemoaned rockers, mods, hippies, punks, goths… You probably had it in C19th papers about urchins and guttersnipes. Oiks, scumbags and rebels-for-the-sake-of it have always been there. I said “significant” because there is a problem and it’s more to do with the dumbing down of education and popular culture than wearing Burberry.

  • hm

    Is it a matter of choice or inherency.

    Absolutely right. This must be the legal test to be employed in all matters concerning discrimination. Great post.

  • Brilliant, I just dropped a link to this in my new essay. thank you so much!

    https://shoulung.wordpress.com/2006/08/10/an-american-empire/

  • RAB

    I have been discriminating in the only way I can for some time now.
    I like to use small local shops when I can, mailny for the reason that my father was a shopkeeper, so I know the hard graft that goes into making a living from them.
    I used to buy groceries in the international market and halal meat shop just down the hill. But about 5 years ago I said to myself, bugger this for a game of soldiers!
    Why should I give my business to someone who will quite happily sell me a six pack but would also like to chop my hand off for my choice of purchase.
    So I take my custom to the hindu shop accross the road now.

  • I do think Llamas has a point, especially:

    It’s hard, in contemporary Britain, to educate others about liberal Western values when the practical applications have gone so haywire.

    To someone not versed in the wisdom of Mill or Hayek and naturally conservative, the chaos can be very off putting.

    That said, appeasement has to be the worst possible response, as it just gives the message that the British State will only take seriously those who threaten.

    On discrimination, I can’t see any moral reason why a businessman cannot choose his employees in any way he likes. The law? Thats of course a different matter.

  • llamas, if you want to convince muslims or others of the values of liberal western values simply ask them to name a country not governed by said values that is better of than western europe/usa in any meaningful social or economic manner. Fact is that whatever our chav minorities are up to on any meaningful measure we’re miles ahead of any country that has not substantially adopted our ways.

  • llamas

    Well, I said that my data was lacking and my understanding may be incomplete.

    There will be some Muslim youth, of course – mostly male – that don’t rebel against the descent into ‘chav’ culture, but rather embrace it. I use that as broad generalization which goes far beyond mere Burberry to describe the entire expanse of modern youth culture – no consequences, no mores, anything-goes, drinking, drug-taking, casual violence, casual sex, the demeaning of women and a fascination with ‘thug life’. As we lately saw in France, they use the mantle of their religion to excuse their barbaric behaviour – just as a certain segment of the African-American ‘hip-hop’ community uses the race card to excuse and validate the ‘thug life’.

    In a sense, the Muslim youths who hang on the corner and aggravate passers-by are more fully-integrated into UK youth culture than those that take the veil ASF. Is that the sort of integration you’d want?

    PdH – I agree with your point on restrain vs repression. But I think that’s the point that I’m trying to make – that many Muslims revert to familar social norms to express their desire for restraint, but abhor the extremes of repression and the 7th century death cult. I live not a million miles from Dearborn, MI, and this is what I see – or think I see – in that community. I think it’s a mistake to see the Muslim community as monolithic, or to assume that every girl who wears a headscarf does so under religious duress. Many of these expressions are not (necessarily) signs of fanatical adherence to Islam, and I think it’s a mistake to assume that they are.

    I hope so, anyway.

    llater,

    llamas

  • I think it’s a mistake to see the Muslim community as monolithic, or to assume that every girl who wears a headscarf does so under religious duress.

    yes indeed, but the point of Jon Snow’s programme was that although there is a considerable diversity of ‘Muslim opinion’, there are also some key issues on which there is tremendous consensus that puts them very much at odds with Western norms. Those issues are the problem… the ‘deal breaker’ so to speak.

  • guy herbert

    hm,

    This must be the legal test to be employed in all matters concerning discrimination.

    That’s not, I think what Perry is arguing for, nor what I’m arguing against. Neither of us think that discrimination is a suitable arena for law. He’s saying it is more morally legitimate where you are dealing with what objectively is a matter of personal choice about some things; I’m saying it isn’t, and (separately) that what might appear to be a reasonable or clear criterion isn’t when you look at it more closely.

  • Yes, Guy understands the argument. But where I disagree is where he says “I’m saying it isn’t, and (separately) that what might appear to be a reasonable or clear criterion isn’t when you look at it more closely” beacause I see that as a cop out.

    I have little problem with allowing individuals (including myself) to discriminate on the basis of what seems reasonable to that individual. It is really just a matter of stopping the state interfereing with property rights and letting ‘society’ (a dangerous word, I know) defend itself as a consequence.

    Also re. llamas’ point that is a mistake to “assume that every girl who wears a headscarf does so under religious duress”, actually if she does it freely that makes me more likely to want to dis-associate with such a person, not less.

  • Samsung

    If I were working for the security services, I wouldn’t be on the lookout for Methodists and Quakers. The current Islamist Jihad that intends to enslave the Muslim world and force their version of theocratic totalitarian dictatorship on the rest of us “godless infidels’ and try to destroy our culture, is largely conducted by those who really beleive that “there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet”. To these people, God only speaks Arabic. I would be on the watch more for them than say, the Mormons or Hari Krishnas. The reality is, profiling is both justifiable and necessary in our current jihadist terrorist climate. And this isn’t “racist” to say this, this is simply common sense.

  • Howard R Gray

    Discrimination, being judgmental etc. etc. all boo words for really bad non PC behaviour. I have never bought the notion that being brain dead is a good idea with respect to deploying criticism that might be a jot unfashionable.

    GO AHEAD DISCRIMINATE, use your judgement, with out it, you might end up actually dead, not just in the brain. Moslems do themselves no favours by expecting to have their ideas protected from critical review. Like PC, Islam is in the business of totalitarian political hegemony. They want to rule OK and anything critical is just not PC or OK!

    Poking fun at religion, with or without the aid of cartoons, is fine by me. Religions, inclusive of ersatz religions like fascism and communism, have been the motivating meme factories of death since time immemorial, so criticizing them is a moral necessity. Our survival is dependent on it. This in no way disrespects the truly spiritual people, it merely blunts the blood lust of the intolerant fanatics. While “no one may expect the Spanish Inquisition”, it wasn’t much fun when it came to your town de hors Monty Python . Again and again our history is replete with the need to deal with fanatical zealots, Islam is no exception.

    The author is quite right in making his case for an exception, specifically, for those of Islam’s adherents who can’t cope with a free society. I would go further, and make it uncomfortable for all the other jerks who have something like the same problem, be they PCniks, fascists or communists. After all, fascism is dog eat dog and communism is quite the reverse, I am beginning to feel that Islam might be worse than either of those mass killers.

    Discrimination, use of judgement is a normal and vital requirement for a free society. Those who don’t like it must at least tolerate it or ship out if they get violent about the matter. It isn’t the act of discrimination, or using ones judgement, that is important per se, it is what you choose to do about it. The essence of liberty is the freedom to choose or reject ideas and material things so long as ye trespass not on the commonweal of others.

  • guy herbert

    I have little problem with allowing individuals (including myself) to discriminate on the basis of what seems reasonable to that individual.

    Nor do I. Not even including Perry. I do have a problem with offering rules for discrimination.

    Having thought about it while heaving an overweight parcel some idiot sent to me, I think what worries me most about the idea that “discrimination will bring them into line” is that it shades very easily into majoritarianism: live as we do because we prefer it and we are in the majority, and that makes us right. Which is of course the line that would be adopted by Salafists and other illiberal Muslim groups, and what the omigod-they’re-outbreeding-us brigade fears.

    Fortunately people are not categorical bundles and they are capable of adapting. The reason I think Western liberal values have won and continue to win in the marketplace of ideas (and what gives the Salafists the willies about them and has them lashing out so fearfully) is precisely the opposite. Individuals gain personally by adopting them, bit by bit, and so the culture evolves. Rigid doctrines can withstand a clash of civilisations, but they can dissolve quite suddenly and spontaneously in the melting pot.

    It is not that they lose by, or are retrained by being punished for, non-compliance with some norm that leads people everywhere to want Western things and Western lifestyles. We don’t have much norm. Exclusion doesn’t give you a direction. Assimilation is its own reward. Personal freedom is too.

    Trade or blockade? Trade’s more effective every time.

  • Steven Groeneveld

    I work in the aircraft industry which is essentially quite a small and incestuous industry world wide. There are very few major players and they draw their labour from a worldwide pool of quite mobile engineers and designers, who flit from continent to continent as the work demands shift.

    Consequently I have friends and colleagues who are working or who have worked in many companies around the world (I have myself worked on 3 continents) but the most interesting stories come out of those who have worked in places like Korea and Indonesia mainly because of the major cultural differences.

    Many westerners believe Korea to be quite technologically advanced, and it is but it is severely hampered by their culture. Aircraft, like many leading edge technologies, require a lot of testing and redesign to get them right. There is virtually no such thing as getting them “right first time”. Many mistakes are made and have to be corrected, and there is a lot of trial and error in the design and testing process. In Korea, however, this is difficult for two reasons. They appear to be very hierarchical so no junior dares question his superior, or even suggest new ideas to him, and also the typically asian disgrace at “losing face” means that no-one is prepared to admit having made a mistake. Hence mistakes are difficult to correct when no-one is prepared to admit that there is a mistake.

    Indonesia is a Mohammedan country and, as events have borne out with their attempt at establishing an aircraft industry, they are even more culturally inhibited from taking on high technology tasks. The reports I hear from those who have worked there are hearsay of course but we all rely on hearsay to some extent to form our world view. In Indonesia there is an almost universal refusal to accept the responsibility of ones own actions and decisions. It is always God’s will whether things go well or not. Ones own efforts are never the cause or blame for it. Even amongst the highest educated of them.

    Now these perceptions of some cultures clearly influence ones actions. If I were an investor I would clearly never put money in research and development ventures in either culture. A business hiring people from such cultural backgrounds is taking a large risk an is likely to have problems that would hurt it economically. I know that I definitely discriminate on the basis of culture and beliefs and I am sure many people making investment, business or even engineering decisions do to.

    Perry, I think your point is very valid. We know well that when governments interfere in the mechanisms that make the market work, then they get all sorts of distortions and unintended consequences. In the same way if governments interfere in the social factors and insist on imposing a cultural equivalance with “political correctness” then the “market of cultures” and values cannot function.

  • Earl Harding

    Perry,

    Would you also choose to avoid an othodox Jewess that also chooses to wear a tikhl (a headscarf basically the same as the Muslim headscarf?

    Just wondering.

    Earl.

  • Although Islam is a choice, Islamists see it as neither a choice for themselves nor for others. To them it is an absolute must. Obedience or death, or as has been put previously, assimilate or die.

    Thus, being an Islamist fails the core test of a behaviour that is both a freedom for the individual and one that does not harm the freedom of others. It does harm the freedom of others. It is designed to harm in that way. It was premeditated, systematically and with great care to impinge on the freedoms of others.

    Why then are people free to be an Islamist?

  • llamas

    Steven Groeneveld – have you by chance read a book called ‘Round the Bend’, by Nevil Shute?

    If you have not, may I recommend it? I think you would feel right at home.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Millie Woods

    llamas, my heart bleeds for your bleeding heart and your oh so understanding of how the wonderful Islamics are repelled by the UK’s chav culture.
    Here are a few anecdotal snapshots of my own observations of Islamic culture in action at the Universite de Montreal. Firstly there was the just below seething of my male students who had to take instruction from a female prof. Oh the horror – a woman with power over them. The idiotic ploys and strategies – if one can call them that – they engaged in to attempt to put me in my place were in some cases ingenious. A pity they didn’t apply the same inventiveness and ingenuity to their course workload!
    Then there was the murder of more than a dozen female engineering students at the ecole polytechnique of U de M and the murderer’s hit list of several prominent Quebec women found on his body after his suicide which brought an end to his polytechnique killing spree.
    Somehow chav culture just doesn’t seem to alarm to the same degree as culturally sanctioned murderous misogyny.

  • I do have a problem with offering rules for discrimination

    Not sure what you mean. I am not suggesting we need rules for discrimination but rather we need to not be prevented by the state from ‘dis-associating’ ourselves from people (one of the few things I agree with Hans-Herman Hoppe).

    All I am saying is that if Muslims want to fit in, evidence suggests most people will not discriminate against them. If they do not try and fit in and trumpet their seperateness, then they probably will be discriminated against provided the state does not stop them. I am sure that will not make ‘everything ok’ but it does make a great deal more sense than the state using its power to actively strengthen the forces of intolerent seperatist Islam. It simply makes sense to make people like that less welcome.

  • Improbulus Maximus

    I disagree; we shouldn’t discriminate againt muslims – we should simply not let them into our countries.

  • Joshua

    Many mistakes are made and have to be corrected, and there is a lot of trial and error in the design and testing process. In Korea, however, this is difficult for two reasons. They appear to be very hierarchical so no junior dares question his superior, or even suggest new ideas to him, and also the typically asian disgrace at “losing face” means that no-one is prepared to admit having made a mistake. Hence mistakes are difficult to correct when no-one is prepared to admit that there is a mistake.

    I lived in Korea for two years and Japan for three and would just like to say that this is almost right, but not quite. Everything in Korea is shoddy and nothing has been inspected – not just the airplanes, everything from elevators to buildings to cars – all of it. Japan is just the opposite – everything is tested to a ridiculous degree before being sold. The two countries couldn’t be more different on that count – and yet they both have Confucian cultures where seniority and “face-saving” trump pretty much everything. In Japan, in fact, “face-saving” seems to be the biggest guarantee that the products you are sold will work – because the company’s good name is paramount, overriding any worker’s personal concerns (like, say, his aversion to 14-hour workdays). The problem with Korea is that the country is in a terrible hurry. They feel left behind by the world and rush through everything in an effort to catch up. By the time they actually had managed to catch up (mid-80s or thereabouts), this was already so much a part of the culture that it will be difficult to change. Seniority and face-saving certainly contribute to the problem by putting up barriers to change, though, right.

  • guy herbert

    IM,

    …we should simply not let them into our countries.

    Which would be discrimination, wouldn’t it? But I don’t own a country, so I can’t say it applies to me.

  • J

    I disagree; we shouldn’t discriminate againt muslims – we should simply not let them into our countries.

    What silly nonsense. I have hired muslims who were good programmers, amusing colleagues, and who introduced me to some excellent restaurants I would never have otherwise known. Plus, they gave me an interesting incite into the whole ‘cartoons’ issue, that supplied me with truly excellent anecdotal oneupmanship for several dinner parties.

    Only an illiberal fool would discriminate against all members of a large and diverse religion. Now, a small and tightly knit religion like Judaism… they send their children to Jewish schools – they dress differently – they have backward views about the role of women – they refuse to work on Saturdays, despite it being the cultural norm of this society – and they seem to think it’s necessary to demarcate the areas they live with metal wire for religious convenience. Surely we are better off without these fanatics?

  • Only an illiberal fool would discriminate against all members of a large and diverse religion.

    Yes, because all it takes is the will to be “one of us” and even “Little Englanders” like me stop having a problem. Adopt our ways. And those who don’t want that should get the hell out while the majority here are still being polite.

  • Would you also choose to avoid an othodox Jewess that also chooses to wear a tikhl (a headscarf basically the same as the Muslim headscarf?

    Only to the extent that I tend to avoid all overtly religious people as a metter of personal preference. However in truth I am unlikeky to have a problem with an “othodox Jewess” because they generally do not want to force their values on me.

  • llamas

    Millie Woods – me, a bleeding heart? It is to laugh . . . .

    Please take note of what I actually mused, to wit:

    ‘I have no time or sympathy for a Muslim jihadist who claims that he must kill all Westerners in order to bring the new Caliphate. I do have a lot more time and sympathy for a young woman who is repulsed by the tawdry tat that is modern pop culture and who recoils from the values and mores it tries to impose on her – and who seeks to avoid it by reverting to her familiar culture.’

    I wonder whether a young Muslim woman who takes to wearing a headscarf and modest clothing is so very much different than the Colonel Blimp of Godalming who writes angry letters to the Telegraph about ‘young people these days . . . .’ Both are reacting to the decline of social and cultural values by grasping for what is familiar in their own culture.

    Similarly, how is a Muslim father who wants his daughter to wear a headscarf and modest clothing any different than a Catholic father who wants his daughter to go to a parocial school that has a dress code (uniform) and enforces other social and behavioural norms? Both are merely reacting against what they see as the negative effects of pop culture, and it’s an awful stretch to suggest that every Muslim father who wants these things is also out to murder women, blow up airliners and install Sharia law for all.

    I’m merely suggesting that Muslim culture may have more than just one stratum, and that some of its strata may have motivations not so very different from WASP culture. It’s what I see in Dearborn.

    Bleeding heart. That’s rich. I’m going to have to tell them about that down at the gun club tonight.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Dave

    Jonathan Pearce “Nicely nails the issue that is consciously held beliefs, not inborn traits, that is the crucial point here. It is a distinction that needs to be made repeatedly because actual racists are determined to blur those distinctions.”

    It needs to be repeated often because you want to continue to fool yourselves.
    It is inborn traits that are the problem.
    What is the God gene?

    What happens with Muslims is because they kill apostates they over generations increase the frequencies of these ‘god genes’ in the Muslims populations which makes them more likely to believe in superstition and fantasy.
    Like the 72 virgins for martyrs.

  • snide

    “Dave” is just another one of those determinist racist twits who always come out of the woodwork when other people try to have an intelligent conversation. None of this has anything to do with genetics.

  • Dave

    no not ‘determinist’ snide (or racist). I don’t claim they all act in a certain way or all have certain opinions, only that there is an increased tendency for this kind of irrational behaviour. You can look all around the world and see it.(Link)

  • Sheila

    I am by no means a fan of religion but to lump everyone who’s Muslim together and talk about them as if they’re all the same seems to me to be disingenuous and, given the current climate, irresponsible. But then, one of the joys of living in Britain is that we are all relatively free to express ourselves however we wish, whether thats by wearing a burka or spouting claptrap on the web.

  • archduke

    “I am by no means a fan of religion but to lump everyone who’s Muslim together and talk about them as if they’re all the same seems to me to be disingenuous and, given the current climate, irresponsible”

    maybe it is. but in world war 2 we lumped *all* Britons with a German background together, and shipped them off to camps until the end of the war. In America, the same thing happened to Japanese-Americans.

    Obviously, we haven’t reached that drastic stage yet, but is it really *that* wise to have Muslim baggage handlers working in airports, for example. One of the people arrested today was such a person, and he worked at Heathrow.

    These are very hard and very tough questions , for anyone who values freedom. But i’m afraid, we might reach a stage at some time in the future where we will have to discriminate in order to prevent further terror attacks.

  • Millie Woods

    llamas, have you been to the produce department of a market recently. If so did you happen to notice that apples are not oranges nor are carrots, potatoes. Gun clubber or not you exhibit all the po-mo idiocy that all cultures are worthy of respect blah, blah, blah, etc. etc. I’m happy that you glory in your machodom and flaunt your gun club membership but it just so happens that my hunting, shooting, fishing father had me doing target practice from the age of ten so I’m not all that impressed. Furthermore, when I look at the world today I see murderous Islamics in Kosovo, Chechyna, the Middle East, Kashmir, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, the UK and the USA.
    As for uniforms wouldn’t it be luverly if sports teams all wore whatever and all countries flew a wet dish towel instead of a flag, companies had no logos and all that identity tosh was abandoned so that you po-mo luvvies could get together and teach the world to sing in perfect harmoony.
    BTW does your gun club have a name, a logo, a tee shirt, a meeting place or do you just hang out wherever and do whatever – chanting yeah man guns are great.

  • Kim du Toit

    “…we might reach a stage at some time in the future where we will have to discriminate in order to prevent further terror attacks.”

    How about “tomorrow”?

    Let us all remember: we are not the ones causing the terror: Muslims are.

    I know that not all Muslims are terrorists. But even among the non-terrorists, if Sharia became the law of the land in Britain and the United States tomorrow, the so-called “moderate” Muslims wouldn’t utter a peep of protest.

    Because their allegiance is to their religion/culture, not to the country of their citizenship.

    So, pray tell: what price “tolerance” under those circumstances?

  • Uain

    The problem with muslims is that their culture is like one of those Russian Nested Dolls. The outer larger doll is the “moderate” muslims and each inner doll gets you closer to the rotten core.
    In WW2, we took two irredeemably rascist and corrupt cultures and by killing many of their adherents and gleefully satirizing their core beliefs, recast them into icons of civilization today.
    If only the limp wristed, linguini spined leaders of today had the spunk and self confidence of the WW2 leaders.
    I think that a consensus is forming among the common folk (where the wisdom of our culture resides) that Islam is incompatible with civilization. Notice that they conquered the centroid of human culture over the past 1400 yrs or so and turned it into the butt crack of humanity today.
    So a grand Huzzah! to you Perry. It’s high time for a little informed discrimination.

  • Uain

    The problem with muslims is that their culture is like one of those Russian Nested Dolls. The outer larger doll is the “moderate” muslims and each inner doll gets you closer to the rotten core.
    In WW2, we took two irredeemably rascist and corrupt cultures and by killing many of their adherents and gleefully satirizing their core beliefs, recast them into icons of civilization today.
    If only the limp wristed, linguini spined leaders of today had the spunk and self confidence of the WW2 leaders.
    I think that a consensus is forming among the common folk (where the wisdom of our culture resides) that Islam is incompatible with civilization. Notice that they conquered the centroid of human culture over the past 1400 yrs or so and turned it into the butt crack of humanity today.
    So a grand Huzzah! to you Perry. It’s high time for a little informed discrimination.

  • Uain

    The problem with muslims is that their culture is like one of those Russian Nested Dolls. The outer larger doll is the “moderate” muslims and each inner doll gets you closer to the rotten core.
    In WW2, we took two irredeemably rascist and corrupt cultures and by killing many of their adherents and gleefully satirizing their core beliefs, recast them into icons of civilization today.
    If only the limp wristed, linguini spined leaders of today had the spunk and self confidence of the WW2 leaders.
    I think that a consensus is forming among the common folk (where the wisdom of our culture resides) that Islam is incompatible with civilization. Notice that they conquered the centroid of human culture over the past 1400 yrs or so and turned it into the butt crack of humanity today.
    So a grand Huzzah! to you Perry. It’s high time for a little informed discrimination.

  • Uain

    Sorry about that!
    Looks like the Touring Code took me on a bit of a tour.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Dave, the idea there is a “god gene” is just too hilarious a concept for words. Perhaps you should write this up in a peer-reviewed journal and see what happens!

    The word you are looking for is “meme”. Go read some Richard Dawkins and you will see how ideas can and do spread in a viral way. The idea that one inherits an idea, however, in the same way one inherits blue eyes or frizzy hair, is nonsense.

    What has been inherited, if at all, is culture. Racists constantly want to obscure that fact.

  • Nick M

    Uain said it three times so it must be true!

    Seriously though, good post Uain. I really like the Russian doll metaphor. I also believe we are not gonna get anywhere without satirizing the core beliefs of our enemies. All this “vast majority of decent law-abiding muslims” and “Islam is a religion of peace” guff just looks like weakness. We need to take the piss more. Islam forbids women from plucking their eyebrows. What kinda madcap nutty religion even considers such trivialities? There is much material to work with.

  • Trofim

    A friend of mine recently worked in a DHSS place in Birmingham. I find it hard to believe, but she insists that she worked with a woman who interviewed claimants while wearing a niqab.

    When I worked in a local mental health team, just set up, we spent time setting up policies, amongst them being a cultural sensitivity policy, whereby individual clients could request a worker who was sensitive to their cultural needs, linguistically aware etc. I knew that this was a unidirectional policy. An ethnic minority individual could make such a request for a Bangladeshi or a Somali careworker, but it could not possibly work the other way, a white English person could not possibly request a white English careworker. This possibility was so surreal, that it could not even be imagined. Surely everyone knew that too. Or were they able to doublethink?
    Meanwhile, I have met many doctors and nurses whose knowledge of British culture and the English language (absolutely vital in a mental illness setting) is shockingly wanting. But we have a diversity director (muslim). Patients complain informally and sometimes openly (one of the plusses of being mentally ill – disregarding accepted norms) that almost all of the night staff are west Indian or African. The many agency care assistants, day and night, are predominantly African, and speak English, but with little comprehension of white working class Brummies and their cultural mores. There is a clear case for discrimination here, in favour of native working class Brits, preferably 40-50 years of age.

    The satirizing of Islamic culture and mores is a great idea, but in what arena does it take place?

    Re genes and memes – interesting article in the Telegraph.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/08/10/wmaoris10.xml

  • llamas

    I, too, like the Russian nested doll analogy.

    All cultures are like this, but it does appear that the connections between the nested layers are considerably-more-direct in Muslim culture than in many others.

    Every culture has its extremes. The difference is that in most Western cultures, the vast majority of those who are moderate and do not take their beliefs to the extreme reject the extremists and refuse to tolerate them.

    It does appear to me, though, that Muslims have a far greater tendency to excuse or tolerate the medieval nutters on the fringes of their society. I don’t know why that is, or what to do about it.

    That being said, from what I see in the largest Muslim community outside the Middle East- to wit, Dearborn, Michigan, USA – there is a very large moderate outer shell and we should be careful of a baby vs bathwater situation.

    Millie Woods – who put a burr under your saddle? I would have thought that I’ve been posting here long enough that my politics would be fairly obvious. Liberal po-mo luvvie, my ass. I’m somewhere slightly to the right of Attila the Hun on matters like this, but I’m not so much of a fascist that I’m ready to consign every single soul who subscribes to a certain religious belief to the third circle or below.

    Kim du Toit has it exactly right when he notes:

    ‘I know that not all Muslims are terrorists. But even among the non-terrorists, if Sharia became the law of the land in Britain and the United States tomorrow, the so-called “moderate” Muslims wouldn’t utter a peep of protest.

    Because their allegiance is to their religion/culture, not to the country of their citizenship.

    So, pray tell: what price “tolerance” under those circumstances?’

    – at least, I think, as far as the UK goes. The many Muslims of Dearborn, MI, would have something to say about it, though . . . ! So, my interest is perhaps in understanding what it might take to break the over-friendly connection between the layers and make the vast majority of Muslims reject the 7th-century death-cult nutters who hide among them. Reject them all out of hand and lump ‘em together if you like – but that’s the most-certain way to turn them all towards that way of thinking. A self-fulfilling policy.

    I showed your ‘macho-dom’ comment to mrs llamas. and she laughed like a drain. I’m the least macho guy you’ll ever meet – and I note that you made the assumption that I’m a guy. Sexist. But thank you for asking, we both shot our usual 4 rounds each of skeet and trap last night.

    (ambles away, sniggering. Po-mo luvvie liberal. I think I’ll have that embroidered on my vest!)

    llater,

    lluvvie llamas

  • Cinnamon

    What took you so long to work this out? :P

    Man. you should have heard my allotment neighbour (old caribbean boy, 70’s with green fingers) cuss, hiss and spit about how the muslims had taken over the communal hut for themselves, and he no longer could go and have a hot cuppa when it was raining and he wanted a break from gardening.
    That was in 2002!

    (Now, the actual story was a bit more complex than than, but, the insult of not being welcome really hurt him.)

  • guy herbert

    llamas,

    Po-mo luvvie liberal. I think I’ll have that embroidered on my vest!

    Well there are ranges in everything. From millie woods’s position you probably do look like that. She generally only comments on this subject area, and is way – over – there.

    I’m the resident screaming pinko, but still (in Britain, at least) I don’t fit on the normal political scale at all.

  • Dave

    Jonathan, I don’t need to write it in a peer review journal, the guy who said it already wrote a book about it, perhaps you didn’t read the link I gave.

    “Dean Hamer is a molecular biologist at the National Institutes of Health, where he heads the Gene Structure and Regulation section at the National Cancer Institute. In his latest book, Hamer says certain brain chemicals affect higher consciousness and spirituality, and that the actions of these chemicals are linked to a gene his team has researched. He spoke to us recently about “The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes.” ”
    What is the God gene?

    and people can make themselves worse: (quotes from the article)
    “Is there a way for people to increase their spirituality levels?”
    “Probably practice is the best. Even though we’re saying there’s a genetic predisposition, it’s still very clear that practice makes perfect and that people can change their level of spirituality by working at it”

    “So just sitting down, praying or meditating or whatever, can actually change—”

    “The brain, yeah.”


    Memes are influenced by genetics.
    Of course people are not defined by genetics and I in no way believe peoples lives are determined when they are born but people are born with different characteristics some are inherited, just look at Boris Johnson and his dad!

  • Just for reference I think Hamer is quite wrong but this is not a discussion of race, racial characteristics or genetics. Move on.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Agreed Perry. These guys cannot let go of this obsession, it is like a dog with a bone.

  • Dave

    It is not an obsession.
    The subject is discrimination against those who don’t integrate so that they will modify their behaviour.
    Its a perfectly reasonable question to ask what the chances of that happening are.
    You can’t reprogram a human as you can a computer.

  • Freeman

    Ever seen a “white” waiter employed in an “Indian” restaurant?

  • You can’t reprogram a human as you can a computer.

    Of course you can. There are these institutions called “schools” which are predicated upon exactly that notion.

  • Ever seen a “white” waiter employed in an “Indian” restaurant?

    Yes I have, though as most Indian restaurants are family run, not surprisingly the family in question is Indian and hence the ‘employees’ (members of the extended family) are also Indian. I really have no problem with that.

  • Dave

    So if you had gone to the same Madrasa as the 7/7 terrorists would you have also been a terrorist Perry?

    I don’t think so, there is more to human charactor and behaviour than what you are told by ‘teachers’. As I’m sure you already know.

  • So if you had gone to the same Madrasa as the 7/7 terrorists would you have also been a terrorist Perry?

    If I had been brought up in a culture which regards a Madrasa as the pinnacle of education and then been told the way to heaven was via jihad… yes, I might well be a terrorist then. Nurture is the primary way people for their frames of reference for understanding the world (i.e. their meta-context).

  • Monsyne Dragon

    Ever seen a “white” waiter employed in an “Indian” restaurant?

    Hmmm…. No. ‘Round here they’re usually Mexican. And your point…?