Sunday, May 26, 2013

You can't tackle Islamism with another committee


According to a Mail on Sunday exclusive, 'David Cameron is planning new powers to muzzle Islamic hate preachers accused of provoking terrorist outrages such as the killing of soldier Lee Rigby'. We are told:
The Prime Minister wants to stop extremist clerics using schools, colleges, prisons and mosques to spread their ‘poison’ and is to head a new Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation Task Force (TERFOR) made up of senior Ministers, MI5, police and moderate religious leaders.

The high-powered group will study a number of measures, including banning extremist clerics from being given public platforms to incite students, prisoners and other followers – and forcing mosque leaders to answer for ‘hate preachers’.
This apparently constitutes 'a major overhaul of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy'.

Right.

Aren't we already doing this? Isn't there already an active engagement with the diverse Muslim communities to encourage 'whistleblowers’ to report extremist clerics or suspicious behaviour?

Presumably there were objections to Islamist preacher Omar Bakri who called the Woolwich murderer Michael Adebolajo 'a hero' for remaining at the murder scene and explaining his motives. How do you 'muzzle' this, Prime Minister? One hopes, in this Internet age, that he is not suggesting a return to the absurd 1980s-style censorship of Sinn Fein/IRA, when TV companies were prohibited from broadcasting the voices of the terrorists, so they simply dubbed the likes of Gerry Adams with an actor's voice. You cannot 'muzzle' the likes of Omar Bakri unless you censor Blogger, Twitter and YouTube.

The Mail 'exclusive' continues:
'We are looking at the range of powers and current methods of dealing with extremism at its root, as opposed to just tackling criminal violent extremism.

‘And we will look at ways of disrupting individuals who may be influential in fostering extremism.

‘We cannot allow a situation to continue where extremist clerics go around this country inciting young people to commit terrorist acts.

‘We will do everything we can to stop it.’
And then we get this gem: ‘This new group will study the issue in great depth before acting.'

Right.

If this new committee needs to study theology or learn the ways of Islamism before it can act, it is manifestly made up of the wrong individuals.

But the Government has a problem. They assure us: 'There is no question of restricting freedom of speech', and yet they intend to restrict what may be taught or preached in schools and mosques. And this is where the words of Anjem Choudary must be heeded, for he is a learned Islamist theologian, and - unlike this new committee - knows what he's talking about. A theological problem requires theological solution; not political committees to satisfy the readership of the Daily Mail.

For example, when most Muslims talk about 'Jihad', they are talking about their spiritual struggle against the world, the flesh and Iblīs for the glory of Allah in their lives. Jihad, for them, is about holiness and purity; submission to the divine will. Yet, in the Western vernacular, the word has come to mean suicide bombing, torture, terror and 'martyrdom'. So, does TERFOR ban clerics from teaching Jihad in their mosques?  Who determines this new Islamic theological orthodoxy? Who enforces it? Hasn't 'multiculturalism' already effectively restricted our freedom of speech with the constant assertion that those who oppose mass immigration are 'racist'? Aren't we already 'muzzled' with allegations of 'Islamophobia' when we dare to suggest that the religio-cultural values of Islam are antithetical to social cohesion and pursuit of the common good?

And what is this TERFOR objective of 'preventing people spreading the message of extremism and radicalisation in a totally irresponsible and reckless way'? Is there a responsible and cautious way of spreading such a message? How, precisely, do they intend to tackle radicalisation in unregulated Muslim schools and madrasahs? Is Michael Gove beefing up Ofsted? Excuse His Grace, but wouldn't a particular focus on what goes on in Muslim academies and free schools be, well.. 'racist' or 'Islamophobic'?

Following the Prime Minister’s 'Munich speech' two years, we were led to believe that he had declared war on Islamism and ‘radicalisation’ (ie the cause of Islamism). We were told that he was cutting state funding ‘to any Islamic group that espoused extremist views’. His Grace wrote back then:
These ‘extremist views’ have yet to be codified, but they must of necessity include those precepts of sharia which are inimical to the values of a liberal democracy. David Cameron has already called for an end to the sharia agenda : he made it clear that any expansion of the Islamic code in the UK would indeed undermine society and alienate other communities. He was right to observe that two codes of law cannot work side-by-side: one must give way to the other. We cannot have different laws for different communities: all citizens must be equal before the law, under the ultimate jurisdiction of English or Scottish law.

And so it appears henceforth that Islamic groups will need to subscribe to ‘key British values’. Home Secretary Theresa May criticises in particular the Federation of Student Islamic Societies for being soft on extremism. “They need to be prepared to stand up and say that organisations that are extreme or support extremism or have extremist speakers should not be part of their grouping,” Mrs May said.
But they answered none of His Grace's questions and addressed none of the relevant theological or philosophical issues:
The Government defines as extremist anyone who ‘does not subscribe to human rights, equality before the law, democracy and full participation in society’, including those who ‘promote or implicitly tolerate the killing of British soldiers’.

Those who actively and explicitly promote the killing of British soldiers are traitors to the state and (in His Grace’s opinion) ought to be dealt with in the traditional manner. But the ‘implicit toleration’ of such killing is treason of quite a different hue: it appears that the Muslim Council of Britain will no longer be able to maintain a dignified silence when the UK goes to war with some section of the Ummah, for silence will surely amount to implicit toleration. Does praise of bin Laden (his heirs and successors) amount to implicit toleration of the killing of British soldiers? Does the refusal of a British Muslim soldier (or reservists) to fight in Iraq or Afganistan constitute implicit toleration of the killing of their comrades?

And what of ‘human rights, equality before the law, democracy and full participation in society’? Is the European Convention on Human Rights now sacred writ? Is the creed of liberalism now so absolute that none may question it? Is government funding to be withdrawn from all who question the inviolability of ‘equality’? What is this ‘full participation in society’? What of (say) the Christadelphians, a community patterned after first century Christianity, who do not vote and will not join HM Armed Forces? Do they subscribe to an ‘extremist philosophy’? What of the Plymouth Brethren, who may be perceived to be more than a little antithetical to gender equality and a little narrow and imbalanced with their homeschooling curriculum?

By codifying a set of values to which Muslim groups will need to subscribe, the Government is effectively reintroducing a Test Act: only those who profess adherence to the orthodoxy (of the Established Church) will be eligible for public funding and government engagement. In addition to combating violent extremism, the Government will tackle ‘extremist philosophies’ by looking closely at ‘the values’ of the organisations themselves. Mrs May said: “There’s an ideology out there that we need to challenge and when we first came in as a government one of the things we were very clear about here at the Home Office was we needed to look at extremism, not just violent extremism.” The assertion is that violent extremism is incubated within the ideology of non-violent extremism.

This is quite possibly the most significant shift in the Conservative Party’s religio-political history since Catholic emancipation. As a Tory-Whig church party it gradually (and rightly) eschewed petty denominational concerns in order to become the Conservative ‘broad church’ (quite literally) consonant with two centuries of more ecumenical political philosophy.

While everyone knows that the target is Islam, the Home Secretary has moved swiftly to quell any whiff of inquisition: “We should not just look at one particular type of terrorism but look at violent extremism and terrorism more widely as well,” Mrs May said. This must mean the Government is not looking only at one particular philosophy but at ‘extremist philosophy’ more widely.
Nothing happened. It is not possible to 'tackle' Islamist philosophy without having a debate about Islam, or, more particularly, the Sunni-Salafist-Wahhabi strain of Islam. Certainly, there are those Muslims who insist that its adherents are not Muslims, and that they pervert the true Islam. But that is not the view of the 'extremists', who are not extremists in their own eyes, and are as free in our liberal democracy to excommunicate the wishy-washy 'moderate' Muslim as no true solider of Allah.

There are serious implications here for religious liberty which the Prime Minister (surrounded by ‘religiously illiterate, secularist advisers’) has not even begun to consider.

A Briton (or anyone legally entitled to live here) presently has the right to oppose or support British policy in Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya and may campaign to that effect, write, agitate and stand for election towards the chosen end. A corollary of such democratic engagement is that (s)he does not have the right to stone adulterers to death, bomb the underground or attempt to blow up aeroplanes. But there are many and diverse religious practices which conflict with traditional British liberties (ie ‘values’); they are a logical consequence of a pluralism and the development of a multi-faith society. While few would defend such abhorrent practices as forced marriages, ‘honour killings’, female genital mutilation or child abuse, there is a manifest tension between the assertion of individuality over the common good, and ‘human rights’ over community cohesion. Since there are no agreed criteria by which conflicting religious claims can be settled, religion is increasingly relegated to the private sphere: morality thereby becomes largely a matter of taste or opinion, and moral error ceases to exist.

The modern era is obsessed with three themes – autonomy, equality and rights. These are the values that allow each to be whatever he or she chooses. Left unfettered, the assertion of these leads to anarchy, so a British ‘values system’ has to be imposed for society to function at all. As society expands to encompass ever larger numbers of religious, ethnic and linguistic groups, rigid social structures are stretched to breaking point. The Church requires either cultural homogeneity or an élite sufficiently powerful to enforce conformity. But this negates the limited degree of Christian religious pluralism which the passing of the 1689 Act of Toleration specifically permitted. Dissenting traditions have gained in number and influence and have weakened the grip of state religion. The costs of coercing religious conformity are no longer politically acceptable: the state is not willing to accept the price in social conflict and so adopts a position of ‘neutrality’ on the competing claims of various religious bodies and moral values.

And that 'neutrality' has brought us to where we are. We are so obsessed with not offending minorities that we not only tolerate but advocate their alien cultural beliefs and practices. And if we do not, we are 'racist' and 'bigoted'. Mindful of minority ethnic voting communities, politicians have trodden very carefully along the via media between religious liberty and cultural prohibition. There has been no demand for assimilation. That is what must now change.

But it needs no shiny new committee to tell us that.

203 Comments:

Blogger Charles Dawne said...

You can bet that the only thing that this new "task force" will accomplish is the tightening and removal of more freedoms for the law abiding.

Any new laws made will be used against those who dissent from the Political Class's view. It will be used on Christians more than it will be on these hate "clerics".

Secondly, Cameron knows he and his party will not win the next election, this is just damage limitation and a feeble attempt to woo his flock back. It will not work. Too many have seen the light.

26 May 2013 at 11:37  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Morons! They'd have to ban the Koran..

The Quran provides the basic justification for beheading and bomb attacks:

Quran (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

Okay, bombs may not be such a precise means of mutilation as a meat cleaver; they tend to remove limbs and other body parts rather randomly, especially when packed with nails. But the general idea is there, and the bombers follow the spirit, if not the precise letter of the Quran like the beheaders.

26 May 2013 at 11:56  
Blogger graham wood said...

"It is not possible to 'tackle' Islamist philosophy without having a debate about Islam."

Precisely. This is the same message and logic that one Tommy Robinson of the EDL has so courageously pointed out in an interview recently.

26 May 2013 at 12:10  
Blogger David Hussell said...

The Government is out of its depth. Secular society, typified by Cameron and the rest of the so called political elite, lack the philosophical and theological understanding and background to even begin to approach this almost intractable question. Elevating Human Rights to the level of Holy Writ will not solve the problem as it is all so vague as to simply become a useful tool to be interpreted in whatever passing way appeals to the fancy of the ruling political/ judicial/media elite. Withdrawal from the european court, which is I understand only possible if we leave the EU, would be a good step forward, but essentially what is necessary is the mixing of the hitherto very separate ethnic and religious communities. And how does one achieve that ? End religious schools ?

26 May 2013 at 12:18  
Blogger Nick said...

It does sound a bit like DC is not restricting his proposals to Islam. Given the contempt the government shows to the indigenous Christian population, this does not come as a surprise.

I remeber at school, if someone stepped out of line, the whole class had to be punished. This is the British way. You clamp down on everybody so the real culprits don't feel discriminated against. A kind of Equality in punishment.

This committee is either the usual talking shop to make it look as if he is doing something, or it will come up with the usual ill-considered policies that restrict the freedom of everybody.

26 May 2013 at 12:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Who owns the so-called dominant culture, which is hardly homogenous, and how is change managed given that change is inevitable?

26 May 2013 at 12:24  
Blogger michael north said...


A "Test Act" presupposes a coherent set of propositions which one has to assent to. We don't have that. We don't have a coherent anything.

Islam's attraction and power comes from its coherence. It cannot be assimilated.

26 May 2013 at 12:36  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

Restricting the preachers of hate? Not before time.

And including no shortage of Islamists. Such as the black-shirted pimp and heroin-trafficker Hashim Thaçi, who is somehow also both a Wahhabi and a Maoist – he really is what the more hysterical Tea Party attendees imagine President Obama to be.

Such as the terrorist Akhmed Zakayev, whom this country currently harbours. Such as the war criminal Ejup Ganić. Such as those who hold fast to the late terrorist Abdulmalik Rigi. And such as those who adhere to Thaçi, Zakeyev and Ganić. Among other Islamist preachers of hate.

Themselves among numerous others besides. Ecclesiastics who have expressed racist views about Africans and others who do not share their liberal sexual morality. Those whose disparagement of Blessed John Paul the Great’s Polishness echo the authentic voice of the age-old Teutonic racism against the Slavs, who only gets away with it because he is Swiss.

Supporters of Avigdor Lieberman. Cheerleaders for the EDL-supporting leaders of the Tea Party. Partisans of Geert Wilders, the heir of Pim Fortuyn and of his definition of Western civilisation as sex between men and boys. Advocates of sex between men and boys. Admirers of the American neoconservatives. Campaigners for Hindutva or for Khalistan. Rupert Murdoch.

Nor does the list end there. It has hardly even begun.

26 May 2013 at 12:42  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

DanJ0 said...

Who owns the so-called dominant culture, which is hardly homogenous, and how is change managed given that change is inevitable?

In past history Homosexuality was indulged by many societies such as Greeks etc, it then changed and has now changed again. Which just goes to show change is not necessarily progressive (or leading to some 'common good') depending on your viewpoint i.e change is inevitable but circumstances dictate these, they do not flow towards some kind of peak of human enlightenment. It could easily regress back to the previous position?!

Change is not immediately noticeable as the homosexualists have claimed as proof it is all ok..'The world will not end' mantra so loved by the multisexualists of Westminster..social poison has a way of seeping into the system, bit by bit, that eventually kills the body a far distance from the initial act of poisoning, such as the encouragement of divorce (remember, it was not going to be the end of family life to make it damn easier to accomplish when parliament enacted it's bills, was it) has led to the destruction of a stable, loving family life for children and the bleeding obviously seen consequences around us. The patient is dying and they introduce more strychnine.

Another nail in society's coffin!

Blofeld

26 May 2013 at 13:05  
Blogger Nick said...

Sky News:
"Theresa May has said it is "essential" that intelligence agencies have greater access to communications data following the murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich."

Didn't the security services already know about these guys? They had been reported to the Police several times and held in custody at least once. How much more "intelligence" do they need? Were the security services so frightened of accusations of racism they decided not to act? It's no good having intelligence if you can't use it.

26 May 2013 at 13:07  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Nick

"How much more "intelligence" do they need?"

The perpetrator actually advising the police of his intentions but giving them sufficient time to drink their Starbucks and finish their sugar donuts? Not the time it takes to shout Allahu Akbar, I think.
About 20 minutes is the desired response time-frame, ALLEGEDLY!

Blofeld

26 May 2013 at 13:16  
Blogger LEN said...

We in the UK have leaned over so far backwards in the UK to accommodate every aspect of 'Political Correctness' that we are now flat on our back and every minority group is having their way with us(to put it politely)
The facts are plain for any fool to see what we do not need is some committee set up to tell us (years later ) what we already know.

These terrorists are at war with us time wake up and realise that fact!.





26 May 2013 at 13:28  
Blogger IanCad said...

A terrific post YG,

At stake here is the religious liberty of all and it dosen't look good.

To the seularists/atheists, all religions are the same. The violent church histories of persecutions, tortures and the general oppression of the unconventional will be sufficient to lump them all together as primitive, superstitous deviants who should have no place in a modern and enlightened world.

That persecution of the Church will be a prior condition of end-times events, and is part of the theology of most Christian denominations, should we fear or embrace the future?

26 May 2013 at 13:40  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I wonder what the repose would be if it was Mormons rather than Muslims were causing all the trouble. You bet their temples and presence in this land would be proscribed without the need for yet another bloody committee of inquiry.
The truth is, there is nor a single politician who would know what to do, even if they were convinced beyond all shadow of doubt that Islam is out to bury us.

How or with whom, do you combat with dialogue alone, an ideology that has been in a state of conquest since conception.

26 May 2013 at 13:44  
Blogger michael north said...


Give the Islamists their due; some are honest enough to state unambiguously that Islam is incompatible with the freedoms we have come to take for granted.

The "moderate Muslims" whom Cameron is so keen to "reach out to" demonstrate their co-option into the self-deluding culture of liberal progressivism.
Either that, or they are employing the deceit which Islam advocates in dealing with infidels.

Either way, they are part of the problem.

26 May 2013 at 13:48  
Blogger Manfarang said...

That's it Len you can be their recruiting sergeant. Unleasing repressive measures will drive thosands into their camp. That is what they hope to happen.
None of these kind of measures worked against the IRA.
Terrorists can work once there is a community that can be relied on to provide shelter, and cover by its silence

26 May 2013 at 14:01  
Blogger Paul de Mello said...

Government may have strong control over education and religious charities, but prisons are deemed to be the private residences of prisoners, hence voting & smoking regulations dont apply, so potential human rights issue. Interesting too, that DC's old uni, Oxford, is already worried about clerics on campus... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10080802/Former-Archbishop-of-Canterbury-Lord-Carey-in-row-over-intolerant-event.html

26 May 2013 at 14:03  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

They’ve got some brass neck.

BIRMINGHAM: Up to 25,000 British Pakistani men, women and children from across the UK gathered in Aston Park here to express their love for Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) and to call on the British government to introduce legislation that bars Islamophobes from insulting Islam under the garb of the freedom of speech…
…He announced that a rally of tens of thousands of Muslims will be held soon in Hyde Park to profess loyalty to Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) as well as to condemn the crudely made “Innocence of Muslims” movie which was recently released in the US and caused outrage in the Islamic world, including leading to a ban on Youtube in Pakistan…
…Speakers included interfaith leaders from Christian, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish religions and parliamentarians from Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats…


http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-172990-Thousands-rally-in-UK-to-demand-end-to-anti-Islam-speeches

26 May 2013 at 14:10  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

when most Muslims talk about ‘Jihad’, they are talking about their spiritual struggle

The horse’s mouth, section o9.0 of Reliance of the Traveller, explains the two kinds of jihad:

Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said as he was returning from jihad, ‘We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.’

Nagging away at the back of my mind is the thought that even a deeply spiritual Muslim is still worshipping a god who encourages the lesser jihad:

The believers who stay at home—apart from those that suffer from a grave impediment—are not equal to those who fight for the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons.

The spiritual Muslim still worships a god who describes non-Muslims as cattle, apes, pigs and the vilest of all creatures and who commands Muslims to be merciful to each other but ruthless to non-Muslims. The spiritual Muslim prays for the day when Islam will have overcome and subjugated non-Muslims.

A liberal democracy prides itself on tolerating a wide range of opinions but it does itself no favours by tolerating a religion that is as intolerant as Islam.

26 May 2013 at 14:32  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Cameron to stop Islamic immigration for all but the highest skilled individuals. “We cannot admit anymore. It is enough we assimilate what we have. That in itself will take a long time”. Also, Commons to discuss death penalty for all involved in terrorist activity. It is hoped that future atrocities will be foiled by those involved at a minor level going to the police to save their own neck”

There you are, Prime Minister, all you need, courtesy the Inspector, you hopeless bastard...

26 May 2013 at 14:36  
Blogger Jay Bee said...

Make the Islamic extremists and those tempted to join them know real fear. They won't quake in their boots because HMGov is going to launch all out war on them by committee. Pass emergency powers now Mr Cameron. Mount intelligence led ops. Cut the head off the snake. Take their UK leaders dead or alive and liquidate overseas masterminds by drone strikes or visitations by the SAS. Hack their websites, batter their blogs, smash their propaganda machine, training facilities and logistics. Don’t pussyfoot about. Sure we'll take casualties but there will be a lot more later on if this is left to fester. You've seen the damage done to community relations from the murder of a single British soldier so get in there and sort the terrorists out before Manchester becomes synonymous with Mumbai and the problem escalates condemning all communities to a future of partition, sectarianism and civil war.

26 May 2013 at 14:49  
Blogger non mouse said...

Well said, Jay Bee. It won't make any sense to Camoron, though. It's not touchy-feely floppy enough. He thinks rivers of red are a green light for all jelly fish - including those nice foreign men o' war.

26 May 2013 at 15:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Cameron bans Islamic brides migrating to the UK. It is thought there is now a sufficient pool of home grown first cousins to keep the genetically tragic custom going.

26 May 2013 at 15:04  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

A true and brilliant analysis YG.

This paragraph particularly reverberates loud and clear.

“The modern era is obsessed with three themes – autonomy, equality and rights. These are the values that allow each to be whatever he or she chooses. Left unfettered, the assertion of these leads to anarchy, so a British ‘values system’ has to be imposed for society to function at all. As society expands to encompass ever larger numbers of religious, ethnic and linguistic groups, rigid social structures are stretched to breaking point. The Church requires either cultural homogeneity or an élite sufficiently powerful to enforce conformity. But this negates the limited degree of Christian religious pluralism which the passing of the 1689 Act of Toleration specifically permitted. Dissenting traditions have gained in number and influence and have weakened the grip of state religion. The costs of coercing religious conformity are no longer politically acceptable: the state is not willing to accept the price in social conflict and so adopts a position of ‘neutrality’ on the competing claims of various religious bodies and moral values.“

The remedy would be for the government to support and promote all forms of our Christianity here by uniting them through their common elements whilst making secondary all other religions and prohibiting those elements which are totally at odds with our cultural values. We need a strong period of prohibition to regain the balance and status quo in Britain, it will be challenging but worth it. No more special treatment for other religions, execute a planned closure of many mosques and muslim faith schools as there are far too many. Then it will be easier to monitor what goes on in the remaining ones. Examine what books they are studying from and what they do there. Deport all muslims who are violent and disagreeable. Ban the burkha, and that little book of hate called the Koran, close down sharia courts as they have NO place here. If foreigners want to live here they should have to adopt our culture and speak our language or go somewhere else.

I'm not saying the government won't come in for some flack, but if we carry on like we are it'll be the non-believing citizens being hacked to death next.

26 May 2013 at 15:27  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

From Anglican daily prayer/locusts and wild honey

An excellent article with the last paragraph reproduced here.


The attackers knew they were actors in a drama — as keenly watched in their communities as on the BBC. And in that other audience they were asking: “How will the locals behave?” We know now. And that other audience may derive an entirely different lesson from this tableau: “See? Only their women act like men. (Only women braved the attackers and risked themselves) They follow orders. They are nothing anymore — these Westerners. They are a civilization whose core has been destroyed.”

Phil


http://www.locustsandwildhoney.net/2013/05/cs-lewis-is-sounding-eerily-prophetic.html

26 May 2013 at 15:52  
Blogger Damian said...

Mrs May said: “There’s an ideology out there that we need to challenge and when we first came in as a government one of the things we were very clear about here at the Home Office was we needed to look at extremism, not just violent extremism.” The assertion is that violent extremism is incubated within the ideology of non-violent extremism.

This little gem seems to gone un-remarked and will impact on UKIP and the EDL and whoever else the government thinks or accuses of extremism.

26 May 2013 at 16:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

What exactly is this article arguing for? The 1689 Act of Toleration was successively watered down until it was finally repealed. We now have Article 9 of the ECHR. Is it arguing for the removal of the right to that freedom to be replaced by special privilege for Christianity, forcing citizens to assimilate or accept a second class citizenship?

26 May 2013 at 16:06  
Blogger LEN said...

Manfarang,
No good waving about pieces of worthless paper saying" peace in our time!."
Didn`t work then won`t work now.

Tolerance is only being seen as weakness and encourages further action.

26 May 2013 at 16:19  
Blogger michael north said...


In 1969 Enoch Powell wrote, in the introduction to a collection of his speeches on British self-delusion:

"Not the least of its legacies is a large and growing alien population in our midst which we pretend not to see."

Nearly half a century on, and those who dominate our culture are still in denial. I have no hope at all that there is any rational, peaceful way out of this hole. It will be down to "blood and iron".

Just like history, in fact.

26 May 2013 at 16:30  
Blogger LEN said...

Manfarang If Hitler had met resistance when we started expanding his empire things could have quite possibly never have gone as far as they did.
Hitler took 'no action'[initially] by the allies as' a green light' to go ahead with his plans.
It is a mistake to tolerate evil because it will rise up and dominate you which also happens to be the way the UK is heading at the moment.

26 May 2013 at 16:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This case demonstrates the limits of political liberalism. It does not have the tools to defend itself from a large and aggressive illiberal faction that hides behind liberal ideals in order to effect change by force. What then to do?

The only available solution is to 'evangelize' the population to accept the de facto established religion of the liberal state. But modern liberal societies have become weak and degenerate. "Come be secular like us. You'll eventually die of a venereal disease but you'll have a helluva good party in the meantime" isn't much of a Gospel. Islam doesn't see a competitor to be emulated but a dying syphilitic soon to be replaced.

How you fix this I don't know. There is no competing religion in the West anymore, so you can't meet theology with theology. You could adopt illiberal methods and destroy the character of the state. You could accept some level of violence as the price of liberalism and watch low-level civil war creep onto your streets. You could ... I don't know.

I can't emphasize enough that the root if this conflict is found in demographics and the fear of (or expectation of) population shift and the cultural shift that will attend. The best solution to this problem is a confident indigenous population that is still producing children. But we in the West do that 'raising children' thing anymore. We are modern enlightened people.

carl

26 May 2013 at 16:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

There's always the Quiverfulls:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22526252

Campbell believes that many women have forgotten their biological, and for her, God-given function. "He created her with a womb. And in fact that's the most distinguishing characteristic of a woman. In the American Webster's 1928 dictionary, it says that woman is combination of two words: womb and man. She is a womb-man."

Womb-men. :)

26 May 2013 at 16:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

To paraphrase that line from Jaws:

We're gonna need some bigger houses!

26 May 2013 at 16:54  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


What exactly is this article arguing for?

For Islam to be house-trained, either from within or without.

26 May 2013 at 17:20  
Blogger Waywalker said...

Good afternoon your Grace. I am a long term reader but first time poster, which is strange as many of your regulars seem like old familiar friends. So greetings to you all.

I was wondering how the PM's proposals and the calls to gag preachers that have extremist views would look like if we consider it through the lens of SSM should it become law, as expounding a traditional view will be regarded, by at least some parties, as an extreme hate crime. Some I think are calling for a rod they might well end up being beaten with.

26 May 2013 at 17:49  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

I do wonder whether it was Islam that Enoch Powell had in mind when he made this speech:

“It is by ‘Black Power’ that the headlines are caught, and under the shape of the negro that the consequences for Britain of immigration and what is miscalled ‘race’ are popularly depicted. Yet it is more truly when he looks into the eyes of Asia that the Englishman comes face to face with those who will dispute with him the possession of his native land.”

Greetings, Waywalker.

26 May 2013 at 17:54  
Blogger Roy said...

Dreadnaught said...

BIRMINGHAM: Up to 25,000 British Pakistani men, women and children from across the UK gathered in Aston Park here to express their love for Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) and to call on the British government to introduce legislation that bars Islamophobes from insulting Islam under the garb of the freedom of speech…

How many thousands of British Moslems have been demonstrating against acts of terrorism committed in the name of their religion? I am perfectly sure that the overwhelming majority of British moslems are opposed to terrorism, but isn't it strange that they are willing to demonstrate in favour of laws against Islamophobia following the making of a film (the Innocence of Muslims) but much less willing to demonstrate against acts of terrorism that do far, far more damage to the image of Islam than any film or cartoon?

If there had been widespread, massively attended demonstrations by Moslems against terrorism then it is doubtful if we would have incidents, like that discussed on the previous posting from His Grace, of an elderly woman shouting abuse at worshippers outside a mosque (an incident that some people seem more worked up about than acts of terrorism).

26 May 2013 at 17:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Greetings Waywalker. It’s the weekend, so no courts are sitting, but allow the Inspector to pronounce judgement on Cameron’s initiative...

“Attempts to gag Islamic preachers to be ruled illegal by ECHR. It interferes with their right to whatever”


26 May 2013 at 17:58  
Blogger michael north said...


Johnny Rottenborough @ 17.54

Enoch Powell referred to "communalism", which he called "the curse of India". He had soldiered there, so he knew of what he spoke.

The British Raj tried to referee the religious and cultural differences of the various "communities" it found itself responsible for. But "multicultural" bullshit didn't keep it from trying to stamp out suttee, something today's Indian government still has a problem with.

It is impossible to imagine Cameron or any of his clones having that kind of elementary conviction.

26 May 2013 at 18:54  
Blogger Owl said...

We are really in a cultural war.

Is our culture worth saving.

Cameron obviously doesn't think so and encourages cultural extremism. It is heartening to see that he will now fight by commitee. The man is a joke.

If Dave wants to support british values then he has to have them himself in the first place. He has shown that he does not.

He does have 30 pieces of silver as has Milipede and Cluggy.

No, this is our fight and the government has retired to a neutral corner.

This will not end well....

26 May 2013 at 19:32  
Blogger genghis said...

Cameron to launch new terror task force to bring an end to religious extremism



Translated into ordinary English, this headline should actually read “We shall now be shovelling obscene amounts of taxpayers’ money towards the many muslim ‘community leaders’ and mosque imams from the Wahabbi sect of Islam, in order to shut the slimy bastards up, and give us a little peace before another crazed jihadi clown decides to avenge the imaginary insults done to ‘Islam’ half a world away.’

We know it didn’t work before, but, hey; thats never stopped us from doing it again!’

26 May 2013 at 19:53  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Carl

"I can't emphasize enough that the root if this conflict is found in demographics and the fear of (or expectation of) population shift and the cultural shift that will attend. The best solution to this problem is a confident indigenous population that is still producing children. But we in the West do that 'raising children' thing anymore. We are modern enlightened people."

I agree wholehartedly.

It is interesting the outpouring of grief over this one boy killed in London (by a drug crazed lunatic, rather than a follwer of Islam -- or so it seems -- he certainly behaved like one) when soilders killed in Afgan barely get a mention.

Phil

for the drug angle

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/



26 May 2013 at 19:55  
Blogger Owl said...

Peter Hitchin's comments are pure speculation.

Many young people these days have experience of cannabis but I have never heard of one chopping up anyone else with a meat cleaver.

26 May 2013 at 20:17  
Blogger Nick said...

Hi Damian

And what does the government regard as non-violent extremism?

Is the government so inward-looking now that "extremeism" is anything the Political Correctness Drones in the cabinet decide they don't like?

26 May 2013 at 20:26  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

TERFOR’s objective of ‘preventing people spreading the message of extremism’ could only be achieved by eradicating all trace of the message, the Qur’an. As that is impossible, we have to safeguard ourselves from the people receptive to the message, the Muslims, by repatriating them. Perhaps the barbaric and public nature of Drummer Rigby’s death will open eyes wide to Islam, and public opinion so turn against Muslims that they see the game is up and will wish to leave.

26 May 2013 at 20:46  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Rather then "investing" millions on pointless inquiries and the inevitable "community outreach" programs, a nice fund for informants and a dedicated intelligence division to manage and assess the resulting flood of info would yield immediate and rich results. Fat envelopes of cash to enterprising snitches work better than speeches and new community centres. It's thanks to this approach that Israeli intelligence knows every minute of the day in which stall they like to squat and with which hand Hamas operatives like to wipe themselves with.

26 May 2013 at 21:14  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Further to my last comment about eyes being opened to Islam, I have just seen this translation of an interview with Dominique Venner, the Notre Dame suicide:

‘Mass immigration is producing on European soil a shock of civilisations that could be fatal. But, in one of those extraordinary unforeseeable developments in history, it could also prove to be what saves us. From the otherness of the immigrant populations and their customs, their treatment of women, which shocks us profoundly, we see being born a new consciousness of identity which Europeans have rarely had in the past.’

26 May 2013 at 21:18  
Blogger Naomi King said...


Your Grace an marvellous post, thank you. Also some excellent suggestions from your correspondents. I do believe we would make a far better job of running the cabinet, certainly the clarity of vision here is far superior to that of Dave Cameron. Well done all.

26 May 2013 at 22:01  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Indeed Mr R. the International Socialists who run the West are unable to prevent the victimised, to wit, us, from discriminating between us and them. Thank God for our ‘in the blood’ identity...

26 May 2013 at 22:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Thank God for our ‘in the blood’ identity...

Blut und boden, eh, OIG?

carl

26 May 2013 at 22:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Not quite Carl, but an instinctive knowledge of who your own are.

You are comparatively lucky living in Hicksville, Middle of Nowhere, USA. You don’t get people who have flown in yesterday, and are preaching at the local mosque today...

Tally ho !

26 May 2013 at 22:25  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I'll bet the Tell MAMA http://tellmamauk.org/
phone lines are buzzing now then. The government should stop all funding for projects like this for a start. Let nature take it's course.

26 May 2013 at 22:30  
Blogger Peter D said...

Carl
Our Inspector is no peasant, or lover of peasants but, apart from that, blut und boden might just be an apt representation of some of his views.

26 May 2013 at 22:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D, you disappoint this man...

Still, much better than when you used to disappoint every body else on this site, what !


26 May 2013 at 22:46  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Haven't read the other 54 comments yet, but just thinking how is the law going to discriminate against Islamic 'hate' religious speech and everyone else? I think this kind of legislation could boomerang against other faiths *more likely and easy target* e.g.Jews Roman Catholics, C of E and others.

I think quite a few of the alleged 'hate preachers' have not been expelled from this country because of their 'human rights'.... Which is of course one way traffic as far as the courts are concerned...

26 May 2013 at 23:40  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Marie,

Your post : 26 May 2013 15:27

"The remedy would be for the government to support and promote all forms of our Christianity here by uniting them through their common elements whilst making secondary all other religions and prohibiting those elements which are totally at odds with our cultural values."

LOL! You do cheer me up. Good luck with the unification of Christianity thingy. You alone could bring Inspector, Carl Jacobs, Darter Noster, Cressida De Nova, Peter D, Len, Albert etc under one Christian and uniform theological umbrella. If could do that, then you'd deserve more than a medal...

And the 'Johnny foreigner should speak English'.

Very good.

What about the Welsh and Irish/Scottish Gaelic and Cornish languages ?

Is that foreign or not?

What about Hebrew, the language of which about half of your own holy book is written in?

26 May 2013 at 23:57  
Blogger Peter D said...

Inspector

Sorry you're disappointed. My comments to and about you are well intended.

You're a professing Catholic, a serious responsibility, and I'm interested in addressing some of your less orthodox opinions. As for some of the others, especially those with fixed opinions, I am resigned to accepting they're best left alone.

27 May 2013 at 00:24  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Peter D,

Don't bother with Inspector. He is clearly wearing the cultural 'Catholic' label and really doesn't believe (as we've discovered) half of his own religion.

Instead we get the argument on 'appreciating races' (his religion suggests it is for all of the human, not just the white race) and an anti-immigration stance (from someone who was of immigrant that is Irish Catholic parents),'sterilization' against mentally ill people and now that Judaism is 'alien' to the West (forgetting that the west's key religion is based upon it).

These views which clash with my own.

What is the point in arguing with some one who ignores his own dogma and prefers his own?

27 May 2013 at 00:34  
Blogger Peter D said...

Hannah - the lost sheep, the lost sheep. I am hopeful the Inspector will come to see the error of his ways.

The early Western civilisation is built on the suppression of all faiths opposed to Christianity - principally Islam, Judaism and all movements considered heretical. The Church held great sway over the State and the authority of the latter depended on conformity to Christian teaching.

It was understood then that belief systems which challenged the essential Christian order and the relationship between Church and State needed to be crushed for the greater good of individual souls and society at large.

Things are more complicated in the modern age.

27 May 2013 at 01:03  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Peter D,

Oh. I think I've misunderstood you for a year.

Don't let me stand in the way of you 'crushing' Judaism for the sake of 'western civilisation'. Let's have a new inquisition to root out the heretics and unbelievers....

'Thumb screws' to the ready.

27 May 2013 at 01:07  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Now there's a good show. When the going gets tough, the tough turn on each other.

27 May 2013 at 01:16  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Good evening Hannah, glad I amuse you. Well, Inspector, Carl Jacobs, Darter Noster, Cressida De Nova, Peter D, Len, Albert etc.. have to first want to unite on their common ground and although they argue over the many nuances of Christianity, deep down I think there is more unity than not on here. They are all highly intelligent and civilised people who enjoy pointing out each others' weaknesses in argument on a blog forum, but I would imagine in real life would be willing to put aside their differences especially now in the face of adversity. Our country has a problem with Islam which is getting out of control and that is a fact.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abPdsPc1cBM

We all speak English as the first language in Wales and I think it's the same in Scotland, Cornwall and Ireland. All official literature in Wales though is printed in English and Welsh. My Bible is written in English not Hebrew. I could buy another one in Hebrew. I don't see why official literature in England has to be printed in Urdu, Punjabi, Swahili, Afrikaans, Arabic etc.... do you?

27 May 2013 at 01:23  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

If memory serves right, and long term memory apparently suffers first, the most horrid crime ever committed by this sinner in his youth when in the clutches of the much-blamed weed was devouring an entire lemon meringue pie and a two litre carton of milk sweetened with Hungarian raspberry syrup in a single sitting. To the sounds of Selling England by the Pound LP on a concert-quality quadrophonic speaker array. No, I don't buy the killer weed theory either.

27 May 2013 at 01:40  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Indeed, Marie, the English Bibles are superb works of literature, especially the all time classic the King James translation. Wycliffe's, though, is a truly sublime gem. It is a pleasure to read just for its clarity and its rhythmic cadence if one can obtain a good facsimile and has a couple of days to get acclimatized to the surprisingly legible and aesthetically pleasing script (not the familiar gaucherie passed off as "Old English" font), and to mention the idiosyncrasies and creative spelling of Middle English. Masterpieces all of them and eventhough they are translations of translations, they do bear a slight resemblance to the Hebrew original.

27 May 2013 at 05:53  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Hannah

Your comment 25th May 23:40 re easy targets.

I remember a story I read as a kid about a dog on a farm.

Creatures invaded by night to destroy the crops, but fled when the dog barked, fearing his teeth.

But the Farmer got fed up with the barking; and rather than investigate the reason for it, he muzzled the dog.

If you don't know the story, I'm sure you can guess the outcome.

Regards.

27 May 2013 at 08:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hannah:

Correction: 26th May.

27 May 2013 at 08:35  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Joining this rather late in the day,
Explorer, Your dog on the farm story is so apt and concise, it's almost parable like. Thank you for that.
Another point. I am glad that it's been said here something like, .... OK there are serious and significant theological differences, built up over the centuries, between the different strands of Christianity and between Christianity and its parent faith (hope that phrase doesn't jar with anyone?) Judaism; but given the seriousness of the situation, and the potentially devastating cultural pressures now being exerted upon western civilization, we need to work together, not forgetting the differences but respectfully parking them, whilst getting on with the job of protecting the common territory.Absolutely!
Remember what happened to the eastern Roman Empire, in Constantinople. Theological differences, the Filioque amongst other things, and the vying for power, with Rome, The Latin West, determined to assert authority over the Greek East, led to military assistance being repeatedly denied or botched until finally the east fell, was overrun, and the area was therefore, crusading period apart, effectively denied to the remaining Christian western kingdoms for centuries,thus having a profound and lasting influence on our western history, including our own national maritime trajectory. So the lesson is unite or lose, I believe. And it is a deadly serious point. But would our aetheist friends, who usually lack much sense of historical perspective agree?

27 May 2013 at 09:13  
Blogger bluedog said...

Absolutely right, David Hussell @ 0913, there are two options, Constantinople or Madrid. We need to ensure that London is a new Madrid. One can only hope that the dissembling by Messrs Cameron and Johnson about the true risks of Islam is designed with two objectives; firstly to avoid provoking the Ummah into outright revolt that would make the 2011 riots look tame, secondly to avoid total panic amongst the whites.

Sadly both objectives may be overtaken by events as the summer heats up and bored youths start to goad each other. Bringing what remains of the Army back from Afghanistan is starting to look like a masterstroke.

27 May 2013 at 09:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David H.

Thank you for your comment.

Given when the story must have been written, I think it was exactly that: a parable. The cost of speaking truth to those who don't want to hear. The fate of Socrates comes to mind. And Elijah. And Jeremiah.

Re your other point, C. S. Lewis
said something about denominational differences: problems come from those at the edges. When you meet those at the core of their belief, what you find in the unity. That has certainly been my experience: both in life, and on this Blog.

Regards.

27 May 2013 at 09:31  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

There is a solution to this

Ban all speech except what a committee of good citizens agrees is good for society

We could call it the "Committee for Public Safety", defendants would not be able to speak at the hearings and punishments could be immediate and severe

Oops it seems I am too late and that lots of Western Governments have thought of this already


Phil



27 May 2013 at 09:43  
Blogger LEN said...

Hannah, it is not just the jews who suffered under the Catholic Church followers of Jesus Christ suffered too.'Truth' was what the Catholic Church claimed it was any dissenters either got' converted' to catholicism or eliminated.
H G for example!.

Islam may be able to bring about what no one else has been able to do...cause some sort of unity(against a common foe)

27 May 2013 at 10:08  
Blogger LEN said...

Our Government should be very careful not to allow laws which will override British Law.'Sharia' for instance.Australia countered this problem because they had the foresight to see where this would lead.

27 May 2013 at 10:11  
Blogger Roy said...

Peter D said...

The early Western civilisation is built on the suppression of all faiths opposed to Christianity - principally Islam, Judaism and all movements considered heretical.

That is a bit unfair. You should read the review of the book Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy if you don't have time to read the book itself.

http://www.amazon.com/Mohammed-Charlemagne-Revisited-History-Controversy/dp/0578094185

The author claims that medieval Christianity got the idea of the holy war and the persecution of heretics from Islam. I am not altogether convinced of that but the Crusades did not start until centuries after Muslim conquests of previously Christian lands and were prompted by a desire to safeguard access to the Holy Land.

Of course, "he started it" is not much of an excuse when it comes to fights. It is a legitimate excuse in war but not one that should be encouraged by Christians, or adherents of any religion for that matter.

27 May 2013 at 10:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dreadnaught: "For Islam to be house-trained, either from within or without."

How and on what basis? Are we going to set restrictions on their freedom to worship? Perhaps we'll bring in a notion of thought crime and deviance from orthodoxy? Will Roman Catholics fall within the bounds or our of them? Mormons? How about extreme protestants?

27 May 2013 at 10:52  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

Boris Johnson is beginning to see the light with his virus analogy , but hasn't yet got the full Churchillian picture.

27 May 2013 at 11:08  
Blogger LEN said...

When Judeo-Christian concepts of law and morality are jettisoned in favour of whatever seems a'good idea 'at the time(in the eyes of man) then we start a descent into chaos.

So what law shall we go by now ...Sharia?.or shall we just make something up to deal with each crisis as it happens...This is the path 'liberalism ' has chosen for us!

27 May 2013 at 11:14  
Blogger LEN said...

Without a' Law Giver' every man will do what is 'right in his own eyes 'and ultimately respect for the law will disappear(which is happening ).Why (in the eyes of muslims should they respect a law which is not theirs?)The Bible which is 100% accurate in prophecy states that in the last days"Lawlessness will increase" and guess what ..it has!.People are murdered on the streets in broad daylight with passers by witnessing the event.

So every mans concept of what is 'right' and what is' wrong' is without boundaries.'One mans meat is another mans poison' to coin a phrase.

This is a pathway to anarchy.

27 May 2013 at 11:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Of course, Muslims will say that there is a law giver, called Allah, and that they have an absolute code to live by, called Sharia. In fact, some of them would like the whole of society to be run according to their god's intention and they wouldn't be very tolerant of others who are living outside Allah's intentions, like atheists and cell church type Christians. Who's to argue with that if some Christians are using much the same argument themselves?

27 May 2013 at 11:31  
Blogger Peter D said...

Hannah Kavanagh said...
"Hi Peter D,

Oh. I think I've misunderstood you for a year.

Don't let me stand in the way of you 'crushing' Judaism for the sake of 'western civilisation'. Let's have a new inquisition to root out the heretics and unbelievers...."


And it seems you still do misunderstand me. Where did I say I agreed with this approach - then or now?

27 May 2013 at 11:32  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

DanJo
How and on what basis? Are we going to set restrictions on their freedom to worship?

We have to be prepared to curtail and sacrifice if necessary some of our civil liberties that are working to undermine the same liberty and freedom they are meant to preserve. Islam has come to this country in the baggage of immigrants who rather than opt into our culture and character have merely colonised areas of our country with their own.

Lets not beat around the bush here - the problem is Islam and not Muslims as individuals. As has been pointed out innumerable times the problem lies in the basis for this cult which is the contents of the Koran.

Initially, I say we should be prepared to argue the case that all Islamic literature used in ritual or reference, should be expunged of exhortations to violence (same should go for books of any other religion if necessary). That the English language should be used at all times in that literature mosques, madrassas and anywhere else where Muslims function as an organised group or face closure. If they don't like it - TOUGH!

The West has to stand united and be prepared to assert it's determination and cultural dominance within its own borders.
We have been sleepwalking into a box canyon of relaxed liberal complacency which is about to collapse upon us in the not too distant future.

Our politicians, theologians and philosophers are gutless, clueless
and completely out of touch with reality; blinded by politically correct multicultural clap-trap. When they react, they condemn the so called far-Right while at the same time par lip service to the efforts and sacrifices made by Joe Public in times of war.

We are in a bloody war right now - the one called by ISLAM which used to be confined to the third-world but is now seeping in to the British heartland.

27 May 2013 at 12:30  
Blogger IanCad said...

"Dreadnaught wrote:

"We have to be prepared to curtail and sacrifice if necessary some of our civil liberties--"

What an utterly ridiculous and cowardly suggestion.
An affront to all those who have sacrificied to secure our liberties.
Are we children?
Good Lord help us.

27 May 2013 at 12:46  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi DanJ0

If someone tells me what colour car I must drive, that's invasion of privacy. But if someone tells me what colour light I must stop on, that's survival.

For any society to function at all, some ideology must decide what laws apply to everybody, how they will be enforced, and how much freedom can be allowed to citizens.

How do we tell the success of one ideology compared with another? Outcomes. The state of the nation. More East Berliners seemed to want to head west than the other way round. East Germany didn't absorb West Germany.

In the modern Darwinian take on the world, the only ultimate test of success is survival. Bertrand Russell made a humorous speculation about tribes that worshipped animal totems. Tribes that worshipped things like crocodiles died out. Tribes that worshipped things like cows survived and prospered. Humorous, but behind it there's a serious point.

27 May 2013 at 12:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dreadnaught, I agree there's a problem and I agree that these enclaves are not a Good Thing. However, there's no way that Muslims (or Christians ow whoever) are going to accept someone rewriting and sanitising their religious texts for them.

As I said at the start of the thread, who owns our culture and who manages change? We're not a homogenuous culture or anything like it. There's no way that I am going to accept a further Christian intrusion into our political system. As such, on what basis should one diverse element be oppressed and not another?

What we could do is not be so accomodating when the religious try to impose duties on the rest of us. We could force English to be the only language of the State. Remove the notion of faith schools. Restrict State support for large families and reduce the duties on the State in that area. Even stop immigration through marriage if we're serious.

27 May 2013 at 12:53  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Peter D

And people say we don't have any sense of humour...

27 May 2013 at 12:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "For any society to function at all, some ideology must decide what laws apply to everybody, how they will be enforced, and how much freedom can be allowed to citizens."

Well, quite. Some of that follows from how we understand human nature and how we interpret the human condition. We seem to recognise individual interests, value freedom to follow those, and accept the diversity it brings. Other bits follow from political science 101 such as what gives the State its authority. At the moment, we're a democracy and the authority of the State comes from the people. If religionists, be they Christians Muslims or whatever want o remake our society then they must either do it by force or by force of argument. At present, I don't think either of those things have much chance of succeeding to be frank.

27 May 2013 at 13:02  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer,

I was thinking more along the lines that any law that is rushed through won't mention a specific religion, which means all religions would suffer a loss of freedom.

For example, in today's strange world, one could imagine some-one being put into trouble for a Christian saying that part of his/her belief is that non-Christians go to a place called hell. So under a law which wants to ban 'extremist' religious websites, can't you imagine that should a statement would be 'interpreted' as 'religious hate'.

That is the easy target. Rooting out genuine Islamic hate sites is too difficult for the establishment and they don't have the stomach for it.

Besides which I am not sure if I would want to ban these extremist hate sites- to do so would go against the principal of free speech and merely make martyrs out of people (which is why, say, storm front shouldn't be banned). I think we all have the right to be offended, even by material is which is clearly shyte.

27 May 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well said, Mr Dreadnaught @ 12.30. Time and again we see that the political elite are about five years behind the more discerning members of the electorate in comprehension of issues. Credible reaction to the Woolwich atrocity has been lead by the press and by the bloggosphere. If the usual pattern prevails about 50% of Conservative MPs will shortly take Cameron to task for his weak reaction, but Labour and the Lib-Dems will back Cameron against his own back-bench.

27 May 2013 at 13:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi DanJ0

Good post, and you made the point at the start of this thread.

Busy right now, but thinking about response. Will get back to you, either on this thread or a future one, if more appropraite.

Regards.

27 May 2013 at 13:51  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 May 2013 at 13:55  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Hannah

Nice to hear from you.

I can imagine it indeed. In the Stalinist paradise on Earth, some were put to death, or interned as insane, or sent to a labour camp for saying GOD existed, never mind hell.

I imagine my fate, had I been a Russian, would have been the middle one; since most of my friends consider me eccentric. (Although a good laugh with it: but I doubt whether sober Marxists would have taken that view.)

Regards.

27 May 2013 at 13:59  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ DanJ0 (11:31)—In the good old days, Muslim attempts to run the whole of society along the lines suggested by Allah were confined to the Islamic world. The attempts have met with little success but Muslims have the right to run their countries as they see fit. Similarly, Westerners have the right to run their countries as they see fit. As Muslim immigration is making that increasingly difficult, and eventually impossible, the win-win solution is for Muslims to return to their part of the world. They’ll be so much happier there and the West will be a happier place without them.

27 May 2013 at 14:08  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

IanCad

Nothing cowardly at all about what I said - if anyone is being cowardly it is you with your head stuck up your sanctimonious bum.

DanJo

I am being totally serious when I say the situation in the West towards Islamic tolerance has reached a tipping point. The political, economic and demographic conditions resemble those of the 1930s and who's to say it won't result in a similar 'popular' revolt.

Secularists and religionists or anyone with a social conscience needs to ask the question 'WHY' any peaceful organisation, religious or otherwise needs to reference outrageous acts of violence that allegedly happened thousands of years ago, are needed today. This in my view, constitutes incitement to hatred right there without illusion, in clear print.

The Bible for one, has been re-worked many times (I don't know Jack about Jewish theology) and the Koran is simply as poisonous witches milk. If these religious icons and their followers are to remain here they need to be critical of themselves and be prepared to see their dreadful holy works re-written/edited for the common good and in conformity within the intention of the Law.

Failing this - we need to evolve new laws which will be applied and enforced without preference, to any religion or cult that fails in its own Reformation.

I am in accord with much else of what you say.


27 May 2013 at 14:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Johnny, I very much doubt they'll go in the sort of numbers that would make a difference. For the third generation people, they wouldn't fit in back in Pakistan, Bangladesh, or whereever. They're hybrids. If you ask an East African Hindu what it's like to go to their ancestral home in India, they almost to a man say that they feel like tourists and are treated that way.

27 May 2013 at 14:12  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Dan (14:12)—If they return, they’re treated as tourists. If they stay, they live in fear. It is wholly regrettable that fear should come into the equation but the patience of the British is not inexhaustible and I sense they will not tolerate very much more Muslim terror.

27 May 2013 at 14:28  
Blogger IanCad said...

Dreadnaught,

If not cowardice then it must be, at the least, fearfulness.
Quite why I can't imagine.There are many and plenty laws to cover incitement to violence, breaches of the peace, treason etc.
Why on earth would you wish to agitate for restrictions on your, and mine, civil liberties.
Once rights are lost they are rarely reinstated without repetition of the bloodshed which secured them in the first place.
I am beginning to suspect that the spirit has been drained from the manhood of this nation.

Ian

27 May 2013 at 14:43  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dreadnaught,

You don't know 'jack about Jewish theology'. Which is absolutely fine, because our law and Torah are for Jews and not for anyone else to follow or for Jews to force others to follow (although converts from every nation are welcome).

Hence Jews have to observe the Sabbath, not eat pork, men cover their heads etc, but this is not something which we would force the population as a whole to do.

Of course Judaism has its own set of ethics and philosophy,from rationalist to mystical, from Orthodox, to conservative to liberal. We are quite a diverse, non hierarchical faith and people- our Rabbis are teachers and theologians, but at best are like Protestant ministers, rather than Catholic Priests (their 'secular' power was often forced upon them by Christian rulers, e.g. conducting a Jewish marriage).

We do have religious courts, called bet dins, but they deal only with civil matters, mostly centred around issues relating purely to us as a religion, such as the granting of Kosher certificates, or arranging Jewish loans, assessing converts into our religion, marriages and divorces but only Jews can use them and the decisions are binding only in the sense that the use of these is voluntary on all parties.

There is also the Jewish philosophy called 'dina de-malkhuta dina'- 'the law of the land is the law'- a principal which says Jews should respect and follow the laws of the country in which they live.

27 May 2013 at 14:52  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

IanCad
If not cowardice then it must be, at the least, fearfulness

Wrong - completely wrong. This topic is concerned with reality and the political inertia inculcated by people like you - all talk and no action.

We have had one of our own soldiers beheaded and disembowelled on a street in London. People blown to bits on the Tube all in the name of Islam. Over thirty foiled attempts at mass murder in eight years - yet even Muslim prisoners have won the rights to have their lavatories re-orientated to avoid pointing a bared arse in the direction of Mecca.

The point you can't or won't see is that you will little in the way of civil rights unless you are prepared to fight for them. Do you know anything at all about the subject of civil rights where Islam is dominant?

In the last war may of our rights were put to one side while the bigger threat was tackled. If you don't know what I'm talking about then you know even less about our own history than you do about Islam.

27 May 2013 at 15:06  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

No need to complicate things unnecessarily and twist our skivvies into knots over false dilemmas, ethical conundrums and crises of faith.

Islamism, like its incestuous cousin terrorism, isn't only an ideological movement, but a network, a huge business and an industry employing armies of humdrum bureaucrats behind every "soldier." The machine is kept going by stupendous amounts of money, a serious capital investment...a lot of it which is funnily enough supplied through us, by overpayment for oil, generous welfare and funds laundered through UN programs, foreign aid and NGOs. You folks don't really believe that those super-mosques, maddrassas, propaganda campaigns and charities are fueled by indigenous supporters on wthe dole, I hope?

Just as terrorism can be seriously disrupted by buggering up the money flow and raising its operating expenses, rather than turning democracies into police states, so can Islamism be crippled without rewriting our constitutions or turning ourselves into jingoistic theocracies and reviving the Crusades.

27 May 2013 at 15:20  
Blogger Ivan said...


The book Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy by Emmett Scott, is itself based on the work of Henri Perienne, apparently a famous historian in his time. When I got hold of a .tif copy of his Mohammed and Charlemagne (available on archive.org) what I found amusing is that although the burden of Perienne's thesis is that the Islamic conquests sunk Europe from the 7th century onwards, the earlier chapters had a interesting gloss on Jews in that era. Their work was principally in usury and slaving, and pretty widespread too throughout the Mediterranean. These activities of theirs would leave them with few friends among the Christians. These (among similarly unsavory activities) and not the Christ-killing red herring, were the principal reasons for the antipathy of Christians towards Jews. I advise you, Len, to get off the street-corner and read a few books.

27 May 2013 at 15:22  
Blogger IanCad said...

Dreadnaught,

You are making little sense at all.
To quote you:

"The point you can't or won't see is that you will little in the way of civil rights unless you are prepared to fight for them--"

You are the one who has suggested that we abrogate our civil rights.

I have said "No Way"

Further, you seem to have a problem with toilets and religious rights.
Of course we should re-orientate the facilities. We are civilised; or at least claim to be.

Freedom comes at a price. There have been many outrages, as you have cited.
However, in proportion to our population they are few and far between.
Why the panic?

27 May 2013 at 15:42  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Ivan

History is important of course, but has to been seen contextually and unless supported with primary source evidence, taken with a large pinch of salt. What is important however, is how events taking place around us now will shape the future of the next generation.

I have no use for religion, but I don't deny the rights of others to take their choices provided they keep it to themselves and trouble no one.

27 May 2013 at 15:43  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

IanCad
However, in proportion to our population they are few and far between.
Why the panic?


So its not affected you personally has it, therefore it doesn't exist.

****in Unbelievable!

As I said before - your heads up your arse.

27 May 2013 at 15:50  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 May 2013 at 16:02  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi DanJ0

This thread. Newer one is a non-starter for me.

Long post. Sorry. Abandon, if it gets boring.

Ultimately, our view about everything else will be determined by our view about the Universe.

One. It emerged by accident. Any purpose is what we ourselves create. Morality is fluid, history is fluid, people are fluid (hence the new enthusiasm for blending human and machine in Transhumanism). Individual death finishes us, and our world itself will end with the cooling of the Sun.

Two. The Universe was created with a purpose. Morality is fixed, in that some things are always and everywhere right or wrong. History is moving to a conclusion. The afterlife will compensate for the injustices that have never yet been put right, despite humanity's best efforts.

In Russell's terms, these are different totems that lead to different outcomes.

You mention Xity trying to take over. That's an historical accident, surely: trying not to relinquish what it once had. Xity informed Britain's laws before Liberalism did: Liberalism getting going after the Renaissance, and flourishing in the Enlightenment.


Xity doesn't inform the UK's laws now. Whether what is replacing it (and replacing Liberalism, in your sense) can hold together the future tensions of British society remains to be seen.

Re Xity's survival. If it is false, then it will disappear: and deservedly so. If it is true, then it will survive; although our Founder warned that there would be times of trial.

You're a good person to bounce ideas off, DanJ0. If you've read this far, please pitch into what I've said.


Regards.

27 May 2013 at 16:04  
Blogger IanCad said...

Dreadnaught,

It most certainly does effect me personally.

Every time a vile act of terrorism occurs people like you try to take away my civil liberties.

27 May 2013 at 16:04  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ivan, once again you're talking nonsense through your ignorant, Jew-baiting arse. Neither Christians nor the Church had issues with slavery...except in cases where Christian slaves were owned by non-Christians... and in fact the Church owned slaves and was highly active in the trade until the transport routes were disrupted by the Muslims navies. It then switched to local raw human material under the guise of "feudalism," which was even harsher than classical slavery. What do you think funded all those monasteries and cathedrals?

And it wasn't superior morals or a loving faith that ended the tyranny of feudal bondsmanship, but a invisible lowly organism by the name of Yirsinia pestis, the bug behind the 14th century Blue Sickness... aka the Black Plague, which halved Europe's population, increased the price of labour, made land available, spurred commerce and ended the Church's monopoly on the economy through slavery under a different name.

You might want to check out historiographical source materials beyond what the drunks at pravda.ru hammer out.

27 May 2013 at 16:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer, I find the first one empowering and the most likely to be true by observation. The second one is likely to be a successful meme (colloquially) because it encourages disadvantaged people to accept their lot in life. Of course, the first one could lead to a Stalin-esque society as well as a benign liberal democracy, and the second one could be false or its creator could be called Allah.

27 May 2013 at 16:20  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

The Explorer re Bertrand Russel: Tribes that worshipped things like crocodiles died out. Tribes that worshipped things like cows survived and prospered. Humorous, but behind it there's a serious point.

You might want to check out the late Columbia U anthropologist Marvin Harris' Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches: The Riddles of Culture. In it he argues that cattle worship in India keeps the resource-poor agrarians alive by preventing them, through powerful religious taboo, from eating up their sole source of traction and their main steady supply of animal protein in the form of milk. Basically natural selection favoured the cow worshipper who resisted the urges to eat his cattle even during famines and weeded out the "rationalists" who binged for a couple of weeks and starved later.

Once you're hooked... not if... the next one to check out is his methodological work which provides the key to his remarkably result-bearing research strategy, Cultural Materialism: The Struggle for a Science of Culture.

We theists take a few knocks in his books, but the science is sound, honest and elegant.

27 May 2013 at 16:54  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi DanJ0

I know what you mean about empowering. But it also empowered Nietzsche into thoughts about the evolving Superman. (And if there's a higher life form, well, there's also a lower...)

Man (colloquially) as an animal can go two ways. One: animals have the same rights as humans. Two: humans have no more rights than animals. Hence Nazi doctors operating without anaesthetic: just a stronger animal exercising its power over a lower one. And no afterlife to worry one about the consequences.

As to your second point, Hobbes said exactly the opposite. (I imagine we both despise him: an absolute sovereign imposing his views on the conflicting rights of his subjects. It's right because it happens to be my taste. Different sovereign, and it's all change).

Hobbes hated the afterlife not for making people passive, but for making them active. You might doubt the King's wisdom. You might think him subject to divine judgement! You might follow your conscience, and do your own thing...

Solution: torture. Make 'em so afraid of what you can do to them here, they'll forget about what might be done to them in the hereafter.

Allah. Good one. Another time. I've already gone on long enough.

Regards.

27 May 2013 at 17:19  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Avi

Thanks for that. I'll check it out.

Regards.

27 May 2013 at 17:21  
Blogger LEN said...

There is nothing so restrictive as a 'liberal' Society so it seems.

'It is simply impossible for a society to embrace both legal approval of homosexuality and the Judeo-Christian tradition. And the more a culture publicly affirms the normality of gay sex, the more it will have to punish those who disagree'.(end of Quote)

So all the Judeo Christian foundations of our society must be trashed to make way for the 'gays'to be able to have their 'rights' at the expense of everyone else`s.How very liberal.

27 May 2013 at 17:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len, you clearly know very little about liberal philosophy given that argument. You're just trotting out the silly slogans the domini canis use here to try to turn around and attack.

27 May 2013 at 18:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "Man (colloquially) as an animal can go two ways. One: animals have the same rights as humans. Two: humans have no more rights than animals."

What about rights and concomitan duties deriving from a social contract? Rawls rather than Hobbes.

27 May 2013 at 18:16  
Blogger Peter D said...

Good quote LEN

"It is simply impossible for a society to embrace both legal approval of homosexuality and the Judeo-Christian tradition. And the more a culture publicly affirms the normality of gay sex, the more it will have to punish those who disagree."

DanJ0, its true and its fundamentally illiberal. What's the *liberal* argument against the imposition of a State morality to promote a minorities interests? If homosexual *marriage* becomes law, how can Christians claim homosexual activity and homosexual *marriage* are wrong without becoming a cropper of some law or other given this group are protected?

And its not just Dominicans who oppose the normalisation and institutionalisation of sexual perversity.

27 May 2013 at 18:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


My ! My ! DanJ0, has been a talkative blighter of late. Must be fearing the inevitable. Certain freedoms are going, in order to cope with Islam in this country. When the inevitable car bomb goes off despite the best efforts of the security forces, he’ll be falling asleep at the keyboard, such will be his commitment to broadcasting his hopes and fears for the future of his beloved liberalism...

27 May 2013 at 18:38  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Yesterday. Pregnant woman in Oldham holding a Union Jack. Member of ethnic community takes exception. Police arrive. Guess who they arrest.

I seem to remember HG doesn’t care for video links but I hope he’ll make an exception in this case. Click here.

27 May 2013 at 19:31  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi DanJ0

Yes, I agree Rawls is another matter. Hobbes is the first word, not the last, on social contract theory.

I wasn't intending to suggest that contract theory is discredited because of Hobbes. I was simply showing that Hobbes used the opposite reason from Marx for getting rid of thoughts about the after life.

Also, I wasn't using the 'man is an animal issue' in relation to Hobbes: I was using it in relation to the Nazis.

Lots else to do for a while. Signing off on this particular thread.

No douibt we'll find much else to discuss on another one.

27 May 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness DanJ0, you know the Quiverfulls? What a small world it is indeed. Can't stop and chat - there's a flap on in the cloisters and my smelling salts are needed. Archdeacon Grantly read about Mr. Cameron wanting to get rid of hate clerics and had apoplexy - silly man, he thought Mr. C. meant him!

27 May 2013 at 20:04  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Ivan,

Yawn. Anything worthwhile to contribute ?

27 May 2013 at 20:05  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Big sigh from me...

As usual the thread deteriorates / dragged down to posters dislike of gay people....

How sad.

27 May 2013 at 20:11  
Blogger non mouse said...

Mr. Rottenborough @ 19:31 - thank you for letting us know that.

I heard a good Yorkshire voice noting "That's disgoosting" - but it looks as if we might soon need to turn a bit less phlegmatic. We should be able to fly our own flag in our own country.

And --- what would happen if I objected to anyone's sporting the vile blue and yellow rag of the euSSR? I bet I'd get arrested for that, as well.

27 May 2013 at 20:37  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

This is tough call to make Johnny. As I'm sure you're not aware, the bacground to the story is that sewn to the other side of the Union flag was a sign bearing "no more mosques." The woman was apparently not arrested and the flag was not confiscated; she was removed to diffuse a volatile situation involving two sides. The event occured on the peripheries of an EDL ralley and the police were acting to prevent an escalation for which they did not have the numbers to control. See: manchestergazette.co.uk/video-of-woman-apparently-being-arrested-for-holding-british-flag-goes-viral/

A few years back the German police confiscated an Israel flag flown by a Jewish student from his apartment windows during a Muslim ralley which was fast turning into a dangerous riot. The event was blown out of proportion by some well meaning conservative sites and it was pointless for me to defend the decision of the German police to many of my excited Jewish friends who had never been to a ralley or been in a middle of a riot. Once things get out of hand, uninvolved and unaware people get hurt and an armoured division would have a tough time calming things down.

I participated in and even helped organizea few times to organize a few pro-Israel ralleys in my student days. It was easy then, as they we're not many Muslims in Canada and the Left had yet to define itself as anti-Israel. In time, as the situation changed, I got to dislike the ritual show of numbers, the yelling out of slogans, preening before the cameras, the yelling into bullhorns, the counter-rallies and the implied mob threat. Given our fractured societies,urban area densities and the volatility of people, I'd be happier if mass demonstrations were taken out of our political discourse.

27 May 2013 at 20:43  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I understand the principle and I agree that we should be free and safe to fly flags, especially our national flags. The ability to express affiliations and sympathies through symbols is at the core of liberty. Our principle does get a bit pushed, though when swastikas are flown or the flags of countries and terror organizations we've been at war with or suffered under. They reach a breaking point with insulting slogans at soldiers' funerals or pedo-bear mascots handing out balloons and lollies to kids. In an ideal world we would ignore what many feel are provocations, but we're not in an ideal world. I have no ready solutions to this quandary, this conflict between the right free expression and the other necessary component of free society, public safety, other than to hope that we can find a way to formalize protests and hold them in safe environments.

27 May 2013 at 21:06  
Blogger Peter D said...

Hannah

Come now. Its not to do with "dislike of gay people" but the illiberalism of the State imposing the normalising and institutionalising of this as an active lifestyle.

And it is highly relevant in the context of our declining population, marginalisation of Christianity (and the criminalisation of the free expression of conscience) and general lack of respect for parenthood and family life. This all makes the growth of aggressive Islam so potentially dangerous in combination with its growing wealth and economic power.

Psalm 127:3–5:
"Behold the inheritance of the Lord are children:
the reward, the fruit of the womb.
As arrows in the hand of the mighty, so the children of them that have been shaken.
Blessed is the man that hath filled the desire with them;
he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate."

27 May 2013 at 21:19  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Peter,

OK. I'll take your word for that.

27 May 2013 at 21:21  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Avi Barzel (20:43)—Britain used to have a tradition of free speech that was upheld by the police. That’s why some of us find these scenes so offensive. The reason they are now common is that Muslims use their ‘volatility’ so effectively that the authorities live in fear of them, so it’s the Englishwoman who is ‘removed’ and it’s the Muslim who is free to gloat. In the process, the police edge that bit further towards being seen as the enemy.

27 May 2013 at 21:25  
Blogger Peter D said...

Hannah

Thank you but I'm speaking for myself, you understand.

27 May 2013 at 21:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "DanJ0, its true and its fundamentally illiberal."

Feel free to explain.

27 May 2013 at 21:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "When the inevitable car bomb goes off despite the best efforts of the security forces, he’ll be falling asleep at the keyboard, such will be his commitment to broadcasting his hopes and fears for the future of his beloved liberalism..."

I'm old enough to remember IRA terrorism on the mainland, including the targetting of mainline stations in London. I remember the policy of internment and the ludicrous dubbing of the various people like Gerry Adams to get around the censorship. Some of this sort of stuff is not really new, you know.

27 May 2013 at 21:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "And its not just Dominicans who oppose the normalisation and institutionalisation of sexual perversity."

I was talking about the domini canes here i.e. people like you, not the Dominicans.

27 May 2013 at 21:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Understood JR, but this case was not as described on the 'Net in the first flush of excitement. The police has the primary responsibility to protect the public and there they defused a potentially dangerous situation, admittedly caused by angry and unpredictable Muslims who are easily offended. That's certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. But this was not just a regular lady holding a Union flag, but a shouting demonstrator with a slogan sown on the other side. If you look at the video you'll see that this was not an area designated for a rally, as there were oblivious pedestrians strolling about. The woman was not arrested and flying the flag is not prohibited. The police can not deal with root causes of political and social issues or bad immigration policies on the spot by allowing a fight or a riot to errupt and letting bystanders be hurt.

27 May 2013 at 22:10  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Avi Barzel (22:10)—It’s OK. I don’t expect you to understand. You’re not English.

27 May 2013 at 22:32  
Blogger bluedog said...

Avi @ 15.20, totally agree. A financial blockade of Islam should be the starting point. Propagation of Islam in the West is dependent on a number of vectors: free movement of people, free movement of money and free movement of information. Targetting each of these attributes progressively(love that word) would severely inhibit the ability of the Islamic franchise to spread.

Indeed, this communicant suggests transferring all flights into and out of the UK that are conducted by Islamic airlines to Stanstead. Forty-three miles from London, relatively poorly served by transport and with a runway that is probably too short for fully loaded ops by 747s and A380s, Stanstead could act as a choke point that would reduce the Muslim access to the UK. Think of the attendant security benefits at LHR!
All western nations should be persuaded to follow a similar policy.

This communicant continues to recommend salami tactics as an appropriate method for persuading the Ummah to return to the bliss of Dar al Islam.

27 May 2013 at 22:46  
Blogger Peter D said...

DanJ0 said...
"Feel free to explain."

Have done so, repeatedly. In summary: a State imposed morality, favouring a minority interest at the expense of the health and welfare of the majority, removes personal merit and is a misuse of force.

"I was talking about the I was talking about the domini canes here i.e. people like you, not the Dominicans. here i.e. people like you, not the Dominicans."

Well, I'll take that as a compliment. The pun, "Hounds of the Lord", derived from Dominicans, is not something I see as particularly pejorative.

Woof, woof .... at least such hounds have morals and know how to behave, unlike common dogs.

27 May 2013 at 22:56  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I would just stick to the money bit and I would avoid creating controversial situations and limitations on freedoms at home. Put the pressure on the source countries and let them cut emigration and outflow of funds in their own charming ways. As thing are, they are dependent on petrodollars or Western aid and are stretched to the breaking point, so even small reductions in aid and a few percentage points of energy intependence will plunge them into civil strife and a diversion of funds for big plans and big dreams of world domination. The alternative is to wait and do nothing, as the decline and collapse of the Islamic world, in progress since the 70s,is all but inevitable.

27 May 2013 at 23:32  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Peter D,

I expected nothing less. You are at least consistent in your beliefs.

27 May 2013 at 23:34  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Bluedog,

I think we need to put our realist hats on. The prid pro quo of a blockade of Islamic regimes is the price of oil and gas. Until we rebuild our internal energy capability *read nuclear not owned by the French* we are at the behest of whatever unstable Arab regime is power in the middle east.

Although the plus side is that Israel is currently sitting on piles of natural gas. It just needs companies to have the balls to invest in developing that.

So be nice to Israel (and Cyprus too).

And we need to be nice to the Norwegians & Canadians, who could supply us with North Sea oil and Alberta tar (heavy crude)...

27 May 2013 at 23:38  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

And we also need to look at fracking in the UK, oil and gas wise. And to fully exploit the Falkland Oil and tell Kircherner to go away... In the long term seeing if we can get resources from the moon...

27 May 2013 at 23:41  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Indeed, Peter, the moral Dominicans were actually quite uncommon dogs. The engineers and soldiers of the Inquisition, the systematic persecutors and mass murderers of Jews, heretics and witches, in short anyone with real estate or bullion...Jewish moneylenders, landed knights and entire heretical districts and propertied old widows who supposedly flew on broomsticks... all those without connections and protection who could be alienated from the sympathies of society, demonized, condemned, tortured, killed and cleaned out with the connivance, physical enforcement and franchise rights provided by collaborating shareholders, the secular authorities. Ah, those were the days.

27 May 2013 at 23:46  
Blogger Peter D said...

Avi

Now, now, as you know the situation is slightly more complicated.

The 'Order of Preachers' were founded to preach the Gospel and to combat heresy, and is famed for its intellectual tradition and for having produced many leading theologians and philosophers
They do have a 'darker' side.

I take it you're referring to the suppression of the Cathars, a heretical gnostic sect who posed a significant threat to social and political stability, and, in particular, to Tomás de Torquemada, the first Grand Inquisitor in Spain's movement to restore Christianity among its populace in the late 15th century. He didn't look too kindly on Jews. Indeed, his hostility to Jews exercised an influence on the decision of Ferdinand and Isabella to expel from their dominions all Jews who had not embraced Christianity.

Different times; different methods, Avi.

Let's face it, the Old Testament doesn't set a 'liberal' example when it came to establishing the Promised Land or dealing with breeches of the Torah.

28 May 2013 at 00:13  
Blogger Ivan said...


Avi, it is a little more complicated than that, the authour writes of these businesses being principally in the hands of Jews. Other accounts show that Jews gave as good as they got whenever in conflict with other tribes. They were not some marginal elements in Europe like the Roma. Often they disposed of great power. I don't blame them for working for their own benefit. By the same token other nations had their own interests.

Dreadnaught, I hear you man. My interest is in ensuring that (mis)readings of the past are not used to hobble the present. "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past." as the great man wrote. For then, "if the trumpet sound is uncertain, who will rally to battle..".

28 May 2013 at 00:49  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Interesting response, Peter. Are you arguing that the Dominicans were answering a direct commandment from God, as the Bible states that the Israelites were? Because I wasn't accusing the Dominicans of excessive and unfashionable religious zeal or campaigns of conquest, which is one thing, but of a cynical program of robbery to the tune of trillions, conducted against people in their own societies and in violation of the stated ideals of their own Church. The Dominicans and their business partners in the Church and the royal courts of Europe have left us with literally tons of interrogation and trial records, treasury accounts, registers and ledgers, all detailing the absurd miscarriages of their own systems and traditions of justice, documenting one of the most massive of wealth grabs in human history. Different times and different methods? Hardly; conspiracy to defraud the weak and expropriation based on manufactured charges and gross miscarriages of justice has always been immoral and sinful in all times and at all places.


28 May 2013 at 01:35  
Blogger Ivan said...


Avi, contrary to any impressions you may have, I am an Indian posting from Singapore. 'Ivan' is my given name. Being an unemployed bum I have a lot of time to haunt the internet. You on the other hand are engaged in serious transportation undertakings; stay safe on the roads buddy!

28 May 2013 at 01:51  
Blogger Ivan said...


Trillions eh? This at a time when the the Europeans hardly numbered more than a hundred million and lived off the land largely as peasants, beggars and serfs. Would the Dominican fraudsters be dealing in Zimbabwean dollars by any chance?

28 May 2013 at 02:06  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Everyone seems to be telling me today how complicated everything is, Ivan. I'm starting to feel like a simpleton.

I'm aware that Jews were prominent in the slave trade since Roman times, but given the extent of the trade in the Classical and emerging Christian worlds, they hardly stood out. Everyone above the level of a pauper owned at least one slave, so you may well imagine the mass of the institution. The principal reason the Jewish traders stood out was because they handled the long distance, shipping trade requiring geographic connections, multilinguualism and written records. The much larger activity on local levels was conducted cash on the barrel and with handshakes. Pirenne was required reading in some of my undergrad courses and if anything, he understressed the financial and social prominence of some Jewish communities in the Roman world and the early middle ages.

But that was not what I was objecting to in your post. It was the skewing of and falsification of the historical record to imply that Jews were the dominant proponents of slavery to the horror of the Church. That thesis is easily blown away by the fact that as long as it was economically feasible everyone... Jews, Christians, Pagans and later Muslims... owned and traded in slaves, including the Church,a fact recorded in hundreds of Church documents. Slavery ended not because the Church was more moral and took measures to end it for that reason, but because the collapse of the Roman trade networks and the contraction of the Mediterranean grain growing economies deprived the institution of slavery of its principal fuel: food. Without mobility and with reliance on local human power and local food supplies, slavery simply transformed into land-bound serfdom with the full permission and participation of the Church and with no input from newly impoverished and marginalized Jews.

28 May 2013 at 02:23  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I wasn't assuming you are a Russian, thought you were a Brit. Pravda is known for its pseudo-scholarly articles, many blaming Jews for past and present ills. Thanks for the good wishes and good luck finding a position... all the better if it's one that will let you surf on the sky.

28 May 2013 at 02:32  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Trillions in current values of course. Keep in mind that entire agricultural regions were confiscated, castles, bullion and trade items. Less spectacular, but equally valuable were confiscations of debts, lucrative bridges, toll highways, mills, tanneries and market towns, all of which provided income for generations. The widowed "witches" supplied small holdings and farmsteads, town houses and shops all numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The economies of the high middle ages and the renaissance were not as anemic and primitive as it's commonly assumed.

28 May 2013 at 02:44  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

PS, I'm bumming around as well; my truck is now on the way to LA, driven by two young Indian guys, one of whom hails from Singapore and is a trained marine engineer. They'll saturate my sleeper with curry smells, but being vegetarians, won't mess up my kosher dairy kitchennette with meat. I even supplied them with a box of instant meal packs by kohinoor, certified under the kosher council of India.

28 May 2013 at 02:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Ouch

28 May 2013 at 05:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

It should be pointed out that randomness is not causal. It is descriptive. Randomness does not cause the cards to be shuffled. It doesn't cause the coin to be flipped. It doesn't cause the colored ball to be drawn from the bag. It describes each such experiment in probabilistic terms. There must still be a causal force behind the experiment. So to say the universe came into existence 'by accident' is to say precisely nothing. It is also strictly speaking not valid to say such a thing since valid statistical inferences cannot be drawn from one sample. And we have exactly one sample in our sample space of existing universes.

What people actually mean is that the universe exists according to some causal force that may be described as a random process. Of course, when you realize that something cannot exist before it exists, you have to wonder what that causal force might be. That causal force must exist independent of the known universe. Otherwise, it cannot be the causal force behind everything that exists. So what is that causal force that must exist outside of time and space and matter and energy?

Well, learned men might not have the first clue what that transcendent causal force might be, but they know absolutely what it is not. It is not God. And they know this not because they have subjected the problem to the scientific method - especially since this isn't possible. They know that this necessary singularity isn't God because they deny God a priori. They approach the whole question from a foundation of unbelief. God isn't empowering after all. His existence tends to detract from the sovereignty of those who would prefer to be little gods to themselves. Men do not examine and then disbelieve. They disbelieve and then examine.

In the meantime they come up with elaborate speculations that can only be described as materialist "theology." All of it intended to answer the age old question "Why is all this here?" Man has never found a satisfactory answer to that question once removed from God. And he never will. Creation after all is the stuff of general revelation. It testifies to the power and glory of its Creator. Men cannot deny that truth. They can only suppress it.

carl

28 May 2013 at 06:33  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

There is one thing that could be done against so called hate preachers, and it could be done immediately, without legislation, without infringing 'yuman rights' and at little or no cost.

We could read the quran. Everyone needs to lnow what it really teaches. I have read it: it is a death warrant for Jews, Christians, polytheists and other infidels. Its teachings, unlike those of the New Testament are incompatible with western civilisation.

A lot of people don't know that, not least due to the policy of the New Atheists and their fellow travellers to tar all faiths with the same brush.


28 May 2013 at 06:39  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl/DanJ0

Back in play again. (Unlike the French tennis).

Carl, I take it you're referring to my earlier conversation with DanJ0 about world views? You've expressed the problem much better than I did. I'd add simply the difficulty of applying scientific criteria to one-off historical events that are, in the nature of things, non-repeatable. (I'm thinking, say, The Resurrection). Other criteria must apply.


DanJ0, why not Allah?

I know that Islam, irritated by accustions of plagiarism, claims to be the original revelation - since distorted by Jews and Christians - but in the absence of supporting documentary evidence, I am driven to reluctant scepticism. So the Jewish/Christian God precedes Allah in this context.

Secondly, if you look at other ancient creation accounts - Babylonian, Greek, Norse - they tend to assume pre-existing matter. 'Ex nihilo' is very rare, if not unique.


So I'm still with the 'Genesis' account: which can be understood in the simple terms of Jerome's "folk tale", or is complex enough in its implications for the likes of John Lennox (Phd, D Phil).

As to the alternative: as I said, Carl's put it much better than I can.

28 May 2013 at 09:15  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Peter D/Danj0

If either of you is interested, I've posted a comment on your Ten Commandments dialogue in the the Pickles/Wessex thread.

28 May 2013 at 10:11  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

HI Avi,

Lightening the tone a bit, I read in the telegraph today that Canadians are complaining the new $100 note smells of maple syrup?

28 May 2013 at 10:43  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Heard that too, bit haven't come across the note. Machines don't give them out and many stores don't accept them. It begs the question why anyone would stick theirnose into them to smell them....

28 May 2013 at 13:50  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi wrote ...

It begs the question why anyone would stick their nose into them to smell them....

Yeah, we Americans have been asking that question for a long time. Why do Canadians do what they do?

carl

28 May 2013 at 14:15  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Avi,

It's the same with the £50 note here. And Scottish and Northern Irish notes as well... but I did use $100 bills when I was over in Canada... must have got lucky...

28 May 2013 at 14:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Explorer

Technically it's meaningless to refer to any set of laws absent the uncaused cause. Every axiom, every postulate, every corollary - everything in this universe that we accept as true - is a result of the uncaused cause. So we can't speak of the universe being formed according to our familiar concepts of probability because those laws of probability don't exist outside of our known universe. How then do we talk about this transcendent uncaused cause? How do we escape the boundaries of our own physical universe and investigate that which is beyond our comprehension?

carl

28 May 2013 at 14:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl

You've lost me.

What's your take on the opening sentence of 'Genesis' in the light of what you've said?

28 May 2013 at 14:48  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Explorer

I am one of those intellectually primitive six-day Creationists. If I was intellectually sophisticated, I would believe that a system of chemical reactions somehow formed itself into life and became self-aware.

The laws we recognize (Newton's laws, Kepler's laws, the Central Limit Theorem, the commutative property of addition, etc) are all the result of God's creative intent. That intent is deliberately unique. However let's assume the contrary for the sake of argument. Under that assumption, we still can't assert that the universe was formed 'by accident' because to do so we would require us to implicitly use concepts that only exist once our universe had come into existence. We would know nothing about the uncaused cause. The only investigative tools at our disposal can do nothing but explain the universe in which we live. They can offer us no insight into the nature of the causal force behind it. All we know is what we have.

Or of course what has been revealed to us.

carl

28 May 2013 at 15:08  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl

I fully concede that 'by accident' was clumsy: both as a concept, and in expression. I thought I had already done so when I referred DanJ0 to your account in preference to mine.

I wasn't, in any case, trying to focus on technicalities about the origin of the Universe (about which I'm not qualifies to speak). I was saying that from our view of the Universe will flow our view of morals, humanity and the meaning of life.

Is that a valid inference, in your view, or does that also fall foul of the problem you've outlned?

I remember Bill O'Reilly talking to Dawkins about 'The God Delusion'. He said Dawkins was very good at describing what happened to things once they got started. But how did they get going in the first place?

If O'Reilly's question is what you and I are talking about, then I think you and I are in full agreement.

28 May 2013 at 15:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Explorer

I was saying that from our view of the Universe will flow our view of morals, humanity and the meaning of life.

Yes, man exists because God creates him. Man has purposes because God gives it. Man knows good from evil because God reveals it. In the absence of God, man would have neither purpose nor knowledge. He is however free in the sense that he is not morally obligated to a Creator. This is the empowerment to which DanJ0 referred. He is free to determine his own context and his own obligations according to his own desires subject only to the limitation of his own strength. There is nothing that compels him to act in any certain way. That is freedom ... of a sort. Ar least so long as you are the actor and not the actee.

He said Dawkins was very good at describing what happened to things once they got started.

Understand however that Dawkins' description of what happens once things get started is itself dependent upon his assumptions about the transcendent uncaused cause. He is founding his argument on implicit presuppositions without revealing them.

But how did they get going in the first place?

He hasn't got a clue - except he knows there is no God. As I said, unbelief is logically prior.

carl

28 May 2013 at 15:51  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl

I thought what you said earlier (6:33 post) about unbelief was brilliant. I agree entirely.

On a differrent tack,in Norse myth, there's the space Gunnangagap, then the cow that suckles the giant Ymir. The gods kill Ymir, and make the trees out of his eyebrows and the sky out of his skull. With stuff like that, "In the beginning, God..." could not be improved on.

I take from 'Genesis' the revealed truths that God made the Universe, and that Nature and human nature have gone wrong. I'm with G K Chesterton that in an account in which "Let there be light" precedes the creation of the Sun and Moon we should not be too concerned about chronology.

One rendering of the destruction of Sennacherib's army has it "And when they awoke, behold they were all dead men." One reading of that will give endless problems. But not if one takes it to mean a lot of fatalities.

28 May 2013 at 16:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 May 2013 at 16:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "I thought I had already done so when I referred DanJ0 to your account in preference to mine."

It sounds completely trite, especially as Dawkins raised it in his own inimitable way but I've never got to the bottom of why this creator doesn't need a creator itself. It seems to me that the religious who are minded to tackle this sort of stuff simply try to define it away in a Aquinas type way. For sure, one might imagine its existence is very different to ours but I don't see how that solves the problem of its existence.

Running on from that, I can see two other potential issues. Firstly, what's to stop there being something inbetween this magical being which somehow doesn't need a creator and our universe as a creation? Perhaps we're an unintended cause of another process or a very powerful created being with its own free will? Secondly, and this is where probability actually comes in, what's the likelihood of the creator being the Judeo-Christian god with all the human-interested attributes the religious imagine ... or rather which they've been socialised into believing and probably by their parents? I'm a bit suspicious of those arguments by Aquinas there, they look like wishful thinking to me.

Finally, though you will probably hear various people make stuff up to suit their arguments around here on this, I've always said that I'm an atheist by virtue of my lack of belief in a god or gods. Like everyone else, I simply don't know how the universe came about. The difference with me (and with Dawkins to a slightly lesser extent) is that I'm happy to admit it: there may well be a creator being, I don't know there is no god or gods. I'm just not convinced by the theistic hijacking of that notion.

28 May 2013 at 16:58  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi DanJ0

We could throw in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Orbiting Teapot (or whatever it is). I think we both know neither of us will convince the other on this particular issue, and I respect you too much to want to waste your time.

My point was that different views of of the universe result in different views of life (potentially passive consequences) and different lifestyles (potentially active consequences when it leads, say, to Nazism). Carl focused on the origin of the Universe itself, and this better taken up with him.

I thought his account was brilliant; you thought it was trite. In a relativistic world, what gives one opinion more validity than another? Your thoughts on this would be interesting, if you have time.

PS: The ancient Greeks tried to nail a definition of beauty: symmetry, and the shape suited to the function. And Socrates completely shredded it. Do youy know this one?

28 May 2013 at 18:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "I thought his account was brilliant; you thought it was trite."

Actually, no. I thought my throwing up the What Created God? question sounded trite. Dawkins calls it an infinite regression issue but it's not quite that because existence presumably means different things inside our universe and outside of it, whatever that might mean.

"In a relativistic world, what gives one opinion more validity than another? Your thoughts on this would be interesting, if you have time."

Well, either presumably either one or none of them is true. A better question is, given neither of us knows which is true if any, how we should carry on. For me, the cost of following something like Christianity or Islam is too high given the benefits. However, I accept that some people get a lot out of it whereas I don't think I ever could myself. In fact it wouldn't surprise me at all if such people were genetically predisposed to believing in religious stuff (of whatever type they're socialised into) and people like me are not.

28 May 2013 at 18:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Of course, some religionists claim they do actually 'know' through some sort of revelation inside their consciousness. Christianity has been quite smart setting that mechanism up, though I dare say lots of people claim they 'know' stuff through similar means. I've found over the years that some careful questioning of lots of people reveals that there isn't much in common with their revelations. In fact, some people here claim a Road to Damascus conversion whilst others get quite grumpy at that idea and claim they've *cough* grown into their revelation. One might also ask why whatever reveals itself doesn't give useful information out through the same mechanism to masses of people, such as that the Roman Catholic Church is an agent of Satan or that Joseph Smith really did have magic spectacles and perhaps underpants.

28 May 2013 at 18:25  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0

Three things.

1. Apologies for my misreading. My fault, not yours; you were perfectly clear.

2. Aquinas. He realised you can't just quote the Bible at people who don't accept it. Hence the 'proofs'. I imagine he himself didn't think you could prove your way to God, but the proofs would help to demonstrate the reasonableness of faith to those who came to believe on other grounds. (I'm not a Catholic, so I'm saying this at one remove, so to speak.)

3. I'm not going to try and defend Joseph Smith, but there are points within your last two posts that I really need to think about to give any meaningful responses. Will get back to you on this thread when I've thought them through. Not sure how long that will take. Try tomorrow.

Regards.

28 May 2013 at 19:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

By the way, I noticed this earlier:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/28/christians-discrimination-cases-rejected-human-rights-court

if anyone is interested.

28 May 2013 at 19:45  
Blogger LEN said...

I think trying to find God with a non functioning spirit is like trying to tune a hoover into BBC two.

No good saying this to Atheists though.

28 May 2013 at 20:29  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Avi,

Sorry I didn't read your posts above about slavery. To complement your posts, I think that the crucial issue not discussed is the treatment of slaves (but as you say being a serf was like being a slave).

I think in our Torah and according to our sages that slaves (who are more like in debt labourers) had rights and had to be strictly treated in a charitable way. I am not sure if Christianity had similar views?

I think the problem is that when we think of slavery in the west, we think of the appalling treatment from the 16th century onwards, of Africans, both in the slave trade and the brutal treatment in the colonies.

That was clearly not in line with the Torah.

28 May 2013 at 22:00  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0

Your thoughts about the Universe reminded me of Pascal's wager. I dislike Pascal's wager because it seems to me true. Accept Christianity because if there's no life after death you've lost nothing. But if there is, you've gained everything. So it comes down to a gamble? That seems intolerable.

The question then is, is there enough evidence for God's existence for anyone rejecting it to be without excuse? Russell would have said no. Interesting to speculate (assuming for a moment, the existence of the afterlife) where he might be now. I don't think the issue is at all clear cut.


A friend of mine who's an atheist (and as intellectually honest as anyone I know) said much the same as you: hard wired not to believe. Biological determinism. Victims of our genes. Bye bye free will.

In Christian terms that reminds me uncomfortably of Election: do some of us choose God, or does God choose some of us? And is it pre-determined?


My own view. Some won't be saved (their choice). But who will be is an open question. To the disagreement of some of my co-religionists, I would not necessarily exclude my atheist friend. But I don't know the secrets of anyone else's heart; or the motives for being unable to believe.

I do know that in the parable of the sheep and goats, some of the sheep are surprised to be saved, and some of the goats are surprised not to be.

Don't know if any of this has been any help to you, but formulating a response has been of help to me: and for that, I thank you.

See you on another thread.


Regards.

28 May 2013 at 22:01  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer,

'We could throw in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Orbiting Teapot'.

LOL!

28 May 2013 at 22:15  
Blogger Peter D said...

Avi

"Interesting response, Peter. Are you arguing that the Dominicans were answering a direct commandment from God, as the Bible states that the Israelites were?"

I agree the Israelites were acting under direct instructions from God.

Were Christians? According to universally accepted Christian theology at the time, God commissioned His Church as His representative on earth and placed authority with it to act on His behalf, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Did they do that legitimately? That's a whole new set of questions.

"Because I wasn't accusing the Dominicans of excessive and unfashionable religious zeal or campaigns of conquest, which is one thing, but of a cynical program of robbery to the tune of trillions, conducted against people in their own societies and in violation of the stated ideals of their own Church."

You'll need to substantiate that allegation! You're accusing them of wilful and deliberate theft. As I see it, the Dominicans were interested in Christian orthodoxy and saw anything directly threatening this as an evil that had to be countered - first by persuasion and teaching and, if that failed, by force. In addition, directly and through Rome, they advised Monarchs on how to tackle the social, economic and political implications of heresy.

"The Dominicans and their business partners in the Church and the royal courts of Europe have left us with literally tons of interrogation and trial records, treasury accounts, registers and ledgers, all detailing the absurd miscarriages of their own systems and traditions of justice, documenting one of the most massive of wealth grabs in human history."

Well, I haven't time to wade through all that! Perhaps you could cite the evidence.

"Different times and different methods? Hardly; conspiracy to defraud the weak and expropriation based on manufactured charges and gross miscarriages of justice has always been immoral and sinful in all times and at all places."

You'll have to substantiate those charges against the Dominicans.

Let me be clear, I'm not defending what went on - I don't know enough about it. What I'm saying is that the mindset of the times, the belief systems and institutions of State and Church, led to Monarchs and the Church acting according to what they saw as being in the spiritual and material interests of Christian society. And they believed they had Divine authority to do so.

28 May 2013 at 23:21  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Just for the record, I did not make anything up. I was making an argument from authority - specifically the Book of Romans. Upon the basis of that authority, I was making a general claim about all men - that all men know the truth and yet suppress it in unrighteousness. Said claim is basic to Christian anthropology. And I was using 'unbelief' in the Christian sense of the word and not some philosophical sense. Atheism (functional or otherwise) or paganism or some other religion makes no meaningful distinction to the use of this word. What you believe is not important. Whom you disbelieve is the focus of the use of the word.

Now I realize that some might not accept the authority of the Book of Romans. I don't concern myself with that. I do accept the authority of the Book of Romans, and I proceed accordingly.

carl

28 May 2013 at 23:42  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Peter,

As I mentioned, the Inquisition offices kept very meticulous records of all confiscations of lands, movable goods and bullion. These were serious amounts and so, percentage based formulas were devised to divide the revenues between Church authorities and Rome and the various payoffs to secular parties from informants, bailiffs, gaolers, regional barons and all the way to the Crown. Most of the records which have been assessed by historians remain in vernacular forms of Latin, untranslated and roughly catalogued. One of the few translations is the Fournier Register documenting the Cathar inquisitions in the Montaillou region.

If you're looking for primary sources, you'll need to scour university libraries, focussing on journals and monographs from the 1870s on. For secondary sources, I know that Marvin Harris, whom I already mentioned, roughly collated the extent of the witch hunts and their financial impacts, and assessed them as a cultural anthropologist. Jeremy Cohen focussed a bit on the Dominicans, in his source-based The Friars and the Jews and Le Roy Ladurie covered the actions against the Cathars of the Languedoc, but those two didn't bother with the accounts of the resulting confiscations, focusing instead on the theology and Church politics. But I'm giving you out of date info, stuff going back to my post-grad days... I'm a happy trucker these days who thinks about simpler matters.

I can see that you have a different issue too. You would prefer to believe that the unsavoury activities by the Dominican friars were conducted by committed, sincere people who were out to save Christianity in ways which were normative for the times. Perhaps they even prevented greater suffering. It's a fair position, situational ethics is, I suppose, as long as you're ready to be consistent and to cut today's Islamists some slack whenever they plant bombs and behead infidels for the greater Glory of Allah.

But to moderate my own position, I'm not saying that every Dominican friar or Church official was "in on it" for the loot or that the whole operation was exclusively a conscious, cynical scam. The documents suggest that there were plenty who believed, from top to bottom. But I side with those who have looked at the patterns and crunched the surprising numbers and concluded that the financial motive certainly played the leading role in the persecution and disposession of Jews, witches and heretics in Europe and later, in the Americas, and that the religious reasons given were secondary or tertiary rationales. I'm sure too, Peter, that if you were to examine the details yourself, you would reach similar conclusions.

29 May 2013 at 02:14  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Bottom line is that I don't know about Roman Christian slavery, but I suspect that rabbiniic and Church laws not withstanding, Roman custom prevailed, meaning that slaves were probably treated as property with no legal protection and we're at the mercy and religious observance of their defacto owners. Good question that one.

29 May 2013 at 02:39  
Blogger Peter D said...

Avi
"You would prefer to believe that the unsavoury activities by the Dominican friars were conducted by committed, sincere people who were out to save Christianity in ways which were normative for the times."

What I'm saying is that Church and State were Christian and together they believed that orthodox faith had to be upheld. Heresy could not be accepted nor competing faiths come dominant or disruptive.

"Perhaps they even prevented greater suffering. It's a fair position, situational ethics is, I suppose, as long as you're ready to be consistent and to cut today's Islamists some slack whenever they plant bombs and behead infidels for the greater Glory of Allah."

But its not situation ethics at all, is it? And if anything, the opposite would apply to Islamism today. Under the mindset, beliefs and institutions in place at that time, Muslims might find their property confiscated and being 'invited' to either convert or be expelled from the Realm.

As I say, I'm not defending it - just trying to understand it. No doubt there were economic and political winners and losers in the process (there always are) and some were no doubt motivated by greed and self interest.

29 May 2013 at 10:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Peter, but that's just it, I don't buy the morality claim or the sincerity thesis behind the actions of the Dominicans. Hunting heretics and oppressing Jews because of a perceived threat is one thing; skewing the inquiry system, devising unprecedented torture technologies and designing a system to obtain results and setting up fool proof systems for the confiscation and sharing out of wealth is another. This was a criminal conspiracy under any place or time.

The contemporaries had a fairly good understanding of the rules of evidence and jurisdiction, court records show that.  The Fournier Register shows a zealous, indeed a fanatical inquisitor who nevertheless used all the logical and familiar methods of inquiry on genuine heretics.  Fournier was an effective examiner who collected details...which is what makes the register such a fascinating document... and clearly wanted the truth. His suspects were fed, allowed visits,  imprisoned and were not tortured. The logic of a denial indicating guilt just as admission, and the use of torture to obtain clearly invented testimony were not universally applied or philosophically acceptable and many complained of the absurdity and injustice. People were not stupider than they are now. 

But for a Dominican, Fournier was clearly an exception. His other brethren  set up a corrupt mafia and populated it by thiefs and perverts. None of this is news and contemporaries complained and tried reforms in vain... until the Reformation blew up in their faces. So no, I wouldn't describe an order responsible for savage waves of persecutions, expulsions, uncounted horrible deaths and systematic looting in violation of contemporary norms and at times even in face of disapproval by Rome as "moral."

29 May 2013 at 14:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Hannah

Glad you liked it. The FSM is one of Dawkins' gems of wisdom. The flying teapot (or teacup, I can't remember: but whichever it is, we must worship it) is one of Russell's.

29 May 2013 at 15:43  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl

By the criteria of 'Romans' Bertrand Russell would have been without excuse.

It's interesting, though, Paul's different strategies in 'Acts'. With the Jews, he quotes them their own scriptures. With the Greeks, it's examples from nature, or their own culture. Hemce the quote from Epimenides in 'Acts' 17. This, I imagine was the model used by Aquinas in dealing with thr sceptics of his own day.

29 May 2013 at 15:48  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Avi

Do you know Stephen Runciman's 'The Medieval Manichee'? Old now, but still valid.

If not, this is my potted version of his take on the origin of the Inquisition.

The Cathars believed in the evil of matter. They forbade procreation so that the human race could die out, the bits of divine spark return to their source, and the world come to an end. If matter's evil there's issues about tithes and taxes...

French king gets alarmed that this sort of thing might spread. Loss of revenue; loss of citizens.
He instructs the Dominicans to frame some questions that will identify who's a Cathar. After that, the secular arm will take care of the culprits.

I speak as one who has seen the Inquisition Tower in Carcasonne, where - some time later than the Cathars - Huguenots were also interrogated; and I speak as one who has Huguenot in his varied ancestry.

Doesn't invalidate what you say, but I thought it might be of interest.

29 May 2013 at 16:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Explorer

By the criteria of 'Romans' Bertrand Russell would have been without excuse.

Yes, that's the whole point. Every man is without excuse. There are no innocent men anywhere. The basis of God's judgment is just because all men everywhere have been given sufficient testimony though general revelation to know the power and glory of God. Even so, they suppress that truth in unrighteousness. Why should Bertrand Russell be different from every other man?

carl

29 May 2013 at 16:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

I think Paul on this is particularly interesting in Romans. On the one hand, in chapter 1 he says those who do not believe in God are without excuse.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.

The idea seems to be that somehow man knows the truth of God's existence from looking at the universe. As a Catholic and a fan of Aquinas, I would say that this can be done by rational arguments. People who reject these arguments tend to do so on irrational grounds (like denying the causal principle). They are not guilty of contradiction necessarily, but they are irrational and often sin, causes them to opt for an alternative that they would not accept in any other part of their life.

However, in chapter 2 Paul seems to hold out a little more confidence:

When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.


Now, I've never looked into this in much detail, but it has always looked to me that Paul is holding out for the possibility of some kind of doctrine of original ignorance.

I'm sure you'll disagree with this second point and probably in practice with the first, but I would be interested in your exegesis.

In the end though, I think this is a bit theoretical. Clearly, God's judgement will be just. He won't judge someone simply for making an innocent mistake. Are (some) unbelievers making innocent mistakes? This is beyond us to judge, I suspect - hence the usefulness of invincible ignorance.

29 May 2013 at 17:06  
Blogger Ivan said...


Trillions and trillions at 33% interest - I believe this could pass for the prime rate of those benighted times - compounded annually means literally the whole world and some. Who can ever repay such a stupendous debt? All the wealth of Chipango? King Solomon's mines? Spanish galleons laden with loot from Montezuma and Atahualpa? Raleigh's raiding of the same. All the emeralds of the Persian kings, Clive's looting of India, all the spice of the Moluccas, all the Torah believing slaves from Zanzibar, Daniel Boone's gold trail with real gold in it, Standard Oil, Milo Minderbinder's farflung enterprises, the SP500, Osaka-Tokyo real estate in the 90s, all this and more would amount to a mere fraction of a tranche due. I mean what kind of a motherlode did the Dominicans hit when they smoked out the Cathars? For a gnostic sect that meant to transcend mere matter, they were laden to the gills. There is every possibility then that the Dominican creeps rolling with cash then financed the Fuggers and the Hanseatic League, the ill-fated Venetian Empire, Ivan the Terrible and Prester John.



29 May 2013 at 17:27  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

It would have been a tidy sum if invested in IBM, but along the way there were a few cathedrals to build, wars to pay for, continents to conquer, ceilings to paint, mistresses and bastards to set up, kingdoms to bribe.... you know how it is.

29 May 2013 at 18:18  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Albert and Carl

Here at the tail end of a barely-currrent thread is not the place to do it, but at some future point I would value your views about this issue of election. We associate it with Calvin but it was Augustine who first raised it. It's in the Thirty-Nine Articles of the C of E. It runs across the Christian spectrum.

My question, with reference to my discussion with DanJ0 in which I cited my atheist friend, is this. Are some people really hard-wired not to believe: God's decision, not theirs? And how can they then be blamed for not believing? (It's not about not choosing to believe; it's about not being able to).

29 May 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

The Church gets it wrong, and knows it does. Cluny was founded in reaction to corruption.


But the Church also sometimes gets it right.The emergence of the prototype welfare state in Tudor England is interesting.

The authorities were sudddenly unpleasantly aware of a group to whom they had not previously given much thought. The destititute who had been quietly fed and clothed, and given a bed for the night.

And who, with the closure of the monasteries now had nowhere to go...

29 May 2013 at 19:38  
Blogger Albert said...

Explorer,

The issue of election arises because of the immutability and sovereignty of God. God cannot learn who will do what, for that would imply imperfection and change in his nature. So all things must ultimately be traceable to him.

I think there are three possible positions on election:

1. Double predestination. This is the view of Calvin and Luther. God predestines some to hell and therefore predestines their sins so that he can justly condemn them (or is the predestination the other way around, sins first then hell?).

2. Single predestination ante prævisa merita This is the position attributed to Aquinas. Human beings freely sin and from this damned mass of humanity, God predestines some to salvation. God predestines without recourse to foreseen merit on the part of those predestined. Thus God does not predestine some to hell, he simply passes over them and leaves them in their freely chosen sins.

3. Single predestination post prævisa merita In this view, God foresees with infallible foreknowledge, how each person will respond to his grace. Those he foresees will respond to his grace he predestines, those who won't he doesn't.

As for the merits of each position. The first is heretical for Catholics and is abhorrent. The 39 Articles I think guide away from it by talking only about predestination to life. The second preserves entirely the gratuity of God's grace and salvation, making it rest on nothing but his sovereign will, while not making God responsible for the sins and punishments of those in hell. The third maintains God's gratuity, insofar as the grace is not actually merited in any way by the elect, since no merits had been performed at the time of the decree, neither would they have been forthcoming if God had not freely given them grace.

A difficulty with the first two positions is that they tend to conflict with the teaching of scripture that God wills all men to be saved. For this reason, I incline to position 3 - though I see clearly the benefits of position 2.

So in answer to your questions, I would say this:

Are some people really hard-wired not to believe: God's decision, not theirs?

On position 1 yes, on 2 & 3 no.

And how can they then be blamed for not believing?

They can't. Even Luther admitted that on his position it was God who made them damnable. Erasmus wondered who could love such a God who had created hell in which to punish "his own evil deeds in wretched human beings".

(Carl I suspect will have something different to say!)

29 May 2013 at 21:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Thank you, Albert.

A terrific post.

I'll ponder it. Won't respond on this thread, but might on another.

Regards.

29 May 2013 at 21:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Just to clarify, in double predestination, God predestines some to salvation and some to hell - that's why it's double (as opposed to single predestination, in which God only predestines (some) to heaven.

29 May 2013 at 22:10  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

HI Avi,

Changing the subject slightly, it seems that the chair of Britain's "climate change" House of Commons committee is suggesting that, it may not be man made :

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10086694/Tim-Yeo-humans-may-not-be-to-blame-for-global-warming.html

29 May 2013 at 23:32  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Anthony Watts' climate skeptic site, the most popular science blog covered this as well among his daily diet of other goodies. By His Grace's leave:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/29/its-official-we-are-all-climate-sceptics-now/

The thing to remember, though, is no matter what the facts are, governments will continue pushing carbon credits, solar panels and windmills because they made contractual and political commitments to industries, universities and international bodies.

30 May 2013 at 11:32  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

22:10

Man has free will to choose to sin or not . If man was predestined why would God bother giving him free will . It would mean man was already programmed for his destiny and he was not free at all.Only an unjust and deceitful God would contemplate such a thing. Sounds more like sorcery than Christianity.

Every man has a choice to do good or evil.God gives every person at some point in his life, regardless of his religion, an opportunity to be saved. The decision taken is made solely by the individual.Satan is a powerful presence in the world. No one ever discusses that here. He does not have a red suit and little horns. He comes in many guises even religious ones.His sole raison d'etre is to destroy mankind in ingenious and seductive feel good ways.He is doing a great job at the moment.

30 May 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Cressida:

I agree re Satan: non-discussion, and existence.

I can respect philosophical materialists. No supernature of any description.

But I cannot respect those who believe in God, but not in the existence of spiritual evil. And if God is in control of all that happens in the World, what does that make God?


Do you know Henry Vaughan's terrifying poem 'I saw Eternity the other night'? I don't agree with its perspective, but it makes the point about being hard wired (not in those terms of course) extremely well.

30 May 2013 at 13:37  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

God has given freedom (free will) He is not a tyrant. The world started out OK and then there was abuse of free will.Adam Eve and Lucifer made wrong decisions. Evidently God thinks it important to give us free will. I am very pleased he has.I believe God is with us guiding us ...we are just too busy and self obsessed to notice or listen.

30 May 2013 at 15:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "A friend of mine who's an atheist (and as intellectually honest as anyone I know) said much the same as you: hard wired not to believe. Biological determinism. Victims of our genes. Bye bye free will."

Actually, I said predisposed rather than hard-wired. That is, it is nominally overridable. That said, it seems to me that free will is probably an illusion anyway. But hey, we have to carry on as though it isn't nevertheless.

30 May 2013 at 17:05  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi,

I may have come across Runciman... it's been nearly 30 years since I studied these matters. I spent another of time on Fournier's detailed register. Forgot to mention to Peter that he became Pope in the 14th century...one of the Benedicts.

The Cathars never implemented their antimaterialism or abstinence... these were ideals which most never implemented and were reserved for their preachers, the Parfaits. Any religion which expects such things fools itself. One should always take stated reasons by persecutors with a grain of salt... rarely do they involve pure religious or ideological motives and the political or financial ones become quickly evident if there are records or circumstantial evidence.

30 May 2013 at 17:27  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Avi

Runciman (Steven, not the Stephen I said) is pretty detailed. Not just Cathars: Bogomils, Paulicians, the whole shebang.

He concedes the difficulty of establishing exactly what the Cathars believed: a) some of our data is from their enemies, b) tricky writing down your exact beliefs when things were getting hot (literally).

He does say some of the Parfaits starved themselves to death. Given the Parfait abstention from sex, many ordinary Cathars delayed receiving the Consolamentum until their deathbed. He also says ill Cathars might be subjected to judicious poisoning or slitting: to ensure the divine spark headed in the right direction.


He mentions the dislike of marriage, and the famous orgies: anything allowed but procreation. Hence 'bugger' from the French 'bougre' for Bogomil.

He says the problem was more potential than actual, and that the Albigensian Crusade was also driven by land issues. The area around Albi was disputed by the Moors, the Spaniards, and the Troncavelles. A good opportunity to bring it all under the control of the French Crown...

30 May 2013 at 18:29  

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