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Friday, 16 January 2015

Fighting for the Enlightenment

It is a paradox I know; as the staunchest apologist for and defender of the gains to mankind from the first and second Enlightenments that I can still say the words of the Nicene Creed with absolute belief will puzzle a few people. But there it is. It's one of the enigmas of enlightened thought. It's not an 'either or'. It's good to see Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph this morning taking his place in the line;
Then came the Enlightenment, which prioritised reason, science, tolerance, rule of law, trade and individualism over traditional lines of authority, and the miracle of today’s world, and the once unimaginable lifestyles and freedoms it has given rise to, began to dawn. It is sometimes hard to credit amid the sensationalism of the global, 24-hour news agenda, but relative to population, the world as a whole is today a more prosperous, tolerant, calmer, less war-, disease- and crime-ridden place than it has ever been. 
Where we depart is that Jeremy thinks the gains of the Enlightenment itself are under threat - that the failures of globalisation, politics and the EU Federation are signs of stalling - and I do not. The social and economic structures springing from the Enlightenment have already undergone several significant evolutionary shifts, each one advancing mankind to a new level of well-being. Capitalism, Fordism, Consumerism, Post-Fordism, Prosumerism (cf Alvin Toffler) have all, over the past two hundred years, provided the framework within which enlightened societies flourished. My own view is that we are in the middle of another change to yet another form of enlightened peoples creating mutual benefits. And popular hostility towards corporatism, the political class and the EU's silly empire-building is the hive-mind taking us to a new place - don't ask me to predict what it will be, I simply don't know. But we will get there a lot quicker by abandoning those outworn tools rather than defending them. By being open to the evolution of new social, economic and democratic structures.   

Not all of mankind is ready to benefit. Those such as Allison Pearson described yesterday as seeking to "recreate their primitive, peasant society in this enlightened land" are least well placed of all to be part of the advance; like other backward savages across the globe, they will remain the beneficiaries of our progress, recipients of the largesse of our enlightened society. They must be corrected and disciplined as a father corrects a wayward child - for its own good. They can believe whatever they like; they can love their prophet as much as they like (though it would be better for all if they loved their live fellow man as much as they loved their dead prophet), and they must allow others to do the same - whether animists worshipping a fetish stick, or mantra-chanting Buddhists. But in the same way as we do not allow a petulant screeching child to rule the household, we must not allow these primitives to hold us back in the advance of our enlightenment; it's for both our own good, and from our charity, for theirs. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Our justified displeasure

With apologies for not following the lead of the MSM in ditching Islamism for the NHS as the story de jour. And sorry to those of you who are fed up with me banging on about this but it's not settled yet. I can do no better this morning than to quote Allison Pearson in the Telegraph;
To non-Muslim friends, however, Muslims were entitled to 'express our justified displeasure'. Absolutely. Go right ahead; be our guest. In which case, non-Muslim Britons are entitled to express our justified displeasure. So here goes. 

We are fed up of every news bulletin for the past few years being dominated by the cycle of this story, of feelings no sooner placated than hurt again. We despise the cowardly political class which for years has tiptoed around “cultural sensitivities” while thousands of girls have been raped, trafficked and disappeared into forced marriages by bigots and misogynists from the subcontinent. We despair when Ofsted discovers another six private Islamic schools (in east London this time) where the sexes are segregated, children are taught only about sharia law and “not prepared for life in modern Britain”. When we learn that we are the female genital mutilation capital of Europe, and that there are actual tour groups arranged to this country so little girls can have their clitorises sliced off, we think: “Did all those millions of brave men and women really fight and win a World War for this?” When we see an American woman judge finally jail the Finsbury Park radical cleric Abu “Captain Hook” Hamza and throw away the key, we say hoorah! Thank God for ballsy New York judges prepared to get that menace off the streets instead of providing that footsoldier of Islamism with a personal chiropodist as the feeble British system did. (At least he didn’t need a manicurist, I suppose.) 

When I hear a Muslim girl, who has been raped by men in her community, tell Radio 4’s File on 4 that she “might as well be living in rural Pakistan”, so little do the laws of England apply to her, I think how dare they come here and recreate their primitive, peasant society in this enlightened land? When the security services warn that 150 jihadists, back in the UK from Syria, could launch random gun attacks similar to the Paris massacre, and that many of those charming gentlemen have not enrolled on the voluntary deradicalisation programme, we smite our heads against the nearest brick wall and wonder when the safety of innocent civilians (of all faiths and none) is going to be put before the human rights of maniacs.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Êtes-vous Charlie?

The commemorative issue of Charlie Hebdo can be ordered as a single issue from Newsstand;

There's a warning about very high demand, but the French publishers have already increased the print run to 3m and will print more if needed. 

Êtes-vous Charlie?

News stand have now de-listed this publication.

Monday, 12 January 2015

4m French say "If you don't like freedom, fuck off"

The words in quotes are those of the Muslim Mayor of Rotterdam, reported in full yesterday by Tim Worstall and making an edited appearance in Boris Johnson's Telegraph column this morning. Of course one has to very careful in listening to what the politicians think yesterday was all about; Cameron for example can't bring himself to say 'Islamic extremism' so uses the code word 'fanatical' for 'Islamic' whenever he speaks. London's sexually incontinent mayor is not so shy, being clear it's Islamic terrorism and jihadism that threatens us. And he's not too bothered, he says, by all this civil liberties guff getting in the way of listening to our electronic words to find them.

Boris is also right in stating that very few have actually seen the most offensive Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Certainly the MSM is not printing them, and many are absent from the Mahommed Cartoons Archive . You can get a flavour of them by searching charb and mahommed in google images. Be warned; there's a lot of buggery and explicit homo sex featuring the prophet, sometimes together with Jesus, the Buddha and old Yahweh. And no, we won't be reproducing any of them here - on the grounds both of taste and that that they're not particularly funny, nor are they intended to be. They are intended to provoke and offend. That is exactly what they do. As an enlightened Christian, I can view them and shrug them off - even a depiction of Mohammed fellating Christ on the cross - as meaningless, without rancour. Primitive Muslims are not so well advanced. Like animist African tribesmen waving their spears about when the missionary pulls down their fetish stick, they get a bit exercised. 

But then that's what our society, our Europe, is about. And as the Mayor of Rotterdam says, if you don't like it, fuck off. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

We DID once have our own Charlie Hebdo

Political and social satire in print in the UK is tame. Private Eye is about the most radical publication we have - replete with lengthy anorak articles on the way in which Mudbridge Borough Council has ruined some Victorian Gothic brickwork, and gentle, intellectual cartoons that poke mild fun at the establishment. It may rank alongside France's Canard Enchaine but cannot be compared to Charlie Hebdo.

Brendan O'Neill at Spiked (H/T Rod Liddle on the Speccie) provides a brilliant breakdown of how the publication of a Charlie Hebdo in the UK would be halted. Bloody students. In my day we used to protest FOR the right to shock, challenge and disturb - just how the Hell does an entire caucus of young people come to be so opposed to these things? Of course they're nowhere near as clever as we were - we were the 5% elite, not the 50% of nascent burger flippers. And Rod is spot-on in his comment on the BBC's utter mis-take on the root cause of the troubles, by insisting that the events in Paris have nothing at all to do with Islam. This particular stupidity, subscribed to by our own PM, is echoed by Elise Vincent in the Observer, who has the chutzpah to write with a straight face that "First, we must remember that there is, in France as elsewhere, no direct link between Islam and jihadism". 

We did of course, briefly, for a few years in the 1990s, have our own Charlie Hebdo. Scallywag was run by a misfit called Simon Regan. It was forced to close after being sued by John Major over a story it published that he was having an extra-marital affair. He was, of course - but Regan got the identity of Major's sperm-dump wrong, naming a caterer rather than than the egregious Currie. 

But the real reason Scallywag was not saved was that it published a whole series of utterly improbable articles that absolutely no-one believed; the stories were about a paedophile ring with links to the cabinet, MPs and senior establishment figures, who abused boys in care with the full knowledge of the police and security services....  

All the back issues of Scallywag are HERE. The May 1995 edition's piece on Dolphin Square could have formed the script for a BBC TV news report last month - sans the real names of course, not all of whom are quite dead yet. That's the British way; let the guilty die naturally first before their crimes are admitted. Doesn't hold much hope of ever putting Blair under the spotlight, does it?

Perhaps we should leave this democracy business to the French. 

UPDATE 10.10 - Church of England sides with killers
On the 8th, the call went out to London classical musos to bring their instruments along to the Queen's parish church, St Martin in the Fields, for a free public rendition of Barber's Adagio.  Then the CofE got cold feet and banned the event - on the grounds that it would create a 'security risk'. The concert went ahead outside anyway, but it's useful to note that a part of the State church has already capitulated to Islamic terrorism. NB a million people are gathering in Paris today for another 'security risk' rather more pronounced than any that faced St Martins.