The UK Hits Moral Rock Bottom 170


I return from summer break with a shock as the UK hits moral rock bottom. On the day that it is revealed that 2,380 people in three years died within 14 days of being declared fit to work by an ATOS assessment and having benefit stopped, we also have 45 of the most appalling members of the political class elevated to trough it for life in the House of Lords, at a possible cost to the taxpayer of 67,500 pounds per week in attendance allowances alone.

It is worth remembering that it was the Red Tories who brought in ATOS, and Yvette Cooper, to be precise, who ordered the extreme tightening of the unfit to work assessment which has resulted in death for thousands and dreadful stress and misery for hundreds of thousands. Ian Duncan Smith may have also gleefully implemented it, but this particular horror was entirely inherited from the Guardian’s favourite leadership candidate.

The House of Lords appointments are so horrible it is difficult to comment. The most utterly objectionable of all is one of the least known to the public. Stuart Polak becomes a Lord for services to the Conservative Friends of Israel. That you can, unelected, become a legislator of the UK based on your loyalty and service to another state is appalling.

Others are more obviously dreadful. Lord Hogg now has a title that befits the moat of his home, which he had cleaned by the taxpayer prompting much rage in the expenses scandal. Tessa Jowell benefited from hundreds of thousands of pounds of corrupt money from the sordid Berlusconi, claiming she did not read the mortgage documents in which his cash paid off her house, before she signed them, and going through an entirely risible pretence of temporary separation from her husband, David Mills, who escaped a corrupt Italian justice system. David Willetts was rejected by his constituents because of extreme expenses scamming, and walks grinning back into the Lords.

Michelle Mone is rewarded for her opposition to Scottish independence. The woman sold out the workforce who made her fortune by expensively covering her crotch and now comes out as a Tory knicker saleswoman. Darling also is ennobled for services to the union, after being too cowardly to face the electorate in May. The Lib Dems get more legislators today than they could manage at the general election. That is simply astonishing.

The conduct of the political class is utterly shameless. Meantime they indulge their fantasies of stripping workers of all protection and of stopping aid to the needy, and while the politicians gorge and gorge, the poor are quietly being slipped away to die.


170 thoughts on “The UK Hits Moral Rock Bottom

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  • Jon

    Fedup, I’m not sure I follow your line of thinking. I’m not specifically looking for anti-Jewish racism: all racisms are unacceptable. Who are “my friends” in this context?

    You seem to be of the view that Suhayl is “attacking” Islam from the inside. I don’t think that’s a helpful way of describing it – I don’t think the religion is being attacked at all. However if a practitioner of a religion has the awareness to be critically analysing the political developments between that faith and the world, I regard this as a good thing. All religions have their internal dilemmas, and none in my view should be followed blingly.

    I’d say my secular approach takes a similar view: there are no holy cows. Shouldn’t we regard ourselves like scientists, trying to work out the truth, without restrictions?

    Macky, I think you’ve misread Suhayl. I think he sees that some on the Left regard any criticism of Islam as racist, or that any mention of Islamic extremism is equivalent to spreading Western/Israeli propaganda, and I believe he thinks – as I do – that this view is incorrect.

    I do understand the points being made – of course the racist Western media asks loaded questions about terrorism to deny justice to the Palestinians or to bolster Israeli propaganda. That doesn’t mean the Left need to bury its head in the sand in relation to these difficult problems. We are faced with the paradox that two people can be asking the same question but with different motivations – and I think when I ask these questions, the motivation (insofar as I can be aware of it) is justice for all.

    You are mistaken that I am excessively focused on antisemitism: Fedup mentioned it first, at 31 Aug, 2015 – 10:08 pm. He cannot quite bring himself to use the full word, and so it is rendered with an ellipsis. My reply therefore was not intended to imply I think he is racist: the point was that he clearly does not want to talk about it. I think he should.

    I do think some of the language on this board exhibits a racism towards Jewish people that the Left must avoid, and that anti-Jewish racism plays into the hands of Israeli hardliners. Broadly the leaderships of British pro-Palestine groups have been very good at striking this balance, I think.

    I hope the above renders your last question redundant, since it is now plain I do not have a crypto-Jewish agenda. However, for what it is worth, I do not think I know anyone who is Jewish. Here in the Midlands, UK there is not much of a visible Jewish community. I would not mind knowing people who are Jewish, and I am sure we would have some interesting conversations. In the event that I get to know a Jewish person of hard-right opinions, perhaps it would be good for me to talk to them, so they can hear a Left perspective.

  • Macky

    Jon; “Macky, I think you’ve misread Suhayl. I think he sees that some on the Left regard any criticism of Islam as racist, or that any mention of Islamic extremism is equivalent to spreading Western/Israeli propaganda, and I believe he thinks – as I do – that this view is incorrect.”

    I believe that there are valid objections to focusing on “Islamic Extremists” or on critiquing certain aspects of the Islam, whilst Muslims(/Islam) are under real ruthless & sustained attack; some estimates put the number of Muslims killed post 9/11 as over four million, almost on par with Holocaust numbers. Ask yourself what would have been both the message you would have given out, and the inevitable & inherent real life consequences of you publically criticizing Jewish Extremists or aspects of Judaism say in the 1930’s ? That is the obvious parallel that comes to mind, and another is the current demonizing of Putin or anything to do with Russia, exactly because of how irresponsible & dangerous it is to do so at the present time. Power Elites with an agenda take any such useful support to both strengthen their propaganda & to legitimize their aims, and those that provide them with such, are not just useful idiots, but also enablers of their crimes, even if inadvertently so.

    Jon; “You are mistaken that I am excessively focused on antisemitism:”

    Self-diagnosis is really not the best impartial judge; your record here I think proves that.

    Jon; “I do think some of the language on this board exhibits a racism towards Jewish people that the Left must avoid”

    I repeat that the only anti-Semitism I’ve seen on this Blog is not from regular posters, but from the odd one Post only type posting by people unknown. It’s also hard to take your comment seriously, when one thinks about the amount of acceptable anti-Muslim racism that is allowed here, both now & during your reign as Moderator; for example, earlier today Anon1 posted “Now we have Islam barbecuing people alive”, and I’m certain if the comment had been “Now we have Judaism barbecuing people alive”, you as Mod it would not have been allowed to stand, and even if you did, certain known Posters would have cried “Anti-Semitism !”, and you would have removed it in the blink of an eye, as you often did, and it actually got to the stage where you appeared to be proactively acting just in case of possible calls of anti-Semitism, and which could only have been made if allowing for deliberate & disingenuous misinterpretations of comments, yet you acted.

  • Jon

    Macky, I fear that if you believe I am disingenuous, then there is no value in pursuing this discussion, since anything I say will be suspected of being a trick. That’s unfortunate, as I think dealing with the Left’s sacred cows is of great value – it underlines pretty much all discourse here.

  • Macky

    @Jon, It seems that your comprehension ability is on par with your ability for rational debate; I didn’t state that you a were being disingenuous, rather if you re-read what I actually wrote it was that because of your excessive focus on any signs of anti-Semitism, that as Moderator you got yourself into a position of being cowed by the usual anti-Semitic Smearers into censoring comments that could only be considered as anti-Semitic if interpreted disingenuously; indeed it was exactly because of an instance of this that caused long time Poster Cryptonym to leave this Blog.

    The honest response if you think you are being accused of being disingenuous is to examine & argue the issue, but as has been apparent from your exchanges, you only respond to certain points but not others, whereas somebody with a genuine & honest approach will pick-up on every point made, which is what I find myself naturally doing, but to use the pretext of being called ‘disingenuous’, (whetever real or imagined), to avoid addressing the issues under discussion, is exactly the very definition of being disingenuous.

  • Jon

    Jemand,

    Thanks for your earlier reply, on the 28th. Apologies for my casting around for an example of how “hedonistic” acts are not remotely comparable with “every other kind of vice” – if you saw a straw man, it was not intentional.

    We could save some time in the debate your comments demand, and ask you to clarify what sort of other “vices” would be normalised for a person who privately has liberal views on prostitution and drugs. However, I don’t think we need to, since you seem to have accepted my example as reasonable after all.

    I think, broadly, that your comparison is over-reaching, and there is value in you – perhaps privately – examining why you object to “hedonism”. I agree there are consequences to everything: the smuggling route for cocaine has probably killed a large number of people, and caused all manner of violent gang warfare. And the prostitute may suffer psychological harm if she participates in sexual acts with people she does not care for.

    The world, however, is full of these dilemmas. A plane-load of hedonists going to Magaluf will contribute to flooding in Bangladesh, purchasing the latest mobile phone hedonistically will cause mineral wars in the DRC, and buying clothes in a cut-price store will prop up sweat-shops in Thailand. Purchasing cheap meat in a supermarket will prolong animal suffering and anxiously choosing private education will deprive state schools of the kind of parents that might improve them.

    I am not arguing that we should be blind to the consequences of our actions. Indeed, there are many ethical ways in which some of the above difficulties can be ameliorated (don’t fly, buy sweat-shop free clothing, go vegetarian, don’t consume illegal drugs, etc).

    So, where do we draw the line? Is it sex-n-drugs-n-rock-n-roll? Or do you find the plane-load of party-goers and selfish consumers “hedonist” too? For me, the line is clear. The Lord in question, caught with his pants down, has not intended to hurt anyone, even though he may be ignorant of the hidden consequences I outlined above – just as the consumer generally doesn’t think about the ramifications of their purchasing.

    But people who sign off on bombing campaigns – and the framework of capitalism that has, through a process of natural selection, elevated the most ruthless people for the task – they know what they are doing. There is no ignorance here – they push the button on the drone controller, and people will die.

    It is quite possible that someone who is already corrupt of character would take cocaine, and kill someone, and not think about their actions. But you’re arguing that someone who takes cocaine would therefore cheerfully kill someone, which is what I am objecting to.

    Perhaps my difficulty is that the state has controlled people’s behaviour under the guise of “moral decay” for centuries, and it actually hasn’t worked out very well – the war on drugs, for example, appears to have caused more suffering than it claims to have resolved. Thus, when I see people reaching out for a restoration of morality, I think there is cause for concern – it represents a retrograde step. Leaving religious morality behind has discouraged judgementalism, and so now people can live legitimate alternative lifestyles – gay relationships and same-sex marriage for example – in relative peace.

  • fedup

    Jon your obtuse concentration on finding antisemi….. (latent or otherwise) is a puzzle. Despite your stated position that you want to make Shishkebab out of the scared cows, but it is thy neighbour’s sacred cow that is going to get the skewer and not yours!

    In your comment you indicate that;

    I do think some of the language on this board exhibits a racism towards Jewish people

    Although you fail to mention that the use of this kind of a language is an old trick of the zionist supremacists; by openly attacking the Jews and then blaming it on all and sundry (as the contributors are always a new identity that is used a few times before they are kicked out of the forum/blog/board until the next time). This is nothing new and anyone with a little experience of various forums/broads/blogs would have come across this mode of conduct. However to use this lame excuse as in evidence of your wild claims, that is another puzzling factor.

    As it stands Saadi is busy dissembling and point the racist finger at me, because he says he is a Muslim and anyone who disagrees with him is stereotyping. Fact that I have not seen to date Saadi to stick up for the Muslims once on this blog, and to carry on cordial interactions with the arch enemies of the Muslims is a puzzle too.

    Further puzzling facts are;

    Whilst Jewish persons stand a better chance of getting a job than the native Brits. The community trust fund is there to protect their rights, and their communities. There has never been any EDL, etc marches against the Jews. Politicians, are standing in a queue to join the Jewish causes, and to be as helpful as possible to Jews. None of the politicians dare to even stand against the apartheid zionistan, or so much as support the Palestinians for fear of being branded a terrorist loving antisemi….. (shade of Corbyn).

    You find antisemi… alive and well and you then pontificate;

    He cannot quite bring himself to use the full word, and so it is rendered with an ellipsis

    Members of the Jury the case is proven!

    Of course the sacred cows of the left are slain and Shishkebabed whilst the sacred cows of the right/Jon/Saadi/Hab…. et al are roaming the pastures and anyone who looks so much as the wrong way at these is an antisemi…. and a poopy pants and, and, …………….

    How many times have we had this circular argument and how many times have got back on the same carousel for the same “debate”?

    Whilst the oligarch owned media are referring to the refugees as Migrants, the hatred against Muslims is at an all time high, as the Muslims are getting slaughtered over there, and getting beat up and murdered over here here too. Does this not disturb you Jon?

    You singularly failed to curb the racist and hateful comments against Muslims. Saadi joins in the vilification of the Muslims, gyiane/guano/etc never relents in attacking Muslims. These are only critical analysis for the good of the Muslims of course and homily, homily, homily, all racism bad, …..not tolerated…. etc!

    Back to the real point of the debate, the antisemi…. everywhere.

    How long do you intend to re visit the same old tired subject and why Jon? Does it not somehow even remotely appear to be the same set up as the pre WWII Germany with the Muslims/immigrants getting blamed for every ill of the world? Are you going to sit there and stay silent and carry on with business as usual, with the same scared cows that you seem to be so carefully cherishing and when the going gets tough now and again; you get upset and stop talking.

  • Jemand

    Suhayl, whether you call yourself a muslim or not is up to you. Similarly, Bruce Jenner can call himself a woman, North Korea can call itself a democratic republic and Tony Blair can call himself a humanitarian. It makes no difference. But I wonder what we would call a mathematician who cannot add numbers, a banker who loses money or a cop who steals. Is a one-wheeled bicycle really a bicycle?

    As it stands, I accept all people who call themselves muslim as muslims because they know best what they identify with and where they draw inspiration from. I have no interest in non-muslims preaching as to who is and who is not muslim in contradiction to those very people.

    So when I see and hear from self-proclaimed muslims that their words and deeds purported to be inspired by and/or in conformance with their religion, then like-wise I take them at their word.

    As has been observed earlier by another commentator, and by myself on many occasions, true believers believe wholly and truly – not partly, insincerely, half-heartedly, selectively or conditionally. It is altogether incredible, indeed ridiculous, that a true believer in a supreme being that supposedly created the universe and has a hand in the events of our lives should marginalise their religious beliefs in favour of some fashion, convenience or transient political advantage that does not serve their religious duties. After all, religion is not a weekend hobby or a lifestyle accessory, is it?

    So this takes us to the question of Islamic violence. Are those who fight for ISIS, true muslims? Are their deeds in conformance with, and not contradiction to, unabrogated Quranic tenets? Can we correctly say that ISIS is doing the work of Islam or not?

    I’ve heard many attempts by non-muslims to dissociate the notion of Islam to the myriad acts of violence and destruction of culture committed in the name of Islam by avowed muslims. That sounds just like telling someone that they are not really muslim, wouldn’t you agree? Not only do they claim that their deeds are halal, they even justify those deeds by citing the Quran. Again, I take them at their word and they seem consistent. I mean, it’s not like gangs of philatelists burning down buildings and claiming they are acting in the cause of stamp collecting, is it?

    And with all of that violence and the explicit antipathy, hostility, distrust, ostracism, contempt, hatred and violence that the Quran preaches muslims to express towards atheists like me, how do you think that I should feel about a subscriber to such beliefs, like your good self, if indeed you are a true believing muslim who takes the Quran as the authoritative guide to defining what a true muslim is and how he should conduct himself?

  • Jon

    Jemand, you’ve identified an interesting contradiction, namely that it isn’t acceptable for non-muslims to determine who is a true muslim, but that the non-muslim Left frequently says that Islamic extremists are not true muslims.

    However, I think it is rather easily solved: many muslims criticise Islamic extremism, citing this or that holy text as assurance that muslims should not go around killing people. Thus, the Left may say the same, not because atheists are suddenly allowed to determine who counts as a muslim, but because they have had this assurance from people within the Islamic community. I am not in favour of religion, but given that I think people should have the freedom to practice religion quietly, I find this a satisfying solution.

    Out of interest – and related to our ongoing discussion – do you regard Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transformation as evidence of modern moral decline?

  • Jon

    Given that I have upset Fedup and Macky by referring to antisemitism, I should try to demonstrate being even-handed (and I am very happy to do so). Thus, Jemand, do you see Jewish settlers in the OPT as examples of Jewish violence? Do you see the Christian Right in the United States burning Korans or advocating for war on Iran as Christian violence?

    For what it’s worth, I think all organised religion is problematic and is the root of a lot of violence in the world. Having said that, religion can be, and frequently is, practiced peacefully. Thus, I wonder when a believer uses their religion to advocate for violence and destruction, the problem is broadly the believer, and not the religion itself. Dusty books are not themselves lethal.

  • Macky

    Ah ! When great minds meet ! 😀

    Jemand; “So when I see and hear from self-proclaimed muslims that their words and deeds purported to be inspired by and/or in conformance with their religion, then like-wise I take them at their word.”

    Yes you take their word, because you know that books like the Koran or the Bible are full of passages that could be used to justify almost anything. However your logic must also mean that when for instance, President George Bush sincerely proclaimed that he was told by God to invade Iraq, or when a murderer sincerely stated that he was obeying God’s command to cut up & eat his girlfriend (true case), you must firstly, actually believe them (!), and secondly, believe that somewhere in the Bible, there are passages confirming that these actions are in conformance with Christianity !!

    As to being inspired by something, well people can be inspired by anything, from a word somebody said, to something they happened to see, to a film they watch, yes even a book they read, it doesn’t signify anything, the same exact word/sight/film/book etc, will not inspire others in the same way.

    Jon; “Given that I have upset Fedup and Macky by referring to antisemitism”

    I think most people would get a bit irritated with somebody always playing the same background track regardless of the topic of conversation ! As to actually being upset, well there’s only one person who wanted to stop talking !

    Jon; “Jemand, you’ve identified an interesting contradiction, namely that it isn’t acceptable for non-muslims to determine who is a true muslim,”

    This is nonsense; anybody even with a little knowledge of Islam would for example be justified saying to somebody munching a hamburger that he/she is not a true Muslim ! Fact is that you don’t have to be a Muslim, or even religious to know that every religion contains violent extremists, (yes even Buddhists!), and that these extremists are by self-definition not representing what the majority practice & believe to be the true nature of their religion.

    Jon; “For what it’s worth, I think all organised religion is problematic and is the root of a lot of violence in the world.”

    Not the love of money, or hatred of the “other”, racial/national exceptionalism , competition for resources, disputes over territories, etc ? So easy to blame religion, especially if you are not religious, nor really know what it means to be religious. You are quite dogmatic & blinkered about your atheism ! 😀

  • Jemand

    @Jon

    Sex, drugs and women’s underwear – I disagree with you and your dismissal of my observation that relates immoral and dubious acts with one another. I suppose both you and Craig would then be happy to hire Lord Sewel as a babysitter if he were available at the right rates. Or perhaps hiring a neo-nazi with impeccable childcare credentials. Your reasoning, that involves finding exceptions to rules, does not prove the opposite nor eliminate the observation of valid generalisations.

    Bruce Jenner vs Caitlyn Jenner – I think you’re trying to entrap me into making silly comments that reveal me to be a braindead, right wing conservative. At the personal level this is a mental health issue, not a moral issue. But more widely, the health of society is a moral issue and people should not be lead down life-changing paths that are irrational and other people should not be bullied into accepting ideologically popular misconceptions of reality, eg. that sex is a social “construct” and humans can change their sex.

    IDF violence in the OPTs – I have commented here on this before. How would we have this situation if God’s Chosen People were not given a licence (by themselves and the world) to “reclaim” “their” land and “defend” it? I have nothing more to add on the matter that hasn’t already been ‘debated’ ad nauseum. Jewish violence? Yes. Equivalent to Islamic violence? No.

    Jon, when a muslim kills his neighbour for insulting him, that is not Islamic violence. When he kills someone for adultery, THAT is Islamic violence – because the good book says it’s ok, despite claims by Craig that it doesn’t. If Christians burn a Koran, that is religious aggression. If Christians murder muslims because they don’t like them, that is religious violence. There is nothing in the bible, as far as I know, that incites Christians to murder Jews, pagans, muslims or atheists. So it is not Christian violence.

    But with the benefit of hindsight, coming after both Judaism and Christianity, Islam has many things to say about Jews, Christians, pagans and unbelievers and they vary from the benign to the most violent and hate-filled. Why should I tolerate both the hate speech of a medieval ideology and the active spread of these fucked up beliefs by its true believers?

    If you disagree with my characterisation of the Quran as a book of hate speech, then how do you explain the below link and justify your tolerance and/or acceptance and/or defence of Islam? (Btw, valid criticisms of Judaism and Christianity do not mitigate the criticisms of Islam, nor do they equate all three branches of this ancient Abrahamic bullshit).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_and_Religious_Hatred_Act_2006#Controversy

    Perhaps we can find common ground on this matter and agree to agitate for muslims to reform their religion, make unequivocal statements rejecting all religious violence and rewrite their Quran to remove all offensive passages that incite violence and hatred. Good idea?

  • Jon

    Thanks Jemand. Not trying to trap you at all, I think you should say what you think and what you mean. I do not mean to be dismissive, by the way – I think we do disagree on things generally, but I am eager to learn of your opinions. It helps develop mine, I think.

    Is there any reason why Lord Sewell should not be hired as a baby-sitter? It is difficult for me to say since I am not a parent, but ultimately yes, if he came with good references, then he should be hired as a baby-sitter. I am quite firmly of the view that his taking of cocaine, wearing women’s underwear or consorting with sex workers are not bars to an ability to care well for children. We’re in an unusual situation here – in the US they call this “fruit of the poisonous tree” – we’re making judgements based on information we have no right to have.

    That having been said, I am somewhat open to the idea that there is a public interest in discovering public figures whose private lives reveal a hypocrisy (e.g. an MP campaigning on family values whilst having an affair). For example, John Major’s government promoted “back to basics” in the ’90s, but this backfired when a variety of ministers were caught up in scandals (interestingly it was never originally intended to be related to family values, but the press promoted it incorrectly and the party just went with that narrative!).

    Would I hire a neo-nazi as a child-minder? No, probably not: whilst their politics are legal, I would think of them as having violent opinions that do not dispose me well to them. I am not sure what my answer here says about the wider discussion, though 🙂

    On Caitlyn Jenner and her transformation, I suspect we’ll just have to agree to disagree. The medical world, as far as I know, fully recognises gender dysmorphia, and the risk to mental health is greatest – as I understand it – if someone does not undergo a sex-change. I seem to recall – and please correct me if I am wrong – that in the past you have expressed similar disapproval for homosexuality. Our disagreement would be the same, I think – and science bears the tolerant view out.

    (My view: sex is not a social construct, but gender probably is, and sex is just the outward expression of gender. Let people do what they want, as long as no other is harmed).

    I do much appreciate your straightforward expression of the perspective that Islam is the violent “odd one out” of the Abrahamic religions – sometimes on this board some people dance around so much that it is hard to discern their exact opinion. I am presently of the view that all the Abrahamic religions are as good or bad as each other, though I am open to considering your link (no time to read now, but I will do so).

    All of the holy texts advocate violence, and broadly all of the religions in one fashion or another have said that these texts need to be read based on the time and context in which they were written. Should we assess which religion is more “hate filled” based on a count of objectionable passages? I’m happy to hear that view, but I’d be wary of it.

    OK then – should we attempt to count the number of atrocities perpetuated by each side over the course of world history? Well, if we take Israel/Palestine, that is subject to all manner of errors and biases – the uneven military power of each side, the ability for each side to manipulate the media into reporting things in a certain way, the fact that one country is occupying the other and not the other way around, what we count as extremism and what we count as “necessary” etc.

    With that analysis I am not trying to be deliberately difficult – it is an honest statement of the view that “proving” Islam as more objectionable than the others is subject to all manner of practical pitfalls. It gets worse: if you can successfully persuade large groups of people that Islam is awful, what would be the counter-reaction? Do you think that would result in less extremism? I think that history shows us that when a religion is squeezed, it goes underground and becomes more prone to fundamentalism. I’d say that’s already happening in relation to Islam, which is why I do not advocate a greater level of special intolerance.

  • Jemand

    Well, it is telling, Jon, that you see nothing wrong in an illicit drug user babysitting while objecting to the neo-nazi who holds impeccable child care credentials. Suppressing your unconscious misgivings in favour of upholding your ideological values is not good parenting. You might just learn that one day.

    “On Caitlyn Jenner and her transformation, I suspect we’ll just have to agree to disagree. The medical world, as far as I know, fully recognises gender dysmorphia, and the risk to mental health is greatest – as I understand it – if someone does not undergo a sex-change. I seem to recall – and please correct me if I am wrong – that in the past you have expressed similar disapproval for homosexuality. Our disagreement would be the same, I think – and science bears the tolerant view out.”

    We certainly will have to agree to disagree. And science doesn’t support your view – “tolerant” or not. I never expressed disapproval of homosexuality – how does that even make sense? That was a prejudicial impression that you formed about me because I didn’t endorse the politically popular nonsense being peddled by the hip crowd. How does one disapprove of an unconscious sexual predisposition? How do you disapprove of people being born with two legs, a head and no teeth?

    “Gender dysmorphia” is an ideological construct, Jon. “Gender” is concerned with cultural manifestations arising from biological sexual differences, and “dysmorphia” is a mental illness. While you are not a parent, I am. I was brought up with feminist brainwashing and even believed some of it until life experience taught me that it’s just another fucked up ideology that attempts to impose a suite of beliefs upon those with immature and frail intellects. My child, from an early age, showed that she was a female despite my best efforts at having her like and enjoy the things that i enjoyed as a child. She took figures that looked like people and animals and played out imaginary social situations like most girls do – naturally. DNA trumps ideology, thank goodness.

    Bruce Jenner is a male with a mental illness and while I wish the best for him on his doomed journey, I would be polite to him if I passed him in a sauna. But I don’t tolerate people bullying me or others into altering our cognitive functions to accommodate his problem. I suppose we should all pretend to believe in God to accommodate the delusions of religious nutters?

    Regarding your latter points in relation to Islam and the other two ugly sisters, you have made the mistake of failing to see it from the point of view of the religious believer. There is nothing in those religious texts to interpret with respect to time and place when the words are clear in themselves.  Why would a purportedly perfect word of God be obfuscated such that only learned scholars can decipher their true meanings in possible contradiction to their literal readings? Why instruct people to commit homicide if it is not an enduring duty of the true believer forevermore? Religious people have good reason to doubt the self-serving, contemporary interpretations of mortal men with political agendas. And of course they do doubt, with the likes of Wahhabism bringing the attention of followers back to the literal truths of their holy scriptures. Interpretations are merely reinventions by false prophets.

    A muslim colleague of mine once informed me that the Arabic in the Quran is perfectly readable to any ordinary speaker of Arabic. An interesting aside to that is it is also rhythmic and poetic in its use of language and that gives it seductive appeal and believability to simple people. Psychologists have claimed to have demonstrated that rhyming statements are more believable than non-rhyming statements. So you can see how that works – “When you see an infidel, run him over, back to hell”. Which might explain why singers and poets are given more credence than they deserve.

    You have equated all three Abrahamic sects by saying that they each have advocated violence. Like a bucket of oranges is equal to a truckload because they both hold oranges. Well, all armies have committed atrocities so can we equate the service of the Scots in WWII to that of the SS? The Old Testament tells horror stories but it’s advocacy for violence is limited. Christianity inherited that and reformed some attitudes to become more benign. Islam, on the other hand, instructs followers in the use of violence to defend, resist and propagate. I have read nothing in the bible that endorses violence for use in proselytising. Equivalent? Palpably, no.

    Jon, i have learned that your readings on Islam and exposure to muslims is very limited, and your interest in learning more is low or non-existent. How can you hold a conversation about Islam and make the assertions that you do with such limited knowledge and interest? You couldn’t even make a cursory read of the link I provided just to get a fleeting impression. Do you know better than the many apostates who have courageously escaped the clutches of this evil sect and now speak out about their terrible experiences in fora, books and online videos? How can you be so wilfully blind to their stories? It reminds me of those many people who were abused as children later stating that their efforts to end their suffering by telling their stories were dismissed as mischief and nonsense by indifferent adults. Would you do that?

  • Jon

    Jemand, I have been nothing but polite to you, and I’m sad to see you’re not willing to behave likewise – you are abusive and patronising, and that is no way to conduct yourself if we are to learn from each other. You need to learn to express your disagreement in a fashion that will encourage other people to listen to you – at the moment it’s all uncompromising expressions of anger, and anyone who dares to express a contrary view is either fashionable or ignorant.

    I do not know if this is a deliberate, or subconscious, strategy to make discussion with you so unpleasant and antagonistic that I eventually give up, so you can then declare a victory for yourself in the debate. Either way, I doubt you will find this technique will change many minds.

  • Jemand

    Fuck off, Jon. Don’t lecture me on netiquette when you rub shoulders with obnoxious racists like Macky/Fedup and Mary. Their hatred of Jews, the west and caucasians is infamous. You’re also often snide and patronizing yourself and then feign innocence as if it were all a big misunderstanding.

    As moderator you have selectively applied unwritten, vague rules to filter out dialogue that you personally object to, taking advantage of your position to fire pot shots at your ideological enemies.  You have made offensive mischaracterisations of my comments eg. “disapproval of homosexuality” and wasted my time engaging me in conversations that you refuse to follow up to a logical conclusion. Then you call me abusive without any sense of irony. The fact that you refuse to read links and acknowledge the truth that contradicts your heavily invested ideological position is evidence alone of your lack of goodwill. You, just like Clarke, draw people into arguments to be shot down, under the pretense of ‘sharing ideas’. Your preparedness to concede on any point at all where you are clearly wrong is *zero*.

    So what we are left with here is your tortuous evasion of the undeniable truth. Islam is an evil, violent and totalitarian ideology and, for reasons that only you know, you are an active apologist for it. How do you equate the violent myths of ancient Judaism with the contemporary massacres that wash blood through streets of Syria? Does Islam get a free pass out of gaol because some nutcases in Kansas want to burn a book? Is that how your reasoning works?

    The truth is, Jon, you are too proud to admit that you are wrong. So you confect some objections to my style to justify your disengagement with me thereby allowing you to run away to continue on the same stubborn course.

    Conclusion – Islam is a religion of peace because that sounds nice and everyone who disagrees is angry and harbouring irrational fears. That’s a sad thing but the good news is that they can be re-educated through the control of discussion using Orwellian language, censorship and emotional pressure to conform.

  • Jon

    Jemand,

    Quite contrary to your suggestion, I do not recall being snide at all, in the many years I have been posting here. In fact, I am frequently excessively polite, in an (usually unsuccessful) bid to calm down my often jumpy and abusive interlocutors. If you are offended that I suggest you “disapprove of homosexuality” then you need to develop a thicker skin – I am merely seeking a statement of your opinions.

    It is similarly not my intention to patronise, though I think asking for examples now will be a waste of time, especially since you are now doubling down on your abusiveness.

    I am absolutely not interested in a discussion of my moderation – I have not moderated here for a couple of years, and if you still bear a grudge for one reason or another I advise you to drop it. As far as I was concerned, the above discussion was a blank slate, and I have not stored up any animosity to inject into it.

    So, you have wasted another chance to persuade someone of your views. Quite obviously, it is unlikely I’ll be minded to have an interesting dialogue with you in the future, even if you decide to turn over a new leaf and apologise. I hope – in earnestness – that if you wish to engage in productive debate with other people, you will change your course.

  • Jemand

    Whatever, Jon. You can’t be persuaded of anything with your mind wide shut. Making shit up and playing the ingenue is easier than addressing points of fact that impact on humanity’s collective wellbeing. And you might want to thicken your own skin before crying about abuse in a game of hard ball. I never recall you admonishing your friends for calling me a racist, nazi, fascist, homophobe, islamophobe, zionist, cunt, arsehole, troll, liar, misogynist, neo-colonialist, right-winger, muslim-hater and German. You just stay silent unless it is your feelings or pride under assail. So please forgive me all over the place for playing by the actual rules and not being the Southern gentleman you hoped for.

  • Jon

    Jemand, you are quite right about the levels of abuse on here. I am not a fan of it, either from the Left or Right factions on here. It is very boring, all of it, and counterproductive too.

    I am afraid I will only take responsibility for my own conduct, however. I do not know who you presume my friends to be – there are certainly a few posters here who I admire – but the ones I like are thoughtful, willing to listen, and very definitely not abusive.

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