|May 20th, 2013||#41|
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|May 20th, 2013||#42|
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[end of chapter three. we will return to this for some extended analysis after we have ch. 4 online, the last chapter]
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|May 20th, 2013||#43|
From Communism's "Enemy of the People" to PC's "Hate Criminal"
Communists, taking their lead from Lenin, expended vast amounts of energy attacking and damning ideological opponents. Western capitalist states were the main external target. Internally, the enemy varied accordign to the party's goals: peasants or kulaks during the Terror Famine or bigger fish during the Great Terror. As a collection of wealthy and powerful states, and despite the best efforts of fellow travellers, the West was in a position to counter Soviet attacks by highlighting the huge discrepancies between communist party propaganda and the grim realities of Soviet life. Inside the Soviet Union the struggle against the class enemy or enemy of the people was conducted in a far more one-sided manner, given that the state enjoyed a total monopoly in the dissemination of ideas and information. To be targeted as a dissenter in the Soviet Union could mean anything from harsh social ostracism and self-criticism at work to arrest and execution. The enemy of the people was an essential construct in all the party's media campaigns. During Stalin's Great Terror the Soviet people were told that many of the Bolsheviks who had made the revolution with Lenin and Stalin were in fact Western agents of one kind or another, or, worse still, that they were in secret contact with the great Satan, Trotskii. In its Chinese variant, communist thugs rooted out "enemies of the people" during Mao's Red Terror, compelling innocent people to admit to a whole range of bizarre, ideologically motivated, politically incorrect "crimes".
This chapter first appeared as an article "From Communism's "Enemy of the People to PC's 'Hate Criminal'" in Volume 30 Number 1, Spring 2005 of The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies.
Political correctness, which became an issue in the West at the start of the 1990s, originated in the Soviet Union, undergoing various mutations on its way from Moscow via Peking to the West's universities and final modification by the new left. One key difference between old and new left was that whereas the old left concentrated on the means of production, the new left abandoned heavy industry, as it were, and set about seizing control of the means of expression. In the post-industrial society this gives the new left real power and influence way beyond its size. One thing both variants of the left retain, though, is the carefully constructed hate figure. For the old left it would have been the capitalist and his bourgeois lackeys who appeared in grotesque caricature in Pravda cartoons. Two important hate figures for the new left are patriarchy and the white, heterosexual, middle class male: patriarchy occupies center stage in feminist demonology, and for multiculturalism the hate criminal and enemy of the people is the white, heterosexual, middle class male.
Multiculturalism is a cult, and article one of the cult is that all evil in the world arises from the white male and his "civilization". His being heterosexual is in itself oppression since the society he has constructed has marginalised and punished homosexuals and women and, moreover, on the basis of the thoroughly erroneous belief that sex and sex difference are biologically and genetically determined, whereas they are, as every enlightened member of the cult knows, socially and politically constructed. Nor is his middle class status something that he has earned. It is secured and maintained through exploitation. Before 1991, the victims would have been that trusty stalwart, the working class. Today, the new victims are women and racial (ethnic) minorities. The ideological construct of the white, heterosexual, middle-class male embodies multiculturalism's unholy trinity of damnation: homophobia, sexism and racism. Xenophobia, a sub-genre of racism, can be added for good measure.
Sexism -- that is, discriminating against women -- is quite rational and desirable in a number of occupations. Certain military tasks are totally unsuited to women. That a statistically insignificant number of women may be able to perform on equal terms with some men is not an argument in favor of destroying the distinct and tested male ethos of the military in order satisfy the demands of feminists. As far as multiculturalists are concerned, racism is everywhere in Western society, another reason why it must be broken and remade. The forms and definitions of racism are just as diverse. We can find unwitting racism, cultural racism, institutional racism, covert racism, overt racism and intellectual racism. One of the curiosities of racism is that only whites seem to be guilty thereof, everyone else is a victim.
Why are homophobia, sexism and racism, so-called, deemed to be so dreadful such that every Western institution must be turned upside down and reformed ande where that is not possible destroyed (read "deconstructed")? Lurking in the background, according to the New Left, is the ghost of Hitler and it is always implied, sometimes it is explicit, that the reason we need hate crime legislation is to prevent another Hitler; that we are but one step removed from killing the "other". This focusing on the Nazis is intended to draw our attention away from the communist mass murder and genocide. Stalin's Terror Famine in the early 1930s resulted in some 11,000,000 peasants being shot and starved to death. Others were deported to slave labour camps where they died of starvation and exhaustion. Bear in mind that Stalin's Final Solution of the Peasant Question was completed ten years before the nazis convened the Wannsee conference to plan the extermination of Europe's Jews [not true] and one realises just how successful the left have been at hiding the far greater acts of genocide carried out by communists. To be fair, the left does not hide the truth: it just ignores it. And to the extent that we cannot be bothered to excavate the truth, we collude in the lie. Again, in the late 1950s, Mao repeated the whole Stalinist experiment. The numbers are stratospheric. At the very least 20,000,000 even as many as 50,000,000 were exterminated. Class war and the class struggle prosecuted in the name of equality and brotherhood have demonstrably killed far more people than the Nazis. Nor is China, slowly and relentlessly building up her economic and military strength, about to start apologising for the past (unlike Germany). This emphasis on the allegedly exclusively Nazi antecedents of racism and genocide exerts a grossly distorting influence on all legislation aimed at combating racism and xenophobia. One thing that made it possible for the Nazis and communists to carry out their abominable crimes was that they destroyed all opposition and that meant, among other things, destroying the means by which opposition sought to articulate its concerns.
Consider two states. State A possesses a modern armed forces, from a well trained professional army with expertise in everything from peacemaking to conventional military operations and counter-insurgency to a professional navy and airforce. To these conventional forces can be added a nuclear, biological and chemical defence capability and tactical and strategic nuclear weapons. State B has no army, no airforce or navy, but it does have a a strategic nuclear arsenal. Now, state A, by virtue of its having a full range of modern weapons and services, is in a position to react in a flexible manner to many different threats to national security -- from minor border incidents to nuclear attack. As the sequence of a conflict starts to escalate, as measured by the military assets deployed, so the conflict moves up the diplomatic agenda. The Cuban Missile crisis is a good example. State B, whose leaders only have at their disposal a strategic nuclear arsenal, enjoys no such flexibility. It has unilaterally withdrawn from the sphere of conventional weapons and forces and thus is powerless, paradoxically, to react even to border violations or to defend itself against conventional attack. It has only two responses to all contingencies: to unleash nuclear war or to do nothing.
Now let us return to the question of hate crime legislation that seeks to criminalise the entire spectrum of rejection words and ideas. One function of moderate rejection words is to warn others of our disapproval at an early stage. That is not to argue that because I have earlier signaled my disapproval in fairly moderate language that the dispute will never escalate to even harsher words an an exchange of blows. However, that outcome can at least, in theory, be avoided. If I am denied the option of using even moderately critical words, because they are now deemed to be racist or hate speech, then I have been verbally disarmed. I cannot signal my disapproval, my rejection of certain types of behaviour or attitudes (spitting in public places, arranged marriages, female circumcision, for example). I either disengage from my interlocutor which may not be possible, or, denied a non-violent communicative response, and frustrated, I escalate to a violent response: I assault him, my nuclear option, which is an emphatic rejection.
The criminalising of words, ideas, attitudes and jokes as racist or hate speech removes the option of graded responses, thereby increasing resentments and making things worse. Even Bhikhu Parekh, a leading guru of multiculturalism, recognises the dangers which in the light of his attempts to limit free speech -- it has, he tells us, no privileged status -- is either grossly inconsistent or Machiavellian. He warns us:
[size=1] Parekh recognises the problem yet again wants to push ahead regardless: "a multicultural society cannot be stable and last long without developing a common sense of belonging among its citizens". (Parekh, 2000, 341).
Terms such as hate speech or hate crime imply that there are no circumstances where articulating one's hatred, red and raw, of another culture, race or individual can ever be tolerated. This, too, is not as straightforward as it seems. What do we believe was the reaction of people in New York when Islamic terrorists murdered 3,000 people? No different at all, one suspects, from the reaction to the news that Pearl Harbour had been attacked.
Hate speech legislation attacks and erodes the institution of free speech. We might like to remind ourselves just how crucial free speech and related freedoms were and remain for the West. In explaining why I believe that the set of ideas and freedoms embodied in something known as the West is inherently and demonstrably superior to all other competitors, past and present, I could cite not just a very long list of scientific, cultural and technological achievements and the names associated with them, such as Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, Galileo and Beethoven, but the key elements of the social and intellectual infrastructure that made it at least possible that such achievements could be conceived and brought to completion. Fundamental would be the idea of the rule of law, the right to own and to dispose of property, the right to practice one's religion and free speech.
The rule of law demands that charges against a person be heard in a properly constituted legal setting; that the due process be observed; that the individual and his defence be given every opportunity to rebut them. He is innocent until proven guilty (multiculturalists reverse this: if we say you are a racist, you are a racist). If there are to be free and fair elections, then the contesting parties must be able to submit their ideas to public scrutiny without being censored. If I am to confess my religion, then, manifestly, I require the ability to do so without my being prosecuted as a heretic or a turbulent priest. If my home is my castle, over which I exercise sole dominion, then I am free to express my thoughts orally and in writing. The link between being a property owner and free speech, not immediately obvious, becomes clear, when we consider Recommendation 39 of The Macpherson Report, a landmark publication in race relations in the UK:
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|May 20th, 2013||#44|
All these rights are interconnected, and an attack on one set of rights and the institutions it supoprts is an attack on the others, sometimes in ways which are clear, and sometimes in less obvious ways. Through them all, though, like a steel thread, runs the right to free speech. If this right be weakened, moderated, limited, interdicted or otherwise subjected to correction, then the other rights and their exercise will be correspondingly weakened. So important has free speech been in the intellectual and moral evolution of the West that one is tempted to assert that the West is inconceivable and unsustainable without it. Demands of any kind for controls over the exercise of free speech, however apparently noble the cause, merit the closest scrutiny.
We have already mentioned Bhikhu Parekh, the editor of The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (2000) and author of Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory (2000). Parekh's starting point in Rethinking Multiculturalism is the response of Muslims to the publication of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (1988), which led to death threats being made against its author. Parekh cites three objections from Muslims to The Satanic Verses: 'the book gave a totally inaccurate account of Islam and spread "utter lies" about it' (Parekh, 2000, 298-299); that The Satanic Verses was 'abusive', 'insulting', 'scurrilous' and 'vilifactory' in its treatment of men and women whom they [Muslims] considered holy' (Parekh, 2000, 299); and that The Satanic Verses 'demeaned and degraded them [Muslims] in their own and especially others' eyes' (Parekeh, 2000, 299). Of Rushdie, Parekh wrote:
Rushdie's real crime, you suspect, is that he has produced an unflattering portrait. This betrays not just a gross discrepancy between what Parekh demands for whites but what he is willing to accept when writers actually take him at face value.
Who speaks for the 'culturally besieged' white population in Britain today? Very few. Most writers, intellectuals, politicians and, of course, the BBC, relentlessly attack Britain and her institutions: they have no interest whatsoever in the 'moral and material interests' of the white indigenous majority population, the largely silent and vilified majority; they most emphatically lend their authority to demeaning and degrading whites in their own eyes and other's eyes, and enjoy doing it with as much relish as Rushdie did in attacking Islam in The Satanic Verses.
More fundamentally, Parekh shows a complete misunderstanding of the nature of the evolution of free speech and intellectual inquiry which has been, uniquely, pioneered in the West, and is now under threat from multiculturalism. For example, the defenders of King Charles I would have undoubtedly seized upon Parekh's attacks on Rushdie, arguing that Oliver Cromwell and his fellow parliamentarians should have lent their authority to defending the king, not to attacking him. And what of Charles Darwin? Should he have refrained from publishing The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859) because it would undermine, and has undermined, confidence in the teachings of the Church of England? (Nor is that somewhat politically incorrect sub-title, which these days is never used, exactly sympathetic to the multicultural agenda).
In his discussion of the Muslim reaction to the publication of The Satanic Verses, Parekh uses the term 'the liberal discourse on free speech' (Parekh, 2000, 305), so highlighting one of the main problems of multiculturalism's response to free speech: namely that there is no Islamic, fascist, Marxist-Leninist, Nazi, feminist, heterophobic or multiculturalist discourse on free speech, just a series of bitter, ideological tirades, all of which reflect the real fear that none of these illiberal 'perspectives' can withstand full, open and critical examination. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao crushed free speech, whereas feminism, multiculturalism and postmodernism operating in the West have sought to demean and to degrade it, such that confidence in the institution is weakened or lost, and politicians can treat it as a ceremonial supernumerary, not something to be defended and taken seriously. Parekh's use of 'the liberal discourse on free speech' masks the relativist agenda of multiculturalism, which it shares in common with Marxism-Leninism and Neo-Marxism. The question begged is that all discourses are of equal worth and that no single discourse, multicultural, liberal, and, one assumes, fascist, nazi or communist, is any better or worse than the other. This sort of moral and intellectual relativism collapses when one takes the time, even briefly, to consider the practical and intellectual achievements of those societies, the West, that subscribe to what Parekh calls 'the liberal discourse on free speech'.
Far too much in Parekh's discussion of free speech is regressive. Thus, he instructs us:
Parekh's narrowly-focused, short-term, utilitarian limitations on free speech attack the scientific and intellectual enterprise in other ways. That any scientific discovery, many of which raise serious political and moral considerations, be judged 'not merely' but even just by 'immediate and tangible' results shows a lack of understanding of how scientific discoveries become technological applications. Many technological breakthroughs occur years after the discovery on which they are based is made because the full significance was not obvious at the time of discovery. Prime numbers, long regarded as an esoteric branch of number theory, are now proving very useful in encryption software. Applying Parekh's own criteria to multiculturalism, we see that it fails the test and does so very badly. The tangible results in many Western cities have been disastrous, a huge increase in legal and illegal immigrants who are hostile to the host society and have no intention of conforming to the mores and norms of the white indigenous majority and the justified grievance among whites that their country, its history, and its culture can be sacrificed, is being sacrificed, in order to promote multiculturalism and all kinds of benefits which are never demonstrated, just asserted. Multiculturalism does not sustain the white identity: multiculturalism attacks the white identity at every opportunity and for obvious reasons. A strong sense of white identity resists many of the precepts of the multicultural agenda.
In making the case for political deliberation, which in a liberal democracy cannot be divorced from the institution of free speech, Parekh argues, quite rightly, that the crucial element, often missing, is 'rational persuasion' (Parekh, 2000, 307). He notes:
 Parekh is in good company. Note, in this respect, Article 62 of the Soviet Constitution (1977): 'A citizen of the USSR is obliged to protect the interests of the Soviet state, to assist the strengthening of its power and authority'.
 There is an obvious inconsistency in the following attack on free speech and the many assertions which in themselves are not axiomatic: 'Free speech is not the only great value, and needs to be balanced against such others as avoidance of needless hurt, social harmony, human culture, protection of the weak, truthfulness in the public realm, and self-respect and dignity of individuals and groups' (Parekh, 2000, 320). How is 'truthfulness in the public realm' to be reconciled with weakening free speech?
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[final pages, 100-107]
Rational persuasion relies on verifiable evidence and logically constructed arguments which are open to scrutiny. The rational persuader may not be able to demonstrate a conclusion with absolute certainty but he will seek to show that a particular explanation is more plausible from an evidentiary and statistical point of view and internally more consistent than rival explanations. The case that Parekh makes for persuasion -- not rational persuasion -- owes more to emotional, psychological, even irrational criteria, and, if necessary, coercion. He rejects rational persuasion when he writs that 'since arguments are rarely compelling or irresistible, the person to be persuaded remains free to accept or reject them'. (Parekh, 2000, 308). Now this isi quite a good insight into the mindset of Neo-Marxists and multiculturalists who beleive that uncontrolled immigration is a good thing. It is an article of faith, wholly immune to rational enquiry.
Again, the assertion that arguments are 'rarely compelling or irresistible' strikes one as odd in all kinds of demonstrable and verifiable ways. The argument that the scarcer a commodity becomes, the higher the price, is, based on past experience, both compelling and irresistible. Most people have not the slightest interest in Newtonian mechanics and certainly no desire to attempt to falsify the law of gravity by jumping from a very tall building. They find the observation that a stone dropped into a well will fall towards the water sufficiently compelling and irresistible. All the evidence is on their side.
Confusion also arises from thew way in which Parekh fails to discriminate between reason and reasons. Thus:
There is another important point that has to be made concerning the difference between persuasion and rational persuasion, since it goes to the heart of the way multiculturalists behave. Despite what Parekh writes about trying to persuade people, persuasion can provide for all kinds of coercion and intimidation, and multiculturalists are prone to resort to it: if you write an article attacking multiculturalism, you will never get tenure in an American or Canadian university; if you oppose immigration, you will be vilified as a racist and a hate criminal; if you argue that women are unsuited to certain tasks in the military, you will be denounced as sexist; if you draw attention to the consequences of certain "life-style" choices, the high incidence of HIV among homosexuals, you will be denounced as being "homophobic". In communist states, persuasion was a euphemism for a whole host of secret police abuses: arbitrary arrest; being made to sign false confessions or being compelled to undergo struggle sessions. If all this failed to persuade you, there was always the bullet in the neck or the GULAG.
Another line of attack pursued by Parekh against the rational process is to assert that 'Arguments have no weight of their own; we give it to them' (Parekh, 2000, 310). If I give weight to an argument, I am free to remove it. In other words, I am relieved of the burden of providing rational objections or support for anything; I make an argument weighty or weightless according to whim. Based on some of the reasons given by Parekh -- 'judgement of the likely consequences of the various courses of action' and 'historical experiences' (Parekh, 2000, 310) -- arguments do have weight of their own.
Quite another problem arises. If arguments carry no weight, then we have no way of making any judgements about anything as the basis of action at all. All decisions are arbitrary. Everything is a lottery. Witch doctors are no better or worse than scientific deliberation. So arguments for banning what Parekh calls hate speech are no better than arguments for encouraging it. If all arguments are arbitrary, then how is it that some cultures are able to send men to the moon and back and make computers? Are these achievements based just on chance or do they reflect a deeper understanding of the natural world and a consistently superior and, so far, unchallenged ability to manipulate it? And if these discoveries, based on certain first principles, are merely arbitrary, how are we to explain that they can be replicated by intelligent "others" regardless of their race and culture?
Parekh's conviction that we in Britain need a law to protect racial, religious, ethnic and other communities also encounters obstacles. The "other" communities are unspecified but should this law on communal libel apply to the much-maligned heterosexual community (a group that surely has been the target of group libel for some time), the heroin addict community, the academic community, the intelligence community, the gun-owning community, the angling community, the homeless community, the wife-swapping community or the prison community? And if not, why not? Parekh notes with the approval that certain jurisdictions have upheld the concept of 'defined group' or 'designated collectivity' (Parekh, 2000, 315). That 'arguments carry no weight' now brings further problems. How is it possible to establish whether such a thing as communal libel or group defamation exists at all -- to do so requires the application of rational processes -- and then to apportion guilt? If arguments carry no weight, then what of guilt, crime and punishment? Parekh himself destroys the rational basis of his own proposals.
But let us examine these arguments on the basis that Parekh does not espouse any form of cultural and intellectual relativism and see where his proposals might lead. To quote Parekh:
If one attacks the habit of arranged marriages as something bizarre and alien, or the practice of female circumcision, does that count as communal libel? And what happens when the victim of an arranged marriage, refuses to go ahead, in effect condemning the custom? Who, in such circumstances, and on what basis, makes the case for communal libel? The self-appointed communal leaders? And are the press and broadcast media guilty of "communal libel" when they report these practices? Parkeh's final defence of the need for communal libel is based on the assertion that: 'If everything is speakable then everything becomes doable' (Parekh, 2000, 314). The bizarre conclusion can be dismissed as the basis of any legislation, yet it is revealing for the light it casts on the Neo-Marxist mindset of multiculturalists such as Parekh. The belief that words always lead to acts is pure word magic of the sort favoured by Mao and North Korea. Here we see the desire of the multiculturalists to achieve escape velocity from the world of reality and head off into fantasy.
Last edited by Alex Linder; May 21st, 2013 at 12:20 AM.
|May 21st, 2013||#46|
Demands for communal libel arise from the influx of immigrants to Britain from states and cultures who have no tradition of free speech, are hostile to it or do not understand it. Individuals can take action against libel because they, as the targets, can show that the remarks are unambiguously aimed at them. The same degree of certainty can never be ascertained among a community and thus injustices will arise. The idea that all members of a group of people, even if they ar racially and cultrally homogenous will react in the same way to alleged libel is thoroughly implausible. It presupposes some kind of homonoia.
Another fundamental objection to communal libel's being adopted in Britain is that it attacks the long-standing emphasis in Britain on the individual and tries to impose collectivism on the British which is thoroughly alien. Communal libel invokes the Orwellian provisions of the Soviet Constitution (1977). Article 50 states:
In attacking what he regards as the privileged status of free speech, Parekh shows, like many immigrants, his lack of understanding of just how important a role free speech has played in British history. It is the sort of misunderstanding that one would expect from someone who is so deeply embedded or rather trapped in his own cultural perspective -- something that Parekh is always ready to accuse white dissenters from multicultural orthodoxy -- that he is unable to understand just how important the institution of free speech has been to the West. If, according to Parekh, free speech can claim no privileged status, then neither can any of the West's political systems:
If the two major threats to a liberal-democratic West in the twentieth century had triumphed -- Nazi Germany and Soviet communism -- then free speech and all the other rights, customs and privileges which we enjoy would have been snuffed out. That would have been the prelude to a new Dark Age. Both systems rejected the emphasis on individual freedoms and rights which in England had evolved since the Magna Carta. In Nazi Germany books were burned and various art forms were declared to be degenerate or un-German. In Germany of the 1930s and in America of the 1960s and 1970s, it was the professoriate and the students who played an active role in ridiculing and undermining the institution of free speech. Free speech was suppressed almost as soon as Lenin seized power in 1917. Censorship was only abolished as late as August 1900 with the enactment of the Soviet Press Law. One year later the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Free speech is one of the most important weapons the citizenry have to defend themselves against dictators and tyrants, which is why they want to destroy it. By their own attempts to silence opposition, multiculturalists confirm their own totalitarian pedigree. Hate crime legislation and communal libel are not about protecting vulnerable people. They are designed to intimidate opponents and where that fails to punish them and to deter further dissenters. The offspring of Lenin, Heidegger and Mao, multiculturalism is the new extremism that replaces the Soviet empire as the threat to the West.
Konstitutsiya SSSR. 1977. Yuridicheskaya Literatura, Moscow, 1980.
Macpherson of Cluny, Sir William. 1999. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Report of an Inquiry by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny, CM 4262-I, The Stationery Office, London, 1999.
Mill, John Stuart. 1859. On Liberty, Collins, Fount Paperbacks, Glasgow, 1982.
Parekh, Bhikhu. 2000. Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, Macmillan, Basingstoke and London, 2000.
Last edited by Alex Linder; May 21st, 2013 at 01:15 AM.
|May 21st, 2013||#47|
Let me know if you see any typos in this. Author is English, so he uses standard UK spelling - s for c and ou in, for example, harbour, rather than just o. In general this thing is bizarrely punctuated, with complete absence of commas. It's good the thing exist, but on typing it in, I notice a lot more holes than I did the first time: shoddy proofing and the author being either shallow or wrong due to his neoconservatism.