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Go West

In the 1991 film The Commitments, band manager Jimmy Rabbitte (played by Robert Arkins) makes the following observation:

Do you not get it, lads? The Irish are the blacks of Europe. And Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. And the Northside Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin. So say it once, say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud.

Although this scene is intended to be comical, there’s more than a hint of truth to this statement: Ireland was the testing ground for British colonialism; and in the Protestant-dominated USA, Irish Catholics for many years were considered “white Negroes.”


 

Ireland, geographically speaking, is about as far west in Europe as you can get; but for many years, it was considered an outlier, compared to its near neighbours: a backward, impoverished theocracy, only useful for providing labour to the Anglosphere. Irish society has changed rapidly in recent years, to become more in line with current “Western values” — but what does that phrase even mean?

I concur with the proposition that no such thing as “Western civilization” exists; there are only memes, which have a varied history and origin.

Consider the meme for ‘tolerance of homosexuality’. This has a very short history, and is still unevenly applied. One of the greatest minds of the modern world, Alan Turing, was hounded to his death by the supposedly civilized English.

Another candidate would be ‘religious tolerance’, but that would be hardly true of the British monarchy (which, unfortunately, still provides Australia’s Head of State). The British king or queen must be a member of the Church of England, and until recently forbidden to marry a Catholic. So much for the tolerant royals.

‘Democracy’ and ‘freedom of the press’ are also much touted, but once again we find unevenness and contradiction. The USA was founded as a slave State, while voter suppression of Blacks continues to this day; Switzerland didn’t give women the vote until 1971; and Franco ruled Spain until 1975. If you want to talk about press freedom, look at Australia’s defamation laws.

The Western mind has no monopoly on rationality. While the Charvaka school of Indian philosophy was arguing for skepticism and empiricism, Plato was demanding the execution of atheists. Medieval Rome was a scavenger’s village compared to medieval Baghdad.*

The temptation to simplify narratives is a strong one — we all want easy answers. When it comes to the analysis of history and culture, it must be resisted.

*Robert Hughes, ‘Culture of Complaint’

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Elizabeth Bruenig, Messiah

I had an illuminating interaction with Anabaptist peacenik (and supposed Marxist) Carl Beijer on Twitter* the other day, about Washington Post writer Liz Bruenig. This led me — after a period of cognitive latency — to a rather startling realization.

Bruenig is a Papist fanatic, who, on account of her disdain for capitalism and guns, claims to be some sort of Bolshevik. Given the Left’s traditional hatred of the Catholic Church, this is an odd belief, but has been accepted at face value by many members of America’s crypto-Left.

Why is this? The answer, which came to me ‘out of the blue’ last night, is that Elizabeth Bruenig is The Messiah: she has come to wash clean the sins of a thousand years of reactionary ideology and child molestation. She makes popery Woke.

However you’d describe Elizabeth Bruenig’s politics, it is not Marxist. People like Carl Beijer would be well advised to read articles like this if they want to know the true nature of the Catholic Church.

*Beijer auto-deletes his tweets, which is why there are no links to the conversation.

 

Lock ‘Em Up

Here is a list of people who Jeremy Corbyn should put in jail, if he were to enact a true revolution (won’t happen, but we can always dream):

Dan Hodges — David Aaronovitch — Nick Cohen — Stephen Pollard — Jeremy Duns — Sarah Ditum — Julie Bindel — Caroline Criado-Perez — Tracy King — David Paxton — Jessica Elgot — Andrew Neil +

*All the saboteurs from the BBC, The Guardian, and all the soccer hooligan press.

That’s the media; now for some of his Labour colleagues:

John Mann — Chuka Umanna — Jess Phillips — Wes Streeting — Ruth Smeeth — Luciana Berger — Stella Creasy — Sadiq Khan — Yvette Cooper — Liz Kendall — Mike Gapes — et al.

*All the Zionists

*All the Sunni Islamists

*Every member of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and UKIP

*Prince Andrew and Prince Philip

*Howard Jacobson (for crimes against the English language)

And that weird little leprechaun, Padraig Reidy.

^NOTE: This list is not exhaustive. Suggestions welcome!

ADDENDUM (1): Owen Smith, Tom Watson, David Baddiel

Ten Ten Twelve

As you have no doubt heard, The Universe is big — really big. But how big is it?

Scientists seem to have a reasonable grip on how old The Universe is (around 13.8 billion years, give or take). The size of the cosmos, though, appears to depend on whether the inflationary model is correct.

Russian-born physicist Andrei Linde has been a pioneer in this field. In The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report, Linde gives author Timothy Ferris an estimate of the radius of the Cosmos that simply blew my mind:

101012

This, for the uninitiated, is one followed by a TRILLION zeroes. The unit of measurement is centimetres, but it wouldn’t matter much if it were micrometers or megaparsecs — this number is way beyond the comprehension of any mortal mind.

This number had a profound psychological effect on me: I felt humiliated, debased, less than nothing. It put in stark relief the pitiful nature of my existence. I was awestruck. This number haunted my mind for months.

On the other hand, this number has tremendous explanatory value. In a Universe so big, the development of self-conscious beings becomes a near certainty; the possibility that creatures somewhat like ourselves becomes ever more likely.

From the degradation, I found consolation.

On Nihilism

Nihilism has gotten a bad rap. It has induced panic in god-botherers and atheists alike, and conjures mental images for the perplexed of people fornicating with their pets in public spaces.

But what is the big deal? The version of Nihilism I ascribe to simply states that there are no human values that are not the creations of humans themselves — there is nothing “outside” the human mind that creates those human values.

This gives us the freedom to create our own values. But as Erich Fromm noted, some humans will find freedom to be psychologically burdensome, and retreat into the comfort and security of totalitarianism. If this be true, it is not an argument against Nihilism; physics is not rejected as a discipline because most people don’t know what a quark is.

Embrace the benign indifference of the Cosmos.

The ‘Hail Mary’ That Came Off

It is rare for debates of a political or intellectual nature to have sharp delineations. One such instance was 9/11: the moment the first plane hit the North Tower, the notion that Islam had a place within any civilized society disintegrated. What, then, were the devout to do?

Islam, with its vague and angry denunciations of infidels, legalized misogyny, and incitements to violence, was never going to cut it in the “marketplace of ideas” in the twenty-first century. The situation was desperate, but the younger generation of Muslims had an idea: Islam would get “woke.”

The religion of Mohammed would be repackaged, not as an imperialist Arab ideology imposed on dark-skinned people at the point of the sword, but as an integral part of black culture. This would imply that pesky folks who complained about Islamist terrorism are simply racist.

This strategy of “racializing” Islam has been surprisingly effective. The effects on our socio-political discourse are, at times, bizarre.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to poke the Islamist academic historian, Will Scates Frances (also known as ‘Will Abu Muezz’). Frances reacted the way you’d expect a Sunni supremacist to — with threats of violence. The unusual part is that he denounced me as a “white supremacist.”

Now Will Scates Frances is a white man. Frances gave no examples of my alleged white supremacist leanings, so why would he say that? One explanation is that Frances has become so bamboozled by the conflation of blackness with being Muslim that he’s convinced himself that he’s a black man.

Whether or not Will actually believes that he is a black man, he seems to act as if he were black, aggrieved by the intolerance of whiteys such as myself. That urban hipster crypto-Leftists like Liam Hogan, or pseudo-arnarchists like Andy Fleming, would fall for this kind of posturing is no surprise. More hardened and cynical creatures, such as myself, are not fooled.

 

Spooky (Part Two)

My piece from a couple of days ago impressed neither Bellingcat, nor Little Atoms. I haven’t exactly been in sparkling form when defending that piece, either. I will, though, explain here why Little Atoms is such an insidious outlet.

An information outlet — an outlet with pretensions to being on the “intellectual” side, at least — should be assessed not merely by the number of readers it has, but by what a hypothetical Serious Person might think of its content. The qualities this person might have, among others, would be: prudence, sobriety, articulateness, a tendency to base their beliefs on available evidence (as opposed to whimsy or flippancy). In short, a “rational actor.”

For example, right-wing British tabloids can easily be dismissed by a Serious Person, as the bulk of its readership consists of Nigel Farage fans and pot-bellied soccer hooligans. Little Atoms, by contrast, with its veneer of “liberalism,” can disseminate all sorts of imperialist propaganda, masked by the educated and “cosmopolitan” status of both its readers and contributors.

The facade dissipates, however, when you look at the type of person who writes for Little Atoms. A person such as Caroline Criado-Perez.

Criado-Perez, a beady-eyed sex-negative feminist who is the daughter of an extremely wealthy Argentinian, Carlos Criado-Perez, has been published just once in Little Atoms; but it is her work for The Pool which is the most incendiary.

This article is one of the vilest things I’ve read from the British press, and that is saying something. Criado-Perez clearly insinuates that it was a Jeremy Corbyn supporter — not a member of the fascist Britain First party — who killed Jo Cox. (That this was the deliberate intention of Criado-Perez, and not a mistaken interpretation on my behalf, was later confirmed by one of Caroline’s associates, Tracy King.)

Caroline Criado-Perez successfully lead a campaign to put Jane Austen’s face on Britain’s ten-pound note. She might not care much for ordinary women, but she is taken seriously by the British media elite. She would pass the Serious Person test.

This is what makes her, and Little Atoms, so dangerous.