Sir Roger Scruton on Burkas and Letterboxes

I picked this up somewhere, in the last week or so, as a comment on something. I’m reasonably sure that it is authentic, beyond that I know little about it, except that it is quite current.

It is also indubitably correct, so enjoy the words of a very wise man.

“The emerging witch-hunt culture would be an object of half-amused contempt, were we still protected, as we were until recently, by the robust law of libel. It is still possible to laugh at the absurdity of it all, if you sit at home, avoiding contact with ignorant and malicious people, and getting on with real life – the life beyond social media. Unfortunately, however, ignorant and malicious people have discovered a new weapon in their unremitting assault on the rest of us, which i s the art of taking offence.

I was brought up to believe that you should never give offence if you can avoid it; the new culture tells us that you should always take offence if you can. There are now experts in the art of taking offence, indeed whole academic subjects, such as ‘gender studies’, devoted to it. You may not know in advance what offence consists in – politely opening a door for a member of the opposite sex? Thinking of her sex as ‘opposite’? Thinking in terms of ‘sex’ rather than ‘gender’? Using the wrong pronoun? Who knows. We have encountered a new kind of predatory censorship, a desire to take offence that patrols the world for opportunities without knowing in advance what will best supply its venom. As with the puritans of the 17th century, the need to humiliate and to punish precedes any concrete sense of why.

I recall the extraordinary case of Boris Johnson and the burka. In the course of discussing the question whether the full facial covering should be banned here, as elsewhere in Europe, Johnson humorously remarked that a person in a burka has a striking resemblance to a letterbox. He was right. A woman in a burka resembles a letterbox much as a man in white tie resembles a penguin or a woman in feathers resembles a chicken.

It was obvious to anyone with a smattering of intellect that Johnson had no intention to give offence. However, there was political mileage in taking offence – so at once offence was taken. One ridiculous Lord (a Cameron creation) told us that the party whip should be withdrawn from Boris; MPs and public figures fell over each other in the rush to display their shock and distress that our Muslim fellow-citizens should have been so grievously offended; even the Prime Minister ste pped in to reprimand her former Foreign Secretary. Virtue-signalling was the order of the day. A kind of hysterical fear swept away all the important considerations that Johnson was putting before his readers, so that everyone, friend and foe alike, ran for shelter. We are not guilty, was the collective cry of the time-servers and wimps that govern us.

In reaction to this madness I ask myself who it is, in the matter of the burka, that habitually gives offence, and who it is that strives not to take it. We live in a face-to-face society, in which strangers look each other in the eye, address each other directly, and take responsibility for what they say. This custom is not just a fashion. It is deeply implanted in us by a thousand-year old religious and legal tradition, by the Enlightenment conception of what citizenship means, and by a literary and artistic culture that tells us that we are in everything duty bound to see the other as on equal terms with the self. Being face t o face with strangers is at the root of our political freedom.

I was brought up in that freedom. I cannot easily accept that people should appear in public ostentatiously concealing their face from me. The British believe that strangers deal openly with each other and are accountable for their looks and their words. It is natural for them to take offence at those who brazenly hide their face, while nevertheless claiming all the rights and privileges of citizenship. I certainly feel awkward in the presence of such people, and suspect that they are abusing the trust that we spontaneously extend to strangers. Nevertheless, it seems to me a singular virtue in the British that they strive not to take offence, when standing before a black letterbox, wondering where their message should be posted.

No sensitive person, however ignorant he might be of the Muslim faith, would fail to take off his shoes when entering a mosque – not because he feared the reaction of the worshippers, but because he knew that long-standing custom requires this, and that not to observe that custom is to show disrespect for a sacred space. Somehow we are supposed to forget that principle when it comes to long-standing customs of our own. For us too there are sacred spaces, and the public square is one of them: it is the space that belongs to others, not to you, and where you meet those others face to face. When we encounter those who refuse to accept this we are supposed to think that the entitlement to take offence rests entirely with them, and the tendency to give offence entirely with us.

Is it not time to get this whole matter into perspective, and to recognise that we must live together on terms, that Muslims must learn to laugh at themselves as the rest of us do, and that the art of taking offence might be a profitable business to the experts, but is a huge loss to everyone else?”

Roger Scruton

I would only add that while Sir Roger is speaking of the Moslems learning to laugh at themselves, an appropriate comment in contemporary Britain, it is also true for almost the entire left.

We have commented before on the death of comedy, and this is why. If one can’t laugh at oneself, one cannot laugh at anyone. And almost all of life, even our misfortunes, is at some level funny, and we’ll be much healthier if we can see it.

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Hypocrisy, thy name is True Conservatism™

The Colonel brings a whole can of it, from TownHall.

The recent utterly unsurprising utter capitulation by the Fredocons to the SJW/tech/media campaign to deplatform and silence any right-wing voice who is not trying to sell you a cruise cabin is a symptom of a bigger problem. It’s not a symptom of Trump Derangement Syndrome, though Trump has utterly deranged these pointy-headed geeks. It is a symptom of Conservative, Inc.’s contempt for you.

The dethroned conservagimps are angry with you. Donald Trump is not really the issue. He’s just a convenient target for those these establishment sissies. They truly despise you.

You.

They hate you because you refuse to honor and respect them, to validate their cheesy status within the Beltway hierarchy, and to acknowledge them as your betters. Your pig-headed uppityness has disrupted their scam. The old paradigm, the model of go-along/get-along and feed the crackers out there in America articles about lib outrages to keep them writing checks, no longer cuts it. You’ve stripped them of their status by holding them accountable for their failure to fight for conservatism, and for us.

And it is such a pathetic status – maybe they are fighting so hard because the stakes are so low. For some, it’s a mention on the masthead of an anorexically thin magazine that now publishes only because some zillionaire keeps handing its boss wads of cash, the actual subscribers to the cruise-shilling brochure having abandoned ship after the seven hundredth “Trump Is Icky!” expose. For others, it’s the chance to be the nominal conservative voice on Morning Joe, ready to pretend that actual conservatives concur with the ideological stylings of the Mick Jagger of flaccid, self-indulgent momrock.

Keep reading.

Kurt is correct, completely correct, of course. I know it, you know it, Barry Goldwater is looking down and saying, “Ya done good, Son.” to the Colonel.

It’s true in America, it’s possibly even more true in Great Britain, although I’m not sure they have a conservative organization which exists to sell cruise tickets (lucky them). They have all the other problems, and like us, the sooner we accept the truth of what he says here, the sooner we can get on to fixing problems instead of enabling Progressives and such trash.

Sadly, it has become again, a time for hard truth, fearlessly proclaimed by hard men (and women). I fear there will be casualties, either electronic and/or real, and there could be war. But both are sometimes necessary however much we do not want them. But the prize is the Republic, and the lamp on the hill. They are worthy of our blood, always have been, always will be.

Socialism, The Death of Europe, and Assorted Other Idiots

Bookworm hit, if not a homer, yesterday, a triple, and scored on the error. Here, read it yourself. Go there, there’s lots of other good stuff in it.

The Cold War reminds us that socialism is bad. A new poll came out showing that Democrats adore socialism, which they think is better for people than capitalism. This view, of course, means that they’re looking, not at National Socialism (aka Nazis), or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (aka the Soviet Union), or the completely socialists Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka North Korea).

Instead, what it means is that they’re looking at that rosy view of Western Europe from the 1960s through the 1990s. Of course, they’re totally missing the fact that Europe, despite its claim that it was “socialist,” wasn’t socialist at all.

What supported Western Europe’s cradle-to-grave socialism was America. We paid for their military costs and accepted their outrageous tariffs, all to help them to recover from WWII and to prevent them from once again falling into an apocalyptic conflagration. Europe may have art and architecture, but the 20th century proved that it had little in the way of actual civilization.

Anyway, if you know a Leftist stupid enough to think socialism is the answer, this video might (maybe, perhaps, just possibly) help you educate that person (h/t Seraphic Secret):

Emphasis mine.

And that is the plain truth, since World War Two, nobody in Western Europe, save the UK, has made more than a gesture towards their own defense, and since the fall of the Soviet Union, they’ve hardly bothered with that gesture.

Which leaves the question, what could America have accomplished if we hadn’t bothered, what haven’t we attained because we’ve dislocated our economy and our government to provide this welfare to Europe? This is one of the causes of the deep state as well.

Even more, we know well that undeserved aid causes dependency, has this policy perhaps part of the cause of the slow death of Europe that we are witnessing.

Who knows, but it has demonstrably done neither Europeans not Americans any favors. And it needs to end.


In other news: Collusion rears its ugly head. John Hinderaker reports.

First, the Boston Globe organizes a media protest against the Trump administration’s “assault on the press.”

The Boston Globe has been contacting newspaper editorial boards and proposing a “coordinated response” to President Trump’s escalating “enemy of the people” rhetoric.

“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers.
***
As of Saturday, “we have more than 100 publications signed up, and I expect that number to grow in the coming days,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe’s deputy editorial page editor, told CNN.

The American Society of News Editors, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and other groups have helped her spread the word.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Pritchard said. “We have some big newspapers, but the majority are from smaller markets, all enthusiastic about standing up to Trump’s assault on journalism.”

Ya know, I’d like to have a free press. One not owned by Donald Trump, one not owned by the Democrat Party or the Left (BIRM), not one owned by the Boston Globe. One that thinks for itself. Yeah, I know, that’s a dream, there may be three people in the media who can think their way out of a wet paper bag.

And then there is this, from the same article:

But how, exactly, are educational institutions to avoid “normalizing” or “legitimizing” success?

Trump’s immediate circle and senior appointees…should not be accorded the degree of respect or deference that their seniority and government positions would normally merit. We do not, after all, have a normal administration that can be served honorably.

This means no honorific titles (fellow, senior fellow), no named lectures, no keynote speeches headlining conferences or events. While individual faculty members and student groups should be free to invite Trump appointees to speak on campus, as a rule such invitations should not be issued by senior university officers. And lectures and presentations should always provide an opportunity for vigorous questioning and debate.

No honorific titles? No named lectures? No keynote speeches? Invitations to speak delivered by underlings? The horror! My friends will attest that I am not normally a profane person, but I join a large majority of Americans in saying, f*** you, a**hole.

I can only add, with a razor wire wrapped pineapple, sideways.

Turkey Talk

A couple points about Turkey, first from  Monty L. Donohew at American Thinker.

When there is war, conflict, or instability, vulnerable human beings flee, seeking refuge in safer countries. […]

When there is war, conflict, or instability, vulnerable capital and wealth also flee. The “problem” of fleeing capital is different, however. Because capital and wealth are not as encumbered and physically restricted as are human beings, especially in the modern electronic age, capital moves far from the source of instability. Capital flight makes support of human refugees even more difficult, as capital often flees nations burdened with the obligation of support, nations in close proximity to the underlying cause of flight.

Unlike human refugees, who consume resources and capital, fleeing capital is welcome with inviting arms by safe havens. Capital and wealth must “go somewhere,” and if they land in the banks and markets of a particular nation, that nation reaps the reward of that investment.

Pretty much common sense to my mind, although it is anything but common these days.

And who is the strongest of all these days? I’d be inclined to say the United States, and it has the other advantages of being a known safe haven for money and people, with perhaps the strongest rule of law tradition in the world, the largest and most active markets, and by far, the strongest military (which it is strengthening) to back it all up.

Think some Turks (and Iranians, for that matter) are looking to get themselves and their money into America. Yep. Me too. And that also strengthens America, and against all comers.

Consider the many causes of the flight of capital in recent years. Are competing markets as strong and stable as they were seven years ago, and more importantly, are they as strong and stable as is the U.S. market? Capital is fleeing Canada. Capital is fleeing China (strange — people who command wealth get a bit skittish when several hundreds of their kind simply disappear). EU instability has caused capital to flee Europe (link behind subscription wall). Capital has flown from India. Capital has flown from Russia, although early indications are that new Trump sanctions may not encourage additional capital flight. Capital is fleeing Latin America. There are a multitude of examples, but the point is, too, that capital is not fleeing the U.S.

Not all capital flight winds up in the U.S., of course, but it’s safe to say that a good percentage is winding up here. Simple economics: more money chasing the same goods or investment opportunities causes prices to increase. With share prices high, companies can grow, expand, modernize, and invest. The investment increases the value of companies, generates returns for investors, and generates revenues for the U.S. government.

And this may well be where the conventional wisdom on tariffs and economics falls down, not my field, but it sounds rational, and people with money are usually somewhat rational.

Jed Babbin writing in The American Spectator also had a few things to say about the Sick Thug of Europe.

It [The Wall Street Journal] wonders why the United States, which usually intervenes to calm global markets, isn’t doing so to save Turkey from itself.

The answer is so simple that even the media ought to understand. Turkey, a NATO ally, has for over a decade treated us as an enemy instead of a friend. President Trump is beginning to return the favor. What Turkey has done, and Mr. Trump is starting to do, is all the result of the actions of Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan who has created an Islamic quasi-dictatorship where a secular democracy once stood. […]

Erdogan’s New York Times article concludes that, “Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives. Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies.”

Erdogan has already done so. His alliance with Russia and Iran to save Assad demonstrated conclusively that he is no longer America’s ally. It is entirely inconsistent with Turkey’s obligations as a NATO member.

President Trump has, so far, neither knuckled under to Erdogan’s demands nor taken all of the actions that he could to force Erdogan to stop acting as our enemy. That may be changing.

The Turkish economy is in shambles, almost in as bad a situation as Iran’s and Venezuela’s. The Turkish lira fell in its value against the dollar by about forty percent earlier this year. Last week, Trump announced that he was doubling the tariffs on steel (to 50%) and aluminum (to 20%) imported from Turkey, which caused the lira to sink by another twenty percent and made international banks that hold Turkish debt very nervous.

I don’t need to add too much to that although you should read all of both articles, they are excellent. But Erdogan would be well advised that one of the quickest ways to ruin a nation is to attempt to tell the United States what to do. Even King George, a quarter millennium ago, found that to be a bit more than the British Empire could accomplish. That’s a history lesson Erdogan could contemplate to the benefit of his citizens.

Second City Blues

Most of you know, I grew up around Chicago, and of all the big cities, it is by far my favorite. It’s always been a rough, can-do sort of place, not exactly incorrupt, but a place where needful things got done. Well, that’s nostalgia for you. It’s not like that anymore, it’s become a war zone. Why? Here’s Jack Dunphy to tell you.

It is an accepted but lamented fact of life among police officers that in order to rise on the promotional ladder, one must endorse the political fashions currently in favor among the city’s politicians. And the higher one ascends on that ladder, the more convincingly one must do so. As a consequence, reflecting the governing principles of almost any city you can name, most police chiefs are liberals, or at least pretend to be with a passing level of feigned sincerity.

As a result of this, the upper levels of most police departments, most certainly those in large cities, become clogged with men and women who can recite leftist pieties as confidently as any MSNBC host, the better to curry favor with politicians whose sponsorship is essential to further promotion. All of these men and women believe themselves qualified to be the next police chief, but the one selected will have proved himself to be the most proficient panderer.

But this creates a problem within a police department, to wit, a division in the rank structure between those at or near the top who adopt the leftist nostrums of the politicians, and those at the bottom who must go out onto the streets each day and confront the very real problems engendered by those very same leftist nostrums.

There exists no more vivid example of this than the city of Chicago, where Hillary Clinton received 84 percent of the 2016 presidential vote, and where there hasn’t been a Republican mayor since 1931. Between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, 74 people were shot in the city,12 of them fatally. In one seven-hour span, from about midnight Saturday to about 7:00 a.m. Sunday, 41 people were shot, five of whom died.

These spasms of violence are sadly characteristic of Chicago, or at least parts of it. And equally as routine as the weekend violence are the Monday press conferences at which Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson put on their angry (or sad) faces and denounce the perpetrators and talk about how the mayhem is “unacceptable.” “What happened this weekend did not happen in every neighborhood in Chicago,” said Emanuel, “but it is unacceptable [that] it happened in any neighborhood in Chicago.”

A question for the mayor: If it really is unacceptable, why do you continue to accept it?

Read the whole thing at The Real Reasons for Chicago’s Deadly Crime Wave, with a hat tip to Second City Copwhose comments are as always critically important.

After years of reading Second City Cop and other blogs about the Chicago police, I say Jack is completely on point here, especially in this paragraph:

But  If you were somehow to identify and arrest every single one of the shooters involved in the weekend violence, you would no doubt discover that nearly all of them came from homes with absent fathers, and that nearly all of them had been previously arrested for violent crime. (They won’t come close to arresting all of the shooters, or even a quarter of them; the website Heyjackass.com reports Chicago P.D.’s murder clearance rate for 2018 so far is 14.6 percent.)

It’s come to head faster and harder in Chicago, but it’s not a Chicago problem. Baltimore, St Louis, San Francisco, and yes, London, and many others as well all face the same problem, for the same reason and are showing the same lack of courage in addressing it. So are a large part of the national (and state) governments.

Daily, I read about kids who have murdered gang rivals (or often, innocent bystanders) whose rap sheets are dozens of pages long, and then a day or two later, I’m reading about how they are out on bond, sometimes with the joke of an ankle bracelet, which supposedly will require them to stay home.

Unless the people vote for real leadership, and unless some is offered to them, it will never change. These cities will become at least as bad as any third world country, and essentially no-go zones for ordinary decent citizens.

I’m reminded of whatever movie it was a few years (or maybe decades) ago that took as it’s premise that Manhattan Island itself had been declared a maximum security prison. It was dystopian then, now it is beginning to appear to be a viable solution.

The first steps are simple, the courts must be reformed so that they give meaningful custodial sentences for serious (especially violent) crime, the police need real leadership, not Democratic politicians, especially not the corrupt ones they have now. After a few years, perhaps one can start to address the reasons (and they are obvious) why so many young men are fatherless.

See, the solution is simple. Sadly implementing it, unless the population itself decides to; is somewhere between unlikely and impossible.

The Week

Another week, actually kind of a slow one, finally.

Then there is the Space Force, which leads to all sorts of fun memes. Funny thing though, like the SDI, which the Libs and Russians insisted on calling Star Wars it is an important concept. Remember Russia was willing to trade all of its missiles to make us quit, Reagan said no. Also funny how the Russians and Democrats agreed on this, of course, it was only a couple years after Senator Kennedy flew to Moscow to ask the Soviets to collude on the election.

 

And of course

As usual from PowerLine, Patriot Humor, and Ace.

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