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Samizdata quote of the day

Rarely has the hypocrisy of the West’s ostensible liberals and leftists been as violently exposed as it has been this week. Between Charlottesville and Barcelona, between their fury over the former and their embarrassment at the latter, we have gained a glimpse into today’s extraordinary double standards over extremists who loathe liberty, democracy and swathes of mankind. If the extremists are white and fond of the swastika, they’ll be roundly condemned, organised against, transformed into a focal point for the activities of a flagging left. But if they’re Muslims, if it’s a misogynistic, homophobic caliphate they want to build, if their targets are ‘kuffars’ rather than pinkos or black people, they will be frowned upon, of course, but never raged against. Never organised against. They will be treated more forgivingly, and explicitly so. It’s clear now: leftists only dislike certain kinds of neo-fascism.

Brendan O’Neill

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47 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • pst314

    Indeed. But I would be more happy if Brendan O’Neill had also called out liberals and leftists for their tolerance and even support of leftist violence.

  • Rich Rostrom

    But if they’re Muslims, if it’s a misogynistic, homophobic caliphate they want to build, if their targets are ‘kuffars’ rather than pinkos or black people, they will be frowned upon, of course, but never raged against.

    The entire section in bold can be left out. Jihadist terrorisgts often strike black people (Al-Shabaab in Kenya, Boko Haram in Nigeria), non-white Asians (Abu Sayyaf and MILF in the Philippines, Lashkar-e-Taiba in Mumbai), and other Moslems, and still are not “raged against” by right-thinking elites.

  • Chip

    This ridiculous hypocrisy has been happening for years. For Obama, a violent episode between a policeman and black man was instantly described as a symptom of racist police, while every Islamist attack was a lone wolf, workplace violence or motive unknown.

    Last week, a white suprematist killed a woman and the media is running stories suggesting violent suppression of speech is understandable, while tech companies are looking to scrub sites from the internet.

    Meanwhile, another black supremacist murdered two policemen and … crickets.

    We seem to have reached a historic inflection, in which the elites who once acted as a moderating influence on the great unwashed, are now a hysterical mob and the public the somewhat bemused audience.

  • TomJ

    @pst314: Well, he has not exactly been glowing about antifa – https://twitter.com/spikedonline/status/899528445566365696

  • Jamesgns

    What explains this apparent hypocrisy?

    I think some other examples shine a light on what’s really going on here. Take the recent response to anti-Islam placards at a gay pride march. The protestors were roundly condemned. Rather than being gay and therefore earning a place on the march, they became the out-group because of their anti-Islamic views. Similarly, when Germaine Greer voiced her feminist inspired views on the trans-gender debate she was attacked and made an outsider by the left’s collective response.

    I think what motivates these responses is the fear of allowing, or being seen to allow, a political or ideological justification for prejudice, which in turn generates harm against those suffering such prejudice. If such placards are allowed at the gay marches then this could create prejudice against individual muslims. Similarly against trans-gender people. It is a fear within the left that the culture gives its approval to prejudice, particularly from the uneducated masses. A return to ‘casual’ isms. See Brexit hate crime paranoia.

    Now, there is obviously a problem with the examples I’ve given in that we have gays attacking muslims and feminists attacking trans-gender people. Whose prejudice prevails? To sort this out there is clearly a hierarchy at work that tells the collective leftist brain that it is ok to throw Greer under the bus but that it’s not okay to throw Islamist apologists under the bus.

    Using this hierarchy, simple decisions can be reached at the margin by simply comparing the prejudices involved.

    Ideally the left tries to identify situations where the hierarchy is not needed. Then no conflict arises. Hence the pussy march was fundamentally anti Trump. Simple. The left now has neo-Nazism which further simplifies matters. The leftwing process allows activists to mostly just be against things. And they are free to pick the easiest causes. So much of the hypocrisy comes from institutions where they can’t only pick and choose.

    But simple activism is not always possible from a collective point of view. To further overcome the inherent hypocrisy in their mental model, the left has developed a poweful unifying rule of thumb. Race is always at the top of the hierarchy. It is the ultimate prejudice and simplifies all decisions. ‘Apologising for Islam’ is driven by race. Hence the constant conflation between religion and race. Anti-Islam equals anti-individual muslim prejudice. Which is racism. Of course, because everyone has a race, there is a massive hierarchy within race. White simply doesn’t count. Southeast Asian races are fast moving down the hierarchy. Jewish seems a particularly egregious low ranking.

    All of this matches exactly to what we would expect if cultural marxism is a real ideology and was now mainstream in the Left. A more complete rule of thumb behind cultural marxism is that the ultimate oppressor is white capitalist men.

    Interestingly, most people on the left deny that cultural marxism is real. Which is why when confronted with the inherent hypocrisy they simplify the problem by calling their opponents racists and white supremacists. Or, like Owen Jones, attempt to distract their minds with bigger issues.

  • tomsmith

    A shame that O’Neill forgets to mention the fascism of the left itself here, but otherwise he is correct.

    It is getting pretty obvious now that while other racial, religious and political groups are encouraged to identify as such and given great leeway in advancing their interests, white people, European culture and the Christian religion are to be actively discriminated against, discouraged from organising, and denounced in the media. It is also clear that any such organisation will face the full force of government and associated/tolerated paramilitary groups if they step out of line.

    It is very worrying.

  • Thailover

    The Leftists don’t dislike certain kinds of neo-fascism; rather they dislike COMPETING fascism, just as the feminists hate the MRA. The real irony here is that it’s the “Alt-Right” that’s focusing on corporatism, especially international corporations (and their roll in globalism) as an enemy, not the Left, who historically hate corporate entities and their quest for profit and power.

    One thing that should be highlighted though, is that O’Neal was spot on when he said the Left hate Liberty. That’s not mere rhetoric. They hate liberty, defined as The Right To Act, (negative rights), as opposed to the alleged Right to Have (positive rights). The supposed right to have means that it’s a violation of rights NOT to have, meaning that its just to FORCE others to provide to them, to enslave,…and the alleged right to violate rights is a self-contradiction that undermines the universally applicable concept of rights, even the alleged right to have. Ergo, “positive rights” is a self-negating non-concept. One does not have the right to have, but rather the right to act, and in the case of property rights, the right to earn, to produce, to have, keep and dispose of as we see fit, even to gift if we so see fit.

    It’s not disparate categories when the left hate outright property rights, outright free-and-clear ownership sans taxation and ongoing fees to the government, when they hate individual prosperity as a consequence of hard work, wise action and delayed satisfaction. These get in the way of what then Senator Obama called “spreading the wealth around”. Fascists? Marxist Communists? …roughly the same thing. The Left, (decidedly not “liberals”), are statist totalitarian, regardless of how we wish to label the box they belong in.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Chip
    August 21, 2017 at 6:50 am

    We seem to have reached a historic inflection, in which the elites who once acted as a moderating influence on the great unwashed, are now a hysterical mob and the public the somewhat bemused audience.

    Suggested QOTD.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr O’Neil is correct.

    Islam is not a “religion of peace” and those who claim that it is are either radically misinformed (for example President George Walker Bush) or just lying.

    Nor is Marxism (the “religion” of “Antifa” – the black clad Marxists with their clubs in Alexandra Virginia and elsewhere) about peace – in fact Marxism is about the murder of tens of millions of people.

    It should (must) be possible to condemn ALL these movements. To condemn Islam and Marxism – AND to condemn the KKK and the Nazis.

    The correct answer to the question “whose side are you on in the Alexandra riots” is “neither, BOTH of these sides are the enemies of liberty – you blithering idiot”.

    For people who stand shoulder to shoulder with EITHER “Antifa” or with Richard Spencer and the Nazi “Alt Right” (those fans of Patrick Buchanan and other such) are not “very fine people” (I wish President Donald Trump had not implied that they were).

    “Paul you are being silly – you are rejecting necessary alliances against the left”.

    See above – anyone who thinks that an alliance with the Nazis is “necessary” is a blithering idiot (nothing is more sue to utterly DISCREDIT us). Actually even President Trump REJECTS such alliances. So people who still defend the “Alt Right” can go jump off the nearest cliff.

  • Watchman

    I wonder if anyone has ever thought of a cost-benefit analysis of tackling extreme Islam as opposed to neo-Nazi views. After all, purely logically, far less people (non-whites, gays basically) are threatened by neo-Nazis than by Islamic extremists (non-muslims including most non-whites and gays, women) so the potential benefits of dealing with the one are much higher than those of dealing with the other. Not sure how to measure the costs of dealing with either, but in both cases you’re looking at small numbers (very small for neo-Nazis) and how to combat an ideology, so not sure if there would be the same gulf in cost as you see in benefit.

    Would be nice to put this to your typical social justice warrior and see what there response was – I’m sure they’d have something. Unfortunately I can’t find any of them to talk to me anymore for some reason…

  • NickM

    I have to disagree with O’Neil. Why? Because these people one way or another support Islamism and are not hypocrites because they have made it abundantly clear they hate “Western” liberal (genuine liberal) civilization. They will side with or condone anyone against the West even if they are Sauron Himself in His full panoply. Their hatred of the greatest civilization since Sid Meier is so inchoate they would burn their sacred cows on their deranged altar. They are circle squarers* who think a miniskirt is “oppression” but FGM is culturally “authentic”.

    Put it this way. If, say, a Catholic or Anglican bishop says, “I don’t have an issue with homosexuality as such but I do think marriage is for a man and a woman” then Strongly worded letters are sent to The Guardian over that. Less so over executions of gay people in Islamic countries.

    Why do they hate Israel? The Israel question is a complete indicator for me. It is the litmus. They hate it because it is a Western enclave against the howling. They hate it because they are the howling. They are not wrong, they are evil.

    I typed this on my Lenovo S440. It has an Intel Core 5 CPU. Guess where that was designed? It was somewhere east of Cyprus. Israel does that and the rest of the Mid-East is mysticism and tyranny wearing funny clothes.

    But the Western left loves it because they hate themselves because they hate the culture that they don’t understand. They don’t get CPUs, or Bach, or Viz,or jet fighters but they do like a bunch of hipsters-bearded cunts wailing every friday in “worship” of a “God” invented by a depraved Bedouin.

    My culture created Mozart and sent him to the Heliopause. Their culture beheads people for “sorcery”.

    The left like the latter because science and music are hard so unfair. Being a pignorant twat farmer isn’t hard. It is so equal and thus gooder.

  • Erik

    Please stop using the word “fascism”. All meaning has been washed out of it.

    The Fascist Manifesto of the Italian Fascists is an utterly generic pile of political platitudes and pandering: “Higher wages! Less work! Expropriate the Church! Stick it to the Aristocrats!” and the Italian Fascists went back on the majority of their points anyway.

    Umberto Eco’s essay on Ur-Fascism practically admits up front that it’s not predictive in any way: Fascism can’t have all these features, there might be fascism around only one feature, non-fascist things sometimes have these features too. The examples of the alleged features of fascism, meanwhile, range from the objectively true “Universities are a nest of reds” to the meaninglessly vague “Rejection of the Spirit of 1789”.

    George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language highlights the duckspeak of expressions such as “the jackbooted fascist octopus has sung its swan-song”; such are the words of someone thinking in emotional connotations, not rational meanings.

    Is there then anything left to “fascist” that is not either personal idiosyncracy, or performatively expressing something akin to “Boo! Hiss! Bad!” ?

  • bloke in spain

    Much hysterical use of the word “Nazi” by Paul Marks, above. Do you really believe there are great numbers of National Socialists amongst what are being described as the Alt-Right? White supremacists maybe. But as pretty well everyone to the right of Bernie Sanders has been tarred with the “Nazi” brush by the left, in the past, are you really surprised some of the recipients of the tar have responded with the stiff middle finger by adopting some of the symbolism?
    And what exactly’s wrong with white supremacy? The USA’s a country largely run by whites, has been largely run by whites since its inception. And a very successful country its been. Looking at black run countries, around the world, do you see any fabulous successes? Do you see any black run or high demographic black cities in the US are paradises on earth? Do you see any economic miracles in Latin America? Are the Muslim states hothouses of economic growth (when they aren’t able to flog the extraction rights to the oil they’re incapable of getting out of the ground on their own initiative)? It’s not a resources issue, is it? Most of these places have resources lying around for the picking. It’s a people thing. So why should whites in the USA be all alongside handing the keys to the store to the same people in their own backyard? They simply want to maintain the status quo. Can you blame them?

  • tomsmith

    So why should whites in the USA be all alongside handing the keys to the store to the same people in their own backyard?

    White guilt? Oppression? Patriarchy? White Privilege? Racism? Other stupid reasons?

    I think only white people are susceptible to this nonsense. But because we are, it is a serious problem. Other cultural/racial groups must point and laugh at us.

  • AKM

    “Chip
    August 21, 2017 at 6:50 am

    We seem to have reached a historic inflection, in which the elites who once acted as a moderating influence on the great unwashed, are now a hysterical mob and the public the somewhat bemused audience.

    Suggested QOTD.”

    Seconded.

    “…invented by a depraved Bedouin.”

    Muhammad wasn’t a bedouin, he was born and raised in Mecca which makes him a sedentary city dweller rather than a nomadic desert dweller.

  • Laird

    Another excellent (and succinct) post from Chip. (August 21, 2017 at 6:50 am)

    @ PaulM: The correct answer to the question “whose side are you on in the Alexandra riots” is “neither, BOTH of these sides are the enemies of liberty – you blithering idiot”. I’m glad to see that Paul is finally beginning to get it. This precisely what Alisa and I (and others) have been saying since last weekend: “A pox on both their houses.” Now, if we can just get him to see that Antifa, BLM and the hard left generally are actually a far bigger threat than a handful of neo-Nazis and white supremacists . . . .

    And I second Erik’s comment about “fascism”. It’s the same argument I’ve been making for years. The word has been utterly stripped of any meaning, and today merely signals something that the speaker dislikes. Anyone who uses it in debate has lost all credibility, and is indulging in a vacuous ad hominem attack.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Much hysterical use of the word “Nazi” by Paul Marks, above. Do you really believe there are great numbers of National Socialists amongst what are being described as the Alt-Right? White supremacists maybe. But as pretty well everyone to the right of Bernie Sanders has been tarred with the “Nazi” brush by the left, in the past, are you really surprised some of the recipients of the tar have responded with the stiff middle finger by adopting some of the symbolism?
    And what exactly’s wrong with white supremacy? The USA’s a country largely run by whites, has been largely run by whites since its inception. And a very successful country its been. Looking at black run countries, around the world, do you see any fabulous successes? Do you see any black run or high demographic black cities in the US are paradises on earth? Do you see any economic miracles in Latin America? Are the Muslim states hothouses of economic growth (when they aren’t able to flog the extraction rights to the oil they’re incapable of getting out of the ground on their own initiative)? It’s not a resources issue, is it? Most of these places have resources lying around for the picking. It’s a people thing. So why should whites in the USA be all alongside handing the keys to the store to the same people in their own backyard? They simply want to maintain the status quo. Can you blame them?

    Thread winner

  • pst314

    TomJ “@pst314: Well, he has not exactly been glowing about antifa”

    Thank you for posting that. I don’t follow him–and don’t have time to follow 1% of those I would like to–so it’s helpful to get such information.

  • Stonyground

    I think that double standards, contradictions and hypocrisy have to be inherent in identity politics. If you insist on bundling people together into blocks instead of treating them as individuals you will inevitably have this problem. I picture a Venn diagram where those that are beyond the pale are in one circle and those who are a protected species are in another. What are you going to do with the ones that are inside the bit where the two circles overlap?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Bloke in Spain’s appalling racism – let’s not mince words – would be easier to stomach had not that “white supremacy” not been associated with enslavement of black peoples, segregation, mass murder and all the rest of it.

    No mention of Asian achievements here. Funny that.

  • Chip

    Maybe I’m reading BIS wrong, but I think he was pushing back against the broader point that “white” (read Western) culture is increasingly viewed as inherently wrong. So while White Supremists with their swatikas are clearly awful, there is the empirical fact that white-majority countries are very safe and pleasant places to live for minorities, many of whom made the choice to move there. Indeed, the value system used to accuse whites of racism, is of course the value system of white/Western culture.

    I’ve been married to an Asian for 15 years, our kids are obviously mixed race and our social circle is multi-racial. So we’re effectively color-blind. But just as I balk at the suggestion someone is inferior due to race, I also disagree with the now commonplace assumption that whites as a group are to feel shame for various social ills.

    It’s the flip side of the same racist coin.

    As I said, maybe I read BIS wrong. But what if people were increasingly protesting ethnic Chinese supremacy, and BIS countered with examples of the Chinese in Singapore, Indonesia, science, tech etc.

    Would he be “appalling” because China itself has murdered millions, cleansed Tibet and invaded the South China Sea?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Bloke in Spain’s appalling racism – let’s not mince words – would be easier to stomach had not that “white supremacy” not been associated with enslavement of black peoples, segregation, mass murder and all the rest of it.

    No mention of Asian achievements here. Funny that.

    Translation: “noticing that Africa is not a hotbed of economic growth is RACISM! I notice Asian achievements but I am not racist.”

    I don’t know how Johnathan concludes that Bloke in Spain is saying anything racist by noticing one aspect of reality. Maybe Johnathan thinks that if you notice differences between different groups then you are somehow not able to judge individuals on their merits as individuals. Who knows.

    Let us look past the obvious logical contradictions of Johnathan’s comment.

    The truth is that Johnathan has no credibility on these matters because he has proven himself unable to objectively parse emotionally charged issues, such as when he thought that anyone who notices that the Roman Empire would not have stretched from London to Jerusalem without slavery is somehow “admiring slavery”. Instead of debating the merits of the statement I made, he resorted to silly, emotional accusations with no basis in fact because I said something that disturbed his perfectly curated version of reality. He is emotional on these delicate subjects and unable to objectively examine the less than cheerful parts of reality.

    Johnathan and people like him dumb down public dialogue in the West by thinking their emotions and virtue signaling are worthwhile contributions to discussion. They then act on such thoughts by making dumb accusations, ad hominem attacks, and conflating entirely different concepts (racism vs. noticing reality or slavery as a requirement for Roman Empire greatness vs admiring slavery, etc). It’s sad.

  • Alisa

    But what if people were increasingly protesting ethnic Chinese supremacy, and BIS countered with examples of the Chinese in Singapore, Indonesia, science, tech etc.

    Good point.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Shlomo, nice try. You stated some time ago that no “great” civilisation has existed without slavery. That ignores the benefits of division of labour and so on that allowed greater wealth without coerced labour, as is the case in the West today. Given your other praise for authoritarian societies on this blog, denial that equality before the law is a value or can even exist, I’m not inclined to give you any benefit of the doubt.

  • The truth is that Johnathan has no credibility on these matters because he has proven himself unable to objectively parse emotionally charged issues, such as when he thought that anyone who notices that the Roman Empire would not have stretched from London to Jerusalem without slavery is somehow “admiring slavery”.

    Sorry but no. That assertion was previously quite effectively disposed off by suggesting you have difficulty understanding the difference between causation and correlation. The entire 8:01 comment aimed at Johnathan Pearce was just ad hominem, so this will be my one and only time I urge you not to do that again.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Well, anyone who would like to view the discussion itself can do so

    https://www.samizdata.net/2017/05/milton-friedman-on-how-imposing-equality-makes-inequality-worse/

    I stand by the view that “Without slaves the Roman Empire would not have become one of the most prodigious civilizations in all of history, stretching from London to Jerusalem.” And I believe slavery is immoral, wrong, and odious.

  • I think only white people are susceptible to this nonsense.

    It’s a western thing. The Eastern Europeans are pushing back, and are being threatened because of it.

  • I stand by the view that “Without slaves the Roman Empire would not have become one of the most prodigious civilizations in all of history, stretching from London to Jerusalem.”

    So just to confirm, you presumably think a slave based economy is more effective than all the alternatives, ergo the Roman Empire could not have achieved such heights with any other economic system?

    And I believe slavery is immoral, wrong, and odious.

    Whatever.

  • Laird

    “That ignores the benefits of division of labour and so on that allowed greater wealth without coerced labour”

    The problem with that argument is that division of labor didn’t become particularly useful or effective until the industrial revolution. Comparing the Roman Empire to the west today is truly apples and axehandles. Almost every significant society in human history employed slavery, in some form or another, and it only began to disappear once technology permitted it. Admittedly the US came rather late to that party, but that doesn’t change the fact that the institution is as old as human history itself. I’m not defending it or advocating for its return, just noting facts.

  • bobby b

    “So just to confirm, you presumably think a slave based economy is more effective than all the alternatives . . . “

    I don’t think he said it was moral or good. He said that, if your economy is labor-intensive and you don’t need to pay for labor, you can make a much greater profit.

    Not sure what his ultimate point was, but that part of it was true.

  • I don’t think he said it was moral or good.

    I didn’t say he did, and frankly who cares?

    He said that, if your economy is labor-intensive and you don’t need to pay for labor, you can make a much greater profit.

    Which is patently absurd. If your business, viewed in isolation, is labour-intensive and you don’t need to pay for labour, you can make a much greater profit. However if the labour market within a national economy has no ability to move around and do other things in response to changing economic realities, I should not have to point out the implications for that economy as a whole to someone looking back from 2017. That is why Shlomo’s contention that the Roman Empire achieved did what it did due to slavery, rather than in spite of slavery, is not just wrong, it is risible.

  • Almost every significant society in human history employed slavery, in some form or another, and it only began to disappear once technology permitted it.

    So what? Almost every significant society in human history prayed to a polytheistic pantheon for some kind at some point. Perhaps I should assert that only people who pray to many different gods can build aqueducts and straight roads.

  • bobby b

    “However if the labour market within a national economy has no ability to move around and do other things in response to changing economic realities, I should not have to point out the implications for that economy as a whole to someone looking back from 2017.”

    Slavery merely moves the agency for efficient placement of labor from the laborers to their owners. If you can ignore the evil, it’s probably more efficient without all of that pesky human preference.

  • nweismuller

    Slavery merely moves the agency for efficient placement of labor from the laborers to their owners. If you can ignore the evil, it’s probably more efficient without all of that pesky human preference.

    And, in the process, effectively removes any relevant brainpower being applied to the problem by the slaves. It’s a matter of historical record that total agricultural productivity even in the ancient era was higher on farms worked by free labor than on farms worked by slaves, and agriculture remained to backbone of the ancient economy. Other sectors, it’s less a matter of ‘record’, but I know which way my bets would lie.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Other cultural/racial groups must point and laugh at us.

    Yeah, the Chinese outside of the US are generally quite puzzled at your overall suicidal behaviour. Terms such as ‘baizuo’ and ‘shengmu’ were a direct result of this lack of regard.

    Nevertheless, it is your problem. My only fear is that the Sinosphere civilizations will get infected by this same nonsense, just as it has contacted Marxism and a dozen other ills from the West.

    In a similar vein, there’s this fabulous joke going around the Sino-web. I’ve included the translation from unz.com.

  • Mr Black

    If I have 100 free men at my disposal then I have the wealth of 100 free men too. If I take 500 slaves, now I have the wealth of 100 free men and 500 slaves. The alternative is not the wealth of 600 free men, it is 500 enemies trying to take my wealth.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    If I have 100 free men at my disposal then I have the wealth of 100 free men too. If I take 500 slaves, now I have the wealth of 100 free men and 500 slaves. The alternative is not the wealth of 600 free men, it is 500 enemies trying to take my wealth.

    This seems like a rather bleak view of the world. Thinking of people as either slaves or enemies, with no other option is kinda restrictive.

    You may well be right though.

  • I think all the studies of slavery, including the anti-bellum South and the Soviet GULAGs, showed that slavery is not cost effective: you’re simply better off paying people you don’t own.

  • If you can ignore the evil, it’s probably more efficient without all of that pesky human preference.

    That must explain why the Soviet Union and Maoist China totally crushed the Western World economically, what with not having to worry about all that pesky human preference 😆

  • Mr Black

    The Romans took their conquered enemies as slaves. They would not accept pay to work, they cannot be trusted with any freedom, let alone in the homelands and they cannot be allowed to live and rebuild. Slavery was the alternative to slaughtering entire nations. And Tim, could we honestly expect anyone to “study” this practice and conclude it was valuable? You may as well ask a feminist to study the benefits of rape. The fact that it was in use everywhere, especially by the dominant cultures of every time and place suggests that it is indeed valuable, whatever the academics say.

  • Mr Ed

    Well the Daily Mail has an interesting story about a Labour MP and her apparent priorities.

    Labour MP and key Corbyn ally shares Twitter message telling Rotherham sex abuse victims to ‘shut their mouths for the good of diversity’

    She appears to have been taken in by an Owen Jones parody account. Surely there’s no sustainable charge of hypocrisy against this part of the Left?

  • EdMJ

    Mr Ed, I saw that as well. Will be interesting to see what happens to her compared with what happened to Sarah Champion…

  • EdMJ

    Seems there’s a petition calling for her dismissal already. Not sure how effective that site would be compared to one on change.org or similar though, but haven’t seen one on there yet.

  • David Bishop

    And while this self-destructive Western cultural infighting goes on:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/05/what-china-wants/528561/

  • Laird (August 21, 2017 at 9:40 pm) Almost every significant society in human history employed slavery, in some form or another,

    True: every group of any size has been at one time a major source of slaves and at another a major owner of slaves.

    and it only began to disappear once technology permitted it.

    False: English society eliminated first slavery and then its lesser cousin serfdom centuries before the industrial revolution. Cause and effect are the other way round. We became a free society and then (therefore) a rich one. Slavery, re-encountered in the outside world, looked ‘peculiar’ in our laws and customs long before our freedom gave us the wealth that gave us the power (the empire and sea-control) to restrict it in that outside world.

  • Shlomo Maistre (August 21, 2017 at 8:28 pm): “I stand by the view that “Without slaves the Roman Empire would not have become one of the most prodigious civilizations in all of history, stretching from London to Jerusalem.” And I believe slavery is immoral, wrong, and odious.

    Consider (as an enlightening analogy) the later Roman empire’s attitude to free trade. The invariable first response of the Roman authorities to shortage was to use force. Whenever there was a bread shortage, for example, they would legislate a minimum price. In Antioch, the punishments inflicted on bakers who disobeyed the price regulation during one shortage were so severe that they all fled the city (the details are in Libanius). As one historian put it, describing this and similar examples, “When force failed, other methods were tried” (i.e. as a last resort).

    I regard restrictions on free trade as immoral, wrong, and odious (with specific exceptions) just as I regard slavery as immoral, wrong, and odious (with specific exceptions, such as justly convicted prisoners). I believe the Roman Empire could have flourished without their coercive attitude towards economic fluctuations. I likewise believe their readiness to enslave reflected their natural inclination towards force, not only or necessarily a need.

    I quite see that slavery was in part the Romans’ answer to the question, “What do we do with our prisoners?”

    – During the third crusade, Muslim writers condemned Richard the Lionheart for executing the garrison of Acre after it became plain that Saladin would not honour the surrender terms. These muslim writers concede that Saladin was deliberately using the issue to prevent Richard advancing, but point out that in muslim society there was a ready solution – sell the garrison as slaves. Richard did not have that option open to him.

    – Five centuries later, the king of Dahomey swore that if “Billy Pitt” did not let him sell his surplus slaves to the British traders, they would all be given to the murder spectacle, not just the unlucky quota he reserved from sale in the years after the traders came and before 1807.

    In both cases, my un-PC attitudes lead me to prefer Richard over the muslims, and dead white male Prime Minister Pitt the Younger over the African King.

    So I’m aware of the historical reasons why the Roman Empire became a slave factory. But I’m also aware of the historical arguments that, far from depending on this for its existence, it may have died from excess of it.

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