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Property rights and protests at sporting events

Much outrage in the Guardian because

The Australian activist who disrupted the 2012 Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race in protest at government cuts has been ordered to leave the country, after receiving a six-month jail term that many thought was severe.

The degree to which I shall miss Mr Oldfield’s anti-elitist activism when he leaves these shores is impossible to underestimate. He should regard deportation as an opportunity to activate his home nation of Australia instead. I believe you start the process by holding hold down the “sleep” button.

However the issues are wider than the question of whether he, or elitism, or the ejection of lawbreaking foreigners, is a good thing or a bad thing. One can see why the government felt they had to stomp down hard on this sort of protest. He ruined a contest for which the crews had trained for months and messed up the pleasure of thousands of spectators on the riverbanks and many more on TV. If one protester gets away with that then every sporting and cultural event is going to be liable to disruption by any fool with a grudge, particulary if, as in the case of the boat race, the event takes place on the public highway, so to speak. The cultural life of the country would be greatly diminished.

Would that actually be bad? My gut reaction says yes, but my gut would like some backup from principle.

Even if it would be bad, does “the country” have the right to stop it happening? Sure, the people who want the event to proceed uninterrupted are the majority, but so what?

44 comments to Property rights and protests at sporting events

  • Mr Ed

    My starting point is counter-predation, hunting down those who would destroy others, and neutralising them, the biological survival imperative translated into an approach to dealing with crime. There is nothing wrong with a ‘foreigner’ (technically he is a Commonwealth citizen and so not foreign) being required to leave the UK as he is clearly a criminal and a fanatic for his cause. His crime was wholly avoidable and his political motive is surely an aggravating factor.

    It is not ‘the country’ acting, but the law. In a way, he faces an attenuated form of outlawry. Exile for breaking the law, on the basis of having no basis for being in the jurisdiction other than accepting the terms under which he was admitted. It is just a shame that exile cannot be applied to others who do harm to those they take a dislike to for no reason other than their own fanaticism.

  • Stan

    You would think after a few centuries of liberal democracy, philosophers would have figured out satisfactory solutions to majority will/minority rights conflicts.

  • Lee Moore

    I think it’s quite easy in principle, if a little harder in practice. In principle

    (a) while everyone has a right to speak, no one has a right to require others to listen. Hence the right to protest does not entail the right to mess up my quiet enjoyment of my property. Hence if this were all happening at a private event on private land, it would be clear that the protester was infringing the liberties of others

    (b) of course there is always a question, when A infringes B’s liberties as to when the remedy should be a civil suit and damages, or criminal. In a case where the tort is not remediable by damages (Mr Oldfield could not possibly compensate everyone who he screwed up*) it seems reasonable for the criminal law to apply

    (c) which leaves us with the fact that this is all happening on public property. But I don’t think the concept of public property implies that any restriction of the use of it for any purpose at any time is impermissible. Statutory and common law restrictions stand in lieu of the sort of properly defined property rights that apply to private property. If there were no restrictions, your right to use public land to walk to the supermarket would clash with my right to use public land to build a wall blocking the route to the supermarket. So there’s nothing inherent in the concept of public property that prevents some piece of public property being reserved for a particular use at a particular time, with other users being excluded or restricted in some way. Certainly, without properly codified property rights, there is plenty of scope for unfairness in the granting of such “special licences” but I suspect that in practice the common law has built up a reasonable structure. No doubt libertarians would prefer Oxford and Cambridge to have to tender bids to reserve the use of the river for the day, allowing Mr Oldfield and his friends to put up competing bids to reserve use of the river on boat race day for anti-capitalist protest purposes instead.

    But i suspect that Grauny types are not really exercised about the complexities of the rights to use public land, and restrictions thereto. I suspect they disagree with point (a) – ie if your protest is approved Grauno-Beebist propaganda, other people really ought to be made to listen to you.

    * ie deliberately inflicting damages on other people, knowing that you cannot compensate them is a form of theft.

  • I don’t think it’s a matter of “the majority”. People shouldn’t disrupt the legal pleasures of others, and it seems to me that sentencing for the crime should consider how much disruption he caused. This would have a deterrent effect that any dickhead that pulls a stunt like this would think twice about it.

    And really, cuts? We aren’t cutting anything. We’re just lowering the rate of increase in the amount that the government pisses up the wall.

  • R. Dawes

    Why did a post that began with property rights veer away from the consideration of those rights?

    The answer to the final question posed by it was needless. The grounds in question are private property, even when the owner allows public access and even when that owner is a government answerable to electorates. Just observe that for the duration of the some cultural event the owner changes the details of his permissions for public access and that interruption of that event is a crime because it is wilful breach of the range of permitted activities, compounded further by the secondary harm caused to the other patrons who were acting within those permissions and who had the values they (may have) paid for inferfered

  • R. Dawes

    (DAMMIT! Editor assistance requested!) …

    interfered with by the disruptor. A criminal conviction for this is legitimate, as is subsequent deportation of foreign nationals.

    The two real questions are, by what rightful warrant does a *government* to own this or that piece of property (eg a waterway or a legislative chamber or a road or a military base), and should a warrant be found in any instance then by what rightful warrant does it set this or that term of public access or denial of access (contrast the chamber with the base)?

  • Roy Lofquist

    “Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity. It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire. It is through convention—a word much abused in our time—that we contrive to avoid perpetual disputes about rights and duties: law at base is a body of conventions. Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless.”

    Russell Kirk, Ten Principles

    Libertarianism fails when confronted with societal conventions that don’t match the theory. Sorry, guys – humans don’t fit neatly into any box conceived by man.

  • Marisa Kale

    “Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless.”

    Drivel. Pure and utter. This is why conservatives are never on the right side of history. Maybe YOUR life is meaningless without the continuity of the ages, with women safely confined to kitchen and squeezing out babies on their husband’s property in the time hallowed way, but I’m doing just fine knowing I am free to say “screw that” and actually live my life as I see fit on property I own myself, no thanks to your conservative troglodytes and your equally daft leftie flip-sides.

    And I have news for you, law is not “at base is a body of conventions”, the base of law is “how the current power elite entrench their privileges and looting rights”, the useful bits are just how the elite get enough people to buy into the system.

  • Roy Lofquist

    Dear Ms. Kale,

    My, my. I do seem to have touched a nerve. I assume you are not an American. The American Conservative is not remotely like a British or Continental Conservative. Our history is quite unlike yours. We have always held women in high esteem, contrary to the rantings of the harridans of the feminist movement.

    I commend to you the full Kirk essay:


    It’s not long. Perhaps you will abide me – read it then we can continue our discussion.



  • Tedd


    I’m actually a big fan of custom and convention, at least in the proper context, but I can’t make sense of what you said following the quote. The right to live by whatever societal convention you choose (that doesn’t infringe upon the right of others to do likewise) is the very essence of libertarianism. How could there be such a thing as a societal convention that doesn’t match libertarian theory? You might be right that libertarianism would fail when confronted by such a thing, except for the important detail that there can be no such thing.

    And how is it possible for you to conceive of libertarianism as putting mankind in a box, but “custom, convention, and continuity” liberating mankind from boxes? If there is some depth to these comments that I’m missing, it requires more explanation than you’ve offered.

  • Roy Lofquist


    I was referring to the post and the subsequent discussion about the philosophical basis for expelling the miscreant. The libertarians (I assumed that the commenters here are) seem inclined to debate the decision. The American Conservative (me) says: disturbing the peace, a boor, a poor guest – begone. We don’t tolerate that kind of behavior in these parts.

    I am, in the current parlance (as near as I can figure it out), a libertarian conservative. My objection to libertarian philosophy is that it can lead to positions that run afoul of the body social. Different strokes for different folks. We all have to get along and bomb throwers are annoying.

    In the US we have the example of Ron Paul. I, and many of my friends and acquaintances, agree with some of the things he advocates. Other positions he takes seem disconnected from reality – contrary to real world experience. He (Paul) attributes this to his libertarian philosophy. His son, Rand – the Senator, seems to be far more grounded. A conservative, if you will.

    I’m an old guy – got my three score and ten in. I understand far less now than I did when I was younger. Some say that is the beginning of wisdom. I dunno, but the wisdom of the ages makes more sense. I wish I had studied more history rather than frivolous things like math and computers. Well, there’s always the next time around.





  • James Hargrave

    But do we deserve him back here (Oz). Well, yes, since the Commonwealth has an interesting record of expelling criminals who are not nationals, even though they have lived here since infancy – particularly interesting when you send them back to a ‘home’ where they do not even speak the language.

    The boat-race man was clearly the sort of provincial obsessive we breed down here but he earned a little bit of sympathy when I read what the pseudo-judge had to say of him. These people are even more deluded and self-obsessed (try a few ‘District Judges’ or Magistrates on drunks bantering in a tastless manner on Twitter and the like; personally, I would prefer to meet the drunk, drunk than the ‘judge’ drunk or otherwise – for most of the latter are worth little more than a one-way journey cattle-class to a German recycling facility, now closed, in southern Poland, where one could get huge quantities of fertiliser out of them but no decent lampshade (and lest anyone be in doubt, I have several cousins who would have been obliged to make such a journey under that ghastly Austrian and his government, so I am not making some ‘racial’ point).

  • Mary Contrary


    I share your prejudices and your desire for theoretical support, if not any great personal interest in the Boat Race.

    This case puts me in mind of the time the Chinese Premier visited London a few years back, and Free Tibet were cleared back from the road where he travelled so as not to embarrass him. My sympathies were with the protesters that day. I was also shocked when the Met, planning for the Olympics, said that the public had a right to enjoy the Games without being disturbed.

    So what’s different (if anything)?

    Firstly, with all due respect to those attempting a property rights analysis above, I think it’s nonsense. In each case the protest occurred on public land. Nor do I want to accord the State the full rights of a property owner: that will be used both to justify further limiting the rights of owners, and to avoid any reasonable restrictions on State power. And all land ultimately belongs to the Crown anyway, or is subject to Eminent Domain [delete according to location], or so the State would have you believe, and I have no doubt this doctrine would be extended even further if the notion that “It’s fine for the State to act harshly when it’s the landowner” gained currency.

    Secondly, I don’t fully agree with the notion that “while everyone has a right to speak, no one has a right to require others to listen. Hence the right to protest does not entail the right to mess up my quiet enjoyment of my property”, at least, not on a strong reading of this assertion. If that’s used to ban all street demos, on the grounds this is “requiring others to listen”, that plainly is limiting speech.

    So I think there needs to be some old-fashioned Common Law sense of moderation in all this. Chanting your slogans outside No.10 is OK, up to a point, but after a while you’ve said your piece and the police will rightly move you on. Banners protesting an illegal war ought to be allowed on Parliament Square the day the results of an official enquiry is published – but a permanent filthy encampment is abusing our patience and undermining tolerance for future protests.

    And the Chinese Premier and corrupt Olympic Officials should be faced with banners denouncing them for what they are, before they are allowed to get to where they are going (as indeed they must be). The Boat Race guy? Let him chant and wave some placards, but if his act of sabotage successfully causes the abortion of the entire event, then indeed let’s have him up before the Judge.

  • RAB

    Oh it’s much more simple. He’s probably the last bloke left the Govt can deport without the EU and the Court Of Human Rights telling us that we can’t.

    He must have a crappy lawyer though. Why hasn’t he played the “right to family life” card? I can understand why the obsessive git doesn’t have a pregnant girlfriend in the wings, but surely he has a dog, cat or even tortoise he can’t bear to be seperated from?

  • RAB

    Bugger! I really should read the link before posting… he does have a pregnant girlfriend! That’s it then, he’s staying.

  • Edward Smith

    Mr. Oldfield’s protest was obnoxious. There were enough people there looking forward to enjoying that boat race for him to, had he a considerate bone in his body, decide to not disrupt it at the very least.

    Frankly, he broke my cardinal rule about what to do when something that gives me offense is happening. I ask myself first is anyone being genuinely harmed by this.

    This first reason is why I feel that Right to Lifers have every right to be present and register their protests in front of abortion clinics – and try to persuade the women going into those clinics to change their minds about doing so.

    My second question is do the grounds of my protest rise above the petty and personal. I have a deep dislike and aversion to gambling. But I am aware that not every gambler is an addict or an idiot. In fact, I met someone who went to Atlantic City to gamble enough to get the comps he wanted, and am well aware that a good handicapper can break even and even occasionally come home from the track with enough to be able to celebrate.

    So I don’t protest the casinos in Atlantic City or out on Long Island.

    Mr. Oldfield is puerile. He probably came to the UK in that state, and has not matured since. Mere prison time will not dissuade him from continuing to to be puerile. in fact, it has probably emboldened him.

    So yes, deport him to Australia. His English wife is pregnant? Surely Australia has a health care system equal to or better than the one in the United Kingdom, so his wife and child’s health are not at risk. I cannot speak to the cost of the care they would receive in Australia.

    Oldfield should have thought about that – although I doubt he has ever given a full and well-considered thought to anything he has ever done in his life – before he disrupted that boat race so many other people not only did not object to but hoped to be able to enjoy undisrupted.

  • John B

    The principle? Easy.

    ”The right to swing my fist stops where the other man’s nose begins.” Oliver Wendell Holmes Jnr.

    We have a Right to speak, but no Right to force others to listen.

  • Marisa Kale

    My, my. I do seem to have touched a nerve.

    Yes, when I see a man lecturing people on the value of “continuity” and how a lack of it makes life meaningless, I thank the God I don’t actually believe in that I wasn’t born a hundred years ago. The nerve you touched is the same one that gets touched when I see that slave owner Jefferson quoted too often and too uncritically. Continuity is great when your position is legally entrenched against upstart competitors.

    And I was born in up state New York but live in the UK if you must know.

  • Edward Smith

    With all due respect Marissa, you strike me as the sort of person who leaves “that nerve” lying out on a busy sidewalk in the hope that someone will tread on it, so you can go off in a self-righteous manner.

    You are a Child of Wrath of a sadly common sort.

  • therealguyfaux

    This discussion, of a man who disrupted a sporting event to make a point, comes not many weeks after everyone is reminded of the womens’ suffragist who went out into the middle of the race course to interfere with the King’s horse. We still to this day don’t know whether she should be regarded as some sort of heroine, or as sectionably suicidal– opinion runs both ways, depending on with whom you discuss the subject. One is tempted to say that there is no excuse for deliberately casting a pall on an event which brings joy to its participants and spectators and hurts no one in the performance of it (in the ordinary course of events, that is; certainly some events might, but one assumes the risk there). No matter how valid your point might be, do you really have the right to “hedonically trespass,” as I like to refer to the practice of being a spiteful wilful wet blanket?

    Put another way, where do you draw the line at hedonic trespassing? One can say it is well this side of saying it was rude of East Enders not allowing Oswald Mosley to march down Cable Street, but then where DO you draw it? Are we off in the nebulous aether of you’re-hurting-my-feelings, a feeling many of us feel is a blank cheque for any old “victim’s-rights” hustler with the false cries of “[this]ism” or “[that]ophobia” anytime (s)he doesn’t get their way?

    Anyone else having a hard time with this one?

  • Snag

    One can say it is well this side of saying it was rude of East Enders not allowing Oswald Mosley to march down Cable Street

    The mythology of this event has superseded the history. The people opposing Mosley were trying to impose a tyrannical system of their own, albeit one (communism) that differed slightly from Mosley’s (fascism).

  • Marisa Kale

    With all due respect Marissa,

    ie none. And that would be one s please.

    you strike me as the sort of person who leaves “that nerve” lying out on a busy sidewalk in the hope that someone will tread on it, so you can go off in a self-righteous manner.

    Well getting lectured by a conservative man about the importance of continuity does tend to have that effect on more people than you probably realize.

    You are a Child of Wrath of a sadly common sort.

    Yeah, lippy broads, dirty hippies, inscrutable chinks and uppity niggers speaking their mind, what’s the world coming to? Hell, can you believe that people like me own houses, run businesses and have the vote now?

  • Edward Smith


    What is not surprising to me at all is that you do not recognize a reference to Epehsians 2. Which tells me how limited your education and imagination are. You need less Rage and more Grace. I will pray for you.

  • Edward, actually make an argument or go away. Marisa, like many here, has said she is not religious so Biblical references are not likely to be useful. References to the Koran or Upanishads are also likely to be fairly pointless though I am tempted to start quoting Rand at you 😛

  • Edward Smith

    I made my comment about the case earlier. Mr. Oldfield needless prevented an event that many people have enjoyed for many years and which has not harmed anyone as far as I know because he does not like it, or the people enjoying it. Do the students of Cambridge or Oxford disrupt Manchester United games because they do not like the sport or the fans?

    All this talk of his rights is silly. He is a guest in your country who has abused your hospitality, and whose home country is more than an adequate place for his wife to give birth. Let him go home, and be a Hero to the Fatuous.

    Marisa is beyond non-religious. She is anti-religious, in a way that even Christopher Hitchens had the good manners not to be. She is not quite as balanced as she wants to be, or she would be less prone to irrational anger.

    I’ve read Rand, by the way. I reject her for the same reason so many Conservatives have … she is as sterile as a properly maintained abortion clinic, and as conducive to healthy outcomes for her followers.

    Now Solzhenitsyn … there’s a man who understood the way out of the hell that we create for ourselves with out over dependence on Reason & Rationality and our dismissal of Faith to the point of not acknowledging just how much of an article of Faith we have made Reason and Rationality – and our own sense of of what Justice is and should be.

    Sorry Marisa, you need help, or you would not be so easily offended.

  • William T Reeves

    It’s a Pity for this chap that he wasn’t a radical mullah- it seems to take much more than a busted boat race to chuck them out.

  • Marisa is beyond non-religious. She is anti-religious, in a way that even Christopher Hitchens had the good manners not to be.

    Really? She just said she did not believe in god. Neither do I. Perhaps she is indeed ‘anti-religious’ but I have no idea from wrote and neither do you.

    She is not quite as balanced as she wants to be, or she would be less prone to irrational anger.

    For someone who is rather keen on religion you seem rather quick to say someone else’s anger is ‘irrational’. My view is that belief in God is irrational, but as I am not ‘anti-religious’ I really don’t care that you believe in something like that, unless you try and force it on me. Several of the Samizdatistas are believers, whilst others are not. I can think of several rather rational reasons Marisa might think that way but only she can say why she reacted the way she did.

    Certainly for a woman to react badly to conservatives praising “continuity”… well that is very easy to understand. To widen the example, a black person in the USA in 1850 might have taken a rather dim view of the beneficiaries of the status quo, white land owning men, lecturing them about the benefits of “continuity” and how life without if is “meaningless”.

    Even the most cursory understanding of history shows that the autonomy of women has been greatly circumscribed in the great majority of societies for the great majority of history, so continuity might not seem like such a wonderful thing when looked at from a great many perspectives.

    I also think your remark that she needs “help” is a patronising and gratuitous insult. She disagrees with you and does not believe in god. That does not indicate to me she needs “help”.

  • Edward Smith

    It is not 1850. The land-owning white men now run the New York City Housing Department, where they grow plantations of Democratic voters with subsidies that barely sustain those voters for carefully created and segregated by gerrymandered Black congress members like Charles Rangel.

    And those barefoot and pregnant women were loyally supported by men who learned to live with the wives they had married because to walk away from your family – well, only losers did that. Josephine Tey writes of how much of a trap that could become in one of the early Dalgliesh novels. But my sister, who is past 50, divorced and childless and spends her Christmas trip into the city visiting her friends from high school who have had children – then telling us how other people’s children are – has learned how much of a trap avoiding that trap can become.

    So, to hear the word “continuity” and think “barefoot & pregnant” and “slaves in chains”, that would be as irrational as me seeing a Muslim family on the plane and automatically thinking the plane will be set to ploughing into a skyscraper.

    Mind you, the fellow who brought the word up did so clumsily and without full context. Then again, he expected people here to want to understand and to actually look to establish context before reacting. Because this is that kind of site. It strives to be and often is. But the fellow really should learn to expect less of people.

    You are far too much of the wrong kind of kind, Perry, to people like Marisa. They come to sites like this here with their demons, release them at full fury, and feel that momentary expiation that people ruled too much by their emotions do. It’s a sugar rush, and leaves them collapsed and exhausted until the fury builds up again and they seek another group of nice, Rational people who are all too ready to “understand” them, and not recognize that these people genuinely need help, not the condescension of “understanding”.

    BTW, I used to try and rely solely on Reason and Rationality. But I learned, in part from writers like G.K. Chesterton in particular, that Reason and Rationality are far too fungible, and led me down that garden path of cleverness and sophistication that I saw so often evidenced at the University of York, except in a handful of the students, like Paul Marks. So I have returned to Christianity. Just not the watered-down Christianity of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Roy Lofquist quoted Russell Kirk on the importance of social convention and cultural continuity. Ms. Kale responded with an intemperate rant equating any respect for tradition with rigid allegiance to past wrongs.

    She followed it up by flaunting her atheism and issuing a completely gratuitous insinuation of racism.

    Ms. Kale seems like an intellectual heir of the Old Leftists of whom Rebecca West wrote:

    “The foundation of their creed was the assumption that there was nothing in the existing structure of society which did not deserve to be razed to the ground, and that all would be well if it were replaced by something as different as possible.”

    This was the idea behind the “Year Zero” program put into effect by the Khmer Rouge (most thoroughly), but also behind the work of less radical “progressives” and “reformers” – many filled with rage akin to Ms. Kale’s, and the arrogant assumption that their “modern” ideas were a recipe for perfection. That rage was provoked by real problems – but wreaked colossal damage, and not just in dictatorships.

    Her rejection of “social convention” as oppressive puts her right in line with the “radical youth” of the 1960s. Veteran SF fan and commentator Mike Glyer was one such; he recently noted:

    “We seemed to believe that sprinkling our sentences with sexual and scatological innuendo proved we were rebellious, powerful and authentic.”

    Or, in this case, viewing the belief that social conventions are necessary to a civil society (and that Oldfield’s action grossly violated such conventions) as opposition to any social change whatever.

    No one, incidentally, “lectured” Ms. Kale. Mr. Lofquist’s quote was a comment on the inapplicability of libertarian doctrine to Oldfield’s acts. She went a long way to take offense.

  • So, to hear the word “continuity” and think “barefoot & pregnant” and “slaves in chains”, that would be as irrational as me seeing a Muslim family on the plane and automatically thinking the plane will be set to ploughing into a skyscraper.

    No not really. Indeed my assumption would be that muslim family represents much of why I find myself far more sympathetic to Marisa than yourself. You want to see “continuity”? Well your average muslim family is pretty much the pure distilled embodiment of that, particularly if the woman is wearing a chador or a burqua… unaccompanied muslim males on a plane however, well yes I must say the skyscraper scenario does usually at least cross my mind.

    Your reply shows that you think a woman seeking autonomy is a mistake, so I would not be at all surprised if all you have done is confirm everything Marisa appears to think about conservatives. Like most libertarians I know, I also am all for “social conventions”… but the trouble with political conservatives is they have a long history of responding to changing social mores with laws aimed at enforcing their notions of “continuity”.

  • Edward Smith

    Perry, I have no problems with women seeking autonomy.

    I have problems with people of any gender or sexual preference or any of the various identifiers we use to separate ourselves from each other walking into conversations with a head full of demons, unleashing them, and everyone else pretending what they did is acceptable or that the explanation in any way excuses their boorish behavior.

    And should those people clearly follow a pattern in their response to be called out for their boorish behavior (and it really does not take long for that pattern to reveal itself – the code words and phrases are well established by now to anyone who has spent any appreciable amount of time on the internet … and Marisa’s code phrases jumped so far off the screen they could have succeeded where Evel Knieval did not and made it clear to the other side of the Snake River Canyon powered only by her inchoate rage), I have a problem with people who have a problem with me calling them mentally unbalanced, even if their insanity is only temporary. Or suggesting that those people should seek professional help, since such behavior is not that of a person at peace with themselves. As a Christian, I want people to be at peace with themselves. Pretending people who are not at peace with themselves do not need some kind of help, perhaps being told that the Gift of God’s Grace is given out freely every day, and has been since the day Christ died on the cross for all our sins, well, that’s just wrong.

    By the way, I have known a number of Muslim women who embrace the tradition of dressing modestly. Where I come from the streets are full of them. It is their choice, and a fair number of them pull it off in a way that is much more stylish than non-Muslim women baring more of themselves than the Victoria’s Secret models flaunt. If you want to see sexy, look to the young female Mormon missionaries. Modest attire and the skin you get from not smoking and drinking – what a combination! And multilingual, with a few years abroad, working door to door spreading the faith – now that’s hot!

    Also, I have known enough Muslim men to not feel too alarmed to see them on a plane. The Israeli’s have clear criteria of who to target. Merely being Muslim or flying alone is not one of them. The Israeli’s are smarter than that.

    I will tell what does alarm me when I fly. It is the TSA relying on poorly paid personnel using gizmos and the general humiliation of all passengers when the proper training of adequately compensated professionals to be able to recognize the likeliest suspects is what is needed.

    But I am afraid I am simply not sophisticated or informed enough or open-minded enough to keep up with you, so I shall bow to your superior intellect the way Saint Paul did to the Sophists in Corinth.

  • Edward Smith

    Or was it Athens. Saul of Tarsus had the unfortunate habit of imagining he could match wits with people all over the Mediterranean. And as we all know, he lost every time, because he was an asshole who sold a belief system that gave no one any comfort at all. Julian the Apostate gloated over this very fact after he defeated Christianity.

  • I’ll just drop in my two cents: I fully concur with what Marisa was saying, but I have to agree with Edward that the way she got it across did at least some disservice to her position (and mine). Where I would part ways with him (in addition to his understandable but not entirely rational fondness of continuity), is his jumping to a conclusion about Marisa’s agenda and her mental health. Even the best of us are sometimes get caught up in a bad mood, Edward. Rich above is correct in pointing out that Marisa ‘went a long way to take offense’, but you certainly went at least as long a way to dwell on that. I’d humbly suggest that everyone lighten up, just a bit:-)

  • The Israeli’s have clear criteria of who to target. Merely being Muslim or flying alone is not one of them. The Israeli’s are smarter than that.

    Please, no more of that. It used to be true, it no longer is, we are now as stupid and useless as everyone else…well, OK, scratch that: the TSA is still up there in that regard, but that’s easy, I guess…

  • Perry, I have no problems with women seeking autonomy.

    I will have to call BS on that. Why? Your story of your sister, as if that somehow proves anything. All an autonomous woman can look forward to is a wistful childless emptiness (and the notion that an autonomous woman is necessarily a childless woman is also an Arnhem-like assumption too far). Patronising much?

    By the way, I have known a number of Muslim women who embrace the tradition of dressing modestly. Where I come from the streets are full of them. It is their choice, and a fair number of them pull it off in a way that is much more stylish than non-Muslim women baring more of themselves than the Victoria’s Secret models flaunt. If you want to see sexy, look to the young female Mormon missionaries.

    My goodness you spectacularly miss the point. Before I help you there, just let me say that we obviously have radically different notion ‘stylish’ and ‘sexy’. And I really do not see ‘modesty’ as a self-evidently good thing.

    But the point… yes they may well ’embrace’ their second class status and the insulting notion men will be driven to sexually assault them unless they are covered up. But that is rather like saying someone ’embraces’ Communist clothing by wearing a hammer and sickle lapel pin: Islamic clothing indicates they support a set of totalitarian and profoundly conservative political beliefs that are evangelistic and imposed by law when possible. It shows they are working within their subservient status as decreed by the literal word of God apparently. You may elect to see that in terms of a purely sartorial aesthetic… well I suppose one can also admire German military tailoring of the 1940s purely on its undeniable aesthetic merits too… but when I see a person wearing clothing proclaiming their political beliefs (and Islam is indeed a set of political beliefs complete with strictures about how to treat kuffir and conservative dress codes) I really tend not to get all too caught up on how well they accessorize their clothes with that chador, swastika armband or whatever.

    But yeah, I am just a Sophist, I am sure you are right.

  • Edward Smith


    My information about how Israel approaches airport security is old. For my part, I would rather look to a person’s body language than to their ethnicity. There’s no single ethnic group which has a monopoly on being murderous.

    And I was reacting more to Perry’s reaction to me … and assuming that I am some kind of club-wielding retrograde type.

    I am comfortable with people who are comfortable in their own skins. People who are comfortable in their own skins can be around people who disagree with them and not go off. I try not to go off, but do consider it rude to go off and will tell people who do they are being rude. And sometimes we do things in anger that give people pause to wonder about how stable we are. Wrath is one of the Seven Cardinal Sins because it is so unhealthy. There was a character in a bad novel about an obscure Irish heroine who is nicknamed “of the Battles” because he is always ready for a fight. He is killed in an ambush, much to everyone’s relief, including his family’s.

    I try to be more of a “Yes” or “No” person on the trickier subjects. I am on board, or not. The best local politician I know has my respect because he is Pro-Life and won’t take money or side with the Pro-Choice crowd on issues that go to the heart of his Pro-Life position. Another local politician took money from a gay Rights group then voted against a gay rights bill to play to the social conservatives in an election he lost anyhow. I don’t respect him at all.

    But yes, I have grown tired of the tolerance on internet debates for people who default to the most extreme words in their vocabulary. It is not rude to suggest that it is in their own best interests to turn off the computer and punch the wall. It is not rude to assert that no one needs to hear their temper tantrum. And it is not rude to suggest that if anyone should be concerned about their propensity to fly off the handle for no good reason, they should be. High Blood Pressure has been a contributory cause to many a death.

  • Edward Smith

    Perry, you are a Sophist.

    My sister, like many women, wanted children, badly. She wanted a healthy marriage, badly. She made bad choices, the same bad choices, over and over again. Now she has neither. Well, she does have her two cats, and she likes to talk about them in an animated fashion.

    The last time I saw anyone like that, it was an old woman who clung so persistently to her independence (her mother left the family, and all she ever said about her mother was to mutter “she was a Lesbian”) that when the nephew she always held at arms length (she never married, never had her own children) had to put her in a nursing home after the Dementia finally became glaringly obvious, it was, as it always goes in these sorts of cases in a rush to a bedsore factory, and she was dead in months.

    Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

    You miss every point except the one you want to see. I was once, like you, too clever for my own good. I pity you.

    Bon chance, but the truth be told, yours are the least interesting posts on this site. I never read past the first sentence, sometimes not even the first clause of the first sentence.

    That said, I daresay you know your way around a bottle of wine. Which is a useful skill, on the periphery of what is important. Sir Kay, the Senechel, is good at his job. And Arthur is happy with the results. But what brings Sir Kay his greatest joy is when the Lady of the Lake tells him in a dream that he will fight and die well in Arthur’s final battle. Somehow knowing how to pick the right wine is in the end just not enough.

  • Oh Edward, you are a valuable asset. You are the breathtakingly arrogent and patronising conservative from central casting, advising people not to be too clever and just embrase the imaginary guy, cricket on the green and a woman safely tucked away at home making pies and spawning kiddies. I almost wonder if you are taking the piss as I cannot imagine a series of comments more calculated to push self-identified conservatives into seeing things from a more libertarian perspective. Keep it up, if you did not exist we would have to invent you.

    And actually I am a grapa drinker mostly but yes, I probably do move in rather more rarified circles than you.

  • Edward Smith

    My prayers are with you Perry.

  • And I will pray for Cthulhu to visit you too, Edward.

  • Edward Smith

    Our God is greater, our God is stronger
    God You are higher than any other
    Our God is Healer, awesome and power
    Our God, Our God…

    And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
    And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
    And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
    And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
    What can stand against?

  • Kurt Wahl

    You’re a trip, Edward. The management usually kicks argumentative rude people from Samizdata so I’m guessing they’re laughing rather than grinding their teeth.

    But re. the OP, this protestor aggressed and should get hammered by law. I don’t see it as a problem for libertarian pricinples at all.

  • Janek

    woah, I am reminded of when I get into online argument with muslims and they end up quoting koran at me as if it will magically make my doubts go away. creepy.