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EU “chat control”

Let me start by saying that I am no techie and I do not understand exactly what the EU are proposing with this law. Perhaps I am getting steamed up about nothing. But it sounds horrible. I first read about this topic via a link from Reddit Europe to a post from the blog of a Swedish VPN service called Mullvad. The original Swedish version first appeared as an article in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. The English version follows: “Stop the proposal on mass surveillance of the EU”

The European Commission is currently in the process of enacting a law called Chat control. If the law goes into effect, it will mean that all EU citizens’ communications will be monitored and listened to.

This text was originally published as a debate article in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet and it calls on Swedish politicians to vote against the law proposal. In order for the law to not become reality, more countries need to vote against it. Therefore, we encourage journalists and citizens in all EU countries to question their governments and urge them to vote no.

Right now, the EU Commission is intensely working on a legislative proposal that would monitor and audit the communication of all European Union citizens. The regulation is called Chat Control, and it really does include all types of communication. This means that all of your phone calls, video calls, text messages, every single line that you write in all kinds of messaging apps (including encrypted services), your e-mails — yes, all of this — can be filtered out in real time and flagged for a more in-depth review. This also applies to images and videos saved in cloud services. Basically, everything you do with your smartphone. In other words, your personal life will be fully exposed to government scrutiny. So, why is it that almost no one is talking about this?

The previous day the same Mullvad blog had warned that an unintended consequence of the bill might have been to ban all open source operating systems, although an update says that “Open source OSes might be saved from being covered depending on the interpretation of EU regulation 2019/1150 2.2.c.” Well, that certainly puts my mind at rest.

45 comments to EU “chat control”

  • Vinegar Joe

    “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.” – Tom Wolfe

  • bobby b

    “In other words, your personal life will be fully exposed to government scrutiny.”

    I wonder if all of this data will be available to criminal prosecutors over there? Crim defense lawyers might as well stay home.

    (Does EU directive trump y’alls’ rights to privacy, to avoid searches and taps and mail-reading? Did you give up that sovereignty when joining?)

  • “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.” – Tom Wolfe

    Not sure about “only” 😉

  • Somehow I doubt that TORChat / TOX will be participating in this brave new world of EU surveillance.

  • TJ

    How many people will be needed to read all these communications?
    How much hard disk space?

    Does not sound very workable

  • No doubt it will primarily be looking for keywords in various languages (because obviously it needs to cover things like Arabic) and then if flagged a human will review to see if it is actually “of interest” or just a false positive.

    So, obviously turns of phrase like “Saw a new play last night and it was a bomb” might trigger intervention or “Playing with Microsoft Flight Simulator and deliberately crashed into the Whitehouse”.

    As always context is everything and if they get too many false positives for human intervention then it becomes unworkable.

  • Mike-SMO

    They don’t have to check everything. Like Twitter they let the machines look for key words/terms. Days or weeks later, you get a visit. They don’t care about “real time”., but like the US, they will be obsessively thorough. Unless you are Muslim or from Africa, of course. Supposedly, NSA records everything. I have no idea what they keep or for how long. I am sure that “Uncle” will be happy to assist.

  • Paul Marks

    The European Union already mandates “Hate Speech” laws – the last member to submit was Estonia.

    Freedom of Speech is to be gradually exterminated – not just in the European Union, but all over the world.

    As far as I know (and I would be happy to be corrected) only the United States has clear protection for Freedom of Speech in its Constitution – the Constitutions of other nations say people have Freedom of Speech “subject to law” or other “take-back” phrases that mean that people do NOT have any right to Freedom of Speech.

    But even in the United States nothing in the Constitution is proof against the “interpretations” of the Supreme Court – a couple more leftists on the Supreme Court and the 1st Amendment, and the rest of the Bill of Rights, will be destroyed.

    This is all part of an international agenda – not a “conspiracy” as it operates a plain sight, for example there was an meeting in Davos only a few days ago.

    Individual liberty, of which Freedom of Speech is a part, is to be exterminated. And the European Union is very much on board with that international agenda.

    “Putin will save us!” – in case there is anyone who has such foolishness in their head, Mr Putin despises Freedom of Speech.

    Mr Putin may disagree with the international establishment elite on some aspects of their agenda (such as the sexual aspects – “Trans Rights for children”, i.e. the sexual mutilation of children, and so on) but he is very much in agreement with the international establishment elite on exterminating Freedom of Speech – and most other basic individual liberties. After all, before they scrubbed their website, Mr Putin was clearly part of most World Economic Forum (and United Nations – and so on) activities and “agendas”.

    The brutal truth is that no one is going to save us – we have no leadership, there is no major government in the world (at least none that springs to mind) that is “on our side” as regards Freedom of Speech, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, or any other basic individual liberty.

    The totalitarian collectivists have long dominated education (most schools, including most private schools, and most universities) and this has led, in turn, to their domination of all other institutions – public and private.

    “Including in Britain?” – most certainly including Britain. See such things as the Equality Act of 2010 – that is part of a series of Acts of Parliament (and “policies”) going all the way back to 1965.

    The extermination of liberty, including Freedom of Speech, has long been in the works.

  • IrishOtter49

    ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.’

  • SteveD

    ‘How many people will be needed to read all these communications?
    How much hard disk space?’

    How much would you have to pay them to do such a boring task?

  • bobby b

    “How much would you have to pay them to do such a boring task?”

    Look at Twitter. Millions would do it for free, just to get their enemies. 😉

  • SteveD

    ‘…if they get too many false positives for human intervention then it becomes unworkable.’

    Then we flood the internet with false positives.

  • The Pedant-General

    Sitting at airport in France. Wifi won’t let me onto the link to the mullvad blog. Hmmm….

  • Ben David

    You folks are clueless.

    The technology to intelligently monitor written and spoken communications is several decades old at this point. Machine learning is used to identify not just key words but patterns of speech – both to identify speakers and to uncover coded language.

    I know of at least one Israeli startup that has been selling this capability since the WTC attacks on 9-11. Processing and machine learning have only gotten cheaper, better, and more ubiquitous over time. And contrary to an earlier poster, some of this is done in real time when there is a real threat of violent attack.

    Security services can use several software applications that map and correlate phone, internet, and banking activity. Along with medical records and every other bit of digital info.

    Maybe they need a warrant in some jurisdictions, for some of the information – how hard is that to get? It’s one bureaucrat talking to another.

    If you’ve adopted online banking, use Siri, Zoom, or Whatsapp, or use your healthcare system’s app – a lot of info is already out there, available for harvesting.

    Did you really think this technology was used only by Zuckerberg to decide which ads to pitch at you?

  • Ben Davis

    Do you use a digital ticket or pass for public transport? Or an app like Waze?

    If you haven’t installed an anti-theft device on your car, and your jurisdiction does not mandate a tracking beam on new car imports – it’s trivial to match IP addresses of on-board apps that run under the hood, reporting operating data to the manufacturer. It’s trivial to cross-map this to your browser/phone/voice activity in the car, which acts as a hot-spot/router. And the traffic cameras.

    Who cares if this info is unacceptable in court? There are dozens of other, less traceable ways this data can be used to sidetrack, discredit, isolate, neutralize.

  • Pete Lloyd

    For an example of what AI can do composing coherent and convincing essays, Martin Van Creveld recently published this essay:


    Now, if AI can output that quality of work, then I’m pretty sure it can reverse engineer (to use a not exactly appropriate term but it gives the idea) written communication and understand the meaning, then alert a human.

    I personally think that rope, lamp post, politician, some assembly required is the only solution because unless and until the politicians imposing this suffer some pain or consequences, they will continue down that road.

  • J

    I’ve always heard the cultured say that the US should be more like Europe. I think the US is already too much like Europe, or at least what Europe is becoming. The United States has toiled under the yoke of an increasingly obnoxious federal government for, depending on who you talk to, well over half a century and possibly close to a century. The ‘Europe’, that everyone keeps telling me that the US should be like, was a casual association of sovereign states (once they finally stopped trying to kill each other). In other words, what the US used to be (once we finally stopped trying to kill each other). But Brussels is rapidly becoming the Imperial Capital of Europe just as Washington, DC has become the Imperial Capital of the US.

    Y’all might want to stem that trend.

  • Paul Marks

    Ben David – we are not “clueless”, we know this very well. We do not support it – but we certainly know about it.

    Ben Davis – yes we know what the move to a “cashless society” and getting rid of physical tickets for things like railways is about. It is about power and control – establishing tyranny, but it is being sold as “making life easier”.

    Both Bens – we know all this very well, what we do NOT know is how to stop the rise of tyranny. If you have any good suggestions – please make them.


    Yes indeed – that is the plan.

    A boot stamping down on a human face – for ever.

    I cling to the hope that Economic Law will destroy this emerging tyranny – that fiat money, the Corporations (which are joined at the hip with government – “Stakeholder Capitalism” which Mussolini named “Fascism”) and all the rest of it, will come crashing down.

    But such a collapse will be far from pretty – and many people will not survive it.

    Peaceful reform would have been vastly better – but the international elite have rejected that.

    It is interesting how even people-of-good-will tend to draw the wrong conclusions from events.

    For example, President Taft (more than a century ago now) was a man of good will (he really was), but he reacted to a financial crash in the early 1900s by saying there should be “more flexibility” in the system – this was precisely the WRONG conclusion, in reality it was “flexibility” (Credit expansion) that caused the boom-bust, and more “flexibility” (i.e. more Credit Money) would make future busts bigger – make them worse.

    And so it proved – the demands for more “flexibility” led to the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 (Federal Income Tax was passed in the same year)- and all the step-by-step insanity that has eventually (eventually) led to the present situation where “money” has no connection to reality at all (it is just lights on computer screens – which can be manipulated, or just turned off, on the whims of the powerful), and banking and finance is divorced from Real Savings (the actual sacrifice of consumption).

    The emerging international tyranny is based on this. The emerging political tyranny has its economic base in the Cantillon Effect – but on a scale that Richard Cantillon, three centuries ago, could not have dreamed of in his worst nightmares.

    Credit Money has led to wealth and economic control being concentrated to an insane degree – and that has enabled the emerging international political tyranny to be built.

  • Paul Marks

    The international elite are totally divorced from reality.

    For example, the Disney Corporation (which is partly in service to such entities as BlackRock – BlackRock controls investments in various corporations that are worth ten Trillion, yes Trillion, Dollars)is running a campaign for “reparations” for black people.

    Supposedly black people in California and elsewhere (essentially everywhere) are owned “reparations” for being slaves – even though they are not slaves and have never been slaves (“but their ancestors” – yes their ancestors were enslaved by other black people in Africa as part of inter tribal slave raiding that had been going on for thousands of years), and the people who should pay these “reparations” are people who have never owned slaves – and most of whose ancestors did not own slaves either.

    The head of Disney is a man called Bob Iger – he is very rich, he is also a white “cis gender” (i.e. straight) man.

    Yet Comrade Bob clearly does not think any of this applies to him – he is not going to have his income and wealth stripped from him and be left living in a cardboard box on the streets.

    Comrade Bob is part of the rich international elite (the Davos Class) so “obviously” he is not an ordinary straight-white-man to be robbed and murdered.

    Comrade Bob has a shock coming – the same shock that the Duke of Orleans (“Citizen Equality”) got during the French Revolution – the Revolution he pushed and financed, before his “friends” robbed him and chopped off his head.

  • Sam Duncan

    Look at Twitter. Millions would do it for free, just to get their enemies.

    Precisely. Also what Ben said. The danger here isn’t that it might be done; it is being done. The danger is that it’s to be required and directed by law, and made routine.

    Now, I’m not naïve. I accept that governments sometimes need to intercept communications to stop bad things from happening: bombings, robbery, and so on. But it should never be easy. Because then it ceases to be an extraordinary measure against serious crime and becomes simply a case of adding new crimes to the list. Then before you know it you’ve resurrected the Stasi.

  • Paul Marks

    Sam Duncan – we all know that the attack on Freedom of Speech is already under way and has been for a long time. For example, we have all heard of Tobias Ellwood MP and Brigade 77 of the British Army.

    Meanwhile Jeff Bezos has seen fit to give a 100 Million Dollars to the Marxist Van Jones and 100 Million Dollars to a Spanish chef (the Spanish chef is getting the money “for the charity of his choice” because the chef hates Donald John Trump).

    Why should anyone care if the Collectivists do to Jeff Bezos what their ideological ancestors did to the Duke of Orleans?

    Mr Bezos thinks he can make them his friends by giving them lots of money – and saying how “courageous” and “civil” they are – they will skin him alive, and it is very hard (very hard indeed) to care about that.

  • Kirk

    American blacks have historically not demonstrated a lot of intelligence. Sad fact, but true… They mostly wound up as slaves because they weren’t bright enough to remain free in Africa, and many of them were sold on to the international slave traders because they weren’t bright enough to keep as slaves by their tribal betters. Ask any Nigerian whose family has records going back that far; they’ll tell you they sold on the troublemakers, the stupid, the inept, the lame, the lazy…

    Just make sure you don’t do that around any of the descendants of that trade. They won’t like what they hear.

    The thing about reparations that the modern American black doesn’t recognize is that there are two things going on with those reparations. One, the people behind it all intend to fleece them as soon as they cash the first check, and they will. Reparations will represent a vast transfer of wealth from Americans who had nothing to do with slavery in the first place to people who were never slaves, and it will all wind up in the pockets of the people who owned those slaves in the long-ago. They’ll trade the benighted American blacks a mass of modern-day trade goods for all that wealth, and not a penny of it will stick to the hands of black America. They’ll be a screwed-up and poverty-stricken ten years after the payments are made, and they’ll be just as pissed-off. It’ll be like a vast set of lottery winnings that will wind up in the hands of luxury car dealers and designer-goods retailers.

    So, it’s basically a first step in a vast fraud scheme meant to rob hard-working American citizens of their money, through black America.

    The second effect will be far more insidious, in that this will cause an irreparable breach in racial relations. The rest of America ain’t going to forgive the blacks for this massive rip-off, especially when they see what the money gets wasted on. It won’t be going to fund college educations or start successful businesses; it’ll be spent on feckless wealth displays that will rub the fact of it all in the faces of the people paying for it. Blacks will wind up being despised and hated, with far more lasting cause than anything else, ever. My expectation is that this will do rather more to gin up an actual “race war” than anything else these morons could conceive of.

    Believe me when I say this: You tell the average Mexican-American that they need to be taxed unto death, in order to pay reparations to blacks who were never slaves? They’ll see one very, very simple solution, which will be the one they applied to the African overseers that the Spanish brought in: Extermination.

    Salutary learning point for those of you living here in the US: Ever wonder what has happened to a lot of the black street gangs, and why you’re not hearing a lot from them, of late? One word: Cartels. That’s the future we’re all looking at, if this reparations thing goes through. There will be a lot fewer blacks left once the whole thing gets done working its way through the system.

    As a collective, the American black community is one of the dumbest, most short-sighted on this entire planet. And, that’s saying a lot, considering what competition they’ve got going. They’re almost as bad as the Palestinians, in terms of acting against their own self-interest. Reparations will trigger far more racism than it will “repair”, and it will likely trigger an ethnic cleansing that won’t soon be forgotten. Might even get as far as an outright genocide.

    If it does look like it’ll go through, however? Buy futures in anything delivering “bling” in that short period before the ethnocide starts.

    The march of human folly is endless and ever-renewing. Idiots, all of them.

  • BenDavid

    Paul Marks – I have no good suggestions.
    Unlike nuclear technology, the technologies used for modern surveillance are ubiquitous, increasingly commodified and miniaturized, and used for other legitimate applications. There are few barriers to entry. Perhaps that is a good thing – perhaps that will keep government from attaining complete control.

    Something similar is happening with biotechnology, which is also scary. My sister-in-law manages the laboratories for a big HMO here (basically where your blood tests go) and a friend works in biotech. They both use desktop machines that can do incredible stuff. Some of this may already be in your doctor’s office.

    There is no technology solution. In any cat-and-mouse game of private data encryption to protect internet communication, those who can afford more powerful computers will always have an edge. And besides, information can be gleaned by simply correlating the traffic without knowing the actual data.

    There is no legal solution – because as we’ve seen with shadow-banning and deplatforming, there are plenty of ways to isolate, sideline, and harm people that are less frontal, and less easily traced.

    So it comes down to the people.
    We have to admit that the vast majority of people never have been free thinkers or rugged individualists. Most are followers and comfort-seekers. The successful dissolution of family and community leaves people even more vulnerable and dependent on government largesse (body) and messaging (soul).

    This is not just a softening due to modern ease – it was always so. The patriots of the American Revolution were not the majority by any means. People jumped on the bandwagon when the patriots started looking like winners. Remember Bin Laden’s line about people siding with the strong horse?

    It takes strength of character – and a commitment to Judeo-Christian morality – to sustain a free Western democracy.
    Will people voluntarily stop using digital tools – like the Venetians who wore masks to preserve their privacy?

    It comes down to the people…
    Here in Israel, a significant chunk of the Soviet emigres still still think in terms of the communist society and ideas they were raised with, even though that world collapsed around them, even after living in a Western country for decades. These people are Avigdor Liberman’s core base. Similarly, many Israelis still view the world through the old Labor-socialist lens of Israel’s early days. They want someone to look after them, to “make the trains run on time”. Some even equate their Jewish identity with government administered “social programs”.

    The Left invested decades in changing the mindset of people in the West. Perhaps severe societal trauma will slap people awake, but it will more likely take decades to revive Judeo-Christian concepts of personhood, free will, brotherhood, and equality… And even among the free-thinkers on this blog, some are shifting uneasily in their seats at the mention of Judaism and Christianity – but making religion vaguely icky and unfashionable is how the Left destroyed the West. Anything less than a proud, explicit restatement of these values is a half measure doomed to failure. Starting in mid-air with some vague notion of liberal-mindedness won’t cut it. You can’t have the fruits without the roots.

  • but making religion vaguely icky and unfashionable is how the Left destroyed the West.

    Not convinced that is true at all.

  • Kirk

    BenDavid said:

    And even among the free-thinkers on this blog, some are shifting uneasily in their seats at the mention of Judaism and Christianity – but making religion vaguely icky and unfashionable is how the Left destroyed the West. Anything less than a proud, explicit restatement of these values is a half measure doomed to failure. Starting in mid-air with some vague notion of liberal-mindedness won’t cut it. You can’t have the fruits without the roots.

    Here’s a thing about your reasoning, here: It’s not just the left-wing actions and propaganda that are rendering much of traditional religion irrelevant and unfashionable; it’s the raw fact that these faiths have signally failed to adapt to changed conditions.

    When you were speaking to an essentially uneducated and ignorant audience as the only more-or-less literate member of the community, you could get away with a lot of the cant and BS that imbues and informs religion. Unfortunately, once everyone in the community has equal access to a “life of the mind” through mass education and can see that a lot of the old-school answers are no longer operational, what then? When you do things like the Mormon Church does here in the US, with patently absurd insistence on the divinity of Joseph Smith and his writings, is it any wonder that once your propagandized youth get some experience of the world, they cease believing in your faith because of all the obvious contradictions?

    Christianity is sometimes its own worst enemy, especially when it insists on things like Papal infallibility and all the rest. As you look at the entire spiritual realm, virtually none of them have managed to make accommodation with modern knowledge of the universe; it’s all sleight-of-hand like the Catholic church pulls with science. The root doctrine relies on a work that was, at best, divinely inspired in order to reach and communicate with a mass audience of subsistence farmers and herders. That tome ain’t got a lot to say to someone raised on a view of the universe informed and inspired by the James Webb telescope or the vast sea of knowledge available on the internet.

    Religion is making itself irrelevant to modern life because it is failing to address the needs of the people. When you have lapsed Catholics and jack Mormons eagerly telling you all about their experiences looking for ghosts and how effective their crystals are at healing their bodies and minds, there’s a bit of a problem there, indicated by how poorly their home faiths addressed their spiritual needs.

    I don’t see this so much as a problem of people abandoning their various faiths; I see it more as those faiths failing to address their own internal contradictions and denials, as well as not keeping their own stables thoroughly cleaned out. The number of Catholics that I’ve run into who’ve lost their faith specifically because of the abuses they’d undergone at the hands of the priesthood is pretty damn high, and it’s tragic to observe as an outsider, because those people had something of value in their lives which is now gone due solely to the betrayal they experienced.

    There is a spiritual aspect to life, and the real problem we have is that the general run of modern religion utterly fails to address that aspect in a way that people can internalize and benefit from. Not to mention, where’s the relevance to a lot of what religion has to say, to anyone these days? How do you square the circle with what the various churches have done, as opposed to what they say? What they demand of their adherents, versus what they allow their hierarchy-members to get away with?

  • bobby b

    If your religion is based on the supposed revealed thoughts and words of a divine being long ago, but you feel free to “change your religion with the times”, aren’t you more of a social club than a religion?

  • Christianity is sometimes its own worst enemy, especially when it insists on things like Papal infallibility

    Papal infallibility is much misunderstood. It just means that when the Pope makes an ex-cathedra statement that:

    “The following is Catholic doctrine…”

    Then unlike a Cardinal or anyone else, the Pope can’t be wrong about that because that is by definition Catholic doctrine because the Pope said it is. Another Pope can later come along and change it with an ex-cathedra statement.

    That’s all it means.

  • Martin

    Been several years since I read it but Eric Kaufmann’s book ‘Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?’ suggested that it’s exactly those religious groups least accommodating to liberal modernity that are prospering as they have more children and have fewer defectors from the faith. The Haredim in Israel for example have three times as many children on average compared to the Israeli average. Muslims who believe more strongly in Sharia have larger families than those less in favour. Protestant fundamentalists in the US are very fecund too, and they seem to be rapidly growing in places like Brazil too.

  • Kirk

    bobby b said:

    If your religion is based on the supposed revealed thoughts and words of a divine being long ago, but you feel free to “change your religion with the times”, aren’t you more of a social club than a religion?

    If your religion relies on inculcating unquestioning faith into people who see more and more contradictions and illogic in your “revealed thoughts and words of a divine being long ago”, you’re cruising for a situation where you lose most, if not all, of them. That’s the situation many modern religious faiths find themselves in.

    @Perry de Havilland,

    The point I was getting at was that when your audience has the ability to compare historical things pronounced with Papal authority and then look at how that’s changed? That tends to erode faith, which is the key thing. You see similar things going on in the Islamic world, as the mass gets better educated and starts asking questions about how something was once anathema, but is now OK… Or, vice-versa.

    You can get away with those things so long as the people you’re talking to don’t have the ability to look at things pronounced upon in the past. That’s no longer the case, and none of these “we’re interpreting the word of our god” types are unable to process, which is also why they’re losing their audience.

    I’m not commenting so much on the whole issue of faith-based infallibility, but more on the lack of adaptation displayed by the hierarchy in these faiths. It’s A-OK to keep changing up how you are interpreting the “Word of God” when the audience has nothing more than word of mouth passed down the generations, but when you suddenly have them getting access to the actual documents and so forth, and it’s outside the control of the hierarchy? Yeah; that’s deadly to faith in the masses.

    A fact that nobody seems to either recognize or account for.

  • I’m not commenting so much on the whole issue of faith-based infallibility

    Sure, I get that, just pointing out that when it comes to the Roman Catholic Church, “Papal infallibility” is just a legal term, a bit of Ecclesiastic law, not a contention the Pontiff is literally infallible in the way the word is typically used. It is just a way of stating the Roman Catholic Church is not a democracy and its doctrines are whatever the Pope says they are 😉

    Otherwise, I broadly agree with your views on the intrinsic problem religions face when their target audiences are as well or better educated than the promulgators of the faith in question.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    I think that what is needed for Christianity is a new interpretation of the texts. If you applied Cabbalah/Kabbalah to the old and new Testaments, then you could add reincarnation to the list of acceptable doctrines. Cabbalah simply means ‘legacy’, and is a spiritual interpretation that is handed down to seekers of lore. For instance, if you read Deuteronomy, chapter 1, verse 1, to the end of Chapter 4, and then read Chapter 5, through to verse 5, ask yourself- what does Moses mean? He is talking as though these new people are the same as the people who had been at Mount Sinai, 40 years ago! Even though the earlier chapters had promised that the carcasses of those wicked people would not inherit the promised land! The easiest explanation is that these are the same souls, in new bodies. Thus, reincarnation.
    If Christianity added such beliefs, then it would attract new followers.

  • Snorri Godhi

    The European Union already mandates “Hate Speech” laws – the last member to submit was Estonia.

    Actually, that does not seem to be true.
    From an article published on January 30:

    Last week, the European Commission started infringement proceedings against Estonia for not transporting the EU legislation [on “hate speech”] into law.

    Estonia is one of the only member states that has not adopted the legislation.

    Neglecting the poor diction, it seems that there are a few member states without “hate speech” legislation.

    As for the US First Amendment: who needs to abolish it, when the woke control most of the universities, the media, social media (except for Twitter) and there are blackshirts eager to suppress any speech that goes against the narrative?

  • Kirk

    @Nicholas Gray,

    Basic problem with “adding in” reincarnation to Christianity is that you’ve got a minor problem when things roll around to actually discovering incontrovertible proof that such a thing is or isn’t going on. At that point, because you’ve baked a definitive answer into your religion, that’s a problem. Which is exactly what’s going on with the established faiths we’ve got… They were adapted to an era when we didn’t really know sh*t from shinola across the majority of humanity. Nowadays? LOL… You try playing the Guatama Buddha, and about all you’re going to get are questions about this and that.

    Nonetheless, there’s a deep internal need for spirituality in the human condition. The problem is that the current set of faiths aren’t keeping up with the changes in said human condition, and are all set up for dealing with humanity as it was before the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions.

    As well, there’s a bit of a progression thing going on here, with regards to religions: In their beginnings, people are easily swayed to Believe. First-generation converts are rigid and unyielding in their Belief; later generations, not so much. Everyone is wired, particularly these days, to consider their elders idiotic and maladapted, failing to comprehend that they only appear so because the conditions under which they grew up and to which they are adapted to have changed, fundamentally. Because of this, each successive generation of a religious faith becomes more and more jaded and cynical, questioning everything, noting every single hypocrisy and contradiction. This is precisely the same arc that befell the Communists in Russia during the Soviet Union. Same thing happens with any mass movement, during these changing times of ours, which are really actually unprecedented, in terms of the “rate of change” going on around us.

    Because of this set of factors, no modern religion has really adapted or come up with consistent answers to all of this, which is precisely why the ever-deeper spin into irrelevance is happening, and why so many weird-ass “New Age” faiths are taking off the way they are.

    Humans need the irrational, the spiritual. That’s why we incessantly invent all these things, and why we’re so wrapped up in them. You can’t, apparently, exist as a sane and functional human being without having a greater cause, an outside element that “explains it all”. Can’t find one? Invent one. If God wasn’t real, we’d have to invent him… And, to a degree, I think we did. We’re just expressing all this in a very unhealthy way.

    My own belief system is probably more Deist than anything else, but I think it would be a valuable exercise to point out to people in early youth that we’ve all got this drive, this need for the spiritual. And, that letting it warp things out of alignment with the world around us and other people is the root of a whole lot of evil. If you don’t know about something, you can’t understand it; to name it is to begin to understand it, to control it. And, all too many of our worst impulses are in dire need of some damn responsibility and control that’s only going to come once we start looking at things like politics as being perverted expressions of our need for an outer cause to belong to.

    I’ve noted, over the years, that an awful lot of people who claim to be atheists are often in possession of belief systems that are even more irrational and less functional than many of their “religious freak” neighbors. You can identify people like this fairly easily; do they hold the tenets of their party platforms and the words of their leaders as being both infallible and cosmically true? Do they really care if their policies and programs work, or do they stick their fingers in their ears and go “NA-NA-NA, can’t hear you…” when you point those facts out to them?

    Religion isn’t just the sort of thing you find in church. It is, to my mind, any organized irrational belief system that you subscribe to which you have to take on faith alone. By that criteria, most of our political classes are religious fanatics, believing in things like Socialism, Communism, Sciencism, and Environmentalism. Note, when discussing the issues with these people, how alike they are with the odd Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon missionary you might have importune you at your doorstep… It’s uncanny, really.

    Irrational belief is apparently an actual requirement for sentient minds to function. Or, so I surmise from my observation of the rest of you monkeys out there.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I think that what is needed for Christianity is a new interpretation of the texts.

    I think that a sensible re-interpretation has already been provided by John Locke, in his 2nd Treatise on Government.

    I see it as a distillation of most of what we need to preserve in the Judeo-Christian tradition:
    Do not steal
    Do not murder
    Do not bear false witness (implicit in Locke, it seems to me)

    What is missing in Locke’s account is a prescription for sexual morality; which in my opinion is problematic: the 10 Commandments version is unrealistic, but how to amend it??

    —- As for the metaphysics, eg re-incarnation, i leave that to the fantasists.

  • Irrational belief is apparently an actual requirement for sentient minds to function.

    Sure but you don’t need religion for that. Some people get married more than once for example, the supreme triumph of irrational hope over common sense 😛

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Kirk, lots of people like reincarnation because it explains things like why some people seem born gifted, and others seem born cursed. The Jews were troubled by what seemed to be God’s indifference to such inequalities, so the Kabbalists believed we must all have had some past lives to explain it all. Also, there are 613 commandments in the Torah, some being commandments that only a female could fulfil (See Numbers 16, v39), and some that only a man could fulfil. The soul needed to fulfil all 613 to get into Heaven, so an answer was reincarnation.
    As for the metaphysics, plenty of books can present good evidence. Or you can look at the Netflix series, called ‘Surviving Death’, where one of the episodes looks into rebirth.

  • Paul Marks

    BenDavid – a grim, but honest reply Sir. I hope there are solutions – but some of them are so radical (such as an end to the system of Fiat Money and Credit Bubble finance – a system which concentrates economic power into a few hands) that there is no chance of implementing them, this side of economic collapse.

    No Snorri – Christian sexual morality may be wrong, but it is not “unrealistic”, people can choose to reject it (as most people now choose to do), but people can also choose to uphold it – as was done by most people only a few of generations ago. We now know that such things as the Kinsey Report were a tissue of wild distortions – not scientific at all.

    Most people did not have illegitimate children – in Britain at the start of the 20th century the illegitimacy was about 1% (one per cent) and most men did not commit adultery – indeed men who used prostitutes were despised by most other men (“Teddy” Roosevelt expressed a not uncommon view when he said that if he knew a “wife beater” or a “whore monger” he made a point of punching them in the face- the latter partly because they might spread an incurable and fatal disease, picked up from prostitutes, to their wives and children), although this is certainly NOT the view of the past that is pushed in endless fictional accounts (partly for political reasons – but also because vice sells, and men who did not indulge in such things are considered boring by modern readers and viewers).

    Now one can certainly argue, from a modern perspective, that people in their past, with their stable families and so on, were silly (denying themselves the pleasures of modern society) – but it is incorrect to imply that they did not exist, or that their existence was impossible – when they were the norm (yes the norm) only a few generations ago.

    There were even many celibate man – for example Roman Catholic priests, active homosexuality was NOT the norm among priests only a few generations ago, indeed it was very rare. Many men partly sublimated their sexual energies into work and achievement.

    The past was not the same as the present – people, both men and women, tended to make different choices concerning their moral conduct than most people do now.

    Nor is it the case that an advanced society inevitably has a collapse in family life and religious faith – for example in the 1950s the United States was the most advanced economy on Earth, yet had mostly stable families (at least among white Americans) and a mostly religious and socially conservative population (I repeat – such things as the Kinsey Report have long been exposed as nonsense).

    Israel today is a more (yes more – not less) socially conservative society than it has even been – yet has a highly advanced technological society, whilst still having stable families and a fertility rate over two babies per woman.

    The slow-motion cultural and even biological genocide one sees at work in most (although not all) Western nations is not inevitable.

  • Paul Marks

    The reasons that “wife beaters” were despised in the days of our grand parents and great grand parents (not celebrated – as modern Feminism pretends they were) was partly the role of women in the sacred task of creating and caring for the home (the Queen of the Home) and next generation, but also because wife beaters (indeed anyone who raised their hand against a woman) were considered cowards.

    Georgie Porgy, pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry – but when the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgy RAN AWAY.

    After all the boys might include someone of the (not uncommon) opinions of someone like Theodore Roosevelt – someone who considered it their moral duty to give anyone who beat a woman, a beating themselves.

    Such attitudes could even bleed into international relations – with statesman seeing small countries as being in need of physical support if invaded (“the rape of Belgium” in 1914).

    And into literature – the works of such men as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams being the what ordinary young (and not so young) people tended to read.

    Charles Williams is often overlooked today, but was part (just part – there were other such writers) of a once very popular genre of literature – where quite ordinary people were suddenly thrown into a grim (and often seemingly hopeless) struggle against the forces of evil – whether normal evil, or supernatural evil (or both).

    A grim struggle in which one might face a choice between giving up one’s life (to face agony, humiliation and death) to try save someone who one had never met before, or allow them to be murdered (or worse).

    The actions of members the Hapsburg and the Wittlesbach (the former ruling house of Bavaria) families, as well as many people from humble families in World War II, show that such ideas of honour and chivalry (protect the stranger, be prepared to die to defend the helpless) were far from just confined to the English speaking world.

    It was a commonplace that one might be engaged in ordinary life (say doing some gardening, or resting after a day’s work) and then, suddenly (without warning), face the ultimate test – many people wondered how they would respond to that test when it came.

    Although, yes of course, we all face more ordinary evil every day of our lives – the evil within ourselves.

    Every person struggles (or fails to struggle) against this ordinary evil within themselves every day of our lives – it need not be a very dramatic thing. Just the question “did I behave as I should behave?” – “how can I do better?”

  • Paul Marks

    The film “The Eagle Has Landed” has two incidents which are of interest in this regard.

    The very start of the film where “Stiner” intervenes to try and save “a Jewess he had never set eyes on before” – this dooms Stiner and his unit to a penal operation (a one-by-one death sentence).

    And the incident where a German soldier dies saving the life of a child – in the process revealing that he is a German soldier (as his German uniform is exposed – which he is wearing underneath the Polish uniform) – Stiner and unit are essentially dead men from that moment.

    To know in advance that doing the right thing will doom you to torment and death – and yet to voluntarily choose to the right thing in-spite-of-that, that is what a man should be.

  • Kirk

    @ Snorri Godhi,

    I think that the Judeo-Christian tradition fell into an effective (and, sadly more often an aspirational one…) set of ideas and ideals.

    Where it isn’t answering the mail is with the insistence on Biblical and hierarchical infallibility. What with how often the Bible has been edited down the years, and who did the editing? I’d have grave doubts about taking that as any sort of infallible, along with the fact that there’s a bunch of stuff in there that I’d be really hesitant about trying to apply to the modern world. I mean, much as I’d love setting bears on children making mockery of the bald, it does seem a trifle… Extreme?

    What’s needed is to keep the good bits, and improve on the bones. In the historical view that will no doubt prevail centuries from now, Christianity will likely be held up as a net good, and the assholes seeking and participating in its destruction will be seen as cultural vandals of the basest sort.

    Which does not excuse the excesses of any other set of assholes claiming to have been “Christian” when they did their thing. Ain’t none of us saints, but when you compare the track record for things, Christianity comes out looking pretty damn good, particularly when set up against things like the Aztec pantheon and Carthage. Presuming that wasn’t just bad PR through our Roman informants, and some dire misinterpretation of the archaeological record…

    End of the day, I’m rather glad I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a Judeo-Christian cultural matrix. There are enough good things about it that the bad are outweighed, I think

    I’d like to keep the essence, and discard the the dross as historical curiosity. Instead, the idjit classes are hell-bent on throwing the baby out with the bathwater, entirely unaware of what they’re actually doing.

  • Kirk

    One of the greatest feats of what we can term “blackwashing”, wherein the historical record is unfairly maligned and deliberately distorted by those seeking to encourage and enable modern interpretations of that record to support extreme views can be seen in just about anything concerning feminism or slavery.

    Nobody wants to remember that close to a million men gave their lives to end slavery here in the US. Nobody remembers that “minor” detail, when discussing reparations. Nobody remembers all the monies spent by the abolitionists, or all the lives dedicated to ending slavery.

    Likewise, they fail to comprehend that when you get down to it, when you factor in all the miscegenation that slavery had going on it, it becomes an exercise in futility trying to figure out who should pay for those reparations, today. You want to argue that descendants of slave owners ought to pay? Well, fine… What, pray tell, are you going to do about all the slave-owning ancestors of today’s blacks? Are we going to make them pay for their ancestral transgressions against… Their ancestors?

    I mean, after a bit, it soon becomes a case of trying to figure out which generation is going to take the blame. I had a black friend of mine whose aunt ran a very thorough and detailed family history, one that required an awful lot of detailed research and some sleuthing to finally figure out that, by rights, his family had rather more legitimate claim on the ancestral plantation than the white owners did, and that there was rather more of that variety of “white” in their family tree than in the actual current-day so-called “white descended” owners of the place. It was funny as hell, when you got down to it. He said he started out with that family tree having a ton of animosity, resentment, and outright hatred of his slave-owning neighbors, but once he figured out how intertwined their family trees actually were, he pretty much had to leave all that behind.

    Because a good third of his ancestry was actually that very set of supposedly “white” neighbors, who if truth were ever to be told, had rather more than a few charcoal briquettes in the family woodpile. All of which was an open secret, among the older generation. The ironic thing about that family was that the slaves had turned out to defend the plantation against the Union, not because they particularly cared about the white owners, but because they recognized that the place was really their economic future. By the 1940s, they owned most of the old lands, and the white “owners” were down to the original run-down mansion and what amounted to a truck garden. Everything else was gone, and the former slaves were actually rather more prosperous than the former owners, who were still out diddling the help enough that a lot of family ties between the two groups had actually been reinforced.

    Whole thing becomes untenable, once you start looking into the details. As well as the lies… One of the things that my friend found out, which he absolutely hated, was how willing many of his female relatives had been. It was seen as an economic leg up, because if a girl had a baby by one of the old master’s sons, then she’d been pretty much guaranteed a bit of land to support the kid (if only to keep her quiet…), and then that made her more of a “catch” for black men in the area. Because she had land, see…? And, the white side of the family was glad, ‘cos her being a married woman meant there was no chance she’d show up with baby in hand to try and marry the wayward son. Bit by bit, they wound up losing most of their land to that sort of thing going on, and, well… Yeah. The whole thing was kind of a war between the white women who wanted to keep the land, the black women who wanted it for themselves and their relatives, and… It was bizarre to hear him describe it all, as he ruefully acknowledged that the black women in his family had mostly f*cked their former owners out of their ancestral plantation. Quite literally.

    How the hell do you propose to adjudicate that sort of thing? It didn’t happen everywhere, but… History just isn’t what they characterize it as, today.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Mea Culpa! The correct quote is Numbers 15v39 not 16!! And a Christianity which took up Cabbalism could promise that you would improve your psychic powers! Cabbalists are often encouraged to study dreams, for one thing, and some of my dreams have been oddly prescient. So this could be a Christianity which promises spiritual evolution!

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    An interesting tract is 1st Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 1, in part… Covet spiritual gifts… Desire the spirituals, etc. The spiritual gifts, or spiritual things are soon described as prophecy, speaking in tongues, healing, etc. This is the kind of coveting that is encouraged!

  • Paul Marks

    On Slavery – why is the European Union, and the United Kingdom, not asking for “Reparations” for many centuries of slave raiding in which Europeans were taken as slaves to North Africa and the Middle East?

    The reason is that none of this is really about slavery – it is about “death-to-the-Capitalist-West”.

    As for “chat control” – the truth will be censored and those who tell the truth will be persecuted, whilst lies will be pushed and those who tell lies will be rewarded.

    Everything from most schools and universities, to the vast (Cantillon Effect) Corporations and governments, support lies and persecute truth tellers.

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