Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ideology and Truth (another cartoon rumbled?)

We've been slaves to ideology of one sort or another for a hundred years or so, ever since the emergence of radical socialism/communism. You and your family may never have been either socialists or Marxists (as mine weren't, I believe), yet the nature of the ideology was domination at all costs. People have done unimaginable things hard to even believe on the back of these ideologies, and now there's a new one, or a resurgent one, on the block.

Martin Kettle is a semi-reformed Guardian columnist: he still writes for the Guardian but he's somewhat dissenting, reminding the poor cossetted lefties of slightly uncomfortable home truths- he was supportive of the work of Lord Hutton, supportive of the US in Iraq.

That said, he's the son of a leading Marxist, while the reformed part is that he rejects that movement- now at least. His article about the subject is fascinating: the lengths that the Left would go to, the religious quality of it all; the lies.

But what we should learn from this is that 'strong' ideologies will go to any lengths, will stop at nothing, to rise and dominate. Islam is an ideology at heart, one which has been ebbing and flowing around the globe for over a millenium. It's a slow burn ideology since a religion of conquest and political uniformity is bound to go through bad spells; but it's not going through a bad spell now- it's cannibalising the burnt out shell of that more reckless ideology, world socialism, and motivating a vast number of activists.

That's why I'm almost certain Jim Lindgren's onto something with his theory that a further one (not only old pig snout) of the 'extra' Danish Imam cartoons was likely to have been a hoax, written by a hand used to forming Arabic letters. (via Michelle Malkin)

The rule, with aggressive ideologies, has to be if it smells bad, it is bad.

One might ask 'why forge something? Surely some hatemail must be floating around suitable for the purpose? Or why not get something from the internet? Even before the Jyllands Posten case there must have been some pretty strong stuff out there.' Well, aside from the practical consideration that a real offensive cartoon could have drawn a real apology, scuppering the whole process, I think that's ideologies for you: they're all about control. Better to make the revolution yourself than to rely on the vagaries of real life. Rather lie than use the reasonable truth.

Friday, February 10, 2006

They just don't enjoy the beach anymore.

350 odd years ago a fellow by the name of Isaac Newton said something interesting about his experience with science:

“I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

Now Isaac Newton was not a 'soft' scientist, but I think he enjoyed the whole business rather more than today's joyless politico scientists, who can't think of science for a moment without conjuring up some straw man political opponent who stands between them and their next project funding.

The BBC, as usual, has a fine specimen of that species here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Serious Media.

A gulf seems to be emerging between the informed professionals who have adopted the web as a vital part of their engagement with the news, and the uninformed professionals who haven't. I'll give two examples of some of the best commentary over the last few days, even though I'm far from being the first to highlight them no doubt.

Here's Claudia Rosett in magisterial form. Information brings perspective, which ultimately becomes authority.

Here's David Warren, with insight upon insight into the cartoon controversy. It's startlingly good, and makes me convinced I must make my daily visits a fixture.

What's interesting is that the governments concerned are still playing to the big media who have been thoroughly outflanked by the blogs and keyed in media. Jack Straw can have little idea of how foolish he looks from an online perspective. His career must surely be over as the message filters through. Another interesting thought is that the likes of Abu Laban can be exposed by the blogosphere, and others in the muslim world will notice this: thinking 'maybe the dhimmies are no so stupid after all; maybe Abu Laban's not so clever' ('rank idiocy' is where I would categorise him, but that would include his moral idiocy as well as his ineptitude as a forger). I would like to think they will put that in their pipe and smoke it.

See also this excellent posting at Euref. And, for a snapshot of the new media in action, interacting with one major story, check out the fabulous Michelle Malkin.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

There was nothing spontaneous about Muslim toon anger: that's why an Egyptian newspaper could publish the cartoons in full, in October last year, during Ramadan- and not a peep from the street. That offensive, huh?

The resonance of Omar Khayam

Interesting times, or are they? Looking back in my mind to my blazered and tied, hopelessly dazed and out of it school days, I remember feeling that loons got a free pass with the press; that, for instance during the Rushdie crisis, only those who were innately culturally distinctive ever stood for anything and were allowed to stand for something.

We've pushed on since those times however, and now the free pass does not come without the potential for 'afters'. Omar Khayam is back in jail. One is tempted to say 'where he belongs' and that would be right, except that his is the criminal lifestyle, and that shouldn't exist at all. There should be choices in life whether to be criminal and face the consequences of meaningful restictions on one's lifestyle, or 'straight' and begin to reap some benefits. For Omar Khayam the consequences will be very limited indeed.

What does he do following 3 years imprisonment over drugs trafficking? Straps on a fake (or should that be 'empty'?) bomb belt and goes looking for trouble at a London demo against western free speech. His only prospect the continuation of his fantasist lifestyle paid for by the taxpayer. No thoughts induced in Omar Khayam by his incarceration that discouraged him this time around.

In a way he's a lot weirder than the loons used to be: the absurd posturing against the backdrop of already being a serious offender was not the profile of the muslims who protested Rushdie. When we talk of protests being healthy, we usually mean they show a stake in society that the protester cares about. Not many anti-Rushdie men felt like that, but maybe a few did, however misguidedly. But Khayam is just typical of how people with voices today are those who don't have a stake in society- through their own fantasy rather than through deprivation. These are people who get benefits for free, which if they were taken away might actually present them with some serious decision-making process. Most of the London mob were simply idiots (but often not unintelligent ones); and those who weren't were extremely dangerous characters. The police can't tell the difference (and really there isn't one- flip-flopping between idiocy and criminality in the ether of extremism- to have arrested the lot would have been salutory and defensible) and so are paralysed, then fixated on what they think the press or public notice, which in this case is a black plastic paraphenalia which looks like it could be used to carry water but is associated with carrying bombs. I really felt for the officers forced to stand there like dummies while the protesters made threats against the society the police are sworn in to uphold. Of course some of them felt no doubt that they were doing their duty- but most must have had doubts at some level.

Although Khayam is weird he's almost certainly not an outcast; I think he probably feels right at home in the niche position of being a loyal Muslim feeding off the stupid dhimmi system, dabbling in western-specific types of criminality to make life more rewarding. He doesn't have himself under control but then how many young men do, really? I've no doubt many muslims, especially young ones, would respect him for his bravura- and it's natural that that's so. He demonstrates a balanced role surfing waves between worlds that only looks absurd to an outdated bank of perceptions based upon fading assumptions. He has a poet's name and his symbolism is nonchalant. And he pisses me off something chronic.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

From the re-emergence of Rummy with an audience in Germany, to the disappearance of 'Europe' from the cartoons debacle. Missing: European leadership- as Richard North notes, warming to his theme.

Results from the German Elections

It was questionable whether electing Angela Merkel was going to make any difference to the German outlook, but I think this is one thing we wouldn't have found without being rid of the toxic Schroeder: Don Rumsfeld speaks his mind and is listened to, in Munich, Old Europe.

Of course recent events may have played a part, but it's difficult to imagine Schroeder being this mature. Wise words from Rummy:

'"We could choose to pretend, as some suggest, that the enemy is not at our doorstep. We could choose to believe, as some contend, that the threat is exaggerated.

"But those who would follow such a course must ask: what if they are wrong? What if at this moment, the enemy is counting on being underestimated, counting on being dismissed, and counting on our preoccupation," Rumsfeld said.'

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