This blog initially set out to focus primarily on Islam and the Islamisation of the UK. However, since that time the subjects covered have broadened. They now include (amongst other things): IQ tests, Jean Baudrillard, global warming, sociobiology, Marxism, Trotskyism, David Cameron, Foucault, Nazism, Ralph Miliband, economics, statistics and so on. - Paul Austin Murphy
I've had articles published in The Conservative Online, American Thinker, Intellectual Conservative, Human Events, Faith Freedom, Brenner Brief (Broadside News), New English Review, etc... (Paul Austin Murphy's Philosophy can be found here.)

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Prophet Naomi Klein's 'This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate'


 


Like most prophets, Naomi Klein's message is both messianic and Manichean:i.e., the good of progressocialism vs. the evil of capitalism. (Or in her own words: “capitalism vs. the climate”.)




Naomi Klein was born to be a prophet: as all prophets are.
 
Her paternal grandparents were communists, her grandfather was a “social activist” and her parents were war-resisters as well as “rights activists”.
 
So now try to imagine the amount of Leftist ideological “brainwashing” Naomi Kleine would have experienced in the first two decades of her life (as did Noam Chomsky). I'd reckon that would be about the same amount that she and her fellow Leftists (such as her husband Avi Lewis) would accuse the children of “Christian evangelicals” (Avi Lewis’s term) or “conservatives” of having undergone.
 
(I may as well add here that Naomi Klein's just-mentioned husband has hosted shows for Al Jazeera, sneered at Ayaan Hirsi Ali's support of American democracy and thinks that the criticism of Islam is racist. Clearly Naomi Klein doesn't like to stray too far from her Leftist “herd of independent minds”.)
 
And along with Naomi Klein's prophethood comes the inevitable talk of end times(as with the Prophet Karl Marx). Or as Kline herself puts it:
 
"Climate change is a civilizational wake-up call, a powerful message delivered in the language of fires, floods, storms, and droughts. Confronting it is no longer about changing the light bulbs. It's about changing the world - before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe.”

All that reminds me of what the writer Christopher Booker had to say in his magnificent The Real Global Warming Disaster.He writes:
 
"... [warmist language] had much in common with ancient myths and Biblical tales of the world being visited with 'extreme weather events', plagues, fires, mighty winds and above all floods so immense that whole cities would vanish below their waves.”(340)

So what does Christopher Booker think about warmists themselves? This:
 
"The true believers in global warming similarly exhibited a moralistic fanaticism, justified by the transcendent importance of their cause. The basic narrative by which they live was one familiar from the history of religious sects down the ages, the conviction that the end of the world was nigh, thanks to the wickedness of mankind, and could only by saved if humanity acknowledge its sins and went through a profound change of behaviour....”


And since Naomi Klein fuses warmism with Marxism, I'll also quote Booker on Marxism when he writes:

".... [Marxism's] dogmatic explanations for everything; it's incredibly moralistic view of the world; and above all its capacity to inspire its followers to a kind of righteous fanaticism, convinced that it was their destiny to save mankind from those 'heretics' and 'unbelievers' who did not share their world-saving creed.”

Reviews
 
Let me give you a taste of some of the rather sycophantic reviews of Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything:Capitalism vs. the Climate.
 
One blurb says it's “her most provocative book yet”. The strange thing is that other blurbers also said that The Shock Doctrine was “her most provocative book yet”. (The same was true of No Logo.) In other words, it must be important to Naomi Kline and her fans that her latest book is her most provocative book yet.
 
There's also a review by Owen Jones (Son Of Dave Spart) which tells us that This Changes Everything “[w]ill be one of the most influential books of our time”. As forThe New York Times, it says that Naomi Klein's book is the “most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring”.
 
Don't you just love it when book reviewers wax lyrically about books which simply restate exactly what it is they already believe (give or take some minor details)? It's a kind of political narcissism.
 
The Independent, on the other hand, is slightly more level-headed when it says that the “proposition that the world's political and economic institutions are preventing us from meeting the lethal challenge of global warming is hardly novel”.
 
Global Warming is Capitalism
 


When I accuse anti-global-warming activists of really being against capitalism, they usually deny it. They say it's not about wanting to destroy capitalism: “it's all about the science”,or “saving the planet”, etc. In fact warmists often return the criticism and say that it's us sceptics (about anthropogenic global warming) who are really just “immoral supporters of capitalism”.It's people like me who aren't concerned “with the science”, or the planet, or mankind.
 
Yet one of the most important (certainly the most popular) “progressive” writers around today - Naomi Klein - explicitly agrees with us global-warming sceptics. She now says (well, in a sense she always did) that it is indeed all about capitalism. Or, more correctly, it's all about being against capitalism.
 
Just as Marxists/Leftists think that capitalism has sole responsibility for – believe it or not – racism, sexism, poverty, inequality, war and (according to Marx) prostitution; so Naomi Klein and nearly all her fellow Leftists believe that capitalism has sole responsibility for global warming.
 
This could lead people to the perfectly acceptable and justifiable conclusion that - all along - most of the Leftists who've spoken out against global warming were really speaking out against capitalism. It may well follow from that many of these virulent anti-capitalists might therefore have simply manufactured (or at least endorsed) the global-warming theory (or at least parts thereof) in order to attack capitalism. After all, anti-capitalists (or socialists) did exactly the same thing with the global-cooling scare of the 1970s.
 
Not only that: all sorts of other causes, theories and movements have been used as a means to bring about the death of capitalism: anti-racism, “black rights”, “gay liberation”,the adoption of environmentalist positions, anti-globalism (another idée fixe of Naomi Klein's), mass immigration and, more recently, the defence of Islam and Muslims. (The furtherLeft you go, the truer this becomes.)
 
Don't take my word for all this, listen to Naomi Klein's own words in her new book:
 
"Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It's not about carbon - it's about capitalism. The good news is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.”

Commentators have said that Klein only “turned to environmentalism” in 2009. What took her so long? Were there other weapons in her anti-capitalist arsenal before 2009 and have they now become a little blunt?
 
Neoliberalism or Capitalism?
 
Naomi Klein has done more than almost anyone else to popularise the word “neoliberalism”.
 
Even though there may well be semantic differences between the words “capitalism” and “neoliberalism”, it's clear that this doesn't really matter in the end. It's often a difference that doesn't really make a difference.
 
For example, what would change if you substituted the word “neoliberalism” with “capitalism” in Klein's following words from This Changes Everything? -
 
"This, without a doubt, is neoliberalism’s [capitalism's] single most damaging legacy: the realization of its bleak vision has isolated us enough from one another that it became possible to convince us that we are not just incapable of self-preservation but fundamentally not worth saving.”

The average Leftist zombie, of course, wouldn’t be able to distinguish capitalism from neoliberalism (unless he had a handy book by Chomsky or Naomi Klein in his backpack). That's not to say that some Leftists wouldn't be able to do so. And it's not to say that there are no differences.
 
Leftists often seem to hint – rather than state – at the fact that neoliberalism is capitalism gone bad/extreme. (Or, as Noam Chomsky put it, neoliberalism is “capitalism with gloves off”.) But, when you think about it, they shouldn’t believe this because that would imply that they also believe that once-upon-a-time capitalism – i.e., before contemporary neoliberalism - wasn't (that) extreme/bad. Yet they can't possibly believe that. Leftists have always believed that capitalism is bad/extreme.
 
So what's all this guff about “neoliberalism”? Is it just a gimmicky “sign-substitution” (to use Jacques Derrida's word) used to disguise the fact that people either got bored with - or embarrassed by - the use of the word “capitalism”? Either that, or communists/socialists/progressives wanted to pretend they were talking about something entirely new when they dropped the word “neoliberalism” into every conversation.
 
The best was to put all this is that way Doreen Massey put it in 2013 in an article for The Guardian:'Neoliberalism has hijacked our vocabulary'. Except, of course, I would put it this way: The word 'neoliberalism' has hijacked our vocabulary.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Guardian’s Andrew Brown claims Islam’s critics aren’t “telling the truth”


 


LARGE BROWN

You’d better get one thing straight here.

It’s absolutely true that most (perhaps nearly all) Leftists – in this case a Guardian journalist – do believe that the criticism of Islam is racist. It may also be the case that some Leftists/progressives – though certainly not the majority – use all sorts of arcane (Marxist) theories and convoluted arguments to back this belief (or theory) up; but that’s nonetheless what they believe. Either that, or this is what they pretend to believe.

milne
Take Andrew Brown’s very own Associate Editor at The Guardian: Seamus Milne. Mr Milne’s a “former Stalinist”, according to Workers’ Liberty (as well as many others); “a Stalinist Rip van Winkle”, according to the novelist Robert Harris; and “a sincere, eloquent and uncomplicated Marxist”, according to Conservative MP Daniel Hannan. So it’s no surprise that Milne once wrote an article for The Guardian which put the the-criticism-of-Islam-is-racist case in these simple words (which are in the addendum to the linked article):

"Islam has become a proxy for race, and Islamophobia a form of racism."

Andrew Brown – being another Guardian journalist – has form when it comes to hating the “haters”. For example, he once wrote a very conspiratorial article about what he called“far-right conspiracists”. (Click here for a response to that article.) He accuses all sorts of critics of Islam of being “paranoid”. And when I say all sorts of critics, I mean all sorts of critics. Brown’s hate-list of haters (in only one article) includes: Bat Ye’or, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Anders Gravers, Fjordman, the EDL, Douglas Murray, Damian Thompson, Geert Wilders, Paul Belien, Daniel Hannan and ‘Mad’ Melanie Phillips.

                                              **************************************************

                                                                                                            
Andrew Brown starts off his fifth-of-November article – ‘Why I don’t believe people who say they loath Islam but not Muslims’ – by telling us that it’s

"a trope among people who loathe and fear Islam that their fear and loathing has nothing in common with racism because Islam is not a race".

So you can guess what’s coming next: Andrew Brown believes that this “trope” is simply false or deliberately misleading. (He forgot to mention that critics of Islam are just as likely to that “Muslims don’t constitute a single race” than they are to say “Islam is not a race”.)

Brown then goes on to argue that

"[s]ome people who claim that Islam is profoundly evil will also say that they bear Muslims no ill will…."

Andrew Brown thinks that all these people are lying. He doesn’t “think they are telling the truth”. That is, Andrew Brown thinks all critics of Islam “bear [all] Muslims ill will”.

I’ve just said that Andrew Brown believes that all – rather than some – critics of Islam bear all Muslims ill will because when he himself uses the determiner “some” (as in “some people”), it’s the case that this is a reference to only those critics of Islam who say that “they bear Muslims no ill will”. (He doesn’t believe them, as Brown has already said.) Therefore that’s why I say that Brown believes that all critics of Islam bear all Muslims ill will because he doesn’t even believe that those who explicitly deny this are telling the truth.

Now Guardian journalists – as well as Reza Aslan – seem to have a big problem with generalisations. However, what they really have is a big problem with are generalisations about Muslims or Islam; not about, say, the critics of Islam (or “the far right”).

Brown continues:

"It is really difficult and indeed psychologically unnatural to claim that you hate an ideology without hating the people in whose lives it is expressed."

Andrew Brown is partly correct in what he says above and he’s partly correct for this reason.

Critics of Islam do indeed bear some – not all – Muslims “ill will” (to refer back to Brown’s earlier quote). The Muslim they bear ill will are those who act on the Islamic principles and texts which are destructive, intolerant and violent. If these Islamic texts and principles didn’t lead to negative actions, then us critics wouldn’t concern ourselves with them.

So let’s write what Andrew Brown says and change some of the words within. See what happens now:

It is really difficult and indeed psychologically unnatural to claim that you hate Nazism/Communism/racism without hating the Nazis/Communists/racists in whose lives it is expressed.
 
Expressed that way, it’s even harder to disagree with what Andrew Brown says.

Mr Brown now says:

"If religions, nations, and even races are all shared imaginative constructs…. and if you really want to extirpate them, you must extirpate the people who imagine them as well."

What Brown says above may also contain some truth. The problem is, however, that his words can be applied to all sorts of other cases. More relevantly, they can be applied to the numerous hate-figures of Guardian journalists (such as Andrew Brown): Nazis, racists, “Islamophobes”, “the far right”, neo-liberals, bankers, nationalists, patriots, conservatives, etc.

Let me put that another way.

As a Guardian journalist, Andrew Brown will hate (though he may deny this) critics of Islam, nationalism, racism, conservatism, “neo-liberalism”, Nazism, patriotism (though he may deny this too), Islamophobia and so on. Thus in order “to extirpate” the counter-jihad movement, nationalism, patriotism, conservatism, etc., Andrew Brown and his fellow Leftists (to use Brown’s own words) “must extirpate the people who imagine them as well”. That is, Leftists “must extirpate” all nationalists, patriots, conservatives, “neoliberals”, “Islamophobes”, counter-jihadists, racists, Nazis, etc.

Nonetheless, in a democracy you don’t really need to extirpate anyone. The critics of Islam, for example, don’t need to extirpate all Muslims. All they need to do is stop Muslims from enacting sharia law in non-Muslim countries or stop them from carrying out those Islamic acts which are (so far!) illegal in such countries.

Similarly, Leftists don’t need to extirpate the critics of Islam, Nazis, conservatives, etc.: all they need to do is convince the public – democratically – that everything these people believe is wrong.

The Criticism of Islam is Racist?


You can see that so far Andrew Brown has had nothing to say – strictly speaking – about race.

The thrust of Andrew Brown’s argument now seems to be that because “racism became a kind of moral leprosy” it was necessary for us – well – racists to hide our racism by reinventing it as something else : the criticism of Islam. So, basically, Brown is saying that what we have is still racism; though it’s deceptively presenting itself in another form. (Think here of the Seamus Milne quote at the beginning of this piece.)

Alternatively, Brown may be telling us that racism isn’t the unique crime it’s painted to be. He says, for example, that “it’s worth noting that in other societies and at other times racial prejudice has not been the most urgent incitement to communal hatred”.

In any case, Brown labours at the blatantly-obvious point that there are kinds of hatred which aren’t racial in nature. He says, for example, that Stalin or Mao “are not excused in the slightest by saying that the most terrible atheist dictators were not very racist at all”.

(I wonder what the “former Stalinist” Assistant Editor of The Guardian – Seamus Milne – thinks about these comments on Stalin and Mao. In addition, Stalin most certainly was a racist. He was a fierce and long-running Jew-hater and this has been documented in great detail.)

So it’s hard to tell what Andrew Brown is now getting at.

Is it that Brown thinks that all criticism of Islam is racist; although the critics of Islam pretend that it’s not?

Or is Brown now arguing that “religious hatred” is as bad as racial hatred?

Perhaps he’s arguing for both positions.

Conclusion


2865396660_2de38aaca11

The Guardian’s Andrew Brown delivering a pious sermon to smug and snobby Guardianistas.

Andrew Brown finishes off with a unfunny and trite comparison. He says:

"In the end, the position of people who claim that hatred of Islam is somehow superior to hatred of black people is pretty much like Alan Partridge boasting that at least he’s not David Brent."

All I can do to respond to that is ask Andrew Brown this question:

Don’t you, Andrew Brown (along with your fellow Leftists), also hate “Islamophobes”, counter-jihadists, Nazis, racists, “the far right”, conservatives, “neo-liberals”, patriots, nationalists, global warming, Big Oil, bankers, etc?
 
In other words, is Andrew Brown saying that hating anything is wrong? (Is he, say, a pacifist or a Quaker?) Or is he only saying that the hatred of a specific religion – Islam – is wrong?

I don’t think that Andrew Brown can claim any of these things. Brown himself admits, for example, to not being able to distinguish between ideologies and the people who uphold those ideologies when he says – in the comments section below his article – that he

"broke off a rather valued friendship because of politics — in particular, as it happens, my ex-friend’s tolerance of the Spencer/Geller axis".

Again, Andrew Brown:

What about the hatred of Nazis, or Communists, or racists? Is such hatred also wrong in itself? Indeed what about the hatred of the followers of the “Spencer/Geller axis”?
 
As usual, that well-known and much-commented-upon Guardian hypocrisy looms in the background of Andrew Brown’s rather pious and smug article.

Oh, by the way, I sincerely hate Guardianistas. Moreover, Andrew Brown’s article certainly didn’t help quell that hate: it justified it.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Reza Aslan on Christian Terrorists & the Innocence of Islam


 



Predictably, Reza Aslan responded to the Murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo (by the Muslim fanatic Michael Zehaf-Bibeau) - as well as to the other recent killings of military men by Muslims in the West - with yet more apologetics. He does so in the CNN piece entitled: 'How strong is the link between faith and terrorism?'.

Just about everything Reza Aslan says about Islam and the behaviour of Muslims is predictable. It was also predictable that he brought up the case of Anders Behring Breivik.

It's no surprise at all that Reza Aslan, as a Muslim, defends Islam.

Many Muslims on Facebook defend and advance Islam with threats of violence and obscenities about the mothers and sisters of kuffar. A Muslim at the Church of Interfaith or the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) may defend and advance Islam by talking about Jesus or “the people of the book”. A Muslim of the Islamic State (IS) advances Islam by beheading people.

And because Reza Aslan is a Muslim who also happens to be an academic, he defends Islam academically.

Aslan on Mind-to-Action Necessity

Reza Aslan admonishes all us “Islamophobes” and “racists” (i.e., critics of Islam) for our lack of sophistication when it comes to our general philosophies of mind and action. He tell us that the

"mistake lies in assuming there is a necessary and distinct causal connection between belief and behavior -- that Bibeau's actions were exclusively the result of his religious beliefs”.

Reza Aslan, as usual, is grandstanding his academic credentials here as well as indulging in academese.

In another instance of this, Reza Aslan says:







"The notion that there is a one-to-one correlation between religious beliefs and behavior may seem obvious and self-evident to those unfamiliar with the study of religion. But it has been repeatedly debunked by social scientists...”



No, Mr Aslan, it hasn't been “debunked by social scientists”. It's been debunked by some social scientists. (Those defending the actions of Muslim killers?) And, in any case, what Aslan says is neither accurate nor clear.

Who, exactly, thinks that there's “a one-to-one correlation between religious beliefs and behaviour”?

Reza Aslan again displays his half-digested philosophy of mind-action causation by saying that – presumably - haters and racists always “assum[e] there is a necessary and distinct causal connection between belief and behavior”.

Well, the fact is that most people don't believe that there's a “necessary and distinct causal connection” between anything. That's because people, on the whole, neither use nor think in terms of modal notions. Similarly, philosophers like Sam Harris and most others will also have a very deep problem with Aslan's strange notion of belief-to-action necessity.

Let's put it this way: What does “a necessary and distinct causal connection between belief and behavior” so much as mean?

I doubt that Reza Aslan is denying the very existence of what are called “propositional attitudes” (such as belief) here (which is what eliminative materialists believe). So he must be arguing that beliefs do indeed exist; though that they never work on their own or in isolation. If that's the case, then that's what most “folk” also believe about belief.
 
The other thing that can be said that even though there is no necessary link between a belief – or a set of beliefs – and a specific action, that doesn't mean that there is no link at all. Again, we simply don't need the modal notion of a necessary causal link here.

Sure, there are no necessary causal links between the 109 violent passages in the Koran which “call Muslims to war with unbelievers” and every Muslim on the planet acting on those passages in specific and deterministic ways. Then again, there is no necessary link between being a critic of Islam and also being a“racist” and/or a “fascist”; which is what Reza Aslan seems to believe.

Less controversially, there isn't even a necessary link between Reza Aslan's belief that acid is poisonous and him not drinking acid.

Reza Aslan also tells us the following:






"Strangely, this causal connection between belief and behavior seems not to be as aggressively applied if the criminal in question claims a different religion than Islam.”

Yes it undoubtedly has been “aggressively applied” to non-Muslim cases. And Reza Aslan knows that!

The religious nature of “Christian terrorists”, Israel (e.g., Edward Said'saccounts), “Zionists”, Tea Party members, “Christian fundamentalists”, “Christian terrorists”, etc. has been extensively featured in The Guardian, the Huffington Post,The New York Times and countless (Leftist and left-liberal) academic journals, books and rags. Indeed Reza Aslan himself has no doubt done so (as he surreptitiously does in this article).

What About Nazis & Racists?

The other problem with Reza Aslan's sophisticated and academic account of causation is that it can be applied to Nazis death-camp operatives, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge and.... everyone. So the question is: Why is he applying it to Muslim killers only?

So let's rephrase something else which Reza Aslan said earlier:






The notion that there is a one-to-one correlation between Nazi and racist beliefs and behaviour may seem obvious. But it has repeatedly debunked by social scientists.


So is Reza Aslan simply saying that these Muslim killers had more to them than Islam or the passages of the Koran which they'd memorised? Yes, that's true; though the same can be said about Hitler, the Nazis, Pol Pot, etc. None of these killers had only Nazism or Communism in their heads.

Nonetheless, Nazi or Communist beliefs led to Nazi or Communist killings. And Islamic beliefs lead to Islamic killings. There simply doesn't need to be a “one-to-one causal relation” between a single belief and a single action in any of these examples.

Anders Breivik: Christian Terrorist?

As mentioned in the introduction, Reza Aslan couldn't resist mentioning the Huffington Post and The Guardian's saviour of 2011: Anders Behring Breivik.

So how many acts of Islamic terrorism has there been since Breivik's own act of terrorism in 2011? In 2011, the year of Breivik's attack,there were seven Islamicterrorist attacks which claimed more lives than those claimed in Norway (i.e., 77 lives). There were literally hundreds of Islamic terrorist attacks that year which claimed, all in all, well over1,000 lives. (All this will have quickly faded from The Guardian’s memory; not that the majority of these Islamic attacks will ever have been featured in that newspaper.)

In any case, Reza Aslan says:






"Breivik explicitly defined himself as a Christian warrior fighting what he called an 'existential conflict' with Islam. Nevertheless, a great deal of the media coverage surrounding his actions seemed to take for granted that his crime had nothing to do with his Christian identity-- that it was based instead on his right-wing ideology, or his anti-immigrant views, or his neglectful upbringing...”


Only a few minutes of Google-time would have shown Reza Aslan that Anders Breivik was not really a Christian at all – let alone a Christian terrorist. How do I know that? Because Breivik himself said so. He variously described himself as an “agnostic” and went on to say that he's only a “cultural Christian” (though he was indeed, according to himself, a member of the Knights Templar).

Even though there are references to Breivik being a “Christian warrior” in various articles, none I have seen provides the source of that self-description. However, Breivik might well have used that description. Though even if he did, then, clearly, he was very inconsistent on this matter as he also believed in abortion, prostitution and vampires.

The same kind of thing that has been said about Breivik was also said - by Muslims, Leftists and the Southern Poverty Law Center - about Timothy McVeigh: that he was a“Christian terrorist”. However, they too left out the ever-so-minor fact that he was a self-described“agnostic”. Not only that: he didn't believe in Hell and said that science was his religion.

Even Andrew Brown - in his 'Anders Breivik is not Christian but anti-Islam' - denied that Breivik was a Christian terrorist. Indeed in Reza Aslan's own Huffington Post (in its 'Is Anders Breivik a Christian Terrorist?') there's a quote from Breivik himself which goes:






"....I guess I'm not an excessively religious man. I am first and foremost a man of logic. However, I am a supporter of a mono-cultural Christian Europe.”


Now would any Muslim killer of a Western soldier ever come even close to saying that he's “not an excessively religious man“; that he's “foremost a man of logic”; and that he's an “agnostic” who doesn't believe in Hell?
 
And when Breivik said that he's “a supporter of a mono-cultural Christian Europe”, all he essentially meant – I guess - is that he believes that Western society is largely based on Christian traditions and values. But that's not a surprise because none other than Richard Dawkins – an agnostic! - has said more or less the same thing. Indeed I know of many atheists who accept this sociological and historical fact. Are they all “Christian warriors” too?