Friday, July 31, 2009
By Denis Worall
Over the past fortnight Robert Mugabe has arrested and generally harassed Opposition MDC Members of Parliament and senior Party members. In fact, under the heading “Mugabe’s dirty ploy to poach power” The Sunday Independent suggests very plausibly that this is Mugabe’s strategy to regain a parliamentary majority.
This is obviously and blatantly contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the power- sharing agreement of September 2008. In response my good friend Peter Fabricius in his widely-read column “Window on Africa” says: “Tsvangirai seems to be holding back, perhaps feeling this would be an admission that he erred in going into this government. Tsvangirai cannot keep up the pretence for ever. Mugabe is still playing the only game he knows, which is clinging to power by hook or by crook. Tsvangirai must get tougher and smarter.”
While appreciating Peter’s sentiment, the fact is that it is not up to Tsvangirai to stop the farce in Zimbabwe but the SADC and, more specifically, the South African government.
I had the pleasure of meeting Morgan Tsvangirai in London at the end of June, when he keynoted a Zimbabwe Mining Investment Conference. He came across extremely well and the capacity audience was unanimously impressed by the sensible content of what he had to say, his style, and the strength of his personality. There is no question that this man is the best possible leader Zimbabwe could have in present circumstances; and it is a tragedy and almost entirely due to the South African government that he is being frustrated and that the people of Zimbabwe are being denied international funding and the benefits which Tsvangirai’s leadership could bring them.
The agreement which Tsvangirai entered into with Mugabe in September 2008, and which laid the basis for the subsequent power-sharing arrangement, resulted mainly from the pressure of SADC and former president Thabo Mbeki. And crucial to that understanding is that the African Union (AU) and the SADC, both extremely concerned to keep the Zimbabwe issue out of international fora, committed themselves to being the guarantors of the agreement.
At a high-powered breakfast on the morning of the conference in London, Tsvangirai was specifically asked whether he expected the SADC to respond to his appeal to intervene and resolve the outstanding issues between his Party and Mugabe’s. He said that he had written to President Zuma and all the signs were that he would get a positive response shortly. That, I might remind you, was in the third week of June. At the end of July there has still been no reaction from South Africa or from the SADC. In fact, the speculation is that President Zuma will call a SADC meeting only in September.
What surprises me is how the Zimbabwe issue, with the exception of certain newspapers, has drifted off the radar. South African trade unions were very vocal in 2008 in insisting on action against Mugabe. That our trade unions took a lead (as they did in relation to the Government’s HIV AIDS programme or lack of a programme) in insisting on tougher and more creative action on the part of the South African government was viewed by democratic-minded people as a positive development. But even the trade unions appear to have dropped the issue.
This is regrettable as its importance as far as sub-Saharan Africa is concerned, and its importance specifically to South Africa, cannot be over-estimated.
President Barack Obama had very good reasons for choosing Ghana to launch his Africa policy. But certainly one of the reasons why South Africa would never have been considered – aside from its voting record in the Security Council in the last six months of 2008 – is the South African approach to Zimbabwe.
Alistair Sparks, the veteran South African commentator, said shortly after Jacob Zuma took office that if he wished to create a positive international image for the government and for South Africa, he could do no better than take a strong position on Zimbabwe. Regrettably, the Zuma administration hasn’t followed this advice and Zimbabwe faces a new and totally unnecessary setback.
Dr Denis Worrall is a South African lawyer, politician and business personality.
By Nancy Morgan (Canada Free Press)
Something strange is happening in America. For the first time, a white man is standing up to a black man’s charge of racism. And he is being supported by his employer. In another first, the media coverage of this event is not employing the time worn premise that only whites can be racist.
For those of you who may have missed the unrelenting 24/7 media coverage of the latest racial tempest in a teapot, the basic facts: A white policeman in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the alert for 2 reported black burglars, detained a prominent black professor. The black professor then proceeded to play the race card, accusing the officer of being a racist. After challenging the authority and the mother of the policeman, professor Henry Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct.
This incident may have gone the way of millions of others but for the fact that this professor was a friend of President Obama. Luckily for Henry Gates, the most powerful man in the world took time out from pressing affairs to take his call.
The President then announced publicly that the Cambridge police Department ‘acted stupidly’, even while acknowledging that he wasn’t familiar with all the details. That our president chose to get involved in the first place is a discussion for another time.
What makes this incident unique is the fact that the automatic assumption of racism on the part of the white policeman is actually being questioned. In a very public way - signaling the possibility that the ‘white guilt’ America has embraced for the last 45 years may finally be consigned to history.
White guilt is best described by author Shelby Steele, who says “White guilt is literally the same thing as black power.” Steele hypothesized that America lost its moral authority when it acknowledged and apologized for the sin of slavery in the early 60’s. This ‘moral authority’ transferred to the victims of historical racism and became their great power. The power to stigmatize one as a racist became a powerful tool. A tool that has been wielded for decades with virtually no opposition, until now.
The power to evoke white guilt and the stigma of racism has been used time and again to bring corporations, politicians and public figures to their knees. White guilt has also played a significant part in the shaping of public policy and political correctness. It has also shielded generations of blacks from accountability, with predictable and damaging results.
Because white guilt is a vacuum of moral authority, it makes the moral authority of whites dependant on proving a negative. As in, ‘Have you stopped beating your wife yet?’ For over 45 years, discussions of race in America have been constrained by the threat of being deemed racist. For over 45 years, most white Americans have been put in the impossible position of having to prove a negative. It now appears this might be changing.
As usual, the Rev. Al Sharpton weighed in with his predictable and automatic assignment of blame to whitey, calling the case an “abuse of power” by the officer. But, in yet another first, the media declined to annoint this blowhard his usual status as commentor in chief on all things racial. Poor Al failed to get his usual ‘face time’. His comments were, gasp, not news. Perhaps the media sees the writing on the wall.
The writing that seems to indicate that charges of racial oppression and racism ring false now that a black man has been elected to the Presidency. The writing that indicates that most white Americans are ever so tired of having to prove day and night that they ‘are not racist’. The writing that indicates that America has paid its debt to the black man and they are now welcome to compete, on an equal footing, with the rest of America. The writing that indicates that frivolous charges of racism will now be challenged.
Finally, Martin Luther King’s dream may become a reality - Americans may now be free to judge a man based on the content of his character instead of the color of his skin. High time.
Family Security Matters: America was very proud of itself last November when it elected its first black (or at least half-black) president, Barack Obama. Liberal media outlets (excuse the redundancy) framed this event as one of our greatest national cathartic exercises of democracy. They worked directly with Obama and his media manipulators to elevate his presidency to Messianic proportions while they displayed an endless parade of people entranced in ecstasy over this supposedly magnanimous accomplishment.
Magnanimous it was. Here was a man who, with virtually no experience relevant to the world’s most important job, walked right in with global support. Here was a man with an endless sequence of non-specific promises read from a teleprompter able to sell himself to a public interested primarily in getting rid of what it had been led to believe was evil and responsible for all the ills of life: President Bush. Here was a man whose background (at least as much as he would permit to be disclosed, discovered, or discussed) gave every indication that he would deeply uproot much of what most Americans hold dear – freedom, responsibility, capitalism, accountability, transparency, limited control over individual lives, and so forth.
And here is a man who, as President, is being considered by rapidly growing numbers of Americans to be a dangerous disaster. And his failures present a troubling dilemma for much of the public: We worked so hard to get on this train and congratulated ourselves so profusely for climbing aboard. How do we get off?
The reasons people voted for Obama are as varied as the ways he is now failing. Nonetheless, for many whites, the relief of “white guilt” was a significant contributing factor. As former black militant Shelby Steele has brilliantly articulated in various books and articles, white guilt is the behavior of whites that attempts to regain a sense of moral authority presumed forfeited in an age of “white supremacy.” It is the behavior (not the emotion) whites utilize to attempt to relieve themselves of the stigma of racism.
Blacks, he maintains, have generally learned two ways to negotiate power from whites using white guilt. Some (“bargainers”) offer a deal in which they promise not to rub the country’s racial past in the face of whites in exchange for power. Others (“challengers”) tend to throw white racial history in the face of whites to extract their share of power. In A Bound Man, Steele claimed that Obama, as a classic bargainer, stood no chance of winning the presidency because the bargainer is required to mask his true nature in order to seal the deal. Steele guessed that the ordeal of the election process would not allow Obama to maintain his mask. Obviously, Steele seems to have guessed wrong.
Obama has described how he learned to navigate in a world of whites. Essentially, he discovered that by acting unthreatening and non-angry, his aura of intelligence would bring whites to him.
Perhaps his history was one where he learned early that as long as he played the part he could essentially allow white guilt to propel whites to aggrandize him and comply with his wishes. This is the experience of one to whom few have ever said “no.” And that same expectation of white cooperation has led and followed him both to and within the White House
Yet, not so fast. While Steele may have underestimated Obama’s supreme skill in masking himself during the election, Obama now seems to have met his match in executing the actual office. Much of what Steele predicted in terms of not being able to fool enough of the people is starting to prove correct. For many (not the hardcore devotees – yet), the reckless spending, lack of international leadership, absence of transparency, disregard for climbing national debt, freezing out of cabinet members and others in favor of handpicked yet unelected and unaccountable “czars,” seizure of control of various businesses, appearance of having either no plans or the most naïve of plans on crucial foreign policy issues, improper manipulation of public understanding of the financial crisis, destroying healthcare under the guise of saving it, incoherent energy policy, global warming measures the rest of the world will not undertake, never-ending taxes and taking direct control of the Census are just a few of the clues that the Obama they thought they were electing was not the Obama they put into office.
For many, his history, including his relationships with Reverend Wright, William Ayers, Rashid Khalidi and others, his training in Saul Alinsky’s radical community organizing, his record as the most liberal Senator, his curious and difficult to independently verify past were merely insignificant nuances - not the red alert signs they would constitute with virtually any other candidate. The bargainer mask is quickly dissolving.
After six months of Obama as President, many have become palpably concerned, if not terrified, by the nation’s choice of president. And that terror gives rise to a fascinating dilemma: how does America, if free to so choose, extricate itself from what it has done – as magnificent an accomplishment as we like to think it was?
Some argue that the polls indicate that while many may be beginning to disagree with some of Obama’s policies, they still regard him personally in high esteem. Liberal pundits use this to suggest that there is no buyer’s remorse, only a temporary process of working out the kinks in some courageous policies during some difficult and unchartered times.
Yet something deeper, perhaps, is developing. For those who invested great emotional energy in the “hope” of Obama, waking up to the “reality” of Obama is a painful task. As cognitive dissonance theory would inquire: how does one hold the image of the great savior in the face of the great disaster? How does one explain the exuberance experienced in saying goodbye to everything Bush and Cheney and otherwise “evil” while simultaneously realizing the country is now truly in far more dangerous hands? The fears the left wing media pushed into the minds of the public during the Bush years – that our allies dislike us, that Bush is controlling our lives, that Bush is to blame for Muslim anti-Americanism and jihadism, that the economy was headed in the wrong direction and so forth - look meager when compared to the real dangers that the left wing media now desperately struggles to hide from the public.
Cognitive dissonance would suggest that those disappointed Obama voters will struggle for quite some time to find some explanation as to why they like him and why he is still worthy of the presidency. Distinguishing Obama, as these polls do, from his policies is an understandable first step along these lines.
But what next? The problem with guilt, white or otherwise, is it affords no guidance itself on when enough is enough. Guilt is a tactic in a game made to last. One version has kept the Israelis and Palestinians perpetually locked in dance around the “peace process;” an elaborately disguised vehicle of continual extortion. Anywhere else, the trading of “peace” (or the cessation of violence) for an asset is called extortion and is punishable. Here, under the guise of a morally favorable movement towards the unobjectionable goal of “peace,” it is labeled the “peace process.” Holding together the entire structure of Palestinian “victimization” is the endless force of “guilt.” And as soon as some truly final resolution appears possible, the guilt game dictates a retreat to square one. As long as guilt is the glue, true resolution defeats the purpose. The game must go on.
Guilt is the result of the accusation “you made me this way.” The game of guilt requires the never-ending charge “you made me suffer.” The game supports not just careers, such as those of challengers such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and “scholars” that pervade university campuses in minority and Middle East studies departments. The game is also the foundation of many political movements and parties. Without a villain responsible for all ills and, from whom to extract recompense, many movements would be forced to fold.
White guilt continues to flourish and to propel much of our politics. Democrats stamped out President Bush’s attempts to appoint an Hispanic nominee to the Supreme Court, Miguel Estrada, in a fashion that could never be utilized against Obama’s choice of Sonia Sotomayor. Identity politics and reverse discrimination are simply by-products and tools of the guilt game. Some of Obama’s campaign rhetoric referenced the notion of securing “reparations” for racial injustices of the past while his “tax the rich” and class warfare are further extensions of the guilt game. The fact that Sotomayor can finagle acceptance of her actions in the Ricci case is testimony to just how deeply installed is white guilt in the public’s consciousness. Senator Barbara Boxer’s recent racist episode in demeaning Black Chamber of Commerce leader Harry Alford demonstrated the ridiculous extremes to which some will allow white guilt to take them. Obama, himself, easily includes reference to black responsibility in his speeches. His policies, however, are steeped in manipulating white guilt.
The structure of the use of white guilt, as Steele describes, is to force whites to constantly prove the proposition “I am not a racist.” And this is why the game is programmed never to end as one can never prove a negative, much less for all time. This is precisely what pushed Boxer into the foolish statements she made to Alford as she feebly attempted to demonstrate that she was not a racist. This is what Henry Louis Gates Jr. attempted to provoke from the Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley – to flip the story from a suspected burglary to the “racist” officer. And white guilt was attempting to elicit from Crowley an apology (hoping he would beg that he not be stigmatized as a racist) which he quite boldly resisted. And it is such a deep familiarity with white guilt that led Obama during a nationally televised press conference to declare that the police department acted “stupidly” without knowing any of the facts. While he initially tried to suggest and amplify this as an issue of racial profiling against blacks, in fact, by speaking without facts, it was Obama himself who engaged in a bitterly offensive racial profiling of and against white policemen. And it was Obama who, unable to rid himself of the narrative of white guilt, was also unable to deliver a full and direct apology for his words; opting instead (as did his partner in white guilt manipulation, Sonia Sotomayor) to cowardly obfuscate the issue with “regret” about the “impression” he gave. And it was Obama who continues to reinforce old familiar white guilt adages by infusing “race is still a troubling aspect of our society” into a situation which, for the police, had absolutely nothing to do with race. Far from change, Obama, unmasked, made it quite clear that his years around Wright, Alinsky, and others predictably made him exactly who he continues to be.
And insulating Obama from serious reflection on these matters is another consequence of the guilt game. While President Bush was castigated for a $350 billion stimulus package (recall that he turned over the second $350 billion to Obama), white guilt has kept the country virtually spellbound as Obama more than quadruples the damage. Bush was destroyed for getting us into Iraq and not having a plan to get us out all at the cost of American lives and treasure. Obama is on a similar path in Afghanistan and the liberal media does little more than an occasional CYA story to protect itself for the future. No credible president of the past could have ever sold the notion of partially measuring the economy on the basis of the immeasurable phantasm of “jobs saved.” Such an insult to the intelligence of the American people is simply washed over by the media. Simply put, white guilt continues to be a major factor in protecting Obama.
While we, as a nation, have become comfortable in celebrating the great successes of black men, we have not yet learned how to fully integrate the failures of great black men.
It was easy to relish the accomplishments of O.J. Simpson in his heyday; his fall brought tremendous racial strife to the nation. When a black congressman, William Jefferson, was found to have almost one hundred thousand dollars of cash in his freezer, he was given every benefit of the doubt as to his culpability. Congressman Charlie Rangel has an almost unfathomable number of ethics investigations endlessly languishing under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Many a white man in public service has been thrown out at the barest hint of criminal behavior. Obviously, political party makes a difference as does consistency between one’s acts and political promises. Nonetheless, in a nation which continues to be uneasy with the failure of blacks and unclear as to how to address their fall, Obama is still afforded significant insulation geared to protect him from all that would normally beset a man in his position.
The simple but immensely difficult and painful question America needs to answer is: When has white guilt run its course such that we can truly act in a “post-racial” world and address this presidency appropriately? Put otherwise, we can not be “post-racial” until we are ready to be “post-guilt.”
As Steele points out, discrimination as a legal matter was eliminated decades ago. That does not mean that discrimination does not rear its ugly head any more than the fact that criminal theft or burglary statutes have not fully protected private property. Nonetheless, just as we do (at least for the time being) live in a country built on private property, we also live in one intended to be based upon equality. A “post-racial” world is not one in which no one recognizes the fact that others are of differing backgrounds. Nor can it ever become the utopia where no private judgments of others based on skin color occur (any more than people constantly judge others based on a wide set of often trivial criteria). Rather, a “post-racial” world is one where any such judgments are rendered virtually meaningless and of minimal consequence. It is one in which individuals affirmatively choose not to inject race into the ordinary difficulties of life. It is one in which the solution is not to invite more “conversation” but to refuse in the first place to charge “racism” and to demand whites prove they are not racist where race is irrelevant to the situation. It is one in which the game of white guilt has finally ended.
We are certainly not there yet. White guilt is all around. “Scholars” and professors like Gates and other challengers still banter on about the world of white supremacy while bargainers continue to promise whites protection from the memories of America’s racist past; each of which takes focus off of the present. It is alive within Congress as well. Instead of addressing residual byproducts of past inequality of opportunity, white guilt and Obama pressure Congress to overhaul (some say destroy) our entire healthcare system- likely penalizing hundreds of millions to appear to assist perhaps tens of millions. And ACORN, Obama’s community organizing troops set to be funded with billions of stimulus funds, has mastered the manipulation of white guilt in all of its activities. Obama has plenty of “teachable moments” left of which to take advantage. Perhaps he should teach by example; rewarding those who forego white guilt while coming down hard on those who manipulate it. Unfortunately, Obama’s essence is so intimately entwined with white guilt maneuverings that our best lessons will likely arrive only upon his departure from office.
Needless to say, over the past decades, the country has made major advances in diminishing the severe racism that used to plague it. More can and will be done. Nonetheless, if Obama were white, there is little doubt that the public discourse would have already included terms such as impeachment, incompetence, criminal recklessness, fraud, liar, con-man, anti-American and so forth. And if anyone named Bush performed a small fraction of the acts Obama has to date, he would no longer be in office.
The noted blogger Fjordman filed this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.
Multiculturalism as a mass movement that has achieved a virtual hegemony in Western discourse was a product of the 1960s and 70s, and was probably exported from the United States. This does not, however, exclude the possibility that certain elements of this ideology are quite a bit older and may have originated in Europe.
Some would date it to the Frankfurt school of cultural Marxism from the 1920s, and such thinkers as Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, who aimed at overthrowing capitalism by undermining the hegemonic culture. According to Gramsci, the Socialist revolution, which failed to spread to the West following the Russian Revolution in 1917, could never take place until people were liberated from Western culture, and particularly from their “Christian soul.” As Lukacs said in 1919, “Who will save us from Western Civilization?” This could be done through breaking down traditional Judeo-Christian morality and discrediting and undermining the established institutions from within.
However, the concept of cultural relativism is older than Marxism, and dates back at least to the Enlightenment. In the words of Ibn Warraq, “The need and desire to see an alien culture as in some ways superior is as great as the need to see it as inferior.”
Europe’s first encounter with non-European civilizations started in the 16th century with the Age of Exploration, which is when the notion of the noble savage was fully developed. However, this idea existed long before this. In Germania, written in 98 CE, Tacitus contrasted the virtues of the Germans with the vices of contemporary Rome, the noble simplicity of the Teutonic culture with the corruption of Roman civilization. It wasn’t very accurate, but it worked well as a morality tale, and influenced Gibbon, Rousseau and others later.
According to Ibn Warraq, it was left to Montaigne to develop the first full- length portrait of the noble savage in his celebrated essay “On Cannibals,” (c. 1580) which is the source of the idea of cultural relativism. Montaigne described some of the more gruesome customs of the Brazilian Indians and concluded: “I am not so anxious that we should note the horrible savagery of these acts as concerned that, whilst judging their faults so correctly, we should be so blind to our own. I consider it more barbarous to eat a man alive than to eat him dead; to tear by rack and torture a body still full of feeling, to roast it by degrees, and then give it to be trampled and eaten by dogs and swine — a practice which we have not only read about but seen within recent memory, not between ancient enemies, but between neighbours and fellow-citizens and, what is worse, under the cloak of piety and religion — than to roast and eat a man after he is dead”.
Montaigne’s rather dubious, second hand knowledge of these noble savages did not prevent him from condemning his own culture: “[We] surpass them in every kind of barbarity.”
In my view, the main effects of the Enlightenment in Europe were positive, and included more religious freedom, both for Christians and Jews, as well as more freedom of speech in general. The US Constitution and many of the Founding Fathers were strongly influenced by Enlightenment values. The Enlightenment brought us great thinkers such as John Locke, Adam Smith and Montesquieu.
However, there were also elements of Enlightenment thought that led to the radicalism of the French Revolution, and later inspired Marxism and ideas about materialism, historical determinism and utopianism. There was in some observers a tendency to view religion in exclusively negative terms, and to put all emphasis on ideas about human perfection.
It is possible to trace the anti-Christian, anti-Jewish and pro-Islamic bias of modern Multiculturalism at least back to Enlightenment thinkers such as the 18th century writer and philosopher Voltaire. Voltaire endured numerous imprisonments and exiles for his insistence on criticizing everything and everybody. His exile to England caused him to regard England’s constitutional monarchy as more respectful of religious tolerance than France, which made him unpopular in some French circles. He certainly wasn’t afraid of controversy, and the famous quote attributed to him, “I disapprove of what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it,” could be a healthy antidote to the censorship of Political Correctness. However, apparently Voltaire never said this. It first appeared in a book written about him in the early 20th century.
In March 2006, a production of a play by Voltaire entitled “Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet,” caused a stir in the French town of Saint-Genis-Pouilly. According to some Muslims, who called for the staging of the play to be cancelled, “This play ... constitutes an insult to the entire Muslim community.” Instead, Mayor Hubert Bertrand called in police reinforcements to protect the theatre. “Fanaticism” portrays Muhammad as a ruthless tyrant bent on conquest. Its main theme is the use of religion to mask political ambition and it uses the founder of Islam to lampoon all forms of religious intolerance. In a letter to then Pope Benedict XIV, Voltaire called it “a satire on the cruelty and errors of a false prophet.”
Yet according to Ibn Warraq, Voltaire seems to have regretted what he had written of Muhammad in his play Mahomet (1741), where the Prophet is presented as an impostor who enslaved men’s souls: “Assuredly, I have made him out to be more evil than he was.” In his Essai sur les Moeurs, 1756, he shows himself to be prejudiced in Islam’s favor at the expense of Christianity. Voltaire finds the dogmas of Islam simplicity itself: there is but one God, and Muhammad is his Prophet. The superficial rationality of Islam was appealing: no priests, no miracles, no mysteries. To this was added other false beliefs such as Islam’s absolute tolerance of other religions, in contrast to Christian intolerance.
The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was written in six volumes by the celebrated English historian Edward Gibbon. Volume I was published in 1776. According to Gibbon, the Romans had become lazy and soft. This was partly caused by Christianity, whose emphasis on the life after death and ideas about pacifism had sapped the Romans strength to defend their Empire. By the time Gibbon wrote about the decline of the Roman Empire, there was, as historian Bernard Lewis puts it, “a vacancy for an Oriental myth. Islam was in many ways suitable.”
In the words of Ibn Warraq in Why I am not a Muslim, “Gibbon, like Voltaire, painted Islam in as favorable a light as possible to better contrast it with Christianity. The English historian emphasized Muhammad’s humanity as a means of indirectly criticizing the Christian doctrine of the divinity of Christ. Gibbon’s anticlericalism led him to underline Islam’s supposed freedom from that accursed class, the priesthood. Indeed, the familiar pattern is reemerging – Islam is being used as a weapon against Christianity. Gibbon’s deistic view of Islam as a rational, priest-free religion, with Muhammad as a wise and tolerant lawgiver, enormously influenced the way all Europeans perceived their sister religion for years to come. Indeed, it established myths that are still accepted totally uncritically by scholars and laymen alike. Both Voltaire and Gibbon subscribed to the myth of Muslim tolerance, which to them meant Turkish tolerance.”
Edward Gibbon saw the battle of Poitiers in France in 732 as a key turning point in European history. Had the Muslims won at Poitiers, “the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.”
Yet according to contemporary Muslim observer Muqtedar Khan, commenting on the several mosques in Oxford, England, and the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, “Gibbon would have been surprised to learn the lesson that military defeats do not stop the advance of civilizations and the globalization of Islam is unimpeded by the material and military weaknesses of the Muslim world.”
There are superficial similarities between the situation in Western Europe now and the one in the 5th century, when a decadent civilization was overrun by the barbarians. The population movements we are witnessing now are the largest and fastest in human history. In Europe, they can only be compared to the period often referred to as the Migration Period, following the disintegration of the Roman Empire. Yet we now have communications that can transport people anywhere on earth within hours, and media outlets that show ordinary people how much better life is in other countries. On top of that, the Romans didn’t have human rights lawyers advocating that millions of outsiders should be allowed to settle in their lands.
In some ways, what is going on now surpasses the downfall of the Roman Empire. It has never happened before in human history that an ethnic group voluntarily finances other ethnic groups to advance their culture on their territory to the detriment of their own people. Native Europeans are paying people who openly declare to be our enemies to eradicate our civilization and are told to celebrate this as tolerance. This happens against a backdrop of broken families, social pathologies, widespread abuse of drugs and booming crime rates, while we are shopping expensive Gucci purses and watching naked people do strange things in reality TV shows.
Maybe in the future, somebody will write a History of the Decline and Fall of Western Europe, or a History of the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization. Gibbon blamed the downfall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century on the advances of Christianity in the 4th century and before. But the collapse of civil society in Western Europe in the 21st century has been preceded by the retreat of Christianity in the 20th century and earlier. There is a strange kind of irony in this historical symmetry that might have surprised Mr. Gibbon.
In this dreadful election season, many politicians have promised to "lead us into the future." I can hardly think of a worse fate for any society than to be led into the future by the political class of gangsters, marauders, looters, and liars. Even the most honest and well-intended among them are powerless to improve the world in any way except by diminishing rather than increasing their power.
Politicians haven't the capacity to lead whole societies anywhere. They are outclassed and outrun by trends in the world economy that are beyond the ability of the political class to control or direct. The market economy—globalized, enormously powerful, breathtaking in scope and breadth—is remaking the world in ways that far surpass any existing political development in the US, from the crafted blather of Congressional hearings on this or that to the mad rush to grab the presidential brass rings.
We are living through changes that may appear slow if observed from the point of view of the daily headlines, but which are momentously fast and completely transforming when looked at globally and from the point of view of years and decades into the future.
These developments are going to bring about surprising political shifts, profound upsets in rooted cultural assumptions, and an eventual and merciful end to the US imperium. These changes will touch everyone in ways that will be both stunning and glorious for average Americans, and deeply disturbing for the American regime that aspires to unchallenged global hegemony.
What is the underlying cause? The unleashing of human energies in nations that have been isolated, regimented, and closed for centuries. China, Malaysia, India, the countries of Latin America, and the new economies of Eastern Europe, among many others, are expanding at as much as twice the rate of American and European markets.
This is not only remaking their nations, but the way we perceive the geographical distribution of wealth and power. Over time, and extended far into the future, this trend is going to mean dramatic upheavals in the way Americans perceive their role in the world.
To get a glimpse of the change, take a tour of the local Wal-Mart, the largest company in the world, and take note of the stunning availability of a huge range of consumer goods at very low prices. Note too that such an array would be inconceivable without the work of international trade. From bicycles and electronics to foodstuffs and flowers, we find the shelves dominated by goods that were produced, in part or in whole, by countries outside US borders, and to this we owe the low prices and the quality that accords with US consumer preferences.
Now, Wal-Mart isn't on some campaign to become the leading importer; it is only looking to make available to consumers all the things they want at the lowest possible prices. Where they find these goods is outside the US, where we find ever more comparative advantages.
Every retailer in the world is taking notice of this fact, studying the case of Wal-Mart to see how and why it so quickly became the dominant player in the world economy. Its example of seeing both the wholesale and retail market as global in scope—all in the interest of consumer service—has taught the entire business class that nationalism and parochialism are losing propositions. The left may continue to rail against this company, and the right may continue to warn of its dangers to local culture and life, but the example is there for all to see. Average people love this company. It is all old-fashioned consumer service combined with a global reach to bring to average people things that improve their lot in life.
Wal-Mart may eventually go the way of so many companies, displaced by some other firm that knows how to do it even better. The point is the model from which it is working. It is a global model focused on the individual buyer, and it works its wonders by depending on the voluntary decisions of average people. The nation state as such plays no part in its calculus, and this has proven to be the winning ticket. So it will continue to be.
What about the economic impact? Is marketing all these wares to the world a danger? One might be initially alarmed by this, until one considers the savings to the consumer. For every dime saved in consumer prices, one more dime is made available for other pursuits, whether savings, consumption, or investment. It is this fact which is subsidizing American prosperity right now. Far from being a sign that America has lost its edge, it constitutes the world's gift to American consumers. The trade is mutually beneficial, producing winners on all sides, with the only losers being those American producers who can't seem to drive their costs down low enough to compete in the world marketplace. It is because of this, and despite the constant attempts by central banks to inflate the currency, that prices are continuing to fall for consumer goods.
People who have noted these trends say that we should panic that there won't be any jobs left for Americans to do. What this forgets is the reality of scarcity in the world, which implies that there are always and everywhere jobs to do because there are always and everywhere unmet needs. Specialization and the division of labor permits Americans to produce most efficiently in a way that is integral to world demand and not waste time and resources in jobs that can be done more cheaply elsewhere. This does indeed mean a change in world patterns of production, but the market will manage the change with minimum disruption, as it has for the last several hundred years.
For the developing world, it means something far more dramatic: a nearly complete abandonment of traditional economic pursuits that were imposed on them by virtue of their previous isolation from the capitalist West. The point is not that their economies are free or have been completely unleashed from the chains of the state. The US and Western Europe, in many respects, remain the most free economies. What matters here is the direction of change. Whereas the US and Europe are increasingly controlled, countries such as China, India, Romania, Poland, Thailand, and many others, are far less controlled than they once were.
This has unleashed pent-up human energies and made a fantastic difference in the ability of these people to integrate themselves into the worldwide division of labor. This has meant rising incomes, better diets, less starvation, less disease, better sanitation, falling infant mortality, much longer lifespans, and ever more economic opportunities for work and investment. The fate of these economies has two major links to that of American citizens: in their capacity as consumers, they have a strong interest in seeing it continue, and, as investors, many portfolios of US investors are heavily invested in these emerging economies.
The quality of life in these distant lands is increasing in ways that would have been unimaginable even a decade ago, with information technologies made available by the private sector coming into the hands of a new generation that relies on cell phones and high-speed web access, where their parents struggled barely to survive. The lifespan in China alone has risen from 25 years to 65 years in the course of a century. It also means more revenue for the governments of these countries, which, if driven to build up militaries to fend off US political influence, could eventually challenge the supremacy of the US in world public affairs.
Again, this is nothing to regret. A world dominated by a single superpower is a gravely dangerous place, especially when that power is irresponsibly managed (and, some would say, is managed by maniacs). A decline in the power, might, and influence of the US is not the same thing as a decline in America; quite the opposite. The only real downside is the transition: the US government may increasingly behave like a dying and rabid animal, posing a danger to its random victims. But once you hear the "thud" of the final fall, the world will be more peaceful and prosperous than ever before.
In the meantime, political trends in the US will become increasingly irrelevant, despite appearances. Until recently, Americans thought of themselves as a self-contained people with a nationally bound culture and economy that can be conceptualized and managed in the way that civics texts describe. This is on the verge of being impossible. The managerial class of the regime will continue to pose as experts and top-flight managers, but old assumptions about government are being shredded. Trends on this scale reduce the bellowing of politicians for protection to mere peeps.
There is a tendency on the part of everyone to judge a historical moment by our own daily affairs and in relation only to the headlines that dominate the news. Economic analysis takes a much broader view to consider the overall impact of billions of people in many lands over a long period of time. It is through examining these trends that we can see that we are entering into a new world of global economic expansion that will rout any attempt to keep it at bay. Now, clearly, this will not occur without periods of crisis, particularly so long as the world is on a dollar standard and governments are still at work bringing calamity wherever they can.
Take a look at where and how the products you use every day are made. Therein lies a remarkable story of the genius of entrepreneurship, the capacity for the world economy to manage itself and overcome ten thousand barriers, and the direction we are headed. It is a world in which consumers and producers from all nations can join hands in praise of the networks that draw them together, and against their common enemy: governments that would stand in the way.
To understand the world being recreated before us, we must constantly keep this principle in our mind: trade based on ownership is always and everywhere mutually beneficial. Within the institution of trade—whether on the most local level or the global level—we find the key to peace, prosperity, and human flourishing. If we understand this, we have no reason to fear our fate except to the extent that anyone anywhere dares to interfere. If we understand this, we can see why being led into the future by the political class is something we should neither desire nor expect.
by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Shades of David Bullard. The piece is tongue in cheek, but there's more than a few nuggets of plain truth in there.
Recently on trip to a conference in the USA I was flying somewhere over West Africa reading an article on the oil related corruption in the Nigerian delta down below me.
I found myself wondering - why does Guinea have a GDP equivalent to Spain or Italy and yet it's people starve? Why does Nigeria flare off and burn gas in the delta that could generate enough electricity to power half the country yet people in the delta have no health care, burn candles and experience the equivalent of a couple of Exxon Valdez oil spills every year?
Similar story in Angola and the DRC, massive natural resources and yet the people starve and die of preventable disease, that is if they are not being actively killed off by their neighbours.
In just about every African country the story is similar. The question is unavoidable - why is Africa such a mess, why can Africans not organise and govern themselves, why is Africa so rich in resources and potential wealth and yet unable to use these to better the lives of those who live there? What is wrong in Africa?
I am a scientist and know that most things have logical explanations and also that many things regarding the living world have evolutionary explanations - I let these questions wax and wane as I snoozed somewhere over the mid-Atlantic and slowly the answers to my questions began to reveal themselves.
A different world
You see we all come from Africa - the rest of us all walked out of Africa about 90 000 years ago - not a long time, but enough time to adapt to a very different world. What we found just outside somewhere in the Middle East was a benign climate, no major infectious diseases, few dangerous animals and best of all we found all sorts of edible grains that were easily domesticated and suited to the semi arid climate. An added bonus was a whole host of dumb animals that had never seen humans before like goats and sheep and asses and oxen.
It did not take us long to cash in on this Eden and master the environment - for the first time we were top of the food chain! In no time at all we had more food than ever before and for the first time ever two things happened.
The first thing was that we had the luxury of not having to work all day for food - this gave rise to lots of people who could sit around all day and think instead of work, it did not take these guys long to come up with things like writing, astronomy, mathematics and complicated laws and things.
The second thing that happened is that with all that extra food around the population boomed and before we knew it we were living in more and more densely populated villages and towns. This sounds pretty normal to most of us but what we don't realise is that in order to function in this highly structured and ordered extended society we needed lots and lots of rules and regulations and an extensive moral code of behaviour in order to get along with people far outside our immediate family and tribal circles.
As long as the food held out our societies grew in complexity and size and we all learned how to get along with each other and look after each other for our whole well being.
In Africa this never happened. Africans have literally been on the menu for the last 300 000 years. If it wasn't the crocs (who can blame Africans for not liking swimming) it was the lions and the buffalo and the elephants and the hippos and the snakes and the mosquitoes. These guys never had the luxury of growing extensive crops, food security just did not occur (try keeping African elephants out of your five acre sorghum field).
As a result they had no time to sit around and think and invent things like math. They also never had the opportunity to develop large and complex societies with all the laws and codes that go along with them. As a result they remained much the same as they always had - scattered in small bands and tribes where they could wrestle a livelihood from the environment and each other.
Bottom line is - these guys have been playing survivor for the last 300 000 years whilst the rest of us have been sitting around drinking ale and having a relatively good time, bar the odd megalomaniac like Ghengis Khan and Stalin.
When I thought about this a little I thought about who ends up winning "survivor" - literally speaking. After watching a couple of the TV shows it isn't hard to figure out that the guy who wins is usually pretty two-faced, cruel, cold blooded and ruthless. Nice guys who care for everyone else just don't win this game.
It then dawned on me that here we are, sitting with an entire continent of "survivor" winners and we can't understand why these guys just keep on screwing each other and shafting each other with lies, deception and greed over and over again. What do you expect, these guys are all pros.
As I stepped off the plane, it all made more sense to me. Two days later I found myself in a meeting with a bunch of really nice Americans who wanted to donate money and do all kinds of good charity type things in Africa. They had invited a bunch of African visitors to the conference to chat about how to implement their charities. "Lambs to the slaughter" - I chuckled to myself as I watched and listened to all the sweet talk going down.
by Kaliel September
Cheer up, South Africans!
Here of some photos of what you're missing out on, way down here in the Southern Hemisphere.
These were taken in Dublin recently during various protests. Ireland is not quite how I remember it...
Do not be angry with me for speaking the truth; no man will survive who genuinely opposes you or any other crowd and prevents the occurrence of many unjust and illegal happenings in the city. A man who really fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life if he is to survive for even a short time. (Apology 31e-32a)
One of the contemporary definitions of democracy today is as follows: “Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives; Rule by the majority” (“Democracy” Def.1,4). Democracy, as a form of government, was a radical idea when it manifested; many governments in the early history of the world were totalitarian or tyrannical in nature, due to overarching beliefs that the strong ruled over the weak.
Although the Greeks coined the word “democracy” – the words demos “people” and kratos “rule” conjoined together to mean, literally, “rule by the people” – there is speculation about whether or not certain other peoples, such as the Sumerians and the Indians, managed to engage in democratic methods of governance first. However, the history of democracy is not what is being discussed here; we are focusing on Plato’s criticism of democracy, particularly with regards to the Athenian model and his writings in the Socratic dialogues. Let us continue on, before we veer off and lose sight of the argument.
So democracy is a system of government wherein the people elect their rulers; in the case of Athens, it was, more or less, a direct democracy, where all male citizens voted in an assembly and decided by majority rule (elected officials were chosen by allotment). Why would this be a bad thing? Is it not better than dictatorships or oligarchies, where anywhere from one man to a small group of elites have power over all? Why exactly would a government that has its decisions made by the very people it represents be considered something worthy of criticism?
This is where we get into the meat of the argument. Take note that there might be some consideration as to whether or not, particularly with regard to the Socratic dialogues, the criticism of democracy’s properties originated from Socrates or Plato. But with regards to this essay, such a consideration is irrelevant, as it is not incorrect to say that Plato did indeed have some problems with democracy, especially with regard to the Athenian model.
The crux of this argument will focus on three of Plato’s works: Gorgias, Apology, and The Republic.
In Gorgias, named for the Sicilian sophist and rhetorician featured in the dialogue, Socrates speaks with Gorgias concerning the nature of rhetoric as compared with philosophy; also, he speaks with Gorgias’s pupil Polus concerning the tyrant and how he truly is the most unhappiest of all, despite any ill-gotten gains they may have attained. Socrates’ distaste – and, by extension, Plato’s – of the rhetorician is quite evident in passage 459 (Helmbold 18-19).
How does this tie in to the discussion of democracy?
Let us see first how Socrates classifies one skilled in the art of rhetoric, particularly with regards to one who is not learned in a particular subject outside of rhetoric. Using Socrates’ own analogy, it is suggested that a rhetorician would be more capable of persuading a crowd of ignorant people on the subject of health than even a doctor. Although this seems foolish on the surface, a further examination would reveal the chilling truth behind these words; throughout the history of the world, a great multitude of people have been deceived and beguiled by skilled speakers, masters of rhetoric. This was something that Friedrich Nietzsche noted:
“Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
However, let us refocus the argument on Socrates and his words concerning the evil-doing tyrant in passages 470-480 (Helmbold 32-48). Polus – a teacher of rhetoric – contends that an unjust man (in this case, Archelaus, a king of Macedon), despite the crimes he has committed, is happy. Despite his unjust actions, he managed to become a person of power; he is the happier man, considering he has not met any punishment. Socrates does not agree with this notion; he contends that, among all wretched men, it is the unpunished that are truly unhappy. Recall, if you will, the beliefs of Socrates in terms of the soul.
He emphasized throughout his life that men should be concerned about the welfare of their soul. It is not at all unlike Socrates to suggest that a criminal who receives punishment for his wrongdoing – in other words, correction of their evils – will, in the end, be far happier than he who does not receive any punishment at all.
Let us carry this line of thought back to the issue of democracy. As Socrates suggested in Plato’s Gorgias, the criminal who does wrongdoing without receiving any punishment is the most wretched person of all. What then, of a democracy, where the majority of people determines actions and policies?
What if, as a majority, the people decided to commit a heinous act, such as an unjustified military action against another nation for the sake of resources, no matter the cost in human lives? Such an action would lead to death and suffering for a great many people. Also, consider that the majority would not judge or correct themselves, for they were the ones who agreed to partake in that course of action. As such, they inflict evil upon many more people than an individual could ever hope to; after all, as a democracy, the majority’s actions affect the entirety of the state and its citizens.
Even if the aforementioned individual were actually a tyrant, the evil he inflicts would only pollute his own soul; a democracy that commits wrongdoing pollutes the souls of everyone who partakes in the political process. Recall in the Apology that Socrates was tried and sentenced to death by the men of Athens. Recall that their minds were swayed against Socrates by rhetoricians; from the time they were mere babes, the men of the jury were of the opinion that Socrates had committed things that were, in fact, falsities (Apology 17a-19e). A wise and noble philosopher was put to death by people who had been persuaded wrongfully by skilled rhetoricians (once again reminding us that there was no love lost between Plato and those who were considered masters of persuasion), and as such they committed an unjust act that, in the end, negatively affected the welfare of the souls. After all, who would rejoice in putting an innocent man of wisdom to death? The answer: only those who are ignorant of the philosopher’s innocence, misled as they were by groupthink and ill-intentioned rhetoricians.
So now we can see why Plato had some unflattering opinions of democracy; for a philosopher concerned with the welfare of the soul, the idea of so many people – people that, in large groups, can be swayed easily by rhetoricians – being capable of unwittingly corrupting the health of their own souls must be horrifying. This leads us to Plato’s idea of the “ideal” government. In the vast work that is The Republic, there is one passage in Book V that shows the ones whom Socrates thinks should be the rulers of a government:
Unless the philosophers rule as kings or those now called kings and chiefs genuinely and adequately philosophize, and political power and philosophy coincide in the same place, while the many natures now making their way to either apart from the other are by necessity excluded, there is no rest from ills for the cities, my dear Glaucon, nor I think for human kind, nor will the regime we have now described in speech ever come forth from nature, insofar as possible, and see the light of the sun. (Republic 473d-e)
A philosopher, to Plato and Socrates, is the ideal ruler of a state. The fact that such a government would be one where the people do not decide is irrelevant; as a philosopher concerned with the welfare of one’s soul, Plato wants what is best for the souls of the citizens. A king concerned with the pursuit of wisdom would undoubtedly be better than a lover of wealth, power, or status.
In conclusion, it should be noted that, in modern times, a democracy is considered one of the more ideal forms of government, considering the value many people tend to place on individual liberty and the freedom to choose one’s own path in life.
However, Plato’s criticisms should be kept in mind when determining the merit of a democratic government. Oh, would it not be great to have a democracy of philosophers, who would pursue truth and wisdom! Alas, we are only human, and susceptible to many evils and lies. The trick is to prevent such ignorant people from becoming the majority. At times, it seems nigh impossible to do so; curse our stupidity!
The streets of Port Alfred turned into a war zone yesterday when police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at striking municipal workers, writes David Macgregor of Dispatch Online. He took these pictures:
In a scene reminiscent of the politically turbulent 1980s, the Dispatch saw terrified protestors chased by police – some still firing rubber bullets – across the Kowie River and arrested, some more than a kilometre away.
Shocked bystanders watched as a convoy of police – with squealing tyres and blaring sirens – raced up to nearby Station Hill and rounded up people hiding in bushes and a private house.
Port Alfred’s station commissioner, Senior Superintendent Lizette Zeelie said several attempts over the past three days to negotiate with protesters not to damage public property had fallen on deaf ears.
“We met with the shop stewards and agreed the protests would be peaceful. We warned them several times about complaints from the community, but they did not stick to the rules.”
She said since the strike had begun, protesters had illegally blocked roads including the R72, smashed concrete rubbish bins and street signs and broken glass bottles on the streets.
Zeelie said police decided on a no-nonsense approach on Tuesday night after protesters burned rubbish inMain Street, and called East London’s crack Crime Combating Unit (CCU) in to help.
Claims that police told striking workers to disperse were disputed by angry shop steward Patrick Jokani.
“We were on our way back to the municipal workshop when they attacked us without warning. It was like the 1980s … they hunted people down and even shot at our backs as we ran away.”
He denied there was any public violence, claiming the marches over the past three days had been “peaceful”.
The 19 men and two women arrested by police are expected to appear in court on charges of public violence and destruction of property.
The crackdown came as President Jacob Zuma yesterday warned that violent protesters would be arrested, after a wave of anti-poverty demonstrations rattled the country over the last two weeks.
“People have the right to protest but not to interfere with the rights of others, so violence and trashing is not allowed,” Zuma told a press conference.
“It is important that they should be arrested. There can be no justification for public violence and the destruction of property,” he said.
Pigs loaded and ready to fly. He won't manage even ONE item on the list.
'Mr Zuma, are top jobs for your friends?' - IOL - Opposition parties said on Wednesday that President Jacob Zuma had made a big mistake in appointing a political ally with no professional crime-fighting experience as the new national police commissioner.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has set out below twenty of the most pressing issues that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency, by new Police Commissioner Bheki Cele.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) is currently defined by two things; first, the fight against crime and second, the institutional efficiency of the organisation and the conduct of its members. Ultimately, Commissioner Cele's term in office will be measured against the degree to which SAPS reduces crime, but if he is to succeed in that fight, he needs to turn around the structure and organisational culture that currently defines the SAPS.
If he successfully addresses these twenty challenges, he would have gone a long way to addressing both these challenges.
1. Reduce crime in South Africa. South Africa continues to have one of the highest violent crime rates in the world and corruption is rife. Reducing crime is the ultimate benchmark against which the performance of the Commissioner will be measured.
2. He must resign as a member of the ANC National Executive Committee with immediate effect to show that he is willing to act as an independent police commissioner, accountable to the South African public and not Luthuli House. The Commissioner must be independent.
3. Ensure that 2008 crime statistics are released immediately, and ensure their regular release thereafter. The last information on crime statistics was for the period April 2007 to March 2008, which means that our present statistics are well over a year out of date. The SAPS must become a model of transparency.
4. Fill all senior positions urgently. The Deputy National Commissioners of Human Capital Development and Legal and Financial Administration Services, Divisional Commissioner of Crime Intelligence and the Executive Director of the Independent Complaints Directorate must be appointed urgently.
5. Eliminate vacancies in the Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL) so that the serious backlogs in crime detection can be addressed. The latest data from the Minister of Police shows that the countrywide backlog has increased by 93.8% between June 2007 and January 2009.
6. Reduce the number of policepersons who do not have a driver's license. The number of SAPS members without driver's licences currently stands at 5 200.
7. Ensure that the supply of bulletproof vests is adequate. The Auditor-General notes that there were deficiencies in this regard in eight of the nine provinces sampled. Furthermore, the vests in use are heavy and archaic and should be replaced with more modern lighter ones.
8. Review supply chain management to ensure that each police station is adequately resourced. For example, according to SAPS top structures, there are sufficient bullet proof vests, yet not all operational SAPS officers have one.
9. Overhaul 10111 call centres. The Auditor-General estimates that 79% of emergency calls are abandoned while on hold or abandoned before being answered.
10. Ensure that recommendations by the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) are implemented - the current compliance rate stands at 58%. It is necessary to amend section 53 of the SAPS Act to guarantee that the ICD has the necessary powers to fulfil its function of oversight of the South African Police Service.
11. Increase the number of SAPS members to 250 000 by 2012. This would give us a ratio of one SAPS member for every 243 citizens. The current police to population ratio barely meets the minimum UN standard of 1:400. It is essential each new officer receives top quality training.
12. Increase the number of SAPS detectives significantly - by a further 30 000 to improve criminal investigations.
13. Bring back the specialised units disbanded by the previous Commissioner. The DA welcomes the recent decision to reinstate Family Violence, Child Abuse and Sexual Offences units, and it makes sense to now look at reintroducing other specialised units such as the South African Narcotics Bureau.
14. Ensure Hawks have a full staff complement. Some 800 staff members are waiting to be vetted in order to serve on the Hawks unit. They must be given their accreditation urgently.
15. Ensure that all police stations are fully compliant with Domestic Violence Legislation and regulations.
16. Improve customer service and ensure that members of the public are greeted by friendly, competent, literate and efficient police officers.
17. Reduce the expenditure on VIP units and make certain that only those that need VIP protection receive it. It is also vitally important that the ‘blue light brigades' abide by the law and that errant officers face disciplinary action for aggressive and dangerous behaviour.
18. Oversee that SAPS members receives training that meets international benchmarks, and undergo refresher courses. Current officers' performances need to be improved through skills training, fitness tests and performance management systems.
19. Ensure that recommendations by the Auditor-General are properly reviewed and implemented, and that police units and stations are audited regularly.
20. Reduce the number of weapons lost by or stolen from the SAPS. In 2008/09 2507 weapons were lost or stolen, a 30% increase from the previous year.
Statement issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of police.
FrontPage Magazine: You make the shrewd observation of how political correctness engenders evil because of “the violence that it does to people’s souls by forcing them to say or imply what they do not believe, but must not question.” Can you talk about this a bit?
Theodore Dalrymple: Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.
I have heard people who have grown up in former Communist countries say that we in the West are at least as brainwashed by Multiculturalism and Political Correctness as they ever were with Communism, perhaps more so. Even in the heyday of the East Bloc, there were active dissident groups in these countries. The scary thing is, I sometimes believe they are right.
But how is that possible? Don’t we have free speech here? And we have no Gulag?
The simple fact is that we never won the Cold War as decisively as we should have. Yes, the Berlin Wall fell, and the Soviet Union collapsed. This removed the military threat to the West, and the most hardcore, economic Marxism suffered a blow as a credible alternative. However, one of the really big mistakes we made after the Cold War ended was to declare that Socialism was now dead, and thus no longer anything to worry about. Here we are, nearly a generation later, discovering that Marxist rhetoric and thinking have penetrated every single stratum of our society, from the Universities to the media. Islamic terrorism is explained as caused by “poverty, oppression and marginalization,” a classic, Marxist interpretation.
What happened is that while the “hard” Marxism of the Soviet Union may have collapsed, at least for now, the “soft” Marxism of the Western Left has actually grown stronger, in part because we deemed it to be less threatening. The “hard” Marxists had intercontinental nuclear missiles and openly said that they would “bury” us. The soft Marxists talk about tolerance and may seem less threatening, but their goal of overthrowing the evil, capitalist West remains the same. In fact, they are more dangerous precisely because they hide their true goals under different labels. Perhaps we should call it “stealth Socialism” instead of soft Socialism.
One of the readers of Fjordman blog once pointed out that we never had a thorough de-Marxification process after the Cold War, similar to the de-Nazification after WW2. He was thinking of the former Soviet Union and the countries in Eastern Europe, but he should probably have included their Marxist fellow travellers, their sympathizers and apologists in the West. We never fully confronted the ideology of Marxism, and demonstrated that the suffering it caused for hundreds of millions of people was a direct result of Marxist ideas. We just assumed that Marxism was dead and moved on, allowing many of its ideals to mutate into new forms and many of its champions to continue their work uninterrupted, sometimes filled with a vengeance and a renewed zeal for another assault on the capitalist West.
We are now paying the price for this. Not only has Marxism survived, it is thriving and has in some ways grown stronger. Leftist ideas about Multiculturalism and de-facto open borders have achieved a virtual hegemony in public discourse, their critics vilified and demonized. By hiding their intentions under labels such as “anti-racism” and “tolerance,” Leftists have achieved a degree of censorship of public discourse they could never have dreamt of had they openly stated that their intention was to radically transform Western civilization and destroy its foundations.
The Left have become ideological orphans after the Cold War, or perhaps we should call them ideological mercenaries. Although the viable economic alternative to capitalism didn’t work out, their hatred for this system never subsided, it merely transformed into other forms. Multiculturalism is just a different word for “divide and conquer,” pitting various ethnic and cultural groups against each other and destroying the coherence of Western society from within.
At the very least, the people living in the former Communist countries knew and admitted that they were taking part in a gigantic social experiment, and that the media and the authorities were serving them propaganda to shore up support for this project. Yet in the supposedly free West, we are taking part in a gigantic social experiment of Multiculturalism and Muslim immigration every bit as radical, utopian and potentially dangerous as Communism, seeking to transform our entire society from top to bottom, and still we refuse to even acknowledge that this is going on.
In Norway, a tiny Scandinavian nation that was until recently 99% white and Lutheran Christian, native Norwegians will soon be a minority in their own capital city, later in the whole country. And still, Norwegian politicians, journalists and University professors insist that there is nothing to worry about over this. Multiculturalism is nothing new, neither is immigration. In fact, our king a century ago was born in Denmark, so having a capital city dominated by Pakistanis, Kurds, Arabs and Somalis is just business as usual. The most massive transformation of the country in a thousand years, probably in recorded history, is thus treated as if it were the most natural thing in the world. To even hint that there might be something wrong about this has been immediately shouted down as “racism.”
Eric Hoffer has noted that “It is obvious that a proselytizing mass movement must break down all existing group ties if it is to win a considerable following. The ideal potential convert is the individual who stands alone, who has no collective body he can blend with and lose himself in and so mask the pettiness, meaninglessness and shabbiness of his individual existence. Where a mass movement finds the corporate pattern of family, tribe, country, etcetera, in a state of disruption and decay, it moves in and gathers the harvest. Where it finds the corporate pattern in good repair, it must attack and disrupt.” This corresponds exactly to the behavior of much of the Western Left in our age.
In Germany, Hans-Peter Raddatz in his book “Allahs Frauen” (Allah’s Women) dissects the destructive attitude of Multiculturalism that is shared by many civil servants, journalists, politicians and lawyers in Germany and the EU. In particular, he documents how the German Green Party has a program for dismantling and dissolving the Christian “Leitkultur,” or common culture, that so far has been the foundation of Germany and the West. Raddatz thinks that the decades of Muslim immigration are used as an instrument for breaking down the institutions, norms and ideas that the Left has earlier tried to break down through economics. From powerful positions in the media, public institutions and the system of education, these Multiculturalists are working on a larger project of renewing a Western civilization that, according to them, has failed.
A Norwegian newspaper called Dagens Næringsliv exposed the fact that the largest “anti-racist” organization in the country, SOS Rasisme, was heavily infiltrated by Communists and extreme Leftists. They infiltrated the organization in the late 1980s and early ’90s, in other words, during the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe. They went directly from Communism to Multiculturalism, which should indicate that at least some of them viewed Multiculturalism as the continuation of Communism by other means. It speaks volumes about the close connection between economic Marxism and cultural Marxism. They just have different means of reaching the same ends.
Much of the political Left is simply engaged in outing their opponents as evil, instead of rationally arguing against their ideas. Attaching labels such as “racist” or even “Fascist” to anyone criticizing massive immigration or Multiculturalism has become so common that Norwegian anti-Islamists have coined a new word for it: “Hitling,” which could be roughly translated to English as “to make like Hitler.” The logic behind “hitling” is a bit like this: “You have a beard. Adolf Hitler had facial hair, too, so you must be like Hitler. Adolf Hitler liked dogs. You have pets, too, you must be like Hitler. Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian. You like carrots, you are just like Hitler.”
Any “right-winger” can be slimed with such accusations. Curiously enough, the reverse is almost never true. Although Marxism may have killed 100 million people during the 20th century and failed in every single society in which it has ever been tried out, there seems to be little stigma attached to being a Leftist. The fact that Leftists can get away with this and claim to hold the moral high ground amply demonstrates that we didn’t win the Cold War. We let our guard down after the fall of the Berlin Wall and never properly denounced the ideology behind it. This is now coming back to haunt us.
One member of an anti-immigration party in Britain stated that to be called racist in 21st-century Britain is “the same as being branded a witch in the Middle Ages.” He’s probably right, which means that anti-racism has quite literally become a modern witch-hunt.
Naomi Klein, Canadian activist and author of the book No Logo, is a darling of the Western Left. She claims that the real cause of Islamic terrorism is Western racism, traceable back to the personal experiences of Sayyid Qutb, theorist of modern Islamic Jihad, while in the USA in the late 1940s. “The real problem,” she concludes, “is not too much Multiculturalism but too little.” More Multiculturalism, she claims, “would rob terrorists of what has always been their greatest recruitment tool: our racism.”
Robert Spencer, however, is not too impressed with Klein’s logic or historical knowledge: “Qutb’s world-changing rage?” Is that rage really Qutb’s? Can modern-day Islamic terrorism really be attributed to him, and to his experience of racism in Colorado? One would expect that if that were so, there would be no evidence of political or violent Islam dating from before 1948. But in fact the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Qutb was part, was founded not in 1948 but in 1928, and not by Qutb, but by Hasan Al-Banna. It was Al-Banna, not Qutb, who wrote: “In [Muslim] Tradition, there is a clear indication of the obligation to fight the People of the Book [that is, Jews and Christians], and of the fact that God doubles the reward of those who fight them. Jihad is not against polytheists alone, but against all who do not embrace Islam.”
Paul Berman does not share Klein’s interpretation, either. According to him, Qutb’s book from the 1940’s, Social Justice and Islam,’ shows that, even before his voyage to the USA, Qutb “was pretty well set in his Islamic fundamentalism,” although it may have gotten worse after his meetings with Western “immorality.” According to Berman, the truly dangerous element in American life, in Sayyid Qutb’s estimation, “was not capitalism or foreign policy or racism or the unfortunate cult of women’s independence. The truly dangerous element lay in America’s separation of church and state — the modern political legacy of Christianity’s ancient division between the sacred and the secular.” Islam’s true champions had to gather themselves together into what Qutb in his book Milestones called a vanguard. This vanguard of true Muslims was going to resurrect the caliphate and take Islam to all the world, just as Muhammad had done.” Both Milestones and parts of Qutb’s perhaps most important work, In the Shade of the Qur’an, are available online in English. In Milestones, he writes that Jihad will continue until all of the world answers to Islam, that “Islam came into this world to establish God’s rule on God’s earth.” “Islam has a right to remove all those obstacles which are in its path,” it “has the right to destroy all obstacles in the form of institutions and traditions” around the world that are in opposition to this. “God’s rule on earth can be established only through the Islamic system.” What does this have to do with Western racism? Why did Jihad start a thousand years before Western colonialism ever touched Islamic lands? What about the tens of millions of people massacred in India because of Islamic Jihad? Was that due to Western racism, too? Naomi Klein doesn’t say, she just blames the West. And she is far from the only one suffering from this delusion.
Commenting on the Jihad riots in France in the fall of 2005, philosopher Alain Finkielkraut stated: “In France, they would like very much to reduce these riots to their social dimension, to see them as a revolt of youths from the suburbs against their situation, against the discrimination they suffer from, against the unemployment. The problem is that most of these youths are blacks or Arabs, with a Muslim identity. Look, in France there are also other immigrants whose situation is difficult — Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese — and they’re not taking part in the riots. Therefore, it is clear that this is a revolt with an ethno-religious character. These people were treated like rebels, like revolutionaries. (…) They’re ‘interesting.’ They’re ‘the wretched of the earth.’ “Imagine for a moment that they were whites, like in Rostock in Germany. Right away, everyone would have said: ‘Fascism won’t be tolerated.’ When an Arab torches a school, it’s rebellion. When a white guy does it, it’s fascism. Evil is evil, no matter what color it is.”
In an interview with Danish weekly Weekendavisen, Finkielkraut said that: “Racism is the only thing that can still arouse anger among the intellectuals, the journalists and people in the entertainment business, in other words, the elites. Culture and religion have collapsed, only anti-racism is left. And it functions like an intolerant and inhumane idolatry.” “A leader from one of the organizations against racism had the nerve to refer to the actions of the police in the Parisian suburbs as ‘ethnic cleansing.’ That kind of expression used about the French situation indicates a deliberate manipulation of the language. Unfortunately, these insane lies have convinced the public that the destruction in the suburbs should be viewed as a protest against exclusion and racism.” “I think that the lofty idea of ‘the war on racism’ is gradually turning into a hideously false ideology. And this anti-racism will be for the 21st century what communism was for the 20th century: A source of violence.”
Maybe the French have fallen prey to the nihilism of Jean-Paul Sartre? Roger Scruton wrote about his continued influence in The Spectator: “The French have not recovered from Sartre and perhaps never will. For they have had to live with an intellectual establishment that has consistently repudiated the two things that hold the country together: Christianity and the idea of France. The anti-bourgeois posture of the left-bank intellectual has entered the political process, and given rise to an elite for whom nothing is certain save the repudiation of the national idea. It is thanks to this elite that the mad project of European Union has become indelibly inscribed in the French political process, even though the people of France reject it. It is thanks to this elite that the mass immigration into France of unassimilable Muslim communities has been both encouraged and subsidised. It is thanks to this elite that socialism has been so firmly embedded in the French state that no one now can reform it.” “Man cannot live by negation alone.”
Karl Marx himself has stated that “The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism,” a sentiment that corresponds almost exactly to the Islamic idea that “peace” means the absence of opposition to Islamic rule. Cultural Marxism — aka Political Correctness — and Islam share the same totalitarian outlook and instinctively agree in their opposition to free discussion, and in the idea that freedom of speech must be curtailed when it is “offensive” to certain groups. Former Muslim Ali Sina notes that “there is very little difference between the Left and Islam. What is lacking in both these creeds is the adherence to the Golden Rule. Just as for Muslims, everything Islamic is a priori right and good and everything un-Islamic is a priori wrong and evil, for the Left, everything leftist is a priori oppressed and good and everything rightist is a priori oppressor and evil. Facts don’t matter. Justice is determined by who you are and not by what you have done.” “Political correctness is an intellectual sickness. It means expediently lying when telling the truth is not expedient. This practice is so widespread and so common that it is considered to be normal.” Sina also quotes historian Christopher Dawson in writing: “It is easy enough for the individual to adopt a negative attitude of critical skepticism. But if society as a whole abandons all positive beliefs, it is powerless to resist the disintegrating effects of selfishness and private interest. Every society rests in the last resort on the recognition of common principles and common ideals, and if it makes no moral or spiritual appeal to the loyalty of its members, it must inevitably fall to pieces.” This will be the end result of Multiculturalism, and one suspects that this was the point of it to begin with.
Another former Muslim, writer Ibn Warraq, visited Denmark to launch his book Why I am not a Muslim. In an interview, Ibn Warraq stated that especially among the Left there is a post-colonial guilt complex that constitutes an almost insuperable obstacle to any criticism of Islam and Third World cultures. The Left have thus put their own, universal values aside in favor of a dangerous relativism. Ibn Warraq pointed out that more than fifty years after the West left its colonies in the Third World, Leftists are still blaming all the ills of Africa and the Middle East on the former colonial powers, while the same left-wingers only ten years after the fall of Communism blamed Russia’s troubles on unrestrained capitalism. “The Left refuses to seek answers elsewhere. At the same time they are, because of Marx, accustomed to look for economic explanations to everything. Consequently, they seek the explanation to Islamic terrorism in the economic situation. But it is a great mystery to me how 200 dead people in Madrid are supposed to help the poor in the Islamic world.”
Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, who has personal experience with living under Socialism, warns that it may not be as dead as many seem to think: “We can probably confidently say that its “hard version” – communism – is over.” However, “fifteen years after the collapse of communism I am afraid, more than at the beginning of its softer (or weaker) version, of social-democratism, which has become – under different names, e.g. the welfare state – the dominant model of the economic and social system of current Western civilization. It is based on big and patronizing government, on extensive regulating of human behavior, and on large-scale income redistribution.” “The explicit socialism has lost its appeal and we should not have it as the main rival to our ideas today.” Klaus warns that illiberal ideas are making a comeback in different shapes: “These ideas are, however, in many respects similar to it. There is always a limiting (or constraining) of human freedom, there is always ambitious social engineering, there is always an immodest “enforcement of a good” by those who are anointed (Thomas Sowell) on others against their will.” “The current threats to liberty may use different ‘hats’, they may better hide their real nature, they may be more sophisticated than before, but they are – in principle – the same as always.”
“I have in mind environmentalism (with its Earth First, not Freedom First principle), radical humanrightism (based – as de Jasay precisely argues – on not distinguishing rights and rightism), ideology of ‘civic society’ (or communitarism), which is nothing less than one version of post-Marxist collectivism which wants privileges for organized groups, and in consequence, a refeudalization of society. I also have in mind multiculturalism, feminism, apolitical technocratism (based on the resentment against politics and politicians), internationalism (and especially its European variant called Europeanism) and a rapidly growing phenomenon I call NGOism.”
Vladimir Bukovsky is a former Soviet dissident, author and human rights activist. He was one of the first to expose the use of psychiatric imprisonment against political prisoners in the USSR, and spent a total of twelve years in Soviet prisons. Now living in England, he warns against some of the same anti-democratic impulses in the West, especially in the EU, which he views as a heir to the Soviet Union. In 2002, he joined in on protests against the BBC’s compulsory TV licence, which he considers “such a medieval arrangement I simply must protest against it” “The British people are being forced to pay money to a corporation which suppresses free speech — publicising views they don’t necessarily agree with.” He has blasted the BBC for their “bias and propaganda,” especially on stories related to the EU or the Middle East. “I would like the BBC to become the KGB successors in imprisoning me for demanding freedom of speech. Nothing would expose them more for what they are.”
He is not the only one who is tired of what he thinks is the Leftist bias of the BBC. Michael Gove, a Conservative MP, and political commentator Mark Dooley complain about lopsided coverage of certain issues: “Take, for example, the BBC’s coverage of the late Yasser Arafat. In one profile broadcast in 2002, he was lauded as an “icon” and a “hero,” but no mention was made of his terror squads, corruption, or his brutal suppression of dissident Palestinians. Similarly, when Israel assassinated the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, in 2004, one BBC reporter described him as “polite, charming and witty, a deeply religious man.” This despite the fact that under Yassin’s guidance, Hamas murdered hundreds.” “A soft left worldview influences too much of what the corporation produces. We have a right to expect more honesty from the broadcasting service we are being asked to pay for.”
Vladimir Bukovsky thinks that the West lost the Cold War. “There were no Nuremberg-type trials in Moscow. Why? Because while we won the Cold War in a military sense, we lost it in the context of ideas. The West stopped one day too soon, just like in Desert Storm. Just imagine the Allies in 1945 being satisfied with some kind of Perestroika in Nazi Germany — instead of unconditional surrender. What would have been the situation in Europe then, to say nothing of Germany? All former Nazi collaborators would have remained in power, albeit under a new disguise. This is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union in 1991.” “Communism might have been dead, but the communists remained in power in most of the former Warsaw bloc countries, while their Western collaborators came to power all over the world (in Europe in particular). This is nothing short of a miracle: the defeat of the Nazis in 1945 quite logically brought a shift to the Left in world politics, while a defeat of communism in 1991 brought again a shift to the Left, this time quite illogically.” “It is no surprise, therefore, that despite the defeat of communism, the radical Left in the West still arrogates the moral high ground to itself.”
“When the Nazis lost the Second World War, racial hatred was discredited. When the Soviets lost the Cold War, the tenet of class hatred remained as popular as ever.” Bukovsky argues that while there might have been a Western military victory, Socialism still prevailed as a popular idea ideologically throughout the world. He writes: “Having failed to finish off conclusively the communist system, we are now in danger of integrating the resulting monster into our world. It may not be called communism anymore, but it retained many of its dangerous characteristics. . . .Until the Nuremberg-style tribunal passes its judgement on all the crimes committed by communism, it is not dead and the war is not over.”
Cultural Marxism has roots as far back as the 1920s, when some Socialist thinkers advocated attacking the cultural base of Western civilization to pave the way for the Socialist transition. Cultural Marxism is thus not something “new.” It has coexisted with economic Marxism for generations, but it received a great boost in the West from the 1960s and 70s onwards. As the Soviet Union fell apart and China embraced capitalism, the economic Marxists joined in on the “cultural” train, too, as it was now the only game in town. They don’t have a viable alternative to present, but they don’t care. They truly believe that we, the West, are so evil and exploitative that literally anything would be better, even the Islamic Caliphate.
The Free Congress Foundation has an interesting booklet online called Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology, edited by William S. Lind. According to Lind, Political Correctness “wants to change behavior, thought, even the words we use. To a significant extent, it already has.” “Whoever or whatever controls language also controls thought.” “Political Correctness” is in fact cultural Marxism. The effort to translate Marxism from economics into culture did not begin with the student rebellion of the 1960s. It goes back at least to the 1920s and the writings of the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci. In 1923, in Germany, a group of Marxists founded an institute devoted to making the translation, the Institute of Social Research (later known as the Frankfurt School). One of its founders, George Lukacs, stated its purpose as answering the question, “Who shall save us from Western Civilization?” Lind thinks there are major parallels between classical and cultural Marxism: “Both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness can be seen on [University] campuses where ‘PC’ has taken over the college: freedom of speech, of the press, and even of thought are all eliminated.” “Today, with economic Marxism dead, cultural Marxism has filled its shoes. The medium has changed, but the message is the same: a society of radical egalitarianism enforced by the power of the state.”
“Just as in classical economic Marxism certain groups, i.e. workers and peasants, are a priori good, and other groups, i.e., the bourgeoisie and capital owners, are evil. In the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness certain groups are good,” for instance feminist women. Similarly, “white males are determined automatically to be evil, thereby becoming the equivalent of the bourgeoisie in economic Marxism.” Both economic and cultural Marxism “have a method of analysis that automatically gives the answers they want. For the classical Marxist, it’s Marxist economics. For the cultural Marxist, it’s deconstruction. Deconstruction essentially takes any text, removes all meaning from it and re-inserts any meaning desired.”
Raymond V. Raehn agrees with Lind that “Political Correctness is Marxism, with all that implies: loss of freedom of expression, thought control, inversion of the traditional social order and, ultimately, a totalitarian state.” According to him, “Gramsci envisioned a long march through the society’s institutions, including the government, the judiciary, the military, the schools and the media.” “He also concluded that so long as the workers had a Christian soul, they would not respond to revolutionary appeals.” Another one of the early cultural Marxists, Georg Lukacs, noted that “Such a worldwide overturning of values cannot take place without the annihilation of the old values and the creation of new ones by the revolutionaries.” At a meeting in Germany in 1923, “Lukacs proposed the concept of inducing “Cultural Pessimism” in order to increase the state of hopelessness and alienation in the people of the West as a necessary prerequisite for revolution.”
William S. Lind points out that this cultural Marxism had its beginnings after the Marxist Revolution in Russia in 1917 failed to take roots in other countries. Marxists tried to analyze the reasons for this, and found them in Western civilization and culture itself. “Gramsci said the workers will never see their true class interests, as defined by Marxism, until they are freed from Western culture, and particularly from the Christian religion – that they are blinded by culture and religion to their true class interests. Lukacs, who was considered the most brilliant Marxist theorist since Marx himself, said in 1919, “Who will save us from Western Civilization?”
John Fonte describes how this cultural war is now being played out in the USA in his powerful piece “Why There Is A Culture War: Gramsci and Tocqueville in America.” According to him, “beneath the surface of American politics an intense ideological struggle is being waged between two competing worldviews. I will call these “Gramscian” and “Tocquevillian” after the intellectuals who authored the warring ideas — the twentieth-century Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci, and, of course, the nineteenth-century French intellectual Alexis de Tocqueville. The stakes in the battle between the intellectual heirs of these two men are no less than what kind of country the United States will be in decades to come.”
Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), Marxist intellectual and politician, “believed that it was necessary first to delegitimize the dominant belief systems of the predominant groups and to create a “counter-hegemony” (i.e., a new system of values for the subordinate groups) before the marginalized could be empowered. Moreover, because hegemonic values permeate all spheres of civil society — schools, churches, the media, voluntary associations — civil society itself, he argued, is the great battleground in the struggle for hegemony, the “war of position.” From this point, too, followed a corollary for which Gramsci should be known (and which is echoed in the feminist slogan) — that all life is “political.” Thus, private life, the work place, religion, philosophy, art, and literature, and civil society, in general, are contested battlegrounds in the struggle to achieve societal transformation.” This, according to Fonte, “is the very core of the Gramscian-Hegelian world view — group-based morality, or the idea that what is moral is what serves the interests of “oppressed” or “marginalized” ethnic, racial, and gender groups.” “The concept of ‘internalized oppression’ is the same as the Hegelian-Marxist notion of ‘false consciousness,’ in which people in the subordinate groups ‘internalize’(and thus accept) the values and ways of thinking of their oppressors in the dominant groups.” “This is classic Hegelian-Marxist thinking — actions (including free speech) that ‘objectively’ harm people in a subordinate class are unjust (and should be outlawed).”
He tracks how the ideas of Gramsci and cultural Marxists have spread throughout Western academia. Law professor Catharine MacKinnon writes in Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989), “The rule of law and the rule of men are one thing, indivisible,” because “State power, embodied in law, exists throughout society as male power.” Furthermore, “Male power is systemic. Coercive, legitimated, and epistemic, it is the regime.” MacKinnon has argued that sexual harassment is essentially an issue of power exercised by the dominant over the subordinate group.” At an academic conference sponsored by the University of Nebraska, “the attendees articulated the view that ‘White students desperately need formal “training” in racial and cultural awareness. The moral goal of such training should override white notions of privacy and individualism.’”
This can sometimes amount to virtual brainwashing disguised as critical thinking. Fonte mentions that at Columbia University, “new students are encouraged to get rid of ‘their own social and personal beliefs that foster inequality.’ To accomplish this, the assistant dean for freshmen, Katherine Balmer, insists that ‘training’ is needed. At the end of freshmen orientation at Bryn Mawr in the early 1990s, according to the school program, students were ‘breaking free’ of ‘the cycle of oppression’ and becoming ‘change agents.’ Syracuse University’s multicultural program is designed to teach students that they live ‘in a world impacted by various oppression issues, including racism.’”
John Fonte thinks that the primary resistance to the advance of cultural Marxism in the USA comes from an opposing quarter he dubs “contemporary Tocquevillianism.” “Its representatives take Alexis de Tocqueville’s essentially empirical description of American exceptionalism and celebrate the traits of this exceptionalism as normative values to be embraced.” As Tocqueville noted in the 1830s, Americans today are “just as in Tocqueville’s time, are much more individualistic, religious, and patriotic than the people of any other comparably advanced nation.” “What was particularly exceptional for Tocqueville (and contemporary Tocquevillians) is the singular American path to modernity. Unlike other modernists, Americans combined strong religious and patriotic beliefs with dynamic, restless entrepreneurial energy that emphasized equality of individual opportunity and eschewed hierarchical and ascriptive group affiliations.”
This battle is now being played out in most American public institutions. “Tocquevillians and Gramscians clash on almost everything that matters. Tocquevillians believe that there are objective moral truths applicable to all people at all times. Gramscians believe that moral ‘truths’ are subjective and depend upon historical circumstances. Tocquevillians believe in personal responsibility. Gramscians believe that ‘the personal is political.’ In the final analysis, Tocquevillians favor the transmission of the American regime; Gramscians, its transformation.”
“While economic Marxism appears to be dead, the Hegelian variety articulated by Gramsci and others has not only survived the fall of the Berlin Wall, but also gone on to challenge the American republic at the level of its most cherished ideas. For more than two centuries America has been an ‘exceptional’ nation, one whose restless entrepreneurial dynamism has been tempered by patriotism and a strong religious-cultural core. The ultimate triumph of Gramscianism would mean the end of this very ‘exceptionalism.’ America would at last become Europeanized: statist, thoroughly secular, post-patriotic, and concerned with group hierarchies and group rights in which the idea of equality before the law as traditionally understood by Americans would finally be abandoned. Beneath the surface of our seemingly placid times, the ideological, political, and historical stakes are enormous.”
Britain’s Anthony Browne writes in The Retreat of Reason of how the Politically Correct are more intolerant of dissent than traditional liberals or conservatives, since Liberals of earlier times “accepted unorthodoxy as normal. Indeed the right to differ was a datum of classical liberalism. The Politically Correct do not give that right a high priority. It distresses their programmed minds. Those who do not conform should be ignored, silenced or vilified. There is a kind of soft totalitarianism about Political Correctness.” “Because the politically correct believe they are not just on the side of right, but of virtue, it follows that those they are opposed to are not just wrong, but malign. In the PC mind, the pursuit of virtue entitles them to curtail the malign views of those they disagree with.” “People who transgress politically correct beliefs are seen not just as wrong, to be debated with, but evil, to be condemned, silenced and spurned.” “The rise of political correctness represents an assault on both reason and liberal democracy.” Browne defines Political Correctness as “an ideology that classifies certain groups of people as victims in need of protection from criticism, and which makes believers feel that no dissent should be tolerated.” He also warns that “Good intentions pave the road to hell. The world is not short of good intentions, but it is too often short of good reasoning.”
However, Anthony Browne focuses more in the geopolitical situation to explain the rise of PC than on Marxist strategies: “Political correctness is essentially the product of a powerful but decadent civilisation which feels secure enough to forego reasoning for emoting, and to subjugate truth to goodness. However, the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001, and those that followed in Bali, Madrid and Beslan, have led to a sense of vulnerability that have made people far more hard-headed about the real benefits and drawbacks of Western civilisation.”
“To some extent, the rise of the eastern powers, China and India, will ensure in coming decades that western guilt will shrivel: finally having equal powers to compare ourselves to, the West will no longer feel inclined to indulge in self-loathing, but will seek to reaffirm its sense of identity. (…) in the long-run of history, political correctness will be seen as an aberration in Western thought. The product of the uniquely unchallenged position of the West and its unrivalled affluence, the comparative decline of the West compared to the East is likely to spell the demise of political correctness.”
Lee Harris in his article “Why Isn’t Socialism Dead?” ponders whether Socialism isn’t dead because Socialism can’t die. The Peruvian economist, Hernando de Soto, has argued in his book, The Mystery of Capital, that the failure of the various socialist experiments of the twentieth century has left mankind with only one rational choice about which economic system to go with, namely, capitalism. However, says Harris, “the revolutionary socialist’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that one day socialism will triumph, and justice for all will prevail.” Thus there is “an...analogy between religion and the revolutionary Socialism which aims at the apprenticeship, preparation, and even the reconstruction of the individual — a gigantic task.” “It may well be that socialism isn’t dead because socialism cannot die. Who doesn’t want to see the wicked and the arrogant put in their place? Who among the downtrodden and the dispossessed can fail to be stirred by the promise of a world in which all men are equal, and each has what he needs?”
Maybe Socialism is a bit like the flu: It keeps mutating, and as soon as your immune system has defeated one strain, it changes just enough so that your body does not recognize it and then mounts another attack.
Political Correctness can reach absurd levels. Early in June 2006, Canadian police arrested a group of men suspected of planning terror attacks. The group was alleged to have been “well-advanced on its plan” to attack a number of Canadian institutions, among them the Parliament of Canada, including a possible beheading of the Prime Minister, and Toronto’s subway. However, the lead paragraph of newspaper Toronto Star’s story on the arrests was: “In investigators’ offices, an intricate graph plotting the links between the 17 men and teens charged with being members of a homegrown terrorist cell covers at least one wall. And still, says a source, it is difficult to find a common denominator.” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell said that the suspects were all Canadian residents and the majority were citizens. “They represent the broad strata of our community. Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed,” he said. However, there was one common denominator for the suspects that wasn’t mentioned: They were all Muslims. The front page article in the New York Times (June 4), too, was a study in how to avoid using the dreaded “M” word. The terrorist suspects were referred to as “Ontario residents,” “Canadian residents,” “the group,” “mainly of South Asian descent” or “good people.” Everything conceivable, just not as “Muslims.”
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair noted proudly during the press conference following the arrests, “I would remind you that there was not one single reference made by law enforcement to Muslim or Muslim community.” Before launching the anti-terror raids, Canadian police received “sensitivity training” and were carefully instructed in Islamic traditions such as handling the Koran, the use of prayer mats, and blowing oneself up in the course of an arrest. As Charles Johnson of blog Little Green Footballs noted: “Do the Canadian police extend such considerations to Christian, Jewish, Hindu or other faiths? If they don’t, then the Moslems have already won important recognition as a ‘special’ people.” Commenting on the arrests, the Globe and Mail stated that “It may have been the most politically correct terrorism bust in history.” Canada’s secret security apparatus had been “putting serious effort into softening its image” among Muslims for much of the previous years.
The federal government in Canada was considering changes to the Anti-Terrorism Act to make it clear that police and security agents did not engage in religious profiling. The Calgary Sun interviewed a Canadian criminologist, Professor Mahfooz Kanwar, who stated that “Multiculturalism has been bad for unity in Canada. It ghettoizes people, makes them believe, wrongly, that isolating themselves and not adapting to their new society is OK. It is not.” “Political correctness threatens us because we can’t fight something we refuse to label and understand.” Kanwar said the amount of political correctness during the arrests of 17 Muslims in the Toronto area was “sickening.” “Political correctness has gone too far. Political correctness threatens our society,” said the Pakistani-born Kanwar. “It is the responsibility of the minorities to adjust to the majority, not the other way around,” added Kanwar. Meanwhile, the Canadian Islamic Congress blamed the Canadian government for not showering enough money on the problem. They wanted more funding for research “to scientifically diagnose problems and devise solutions.”
They also wanted a nation-wide “Smart Integration program,” whatever that means. Given the fact that Muslims in Canada had quite recently been pushing for the partial implementation of sharia laws in the country, one would suspect that “smart integration” would mean that non-Muslims should demonstrate a little more appeasement. After all, if Canadian authorities listen to the advice of their compatriot Naomi Klein, these planned mass-killings of Canadian civilians were all due to Canadian racism and because the country wasn’t Multicultural enough. Muslims want to kill Canadians, Canadians smile back, tell them how much they “respect” them and ask what more they can do to please them.
This is what Political Correctness leads to in the end. It’s not funny and it’s not a joke. Political Correctness kills. It has already killed thousands of Western civilians, and if left unchecked it may soon kill entire nations or, in the case of Europe, entire continents.
As I have stated before, Islam is only a secondary infection, one that we could otherwise have had the strength to withstand. Cultural Marxism has weakened the West and made us ripe for a takeover. It is cultural AIDS, eating away at our immune system until it is too weak to resist Islamic infiltration attempts. It must be destroyed, before it destroys us all.
The Leftist-Islamic alliance will have profound consequences. Either they will defeat the West, or they will both go down in the fall. We never really won the Cold War as decisively as we should have done. Marxism was allowed to endure, and mount another attack on us by stealth and proxy. However, this flirting with Muslims could potentially prove more devastating to Marxists than the fall of the Berlin Wall.
As William S. Lind points out: “While the hour is late, the battle is not decided. Very few Americans realize that Political Correctness is in fact Marxism in a different set of clothes. As that realization spreads, defiance will spread with it. At present, Political Correctness prospers by disguising itself. Through defiance, and through education on our own part (which should be part of every act of defiance), we can strip away its camouflage and reveal the Marxism beneath the window-dressing of “sensitivity,” “tolerance” and “multiculturalism.”
Political Correctness is Marxism with a nose job. Multiculturalism is not about tolerance or diversity, it is an anti-Western hate ideology designed to dismantle Western civilization. If we can demonstrate this, an important part of the battle has already been won.